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West Suburban Interest Group - Recruiting Top Talent Despite External Challenges
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West Suburban Interest Group - Recruiting Top Talent Despite External Challenges

*FREE to HRMAC Members* This session is focusing on recruiting against the headwinds! HR leaders from diverse companies and industries will share their solutions for ensuring recruiting success in challenging situations.

When: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
8:00 - 8:30 AM Registration & Networking; 8:30 - 10:00 Program AM
Where: DeVry University
3005 Highland Parkway
1st floor, Rooms #5 & #6
Downers Grove, Illinois  60515
United States
Contact: Lyndy Nierman

Online registration is closed.
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                                                           Recruiting Top Talent Despite External Challenges

                                                                       Recruiting Against the Headwinds

Recruiting top talent to your company is challenging enough on its own, but what do you do if you face external challenges in attracting good workers?  For example, what if your company needs to attract elite urban talent but is located in what is perceived as a remote suburban location – say, Bolingbrook?  Or what if you’re in an industry that is plagued with high turnover – such as the hotel industry (31% annual turnover) or senior-living facilities (42%)?  How do you keep the pipeline of qualified candidates full?

Come hear from our panel of HR veterans who have learned how to play the recruiting hand they are dealt.  HR leaders from diverse companies and industries will share their solutions for ensuring recruiting success in challenging situations.


Kelly Burlage, Acquisition Strategy Consultant


Sean Taylor, Director of Talent Acquisition, Ulta Beauty

Sean is an accomplished Human Resources professional with specialized experience in the talent acquisition field.  At Ulta Beauty, Sean is responsible for leading the talent acquisition function (corporate and field) for one of the fastest growing retail growth companies in the United States.  Under Sean's leadership, the Talent Acquisition team manages the hiring process for thousands of positions nationwide, while also overseeing all strategy, special programs, branding and operational efforts in relation to Talent Acquisition throughout the business. Sean specializes in building and developing high performing teams in order to assist the business in establishing strong operational processes and strategic branding and program efforts to attract high caliber, top talent in the market. Sean has served in various Talent Acquisition roles throughout his career. Prior to joining Ulta Beauty, Sean managed the Talent Acquisition teams at US Cellular Corporation.  Sean's HR leadership has included contributions to previous committees within HRMAC, and currently Sean is a corporate representative for the Skills for Chicagoland partnership with Ulta Beauty.  Sean holds a BA in Business from Bowling Green State University.  

Wendy Larsen, Director Talent Acquisition and Human Resources, Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo is an iconic, non-profit destination in the Chicagoland area since 1934 whose mission is to inspire conservation leadership.  With over 25 years of deep human resources experience with a primary focus on talent acquisition, Wendy provides strategy and leadership for the organization, as well as direction to the Talent Acquisition Department which recruits 1,000-1,200 employees annually at the Zoo, including full-time and part-time staff, as well as a large seasonal, temporary workforce.  Her career prior to Brookfield Zoo includes talent acquisition experience in a variety of industries and cultures, from large global organizations providing integrated building technologies to financial services, IT consulting, and social services. 

Jason Clayton, EVP, Human Resources, JBT Corporation

Mr. Clayton has extensive industrial experience and a broad HR background, including leadership roles in talent acquisition and management, and compensation. Prior to joining JBT, Mr. Clayton served as Vice President, Human Resources for Signode Industrial Group, an industrial packaging company since September 2015. He served as Vice President, Human Resources, with IDEX Corporation from July 2010 to September 2015. Prior to that, Mr. Clayton served in a variety of HR management roles with Pepsi and Newell Rubbermaid.
Mr. Clayton holds an M.S., Human Resources, Industrial Relations, from West Virginia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Management from the University of Florida.

Megan Letts, Director of Human ResourcesMonarch Landing

Megan is a seasoned Human Resources professional with a Master’s of Science in Human Resources Management and a designation as a Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).  She also has a Leadership Coaching Specialist certification, obtained through an accredited program by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Additionally, Megan graduated from the Leading Age Illinois Leadership Academy, a year-long leadership development program designed to enhance the leadership skills and core competencies of leaders working with older adults. Megan has worked in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, union and non-union, over the course of her 15-year career. 

Erika Hirt, Vice President of Human Resources & Associate Development , Aparium Hotel Group

Erika supports Aparium's vision to ensure the company attracts, retains and develops outstanding individuals whose character impacts our guests through intuitive service and create everlasting memories. Reporting directly to the COO & Co-Founder, lead the creation, implementation and promotion of company culture and values as well as all learning and development opportunities within our standards.    In the past 12 months the company grew from 2 hotels in two states to 10 hotels in 9 states and, from 120 to 900 employees.     Growth has occurred rapidly and includes new hotel developments, management contracts and acquisitions.  Responsible of creating, implementing and leading HR operations for all operating and opening hotels across the USA.

Erika started her career in Mexico when she worked for Hospitality Training Solutions in Mexico City as part of the team that adapted, positioned and managed the ServSafe food safety training program in Latin-American through their offices in Mexico and Chile. During her tenure she worked alongside the National Restaurant Association, the Mexican Restaurant Association, the Mexican Chamber of Restaurateurs, the Chilean Restaurant Association and Fundación Chile, a foundation dedicated to multi-industry development.

She moved to the US in 2000 and joined the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago as Recruitment Manager; in this role she also supported the staffing efforts for the Ritz Carlton.  She then took on the Human Resources leadership role for the flagship hotel for Park Hyatt in Chicago, where she had the opportunity to support the on boarding and training for the Chief HR officer.  In that role, she also participated in the mediation pilot program designed to minimize litigation costs for the hotels.  

Did you know 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



This program is pending approval for 1.5 credit hours towards PHR/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.