The sun was shining the morning of the 2014 HR Tomorrow Conference. It was a nice surprise for most Minnesotans who had been suffering through one of the worst winters in years, and a far cry from the snowstorm that greeted them the previous year.

Attendees strode into the Carlson School of Management and were welcomed with a continental breakfast, including a coffee barista bar, sponsored by the Herman Library. Beautiful flowers decorated the tables, and people chatted amongst themselves, excited about the day ahead.

MA-HRIR alumnus Eric Miller has attended the HR Tomorrow Conference for the past ten years. He keeps coming back because of the initial benefits he received after attending his first conference as a student.

"The HR Tomorrow Conference is a great way to invest just one day per year in helping make sure HR professionals stay current, not only in the HR trends, but the thought and theories behind them," Miller says.

The 2014 conference, "Tools for Tomorrow: Evolving your HR Skill Set," began with a presentation from Google's People Analytics Director Brian Welle, who spoke about using analytics to make better people decisions.

First-year MA-HRIR student Alice Guo was eager to attend her first HR Tomorrow Conference, and said she was excited to learn more about HR analytics.

"I realize analytics is important but should be balanced with friendly interpretation and good communication, management experience, etc.," says Guo, who also volunteered at the conference.

The attendees divided among smaller classrooms for two morning breakout sessions before coming back together for the Networking Luncheon, sponsored by Ingersoll Rand. Attendees enjoyed pasta, chicken, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

The afternoon featured one more breakout session, followed by afternoon keynote speaker Ann Judge from Bristol-Myers Squibb, who shared her perspective on the evolving expectations of HR leaders.

The event closed with a Networking Reception, sponsored by Land O' Lakes, where HR professionals and current students discussed the topics presented that day.

"I met so many great HR professionals at my first conference as a student," Miller says. "Networking has become an important part of the HR Tomorrow experience for me."

According to Miller, the HR Tomorrow Conference not only offers excellent networking opportunities, but also highlights different viewpoints in HR.

"I have found the HR Tomorrow Conference to provide more opportunities for me to think about, and sometimes rethink, my understanding and practice of the HR function," Miller says. "Speakers and other participants are not afraid to express points of view that may be different than others."

Overall, attendees enjoyed the speakers, reconnecting with colleagues, and learning new best practices.

"This conference provides great information that is highly related to my career as a new HR associate," says one attendee. "I appreciate the opportunity to learn about new best practices to bring back to the groups I work for and apply my new knowledge."

Thanks to the sponsors who made the day such a great success: Ingersoll Rand, Land O'Lakes, Inc., the Georgianna Herman Library, 3M, Best Buy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Bristol-Myers Squibb, C.H. Robinson, Chevron, Ecolab, Hallmark, The Travelers Company, and Wells Fargo.