Andre Young

Andre Young is a professional speaker, author, leadership trainer, and Founder of You Evolving Now, LLC. He worked as a Mental Health Therapist for 19 years, played sports at every level from high school to professional, has been an employee, a business owner, and self-employed, written 3 books focused on enhancing Leadership & Work/Life Harmony. As Founder of You Evolving Now it’s his mission to enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony for organizations, leaders, employees, and teams with his high-energy, interactive, culture-changing leadership training programs and speaking engagements; allowing a professional and personal evolution!

Bryan Smith

Bryan is an ex-Pro Sports Performance coach turned repeat founder and startup advisor. As the co-founder of LEON, an AI-powered employee performance platform that enables companies to scale growth, Bryan is determined to build humankind’s healthiest and happiest generation of employees. His passion for employee wellness and teaching people about burnout, stress, and recovery led him to also found Humans. This community is focused on bridging the gap between entry-level employees and CEOs by cultivating deeper human connection and good conversations.

James Hancock

James Hancock leads the mwah. Making Work Absolutely Human business across the USA and Americas.

He has deep global experience across Human Resources, Strategy and Digital roles, including in the oft-misunderstood world of financial markets. This is fueled by his love of people and organizations, and optimism for the possibilities of what they can achieve together. He is adamant that great emphasis needs to come to balance humanity and technology more effectively.

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2019 from Sydney, Australia, he’s led various People, Culture and Organizational Development projects including with ViacomCBS, GlaxoSmithKline, Mayo Clinic and Google.

He is a co-creator of the mwah. Culture Dashboard which measures the complex human system that is organizational culture. The Dashboard brings together Diversity Identity, Belongingness, Social Mapping (Organizational Network Analysis) and other key Human Capital metrics to understand, map and measure organizational culture very differently to traditional approaches, like engagement surveys.

James’ work was recognized in 2021 where he was humbled to be named “HR Consultant of the Year” in the Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year Awards.

James has degrees in Business (HR) and Psychology from Macquarie University in Sydney and accreditations in Human Resources, Human Centered Design/Design Thinking and Strategy.

Susan Gunn

Susan Gunn is an Expert Partner in Human Capital at Bain & Company and works across their Leadership & Talent and Performance Improvement Practices. She is based in their Washington, DC office and provides consulting services and support to clients globally across several industry sectors.

A global business executive with deep expertise in human capital, Susan has built and developed high performing teams across multiple industries, countries, and cultures. With significant capability in all human resources disciplines as a former public-company CHRO, she has advised executive leaders on matters pertaining to HR strategy and transformation, digital innovation, executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions, and C-suite strategy, including CEO succession. Susan’s role at Bain focuses on supporting and advising clients on Human Capital and Talent strategies to advance their organizations.

Susan most recently served as managing director of people consulting services for a Big Four accounting firm. She previously accumulated nearly three decades’ experience in senior human resources roles across organizations including Aramark, Gardner Denver, Willis Towers Watson, Revlon, and Vivendi Universal / The Seagram Company. A results-driven, adaptable business partner valued for her ability to clarify and simplify complex and challenging situations, Susan has been a leader in developing client solutions relative to the physical return and reimagination of work, responding to client needs arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Her experience extends to leading multiple, complex HR operating model, along with change and communications projects supporting S4/Hana, Salesforce and Workday implementations. She has also delivered digital and technology engagements in the areas of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Data Federation, and content management system (CMS) assessments.

Susan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, and an Honors Graduate Certificate in HR from McGill University. She is an active Board Member of Leadership Philadelphia, a non-profit focused on mobilizing and connecting the talent of the private sector to serve the community.  She is a frequent conference and panel speaker. Susan is the recipient of Pennsylvania’s Most Powerful & Influential Women Award (2013) and Innovator of the Year Award (2020) for East Consulting at EY.

Kristen Bakalar

Kristen has worked in leadership development, human resources, culture, DEI, talent management, career development, employee engagement, and even held a short stint as a Chief People Officer.  She brings a fresh perspective, a human-centered mindset, an innovative spirit, and a synthesized and simplified approach to the work.

Kristen has a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, where she focused her studies on adult learning, group and team dynamics, and executive coaching.  Since then, her career has provided her with a wealth of experiences that cover the entire HR spectrum:

Training & Development, Career Development Models, Executive Coaching, DEI Strategy and Execution, DEI Training & Coaching, Culture Audits & Definions, Internal Communications, Culture Operationalization, TA Strategies and Process, Employee Engagement, Onboarding, HR Strategy Creation, Instructional Design, Leadership Team Facilitation.

Kristen has been a featured speaker on the topic of DEI at places such as DisruptHR, The Institutes, Gallagher Bassett, SEI, and Bentley University.  She has a pragmatic and accessible approach to all of her work, pushing every company’s HR practices to be constantly- progressing, hyper-relevant, and user-friendly.

As the Head of Talent Development & Internal Communications at Mendix (a Siemens company), Kristen designed and delivered a pandemic-era video series highlighting good leadership practices, which led to a 12% increase in employee engagement.  As the head of L&D at athenahealth, Kristen led the Women Leading Change initiative that became the catalyst to data-driven solutions that increased women’s engagement by 8%.  As a leadership development consultant at BlessingWhite, Kristen led the design of multiple programs, most notably the Leading With Inclusion series, focused on creating more inclusive leaders.  In her most recent role at CarGurus, Kristen designed an equitable career development model that simplified the process by which people advance in their careers, while creating equitable opportunities for all.

In everything she does, Kristen is motivated by the opportunity to make improvements – improvements to herself, improvements in leadership capabilities, improvements in the diversity, equity and inclusion of organizations, improvements in the employee experience, and more.  She can’t help but try to make things better.

Amber Hikes

Amber Hikes (she/her they/them) is a social justice advocate, community organizer, and unapologetically queer and Black. As the ACLU’s first Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, she provides vision, leadership, and direction for the ACLU’s nationwide strategy to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) across all aspects of the organization’s work and efforts. Amber serves as both the internal and external ambassador on the importance of EDI as a crucial cornerstone of the ACLU’s culture of belonging.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Amber served as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs where she developed policy and served as the principal advisor to the Mayor on issues that affect the LGBTQ community. At the Mayor’s Office, Hikes set her sights on fighting and advocating for the most impacted populations within the LGBTQ community – specifically youth, elders, immigrants, transgender people, and people of color. In her time leading the office, Amber advocated for anti-discrimination legislation at the municipal level, passed one of the nation’s most trans-inclusive police policies and added black and brown stripes to the rainbow flag, prompting an international conversation about race and discrimination within the LGBTQ community.

A community organizer from an early age, Amber’s full-time career began in education access advocacy—as the youngest Upward Bound director in the country, at the University of Pennsylvania. The moral compass of Amber’s work, intersectional inclusion, can be traced throughout her organizing and her work supporting and facilitating the pursuit of postsecondary education for youth of color experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Hikes has been recognized nationally by OUT Magazine as “Community Organizer of the Year” in the 2018 OUT 100 and by Business Equality Pride as one of the 40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40. Hikes earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and Psychology and English degrees from the University of Delaware. Amber believes in employing an intersectional lens in all aspects of community work and leans daily on the words of sister Audre Lorde: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.”

IG: @amber_hikes
Twitter: @amberhikes

Sponsored by:

Cassandra Worthy

Hi! I am Cassandra.

Early on in my career, when my company was in the aftermath of a $5B acquisition, I almost quit. Fueled by frustration and stress, I found myself on the precipice of walking out of the office and never coming back. Had I done so, I would have become another statistic. Yet another African-American female departed from a STEM-driven industry. Top talent voluntarily resigning during a time of significant organizational shift. Another change victim.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I woke up one day and decided to view those feelings as a signal that I was sitting in a moment of opportunity. An opportunity to transform that chemistry, that feeling into something better. To choose every day to do something, say something, behave in some way that would move the needle of my work experience towards a better feeling. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was cultivating a teachable strategy to inspire anyone to become enthusiastic about change, to find their unique power of resilience during turbulent times.

Today, I help organizations disrupt ‘change as usual’. Through a practical and repeatable framework, I show them how they can transform their culture from surviving change to growing through change.

Michael S. Cohen

Michael S. Cohen concentrates his practice in the areas of employment law training and counseling. Michael has trained and counseled employers throughout the country on subjects including harassment prevention; workplace diversity; discipline and discharge; hiring and recruiting practices; performance evaluations; FMLA, ADA and FLSA compliance; leave of absence policies; performance management; workplace privacy; sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace; substance abuse testing; workplace violence; records retention; conducting background checks; teens in the workplace and managing attendance problems.

He has conducted trainings for executives, directors, managers, supervisors and employees in many industries, including financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, retail, real estate development, law firms and human services. Michael also has conducted trainings for executives, deans and faculty in several institutions of higher education and secondary education. He has conducted more than 250 trainings in the last year.

Follow Michael on Twitter @Cohen_HR_Law

Sarah Noll Wilson, M.S., CPCC

Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. is who you call when you’re ready to do the hard work of leading yourself and leading others.

Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. Our goal is to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. We create a safe, honest environment, preparing people to deal with real-world conflict, have more meaningful conversations, and create purposeful relationships. Working with CEO’s, HR leaders, and organizations that care deeply about their employees and understand the connection between employee development, employee satisfaction, and organizational success, Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. specializes in transforming relationships from good to great.