The Future of Live Conferences – 2021

A Candid Conversation with George LaRocque, SVP Insights, UNLEASH

What to do if you’re in the event/conference business? A lot of conference producers have tried to replicate their events on platforms like Zoom and On24. UNLEASH (of course) has a different idea and recently brought on George LaRocque as Senior Vice President of Insights.

Welcome to WTF-2020 How to Pivot in the COVID-19 Shit Show, with your host on the TotalPicture Podcast, Peter Clayton. Joining Peter is the new Senior Vice President of Insights at UNLEASH, George LaRocque. George has a long and distinguished career in HR and TA Tech.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge fan of UNLEASH since attending their event in San Francisco in 2017. What a ballsy move for this little-known European company to make! You can see one of their mascots, Nancy, sitting on top of my applause sign. That’s why I was so happy and encouraged in this shit storm of 2020 when the email from UNLEASH CEO and founder, Marc Coleman hit my inbox announcing that after many months UNLEASH has been reinvented to become ‘the new customer-first digital media platform for the HR industry,’ and announcing George LaRocque as the company’s new SVP Insights.”


  • George, welcome. It’s great to see you. How are you and how is your family?
  • I would guess that most of the people watching or listening to this know who you are, but can you please tell us about your professional accomplishments?
  • Once I realized, back in February and March – that there would be no live events this year and I would have to completely reinvent my business model, I was thinking – what are the conference, trade show, and event companies like UNLEASH going to do?
  • What was your reaction earlier this year, and what were you hearing from HR tech companies?
  • So George, give us some SVP insights. How did this new reinvention of UNLEASH and your senior leadership role evolve?
  • Are you focusing on building the UNLEASH brand here in the US?
  • Talk to us about the relaunch of the UNLEASH website – which I guess you could now call a content platform?
  • So as of today, the #HRWINS website is alive, and well, will this get merged into the UNLEASH platform at some point?
  • Part of your LinkedIn profile lists Event Director of UNLEASH North America as part of your responsibilities, and on the UNLEASH website, when you click on the Live Events link, is listed UNLEASH//Europe March 2021 in London, UNLEASH//America in May 2021 in Las Vegas, and UNLEASH World in October 2021. Do you think any of those events will actually take place?
  • How are your partners reacting to live events in 2021?
  • What will happen to UNLEASH if there are no live events in 2021?
  • I recently watched your interview with Jill Popelka, SAP SuccessFactors’ President – a nice get, as they say in the video podcast biz – are you going to be doing more of these? In addition to a number of leadership video interviews on the new site, there’s a lot of news articles and editorials – are you involved in developing and curating this content?
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