2nd Annual Workforce Conference: Building Tomorrow's Workforce Today 2.0, Richmond SHRM

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Date(s) - 05/08/2019
8:00 am

CCWA Workforce Center

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Join us for an interactive conversation connecting human resource professionals and workforce leaders.  In this half-day conference, local experts will guide discussions around: retention strategies, talent management using artificial intelligence (AI), soft skills, and recruiting from a diverse pool.


8:00 – 8:30 am Light Breakfast/Networking/Registration
8:30 – 9:00 am Keynote Speaker
Sara J. Dunnigan
Director, Labor Market Research and Strategic Partnerships
Virginia Community College System
9:00 – 9:15 am Break
9:15 – 10:00 am Session 1: Soft Skills / Hiring from a Diverse Pool
10:00 – 10:10 am Break
10:10 – 10:55 am Session 2: Talent Management Using Artificial Intelligence (AI)
10:55 – 11:05 am Break
11:05 – 11:50 am  Session 3: Retention Strategies
11:50 am -Noon  Wrap up / Closing

Keynote Speaker


Sara J. Dunnigan
Director, Labor Market Research and Strategic Partnerships
Virginia Community College System


Sara Dunnigan serves as the Director of Labor Market Research and Strategic Partnerships at the Virginia Community College System, a role she assumed in January 2019. She served as the Deputy Chief Workforce Development Advisor and the Executive Director of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development for Governor Ralph Northam and prior as the Chief Workforce Policy Advisor and Executive Director of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development for Governor Terry McAuliffe. Sara brings 20 years of experience in economic development, where she developed a deep appreciation for the role of workforce development in the competitiveness of firms and the economic prosperity of places and people. Her understanding of regional labor market dynamics was leveraged in her own consulting practice, where she worked to develop innovative workforce and economic development strategies for her clients.


Sara’s experience includes work for the Greater Richmond Partnership, a regional economic development organization, where she was responsible for launching an award-winning business retention and expansion program as well as a nationally recognized talent retention program. She has made professional contributions in workforce and economic development through her work with a regional chamber of commerce, a transportation improvement district, as well as a private utility company. Most recently, Sara participated as a faculty member with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, refining the Talent Pipeline Management curriculum to help community stakeholders engage employers in more meaningful discussions about workforce challenges and solutions. Sara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Wright State University.

Soft Skills / Hiring from a Diverse Pool


Elizabeth Creamer
Vice President of Workforce Development and Credential Attainment
Community College Workforce Alliance


Elizabeth Creamer is Vice President for Workforce Development and Credential Attainment, Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA). CCWA is a partnership of Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges. In her role, Creamer drives workforce training and credentialing programs that align with high demand occupations in Central Virginia that employers are challenged to fill. Creamer leads CCWA teams dedicated to industry sector strategies and occupational training for job seekers and incumbent workers.


Previously, Elizabeth served as the Senior Advisor for Workforce Development Governor Terence R. McAuliffe’s administration where she served as a liaison on workforce policy and programs to four Secretariats, eight state agencies, and 24 state and federal workforce programs.

Creamer’s other experience includes: Director of Education and Workforce Development for Governor Bob McDonnell’s Administration; Assistant Vice Chancellor of Career Pathways and Workforce Development Programs for the Virginia Community College System; and academic administration positions at Thomas Nelson and Paul D. Camp Community Colleges.


Sara J. Dunnigan
Director, Labor Market Research and Strategic Partnerships
Virginia Community College System


Talent Management Using Artificial Intelligence (AI)


Jim Alvilhiera
VWW Leader IBM Watson Talent
Cyber Workforce Development


Jim Alvilhiera is the WorldWide Leader for IBM Watson Talent, providing clients a depth of knowledge in human capital and total workforce management. His understanding of today’s HR challenges brings both education and solutions to industry and government. Additionally, Jim assists companies in building fully staffed and capable cybersecurity workforces by bringing together data, AI, skills building programs and innovative processes.

Jim’s past roles include client executive, business coach, Big 5 consultant, chief operating office of a public technology company, and is a retired military officer with over 25 years in the Army.



Link Parikh
Founder, CEO
Rocket Technology, Inc.

Mr. Parikh is a business and technology innovator and entrepreneur. Link started as an aerospace engineer for the Department of Defense in 1981, then went on to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center working on projects involving the Hubble Space Telescope, Shuttle, Space Station, and satellite systems. In 1993, he was a founding partner at Global Science and Technology (GST). It was at this point that GST leadership began creating innovative human resource management retention techniques that fit a more agile and hard-to-find workforce.

In 1995, Link formed an internet software company, Parikh Advanced Systems that developed the means to rapidly inject innovation into clients’ lines-of-business including new applications in human resources, community workforce integration platforms, and the first HR cloud systems for LMS and CRM.

Link founded Rocket Technology, Inc., in 2002 with the goal of being the IBM Business Partner leader in AI, Talent Management, and IOT.



Sean Hamilton
Executive Vice President of Technology
Rocket Technology, Inc.

As Rocket’s EVP of Technology, Sean is an expert in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, digital transformation, cybersecurity, and HRIS and workforce development systems.

Prior to joining Rocket, he founded a software engineering and cybersecurity company called Agile Precis, as first of its kind to create secure software development operations. Past experience includes: marketing manager, applications development director for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, where he led a large-scale enterprise program to provide a fully integrated healthcare safety net system for Texans, called TIERS; project manager for Deutsche Telekom’s first CRM system implemented across the company’s subsidiaries; and program executive for Daimler Chrysler’s IoT’s Division called StarMobility. Sean started his career as a US Army Combat Arms paramedic and served as a military intelligence officer.

Has a medical degree from Julius Maximilian University and Business degree from CityU.



Gary Kessler
Independent Consultant
Kessler Integrated Systems Solutions, LLC

Mr. Kessler is an Independent Consultant for his own company, Kessler Integrated Systems Solutions, LLC. In this capacity he performs a broad range of technical, management and organizational efforts in support of government and industry in the execution of Department of Defense activities in the areas of strategic planning, program management, workforce development, systems engineering and test and evaluation, primarily focused on Navy platforms and weapon systems.

Gary served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy’s Air Programs from October 2014 to January 2018. He was the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition on matters relating to aircraft, air-launched weapons, cruise missiles, airborne sensors and avionics. Prior, Gary was promoted to Senior Executive Service with over 35 years of Federal Service. He has several distinguished awards, including Secretary of Defense Superior Management Award.


Retention Strategies


Matthew Stevenson, Ph.D.
Partner and Co-Leader, Workforce Strategy and Analytics


Matt is a Partner and the co-leader of Mercer’s Workforce Strategy and Analytics practice in North America. He is based in Washington, DC and has worked at Mercer since 2000. His work involves using data science to help Mercer clients define their human capital strategy and fine tune the implementation and planning of that strategy in order to support business objectives. He is also a member of Mercer’s Healthcare Advisory group and Energy vertical.

Registration Rates

 Before May 1
After May 1
Non-member $50 $60
Member $30 $40
Student Non-member $25 $25
Student Member  $15  $15

Chapter Resources

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The Best Places to Work in Virginia is a survey and awards program dedicated to identifying and recognizing the areas best employers and providing organizations with value employee feedback.

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