How we care for our employees, especially during times of change and uncertainty, has a direct impact on retention, belonging, and team dynamics. Join us for a day of meaningful conversations and actionable takeaways at our first-ever Employee Relations & Experience Exchange! Topics will include retaining talent, leadership development, generational dynamics, helping your employees navigate difficult emotions, and more. Talent is top of mind for all organizations right now, don’t miss your chance to hear from experts on what you can be doing to stay ahead!

August 17 - Conference Center at Waltham Woods - Waltham, MA

NEHRA Members - $399
Non-Members: $499


8:30 - 9:00AM: Registration, Breakfast, & Networking

9:00 - 10:15AM: Welcome Remarks & Opening Keynote:   Retaining Top Talent in Today’s Climate 

10:15 - 10:45AM: Break

10:45AM - 12:00PM: Breakouts (choice of 2)
1: Navigating Anger & Difficult Emotions in the Workplace: A Guide for HR Professionals
2: Multigenerational and Gender Dynamics in a Hybrid Workplace

12:00 - 1:00PM: Lunch & Networking 

1:00 - 2:15PM: Breakouts (choice of 2)
1: Conversations That Matter:  Can Employees Love Their Jobs?  
2: Employee Benefit Trends

2:15 - 2:45PM: Break

2:45 - 4:00OPM: Closing Keynote Panel: Creating an Intentional & Supportive Employee Experience




Retaining Top Talent in Today's Climate
Speaker: Tracie Sponenberg, Chief People Officer, The Granite Group

Ask any business leader what keeps them up at night and chances are they will say “finding talent”. You don’t have to go far to see the impact of the labor shortage across all industries. And while finding talent is still top of mind for most companies, retention is arguably even more important.  Terrific attraction strategies do not help if your people are leaving your company in droves.  The challenges facing today’s organizations are further impacted by resistance to returning to the office, increased pressure on managers and variable generational expectations. Hear how Tracie Sponenberg and the leadership team at the Granite Group have worked to create a people-centered organization and the approach they are taking to attract, retain and care for their people.  


1 - Navigating Anger & Difficult Emotions in the Workplace: A Guide for HR Professionals
Speaker: Joe Pereira, MSW, LICSW, CAS, Clinical Social Worker, Outlook Associates

While anger and difficult emotions have always been a reality in our workplaces, the fear and uncertainty of the past 2+ years has brought it to a new level.

Organizations are faced with individuals who have difficulty regulating their anger and other difficult emotions with colleagues and supervisors causing disruption in job functioning and sense of safety for all involved. It is important for all leaders to understand how these emotions can bubble up, and the dynamics of anger control problems including the impact of resentment. This breakout will review how best to work with individuals who may have anger control issues, and when and how to intervene.

Key Learnings:

1. Learn the distinction between anger, aggression, and assertiveness
2. Understand the dynamics of anger and other difficult emotions
3. Recognize how certain ways of thinking can aggravate a person's anger
4. Understand the role of resentment in dealing with feelings of anger
5. Identify ways to intervene with individuals who may have anger control issues



2 - Multigenerational and Gender Dynamics in a Hybrid Workplace
Speaker: Humberto Salicetti, Managing Director, Business Transformation, Slalom, LLC

'One-size fits all' solutions to the hybrid workplace challenge are doomed to fail. In this breakout, we will review considerations and perspectives that set the foundation for an inclusive hybrid workplace strategy that factors in gender and multigenerational workforce needs. Long-term success will depend on your decisions around work technology tool sets, rethinking the use of space, learning and development, remote vs. on-premises policies, performance management, benefits, and the very definition of well-being.



12:00 - 1:00PM: LUNCH & NETWORKING


1 - Conversations That Matter:  Can Employees Love Their Jobs?  
 Speakers: Penny Locey, Vice President, Keystone Partners & Brenda Stanton, Senior Vice President, Keystone Partners

HR is the catalyst as organizations attract, develop and retain employees who love their jobs/employers – and share that enthusiasm with everyone.   Join Brenda Stanton and Penny Locey from Keystone Partners to discuss how simple, structured meaningful conversations can create a deeper level of employee engagement.  Learn a practical unique framework designed to help HR boost conversations that Team Leaders and Managers are having with their teams.  Take away effective strategies and tools so you can have meaningful conversations that help employees feel and know they are vital to your organization. 


2 - Employee Benefit Trends
Speakers: Justin Depasse, VP of Sales, Brown & Brown Insurance of Massachusetts & John Flaherty, EVP of Sales, Brown & Brown of Massachusetts

Discussion and content will center around various strategies, products, and technology to increase care and retention for your employees, while keeping up with the latest trends in benefits.  Additionally, ideas on where companies will find the needed dollars to fund newer strategies and technology to help Human Resource professionals make needed impact within their culture.


Closing Keynote Panel: Creating an Intentional & Supportive Employee Experience

Moderator: Mim Minichiello, President, Employee Benefits, New England Region, HUB International
Panelists: Karen Anderson, CHRO, Mimecast, Peter Evers, CEO, Brockton Area Multi-Services (BAMSI),  & Doreen Nichols, Head of Talent and Business Partnering, Amylyx Pharmaceuticals

Employee needs are continuing to shift, and it is more critical than ever that organizations lead with a people-first mentality. For teams to thrive in uncertain (and certain times), leaders need to go beyond just managing the work, and show that they have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of their employees. Join us to hear from local HR leaders on meaningful ways that they have supported their team members during the challenges and opportunities of the past 2+ years. Panelists will share practical strategies to implement within your organization, helping to make your employee experience future-proof.


Credits & Survey


Employee Relations & Experience Exchange - August 17, 2022 - Waltham, MA
08/17/2022 at 8:15 AM (EDT)   |  7 hours, 45 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/17/2022 at 8:15 AM (EDT)   |  7 hours, 45 minutes  |  Attendance Required The 2022 Talent Summit will take place at the Sheraton Needham hotel in Needham, MA. A limited amount of sleeping rooms available at a discounted rate of $149+/night. Call 781-444-1110 and use code NEHRA when booking. Visit the "Overview" tab for the full agenda!
SHRM & HRCI Credit Information
5.00 SHRM & HRCI credits  |  Certificate available
5.00 SHRM & HRCI credits  |  Certificate available
NEHRA's Employee Relations & Experience Exchange Survey
17 Questions
17 Questions Please complete the survey and share your experience at NEHRA's Employee Relations & Experience Exchange!


Karen Anderson

Chief Human Resources Officer


Karen Anderson joined Mimecast in 2019 as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). In this role, Karen will lead global strategy for the Company’s people and culture, support geographical growth, and ensure Mimecast remains a top place to work for all employees. 

Karen has more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources, having started her career as a consultant with the Hay Group in Toronto Canada. She supported Compensation, Benefits and Systems for Bayer Canada before moving to the U.S. in 2000, at which point she became the Global HR Director for Baxter in Chicago. Next, she joined Pfizer to first support the Global Research teams and then the Commercial businesses in both the Developed Markets and the Emerging Markets. In 2013, Karen relocated to Boston to lead the Research and Development and Corporate Development teams for Biogen before becoming the CHRO for Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. 

Karen has a BA in Psychology and Labor Relations and a Masters in Organization Development. She is an active mentor in the community, a Board member of the Northeast HR Association, an advisor to WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology), and in 2018, received the HRO Today magazine award as a CHRO Leader of Distinction.

Justin Depasse

VP of Sales

Brown & Brown Insurance

Peter Evers

President & CEO

BAMSI (Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc.)

Peter Evers is the President & CEO of BAMSI, a Massachusetts based human service agency providing services to adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental illness, behavioral health, and public health needs. Prior to joining BAMSI, Evers served as the President and CEO of Riverbend Community Mental Health, Inc., and Vice President for Behavioral Health at Concord Hospital.  A Licensed Social Worker, he has more than 30 years of experience in the mental health and human services fields, including leadership positions in emergency, residential, and outpatient services.  Evers also served as Vice President for Program Operations at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston before joining Riverbend. Prior to that, he was the Southeastern Area Director at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH).  

Throughout his career, he has been a leader in the social service industry, promoting resilience in persons served, educating communities around stigma, and the worth of every human being through engagement. He also firmly believes that a positive agency culture, the effective use of resources, and the sustainability of state-of-the-art facilities are a reflection of an organization’s quest for excellence.

Educated in England and a graduate of Sheffield Hallam University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business Studies, Evers obtained his Masters in Social Work from the University of Kent, and is a Licensed Clinical Social worker here and in Great Britain. 

John Flaherty

EVP of Sales

Brown & Brown of Massachusetts

John’s over 30 years of insurance experience includes growing insurance practices via team building, sales, mentoring and high-level consulting. His financial sharpness and business creativity, while giving to his internal and external network honestly and authentically has kept him motivated for over three decades. John was a partner at Longfellow Benefits in Boston, where he worked for 18 years and helped grow and lead their employee benefit practice; Longfellow sold to Gallagher in December 2013.

John graduated from Norwich University – The Military College of Vermont in 1986 and received his Master in Business Administration (MBA) in 1989 from Northeastern University, where he taught Accounting and various business classes for over 27 years.

Pennell Locey

Vice President, Career Management

Keystone Partners

Penny, VP and leader of Keystone Partners’ individual delivery practice, is a member of the Consulting Practice Leadership Team.

Penny has extensive experience in career management, HR, and leadership development, including Polaroid Corporation, consulting to organizations on implementing organization-wide training, succession planning and talent management programs, and running a successful independent career consulting practice.

She has headed restructuring, redeployment, and retraining programs, including partnering with universities and state agencies on the design and delivery of a model biotechnology retraining program.

As a founding member of the Independent Career Counseling Consortium and co-founder of New England Institute for Career Development, Penny is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer, and a regular contributor to the media on career issues.

Penny holds an MEd from Boston University in Counseling Psychology and a BA from Wellesley College. She is a CPI Master Career Transition Consultant.

Mim Minichiello

President, Employee Benefits

HUB International New England

Mim serves as President, Employee Benefits, of HUB International New England. With over 25 years of experience, Mim provides leadership and implementation of employee benefit initiatives across the New England Region, building and expanding the HUB New England’s offerings as the top employee benefits solution provider. 

Outside of her leadership role, with HUB New England, Mim is the Chair of the YW Boston, an organization committed to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Mim is also a member of Northeast Human Resources Association, the Boston Women’s Workforce Council, The Boston Club, and The Commonwealth Institute. 

Doreen Nichols

Head of Talent and HR Business Partnering

Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

As Head of Talent and HR Business Partnering, Doreen has primary responsibility of leading the Human Resources Business Partner function for the US and Canada. She partners with a diverse and talented employee population across Amylyx to develop and implement forward-thinking talent practices, plan and direct employee engagement strategies, sustain a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, and execute initiatives that support Amylyx’s vision, mission, values, and business objectives.

Doreen made one last career change, going back to the Biopharma industry, and joined Amylyx in November of 2021. She brings more than 25 years of global human resources experience in both big brand corporations and early-stage start-ups. Prior to joining the Amylyx family, she led teams in outstanding companies and institutions such as Eversource Energy, Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, Staples Inc., LensCrafters, and Tulane University. She is recognized as a thought leader in global diversity and inclusion initiatives, operations, acquisitions, divestitures, talent strategy, and performance management.  Doreen holds a BS in Human Resources Management from DeVry University, Certificate in Human Resources from Bentley, and both the SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.

In her spare time, Doreen is a make-up artist, and competitive tennis player on the USTA and Central Massachusetts Indoor Tennis Association teams. She enjoys traveling, recreational cooking and spending time with her family.

Joe Pereira

Clinical Social Worker

Private Practice

Licensed clinical social worker and addictions specialist who has been practicing for over 30 years. Co-founder of Outlook Associates of New England, a practice
started to assist persons with anger control problems. Currently in private practice in Arlington, MA offering individual and group therapy as well as training and
consultation with a focus on anger management to adults and adolescents. Have given numerous trainings locally as well as nationally and internationally on the treatment of anger management problems as well as workplace conflict, chemical addictions and stress management. Interviewed by The Wall Street Journal on the topic of working with people with anger control issues and has made an appearance on the Boston local news show “Chronicle” discussing the topic of road rage. Also was involved with the Massachusetts Medical Society on developing a program for disruptive physicians. Lecturer at the Boston University Graduate School of Social Work since 2013.

Humberto Salicetti

Managing Director, Business Transformation Leader

Slalom, Inc

Slalom Boston is pleased to introduce Humberto Salicetti as its newest Managing Director. His focus is evolving the firm's Business Transformation capabilities to help clients realize their future visions.

With 25+ years of experience, he’s transformed business and operating models, helping clients from Fortune 100 to emerging multinationals. Humberto is a people-centric advisor who believes culture, leadership, and teamwork are key for translating strategy into results with strong ROI. His understanding of transformational frameworks and strong focus on outcomes empowers clients to continue succeeding despite rapidly changing environments. While Humberto has served clients globally, he is now dedicated to serving clients in Boston and New England. He is proud that the region has transformed into a hub for innovation in science, tech, commerce, and education.

Slalom is a global consulting firm with a localized model focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation.

Tracie Sponenberg


The Granite Group

Tracie Sponenberg is Chief People Officer of The Granite Group, based in Concord, NH.  An award-winning, third-generation family-owned business, The Granite Group has a proud tradition in the plumbing and heating wholesale supply business dating back to the turn of the last century.  Tracie is responsible for leading all People functions throughout the company, which has 45 locations, and nearly 600 employees throughout New England.

With expertise in strategic business planning, technology selection and deployment, employee engagement and wellness, employment branding, culture development and turnaround, leadership and team development, organizational and strategy development, she has gained broad experience across a wide range of industries in her more than 20 years in human resources, with much of her career focused on working with CEOs to develop people strategies to help the organizations grow.  She began her career in HR while in college, interning with a global public transportation company, and advanced through the organization over the next five years.  Tracie found her HR home in small to medium sized private companies, where she could have the most impact on the business.  She’s led the HR function at an award-winning multi-state professional services firm; a Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper and publishing company, and a national wellness distribution and technology company.

Tracie has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The College of The Holy Cross, and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Framingham State University. She is SPHR and SHRM-SCP certified; was named to the 2017 Supply House Times “Women in Industry 20”; was a 2018 Bob Gatti HR Leadership Award Nominee; and was the recipient of the 2019 GSHRC Ry Perry HR Hero Award.  Tracie speaks on HR, technology and business issues across the country; she is a co-founder of DisruptHR NH and HR Rebooted; a member and past president of her local SHRM chapter and a member of the national SHRM Special Expertise Panel for HR Disciplines. Her articles have appeared in CIO Review Magazine and HR Tech Outlook, and she is a regular contributor to the SHRM blog.  Through her work with SHRM, her HR expertise has been featured on NPR, and in publications including USA Today, US News and World Report, Employee Benefits News, Chicago Sun-Times and The Wall Street Journal. She is on the board of her local food co-op; The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation; Red River Theatres; the advisory board of the Framingham State University Master's in HRM program and the advisory board of Families in Transition.   

A bookworm and introvert who never spoke in class until college, Tracie recently started getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Though she now realizes she won’t die speaking in public, to the media, or on camera, she still hates parties and crowds - but loves espresso.   When not road tripping, heading to Disney World, or hanging out with her family at home in Concord, NH, you can usually find her at a local coffee shop or (slowly) running 5Ks with her husband.

Brenda Stanton

Senior Vice President

Keystone Partners

Brenda consults with organizations on corporate workplace, career management, and leadership development. She advises HR leaders on complex, multi-site global restructuring and outplacement needs, C-level executive transitions, and talent and leadership development initiatives including executive coaching, team effectiveness, and management training.

Brenda has served as a career transition consultant and trainer, advising professionals at all levels to define career targets and up-level opportunities, and successfully achieve their career aspirations.  Prior to Keystone, she spent 15 years in business development and marketing roles at publishing, advertising, and technology firms.

Brenda is an active member of New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) and frequently speaks to professional associations including NEHRA and DisruptHR Boston. Brenda is a certified career coach with Coach Training Alliance (CTA). She holds a BBA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Management. She is also a Certified Executive Coach by the Center for Executive Coaching.

Already registered?
Log in to access.

Log In