Weekdays with Bernie 2021 Speakers & Topics

Stay tuned for more speaker updates!

General Session Speakers

Kindra Hall | Keynote Speaker

Topic: Stories That Stick: The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling

Kindra is a professional storyteller who teaches leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs across countless industries to harness and leverage the power of their stories. Her book, Stories That Stick, debuted at #2 on The Wall Street Journal Bestseller List, and Forbes said it “may be the most valuable business book you read.”


In 2020, she became the Chief Storytelling Officer of SUCCESS Magazine, where she interviews icons like Deepak Chopra and Misty Copeland in an effort to hear and share their stories of success. Ms. Hall shares this expertise during her session as she explains the science behind the effectiveness of storytelling and provides specific tips for HR professionals to craft and share compelling stories that empower and excite employees—and transform how your team operates.


Ms. Hall lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Paul Keckley | General Session Speaker

Topic: Megatrends Impacting the U.S. Healthcare Industry

Paul is Managing Editor of The Keckley Report, a healthcare policy analyst, and widely known industry expert. During the period preceding the passage of the Affordable Care Act, he facilitated sessions between the White House Office of Health Reform and significant health industry trade groups as private sector input was sought in the legislation.


He is also a frequent speaker and advisor to healthcare organizations focused on long-term growth, sustainability, and advocacy strategies. Inspired by the constant changes in the healthcare industry, Dr. Keckley’s presentation will cover a wide-ranging collection of issues, trends, and new rules and regulations facing small businesses in the new year. The result? Employers will be more prepared than ever to face healthcare in 2021 and beyond. 


Dr. Keckley completed his B.A. at Lipscomb University, his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Ohio State University, and a fellowship in economic policy at Oxford University. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee, and enjoys golf, jogging, and the search for great coffee.

Anton Gunn | General Session Speaker

Topic: Build Your Culture, Boost Your Bottomline: How to Develop a Culture that Gets Big Things Done

Anton is a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama and the world’s leading authority on Socially Conscious Leadership. He is the bestselling author of The Presidential Principles and has been featured in TIME Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, INC Magazine, BBC, NPR, and Good Morning America.

Mr. Gunn has spent his life helping people build diverse, high-performing teams and world-class leadership culture, from playing SEC football and being the first African American in history elected to the S.C. legislature from his district early in his career to now working as a leadership development consultant and serving on multiple boards.


He’ll rely on this experience during his general session presentation, which teaches employers how they can develop a long-lasting culture that boosts their bottom line. Mr. Gunn will also demonstrate how organizations can use this framework to create quality communication between employees and clients, develop an effective rewards and recognition process, and build a high-performing team that reflects the diversity of their industry.


Mr. Gunn is a graduate of the University of South Carolina (USC), where he also earned a master’s degree in Social Work. In 2014, he was named a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Harvard Institute of Politics.

Ryan McCostlin | General Session Speaker

Topic: COVID-19: How to Decide When to Require Employees to Come Back to Work

Ryan is BerniePortal’s very own HR party of one. He has taught as an adjunct instructor of organizational development at Vanderbilt University and has served as a faculty member for the Tennessee Bar Association. 


In his general session discussion, Ryan will review how he evaluated BerniePortal’s return to the office during the pandemic using the famous Kepner-Tregoe “Decision Analysis” framework. In doing so, the session will teach HR pros how they can use this same system for evaluating big decisions both in business and in life. 

Ryan has a B.S. from Vanderbilt and an MBA from Yale. He is also the face of BerniePortal's Youtube show and podcast, HR Party of One.

Breakout Session Speakers

Alex Tolbert | Breakout Session Speaker

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

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 presentation, 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.

Brian Tolbert | Breakout Session Speaker

Topics: Breaking Down Career Paths and Compensation Levels at Your Brokerage; Using BerniePortal to Drive Growth in Your Prospect Pipeline

Brian Tolbert leads the employer advisory team at BerniePortal’s sister company, brokerage Bernard Health, where he focuses on business development and vision.

M. Kim Vance | Breakout Session Speaker

Topics: Preparing Your Business For The New Normal of Employment Law in 2021 and Beyond

M. Kim Vance is a shareholder in the Labor & Employment Group at Baker Donelson's Nashville office. In addition to defending companies in employment litigation, Ms. Vance's practice focuses upon presenting in-house management training programs to reduce employment-related legal risks for companies across the nation, counseling management clients through auditing human resources policies and practices to reduce legal risks, and developing pre-litigation strategies to improve available defenses in preparation for litigation.

Catarina Muschaweck | Breakout Session Speaker

Topic: Build Better Benefits: How You Can Help Clients Develop More Competitive Benefits Packages

Catarina Muschaweck is an Account Manager for Bernard Benefit’s Client Success team. She is responsible for retaining more than 70 employer clients, providing strategic advice to navigate the complex world of healthcare, and helping clients create more robust benefit packages for their employees.

Sarah Weinstein | Breakout Session Speaker

Topic: How You Can Use Marketing Tactics to Recruit the Best of the Best

Sarah Weinstein leads BerniePortal’s Marketing team. She is aPHR certified and an expert on combining the worlds of Marketing and HR.

Ben Crownover | Breakout Session Speaker

Topic: How BerniePortal Can Help You Reposition the Value You Offer Clients

Ben Crownover leads the Bernard Benefits Employer Client Success team and is responsible for the overall happiness and retention of the employers and their employees who put trust in Bernard Benefits.

Jocelyn Chambers | Breakout Session Speaker

Topic: How BerniePortal Can Help You Reposition the Value You Offer Clients

Jocelyn has been with Bernard Benefits for 10+ years and manages the Large Group book of business. She’s responsible for building and cultivating relationships, developing strategies, and executing implementation related to employer benefit packages.

Aubrey Smith | Breakout Session Speaker

Topic: New Hire Deep Dive: Applicant Tracking, Onboarding, and Compliance

Aubrey is an Employer Success team member at BerniePortal and is responsible for providing personalized customer service to employers across the country who are utilizing BerniePortal.

Lindsey Van Cleave | Breakout Session Speaker

Topic: Tools that Help You Better Manage Employee Performance

Lindsey leads BerniePortal’s Advisor & Employer Success teams and is responsible for helping brokers and employers use BerniePortal, from training to implementation and beyond.

Eric Kuhen | Breakout Session Speaker

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

Eric Kuhen is a Platform Strategy Consultant at MarshBerry and has more than 20 years of sales and management experience in the insurance industry. Mr. Kuhen holds a B.A. from Marietta College and has held his Property & Casualty license in multiple states for almost 25 years.

Kyle Hoeft, CVA | Breakout Session Speaker

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

Kyle Hoeft is a Vice President at MarshBerry, where he’s responsible for deal execution on buy-side and sell-side transactions, deal negotiation, integration planning, and more. Mr. Hoeft received his B.B.A. in accounting and finance from Grand Valley State University. He also holds the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) accreditation and is a member of the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA).


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