SHRM attendees filtering out of the mammoth conference hall in Chicago’s McCormick Place following Sue Meisinger’s farewell speech say they were deeply moved by the retiring president’s address.
"It was heartfelt, elegant," said Pam Pekar, the manager of HR for Westfalia Separator in Northvale, New Jersey. "It was short and sweet. She’s provided the profession credibility. She’s left it much stronger, with more recognition."
Alison Mitchell, director of HR for Diagnostica Stago in Parsippany, New Jersey, felt inspired by Meisinger’s 15-minute speech.
"I thought she was extremely sincere," said Mitchell, who along with Pekar is a SHRM regular. "But that’s the way she is. She tries to inspire you, and she certainly did with this speech."
John Cato, senior HR manager of sales and marketing at AutoTrader in Atlanta, said Meisinger’s speech raised the bar for all HR practitioners. He noted that membership has climbed from 180,000 to 250,000 members during her tenure and that she has taken the association beyond the U.S. on a global mission.
"She told us to be proud of what we do," said Cato, who was attending his fourth conference. "She told all of us not to wait, to be bold. She put it so eloquently when she said to stop asking for a seat at the table. She left a legacy for all of us to carry on."