Whether you're a Broker or an HR Party of One, attending virtually or in-person, Weekdays with Bernie offers something for you.


Day 1
Wednesday, May 20


8:30 am - 5:30 pm CDT

BerniePortal Training
(For pre-conference registrants only)




Day 2

Thursday May 21


8:30 am - 9:00 am CDT

Welcome / Opening Remarks


9:00 am - 10:00 am CDT

Keynote Speaker: John DiJulius

The Relationship Economy

10:00 am - 11:00 am CDT

Exhibitor Visits (Break)


11:00 am - Noon CDT

Bernie Breakouts:
10 Tops to Spend Less on Healthcare
The Road to Meeting 1
Expanding Beyond Benefits


Noon - 1:00 pm CDT



  1:00 pm - 2:00pm CDT

General Session: Dr. Josh Luke
Is Healthcare Bankrupting Your Business?


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT

Bernie Breakouts:
Guardian's Supplemental Health Products
Change Management
Meta-Planning for BerniePortal


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CDT

Exhibitor Visits (Break)


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm CDT

BerniePortal Keynote: Alex Tolbert

What's New with BerniePortal?




Day 3

Friday, May 22


9:00 am - 10:00 am CDT

General Session: Mick Rodgers
The Advisor of Tomorrow


10:00 am - 11:00 am CDT

Exhibitor Visits (Break)


11:00 am - Noon CDT

Bernie Breakouts:
Dynamic Between Sales & Service
Financial Health & Wellbeing Supplemental Benefit Solutions
Recruiting, Hiring & Retaining Millennials


Noon - 1:00 pm CDT



1:00 pm - 2:00 pm CDT

General Session: Jeff Spraggins, Ph.DNext-Generation Molecular Imaging for Precision Medicine: Cancer to COVID-19 and Beyond


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT

Bernie Breakouts:

Selling Benefits Virtually
Meta-Planning for BerniePortal

DAY 1: Wednesday, May 19

7:30–8:30 a.m. CDT

Broker Training Conference Check-In (Brokers Only) | Prefunction Area

8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. CDT

Broker Training | Ryman 1 & 2

4–6 p.m. CDT

All-Conference Check-In (HR and Brokers) | Prefunction Area

6–8 p.m. CDT

Welcome Reception | Ryman Terrace (In the case of poor weather, join us in the Front Atrium)

DAY 2: Thursday, May 20

7:30–8:30 a.m. CDT

Conference Check-In / Breakfast | Prefunction Area / Armstrong

8:30–9 a.m. CDT

Opening Remarks | Alex Tolbert, BerniePortal Boone/Crockett

9–10:30 a.m. CDT

Keynote Speaker | Kindra Hall: Stories That Stick: The Irresistible Power of Strategic StorytellingBoone/Crockett

Stories have the ability to captivate, influence, and transform those who encounter them. And every company has countless stories to share. The problem? These tales are often overlooked and remain untold. By not recognizing the power of storytelling, businesses miss out on critical opportunities to connect in powerful and profitable ways. 


Until now. Best-selling author and storyteller Kindra Hall will forever change the way you understand the power of your stories—and give you the tools needed to make the most of each. In her session, Hall will explain the science behind the effectiveness of storytelling, detail what is and what isn’t a story, deliver specific strategies you can use to tap into your unlimited supply of stories, how to avoid the biggest storytelling mistakes, and leave with specific tips for crafting and sharing compelling stories. 


By the end, you’ll leave feeling empowered, excited, and capable of telling more strategic stories that captivate customers, influence behaviors, and transform business.

10:30–11 a.m. CDT

Exhibitor Visits (Break) | Prefunction Area

11 a.m.–Noon CDT

Bernie Breakouts (Happening Simultaneously):

  • Breakout Speaker | Brian Tolbert: Breaking Down Career Paths and Compensation Levels at Your Brokerage | Ryman 1
    As your brokerage grows, the career paths and compensation levels within it become more specialized. In this session, we’ll discuss how you can think about developing a compensation model for your team and how BerniePortal’s technology can ensure smooth transitions from one role to the next. During this session, Brian will be joined by Kyle Hoeft, CVA, and Eric Kuhen of MarshBerry. 

  • Breakout Speaker | M. Kim Vance: Preparing Your Business for the New Normal of Employment Law in 2021 and Beyond | Ryman 2
    Now more than ever, employers must consider the ramifications of costly and damaging lawsuits related to sexual harassment, workplace equality and diversity, and more. Find out what you need to know about legal issues facing small businesses in the new year—and how you can prepare accordingly.


  • Breakout Speaker | Sarah Hecht: Forget Annual Reviews: Rethink Your Approach to Performance Management and Implement 1:1 Meetings | Ryman 3
    Annual reviews are a thing of the past. Outdated and often more harmful than helpful, forward-thinking employers are shifting the way they approach performance management. In this session, we’ll introduce 1:1 meetings—an alternative to annual reviews—and show how they improve communication, provide ongoing feedback, and help set up managers and direct reports for continuous success.

Noon–1 p.m. CDT

Lunch | Armstrong

1–2:30 p.m. CDT

General Session Speaker | Anton Gunn: The Diversity Advantage: How Understanding Inclusion Can Build Your Company's Culture and Boost Your Bottom Line Boone/Crockett

Industry-leading organizations have two things in common: they have inclusive leaders and they are intentional about corporate diversity. The problem in the era of COVID-19 and social unrest is that too many organizations and executives have collectively taken their eye off of both. Instead, they have reduced diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts and allowed the silence and the conflict around racial differences to spread like cancer throughout their business culture and workforce. Eliminating the intentionality of diversity and inclusion can result in low employee engagement, low productivity, high turnover, discrimination claims, and toxic workplace culture. Not to mention billions of dollars collectively lost in discrimination claims each year.


Anton Gunn knows the negative impact a failed diversity strategy can have on business. His expertise as a strategic advisor to the President and CEO and the executive team led to impactful initiatives that improved employee engagement, workplace culture, and community relations fueling their growth strategy to nearly $3 billion in revenue resulting in the organization making Forbes’s List of Top Employers for Diversity. Anton has learned that anyone can build an industry-leading organization if they gain The Diversity Advantage. By learning and embracing a few key principles modeled by some of the greatest leaders and organizations, you can build your company culture and boost your bottom line.


In this inspiring and challenging presentation, attendees will leave knowing how to understand the current turbulent environment in America, develop the right mindset around racial justice and diversity, build inclusive and resilient teams that are prepared to grow your company, model the behaviors of an inclusive leader, and build a culture that is responsive—not reactive—to external changes.

2:30–3:30 p.m. CDT

Bernie Breakouts (Happening Simultaneously):

  • Breakout Speaker | Catarina Muschaweck: Build Better Benefits: How You Can Help Clients Develop More Competitive Benefits Packages | Ryman 1
    Better benefits means a better bottom line. From improving retention rates to hiring better candidates, benefits packages go a long way in helping employers build a team that’s built for success. In this session, you’ll learn how to help clients maximize their offerings—and stay competitive in a fast-paced hiring environment.


  • Breakout Speaker | Alex Tolbert: Meta-Planning for BerniePortal: What’s Next in Our Product Roadmap? | Ryman 2
    BerniePortal Founder and CEO Alex Tolbert takes the lead with a meta-planning session focused on where the platform is headed next. In addition to a brainstorm that’s open to all participants, you’ll learn how to conduct your own meta-planning session for your brokerage or employer.

  • Breakout Speaker | Sarah Weinstein: How You Can Use Marketing Tactics to Recruit the Best of the Best | Ryman 3
    Between high-speed search engines and the increasing use of mobile interfaces, it’s only getting tougher for employers to compete for top talent. The good news? You can do something to stand out from your competitors. In this session, we’ll discuss several techniques that marketers use to gain and sustain audiences—and how you can use these same tactics to attract job candidates.

3:30–4 p.m. CDT

Exhibitor Visits (Break) | Prefunction Area

4–5:30 p.m. CDT

BerniePortal Keynote Speaker | Alex Tolbert: What's New with BerniePortal?Boone/Crockett

BerniePortal Founder Alex Tolbert will share the platform and company's latest updates, including new product and service level enhancements.

DAY 3: Friday, May 21

8–9 a.m. CDT

Breakfast | Armstrong


9–10:30 a.m. CDT

General Session Speaker | Paul Keckley: Megatrends Impacting the U.S. Healthcare IndustryBoone/Crockett

The U.S. healthcare system is labor-intensive, capital-intensive, and highly regulated. Keeping up can be challenging, but by staying on top of the latest trends impacting the industry, employers can anticipate major changes and better roll with the punches. 

In this session, healthcare policy analyst and industry expert Paul Keckley will cover clinical innovations that change how patients are diagnosed and treated, technological disruptions that displace traditional clinical and administrative processes, shifting accountability, private capital, changing regulations, and plenty more. The result? Employers will be more prepared than ever to face healthcare in 2021 and beyond. 

10:30–11 a.m. CDT

Exhibitor Visits (Break) | Prefunction Area

11 a.m.–Noon CDT

Bernie Breakouts (Happening Simultaneously):

  • Breakout Speaker | Ben Crownover: How BerniePortal Can Help You Reposition the Value You Offer Clients | Ryman 1
    A new year means new opportunities. With pricing now available to employers, brokers using BerniePortal are presented with a slew of new ways to reposition the value they bring to clients. In this session, you’ll learn how BerniePortal enhances your value to clients—and how to demonstrate this value in your communications.

  • Breakout Speakers | Justin Leader, John C. Howard, & Dan L. Ealy: Reimagining Healthcare Access for Underserved Populations | Ryman 2

27 million Americans struggle to access healthcare; many of whom are working full-time and earning upwards of 400% above the poverty level. Highlight Health advocates connecting these individuals with quality care by proactively encouraging smart, informed decisions about one’s healthcare. At a fair price and through the use of technology, community programs, and empathy, Highlight is connecting hard-working Americans to the care they deserve.

  • Breakout Speaker | Aubrey Smith: New Hire Deep Dive: Applicant Tracking, Onboarding, and Compliance | Ryman 3
    BerniePortal offers more than just best-in-class benefits administration. From a robust applicant tracking system to onboarding features and compliance capabilities, we’ll walk you through a few must-have tools that help you get the most out of your software investment throughout the employee lifecycle.

Noon–1 p.m. CDT

Lunch | Armstrong

1–2:30 p.m. CDT

General Session Speaker | Alex Tolbert: COVID-19: How to Decide When to Require Employees to Come Back to WorkBoone/Crockett

Or really, how to think about any big decision where your intuition warns you could get it wrong. And that getting it wrong would be bad! In this session, BerniePortal CEO Alex Tolbert will review how the company evaluated the decision about requiring BerniePortal employees to come back to work through the lens of the famous Kepner Tregoe "Decision Analysis" framework.


Whether or not you've already made this decision for your organization, this valuable "Decision Analysis" framework for evaluating big decisions is one you can return to again and again–both in business and in life.

2:30–3:30 p.m. CDT

Bernie Breakouts (Happening Simultaneously):

  • Breakout Speaker | Brian Tolbert: Using BerniePortal to Drive Growth in Your Prospect Pipeline | Ryman 1
    BerniePortal is more than just a tool for current clients. When properly optimized, brokers can use the all-in-one HRIS to help drive vital growth in their prospect pipelines by helping employers bring their processes online. In this session, you’ll learn how to capitalize on BerniePortal’s best-in-class features to get your foot in the door—and set yourself apart—with new prospects. ​

  • Breakout Speaker | Lindsey Van Cleave: Tools that Help You Better Manage Employee Performance | Ryman 3
    Any experienced HR professional will tell you that managing employee performance is an ongoing process. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. In this class, we’ll cover how BerniePortal tools that manage employee performance, PTO, and time help reduce administrative burden and make your job even more strategic.