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SUMMIT 2018: Learning Sessions
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Learning Sessions

This year's learning sessions aim to provide attendees with diverse offerings that highlight proven tactics, strategies and theories to advance your knowledge. New this year  the call for speakers was expanded to include both HR practitioners and suppliers contributing to organizational success.

Learn more about each session below:

Innovations in Inclusion and Diversity
Rick Guzzo, Consultant, Mercer, Melissa Donaldson, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Wintrust, and Jamica Quillin, Diversity and Inclusion Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Studies show that a diverse workforce performs with a higher degree of creativity and innovation, resulting in organizational growth. Employees report feeling more satisfied and empowered within diverse spaces — and that’s not all: creating a more inclusive workforce can lead to increased financial gains. However, rapidly changing demographics worldwide present a number of challenges, from an increased focus on cultural competency, understanding how gender issues impact each global region, to the threat of legal repercussions. How can employers make the important changes that they need in order to achieve their diversity goals, improve morale, and position themselves as diversity and inclusion leaders?

Two cases of innovative approaches to achieving D&I goals will be presented. One offers a deep look within a single employer’s efforts and the other describes a collaborative approach among multiple employers. The first client co-presenter is Hyatt’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion who will describe the company’s global, data-driven approach to creating insights and driving change. The hospitality giant was able to identify crucial workforce gaps — in hiring, retention, and promotion--stemming from different challenges due to its global footprint and then combat them by implementing actions and accountabilities to foster an environment of inclusion. Lessons learned and keys to Hyatt’s success will be shared. The second client co-presentation is highly relevant to Chicagoland HR leaders and practitioners in particular. Chicago’s Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) Initiative is a rare example of 18 competitive companies who collaborate to find ways to overcome diversity and inclusion challenges in the financial services industry. The FSP is focused on growing the representation of African-American and Latino talent within Chicago’s financial services industry, particularly in positions of leadership. It also focuses on raising the cultural competencies of financial services employers. Like Hyatt, FSP adopted a data-driven methodology to its work. We will describe in detail the Initiative’s approach and the strategies implemented by its participating employers.

The session will begin with brief opening remarks by Mercer’s Rick Guzzo, who has worked closely with Hyatt and the FSP. Two twenty-minute presentations from Hyatt and FSP will follow. The final fifteen minutes, moderated by Rick, will be reserved for audience questions and interaction allowing Summit attendees to get the answers they need to tailor the D&I roadmap to their own needs and walk away with actionable insights.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Using "talent flow" data to guide actions to meet D&I objectives.
  2. Gaining and maintaining buy-in for collective action to D&I objectives.
  3. Projecting future states to support strategic plans.
Sponsored by


Link Between Strategic Thinking and Highly Effective HR Professionals
Nancy Ortega, Partner, Kensington International, and TBA
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explaining recent research studies that provides the key patterns of highly effective HR professionals.
  2. Understanding the leadership behaviors that lead to a highly successful HR professional.
  3. Putting into practice ways of increasing strategic thinking.
Sponsored by


Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Coaching and Leadership Development
Jim Ludema, Professor, Global Leadership, and Director, Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Benedictine University, and Amber Johnson, Chief Communications Officer, Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Benedictine University
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

This hands-on workshop will give you new tools for leadership development and coaching using Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI's powerful process will help you reframe the challenges you encounter so you can mobilize strengths, find solutions, create engaged and effective teams, and ultimately bring out the best performance in yourself and others.     

In this session, we'll give an overview of the Appreciative Inquiry mindset, then we'll help you make application to coaching and leadership development. We'll share new tools for applying AI at the individual level, through future-focused coaching and learning to give effective feedback. We'll also show how you can use AI at the team level to develop leaders, strengthen engagement, create strategy, and build the energy and momentum you need to succeed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn to apply our feedback tool, the "find it, flip it, elevate it" process, to give more effective feedback by transforming challenges into opportunities.
  2. Learn our 10 Tips for Appreciative Coaching, which offer a new perspective on how to get the best possible results from your coaching.
  3. Learn to adapt the AI process to suit the leadership development challenge you're facing, in order to find fresh ideas and new strategies.


Blockchain: What the Hype Means for HR
Alexandra Prodromos, Executive Director, Chicago Blockchain Center
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

What is Blockchain and what could it mean for the future of HR?  We know that the underlying technology has the potential to change the way we digitally transact in our lives and, therefore, impact the way we work.  However, the technology is still very new and not well understood by most. This session will explain blockchain and bitcoin, the first use case of blockchain technology.  It will also explore other nascent use cases that have the potential to transform HR practices such as employee identity verification (aka digital identity management). In this session, we will: 

  1. Describe the history of blockchain and the rise of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin
  2. Illustrate how blockchain technology actually works
  3. Distinguish use cases that are now in production, and ones that are possible with blockchain
  4. Examine where this space is headed, and how you can become involved


Leading organizations are exploring new approaches to support the financial well-being of their workforce. A growing number of organizations plan to shift resources toward the varied (and growing) range of financial services and providers to deliver convenience and value to employees in their financial lives – and to build and measure engagement in the employer offering. The presenters will explore the factors driving employers to rethink financial well-being, as well as discuss steps leading employers are already taking to build their financial well-being programs. Hear about a forward-thinking approach to measuring an organizations workforce’s financial stress using a data-based approach and how the baseline analysis was expanded to develop the opportunity for improvements in productivity metrics and health care costs associated with improvements in employee level financial well-being.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand global trends in financial resilience, how employees’ behaviors and priorities link to financial independence, and how gaps in resilience and independence correlate to workforce productivity and physical health.
  2. Learn how and why employers use data to identify short and long-term financial well-being in their workforce.
  3. Explore how employers measure the potential employer-level ROI/VOI for improvements in workforce financial well-being.
Sponsored by


HR as an Enabler of Business Transformation
Tatiana Repelin, VP, Human Resources, Salter Labs, and Stephanie Carver, Senior HR Manager, Salter Labs
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

For companies of all sizes, change has become the new normal.  Business must continuously evolve, and sometimes even radically transform, to meet the demands of an ever changing world.  What’s HR role in the process?  How can we enable the required change as a function, and as individual practitioners?  This session will present a case study of HR’s role in Salter Lab’s transformation from a founder owned company with a strong brand and mature product line, one challenged by a highly competitive market, slow growth, and limited internal infrastructure; to a growing company with a differentiated product portfolio, and the people, processes, and systems required to sustain growth. 

This session is geared to HR professionals in small to mid-size companies who are interested in learning: 

  1. Pragmatic ways to engage and retain employees during a period of rapid change. 
  2. How to evolve the HR function to meet the demands of the business.
  3. HR's role in a business transformation.


How to Use Data and Visual Analytics to Tell Your HR Success Story
Kami Bond, Senior Vice President of People, Uptake, and Karissa Schmoe, Manager, Business Intelligence, Uptake
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Discover how a data company that creates value for clients through analytics and insights embarked on transforming HR data into a compelling story for action and change.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to leverage data visualization to generate demand and interest from business leaders.
  2. A success story in collaboration and partnership across functional teams (HR/People Team and Business Analytics).
  3. How to identify the right metrics for the outcomes you are striving for.


In this interactive discussion, a panel of talent acquisition practitioners from various companies will share information around the talent market today and the recent shifts along with the changing role that talent acquisition leaders are taking today. They will address methods of aligning talent acquisition with business strategy along with tactical application to provide attendees with actionable recommendations. In addition, these panelists will share their biggest win as it relates to talent acquisition in their organizations.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to manage recruiter req loads
  2. The average recommended number of reqs per recruiter
  3. The challenges facing talent acquisition leaders and recruiters and recommended solutions
  4. The business impact of a good/bad hiring solution
  5. How to be prepared for unexpected hiring needs
Sponsored by