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9:30am – 10:30am: Leveraging Diversity & Inclusion to Impact Key Strategic Imperatives

Speakers: Jose De La Cruz, HR Directors, Travelers & Meredith Johnson, Career Program Manager, Posse Atlanta

Get insight into how one company partnered with three community/industry organizations, each with a different business model, to leverage diversity and inclusion in solving strategic talent and organizational imperatives. Learn how a Vision was transformed into action, market intelligence influenced accountability, and the synergies and differences of four organizations were harnessed to create the U.S. insurance industry’s first, diverse talent development alliance. Witness how one company’s diversity and inclusion approach is strategically impacting its talent management, organizational development, talent acquisition, workforce demographics, and branding strategies.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to take a Vision and translate it into a strategic imperative.
  • Leveraging marketplace intelligence to influence leadership buy-in and their zeal to drive execution and results.
  • The dynamics of getting four distinct organizations to collaborate without losing their respective identities.

The model behind the award-winning Career Life Cycle Alliance can be scaled and adapted to other environments. Walk away with a blueprint for business-driven community partnerships. This session is a “can’t miss” opportunity for HR professionals regardless of company size, product line, or industry.

Jose De La CruzJose De La Cruz is an award-winning human resources executive with over 30 years of experience in human capital management solutions, organizational effectiveness strategies, cross-cultural enrichment, and diversity management programs. He and his HR teams received business excellence awards for execution, innovation, and service delivery, including Pegasus HR Excellence Award from SHRM-Atlanta; Diversity Leadership Award from TAG: HR/Diversity Society; HR Impact Award; SHAPE Excellence in HR Award from SHRM-Atlanta; Georgia Oglethorpe Excellence Award; and RAVE Team Award. Jose currently holds several volunteer leadership roles with SHRM-Atlanta, is an Adjunct Faculty at Georgia State U. & Saint Leo U., and serves as a Director on the INROADS Southeast Board of Directors. As an author, Jose has been published by SHRM and its local chapters and Commerce Clearing House. Jose earned his Juris Doctor Degree from The John Marshall Law School (Chicago, IL) and B.S. Degree in Labor Relations from Purdue University.

Meredith JohnsonMeredith Johnson is a youth development and program management professional with a passion for holistic student support and improvement of educational and community outcomes. Meredith is currently the Career Program Manager for Posse Atlanta and previously worked as a Posse Trainer providing comprehensive support to Posse Scholars at three partner institutions. Prior to joining Posse, Meredith earned a Master's Degree in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her Master's work focused on community and school-based prevention and intervention programming for adolescents and their families.  Along with her coursework, she completed a practicum as a Student Support Intern in a Boston public middle school and served as a consultant to the Boston Public Schools Institutional Advancement and Partnerships Office. Before heading to Cambridge for graduate school, Meredith completed a yearlong fellowship with The Woodruff, Whitehead, and Evans Foundations where she was exposed to the philanthropic and non-profit sectors in Atlanta. She graduated from Berry College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Spanish. During her undergraduate studies, she was an engaged student leader as the president of the Habitat for Humanity campus chapter, head orientation leader, Peer Educator, and volunteer mentor with Communities in Schools.  She also founded an English as a Second Language program, completed an internship with the Northwest Georgia Latin American Center, and taught English in Costa Rica. Meredith is a member of the 2016 Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s High Potential Diverse Leaders Program.

11:00am – 12:00pm: How to Influence with Strategic HR in Small Companies

Speaker: Jim Cichanski, President & CEO, Flex HR, Inc.

Last year over 120 new labor laws were put in place in United States. Trying to keep up is almost impossible. Join our session to hear about the key thing that the government is watching over. Big fines, penalties and back wages a being awarded to employees of small to large companies.

Find out the leading Trends if the area of human capital and how companies are implementing.

And you would be disappointed if you did not get the latest and greatest trends on what companies are doing on healthcare, the raising costs and the mistakes that are hard to undo. We will cover all this in our session.

Learning Objectives:

  • Current strategic trends in HR
  • Benefits and current issues facing small companies
  • Strategic human capital in small companies
  • Where HR ads value
  • Human Capital Compliance

Jim CichanskiJim Cichanski, the founder, President and CEO of Flex HR, Inc., has 35 years’ experience in human resources, holding senior level positions in companies that were privately held, pre-IPO, foreign owned, joint venture, Fortune 50 and one labeled the “fastest growing F1000 in America.” He has a solid background in high tech, manufacturing, services and management.

His background in human resources includes organizational process evaluation and improvement, labor laws, integration of businesses, cost reduction, organizational development, and all functional areas of human resources. These include but are not limited to Benefits, Compensation, Staffing, Diversity, ERISA, DOL Compliance, Immigration, Learning & Development, Stock Administration, Executive Compensation, Employee Relations, and over 300 Mergers & Acquisitions. Jim’s experience includes operational HR management knowledge globally in 32 countries, and has transitioned companies from 30 to 67,000 employees worldwide. Companies he has worked for include Unisys, Novell, Premiere Technologies and PaySys International. Jim is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt.

Jim also spent 26 years in the Army National Guard achieving the rank of Colonel, was inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, and received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit. Jim holds a BA in Applied Behavioral Sciences, is a graduate of the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Institute, has served on the board of HealthSource of Georgia, and was an inside board member of 17 companies. He is an active member of many HR professional organizations.

1:45pm – 2:45pm: Strategic Lessons Learned About Building and Scaling Culture in Growing Organizations

Speakers: Gabby Sirner-Cohen, VP – People Operations, Ionic Security & Amy Zimmerman, Global Head of People, Kabbage, Inc.

Lots of people think that culture equals perks—nerf guns, free food and wearing flip flops to work. But a strong culture is rooted it values, and when designed thoughtfully, it empowers and inspire. Culture drives the way you hire, the way you manage and the way you communicate. It provides an environment where people feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.  In this session we’ll explore how to implement structures that provide the foundation for your culture and how to nurture them as your organization grows. We’ll hear from two people leaders whose experience spans building companies (and culture!) from the ground floor, scaling organizations up and operating with tens of thousands employees. We’ll discuss the common threads of culture and what looks different at every stage.

Learning Objectives:

  • The importance of creating core values
  • Core tenets of company culture
  • What those tenets look like at different stages of an organization’s life cycle
  • How to stay true to core values while evolving as you grow

Gabby Sirner-CohenGabby Sirner-Cohen has built a career focused on the people. In her current role, she is responsible for finding, growing and keeping outstanding talent at Ionic. Prior to that, Gabby spent 7 years at Google, Inc. (now Alphabet!) where she focused on fostering an ongoing communication loop between execs and employees and managed Google’s employment brand during Google’s most recent years at the top of the Great Place to Work list. Gabby also spent time in the non-profit and philanthropic worlds as a program officer at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Born and raised in New York, Gabby has a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Amy ZimmermanAmy Zimmerman, Head of Global People Operations @ Kabbage, is an innovative, forward-thinking professional with a fresh perspective and unique approach to Leadership and Organizational Development. She’s recognized as a creative and effective strategic planner and decision maker. A versatile business partner strongly committed to driving the business by aligning operations and people strategies to positively impact bottom line performance. Amy has spent the last 17 years helping technology companies scale by finding, cultivating and retaining talent. Prior to joining the Kabbage team, Amy was the sole proprietor of A to Z HR Solutions, a small business established to create various people initiatives for growing technology companies. Over the span of 7 years, Amy helped dozens of companies achieve their goals by providing recruiting and guidance on culture & organizational strategy. Prior to starting her own business, Amy led Human Resources for Visionary Systems, Inc. a company she helped build from 10 people to over 100 prior to its acquisition by TransUnion in 2004. Amy graduated from the University of South Florida where, following graduation, she was a substance abuse counselor and court arbitrator for first time juvenile offenders.

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Congratulations! You Have a Seat at the Table – Now What? – What Your Leaders Really Want and Need from a Strategic HR Partner

Speaker: Janet Sherlock, SVP & CIO, Carter’s

How many conferences, webinars, books, blogs and articles have been written about HR getting a seat at the table? This session takes that topic to the next step: how to add value to the partnership with your c-suite leaders after you get a seat at the table. Who better to get this insight from than a C-suite leader? We are pleased to have Janet Sherlock, SVP & CIO of Carter’s join us for a candid discussion. Over her career tenure as CIO and VP of Information Technology for companies like Guess, Calico Corners and now at Carter’s, Janet has partnered with HR to address business challenges. She will be joining us to share examples of when HR was effective and when they weren’t in supporting the c-suite leaders in achieving business objectives. Come prepared to learn form example and to ask your questions.

Learning Objectives:

  • What business leaders are looking for in an HR Partner
  • How to impact the business through your c-suite partnership

Janet SherlockJanet Sherlock is SVP & CIO of Carter’s in Atlanta, GA. Carter’s is the market leader of baby and children’s apparel under the Carter’s and OshKosh B’Gosh brand names. Prior to joining Carter’s, Janet was a Research Director for AMR Research, now a division of Gartner Research. Janet held CIO roles and senior leadership positions in various companies including: Calico Corners, Guess?, Inc., ARCO am/pm© stores, and Mobil Oil. Janet has a B.S. in Business Logistics from the Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Marymount University.