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My 2020 Virtual EEOC EXCEL Conference Experience

Illustration of virtual conference call

As "virtual" everything is becoming the new norm these days, why not for a conference? Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) 2020 Examining Conflicts in Employment Law (EXCEL) Training Conference moved from an in-person conference to a virtual platform. Even though I would have thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in New Orleans networking with my fellow EEO professionals, I do understand the importance of "safety first" and had the opportunity to participate in a virtual experience.

For background, the EXCEL Training Conference is sponsored by the EEOC’s Training Institute. In its 23rd year, EXCEL is the premier national training conference for federal and private sector EEO professionals, attorneys, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) specialists to learn the latest EEO developments and learn best practices to help ensure that your agency or organization complies with EEOC laws and regulations that impact your workplace.

Now, let me take you on my virtual journey, starting with registration. This process was fairly easy once the conference was paid for; you received an email from EEOC to select the classes you want to attend. Once your classes were selected and submitted, you received a confirmation email with a link to automatically add the class to your calendar.

The conference began with the annual opening sessions with a keynote speaker, then once completed, the classes began. In my opinion, the only downfall to this format was the lack of person-to-person interaction.

This year’s class selection was pretty interesting, and one class that stood out to me was "Texting, Sexting, and Other Online Nonsense,” provided by Karen Michael of Karen Michael Consulting. My first thought was, “why would a group of EEO Professionals need information on this topic,” but when she got into her presentation, it made perfect sense.

A few important facts that she shared were the following:

  • 90.4% of millennials (ages 23-38), 77.5% of Gen X (ages 39-54), and 48.2% of Boomers (ages 55-73) are social media users.
  • On average, individuals spend 3 hours a day on social media.
  • 90% of employers said social media is important when evaluating a job candidate for employment.
  • 79% of HR Professionals have denied employment because of something they saw online.

Why is this important? In this day and age, more people are using social media to interact and network, and as a result their online trail is following them and affecting their employment opportunities.

So, it’s imperative that you are careful with what you decide to post online.

With social distancing being the new norm, more conferences will now be virtual, so give it a try. For more information about the EEOC EXCEL Training Conference, visit their website.

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