The following information is from the completed 2020 event. Please check back in the spring for details on next year.

Our staff will be working remotely for the next few weeks to promote the health and safety of our community. Please visit the Contact Us page or email to get in touch. 

Virtual + Strategic HR: Oct 21-22 & 28, 2020

All times listed on the schedule are Eastern Standard Time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

8:00 am - 8:15 am
Wellness Wake Up!

Join conference wellness guru Beth Bielat for this morning refresher.


8:15 am - 8:30 am
Call to Action!

Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Then join the conference hosts as they set up the goals for today and how the sessions will make a difference in the lives of your employees and your neighboring communities.

8:30 am - 9:30 am
KEYNOTE | Can I Tell You A Secret?

Lessons from the most trusted stranger in America.

What’s it all about? In 2005, Frank Warren invited strangers in Washington, D.C. to mail a postcard to his home address with a secret they wanted to share anonymously. Each week, Frank would select a few secrets and post them to a blog – What started as a small, personal interest project, inspired by his background in crisis counseling, soon turned into a global movement – culminating in millions of collected secrets, six New York Times Bestselling Books, and over $1M in donations to suicide prevention advocacy organizations. Over the years, Frank has also traveled the world to share the lessons learned from his work. By covering topics such as anxiety, stigma, imposter syndrome, substance abuse, social isolation, self-harm, LGBTQ issues and diversity, he has helped to curate powerful networks and communities within countless organizations.  

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Consider HR’s role as the “secret keeper” of an organization and the critical part we play to inspire confidence and reliability within the workplace community. 
  • Recognize the inherent value in creating a culture that allows for diverse talent to participate authentically. Look inward at what barriers may prevent your workforce from presenting their full cultural add to your team.  
  • Take away actionable tools for your workplace in order to build a culture of mental wellness, empathy, and inclusivity. 

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

Program Faculty: Frank Warren

9:45 am - 10:45 am
MEGASESSION | The Brave New World of AI

Will it Change Your HR Thinking Forever?

What’s it all about? Artificial Intelligence has been with us in the workplace for a while, but it does appear to be reaching a critical mass where it will significantly impact HR decision-makingvalues, and strategic risk management. Whether it will change the core of HR forever is an open question. Yes, there are new challenges on the technology, privacy, ethics, and compliance fronts. But, if HR contextualizes these challenges, uses their long-developed skills in finding and nurturing talent, and hones their systems for legal compliance, perhaps the impact will be less dramatic than feared. Beth Rattigan from Downs Rachlin Martin and Steve Sheinberg from ADL host this lively MegaSession to get us thinking about this brave new world. Are we at the mercy of the programmers to ensure that AIdriven talent acquisition platforms don’t put us at risk for discrimination claims? In theory, AI could weed out a host of our unconscious biases, but that may not be the reality as some programming has been alleged to have disproportionate impact on women and other groups. What are the challenges presented by voice and facial recognition? What are some of the implications for AI tracking the performance and quality of our work? Privacy? Concerted activity? Is the ADA implicated? Will California and EU style legislation and rulemaking seep into federal and other state employment law constructs? What about the connection to social media? It doesn’t take much of a connection to determine millions of people’s religion, politics, or sexual orientations  

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Become an AI thought leader for your organization by studying trends in technology, strategic risk management, and the implications for your business and HR platforms. 
  • Consider the potential challenges to your workplace culture and values presented by the proliferation of AI technology, particularly in your role as an ethical leader of your organization and potentially as the purchaser and implementer of these platforms. 
  • Understand how AI may be one of those cross-over links to consider when aligning your HR strategies with the overall direction and reputation of the organization.  

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit.

Program Faculty: Beth Rattigan, Steve Sheinberg

9:45 am - 10:45 am
FORUM | HR Front and Center

Strategy, ethics, and humanity in existential times.

What’s it all about? Over the last decade, conventional notions of HR leadership gave way to the demands of business partnership and agility, while the more traditional compliance models and those softer human skills that drew many of us to the profession in the first instance remained layered in the background. That’s a lot for any progressive leader to manage. Toss in a pandemic shaking people to the core, economic headwinds, and social justice issues that finally are gaining traction, and it’s not surprising to find the best HR leaders exactly at the center of the action. We’re going directly to two leaders at that tumultuous center: Donna Sinnery, CHRO of Teknor Apex with diverse products in the material science industry, and locations at 9 US locations and in four other countries, and Lorraine Goffe, CHRO of Penn State with 37,000 employees across 24 campuses. Our moderator, Nancy Persson, from Leadership Growth Solutions, hosts this enticing forum and coaxes the conversation.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Witness how organizational culture and values are called into play in this existential moment, and particularly how trust and ethics are front and center components.
  • See how two leaders define organizational strategy at a time of huge swirl, and the advice that flows from their experiences applicable to HR and employers of any size.
  • Think a bit more about the immediate and long-term needs of your internal and external customers. What needs are universal and what needs are unique? Which do you need to deal with now, and which can wait for a sunnier day?

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit.

Program Faculty: Donna Sinnery, Lorraine Goffe, Nancy Persson

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
On the Road to Minneapolis

Rebuilding Community

What’s it all about? It could have happened anywhere. But Minneapolis? The killing of George Floyd jarred the nation, in at least small measure because it happened in a city known for its progressive workplace culture and gentle good nature. This national trigger added a layer of social unrest and purpose to the blossoming challenges of Covid-19 and its economic, workplace, and social consequences. The conference travels to Minneapolis this morning to explore what this means for community, diversity, and Human Resources. We’re joined by three community and business leaders who share stories of resilience, strategy, and some of the creative work already underway. Minneapolis has been our conference “home away from home,” sending five great keynoters to the Mt. Washington stage over the years. And, this year will be no exception, as we welcome Don MacPherson, Nancy Lyons, and Tiffany Kuehl at our virtual visit to the Twin Cities.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Moderator Don MacPherson turns our attention to how the community – the business/HR community in particular – is searching for a broader diversity and inclusion strategy that implicates economic, racial, and community justice. Don’s current missions include a focus on the ethical development of future leaders and the Inner City Ducks, an organization that brings skills and hope to young athletes.
  • We’ll look closely at the role of workplace culture in the age of Covid-19 disruptions, with Nancy Lyons, CEO of Clockwork, a nationally acclaimed digital solutions and consulting company that has been featured on the NBC Nightly News. Nancy spoke at the inaugural White House Summit for Working Families during the Obama Administration, and she will discuss how her new book, “Work Like a Boss,” speaks to this moment.
  • And, for a closer look at HR’s role in all of this, Tiffany Kuehl joins us to discuss two initiatives she is helping drive. The first involves her role on the board of Minnesota Recruit, and the second encompasses her role at 180 Degrees and how it helps integrate people released from prison and other marginalized people into the workforce. Tiffany is the past director of the Minnesota SHRM State Council.

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit.

Program Faculty: Don MacPherson, Nancy Lyons, Tiffany Kuehl

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
EXPO and Networking Break

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

12:15 pm - 12:45 pm
Live Lunch Roundtable Sessions

Concentra will host a talk about telemedicine and how it is reshaping healthcare delivery. Presented by Mark Faenza and Dr. Brubaker.

LeggUp will host a discussion about building resilience across your workforce through evidence-based coaching. Presented by Matt Sherrill, Petra Russell, and Jeff Hull.

SHRM will host a talk – Build Career Success Through Dual SHRM Membership. Presented by Susan Post.

The Richards Group will host a talk about The Speed of Trust. Presented by Ross Gibson.

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
KEYNOTE | Re-Evaluating Trust

How to infuse HR strategy with this precious commodity.

What’s it all about? The word “trust” will echo throughout Strategic HR 2020 in very human, visceral terms. We are aa four-crisis confluence of a pandemic, social unrest, economic upheaval, and personal challengeIndividualsorganizations, and most particularly HR need trust in processes and trust in people to navigate these crises. So, put yourself in the shoes of a fighter pilot flying a night combat mission fifty feet above the ground – you better have trust in processes and trust in the 18-year old loadmaster in the back of the plane! Jason Harris joins us from Aurora, Colorado to share the story of the Tuskegee Airmen as a starting point for the evolution of trust in your workplace. He’ll use his former platform as a US Air Force combat pilot to draw the connection between leadership and trust, and he’ll share stories to help HR build a platform based on his No Fail Trust theory. Turning that theory into practice has three basic parameters: 1) Extensive training; 2) Trust in clear processes, and 3) Trust in the people to follow those processes. Earning trust requires constant work. Because it’s more than truth; it’s the need for people to have confidence in that truth. HR knows this instinctively – anything built on relationships must be built on trust. 

Why you’ll want to participate in this session. 

  • Consider HR’s crucial role in advocating for and building a culture of workplace trust, knowing that trust leads to empowerment and that it is an implicit foundation for all values systems. 
  • Discover the connectivity point between trust and your HR leadership role, by learning how to strategize situational awareness, employ appropriate and ethical assertiveness in your decision making, nurture adaptability and flexibility, and acquire a deep base of knowledge. 
  • Understand how trust merges into your HR and organizational brands, how you can measure trust by the quality of your internal and external relationships and communications, and how speaking truth to power need not sacrifice results. 

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit.

Program Faculty: Jason Harris

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
FORUM | D&I Strategy Today

Creative pieces for a complex puzzle.

What’s it all about? Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. We’re all on this path, and it’s a rather complex path at that, reaching deep into our DNA and souls. This conference is pleased to introduce two individuals passionate about their work in this field. Megan Ehora, Diversity Programs Lead in Talent Acquisition with Best Buy in Minneapolis, and Mita Mallick, who joins us from Jersey City, NJ. She is Head of Diversity and Cross-Cultural Marketing for Unilever. They will share their thoughts on the current big picture of D&I and then weave in several of their creative programs that drive their passion on this issue. When they are done with the particulars, it’s our hope that you’ll recognize once again that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Witness how HR leaders can influence the direction of an organization’s executive team, as Mita discusses Unilever’s program for courageous conversations about race, and Megan shares how the New Wave program at Best Buy is designed to build diverse teams from the middle-manager and director levels, all the way up to the C-suite.
  • Discover how HR can directly impact neighboring communities. Megan describes Best Buy’s Teen Tech Centers and how they built alliances with other organizations and nonprofits to offer skills and career opportunities to underserved communities. Mita provides some great information on Unilever’s award-winning programs for working parents – particularly valuable in light of Covid-19 and its consequences.
  • Leave this forum energized and connected to how HR can integrate D&I initiatives into your organization’s strategy, values, and connection to neighboring communities.

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business.

Program Faculty: Megan Ehora, Mita Mallick

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
FORUM | Twenty-Something Trilogy

Stories for Today. Stories for Tomorrow.

What’s it all about? A cottage industry of generational consulting and coaching flooded the HR market in recent years, and while there has been much value added by these discussions, one has to wonder if the bigger picture isn’t being missed. Why does each maturing generation appear surprised by the fresh eyes of those aspiring leaders that will follow? And, what encourages aspiring leaders to sometimes miss the wisdom of the ages? The enormity of current societal crises and recognition of our common humanity may provide just the fertile ground for reconsidering the workplace generational divide. This forum offers the perspectives of three young professionals dancing directly in or on the periphery of the HR space. They will be joined by leaders who sometimes coach them, sometimes mentor them – one of their fathers and one of their friends who just happen to be HR leaders themselves. Participants include: Maya Hurley-Wales, Ed Hurley-Wales, James Brissenden, Joe Andrews, and Lauren Clear.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Let’s talk about the moment – how Covid-19 and George Floyd are influencing values, career choices, and human resources.
  • We’ll do some cross-training that encourage established leaders and young leaders alike to recognize sub-conscious generational biases, starting with a list of pejorative expressions.
  • Then we’ll close with some strategic perspective on how these issues will play to organizational and community development as we awaken to a post-COVID and perhaps more just world.

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

Program Faculty: Ed Hurley-Wales, James Brissenden, Joe Andrews, Lauren Clear, Maya Hurley-Wales

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
On the Road to Broadway and Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Life Imitates Art

What’s it all about? The workforce issues demanding our attention this year are illustrated poignantly through the arts – the medium to which we escape in times of turmoil. Facing staggering unemployment and halted revenue, not to mention having a magnifying glass on actor diversity and representation of POC throughout the industry – live theatre is a microcosm of the challenges many organizations are facing today. In this discussion, we’ll visit The Fulton, a renowned, non-profit, regional theatre led by Marc Robin in Lancaster, PA, and then venture to New York City to chat with Broadway performer David Girolmo to discuss how these forces have converged and propelled creative community leaders to find a new path forward.

Why you’ll want to participate in this session.

  • Consider how emerging trends in society, economics, and politics are seen through the eyes of the theater arts, and witness how they have strategized a business survival path for the near term and business robustness for the future.
  • Discover why a deep knowledge of your product, services, and market enables you to ask smart business questions and drive the people strategies that will encourage your organization to excel.
  • Build your HR business portfolio by employing transformative innovation strategies from the world of art into your HR strategies.

Approved for SHRM Credit and HRCI Business Credit.

Program Faculty: David Girolmo, Marc Robin

5:15 pm - 6:45 pm
HR AFTER-HOURS: "The Cure for Stupidity" | "The Geography of Genius"

Two after-hours discussions with two of our favorite authors:

Eric M. Bailey – Eric joined us on stage this spring as a keynote speaker at the Maine HR Convention. He is President of Bailey Strategic Innovation Group and created the Principles of Human Understanding™, a communication methodology based in brain science and psychology. Eric is the bestselling author of The Cure for Stupidity and has been featured on Huffington Post and Forbes.

Eric Weiner – Eric is an author, a Peabody award-winning broadcaster, and a more than charming curmudgeon. He was an international correspondent for NPR for many years and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and the New Republic. In addition to The Geography of Genius, he is the author of the soon to be released The Socrates Express. Both books are delightful travel logs, the first an exploration of brilliance and creativity, the second a dive into the value of philosophy.

(Note: These programs are not pre-approved for continuing education credit)

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Thursday, October 22, 2020 Wednesday, October 28, 2020