HRINZ HR Conference 2012 Student Ambassador Highlights – Sovaia Uluiburotu
Entering a warm room tucked away in the glorious national museum of Te Papa and anticipating encountering HR professionals, I knew this conference was going to be a blast. From the beginning of the HRINZ members clinic to the closing speech by Beverley Main, I was not let down one bit. It’s one thing being a student studying HR, sitting in a lecture theatre listening to HR concepts and theories, but it’s another thing being surrounded by HR practitioners with practical knowledge who know its reality first-hand.
The atmosphere, the interactions, the heated debates, the laughter and sharing of knowledge was what captured me from the HRINZ members clinic. Every single panellist had insightful knowledge backed up by relevant and practical examples which made it more engaging for me. The discussions we had at our table were challenging and also enlightening. It was interesting to see different perspectives of HR experiences come together and create one idea of how HR can be improved.
Engaging and participating in the concurrent sessions was what made me come out of my comfort zone. These sessions gave me the opportunity to network, dialogue and glean insight from people with experience in the HR environment. The first session Effective Cross-Cultural Communication using Appreciative Inquiry was a fantastic start to an awesome three days. Within the short time that Holona and Trish Lui had to share such amazing knowledge, they really engaged me from start to finish. I valued seeing the depth of consideration that is required when dealing with communication in a diverse environment. It allowed me to see the holistic perspective that is required in order for communication to become effective, given the unique circumstances of dealing with different cultures.
One of the highlight sessions for me was Peter De Jager’s session on Boiling Change Down to Seven Questions. This by far captivated me not only because of the enthusiasm and passion Peter had, but also the relevant content he shared. It once again gave me a holistic sight in to what the fundamental things to consider are when it comes to making change. A lot of the things he shared about resisting change were eye opening because society is unconsciously aware of our responses when it comes to implementing change. The thing I liked about this session was that no matter what context you came from (university, public sector, NGO), this session was very relevant! In fact it probably sent every single individual in the audience off to morning tea with something new or something to look deeper at.
One more key thing that really stood out for me was the final keynote session by Mojo Mathers. Mojo is a living example of what it means to go against all odds, fight barriers of intimidation and stand for what is right. Ending a three day conference all about diversity with Mojo Mathers sharing her life experience was so fitting and marvellous. This session changed my perspective in how I see disabilities in the workplace and how diversity can have a positive impact on any organisation.
Overall, my experience at the HRINZ Conference 2012 is something I will value and cherish. The networks and friendships built over this short timeframe are of much value to me and more so the knowledge I have gained. The HRINZ team did a fantastic job of putting this together and there is no doubt I will be speaking highly of this event to those within my sphere, especially at Victoria University. Being one of six student ambassadors there was a rewarding opportunity and meeting the rest of them was great! I have never met a bunch of enthusiastic students who I can share my passion for HR with and this has opened doors up for future networking opportunities. I would also like to acknowledge every single speaker that shared such valuable knowledge at this conference. Diversity has become of much more value for me and seeing the passion in every speaker encourages me to get out there and continue to make a change – just as each individual at the conference endeavours to do. I am very grateful to have experienced this fantastic opportunity at a young age and I look forward to breaking out in to the practical HR environment very soon.
HRINZ Student Ambassador
Victoria University of Wellington