July 19-21, 2016 | Denver, CO

Please note that the times reflected in this agenda are listed in the time-zone where the event takes place. For this event, the time-zone is Mountain Time Zone.Click Here for a Printer-Friendly Version

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

8:50-9:00 AM

Opening Remarks- The Truth About Engagement—Employees are Demanding a Better Career

Thoughtleadership Presenter:
Anne Fulton, CEO, Fuel50, and Author of The Career Engagement Game
9:00-9:45 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Tony Schwartz, Founder and CEO, The Energy Project and New York Times Best-Selling Author
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What leaders say is far less important than what they do. When leaders actively support more sustainable ways of working, the result is a significant positive impact on employees’ engagement, stress levels, retention, and job satisfaction. When leaders model in their own behavior sustainable ways of working, the effect on those they lead is far greater.

What happens when leaders intentionally meet their employees’ four core needs: renewal (physical), value (emotional), focus (mental), and meaning and purpose (spiritual)?  Are your leaders thinking about what their employees are feeling or how meeting their needs influences their productivity? How can leaders continually challenge their people to push beyond their current comfort zones, while nurturing and caring for those they lead?

In this keynote, Tony Schwartz, President & CEO of The Energy Project, will share key findings from The Energy Project’s collaborative study with the Harvard Business Review. 

You will learn:

  • How leaders actions impact employee well-being, engagement, job satisfaction, retention, and trust
  • Why meeting employees’ four core needs is critical to sustaining employee engagement and high performance
  • The importance of shifting your investment in employees as workers to investing in them as human beings
10:25-10:55 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Brady Pyle, Director of Human Resources at NASA, Johnson Space Center - Houston
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Many senior executives cite innovation as an important driver of growth, but few organizations really achieve a Culture of Innovation.  While it requires focus, intention, and persistence, the specific strategies for leading and managing innovation can be applied in any organization.

NASA’s (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) unique mission consistently places the Agency among the Top 5 Best Places to Work in Government, but it took intentional efforts to put NASA in the #1 spot for the last five years.  To build a Culture of Innovation, NASA uses three key measures while focusing on six practices that every front-line leader can execute.  In 2015, the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas made the leap to be named the most innovative organization in government—the result of specific Senior Leadership challenges; supporting employees’ pursuit of new ideas; and new awards programs.

You will learn:

  • How NASA measures & manages its Culture of Innovation
  • Specific strategies to drive innovation in your organization
  • How Senior Leaders build, model, and sustain a Culture of Innovation
10:55-11:25 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Marc Lesser, CEO and Co-Founder, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI)
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In order to thrive at a high performance level in a fast-paced environment, employees need ways to effectively cope with stress, heavy workloads, and difficult interactions.  Mindfulness practices can be applied to help employees develop emotional intelligence skills to improve internal reactions and external collaboration.  These skills are critical to allow employees to maintain high levels of performance over the long-term.

Developed at Google, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute will share the neuroscience principles behind the mindfulness practices as well as examples of impact on individuals and organizations.

You will learn:

  • The science of neuroplasticity, emotion, perception and behavior change
  • The role of attention training in enhancing mental focus and developing emotional intelligence
  • Applications and integration of mindfulness practices
11:25-11:55 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Gillian Felton, Head of People Development, Engagement and Wellbeing, National Institute for Health Research
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Picture the scene - a workforce fresh out of a wholesale re-organization with a challenging agenda ahead. A reorganization that restructured 102 networks to 15 local clinical research networks and nine coordinating centers streamlined into one; a workforce change weary, disorientated, and disengaged.


Understanding our starting point in our quest to enable a fulfilling employee experience resulting in high levels of productivity is critical; as well as giving us a baseline to measure from going forward. Championing an inclusive two-way approach where everyone has a voice is pivotal.


We are shaping our new organization by breaking the mold of ‘command and control’ and enabling ‘collaborate and create’ where we are all engagement leaders.  This means role modeling a shift in the behaviors required to operate in an environment characterized by change and complexity.


Successful re-engagement is based on regaining the trust of the staff and collaboratively laying the foundation stones of the new organization upon which to build future success. All of this in the context of a geographically dispersed workforce.


Ways forward are being decided in an emergent, step-by-step and experimental way taking into consideration where we find ourselves at any given time. We are continually exploring how technology can drive greater collaboration and break down barriers.


You will learn:

  • How to create a sense of belonging and connectivity
  • Our approach to co-writing and embedding value driven behaviors
  • Why we put the individual at the heart of the solution
11:55-12:25 PM
Keynote Presenter:
Simon Lewis, Owner of the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
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When a Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, Florida had to become an independent-minded newly-branded hotel, Simon and his team embarked on a journey to change and install a completely new set of values into a workforce once loyal to a different culture. Simon explains how values led leadership can transform your business, discussing what might happen if your employees become disengaged from your identity and revealing how they become your brand’s biggest asset when they become fully engaged employees.

In this session you will learn:

  • How to move your business from zero to hero in less time than you imagine
  • The missing ingredient most employers forget
  • Strategies to guarantee training success
  • How to manage and motivate staff to become an industry benchmark
  • Why leadership accountability is your biggest challenge
1:20-2:05 PM

Concurrent Session

Erin Bakst, Senior Director of People Operations, Vox Media
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Employees are clamoring for it. Companies are getting exponentially better at collecting it. No matter how you slice it, employee engagement hinges on feedback - not just employee-to-company, but also manager-to-employee feedback, and just about everywhere in between. But more and more, we’re learning that the traditional ways of collecting and communicating these types of feedback are broken: they’re too disruptive, too cumbersome, and too infrequent to provide valid and effective insights on both company and employee performance.

This session will illuminate how you can overhaul your company’s feedback systems - bottom-up, top-down, and peer-to-peer - in a way that’s comprehensive, holistic, and that will actually improve company performance. Discover how Vox Media and other well-known companies have reinvigorated their employee engagement programs by encouraging a culture of continuous feedback, including concrete steps you can take now to improve the feedback systems from employees, from managers, and from peers.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Specific ways continuous feedback is helping organizations improve business planning, such as employee evaluations and succession planning
  • Where HR plays a role in building and encouraging more continuous feedback, and where it should be hands off
  • Concrete steps to take for building a culture of continuous feedback
  • How to iterate your feedback programs with less fear and stronger results
2:45-3:30 PM

Concurrent Session

Mark Phelps, Chief Engagement Enthusiast, TNS Employee Insights
John Steele, Senior Manager of Human Capital Analytics, Best Buy
Moon Passino, Vice President Human Resources, North Central Region, Enterprise Rent-A-Car | National Car Rental | Alamo Rent A Car
Patti Muldoon, Chief of Employee Engagement, United Technologies
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Measuring employee engagement is no longer new, or the latest fad.  It is a vital component of an organization’s talent strategy.  Yet, if your engagement initiative is not delivering the culture change and increased business performance you and your senior team expect, it’s time to raise the bar.  Finding ways to link employee engagement results to your key business metrics not only takes analytical expertise, it puts your engagement efforts on center stage, which can be uncomfortable.

In this session, you will hear from three organizations that have integrated engagement results with business metrics in ways that deliver impact and dramatically increase leadership accountability for creating an engaged workforce. 

You will learn:

  • How Enterprise Holdings encourages local management by matching engagement scores with core performance metrics
  • How engagement is the linchpin to driving store metrics and financial success at Best Buy
  • How United Technologies measures and draws attention to the importance of inclusion in all aspects of their businesses
3:40-4:25 PM


Rex Backes, Director, Career Development & Competency Modeling, TIAA
Annamarie Lang, Senior Vice President, Employee Engagement Practice, Lee Hecht Harrison
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At the very moment we need fierce commitment and engagement from our workforce to achieve aggressive business goals.  We’re seeing top talent take flight with voluntary turnover rates steadily rising as the economy improves and opportunities open up. Research consistently shows that career development is a key driver of employee engagement, yet 70 percent of workers are not happy with the career opportunities offered by their employers. And more ominous, three in four full-time employees are open to or actively seeking new positions.

Unfortunately, there are few areas of talent management more overlooked than career and individual development planning. Often relegated as a check-the-box exercise, this strategic exercise not only helps your employees chart their career paths, but builds loyalty and ensures you have the capability to grow talent internally and drive growth. Neglecting individual development strikes at the heart of the talent management gap that exists in organizations today. Failure to address this will not only cost you talent, but will cost you productivity and growth.

This session tackles head on the problem of low engagement scores and lack of internal mobility and additionally explores why organizations can’t afford to use yesterday’s approach to career development.  We will also provide an inspiring vision for how organizations can leverage their own talent to fill key roles as one the biggest differentiators between organizations that will thrive and those that will fall behind.

You will learn:

  • How organizations can make career development holistic and sustainable so that it’s not a once-a-year event, but stays top-of-mind all year long
  • How to link career development to your performance management system and individual development plans
  • How to maximize your manager mojo so that managers are equipped to conduct productive career conversations and are supporting individuals’ career goals
4:35-5:00 PM
Keynote Co-Presenters:
Liz and Jay Scott, Co-Executive Directors, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer
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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope.

Liz and Jay Scott, Alex’s parents will discuss the ALSF movement and how it's changed the lives of many people.  They will also highlight the incredible response from employees at organizations who connect to their communities through programs with a cause.  Liz and Jay will also discuss the importance of leaders who drive a value-based culture, how leadership must live by example to truly engage a loyal workforce and how sometimes a movement starts top down and other times it takes a bottom up approach.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Engagement with your staff through job centric activities
  • Engagement with your staff through other workplace activities
  • Engagement, leadership, and team building in surprising ways
  • Leaders are accountable for the culture at work and how a great culture leads to great results

Thursday, July 21, 2016

9:30-10:00 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Doug Hutton, Vice President, Operations, The Second City Works
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Asking for your employees to be engaged with their work without giving them the space, time, and skills to do so is like asking someone to get into physical shape without giving them access to a gym or any actionable information on diet or exercise.

Enabling engagement - like most things - comes with knowledge and practice. If you want your people to connect you must give them practice connecting.

That’s where Second City Works comes in. We take our play very seriously and our improv-based methodologies will provide you with engagement exercises that you can take back to the office to allow your employees to increase their focus, intention, empathy, and overall commitment as individuals to the goals of your business.

You will learn:

  • How the tools of improvisation can lead to more engaged teams
  • Why learning through play and games improves effectiveness and retention
  • How organizations using "Yes, and" have greater engagement, more ideas, and better work 
10:40-11:15 AM
Keynote Presenter:
Brady Pyle, Director of Human Resources at NASA, Johnson Space Center - Houston
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Come hear about NASA’s journey with Coaching.  In this session, you will learn how leaders act as coaches for employees at NASA then have an opportunity to share your own journey and dialogue with participants to learn from a variety of perspectives.

For several years, NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) used strategic coaching engagements to support leadership development, technical excellence, and organization effectiveness. Budgetary constraints and a recognition that leaders must engage their workforce differently led NASA to build internal coaching and appreciative inquiry skills into leaders at all levels.

You will learn:

  • The differences between Coaching as a separate discipline versus a leadership imperative
  • How employees and leaders respond to the Coaching paradigm
  • To differentiate Coaching from performance management
  • Specific strategies to grow Coaching skills in leaders at all levels of your organization
11:15-11:45 AM
Keynote Presenter:
John Stix, Co-Founder, Fibernetics Telecom
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Let’s break down the stigma associated with leaders being closed off and impenetrable. It’s okay for us to not be perfect. We are human beings. By expressing thoughts that matter, on issues that matter, we are in essence showing the truest expression of ourselves. Thus, we are leading naturally, which allows others to feel safe enough to follow and explore inward.

My passion is to inspire other leaders to empower and care for their employees. If you have been contemplating empowerment and care for your employees, just do it without delay. Leaders who don’t care about their employees need to do it, because the return on investment and real tangible results are incredible.

I would like to share the “Chain Reaction” secrets and the incredible power of gratitude with you and your company. Seemingly small changes will lead to a much higher rate of overall happiness. The difference will be striking.

You will learn:

  • A clear understanding of the link between individual well-being and engagement
  • Effective strategies to become a positive leader
  • The rewards of adopting a chain reaction lifestyle - the power of small changes
1:15-1:45 PM

Keynote Presentation:

Lessons: Fearless HR

Keynote Presenter:
David Forman, HCI Faculty
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There are a number of lessons pertaining to engagement, leadership, culture and accountability in Fearless HR, the best-selling, new book written by David Forman, based on many of his experiences with HCI since 2004. This session first describes the Fearless HR story and how the book evolved over a two year period of time.  The two major themes that emerged---HR must first confront its past before accelerating into the future and HR’s purpose must be directly linked to furthering business results—are directly relevant to this conference.  Next, Forman identifies four major insights that are often excluded in discussions about engagement, leadership and accountability:

  • The biggest unknown driver of engagement
  • Moving from engagement to collaboration as the next big thing
  • The most important developmental asset we have
  • The strongest form of lasting accountability

And finally, Forman will share three practical tools and templates that can enhance leadership, culture, and accountability within organizations.

You will learn:

  • The lessons from Fearless HR to improve employee engagement
  • Several overlooked keys to employee engagement that may not have been emphasized strongly enough
  • How to apply three practical tools that contribute toward both employee and organizational strength
1:45-2:15 PM
Keynote Presenter:
Alex Goryachev, Head of Innovation Strategy and Programs, Cisco Corporate Strategic Innovation Group
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In 2011, only 24% of firms on the U.S. Fortune 500 list existed 25 years earlier.  Survival rates will continue to decline almost exponentially amid the accelerated pace of today’s digital economy.  Research shows it’s likely that only about one-third of today’s major corporations will survive as significant businesses in the next quarter century. 

As a result, companies of all sizes must take disruptive measures to ensure they are attracting, cultivating, and retaining a highly competitive and motivated talent base.   Corporations today must constantly refresh and reinvent themselves to keep up with market changes.

In this keynote session, Alex Goryachev, Director of Cisco’s Innovation Strategy and Programs, will make the case that successful companies in the 21st century must have two key catalysts to survive:  a culture of innovation and a workforce that’s highly engaged.  He will demonstrate the cause-and-effect relationship of these essential and oftentimes disruptive catalysts for change:  How companywide innovation challenges can ignite, inspire, and engage employees around a common goal -- from entry level positions all the way to the C-Suite.

You will learn:

  • How to develop, communicate, and evaluate a companywide innovation challenge that inspires employees to team up across all functions, geographies, and titles
  • How to engage the CEO and other C-level executives across functions to champion and mentor best practices around the innovation challenge
  •  How to cultivate individual and team coaches that help contestants to develop customer-based solutions, collaborate in inclusive and diverse groups, set bold milestones – and have some fun together!
2:15-2:45 PM

Keynote Presentation:

How Meditation Can Benefit Business

Dylan Jordan, Facilitator, Buddhist Meditation
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The Harvard Business School along with INSEAD—Europe’s leading business school—have concluded from their research that the two most effective business tools for twenty-first century executives are meditation and intuition.

Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and has survived all this time because it works. The practice of integrating meditation into the workplace has been shown to improve the general productivity in companies of any size or industry. By helping employees at all levels deal with their stress effectively, meditation enables them to focus more clearly on their own goals and the goals of the organization.  Meditation also helps employees communicate clearly with the other members of their team, increasing their level of patience and productivity.  Join us to learn first-hand how the benefits of meditation can positively affect your life as well as your organization.

You will learn:

  • How to unblock creativity, inspiration, and mental clarity
  • How meditation helps to calm anxiety and stress
  • How meditation benefits any individual or business in limitless ways