Two-Day Basic Training Course

Fundamentals for a Successful HR Career

Monday, May 11 – Tuesday, May 12, 2020 | Registration Fee: $525


Start your career in Human Resources on the right foot! This two-day crash course in all things HR is the perfect first step to navigating your new field. With five comprehensive modules on key topics, taught by top HR leaders in Maine and a team of legal experts, you’ll leave the Samoset confident and armed with professional knowhow.  And, you’ll enjoy a taste of the Convention on Tuesday, including keynoter Catherine Carr, an HR Leader from Doctors Without Borders. If you think you have challenges – imagine hiring nurses in the middle of a civil war in Syria.

This program includes: Monday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Tuesday breakfast and lunch, a Convention keynote, conference receptions, access to a Samoset overnight room on Sunday and Monday evenings, and most important – the following Learning Modules:

  1. Develop Your HR Network & Reputation
  2. Dive Into the Employee Life Cycle: HR Skills and Overview
  3. Build Your Employment Law Knowledge Base
  4. HR/Business Follies: Mistakes I’ve Made So You Don’t Have To!
  5. Making Sense of the Overlap of ADA, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation

Faculty: David Pease, Catherine MacLaren, Peter Lowe, Hannah Wurgaft, Julie Develin, Sarah Newell, and Rebecca LaPierre.

Sponsored By: 


MONDAY | 8:30 | Registration Opens

Visit the Registration Desk in the lobby to check in and grab your event materials.

MONDAY | 9:30-10:15 | Develop Your HR Network and Reputation

What’s it all about? In the digital age, networking and creating a personal brand has more importance than ever before. From answering emails to connecting on LinkedIn to managing shared documents to attending webinars – connectivity is engrained in our work in HR. It’s easy to spend an entire day “networking” without ever seeing a person face-to-face. While most people agree that the human connection is imperative to building a solid professional reputation, few make the time to actually develop these powerful relationships away from their desk. David Pease, SVP of Talent and Diversity at Bangor Savings Bank, opens this conference with a provocative look at networking and exercises that will integrate you into the Convention. Discover how to find a mentor, navigate networking events, and build a support system you can trust for professional advice.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Engage in discussion of real-world benefits to cultivating a strong professional network and brand.
  • Take stock in your current network and reputation. What connections and resources do you already have? Which relationships could be strengthened?
  • Learn to seek out new, and recognize existing, opportunities to expand your professional network.
MONDAY | 10:30-12:30 | Dive Into the Employee Life Cycle: HR Skills and Overview

What’s it all about? Keeping up with the latest trends, workplace best practices, and talent needs is a big job for someone new to the field. It’s clear, Human Resources professionals need to know their stuff! Catharine MacLaren, VP of Talent and Diversity for Northern Light Health and David Pease introduce the range of issues you’ll face in HR and the skills necessary to kick off your HR career.  We’re going to shy away from lecture format and jump into a series of stories and exercises to highlight just what it means to be an accomplished HR professional in Maine. Leave this session ready to take on the HR world.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Exercise One: Engage in a behavioral interviewing session that will help you learn how to size up talent.
  • Exercise Two: Sit in the Board Room and make hiring decisions based on interviews, research, and a clear understanding of what you need and what Diversity and Inclusion means.
  • Exercise Three: Enter the brave new world of performance evaluations that resonates with employees, supervisors, and management alike.
  • Exercise Four: Discover how to be a great coach.
MONDAY | 12:30-1:30 | HR EXPO and Networking Break

Take this time to visit the virtual EXPO booths, recharge, and check emails.

MONDAY | 1:30-4:30 | Build Your Employment Law Knowledge Base

What’s it all about? Knowledge of workplace law is essential to your career development as an HR professional. What you say, what you do, and how you memorialize the work around you will help your organization maintain healthy employer-employee relations and stay in legal compliance. This session is designed to get you thinking like a lawyer and acting as a problem-solver for your employer. Peter Lowe and Hannah Wurgaft, labor management attorneys with Brann & Isaacson, have developed this engaging, participatory session to set you on the right path. Part 1 is a demonstration of a sexual harassment investigation, and Part 2 walks you through a mock hearing before the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Build your base of knowledge of the laws that affect your work in human resources and leave with helpful checklists and protocols.
  • Learn how to spot trouble – become more proactive than reactive by seeing the potential for legal disputes and what you can do to mitigate these situations.
  • Participate in two exercises that will expand your HR skills involving record keeping and personnel files, discrimination basics, harassment issues, workplace alcohol and drug use, and social media matters.
MONDAY | 4:30-5:00 | Wrap-Up
MONDAY | 5:00-6:00 | Networking Social

Continue the networking conversation outside of the classroom! Put your knowledge to practice.

TUESDAY | 8:30-9:30 | HR EXPO and Networking
TUESDAY | 9:30-11:30 | HR/Business Follies: Mistakes I've Made So You Don't Have To

What’s it all about? Approximately ten years ago, HR started giving greater weight to fluency in the language of business. At the same time, organizations experienced societal and generational pressure to clearly express their organization’s mission, purpose, and values. These dual demands challenge all of us. Session leader Julie Develin, Senior Human Capital Management Strategist at Kronos, goes well beyond the theoretical and academic. She’ll steer our new HR leaders towards processes and practices that truly serve the business and employees as intended.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Using real world story-telling examples and solutions implemented as a guide, attendees will learn best practices to overcome common mistakes HR leaders make that hold organizations back from reaching their strategic business objectives and achieving a winning workplace culture.
  • Create an action plan to assist managers and other stakeholders on how to handle tough employee conversations and other issues.
  • Recognize opportunities to shape workplace culture to align with the modern needs of workers and organizational objectives.
TUESDAY | 11:30 - 12:45 | HR EXPO and Networking Break

Take this time to visit the virtual EXPO booths, recharge, and check emails.


TUESDAY | 1:00-2:15 | KEYNOTE

“It’s Not About the Gunfire”

An HR Lesson From the Field: Planning to Thrive in Chaos

Catherine Carr, Doctors Without Borders

What’s it all about? In 2009, Catherine Carr packed up her MBA and SPHR, put her life in a storage unit, and set out on what started as a six-month field assignment with Doctors Without Borders. Handling everything from tea, milk, and sugar supply negotiations to recovering a misplaced expat in the Philippines, to navigating stark culture contrasts and ensuring adherence to policies and procedures in high-stress and frequently crisis situations, the position challenged everything she knew about HR.

Today, after 13 field assignments, Catherine has had plenty of opportunities to work, live, and thrive in chaos. Working in high-stress and crisis situations is inevitable, in any organization. Some would say it has become the norm. Teams are frequently being asked to make the extra effort, make it happen, and exceed expectations. These periods of time are incredibly intense and can be chaotic. They can also be incredibly rewarding, but only if we plan for the chaos.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Learn how to intentionally plan for chaos and reduce team stress levels, burnouts, and feelings of isolation.
  • Explore new perspectives in talking about stress with team members and how to manage periods of crisis and chaos together — as a team.
  • Discover how to embrace the inevitability of working in high-stress environments and how to use such times to promote teamwork, increase trust levels, and increase team resiliency.


TUESDAY | 2:45-4:00 | Making Sense of the Overlap of the ADA, FMLA, and Workers' Comp: The Wheel of HR Fortune

What’s it all about? Maine and Federal employment laws assert different standards and means of enforcement, and you’ll find that different courts do just that – interpret them differently. This is particularly problematic when considering family leave, reasonable accommodations, and the question of whether a disability is work related. We guarantee that somewhere in your tenure as an HR professional, likely in your first year, you’ll wonder why you didn’t go to Law School. So, we’re bringing in two labor management attorneys from Eaton Peabody – Sarah Newell and Rebecca LaPierre – to conduct a fun, interactive legal review designed to close the two-day HR Basic Training with content and style.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Gain traction on ADA disabilities and reasonable accommodations, which will vary depending on whether the employee suffered a workplace injury.
  • Follow a few of the key departures between the federal and Maine versions of family medical leave and how family leave issues related to disability law generally, and workers’ compensation in particular.
  • Take away key identification markers to help you appropriately identify the potential legal challenges coming your way.
TUESDAY | 4:30-6:00 | Reception

Join the Convention’s opening reception. It’s a great way to make new HR friends. Enjoy conversations about all the day’s exciting moments.