CHROs Bring Their A-Game to In-Person Summits

Community Blog
Written by Jason Larson

JANUARY 4, 2022

The anticipation to return to in-person gatherings was almost too much to bear. And, OK, maybe a little anxiety-provoking too. For many of us, it had been a long time since we’ve networked face-to-face with anybody more than our significant others and kids and cats and dogs. But the experience didn’t disappoint. Venues were abuzz, smiles dominated the day, and the content – oh my, was the content ever rich.

From the future of work to the Great Reshuffling, CHROs tackled today’s biggest challenges at Evanta’s in-person gatherings in the Fall. What’s more, HR leaders across North America infused a sense of optimism and can-do attitude when discussing the changing talent and business landscape. Truly inspirational stuff.  

In fact, the content was so good I thought it worth our time to recap a few top-rated sessions.


Session #1 - TripAdvisor’s chief people officer sets up her peers for future success.

Beth Grous, chief people officer at TripAdvisor, navigated unprecedented challenges these past two years, like most of her peers. As the cliché goes, with challenges come opportunity, and Grous seized the moment and has helped her organization flourish in a volatile business environment. Among Grous’s key takeaways, she shared:  

  • People-based strategies for improved productivity and engagement 
  • Workforce management and talent development during volatile disruption, and
  • Strategies to ensure culture and connection are in the place across all teams 

Many organizations have had to rethink their workforce, development, value proposition, and business structure, and Grous’ strong leadership and vivid success story added tremendous value to the agenda. 

Here were a few things CHROs shared about the session:


Love the humor. Very engaging.”

Excellent presentation. Appreciated Beth sharing her personal struggles and challenges as well.”

I can’t imagine a better close to the conference!”

Great practical advice – nice to hear from a peer.”


Session #2 – An interactive keynote on resignations, DEI, and remote leadership.

In lesser hands, a session covering so much ground would be a bowl of cold, watery soup, but Dessalen Wood, chief people officer at ThoughtExchange, managed to “tie multiple issues into one concise session.” In her session, Wood explored:

  • How to eliminate the drama and loss of productivity that often accompanies new leadership assignments
  • Methods to create more equitable and inclusive onboarding experiences for both the new leader and their teams, and 
  • Ways in which insights into goals and challenges a team has faced can create a more successful new leadership transition 

With organizations around the globe undergoing massive disruption to their business models, while at the same time facing unprecedented turnover, Wood’s thought leadership proved invaluable to attendees. Above all else, her story was engaging, energetic, and practical!  

This is what CHROs in attendance shared about it:


Super interesting.”

Loved the engagement and sense of humor! Best session yet!”

Outstanding presentation…I can use this in my company.”

High energy and practical.”


Session #3 – Minnesota Lynx’s head coach brings her full court press on diverse leadership.

Coach Cheryl Reeve is on the forefront of creating a more inclusive environment in sports. Not only has Reeve been a four-time WNBA champion with the Lynx and coach for the USA Olympic team, she has also been named the WNBA basketball executive of the year and won coach of the year three times. Many of these accomplishments can be accredited to her leadership skills and willingness to the push the envelope on the diversity of her team and staff. Reeve’s session: 

  • Re-inspired attendees to make their workforce more diverse 
  • Explored the traits and characteristics of true leadership from a true game changer, and 
  • Helped HR leaders find the strength to keep pushing for their organization’s goals 

Reeve delivered a fascinating and inspiring story -- and let’s just say there were a few not-so-dry-eyes in the house. 

CHROs said:


Amazing! You inspired me as a woman in a very male-dominated company! Courage makes change! Thanks for sharing.”

Very inspiring and entertaining.”

Many good nuggets of information and definitely a lot of passion!”

Great messages paired with humor and authenticity. Thank you!”


Thank you to these speakers and everyone else that brought their insights, humor, and vulnerability to our first round of in-person gatherings in almost two years. We’re excited to see which stories make an appearance in 2022! 

Jason Larson headshot

Jason Larson

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company


by CHROs, for CHROs

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