Los Angeles HR Star Conference
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Speaker Information

Eric Papp is a highly respected speaker and trainer as well as the Founder of Agape Leadership, LLC - an intellectual capital firm based in Tampa, Florida that focuses on performance leadership. Eric has a long, successful history of delivering proven ways to increase organizational productivity and improve employee performance in an ever complex world. Since 2010 Eric has worked with thousands of top executives, key managers and front-line workers and consistently receives top evaluations. Audiences particularly enjoy Eric's impromptu humor, his articulation of unspoken challenges and his ability to provide actionable strategies. Besides being one of North America's top management trainers, Eric is also the author of, "Leadership By Choice" a business must-read published by John Wiley & Sons. He has also written three other books: "3 Values of Being An Effective Person", "The Sales Planner" and "The Priority Planner". Eric's client list includes notables like BMW, Nationwide Insurance, Pulte Homes, Papa Johns, Homeland Security, LifeLock, the National Institutes of Health, Million Dollar Round Table and the American Dental Association, just to name a few. He earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.

Allison West, Esq., SHRM-SCP, AWI-CH is the Managing Principal of Employment Practices Specialists and holds a simple approach to employment practices: be proactive. Using her employment law background, coupled with her sound knowledge of human resources practices, Allison provides proactive risk management services aimed at helping companies both prevent and resolve employment claims. She is a top-rated speaker at the annual SHRM conference as well as other HR conferences speaking on employment law and human resources topics. Allison specializes in delivering customized in-house training programs to companies of all sizes, serving a wide variety of industries. Her expertise also includes delivering one-on-one sensitivity training to executives, managers and employees concerning harassment, discrimination, and disciplinary and/or behavioral issues as well as conducting workplace investigations, providing expert witness assistance and other HR consulting. Allison is a member of the State Bar of California and holds an AWI-CH credential.

Debbie Birndorf, Esq., MBA has been practicing law for thirty years - with many years at major law firms in both Chicago and Los Angeles. She represents employers in all aspects of employment law, including defense of harassment and discrimination claims, wage claims, wage and hour class actions, wrongful termination, disability claims and misappropriation of trade secrets. She also provides preventative counseling and drafts and reviews employment contracts, severance agreements, employee handbooks and policies. Debbie has been named a 2022 Super Lawyer in Employment and Labor. She was previously awarded the Super Lawyer honor in 2013 and 2015-2021. She was also named one of the 2022 Women of Influence: Attorneys by Los Angeles Business Journal, named one of the Top Employment and Labor Attorneys in Los Angeles and one of the Top Women Attorneys by Los Angeles Magazine. Birndorf Law Offices was also recognized by Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Best Law Firms in Los Angeles. Debbie serves on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section and Co-Chairs the Saturday Seminar Program Committee. Debbie earned her B.A. from UCLA, her M.B.A. from NYU and her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated at the top of her class. In addition to her full-time practice, Debbie frequently speaks on a variety of employment law topics and teaches Legal Aspects of Employee Relations at UCLA Extension as part of the HR Certificate program.

Bryant Dulin is a "serial entrepreneur" focused on sustainability as well as creating products and services that benefit society and the environment. He is the CEO and Founder of KOBEYO (www.kobeyo.com), a novel approach to digital recruiting that ensures job applicants and hiring managers only connect if aligned. Created to increase economic opportunities for both parties by addressing the inefficient process of finding and qualifying each other, as well as confronting the misalignment of labor supply and demand, KOBEYO’s solution covers 500+ skills across the Greater Los Angeles Area. In addition to running KOBEYO, Bryant contributes to numerous organizations and projects working to find simple, effective and scalable solutions to complex challenges faced by society. Recently, he spoke in front of the Colorado Senate to promote the passing of SB99, a bill that provides underserved individuals better access to housing and employment. Bryant has been featured in numerous publications nationally and internationally for his work. Before founding KOBEYO, Bryant directed operations for the third largest supplier in the world for global metals market intelligence, providing market transparency to leading manufacturers, financial institutions and government organizations worldwide. His professional career includes extensive time living and conducting business in Europe and South America. Academically, he holds a Bachelor's degree in both International Business and French from Whittier College, and a Master's degree in Sustainability from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.

Phyllis H. Sarkaria, MBA, MA is the CEO of The Sarkaria Group where she is a certified coach, facilitator and trusted adviser. With more than 30 years of leadership experience, Phyllis has held executive roles in human resources and government affairs with responsibility for strategic planning, merger integration and team effectiveness. She has led multi-million-dollar system implementation and integration initiatives, and she has worked closely with top executive leaders to build capability and improve organizational outcomes. Prior to founding The Sarkaria Group, Phyllis served as Vice President of Human Resources for Quidel Corporation - a leading medical diagnostics manufacturer. There she oversaw the company’s global HR strategy and programs for over 12 years. Prior to joining Quidel, Phyllis held roles in HR, financial analysis, strategic planning and government affairs, mainly with large corporations in the energy industry. Today she works with clients from a wide range of industries, serving as a catalyst to help leaders and teams gain fresh perspectives and elevate their performance. Her coaching certifications are from the Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute, Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching as well as Systemic Team Coaching from Peter Hawkins. A Master Certified Executive Coach and a published scholar on authentic leadership, Phyllis is the author of Courageous Clarity: Navigating the Way Forward on Your Leadership Journey. Phyllis teaches Ethics and HR Analytics in the Organizational Leadership and Human Resources Management programs at Claremont Lincoln University. She holds a BBA in Finance and an MBA from Texas Tech University as well as an MA in Ethical Leadership from Claremont Lincoln University. Phyllis believes that leadership is a journey, not a destination, and that HR is often called upon to assist others on the journey of building their leadership capabilities.

Darren McCarty is Vice President of Sales for the Southwest at Kelly. As a dynamic sales leader with more than 15 years of experience in the staffing industry, Darren manages Kelly Professional & Industrial’s sales teams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. A skilled negotiator, manager and recruiter, Darren is passionate about helping clients develop and implement impactful talent strategies. Previously he served as Director of Performance Coaching and Development at Kelly. In that role, Darren developed and implemented a coaching program that was adopted company wide. Prior to joining Kelly Darren was an executive recruiter at Nelson & Associates and Ajilon Finance. Darren is a two-time Kelly President’s Club honoree for outstanding performance and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Sharon Adams is a Senior DEI Consultant at Workplace Climate where she serves employers in various industries on topics ranging from unconscious bias to emotional intelligence to diversity, equity and inclusion to belonging and restorative conversations. Her work has been presented at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), San Diego County Health and Human Services, the Western Region on American Affairs and the County of Orange Health and Human Services, among others. Dr. Adams offers both virtual and in-person sessions that are interactive, engaging and address all learning modalities. She has over 20 years of experience in higher education, serving as both the Dean of Student Services and as a Counselor, where she developed a particular interest in the implementation of forgiveness and reconciliation models in work environments. Her training, Organizational Forgiveness, is based on years of national and international research. Dr. Adams holds a Masters degree in Counseling and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. Additionally, she is a certified Conflict Mediator, and is certified to administer both the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Leonora “Lenny” Schloss, Esq. is a Principal in the Los Angeles office of Jackson Lewis P.C. where she is the California Leader of the Wage and Hour Internal Audit Subgroup. For more than 25 years Lenny has focused her practice on wage-and-hour and leaves of absence issues. She advises and trains employers on preventative measures, drafts policies and agreements, conducts wage and hour classification audits and training, and handles employment investigations. Lenny has substantial experience litigating single plaintiff and class action discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage/hour cases in state and federal courts, including jury and court trials. Lenny has defended in excess of four dozen class action cases and she has tried a representative class action case. Her experience includes successfully defeating class certification and obtaining dismissal of numerous wage/hour claims on various preemption grounds, including claims for missed meal and rest breaks, claims for overtime, minimum wage, work off the clock and other unpaid wages and inaccurate wage statements. In addition she is a frequent speaker at human resources conferences and seminars on various employment related topics. Lenny is graduate of St. Louis University - summa cum laude - and Columbia University School of Law. She has been recognized by the Who’s Who of American Women, Super Lawyers®, the Los Angeles Business Journal, "Most Influential Women Attorneys" and Legal 500 USA.

Mark Vickers is the Chief Research Analyst and Data Wrangler at the HR Research Institute (HRRI), which is powered by HR.com - the world’s largest social network for HR professionals. Over the last five years, Mark has helped HRRI establish a leading-edge HR research service that has produced well over 200 major reports, infographics, case studies and other research products. He has also regularly spoken at HR.com and other events on a wide range of topics, from total rewards to the future of the HR function. Mark has worked in the fields of business research and communications for most of his career, starting at the Human Resource Institute at Eckerd College and then at the Institute for Corporate Productivity, Nielsen Media and Bersin by Deloitte. Mark graduated with Honors from Eckerd College located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Candice Gottlieb-Clark, MS, CRC, BCE is the Founder and CEO of Dynamic Team Solutions as well as a Business Advisor, Coach and Conflict Management Specialist. Candice founded Dynamic Team Solutions, to help businesses strengthen their leaders and employees through enhanced conflict management, communication, teamwork and leadership. Dynamic Team Solutions provides executive and leadership coaching, team building and development, and conflict management and resolution to positively transform business functionality in terms of employee relations, morale, turnover, culture and productivity. Candice is a sought after speaker and writer on the topics of leadership, teamwork, communication and conflict management and is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Candice holds a Master's degree in Counseling from San Diego State University, is a Certified Mediator of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is a Board Certified Executive Coach.

David Thompson, MS, CFI® is Partner and President of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (WZ) as well as an active instructor for the organization. He is responsible for the strategic vision of the company and oversees the day-to-day operations of the business. David also leads the evolution of interview and interrogation curriculum development to provide research-based investigative tools to practitioners while driving change in the industry. Through his experience as a practitioner David has had the opportunity to manage a variety of cases while conducting interviews and consulting on investigations, ranging from theft and fraud to sexual harassment and homicide. David has created and delivered customized training programs internationally. In addition he has conducted live broadcasts of training and has presented keynotes at numerous events. With a dedication to leading change David has collaborated with members of the academic community, advocacy groups and other relevant partners to further the enhancement of interview and interrogation protocols throughout the US. He has contributed expert opinions for a variety of cases and has been cited by the Federal Court of Appeals for his involvement on the topic of interview and interrogation. He has also provided consultation on legislative propositions and has served as a subject matter expert for reform efforts and case evaluations. David attended Canisius College in Buffalo, New York where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. He continued his education at Arizona State University, earning a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology.

Sonya Gordon, Esq. is an experienced Legal Compliance Supervisory Professional with a demonstrated history of work for the public sector, multiemployer plans and the healthcare industry. She is skilled in ERISA health and welfare plan advice and counsel and healthcare reform reporting, disclosure and research. Sonya joins HUB International’s Pacific Region after more than five years with Sterling Administration as their Compliance Manager. There she had oversight of health and welfare plan legal compliance work group, providing legal research on ERISA, Affordable Care Act reporting and compliance, HIPAA, nondiscrimination testing and related issues as they applied to client health and welfare, POP, FSA and HRA plans. She has also worked for San Francisco’s Trucker Huss Law Firm, the Neyhart, Anderson, Flynn and Grosboll law firm, and at the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the DOL agency that focuses on enforcement of federal laws governing health and welfare plans. At EBSA Sonya was a Healthcare and Pension Plan Investigator/Auditor and a Benefit Advisor. Sonya earned a J.D. from the University of San Francisco, School of Law and a B.A. in History and Women’s Studies from Macalester College.

Lorie Reichel-Howe is the Founder & Lead Trainer of Conversations in the Workplace as well as a professional mediator and a leadership communication coach. She equips managers, teams and business professionals to have “Safe Conversations” – transformative dialogue that uncovers hidden workplace issues. Whether addressing challenging team dynamics, mismanaged expectations, cultural insensitivity or good old-fashioned bad behavior, “Safe Conversations” foster greater innovation, inclusion and collaboration within organizations. With over 20 years of experience in communications, management and training and development, Lorie is passionate about supporting organizations in creating a culture where people love where they work and love the people they work with. Organizations Lorie has supported include Pinterest, SHRM, PIHRA, HR.com, Women in Technology International, Los Angeles Women’s Leadership Conference, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Santa Clara Superior Court, San Jose State University, Santa Clara County Office of Education among many others. Lorie received her B.A. from Seattle Pacific University and her mediation and conflict coaching certificate from Community Boards in San Francisco. In addition, Lorie has served as adjunct staff with Antioch University.

Lauren Sweeney is the Vice President at Rise Up For You - a global, SHRM-certified, educational and motivational company that focuses on enhancing company culture and personal development through teaching soft skills. Their mission is to help serve humanity by focusing on its most essential component: the people. Lauren has spoken for thousands of people on leadership, emotional intelligence and women in the workplace, and she has been featured on multiple podcasts, in Shout LA magazine, and recognized in a number of California Chamber Magazines. She is an activator and a creative thinker with a heart for public service. Disciplined and goal-oriented, Lauren has a passion for leadership development and collaboration. She holds a Bachelor's of Science in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis and advanced coaching certifications from the Direct Sales World Alliance (DSWA). At UC Davis Lauren earned the prestigious Charles Hess Community Service Award for her efforts in the community. Lauren thrives on questions-oriented mentoring, active listening, leadership development and being a positive example of what she teaches. Recently Lauren was awarded the 2021 Ambassador of the Year for the Brea Chamber in Orange County. She serves on the Executive PIHRA Board as the Regional Representative for the Central Chapters.

Adal Padilla is a Senior Consultant at TIAA and a ScholarShare 529 representative. His geographic area of influence includes Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. A firm believer that education is one of the most valuable treasures we can provide to our future generations, Adal focuses on helping employers enhance their benefits packages by incorporating the free and valuable financial wellness benefit of the ScholarShare 529 Workplace Savings Program. Employers increasingly have become interested in understanding the growing need for their employees to support financial issues beyond the paycheck, including health care benefits, retirement savings and college savings. Doing so connects the company to the employee’s family, reduces employee financial stress and helps foster loyalty and retention. Adal Padilla joined TIAA in 2018 and brings with him over 10 years of financial services experience. He has worked with some of the nation's top employers and major universities. In addition Adal is an active member of the TIAA Business Resource Groups, volunteering for different projects to make a positive impact in area communities. Adal holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at La Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico and holds FINRA series 7, 6, and 63 licenses as a financial professional.

Viktoria Levay is a Corporate Wellness Coach and Certified Resilience Trainer. She has helped over 2,000 employees to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. She leads on-site education and coaching sessions for employee wellness in order to maximize retention, improve performance and benefit overall health and wellness. Viktoria has created wellness-related newsletters, presentations and videos on topics ranging from an anti-inflammatory lifestyle to gut & immune system health to preventing diabetes. She has redesigned vending machine and cafeteria selections and has provided employees with crucial suggestions for meal prepping and healthier life choices, often in support of present wellness committee initiatives. In addition, Viktoria has facilitated leadership trainings and has provided coaching for executives on how to design and implement stress management and energy management programs for their organizations. Besides her corporate well-being initiatives, Viktoria has organized a variety of community workshops as well as private wellness events, brunches and dinners for achieving high-functional performance and productivity. Her client list includes: Starbucks, Hylant, Excelas, 7Signal, Ohio Real Title, NOOK Industries, ArmorCode, C-Vision International, TT Electronics, AmTrust, Corrigan Krause, The Cuyahoga Group, South Franklin Circle, K2 Manufacturing and YPO Cleveland.

Braden 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, San Francisco, Atlanta and Cleveland, Ohio where he is based. Over 3,200 HR professionals attended an HR Star Conference in 2019.