11 Human Resources, Recruiting & Leadership Practitioner Speaker Recommendations

I attend and speak at dozens of conferences each year – many focused on audiences of practitioners in the Human Resources, Recruiting and Leadership Development professions.

One common theme at all of these events? A paltry number of actual practitioners (i.e. professionals who work in their field at a company that they don’t own and/or isn’t a consulting firm and/or isn’t a law firm) on the agenda as Speakers.

I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for this, but my guess is that one of the biggest reasons is – practitioners are not “professional Speakers” who have the time or inclination to run the gauntlet required by many events in order to be considered for a coveted spot on the roster – let alone a keynote slot.

So what are you to do as an event organizer? Go get them. They’re out there. Many with tons of speaking experience and great information to share. Your conference or event will be better because you didn’t just seek out an author of some unknown book or a consultant or lawyer who will also agree to be a sponsor of your event. Trust me.

I’ve done the hard work for you. From the hundreds of Speakers I’ve seen and can personally recommend, I’m sharing my Top 11 below.

Steve Browne, SPHR – Executive Director of Human Resources, LaRosa’s, Inc.

Who’s That Guy? Steve is a fiercely passionate, intentional HR practitioner who wants to bring the entire HR community together. (Literally.)

Location: Ohio

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. Culture, Integrating HR Throughout an Organization
  2. Using Conflict to Your Advantage
  3. Networking/Connecting with Others
  4. Innovation in HR that Sticks

Why Steve? I’ve seen Steve speak dozens of times and never miss a chance to do so. He’s often an event’s highest rated Speaker and gets invited back to speak at events year after year. He’s truly passionate about HR and is the profession’s biggest cheerleader. He’s an HR executive who tells is like it is – in a practical, fun and humorous way.

Blog: Everyday People
LinkedIn: Steve Browne, SPHR
Twitter: @sbrownehr

Broc Edwards – SVP, Director of Learning & Leadership for a fantastic community bank

Who’s That Guy? Broc is a speaker, writer, facilitator (and mountain biker) who is passionate about increasing the performance of business and humans. He seeks to play bigger, do better, and move the world.

Location: Texas

Keynote Session Topics:

  1. HR As A Competitive Advantage
  2. Next Level HR: It’s all about the User Experience
  3. Business Gets Done For, Through and By People. Period.

Why Broc? Broc is a practitioner whose sweet spot is the intersection of business and people. People are an organization’s only sustainable competitive advantage – and your audience needs to learn how to get the most out of them. Your audience also loves books by Speakers – and he’s written one – What Thinks You? A Fool’s Eye View of Human Resources.

Blog: fool (with a plan)
LinkedIn: Broc Edwards
Twitter: @brocedwards

Mary Faulkner – Director of Talent Management, ClearChoice Dental Implant Center

Who’s That Girl? Mary is a leadership & talent professional who works within organizations to help build better companies. She specializes in people and organizational development and spends her spare time thinking about self-awareness/accountability, neuroleadership, engagement, decision-making and other brainy type stuff. She’s also a random fact sponge and has a weakness for peanut butter.

Location: Colorado

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. The Disengagement Decision: How employees get there & how leaders can help them make the right decision
  2. Surviving a Matrixed Organization – A 12 Step Program
  3. The Leader’s Legacy: Understanding & controlling your impact on your company’s culture
  4. Connecting The Dots: Why HR should play the role of “connector” in an organization & how to do it
  5. Put The “Critical” Back Into Your Thinking: How HR can help business make better decisions

Why Mary? I’ve worked with Mary in the past and have also seen her present many times. She’s excellent – both in knowledge of Leadership and Talent Management, as well as the process of building an effective and engaging presentation. She will nail a seminar, training session or keynote at your event. I promise.

Blog:  Surviving Leadership: Your Survival Guide OF and FROM Leadership
LinkedIn: Mary Faulkner
Twitter: @mfaulkner43

Amybeth Hale – Platform Services Recruiter, Concur Technologies

Who’s That Girl? Amybeth has been working as a recruitment sourcing professional for over a decade and enjoys finding interesting and talented people for great opportunities. She’s got experience working with both third party recruiting firms and corporate recruiting teams at premier companies such as Microsoft, AT&T and Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. Amybeth is also the former Editor of SourceCon.com, an internationally recognized recruitment sourcing publication.

Keynote/Session Topics:

Amybeth can share key insights and deep experience in all aspects of candidate sourcing, prospect contact information gathering, initial prospect outreach, Internet mining, Boolean search query creation, appropriate use of social media for sourcing/prospecting.

Why Amybeth? Sometimes your conference or event needs a meaty presentation on the how-tos. For that, you need an industry expert who’s been there, done that – and continues to find new ways of doing it. I’m a long-time Fan of Amybeth and I’ve seen her present at several conferences. She knows her stuff and cares deeply about advancing the sourcing profession and building a good partnership between sourcers and recruiters. Amybeth is truly top shelf.

Blog: Check out her posts on SourceCon and ERE.net + ResearchGoddess.com
LinkedIn: Amybeth Hale
Twitter: @researchgoddess

John Hudson, SPHR – HR Business Partner, Discovery Communications/Harpo Studios, Inc.

Who’s That Guy? John is the lucky HR Business Partner that gets to work with both Discovery Communications and Harpo Studios (and yes, he’s met Oprah many times – but he can’t tell you about it or he’ll have to kill you). He’s an HR generalist who has supported business leaders in a variety of functions including insurance, finance, legal, IT, sales and production.

Location: Illinois

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. Getting Your Foot in the Door Without Putting Your Foot in Your Mouth – everything from building a digital footprint to making connections and then sealing an interview
  2. Building Credibility and Relationships To Increase HR’s Influence

Why John? John was a featured Speaker at the 2013 SHRM Student and Faculty Conference earlier this year and was also the emcee at last month’s 2013 Illinois SHRM Conference. He brings a fresh perspective and new ideas to the work of #TrenchHR, and he’s passionate about mentoring other HR professionals and business leaders.

Blog: Official Blogger for SHRM’s We Know Next blog
LinkedIn: John Hudson, SPHR
Twitter: @johnphudson

Jay Kuhns, SPHR – Vice President of Human Resources, All Children’s Hospital – A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Who’s That Guy? Jay gets fired up about leadership, blogging, speaking, doing HR differently, healthcare, social media, coffee and hockey.

Location: Florida

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. Taking HR Social and Not Apologizing For It
  2. HR Transformation Is A Risky Brutally Long Process That Will Change Your Life

Why Jay? Jay is changing the way HR does business by doing more than just talking about it. He’s the real deal in terms of an executive HR practitioner that your HR and business leaders want to hear from. The 2014 Louisiana SHRM Conference has already booked him as a keynote for their event next year – because, or course, they only bring in the best HR Conference keynote speakers.

Blog:  NoExcusesHR
LinkedIn: Jay Kuhns, SPHR
Twitter: @jrkuhns

Trish McFarlane – Director of Human Resources, Perficient

Who’s That Girl? Trish is a career HR business leader, having held leadership roles at Big 4, public relations, healthcare and technology consulting companies. She’s currently the head of HR for Perficient, Inc., as well as the co-founder of HRevolution – a learning and networking event for HR, marketing and social media professionals and a co-founder of the Women of HR blog community. Another “co” to add to her credentials? She co-hosts the HR Happy Hour radio show, which focuses on talent management, recruiting, HR technology, leadership, careers and more.

Location: Missouri

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. HR Thinking Creatively: How to start a business from scratch
  2. Thinking Outside the (In)Box – Trends in HR Technology
  3. How Social Tools Empower the Organization
  4. Employer Branding and Employee Engagement

Why Trish? Trish regularly presents to audiences of senior level HR and business professionals and has been sharing her experiences as an HR Leader on her blog – HR Ringleader – for several years. She’s passionate about HR practitioners becoming educated in HR technology so they can recommend better business solutions to leadership and she is one of the few who is pushing the boundaries and seeking to expand the scope of HR within business.

Blog: HR Ringleader
LinkedIn: Trish McFarlane
Twitter: @TrishMcFarlane

Neil Morrison – Group HR Director UK and International companies, Penguin Random House

Who’s That Guy? A 17-year veteran in HR, Neil is a blogger, tweeter, agent provocateur aka loudmouth, merger of companies, changer of cultures, challenger of norms.

Location: United Kingdom

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. Cultural Mind Shift in an Age of Discontinuity: How to transition organizations when everything has to change, but everything has to stay the same
  2. HR: The Driver of Organisational Performance: How a systemic approach can drive success

Why Neil? Your conference or event needs someone on the agenda who can talk about HR from a global perspective and also someone who can talk about HR in a way that provokes thought, change and action. (Here’s your guy.) Neil was recently named UK HR Director of the Year 2013 and he’s passionate about company culture, change, leadership, organizational development and organizational strategy. He also likes wine and cheese, so add that to his Speaker gift basket.

Blog: Change-Effect
LinkedIn: Neil Morrison
Twitter: @NeilMorrison

Lisa Rosendahl, SPHR – Human Resources Director, a federal healthcare organization

Who’s That Girl? Lisa is an astute business leader with more than 18 years of experience in human resources. She has led and provided expertise to strategic HR operations in both public and private organizations and currently works in a prominent federal healthcare organization. Lisa is also a co-founder of the Women of HR blog community.

Location: Minnesota

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. Now Is The Time: Grow Up and Lead
  2. Breaking Down The Walls Between Human Resources and Our Customers

Why Lisa? Lisa is passionate about leading teams, developing others and building the relationships necessary to consult, advise and impact decisions as a business leader and an HR professional. She’s an engaging presenter who brings a relatable and seasoned perspective and who also motivates audiences with stories of how bringing the best of who you are to any situation can make all the difference in the world.

Blog: Lisa Rosendahl – Story. Flow. Tribe.
LinkedIn: Lisa Rosendahl, SPHR
Twitter: @lisarosendahl

Lars Schmidt – Senior Director Talent Acquisition & Innovation, NPR

Who’s That Guy? Lars is a change catalyst who believes strongly in blending best practices, technology, and relationships to develop and drive talent initiatives with limited resources; leveraging innovative recruiting techniques and building proactive and sustainable global talent programs. He’s got global talent acquisition and HR experience that spans a variety of industries including technology, web, media, non-profit, eCommerce and consulting sectors.

Location: Washington, DC

Keynote/Session Topics:

  1. Recruiting Lessons From The Trenches: How To Develop Social Recruiting Strategies That Work
  2. Recruiting To Win: Confessions Of An HR MacGyver

Why Lars? Lars has a wealth of experience in talent acquisition and HR and I’ve heard him speak many times. His presentations are a mix of how-to, practical tips and innovation. Your audience will appreciate hearing from someone who’s actually re-imagined a recruiting function and tried things that worked/didn’t work. Learn more about some of the work of Lars and his team in this article from The Washington Post.

Blog: Amplify Talent
LinkedIn: Lars Schmidt
Twitter: @ThisIsLars

Will Staney – Director of Recruiting & Strategic Programs, SuccessFactors

Who’s That Guy? Will’s career is a culmination of combining over a decade of sales experience with his passion, education, and track record of success with corporate recruiting using new media marketing tactics. He’s the guy who’s keeping up with (and implementing) emerging social, recruiting and HR technologies to ensure that SuccessFactors is on the cutting edge.

Location: Texas

Keynote/Session Topics:

Topics: Employer Branding, Talent Acquisition Social Media Strategy, Recruiting Analytics, Social Sourcing Tactics, Career Site Strategy/Design, Recruitment Marketing/Advertising Strategy (multi-channel/online campaigns), early talent programs (college/new grad recruiting)…to name a few

Why Will? Will has solid experience and success recruiting highly sought after talent in some of the most competitive industries in the world. He’s an award winner (Workforce Management’s 2013 Game Change award and Glassdoor’s Top 10 Social Recruiters) and he’s always one of the first to try new technologies. You may have seen him – he’s the guy wearing the Google Glasses.

Blog: Find Will on the SuccessFactors blog + RecruitMedia – Social Recruitment Guide
LinkedIn: Will Staney
Twitter: @willstaney

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So there you have it. Choose one or several from the list. Make the Speaker approval process easy for them. PAY THEM. The work that they will put into making a great presentation at your event isn’t included in their day job and their time is valuable. Please demonstrate that you agree.

Oh, and I’d love to join anyone on this list on the Speaker roster at your event. 🙂

Got another great practitioner to recommend as a Speaker at human resources, recruiting and leadership development events? Leave a Comment and tell me about them!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of people strategies, leadership development and career growth. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact Us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

President & Chief Talent Strategist

Jennifer McClure is a Keynote Speaker, Talent Strategies Expert and Executive Coach who works with clients and companies in the areas of leadership development, communication and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and empower business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “11 Human Resources, Recruiting & Leadership Practitioner Speaker Recommendations

  1. Jen – Thanks so much for including me in this group. It’s great to see that there are HR practitioners who want to get out and speak for the profession. I know there are others that should be considered as well like Ben Eubanks, John Nykolaiszyn, Sarah Williams, Melissa Fairman, and Dave Ryan. I look forward to seeing others listed on this post as well !! Thanks again.

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  3. Honored to be included Jennifer! I think you hit on the reason more practitioners are not out there speaking. First, most don’t have time during the “day job” to create and polish a presentation. We’re also up against some fierce competition in the space. I encourage any practitioner to jump into the fray though. Meeting other professionals who are so grateful to hear your experiences and stories make it all worth while.

    I’ve seen most on your list speak and they are ALL outstanding. Definitely recommend readers and conference organizers to reach out to them. Thanks again.

    • You’re right Trish, there is some stiff competition out there – even amongst the practitioners in the field, many of whom never venture far beyond their hometown or home state because of the time commitment involved. Hopefully, by event organizers reaching out to some of the better speakers specifically, we can get the opportunity to hear from them at some of the larger events!

  4. Really enjoyed this post. You are very correct that people need to hear from experts in the field that have actually hard working knowledge of the arena they are in.
    I live in Canada and own my own succesful business after numerous years in the coporate industry in sales, marketing and operations. I would have benefited over the years from SME’s in their field to give me the truth about the trials and tribulations on starting your own business. you often dont know what you dont know!

    I’ve joined the speaking circuit to tell my successful story and how I can help others with their journey. Please feel free to visit my site and I welcome hearing from you..I have alot to share.

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