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Weekdays with Bernie 2024
Speakers & Topics

General Session Speakers

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Johnny C. Taylor Jr. | Keynote Speaker

Topic: Seize the Opportunity: Reimagining a Better Workplace in a Post-COVID-19 World

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM-SCP, is President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR professional association. Taylor is a sought-after voice on all matters affecting work, from frequent congressional testimony to his weekly USA Today column "Ask HR." 


Taylor’s book RESET: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval was a 2021 hardcover business best seller. He has served on the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and on the White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. He is a Trustee of the University of Miami, Governor of the American Red Cross, and member of the corporate boards of Guild Education, iCIMS, and XPO Logistics.

Arnie Malham | General Session Speaker

General Session Speakers

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Aron Ain | Keynote Speaker

Topic: The Future of the Workplace

We are excited to welcome Aron Ain as our 2024 keynote speaker! Aron is joining the 7th annual Weekdays with Bernie conference to bring attendees into the future of the workplace.  


Aron serves as executive chair of the UKG Board of Directors and as an Operating Partner at Hellman & Friedman. Before transitioning into the executive chair role in 2022, Aron served as the company CEO for 17 years. In 2020, as founding CEO, Aron helped lead the merger between Kronos and Ultimate Software to become UKG amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The following year, UKG made history by becoming the first newly merged entity to land on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list, debuting at #6.  


HR experts know that it's critical to understand your people and your company’s mission to achieve fruitful, long-lasting success. Aron joined Kronos in 1979 and held a role in every functional department until his appointment as CEO in 2005. From the ground floor to the corner office, Aron knows his workforce, which enabled him to take two companies filled with different moving parts and create a workplace where people are keen to join and stay.  


He firmly believes that great people power great businesses, that anything is possible when people are inspired at work and in life, and that great management is the single largest business component that adds to shareholder value and company performance. These convictions have led to accolades in our industry and beyond, such as Aron’s multiple honors as one of Glassdoor’s Top CEOs. 


In 2018, Aron released his debut book, “WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work” (McGraw-Hill Education), which chronicles how he and the company’s leadership team used employee engagement as a business strategy to impart leadership lessons to senior leaders, HR professionals, and people managers.

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Gloria Goins | General Session Speaker

Topic: DEI, Unconscious Bias, and Healthcare Giants

Gloria Goins is currently the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Cisco Systems. She is the former head of Health Equity and Business Development for Amazon Pharmacy. In that role, Gloria helped lead Amazon’s expansion in the U.S. Healthcare industry with a focus on improving health outcomes for underserved customers and communities. Based on her role in leading health equity, Gloria was recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the top 5 Amazon healthcare
executives to know. 

She is also the former chief diversity and inclusion officer at Bon Secours Mercy Health System in Marriottsville, MD. Under her leadership, Bon Secours was recognized as one of the ten best healthcare systems for diversity and inclusion, for three consecutive years. Also, under Gloria’s leadership, Bon Secours achieved the highest employee engagement score in the organization’s history, the 99th percentile.
She is responsible for creating two diversity and inclusion organizations from their inception. She served as the first vice president of diversity at Cingular Wireless and the first chief diversity officer at Home Depot. 

Gloria is a former faculty member at Georgetown University, where she served as the founder and chair of the Georgetown Chief Diversity Officers’ Roundtable. She received a master’s degree in business administration at Mercer University, a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Stanford University.

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Madeline Mann | General Session Speaker

Topic: "Why are employees asking me that?" -  How Viral Trends Have Transformed Workplace Discourse

Madeline Mann is an HR & recruiting leader who has garnered an audience of millions, and is best known for her award-winning job search YouTube and TikTok Channels, Self Made Millennial. Mann’s job search coaching programs have led to thousands of success stories, and her work has been featured on ABC, Bloomberg, New York Times, and other publications. 

She's joining us to speak on the changing generational makeup of the workplace, as Gen Z and Millenials are projected to dominate over 75% of the workforce within the next few years. Additionally, she's going to discuss the behind-the-scenes details of how social media platforms are impacting the talent market, and how HR pros can strategize to make the most of it---or to shut it down, if necessary


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Dr. Jessica Rhodes | General Session Speaker

Topics: Employer Considerations for Patients with Obesity

Jessica Rhodes is joining Weekdays with Bernie on behalf of Eli Lilly, a company that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. Lilly is internationally recognized for its commitment to pharmaceutical excellence and was awarded as one of Glassdoor's 2024 Best Places to Work. From year to year, Lilly has also ranked highly on similar lists for Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and more. 


Jessica Rhodes is a Senior Director of Employer Engagement with Lilly. Jessica is passionate about the leadership of HR professionals in health and wellness initiatives and pharmacy quality. Dr. Rhodes earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Georgia in 2014. She has experience tailoring pharmacy strategies for employers across diverse markets. Jessica enjoys carving out free time with her husband (Jake), daughter (Catalina), two dogs (Nevada and Gwen), and cat (Auri). She loves to read science fiction but will take suggestions across any genre for good books. 


More coming soon on this session topic! 

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Alex Tolbert | General Session Speaker

Topics: Opening Remarks and What's New with BerniePortal?

Alex Tolbert is the founder and CEO of BerniePortal. He began his career as a broker at BerniePortal’s sister company, Bernard Health, where he saw firsthand the challenges small- and mid-sized businesses face when it comes to benefits and HR.


During Alex’s presentations, he’ll share the latest and greatest updates for the BerniePortal platform, which is designed specifically to help small- and mid-sized businesses better manage those many daily benefits and HR challenges. From new product features to service-level enhancements and everything in between, attendees will leave with a fresh perspective on how to make the most of BerniePortal in the coming year.

Alex received his B.S. and B.A. in Finance and International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and obtained his J.D. and M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Breakout Session Topics

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Speaker: BerniePortal Broker Council

Topic: How to Help Employers Get the Most out of BerniePortal

In this panel, members of BerniePortal’s Broker Council will provide employer group strategies and discuss benefits industry trends to help others utilizing HR technology streamline their employer groups’ benefits administration.

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Speaker: Darrin Leslie

Topic: Why Carrier Relationships Are Key to Benefits Technology

Darrin Leslie, BerniePortal's Director of Strategic Relationships, leads this session on how important it is for your benefits administration system to make concerted efforts to grow its relationships with insurance carriers. If your current solution doesn't offer integrated solutions to the complex broker, employer, and carrier communications, then you're missing out. And BernieBill may be exactly what you're missing!

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Speaker: Alex Tolbert

Topic: Meta-Planning for BerniePortal: What’s Next in Our Product Roadmap

BerniePortal’s Founder and CEO leads a meta-planning session focused on where the platform is headed next. In addition to a brainstorm open to all participants, learn how to conduct your own meta-planning session for your brokerage or employer.

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Speaker: BerniePortal Employer Council

Topic: Payroll Strategy Intensive for Employers

In this panel, members of BerniePortal’s Employer Council share their experience with Human Resources and navigating current and future trends in the changing world of work. Learn more about the pain points facing other HR professionals in a diverse collection of industries and brainstorm strategies to face the quickly evolving work landscape.

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Speaker: Fred J. Bissinger

Topic: Navigating Difficult Disability Issues in 2024, Involving Addiction Crisis and Beyond

Since the Covid pandemic began in early 2020, workplaces throughout the United States have experienced a significant increase in the incidences of employees being diagnosed with mental health issues requiring accommodation and employee addiction issues, primarily alcohol and drug-related (especially opioids).  Identifying, communicating about, and addressing such issues tends to be a difficult process – for a variety of reasons. This session will discuss how to identify such issues, strategically navigate the appropriate communications with the employee (and management team), and work through the applicable FMLA and ADA processes.

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Speaker: Andy Wainwright

Topic: Strategies for Navigating a Lay-Off

Andy Wainwright, a specialist in out-placement for organizations, guides HR professionals through the employer-facing considerations behind lay-offs or reductions in force. After walking attendees through the business case prompting lay-offs, he will cover the legal "do's" and "don'ts" and the procedural processes to follow, and end the session by defining the strategic analysis, so HR professionals can remain informed and plan ahead. 

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Speaker: Brian Tolbert

Topic: How Benefits Technology Can Increase the Valuation of Your Agency

More coming soon on this topic.

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Speaker: Meredith Box

Topic: Inviting Robo-Recruiters to the Office Party: Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) has permeated the modern workplace. AI can be a practical tool to level up traditional Human Resources functions such as applicant screening and selection, predicting and monitoring job performance, and determining pay or promotion opportunities. However, when utilized improperly, these tools can expose your business to liability under both federal and state employment discrimination laws. This session will focus on the potential pitfalls of AI in the workplace, and guidelines for how to structure a compliance program to insulate your business from liability.

More Speakers Coming Soon

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