Event helped attendees expand their HR knowledge and was a stage on which to award a Carlson School alum the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

The 33rd annual HR Tomorrow Conference brought professionals from around the nation to the Carlson School on April 13 for a day of learning and exploring the current trends, issues, challenges, and opportunities in the field of human resources and labor relations.

The event, hosted by the Carlson School's Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, was sold out and included Carlson School alumni and current students from the human resources and industrial relations master's program.

  (left to right) Dean Sri Zaheer, Dr. Michael Byungnam Lee, John Budd

Of the day's highlights was a special award ceremony honoring the afternoon's keynote speaker Dr. Michael Byungnam Lee, president and CEO of LG Academy.


After his remarks Lee, a Carlson School industrial relations PhD graduate ('88), was presented the University's 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals for his lasting impact on the business of human resources and industrial relations.

The award is given to individuals who have attained unusual distinction as professionals in their career within institutions or in public service, and have demonstrated sustained outstanding achievement and leadership, or demonstrated promise of such on a local, national, or international level.

Preceding Lee's award ceremony was a robust day of speakers and breakout sessions, which was kicked off with the morning's keynote speaker Michael Davis, senior vice president of Global Human Resources at General Mills, who presented "When Being Great in HR Matters Most."

"The message from Mike was right on," says conference attendee Paul Capiz, a San Francisco, Calif. resident and HR manager at NCO Group. "Very insightful in taking what he has done in research and applying it to how the HR profession is progressing in that you're not just an HR professional, you're a business partner. I think the profession lacked that for a long time, but now HR is at the table. HR has to bring ideas and be a part of that."

The 13 breakout sessions covered a breadth of topics, from social media to employment law, change management to benefits enrollment, and leadership development to emotional intelligence, among others.

Sharon Opsahl from the State of Minnesota's HR Department says she enjoyed the various perspectives presented.

"It was interesting to see and hear the different concepts of private versus public," she says. "That's what's nice about this conference--I think the topics you can apply for either one [public vs. private], it's not so isolated to 'This is the way business is done.'"