Do all good things really come to an end? I’d like to think not. That is how I felt at the end of our HCM Excellence Conference. It has taken me a little longer to write this summary than I had anticipated because there were so many interesting people from whom I gained great insights.


The three days were packed with workshops, interactive sessions, networking receptions, games, and a beautiful awards ceremony recognizing more than 100 award-winning organizations from more than 25 different industries across the globe.  It was humbling to see so many great people from all over the world come to our conference to be part of our pioneering community of inspiring HCM leaders filled with knowledge and the desire to share and exchange innovative ideas.

Our keynote speaker, Bonnie St. John, really hit home with her message on resilience. When she described her background and the challenges that she endured along the way … having a leg amputated at age five, growing up poor as an African American girl, without a father … yet excelling as an Olympic skier, Harvard graduate, White House official and now an established author, speaker, consultant, wife and mother. Her story is remarkable, and I will continue to reflect on it and use as inspiration for years to come, as I’m sure many of the attendees will as well.

During the conference I had the wonderful opportunity to interview on our HCMx Radio show the following amazing people. You can download everything here. My guests were:

Marlon Sullivan, Divisional Vice President/Talent & Development, Abbott. Topics discussed:

  • Empowering managers – implementing a global system by leveraging technology
  • to empower managers more effectively
  • Developing an Employee Value Proposition
  • Global benchmark trends within HCM
  • Resilience – taking it to the next level

Listen to Episode 25 with Abbott here


Rebecca Shoher, Director, Global Learning & Development Services, Dell. The interview included:

  • Discussion of topics from her breakout session, Great Teams Make all The Difference, including:
  • What does support look like from a global perspective
  • Entrepreneurial culture and striving for new ways of doing things
  • Tips for organizations that are growing through acquisitions

Listen to Episode 26 with Dell here


Steven Smith, University Corporate Vice President, Capgemini, and Dr. Regis P.  Chasse, Director of Curriculum, Capgemini. Topics discussed included:

  • Business transformation – turning their corporate university into a weapon to drive greater alignment and acceleration of their corporate strategy and market ambition
  • Targeting key populations essential for the company to achieve its goals
  • Hot content topics to their customers in their marketplace, including cloud, digital, as well as business services
  • Moving from next generation learning to digital age learning

Listen to Episode 27 with Capgemini here


Christopher R. Hardy, Ph.D., Director, Strategic Planning and Learning Analytics, Office of the President, Defense Acquisition University (DAU). Topics discussed:

  • Market analysis for strategic planning
  • Evaluation of new LMS, TM, mobile & social – how they all integrate
  • Learning analytics
  • Alignment of business goals with the strategic plan of the learning organization

Listen to Episode 28 with DAU here


Kimberly Shearn, Manager, Talent Development, Barnes & Noble College. Topics included:

  • Generational shifts in learning
  • Performance management tools to support the development and coaching process for store teams

Listen to Episode 29 with Barnes & Noble College here


Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer, Brandon Hall Group


Rachel Cooke

Chief Operating Officer Rachel Cooke Rachel is responsible for business operations including overseeing client services, research events and project management. Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Rachel was the Chief Operating Officer Co-founder of AC Growth. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and sales performance management. Prior to AC Growth, she held several senior management roles and was on the leadership team at Bersin & Associates, a pioneer analyst firm in e-learning and now industry leading HR and talent Research Company. In her Senior Director role, Rachel developed the strategy and led the commercial execution of the solution provider vertical, and grew the vertical into the company’s largest market segment. In her role as Director of Sales, Rachel developed and led a team of senior account executives focused on acquiring global strategic accounts. Rachel was solely responsible for developing key business relationships with over ninety companies including industry icons, such as: Adidas, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota, Oracle, Starbucks, Avnet, Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway Inc., Wells Fargo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Clorox and Affiliated Computer Services. Rachel began her career in the banking, media and hospitality industries. In these industries, Rachel held several key senior management and executive sales positions. Rachel received a BA in social science and interdisciplinary studies with honors from Florida Atlantic University. Rachel continued her postgraduate education by completing a series of executive management education courses from American Management Association.