Jason WeberAssistant Vice President People Development, Texas Tech University
Wanda HayesAssistant Vice President Learning & Organization Development, Emory University
Jessica AvilesVice President Talent Management, ALS Group
Cheryl KerriganVice President People, BlueCat
Jason Weber is the Associate Vice President – People Development for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. In this role, Jason leads a team that supports an Institution engaged in a Values Based Culture Journey. Leveraging values developed by employees, Jason has designed a full cycle leader development program that provides development opportunities for all faculty and staff. Prior to joining Texas Tech University, Jason was the Director of Enterprise Training and Development for the State of Wisconsin where he led the implementation of a shared services model for training and development that reached 21 State Agencies and 40,000 employees. For the past 12 years, Jason has worked with all levels of leadership focusing on leader and team development. Jason has been published in Training Industry Magazine and Faculty Focus. In 2019, Jason was honored with a Readership Award from Training Industry Magazine for his article titled, “Improving Team Effectiveness through Servant Leadership.” Jason is currently completing his dissertation for his Doctor of Education degree in Leadership through Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. His research interests include Servant Leadership and team development, Employee Engagement, and Executive Leader Development.
Dr. Wanda Hayes serves as the Assistant Vice President for Learning & Organizational Development at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She joined Emory in 2007 and is responsible for the development and implementation of a learning strategy that includes executive, management, and employee development, e-learning, executive coaching and organizational development. She works with Emory’s senior leadership to align the learning strategy with the talent management strategy for the University, and she works closely with senior leaders on areas related to executive on-boarding, teambuilding, and change management. Under Wanda’s leadership, Emory University has been recognized as a “LearningElite Organization” by Chief Learning Officer Magazine for ten years in a row, as well as receiving other national awards for their leadership programs. She was the recipient of the Atlanta Business Chronicle/SHRM-Atlanta Inaugural HR Excellence Award (2019) for the Best Learning & Development and Talent Management Strategy, and she was honored in 2017 with the Emory University Award of Distinction. She often speaks at conferences on the topics of leadership development, development planning, talent management, performance management, personality and leadership, and how to create successful leadership development programs.
Prior to Emory, Wanda served as Manager of Leadership Development at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), where she created management development programs and assisted in the development, implementation, delivery, and measurement of a program for healthcare executives. She also served as an internal executive coach for senior leaders at CHOA.
Prior to Children’s, Wanda was Manager of Leadership Assessment and Development at BellSouth Corporation in Atlanta. There, she conducted and oversaw the assessments of high potential leaders within the company and for potential New Hires at the executive level. She also provided individual feedback, coaching, and development planning.
Prior to BellSouth, Wanda served as the Director of Academic Assessment & Institutional Research at the University of South Carolina Aiken (USCA) and as adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology and the School of Business.
Wanda began her career as an independent consultant providing services to industry, local government agencies, and institutions of higher education.
Wanda earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia, and is a licensed psychologist in the State of Georgia.
Outside of her work at the University, Wanda provides independent consulting to local organizations, serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Read with Malcolm/Share the Magic Foundation [literacy], and serves as a volunteer with the Atlanta Weimaraner Club Rescue. She lives in Watkinsville, GA with her husband and their two Weimaraners, Gus and Daisy.
Jessica’s extensive management experience comes from her 10 year tenure in the Retail sector where, she has helped, both, large and small teams achieve their best performance potential.
In her current role Jessica is pivotal in driving the performance of the ALS team. In addition to that, she organizes fun events for the staff and is the driving force behind finding the right initiatives for The ALS Group to give back to the community as a firm. Mrs. Aviles spearheaded and now oversees ALS’ intern program to support a “grow your own” staffing model for entry level candidates looking to start their career in Risk Management.
Jessica went to college in New York and has a degree in Fashion Business. She was raised in Staten Island, where she continues to reside with her husband and daughter Mia.
Cheryl Kerrigan is the Vice President of People for BlueCat where she is responsible for the overall people strategy focusing on attracting, retaining, and inspiring top talent. Cheryl is passionate about creating a culture of employee success where employees feel recognized and valued for the contributions they make.
With close to 20 years of experience in global Human Resources, Cheryl is a seasoned HR Executive who began her career as a recruiter focused on discovering exceptional talent. She then moved into several HR Leadership roles as the initial HR resource in fast-emerging global technology companies, where she was responsible for building out the people function and strategy.
Sheila AustinDirector Learning & Development, BlueCat
Dr. Hitendra WadhwaProfessor, Columbia Business School
Kathleen KingVice President Learning and Talent, Omnicom Health Group
Lisa ManegoldVice President Talent, National Express
Sheila Austin is the Director, Learning & Development at BlueCat responsible for all internal learning initiatives. With over a decade in learning efforts, she is passionate about leadership development as a means to positively impact the employee experience and organizational culture.
Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa
Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa researches, codifies and teaches the “Inner Mastery, Outer Impact” principles that underlie his work at Columbia Business School and Mentora Institute. Hitendra is Professor of Leadership Development at Columbia Business School, where his class on Personal Leadership & Success has for many years been the most popular leadership elective, earning him the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Executive-MBA Commitment to Excellence Award. He has also received the Marketing Association’s award for the Most Dynamic and Engaging Professor, and the Lear Award for Service to Students.
Hitendra is passionate about investigating the inner laws of outer success, and about using digital innovation to build scalable and sustainable models for leadership development. His groundbreaking work on leadership principles and practices has won wide acclaim in leading media including Fortune, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, and BBC.
In the past, Hitendra has forged a fusion between mathematics and business (Ph.D. in Management Science, MIT Sloan School), developed growth strategies for Fortune 500 companies (Consultant at McKinsey), and helped Silicon Valley build Web 1.0 (Founder and CEO of Paramark, a digital marketing company).
Hitendra has a deep and abiding interest in the world’s mystical traditions, especially in the ancient truth-seekers of the Himalayas. In his free time, he enjoys engaging in a range of activities that stimulate the mind, stir the heart and nurture the spirit.
Kathleen King is the global head of Learning and Talent at Omnicom Health Group (OHG). At OHG, the world’s largest fully integrated global healthcare communications company, Kathleen is responsible for the learning and talent management initiatives for the group’s network of 30+ companies. Through OHG University, a benefit available to all OHG employees, access is provided to a full curriculum of offerings around management, leadership, professional and personal development. Kathleen is responsible for talent management initiatives at OHG and has designed and introduced a full-scale talent assessment and development program that runs annually.
Kathleen’s expertise reside in the areas of coaching, instructional design & delivery, talent management, leadership development, and brain-based learning. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Managerial
Economics, Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and is an ACC level certified coach through the International Coach Federation.
Lisa is a strategic HR executive and pragmatic business partner with over 20 years of broad leadership experience supporting highly matrixed environments in Fortune 100 companies at the corporate, division and business unit levels. She serves as a trusted advisor and change agent in the areas of organizational effectiveness, executive succession and career management, employee engagement, leadership development, human resource process improvement and talent acquisition. She has served in key HR leadership roles at National Express, LLC, Navistar, Manroland, and Mitsubishi Motors of America. She earned a BS in Speech Communication Education and an MS in Communication from Illinois State University.
Tamra ChandlerPrincipal People Advisory, EY and Founder and CEO, PeopleFirm
Allan ChurchSenior Vice President Global Talent Management, PepsiCo
Mary MestonVice President Talent Management, Concentrix
Dynasti HuntManaging Director Talent & Equity, Third Sector Capital Partners
Tamra is a nationally recognized thought leader, author, and speaker. She’s spent the majority of her career thinking about people, researching how they’re motivated, and developing new and effective ways for organizations to achieve the ultimate win-win: inspired people driving inspiring performance.
Tamra brings more than thirty years of experience in strategically partnering with organizations across industries on varied and complex business transformation projects to her role as EY Americas People Advisory Services Leader, Principal. Her down-to-earth, results-driven approach emphasizes the human element of organizations and an unwavering focus on the larger picture.
Prior to joining EY, Tamra was the CEO and co-founder of PeopleFirm, one of Washington State’s fastest-growing businesses and most successful women-owned firms. Prior to founding PeopleFirm, Tamra served as Arthur Andersen Business Consulting’s Managing Partner for the Pacific Northwest practice, and as the executive in charge of People and Solutions at Hitachi Consulting. She was one of four executives accountable for the performance of Hitachi’s global consulting business.
In 2016, she wrote the acclaimed book How Performance Management is Killing Performance — and What to Do About It. Her second book, Feedback (and Other Dirty Words): Why We Fear It, How to Fix It was published in June 2019.
Allan H. Church, PhD, is the Senior Vice President Global Talent Management at PepsiCo where he is responsible for setting the enterprise talent assessment and development strategy for high-potential identification. During the past 20 years there he has designed and delivered many of the company’s world class processes and tools including performance management, talent planning and review, employee surveys, 360 feedback, and several leadership competency models. Previously he spent nine years as an external OD consultant working for W. Warner Burke Associates and several years at IBM in the Communications Measurement and Research, and Corporate Personnel Research departments where he worked on advertising insights and global surveys. Allan received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.
As an HR executive with experience in many of the Fortune 500, successful startups in and around the Silicon Valley and a number of global enterprises, Mary has extensive experience in large scale organizational growth, talent transformation and change and talent enablement. She has held numerous leadership positions in a wide range of top technology. BPO, pharmaceutical and consumer product companies as well as working in financial, energy and retail industries.
In her various roles, she spearheaded numerous talent acquisition and retention strategies and campaigns for hard to fill high tech and leadership needs across multiple industries and talent shortages. From personally providing full scale recruiting services, to establishing talent acquisition strategies and championing “new to industry” approaches- Mary focuses on helping leaders, organizations and groups develop effective strategies for generating significant growth and success.
Currently, as VP Talent Management for Concentrix – she leads the Executive and Hi Pot development and coaching effort focusing on several key areas essential to success in a chaotic/fast changing world: Vision and Strategy, Enabling Remote Work Groups and employee engagement in today’s key skill set shortages.
Mary has Masters in Organizational and Leadership Development from JFK University, Bachelor’s in Psychology/Business from Marquette University and many certifications in the field of Management, Executive Leadership and Talent Development.
Dynasti leads Talent and Equity for ThirdSector, where she leads all initiatives related to people with an intentional focus on racial equity and inclusion. Dynasti’s commitment to Talent Development and Equity spans over 15 years of leading Human Resources teams and coaching CEOs, Leaders, and Executive Leadership Teams across the country in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining the ThirdSector team, Dynasti most recently led Talent and Human Resources teams at EducationSuperHighway and Rocketship Public Schools, primarily focused on developing each organization’s internal strategic talent work. Dynasti grew up witnessing her parents’ fight for her and her siblings to have access to equal quality opportunities from education to housing and beyond. She has since remained committed to ensuring she can help provide the same opportunities for all leaders.
Dynasti leads a dual-career life, serving also as a Group Fitness Coach and is able to teach leaders how to incorporate a healthy balance across all aspects of their life. Her ability to coach, in multiple areas, allow for her to bring a unique lense to how leaders can grow both professionally and personally. Dynasti believes that all leaders are defined by pivotal moments and experiences that allow for them to make significant changes that lead to greater outcomes, stronger results, and most important, larger impact for the greater community in which they work and live in. A 2020 Top 100 HR Icons Award Winner, Dynasti has a B.B.A. from Mercer University, an MBA from University of Missouri, Kansas City, and an M.E.L. from The Board Center. Dynasti is also a Broad Residency Alum, Pahara Institute Next-Gen Alum, and member of the national Forbes HR Council.
Alana FreeVice President People and Culture, GoodLife Fitness Clubs
DeRetta RhodesSenior Vice President Human Resources, Atlanta Braves
Polina ZlatevVice President Global Talent Management, Novelis
Robin WillisDirector Talent Development and Learning, Piedmont Healthcare
Alana is a certified as a facilitator in Crucial Accountability, Crucial Conversations and Getting Things Done. She is also a certified Executive coach in the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching and a certified coach for EQI and EQI 360. Alana has held various positions at GoodLife throughout her career that have led her to her current role; Vice President, People and Culture. Alana knows what it takes to get, keep and grow a team of more than 13,300 GoodLife Associates. When she’s not working, you can find Alana mountain biking, water skiing, participating in any winter sport and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
DeRetta Cole Rhodes, Ph.D., is the SVP/Head of People Capital for the Atlanta Braves where she supports the Major League, Minor League and Battery property development in all areas of People Capital initiatives.
Previously, DeRetta was the EVP/Chief Human Resources officer of YMCA of Metro, the VP, Human Resources, at First Data, where she provided consultation on human capital and organizational development strategies for over 5,000 First Data colleagues within Financial Services and Consumer and Network Solutions, the Vice president of human resources for Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., supporting Global Technology Operations.
Before joining Turner, DeRetta held leadership roles with EY, ADP, HomeGrocer.com, and YUM Brand.
DeRetta received her undergraduate degree from University of Georgia, her Master’s in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and her Ph.D. in Adult Education from University of Georgia. She is a certified facilitator for the Benchmark 360 assessment by the Center for Creative Leadership, DISC coach and facilitator, qualified facilitator for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and qualified coach for HOGAN Assessment.
Currently she is a Board of Director member and Membership Engagement Chair of Human Resource Leadership Forum (HRLF), member of Human Resource People & Strategy (HRPS), Board of Director member and Board Development Chair of 21st Leadership, member of Argyle Advisory Board, and past president of the Alumni Board of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) at University of Georgia.
DeRetta’s published work are as follows:
Cole, D. (2010). Courage under Fire: How Black Women have learned to survive in Corporate America
(Doctoral Dissertation). University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
Cole, D. (October 2012). The Storm is Still Brewing; Leadership Challenges for Women Leaders and their Corporations: A Call for Change in Leadership. Presented at the conference of International Leadership Association (ILA), Denver, CO.
Cole. D, Munley, A, Santana, L. (October 2013). Realities, Challenges and Leadership Resilience for the Female Executive: Practices Revealed from across the Globe. Presented at the conference of International Leadership Association (ILA), Montreal, Canada.
DeRetta has also been a speaker and served as a panelist at several events such as; Argyle (Atlanta, Dallas), Marcus Evans, HR Strategy & Innovation Summit, Connect HR Leadership and TedX UGA (March 22, 2018); to name a few.
DeRetta lives in Cumming, Georgia with her husband Leon and has three sons, Cole, 21, Austin, 19 and Jordan, 18.
Polina Zlatev is the Vice President Global Talent Management & Learning at Novelis Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia where she has worked since 2012. Novelis is a world leader in rolled aluminum products, the world’s largest recycler of aluminum and the industry leader for innovative solutions in the Can, Specialties and Automotive product markets the company services. In her current role, Polina leads enterprise-wide talent initiatives including culture, employee engagement, succession planning, talent development programs and initiatives for leadership, technical and functional talent growth.
Polina has been instrumental in changing her company’s approach to succession planning including data driven talent review process and accelerating high potentials’ development for critical business roles.
Polina has been with Novelis in various leadership roles including North America Region HR Leader and Head of Human Resources for the company Corporate and Global R&D groups. In addition to her time at Novelis, Polina has also worked at RockTenn (currently WestRock) and Flagstar Bank. She holds an MBA from Walker School of Business, Piedmont College in Athens, GA.
Allowing employees to shine absolutely makes Robin Willis happy. A veteran of the hospitality industry, Robin has worked for several large restaurant chains including The HoneyBaked Ham Company of Georgia, Church’s Chicken and Tropical Smoothie Café where she held a variety of operations, communications and training positions such as Vice President of Organizational Services where she led communications and training for Tropical Smoothie Café’s 500 cafes and 250 franchisees. Currently employed at Piedmont Healthcare, Robin leads the Organizational Development function for eight hospitals and 17,000 employees. Outside the office, Robin is the president of a non-profit organization called A Time to Build that she founded with her husband Jerry. The organization funds capital projects in under-developed countries and to date, has funded more than 32 projects in 11 countries including a girls’ home in Ferrier, Haiti; a boys’ home in Bangalore, India and a church in Kabarondo, Rwanda. Robin and Jerry live in Atlanta with Paisley, their spoiled Havanese.
Maria Constanza (Connie) brings over 20 years of HR experience with a local, regional and global perspective, and across a variety of businesses and geographies. Career Growth, Leadership Development, Culture Change and Learning have been recurring topics on her HR agenda. She has extensive experience in HR Business Partner roles, as a consultant as well as CoE roles in Talent Development, Capability Building and Talent Acquisition. She has performed in roles based in Latin America and in the US and has worked virtually and directly with international teams across the globe. Connie holds a Specialization degree in Business Administration from the Rosario University, which complemented her studies in Psychology at Javeriana University, both in Bogotá, Colombia. She currently is Director High Potential Programs at Pfizer. In this role she is responsible for the design, implementation and evaluation of corporate-wide learning programs to develop the next generation of leaders. She lives in New Jersey with her daughter and son and is passionate for biographical movies.