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Employee Relations Interest Group - Team Dynamics & Emerging Trends in Diversity
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Employee Relations Interest Group - Team Dynamics & Emerging Trends in Diversity

*FREE to HRMAC Members* This informative session will focus on sharing knowledge and best practices on emerging trends on diversity in the workplace.

When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016
7:30 AM Networking; 8:30 AM -10:00 AM Program
Where: Mesirow Financial
353 N. Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois  60654
United States
Contact: Lyndy Nierman

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Team Dynamics & Emerging Trends in Diversity

In an ever changing work environment and employment landscape, building and engaging diverse teams is essential for organizations to succeed. Hear from our panel of experts, who will share their insights into current trends and best practices related to diversity in the workplace. What does diversity mean to employees and employers today? How can organizations promote a culture where all employees are respected as unique individuals, while operating as a cohesive team? Our panel will share practical advice for organizations - small or large- to take a new look at their diversity & inclusion initiatives and how to embed inclusion into the organization's culture.  This session will include discussion regarding how to ensure positive team dynamics for teams consisting of individuals with diverse work styles, personalities, backgrounds, and identities.  Some topics include:

- Role of an introvert in a team

- Employee Branding

- LGBT Community Best Practices

- Diverse Transition and Employment Processes


April S. Williams-Luster, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, A Star Consulting Services, Inc. 
April has over ten years of ethics and compliance experience. She served as Chief Ethics Investigator and Community Relations Coordinator for the Cook County Department of Human Rights, Ethics and Women’s Issues. In these capacities, she was the lead advisor to Cook County officials and vendors regarding Cook County’s ethics, pay equity, and workplace violence policies.  April developed ethics, sexual harassment, and workplace violence training curriculums. She has conducted over a 1,000 seminars, training over 15,000 Cook County employees.

She was formerly a personal assistant to Cook County Commissioner Robert B. Steele, 2nd District and State Representative Marlow H. Colvin, 33rd Rep. District. She earned a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Political Science from the University of Miami.


Donna Grant Dorsey, JD, SPHR. Chief Human Resources Officer, Navistar, Inc.
Navistar, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of commercial trucks, buses, defense vehicles and engines with over 10 billion dollars in revenue employing over 14,000 employees globally.  As a senior leader for the company, she is responsible for all aspects of Human Resource strategy.  Donna drives results by providing strategic business and human capital leadership to drive change and innovation during the company’s turnaround.  Prior to this role, she led the strategic HR direction of business operations while overseeing the team of HR Business Partners.  She worked closely with the business leaders to determine the best approaches to leadership and organization development, succession planning, talent development, staffing, total rewards and strategic HR issues.  She previously held roles within Navistar with increasing levels of responsibility including the leadership of Navistar’s Integrated Product Development organization.

Prior to joining Navistar, Dorsey was senior manager, human resources at Sears, Roebuck & Company (now Sears Holding) where she was instrumental at leading the development of people strategies for corporate functions and serving as a leader for diversity initiatives across the enterprise. She has held other positions of increasing responsibility in Human Resources including roles at American Hospital Association, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and the Chicago Park District

As a leader in both her community and profession, Donna is the former President of the Board of Directors for the national non-profit organization HealthConnect One.  She has received numerous honors including 2013 Illinois Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Women Award and 2012 Diversity MBA Magazine Top 50 under 50. She has been a speaker on topics ranging from Building Effective People Strategies and Driving Talent Reviews during a turnaround to the power of women of color. In addition, she is a member of the Society Human Resource Management, the Northwest Human Resources Council, the National Association of African American’s in HR, the National Urban League, the American Bar Association and the Illinois Bar Association.  She holds a Paralegal certificate and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).  She earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Rutgers University and a Juris Doctorate from Chicago Kent College of Law with a certification in labor and employment law.  While in law school, she was president of Black Law Students Association. 

Toni Cornelius,  Chief Inclusion and Human Resources Officer, Mesirow Financial

Toni is responsible for planning, directing, organizing and coordinating the overall activities and functions of the Human Resources department to achieve its mission, goals and strategic initiatives and to enhance its existing systems, processes, and productivity. Additionally, she is responsible for driving activities including recruitment, staffing, employee benefits administration, training and development programs, performance and talent management. Toni has driven the development and implementation of strategies that support and enhance a diverse and inclusive environment at Mesirow Financial. Her focus includes organizational readiness, talent acquisition, retention, workforce management, business development and supplier diversity. Toni joined Mesirow Financial in 2012 with more than 20 years of experience in human resources and project management. She has also worked as an independent consultant, providing guidance in the areas of change management program development, executive career coaching, website and media relations management, as well as general human resources.

David Michael, Partner, Gould & Ratner LLP

At Gould & Ratner LLP in Chicago, he chairs the Litigation Group.  He also leads a diverse group of trial attorneys focusing in all areas of complex commercial disputes for public companies, as well as closely held and family businesses, and nonprofit entities.
In addition to his litigation experience, David has spent nearly 25 years advising clients in the area of human resources, labor and employment law.  He routinely helps employers solve the tricky employee issues that often leave companies wondering, what should we do?  David is a prolific author, with his HR-related articles appearing in numerous magazines, journals and newsletters, and he serves as the editor of Gould & Ratner’s HR Law Blog. 
David’s practice also includes serving as outside general counsel for a number of nonprofit corporations in the Chicago area, tapping into his longtime significant experience with nonprofits in a variety of industries, including healthcare and senior living facilities. As a longstanding member of HRMAC, David has served in a variety of roles, including Chair of the Employee Relations Interest Group and a member of the Leadership Series Committee.

Mikki Guerra, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Mikki is currently an independent practitioner with Urban Balance and operates her private practice in Lakeview. She works with an affirmative practice for the LGBTQ community, leads by empowerment, and advocates for equality.

Mikki has previously worked for University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, Haymarket Center, and The James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy. She earned her BA in Sociology with a focus in underrepresented and minority groups from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At UWSP, she held the Multicultural and Diversity Issues Director position and served on the Affirmative Action Advisory Board. Mikki also earned an MSW with a specialization in mental health and addictions from Loyola University Chicago.

Did you know that you can bring a guest? When you register for this event click, "Send and add another," to enter your guest contact information. Be sure to enter your name in the field marked "I am a guest of HRMAC member," to ensure a successful registration.  This is a member only benefit, so without your name the registration will not be valid.


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.