Ultimate 2019 California HR Conference Attendee Guide

Every year, it’s important to add new tools, resources, information, and relationships to your professional collection that will super-charge the future of your HR career. But deciding which conference to invest your professional development budget and time in isn’t always cut and dry. What kind of opportunities are there for learning, networking, solutions, and entertainment? What’s the line-up of inspirational speakers, employment law experts, and cultural change leaders like? What kind of food and drink will be served? Am I going to have fun while I gain a professional advantage?

Since we at PIHRA are all about making life for HR professionals easier and better, we created the Ultimate Attendee Guide to the 2019 California HR Conference. It’s a summary of all the most important elements of the 2019 California HR Conference experience to consider when choosing whether or not to attend, based on actual attendee feedback from last year’s anonymous survey.  Our guide is perfect for those who haven’t attended before or return attendees that want to expand and improve upon their CAHR experience. So go on and dive into everything you need to know to have an amazing CAHR19 experience.

Make new HR connections at the California HR Conference | Ultimate 2019 Attendee Guide CAHR19
Learn from HR industry leaders at the California HR Conference | Ultimate 2019 Attendee Guide CAHR19
Meet & Greet quality entertainers at the California HR Conference | Ultimate 2019 Attendee Guide CAHR19
Experience Long Beach at the California HR Conference | Ultimate 2019 Attendee Guide CAHR19
HR Community at the California HR Conference | Ultimate 2019 Attendee Guide

What is #CAHR19?

Hosted walking-distance from the shores of Long Beach, CA, the California HR Conference is a hybrid experience of all things HR, where the brightest in the industry gather to exchange best practices, insights, and vision for the future of human resources. 

It was created by the Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) 62 years ago as a dependable resource to develop leadership, foster innovation, and stay on the cutting edge of HR fundamentals. Around 3000 HR professionals attend each year to make new connections, gain valuable and actionable strategies, and return to work (and life) with innovative ideas and actionable HR best practices.

We take the phrase work hard, play hard pretty seriously here! CAHR19 is both a place to invest richly in your professional development and career growth, with non-stop content for entry-level, executive, and everyone in-between — and unplug from the daily demands of work to unwind with excellent company and entertainment. It’s no secret that HR professionals work harder and handle tougher issues than most, but frankly, don’t always get the credit they deserve. With this in mind, we crafted a holistic conference experience to benefit you professionally and personally while celebrating the vital contributions you make to the broader corporate world. 

Attendees chatting at the California HR Conference | Ultimate 2019 Attendee Guide

CAHR18 Testimony

It was my first time going and I loved it. I came back to work with a lot of new ideas not just for work but for myself.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee


If you’ve never attended our event before, you may not believe how much industry-leading content, top-notch entertainment, delicious food, and bustling expo breaks we fit into four days at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center! Here is the day-to-day agenda for the 2019 California HR Conference, starting with Sunday, August 25. Click the toggles on the left to explore each what each day will look like.

CAHR18 Testimony

Overall – great conference! Awesome keynotes; high energy, introspective and affirming. Excellent session offerings. Incredible networking and after conference options.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

Your Check List For An Epic Conference Experience

Don’t you hate those “Shoot, I missed it” and “I really wish I knew about XYZ” moments? While such experiences are quite common at large events and conferences, we believe they don’t have to be. Say hello to the CAHR19 Checklist – your concise, all-in-one planner for the best experiences at the 2019 California HR Conference. If we missed anything, we’d love to hear your additions – send us a note at info@cahrconference.org! 

CAHR18 Testimony

Great conference! I came from Texas to learn more about California employment law since we have offices in San Fran and San Diego, it was well worth the trip!! I look forward to going next year!! 
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

7 Months Out | February 2019

  • Gain approval to attend CAHR19. We’ve got a helpful attendee justification letter to provide to your supervisor.  
  • Group Rates. Gather your team of 3+ to take advantage of our Group Rate savings.
  • Book your time off. It’s never too early to set expectations at the office. We recommending book-ending your conference with a day or two after – it will give you more time to enjoy Long Beach, and digest everything you’ve learned so you can better apply at your workplace.
  • Preview pricing ends Feb 28. This is our absolute lowest rate offered in 2019 – we recommend you register now to enjoy these savings on a valuable, affordable conference. Be sure to let us know in your registration if you have any food allergies – we offer gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options. 
  • Share with your network. After registering, share the excitement with your network! After all, friends help friends find awesome conferences, or so the saying goes. 😉

CAHR18 Testimony

The California-centric topics, pride in our state as leadership for the rest of the country. Also the overall vibe was warm and friendly. I was hardly ever alone, there were so many good people to hang out with. The food and get togethers were really great.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

4 Months Out | May 1, 2019

  • If you haven’t registered yet, snag early bird pricing by May 31.
  • Hotel. Reserve your discounted, convenient hotel room with one of our official partners listed on the website. Our rooms sell out – especially in the most convenient hotels.
  • Find your LGB flight. This is your friendly reminder to book your flight to easy-in, easy-out Long Beach! Direct flights are available from most major U.S. cities, and the airport is a quick 15-minute ride from our epicenter. 
  • Get excited for Long Beach! Look at our attendee discounts, and Yelp restaurants, cafes, and experiences nearby your hotel. 
  • Consider professional coaching. What would you want to get out of a professional coaching session at CAHR19? This is the perfect time to think about your career goals. Take notes and make your plan to visit the Career Advancement Zone at CAHR19.   
  • Sign up for our HR Certification prep class. Fortify your learning by kicking off the conference with an HR certification preparation class from Friday August 23-Sunday August 25. Add to your registration anytime. Available preparation courses include aPHR, PHR/SPHR, PHRca, and SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP.
  • VIP Package Upgrades. This year, for the first time, we’re offering a VIP Upgrade Package with reserved seating, and meet & greet opportunities with all highlighted speakers and entertainers. So, if you’re looking to meet Daniel H. Pink or Linda A. Hill, or our yet-to-be-announced lineup, this option will hook you up!

CAHR18 Testimony

I didn’t think I’d like the LB location, I hadn’t been since Anaheim in 2015. It was great, parking wasn’t bad! So many other food and retail options nearby. Loved it!!
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

2 Months Out | July 1, 2019

  • Order business cards. This is not something you want to leave to the last minute, so get this out of the way now! Business cards will come in handy at CAHR19 whether you’re meeting your new HR BFF, a potential new employee, a potential new boss, or a vendor who has the solutions you’re looking for. 
  • Plan your sessions. By now, the session directory will be live! Check back for access to sort all of the sessions by date, time, speaker, educational track, certification credit, and more. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the offerings, and be sure to select a few back-up sessions just in case. Most importantly, take time to program your schedule in the CAHR19 App after it launches July 15.
  • Download the CAHR19 App. Save the date – we’re launching it on July 15. This is your one-stop-shop for exploring and organizing your conference experience. Post an introductory post to put yourself out there – this is the perfect place to connect with your new HR crew! Program your schedule, browse the maps, RSVP for a Meet to Eat, and bookmark social events and exhibitor booths.
  • Check out the Exhibitors. By now, the vast majority of our exhibitors will be confirmed and listed in our Exhibitor Directory and on the CAHR19 App. This is a great time to browse for the solutions you need, and make your plan for which booths to visit. Bonus: our Prize list might help you decide where to visit, too!
  • Have you booked your hotel & flight? This is when we typically sell out of hotel rooms and resort to finding new official hotels with a slightly longer walk, or slightly higher pricing. It’s time to book your hotel!
    NOTE: Please beware of anyone who contacts you claiming to be able to book your hotel. We list our discounted hotel partners on our website at cahrconference.org/hotels as soon as the partnerships are secured. Anyone not listed on our site is simply not an official partner.
  • What’s for Lunch? We typically publish our conference lunch and refreshment menus in July. We’d love for you to check this out on our blog (when it’s published) if this is of interest to you – we’re proud of the food we provide!
  • Our last price discount will expire July 31, 2019. This is a great time to remind your HR friends to register and save. We’re assuming you’ve already registered by now. 🙂 
  • Kickstart your CAHR19 networking! Start the conversation with others who are attending – find them using #CAHR19 on social media, and on the CAHR19 app, which you’ll get an email invitation for on July 15.

CAHR18 Testimony

I’ve already shared with my peers and our CFAO some of the things that I learned at one of the sessions and am excited to incorporate other key learning into my HR practice.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

1 Month Out | August 1, 2019

  • Plan your days. If you haven’t gotten around to it, we recommend planning your schedule in the CAHR19 app! 
  • Solutions Stages. By now, our Solutions Stages sessions will be published on the website and the app. These are 10-15 minute TED-Style talks in the Expo Hall covering topics ranging between our three stage categories: HR Career, HR Business, and and HR Learning. Catch these sessions in the AM/PM breaks, and during the later part of lunch. These sessions are growing more popular – but there’s simply so much to do. Take the time to review what’s available and prioritize what’s most meaningful to you!
  • Career Advancement Zone. Our Career Advancement Zone provides opportunities for Mock Interviews, Resume Reviews, and Professional Coaching. 
  • Reserve your Headshot appointment. Attendees will receive an email with a link to your reservation. These spots fill up quickly, so don’t miss your chance for a hassel-free headshot appointment 
  • Expo Prizes. By this time, our website will feature a list of prizes offered by our exhibitors. If you’re into cool swag and prizes, this is a great time to browse that list.
  • Gather your business cards. You ordered a fresh batch in July, right? 🙂 The two most common CAHR19 Business Card Faux Pas are not bringing any, and not bringing enough. Set yourself apart by bringing more than you think you’ll need.
  • Pick Your Restaurants for the Quintessential Long Beach Experience. Whether it’s a badge-discount restaurant, an undiscovered cafe, or a waterfront activity, start curating your Long Beach experience with a list of places that intrigue you. When it comes time to eat, play, or relax, you’ll have your options all ready to go. Recommended: make a list, add to your calendar, or use a Pinterest Board to narrow down your options!
  • PIHRA Foundation Silent Auction. Every year, the PIHRA Foundation hosts a stellar Silent Auction in the CAHR19 Expo Hall complete with international trips, luxurious products, practical business resources, and more. Proceeds go toward annual HR scholarships and workforce readiness programs. Take the time before the conference starts to browse their offerings, purchase raffle tickets, and set your spending limit!
  • Entertainment. Get psyched for our CAHR19 comedy and musical entertainment! Start memorizing lyrics to sing along at our Music Show, and get ready to dive deep into 90’s nostalgia. 
  • Meet to Eat. No one wants to end up eating dinner alone – and we don’t want that for you, either. Register for a Meet to Eat social on the App! 
  • New Member Reception. Are you a new PIHRA member? Add the New Member Reception on Sunday to your calendar and get ready to kick off your conference experience with this lively event. 

CAHR18 Testimony

Amazing headshots! So worth the wait and highly recommended. Awesome service.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

1 Week Out | August 18, 2019

  • Hotel. Triple-quadruple check that you’ve reserved your hotel room. Even though we’ll be sold out of the most coveted hotel options, there will be an option for you nearby…like airbnb.com! Just kidding. Check our website for the best rates closest to the convention center.
  • Getting Around. Plan your mode of transportation from the airport (or from home, if you’re local!) to the convention, and forecast the drive time on Google Maps – we’ll have convention center parking information available as well. Preparing your expectations and familiarizing yourself with walking and driving around Long Beach will ensure a smooth start to your conference experience.
  • Check the Weather. While Long Beach is beautifully sunny and mild (compared to the high desert) 95% of the year, we recommend checking the weather forecast even if it’s only to confirm what you already know – glorious summer days await at CAHR19.
  • Master your Packing List. We suggest including business casual to business formal clothing, comfortable shoes, a swimsuit (even if you don’t end up at the beach, hot tubs are a fabulous way to decompress after a full conference day!), and an extra sweater in case the A/C is on full blast inside. Oh, and did we mention business cards? Those are a must!
  • Write a creative out-of-office message. Help your employees know you are absent for their benefit – you’ll be bringing back new insights to innovate change in your organization, and a refreshed energy to power through until 2020. Here are some examples we’re fond of – and here’s your own OOO Generator.
  • Grab your Long Beach Bucket List. Remember that list of restaurants, cafes and experiences you made awhile back? Make sure you have that handy to get the most out of the city.
  • Have you posted on the App yet? This is the best way to start connecting with others before arriving in Long Beach.
  • Confirm plans to meet up! Reach out to other attendees on the App, or personal contacts you have to schedule some time together at CAHR19. 
  • Gather your materials for the Career Advancement Zone. This is the area of the conference providing mock interviews, resume reviews, and professional coaching. Get more out of the resources by preparing yourself in advance.
  • Double check your session plan. Do you have any Plan B’s? We’re doing everything we can to ensure you can get to your preferred sessions, but as we all know, Murphy’s Law often comes into effect when we’re least prepared. Remember, you’ll be able to access all session recordings in Fall 2019 if you order On Demand. Spend time locating a few Plan B sessions out of the 70+ available that you’d be willing to attend.
  • Print out your registration barcode (in your registration email). This will help if you want expedited registering – simply self-scan, then pick up your badge and book from our registration staff table. Can’t find your barcode? No worries, you can check-in without this – you’ll just spend a few extra minutes waiting in line.
  • Stock up on pens and a blank journal. Or bring your electronic laptop pen and iPad, whatever works best for you to take notes! We love the freshness of a new journal.
  • Watch our hype video! The 2019 California HR Conference will be an amazing experience – watch our highlights reel to prepare yourself for the amount of information, connection, pure joy, laughter, and inspiration you’re about to experience. We’re no scientists, but we think this will help you savor your 2019 experience!

CAHR18 Testimony

Don’t forget to bring the print out of your registration barcode that was emailed to you!! Life is a lot smoother with that barcode. A note for a pro tip: arrive early and beat the crowds.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

1 Day Out

  • Print your parking details. Whether you need a map, or our photos, prepare what you need to locate the parking garages, including $15 cash for the parking fee.
  • Hydrate. Nourish your body by drinking a few extra glasses of water – this will help prepare you for an intense day of learning and networking. 
  • Lay out your outfit the night before. One less decision to make before your daily coffee means one more way to create a better morning for yourself.
  • Get your beauty/brain rest! This one’s a no-brainer. Not only will you retain more information, you’ll feel 100% less stressed by all of the things a new environment provides if you get a full night’s sleep before your early morning start.

CAHR18 Testimony

As day 1 comes to a close, I can’t believe how much I’ve done, the great people I met and all that I have learned. Mel Robbins was particularly motivating.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

During | August 25-28, 2019

  • Get there early.  After all, the early bird gets the coffee…and the best seats! Our New Attendee Orientation sessions kick off at 7:30am on Monday and Tuesday. These sessions have helped countless first-, second-, and third-time attendees navigate the conference with confidence, and meet new HR buddies.
  • Come on Sunday. You’ll skip the registration lines on Monday, get your badge & conference guide in advance, and even have the chance to attend Sunday afternoon sessions. We’ll cap off Sunday with a side-splitting Comedy Show! You won’t want to miss it.
  • Post photos and tidbits. Whether you prefer the CAHR19 App, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn… use #CAHR19 and #MyCAHR19 to share your insights, and cool finds with other attendees.
  • Put yourself out there. Get to know those around you, especially during downtime like lunch! Give out your business card to stay in touch. As Eminem puts it, “This opportunity comes once in a lifetime” (or in our case, once a year) – don’t miss your chance to connect with sharp, savvy, friendly HR professionals from all over the globe. If Wayne Gretzky is a better reference, he’ll quote him too – “You miss 100% of the shot you don’t take.” Take ownership over meeting new people at the 2019 California HR Conference, and “Don’t throw away your shot” (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton). 
  • Stop by the Career Advancement Zone, the Book Store, the Silent Auction, the Solutions Stages, the PIHRA Booth, the Ribbon Wall, Expo Floor. Or, pick which features are most interesting to you and tailor your list from there!
  • Don’t miss the food! We’ll have coffee served in the lobby from 7am-9am, unique refreshment breaks in the Expo in the morning and afternoon, and a nutritious, delicious buffet lunch. On your registration, you’ll let us know if you have dairy-free, gluten-free or vegan lifestyles so we can plan accordingly. 
  • Meet to Eat. Dinner is on your own – why not meet new CAHR friends? Sign up for a Meet to Eat on Monday or Tuesday – or both – for a priceless opportunity to grow your HR circle.
  • Tuesday Night. Join us on Tuesday Night for a musical entertainment experience to remember, with pre-show games and networking to get the party started.

CAHR18 Testimony

I always feel quite invigorated after attending the conference. It’s nice to be around our peers and remind ourselves of why we do what we do. It’s to help people!
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

Post-Conference | September 2019

  • Register for the 2020 California HR Conference at ROCK-BOTTOM PRICES. Enough said.
  • Post photos and tidbits. Whether you prefer the CAHR19 App, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn… use #CAHR19 and #MyCAHR19 to share your insights, and cool finds with other attendees!
  • HR Certification. Using your Attendee Guide, enter your recertification details and Program IDs while you have the materials handy.
  • Build rapport with those you met. Stay in touch with your new connections made at the conference; lifelong relationships take some effort! If you enjoyed meeting someone, or learned something amazing from them, reach out to thank them and let them know. Schedule time to FaceTime or meet for coffee if they’re local to you. If your schedules don’t align, there’s always #CAHR20!
  • Browse the available speaker presentations and handouts. In September we’ll send you a link to the compiled presentations and resources from our speakers.
  • Order CAHR19 On Demand. The recordings from all sessions will be available in October 2019 – a valuable resource providing even more information and recertification credits. 
  • Take some extra time off. We recommend book-ending your conference experience with at least 1 full day off to help you digest, reflect, and synthesize the notes, information and new ideas you encountered at CAHR19. This extra time will bring more value to your company, making it easier to share insights with your team – and easier on yourself, as you’ll have a clearer sense of your personal next steps.
  • Celebrate! If you stick around an extra day you’ll be able to explore and enjoy even more of Long Beach – treat yourself to yoga at the park, sunbathing on the beach, a fresh haircut, or your favorite spa treatment (there’s also #retailtherapy across the street if you’re interested in that) as a relaxing reward for all of your hard work.

CAHR18 Testimony

Love this conference. Better than any other HR conference I’ve attended. Best value for my conference dollar.
– 2018 California HR Conference Attendee

With so much to gain by attending, you’ll be pleased to know that registration for CAHR19 is open and Early Bird rates are available! Register here and save $100 before Early Bird pricing ends, May 31.

Invest in your yourself and your career!