Chicago CHRO Executive Summit

November 28, 2023 | Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

November 28, 2023
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

Collaborate with your peers

Get together with Chicago's top CHROs to tackle shared business challenges and critical priorities facing your role today. Participate in this one-day, local program with peer-driven topics and interactive discussions with your true C-level peers.

Join your peers to discuss the most critical issues impacting CHROs today:

Maintaining cultural excellence in times of volatility

Modernizing the employee experience and value proposition

Readying leaders for the future of work

Chicago CHRO Governing Body

The Governing Body Co-Chairs shape the summit agenda, ensuring that all content is driven by CHROs, for CHROs.

Governing Body Co-Chairs

Kane Calamari

Ace Hardware
Senior Vice President & CHRO

Donna Dorsey

EVP, Chief People & Culture Officer

Ismat Duckson Aziz

Kemper Corporation
Executive Vice President, CHRO & Chief Administrative Officer

Amber Kennelly

William Blair & Company

What to Expect

Interactive Sessions

Hear from CHRO practitioners and thought leaders on how they're solving critical challenges impacting your role today in Keynote sessions, and join smaller, interactive discussions with your peers in Breakout and Boardroom sessions.

Community Networking

Make new connections and catch up with old friends in casual conversations during dedicated time for networking designed to better acquaint you with your Chicago CHRO community.

Peer-to-Peer Meetings

Connect with like-minded peers in a private, one-on-one setting through Evanta's Peer-to-Peer Meetings. You will be matched with peers in your community based on your shared interests and priorities.


November 27, 2023

November 28, 2023

6:00pm - 8:30pm  Governing Body Welcome Reception

Governing Body Welcome Reception

Governing Body members host this dinner for attendees to launch the event with an evening of peer networking.

7:45am - 8:30am  Registration & Breakfast

8:30am - 9:15am  Keynote

Gartner Talent Angle Podcast Live: HR Innovation in a Changing Technology Landscape

Ismat Duckson Aziz headshot

Ismat Duckson Aziz

Executive Vice President, CHRO & Chief Administrative Officer

Kemper Corporation

Jessica Knight headshot

Jessica Knight

Research Vice President, CHRO Content Strategy Lead


Technologic innovation is at an inflection point — with a wave of automation and artificial intelligence poised to disrupt how work is accomplished. Still, 58% of CHROs say their HR tech solutions and strategy do not match business needs. How can HR leaders close this gap and ready the workforce and organization for a technology revolution?

Jessica Knight, Research Vice President and CHRO Content Strategy Lead, Gartner will lead a conversation with Ismat Duckson Aziz, CHRO, Kemper in a live recording of Gartner’s Talent Angle Podcast.

This keynote will explore:

  • The CHRO’s role in shaping HR technology strategy
  • Barriers to demonstrating HR technology’s business value
  • Navigating the workforce impact of emerging technologies like generative AI

9:15am - 9:40am  Networking Break

9:40am - 10:25am  Breakout Session

Prioritizing and Normalizing Mental Well-Being in the Workplace

Darcy Gruttadaro headshot

Darcy Gruttadaro


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Brooke Coulson headshot

Brooke Coulson

Benefits Manager

Hostess Brands

The mental health and well-being of employees impacts the workplace in a variety of ways, including productivity, performance, retention, recruitment and more. To address this, Hostess Brands teamed up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to work toward becoming a StigmaFree workplace and normalizing the discussion about mental health in the workplace.  

This session will explore:

  • The rising data that shows the impact of mental health in society today      
  • Why Hostess Brands partnered with NAMI and signed the pledge to become a StigmaFree Workplace      
  • Steps Hostess Brands has taken to address and support mental health for its approximately 3,000 team members

9:40am - 10:25am  Breakout Session

Driving Purposeful Progress Through True Connection

Amy Leschke-Kahle headshot

Amy Leschke-Kahle

VP, Talent Insights and Innovation


Economic headwinds have forced organizations to solve the challenge of running lean while also boosting productivity. Faced with an increasingly burnt out workforce, HR leaders that can connect their employees' unique strengths to meaningful work will unlock efficiency and engagement.

This session will explore how to:

  • Help people contribute more of their best work
  • Leverage people data and intelligence to individualize the employee experience
  • Prioritize recognition, recruitment and retention in challenging times

9:40am - 10:25am  Executive Boardroom

Leveled-Up Leadership

Henry Artalejo headshot

Henry Artalejo

Senior VP, Global Human Resources

Griffith Foods

Susan Muigai headshot

Susan Muigai



Authenticity, empathy and candor are the new standard skills for leaders to be effective in today’s world of work. CHROs are still working toward instilling a human-centered approach into their organization’s leadership at every level.

Join this session to discuss:

  • Identifying the competencies for successful leaders in the modern workplace
  • Ramping up leadership development to improve talent attraction, retention, and engagement
  • Understanding leadership skills gaps in your organization

9:40am - 10:25am  Executive Boardroom

Strategic Workforce Planning When Uncertainty Abounds

AJ Brow headshot

AJ Brow


White Lodging

Mo Gdid headshot

Mo Gdid

Vice President, Human Resources – CHRO

American Foods Group

In a cooling economy, CHROs are tasked with ensuring their organizations have the right mix of talent at the right time. What considerations do HR leaders need to keep in mind when navigating budget constraints, facing tough choices and partnering with leaders across the business?

Join this session to discuss:

  • Strategic workforce planning in an unpredictable world
  • Organizational design considerations for CHROs
  • Workforce planning that balances short and long term outlooks

10:25am - 11:00am  Networking Break

10:30am - 10:55am  Peer-to-Peer Meetings

Peer-to-Peer Meetings

Connect with like-minded peers in a one-on-one setting through Evanta’s Peer-to-Peer Meetings. You will be matched with peers in your community based on your shared interests and priorities.

11:00am - 11:45am  Breakout Session

Modernizing Leadership Development & Talent Management

Lorelie Parolin headshot

Lorelie Parolin

Head of US Learning and Dean, Hamburger University


Kristin Hayes headshot

Kristin Hayes

Director, Talent, US Market Segment


McDonald’s strategic plan needs enterprise talent that leads change, inspires diverse teams and navigates complexity. Leaders have new expectations of their career journey and development. This intersection is the perfect moment to lead in bold new ways.

This session will cover:

  • Modernizing the learning organization
  • Evolving talent strategy and philosophy to match the needs of the organization with the expectations of leaders today
  • Leadership development programs that build enterprise leaders and support talent through the pipeline

11:00am - 11:45am  Breakout Session

Making the Shift to a People-Centric Experience

Gary Beckstrand headshot

Gary Beckstrand

VP, O.C. Tanner Institute

O.C. Tanner

The lingering aftershocks from the last several years have resulted in powerful shifts to the very foundations of workplace culture. Join to hear the latest research from the O.C. Tanner Institute and gain actionable insights from the 2024 Global Culture Report, focusing on strategies to create people-centric experiences that allow all employees to stay, feel fulfilled and do their best work.

Session insights include:

  • Leading with practical empathy
  • Supporting the unseen 80%
  • Achieving equitable flexibility while cultivating nimble resiliency amid change

11:00am - 11:45am  Executive Boardroom

What the AI Revolution Means for CHROs

Natalie Bodus headshot

Natalie Bodus

VP, Performance Development


Jennifer Ricks headshot

Jennifer Ricks


KeHE Distributors

Amy Halliburton headshot

Amy Halliburton


HUB International

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 94% of businesses will have already deployed some form of artificial intelligence. HR and People Team leaders need to know how AI is already changing and will continue to affect the way their teams work daily. From new employee efficiencies and processes to potential flashpoints and dilemmas, this interactive session will cover it all.

Join this session to discuss:

  • Understanding common and emerging AI applications and their impact on employees and work
  • Getting ahead of AI’s implications in HR technology and workflows across the employee lifecycle
  • Leveraging the power of AI to safely transform hiring, reduce manual work, and focus on predictive actions

11:00am - 11:45am  Executive Boardroom

Succession Planning Amid Volatility

Donna Dorsey headshot

Donna Dorsey

EVP, Chief People & Culture Officer


Rachel Eibl headshot

Rachel Eibl

Vice President, Human Resources

FirstService Residential

As the world becomes less and less predictable, developing and executing on a clear succession plan has become even more difficult. To keep up with the pace of change, CHROs will need to rethink traditional succession planning.

Join this session to discuss:

  • The biggest challenges in modern-day succession planning
  • How to develop a diverse leadership bench prepared to take on a variety of roles
  • Ways to assess future leadership needs amid constant disruption

11:45am - 12:30pm  Lunch Service

12:30pm - 1:05pm  Keynote

Unwinding the Maze of Employer Programs to Drive Better Outcomes

Matthew Bragstad headshot

Matthew Bragstad

VP, One Alight Strategic Advisor


Since 2020, employers have increased spending on employee programs by 20% — giving them more choice, more flexibility, more tools, more technology, more data and more systems. However, utilization of these programs is under 10% on average, and only 52% of employees say they have a good understanding of their total rewards. Join this session to understand how to unwind the maze of employer programs and amplify employee experience in the process.

This keynote will explore:

  • The role of HR transformation in attracting and retaining talent, while fostering engagement and holistic wellbeing
  • Strategies for optimizing total rewards programs and benefits offerings
  • How to help employees live healthy, financially secure lives with a simplified, AI-driven employee experience

1:05pm - 1:30pm  Break

1:30pm - 2:15pm  Breakout Session

The CHRO's Guide to People Analytics

Paul Rubenstein headshot

Paul Rubenstein

Chief Customer Officer


It’s a great time to be CHRO, as the people impact gap is the corporate performance gap. But HR teams whose primary value is managing cost and risk are hitting an impact wall; struggling to impact productivity, manager effectiveness and growth. Some CHROs are breaking out, taking their teams beyond siloed specialties into business-first HR teams that solve systemic issues.

This session will cover:

  • Practical examples of how the CHRO can borrow from the CFO playbook
  • The impact of revenue growth, retaining critical talent and improving diversity
  • How to overcome the obstacles to a data-driven HR team

1:30pm - 2:15pm  Breakout Session

Sustaining DE&I Momentum — Navigating Challenges and Driving Progress

Laura Adams headshot

Laura Adams



Nashunda Williams headshot

Nashunda Williams

Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


HR and diversity leaders have an important role to ensure DE&I remains a top organizational priority in today’s environment. 

Join this interactive discussion to explore strategies for:

  • Navigating a dynamic landscape while safeguarding against burnout and fatigue
  • Finding the right balance between effective communications and legal considerations with DEI efforts
  • Cultivating an enduring culture of inclusion in a socially charged environment

1:30pm - 2:15pm  Executive Boardroom

Decoding Compensation Complexity

Courtney Kammer headshot

Courtney Kammer



Sara Stolmeier headshot

Sara Stolmeier

Vice President, People & Development

McMaster-Carr Supply

New pay transparency legislation, high inflation and rising wages have impacted the way CHROs are approaching compensation strategy. How can HR leaders balance legal compliance, talent attraction and cost optimization? 

Join this session to discuss: 

  • Advancing pay transparency in your organization
  • Developing a compensation strategy to attract talent while managing costs
  • Best practices in change management to prepare executives and hiring managers for pay transparency

1:30pm - 2:15pm  Executive Boardroom

What's Next for the World of Work?

Natalie Huddleston headshot

Natalie Huddleston

Vice President, Human Resources

Chicago Bulls

Charmaine Williams headshot

Charmaine Williams


The Obama Foundation

Work as we know it has changed a great deal in the last few years. With varying levels of boldness, organizations are attempting to meet employee expectations while balancing both business needs and long-term planning. So how can CHROs build a future of work strategy that is realistic and sustainable, yet future-ready?

Join this session to discuss:

  • Navigating market disruptions and demographic shifts
  • Balancing employee demands for flexibility with business needs
  • Developing a long-term future of work vision

2:15pm - 2:50pm  Networking Break

2:20pm - 2:45pm  Peer-to-Peer Meetings

Peer-to-Peer Meetings

Connect with like-minded peers in a one-on-one setting through Evanta’s Peer-to-Peer Meetings. You will be matched with peers in your community based on your shared interests and priorities.

2:50pm - 3:35pm  Breakout Session

Striking the Perfect Balance — Human + Data

Don Robertson headshot

Don Robertson


Northwestern Mutual

Jaison Williams headshot

Jaison Williams

SVP, Talent Management, Capabilities & Culture

Expedia Group

Now more than ever, companies — of all sizes — are being challenged to up level their talent strategies. By striking the perfect balance of incorporating human + data, companies are able to eliminate archaic HR practices, showcase a unified business strategy, strengthen diversity and inclusiveness, and empower employees.

Join this session to explore:

  • Assessing the ever-evolving talent landscape and discussing how data has become an ever-present part of HR
  • Identifying archaic talent practices and revamping them to be more modern, forward-thinking, and inclusive for the workforce
  • Outlining how companies — of any size — can start striking the right balance and setting their organization up for success

2:50pm - 3:35pm  Breakout Session

The Power of Belonging – Creating an Inclusive and Productive Workforce

David Bator headshot

David Bator

Managing Director, Achievers Workforce Institute


A sense of belonging has emerged in research as a key predictor of employee engagement and organizational success. Employees who feel a sense of belonging at work are more engaged, have higher job satisfaction, better mental health and increased productivity.

Join this session to explore:

  • Conditions required to activate a culture of belonging
  • Practical steps to ensure every employee feels a sense of connection
  • Key pillars critical for HR leaders to drive belonging

2:50pm - 3:35pm  Executive Boardroom

The Role of HR in Organization Design

Susan Graham-Bryce headshot

Susan Graham-Bryce

Chief Talent Officer

GE Healthcare

Farhaj Majeed headshot

Farhaj Majeed


James Hardie Industries

With workforces changing rapidly, it’s never been more important to have a secure organization design strategy. HR leaders around the globe are transforming their approach to put employees at the heart of the enterprise, break down siloes and maximize efficiency. How are CHROs successfully executing these changes while communicating transparently?

Join this session to discuss:

  • Reevaluating organization design and identifying friction
  • Maintaining clear and concise communication with employees
  • Adapting to new ways of working with structural change

2:50pm - 3:35pm  Executive Boardroom

A Cultural Reset

Laura Rock headshot

Laura Rock


Zurich North America

Jeana Muñoz headshot

Jeana Muñoz

Chief People Officer


Economic pressure can limit the resources and capacity for HR to focus on maintaining a strong organizational culture. However, in a time where employees see each other in-person less frequently and talent retention remains imperative, CHROs need to keep organizations on the path of modernizing and strengthening culture.

Join this session to discuss:

  • Seizing the moment to revamp culture for the future of work
  • Defining and integrating company values into organizational culture
  • Leveraging a connected culture as a driver of talent retention

3:35pm - 4:00pm  Break

4:00pm - 4:35pm  Keynote

You Speak, They Swarm — The Power of Story in Reaching Your Audience

Arthur Zards headshot

Arthur Zards

Thought Leader, TED/TEDx Speaker, Coach & Producer

Guest Speaker

Speakers want action, not just applause. But busy executives don’t have time to learn complex communication models or esoteric storytelling processes — they need a simple, effective speaking framework that can help them not only connect with any audience, but also elicit real change. Enter the "Swarm Effect."

Join this session with Arthur Zards — a thought leader, TEDster and provocateur — to:

  • Hone your skills in executive influence
  • Adopt a more authentic and engaging approach to speaking
  • Take your next presentation from “understandable” to “compelling"

4:35pm - 5:00pm  Closing Reception & Prize Drawing

November 27, 2023

November 28, 2023

We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming in-person gathering

Evanta cares about the health and safety of our community. Please review the following recommendations prior to attending the gathering.



A block of rooms has been reserved at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile at a reduced conference rate. Reservations should be made online or by calling 1-877-303-0104. Please mention Evanta CHRO Executive Conference to ensure the appropriate room rate.

Deadline to book using the discounted room rate of $319 USD (plus tax) is November 6, 2023.

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For inquiries related to this community, please reach out to your dedicated contact.

Melissa Bermudez

Community Program Manager