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Human resources professionals gather for 20th annual conference in Hobart

The Northwest Indiana Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management gathered for its annual conference at Avalon Manor in Hobart.

Business people can excel as leaders by apologizing when appropriate and forgiving those who have harmed them, a motivational speaker told the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management on Wednesday.

Shawne Duperon, a six-time Emmy winner and the founder of The Project Forgive Foundation, gave the keynote address at human resources professionals' 20th annual NWI SHRM Human Resource Conference at Avalon Manor in Hobart. It included representatives from many local employers such as Community Healthcare System, St. Francis Health System, Delta Dental, Purdue University Northwest and Hoeppner Wagner & Evans.

"There's the notion of giving an apology and there's the notion of receiving an apology," Duperon said. "There's distinction between, 'I hear that I really hurt you. I'm so sorry I hurt you' versus 'You're upset. I'm sorry.'"

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Apologies can come in handy in all types of business situations, such as if someone accidentally introduces a new human resources director by blurting out, "She's a woman," "She's an Indian" or "She's a millennial," Duperon said. She counseled they can get out of it quickly by saying they didn't mean to categorize the person, and that it goes against what they believe, before asking for forgiveness.

She also advised the business professionals to learn "how to accept apologies they'll never receive" to make peace with people they find unpleasant or disagreeable. They should learn to "hold their fear" to put others at ease.

"When I'm being interviewed by the media or someone's being interviewed by the media, we think fake news, they're out to get me," she said. "That's usually where we go. That comes from a place of fear, our own internal fear. But when you're so grounded, so solid in what you want to say, what you want to communicate, your fear goes away. You not only calm yourself down, you calm the reporter down. That reporter has to write 12 stories that day, they're in chaos just trying to get their day done. They don't know why but they just want to hang with you. They feel safe and restful in your presence. You're actually holding your own fear and holding the fear or others."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.