Building Extraordinary Organizations—Human + Digital Collaboration

We live in an age where technology is shaping the way people live and work. From automation and AI to team collaboration, leadership, and social media, digitalization is creating unique expectations from employees and unprecedented challenges for HR. Today's employees are adapting, learning, and growing alongside this massive technological shift, and increasingly, they expect their work experience to match their life experience. 

The proliferation of new business models has placed an emphasis on technological pivots, while the implications of this sea change are impacting with leadership and human resource practices. Collaboration and teamwork will be the norm for organizations that want to thrive. Building effective teams—where collaboration, diversity, and agility are the drivers to excel—will lead organizations' business success. 

To thrive, HR leaders must lead the strategic areas driving organizational success to develop holistic approaches that will optimize human and digital collaboration to transform people's lives inside and outside of work.

The HR People + Strategy Annual Conference: Building Extraordinary Organizations—Human + Digital Collaboration will discuss the vital role of HR in leading the convergence of people and technology to build extraordinary organizations and the key elements shaping employees' work expectations.


Josh Bersin
Principal and Founder
Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP
The Rise Of The Individual In The Future Of Work 
Monday, April 23     
8:30 A.M. – 10:15 A.M

Organizations today are struggling with significant new issues: becoming digital, embracing citizenship, improving the employee experience, and redefining jobs, careers, and the organization itself. All these changes are symptomatic of something much bigger: the rise of the individual. In this research-based presentation, Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, will describe these trends and show companies how they can embrace the new world of business, where individuals and society drive

Eric Severson
Chief People Officer 
DaVita Kidney Care

Jonathan Mildenhall, (former) Chief Marketing Officer 

Mark Levy
(former) Chief Employee 
Experience Officer
Belonging Anywhere: Harnessing The Power Of Technology To Create Human Connection At Airbnb 
Monday, April 23     
10:45 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Along with brands like Amazon and Uber, Airbnb has earned a place in history as one of the pioneers of digital disruption, having upended the hospitality industry and transformed the way consumers experience travel and lodging.  At the heart of that transformation is a paradox: in order to create a more meaningful, personalized, and ultimately human experience, Airbnb leveraged advanced digital technology.  Join Airbnb's former Chief Employee Experience Officer, Mark Levy, and former Chief Marketing Officer, Jonathan Mildenhall, in conversation with HRPS Board member Eric Severson, as they trace the journey of Airbnb's ubiquitous brand promise, "Belong Anywhere" from concept to reality.  In this conversation, Mark and Jonathan will reveal the secrets of their partnership to create a seamless employee and consumer experience of belonging at Airbnb by deploying technology in ways that increased purpose, connection, individual identity, and fulfillment for every human within the Airbnb ecosystem.  

Tanya Moore
Director, IBM Career & Skills
IBM Corporate Headquarters

Beth Simonetti
Executive Vice President & CHRO
Tech Data Corporation 

Innovation in HR: Leveraging Technology To Personalize The Employee Experience

Monday, April 23    
1:15 P.M. – 2:30 P.M.

Panel Moderated by Josh Bersin
Panel Description: In an age where technology is shaping the way people live and work, how do organizations adapt to meet the expectations of their employees? In this session you will hear from three HR innovators who will share how they are leveraging cutting edge technology to create an employee experience that feels personal for each individual. The session will end with a moderated discussion with the presenters. 

Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Employees Shape Their Careers 

 Our world continues to change at blinding speed, and as the world changes, so does the talent market. Employees expect their work experience to be consistent with their consumer experience - simple, engaging, and personalized. They also report that careers and career progression are the #1 priority when selecting and staying with an employer. On the flip side, employers are finding it harder and harder to find the talent they need, and to keep their talent engaged. These trends require employers to take a new approach to careers. Hear how IBM is reinventing the career experience with artificial intelligence, providing each employee a personalized cognitive career coach to guide them each step of the way. 

The Employee Lifecycle in the Digital Era 

Do you remember when your company corporate reputation was based on what was said about you in the newspaper? How about when hiring happened with newspaper ads, mailed in resumes and on-site interviews? On-boarding was an employee handbook and development meant going to a class. Digital Transformation may be the latest buzz word but it's happening and it impacts all aspects of the employee lifecycle. Our success lies in whether we're able to adapt, evolve and thrive in this new era. 

At Tech Data, an industry transforming acquisition has been the catalyst for their evolving strategy and Beth will share how they are mirroring this in their HR strategy and impacting every aspect of the employee lifecycle. Digital Transformation does not have to mean "high tech" but it does mean "better, faster, more effective." As a golden thread of the HR strategy, Beth will demonstrate how digital transformation is weaving its way through the employee lifecycle at Tech Data. 

Ian Gover

The Future Is... Well Actually The Future Is Now

As a profession, we have spent the better part of the last 20 years discussing and planning for a seemingly elusive future state - future of HR, future of work, workplace of the future, HR 2020 and more recently 2025. Having a long-term view towards the horizon is a prudent and sound strategy for any line of business but we need to embrace the fact that the future of HR is now and it's practical, scalable and highly impactful. 

Ian will demystify the field's big trends and provide a bridge to today's future via shovel-ready applications of AI, predictive analytics, intelligent automation, gig economy, future proofing workforce.  He'll also provide an insider's view of how the world's most innovative companies are using modern approaches to HR to solve some of the biggest challenges facing organizations today.  

Rob Cross
Professor of Global Business 
Babson College 

Greg Pryor
Vice President, Leadership & Organization Effectiveness

How Leading Organizations Drive Engagement, Innovation and Performance Through Network Centric Practices
Tuesday, April 24     
8:30 A.M. – 9:45 A.M.

The collaborative intensity of work has exploded over the past decade making networks of both formal and informal relationships increasingly how organizations create value and drive innovation. However, most leaders and HR professionals have only a vague idea of these networks and often don't consider the possibility of trying to manage to boost engagement, innovation and productivity. Too often the knee jerk reaction of restructuring or simply placing more collaborative demands on employees through intricate matrix based designs or new collaborative tools is the wrong one. Based on 20 years of work across more than 300 organizations this presentation will show how leading organizations employ network centric talent processes with direct impact on business results. 

Leena Nair
Chief HR Officer

How Being More Human Will Accelerate Growth- And Build A Better Business
Tuesday, April 24   
12:45 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.

That the world is changing is old news: The future lies in whether we're able to adapt, evolve and thrive in a world where uncertainty is the new certainty. Defiant in the face of apocalyptic theories surrounding a "jobless future" in which robotics rule the world, Leena Nair offers an altogether more optimistic alternative, arguing that now- more than ever- is the time that business must become "more human."

Far from replacing people skills, innovation will, (as it has always done throughout history), unlock new human capabilities to meet the demands of this new world. Delving into neuroscience and proven data, Leena argues that as HR leaders, our primary responsibility is to understand people better. Only by recognizing human's unique needs and capabilities- then enhancing and empowering them with disruptive technology- will transformative breakthroughs happen. Placing this philosophy at the heard of everything she does at Unilever, Leena demonstrates how purposeful people have the ability to drive purposeful businesses and purposeful brands that outperform competitors- and thrive in our newly connected world. 

Kevin Dooley
Head of Human Resources
 Deutsche Bank 

Ami K Shah
Vice President, 
Deutsche Bank Labs, Strategy, 
and Innovation

Innovation at Deutsche Bank
Wednesday, April 25     
8:30 A.M. – 9:45 A.M.

In this session, you'll hear how Deutsche Bank is using Innovation Labs as a catalyst for cultural transformation. During his 18 years with Deutsche Bank, Kevin Dooley has held a variety of human resources and communications roles around the world, and has driven the HR agenda for many of Deutsche Bank's business lines. Kevin and his Innovation Lab colleague Ami Shah will discuss how their collaboration is leading innovation at Deutsche Bank. 

Dan Schawbel
Author, Entrepreneur, Partner and Research Director  
Future Workplace

Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation

Wednesday, April 25     
10:00 A.M. – 11:15 A.M.

Technology has impacted our workplaces in ways that weren't possible a decade ago. We feel "highly connected." But are we, really? Instead of strong bonds, we have weak ties. Instead of productive meetings, we have distractions. Despite the illusion of 24/7 connection, in reality, most workers feel isolated from their colleagues, their organization and its leaders. What they crave most — and what research increasingly shows to be the hallmark of the highest performing workplace cultures  is a sense of authentic connection with others. They want to get Back to Human. Dan Schawbel shows you how - while still optimizing all the benefits of technology. 

You will learn:
  • Why the highest performing and healthiest teams are the ones that are the most connected.
  • How technology can negatively impact work relationships and how to radically improve them.
  • How to recognize and support employees who feel isolated from the team. 
  • How team connectivity impacts business outcomes and can increase loyalty and organizational commitment and ways to encourage it. 

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Stan Duncan
Chief Human Resource Officer
Raymond James Financial 
Betting On Human Advice
Monday, April 23   
3:00 P.M. - 4:15 P.M.

 In a business where individual advisors and personal advice are the business, the threat of artificial intelligence could easily seem to outweigh the benefits, especially as new "robo-advisors" enter the industry. Stan Duncan, CHRO for Raymond James, a diversified financial services firm whose core business is providing wealth management through approximately 7,300 professional advisors, will share the company's unique approach to helping advisors marry the best technology with the personal relationships necessary to support complex planning needs of clients. 

Enio Velazco
Vice President, HR Strategy
& Business Transformation

Developing A Culture For Digital Transformation

Monday, April 23    
3:00 P.M. - 4:15 P.M.

Organizations across the globe are undertaking their own unique digital transformation journeys. With the rise of AI and machine learning, technology is altering every aspect of the corporate and social landscape, fundamentally changing the way we communicate and disrupting established business practices. 

The organizations getting it right today aren't the ones waiting to see how trends play out. They are the ones anticipating what comes next and proactively taking steps towards it. These organizations are building strategies that deliver sustainable growth and are using technology to differentiate and drive transformation. Research studies show that the biggest challenge organizations are facing in accelerating transformation is not the new technology itself, but the cultural change required to derive value from it.

So, how do you create a culture that fosters and accelerates digital transformation? This session will discuss recommended approaches for designing a culture that breaks down organizational silos and delivers performance.    Inclusion  

Vince Molinaro

Global Managing Director
Lee Hecht Harrison

Leadership Accountability- What It Really Takes To Transform A Company 

Tuesday, April 24      
10:15 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Companies across all industries are facing unprecedented change today. Many need to transform to remain relevant and viable. The key to success will lie in a company's ability to engage leaders to help drive organizational transformation. The challenge, however, is that this is much easier said than done. This session will provide practical insights on what really works when you need your leaders to step up in new and different ways.

Nathan Blain

Senior Client Partner
Korn Ferry

Driving Growth Through Collaboration, How The Most Admired Companies Make Size Matter
Tuesday, April 24      
10:15 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

 The average Fortune 500 company is ten times bigger – after inflation adjustments - than it was when the first list was assembled in 1955.  For some companies that size results in corporate lethargy.  Decisions are slower.  Accountability is diluted.  And, sheer complexity frustrates both customers and employees.  But the most admired companies in the world can remain agile even as their organizations grow.  Employees sacrifice personal goals for corporate goals.  They work across organizational boundaries.  And their work is rarely constrained by a formal role description.

In this session Nathan Blain, Senior Client Partner at organizational advisory firm Korn Ferry, will draw on research and real-life examples to discuss the characteristics of an agile organization and provide a practical look at how to become one. He will discuss how to assemble the right teams and help them work successfully together. And he will share frameworks and best practices on how to manage and calibrate performance and develop careers in an environment which is now about teams and not jobs.  

Paul Burrin
Vice President
Sage Business Cloud People

Sarah Hulsey
Customer Success Manager            for the Americas
Sage Business Cloud People

Stacie Alexander
Senior Human Resources
Worldwide Clinical Trials

Monica Willis
Head of Global Human Resource Operations  
SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC

From HR to People: Three Ways Today’s Leaders Are Preparing For Tomorrow’s Challenges

Tuesday, April 24      
10:15 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

HR as we know it is undergoing a seismic shift. Just as it changed from Personnel in the 80’s, it’s now transforming into a People function. Progressive ‘People Companies’ are realizing that if they want to be the best, they have to have the best. Join Sage’s Paul Burrin and Worldwide Clinical Trials HR Director, Stacie Alexander, to understand three ways leaders are adapting to this change to not only survive, but thrive, in the brave new world of People. 

Stacy Shamberger
Executive Vice President People and Revenue
Skyline Group International 

Integrating Human and Digital Forms of Collaboration Into Your Organization; How Culture and Leadership Can Determine Adoption and Success
Tuesday, April 24      
10:15 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

Today's HR executives understand that through the advancements in digital technology we can become better at "being human". Influencing how we perform our work, collaborate and even enhance our uniquely human capabilities, leading to more meaningful interactions and transactions in our lives. It's no longer just about creating improvements to the bottom-line, studies now show that incorporating human and digital collaboration can have an impact on employee engagement, development and morale, while decreasing the distance between teams and individuals.

In this interactive fact based session, we will explore insights from research, market trends and proven best practices of amalgamating both the human and digital aspects of collaboration. We will examine ideas on how collaboration can increase productivity and innovation, engage employees, attract talent and even add a deeper dimension to employee development. We'll also investigate the important role leadership plays in ensuring the successful transition, adoption and integration of all forms of collaboration throughout your organization. 

Heather Whiteman
Head of People Strategy, Intelligence & Operations
General Electric (GE) Digital

GE's Digital Industrial Transformation 

Tuesday, April 24     
2:30 P.M. - 3:45 P.M.

Join Heather Whiteman as she discusses how GE has been transforming from an industrial company to a digital industrial company through integrated talent  management practices focused, advanced analytics and a strategic implementation of talent planning. Heather will share an in depth look into the strategies implemented and the resulting successes, challenges, learnings, and road ahead. 

Dan Ward

Chief Workforce Economist
The MITRE Corporation

Kristin Bertelli
Chief of Support & Enterprise Hiring 
Central Intelligence Agency

Celia Durall
Chief Human Capital Strategies
& Assessments Division 
Office of the Director of 
National Intelligence

Mission Critical: The U.S. Intelligence Workforce Of The Future
Tuesday, April 24      
2:30 P.M. - 3:45 P.M.

In 2014, the Director of National Intelligence launched the US Intelligence Community's (IC) Human Capital Vision 2020.  It set three common focus areas for all agencies involved with Intelligence work: Shape an Effective Workforce; Embrace Continuous Learning; Embed Agility, Innovation, and Inclusion  

This shared vision has guided major modernization and innovation efforts across the 17 components of the IC.  The three panelists will describe the success of this initiative and how new technologies have enabled the Agility, Innovation and Inclusion work that is now characteristic of America's intelligence workplace.  

 The last half of this session will be an interactive discussion with attendees sharing their own insights to build on the panelists' perspectives.  


Innovation Labs – Not Your Typical Breakout Session!

The new Innovation labs are not your typical breakout sessions! Immerse yourself in our one-of-a-kind Innovation Labs. Innovation Labs are a two-hour, hands-on, unique learning-in-action experience where participants will collaborate, explore, customize and create solutions to meet their own business and talent challenges. Led by industry experts, participants will gain a deeper understanding of cutting-edge themes and breakthrough concepts discussed at the conference in an inclusive and interactive learning environment. Participants will challenge themselves to think differently, foster intrapreneurship and innovation, share ideas and engage with peers in exploring solutions to their real-time business challenges.

Sally Thornton
Founder & CEO

WorkLabAccelerator – Applying Innovation Sprints to Make Work Better

Monday, April 23, 3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

This two-hour interactive session will discuss and apply design thinking, lean startup methodology, and storytelling skills in fresh ways that you can use to align the employee experience with the customer experience. Oh, and it’s a lot of fun. Because work can be delicious if we design it to be. Learn why Airbnb, Mozilla, Deloitte, PlumOrganics, Modsy, and others (some we can’t mention – you know how it goes) are leveraging this framework not only in how they develop fantastic products for their customers, but how they build better work experiences for their own teams. (Also, Sally gives out chocolates, so that’s worth your time right there.

Ruslan Tovbulatov

Director of Corporate Product & Partnerships
Thrive Global

From Surviving to Thriving: Accelerating The Culture Shift 

Monday, April 23, 3:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Stress and burnout are a global pandemic, costing businesses hundreds of billions of dollars per year – $300 billion in the U.S. alone. But as the latest science has shown there is no tradeoff between living a well-rounded life and high performance. We know, instead, that when we prioritize our well-being, wisdom, purpose and meaningful connections, everything improves – including our decision-making, creativity, and productivity. During this session, Ruslan will uncover the latest science, influencer storytelling, and performance-enhancing well-being strategies to help you move from surviving to thriving in your personal and work life. You will leave empowered and inspired to thrive, and to accelerate a thriving culture within your organization.

Rob Cross
Edward A. Madden Professor
of Global Business
Babson College

Personal Networks of Successful People: How High Performers Innovate, Execute and Thrive at Work Through Purpose Built Networks
Tuesday, April 24, 2:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Rob will interactively share network strategies that distinguish successful people as well as a set of tools and resources that his consortium has created and made available to help companies take action on the ideas.  The research is based on hundreds of interviews and thousands of data points captured during more than twenty years of work with over 300 leading organizations.  The session will explore these dimensions and then specifically how leading organizations are bringing the ideas in to promote on-boarding effectiveness, decrease attrition, support diversity and inclusion strategies, enhance leadership development and help manage executive transitions.

Jill Havely

Director, Talent & Rewards
Willis Towers Watson

Matthew Kamensky
Willis Towers Watson
The Future Is Now: See What Myth Busters and Humpty Dumpty Have In Common
Tuesday, April 24, 2:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Digitalization is transforming the nature of work and presenting opportunities for organizational change. Jobs as we once knew them are evolving at a rapid pace; new skill requirements and occupations are emerging while others are being displaced. HR leaders need to be on the front lines to help drive the necessary organization changes and evolving talent needs – and to help ensure their organization's stay competitive and lead the market. This innovation lab will explore "hot off the press" research on the Future of Work, providing attendees with hands-on activities and take-home tools to help organizations get ahead of the future.

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The HR People + Strategy Annual Conference provides the perfect setting for HR leaders to engage in meaningful conversations that will inspire a new way of thinking. Take advantage of these networking events to meet, reconnect and re-energize with fellow leaders.

A Peer to Peer Learning Experience

It all starts with a braindate. Meet great people and learn new things. Braindates are about sharing knowledge. They are one-on-one or group conversations that you book with other participants while you’re at the conference. Get ready to discover a new way of exploring knowledge.


Continue the conversation with speakers and colleagues in a small group setting. Space is limited and seats must be reserved in advance.


Enjoy this opportunity to explore in small groups hot topics and trends that are top of mind for HR leaders.


Representatives from the industry’s top firms will be on hand to discuss the latest products and services that can address even the most complex organizational challenges.


Take advantage of this unique opportunity to network with your peers from across the profession and industries.


Kick off the conference by mingling with fellow attendees, speakers, and partners. 


Take your Annual Conference experience to the next level!

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess provides the perfect setting to enjoy al fresco living in the blooming Sonoran Desert. As in the Native American tradition, you'll live in harmony with nature...vast open spaces, lushly landscaped grounds, regal Saguaro cacti and a burning orange sun sinking behind the majestic mountains will inspire and energize you. Rich purple hues of the desert sunset, green agave plants and coral pinks and butter yellow blooming of cactus flowers, the natural palate at play is of the most unique and stunning in the world.

From art walks and culinary festivals to hot air ballooning and jeep tours, spend your free time in style at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Let the 2018 HR People + Strategy Annual Conference and Fairmont Scottsdale Princess be your gateway to everything Scottsdale has to offer:

Breathtaking Tours
Personal Golf Concierge

Ultimate Spa Experience
Transportation in Style


Braindates are about sharing knowledge. They are one-on-one or group conversations that you book with other participants while you're at the Annual Conference. It's simple:

  1. Log into Braindate to create your profile:
  2. Explore the topic market–where all participants (including you!) post the knowledge they are willing to share.
  3. Pick something you want to learn or create your own topic.
  4. Book your braindates and meet in person at the Annual Conference!

Get started!