The Best Conference Booths Have Animals


House of Blues SHRM PartyI have been to a lot of conferences.

I don’t just attend events for HR dorks. I try to find out what’s happening in other communities. I seek out marketing nerds. Design dweebs. Crazy mommybloggers. Animal lovers. Civil servants. Coding geeks.

I once poked my head into a life sciences conference in San Diego just because I was bored at my own show.

(They have hashtags and wild parties, too.)

All of these conferences have expo halls and booths where I’ve seen everyone from Erik Estrada to Stedman Graham to Richard Blais.  (Don’t be too impressed.) And the only thing I know about conferences is that the best booths have animals.

This is a no-brainer at events like BlogHer or BlogPaws. Easy. But it’s harder at an event like SHRM.

So about ten weeks ago, I sent an email to my old employer — a marketing firm — and said WHATEVER YOU DO YOU HAVE TO GET LIL BUB TO SHRM.

If you don’t know Lil Bub, she is a girl. (Get that in your head, okay?) And she is very cute. Bub is also a special needs kitty, which makes her chill and friendly in a chaotic environment. The weird thing about Bub is that normal people with boring jobs will wrap themselves around a city block to meet her. She is the most amazing cat ever.

And this is my friend Stephanie who runs a successful blog called Catsparella. Trust me, you and your shitty HR blog wish you had her traffic. And even she was wowed by Miss Bubz!


Lil Bub would be a huge hit at a Human Resources conference. People would love to meet her. The pictures could be shared via social media in the best way. Flickr? Vine? Instagram Video? It doesn’t even matter. The attendees would do the work themselves.

And then I got on my virtual-hands-and-knees and begged my former colleagues to find a way to get Lil Bub from Indiana (where she lives) to Chicago. Isn’t there some vendor who is sick of giving away shitty swag and wants to give away an experience with Bub?!

But my idea was too late. There wasn’t enough time to be nimble.

Meanwhile, VPI Pet Insurance had a line wrapped around the conference floor on a Tuesday afternoon so people could touch therapy dogs.


Unbelievable. It turns out that sad HR ladies (like me) missed our animals so much. We wanted some love from neutered dogs (instead of the male wildebeests from the HR tech community who came out to see DJ Jazzy Jeff).

So let that be a lesson to all Human Resources vendors:

Wouldn’t hurt to have a dog at a marketing conference, either. I need to get to work!

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