Keynote Speakers

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President & Chief Executive Officer, SHRM
Brandon Stanton, photographer, writer & creator, Humans of New York (HONY)
Monday, October 22 8:30 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. EDT

This session will kick off with opening remarks from Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. followed by the below session led by Brandon Stanton.

Humans of New York
As the founder of the street portrait blog, Humans of New York (HONY), Brandon has emerged as a worldwide Internet phenomenon and one of today’s most influential storytellers. With millions of social media followers, Brandon will candidly share his own story, which like those on HONY, illustrates the power of the Internet, the value of storytelling, and our desire to remain connected with real people in a tech-driven world. His aim is to show the power of one person and one idea to inspire millions, and to encourage you to be a force for good and contribute something meaningful to the world.

Denise Young Smith, Cornell Tech Executive in Residence
Tuesday, October 23 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. EDT

Diversity Now: Advancing Diversity and Representation in a Digital and Social World

What has changed? What will never change? And what must we as HR practitioners leave behind in order to advance diversity and representation in the 21st century? Denise Young Smith will take on this topic, exploring how it’s no longer sufficient to make a business case for diversity and inclusion, nor to simply fold it into your recruiting and outreach strategies. As the former CHRO of the most influential retailer (Apple) and the industry’s most prominent inclusion and diversity chief, Denise speaks with two decades of practice as a woman of color in tech and as someone who has experienced diversity lessons in real time on the frontline of technology. Today she is executive-in-residence and visiting scholar at Cornell Tech, where she shares these lessons with the tech leaders and innovators of the future before sending them out into the world to launch their startups and careers.

Justin Constantine, Lieutenant Colonel, US Marine Corps (Retired) and Chief Business Development Officer, JobPath
Cherrie L. Davis, SHRM-SCP, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired) and President, ShiftForward
Justine Evirs, US Navy Veteran & US Navy Spouse, Regional Executive Director at Bunker Labs & Founder & CEO at The Paradigm Switch
Tuesday, October 23 3:45 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. EDT

Best Practices to Attract, Hire and Retain Veterans in Your Workplace

The panelists will discuss the value a veteran brings to the workforce and the best practices to attract, hire and retain veterans in the workplace. They will also share the work they have done in the veteran employment space – whether directly with service members during transition or veterans who are seeking employment, or with employers who are building or strengthening veteran employment programs.

Kayla McKeon, manager of grassroots advocacy, National Down Syndrome Society
Sara Hart Weir, president and CEO, National Down Syndrome Society
Wednesday, October 24 8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. EDT

Ready, Willing and ABLE to WORK – How You Can Tap Individuals with Down Syndrome in Your Workforce

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, believes that employment for all individuals with Down syndrome (and other disabilities) is a fundamental human right and that all work has dignity and purpose. With the unemployment rate at a rare low, the time is now for all businesses, from Main Street to Wall Street, to invest in hiring individuals with Down syndrome.

NDSS walks the walk, and talks the talk – 25% of its staff has Down syndrome; and through NDSS’ #DSWORKS® Employment Program, the organization partners with businesses of all shapes and sizes to place individuals with Down syndrome in competitive careers, provides resources and trainings to all employment stakeholders and develops meaningful and strategic partnerships with corporations that embrace and align with NDSS mission and values.

Speakers and fierce advocates Weir and McKeon, through their own personal stories and experience, will highlight how NDSS is leading the way on Capitol Hill and in state capitals across America, through its #LawSyndrome Campaign, to ensure individuals will have a seat at the table when it comes to ending archaic, outdated laws that hold individuals with Down syndrome back from pursuing their own career dreams and passions.

McKeon is the first registered lobbyist with Down syndrome; and Weir leads the world’s largest Down syndrome advocacy organization.