Strategic HR at Mount Washington: Oct 25-27, 2020 – Bretton Woods, NH

The following information is from the completed 2019 event. Please check back in the spring for details on next year. 


Tuesday, October 29


6:30 am - 1:00 pm
Registration Re-Opens

Registration remains open throughout the day.

6:45 am - 8:30 am
An Elegant Breakfast Buffet


7:00 am - 8:15 am
Early Bird: HR’s Inner Attorney Voice

Pick up the phone, or go it alone?

Shiloh Theberge, Berstein Shur

What’s it all about?  Communication with employment counsel and your executive suite is vital to maintaining a legally compliant workplace. However, this doesn’t mean that you need a daily chat with your lawyer or your CEO on every matter! Instead, it suggests a strong understanding of which problems your HR team can safely tackle, and which questions are better left to your attorney. Shiloh Theberge opens up Tuesday’s program with a provocative look at HR’s knowledge and application of employment law, business judgment, and risk management. Engage in three creative dialogues that will help you determine the efficient employment of legal counsel: 1) An ADA reasonable accommodation request. 2) An FMLA challenge. 3) A potential whistleblower/ethics case.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Jump into the arena of HR risk management so that you are strongly positioned to know when your HR team can directly handle an employment matter and when it is best to call in your legal counsel for advice and management on an employment law issue.
  • Consider what you can do at the preventive stage to mitigate the need for counsel – workplace policy creation and consistent application, a strong ethical culture, and effective hiring practices. This includes a strong understanding of how you communicate with your executive team, and how you position yourself ethically in certain workplace disputes.
  • Create a roadmap for what HR should do when a potential employment law claim is brewing, and what you must do when matters have moved to formal conflict. In the process, discover how to set up a working rhythm with your organization’s attorney so that those resources are used efficiently and not excessively.

Approved for: SHRM Credit- 1.25 PDCs; and HRCI Credit- 1.25 HR (general) Credits.

Program Faculty: Shiloh Theberge

8:00 am - 1:00 pm
HR Marketplace

Business Partners are available to share information on their products, services, and HR issues of the day.

8:30 am - 9:30 am
KEYNOTE: Busting Bureaucracy Through Values-Centric Thinking

Ann Rhoades, People Ink

Lynn Waln, University of New Mexico

What’s it all about? Let’s begin with the notion that rules and workplace structures are born of necessity, but that they often linger well beyond their shelf lives. The need for creativity, ingenuity, and flexibility often bumps into these structures. Ann Rhoades, acclaimed author of “Built on Values,” will demonstrate how values-based organizations can break out from rigidity, grow, AND do the right thing at the same time. She will introduce you to Lynn Waln, CAO of the ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico. This is an organization with a big mission and a big heart. Their goal is to demonopolize knowledge and amplify best practice healthcare for underserved populations around the world. ECHO is in rapid growth mode, operating 220+ hubs for disease prevention and treatment in 31 countries. Ann and Lynn will describe how this group defined its values and how they developed workplace activities to enculturate trust, respect, and humility. One such imaginative activity is ECHO’s “Guppy Tank,” a kinder, gentler version of Shark Tank.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Discover that the best path to business success in a rapid-growth environment is hueing to core values and developing strategic ways to inculcate those values into your corporate culture.
  • In the process, understand the underlying premise of values-centric leadership, which is that leaders drive values, values are linked to behaviors, behaviors define the culture, which ultimately determines the performance and success of your business model.
  • Learn how you can use this strategic process to elevate the HR role at your workplace and generate respect from the C-Suite.
  • Gain knowledge on the strategy for operationalizing work behaviors that create values buy-in, how to sustain values over time, keeping them fresh and relevant without changing their core.

Approved for: SHRM Credit- 1.0 PDC; and HRCI Credit- 1.0 Business Credit.

Program Faculty: Ann Rhoades, Lynn Waln

9:30 am - 10:00 am
Break with Strategic Business Partners

Visit with Business Partners to view their products and services for the executive HR community.

9:30 am - 10:00 am
Meet the Author and Book Signing

Ann Rhoades: Built on Values
(Available for purchase at the Retreat Bookstore)

10:00 am - 11:30 am
"Bring it Home" Workshops

Your choice of three vibrant, strategic sessions where you “go to work” with participatory exercises and lively discussions. With appreciation to our workshop sponsor Career Management Associates and Dale Carnegie.

Click on the workshop tabs below for full program descriptions.


11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Lunch, HR Marketplace, and Meet the Author

A delicious lunch is included with your registration. You also have the opportunity to mingle with Business Partners for a few last-minute conversations and meet author Allison Schrager.

11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Meet the Author and Book Signing

Allison Schrager: An Economist Walks Into a Brothel
(Available for purchase at the Retreat Bookstore)

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
KEYNOTE: What HR and Risk Management Can Learn at a Surfers Conference

Allison Schrager, Quartz

What’s it all about? Whether you realize it or not, you and your organization take risks large and small every day. Risk touches every aspect of our lives and our work. Even the most cautious among us cannot opt out – the question is always which risks to take, not whether to take them at all. What most of us don’t know is how to measure those risks and maximize the chances of getting what we want. Economist and author Allison Schrager closes the conference with a provocative look at how we strike the right balance between caution and compliance on one hand and agility and entrepreneurship on the other. Allison will share stories from her book, “An Economist Walks Into a Brothel,” that will equip you with five principles for dealing with risk, principles used by some of the world’s most interesting risk takers. For example, a surfer deciding whether to challenge a 50-foot, career-record wave in shark-infested waters. This is a bit different from conventional risk assessment, but who is to say whether regulators, compliance experts, and insurers understand risk better than a poker player or horse breeder!

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • By looking at cultures outside your organization, particularly in some non-traditional businesses and activities, you’ll see innovative approaches to risk assessment and management.
  • Break down the pros and cons of traditional risk management from its conservative base in the banking and insurance worlds and consider the best of these practices you want to maintain for your HR risk management strategies and the ones that no longer serve your higher good.
  • In the process, learn how to become an organizational leader for reassessing organizational risk, so that your workplace can be stable and creative at the same time.

Approved for: SHRM Credit- 1.0 PDC; and HRCI Credit- 1.0 Business Credit.

Program Faculty: Allison Schrager

Saturday, October 26 Sunday, October 27 Monday, October 28 Tuesday, October 29