We have collected some of the industry's best experts...


General Session October 11th | 4:30pm - 5:45pm

Chief Inspiration Officer

Any woman with the title Chief Inspiration Officer on her business card obviously knows her own personal brand. When you meet Melanie Spring, you'll immediately see why she inspires others to live a life with purpose. She brings her joy and big energy to companies and conferences all over the world sharing the magic of branding.

Melanie is the Boss Lady at Sisarina, a brand strategy agency in Washington DC. Melanie facilitates brand visits, staff development days, and team-building workshops that create the roadmap of a company’s culture. Although her focus is on building brands, she knows it's really all about the humans.

Tired of hearing the same stories, Melanie once drove 7000 miles in 3 weeks on the Live Your Brand Tour to collect her own. Entrepreneur Magazine even thought they were rad enough to print them. Recently, she and Sisarina started the Adventures in Branding podcast along with the I Rock My Brand community. Get your notebook ready - you're about to dream bigger.

MORE at www.melaniespring.com

General Session October 12th | 8:45am - 10:00am

Warren Wright

Warren Wright started Coaching Millennials in response to an overwhelming demand by companies to help hire and manage Millennials. He educates, teaches, and coaches leaders about Millennials and all generations. He is one of the leading authorities on the Millennial generation, speaking and consulting frequently on their inuence in the workplace and society at large.

He has been the keynote at large conferences for corporations, associations, and the U.S. Military, solving problems for clients for over 25 years with top performing organizations such as the Navy SEALs, World Bank, World Economic Forum, Knight Foundation, Proctor & Gamble, and Chubb Insurance. He spent 10-years at Gallup, leading innovative projects including the largest polling project ever conducted on the Iraqi citizens during the Iraq war. Before Gallup, Warren was a principal and co-founder at the internet start up, Jobnder.com, which was sold in 2000. Warren works closely with senior advisor, Neil Howe, the author and economist who coined the term, "Millennial generation". Wright is based in the Washington DC area, is married and is a dad of two adult Millennials.

General Session October 12th | 3:45pm - 5:00pm

Jim Mallekoote

Jim Mallekoote was part of Apple’s culture for over three decades. He participated in redesigning Apple’s worldwide sales strategy. In 2002, he designed, implemented and lead Apple’s iPod initiative in the USA. For Apple to change from a company selling computers to a company focused on consumer electronics products was a difficult shift for Apple’s culture, however, the shift was essential for Apple to succeed with their future products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc. Later Jim worked with Apple’s teams in China, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Japan to revamp their culture, sales structure and distribution channels. He mentored these teams to “let go of the old and embrace the future”.

Jim also has held C-suite and equity positions with: wholesale distributors, consumer electronic stores, real estate companies and tool & die shops. Since retiring from Apple, Jim continues to work with executives of high-energy companies as they navigate the challenges of our fast-changing world.

General Session October 13th | 10:30am - 11:45am

Zahra Al-Harazi

A mere 18 years ago, Zahra was a new immigrant to Canada. She was a young mother with three children. A survivor of two civil wars. She had no higher education or connections to the business community. Today, Zahra is the CEO and creative director of Foundry Communications. In just eight years, the company she founded has been recognized as Canada’s seventh-most awarded agency for international design awards, one of Profit magazine’s Top 10 up-and-coming entrepreneurial companies in 2010, and one of their W100 companies in 2011.

Zahra has received multiple accolades. She was named one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 (2009); Business in Calgary’s "Leader of Tomorrow" (2010); Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year from Chatelaine magazine (2011); one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women by WXN (2012); and she has also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to Canada (2012) and the RBC Top 25 Immigrants to Canada Award (2013).

Zahra’s talks have influenced audiences at leading institutions such as RBC, London Life Financial, Women of Influence, Freedom 55, Ace Nationals, Ernest and Young, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Board of Trade, Mount Royal University, Women’s Executive Network, and the Entrepreneurs Organization. She has spoken throughout North America, India, Germany, Turkey, and has also completed a seven-city speaking tour across Australia and New Zealand.

She sits on the Board of Directors for Entrepreneurs Organization as the Communications Chair, and on the EO Global Communications Committee, The National Make-a-Wish Foundation Board and The OGM Editorial Advisory Board. Zahra is also Chair of the Fund Development Committee for the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She has also recently signed a deal with HarperCollins to publish a book in early 2016, and was also recently named as a Canadian Ambassador to UNICEF.


David Quinn
Director of Sales and Client Services
Priority Health

HR LEADERSHIP SUMMIT October 11th | 9:15am - 10:30am

David Quinn currently serves as Director of Sales and Client Services at Priority Health – Michigan’s second largest health insurance carrier – where he’s been since 2002. He’s worked in the health insurance industry nearly 25 years, credentialed as a licensed health and life insurance agent, as well as being a Registered Health Underwriter. David’s conducted seminars and training for thousands of agents and employers during his career. His industry knowledge and humorous presentation style help make the confusing world of health insurance and consumer engagement easier to understand.

Session Description

Top 3 Tech Trends to Maximize your Health Benefits

Kent Sharkey
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ulliance, Inc.

HR LEADERSHIP SUMMIT October 11th | 10:45am - 12:00pm

Kent Sharkey, president, chief executive officerand founder of Ulliance, Inc., oversees operations of this international service company that provideshuman resources including employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs, training programs, organizational and leadership development, coaching, career transition services,and crisis management.

As founder of Ulliance, Sharkey has been instrumental in company growth to serve nearly one million employees and family members in more than 260 organizations, throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico,and Europe including Fortune 500 companies.Under Sharkey’s leadership, the Ullianceteam has assisted organizations of various sizes to greatly reduce healthcare benefits cost, resulting in saving millions of dollars for the organizationswhile enhancing their people.

Sharkey has provided expertise in a wide range of workplace and workforce issues, management consultations,and training to organizations such as Carhartt, Ilitch Holdings, International Automotive Components (IAC), Hospice of Michigan, The KresgeFoundation, Wayne State University, Oakland County, and Beaumont Health.

Through his experience as a licensed psychotherapist and business professional, Sharkey is able to discuss behavioral healthcare issues and its impact on businesses. Sharkey is a thought-leader in emotional wellness strategies, performance management,and workplace crisis management.

Ulliance and Sharkey have beenrecognized by Crain’s Detroit Businesswith an Outstanding Business Award.He has appeared on television, radio and in print including WWJ-AM, WJR-AM, Fox 2, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit Business and made frequent public speaking appearances.Sharkey was named a finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year ® 2015 Michigan and Northwest Ohio award.

Sharkey holds a Bachelor of Artsin psychology and a Master in social work, both from the University of Michigan. Sharkey is a board member of the Michigan Labor Management Association(MLMA), Michigan Wellness Council, and previously with the Troy Chamber of Commerce.

Kent is passionate about healthy living. He has a rigid daily training schedule, is a certified scuba diver and is currently earning his Black Belt in karate. Kent’s driven spirit to "win" earned himthe Golden Gloves title at the young age of 19. He retired from his amateur boxing career well into his 40s having been undefeated.

Kent’s motto is "Can I" which stands for Continuous and Never-Ending Improvement. Kent is always on the quest to help people achieve their personal best.

Session Description

Maintaining Your Sanity While Achieving Peak Performance

Kristopher F. Powell
President / CEO
HRPro and BenePro

HR LEADERSHIP SUMMIT October 11th | 1:00pm - 2:15pm

Steering through the possibilities and pitfalls of finding better ways to manage people is never easy. Surrounded and empowered by a great group of people helps Kris to see and find new and better ways to make that happen for all of our many clients. "Yes, but what if…?" or "How about we try this…" are two of his favorite phrases. And now for the rest of the story… A graduate of Oakland University, Kris grew up and has always lived in the Detroit area.

He has served on numerous local boards including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Medhealth Foundation, Red Run Golf Club, and most recently as Vice‐Chair for Notre Dame Prep/Marist Academy in Pontiac. He currently serves on the Board of United Benefit Advisors, a group he helped to Charter in 2002 to find new and better answers for clients in the benefit space and has joined the Board for Automation Alley in Troy.

Joan M. Morehead
Vice President, Human Resource Services

HR LEADERSHIP SUMMIT October 11th | 1:00pm - 2:15pm

Joan has over 20 years’ experience in Human Resource and Business operations, working for organizations in the public and non-profit segments; including, the Michigan Public Health Institute, Matrix Human Services, Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

She studied with the Gallup Leadership Institute’s Executive Leadership program and did course work at Toyota University in California and the University of Peking in China as part of her master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska. Joan received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Kendall College of Art and Design.

Session Description

Building and Maintaining a Winning Culture


David Szabla

Breakout Session I October 12th | 10:15am - 11:30pm

Dr. David Szabla leads the Master of Arts in Organizational Change Leadership Program in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology at Western Michigan University where he teaches courses in group dynamics, large-scale organizational change, and organization design. His research and writing centers on resistance to change and the relationships among the content, process, and context of organizational change. Recently, Dr. Szabla completed a study that explored the relationship between change agent strategy and organizational change content. He is also developing and validating two measures: one that assesses perception of change strategy as perceived by those undergoing an organizational change and one that assesses receptivity to organizational change along cognitive, emotional, intentional, and behavioral dimensions.

Session Description

The Enduring Practices of Leading Organizational Change

James M. Reid, IV

Breakout Session I October 12th | 10:15am - 11:30pm

James M. Reid, IV is a shareholder and member of the Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller, P.C.’s Corporate/Employment and Franchise and Distribution Practice Groups. Mr. Reid works mainly with employers on a spectrum of employment issues including counseling and advising human resource professionals and business owners. He develops and improves employment policies and contracts, handbooks, employment agreements, non-competes, non-disclosure agreements, and unconditional release and separation agreements. Mr. Reid often provides legal assistance to employers in litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, state and federal Departments of Labor, and the Unemployment Insurance Agency. He also assists employers with federal and state wage and hour audits.

Session Description

The Top Ten Mistakes Employers Make That Lead To Significant Liability!

Jennifer Muñoz

Breakout Session I October 12th | 10:15am - 11:30pm

Jennifer Muñoz is a community organizer, speaker, and writer on issues related to older adults. She’s the Associate State Director for AARP Michigan and Crew Member for WOTV4 as the on-air expert for ‘Encore Living’. She freelance writes for various publications including Faith Grand Rapids and West Michigan Woman magazines on the 50+ population.

Session Description

50 and Fabulous in the Workplace

Alejandra Juarez

Breakout Session I October 12th | 10:15am - 11:30pm

Alejandra Juarez, Sales Executive for New Directions, joined the company in 2016. Alejandra is responsible for selling the New Directions Behavioral Health family of products, including Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Student Assistance Program (SAP), Managed Behavioral Health, Performance Solutions, and Health Coaching. She is located in Detroit and serves the entire state of Michigan. Before coming to New Directions, Alejandra spent eight years at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as a group sales consultant where she implemented the Affordable Care Act with employers in over 40 counties across western Kansas.

Session Description

Developing a Reliant Workforce - An Employer's Path Forward

Doug Roehm

Breakout Session I October 12th | 10:15am - 11:30pm

Doug Roehm is a Licensed Insurance Counselor and is President of Strategic Services Group, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. As Hope College graduate, he spent his early career with Aetna’s employee benefit division working with large employers including Borders Book Stores, Goodyear Aerospace, and others. Over the past 31 years, he has used his insight and knowledge to help employers balance their financial and other needs with the needs of their employees, by delivering creative solutions in an industry of increasing complexity. Doug is joined today by SSG firm co-owner, Greg Sudderth, and will be sharing his wisdom about a newer approach to healthcare called Reference Based Pricing (RPB).

Session Description

Benchmarking Health Benefits

Kristen Mudge

Breakout Session II October 12th | 12:30pm - 1:45pm

Kristen Mudge is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist who dedicates countless hours to helping people and organizations grow. As a consultant for Master Grasshopper Solutions (MGS), she hosts a variety of skill-building workshops and training seminars for organizations and individuals. She specializes in diversity and inclusion, leadership, and employee engagement. Kristen has experience in multiple industries including healthcare, property management, higher education, sales, and government/military.

Kristen serves as an adjunct professor at Jackson College, teaching a variety of psychology courses at the undergraduate level. She continues to serve in the Michigan Army National Guard as a drilling reservists where she specializes in medical operations and training. She enjoys giving back to her local community, participating in a variety of programs through MGS to help economically challenged people obtain meaningful employment through resume and interviewing skills workshops.

Session Description

Unconscious Bias

Brett Howell

Breakout Session II October 12th | 12:30pm - 1:45pm

Brett is one of the founding partners of the Howell & Sharp Group. Since joining Merrill Lynch in 2000, his focus is in the area of qualified and nonqualified retirement plans for corporations and non-profit organizations. The consulting services Brett provides include: the selection of providers, plan monitoring, fiduciary compliance, and investment selection and employee education. Brett is also approved as a Defined Contribution Investment Consultant for select Merrill Lynch Advisors. The Defined Contribution Investment Consulting (DCIC) Designation Program is designed to recognize Premier Retirement Benefits Advisors™ with significant, specialized experience to offer 3(21) Fiduciary services and to advise clients on their retirement plan investment line-up.

Session Description

401(k) Benchmarking Best Practices

Ron Scott

Breakout Session II October 12th | 12:30pm - 1:45pm

As Director of Member Engagement, Ron works actively with current and prospective members of The Employers’ Association. Ron joined The Association as Director of Membership Services in April, 2012. Ron was Executive Director of The Employee Assistance Center, a long-time friend and TEA service partner, working with employees to resolve personal or professional problems that could negatively influence their ability to perform. Ron has conducted leadership development, workplace violence, harassment, drug/alcohol awareness and a variety of HR-related trainings. Prior to joining the EAC, Ron’s career began in operations at General Motors before completing his degree and managing Human Resource activities within several local firms.

Session Description

The Employer's Association: Recruiting, Rewarding and Retention

Chrissy Taylor, LMSW

Breakout Session II October 12th | 12:30pm - 1:45pm

Ms. Taylor is licensed Social Worker in the State of Michigan. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology in 2003 from Western Michigan University and subsequently her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University in 2010. Ms. Taylor has worked in a variety of public, private, non-profit and entrepreneurship settings giving her a wealth of knowledge of different industries. Throughout her career Ms. Taylor has focused on giving adults the tools to overcome the obstacles they face through resource allocation and empowerment techniques. Substance Wellness has been a personal interest for Ms. Taylor for over a decade. Currently Ms. Taylor is using that passion along with current technology to provide the tools to help individuals suffering from addiction.

Session Description

Substance Wellness Workplace: New Issues and New Solutions

Suzanne Kart

Breakout Session II October 12th | 12:30pm - 1:45pm

Suzanne Kart is a writer, speaker, consultant, and expert in 21st Century integrated marketing. She is one of the nation’s leading authorities on marketing for continuing education and lifelong learning programs. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the marketing and communications fields. She does workshops across the U.S. and Canada on all things marketing as well as generational communications. She also has taught online for the graduate school at the University of South Dakota master’s degree program in adult and higher education.

Session Description

Generational Management – Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think

Sharon Lipinski

Breakout Session III October 12th | 2:00pm - 3:15pm

Sharon Lipinski is the author of "365 Ways to Live Generously: Simple Habits for a Life That's Good for You and for Others". She is a speaker, TV personality, and coach dedicated to helping people create the right habits so they can be happier, healthier, and more productive at home and in their work.

Session Description

Thinking Less is the Key to Success: The Habits of Happy, Healthy, Productive Employees

Katie Stewart

Breakout Session III October 12th | 2:00pm - 3:15pm

With over 10 years of experience (and half the alphabet) in human resources and professional speaking, Katie Stewart brings charismatic and informative presentations to audiences of all sizes. While working with organizations of variable sizes and in a wide range of industries, Katie has deepened her knowledge in the large realm of human resources including organizational development, employment law, risk and safety management, training & development, benefits and payroll. Her passion in working with people, whether its one-on-one or in a large group setting, is evident in the enthusiasm she brings to any HR topic.

Session Description

Engaging your remote workforce

Larry Jensen

Breakout Session III October 12th | 2:00pm - 3:15pm

Larry Jensen is devoted to handling all aspects of litigation and investigations on behalf of clients throughout the country. Mr. Jensen represents employers in civil litigation proceedings, government investigations, administrative matters, commercial disputes, tort cases and appeals. Mr. Jensen also regularly handles administrative hearings, arbitrations, mediations and appellate proceedings in matters concerning claims brought under the False Claims Act, Title VII, FLSA, ERISA, FMLA, ADEA, ADA and whistleblower statutes. Mr. Jensen has extensive experience in matters involving long-term care, complex class and collective actions, wage and overtime statutes, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, separation agreements, exemption status and proper classification of workers and sales commission disputes. He counsels and advises employers on workplace-related issues and personnel practices, including unfair labor practice charges, harassment claims, EEOC investigations, NLRA and FMLA compliance, ADA accommodations, workplace training, workplace investigations, wage and hour compliance, employee discipline, drug testing, GINA compliance, record keeping, credit reports, employee handbook provisions, medical staff relations, medical staff bylaws and general employment policy development and administration.

Session Description

Conducting Successful Workplace Investigations

Doreen Bolhuis

Breakout Session III October 12th | 2:00pm - 3:15pm

Doreen Bolhuis, a former elite gymnastics coach and educator, continues to excel as president and founder of GymCo, her award-winning business for more than thirty-five years. Bolhuis is an adjunct professor for Aquinas College and is a graduate of Coach U, an internationally recognized school for personal and business coaching. Bolhuis has been named one of West Michigan's 50 Most Influential Women five times and honored as a top Woman-Owned Business five times. She serves on numerous state and local boards and has mentored countless leaders and business owners over the course of her career. She co-authored Stop Wishing. Stop Whining. Start Leading. A No-Nonsense, Straight-talk Guide for Women Who Aspire to Lead.

Session Description

Stop Wishing, Stop Whining, Start Leading

Jennifer Evans

Breakout Session III October 12th | 2:00pm - 3:15pm

In her current position at Michigan Ross, Jennifer supports faculty. True to her positive deviant nature, she contributes beyond the boundaries of her role and brings the principles of positive organizational psychology to life. Jennifer has initiated a Mindfulness program, now in its third year, launched a series called "Third Place Events," and developed a number of workshops based in the research of Ross scholars that she facilitates for staff both at Ross and across the U-M campus.

Session Description

Positive Deviance: Building a Positive Culture from the Bottom Up

Amie Hoff

October 12th | 7:30am - 8:00am

Amie Hoff CPT, NASM is a Corporate Fitness Consultant and founder of FitKit - The Employee Fitness Solution. As a NYC based certified fitness professional, Hoff consults on corporate health and fitness. Hoff provides tools and services to support internal wellness efforts, introducing fresh techniques and advancements developed from across the health and fitness industry. Amie Hoff developed FitKit - a simple, portable, affordable employee fitness solution that has become a successful tool in workplace wellness initiatives. Stop by the FitKit booth in the Expo hall to meet Amie Hoff and learn more.

Session Description

Optional Exercise

Catherine Schmidt, SHRM-CP, PHR

Breakout Session IV October 13th | 9:00am - 10:15am

Catherine Schmidt has been with Purple Ink since 2013 and has a decade of experience managing various HR functions including recruiting, creating training programs, compliance, and performance development initiatives. She has worked in a variety of industries such as professional services, manufacturing, and non-profit settings.

Session Description

RIP Annual Performance Review

Debra F. Williams

Breakout Session IV October 13th | 9:00am - 10:15am

Debra F. Williams, Executive Vice President of Right Management, is a catalyst who influences transformation. A trusted advisor to boards and top management, she has over 25 years of experience consulting and partnering with key leadership. Her diverse career includes executive human resources, operations and consulting roles in wide range of companies and industries. She also is a certified professional coach providing executive, leadership and business coaching to executives, key leaders and boards.

Debra is a graduate of Wayne State University, where she received a bachelor of arts in Journalism. She completed her master of business administration at Lawrence Technological University, where she also served as an adjunct professor in the College of Graduate Management. She has provided board leadership for numerous not-for-profit, for profit and professional organizations, and is the current president of Detroit SHRM. She also received the Athena Leadership Award in recognition of her professional excellence, community service and passion for assisting others in realizing their full leadership potential.

Williams is a published author, and frequent lecturer, presenter and keynote speaker.

Session Description

Navigating the Politics of Implementing a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Tim Furlong

Breakout Session IV October 13th | 9:00am - 10:15am

A Nationally recognized Speaker, Facilitator & Executive Coach, Tim Furlong and his unique brand of "Edutainment" have impacted nearly every type of organization for nearly two decades. The Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, M&Ms Mars, Whole Foods, Michael Kors, The National Parks Service, New York Life, MTV & VH1, The University of Michigan Athletic Department, and The NHL’s Nashville Predators are just a few of broad range of organizations that have chosen to utilize Tim and his dynamic, insightful presentations. Tim is also author of the book-Quarter Turns, and the Creator and Founder of the "Quarter Turns" coaching program which enables leaders in any industry to identify small shifts in approach and behavior that yield highly impactful, sustainable results. From CEO’s of fortune 500 companies, to platinum selling Recording Artists Tim’s coaching & training programs have empowered thousands of individuals and organizations to achieve at the highest levels.

Session Description

Change, Opportunity & The New Normal- Managing Change in an Ever-Changing Workplace

Andrew Bishop

Breakout Session IV October 13th | 9:00am - 10:15am

Andrew is a high-performing executive who helped grow and evolve several organizations over his 10+ year career. Prior to joining Baudville Brands, Andrew spent time in the staffing and manufacturing industries. Over the past four years, he has led Education and Traning, Client Analysis and Program Design, New Business Development, and Client Services for Baudville Brands.

Session Description

Breaking the Barriers of Employee Engagement

Greg Ripple

Breakout Session IV October 13th | 9:00am - 10:15am

Greg Ripple is an attorney with Miller Johnson and has been practicing law since 2003. His employment and labor practice spans varied industries, including aviation, manufacturing, construction, and health care. Greg advises employers on a wide variety of employment issues, including harassment, discrimination, disability and accommodations, military leave, FMLA, reduction-in-force, and wage and hour matters. He frequently represents employers in federal court and before the federal and state administrative agencies. Greg’s traditional labor practice includes advising clients on matters including collective bargaining agreements, labor arbitrations, and maintaining a union-free workplace. He also represents clients before the National Labor Relations Board. Greg is an author and frequent speaker on labor and employment law including regulatory compliance and liability issues relating to workplace safety and health. He is the co-author of the Occupational Safety and Health: A Guide for Michigan Employers, published by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Session Description

Social Media: The Pros, Cons, and Legal Pitfalls that you (and our employees) need to know


MISHRM's mission is to support the chapters and serve the professionals (network, share best practices, development opportunities, conduit to international SHRM organization) within our great state.

Contact Info

Michigan Council of the Society for Human Resource Management

c/o Meeting Coordinators, Inc.
P.O. Box 99463
Troy, MI 48099