Talent Connect 2017: A Unique Showcase of Passion, Community and Inspiration
min read

Talent Connect 2017: A Unique Showcase of Passion, Community and Inspiration


It takes some incredible coordination and management to make an event like LinkedIn Talent Connect a smooth and seamless experience, but what a success it was! With more than 4,000 talent acquisition professionals at the conference and additional 850,000 jumping in and out of sessions via live streams, to say it was an impressive setup would be a massive understatement.

Held at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, the largest resort in the state that doesn’t play host to a casino, the grandeur and scale of the venue perfectly reflected the scope of the event program and the prestige of its attendees.

I and my Canadian colleague John Dawson, joined Xref co-founders, Lee-Martin Seymour and Tim Griffiths, and Global Sales Director David Haines, for three days of inspirational keynote sessions, awesome product announcements and, of course, some top class networking. Alongside our colleagues, we were lucky enough to be joined by good Xref friends Keryn Paviour-Smith, ‎RPO Director at ManpowerGroup Solutions, and Rachael Jamieson, Head of Group Talent at Woolworths Group. Rachel was also on the list of great speakers, delivering a fantastic session focused on how to build a positive organisational culture as an HR professional, something she has generated a wealth of experience in, leading the talent agenda for Australia’s largest employer.

Alongside Rachel on the program were some unbelieveable speakers sharing their stories, experiences and insights into how to really connect with people, both personally and professionally. Discussion topics ranged from storytelling, culture building, and inclusion in the workplace, to the age-old challenge of how to address the elephant in the room, whatever it may be and however disruptive it may have become to workplace culture.

It was really interesting to hear how many people, from all walks of life and companies all over the world, share similar problems. Issues such as how to attract great people, how to build a winning culture, how to retain top talent, and how to continuously evolve in an ever changing world were brought up time and time again in sessions as well as discussions on the show floor. Attendees were both encouraged by the sense that “we’re all in this together” and inspired by the stories of those that had been able to come out the other side relatively unscathed.

Conference attendance is something the Xref team prides itself on being very good at, and we all agreed that it’s rare to experience an event on the scale of LinkedIn’s Talent Connect that attracts so many people with a shared passion and drive. Everyone we met was open to networking, having a conversation and learning from each other.

LinkedIn did an unbelieveable job of the entire event, from the “small” details such as having ushers placed around the venue, to the lighting and sound teams that made each and every session feel new and exciting, the staff in the conference atriums showcasing new features and insights, and of course the street party on the last night - what a way to close off a fantastic week. The food, drinks, local artists, photo booth, games, and of course the fireworks were all incredible.

Finally, I’d personally like to thank all of the speakers who shared their ideas openly, who took to the stage bravely and put themselves out there to a huge and engaged audience looking for inspiration in their every word - you really delivered. The content, the thought provocation, the discussion, the insight, the stories, and the true passion all made it very special.

I’d imagine if you spoke to everyone who attended, you would be greeted with a different anecdote or lesson learned at the event. It was an impactful and positive experience from beginning to end and we look forward to joining again next year.

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