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2nd Annual Diversity & Inclusion Symposium
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2nd Annual Diversity & Inclusion Symposium

When: November 29, 2018
8:00am - 4:00pm
Where: Four Points by Sheraton Norwood
1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike
Norwood, Massachusetts  02062
United States
Contact: Marissa Cammarano

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NEHRA's 2nd Annual Diversity & Inclusion Symposium


November 29, 2018 
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Four Points by Sheraton, Norwood, MA



Please join us for a 1 day exploration of the role diversity and inclusion plays in effective human capital management strategies. The day will include a keynote as well as general and breakout sessions with topics focusing on building strategies to support human capital management. This a must attend day for business leaders who have made diversity and inclusion in their workplace a top priority.



NEHRA Members: $399
Non-Members: $499


NEHRA Registration Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations must be received in writing at least 3 days prior to the workshop in order to receive a refund.


8:00 – 8:30AM–
Registration, Continental Breakfast and Networking


8:30 – 8:45AMWelcome and Opening Remarks


8:45 – 9:45AMOpening Panel: Approaches from a New Generation of Diversity Leaders

Are traditional approaches to diversity and inclusion in the process of being disrupted and reset by a new generation of thought leaders and practitioners? Hear how millennials and GEN Z may be resetting the rules when it comes to expectations and definitions of what diversity means. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding how millennials and Gen Zs define D&I
  • What are their expectations of organizations in this area
  • How diversity and innovation compliment one another
  • How diverse is Gen Z and what are they telling us
  • What role does the concept of equity and social justice play



Greg Almeida, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Global View Communications



Sheena Collier, Director of Economic Opportunity, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Amri JohnsonGlobal Head, Cultural Intelligence and Inclusion, Novartis

Pranam Lipinski, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Door of Clubs

Edie Stringfellow, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council


10:00 – 11:00AM – Breakout Sessions (choice of 3)

(1) Tapping the Talent of Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Increased awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome/autism within the workplace has not necessarily translated into an understanding of how to tap the talent of this underutilized labor pool. Today, 35% of individuals on the autism spectrum attend college,1 yet an estimated 80 – 85% are under- or unemployed.

This session describes how to evaluate the abilities of job seekers, and create an environment that is conducive to their success. Participants will learn the primary ways that Asperger’s/autism impacts adults, and strengths they bring to the workplace. Techniques for modifying the interview process will be explained. They will also receive onboarding tips and advice about creating an “autism friendly” work space. The presenter shares examples from over a decade of coaching individuals and consulting to organizations.

1 Shattuck, Paul, et. al., Postsecondary Education and Employment Among Youth with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pediatrics. 2012 Jun; 129(6): 1042–1049



Barbara Bissonnette, Principal, Forward Motion Coaching


(2) Introducing Forefront Cultures - Roadmapping an Equitable Workplace

Forefront believes every company should be at the forefront of cultural change. Dialogues around race, identity, and culture should become more normalized. Through this interactive talk, the speakers will discuss ways to transform what are often difficult conversations into action oriented and fruitful experiences. Racial differences should no longer be the elephant room, but instead something we celebrate and leverage as strengths. The millennial generation embraces these conversations more than any other past generation, so to engage and retain this huge part of the workforce, authentic conversations should be a key part of D&I strategy.



Josuel PlasenciaCo-Founder and Managing Partner, Forefront

Yulkendy ValdezCo-Founder and Managing Partner, Forefront

(3) Mitigating Systemic Bias:  The Inclusive Organization Framework©

For several decades, organizations have been actively striving for diverse, inclusive, high-performance status, but many continue to have difficulty moving the proverbial needle. While much has been written about the ineffectiveness of D&I efforts, the importance of focusing on D&I and addressing its challenges has never been denied. Out of this critique, two consistent observations have emerged: (1) Success with D&I requires multiple strategically aligned initiatives, and (2) Successful D&I initiatives combine a focus on individuals as well as core systems.

These observations led IBIS to develop The Inclusive Organization Framework©, a diagnostic tool used to assess an organization’s D&I maturity level. By reviewing and analyzing the critical systems that comprise the Workforce, Workplace, and Marketplace learn how IBIS can help assess what is working well, what needs to be changed, and what must be added in order to realize the desired level of D&I success.


Shilpa Pherwani,
Principal, IBIS (Interactive Business Inclusion Solutions)


11:15AM – 12:15PM – Breakout Sessions (choice of 3)

(1) Being an Ally for Diversity & Inclusion: Good Work for White Men!

Leaders are being called as never before to:

• Create work environments that attract, retain and optimize the value of diverse talent.

• Revise policies to meet the growing needs of a more diverse, multi-generational workforce.

• Address the social justice issues of our times.

Yet too often, for white men, there is a hesitation and a lack of know-how - as to “what to do” to more effectively create and engage diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies. Quoting white male leaders:

“I’ll be honest. Thinking more intentionally about diversity and inclusion is new to me!”

“I’m eager to continue my D&I journey, but I find that I hesitate, feel exposed, and even feel somewhat ambivalent at times.”


“When I recognize some of the inequities that my colleagues of color and women can face I realize I never have to worry about those realities. But I don’t know where to go from there.”


“I need this D&I work broken down for me. I need a better scaffolding of the ‘what to do’ to more effectively engage and sustain diversity and inclusion strategies.”

In this interactive workshop, through a guided self-reflection on the “10 Steps to Becoming a Better Ally,” participants will gain a clearer understanding of what’s distinctive for white men to be allies. Through an examination of some high-profile workplace D&I case studies, participants will also have an opportunity to share strategies and develop a personal/organizational action plan for being a better ally and for becoming part of the solution for a more inclusive workplace in their organizations.



Robert Principe, Principal, Organizational Change for Social Impact


(2) Diversity Terminology for Recruiting

This session will explore the language used to describe us and how this may impact hiring and talent management decisions. The session will focus on the role that words plays in organizational culture.


Learn the generally accepted terminology to use in hiring, the role that language plays in reinforcing and/or changing our beliefs and assumptions and how you can use language to help facilitate organizational learning and change.



Kim Dukes, Co-Founder and Manager, DSP Executive Search, Inc.

Kari Heistad, Founder, Diversity Dashboard


(3) Strategy to Implementation: How to Build and Sustain Diverse Workforce

We all know having a diverse workforce is a competitive advantage for every company. However, when it comes to building and implementing a sustainable strategy, many things can go awry. In this session, participants will learn both the steps building a strategy and anticipating and overcoming obstacles. The session will be lead by Ed Hurley-Wales, former VP of Market Diversity at ADP and will include a dialogue with key business executives who will offer both high level perspective and specific examples of how they’ve created and sustained a diverse workforce. 


Key Takeaways:
Discover the steps to a building sustainable plan that is aligned with your business strategy
Learn how to ensure engagement with the business leaders
Hear how to anticipate obstacles and plan for obstacles
Understand what key cultural norms need to be in place in order to be successful




Ed Hurley-Wales, Principal, EHW Consulting



Lydia Greene, SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Tufts Health Plan

Deb HicksSVP, Chief People & Culture Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute



12:15 – 1:15PM – Lunch (provided)


1:15 – 2:15PM - Breakout Sessions (choice of 3)

(1) What’s So Funny About Being a Woman of Color at Work?

Comedy. Humor. Storytelling. These aren’t necessarily the first words that come to mind when we think of Diversity & Inclusion. Yet humor can be leveraged to convey challenging messages, increase interpersonal understanding, and bring diverse people together. In this session, our facilitators will use comedy and humor to guide learners on an exploration of their reactions, perceptions, and assumptions, giving them insight into others’ perspectives. Learners will leave with simple, practical plans for how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organization.


Tissa HamiSenior Consultant at IBIS Consulting Group

Teja ArboledaSenior Consultant at IBIS Consulting Group


(2) Common Pitfalls to Address When Hiring Foreign Nationals 

When recruiting talent, many companies seek the best and brightest, regardless of nationality. However, there are numerous issues that must be addressed.  What questions can you ask in the recruitment process and still avoid discrimination?  What is a “Protected Class”?  What are your obligations for work permit sponsorship.  If you sponsor a foreign national, can you still fire him/her before the work permit expires?  If you do so, are there additional costs involved? Join us for answers to these and many more questions regarding hiring foreign nationals.


Jennifer Schaaf, Associate – Boston, Fragomen Worldwide

George Lester, Partner – Boston, Fragomen Worldwide 


(3) Using Newton’s Laws to Propel Your Diversity Programs

Building momentum for your diversity program is critical to making long term progress. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. But how do you get your diversity program moving? Persistent pressure that is done regularly, not as a big event once a year. In this session we will share the case study of Amica Insurance and how they have used small, but consistent diversity activities to build and maintain momentum.

Key Takeaways:

Understanding how to develop a diversity program in bite-sized pieces
Building internal alliances to support and create your D&I programming
Building a D&I program that is responsive to your culture



Kari Heistad, Founder, Diversity Dashboard

Ramona Royale, Manager of Employment and Employee Integration, Amica Mutual Insurance Company

2:30 – 3:30PM – Closing Keynote: One Size Does not fit all: Understanding the Unique Challenges facing Black Women Leaders with  Dr. Robert Livingston, Professor, Harvard University

Dr. Livingston, will offer both broad insights on the current state of D&I in corporate America, with a specific focus on the unintentional impact of diversity and inclusion efforts on black women. The talk will include not only his research, but also insights into what leaders can do to avoid the “one size fits all” model and in turn, build a culture that supports the professional development for black women.

Learning Objectives:

·Gain insight into why we are not moving the needle for black women in corporate America and/or society as a whole (researched based findings)

·Understand the key elements of why their current D&I practices may adversely impact black women

· Learn key tactics for building a plan that not only avoid the adverse impact, but promotes the professional development and advancement of black women

·Discover tools and resources to support black women in their own organizations.


3:30 – 3:45PM – Closing Remarks & Program Concludes


Travel Information:Need a hotel?

NEHRA has a room block available at the Courtyard Boston-Norwood (300 River Ridge Dr. Norwood, MA 02062) for $124/night. The last day to book with Courtyard to receive NEHRA's group rate is 11/2/2018.


Click here to book your hotel at our group rate for the NEHRA Room Block


CEU Credits:
This program has been approved for 5 SHRM & HRCI Credit Hour (Including 4 Business Credit Hours). 



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Phone: 781-235-2900

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