Cleveland HR Star Conference
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Speakers & Presenters


Jill Christensen is an international speaker, celebrated author, employee engagement expert and President of Jill Christensen International based in Denver, Colorado. With three decades of real-life, in-the-trenches global Fortune 500 executive-level experience, Jill’s view is radically different. She shares with listeners that although HR “owns” culture change, they do not own culture change. Employees will not re-engage unless leaders and managers fundamentally change the way they lead the company and their teams. Jill has served as the head of Global Internal Communications at both Avaya and Western Union. She has a Six Sigma Green Belt and was named as one of the Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencers of 2017. Additionally, she is the author of the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement. Jill works with the best and brightest leaders and companies around the world to improve productivity, customer satisfaction and revenue growth. Clients include AT&T, Nokia, ARROW, Crocs, Novartis, TIAA, ACT as well as numerous U.S. cities and non-profit organizations.


Dethra U. Giles, MBA., MSCM., SPHR, SHRM-SCP is an acclaimed author, speaker, trainer and Senior HR Consultant. She is a Principal at ExecuPrep, LLC - a training, consulting and executive coaching firm based in Atlanta, GA - as well a member of its Board of Directors. As the Chief Bridge Architect at ExecuPrep, she and her team help clients build and cross their bridge from “I want to be” to “I am!” Dethra is the author of the new book, “Unstuck: Discovering Career Limiting Actions” as well as the creator of “30 days to GUD”, teaching people how to Get Up Daily by walking them through a 21 day process to Get Up, Show Up and Act Up. Previously, Dethra was the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Emory University’s Oxford College. She holds an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management and Organizational Development and a Masters of Science in Conflict Management. In addition, Dethra is a Certified Trainer of Workplace Mediation and a Registered Neutral through the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. Her extensive education and experience in human resources and conflict management has allowed her to work professionally with a large number of outstanding organizations from the NBA to the EPA, as well as State Farm Insurance Companies, Georgia Department of Labor, Kennesaw State University, the US Army Corp of Engineers, The Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Georgia Women Entrepreneur Network and Court Appointed Special Advocates.


Seth P. Briskin, Esq. is a Partner in the firm of Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis where he is Chair of the Labor & Employment Group. Mr. Briskin provides labor and employment counsel to private, public sector and non-profit organizations. He represents employers and executives in employment litigation, wage and hour matters, non-competition and trade secret litigation, workers’ compensation claims/appeals, union organizing drives, collective bargaining, labor arbitrations and all manner of disputes involving the NLRB, OSHA, EEOC, OCRC, BWC and the Department of Labor. In addition, he prepares employment and consulting contracts, confidentiality and non-competition agreements and advises clients on severance packages and separation agreements. Before joining the firm, Mr. Briskin practiced at boutique and general practice law firms where he developed his experience in all areas of labor and employment law. He also interned for the National Labor Relations Board. Consistently named an Ohio “Super Lawyer” and awarded Crain’s Cleveland Business “40 Under 40” in 2005, Seth frequently speaks on labor and employment law issues. He serves as an officer on the Executive Boards of the Cleveland Leadership Center, American Jewish Committee, Beachwood Chamber of Commerce and the Cleveland Jewish News, and he is a former Chairman of Cleveland Bridge Builders. Mr. Briskin earned his B.S. from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations and his J.D. from Case Western Reserve School of Law.


Sheree Knowles, SPHR is the Founder & Chief Human Resources Officer for HR Knowledge Source (HRKS) - a human resources advisory firm based in Atlanta, Georgia - 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 earning multiple certifications and designations throughout her career such as SPHR, CPM, MBTI 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.


Jim Smith, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, PCC is an executive and life coach, international speaker, author and change strategist. Jim’s passion is to create a happier world and workplace one leader at a time. Jim spent 20+ years as a corporate executive in human resources, sales, marketing, finance and operations. He has coached leaders from 27 countries and 6 continents to achieve greater leadership effectiveness and balance. Jim holds a Professional Certified Coach designation through the International Coach Federation as well as Senior HR certifications from HRCI and SHRM. He is a founder and past president of the ICF Cleveland Chapter and a past two-term president of the Cleveland Society for Human Resource Management, in addition to teaching at Baldwin Wallace University in their MBA - Human Resources program. Jim is the author of several books on happiness, leadership and coaching and has touched the lives of over 20,000 people through his work on happiness and positive emotion at work. Finally, Jim worships dark coffee, dark beer, and dark chocolate and deeply believes that, "Happiness is a decision, not an event."


Amy B. Shannon is the President of Pinnacle Leadership Solutions and has specialized in organizational development, human resources and training for over 20 years. For the past seven years, Amy has been an Organizational Development Consultant working with clients in the manufacturing, service, financial, non-profit and healthcare industries. Prior to her OD work, she served in Director-level positions with Western-Southern Enterprise and Kendle International. In both of these organizations, Amy built competency-based corporate universities that were nationally-recognized and noted in industry trade publications. In addition, Amy has worked with clients as an executive coach, leadership facilitator, team building consultant and strategic planning expert. She has also been a program facilitator for a city-wide leadership program for women and a lead facilitator at the annual HR Executive Summit. Amy has presented at several national conferences, including as a featured speaker at The Corporate University Week at the Disney Institute.


Christina M. Royer, Esq. is a Partner with Elfvin, Klingshirn, Royer & Torch, LLC. She has practiced exclusively in the area of employment law representing individuals since 2004. Chris brings a breadth of experience in the area, in particular, her knowledge and skill regarding Ohio unemployment compensation law. Chris was selected as a "Rising Star" from 2009 to 2011 by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine, and she has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" in the area of Employment Law by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine since 2012. Chris's practice includes representing individuals in cases involving employment discrimination and retaliation, unemployment compensation claims, non-compete agreements and severance negotiations. Chris is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Ohio Employment Lawyers Association, where she has served on the Board and the Amicus Committee since 2007. She also served as Chair of the Cleveland Employment Lawyers Association from 2011 to 2015. Ms. Royer is also a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, serving as the 2014-2015 Chair of the Court Rules Committee. In addition to her law practice, Chris serves individuals in the workplace as an Executive Coach. She completed the coach certification program at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland in May 2013 and also holds an Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation. Chris's coaching practice focuses primarily on working with employees whose behaviors present challenges to the organization, assisting them to enhance their performance and become effective contributors in the workplace. She also coaches individuals who are seeking to attain greater career satisfaction and work/life balance, as well as assisting them to build or hone leadership skills. Chris was recently appointed as adjunct faculty at Cleveland State University teaching Human Resources topics to graduate level students in the Diversity Management Program. Chris is a frequent speaker on topics relating to employment issues. Chris earned her M.A. from Kent State University and her J.D. from the University of Akron School of Law, Summa Cum Laude.


Margaret “Meg” Matejkovic, Esq. assists employers by providing practical tools to develop and maintain positive, proactive workplaces. With 13 years of private practice exclusively representing employers and in-house HR and employment law experience, Meg served as Associate Dean for External Programs for Akron Law from 2005 until 2013 when she opted to return to consulting with employers and the practice of law on a full-time basis. Meg continues to serve as an adjunct faculty member for Akron Law, teaching a course she developed in 2006 entitled, "The Human Resources Lawyer." Meg’s legal experience includes employment law scholarship, counseling of employers on all aspects of labor and employment laws, representation of employers before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies, negotiation and drafting of employment agreements and development and maintenance of affirmative action plans. Additionally, she authors legal materials and teaches seminars both targeted to attorneys and in more employer/ employee-friendly formats. Meg serves on the national faculty for the Society for Human Resource Management. She has also served as President of the Akron Bar Association.


Tom Ault, MBA is the Director of Technical Training at ERC. Tom has over twenty years of international experience in leadership effectiveness and operational development in 17 different countries. Previous to joining ERC, Tom's most recent positions were Business Improvement Manager and Senior Organization Development Specialist at Diebold, Inc. His wide range of accomplishments include: leading LEAN Six Sigma deployment, implementing large-scale team certification, facilitating global leadership sessions and saving over $90 million for Diebold. In addition, Tom's expertise includes training and consulting in performance management, team building, strategic planning, 360-degree assessments, change management and conflict management. Tom earned his Executive MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College and his BS in Accounting from West Liberty State College. Also, he holds a Motorola Six Sigma Green Belt and has been through the Case Weatherhead Diebold Sales Leadership program. Tom's certifications include Master Trainer, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and The Leadership Circle 360.


Sonya Weiland is the President of WeilandWorks Consulting based in Northeast Ohio. Focused on building positive relationships as a strategic partner with clients, Sonya has partnered with senior executives developing talent management and HR solutions with clear links to business results. Her expertise includes creating, designing and implementing training, coaching and HR systems for clients such as Sandridge Foods, PIRHL Contractors, Taleris Credit Union and Ralston Instruments. Sonya is certified as a Professional in Human Resources through HRCI and is an active member of both SHRM and The Cleveland Coach Federation and has contributed to articles in The Cleveland Plain Dealer and various business publications. Sonya is recognized as an enthusiastic and interactive speaker and trainer supporting various companies, non-profit organizations and associations. A strong advocate for community involvement, Sonya serves on an advisory board and supports multiple non-profit organizations. Sonya is a graduate of John Carroll University.


Tom Wirbel, MBA is Vice President of CPI-HR. Originally joining CPI-HR as a Benefits Consultant, through innovative and successful strategies Tom has achieved notable results in aiding client-companies manage the escalating costs of health insurance. Motivated by client feedback that continues to point to health insurance as the number one HR concern, Tom focuses his expertise on developing and designing employee benefit plans. Throughout his career, Tom has also acted as an HR consultant to small and medium-sized businesses in Northeastern Ohio. A native of Cleveland, Tom graduated from John Carroll University with a BSBA and earned an MBA from Cleveland State University.


Patti Flauto, M.A., SPHR is the President of Talignite - an HR Consulting firm that helps business leaders sleep better at night by solving complex people issues. With expertise and lessons learned from 25 years in direct HR and consulting roles in fast-growing, privately held companies, she helps connect the dots between business goals and the people strategies needed to accomplish them. Talignite focuses on talent acquisition strategies, performance management systems, workplace culture, succession planning, leadership development for the next generation and comprehensive HR assessments for organizations such as Anderson-Dubose, Euclid Fish, Lillebaby, National Safety Apparel, Riverside, Royal Chemical and Second Harvest Food Bank. Patti is a Certified Master Trainer for the Predictive IndexT and a member of the HR Leadership Group, Society for Human Resources Management and World at Work. She also serves on the Management and HR Advisory Committee at the Boler School of Business of John Carroll University and is a past board member of New Life Community (now Family Promise of Greater Cleveland). Patti holds an M.A. from John Carroll and a B.A. from Wittenberg University.


Tom Daniels, MOD is the Assistant Director for Graduate & Executive Program in Business at Bowling Green State University. His primary focus is recruitment and academic advising for the full-time MBA program and the Executive Master of Organization Development program. Prior to BGSU, Daniels was the Director of the Executive Interviewing Center at MRops and the Vice President of Learning & Development at TNS North America. Throughout his career, Tom worked in the advertising and market research industry, gaining experience in training, customer service and sales. Tom received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toledo and Master of Organization Development degree from Bowling Green State University. Active in the community he currently serves as the President of the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the Association for Talent Development, the Treasurer for the Owens Community College Alumni Association and the Community Services Chair for the Northern Ohio Human Resources Association. Tom is also actively involved with EPIC Toledo and many other local professional organizations in Northwest Ohio.


Brooke Miller, M.A., LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in maternal mental health. She is also the Founder of Pure Honey Group, LLC as well as Honey Space for Moms - a comprehensive motherhood wellness center and co-working space located in Metro Detroit. A "trailblazer" according to San Francisco's 411 Magazine, Brooke blends business with heart both as a speaker and as a consultant to corporations growing internal programming to support parents in the workplace. She has worked with families for over 15 years in private practice, at Pure Honey Group and in the media through her advice column, radio show and as the parenting expert for The Ricki Lake Show. She has been quoted and interviewed in over 20 publications, including Self Magazine and her personal story of surviving two brain tumors was chronicled in the Glenn Croston book, Gifts from The Train Station: Healing Yourself By Helping Others. Brooke is certified through Postpartum Support International in maternal mental health where she is now a trainer for professionals in the field. In 2014 Brooke and her husband decided to leave California and return to the Midwest to raise their two daughters and launch her business. Brooke received her B.A. from The University of Southern California and her Masters from Pacifica Graduate Institute for Jungian Psychology.


Tara Motheral is an HR Advisor with ERC. She shares responsibility for co-managing ERC’s HR Help Desk where she provides members with information and professional guidance on a variety of HR and general business-related topics. Tara’s background in research and compliance prior to working at ERC is extensive. Covering the law school market for LexisNexis, she annually trained 1,200 students and faculty on how to effectively conduct legal research and held recruiting and performance management responsibilities over teams of student employees. Previously Tara also served as an attorney at a regional litigation firm where her practice focused on litigation of civil matters, including employment issues and contractual disputes. She also worked for the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, where she represented the Ohio Lottery Commission in administrative hearings. She also staffed a Charitable Law hotline where she researched and provided guidance to questions from the general public on topics including charitable giving, fundraising, and gaming. Tara holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and French from Lake Forest College, and she earned her law degree, with distinction, from Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law.


Karen Evans, JD is an attorney, speaker and consultant who focuses on workplace culture and operations for organizations of all sizes. Karen is also an adjunct faculty member in the College of Management and the College of Arts and Sciences at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI where she has taught for over 15 years and where she held the positon of Director of Undergraduate Business Programs. Karen draws on her research and experience to develop insights into organizational culture and change management. She has been featured on several television and radio news programs for her business expertise - and as an expert contributor for the Institute of Continuing Legal Educaton. She was named Most Valuable Entrepreneur by Corp! Magazine in 2017 and was featured at TEDxGVSU with her talk on The Motherhood Penalty. Karen earned her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School and lives in metro Detroit. In her spare time, she is an active member of the fundraising organization Impact100 Metro Detroit.


Robin Doerschuk started with Alliance Solutions Group - a full service staffing and recruitment agency based in NE Ohio - immediately following graduation from Kent State University in 2004. She is now a part-owner and the Director of Learning and Development for TalentLaunch, the corporate parent organization. Since 2005, Robin has been the leading sales person in the company - an impressive level of performance in a company that is a nine time Weatherhead 100 award winner and growing at 30+% per year. Most recently, Robin created and founded the Women’s Leadership Conference of Northeast Ohio in 2015. She is excited for the third annual conference happening in September 2017. For the last eight years Robin has been on the Board of Directors of Cleveland SHRM, currently serving as its President. Robin also serves on the Cleveland SHRM Foundation Board, the Towards Employment Advisory Board and is an active member of Bridge Builders, an initiative of the Cleveland Leadership Center. In 2009 Robin was recognized by Inside Magazine as “One to Watch”. In 2014 Robin was the recipient of the Distinguished Marketing and Sales Awards from SME Cleveland. And in 2015, she received the Women Who Excel Award from Smart Business Network. Most recently Robin received the Women of Achievement Award by the Women’s Network of Ohio. She is passionate about her work and about helping those around her succeed.


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.