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Strategy Conference Takes on Economic Downturn

By Beth Mirza  7/21/2009
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The SHRM Strategy Conference will take place Oct. 6-8, 2009 in Phoenix at the Westin Kierland Resort. Geared to HR executives, the conference sessions focus on new challenges the leaders will face during and after the recession.

A pre-conference workshop, starting Oct. 5, tackles the problems head-on. “Leading in Difficult Times & Getting a Head Start on the Turnaround” runs from noon-4 p.m. on Oct. 5 and 8 a.m.-noon on Oct. 6.

Session topics include employee engagement, technology strategy, new job specifications for CHROs, how the board of directors fits in with company strategy, maintaining a pipeline of global leadership and creating a “sustainable” HR function. The HR Certification Institute has awarded all concurrent sessions strategic management credit for Senior Professionals in HR (SPHRs).

World-famous business leaders will give keynote addresses each day of the conference. Fortune Senior Editor-at-Large Geoff Colvin will give the opening speech. A longtime editor and columnist for Fortune, he specializes in leadership, globalization, the green imperative, wealth creation, the infotech revolution and related issues. He is heard daily on the CBS Radio Network and has written the best-selling Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else (Portfolio, 2008) and The Upside of the Downturn: Ten Management Strategies to Prevail in the Recession and Thrive in the Aftermath (Portfolio, June 2009).

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, where she directs The Hidden Brain Drain Task Force—a group of 40 global companies committed to keeping talented women successful at work throughout their life changes and challenges. Many of the policies described in her book Off-Ramps and On-Ramps (Harvard Business School Press, 2007) come from these companies. Her next book is Top Talent: Keeping Your Best People When You Need Them Most (Harvard Business School Press, September 2009). Hewlett has taught at Cambridge, Columbia and Princeton universities and held fellowships at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson is chairman and former CEO of Carlson, a group of hotel, marketing, restaurant and travel service companies based in Minneapolis with locations in 150 countries. It is one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Under her leadership, the firm’s systemwide sales nearly doubled to $40 billion. She is the author of How We Lead Matters: Reflections on a Life of Leadership (McGraw-Hill, 2008). She co-chaired the World Economic Forum in 2004 and has received prestigious awards from the governments of France, Sweden and Finland. She now chairs the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

Brothers Dan and Chip Heath will give the closing keynote address. They are co-authors of the best-selling book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Random House, 2007). Chip is a professor of organizational behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Dan co-authors a monthly column for Fast Company magazine and serves as a consultant to the Policy Programs at the Aspen Institute.

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Beth Mirza is senior editor for HR News.

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