DisruptHR Event Brings TED-like Talks on Talent to Triangle

Noa Ronen presents last night at the DisruptHR event in Durham's PSI Theatre.

Before Noa Ronen, owner of Noa Ronen Coaching in Raleigh, started her talk at DisruptHR last night, she made one thing clear to the audience: “If you’re wondering where my accent’s from I’m from Israel—that’s it, we’re done, now you know it so you don’t have to think about it,” she said as she let out a laugh.

With her presentation about teaching people to be leaders instead of teaching people how to lead, Ronen fit right in with the creative ideas on full display at the DisruptHR event held Wednesday at Durham’s PSI Theatre.

Although she and the other 13 participants had only five minutes to present, and only 15 seconds per slide, Ronen said the event was a great opportunity to spread her unique ideas on leadership.

“This is a great opportunity to meet with the people who have the connections with leaders and can listen to that,” she said. “I really see myself as someone out-of-the-box—or a disrupter—and that was a great opportunity to share something that’s out-of-the-box.”

This kind of divergent thinking is exactly what one of the event’s organizers, Ryan Batchelor, wanted to give a platform to when he founded the Raleigh-Durham chapter of DisruptHR, a national organization designed to “energize, organize, and empower people” in the HR field.

“I wanted people to have these five-minute conversations about how we change the way we think and the way that we do HR currently,” he said.

The name of the event may seem to exclude professionals outside of human resources, but Batchelor said the event attracts people in many different roles.

“They’re kind of all over the gamut,” he said. “We have some talent professionals, we have some HR professionals, we had a chief technology officer, we had a CEO, we had a couple of COOs, actually we had two software engineers tonight, so it’s really across the realm.”

Batchelor said the event has been in the works since May, and he said he and his team couldn’t have predicted that attendance would be affected by Hurricane Florence.

“When we first planned it out, we didn’t realize that a hurricane would be hitting and that it was actually on a Jewish holiday [Yom Kippur], so that was a little bit our mistake for sure, and it did affect our attendance tonight” he said. “Normally we sell out our events at about 150 tickets, tonight we only had about 120.”

Max Roach, vice president of sales for major accounts with ADP—a sponsor of DisruptHR—said the forward-thinking messages delivered at the event will help HR departments in the area retain top talent, especially at tech companies that face significant and growing competition for employees.

“Talent-poaching is becoming a real thing I think for the groups locally, especially with the onslaught of Amazon or Apple maybe actually coming to the area as well,” said Roach. “It’s really making it important for folks in HR to make sure they’re doing everything they can to retain their best people.”

About Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez 26 Articles
As a reporter at GrepBeat, Marco writes about startups and innovation and enjoys writing about entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. He is a junior studying business journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Reach him at marco@grepbeat.com or on twitter @marcoquiroz10.