Strategic HR at Mount Washington: Oct 27-29, 2019 – Bretton Woods, NH

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2018 Retreat!

The following information is from the completed event. Check back in the spring for updates on the 2019 Retreat.

Sunday, October 28


8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday Registration Opens

Registration remains open throughout the day. With appreciation to Bernstein Shur, our registration sponsor, CGI Benefits for providing the Retreat bags, Acadia Benefits for providing the Retreat Guides, and Ultimate Software for providing the Retreat name badges.

Visit the Conservatory. Enjoy complimentary specialty coffees by the baristas from Bard Coffee of Portland, Maine, and recharge your devices at the neighboring Mobile Hub hosted by Jackson Lewis. Browse titles at the pop-up Retreat Bookstore sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental, and move about the property with complimentary shuttle service.


8:30 am - 10:00 am
Brunch & Big Ideas

Are we viewing workplace harassment through the right strategic lens?

Beth Rattigan, Downs Rachlin Martin

What went wrong? The familiar tools have been in place for years – policies, training, reporting mechanisms, investigative procedures – and yet talk of sexual harassment remains a dominant workplace discussion. CEOs are calling in their HR leaders in search of what to do next. So, what are you going to do next? Beth Rattigan, utilizing the collective wisdom of the participants, will lead a discussion on new approaches to this deep-rooted dilemma. Let’s explore sexual harassment in the larger, strategic context of workplace culture, attentive leadership, and engaged employees. We’ll look at societal issues impacting the harassment discussion, such as pay equity and the political environment. In the process, we’ll seek ways to get buy in from the top and build a fresh air culture of respect and involvement throughout your organization.

Pre-registration is required for this session.

Approved for SHRM credit and HRCI BUSINESS credit.

Program Faculty: Beth Rattigan

10:30 am - 5:00 pm
LifeBreath Wellness Session

Our Retreat wellness guru – Beth Bielat – leads her renowned LifeBreath wellness session for those arriving early at Mt. Washington. She also offers individual coaching and wellness sessions throughout the day.

Program Faculty: Beth Bielat

11:15 am - 12:30 pm
Sunday Morning Chats

We’ve added two informal and engaging elements to the Sunday agenda again this year. No AV, no written materials. Just great conversation. Grab some specialty coffee from the barista or your pre-ordered box lunch and join in.

11:15 – 11:45 AM

A conversation about the New Hampshire Diversity Workforce Coalition with its Director at Large, Monica Zulauf.

12:00 – 12:30 PM

Water Cooler Chatter: What happens when BLM, #MeToo, and political crises pour over into workplace talk? Join this conversation with Tracy Burns (CEO of NEHRA) and Mim Minichiello (HUB International).

12:50 pm - 1:00 pm
Big Idea Sunday: The Opening Bell

Joe Andrews, President of OpenView Advisors, former Senior VP of HR for Progress Software, and previous a member of NEHRA’s Board of Directors,  joins us for the grand opening of this year’s edition of Strategic HR at Mt. Washington. Joe then turns his attention to Big Idea Sunday, where he will moderate the three plenary sessions that follow this afternoon.

Program Faculty: Joe Andrews

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
KEYNOTE: The Death of Expertise

The Future of Thought and the Future of Work

Tom Nichols

How do you acquire, nurture, and leverage expertise at a time of dramatic cross currents? A few studied people know more and more about less and less. AI is about to go into full bloom, and superficial knowledge is at everyone’s fingertips courtesy of Wikipedia, WebMD, and the 24-hour news cycle. Author Tom Nichols opens Big Idea Sunday with a provocative look at what constitutes informed decision-making and his premise that superficial knowledge can be rather dangerous. Ranging from the “Dr. Google Syndrome” and other issues associated with technocracy to the status of higher education today, Professor Nichols engages us in a discussion of the democratization of information and its impact on society and our workplaces.

Approved for SHRM credit and HRCI BUSINESS credit.

Profile: Getting to the heart of the matter – Tom Nichols is a five-time, undefeated Jeopardy champion. He also happens to be the author of “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.” Additionally, he is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, with expertise as a Sovietologist.

Program Faculty: Tom Nichols

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Meet the Author and Book Signing

Tom Nichols: The Death of Expertise

Program Faculty: Tom Nichols

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
PLENARY: Rebranding HR From Within

The Path from Transactional to Strategic to Creative

Unflattering HR stereotypes run deep in the business community, and some of those stereotypes likely reside in your organization as well. We’ve invited two HR leaders, working together at Racepoint Global to help bust those myths by sharing their company’s story and their work in HR transformation.

Karen Bouchard, CHRO and COO of Racepoint Global. This Boston based company has offices in London, Hong Kong and elsewhere. They are an integrated creative force for their clients, offering public relations, marketing, and media skills. Their tag line is – “We don’t have employees — we have colleagues, friends, mates and 老友.” Karen provides the leadership and management necessary to ensure the company has the proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and people systems in place to enable effective growth.

Kelly Houston, VP of Global Talent Management at Racepoint Global. Kelly oversees and drives the global talent strategy for the Agency. She began her career as a PR practitioner and quickly discovered she enjoyed hiring and developing people for her teams more than actually executing the media campaigns. For the past decade, Kelly has played a key role in evolving our talent as our Agency continues to grow.

Karen and Kelly will discuss the breadth of their HR portfolios, how they have acquired the knowledge to be creative HR leaders, and how they leverage that knowledge to help their company make smart business decisions.

Approved for SHRM credit and HRCI BUSINESS credit.

Program Faculty: Karen Bouchard, Kelly Houston

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
KEYNOTE: Coming Face to Face with Culture

HR Lessons from the Front Lines of Disaster Relief

Catherine Carr, Doctors Without Borders

Sunday afternoon closes on an uplifting note, as we welcome a former HR leader from Doctors Without Borders to the “Big Idea” stage. In 2009, Catherine Carr left her white-collar job behind and set out on what started as a six-month assignment with the humanitarian organization. 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 often crisis situations, the position challenged everything she knew about HR. It was a remarkable learning curve for understanding the challenges posed when your organization’s culture and values differ from those of the clients you serve.

Since returning stateside, Catherine has a new mission: integrating humanitarians into the workforce. While their previous job duties may not appear in what you consider core competencies, many of the skills acquired are easily transferrable: working with diverse teams, agility and resourcefulness, and a “never give up” approach to communication. It’s also part of a much larger argument – a strategic argument – for hiring from unexpected sources. Woven through her captivating storytelling and sharp wit, Catherine demonstrates that what we need can be found in unexpected places.

Approved for SHRM credit and HRCI general (HR) credit.

Program Faculty: Catherine Carr

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Meet the Author and Book Signing

Catherine Carr: HR Directions, “Hire A Humanitarian”

Program Faculty: Catherine Carr

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Welcoming Reception

Your first opportunity to build friendships for this Retreat and beyond. Mingle with the faculty, our sponsors, and your peers from across the six New England states.


6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Join Us for Dinner and Entertainment

A sumptuous dinner buffet is included with your registration. Then follow us to The Cave at 9:00 p.m. for music and dancing with DJ Kevin Duran.
Sunday’s Dinner and Entertainment hosted by our friends at Hays Companies of New England.  


Saturday, October 27 Sunday, October 28 Monday, October 29 Tuesday, October 30