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Employee Relations Interest Group - Building Connection & Engagement
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*FREE to HRMAC Members* In this session, we will address how to introduce employees to your culture.

When: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
8:00 AM Networking & Registration; 8:30 AM -10:00 AM Program
Where: Wrigley
3637 N. Clark Street
American Airlines Conference Center
Chicago, Illinois  60613
United States
Contact: Lyndy Nierman

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Building Connection & Engagement: Introducing Employees to your Culture

As competition for great talent continues to be a primary challenge for most organizations, inspiring connection and engagement to your brand is becoming ever more crucial. Around the world, corporations are investing significant resources to improve workplace culture with mixed results. Are your culture-building efforts creating a great employee experience? Are they attracting good people and inspiring them to achieve? Are they driving business results?  Gary Beckstrand will present findings from a joint study by the O.C. Tanner Institute, Y2 Analytics, and a Harvard Business school professor on which culture priorities will drive the best results. The research presentation will be followed by a facilitated conversation with Chicago-area HR business partners about what they are doing to inspire connection and engagement in their own organizations.

Explore a research-based framework for evaluating the influence of workplace culture on employee engagement
Learn about the six most meaningful dimensions of workplace culture that attract, engage, and retain talent
Explore practices to build a more engaging culture


Gary Beckstrand, Vice President, O.C. Tanner Institute

With nearly 30 years of research, marketing, and business development experience, Gary has seen what works (and what doesn’t) in thousands of top companies all around the world - from New York City to Sau Paulo, Frankfort to Beijing, Mumbai to Manila. His expertise in developing and measuring successful culture solutions has been sought by numerous Fortune 100 companies, and has been featured frequently by,, and Forbes. Gary is a co-author of the newly released book Appreciate: Celebrating People, Inspiring Greatness.  Prior to joining O.C. Tanner, Gary managed many well-known brands for global organizations, including Frito-Lay, Kellogg's, and Franklin Covey. He holds a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and a master's degree in business from Northwestern University.

HR Business Partner Panelists:

Ann Weiser, VP of Human Resources at the Chicago Cubs

An accomplished and highly experienced global business executive, Ann Weiser’s career spans more than 35 years. Her roles leading human resources, business integration, organizational transformation and talent development are testimony to the depth and breadth of her expertise.

Ann’s career has focused primarily on consumer facing businesses, with assignments at M&M Mars, and Kraft Foods, among other leading companies. Ann has also held key positions at Baxter Healthcare and a large office products distributor.  With this wealth of experience, she is fluent across many functional areas including sales, marketing, operations and supply chain. 

Two notable assignments include Ann’s stint as Chief Human Resources Officer at US Foods and Activision Blizzard.  In early 2017, she joined the World Series champion Chicago Cubs in February 2017 as head of Human Resources.  In this role, Ann reports to the President of Business Operations, Crane Kenney, and sits on his leadership team.  She has responsibility for all aspects of Human Resources, including talent acquisition and development, total rewards, communications and culture.  

Manuel Cuevas, Chief Human Resources Office & Corporate Vice President, Employment Law and Data Protection, Motorola Solutions 

Manuel Cuevas-Trisán joined Motorola’s Legal Department as Labor & Employment Counsel in1998. He leads the Labor & Employment team since 2012 and the Privacy & Data Protection practice, which he established, and became Chief Human Resources Officer of the company in November of 2015. In addition to leading the People strategy of Motorola Solutions, he oversees the activities of the company’s non-profit, philanthropic arm, the Motorola Solutions Foundation. 

Mr. Cuevas-Trisán’s areas of expertise include domestic & international labor & employment law, EEO compliance, human resources management, corporate restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing, M&A, privacy/data protection, employment litigation, terminations, restrictive covenants, internal investigations, business immigration and talent mobility. Mr. Cuevas-Trisán is a frequent speaker and panelist at national and international legal and human resources conferences. He co-authored the Mexico chapter of International Labor and Employment Laws (BNA Books & American Bar Association), Vol. I, 2nd Ed. (2004), and is member of the Adjunct Faculty at the John Marshall Law School, International Business & Trade LLM Program in Chicago. 

In January of 2015 the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations honored Mr. Cuevas-Trisán with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Leadership for his commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion, as well as mentorship and recognition of leadership potential of underrepresented minorities. In March of 2015 he was selected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to represent the management sector in a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. At the state level, he was a member of the State of Illinois Study on Diversity & Inclusion (2016) in the private sector. Mr. Cuevas-Trisán serves in the Boards of Directors of the Illinois Commission on Diversity & Human Relations, the District 214 Educational Foundation, and the Puerto Rico Arts Alliance.

Mary Lauer, System Manager, Talent & Culture Department, Presence Health

With 25 years of professional experience, Mary Lauer possesses a unique blend of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness experiences in diverse industries, including Automotive, Healthcare, Consumer Goods, Professional Services and Consulting.  Highlights of her career have been successfully leading teams through major culture transformations and building HR infrastructure in start-up organizations. Fifteen years of her experience has been achieved at global Fortune 100 Companies, including Ford Motor Company and General Electric where she embraced lean principles and best-in-class practices/programs.  Her areas of expertise are Talent Management, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Succession Planning, Change Management, Cultural Transformation, Employee Engagement and Strategic Planning.
Throughout her career, Mary has demonstrated  resiliency in designing, developing and implementing large scale talent management and development programs.   One of her areas of specialization has been as an Organizational Effectiveness Consultant at Ford Motor Company where she was instrumental in guiding leaders and teams to achieve their business outcomes on complex automotive product launches.
Mary joined Presence Health in 2013, where she is currently a System Manager, Talent and Culture Development.   Her role focuses on executive integration, leadership development, coaching and succession planning for top leaders to accelerate their career development and provide career opportunities system-wide.   Her most significant contribution has been leading the design and implementation of a new high-impact Talent Management/Succession Planning program in 2016 for 450 leaders across all Illinois locations.

She earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling from John Carroll University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Her certifications include Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Birkman Method and she is a Certified as a Trainer with DDI and Achieve Global.  Mary is actively involved with her alumni groups, serving on the UWM Chicago Chapter Leadership Team and as a Mentor for JCU students/new graduates.  Giving back to the community is important to her, with her current service focused on the Sierra Club and Refugee One.

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Questions? Please contact HRMAC at 312-981-6790 or Lyndy Nierman at


The Employee Relations Interest Group is sponsored by



This program is pending approval for 1.5 credit hours towards PHR/SPHR/SPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) as well as 1.5 professional development credits (PDC's) toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification.