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.

Kia Christian

Proving the Power of People in Tech and diversifying teams along the way!

As a Global HR leader with a strong track record of delivering exceptional results, Kia has a keen ability to drive business transformations with strong accountability for short and long term impact across global markets. Her relentless focus on both the employee and customer experience has fueled her professional success. A distinct blend of Human Resources, Internal Communications, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Sales and General Management experience grounds her in both consultative and execution-oriented approaches which she adapts according to business needs. Her straightforward yet humble style is complemented by an authentic and bold resilience often described as “grit”.

Kia has worked for the world’s top organizations across a diverse set of industries, both in HR and business roles. She has successfully designed and  implemented integrated Talent Management strategies in complex environments and she is adept at developing HR teams around the world. After intentionally building HR COE experience from multiple Human Resources specialty areas, Kia has spent the last decade in strategic Business Partner roles holding positions such as VP Organizational Effectiveness and VP People with Thomson Reuters Corporation and she has held multiple HR VP roles with Thermo Fisher Scientific. Her ability to solve problems leveraging a strong analytical fact-base, provides a solid foundation for data-driven decision making and pragmatic solutions which she applies to increasingly complex business problems. These capabilities continue to serve her well today as an HR Executive at the world’s top search company.

In addition to her varied professional experience, Kia is passionate about giving back to people and communities in need. Whether she’s serving in a leadership position on non profit Boards, donating to Children’s Hospitals, or providing camp scholarships for kids from underserved communities, she is constantly seeking opportunities to support and uplift those who are experiencing difficulties in life, many of which mirror circumstances Kia has personally overcome. She is a travel enthusiast and enjoys visiting incredible places around the world with her husband and two daughters. Academically, Kia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Chestnut Hill College and an Executive M.B.A from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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

Connie Geiger

Connie leads Field Recruiting for gopuff, which is a really cool instant delivery startup that is taking over the world!

In this role, Connie designs and executes the talent acquisition strategy for the extensive Micro Fulfillment Center network, as well for the Customer Experience team and the Operations infrastructure organization.  

Prior to joining gopuff, Connie was a Managing Director at JPMorganChase where she was responsible for leading the Recruiting function for the Chase portfolio.  She made the decision to leave JPMC after 5 years because she wanted to do something BIG and recognized gopuff as a rocketship that is about to take off.  

Connie graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and lives in Downingtown, PA with her husband and two daughters. 

Rick Grimaldi

Rick Grimaldi is the author of “Flex” and a partner at Fisher Phillips, one of America’s preeminent labor and employment law firms representing employers, where he works with companies both large and small on solving their most complex workplace challenges. Rick has served employers and employees in Pennsylvania in high-ranking public service positions, worked as a human resources professional, and spent years in private practice partnering with companies to help them adapt to the ever-changing business environment, achieve their workplace goals and become better employers that are ultimately rewarded by the market.

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.

Carolyn Hahn

Carolyn heads the overall HR function for a private-equity owned manufacturer and distributor of plumbing parts and solutions. She joined the organization in 2020, under a new CEO, with the goal of quickly readying the business for a sale. This meant partnering with the CEO and leadership teams to drive growth, financial results and performance. The transaction was recently completed and the business is now owned by a strategic buyer, Marcone Supply.

This is Carolyn’s third experience with private equity transactions. They often involve a mix of short and long term strategies and massive change management. She relies heavily on her experience in industrial businesses as a recruiter, a Generalist and a long-time business partner to focus on talent assessment, management and acquisition, leadership and team development, M & A integrations, core HR practices, systems and programs, mixed with a foundation of business fundamentals.

Carolyn holds a bachelor’s degree from Penn State and a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois, both in Labor Relations. She is a native of the Philly suburbs and has two high schoolers at home. They like to spend time at the shore with family as well as rolling their eyes at their Mom’s addiction to jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, coffee and HGTV.

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.

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

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Ragini Holloway

Ragini Holloway most recently held the role of SVP of People on the executive team at Affirm for the past 5 years, leading a People team of 150 employees. During her tenure at Affirm Ragini 10x’d the company’s active headcount to 2,000+ FTE, founded their DEI Council, and transitioned the entire team to a remote first operating model while becoming a global, publicly traded company. Most recently, Ragini was recognized as a top talent leader on Floodgate’s 2021 Anchor List and launched The Fund XX, a pre-seed venture fund founded and led by women for women. Ragini also serves as an advisor to startups and fast growing tech companies that need help creating and implementing recruitment and People processes, infrastructure, reporting and teams from scratch. Prior to Affirm, Ragini was Head of People at Credit Karma and grew them to just over 500 FTE.