Atlanta HR Star Conference
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Speaker Information

David Gevertz, Esq. is a Shareholder and the Managing Director of Advocacy with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. He has more than 15 years of experience representing large public and privately held companies throughout the country in complex employment litigation. Mr. Gevertz defends class and collective actions; single and multi-plaintiff claims of racial, age, national origin, disability and religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation under state and federal laws; Family and Medical Leave Act claims; executive agreement and restrictive covenant litigation; drug-testing disputes; and reduction-in-force challenges. His practice also involves litigating accommodations claims brought against restaurants, theme parks, testing entities and other places of public accommodation under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and related state and local laws. In addition, Mr. Gevertz advocates employment law compliance and litigation avoidance for his clients. He counsels companies on conducting nationwide reductions-in-force, drafting and implementation of employment policies and procedures, investigating allegations of internal unethical and/or unlawful conduct, conducting comprehensive employment audits, negotiating employment contracts and restrictive covenants, and providing hiring, disciplinary and termination-related advice. Mr. Gevertz is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Clare Draper, Esq. is a Partner in the Labor and Employment Group at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, Georgia and consistently has been named a "Georgia Super Lawyer" by Atlanta Magazine. His practice covers all areas of labor and employment law. Having served as lead counsel in all types of labor and employment litigation for over 20 years throughout the country, Mr. Draper has developed extensive expertise in assisting clients with HR management issues, including litigation prevention, development and implementation of workplace policies and practices, reductions and expansions of the workforce, employee retention, union/management issues, regulatory compliance and negotiating, drafting and litigating employment agreements, restrictive covenants and separation agreements. Mr. Draper is a nationally known expert in the field of government-mandated affirmative action plans, and he serves as national affirmative action counsel for several companies, including the second largest private employer in the U.S. In addition, he is the author of several employment related publications, the latest of which is the Pike & Fisher/BNA book Workplace Privacy: A Guide for Attorneys and HR Professionals. Mr. Draper received his B.A. from Yale and his J.D. from Vanderbilt, where he was an associate editor on the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Kelly Charles-Collins, Esq. is a Partner with Smoak, Chistolini & Barnett, PLLC in Tampa, Florida. Mrs. Charles-Collins has over 17 years of experience representing management in employment law matters. She also presides as a Certified Arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association over employment, commercial and consumer cases in the U.S. and internationally. Mrs. Charles-Collins’ broad range of experience in employment law includes providing advice and successful litigation defense of matters in federal and state court and before administrative bodies in areas such as Title VII, the ADEA, FMLA and the ADA, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, retaliation, whistleblower, federal and state wage and hour laws, state tort claims and restrictive covenant agreements. She also provides preventive counseling for employers, defends EEOC and other administrative charges, conducts internal investigations, trains management and supervisors, reviews and drafts employment policies, assesses and implements workplace solutions and defends unemployment compensation claims. Mrs. Charles-Collins’ experience as staff counsel for a multi-billion dollar, global international insurance firm makes her well-suited to also handle matters covered by employment practices liability insurance (EPLI). Mrs. Charles-Collins represents clients in a broad spectrum of industries, including food service, automotive, community management, community associations, healthcare, transportation, information technology, security services, cruise lines, risk management and government contractors. Mrs. Charles-Collins is very active in her community and has routinely provided pro-bono legal services. She is admitted to practice law in Florida, Georgia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

John McFarland is the President of Worxtime HR and a frequent speaker on the Affordable Care Act, employee benefits, healthcare reform and how employers and HR professionals can best accommodate the shifting tide of healthcare. Prior to joining Worxtime HR, Mr. McFarland served in both sales and management capacities for several companies where he consulted on individual benefits, employee benefit packages, benefits administration platforms and enrollment technology tools. His dual background in both benefits and technology allowed him to successfully transition into his current role where his responsibilities include overseeing strategic planning, managing the internal sales activities, as well as developing national relationships. John is a graduate of Auburn University with a BS in Operations Management and holds the notable Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist Certification.

Dave Collins is the Founder and CEO of Oak and Reeds, a corporate training firm dedicated to using the tools of improvisation to train clients on everyday soft skills. Dave is an award-winning improvisor, coach, speaker and corporate strategist with over a decade of experience performing and coaching improv. Along with his teammates, Dave won the National Collegiate Improv Tournament. He has headlined shows across the United States and individually has coached hundreds of students and professionals in the art and practice of applied improvisation. Prior to founding Oak and Reeds, he worked as a change management expert at AECOM. As part of AECOM's workplace strategy team, Dave helped clients to examine the relationship between workspace and productivity, enabling people to break old habits and embrace change. Dave has a B.A. in Communication and Economics from Northwestern University with a specialization in Team Leadership.

Keith Webb is the Director of SaaS Technology for Ultimate Software and is responsible for supporting the Business Development Team - Global Enterprise. He is also a member of the Thought Leadership Speaker Forum. In his 12 year tenure at Ultimate, Keith has participated in the software industry's fundamental shift from traditional license acquisition to the fully hosted SaaS model while communicating these complexities and challenges to CIOs responsible for global workforces. Product roadmap, disaster recoverability, business continuity and an ever-evolving security paradigm have become cornerstone delivery for SaaS vendors, and emerging dash-boarding and complex/predictive analytics are driving IT investments as technology resources make the shift from support to strategic operations. Keith's insight into these technologies, trends and opportunities guide customers and prospects into making relevant technology investments that enable organizations to become better able to compete in the global landscape. Keith holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems, UTA and has 27years of technology experience.

Pete Smith is a Vice President and Principal with EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants and has more than 30 years of experience in the employee benefits and life insurance industry. Pete has been instrumental in overseeing the formation and implementation of policies and procedures for EPIC's Employer Services specialty consulting division. Pete excels in building new client relationships, servicing existing accounts, focusing on benefit design, cost containment and plan implementation. Prior to joining EPIC, Pete served as a Regional Director with Guardian Life.

Suzannah Gill, Esq. is a Benefits Strategy Consultant with EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants and brings a breadth of benefits consulting experience to EPIC's Atlanta Employee Benefits Consulting team. With a background as an ERISA attorney at a prominent Atlanta law firm representing clients in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, she offers multi-varied expertise and a unique industry perspective. Suzannah provides client service leadership, including overall strategy and relationship management, delivering meaningful economic impact and helping her clients navigate through the complexities of employee benefits so they can focus on managing and growing their businesses. She is a regular writer for industry publications and is a speakers at industry conferences, including the International Symposium of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists, SHRM, the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism, BenefitsPro Magazine, Employee Benefits Advisor and Employee Benefits News.

Dana Noweder is a Senior Business Process Consultant at Dana immediately found herself in a recruiting role right out of college, and recruiting quickly became a passion of hers mainly due to the lives she is able to impact. Starting on the agency side, she worked her way through to Recruiting Manager, guiding and training the recruiting staff. Before long she was on the corporate side of recruiting where she was the first employee hired to open a new call center in Phoenix and responsible for hiring everyone from security to sales. This self-proclaimed “recruiting nerd” now takes her 12 years of recruiting experience and shares it with others across the country at There she partners with customers to help improve their recruiting process and ensure that they see the best return on their investment. Dana is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where she studied English Literature.

Peter N. Hall, Esq. is Senior Counsel at Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry where he focuses his practice on labor and employment law with an emphasis on litigation matters. He counsels both large and small employers on a variety of labor and employment issues, including avoidance of discrimination and retaliation claims, compliance with disability and medical leave requirements, wage and hour issues, employee terminations, restrictive covenants, union avoidance, trade secrets and records retention. Mr. Hall has represented employers before state administrative agencies in numerous states, as well as before federal agencies, including the EEOC, DOL, and NLRB. In addition, he frequently drafts employment and separation agreements, as well as restrictive covenants and employee handbooks for multistate and multinational employers. Mr. Hall has litigated numerous complex and contentious matters, including individual, class, and collective actions. Many of his employment cases involve issues such as trade secret, restrictive covenant, computer fraud and theft, ERISA, discrimination and wage-hour issues. He also has experience litigating commercial cases involving securities fraud, franchisor/franchisee disputes, breach of contract and breach of warranty. Mr. Hall has been named a "Rising Star" several times by Super Lawyers magazine as well as a "Legal Elite" by Georgia Trend magazine. He earned a B.A. from The Ohio State University and a J.D. from the Vanderbilt University Law School where he was the Associate Editor of the Law Review.

Sheree Knowles, SPHR is the Founder and Chief Human Resources Officer for HR Knowledge Source (HRKS), a human resources advisory firm as well as a talented executive with over 20 years of HR leadership experience. She has served in senior-level roles for companies with regional and national geographic footprints. Her most recent corporate role was VP of Human Resources for a $1B professional services firm. Through HRKS, Sheree works with clients in variety of industries, including nonprofit, government, technology, higher education, construction and professional services. Ms. Knowles is a highly regarded leader and professional speaker. She is best known for her ability to build HR departments from the ground up - people, policies, processes and technology. In addition, she is an accomplished practitioner who has achieved multiple certifications and designations throughout her career: SPHR, CPM (Certified Project Manager), MBTI (Myers-Briggs) and DiSC. Sheree is a “generalist” by heart, preferring to work in all aspects of human resources. She enjoys talent acquisition, talent & performance management, employment law compliance, training & development, mergers & acquisitions and health & wellness. Ms. Knowles is also committed to the development of emerging HR leaders and entrepreneurs. Sheree is actively involved in several professional organizations, including the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Human Resources Leadership Forum, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta. She also serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the National Association of African American in Human Resources (NAAAHR) Atlanta Board. Ms. Knowles is a graduate of the University of Dayton.

Nancy J. Lewis, MS, PHR, SHRM-CP, RCC is a leading inspirational speaker, trainer, author and registered corporate coach. Nancy is the President of Progressive Techniques, Inc. based in Fayetteville, Georgia and has been conducting training for 30 years. She is the co-author of, Millennials and Beyond: Making the Leap from Texting to Talking.. Additionally, Nancy has worked as an adjunct faculty instructor at Georgia State University where she has taught courses in human resources. Nancy works with organizations that want to develop their people potential and with employees who want more fulfillment in their careers. She conducts dynamic keynotes and seminars on leadership, diversity and human resources. Also, she delivers customized, interactive and content-rich presentations and works with executives and managers to help them transform and enhance their careers. Nancy was included in the 2016 edition of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta and is the former host of the radio talk show, Sisters Together: Sharing Stories Straight From the Heart. She has been featured regularly on local radio and television broadcasts and was selected as a 2009 WNBA Atlanta Dream Woman of Inspiration. Nancy was also selected by Rolling Out Magazine as one of 25 most influential women in Atlanta. Some of Nancy’s clients include: Delta Air Lines, Inc., Chick-fil-A, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Power, FORD Motor Company, AT&T, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The American Heart Association, Winn Dixie, Georgia State University, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, SunTrust Bank, Spelman College, Kimberly Clark Corporation and Georgia Institute of Technology. Nancy earned a M.S. degree from Georgia State University in Urban and Public Affairs with a concentration in Human Resources.

Braden L. Albert is the Founder and President of the HR Star Conference and its parent company, Abbington Court Media. A graduate of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Braden began organizing job fairs and trade shows in the mid-1990's. Intrigued by the idea of bringing people together for a shared, learning experience - and impressed by the impact such an experience can provide - Braden organized his first HR Star Conference in 1999. Today, the scope of the HR Star Conference includes annual events in Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; and Cleveland, Ohio. Over 3,300 HR professionals attended an HR Star Conference in 2017.