Speaker Sessions

SESSION Classifications

We created three classifications – Strategic, Operational and Personal Development – to categorize the content for our sessions. Look for the icons next to each session to help guide you when selecting which breakout session to attend.

Strategic Sessions Blue circle
Operational Sessions Orange Triangle
Personal Development Sessions Red Square

Main Conference Sessions

Earn an additional 6 credits!

Attendees will have the ability to earn up to 13.25 SHRM Professional Development Credits & HRCI Credits for the full conference and 11.25 SHRM Professional Development Credits and HRCI Credits for the main conference! All sessions will be recorded so that you will have access to the full Symposium content.

Bonus Session - 7:00am - 8:00am

Mindful Work, Mindful Life: Morning Movement, Meditation and Mindfulness

studio BE, which offers mindfulness training for corporations, organizations and individuals, warmly welcomes you to an early morning session that will prepare you to launch into your day feeling alert and calm, energized and grounded, strong and connected. Join Dr. Christine E. Kiesinger for a session that offers a balanced blend of gentle movement, guided meditation, and other simple, yet powerful mindfulness based practices that can greatly enhance all areas of your life. Appropriate for all levels, including beginners. Please dress comfortably and have a stable chair available to support your practice.

Keynote Session - 8:30am - 9:45am

Red Square Resilience: How to Build it in yourselves and in those you Lead

SpeakerMarcus Buckingham NYT Best-Selling Author, Founder of the Strengths Revolution + Head of ADP Research Institute

All of us are struggling to be resilient during these challenging times. In this session Marcus reveals discoveries about the sources of resilience from the largest global study of resilience yet undertaken. 25 countries, 25,000 workers, all participating in a deep dive into why some people are able to sustain their power and their energy, while others wane. In this session you will learn:

  • The three key sources of resilience
  • The ten questions to measure resilience
  • The most effective techniques to build resilience in yourself, your organization, and those you lead

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI General Credit

Breakout Session 1 – 10:15am-11:15am

Blue circle 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

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI Business Credit

Orange Triangle Reimagining HR and Business in the Wake of Covid-19

Speakers Jeanie Heffernan,Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Independence Health Group, Elise Freedman, Senior Director, Talent & Rewards, Willis Towers Watson, Erica Freedman, Vice President, Talent & Organizational Development, Day & Zimmermann
Moderator Jackie Linton, President, JL HR Solutions

2020 has been a time of uncertainty and confusion for many businesses. Leaders have had to quickly adjust to changing governmental regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have had to learn how to engage, motivate, hire and retain their employees in new and different ways during an ever changing and unpredictable environment. At times this has been challenging as new initiatives must be developed and implemented quickly. Our world of work will be forever changed.  Organizations will be confronted with obstacles that require a cultural shift, changing the way in which they have always done things. Businesses will need to realign their strategy and goals while adapting to a new way of working. Leaders will be confronted with employees who may not have the skills needed to achieve the new objective and will be faced with the challenge of upskilling and training employees in different ways.

Join a panel of expert leaders in their industry, moderated by Philly SHRM President Jackie Linton, as they provide their perspectives on how companies are navigating the post COVID-19 environment. They will provide lessons learned and best practices for working in the new normal.

Attendees will:

    • Learn from experts on effectively managing the remote work environment
    • Gain an understanding of new ways to recruit, hire and retain employees during and after a pandemic
    • Uncover techniques to engage employees returning to the workplace
    • Discover ways to embrace and adapt to change at a time of uncertainty
    • Understand how to upskill and retrain people for new internal roles and responsibilities
    • Acquire tactics to support and encourage your organization through the culture shifts needed to overcome these challenging times

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & HRCI Credits Pending

Blue circle 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 how poor leadership and retention strategies negatively impact the labor market 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

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI Business Credit

Breakout Session 2 – 11:45am-12:45pm

Blue circle 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

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI General Credit

Blue circle Race, Racism, and Human Resources

Conner Strong Buckelew Logo
Speakers Melissa DePino, Michelle Saahene, From Privilege to Progress
Moderator Jameel Rush, VP Diversity and Inclusion at Aramark

Michelle and Melissa started From Privilege to Progress (P2P)—a national movement to desegregate the public conversation about race and racism—after their viral video of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson’s unjust arrest at a Philadelphia area Starbucks captured international attention. During this one-hour session, Michelle and Melissa will briefly recount their lived experiences related to the Starbucks incident and its implications for understanding what racism looks like today. They will lead a conversation about the importance of individual change and the ways in which it creates a culture of authentic inclusion and diversity in the workplace, a healthy and profitable business, and a more equal and just society.

Jameel Rush will moderate the conversation and delve into the questions HR practitioners and business leaders want to know about driving racial equity in their organizations. Michelle and Melissa will recommend skills that can be used to introduce these topics into the workplace, demonstrate how we can hold open conversations with our leaders and teams, and how HR can drive personal accountability toward authentic organizational culture change. Outcomes include heightened awareness, a readiness for deeper levels of empathy, and a common language with which to continue the conversation within the organization and in everyday life.

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI Business Credit

Red Square 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

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI General Credit

Breakout Session 3 – 2:00pm-3:00pm

Orange Triangle Empathetic Leadership: Understanding and Supporting Mental Health

Speaker Sarah Noll Wilson, CEO / Chief Edge Officer, Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc.

While millions of people suffer directly or are impacted indirectly by mental illness, the reality is that each of us will experience some type of mental health challenges in our lifetime. Right now all of us are experiencing significant levels of prolonged exposure to stress as a result of the Covid Pandemic which has resulted in higher levels of mental health challenges. People are reporting higher levels of fatigue, difficulty sleeping, losing track of time, memory issues and irritability.

As leaders our goal is to help our team members be at their best. Mental health impacts our physical health, productivity, ability to innovate, how we connect to others, and most importantly it impacts how we see ourselves. To truly support the wellbeing of our people, we need to understand the beautiful complexity of what it means to be human even when and especially when it comes to mental health.

Leveraging current research and best practices combined with her personal experience with mental health illness as a person and a leader, Sarah will guide a conversation on what it means to be a leader who supports mental health.

Objectives: To 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.

Presentation Highlights Include Identifying:

  • The signs and symptoms of mental illness in the workplace.
  • How the current situation is contributing to mental health disorders.
  • The difference employers can make in the impact of mental illness in team members.
  • Strategies to address employee mental health disorders.

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI General Credit

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

SpeakerMichael Cohen, Esquire, Partner, Duane Morris, LP

Given the goings-on in 2020, Helga has been inundated with issues related to inappropriate workplace conduct.  Whether it’s an employee displaying a confederate flag, anti-Asian “jokes” in the context of a COVID-discussion or comments about the Supreme Court’s LGBTQ ruling, these issues have prevailed even in the remote environment in which many of us are working.

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.
Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI General Credit

Red Square 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 the 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

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI Business Credit

Closing Session 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Blue circle 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

Approved for 1 SHRM Professional Development Credit (PDC) & 1 HRCI Business Credit