Houston CHRO Executive Summit

December 12, 2018 | Hyatt Regency Houston

December 12, 2018
Hyatt Regency Houston

Collaborate with your peers

Get together with your peers to tackle top business challenges through peer-driven content and discussions at the Houston CHRO Executive Summit.

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

Leading through a new employee experience

Redesigning HR strategies, structures, and service delivery models

Modernizing mental health and well-being programs in a new era of work

Houston 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

Bill Ennis

Academy Sports & Outdoors

Melinda Guerra-Reeves

Direct Energy
EVP, Human Resources & Internal Communications

Mayerland Harris

Group VP, Human Resources

Shibu Varghese

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


December 11, 2018

December 12, 2018

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

The New Reality – Make Change Your Competitive Advantage

Karl Schoemer headshot

Karl Schoemer

Author, "Change Is Your Competitive Advantage"

Like a school of fish, an adaptive organizations must move rapidly and in unison toward new opportunities. From navigating the uncertainty of today’s tight talent markets to responding to evolving employee expectations, leaders and employees alike must embrace the power of change in order to make it a part of their individual and organizational competitive advantage.

Karl Schoemer will draw on his 20 years’ experience studying change to share:

  • Insights on how leadership behaviors facilitate change
  • Strategies to help change contribute to culture
  • Tactics for creating change-adaptive individuals

7:00am - 7:45am  Opening Comments

7:30am - 7:45am  Opening Comments

Welcome to the 2018 Houston CHRO Leadership Summit

Practice Poll

7:45am - 8:30am  Keynote

Culture Is Key – Engagement From The Top Down

Veronica Delgado headshot

Veronica Delgado

SVP, Global Human Resources & Administration

Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.

Ralph J. Vasami headshot

Ralph J. Vasami


Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc.

Veronica Delgado and Ralph Vasami detail their CHRO/CEO  partnership at Universal Weather and Aviation and share their 5-year culture action plan.

8:30am - 9:00am  Networking Break

9:00am - 9:50am  Breakout Session

Building Strategic Partners by Changing Vendor Relationships

Ken Piddington headshot

Ken Piddington


SGR Energy

With today’s ever-evolving and changing vendor market, why not make your vendor a key contributor to the organization? The transactional vendor relationship has limited benefits and can leave your bottom line suffering. It’s time to change your approach to vendor management.

Based on his own “Strategic Partner Program,” Ken Piddington:

  • Explains his philosophy on vendor management
  • Teaches how to revitalize a vendor relationship to reflect what you are truly looking for: a strategic partner
  • Guides you through the stages of relationship-building with vendors to elevate their quality so they help, not hinder, your bottom line

9:00am - 9:50am  Breakout Session

Drop the Playbook – Keep Your Performance Strategy Simple and Human

Rosette Cataldo headshot

Rosette Cataldo

VP, Performance & Strategy


The command-and-control style of leadership is no longer effective. It is a relic from the past. Today, leaders need to build organizations that deepen relationships between employees. To inspire employees to give their best performance, organizations need to fulfill the needs of the mind, the needs for social connection and positive reinforcement – to ultimately allow employees to be who they are. Learn how to build next-generation human workplaces fueled by recognition and infused with positivity.

9:00am - 9:50am  Executive Boardroom

Truly Accountable Teams – The Journey to Exceptional

Kelly Frazier headshot

Kelly Frazier

VP, Human Resources & Administration

Fieldwood Energy

Rod Branch headshot

Rod Branch



Alex Vincent headshot

Alex Vincent

Senior Vice President of Leadership Transformation

Lee Hecht Harrison

In today’s business world, teams are the engines that drive business and the catalysts for transformation. Industry-leading research from Lee Hecht Harrison confirms that 92 percent of companies acknowledge that teams are critical to their success.

Join this boardroom to:

  • Identify the role that teams plays within your organization
  • Establish the ways that teams can achieve true accountability
  • Explore the fundamental building blocks for leading impactful teams

9:50am - 10:20am  Networking Break

10:20am - 11:10am  Breakout Session

NASA's HR Consulting Journey to Business Partner and Beyond

Anne Roemer headshot

Anne Roemer

HR Director

NASA Johnson Space Center

Anne will share the Johnson Space Center’s 50-year evolution of internal HR consulting and how he is leveraging that model to the other 9 NASA field centers across the country. Through an engaging presentation, you will have an opportunity to share your own challenges and experiences with your fellow participants. Session takeaways include:

  • The importance of Organization Development (OD) to HR Management Consulting
  • How OD integrates with the HR Business Partner model
  • Building HR Business Partner capabilities
  • Turning transactional staff into consultants – is it even possible?

10:20am - 11:10am  Breakout Session

Digital HR – Radical New Ways to Boost Engagement

Sameer Chowdhri headshot

Sameer Chowdhri

Global Head of Workplace for HR

Facebook, Inc.

Ann Manal headshot

Ann Manal


Stewart Information Services Corporation

Today’s modern, technology-driven landscape demands employees have access to the most innovative collaboration tools available. In this session, glean insight into:

  • Challenges CHROs face when driving their digital HR practice into the future
  • Strategies to increase employee collaboration and empower stronger communication
  • Methods to improve corporate transparency through digital engagement

10:20am - 11:10am  Executive Boardroom

Creating an Employee Culture That Influences Greatness

Bill Ennis headshot

Bill Ennis


Academy Sports & Outdoors

Phil Pirkle headshot

Phil Pirkle

EVP, Talent Management

United Supermarkets, Ltd.

Gary Beckstrand headshot

Gary Beckstrand

VP, Marketing

O.C. Tanner

Every organization wants an engaged employee culture, but how do you know if you’ve got the right pieces in place to nurture this kind of community? How can HR identify which critical elements are needed to build an organizational culture that fuels engagement, drives success and empowers leaders?

In this session, you will:

  • Explore ways of applying a “whole-person” approach to your understanding of employee well-being and engagement
  • Discuss the meaning of organizational success
  • Examine how to provide a sense of opportunity and how to connect people to purpose

11:10am - 11:40am  Networking Break

11:40am - 1:10pm  Keynote

Engagement – Shifting From Surveying to Action Using Science and Data

Aaron De Smet headshot

Aaron De Smet


McKinsey & Company

Chris Gagnon headshot

Chris Gagnon

Senior Partner, Dallas

McKinsey & Company

Natalie Baumgartner, Ph.D. headshot

Natalie Baumgartner, Ph.D.

Chief Workforce Scientist


Employee engagement drives business performance more than any other human factor and, yet, engagement statistics haven’t meaningfully changed in well over a decade. A seed change is needed to revolutionize the way we manage the engagement of our people. The time has come to stop treating engagement as a surveying process — one that gathers, aggregates and disseminates annual employee survey data — and instead manage engagement as a fluid, powerful driver of business outcomes.

This session will:

  • Review outdated assumptions that have served as the cornerstone for engagement management to date
  • Introduce an engagement science model that uses robust academic research to inform a scientifically derived approach to engagement management
  • Share a powerful approach to translating engagement science into a high-performance engagement management strategy within your organization

1:10pm - 1:40pm  Networking Break

1:40pm - 2:30pm  Breakout Session

Building Retention Through Employee Engagement

Sally Vardy headshot

Sally Vardy


Harris County Appraisal District

Encouraging a culture of inclusivity and trust can increase engagement and retain employees. Are there some low-cost, no hassle solutions that can have an immediate and long-term impact on how employees feel empowered and trusted in their work?

Join Sally Vardy as she discusses:

  • Strategies for keeping top down buy-in on initiatives
  • Taking a methodical approach to the journey
  • The hurdles to building and implementing a retention roadmap

1:40pm - 2:30pm  Breakout Session

The CHRO as an Entrepreneur

Paxton Baker headshot

Paxton Baker

Founding Partner

Washington Nationals

All CHROs want to be thought of as a business partner, but Paxton Baker believes CHROs need to think of themselves as entrepreneurs to be true business partners. From his experience at BET Networks and Viacom, Baker will examine the origins of HR and how this field plays one of the most vital roles in all organizations.

In this session you will:

  • Reexamine how to think of the role of the CHRO
  • Dive into the vital value of human capital in every organization

1:40pm - 2:30pm  Executive Boardroom

Enhancing the Employee Experience Through Digitalization

Lori von Heyking headshot

Lori von Heyking


Woodforest National Bank

Matt Parrish headshot

Matt Parrish

HR Transformation Leader


With every interaction — from onboarding new personnel to rolling out the latest system updates — HR executives have an opportunity to deliver an exceptional employee experience. By leveraging fresh tools and enabling cutting-edge technologies, organizations can save time, eliminate error and even generate revenue, all while positioning themselves as employers of choice.

Join this boardroom session and discuss:

  • Leveraging advancements in the consumer world to improve the employee experience
  • Ensuring employees have more direct access to information and support
  • Using technology to build truly meaningful impact on employees’ service experiences

2:30pm - 2:50pm  Networking Break

2:50pm - 3:40pm  Breakout Session

Achieving Better Business Results by Embedding Leadership Culture

Jeffrey Gill headshot

Jeffrey Gill

Chief Talent Officer

Sasol North America Inc.

Jeff Gill explains the 5-year journey from defining culture to embedding a leadership model that drives the right behaviors. 

2:50pm - 3:40pm  Breakout Session

Challenges – The Catalyst of Creativity and Success (Interactive Session)

Rose Valenzuela headshot

Rose Valenzuela

SVP, Admin. & Corporate Affairs


In this age of constant transformation and emerging technology, organizations are facing unfamiliar challenges. The most dynamic, change-enabled executives know that to be successful you have to approach challenges creatively and adapt quickly. Come to this interactive discussion prepared to share, find solace and explore the roadblocks and challenges for your top priorities in this new age. Build connections with your peers by comparing strategies for leading a more resilient organization. Share best practices for turning yesterday’s roadblocks into tomorrow’s successes.

3:40pm - 4:00pm  Networking Break

4:00pm - 4:40pm  Keynote

Harness Your Super Powers to Tackle the Digital Future

Ben Hammersley headshot

Ben Hammersley

Author & Futurist

Ben Hammersley

If you or your organization is afraid of what’s next and feel that there are forces at work that drain your market share, Ben Hammersley is here to help. A futurist, he explains the inherent disconnect between business leaders and the world we live in today. He reveals the extreme interconnectedness between seemingly disparate entities, and how technology is at work in everything you do, whether you realize it or not. Discover how technology can give you superpowers and how you can use those special abilities to your advantage to not just survive, but conquer, this age of digital transformation.

In this session, Hammersley will explore:

  • How CHROs can prepare for unprecedented change?
  • What technologies are on the horizon that will revolutionize talent strategies
  • How to leverage technologies to enhance the employee experience

4:50pm - 5:20pm  Closing Reception & Prize Drawing

December 11, 2018

December 12, 2018


Venue & Accommodation

Hyatt Regency Houston

Your Community Partners

National Thought Leaders
Keynote Sponsor
Presenting Sponsor
National Sponsors

Community Program Manager

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

Sherrard Watson

Former Program Manager