Learning & Development
SUMMIT Learning Session Speakers

Learning Session Speakers

Learn more about SUMMIT 2018's learning session speakers below.

Kami Bond, Senior Vice President of People, Uptake
How to Use Data and Visual Analytics to Tell Your HR Success Story | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

As senior vice president of People, Kami Bond leads all HR-related aspects of Uptake. She has 20 years of experience helping companies attract, develop, engage and empower their talent. Kami is passionate about nurturing an innovative and inclusive culture that brings out the best in individuals and teams, delivers exceptional service to clients, and enables business growth. She holds a MS in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University and a BS in Human Services from the University of Delaware.

Stephanie Carver, Senior HR Manager, Salter Labs
HR as an Enabler of Business Transformation | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Stephanie Carver is responsible for the management of HR policies, programs and initiatives for the domestic population at Salter Labs, where she’s supported the execution of transformative business processes since 2015. Prior to Salter Labs, Stephanie worked as a Senior HR Analyst for RoundTable Healthcare Partners, an operating oriented private equity firm focused solely in the healthcare space.  Stephanie earned a BA in International Business from Columbia College. She has been an active part of the HRMAC community, serving as a committee member of the Young HR Leaders interest group from 2012 through 2015.

Melissa Donaldson, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, Wintrust
Innovations in Inclusion and Diversity | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Melissa Donaldson is a strategic change agent, first to be appointed Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Wintrust Financial Corporation, a commercial banking and specialty financial service company with over $24 billion in assets. In this role, Melissa works with the CEO, senior leadership, and other key stakeholders to establish diversity and inclusion priorities and initiatives. Her thought-leadership has been published in Profiles in Diversity Journal, Diversity Executive, and Workforce Management magazines, and shared through numerous speaking engagements. Accolades include: Women Worth Watching (Profiles in Diversity Journal), Diversity Officer Leadership Award (Diversity Best Practices), and Rising Star Diversity Leadership Peer Award (Diversity Woman Magazine).

Melissa holds an MS in Communication (Northwestern University), an MS in Administration (Central Michigan University), and a BS in Management Science (Wright State University). She serves on the YWCA Lake County Board of Directors, the Executive’s Club of Chicago Diversity Leadership Council, and Financial Services Pipeline Initiative Steering Committee.

Buffi Gibbons, Vice President, Corcentric
HR Leaders Navigate Today's World of Evolving Talent Acquisition | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Buffi is the Vice President of Human Resources for Corcentric, a provider of cloud-based financial process automation solutions.  She leads the strategic initiatives of all HR functions with priorities that include HR process optimization and transformation, learning and development and employee engagement.

Buffi is adept at quickly forging strong working relationships across teams and geographies, and at all levels of the business. Her specialties include the creation and transformation of HR teams, policies and programs, organizational and leadership development, and change management.

Buffi recently joined Corcentric after 14 years growing a series of related life sciences companies from start-up through acquisition. She is a trusted HR leader with experience in both the US and Europe. 

Rick Guzzo, Consultant, Mercer
Innovations in Inclusion and Diversity | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Rick Guzzo Mercer, Workforce Sciences Institute. Rick co-leads Mercer’s Workforce Sciences Institute, a research and innovation center, and works with clients on a wide range of human capital issues. In addition to R&D responsibilities, Rick delivers data-based advisory work primarily to large, often global clients on a wide range of workforce issues such as performance and productivity, talent retention, leadership development and diversity. Rick has published four books and dozens of professional articles and book chapters. Recent publications include “Workforce diversity: An internal labor market approach“ (2015, in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism) and “How big data matters“ (2016, in Big data at work: The data science revolution and organizational psychology). Prior to joining Mercer, Rick was professor of organizational psychology at New York University (1980-89) and at the University of Maryland (1989-97). A Fellow of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology, his BS degree is from The Ohio State University and his PhD is from Yale University.  

Scott Howland, SPHR, CCP, AVP, Human Resources, TTX
HR Leaders Navigate Today's World of Evolving Talent Acquisition | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Scott has over 30 years of Human Resources experience in a wide variety of industries. Currently he is the AVP Human Resources TTX Company, a privately held provider of railcars and related freight car management services to the North American rail industry. 

Scott is responsible for the overall administration, coordination and evaluation of the human resource function.  He has led the analysis, design and delivery of global compensation, benefits and HR systems including base salary, short and long-term incentives, executive compensation, and executive perquisites. He is also responsible for employee relations, HRIS, salaried recruiting, policies/procedures, and workforce planning.  

For more than a decade, Scott was an adjunct professor teaching various HR courses and has various accreditations including an MBA, Certified Compensation Professional, SPHR, and Professional Recruiter Certification.

Amber Johnson, Chief Communications Officer, Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Benedictine University
Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Coaching and Leadership Development | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Amber Johnson is Chief Communications Officer and Senior Research Associate in the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business, Benedictine University. She is an experienced Appreciative Inquiry facilitator and a communications specialist who helps companies connect their purpose and values to their core strategies and brands. Amber has global leadership experience with World Vision and the US Peace Corps and has served as a consultant to organizations including digital marketing agencies, universities, manufacturing companies, utilities, and non-profit organizations. She is a regular contributors to Forbes.com and a co-author of Six Questions that can Lift Your Leadership, Shape Your Strategy, and Transform Your Organization with John Ludema and Michael Manning.

Jim Ludema, Professor, Global Leadership, and Director, Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Benedictine University>
Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Coaching and Leadership Development | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Jim Ludema is Professor of Global Leadership and Founder and Director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business, Benedictine University. He is a pioneer and global expert in Appreciative Inquiry methodology and author of The Appreciative Inquiry Summit: A Practitioner's Guide for Leading Large Group Change. Jim earned his PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University, the birthplace of Appreciative Inquiry. He has lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America and has served as a consultant to a variety of organizations including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, BP, McDonald's, John Deere, USG, U.S. Cellular, the US Navy, World Vision, and many local and international NGOs.

Nancy Ortega, Partner, Kensington International
Link Between Strategic Thinking and Highly Effective HR Professionals | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Nancy has demonstrated success in corporate, professional services and consulting roles with over 20 years of organizational development, leadership development and change management achievements. As Kensington International’s Practice Leader for Leadership Development, Nancy designs and delivers Leadership Development and Executive Coaching products and services that exceed expectations. Nancy has extensive international experience working and living in Latin America, Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Europe. She has managed the Human Resources function for various multinationals including Ipsos, AonHewitt, Travelers and SHOWTIME (a Viacom-owned business). Nancy holds a Master of Science, Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Communications from Northern Illinois University.

Alexandra Prodromos, Executive Director, Chicago Blockchain Center
Blockchain: What the Hype Means for HR | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Alexandra Prodromos received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Political Science from Pepperdine University. She also holds a certificate in conflict management from Pepperdine Law School’s number 1 ranked Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution. She is currently a Master of Science in Information Systems candidate at Northwestern University. 

She was one of the primary initiators of the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, a state of Illinois consortium dedicated to furthering blockchain development in Illinois, and worked as the only non-government affiliated member of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology's Blockchain Working Group. In 2016, she joined Bloq, Inc a leading enterprise grade blockchain software and services provider, as is Business Development Manager. 

She was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the new Chicago Blockchain Center, a public-private non-profit partnership that serves as a leading educational resource and startup incubator of blockchain focused companies in the Chicago/Illinois tech ecosystem. She is a regularly invited speaker in Chicago and internationally on the subject of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger technology. 

Jamica Quillin, Diversity and Inclusion Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Innovations in Inclusion and Diversity | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Jamica Quillin is a Diversity and Inclusion Manager of Strategic Partnerships at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Jamica joined the Chicago Fed in 2001 and has a diverse background within the Bank, including leadership roles in Supervision and Regulation, the Office of the President and First Vice President, Central Bank Services and most recently the Office of Diversity and Inclusion within the Bank's People & Culture department where her role includes oversight of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative as program manager. Jamica was recently recognized as a 2017 Chicago United Advocate for Inclusion.  She holds a BA. from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and an MBA from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.

Tatiana Repelin, VP, Human Resources, Salter Labs
HR as an Enabler of Business Transformation | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Tatiana Repelin has led the HR function for Salter Labs since 2013, focusing on enabling the growth of the Company through pragmatic HR strategies and programs designed to build the best team in respiratory and airway care. She has over 20 years of HR experience, including 15 years in Healthcare with Cardinal Heath and Baxter Healthcare in leadership roles. Tatiana earned a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University and Master of Art, Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kimberly Rihman 
Link Between Strategic Thinking and Highly Effective HR Professionals | 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

As the former Vice President of Global Compliance and Corporate Engagement at Rust-Oleum Corporation, Kim reported to the CEO and was accountable for Corporate Communications, Learning and Development, Continuous Improvement and Global Compliance. The four divisions were designed to work in concert to engage, connect, communicate and educate a global workforce spanning 32 facilities and on five continents.  Kim also played an integral role on the Global Leadership Development Team that reported to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RPM International Inc., the parent company of Rust-oleum helping to create a customized Global Leadership Program for the Operating Companies of RPM, Inc for leadership candidates. She also developed program initiatives that positively impacted organizational effectiveness and associate productivity, motivation, job satisfaction, and personal development while ensuring the governance, regulatory and compliance portions of the organization were in alignment with the overreaching business strategy.   

Kim Sass, SPHR, SHRM-CP, Vice President, Human Resources, Wi-Tronix
HR Leaders Navigate Today's World of Evolving Talent Acquisition | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Kim is the VP of Human Resources for Wi-Tronix, a tech company that ensures safety and efficiency in rail operations using the most advanced IoT platform in the industry. A trusted coach and mentor with over 20 years of experience in the industry, Kim is responsible for leading the ideation and execution of the HR Strategy for Wi-Tronix. 

Understanding what’s beneath the surface has enabled Kim to broaden her Human Resources’ contribution to guiding company strategy and achieving financial results. Inspiring leadership at all levels of the organization, her high level of emotional intelligence helps Kim to understand and motivate the diverse group of people she works with. Kim takes a genuine interest in developing the strengths and talents of her organization, knowing that, when woven together in the right way, people are the fabric that make a company strong.

Adapting to the changing needs of a quickly growing tech company, Kim employs scaled Agile framework (SAFe) for Lean enterprises. Following these practices, Kim believes in valuing individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Looking at talent first through the business lens and then the HR lens offers Kim a different perspective on building capability across the organization. 


Mark Smrecek, Senior Consulting Actuary, Willis Towers Watson
The Future of Financial Well-being — Increasing Engagement and Value | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Mark Smrecek is a senior consulting actuary for Willis Towers Watson’s retirement line of business serving as senior retirement consultant for a number of clients across industries. Mark joined the firm in 2000. Mark also serves a lead financial well-being consultant for a number of clients, across US and Canada, helping employers measure the current financial well-being of the workforce, identify key gaps and opportunities, develop strategies to address the gaps and measure the effectiveness of the strategies. In addition to his consulting role, Mark is part of the Willis Towers Watson leadership group for financial well-being services. Mark earned a BA from the Lawrence University. He is an associate of the Society of Actuaries, an enrolled actuary under ERISA and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.  

Suzanne Krenz, Retirement Plans Manager, Eastman Chemical Company 
The Future of Financial Well-being — Increasing Engagement and Value | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Suzanne Krenz is the retirement plans manager at Eastman, serving as the leader for the company’s 401(k) Plan, Defined Benefit Plans, Health Savings Account and the company’s financial wellness strategies. Krenz has over 25 years management and consulting experience in the retirement plan industry.   

Prior to joining Eastman, Krenz was the director of Marketing at National Life Group, responsible for consumer and plan sponsor strategies and the development of corporate marketing programs.   

Krenz has worked at AIG VALIC as vice president of Marketing, responsible for strategic market planning and market research for the fixed and variable annuity lines of business. Krenz has also served as vice president of Marketing at Charles Schwab Retirement Plan Services, responsible for all aspects of marketing for the four lines of the retirement business.   

Additionally, Krenz has served as head of the education division and senior consultant for a registered investment advisory firm and was a prior plan sponsor at a high tech manufacturing company managing the 401(k) and NQDC plans. 

In 2005, Krenz was selected as a Texas delegate for the White House Committee on Aging, creating retirement strategies that were presented to the president of the United States and Congress. Krenz holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California Riverside.

Pam Verhoff, President, Advanced RPO
HR Leaders Navigate Today's World of Evolving Talent Acquisition | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Pam Verhoff is President of Advanced RPO and moderator of the panel discussion, "HR/Business Leaders Field Your Questions About Today's Hiring Issues." She is an accomplished executive leader that has extensive experience building RPO businesses and solutions, as well as developing growth strategy. Pam is responsible for all aspects of strategic planning, sales and marketing, operations, financial management and compliance for Advanced RPO. Her success has largely been a result of building high performance teams and creating a values-driven culture resulting in exceptional employee engagement. Pam is passionate about impacting every client’s talent acquisition results. The ultimate compliment is when clients tell her that Advanced RPO “gets it.” She hears it often and Pam believes it’s a result of the experience and strength of the team along with the unique approach we take with each client engagement. Our agenda is not to disrupt, it is to collaborate, innovate and leverage best practices to create an efficient hiring program. Pam’s goal is provide business leaders peace of mind by creating confidence in their talent acquisition function.

Katie Webster, Human Resources Program Manager, Uptake
How to Use Data and Visual Analytics to Tell Your HR Success Story | 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Katie is a Human Resources Program Manager at Uptake, a predictive analytics SaaS company that makes industries more productive, reliable, safe and secure. She has been at Uptake for over a year, driving forward programs and initiatives for Uptake's People Team. Katie, in conjunction with Uptake's Business Intelligence team, established the People Team's data strategy in order to help leaders leverage data and analytics to drive smarter decision making. She has previously worked in Sales Operations and Internal Communications at Groupon.