Keynote Speakers

2014 Keynote Speakers

Monday, March 17 12:00 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. EDT

Known for their independence in political ideology and willingness to move beyond the tired frame of right versus left, Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala will dissect the issues of the day, including an up-to-the-minute analysis of politics in America and the upcoming 2014 elections.

As co-host of Fox and Friends Weekend and the editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller news site, Tucker Carlson deconstructs the day's events with wry skepticism, a unique perspective and provocative interviews. Carlson has hosted a number of different nightly news programs on various networks over the past 10 years, including CNN's Crossfire, and several shows on MSNBC and PBS. One of the media's wittiest and most entertaining commentators, Carlson brings his informed viewpoint to discuss politics in America today including his take on the divided Congress, the Obama Administration’s second term and the future of the Republican Party. Author of Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites and a regular contributor to Esquire, Carlson's work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, Reader's Digest, Forbes and GQ. He was a finalist for a 2004 National Magazine Award for an Esquire article chronicling his trip to Africa with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Monday, March 17 12:00 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. EDT

In the past 50 years, only four Democrats have won the White House. Paul Begala helped two of them. A commentator for CNN and professor at Georgetown University, Begala has worked in Congress and the White House, and in corporate life and academia. As a commentator for CNN, Begala appears on a variety of CNN programs, and writes opinion columns for Having advised campaigns around the world, including Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, he quite literally brings a world of experience to the nation’s long-term political landscape. Using historical guideposts, Begala provides audiences insights into the what, why and how of pending legislation and today’s hot-button issues. Begala burst on the political scene with his partner James Carville as senior strategist for the Clinton-Gore campaign. He went on to serve President Clinton as counselor to the President, where he was one of his closest aides, helping to define and defend the Administration’s agenda. In 2012, he was a senior advisor to Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama Super PAC, which played a critical role in President Obama’s 2012 victory. Begala is the author of several New York Times best-selling books on politics, and has taught at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia, as well as his current teaching position at Georgetown University.

Tuesday, March 18 8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. EDT

Jeffrey Toobin will provide a behind-the-scenes view of the politics and personalities of the Supreme Court and its rocky relationship with the Obama administration. He'll give an insider's look at where the law has been and where it's going.

A high-profile senior analyst for CNN and staff writer for The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin is one of the country’s most esteemed experts on politics, media and the law. With unparalleled journalistic skill, Toobin has provided analysis on some of the most provocative and important events of our time. Toobin provides a unique look into the inner workings of The Supreme Court and its influence, as well as how upcoming elections will shape the court and, in turn, the nation. 

After a six-year tenure at ABC News, where he covered the country’s highest-profile cases and received a 2000 Emmy Award for his coverage of the Elian Gonzales custody saga, Toobin joined CNN as a legal analyst for CNN in 2002 where he now serves as senior analyst. Also a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1993, he has written articles on such subjects as the Bernie Madoff scandal, the case of Roman Polanski, and profiles of Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens and Chief Justice John Roberts. 

Toobin received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Tuesday, March 18 12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. EDT

In this high-stakes political year with ramifications for every business regardless of election outcome, the perspectives of a unique leader with exceptional experience in business, politics and policy is critical to future planning. Can government policies keep pace with technology and globalization? Is regulation striking the right balance to ensure economic growth.

Carly Fiorina is one of those rare individuals who has been Chairman and CEO of a Fortune 20 company, served on corporate boards, run for political office, and provided trusted policy advice to federal agencies including the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce. This career span and set of experiences bestows her with an unparalleled perspective on our nation’s most complex issues. With deep knowledge and brilliant insight, Carly discusses the role of the private sector in restoring confidence, the vital nature of small business, and how organizations can successfully capitalize on the opportunities of a dynamic global marketplace.

When Carly Fiorina took over the helm as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, the technology industry was in its deepest downturn in 25 years. With a mandate to transform this complacent firm, Fiorina, through her visionary leadership—inspiring others to see a different future—and the gutsy acquisition of Compaq Computer Corporation, doubled revenues, achieved the highest rate of innovation in company history and set the stage for Hewlett-Packard to become the world’s first $100B technology company. Drawing from these trailblazing experiences at Hewlett-Packard and her celebrated career at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, Fiorina shares with audiences her unparalleled wisdom on how leaders and organizations must adapt to change in a world of transition and stand up to conventional wisdom in order to shape the future and change the world. Called “The Most Powerful Woman in Business” by FORTUNE Magazine—and the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company—Fiorina’s best-selling memoir, Tough Choices, has been translated into 12 languages. She currently serves in a variety of corporate and government advisory roles. She is highly sought after for her business and political commentary by the national media including CNN, CNBC and FOX News, and publications such as Forbes, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Michael P
Monday, March 17 8:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. EDT

Resent bipartisan agreements on the budget and other issues may signal that the gridlock that has gripped Washington in recent years may be lessoning. This new environment may push HR issues, such as deficit reduction, tax reform, and immigration reform, to the forefront of activity as the 113th Congress and the Obama administration begin to focus on the 2014 mid-term elections. Additionally, the workplace regulatory agenda is expected to take center stage in 2014 as many labor-management, wage and hour, health care and civil rights initiatives are expected to be advanced by the federal agencies. This session will focus on upcoming HR legislative issues and provide a discussion of current federal regulatory activities.

Mike Aitken has worked at SHRM since 2003 and currently serves as the vice president of Government Affairs. Prior to joining SHRM, he served for 14 years as associate director for Governmental and External Relations at the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). Previously, Aitken worked on state public policy issues at Bonner & Associates, a public affairs firm in Washington, DC. Currently, he is based in Alexandria, Va.

Follow Mike on Twitter @SHRMVPAitken.

Tuesday, March 18 4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. EDT

Thomas Perez, sworn into office as the nation’s 26th Secretary of Labor in July 2013, oversees the department and its policies affecting our nation's workforce.  During this session, you will have an exceptional opportunity to hear directly from the nation’s top official on workplace policy as he highlights DOL’s priorities, including to ensure that workers have the skills they need to succeed, the agency’s enforcement focus, the need to raise the minimum wage and the administration’s emphasis on long-term unemployment.

Thomas E. Perez was nominated by President Obama to serve as the nation's 26th Secretary of Labor, and was sworn in on July 23, 2013.

Previously Perez served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws that prohibit discrimination and uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all who live in America. During his tenure of nearly four years, Perez oversaw the effort to restore and expand the division's achievements. Under his leadership as Assistant Attorney General, the division successfully implemented the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act; expanded equal housing opportunity by bringing and settling the largest fair-lending cases in history; protected schoolchildren from discrimination, bullying and harassment; dramatically expanded access to employment, housing and educational opportunities for people with disabilities; protected the right to vote for all eligible voters free from discrimination; took record-setting efforts to ensure that communities have effective and democratically accountable policing; and safeguarded the employment, housing, fair lending and voting rights of service members. He also expanded the division's partnerships across federal agencies to address cross-cutting challenges in human trafficking, employment discrimination and fair lending, among others.

He previously served as the Secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Maryland's DLLR protects consumers through the enforcement of a wide range of consumer rights laws, including the mortgage setting; enforces workplace safety laws that provide critical safeguards to workers and communities; enforces wage and hour and other worker protection laws that ensure wage security; and collaborates with businesses and workers to address critical workforce development needs and build a world-class workforce. Perez was a principal architect of a sweeping package of state lending and foreclosure reforms to address the foreclosure crisis in Maryland. He worked closely with business leaders, community colleges and nonprofits on a dramatic overhaul of Maryland's workforce development system to ensure that workers have the skills to succeed, and employers have the workforce to thrive in the 21st century economy. Perez co-chaired the Governor's Council for New Americans, which designed a comprehensive blueprint for ensuring that immigrants living and working in Maryland are a vital component of the state's economic engine.

Perez has spent his entire career in public service. From 2002 until 2006, he was a member of the Montgomery County Council. He was the first Latino ever elected to the Council, and served as Council president in 2005. Earlier in his career, he spent 12 years in federal public service, most as a career attorney with the Civil Rights Division. As a federal prosecutor for the division, he prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of some of the Justice Department's most high profile civil rights cases, including a hate crimes case in Texas involving a group of white supremacists who went on a deadly, racially-motivated crime spree.

He later served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno. Among other responsibilities, he chaired the interagency Worker Exploitation Task Force, which oversaw a variety of initiatives designed to protect vulnerable workers. He also served as special counsel to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and was Senator Kennedy's principal adviser on civil rights, criminal justice and constitutional issues. For the final two years of the Clinton administration, he served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Perez was a law professor for six years at the University of Maryland School of Law and was a part-time professor at the George Washington School of Public Health. He received a bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1983. In 1987 he received both a master's of public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Ann Marie Staudenmaier, an attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and their three children.