Melissa Sims

Melissa Sims is the Chief for Workforce Policy, Accountability and Strategic Infinitives for the National Park Service. In this role, Melissa serves as the principal expert on human capital policy development and strategic human resources initiatives implementation to include workforce planning, succession planning, HR accountability and auditing and special emphasis recruiting.

Melissa began her career with the National Park Service as a Management and Program Analyst at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. in 2010.  She served the Northeast Region of the National Park Service as a Partnership Specialist, the Regional Learning and Development Officer, and the Regional Chief of HR.

Melissa is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Army.  Melissa served as a hospital administrator for a field medical unit, a personnel officer at both the Battalion and Brigade level, the Chief of Human Resources for a large Army hospital and as a personnel officer for the Surgeon General of the Army.

Melissa has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Systems Engineering.  Melissa also holds a Master of Science in Human Resources, as well as an MBA.  She is currently pursuing her PhD in Communication.

Melissa serves as the Country Lead for Change Management Institute, USA and is a founding member of the Greater Philadelphia Area’s Association of Change Management Professionals.  She is also a past Vice President for Philly SHRM, where she served as the Co-Chair for Thought Leadership.

Colleen Stratton

Colleen Stratton is global head of the Workforce Development Team at SEI. She has been at SEI for fifteen years. She is responsible for all functional areas of Human Resources. Prior to joining SEI, Colleen was the Vice President of the Consulting Practice for CBI Group, which involved Human Resource Projects and outsourcing for high growth, start-up and mature organizations.

Prior to joining CBI Group, Colleen held positions at the executive level in companies varying in size, from start-up to Fortune 1000. Past experience includes work with the Department of Defense, Shared Medical Systems, Gladwyne Software Surety, Innovative Consulting, XRT and ICON Solutions.

Colleen has her MBA from Case Western Reserve University, her BA from Catholic University and has also successfully completed her PHR certification. She is also a proud GMA graduate. Colleen is certified in Predictive Index and Gallup Strengths.

Colleen and her husband, Michael, live in East Norriton, PA a Montgomery county suburb of Philadelphia. Colleen has two daughters, Ryan 20 and Erin 17. Colleen is the Vice President of the Act II playhouse board. She was also on the board of trustees at Gwynedd Mercy Academy Elementary. Colleen has also served as an Officer of the SEI Women’s Network, and is a the Forum of Executive Women.

Cait Russell, OTD, OTR/L

Cait Russell is a business-oriented thinker and doctorally trained occupational therapist who is passionate about creating inclusive systems and environments. She has a particular interest in executive functioning, sensory impact, and inclusive employment.

Cait has extensive study and practice in a wide array of disability and accessibility-related topics, with undergraduate study in business and psychology at a joint program at the University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill and Duke University and a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University. While at Kenan-Flagler Business School, she completed study in neuro-inclusive practices in small to medium sized businesses. In her doctoral work, she studied supports and barriers for autistic
students in higher education. Cait currently works as the Director of a Neurodiversity Employment Network: Philadelphia, where she focuses her energy on helping employers, job-seekers, educators, service providers, and other allies come together to improve outcomes for neurodivergent job-seekers.

Cait is an outspoken advocate for neurodiversity and overall disability inclusion and has spoken extensively on the topic. Previous speaking engagements include the BPHL! Innovation Fest, the Academy of Management Annual Conference, and Comcast Lab Connect’s Innovation for Inclusion of Diversity & Accessibility Conference, among others.

Outside of work, Cait founded a non-profit that focuses on sensory accessibility in the community. She teaches a doctoral course in leadership at Thomas Jefferson University and has guest lectured for universities across the country. Cait believes strongly that accessibility is a crucial part of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is proud to be a part of the mission to further inclusion.

Celeste Warren

Celeste Warren is Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence.  As the leader for Merck’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence, she is responsible for working with Merck’s global leaders to advance and embed diversity and inclusion throughout the organization to enhance the employee experience and maximize business performance.

Ms. Warren joined Merck in 1997 and has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility within the organization.

Prior to joining Merck in 1997, Celeste worked for nine years at Kraft Foods, Inc. and General Foods.

She has been honored with many awards, including:

  • Black Enterprise’s “Top Executives in Global Diversity and Inclusion”
  • Savoy Magazine’s “Most Influential Women in Corporate America”
  • Women’s eNews’ “21 Leaders for the 21st Century”
  • Diversity Global Magazine’s “Influential Women in Global Diversity”
  • Diversity Woman Magazine’s: “Elite100” List

She serves on the boards of RWJBarnabas Health Systems and “All In Together” and Merck’s Political Action Committee.  She is also a member of CNBC’s Workforce Executive Council and World 50’s Inclusion and Diversity Impact Community.

Celeste’s articles on diversity, equity and inclusion have been featured in numerous national and global publications and she has had the opportunity to speak at various events across the world.

Celeste attended the University of Kentucky where she earned her B.S. degree. She received her master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

She is the wife of John Warren and the mother of two children, Christina-Celeste and John Steven, Jr.

Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, SPHR has over 15 years of progressive Organizational Development & Organizational Change Agent experience working for fast-paced, exponentially growing startups. Lauren started her career in Finance for small companies and start-ups. She eventually developed a passion for people and culture and transitioned into Human Resources. What started out as a fun part of her job, quickly became a passion to better the workplace and encourage a positive evolution of the employee experience. Lauren holds an undergraduate degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in Finance and Economics and a Master’s of Arts from Immaculata University in Organizational Development & Effectiveness.

Lauren doesn’t shy away from a challenge and typically will utilize her influential attitude and people skills to rally the workforce to maximize their full potential. She applies her positive attitude and creativity to all of her projects. Lauren cares deeply about the employee experience and how workplaces can leverage their culture to increase employee engagement, retention and empowerment.

After spending over 15 years leading high performing HR teams in high growth, fast paced technology start-ups. Lauren launched her company, Harmony HR Experts specifically to focus on enhancing the employee experience, optimize company culture, and drive engagement and retention of HIPOs. She realized the workforce was changing and if employers didn’t adapt to being a more inclusive, collaborative and engaging workplace, they would lose good talent. The employers would also struggle to get good talent in the door. Being identified as a company with a strong culture is much bigger than casual Friday’s and office parties. It incorporates trust, purpose and respect. Lauren applies her creativity and ideas to help workplaces leverage their culture to increase employee happiness, which in turn reduces the cost of turnover and increases productivity and profits for the business.

On any given day you can find Lauren helping her husband find his keys, drinking obscene amounts of coffee, cooking, laughing and wrangling her 3 little bandits into her mom-mobile. Lauren unwinds by enjoying peaceful moments of reading, listening to music and satisfying her addiction to retail therapy.

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, and has written 4 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, their leaders, employees, and teams with his high-energy, interactive, culture-impacting leadership training programs and speaking engagements; allowing a professional and personal evolution!

Closing Session Description

How to Lead Change

Change is inevitable; growth is a choice! Enhance your team’s leadership, communication skills, professionalism, and work/life harmony through change and in spite of change; developing leaders your organization can build with!!! The process of change places us all on the corner of “Bitter” and “Better”; both are a choice and “Bitter” has rarely benefited anyone or any organization! Better your work culture, improve employee interaction, and enjoy fewer headaches as your organization enhances personal leadership, leadership skills, communication skills, and work/life harmony with Andre Young!

Key Takeaways:

  • C. – Learn the 3C’s of Change: Constant, Consistent, and Confident!
  • H. – Stay humble through change as you learn A Leader’s Two-Way Street!
  • A. – Learn the Evolving Formulas to manage the things you CAN control and the things you CANNOT or the formula to prevent and work through Burn-out or Bore-Out!
  • N. – Learn how to nurse yourself through change and transition!
  • G. – Learn how to grow through change and in spite of change, both professionally and personally, with the most powerful question a leader can ask!
  • E. – How to stay excited through change with A Leader Vision & A Leader’s Construction Talk!


The Closing Session is Sponsored by: