Mr. Browne Goes to Washington !!

This seems to be a “bucket list” kind of year.  I was fortunate enough to be elected as part of the Membership Advisory Council (MAC) for SHRM.  I get to speak at SHRM National in Orlando this June !!  And then, there was this past week . . .

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at the Xavier University men’s basketball game with my wife when I got an e-mail from the SHRM Government Affairs group asking me if I’d consider testifying at a Congressional House Committee.  I was very moved and humbled that I was asked in the first place. After I got over the rush of the moment, I had to consider if I should do it or not.

I believe in Advocacy by HR professionals and have done this at the State and Federal level for the past several years.  I think we forget that we live in a country where we are allowed to share our viewpoint and participate in our government.  It’s somewhat intimidating, but I have found that the representatives and their staff are longing to hear from our community because they don’t hear enough from practitioners.  They do hear from many lobbyists with various special interests, but they don’t get our perspective nearly enough.

Capitol photoSo, after clearing it with my incredible employer, I said, “Yes.”  I went through an interview with staff from the Committee, and last Wednesday morning I was sitting in the Rayburn Building at a long, wooden table in front of a microphone, a timer with lights and my remarks about to testify on behalf of SHRM.  As Chairman Kline called on me with “Mr. Browne,” I took a deep breath and began to share my testimony.  The questioning from the Representatives was heated at times.  I tried to represent my employer, SHRM and HR the best I could.  When it ended, I was relieved and still incredibly excited !!

Trust me when I say that I didn’t take this experience lightly at all.  To be a citizen sitting in front of members of Congress is something I’ll never forget.  This wasn’t something where you had to side with political ideologies.  It was a chance to give a business perspective from an HR pro.  I hope that people can see that we are a BUSINESS voice !!

I also hope that SHRM, and our community as a whole, can see there are Sr. practitioners who are involved, are engaged and want to move us all forward.

Here is my challenge to all of HR . . . Make your voice heard !!

If it’s in the context of your department, be heard.  If it’s with your employees and your Executives, be heard.  If it’s in an advocacy role at the local, State or Federal level, be heard.

A wise person told me once – If people don’t hear from you, someone else WILL be heard !!

HR, your perspective matters.  Be confident in who you are and in what you do.  This is a chance for you to set the example that you want others to follow.  Being passive and hoping that things will change, or evolve, isn’t effective.

By the way, as I walked out I asked if I could take my name tent.  The staff wondered why I’d want a piece of paper.  I told them that today mattered, at least to me.  I took it back and put it in my office so I can always remember when “Mr. Browne” went to Washington !!

5 thoughts on “Mr. Browne Goes to Washington !!”

  1. What a great opportunity and so glad that you were there to speak for the profession and yourself. Too many of us read the paper, listen to the politician, whine about the regulations, etc., but never take the opportunity or step out to address those who make the rules. I know that you feel the words that you put in your blog and keep it up. We need more people like you to get the word out and stand up and do the right thing.

  2. I know I already told you this, but I thought you did a magnificent job. I got a similar email but had to decline for a variety of reasons, including a previously scheduled commitment in South Carolina. Kudos to your employer for standing up like that. It’s not without risk. Kudos to you for delivering the goods. Nicely done, Mr. Browne!

  3. Steve, this is great! You did a terrific job representing HR and we are glad to have a leader as passionate about our field as you in our profession. You rock!

  4. Steve, I count myself lucky to be influenced both by your writings via this blog and on other social media. Thank you for your inspiration to myself and I am sure countless others. You are quite appreciated!

  5. Steve, I always enjoy your posts and find them to be motivational; they seem to come on the days when I could use a ‘lift’! Can you explain a little more about the topic on which you were asked to testify?

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