Pictured: Steve Browne, Tina-Marie and Tom Daniels

I can remember pretty vividly the moment I first discovered Steve Browne. I was flipping through the pages of SHRM’s HR Magazine and came across Steve’s long standing column (in the back on the last page before the end cover). At that exact moment in time, I was struggling to find my place in HR. I was different. I believed that in order for HR to serve the people, they needed to know their people (employees). I was however facing resistance and challenges among my peers (and leadership) who believed HR belonged behind closed doors. I was contemplating leaving the profession because I felt so defeated and lost. And then, glaring at me in print were the words of wisdom from an HR leader working at a family owned pizza chain in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was not alone. There are others out there who embraced this approach to HR working for organizations that embraced it too. Steve Browne became my #HRHero.

If you have never experienced Steve either in print, or live – he is the epidemy of an HR Storyteller. He also approaches sharing insight by challenging us to think and not telling us what we need to hear or want to hear. Which is what we need in HR btw, we have enough sessions with attorneys, compliance and processes – let’s talk about the human side in HR by just being human. When Steve speaks, he brings his office with him and it’s like opening a door into the day to day HR’ing at LaRosa’s. You laugh, you cry, you relate and you re-think the way HR is and should be.

Yesterday, I got to see Steve speak again, in real life in Perrysburg, Ohio. Steve’s message to all of us in that room was that HR needs to recognize that we, like everyone else are human and embrace it in the way we deliver HR. One thing Steve shared specifically resonated with me ~“HR needs to be there for everybody, because if you are not there for everybody, no one else is.” Hearing Steve share those words brought me back to that moment when I first read his blog; a moment that literally changed my HR career. Reflecting on Steve’s words, I recognize that by being there for everybody, everybody will also be there for us.

I had a few moments to catch up with Steve and was able to share my gratitude for the influence he has had on my HR career as he has had on our entire HR profession. He has brought so many of us from the HR community together in so many ways; leading to friendships, collaboration and needed HR dialogue to allow us to be better practitioners. He has also paved the way for those of us in the trenches to share our stories to benefit others (you know, those of us who are HR like Steve that also speak, but are not professional speakers). What Steve has taught me is to be “more than a fan” and to put yourself out there, not just in our organizations – but with others in our HR community. Thank you Steve for reminding all of us in HR that in order to be a resource for others we need to be human first!