The Maine HR Convention at 25

Where did we begin, where are we going?

The Maine HR Convention celebrates its 25th anniversary next May. And, what fun it is to sit in the curator’s seat for this experience. Here’s a little Convention history to give you a flavor of what you might see on the Samoset stage in 2020.

Curating a great conference starts with purpose. The Convention’s purpose has remained steadfast over 25 years. We provide progressive HR education designed to elevate the profession, enhance the quality of your work, and to help you make a difference in the lives of your employees, the course of your organization, and the direction of neighboring communities.

While our purpose has remained true, the chef’s salad of ingredients and programming has shifted a bit. In the early years, learning centered almost exclusively on compliance and employment law issues. We slowly added organizational development content to enhance the stature of your work. Around the same time, the Convention joined forces with MESHRM to make this the official state conference for SHRM in Maine. These all remain pillars of the convention, but trends in the HR world began tugging us in a fresh direction.

Approximately ten years ago, HR thought leaders started giving greater weight to fluency in the language of business. Concurrently, organizations experienced societal and generational pressure to clearly express their mission, purpose, and values. These dual demands on the HR profession caused us to rethink what we offer at the Samoset. So, we launched programming on how to become business partners, metrics, strategic direction, diversity and values, and the interconnection among HR and the other spokes of the organization.

This has blossomed into a multi-track convention of Keynotes, Mega Sessions, and Workshops focused on several arenas: 1) Legal Eagles (compliance); 2) Business (strategic impact); 3) Values and Ethics (making a difference); 4) Building Great Workplaces (talent acquisition and retention); and 5) Professional Development (SHRM and HRCI certification). This past spring we added “bookends” to the full Convention week, with Monday programming centered on the needs of new HR professionals, and Friday workshops aligned with the needs of supervisors and managers, technically from outside the world of HR, but who clearly need training and development along those lines.

For 2020?  All of the above. Plus a big party! Because, we never underestimate the value of camaraderie and networking. We view the Convention as an “experience,” not just another event. We hope you see things the same way.

Next Month. I’ll tell you about two of the keynotes and how they fit into the grand scheme of the 2020 Convention. Spoiler Alert: Catherine Carr (an HR values leader from Doctors Without Borders), and after a four-year absence, the return of author and accountability maven Cy Wakeman.


Bud Bernstein

Curator for the Maine HR Convention

Strategic HR U.S