Building a Culture for Workers and Companies to Thrive in Times of Change

In an era of digital transformation and rising employee expectations, companies will need to become even more attuned to the needs and aspirations of workers to keep them engaged and satisfied on their career paths. And in an environment of hybrid work and strained profits, employers will have to focus on making work both efficient and sustainable. How can companies do more with less, while maintaining employee well-being? What are the next frontiers in talent acquisition, employee benefits, learning and development, and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging?

From Day One is a Recertification Provider for SHRM and HRCI. This session is eligible for 4 credits from both organizations. The Activity IDs will be sent to attendees after the conclusion of the session.

From Day One Is Proud to Welcome Our Title Sponsor, Avenica


08:30 AM - 09:30 AM
Grand Hall Breakfast
09:30 AM - 09:35 AM
Brown Theater Opening Remarks
09:35 AM - 09:40 AM
Brown Theater A Word From Our Title Sponsor


Kris Palmer, VP, Partner Solutions, Avenica

09:40 AM - 10:00 AM
Brown Theater Making Flexibility a Core Value, From Hybrid Work to Career Growth (Fireside Chat)

Flexibility is a quality that can benefit many aspects of a company’s culture. The HR chief for a global energy technology giant illuminates how a work-from-anywhere approach provides a larger talent pool, and a skills-based focus for career growth creates broader opportunities for all. 


Deanna Jones, Chief HR Officer, Baker Hughes


Paul Pavlou, PhD, Dean and Cullen Distinguished Chair Professor, C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston 

10:00 AM - 10:45 AM
Brown Theater Whole-Person Well-Being: Nurturing a Balanced Workforce (Panel)

As organizations recognize the importance of employee well-being beyond traditional health benefits, leaders are exploring comprehensive strategies to foster whole-person care. How can leaders implement policies and practices that support work-life balance, ensuring employees can thrive both personally and professionally? How can organizations expand their well-being initiatives to encompass mental health, financial wellness and long-term planning, resilience, and physical fitness, creating a holistic approach that addresses various aspects of employees’ lives?


Kelly Oliphant, VP, HR, Talent & Organizational Development and Learning, Memorial Hermann Health System 

Nikhil Shahane, Global VP, People Development, TechnipFMC 

Helena Deal, VP, HR, Hess Corp. 

Cheryl Nienhuis, Director of Health and Welfare Programs, Mayo Clinic

Sarah Ziemer, SVP, Employer Sales, MOBE


Matthew Kitchen, Editorial Director, Chron, the Houston Chronicle

10:45 AM - 11:10 AM
Brown Theater Mapping the Human Genome of Potential (Thought Leadership Spotlight)

For more than 500 years, human beings have used resumes to assess the potential of individuals. While it may be tempting to think that the reason we still use them is because they’re a good indicator of future performance, the truth is that we just haven’t found anything better. Yet the reliance on resumes, combined with technology, is a catastrophic combination. Algorithms that scan for keywords, metrics, and skills effectively exclude more than 80% of potential job candidates. What if, instead of relying on an exclusionary demand-side search for skills and themes, we were to use an inclusive, supply-side approach, allowing people to demonstrate their potential? Through data science, performance coaching, and some empathy, we can change the way the world works.


Scott Dettman, CEO, Avenica

11:10 AM - 11:35 AM
Grand Hall Coffee Break
11:35 AM - 12:20 PM
Education A The Power of Feedback: How It can Make or Break Your Employee Experience (Workshop)

“Feedback is a gift.” We’ve all heard that adage before, but it’s an accurate statement when it comes to enabling successful teams. As executives and HR professionals focus on growth of their people and businesses, it’s critical to understand the importance of feedback and infuse that into the culture. This workshop will explore the real impact of feedback in your organizations and why it matters; memorable exercises that will amplify the importance of feedback; methods to infuse feedback strategies into your team and whole organization; and examples of companies that are doing it well.


Rob Catalano, Chief Engagement Officer, WorkTango

11:35 AM - 12:20 PM
Education C Leading Change: Brain-Friendly Change-Management Strategies (Workshop)

Change is now the norm. We’re living in an era where an organization’s capacity to change quickly and effectively is pivotal to its survival. The challenge? Our brains resist change and crave certainty. LifeLabs Learning is here to help! In this session, you’ll learn science-backed strategies to help companies and employees adapt, accept, and commit to change. You will discover the key skills to lead and reinforce change initiatives; practice your change-messaging skills; and leave with a strategic-change checklist you can use in any situation.


Tara Nouveau, Learning Experience Designer, LifeLabs Learning
12:20 PM - 01:20 PM
Grand Hall and Water Terrace Lunch
01:20 PM - 02:05 PM
Education C Leading With the Heart (Workshop)

Social-emotional learning (SEL) and emotional intelligence (EQ) are crucial aspects for personal and professional development. Leaders who incorporate SEL and EQ into their leadership style can create positive work environments, foster strong relationships, and enhance overall team effectiveness. Dr. Randee Sanders will cover the importance of EQ in leadership and lead an interactive workshop that will provide quick tips to help enhance EQ awareness.


Dr. Randee Sanders, Associate Dean of Faculty, School of Business & Economics, National University

01:20 PM - 02:05 PM
Education A Building Belonging for Everyone (Workshop)

Join us for a transformative session exploring workplace belonging—a universal yet often overlooked necessity in many DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives. We’ll uncover how a sense of belonging impacts employee engagement, productivity, and overall well-being. We’ll also discuss the risks a business runs when belonging is broken. Through interactive discussions, real-world examples, and practical exercises, we’ll be sharing knowledge and next steps to help inclusive-minded leaders drive meaningful, measurable systemic change. Attendees will aquire a deeper understanding of the importance of belonging in the workplace and be empowered to own their part in the process, ensuring that everyone in their organization can feel valued, respected, and welcomed. 


Teresa Hopke, CEO, Talking Talent, Americas 

Renu Sachdeva, Head of Client Solutions, Talking Talent, Americas 

02:15 PM - 03:00 PM
Brown Theater DEI Will Endure, But Corporate Advocates Will Need to Reframe Their Approach (Panel)

With initiatives toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) enduring a backlash on several fronts, advocates would be well-advised to rethink their goals, strategies, and messaging. If there’s still a strong business and moral case for DEI, what approaches will work better in the current climate of culture wars, corporate austerity, and legal challenges? Should companies put a greater emphasis on belonging? In an increasingly diverse country, how can inclusiveness be reframed so that fewer workers feel threatened by it?


Jill Ramshaw, VP, HR, Marathon Oil  

Madhuri Kumar, VP & Global Head of Talent Management, ChampionX

Lucho Vizcardo, Head of International HR, Western Hemisphere, Nabors Industries

Mindy Fitzgerald, Global Director, Diversity Culture and Engagement, Air Products 

Elise Smith, Co-founder and CEO, Praxis Labs


Shelby Stewart, Associate Editor, Essence Communications 

03:00 PM - 03:25 PM
Brown Theater Navigating the AI Revolution: Transforming Workforces for the Future (Thought Leadership Spotlight)

This session delves into the critical aspects of workforce transformation in the age of AI. You will gain an understanding of how to plan for different ways AI can displace, replace, or augment workers and the strategies needed to adapt effectively. Mike Wilke and Akhil Chauhan will demonstrate how to collect and analyze workforce data to predict and manage the impact of AI. The session will cover essential strategies such as prioritization of work, automation, offshoring, and crucial upskilling. 


Mike Wilke, Account Executive, Orgvue

Akhil Chauhan, Senior Solution Consultant, Orgvue

03:25 PM - 03:50 PM
Grand Hall Coffee Break
03:50 PM - 04:35 PM
Brown Theater People First: The Crucial Role of Investing in Employees in Challenging Times (Panel)

By prioritizing investments in their workforce, organizations establish a foundation for sustained success, even amid periods of corporate austerity. What are the most inventive and budget-friendly ways to invest in your people, from innovative benefits, recognition, workshops, mentorship, and more? How are enlightened employers discovering what employees need? In what ways do these investments enhance company culture, promote employee retention, and foster engagement and what systems can companies use to measure success?


Sadie Bell, VP of People Systems and Automation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) 

Kristi Pittman, VP, HR, Daikin Comfort Technologies North America

Trisha Conley, EVP, People and Culture, LyondellBasell

Jenna Sneed, U.S. Growth Leader, HR & Compensation Consulting, Gallagher

Ben Sampson, Chief Evangelist - Social Impact and Employee Engagement, WizeHive


Amanda Drane, Reporter, the Houston Chronicle

04:35 PM - 05:00 PM
Brown Theater Workspace Leadership: the Powerful Role of Place in Worker Well-Being and Productivity (Fireside Chat)

The return to office provides a strategic opportunity for employers to show leadership in creating and sustaining a healthy workspace, both in physical and behavorial terms. From building materials to wall colors, the workpace has an influence on a worker’s ability and motivation, and the behavorial environment has a powerful effect on a worker’s sense of autonomy, belonging, and meaning.


Alan Witt, PhD, Professor of Management & Leadership, Public Policy, and Psychology, C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston


Shern-Min Chow, Anchor and Reporter, KHOU 11 News 

05:00 PM - 05:05 PM
Brown Theater A Word From Our Title Sponsor


Kris Palmer, VP Partner Solutions, Avenica

05:05 PM - 05:10 PM
Brown Theater Closing Remarks
05:10 PM - 05:30 PM
Grand Hall Evening Reception


The conference will take place at the Asia Society in Houston, known for showcasing Asia's arts and culture, education, sustainability, business, and technology.