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The following information is from the completed 2021 event. Please check back in the fall for details on next year. 

Maine HR Convention: May 10 – 12, 2022


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

7:00 am - 8:00 am
On the Road to New Mexico

Connecting Organizational Values with the Cultural Roots of Your People

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. We’re traveling to New Mexico for an inspired look at the cultural underpinnings of The Land of Enchantment, as seen through the eyes of two HR leaders and members of their SHRM State CouncilMeet Vivian Santistevan, founder of Taos HR ganics in Taos (home to a centuries-old Pueblo, an artist colony, and ski resort), and James Stevens, Director of HR for Santa Ana Star Casino (he’s also a licensed mental health counselor)Mark Christensen will lead them in a fireside chat, where we will explore Native American Culture, and the uniqueness of tribal law and HR practices for the Navajo Nation and the various Pueblos. New Mexico may be a long way from Maine, but we share similar workforce development challenges related to education, technology infrastructure, and rural poverty. It’s also an opportunity to observe these workforce issues in a state very different demographically from Maine – New Mexico’s population is 48% Hispanic/Latino and 10% Native American. Enjoy and learn, as we share some wonderful photographs of the landscape and the people!  

What’s it all about. 

  • This discussion will encourage you to lead an initiative to mesh the culture of your people with the values of your organization. 
  • Speaking of initiatives, learn about the multi-state Native American Initiative sparked by New Mexico’s SHRM state council, the strategic purpose that led to this initiative, and how it is being rolled out by leaders across the region. 
  • Learn how to better advocate for the communities you serve and how to creatively enhance the branding of your HR function and organization.  

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit. 

Program Faculty: James Stevens, Mark Christensen, Vivian Santistevan

7:15 am - 8:00 am
Morning Wellness

Start the morning off with a Strong Core and Back workout led by Beth Bielat.

Program Faculty: Beth Bielat

8:15 am - 9:15 am
KEYNOTE | Finding True Allies

Breaking the Mythology

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. Now, more than ever, we are confronting the complex issues of race and other differences in the workplace. Denise Hamilton joins us from Houston, Texas for a keynote that plunges right into the heart of the matter – how we manage the new levels of volume and how we make a difference. She starts with the concept of building alliances, So, just what does it mean to be an ally? How do we have difficult conversations with our allies and others we’re trying to bring on board in ways that are productive and supportive? Denise can help.  


What’s it all about. 

  • Learn how to challenge yourself and encourage others to excavate the underlying beliefs that shape strongly-held opinions around race and intersectionality.  
  • Identify shared values and develop a strategic framework for incorporating different perspectives.  
  • Harness the differences among us to generate creative and innovative solutions that produce business results and stay true to your values. 
  • Discover how to align your teams and leadership on a path to competitive excellence, improved morale, and increased retention. 

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit. 

Program Faculty: Denise Hamilton

9:15 am - 9:45 am
EXPO & Networking Break

9:45 am - 10:45 am
Choice of THREE Workshops:


10:45 am - 11:15 am
EXPO & Networking Break

11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Maine Great Leaders Series

Environmental Leadership and Values

Our search for Maine organizations built on values and their people takes us to a wind farm in Mexico (that’s Mexico, Maine) and a shuttered paper mill in Madison that is being re-purposed for a revolutionary new product. The discussions will focus on the company histories, their workplace cultures, the environmental endeavors of the future that will move the Maine economy, and the value of workforce development initiatives. 

GO Lab – Madison, Maine 

  • Meet two entrepreneurs in start-up mode. Josh Henry and Matt O’Malia are about to bring a wood products business back to life. Madison Paper closed its doors several years back putting over 200 people out of work in Somerset County. Now, the unlikely duo of a chemist and an architect are about to transform the mill into a vehicle for producing a different kind of insulation using softwood chips. It’s a product much less toxic than today’s industry standard, based on a renewable source, and it just might take the nation by storm. 

Reed & Reed – The Rox Wind Farm in Mexico, Maine 

  • Reed & Reed, headquartered in Woolwich, has a rich history dating back to 1928This family-founded construction business transitioned to employee stock ownership in 2016. Most everyone in Maine has a connection to their projects. Whether you’re passing under a Maine Turnpike open road toll in York or crossing the Penobscot Narrows Bridge near Fort Knox – you’ve connected with Reed & Reed. They now have major initiatives in the clean energy world, both solar and wind, and we’ll discuss these projects with Greg Letourneau and Kate Doughty at the Rox Wind Farm. 

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit. 

Program Faculty: Greg Letourneau, Joshua Henry, Kate Doughty, Matthew O’Malia

12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
EXPO & Networking Break

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm
Lunch & Learns

  • University of Maine (USM) hosts: Designing and Implementing an Internship
    • Want to be a part of the growth and development of Maine’s workforce? Join USM’s Career & Employment Hub in a discussion on developing a robust and long-lasting internship program. Internships provide employers with a direct pipeline to talented recruits and enhance experiential learning for USM students.
  • HUB International hosts: “I’m Just Here for the Drugs” (and other 2021 pharmacy trends)
    • Health benefits costs continue to rise at twice the rate of wage increases and 3x general inflation. It’s important to analyze prescription drug utilization to reveal trend drivers. Join us for an interactive session about prescription drug trends and strategies to combat those cost drivers.
  • P&C Insurance hosts: How a fully insured small business can get the benefits of being self-insured.

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
SHRM News Break

Encore presentation: SHRM news & updates.

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
KEYNOTE | Project Empathy

The “Human” in Human Resources

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. Join us for an inspiring lesson in human resources from an unlikely source – an 11-year-old boy from Salt Lake City – Chase Hansen. Chase started thinking about homeless people at age four, seeing each one as an individual. Someone’s daughter or son. And, instead of just bringing them meals, he began taking them to lunch and engaging in conversations. With the guidance of his father, this has blossomed into Project Empathy, a Ted Talk and an appearance on Good Morning America. Chase will join our Maine audience and get us thinking about how we conduct our work and our lives. With special guests John Hansen (his Dad) and Mark Christensen (our HR Convention friend from Phoenix). Far from a call to naivete, this keynote opens the door to the possibility of magic in each person.

What’s it all about?

  • Think about the role empathy can play in your human resources values system and ethics.
  • Learn ways to employ empathic behavior in your HR processes.
  • Discover how empathy leads to employee engagement.

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI General (HR) Credit.

Program Faculty: Chase Hansen

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
EXPO & Networking Break

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Choice of THREE Workshops:


4:05 pm - 4:20 pm
Interview with Commissioner Laura Fortman

Part 2

Program Faculty: Laura Fortman

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
HR After Hours: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Policing

Encore Presentation: How effective strategy enhances tactical energy.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. Considerable energy has been and will continue to be devoted to workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. A problem presents. We kick into action. Usually with well-intentioned tactics showing varying degrees of effectiveness, but often without long-term impact. Nowhere is this more on the table today than in community policing. Police departments across the country are at the center of expectations for the diversity of their employees and their approach to the public. We’re all searching for a richer strategy getting to the root of these issues, and we’ve invited three voices to share the challenges of policing and perhaps a new approach to the human resources of their workplaces. We’ll search for their thoughts on how to infuse strategy with the totality of the employment experienceWe are pleased to welcome to this discussion: Mark Conrad, a 24-year police veteran, current CEO of WesCon, Senior Administrator and Former Chairman of Massachusetts Parole Board, and Communications for the Deval Patrick Administration. And our friend and moderator, Ed Hurley-Wales, a diversity and inclusion consultant from Concord, Massachusetts. 

What’s it all about? 

  • Discover why the emphasis on tactics on the diversity, equity, and inclusion front has not always produced the strategic, long-term results required in policing and other organizations.  
  • Develop your critical thinking of racism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia by considering the psychology and sociology that comes into play. 
  • Leave this session with a more holistic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion that considers the entirety of the employment process, the buy-in required of organizational leaders, and ways to measure the results of initiatives to ensure their sustainability. 

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit.
This is a recording from last fall’s Strategic HR conference. 

Program Faculty: Ed Hurley-Wales, Mark A. Conrad
Monday, May 10, 2021 Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Friday, May 14, 2021