Speaker Sessions

Main Conference Sessions

SHRM Professional Development Credits

Approved for 5.5 SHRM Professional Development Credits. Philly SHRM is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.

HRCI Credits Pending

Keynote Speaker 8:30am - 10:00am

Our Keynote Speaker is Best-selling Author and Renowned Speaker, Marcus Buckingham!


Breakout Session 1 – 10:15am-11:15am

The business case for Getting Talent back to Work: One organization’s commitment to giving a second chance to returning citizens

SpeakerJondhi Harrell, Academic Director, Executive Director and Founder, The Center for Returning Citizens

Jondhi Harrell of The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC) will speak on an often silent topic, the population of individuals returning from prison and looking to re-enter the work force. This is a largely-disregarded population in critical need of a second chance. Organizations and communities must understand the struggles which returning citizens face, and the audacity of their courage. 1 in 3 Americans have a criminal record, which is 100 million people. Mass incarceration has decimated a huge portion of the US workforce, while 7.8 million jobs remain unfilled and untrained for, but needed by 2020.

Jondhi will be joined by a number of directors from local organizations (Einstein Hospital, First Step Staffing, and the Salvation Army KROC Center). The panel will discuss the “how” behind employing returning citizens as well as illustrate how to sustain good working relationships with such an initiative.

Jondhi, himself a returning citizen, having founded TCRC in 2012 after returning from 25 years in prison in 2009. He has obtained his BA and is now working on a master’s degree in social work at Temple University, and works with approximately 300-500 ex-offenders at all times.

Session Takeaways:

    • Learn why individuals returning from prison deserve a second chance and in doing so add to the organization’s talent pipeline
    • Gain insight on the struggles returning citizens face when looking to re-enter the workforce as well as programs instituted to help assimilate them into the organization
    • Determine what steps companies have taken, through their partnership with TCRC, in supporting returning citizens to help in developing recruitment strategies for this untapped market into your organization.

It can happen to you…..Are you prepared?

SpeakerJudge Renee Cardwell Hughes (Ret.)

This session will cover disaster preparedness for natural and man made disasters. Addressing these types of disasters is an evolving skill required of Human Resources professionals at all levels to effectively support the organization. A specific focus will be placed on the role of Human Resource professionals and what HR leaders should be doing to keep the work place safe.

Three Takeaways:

    • Identify key components of prevention strategy and execution
    • Learn the full view of emergency preparedness to response activation
    • What is HR’s role in disaster preparedness and preventing and mitigating risk

Using Human Capital Analytics Metrics to Make Organizational Change

SpeakerMike Guglielmo, Academic Director, Executive MBA, Fox School of Business at Temple University

Join Mike Guglielmo as he shares insight on the emerging field of human capital analytics, empowering the audience with the tools needed to develop systems to collect meaningful metrics about the people who make up their workforce and their performance. Mike will delve into the current labor shortage in the US, its connection to poor leadership and retention strategies, and why being ready with the next pool of leaders via succession management is vital to any company’s profitability and sustainability as we start the next decade.

Session Objectives:

    • Learn how to analyze metrics to improve organizational outcomes
    • Identify ways to develop your own corporate dashboard
    • Learn how leadership and retention are keys to effective succession planning

Breakout Session 2 – 11:45am-12:45pm

Your Brain at Work: What HR Can Learn from Neuroscience

Speaker Michael Brenner, Ed.D., Founder & CEO, Right Chord Leadership

Neuroscience is having an increasingly profound impact on the field of HR. From training to leadership to performance reviews, our increasing understanding of how the brain works is fundamentally changing the way HR functions. In this presentation, you’ll discover how HR practitioners are leveraging the latest neuroscience to improve attentiveness and retention in professional development programs. You’ll also learn why our brains crave mental and physical space at work in order to perform at their best (and what happens when they don’t get it). Don’t miss this entertaining, engaging, and eye-opening exploration of your brain…at work!

Attendees will:

    • Understand the important role neuroscience can play in HR
    • Discover how our brains learn best and how to create more “brain-friendly” professional development programs
    • Recognize the importance of mental and physical space at work for optimal brain performance

Don’t Feed the Elephants: How to talk about the topics that are avoided

SpeakerSarah Noll Wilson, M.S., CPCC, CEO, Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc.

You see the giant footprints the moment you walk through the door. The conference room is a swirling mess of tension, heaviness, anxiety, and peanut shells. Something is very wrong with your team. Everybody knows it, but nobody is taking about it.

It’s obvious there’s an elephant in the room. Is it an Avoidephant, feeding off the fears of retaliation and exclusion? Perhaps it’s a Blamephant—whom we love to feed because it makes us feel better about ourselves—or one of the other five types of elephants. No matter what type you’re dealing with, know your elephant is not there by accident. It was created and it’s likely you and your team has been feeding it.

In this session we will explore how you can address the true elephant in the room: avoidance of what created it in the first place. I’ll share tips for having conversations you may be avoiding, inviting you to get curious instead of furious, and show how to own your role in freeing the elephant. You’ll come away with a shared language to call out the elephants you see—and the confidence to do so.

Learning Objectives

    • Identify different elephant “types” and the behaviors that create them
    • Discover what keeps us avoiding conversations instead of acknowledging them
    • Define key steps for addressing the elephant through curiosity, compassion, and candor
    • Strategies for how to hold steady when the conversations becomes uncomfortable

Speaking Up: The Employee Voice

Speaker Khalil Smith, VP, Consulting and Practices at The Neuroleadership Institute

Do you hold back in meetings? Do you have ideas but fear what others would think?

At times we tend to think of speaking up through the lens of addressing bad behavior, like bullying or harassment, but when we expand that concept, we see that when the time comes to do so, people constantly struggle to speak up about their own ideas, give feedback on others’ ideas, and challenge others’ behavior. Join Khalil Smith, a Forbes contributing writer and VP, Consulting and Practices for the NeuroLeadership Institute as he discusses the topic of Employee Voice and Speaking Up.

Khalil brings over 20 years of business experience: specializing in creating a culture of learning and inspiration at Apple Inc., and demystifying group dynamics through the lens of social science as a consultant.
He will provide the science behind why it’s so hard to speak up, and what to do to make sure you will speak up when the time is right. He will discuss why speaking up is a key behavior that every person should be learning, every organization should be preparing their leaders to imbed into their culture. Imagine what your company can achieve by embracing diverse ideas and encouraging employees to speak up.

Session Objectives:

    • Learn about the obstacles that get in the way of employees speaking up
    • Examine how to help people within your organization find and use their voice
    • Gain insight on how to mitigate bias in order to ensure that when people speak up they are heard, acknowledged, and encouraged
    • Understand the business case for incorporating these principles into your diversity strategy

Breakout Session 3 – 2:00pm-3:00pm

Starting the Dialogue: Mental Health in the Workplace

Speaker Carol Kivler, MS, CSP, CMT, President, Kivler Communications

It’s time for an open dialogue about mental health in the workplace. An estimated 1 in 5 Americans 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. The number one cause of adult disability worldwide is psychiatric disease. Mental health is a major business issue. The decrease in productivity, increased errors, absenteeism, short term and long-term disability cause staggering financial losses to corporate America. Mental illness and substance use disorders cost employers $80-$100 billion annually in indirect costs.Mental Illness is a secret that no one wants to talk about for fear of being labeled, judged, marginalized and negatively impacted at work.

American businesses are not addressing this increasing and pervasive problem.

Carol Kivler starts the dialogue about mental health in the workplace. She brings a unique perspective to this subject. As a corporate trainer and international executive coach with an MS in Human Resource Education, as well as a patient, who has lived with clinical depression for over 20 years, Carol understands both sides of the equation. She equips employers with strategies to create an atmosphere that respects and responds to a workforce directly or indirectly affected by mental illness. Further, she addresses the pervasive stigmas that prevent employees from admitting they are suffering from a mental health disorder.

In the session, Carol will provide leaders with the direction to dispel myths and break the common stigmas surrounding mental health in the workplace. To encourage those with mental illnesses to embrace treatments that can return them to a highly-productive work life and professional well-being.

Key Objectives:

    • Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness in the workplace
    • Gain knowledge in identifying stressors within the work environment that contribute to mental health disorders and be able to understand the difference employers can make in altering the impact of mental illness diagnoses.
    • Develop strategies to address employee mental health disorder including understanding the need for employee self-awareness programs as part of a company-wide strategy.
    • Learn about partners who can provide workforce awareness and education

Diverse Thinking: A deeper dive beyond diversity as representation

SpeakerTonya Ladipo, LCSW, Founder & CEO, The Ladipo Group

SpeakerTonya Ladipo, LCSW, Founder & CEO, The Ladipo Group

Diversity in 2020 is different than previous years. No longer will representation of race, gender, and other minorities be a sufficient metric for growth-oriented companies. Instead, thriving organizations will create, manage, and lead teams with diverse thinking and perspectives that reflect today’s constantly evolving culture.

This 60-minute, interactive workshop focuses on managing and leading teams to embrace diverse thinking and experiences. The facilitator will lead the participants through an activity to identify characteristics, such as a growth mindset, needed to lead diverse teams. Then we apply these learnings to specific criteria and techniques needed to routinely solicit diversity in experiences, perspectives, and thinking. This workshop will provide insight into incorporating a growth mindset into a company’s diversity strategy and organization.

Specific learning objectives include:

    • Individual self-assessment for managers and leaders to identify their growth vs. fixed mindset orientation
    • Identification of necessary individual characteristics needed to manage and lead diverse teams
    • Identification of necessary organizational criteria needed to engage diverse teams
    • Strategies to implement individual characteristics and organizational criteria

Dear Helga Returns Again: What new HR challenges await her this time?

SpeakerMichael Cohen, Esquire, Partner, Duane Morris, LP

Helga is back again and tackling more complicated issues facing her organization! While we don’t yet know what Helga will address in 2020, rest assured that it will be the issues confronting us as HR, given the goings on in the workplace!

Designed for Human Resources professionals, this animated session will focus on uncommon HR issues and examine practical, business-focused solutions that you can use immediately to solve those problems.

Key Takeaways:

    • Identify and analyze potentially hidden HR issues existing in your organization
    • Recognize employment laws implicated in these difficult issues and discuss policies to mitigate risk when proactively implemented.
    • Provide practical, business-focused solutions that you can use immediately to solve those problems.

Closing Session 3:30pm - 4:30pm

The End of Jobs: Rise of On-Demand Labor and Agile Corporations


We stand on the precipice of the fourth industrial revolution driven by Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI). What can we learn from the history of the first three industrial revolutions about how workers, company and society have adjusted to a step function in technological change. Will history offer any guidance? Are we facing technological unemployment and the end of jobs as we know it?

Jeff Wald, co-founder of WorkMarket, will tackle these issues and report on the rise of On-Demand Labor. He will provide insights on how Corporations have had to think differently about the way in which they are structured to handle the change in workforce. In doing this, HR and Business leaders will be prepared to meet their business objectives and strategies in new and innovative ways to sustain their future growth.

In this session, you will learn:

    • About the history of work and how the supply and demand dynamics between workers and companies drive the power balance between the parties
    • About the current state of the labor market including long term trends that help drive the world of work as we know it today
    • How the on-demand labor market is driving the current labor market and implications for the future of work
    • How the robots and AI are going to impact the near and long term future of work and what that will mean for workers, companies and society.