Skip to Page Content

2018 Speakers at the Louisiana Conference on HR

    Agenda      Speakers      Sponsors

    2018 Full Speaker Biographies


    • Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP -  SHRM Board of Directors At-Large Member and Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosa's, Inc.
    • Neen James, CSP - Leadership & Attention Expert, Motivational Speaker and Author



    • Magdalen Bickford
    • Michelle D. Craig
    • Brooke Duncan III
    • Jim Casadaban, Moderator


    Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP -  SHRM Board of Directors At-Large Member and Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosa's, Inc.

    Steve Browne is the Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosa's, Inc. - a regional Pizzeria restaurant chain in Southwest Ohio with 14 locations and over 1,100 Team Members.

    Steve has been an HR professional for 30 years and has worked in the Hospitality, Manufacturing, Consumer Products, and Professional Services industries in various HR roles.

    He is currently a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Board of Directors and has been a member of the Membership Advisory Council (MAC) representative for the North Central Region of SHRM and Past Ohio State Council Director.  He facilitates a monthly HR Roundtable as well as an HR internet forum called the HR Net which reaches over 9,400 people globally each week.

    Steve is an accomplished speaker who has been featured at local, regional and national Conferences, Chambers of Commerce, HR chapters and businesses. 

    He’s very active in Social Media and has a nationally recognized HR blog – Everyday People. ( He also has authored a new book called “HR on Purpose !!” which looks at Human Resources from a fresh, positive and intentional perspective.


    HR on Purpose!! 5 Ways to Own, Lead and Integrate HR Throughout Your Organization

    Back to Top

    Neen James, CSP - Leadership & Attention Expert, Motivational Speaker and Author

    Neen James is the author of nine books including Folding Time™ and her most recent, Attention Pays™. In 2017, she was named one of the top 30 Leadership Speakers by Global Guru because of her work with companies like Viacom, Comcast, Cisco, Virgin, Pfizer, BMW, and the FBI, among others.

    Neen earned her MBA from Southern Cross University and the Certified Speaking Professional designation from National Speakers Association.  She has received numerous awards as a professional speaker, is a partner in the international education company Thought Leaders Global, and is a member of the prestigious League of Heroic Public Speakers.

    Neen is a leadership expert who delivers high-energy keynotes that challenge audiences to leverage their focus and pay attention to what matters most at work and in life. Audiences love her practical strategies they can apply personally and professionally, and meeting planners love working with her – they often describe Neen as the energizer bunny for their events.

    With a strong background in learning and development and managing large teams at various corporations, Neen is the perfect fit for organizations who want implementable strategies that will help their employees avoid distractions, stop interruptions, prioritize daily objectives and say ‘no’ to requests that steal time and focus from real goals and priorities.

    Oh, did we mention that Neen is Australian? Why does that matter? Well, it means that she’s a bit mischievous, is pretty witty and a little cheeky.  She also considers herself an unofficial champagne taste tester … and a really slow runner. 


    Attention Pays™: How to drive profitability, productivity and accountability

    Back to Top


    Randy Anderson, CSP - Owner of E3 Professional Trainers

    Randy Anderson is co-founder of E3 Professional Trainers, a training firm that provides workplace and life training for individuals, teams, and companies.  His strategies are designed to help people become more engaged in their work, better equipped to do it, and feel empowered to live a more fulfilling and influential life.

    Before starting E3 in 2005, Randy spent 20 years in sales and management.  Most of that time was spent in media sales, which gave him the opportunity to work with virtually every type of business and industry.  It is from that experience that he draws the ideas and strategies to help his clients improve their performance in the workplace and to achieve their maximum potential in life.

    Randy was awarded the designation of Certified Speaking Professional in 2012.  This is the highest earned-designation given by the National Speakers Association, recognizing proven expertise in speaking eloquence, business enterprise, and professional ethics.

    Randy received his Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Communications from Texas Tech University in 1990.  Since that time, he has participated in and completed numerous training courses including; Your Leadership Legacy (Ken Blanchard Co.), Changing the Picture (Ziglar Corp.), Ethics 101 (Cox Enterprises, Inc.), LifeNet Time Management Training (Life Net Inc.), Basic Selling Skills (AVI International), Top Selling (Ziglar Corp.), Professional Selling Skills (Learning International), System 21 Selling (Executive Decision Systems), and Fast Track Media Sales (Cox Media, Inc.).  His most valuable experience has come through more than 25 years of on-the-job, real world experience: 12 of which were spent managing others, and over ten years running his own company.


    The Year in Review:  How to Make Performance Appraisals Matter Again

    Recalibrating your Compass - Leading a Strategic Planning Process

    Back to Top

    Anne Burkett, SHRM-CP, PHR, CEBS - National Practice Leader, HR Technology at USI Insurance Services

    Anne Burkett plays a key role with USI as the National Practice Leader in HR Technology for our corporate Employee Benefits Department in Dallas, TX.  Her exceptional market knowledge and many years of experience allow her to assist clients in cost-saving and strategizing to allocate the most appropriate HR solutions to meet their needs. 

    Anne began her insurance career in 2007 at Higginbotham Insurance Agency where she served as Director of HR Services until 2013.  While there Anne managed five cross-discipline professionals and led the HR services department to one the of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in Texas.

    Anne then took the prestigious role of Chief Operating Officer for Benefit Technology Resources, LLC (leading mid-market HR technology consulting firm in the country) located out of Tampa, FL.  Some of her many responsibilities included but were not limited to: the overall supervision of business operations; management oversight of benefits administration implementation and consulting divisions, with over 20 indirect reports in total. 

    A graduate of Kennedy Western University in Cheyenne, WY she obtained her B.A. Degree in Business Administration.  Anne has attained the following certifications:  Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS), Society of HR Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) as well as her Professional Human Resources Certification (PHR).   Anne’s associations include DFW IFEBS and FW Chapter SHRM. 


    Are you having nightmares about your HR Technology?

    Back to Top

    Valerie M. Grubb - Principal at Val Grubb & Associates, Ltd.

    Valerie M. Grubb is the Principal of Val Grubb & Associates Ltd., which she founded after holding a succession of senior leadership roles within major corporations including NBC Universal, Oxygen Media, IAC and Rolls-Royce. She is an innovative and visionary operations leader with an exceptional ability to zero in on the systems, processes, and human capital issues that can hamper a company’s growth. Valerie regularly consults for mid-range companies wishing to expand and larger companies seeking efficiencies in back-office operations. Her expertise and vibrant style are also in constant demand for coaching and training for senior leaders.

    Valerie graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University and obtained her MBA from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She is President of the Board for the New Orleans Film Society. Grubb’s first book, Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel (Greenleaf Book Group), chronicles her experiences traveling with her octogenarian Mom and her second book entitled Clash of the Generations: Managing in the New Workplace Reality (Wiley) offers direction to new and seasoned managers on how to motivate and engage four generations in the office.


    Preparing to Lead: Applying Project Management Skills while Leading Company-Wide Initiatives

    Back to Top

    Paul Hasney - Change Leader at Imagine Consulting, LLC

    Paul Hasney is the leader of Imagine Consulting LLC; a consulting firm designed to help today’s organizations meet the ever-changing needs of their employees and the marketplace.  He has thirty-one years of experience in the Training and Development field, fifteen in the banking industry.  His training experiences include Leadership, Management Development, Sales, Customer Service, Diversity, as well as the development and implementation of cultural change initiatives.   He is certified by the Franklin Covey Company to teach The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Leadership Foundations, Leading at the Speed of Trust and Working at the Speed of Trust.  Besides his training expertise, Paul also has over fourteen (14) years of management experience. He holds a BS degree in Education from the University of New Orleans.

    As a consultant, Paul has focused his energy in the areas of training design and delivery, strategic planning and the people side of organizational change.


    Leadership Is a Choice

    Back to Top

    Rebecca Heiss, PhD

    Engaging, inspiring and enthusiastic, Rebecca's style meets her audiences where they are and brings them along for a fascinating journey into their own minds. Brain science for business has never been more approachable and fun! Her enthusiasm for helping others maximize their potentials is as infectious as her energy.  Using the biologically driven challenges organizations face in managing behaviors, Rebecca weaves together stories from her personal experiences, cutting edge research in neuroscience, and practical takeaways for everyday operations in work and life. The result is an unforgettable experience that will permanently shift the perceptions of participants and redirect them on a course toward happier, healthier, and more productive lives.  

    As an evolutionary biologist, Rebecca brings refreshing insights from the biological perspective to help her clients make sense of the "whys?" underlying our behaviors as individuals and institutions.

    With her expertise in physiology and behavior, Rebecca’s style brings her audiences along for an enlightening journey into their own minds.  After earning a PhD with research designated as “transformative” by the National Science Foundation, Rebecca went on to hold multiple appointments in academia, and helped to found a paradigm shifting school.

    Described as a creative thought leader, she was honored to deliver a TEDx on a portion of her work and has built her career on helping others break through their biological “blind spots.”


    Breaking Through Blindspots

    Back to Top

    Larry Johnson, CSP, MA - Owner of Johnson Training Group

    For thirty years, Larry Johnson has helped organizations build more productive and profitable working cultures through the development of strong leaders and dedicated employees. He has received rave reviews from more than150,000 business, government, and health-care professionals in every state in the union, as well as in Great Britain, China, Indonesia, Central America and Australia for his presentations on the topics of leadership, change, customer service, and honesty in business. Additionally, Larry has eight years of real life experience as a manager in health care, three years as a manager in city government, and 26 years as president of his own consulting firm.

    He was awarded the City of Phoenix Award of Excellence for designing and implementing that city’s team based quality improvement program.  This program was featured in a PBS televised documentary by Tom Peters (co-author of In Search of Excellence).

    Has has co-authored the top selling book, Absolute Honesty: Building A Corporate Culture That Values Straight Talk and Rewards Integrity and the best-selling book, Generations Inc., From Boomers To Linksters, Managing the Friction Between Generations at Work.

    He is a Certified Speaking Professional with the National Speakers Association, he has his M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff AZ, and his B.A. in Education from Arizona State University, Tempe AZ.

    Larry Johnson is an engaging, insightful speaker who can help your audience raise productivity, reduce employee turnover and increase customer satisfaction – and he’s really funny too.


    Creating Insanely Positive Workplace Culture

    Back to Top

    Debra Keller - Vice President of Compliance at Reference Services, Inc. (RSI)

    Debra Keller is VP of Compliance at Reference Services, Inc. (RSI), a nationally accredited background screening firm. Deb is a national authority on background screening, regulatory compliance, the FCRA, the use of criminal records in the employment process and the EEOC’s New Guidance of 2012. She’ s a frequent speaker at State SHRM conferences across the country, spoke at the 2016 NATIONAL SHRM Conference, 2017 SHRM Talent Management Conference, 2017 WA Employment Law Conference as well as numerous industry conferences. Deb holds the FCRA Advanced Certification credential, which designates an advanced expertise in the FCRA and background screening. Deb leads a top industry compliance team, and she and her firm care for clients in all industries, of all sizes, in all 50 states and internationally.


    Background Screening: There’s MORE? Ban the Box, Individualized Assessments & More Compliance Traps

    Back to Top

    Lori Kleiman - Speaker, Author & Facilitator

    Lori Kleiman is a business expert with more than 25 years of experience advising companies on HR issues. Her background as a human resources professional and consultant gives her unique insight on how HR professionals and executives can work together effectively to achieve business goals. Her programs are designed to provide critical HR updates and best practices to small businesses. In addition, she is has served as adjunct faculty member at a number of Universities.  Previously, Lori founded HRPartners, a boutique HR consulting firm that was acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in 2007. Lori continued with Gallagher to lead the firm’s HR consulting practice before branching out again as an independent consultant, author and speaker.

    Lori has a Master’s Degree in human resources, has been certified as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the HR Certification Institute and is a member of the National Speakers Association.


    Assessments that Deliver Results Aligning Complilance with Strategy

    Back to Top

    Adrienne May, Associate Attorney at Adams and Reese, LLP

    Adrienne May is an associate attorney at Adams and Reese LLP in New Orleans. A member of the Special Business Services Practice Team, Adrienne focuses her practice on employment defense. She represents employers at all stages of employment claims, providing day-to-day counsel on a wide variety of issues, to defending employers against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, and wage and hour claims in both state and federal court.

    Adrienne C. May joined Adams and Reese in 2017 as an associate and member of the New Orleans office’s Special Business Services Practice Team. A practicing attorney since 2013, Adrienne has represented national and local businesses and sureties in a wide variety of federal and state court civil litigation matters, including construction and contract disputes, wage and hour collective actions, and copyright and trademark prosecution.

    Adrienne is a double graduate of Tulane University, earning a bachelor of arts in American Studies with magna cum laude honors in 2008 and a J.D. with a Certificate in Civil Law in 2013.


    Drug Testing in the Workplace:  Not Everything has Gone Up in Smoke

    Back to Top

    G. Riley Mills - Co-founder of Pinnacle Performance Company

    G. Riley Mills is the Co-founder and COO of Pinnacle Performance Company and co-author of The Pin Drop Principle. He has coached some of the world's top executives and leaders on their communication skills in more than 30 countries.

    Mills has guest-lectured or delivered keynotes at such events and institutions as Columbia University, Association of Talent Development (international conference), London Chamber of Commerce, New York University, Young Presidents' Organization, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University, Learning and Skills Conference (London), SHRM (regional chapters), Singapore Management University, and Manchester United.


    Blueprint to Bullseye: Mastering Communication For Professional Success

    Back to Top

    Max Muller - President at Max Muller & Associates, LLC

    Max Muller is the author of the SHRM published book The Manager’s Guide to HR: Hiring, Firing, Performance Evaluations, Documentation, Benefits, and Everything Else You Need to Know, Second Edition (qualifies for HRCI re-certification credits) and the AMACOM published self-study “The Legal Side of HR Practice.” During a more than 39-year career as an attorney, businessman, consultant, and professional speaker, he has presented more than 3,000 seminars, webinars, podcasts and audio-conferences throughout the United States, England and Canada, attended or participated in by over 100,000 individuals, Max is a highly experienced instructional designer. He has authored numerous one- and multi-day seminars and workshops, training video scripts, and internet distance learning materials for a number of adult continuing education organizations. His presentations are effective, fast paced, and information rich.


    Office Romance:  The Road From Attraction to Litigation

    Preventing and Managing Misconduct and Poor Performance

    Back to Top

    Mack Munro - Founder & CEO of Boss Builders

    Mack Munro is Founder and CEO of MACK Worldwide and is an experienced consultant, author, and speaker who has worked with executive and management teams in companies of all types, sizes, and industries in the USA and abroad. He is the author of How to Win at Performance Management.  He holds a MA degree in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University and a BS degree in Health Care Management from Southern Illinois University. He is a qualified facilitator of the MBTI and has also written and developed a number of personality and behavioral assessments and online tools.  In addition to his latest book on performance management, Mack is also the author of 10 other business books.  He has been featured as a career expert on radio, television, and print, including a monthly column in Men’s Fitness magazine.


    How to Design and Implement a Successful Strategic Management Development Initiative

    Back to Top

    Ali Payne - Regional Vice-President, Global Practice Leader, Wellbeing and Engagement at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

    Ali Payne has a sincere interest in meeting her clients’ strategic wellbeing and engagement needs, connecting the dots regarding an organization’s talent attraction, retention and productivity goals while meeting employees where they are on the spectrum of personal wellbeing. Her approach is steeped in developing strong relationships between leadership and employees. She places significant value on building a culture that creates opportunities for employees to foster healthy lifestyles when given the opportunity. Ali believes a solid wellbeing strategy is the key driver behind compressing healthcare costs and creating an engaged, resilient workforce. As a Regional Vice President, Global Practice Leader Wellbeing and Engagement, she leads her team to give companies the support they need to develop total health promotion and wellbeing practices for employers who might not have dedicated staff, and for clients who are looking to bring additional structure and analysis to existing health initiative programs through specific goals.

    Prior to joining Gallagher Benefit Services (GBS), Ali spent four years with Motorola, Inc. as a Senior Wellness Coordinator. Through this experience, she understands first-hand the value and importance of integrating benefit design, health initiatives, and education in the workplace. Now she helps clients look at benefit plan design and population health in a whole new way. She helps her clients improve their employee retention, productivity and morale through successful health strategies and implementation of well-designed programs that best meet the needs of her clients. Additionally, she focuses on innovative methods to help lower company health care costs and improve overall corporate culture.

    Ali is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and Health Promotion. She also holds a Master’s of Science degree in Human Resource Management and Health Promotion from Nebraska Methodist College in Omaha, Nebraska. She is a trained Intrinsic Coach from Totally Coached and a USATF Level Certified Running Coach. She is a 40-time marathon finisher, six time Ironman tri-athlete finisher and group fitness instructor. Her obvious enthusiasm and passion for health and wellness are contagious.


    Evolving Your Wellness Strategy to Impact Culture & Employee Engagement.

    Back to Top

    Debbie Peterson - Mindset Strategist & Coach

    Debbie Peterson is a Mindset Strategist who works with companies to shift mindsets and drive bottom-line results.

    Debbie believes that YOUR mind is the biggest tool you have in achieving breakthrough growth. At any level of your career, changing perspective and gaining additional clarity will help men and women alike overcome roadblocks to realize transformative outcomes.

    As a certified Trainer of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and with a diverse background in administration, project management, investor relations, customer service and entrepreneurship, Debbie guides you through mindset shifts that allow you to thrive in your role instead of merely survive. She is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a certified trainer of NLP at the Master Practitioner level through the Association of Integrative Psychology.  Debbie’s specialty is the Mindset of Personal Internal and External Communication driving results in Leadership, Culture, Retention, and Engagement. 


     From Frustrated to FOCUSED:  Career Mindset and Business Strategies for Growth

    Back to Top

    Nicole Baker Rosa - Head of Human Design at Kedge, LLC

    Nicole Baker Rosa is the Head of Human Design at Kedge, a global strategic design, foresight, creativity and innovation firm based in Orlando, Florida. She leads the organization’s daily operations and people development efforts, ensuring a human-centric culture across the Kedge ecosystem. Nicole is an experienced speaker and curriculum developer partnering with a variety of industries and fields. She has previously worked in the Continuing Education sector shaping, executing and analyzing non-credit online and face-to-face program offerings. Nicole holds a Master of Arts in Interpersonal Communication and Diversity Certificates from the University of Central Florida as well as a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from the University of Florida. She is a published author in journals discussing topics such as generational perceptions in the workplace and organizational communication rules. Nicole is passionate about engaging with the Orlando community through her role as Member at Large for the Greater Orlando Organization Development Network (GOOD) and volunteer for the annual Orlando Space Apps NASA Hackathon.


    Big Data Zombies:  The Battle for the Human Brain

    Back to Top

    Gregory "Greg" Rouchell - Partner at Adams and Reese, LLP

    Gregory “Greg” Rouchell is a Partner in the New Orleans office of Adams and Reese LLP.  Greg serves as the firm’s Labor and Employment Team Leader. For the past fourteen years, Greg has represented and provided legal advice to a wide array of clients. Greg’s representative experience includes: serving as national employment counsel for a Company with thousands of employees throughout the United States and advising and defending it with respect to all phases of employment law; successfully defending claims brought against employers pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), the Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act); drafting, implementing and ensuring enforcement of nationwide and state-specific Arbitration Agreements, Class Action Waivers, confidentiality agreements, and non-compete/non-solicitation agreements; and drafting and developing effective written policies and procedures for Employee Handbooks that will ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and decrease the threat of future litigation.


    Drug Testing in the Workplace:  Not Everything has Gone Up in Smoke

    Back to Top

    Lauren Schieffer, CSP - Certified Facilitator at Leading Out of Drama

    As the daughter of a career Air Force officer, Lauren Schieffer grew up being uprooted and relocated every couple of years. This imbued her with a profound independence and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. The lessons she learned from
    The Colonel” have helped her make smart decisions and overcome adversity with humility and a sense of humor.  Lauren has navigated just about every aspect of corporate America in her varied career – from trucking to achieving top-tier Sales Director status for a global cosmetics firm to managing a non-profit foundation. In her speaking career, she has presented in seven countries to associations, organizations, federal, state and local governments, as well as Fortune 500 companies - helping them improve the effectiveness of their communication and reduce unnecessary conflict.

    Lauren is a Certified Speaking Professional through the National Speakers Association and the Global Speakers Federation. Able to relate to and energize everyone from the custodial staff to C-Level executives, Lauren is a master storyteller, delivering insightful, inspirational and relevant content that empowers people to absorb and act upon what they’ve heard, and she does so in an entertaining manner with a dry sense of humor that keeps them chuckling while they’re learning.  Her enthusiasm is infectious and her passion unmistakable.


    Before it Comes to Blows! (Managing Conflict from Higher Ground)

    Leading out of Drama: Are you tried of the DRAMA?

    Back to Top

    Marty Stanley, CSP - President at Dynamic Dialog, Inc

    As an author, consultant and executive coach, Marty Stanley walks the talk.  She received the 2017 Coach of the Year - Women in Business Silver Stevie Award and is one of fewer than 1000 people in the world, to have earned the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association.

    As founder of Dynamic Dialog, Inc. in 2000, she draws on her personal and professional experience to help people transform their lives and their organizations. Her clients range from large companies such as GE Oil and Gas and Bank of America to rural hospitals, mortgage companies, commercial plumbing and law firms. She’s worked with national associations such as the US Tennis Association and International Institute of Municipal Clerks.

    Marty's books, Get Out of B.E.D. (Blame Excuses and Denial): Change Your Outlook -Alter Your Outcomes and her most recent book From Type A to Type T: How to Be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World provide the foundation for personal and organizational effectiveness and success. Prior to starting her business, Marty served in executive HR roles 3 diverse corporate environments:

    • An entrepreneurial organization that grew from 250 people to 1700 by meeting the needs of an underserved market: Employers Health Insurance, now Humana,
    • An established, traditional company that had to reinvent new ways of doing business to effectively compete in a changing environment: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City,
    • An organization that transformed their industry: AMC Entertainment.


    Navigating the New Reality: A Strategic Approach to Human Resources

    Back to Top

    Wayne Tarken, CSM, SPHR - Founder & Senior Advisor at the Consortium for Analytics, Talent & Technology (C4ATT)

    Wayne Tarken, MBA, SPHR, CSM, HR Executive, Project leader, Senior Adviser has 20+ years of experience working with CHROs, CEOs, business leaders, startups in the design and execution of innovative people and business strategies

    He focuses on the integration of talent, technology, analytics into HR programs, operating models designed to improve service, grow engagement, increase performance.

    Combining cross-functional experience in HR, IT, Marketing and dual certifications as a IT Scrum Master (CSM) and HR leader (SPHR), he excels at managing the relationship between HR and IT, providing HR with the technical and practical experience needed to engage IT on technology focused strategies and implementations

    He is a member of, a global consortium of top 200+ CHROs, business leaders focused on break through contemporary thinking in HR where he developed new HR organizational and transformation models focused on HR agility. He founded the Consortium for Analytics, Talent & Technology (C4ATT), an open-source working group of senior HR leaders focused on HR 2025

    Tarken has worked with leaders at organizations such as IBM, Comcast, J&J, Coca Cola, Merck, Tesla, HP, Starbucks, American Express, Campbell Soup, Bank of America, Astra Zeneca, PwC, Glaxo, Children’s Hospital, etc.

    He’s recognized as an outstanding educator, highly valued speaker who has taught at Cornell, Temple, Penn State Universities and delivered global presentations on innovative and leading-edge HR practices.

    He graduated from Temple University with an M.B.A. in Management and a B.A in Economics.

    Follow his observations on analytics, technology, talent, HR transformation 2025 or Twitter @EmergingHRRoles


    Good HR Is Not Just Good HR Anymore

    Back to Top

    Tracy Watts - Senior Partner, National Leader for U.S. Health Care Reform at Mercer

    Tracy is a Senior Partner in Mercer's Washington D.C. office and is Mercer’s U.S. Leader for Health Care Reform.  A consultant with Mercer for 30 years, Tracy specializes in health care cost management, assisting employers in the design, evaluation, and ongoing management of health and group benefit plans for active and retired employees. 

    As a spokesperson for Mercer on Health Care Reform and also Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans -- a survey of approximately 2,000 employers across the US -- she has been quoted in numerous news sources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Money Magazine, USA Today, Business Insurance and has appeared live on CNN Financial, Fox News and MSNBC, and in taped interviews on ABC News, Hearst Television, PBS Nightly Business Report, NPR and WTOP News.  She has co-authored several articles on the impact of health care reform on employer sponsored health plans.  Tracy blogs daily on the Mercer U.S. Health News site at

    Tracy is currently on the Policy Board of Directors for the American Benefits Council.  She also served as a member of the National Business Group on Health National Leadership Committee on Consumerism and Engagement and the Standards Committee for URAC/American Accreditation HealthCare Commission.

    Before joining Mercer in 1987, Tracy was employed in the benefits department of Diamond Shamrock Corporation in Dallas, Texas.  Tracy is a graduate of Texas Christian University and has attended Mercer’s Executive Leadership Development Program


    ACA Compliance and Health Policy Update from Washington, DC

    Back to Top

    Bruce S. Wilkinson, CSP - President & Chief Leadership Officer at Wilkinson Seminars and Presentations

    Bruce S. Wilkinson, CSP is a leadership/communication/culture implementation specialist, professional motivational keynote speaker, trainer and consultant, who reinforces personalized messages with humor, passion, enthusiasm and authenticity. His mission is to help organization’s translate their culture into a workplace climate that inspires leadership excellence, service and personal accountability.  He has degrees in both Safety Engineering and Occupational Safety and Health and is one of fewer than 800 people worldwide to earn the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation.  

    As President and Chief Leadership Officer of Workplace Consultants, Inc. and Wilkinson Seminars and Presentations, he has presented in all 50 states, delivering enthusiastic keynotes and training programs for over twenty- eight years to hundreds of businesses, associations, organization's, hospitals, utilities, banks, insurance companies, contractors, universities, petro chemical/energy companies and branches of the U.S. Military.


    Surviving & Thriving as a HR "Sandwiched" Professional

    Back to Top

    Shane Yount - President at Competitive Solutions, Inc

    Shane A. Yount is a nationally recognized thought leader, author, and President of Competitive Solutions, Inc., an international Business Transformation consulting firm, which pioneered the acclaimed organizational development system known as Process Based Leadership® - a business transformation methodology designed to create a sustainable culture of clarity, connectivity, and consistency through the use of Non-Negotiable Business Processes.

    Shane began his career with Perdue Farms, Inc.  Having performed such roles as Front Line Supervisor, Site Operations Manager, Quality Manager, Director of Human Resources, and Corporate Continuous Improvement Champion, Shane brings extensive experience in every aspect of organizational dynamics.  His Real World process-driven approach to creating and sustaining high performance has led leaders across the country to embrace the Process Based Leadership® methodology as a core operating system in driving organizational focus, urgency, and accountability.

    Since 1991 he has led the offices of Competitive Solutions, Inc. (CSI) in becoming one of the nations most recognized Business Transformation consulting firms,  working with such organizations as Michelin, Genentech, Pfizer, Lockheed Martin, the Department of Defense, and many others. Shane’s approach of challenging leaders to confront what truly powers performance within their organizations often allows leaders a unique glimpse into their personal leadership legacies.  His impactful message and delivery has made him a coveted speaker at national conferences and tradeshows.  His three books, Buried Alive: Digging out of the Management Dumpster, Leaving Your Leadership Legacy and Leading Your Business Forward: Aligning Goals, People, and Systems or Sustainable Success are required reading in many organizations. 


    HR Metrics: How to Educate, Facilitate and Motivate

    Back to Top


    Magdalen "Mag" Bickford

    Magdalen Bickford represents management and employers in labor and employment litigation. She also consults employers on best practices in the workplace, provides guidance on policy and procedure drafting and implementation, provides management training and education, and provides other general legal counsel.

    Magdalen has litigated, lectured, and counseled extensively in all areas of labor and employment law, with representative topics including employment policies and procedures for employee handbooks; hiring, counseling, and separation of employees; employee discipline; reduction in force; leave; employee growth and development; employee benefits; workers’ compensation; noncompete agreements; privacy issues; compensation plans and strategies; restructuring and downsizing; discrimination; arbitration; Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws; the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA); the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and general federal and state legal compliance, as well as general policies and procedures in the workplace. She has successfully appeared in numerous courts and administrative agencies on behalf of management in several states, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Labor Relations Board.

    In 1996, Magdalen joined The SunShine Pages, a regional independent telephone directory company with headquarters in Louisiana, as Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Counsel. In that capacity, she represented management and created the Human Resources Department for The SunShine Pages, and grew the company from 40 to approximately 300 employees with operations in six states. In addition to managing all aspects of human resources and employment law, Magdalen handled litigation risk management; governmental compliance and lobbying; internal investigations; contractual negotiations and obligations; and regulatory and telecommunication issues before the Federal Communications Commission as well as the Public Service Commissions of Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. In her role as Corporate Counsel, she was also responsible for general litigation.

    Magdalen returned to firm practice in 2001, where she continued to focus on management labor relations, employment law, and corporate litigation. She has also represented several non-profit and educational institutions in addition to her corporate clients. She has been recognized as a Louisiana Super Lawyer and by the publication The Best Lawyers in America®. She is a member of Society of Human Resources Management, local and national chapters.

    Michelle D. Craig

    Michelle D. Craig currently serves as Managing Partner of Transcendent Legal. With over 14 years of Am200 law firm experience, she was a partner with Adams and Reese LLP, New Orleans before starting her own firm.

    In her practice, she facilitates effective negotiation, mediation and resolution of legal matters for small to large companies in the areas of litigation, labor and employment, economic development, and transactions. She incorporates project management and process improvement throughout her cases.  To assist small and medium-sized firms in their process improvement, she created Prosquire, a legal project management software. She is very active in the community and currently serves at the Chairperson of the Orleans Parish Civil Service Commission.

    In 2014, Michelle founded Transcendent Legal, LLC. As Managing Partner, she uses technology and cloud-computing to service start-ups and potentially high-growth companies with a variety of issues such as: incorporation and formation, business planning, employment matters, intellectual property issues, drafting and advising on contracts and contract disputes, and day-to-day guidance. She also serves as outside general counsel for companies and charter schools handling her client’s litigation and transactional matters as well as their day-to-day legal needs.

    Throughout her career, Michelle has been a leader in her community and an avid speaker.  From 2007 to 2009, she was appointed and served Legal Counsel for the National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources.

    In 2008, she was named a Women of the Year Honoree by New Orleans CityBusiness, as well as an Innovators of the Year Honoree for her work with The Urban League Young Professionals.  In 2009, Michelle was named a Rising Star in the Legal Profession. She was honored as the Most Powerful and Influential Woman in Louisiana in 2012 by the Diversity Council. In 2013, she was honored as a Leadership in Law award recipient. In 2014, Michelle was selected to be a Norman C. Francis Fellow, was named a Role Model by the Young Leadership Council, and was also named an Outstanding Millennial in Law.  In 2015, she was selected to be a New Leaders Council Fellow, as well as an Institute of Politics Fellow.

    Brooke Duncan III

    Brooke Duncan III is a senior member and founder of the Labor and Employment practice at Adams and Reese LLP, headquartered in New Orleans with offices throughout the southeast and in Washington, D.C.

    Mr. Duncan has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of management for over 30 years and his practice emphasizes proactive advice and education. He is a regular participant in seminars for employer groups and has authored numerous articles and other publications for employers.

    Before becoming a labor lawyer, Mr. Duncan was the operations manager for one of the largest manufacturing concerns in New Orleans. As an employer and a lawyer for employers, Mr. Duncan has encountered just about every practical and legal challenge employers face in managing their workplaces.

    Mr. Duncan previously served as a detective with the New Orleans Police Department. He received his undergraduate degree from Vassar College in 1974 and his law degree from Tulane Law School in 1986.

    A native of New Orleans, Mr. Duncan is active in business and community affairs. He currently serves as a director of the New Orleans chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

    Mr. Duncan has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America as 2014 and 2018 Management Labor Lawyer of the Year for New Orleans, Chambers USA, Louisiana Super Lawyers, and New Orleans CityBusiness.

    Back to Top