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Weekdays with Bernie 2022 Speakers & Topics

General Session Speakers

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Heather Younger | Keynote Speaker

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

Keynote speaker Heather Younger is an absolute expert when it comes to employee

engagement and human resources. She is the best-selling author of The 7 Intuitive Laws of

Employee Loyalty and founder of Customer Fanatix.


Heather actually has an educational background in political science and law, but quickly found an interest in the significant relationship between leaders and their employees. She noticed that many employees never get a chance to speak their minds even though they have valid opinions and ideas. She wanted to set an example to other leaders and made it her mission in her job to really listen to and ask questions of members of her team.


Today, she is the founder and CEO of Customer Fanatix—a consulting firm with the aim to

transform leadership behaviors to engage and motivate employees. Here, Heather gets to

deliver her message of putting employees first. In addition to speaking, Heather does

leadership training, employee focus group moderation, and consulting.


As a speaker Heather Younger is inspiring, educating, and entertaining. She’s able to

transform your organization and corporate culture and keep your employees motivated and


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Karin Hurt | General Session Speaker

Topic: Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees.


After two decades as a Verizon executive, Karin, and her husband, David, founded Let’s Grow Leaders, a training firm focused on human-centered leadership development for those determined to get breakthrough results without losing their humanity. Leaders, they found, were hungry for practical tools and leadership development that sticks.


Since 2013, Karin and David have helped grow over 10,000 leaders in 14 countries with their live leadership development programs, keynotes, blogs, videos, and books. They also provide clean water to the people of Cambodia through their Winning Wells philanthropic initiative.


Karin is an award-winning author of four books, including:


  • Courageous Cultures – How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers and Customer Advocates

  • Winning Well – A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results—Without Losing Your Soul

She is the host of the popular LinkedIn show, Asking for a Friend. And she was recently named by Inc. Magazine as a Top 100 Great Leadership Speaker.

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Andrew Mellen | General Session Speaker

Topic: Calling BS on Busy

Andrew Mellen is a keynote speaker, trainer, coach and the WSJ best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life! and The Most Organized Man in America’s Guide to Moving.

He writes about simplifying your life everywhere from Real Simple to O, The Oprah Magazine. His clients include American Express, Goldman Sachs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Mets baseball franchise, and the US Depts. of Education and Homeland Security as well as SMEs, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs everywhere.

He’s addressed audiences from TEDx, Dwell on Design and BlogHer, to Dad 2.0, The Great British Business Show, Seattle Interactive, ICF and Sustainatopia. Since 1994, Andrew has helped over 150,000 businesses and people simplify their work and lives, freeing up valuable time for the things that actually matter—which often aren’t even things at all.

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Larry Van Horn | General Session Speaker

Topic: The Evolving Role of the Employer in U.S. Healthcare

Larry Van Horn is a leading expert and researcher on health care management and economics. His current research focus centers around the shift to consumer purchase of health care and the impact it will have on new delivery models.  His research has appeared in such leading journals ranging from the Journal of Health Economics, to the New England Journal of Medicine, to the Harvard Business Review.  His commentary regarding health care economics appears frequently in mainstream media ranging from USA Today to Fox Business.

Professor Van Horn is responsible for the graduate health care programs at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.  He founded and directs the Center for Healthcare Market Innovation at the Owen Graduate School of Management.  He also holds courtesy appointments in both the medical and law schools, Professor Van Horn is a highly sought-after speaker on the topic of health care reform and markets for national associations and corporations.  He has consulted with most of the largest hospital systems and insurers in the US on topics of data analysis as well as antitrust concerns.  Together with Sen. Bill Frist Prof. Van Horn created and has co-directed the Nashville Healthcare Council Fellows Program.

He is the founder and CEO of Preverity Inc, founder and partner of LVH Economics LLC, and a Senior Professional with Berkeley Research Group.  He is on the board of directors for Community Health Care Realty Trust (NYSE: CHCT), Savida, Harrow (NASDAQ: HROW), and Preverity. He previously served on the boards of Quorum Health Corporation (NYSE: QHC) and Pierian BioSciences.  He is a member of the CEO Council for Council Capital, and advisory boards for Harpeth Capital and the Mainsail Group.

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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 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


Speaker: Trennie Williams

Topic: How to Use an ATS to Fill Open Positions

This session will cover how an applicant tracking system can organize and streamline your hiring process. You’ll also learn how to leave a candidate with an amazing first impression, be more responsive and always follow up, and evaluate future candidates and promotions for existing employees.

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Speaker: Alexus Gibson and Andrew La Haie 

Topic: Getting the Most Out of Your HRIS
This session will cover how to evaluate the key aspects of a human resources information system and determine what are the most important factors in choosing the right HRIS for your organization. You’ll also learn how the right HRIS can lead to a more engaged and accountable workforce and how a robust all-in-one system can help with compliance, organization, and efficiency.


Speaker: Alex Tolbert 

Topic: Meta Planning for BerniePortal (Day 1 and Day 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.


Speaker: Elisabeth Wallace

Topic: Overcoming the Turnover Tsunami: How to Build a Company Culture that Retains Top Talent

This session will cover how to be proactive in retaining top talent and preventing turnover in your organization. You'll learn practical strategies for understanding why employees leave using feedback, establishing a healthy and intentional environment using a Culture Guide, and building mutual trust and accountability using transparent workplace practices.


Speaker: Anthony Vaughan

Topic: Development of Leaders from a DEI perspective and Holding them Accountable 

This session will cover how to establish accountability structures with managers and main leaders after Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training. You’ll also learn the three main DEI responsibilities of every leader and how to include DEI into leadership rubrics and recruiting efforts.


Speaker: Ben Crownover

Topic: Breaking Down Career Paths and Compensation Levels at Your Brokerage

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.


Speaker: Brian Tolbert 

Topic: Why Brokers Should Help Employers Re-evaluate How they Finance Healthcare, Moving from Fully-insured to Self-insured

This session will cover why brokers should help employers reevaluate how they finance healthcare, moving from fully-insured to self-insured. The ACA's Medical Loss Ratio requirement has done nothing to lower the cost of healthcare for employers, but rather guaranteeing insurer profits. Self-funded vendors have an opportunity to grow their business by moving downstream—as long as they can provide solutions to overcoming the challenges small-to-midsize employers face around network, cash-flow, etc. Join Brian Tolbert as he shares how Bernard Benefits helps their employer clients evaluate some of these alternative financing solutions.


Speaker: Matt Walker

Topic: How to leverage BerniePortal to make communicating eligibility easy

This session will cover how BerniePortal can help make paper processes disappear, eliminating the need to track down information from employers and employees. BerniePortal utilizes BernieBIll, EDI, Alpine and payroll integrations to streamline the onboarding, enrollment, and reporting processes, not only for employers but for your agency, too.


Speaker: Katie Dwyer

Topic: Looking Ahead: What New Laws and Regulations Can SMBs Expect in 2022 and Beyond 

Employers have a lot on their plates, but few things are as consequential as compliance. In this panel session, you’ll learn more about new laws and regulation will go into effect this year, including a minimum wage increase for federal contractors, the DOL’s final rule on employer “tip credit,” changing FLSA salary threshold amounts, and the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. This panel session will also cover anticipated government and court action, including state-level crackdowns on noncompetes, the ever-expanding group of protected classes, and employee monitoring.

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Speakers: BerniePortal Broker Council 

Topic: How to Start Employers off Right on BerniePortal ​​​​​

​​​​​​​In this panel session, members of BerniePortal's Broker Council will share their experience with getting employers up and running on BerniePortal's HRIS. Their professional insight will help you make the most of tech adoption and onboarding new employer clients. This session will also feature practical tips and best practices.