ERE/SourceCon Anaheim 2016: One Attendee's Perspective

ERE's SourceCon Anaheim was a stellar event.  I arrived on a Tuesday Sept 20 - a day before the first kickoff networking Happy Hour on the Marriott Anaheim Patio.  What was more than amazing was my Parent's time share through World-Mark By Wyndham Resort was less than a mile away from the venue adding to my luck to save on a Hotel and enabling me to get in a good walk every morning.  My mom put in the request to see if I could book it 2 month's before I came into town. As luck would have it, this opportunity indeed presented itself allowing me to save some good money.  My flight through Southwest was good, the good people of Southwest are very helpful and friendly and make the flight as always entertaining.  I commend the people who recruit for these individuals as they are finding the best of the best of the client service providers who are the pilots/flight attendants/counter professionals, et al.  But I digress.  My analysis of Southwest's professional crew could occupy a whole other post about recruiting for cultural fit.  As I arrived I realized I had a couple of days of sight-seeing that could possibly be done.  Ironically, my first SourceCon in Dallas had concluded almost a year earlier, and my visit to this World-Mark resort and Disney Land with my family had also been but a short year ago.  It was manifest destiny in my opinion that all stars were aligned to allow me to venture to this particular SourceCon. 

As opportunity enabled me a couple days to sight-see I was able to pay a visit to the Nixon Presidential Library - undergoing some renovation.  The Patriotic zeal of the workers there was a wonderful step back into time.  Nixon's childhood home is on the very same site he is buried in. 

It was a good experience and I had the opportunity to walk through the house where Nixon was born.  Quite a treat for a history buff like me.

Next I made a trip to the March Field Air Museum about 50 Miles away from Anaheim.  Getting the opportunity to see some great historical airplanes of various shapes and sizes from all parts of military history added to the fun.  Add to that the privilege of seeing a Jet take-off and it was quite an amazing thing to behold.

For a student of history like me this was a great experience.  Nearly 100 different aircraft, and a freedom tribute along a special wall added to the Patriotic zeal as one can read statements from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Quotes from Lincoln & Washington, etc, were a nice add to the atmosphere of the place.  Wonderful exhibits can be seen regarding the history of aviation and interesting perspectives on what it takes to be a pilot. 

I then doubled back to Fullerton CA to go see the unique Fullerton Museum Complex dedicated to honoring the study of Space and an Electrical Guitar History display.  Apparently Fullerton CA has ties to some of the original Electrical Guitar Innovators/Inventors and Patents.

After I arrived back at my Resort I took the walk to the Marriott Anaheim - one of the fun things about this event is seeing all the tourists with happy children heading to the happiest place on earth.  Weaving in and out of children wearing Star Wars, Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy, Frozen and other various Disney themed paraphernalia added to the atmosphere.  I arrived at the Marriott and immediately was impressed by the scope of our venue.  It is a sizeable Hotel and it seemed like everything would be well organized for the size of this event:

>335 Unique Companies

>700 Attendees

>27 Different Presentations

>25+ Different Vendors.

For a Conference representing the staffing world as it does, this shows how staffing is indeed gaining more of a seat at the table.  Did I mention that Disney had their Talent Acquisition Team there?  15 Professionals in all.

As I obtained my Attendee Materials - Lanyard, Conference Pamphlet, etc one thing stood out - This was the conference that would feature Purple Squirrels as a mascot of sorts - wholly appropriate right?  We were given several Purple Squirrel stickers, the ERE Foundation was raising money for a great cause Girls Who Code - a great organization seeking to help remove barriers to entry for women seeking careers in Software Development, by selling Purple Squirrel related merchandise: a hand knit purple squirrel, and a wristband with Purple (representing the mascot), and Black and Green colors featuring the colors of SourceCon.  Even the Conference T-Shirt referenced a Purple Squirrel.  The arrival of Sourcing Greats - Dean Da Costa, Jim Stroud, Steve Levy, Mark Tortorici and others was like being a groupie/fan at a rock concert.  Getting amped up and having opportunity to attend the Happy Hour with many different professionals and striking up conversations with some great folks was a pleasure. 

I didn't get any pictures of the crowd, because I was engaged in conversations the whole time that night.  Suffice it to say I was definitely inspired by the Rock Star Caliber Talented Staffing Professionals and cutting edge innovators I was privileged to meet. 

I then headed back to my Resort to get a Good night's rest.  It was needed as the day had a jam-packed schedule.

The morning came and I awoke early to get a head start.  My first order of business was to head to the exhibit hall.  I was anxious to see what types of tools and interesting vendors were there.  This allows me to get a sense of the new products/tools available in our industry.  I started to visit some during networking breaks, and the meal break periods of the conference.  Well worth it.  Each one had special give-aways they brought with them, always a hit with sourcing/staffing folks.

Some of the vendors there included:



>Mighty Recruiter










>Hiring Solved

>Skill Survey

>The Muse


>Employee Referrels








>Social Talent


Next after eating a good breakfast, the food being quite outstanding, I settled into the Grand Ballroom.  Impressed by the sheer size of the crowd, my first SourceCon in Dallas the previous October was 500.  But seeing that the crowd was so large it filled the entire room I got a good seat right as the State of Sourcing 2016 was starting.

Shannon Pritchett - Editor at SourceCon kicked us off by sharing some of the tools that were most popular today among sourcers:




It was interesting to note how these tools were still at the top of mind for us in Talent Acquisition. 

Next, Shannon dived into a dialogue about these results.  A Live Stream and recorded video of the event was posted via SourceCon's Facebook page.  One can view some of the presentations here:

There was a good discussion between the panel which featured: Shannon Pritchett (SourceCon Editor), Amybeth Quinn - Americas Sourcing Manager - Hewlett Packard, Chris Havrilla, a colleague of ADP - VP of Global HR Technology, and Chris Hoyt - Co-Owner and Chief Innovation Evangelist Career Xroads, & Kristi Wawro - Director Talent Acquisition Sourcing Center of Excellence at Disney.  They had a great dialogue which was a fascinating conversation for sure.

Next  a Great Keynote by Kathryn Minshew - Founder and CEO of The Muse about standing out with Candidate Engagement - essentially standing out in your sourcing results.

Following Kathyrn's brilliant presentation - Bryan Chaney delivered another outstanding address on turning Talent Attraction into sourcing success.  Another focused dialogue on candidate engagement.

Next followed the Breakout Sessions - which were indeed cutting edge.

Topics included focus areas for 3 concurrent sessions - Candidate Identification, Candidate Engagement, & Marketing and Branding Topics.

Presenters included:

Kerri Mills - Executive Sourcer Indeed

Jason Vogel - Sourcing Manager PwC

Dana Meyer - Manager Talent Engagement Solutions ManPower

Megan Calimbas - National Sourcing Manager PwC

Mike Chuidian Sr. Talent Sourcer - Sears

Paul DeBettignies - Principal - Minnesota Head Hunter

Gurprit Bhambra Talent Acquisition Manager - Allegis

Natalie Dunphy - Talent Sourcer Sears

Marvin Smith - Talent Sourcing Consultant - Lockheed Martin

This year there was also the Innovation Labs Simultaneously going on Thursday and Friday.  Presenters included:

Matt Hughes - Recruiting Manager - Hired

Nathan Brumby - VP and GM - Bold (Mighty Recruiter)

Amina Mounuddin - Sr. Business Recruiter - Entelo

David Packer - Head of Sales - Indeed

Jim Schnyder - Senior Manager & Sourcing Lead - PepsiCo

David Pumpelly Regional Sales Director - Avature

Ninh Tranh - CMO - Hiretual

Jim Klug - Product Manager - Talent Soft

The day ended on Thursday Sept 22nd with a Networking Dinner Reception.  By then I was pretty tired so must admit sadly I missed the Hackathon and would have loved to have attended.  I heard it was the largest such event ever for a SourceCon.  My next time attending will be sure to join in the fun!  Before I left though I finished visiting the presenters.  By this time I had accumulated quite a bit of goodies from the vendors, and must admit they are very generous to us TA professionals!  Definitely recommend checking out their products.

I personally attended Kerri Mills Presentation - Six Secrets to Sourcing Like a Grandmaster.  It was a great presentation and she was spot on with her candidate engagement tips.

Presentation about Sourcing on Entelo - from Amina Mounuddin - Sr. Business Recruiter was a fascinating discussion I found, and appears to be a great tool now that Connectifier has been acquired by LinkedIn.  Jim Schnyder Sourcing Lead at Pepsico & David Pumpelly gave an interesting dialogue about how to use CRM and ATS tools to engage candidates.  They use Avature - which was a Platinum Sponsor.  They gave a good business case why it is a compelling ATS tool.

Gurprit Bhambra - TA Manager for Allegis had a fascinating discussion on Talent Mapping.  I found the insights quite valuable.

After I got back I went to bed Boolean Search Strings dancing in my head.  When the morning came I made my way back to the venue - dodging families on their way to the Disney Land theme park. 

Arriving at 8:15a today I must say I was pretty hungry.  The breakfast was fantastic.  Promptly at 9a the first Keynote took place featuring another ADP Colleague - Jenny DeVaughn Director of Internal Communications who used to lead ADP's Sourcing Function and our Talent Branding Group.  She was phenomenal making me proud to be at ADP representing our Talent Acquisition group.  She had quite the dialogue about personal branding and being a fantastic value added brander.  Your personal brand matters, and her passion kept me on the edge of my seat.  She inspired a dialogue and shout outs from the audience to professionals whom had already made a difference.  I myself gave a shout out to former NetPolarity Colleagues - Bryan Houser - Sourcing Recruiter at Amazon, and Aubin LaBrosse - Juno Therapeutics.  Aubin is amazing.  He was a Software Engineer prior to coming into a sourcing role at NetPolarity 4 years ago.  He maintains a great outlook on life.  Quite an amazing person.  Make sure to check him out on LinkedIn and you will see why he is as incredible as he is.  Jenny's presentation was spot on.  Her insights were gold.  See if you can find her whole presentation on the link above. 

Next Maisha Cannon - Strategic Sourcer at GitHub had a Fabulous Presentation entitled: From E! to Google Missteps, Metrics & Methods - she outlined some tricks and tips, more about candidate engagement, and how to succeed in Talent Acquisition.  She was also spot-on.

Following this - we went to a Networking Break - it was good to get a quick drink and dive back in to the Table Topics and 20 minute sessions. I was VERY impressed with this and got a lot out of it.

I hovered around a few tables to get some great insights.

Mark Tortorici - my former Manager at NetPolarity and a guru in sourcing delivered some great tips on customizing a search engine from Google, and some interesting tips on overall sourcing strategy.  His quick summary sheet was golden and worth every tip.  Mark's Table grew immensely, and I must say I feel like a groupie when I get the insights he shares.  Have to smile as I was lucky to attend Mark's trainings.

I then found my way over to Dean Da Costa's table (his son Jeremy is looking for a job so be sure to reach out to Dean to help him).  Dean had great tips on tools as he always does and is a wonderful industry professional ready to share.  He provided some great insights on email tools, and the crowd continued to grow around him.  Wasn't the least bit surprised.

Going to the Telephone Sourcing Table we had a great dialogue on engaging talent the old school way - via the phone.  It was good to discuss this and share ideas.

Following this - I got my own personalized Entelo demonstration from a rep of their company during lunch and was impressed with the capability that they have evolved. 

After eating a quick lunch I hurried back to the Grand Ball Room to hear Glenn Gutmacher - VP Diversity Talent Sourcing - State Street Corporation and Monali Parmar - Executive Recruiting Sourcer HEB speak on Gaining a Competitive Advantage from Competitive Intelligence.  Fantastic Presentation.  Shannon Anderson - Principal Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox had a great presentation on Candidate Career Problems and Turning that into Opportunity.  I definitely on the break between took a look at her presentation.  Will be looking to see if I can find a recorded stream of it later.  Craig Fisher whom I met briefly had a great Presentation on Sourcing and Personal Branding which content from his presentation was also well worth reviewing from my download.  Craig Fisher is Director of Employer Brand and Talent Marketing at CA Technologies.

Holly Mallowes - Founder/Principal at iTek Recruitment & Chris Herron Talent Attraction Sourcer at Indeed had two great presentations on using alternate tools from LinkedIn, X-Ray techniques, and using Images to find your candidates.  Great content indeed, I was in awe of some of their tips.

Allison Kruse - Sr. Manager - Social Media & Talent Acquisition - whose Presentation was another one I reviewed had great information on Candidate Engagement and avoiding candidate SPAM by focusing on a creative messaging technique was good material I will definitely take to heart.  Reviewing her presentation was also a great focus for me.

Scott Sherman - Director Talent Acquisition at Sodexo - had a great presentation on Sourcing Data being Impact Data.  I reviewed his presentation also with interest, and will have to read through it again.  But the content I was able to look at was quite fascinating.

Finally - for me Arron Daniels - Sr. Sourcer at HEB & Cyndy Davis - Sr. Sourcing Recruiter at HP did a Co-Presentation on how to use Excel as a tool for managing your desk, and for sourcing organization proved quite helpful.  I think I will be using their approach to track my own candidates and build my own CRM.  Great content.  May have to reach out to them for more tricks and tools.

Angela Bortulussi - Recruiting Manager - Recruiting Social had a great presentation I had to review - about sourcing on Slack - looked interesting and was able to glean some interesting insights on the platform.

Finally I would have loved to have gotten a Recorded Link to the dialogue had between - Rob McIntosh - Chief Analyst at ERE & John Ricciardi VP - Content Solutions - ERE.  It sounds like they talked about AI and it's impact to sourcing.

As SourceCon wraps up - I am very excited to bring home a wide variety of insights to my team.  This SourceCon was inspiring, amazing, and full of great opportunity to meet industry stalwarts.  VERY blessed to be among the greats in our industry.  If you have the opportunity to go to SourceCon you will definitely see why the Purple Squirrel is the mascot. Finally - Glen Cathey and some other thought leaders are working towards creating a Talent Acquisition Professional Association and that idea is gaining traction.

Signing off from Anaheim fulfilled and inspired by industry Rock Stars.

What more can I say!! 

I thought providing some thoughts about my own experience might benefit the greater Recruiting Blogs community.  One thing that stands out is this: Recruiting/Staffing surely is a WONDERFUL place to be.  What's more if you wind up attending next year - be sure to check out the sights, the sounds, and the local attractions, whatever your time allows.  You might find some other incredible adventures like I did.  Well it's off to bed.  Have to be up to grab my flight at 4:30a.  Good Night RBC, and Thank you to SourceCon and ERE Media.  Once again a resounding success.

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