We are thrilled to have 4 keynote speakers at the conference.
APRIL SIMPKINS, SHRM-CP, PHR
Monday AM Keynote
Managing Mental Health In The Workplace
April is a dually certified HR Professional with 30 years of executive-level Human Resources experience. April is an HR Consultant and the Chief Human Resources Officer for Totalhr, a human resources services firm focused on supporting the HR needs of small- to mid-sized businesses. She has helped more than 1,000 business owners shape and develop their human capital.
April’s experience and expertise, coupled with her continued study of Human Resources trends, has made her a trusted advisor for many in the business community. It also led to an invitation to The Business Journal Leadership Trust, which allows April to share her expertise with leaders nationwide. She has been a requested presenter and guest speaker for organizations that include Harvard University Extension School, Winthrop University, The Citadel, EEOC, and The City of Charleston, to name a few. She is also a member of the SHRM Speakers Bureau.
April is a board member of both the York County Regional Chamber and the SC Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). She is the Chapter Chair for the Charlotte affiliate of the Women Presidents Organization (WPO), a non-profit membership organization for women presidents, CEOs, and managing directors of privately held, multimillion-dollar companies. In 2016 WPO honored April with the Woman of Color Award for her business achievements.
April is the Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee for Greenville SHRM. In 2020 April received the Unsung Hero Award from Greenville SHRM for her exemplary leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She was the Diversity Director for the South Carolina Society for Human Resources Management from 2018 – 2020. Her service and commitment to the HR community and the profession’s advancement led to her selection as a member of the HR Advisory Board for Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. She works with a team of HR thought leaders who have been charged with designing the human resources undergraduate and postgraduate degree curriculum and programs.
April has received many awards and honors for her business acumen. Her awards include: the 2020 Women In Business Achievement Award from the Charlotte Business Journal, the 2018 Fort Mill/ Tega Cay Business Person of The Year Award from the York County Regional Chamber, the Movers & Shaker Award given by Business Leader Magazine and, in 2016, April was named one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Influential Women by Mecklenburg Times.
April is a classically trained pianist, an avid runner, athlete, mother, wife, and entrepreneur.
Monday PM Keynote
Bridging Divides: How to Communicate With People When You Disagree
Marie Harf has had varied experience in government, politics, media, and higher education over her 17-year career in Washington, DC. Since 2017, she has been an on-air analyst at the Fox News Channel, providing commentary across FOX’s various programming and platforms. She played a role in FOX's major event coverage for Election Nights in 2022, 2020, and 2018; the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries; and multiple State of the Union speeches.
She also currently serves as the Executive Director of External Relations and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Ms. Harf began her career in 2006 at the Central Intelligence Agency, first serving as a Middle East analyst and later as the CIA’s Media Spokesperson, a role she held for three CIA Directors: Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta, and David Petraeus.
From 2013-2017, Marie worked for Secretary of State John Kerry, as his Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications and the State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson. In those roles, she conducted on-camera Daily Press Briefings, managed the public strategy for the U.S. team in the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and helped Secretary Kerry take the story of American foreign policy to audiences across the United States.
In 2012, Ms. Harf ran national security and foreign policy issues for President Barack Obama on his re-election campaign. She also served as Campaign Manager on Congressman Seth Moulton’s 2020 presidential bid and subsequently ran his political organization, Serve America, which helps military, intelligence community and diplomatic corps veterans run for public office.
Ms. Harf received her Master’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. She graduated with honors from Indiana University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with concentrations in Jewish Studies and Russian and Eastern European Studies, and currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for IU’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
Ms. Harf is a proud native of Granville, Ohio.
PAUL ARTALE, PhD
Tuesday AM Keynote
Recharge, Refresh, and Re-Engage with The 2-Year-Old’s Guide to Work Life Balance
Dr. Paul Artale is an award-winning work-life balance speaker, researcher, and author who is committed to helping organizations create high performance cultures by promoting flexible, results oriented workplace practices that leverage employee strengths. Paul obtained his PhD in Higher Education Administration with a focus on Human Resources and Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University where his researched focused on the positive impact workplace flexibility and boundary management has on employee retention and engagement. These flexibility strategies are detailed in Paul’s first book The 2-Year Old’s Guide to Work-Life Balance.
He twice received the Wilson Award from Michigan State University for excellence in human resource research. Paul was also a featured contributor to the book “Beyond The Pride and The Privilege: The Stories of Doctoral Students and Work-Life Balance” and has also written on the topic of work-life balance for several publications and is currently writing his next book: Maximum Ability: How to Recruit and Retain Employees with Disabilities.
Wednesday Closing Keynote
Unlock Your Flow to Refresh, Recharge, and ReEngage
International Speaker and Violinist Diane Allen is a TEDx/TED Speaker, and Thought Leader who speaks on increasing the meaning, joy and fulfillment in one's work and life by accessing the flow state. Years before neuroscientists discovered the positive impact the flow state has on achieving peak performance, Diane had already experienced the power of flow in her own career as a violinist. It was her unique approach to getting into flow, on demand, that landed her a spot on the TEDxNaperville stage as well as features on TED, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Associated Press, Boston Herald, Authority Magazine, and Thrive Global. Today, Diane is known for her experiential Keynotes, Training and Coaching programs that go Beyond Engagement™ featuring her three-step Flow Strategy™ system which empowers people to get into their flow state, be in their genius, and love their job.