Strategic HR at Mount Washington: Oct 29-31, 2017 – Bretton Woods, NH

Thank you to everyone who made the 2017 Strategic HR at Mt. Washington Retreat outstanding. Below is information from the completed event. Check back in the spring for 2018 information!

Sunday, October 29


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, 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. Visit the Ergo Café sponsored by Summit Ergonomics, browse titles at the Retreat Bookstore, and move about the property courtesy of concierge and transportation sponsor, Aflac.


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

You’re here with talented peers from across the northeast to share and learn. But how much do you feel you can talk about your workplace? That’s the reality for your employees every day, as social media and other forces disseminate opinion, information (true or not), and data that in the past were closely guarded business secrets. This Retreat kickoff session with Beth Rattigan, chair of the labor and employment group at Downs Rachlin Martin in Vermont and New Hampshire, will explore the issue of transparency across a company and its impact on employee engagement, performance, and business success. Employees want to know what drives their company. So do customers, shareholders, and other community stakeholders. Does your workforce know how pay is calculated and, if they do, does this address pay equity concerns?  How does transparency affect privacy concerns about personnel and other legal issues?  Do open workspaces and abundant data on how individuals spend their time leave employees feeling exposed and vulnerable?  And is social media forcing employers to be more transparent?   Technology and generational changes in the workforce are driving the transparency trend.  How do you find the sweet spot between transparency and privacy?  Let’s further the discussion today after breakfast.

Approved for HRCI BUSINESS credit and SHRM 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

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday Morning Fireside Chats

We’ve added two informal, engaging elements to the Sunday agenda. No AV, no written materials. Just great conversation by the fireplace and the barista station…

  • 11 a.m. Help narrow the CHRO gender gap. We’ll look at an innovative program series created by NEHRA to address just that. Tracy Burns (NEHRA’s CEO) and Vandy Densmore (VP of HR for Community Intervention Services in Westborough, MA, and a participant in the NEHRA program) will engage you in conversation.
  • 11:30 a.m. A conversation about the New Hampshire Diversity Workforce Coalition, which can serve as an update on their work in New Hampshire and as a potential model for our visiting friends from other states. Coalition Chair Scott Watkins (Director of HR for Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH) hosts this conversation.

1:00 pm - 1:10 pm
Big Idea Sunday: The Opening Bell

Joe Andrews, who previously served as Senior VP of HR for Progress Software and was 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

1:10 pm - 2:10 pm
The Geography of Genius

Businesses seeking an understanding of the economic and creative forces disrupting HR often turn to consultants and business journals for answers. According to Eric Weiner, author of New York Times bestseller The Geography of Genius, these same companies spend “huge sums of money on workshops designed to help employees think more creatively, a noble ambition but one that will prove futile if the environment in which they work is not receptive to new ideas.” Eric will take us on a romp through history. A journey that starts in Athens and then moves on to Florence, Hangzhou, Vienna, and Silicon Valley. From Socrates to Michelangelo, Shen Kuo, Beethoven, Freud, and on to Steve Jobs. It’s a look at the cultural factors that clustered genius in special places at special times. Is it the density of ideas? Is it the cross-pollination of diverse interests and people? What degree of intimacy is required? And why do periods of genius come to an end? We’ll consider the intriguing storylines connecting these historic tales to our quest for talent and the ways we nurture greatness at work.

Approved for HRCI BUSINESS credit and SHRM credit.

Program Faculty: Eric Weiner

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
HR Business Alliances #1

Take Ownership of Organizational Effectiveness

For the better part of a decade, HR has heard the strategic drumbeat. That aspirational role often remains just beyond our grasp. Perhaps the best path for strategic success is to refocus on the heart of what we already do – human capital management – and make it connect to organizational effectiveness. We’ve invited two stellar HR leaders to share their organizational effectiveness paths. Cynthia Ring, CHRO at Harvard Pilgrim and Sabrina Williams, acting CHRO at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will discuss what CEO’s and CFO’s expect of HR, and the sophisticated portfolios we’ll want to build to meet those expectations. The people component is just a starting point that leads to process, technology, and a deep understanding of the labor landscape, employee knowledge base, facility footprints and the corresponding metrics. Cynthia and Sabrina also will share a rubric demonstrating one way to get from Point A to Point B, plus a couple of working examples of organizational effectiveness success stories.

Approved for HRCI BUSINESS and SHRM credit.

Program Faculty: Cynthia Ring, Sabrina Williams

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm
Opening the Door to Our Unconscious Bias

Earlier this afternoon, the Retreat opened with a look at creative genius, followed by a design for organizational effectiveness. A surefire way to stifle creativity and innovation and block the strategic evolution of an organization is to allow unconscious biases to go unexplored and unchecked. Leslie Traub joins us from Cook Ross in Washington, D.C., where she is a leader of this nationally recognized diversity and inclusion firm. She will help us identify surprising biases that we all harbor and that are buried subtly within our teams. She’ll employ exercises and film to demonstrate how our culture helps shape these automatic responses and the impact of those responses. In this keynote, the focus is on the power of fear as a creativity stifler/enabler and the intersection of HR, talent management, and diversity/inclusion. Leslie also offers a Monday morning workshop that will help you explore at greater length the nuances of unconscious bias and a structure for handling this workplace issue.

Approved for HRCI (general) credit and SHRM credit.

Program Faculty: Leslie Traub

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

Eric Weiner: The Geography of Genius

Program Faculty: Eric Weiner

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 28 Sunday, October 29 Monday, October 30 Tuesday, October 31