TLNT Transform! Join the TalentCulture Crew There

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on

Maybe you missed it in the end-of-the-year rush, but late last month, I was a guest on TotalPicture Radio With Peter Clayton, and we talked about a lot of different things concerning HR, talent management, the news trends of 2011, and of course, TLNT.

If you didn’t get a chance to hear the interview, you can access the radio podcast here.

We also talked quite a bit about the TLNT Transform conference that’s coming up next month in Austin, Texas, and I thought it was worth excerpting that section of the Q&A here, because it gives a lot of information about just why you should attend this forward-thinking, groundbreaking talent management event on Feb. 27-28.

A forward-looking conference

Here’s how the conversation went:

Peter Clayton: I want to talk to you about the TLNT Transform Conference, which will be held February 27 and 28 in lovely Austin, Texas. On the conference website you say “Transform will be an experience unlike any other HR event you have ever attended.” Why so?

John Hollon: Well … you talked about ERE Media being (the) parent company of TLNT. ERE is known for their ERE Expos and their conferences and such.

Peter: Yes, they do a great job – always.

John: It’s simply a logical extension of that for TLNT to have a conference. We launched Transform, which as you said is going to be on February 27-28 in Austin, Texas. I’ve gone to many conferences and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been to every different type. I’ve seen them. I go to a number every year, as I know that you have. I’ve been through the full gamut of conference experiences and what really struck (all of) us about conferences, and particularly the big SHRM conference in June … (is) they’re very much about the here and now. They’re very much about what you need to do today.

What we wanted to do was to make Transform be forward-looking, not just about what you need to do to succeed today – what do you need to do to succeed in the future, what you need to do to get ahead (next) year or (in the) years to come. So that was the focal point. We also looked at having very different types of speakers there. So that’s our goal — to be a very forward-looking, very different conference experience from the other (conferences) that I’m familiar with, and (that) I think most everybody is.

Speakers such as Billy Beane of Moneyball fame

Peter: One of your keynote speakers is Billy Beane, who’s the general manager of the Oakland A’s. Of course he’s played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball. I have not seen him at a conference, so I’m looking forward to that. Who are some of the other people that you’re bringing in?

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane is played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball.

John: Billy Beane is a big name and one of the reasons why we got him is that as I think the movie Moneyball shows really well; it’s about a talent management system that’s sort of ahead of its time. He did a really good job there. He’s going to talk about that.

We (also) have people like Jim Knight. Jim is the senior director of training at Hard Rock International. He really goes around the world training (people). He is going to be talking about how to build a team of rock stars.

We have Libby Sartain. (As) a lot of folks know, she was the chairperson of SHRM way back in 2000. Libby’s famous for (being) the chief human resource officer at both Southwest Airlines and Yahoo. Even though the bloom is off the Yahoo rose a little bit, both of those were very forward-looking companies when she was there. She is going to talk about that.

I also got my friend Tim Sackett (on the agenda) as well as a number of others. Some of the people who write for TLNT will be there, people like Tim, Ann Bares (she talks about compensation), and Mel Kleiman, who’s Houston-based and does a lot about hiring. In fact, we run a piece from him every Monday on hiring wisdom. Eric Meyer, who’s a Philadelphia attorney who also writes a lot about legal matters as (they) pertain to employees in the social media space (will be there). That’s gotten to be very hot. He’s going to be leading a panel discussion with a number of HR professionals about that. My friend Ron Thomas, who was the senior vice president at Martha Stewart Living … is the (conference) chairperson who is going to be keeping the trains moving at the conference.

We’re going to have sessions on engagement and health care, and just about all the things that people are dealing with now. I think it’s going to be a great conference, a great event, and I really hope people can find the time and budget to come down and see us in Austin (in February).

An event you need to put on your schedule

Part of the thinking was (that) this conference, because it’s at the end of February, is a little bit ahead of when most of the spring conferences start, so there shouldn’t be any real conflicts with folks. For people in the north, it’s a way that at that point – and I’ve lived up north and you sort of get tired of the winter by the time the middle part of February kicks in – it’s a way to get out of the cold and to get down to some place a little bit warm. We hope that will be a draw too.

Peter: Do you have an Expo component to this event?

John: Yes, we’re going to have an Expo Hall. We’re going to have a number of vendors there. We’ve had really great response from a lot of those people. If you look at the Transform website … you can see a lot of our sponsors who will be there: Pinstripe, HR Marketer,, Employee Screen IQ, People Report, BPI … there’s just a whole bunch of them and we will have more. It’s a little bit tough because we’re at the end of the year right now, so a lot of people aren’t thinking about (conferences), but it’s going to come up real fast, because again, it’s February 27 and 28. That’s really only a couple of months down the road. We certainly have some great discounts in place for people who will sign up now and go.

I think it will be well worth their while. Our hope is to build on this and to make Transform a real annual event that’s really worth going to. A big part of our thinking is, we sort of looked at it and once you get past the big SHRM annual conference that they always have in June – last year it was in Las Vegas, this year it’s going to be in Atlanta… it’s sort of like, what’s the next (big) conference? Once you get away from the niche (conferences) like HR Technology and things of that sort .. we really couldn’t think of a general HR talent management conference that sort of jumped out.

So our feeling is that Transform, if we really do it right, is going to be able to fill that gap. Yes, you need to go to SHRM but there’s also this thing Transform … that is a great forward-looking event that will really help you to get on top of where you need to be, and what you need to be doing, succeed in the future.

How to get an additional $250 off registration

You can hear the entire radio podcast interview here.

And one more important thing: We really want you to join us next month in Austin, so take advantage of this great deal so you can attend Transform. We have a  discount code for #Tchat followers – TF12TCH for $250 discount off Transform

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of, and the former Editor of Workforce Management. He has written extensively about human resources and talent management. Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter at