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Pre-Conference Session Keynote Speaker
Byron V. Garrett

Session Topic:It All Begins In The Mind: The How and Why of Building Connections in the Workplace and in Life

This powerful pre-conference keynote address will focus on developing the

strategies every HR professional needs to build influential connections across
their entire organization. Now that HR has a seat at the table, the time has come
to leverage that seat to empower, inspire, and motivate the entire team.
Byron’s interactive storytelling based on personal experiences as a Generational
Influencer and Organizational Change Agent will resonate with attendees from
entry-level to the C-suite.

Session Objectives: 

1. Attendees will learn how to become the catalyst for creating a workplace
culture that empowers and inspires managers and their employees.
2. Attendees will be able to formulate a personalized “Connection Plan” for
moving forward within the work environment and in life.
3. Attendees will identify tangible ways to develop greater HR value across
the organization. 

Spotlight on Byron


Opening Keynote Speaker
Jess Eskrom


Session Topic:  Chasing the Bright Side: Why Optimism is the Secret Ingredient to Success

 When we look at someone successful, we often skip right to where this person posts on his or her profile: job title, accolades, financial status, fancy degree, and how many times they've appeared on the Today Show.

So when we look at that list, it makes us feel like we have to check those boxes in order to be successful, which can be daunting and seem impossible. However, when we hear the real stories of the initial spark of an idea from a basement or a dorm room and how it was built, we realize that every expert we know was once a beginner. We always see the Chapter 7, 8 and 9 or even their next book, but rarely Chapter 1. 

Chapter 1 in anyone's success story had to start with one thing: optimism.

Anyone who's ever done something great, created something new, shattered tradition or changed patterns had to start with the mindset that they could make it better. Optimism is the rooted belief that there's something good on the other side. In fact, studies show that optimism can be linked to a longer life span and triggers positive cognitive responses associated with greater flexibility, innovation and problem solving. 

Jess encourages her audience to use optimism as a tool to not just envision the good, but create it. When we think optimistically in our careers and in our lives, we'll feel more confident, creative and empowered to go for it. And forward mobility is contingent upon our optimistic mindset coupled with the willingness to go for it. 

By using her story of creating a million dollar company from her dorm room, Jess talks about the three essential tools to practicing optimism: confidence mindset, failure management, and purpose activation. 

Some past clients for this talk have been Leadercast Live and Catalyst University. 


  • Every expert you know, was once a beginner
  • Failures are not opposite of success, they’re a part of success
  • In order to be resilient, you have to believe in the end result
  • Tactical tips to practice optimism in our daily lives and jobs

Most tweeted line from this talk: Success is not what it looks like to others, it's what it feels like to you. 


Lunch Keynote Speaker

Emily M. Dickens J.D.,  Corporate Secretary and Chief of Staff of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)


Session Topic: Inclusion- Shifting Workplace Cultures

Too often, employers focus more on diversity than they do on inclusion only to lose time,
money and talented people in the end. Getting workplace diversity right is not enough; you
must shift to a culture that fosters inclusion. This shift can only occur with a focus on
connecting the dots and bridging the gap between a diverse workforce and one that is inclusive.
Transforming workplace culture in this manner will improve employee satisfaction and bottom-
line business results.  Join SHRM in making the shift to build and maintain a diverse workforce
that thrives together in a truly inclusive environment, where each individual is empowered to
reach their highest potential.

  Click here for Emily's bio. 

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February Dinner Event 2020

5/13/2020 » 5/14/2020
2020 Annual Conference & EXPO

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