Professional conferences usually offer plenty of learning and networking opportunities — and, every so often, the chance to reflect on some larger questions.

The recent annual conference of NEHRA (Northeast Human Resources Association) in Worcester, MA offered attendees just such an opportunity.

It came in a challenge posed in an opening keynote by Nick Sarillo of Nick’s Pizza & Pub.

Sarillo passionately explained how the quality of our lives is closely related to the culture we live and work in. Culture, he believes, isn’t something that just happens. It is shaped by decisions we all make every day, and in a corporate environment we can make a difference by communicating and displaying those values on a daily basis, and building them into every aspect of our business.

Sarillo has presented on this topic at TEDx events — learn more.

Also at NEHRA: The film-makers from TEEN TRUTH gave a talk about workplace bullying.

TEEN TRUTH has built a compelling program to enable teens to come together as a community to solve the problem of bullying in schools. They told stories of the failure to address destructive behavior head-on, and its disastrous consequences.

Again, the theme was about how we can all make a difference by taking ownership of the culture around us, and speaking up to promote and reinforce the values we hold dear.

The TEEN TRUTH mantra is best understood in the form of a Q&A:
Question: What are you doing if you’re not making a difference?
Answer: Nothing!

Take a moment and look at your life and work. What are you doing to make a difference?