10 Must-See Breakout Sessions at Talent Connect 2019


Talent professionals who come together next month in Dallas for Talent Connect 2019 will have a chance to hear Michelle Obama in a fireside chat, be inspired by keynote addresses from Gary Vaynerchuk and Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall (among others), learn about new products and features from LinkedIn, and connect with peers from around the world.

This year’s conference — September 25 to 27 — will also include 45 breakout sessions that offer innovative approaches and best practices for diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, talent analytics, learning and development, and other top-of-mind concerns for talent professionals.

It’s our 10th anniversary of Talent Connect this year, so we’ve picked out 10 sessions that can help you become a breakout sensation at your job:

1. Chris Voss, former FBI hostage negotiator, will explain why tactical empathy is the secret to a successful deal

Chris Voss worked on more than 150 international hostages cases while he was with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. After serving as the bureau’s chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator for four years, he retired and founded The Black Swan Group, which advises businesses on how to negotiate more effectively. He also co-authored Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.

Chris believes that successful negotiations demand tactical empathy, which he sees as describing and understanding the needs, interests, and perspectives of your counterpart — without necessarily agreeing.

In his talk, Chris will lay down some of the principles that have made him a world-renowned negotiator and which will help you excel at work and in life.

2. Televerde’s Michelle Cirocco will explain why prisons hold the key to our talent shortage

Michelle Cirocco has an MBA from Arizona State and a C-suite job at Televerde, a Phoenix-based sales and marketing consultancy. She also has a prison record.

And based on her own experience of getting training in prison and a job as soon as she got out, Michelle believes that the skills gap can be eliminated by changing how we think about talent and then embracing people — there are 73.5 million in the United States alone — with a criminal record.

Now the chief social responsibility officer at Televerde, Michelle says the benefits of identifying and developing the talent currently behind bars include building stronger communities, boosting the economy, and giving companies a significant competitive advantage.

3. John Vlastelica, founder of Recruiting Toolbox, will outline how you can become a more strategic talent acquisition professional

Great recruiters not only think strategically about their company’s business, they think strategically about their own work.

John Vlastelica, founder of Recruiting Toolbox and one of the most highly rated Talent Connect speakers ever, will share low-cost, practical things you can do to differentiate yourself as a top recruiter and deliver a ton of value to your business.

John will offer real examples that don’t require you to buy a new tool or follow some guru’s looks-good-on-paper-but-won’t-work-in-the-real-world advice. His session promises to be both actionable and fun.

4. Noelle Hunt Bennett will share how Amazon has built a robust recruiter training program

With over 600,000 employees, Amazon keeps its recruiters hopping, and every day is Prime Day when you’re shopping for talent. So what does the e-commerce and cloud computing giant do to give its recruiters an edge?

Noelle Hunt Bennett, who leads a team of program managers at Amazon, will outline the skills training the company has delivered to recruiters over the last decade.

Noelle will lay out the internal and external sourcing tools, customized training, and skills-building programs Amazon provides recruiters to support workplace effectiveness.

5. Brittany Packnett, cofounder of Campaign Zero, outlines why confidence is a must-have for successful teams

Brittany Packnett has a lot of reasons to be confident: At the age of 30, she cofounded Campaign Zero, a policy platform that aims to end police violence; she was appointed to President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force; and she was named one of Time magazine’s “12 New Faces of Black Leadership.”

Brittany will explain why she sees confidence as “the main ingredient,” and she’ll make clear why it’s a must-have for building, maintaining, and growing flourishing teams. She’ll detail the three things needed for developing, nurturing, and affirming confidence: permission, community, and curiosity.

The session will explore how to spark confidence in yourself and in others, and Brittany will show how this will lead to transformative outcomes.

6. Pamay Bassey, the CLO at Kraft Heinz, will detail her campaign to create a robust learning culture

In our time-starved world of work, how can employees carve out critical time to learn? The temptation is always to work harder, not smarter.

Discover how Pamay Bassey, the chief learning officer at Kraft Heinz, launched an internal campaign — #MakeTimeForLearning — to increase development at the home of such iconic brands as Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, and Jell-O.

Pamay will discuss how critical it was for her, first, to get buy-in from the top of her organization and, second, to walk the walk herself by embracing a personal commitment to a regular learning practice.

7. Erin Winkler and Flip Clark will share how Dropbox uses talent mapping to fill its most challenging roles

When expectations are unrealistic for a role, how can a recruiting team use competitive intelligence to reshape assumptions to achieve a better outcome? Dropbox has used a proactive approach to deliver talent mapping data and insights to hiring teams, allowing them to better understand and plan around looming skills and talent gaps.

Erin Winkler, an executive recruiter at Dropbox, and Flip Clark, the manager of product recruiting, will share tactics for finding relevant data on TA trends, creating insights that shift hiring assumptions, and reducing time to fill while increasing quality of hire.

8. Anastacia Flores of Sirius XM + Pandora will talk about how to successfully lead teams while working remotely

Flexible work was once seen as a luxury, an indulgent nod taken by a handful of companies to a few privileged workers. Today, it’s a necessity. Inc.com provocatively called work from home “the world’s smartest management strategy.” 

And remote work is no longer solely the province of the individual contributor. Increasing numbers of managers are now leading teams remotely. Anastacia Flores, the director of recruiting operations at Sirius XM + Pandora, has worked this way for 13 years. She has led teams — working remotely — for both Sirius and Google.

She will address the key issues that, if addressed, will allow a remote team to succeed and have all its members trusting one another. She will offer a plan that will empower a work group so that neither the team nor its leader feels like there’s a distance between them.

9. Justin Black, the head of people science at Glint, will talk about the need to focus on “people success” rather than “talent management”

The Conference Board reported that the No. 1 internal issue for CEOs globally this year is talent — how to attract and retain top performers in a historically tight labor market.

Companies want engaged employees who will accelerate their organization’s performance. But are established talent-management practices actually helping companies accomplish that goal? “People success” is an approach that offers a path to achieve that goal by reframing how — and when — we think of employees.

In this session, Justin Black, the head of people science at Glint, will explore the people success approach and detail what it looks like in practice. Justin will talk about how your company can create engagement by thinking about your employees and their experiences first.

10. Dawn Burke, the founder of Dawn Burke HR, will introduce the idea of “hiring culture” — and outline its impact

Companies spend lots of time, thought, and energy trying to nail corporate culture. What about “hiring culture”? asks Dawn Burke, the founder of and advisor for Dawn Burke HR. Dawn, an in-demand speaker on new HR practices and workplace culture, says your hiring culture is the sum of the things your talent acquisition team — recruiters, hiring managers, C-suite executives — truly value.

Her session will explore and define what a hiring culture is and how to assess yours. Dawn will share best practices that can help you elevate the hiring culture at your company.

This is, of course, just a sampling of the breakout sessions in store at Talent Connect 2019. To see more, visit our microsite, and then make plans to join us September 25 to 27 in Dallas.

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