Conference Schedule: Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wednesday, April 7th


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – Don’t Shoot Skinny Rabbits
Deadra Stranton

Intended Audience: Private Sector / Public Sector


Every company wants employees who are willing to advance in their career development.  But, before employees can grow professionally you need to allow them to focus on their life journey.  With everything traveling so fast and so furious, we sometimes limit their ability to navigate their path.  After this presentation, the participant should have strategies to help their employees maintain their focus and make sure they stay open to new ideas, a revitalized sense of self, and making the trip is enjoyable.

  1. Participants will be provided healthy options for assisting today employees who are dealing with stress at home and in the workplace
  2. Participants will be able to reduce the use of negative energy both with their employees and within their company.
  3. Participants will be able to adapt strategies to exercise perseverance in the workplace while removing workplace obstacles to employees development
  4. Participants will be able to adapt and train strategies to let go of negative and stressful environments at home and in the workplace

Intended Audience: Private Sector / Public Sector

Midwest Speakers Bureau, Inc.

Deadra is known as one of the top humorists and motivational speakers in the Midwest. An award-winning speaker who spent 43 years in the classroom while raising two kids and chasing an entrepreneur husband around, she brings a unique brand of energy, comedic story-telling, and heart-tugging stories to every audience she engages.

Her humorous stories about everyday life will stick with you and the next time you find yourself chasing a skinny rabbit or speeding through life too fast, you will remember Deadra’s message to slow down and enjoy life.

Over the years, she has presented to thousands of attendees at international conferences, chambers of commerce, banking, educational, insurance companies, and Fortune 500s, and is a favorite at women’s conferences around the globe.

BREAK: 9:00 AM – 9:15 AM

9:15 AM – 10:15 AM

Approved for 1.0 Legal Credit

Impact of Political Speech and Racial Protest Issues in the Workplace
Aaron Hilligas and Elizabeth Heffernan

Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector


The First Amendment, as well as other laws, protect certain speech in the workplace. Civil rights laws also protect employees from harassment that can be in the form of speech.

This presentation will focus on the following objectives:

  1. Understanding the First Amendment, as well as other laws, as it pertains to protection of speech in the workplace
  2. Understanding civil rights laws as it pertains to protecting employees from harassment that can be in the form of speech
  3. Navigating on duty and off duty political and racial speech that is impacting your workforce
  4. Understanding employee and employer rights regarding the voicing of opinions on mask wearing, political candidates and topics, race/gender issues, and more


Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector

Aaron Hilligas
Attorney, Shareholder

Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.

Aaron Hilligas works closely with municipalities, higher education, and K-12 educational institutions. He advises clients on a variety of labor and employment related matters and represents employers in collective bargaining contract negotiations, in cases before the Public Employment Relations Board and in other administrative hearings, and in grievance arbitrations. Aaron also assists employers in contract administration, the development and implementation of employee handbooks and policies, personnel issues, conducting workplace investigations, and the navigation of the labor nuances tied to the receipt of federal transit funds.

Prior to Ahlers & Cooney, Aaron worked in the Office of the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC. With the NLRB, he developed legal theories pursued by General Counsel, advised regions on litigation strategy, and represented the agency in injunction cases on appeal. He has also worked in-house as an attorney with labor organizations representing a variety of industries in the public and private sectors. In these roles, he was involved in collective bargaining, contract enforcement and strategic campaigns, arbitrated and litigated disputes, and advised on policies, internal employee issues, regulatory compliance, organizing, employee benefits and internal governance.

Elizabeth Heffernan

Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.

Elizabeth is focused in the areas of Employment Law, Education Law, and Litigation. She works with education clients on various human resources and other employment law matters, including employee discipline and terminations, employment contracts, drafting and revising employment policies, and investigations related to employment. Working with K-12 school districts and Higher Education institutions, she assists clients on a variety of issues, including those related to accessibility, accommodations, student programming, student rights and discipline, and special education. Her practice includes drafting and negotiating contracts, policies, and procedures to assist clients with maintaining legal compliance in their day-to-day operations.

Prior to joining Ahlers & Cooney, Elizabeth spent two years as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Leonard T. Strand, Federal District Judge, United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa. She also worked with Judge Strand as a Judicial Extern for a summer during law school.

Transitioning to Virtual Learning: What Have We Learned?
Libby Roberts

Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector


In the past year, odds are you’ve come to leverage remote training more heavily than you may have in the past. Still looking for ways to create the best remote training possible? Join ATW for a presentation on trends and best practices in remote training and delivery, transitioning from in person to virtual classrooms, delivery modalities, and more!


  1. Discover trends in remote learning that aren’t going away any time soon!
  2. Explore best practices for virtual delivery that engage the learner
  3. Identify impactful ways to modify existing training materials – or considerations to fully redesign the training

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Director of Training
ATW Training Solutions

Libby joined ATW in 2016 after spending nearly 10 years in banking, where she started in customer service and moved to management and talent development. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Simpson College and holds a master’s degree in Adult Learning and Organizational Performance from Drake University.

Libby’s passion is people, and she strives to create an environment where all participants are welcomed, engaged, and challenged to move out of their comfort zones. Libby integrates instructional design, program development, and relationship building to her role as Director of Training.

Outside of work, Libby enjoys spending time with friends and family, attending concerts, and enjoying the great outdoors with her husband, Brett.

Invisible Culture: How to create a mutually inclusive experience for employees: SESSION FULL
Liz Nead

Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector


Every organization has a culture. It’s a preferred way of being and doing. Punctuality, creativity, enthusiasm, teamwork—these are a few of the descriptions signaling culture. If your values are aligned with the culture, you will believe these ideas as “the right thing”. While many of these things are preferable, sometimes these standards are simply maintaining comfort level between like-minded people. Look past the familiar to see the invisible culture in your organization and learn practical ways to create a safe and inclusive space for employees from many backgrounds and perspectives.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identifying the unwritten rules for success (invisible culture) in your organization.
  2. Doing away with the “golf-after-work” model: Ensuring all employees have an equal chance to be included and celebrated.
  3. How to adjust the five most common cultural norms to include diverse employees.
  4. How to remove moral standards from personal preferences.
  5. Examining the powerful intersection between connection culture and performance culture.


Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Adventure Speaker

Liz Nead is an adventure speaker, traveling the world and taking on challenges to find lessons of leadership, communication diversity and inclusion. A diversity speaker and researcher for over a decade, she specializes common language and daily communication around race and cultural differences in the workplace. Liz uses a direct, humorous and vivid style from the stage to create opportunities for communication around differences Liz has also served as an executive coach and consultant for DEI challenges for companies like Paypal, News Corp, National Guard and YWCA.

Liz is a television host and author, writing several Amazon best sellers, most recently “The 1440 Principle.” She also won a regional Emmy for her television show, “Life Dare.” Liz balances her passionate work with a thriving family of seven, and husband of 20 years, a retired army major.


Drug Testing in the Iowa Workplace
William “Bill” Judge

Intended Audience: Private Sector


All private employer drug testing in Iowa must be conducted in accordance with Iowa Code Section 730.5.  This Code Section provides details of and some limitations on who, what, where, when, and how drug and alcohol testing in the Iowa workplace may take place.

This session will provide an overview of drug testing today, a deep dive into section 730.5, an update of the latest court cases, and some general national issues that may impact your drug testing program.

Take Away Points: Attendees should have a better understanding of the following:

  1. Section 730.5
  2. Limitations on private employer workplace drug testing in Iowa.
  3. The impact of recent court decisions.
  4. National issues such as COVID-19 on drug testing.

Intended Audience: Private Sector

Research Attorney
Drug Screening Compliance Institute

Bill is an attorney with over 34 years of experience in the workplace drug and alcohol testing industry. He is the Co-Founder of Drug Screening Compliance Institute (DSCI) focusing on state, federal and subject-specific compliance research, policy development and review, training, education and consulting.

Bill is a past Co-Chairman of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce Drug-Free Workplace Program, a 10-year member of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) MRO Faculty, a past advisor to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) MRO Committee, A 5-year participant in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Regional Student Drug Testing Summits, and a participant in the 1988 White House Conference for a Drug Free America.

Bill has been involved in many workplace drug testing court cases at all levels, including the 1989 United States Supreme Court ‘Skinner’ decision. Bill co-founded Info-Lab, Inc. and managed Workplace Health Co-Op, a substance abuse program administrator. During his tenure with Info-Lab, Inc., he co-owned and operated Info-Meth, an HHS-certified laboratory located in Peoria, IL.

Bill has edited and written numerous articles and publications and regularly shares his industry expertise & thought leadership at several local, regional and national speaking events.

Bill resides outside Chicago.


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Approved for 1.0 Legal Credit

Work from Home is Not Going Away: Telework Issues in the Age of the Coronavirus
Ann Smisek & Alec LeSher

Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector


Working from home has become widespread due to the pandemic. Having strong policies and procedures in place to give employers control over telework arrangements is important. This presentation will help employers navigate the legal and practical issues that arise in a telework setting, including tracking hours worked and productivity, ADA accommodation issues, and workers’ compensation issues.

  1. Importance of having strong policies and procedures in place to give employers control over telework arrangements
  2. How employers can navigate the legal and practical issues that arise in a telework setting, including tracking hours worked and productivity
  3. Understanding and navigating ADA accommodation issues as it relates to work from home
  4. Understanding and navigating workers’ compensation issues as it relates to work from home

Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector

Ann Smisek
Attorney, Shareholder
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.

Ann works in the firm’s Government Law and Education Law Practice Areas, and currently leads the Collective Bargaining/Labor Law Practice Group. Ann counsels clients on various personnel matters regarding hiring, disciplining, and terminating employees, as well as how to conduct workplace investigations. She advises on compliance with applicable state and federal regulations, and reviews handbooks to provide recommendations on legal compliance and best practices. Ann also advises clients on labor issues, representing employers in collective bargaining agreement negotiations, in cases before the Public Employment Relations Board, and in grievance arbitrations.

Prior to Ahlers & Cooney, she served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (IPERB). She conducted prehearing conferences and presided at contested case hearings concerning labor and employment disputes. She performed legal research and issued proposed rulings on pre-hearing motions and on the merits of cases. She handled administrative appeals before the district court, Iowa Court of Appeals and Iowa Supreme Court regarding negotiability disputes. She also acted as a mediator to help settle cases and assist in the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements



Alec LeSher
Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.

Alec is a member of the Ahlers & Cooney Public Law Practice Area and focuses his practice in the area of employment law, for both K-12 and Higher Education institutions. Alec assists clients with student and personnel issues; drafting and/or negotiating handbooks, contracts and policies; special education matters; and internal investigations.

While at Drake Law School, Alec clerked with the Ahlers law firm in the summer of 2019 and throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. Prior to attending law school, Alec worked at Wells Fargo as a Financial Crimes Specialist.

Approved for 1.0 HRCI Business Credit

R.E.S.P.E.C.T…It’s More than Just a Song
Jeff Kortes

Intended Audience: Public Sector/Private Sector


Give Your Employees C.R.A.P.®…Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise.  Those bosses and organizations people want to follow give their employees lots of C.R.A.P.!  (Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise). Building a culture of respect is imperative to the sustainability of the business and the enterprise’s ability to deliver results year after year.  Giving your employees respect is a strategic imperative in the new workplace.

The problem is, all too often, bosses and organizations disrespect their people without even knowing it.  Through real-life stories and interactive participation, Jeff has created a program which helps participants understand how to demonstrate respect in their day-to-day interactions at work so they can systematically build this essential pillar in employee loyalty, engagement, and culture.

Jeff’s insight as a “headhunter” enables him to hear first-hand from candidates how bosses and organizations sometimes fail to respect their people and how this destroys employee engagement, loyalty, and culture.

This insight, combined with experience as an HR Leader of 25 years, coach and US Army veteran provides invaluable insight into how leaders can ensure they are demonstrating respect when working with their people.

Jeff’s unique insight enables participants to leave the session with actionable steps to begin building a business strategy with respect as the cornerstone.  This culture of respect then drives employee retention in a leader’s department or organization.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Advocate to senior leadership that the RESPECT must be an integral part of building their culture and their employee loyalty strategy.
  2. Demonstrate HOW TO best give employees RESPECT.
  3. Many leaders want to give employees RESPECT but don’t know how to do it or accidentally disrespect people!
  4. Identify which leaders in their organization don’t give their employees RESPECT.
  5. Show why RESPECT is an element of culture that is essential to millennials and Gen Z.


Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Human Asset Management, LLC

Jeff has more than 25 years experience in human resources. He has worked at companies that specialize in manufacturing, construction, and software development. During his career he has worked to recruit, retain and develop employees, at companies including ConAgra Foods, SPX, Midas International and American Crystal Sugar.

Jeff is the founder of Human Asset Management LLC, which helps organizations to recruit, engage, develop and retain talent. He is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and a frequent speaker on the topic of loyalty, employee retention, recruitment and culture building. He is an avid high school wrestling fan, CrossFit participant and US Army veteran. Jeff is the author of Give Your Employees C.R.A.P…and 7 Other Secrets to Employee Retention and HR Horror Stories…True Tales from the Trenches. For more information visit http://www.jeffkortes.com and follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffkortes

Approved for 1.0 Legal Credit

Navigating the Minefield of Political Speech in the Workplace
Fran Haas

Intended Audience: Private Sector


In the current political climate, many employers are grappling with a wide variety of challenges related to political speech, including workplace disputes, protests, political activity, and social media. This presentation will help responsible employers effectively prepare for and respond to these issues.

Our program will cover:

  1. An overview of the key legal issues triggered, including freedom-of-speech protections, the National Labor Relations Act, state law, and contracts/collective bargaining agreements.
  2. Restrictions on the ability of employers to address employees’ political speech, activity, and off-duty conduct.
  3. A discussion of the various factors that must be balanced and considered, including avoiding discrimination against employees and retaliation for engaging in protected activity or in violation of public policy.
  4. Practical guidance on the most effective way to address these issues

Intended Audience: Private Sector

Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

In her labor and employment practice, Fran Haas encounters a fair share of difficult cases, but in each matter, she’s determined to reach a conclusion that satisfies her clients. “I’m able to handle all the issues my clients might encounter,” she says. “It’s about being resourceful.”

Fran litigates for employers in cases related to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, Family and Medical Leave Act, equal pay, and wrongful termination. She negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of management, as well as other labor disputes. While Fran enjoys litigating, she emphasizes consulting before issues arise. Whether she consults through a phone call, conducts in-person training, or reviews policies or anticipated employee terminations, she’s with the client from start to finish. “It’s not just about pointing out the problem but getting them to the finish line so they don’t have to worry about it at all.”

In addition, Fran leads webinars and speaks frequently on employment and higher education issues, with an emphasis on mental health and substance abuse issues in the workplace.

Education Background and Awards

  • Benchmark Litigation, Future Star, 2021
  • First in class at UNI, 2002
  • Order of the Coif, University of Iowa College of Law, 2004

Cases and Success Stories

  • Rossley v. Drake University, 2020, WL 2107937 (8th Cir. 2020). Obtained summary judgment for client in Title IX and ADA retaliation case.
  • Edwards v. Des Moines Public Schools (Polk County Dist. Ct. of Iowa, 2019). First-chair defense verdict in jury trial involving claim of wrongful termination.
  • Bandstra v. Covenant Reformed Church (Iowa Supreme Court 2018). Favorable outcome on appeal of multiple tort claims in clergy sexual abuse case.
  • Smock v. Muscatine Center for Social Action (Muscatine Cnty. Dist. Ct. of Iowa 2017). Obtained summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims for wrongful discharge claim in violation of public policy and breach of contract.
  • Banks v. John Deere & Co., Case No. 15-2058 (8th Cir. 2016). The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the employer on the plaintiff’s race discrimination and harassment claims under Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
  • Massey-Diez v. University of Iowa Community Medical Services, Inc., Case No. 15-2924 (8th Cir. 2016). The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the employer on the plaintiff’s FMLA entitlement and discrimination/retaliation claims.
  • Dindinger v. Allsteel, Inc., 860 N.W.2d 557 (Iowa 2015). Obtained favorable answers to two certified questions of law on wage discrimination claims before the Iowa Supreme Court.
  • Ackelson v. Manley Toy Direct, LLC, No. 12-0442 (Iowa 2013). The Iowa Supreme Court held that punitive damages are not available in employment discrimination claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Approved for 1.0 Insurance Credit

Social Determinants of Health
Donna Zimmerman

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector


Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) is more than a buzz word. Learn how payers are identifying and addressing members needs and behaviors across all lines of business to drive strategy and performance. Panelists cover the types of payer, public and consumer data used, practical use cases, as well as measurable outcomes. Attendees can gain awareness of this emerging area, the value it can drive, and how it may impact future trends.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To learn how the social determinants of health are defined
  2. To understand how the social determinants of health influence employee health and wellbeing
  3. To learn how health care systems are addressing social determinants of health to improve outcomes for patients and members
  4. To explore opportunities for employers to address social determinants of health to improve employee health and wellbeing, leading to improved engagement, productivity and retention.


Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

SVP, Government and Community Relations
HealthPartners UnityPoint Health

Donna is the Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations for HealthPartners, a nonprofit, consumer-governed health care organization in Bloomington, Minnesota. HealthPartners provides health care coverage to 1.8 million members and health care services for more than 1.2 million patients each year. She is responsible for public policy and community affairs strategies across the organizations. Donna collaborates with community partners to improve population health in children’s health, mental health, and health equity. She works in all areas of government and health reform product and regulatory strategy. Donna also represents HealthPartners with state and national trade association appointments and committees. She was previously the Director of Government Programs at HealthPartners, with responsibility for Medicare and state public programs. Her background is in administration and policy, with leadership and executive experience in public and nonprofit sectors. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from St. Olaf College, Minnesota.

Donna’s many community connections include her board service with the Animal Humane Society, the March of Dimes, Twin Cities Public Television, and the MN Council of Health Plans. She has been recognized by the March of Dimes, the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST and the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal.

LUNCH BREAK: 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Approved for 1.0 Legal Credit

Common Discipline Problems Employers Face
Matt Brick/Erin Clanton

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector


Employers have a great deal of responsibility in maintaining a productive and satisfied workforce. During the course of operating a business, there will be challenges; however, you can minimize the impact of employee disciplinary issues by understanding the cause and how to correct them. This seminar will focus on common issues and helpful solutions to typical problems in areas, such as:

  1. Attendance and Punctuality
  2. Violation of Company Rules; and
  3. Low Productivity or Insubordination.

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Matt Brick

Brick & Gentry, P.C.

“Working with clients is what I do best. Whether it’s advising cities on issues or helping settle employment disputes, I always want to procure the best outcome for those I represent. I’ll keep working until I do.”

Matt Brick is a shareholder of Brick Gentry P.C. His practice involves business transactions along with providing legal guidance for a number of cities and other public corporations. In addition, Matt represents both businesses and governments in a variety of labor and employment issues.

For his business clients, Matt handles a variety of matters ranging from: forming business entities such as corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships; negotiating contracts, assisting with the purchase and sale of businesses; and entering in equity sales and/or joint ventures with outside parties.

His municipal practice covers issues such as ordinance drafting, prosecutions, contract preparation, litigation defense and handling real estate issues. Matt has experience with municipal issues involving governmental immunity, open records, open meetings, constitutional rights and eminent domain.

Matt’s employment practice involves advising employers on employee discipline, assisting with drafting, reviewing and revising employment policies, and handling hiring and reduction issues. Matt also works with employers on union­ related matters, such as unfair labor practice charges and negotiating collective-bargaining agreements.

Prior to joining the Firm, Matt worked for the Vinson & Elkins law firm in Dallas, Texas, defending and advising clients in a wide range of labor and employment issues. Matt has extensive civil litigation experience defending public and private corporations on matters such as wrongful termination, discrimination disputes, wage and hours cases and a variety of other statutory and common-law claims. 


Erin Clanton

Brick & Gentry, P.C.

“The cornerstone of my practice is understanding that every issue matters. Whether I’m representing a municipality or handling an employment matter, I’m always doing everything I can to achieve success.”

Erin Clanton is a shareholder of Brick Gentry P.C. The majority of Erin’s practice is focused on the representation of municipalities. She also handles a wide variety of employment matters; performs general real estate work, including title examination and loan closing services; and assists creditors in their relations with debtors, both in and outside the bankruptcy realm. Erin also serves as the City Attorney for Nevada, Iowa, and provides assistance to a number of other Iowa public entities. Erin graduated from the University of Iowa in 2002 with degrees in English and Finance. In 2005, she graduated from Creighton University Law School and joined Brick Gentry as an associate. Erin became a shareholder of Brick Gentry in 2009.

2021 Megatrends
Dr. Jarik Conrad

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector


2020 has been a historically challenging year. The global pandemic, widespread protests over racial injustice and devastating natural disasters have directly impacted our employees and customers. In the midst of this unprecedented disruption, organizations have had to react to these challenges and redefine how and where they get work done.

Forward-thinking organizations have begun to re-emerge with the understanding that this unprecedented disruption has brought with it an incredible opportunity to fix the things that weren’t working even prior to 2020, so they can be more effective and resilient.

They can achieve these objectives by:

  1. Rethinking their purpose and putting People Before Profits to strengthen Organizational Culture and a sense of Belonging
  2. Reimagining their workplace to promote Life-Work Synergy to increase Employee Engagement to boost organizational Productivity, Profitability, and Impact.
  3. Facilitating the Rebirth of HR, where modern HR professionals become People Scientists and Relationship Catalysts driving sustainable transformational organizational change.

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

VP, Human Insights and HCM Advisory​
UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group)

Dr. Jarik Conrad leads the Human Insights and HCM Evangelism group at UKG, where he works to help organizations put their people first. Immediately prior to joining UKG, he led The Conrad Consulting Group, where he served as an executive coach, keynote speaker, and management consultant. He has held human resources leadership roles in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He has also been a research collaborator with the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Conrad earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, two master’s degrees from Cornell University, and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of North Florida. He holds certifications in intercultural sensitivity, emotional intelligence, plant-based nutrition, personal training and weight management.

He is a sought-after speaker in the areas of leadership, health & wellness, emotional intelligence (EI), and diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEIB). He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, The Fragile Mind. His next book, In Search of Humanity, will be published later this year.

The Required Art: How Redefining Public Speaking Creates Business Breakthroughs
Erik Dominguez

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector


The Required Art is an inspirational keynote giving audiences a practical toolbox to cultivate a culture of storytelling and public speaking. These often underutilized and underdeveloped art forms are as nuanced as playing the piano, as grueling as running a minarathon, and as detailed as crafting building blueprints. Challenging the notion that one must overcome their speaking fears, this keynote ignites confidence, connections, and a life-long habit of effectively speaking up.

  1. Recognize inefficiencies in daily communication
  2. Interpret the roots of communicative shortcomings
  3. Design daily strategies to cultivate the art of speaking and storytelling
  4. Synthesize public speaking training and personal development growth

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Speaker and Coach
Speak Up Stories

As an immigrant who grew up between two cultures and mixed messages, the familiarity I have with speaking fears fueled me to learn and share the tools to overcome those obstacles. For nearly 25 years, my team-oriented speaking and teaching style has centered around shared experiences, a philosophy that everyone has a unique story, and a belief that everyone can share their minds and heart through powerful presentations.

Approved for 1.0 Insurance Credit

Millenials, Their Health and Your Workplace
Julie Enga and Amanda Dorr

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector


When it comes to millennials — specifically in the workplace — many of us tend to have a lot of assumptions: everything from lazy job-hoppers to entitled employees. One assumption that might not be top of mind? Unhealthy.

With 1 in 3 millennials having a health condition that affects their quality of life and seeing declines in health as early as age 27, it’s important to start the conversation about millennial employees now. Join Wellmark Blue Cross Blues Shield Employee Well-Being Consultants to see the current research and data related to millennials health, how it is affecting your organization and steps that you should be taking now.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participant will be able to identify millennial population and demographics trends that data is presenting and get a look ahead to Gen Z population
  2. Participant will be able to understand the latest 2020 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association data and research related to health conditions, quality of life, increased health cost and decreased productivity.
  3. Participant will be able to understand resources, tools and innovative approaches that they can apply to organizational decisions that could positively impact them.

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Julie Enga
Team leader, Employer Consulting and Well-being Services

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Julie Enga joined Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1999 and her responsibilities include leading the employer consulting and well-being team to bring expertise on culture, engagement and well-being solutions to our customers.

Julie’s focus is to ensure employer group’s have the support, tools and services to keep their employees performing at their best based on data, best practices, research and experience.

  • More than 25 years of health and well-being experience in corporate health and well-being strategy, consulting with employers on culture, engagement and well-being solutions.
  • Works with leaders throughout the health and well-being industry to bring trends and innovation to Wellmark.
  • Strategically manages well-being relationships to provide the best value and experience to our members.
  • Passionate about finding solutions within all areas of well-being that focus on the whole person and align with Wellmark strategy.
  • Registered and licensed dietitian and Thriving Workplace Culture Consultant


Amanda Dorr
Employer Consulting and Well-Being Consultant

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Amanda Dorr joined Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2015 and her responsibilities include developing and managing the successful design, implementation, and evaluation of customers’ health and well-being programs.

  • More than 14 years of experience in the wellness industry.
  • Skilled at analyzing customers’ data including health care and pharmacy claims, demographics, risk data, benefits plan, work environment, policies, culture, financial resources, etc. to design a comprehensive well-being and medical management strategy.
  • Acts as a subject matter expert regarding marketing communications, legal, and compliance.
  • Experienced consultant to employer groups, helping them understand business issues and desired outcomes concerning their employees’ health and wellness results and activities.
  • Previous experience includes managing customer implementations and renewals of an online benefits platform and organizing a wellness fundraising program for a local nonprofit organization.
  • Bachelor’s degree in health promotion with an emphasis specific to wellness.
  • Certified Thriving Culture Consultant
  • Certified nutrition and wellness consultant American Fitness Professional Associates (AFPA)

BREAK: 1:30 PM – 1:45 PM

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Approved for 1.0 Legal Credit

The Post-Pandemic Workplace
Kendra D. Simmons

Intended Audience: Private Sector


No workplace has been unaffected by COVID-19. As we begin to consider how workplaces will look different post-pandemic, employers should consider how their workplaces will be impacted going forward and what policies should be implemented regarding working in person and working remotely. Some have debated whether remote work will now be presumed a reasonable accommodation, which analysis will likely change in some way in light of the pandemic. As the vaccine rollout continues, businesses will also need to decide whether to require or encourage employees to get the COVID vaccine. To help address these issues, this presentation will highlight litigation arising out of COVID employment issues and discuss methods for preventing litigation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Anticipate the future of working remotely vs. in the office and cover best practices regarding the same, including suggested policies to implement if not yet in place
  2. Discuss how consideration of reasonable accommodations may change in light of the COVID pandemic
  3. Analyze whether to require vs. encourage the COVID vaccine
  4. Highlight litigation arising out of COVID employment issues and discuss prevention methods


Intended Audience: Private Sector

Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Kendra helps employers prevent and solve problems. She is an experienced advisor and litigator, representing employers and businesses in litigation and advising them outside of formal legal proceedings. While Kendra works with employers in various industries, she works most frequently with clients in the health care, construction, manufacturing, transportation and technology industries.

Kendra regularly drafts employment policies and agreements, including non-competes and other restrictive covenants, and represents employers in litigation on these same matters. She has obtained numerous dismissals of discrimination, harassment and retaliation charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Iowa Civil Rights Commission, as well as winning summary judgment for multiple clients facing similar claims in state or federal court. She has also successfully represented clients in jury trials, bench trials, other agency proceedings and arbitration. This litigation experience helps Kendra to better advise clients on practical solutions, always keeping their end business goals in mind. She is sought out for her experience in advising on and litigating matters under Iowa’s drug and alcohol testing statute. In addition, Kendra advises on due diligence matters for clients engaged in mergers and acquisitions.

Kendra’s practice focuses on employment law and litigation, but her general business litigation background allows her to serve the wide-ranging legal needs of businesses and employers. Before joining the firm, Kendra was an associate at Seigfreid Bingham, P.C. in Kansas City, where she practiced general business litigation and worked on matters involving transportation law, employment law, and health care law, among other areas of law.

Zero In On Increasing Accountability in the Workplace: SESSION FULL
Denise Forney

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector


Accountability is a key component of our workplace culture. It helps us stay focused on expectations for our work and producing quality outcomes. This training session will provide practical application tips to increase personal accountability in the workplace. We will explore eight habits of highly accountable people in this session and share best practices in holding team members accountable.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between responsibility and accountability in assessing professional behavior and performance
  2. Understand the key elements and benefits of increasing accountability in the workplace
  3. Practice “Above the Line” personal accountability behaviors to help us See It, Own It, Solve It and Do It
  4. Provide actionable tips on eight best practices of accountability


Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Training Development Advisor
MidAmerican Energy Company

Denise Forney is an Organizational Development professional, serving as a Corporate Training Advisor for MidAmerican Energy Company. She is a natural engager of people, building relationships within her organization and with the local community for the past 26 years of her career in training and development.

She is the creator of the MidAmerican Energizer series, driving momentum on diversity related topics internally and for organizations such as the Iowa Employment Conference, the Association of Talent Development (ATD) and the Energized Women Resource Group.

Denise leads authentically with positive energy, new ideas and brings out the best in everyone. In addition to her role at MidAmerican, she is a “teacher, trainer and edu-tainer” – teaching guitar lessons in her home and on her front porch and playing locally in the Des Moines metro area. She and her husband John have been married for 20 years and have three beautiful children: Rachel, Kaitlyn and Jacob.

Supervising as the Pickle in the Middle
Michele Matt, CSP

Intended Audience: Private Sector/ Public Sector


The supervisory position is one of the most critical roles in your company since it involves the supervision of individuals in day-to-day operations. The combination of your technical specialty and your leadership ability is vital for your team or department to function effectively.

During this program, you will learn how to:

  1. Understand your DiSC® management style
  2. Direct and delegate effectively
  3. Motivate and develop others
  4. Work best with your manager

Based upon the Everything DiSC® Management Profile, you will learn their strengths and challenges as managers and how to adapt to meet the needs of the people they manage based upon these eight primary areas where people focus their energy:

  • Action
  • Encouragement
  • Collaboration
  • Support
  • Reliability
  • Objectivity
  • Challenge
  • Drive


Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

President/Author/Consultant Inspiring Solutions

Each year since 1991, Michele has inspired the attitudes and actions of thousands of people around the world through customized learning experiences, dynamic keynote presentations, strategic business planning and organizational development. As a dynamic and highly effective communicator, clients appreciate her unique ability to challenge the minds and touch the hearts of people at any level within a company, from the board of directors to the front-line team members.

Since starting Inspiring Solutions in Des Moines, Iowa she’s had the privilege of working in a wide-variety of industries, specializing in healthcare by designing and facilitating:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Leadership Development
  • Customer Service Initiatives
  • Team Building

Inspiring Solutions is an award-winning partner of Wiley Learning Solutions, an authorized distributor of Everything DiSC®, the leading suite of DiSC® – based workplace training assessments. In addition, Michele is a highly skilled and Accredited Facilitator in the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive TeamTM based upon Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Since 2005, Custom Learning Systems has contracted Michele to implement a culture transformation process within 50 healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience and employee engagement. In 2011, she was awarded the “Impact to Business” from the Association of Talent Development – Iowa Chapter for the work she’s done to help Matagorda Regional Medical Center to become a Hospital of Choice in the Houston area.

She is a highly respected healthcare consultant. Each year, Michele is asked to speak at numerous local and national conferences. She is the most requested speaker at the annual Health Care Service Excellence Conference. Plus, the majority of the Breakthrough and Service Summit Awards are given to her client-hospitals. She has earned the Certified Speaking Professional from the National Speakers Association, a designation earned by fewer than 10% of professional speakers worldwide. Other honors include Iowa Up and Comer and Outstanding Young Iowan.

Michele is appropriately recognized as “The Attitude Adjuster” because she has written several books and training resources on the topic, including the best- selling book Attitude: The Choice is Yours, the Activities to Enhance the Good, Bad and Ugly Attitudes and recently produced a video-based learning program called ATTITUDE!™ Resolving Difficult Situations in the Workplace. She has also written the Strategic Planning Handbook.

She has provided state and national leadership for the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the Association for Talent Development (ATD). She served on several boards including her alma maters Upper Iowa University and AIB College of Business.

Approved for 1.0 Insurance Credit

Optimizing Your Workplace Retirement Plan
Jean Duffy / Troy Anderson

Intended Audience: Private Sector


As HR professionals, we all have involvement with our company’s retirement plan in some form or fashion. For some, working with the company retirement plan is a necessary function of the job. For others, it’s an exciting opportunity to impact the financial wellbeing of our co-workers.

Studies show that employers benefit immensely from having financially healthy employees, from increased productivity and employee morale, to decreased healthcare costs and employee absences. But how can the workplace retirement plan and financial wellness be optimized, and how is success defined? What are leading peers doing to engage their employees, and how can the obvious roadblocks to financial success be conquered?

We’ll share statistics, case studies, engaging stories, best practices, and more during this interactive session.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explore what it truly means for an employer to optimize their workplace retirement plan.
  2. Understand the benefits to the employer and workplace environment when employees are financially healthy.
  3. Identify the key elements of employee engagement that lead to improved financial outcomes.
  4. Explore how HR professionals and plan sponsors can measure the success of their workplace retirement programs.


Intended Audience: Private Sector

Jean Duffy
SVP, Financial Advisor

Jean joined CAPTRUST in 2010 and serves as a Senior Vice President and principal financial advisor. As a retirement plan consultant to corporate fiduciaries, she is motivated to improve retirement plan outcomes for plan sponsors and their participants by structuring solid governance processes and superior educational opportunities.

When she is not in the office or with a client, Jean enjoys reading, traveling, giving back to the community, and spending time with family. She is committed to living life to the fullest and encouraging others along the way. Prior to joining CAPTRUST, Jean served as a retirement plan consultant and educational specialist for a regional brokerage firm. She was the first person in Iowa to receive the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation and has worked in the industry since 1990.

Bachelor of Science degree in resource management from Iowa State University

Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst™
Accredited Retirement Plan Consultant

NAPA Top Women Advisors | 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020
Barron’s Top 50 Institutional Consultants | 2019 (Team Des Moines)
Financial Times 401 Top Retirement Plan Advisor | 2017, 2018, and 2019
Top Advisor Defined Contribution Teams | 2018
NAPA Top DC Advisor Teams | 2019 (CAPTRUST Des Moines)

Troy Anderson
SVP, Financial Advisor

Troy joined CAPTRUST in 2017. He serves as a vice president and financial advisor, responsible for providing defined contribution, defined benefit, and nonqualified plan advisory services to corporate fiduciaries. Troy helps clients build successful retirement plans by leveraging the firm’s resources to provide independent advice on investments, plan design, participant financial wellness and advice, fiduciary process, and vendor management.

Troy holds the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) credential from the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA). He has also completed NAPA’s Nonqualified Plan Advisor (NQPA) certification program.

Prior to joining the firm, Troy was a client manager at Wolin & Associates, Inc. When he is not in the office or with a client, you can find Troy spending time with his wife and their two boys.

Bachelor of Science degree in business from Trinity International University
Master of Arts degree in Sports Administration from Northwestern University

Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor

Barron’s Top 50 Institutional Consultants | 2019 (Team Des Moines)
NAPA Top DC Advisor Teams | 2019 (CAPTRUST Des Moines)
NAPA Top Advisors Under 40 Nominee | 2018, 2019, and 2020

Programming Committee, Central Iowa Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

BREAK: 2:45 PM – 3:00 PM

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Approved for 1.0 Insurance Credit
Approved for 1.0 Legal Credit

Navigating Medical Examinations under the ADA, FMLA, and Worker’s Compensation
Thomas Cunningham

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector



Employee medical examinations raise issues under the ADA, the FMLA and worker’s compensation law.  Each type of examination has its advantages and disadvantages and requires employers to satisfy legal conditions for their use. But they also pose legal and strategic traps for the unwary employer – traps that could set the employer up for future litigation. When these areas of the law intersect, as when an injured employee insists, he or she cannot perform the essential functions of the job despite the work comp physician’s assessment that the employee has no restrictions, the use of medical examinations can in some instances place the employer at odds with its own interests. This is a one-hour presentation using lecture, Q & A and hypotheticals taken from actual cases.  Attendees will learn and understand:

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the differences among an ADA medical inquiry/ exam, a FMLA fit for duty exam, and W/C IME
  2. Understand the legal qualifications and conditions necessary to use such exams with prospective and current employees
  3. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of exam and how to avoid traps for the unwary
  4. Understand strategic considerations for deciding among the different types of exams when legal areas intersect

Intended Audience: Private Sector/Public Sector

Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Thomas M. Cunningham is the Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department at Nyemaster, Goode, P. C. in Des Moines, Iowa. Tom has been honored by being admitted to membership in the peer-reviewed societies Best Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation, Iowa Super Lawyers, Great Plains Super Lawyers and Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business, all in the area of Labor & Employment Law and related litigation. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Iowa. His practice consists of representing private and public sector management clients in all areas of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on trials in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including discrimination and civil rights cases, and FMLA, ADA, wage/hour, OSHA, MSHA, and affirmative action matters. In addition, Tom represents employers in the traditional labor law arena, having advised employers in union avoidance tactics and organizational campaigns and defended employers from unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board.

Let’s Talk About Numbers, Baby!
Sarah Davidson

Intended Audience: Private Sector


For HR to be successful with the C-suite, HR must understand the business and have business acumen. To develop the talent of the HR professionals under us, we should encourage them to know the business and understand how their role affects the bottom line. HR is about people, but to grow upward and lose the notion of necessary evil, we must start making some changes.

Sarah’s intent is that you’ll walk away more knowledgeable, confident, and ready to raise the bar of your HR department, along with your perceived and actual value.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn why metrics are powerful tool, and why they’re not as complicated as they think
  2. Learn how to calculate, present, and use metrics in their business
  3. Learn how to showcase HR’s impact in their business


Intended Audience: Private Sector

Director of Human Resources
Roeslein & Associates, Inc.

Sarah Davidson is the Director of Human Resources at Roeslein & Associates, an international engineering, manufacturing, and construction firm with 11 entities and over 850 employees, since joining them in 2013 they have quadrupled in size and have no plans to slow down. Prior to Roeslein, Sarah served in HR and Safety leadership positions with manufacturing, logistics, and environmental companies in Springfield and St. Louis, MO. She holds her PHR, SHRM-CP, California micro-credential with SHRM, and is currently earning her MBA from Saint Louis University.

Fear of Fire(ing): How to Terminate a Toxic Employee to Help Grow Your Company – and the Employee
Jon Wright

Intended Audience: Private Sector


Learning objectives/takeaways:

  1. Attendees will learn the three warning signs of a toxic employee
  2. Attendees will learn about the negative impact that a toxic employee has on company culture, recruitment, reviews, and revenue
  3. Attendees will learn how to create the “final chance” strategy that has the best chance of helping the employee remove their “toxic” label
  4. Attendees will learn how terminating the toxic employee can jump start the company and transform the employee

President & CEO
The Buyosphere Corporation

Jonnie grew up in Cambridge, Iowa and was raised by his mother, grandmother and aunt, three women who were voracious shoppers and relentlessly critical of employees who occasionally engaged them with “less than optimum” customer service. This had a major influence on Jonnie – first in his 20 year career as a radio and TV production writer and broadcaster, and later when he started The Buyosphere Training Company, whose mission was to help companies “live up to the promise of their marketing.” He launched “The Unsecret Shopper” blog in 2010, which included nearly 200 secret shopping evaluations of Iowa businesses, from real estate agents to Iowa State University, from convenience stores to divorce attorneys. The blog opened doors to more business owner training clients who wanted to deliver an exceptional customer service experience. Today, The Buyosphere has evolved into a “full immersion” training program that provides tools for collaborative leadership, improved company culture, stronger employee accountability and improved communication with co-workers and customers. Jonnie remains as relentlessly critical of the businesses who may sometimes offer “less than optimum” customer service as the three women who raised and inspired him. But now, he can help them with that.

Workplace Health and Well-Being in the Presence of COVID 19 – CANCELLED
David Grove

Intended Audience: Private Sector/ Public Sector