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Speaking Engagements

UPCOMING
HR Tech, Las Vegas, 10/8-10/2014
HR Tech Europe, Amsterdam, 10/23-24/2014

PAST BUT AVAILABLE FOR REPLAY
Workday Predict and Prepare Webinar, 12/10/2013
CXOTalk: Naomi Bloom, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, and Michael Krigsman, 3/15/2013
Drive Thru HR, 12/17/12
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #110, 8/12
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Business Value," 5/3/12 Audio/Whitepaper
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/7/11
HR Happy Hour - Episode 118 - 'Work and the Future of Work', 9/23/11
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #87, 9/11
Keynote, Connections Ultimate Partner Forum, 3/9-12/11
"Convergence in Bloom" Webcast and accompanying white paper, sponsored by ADP, 9/21/10
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #63, 9/10
Keynote for Workforce Management's first ever virtual HR technology conference, 6/8/10
Knowledge Infusion Webinar, 6/3/10
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/8/09
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Preparing to Lead the Recovery," 11/19/09 Audio/Powerpoint
"Enterprise unplugged: Riffing on failure and performance," a Michael Krigsman podcast 11/9/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #39, 10/09
Workday SOR Webinar, 8/25/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #15, 10/08

PAST BUT NO REPLAY AVAILABLE
Keynote, HR Tech Europe, Amsterdam, 10/25-26/12
Master Panel, HR Technology, Chicago, 10/9/012
Keynote, Workforce Magazine HR Tech Week, 6/6/12
Webcast Sponsored by Workday: "Building a Solid Business Case for HR Technology Change," 5/31/12
Keynote, Saba Global Summit, Miami, 3/19-22/12
Workday Rising, Las Vegas, 10/24-27/11
HR Technology, Las Vegas 10/3-5/11
HR Florida, Orlando 8/29-31/11
Boussias Communications HR Effectiveness Forum, Athens, Greece 6/16-17/11
HR Demo Show, Las Vegas 5/24-26/11
Workday Rising, 10/11/10
HRO Summit, 10/22/09
HR Technology, Keynote and Panel, 10/2/09

Adventures of Bloom & Wallace

a work in progress

Where Were You — 11-22-1963

Jack Kennedy CamelotI was on such a limited budget, working nearly full-time, as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, that I couldn’t buy all of my first semester books at the very start of the semester.  So there I was, in the basement (textbook section) of the UPenn campus book store, during my lunch break on what I remember as a bright fall day that suddenly went all dark.

Standing on line to pay for my books, one minute there was the ubiquitous radio playing in the background and the next it crackled before switching from who knows what they had been playing to an all points announcement.  And yes, it was the radio,  the only mobile information distribution platform in that faraway time, which brought us the dreadful news.

I don’t remember the announcer or what station the book store played that day, but I remember vividly the near hysterical tone of that announcer’s voice as he just about shouted that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.  And then he repeated himself, more calmly, and added what few details he had.

With that first sound of radio crackling, something we’d all been trained as children to recognize as the early warning signal of a disaster, the book store’s sound of a bee hive at maximum buzz gave way to absolute silence.  We all listened to the announcer’s words, and then listened again to his calmer repetition.  Then more silence.  And then the tears, the grief, the wailing sound of a generation whose hopes and dreams for a better world had been assassinated along with President Kennedy.

I don’t remember where I went next, to my next class (but I’m sure that was cancelled), to a friend’s or back to the dorm.  We cried for days, not continuously, but I never knew what would set me off.  As the story unfolded, and the news coverage was wall to wall (not in today’s terms because no one had even considered 24/7 broadcasting yet), the grief became more profound, deeper, less amenable to explanation.

I lost my mother at 5 1/2, way too young to have understand the magnitude of that loss, but this was on some level much worse than losing a close family member or friend.  For an eighteen-year-old, Kennedy represented the best of what America could be.  He called on each of us to aim higher, do more, fight for what’s right.  Being Massachusetts born and bred until I left for Penn, perhaps I can be forgiven for having rose-colored glasses when it came to the Kennedy family, but my classmates at Penn weren’t so parochial.

For me, Kennedy’s assassination was my political awakening.  Civil rights, income inequality, equal opportunity, ending the war in Vietnam, these and many more of what we now call progressive issues (but which I thought of then as simply American issues), issues much bigger than my own needs, captured my attention.  From singing protests songs of the era to my own incompetent guitar playing in local coffee houses to registering African-American voters, I found the time for political action even as earning my expenses took more and more time away from my studies.

I gradually came to grips with not having the smarts (really a very special type of smarts) to pursue my ambition of becoming a famous nuclear physicist, and I made peace with not having the money to pursue a full-time MBA at you know where.  When my closest friend at Penn, a boy with whom I’d gone all through junior and senior high school, died as a result of a football practice accident at the beginning of our sophomore year, I coped with that very personal loss and the attendant loss of my own sense of immortality.  But from that day in November until now, I’ve not been able to put aside my dreams, President Kennedy’s dreams, of a more just, free, and democratic America.

I know that many of my professional colleagues, especially my digital native colleagues, can’t imagine the world in which I grew up, let alone do they have direct memories of Kennedy’s assassination and all that followed.  Those who only know me now, as a rather senior lady who moves a lot slower than one must move if you’re going to engage in civil disobedience to protest against your government, would be very surprised to meet the eighteen-year-old me.  But however much my body has aged in the last fifty years, my passions for a better America and for doing what’s right even when it’s neither comfortable nor convenient, passions which were crafted in part by Kennedy’s Presidency, have not aged one bit — nor should yours.

2 comments to Where Were You — 11-22-1963

  • Christine Barrett

    Naomi,

    I read each word with great interest and empathy, as you were the older sister so to speak of the same generation I was in, also from Massachusetts. I was in 3rd grade and my mother and her friends had been campaign workers for Kennedy in parts of Boston where we lived before moving to the suburbs in the fall of ’62. My experience of his death and the subsequent years of political unrest you were immersed in, were my years of watching and learning from the sidelines and stairwells until my turn came to enter the stage.

    I recall the shutdown of all activity beginning with the nuns crying in my classroom, and for the next 5 days, as if we were in an what seemed to be an eternity of Sunday “blue laws”. (in those days everything shut down at 4ish on Saturday and did not open til Monday.) But what was different was that we were able to watch TV for hours and hours (instead of it being a selective activity usually doled out after homework and before scheduled bedtime). My mother and her friends came over and all 5 days revolved around radio or tv broadcasts and at certain intervals I was told “stop, sit down and watch this. it is important.”…and it was, because life was forever changed and even I knew it at age 8.

    I too still share your values and dreams for a better America for all of us—which is what JFK represented…not just the progressives….never thought of it that way–then or now. Maybe that is one of his legacies to us. But I do feel a bit ancient as I relate these ideas and experiences to younger folks. I remember rolling my eyes listening to the WW2 stories of my elders. Hope we don’t seem like that! I hope that our message of a better quality of life for all Americans, brutally and suddenly crushed, is what is understood when we recall our slain young president.

    • Naomi Bloom

      I so appreciate your sharing your own experiences here. We are connected by so much more than our shared work experiences at AMS, and I look forward to our next visit.

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