Keynote Speakers

Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman is a dynamic international keynote speaker, drama researcher, New York Times best-selling author and trainer who has spent more than 20 years cultivating a revolutionary approach to leadership. Grounded in reality, Wakeman’s philosophy teaches people how to turn excuses into results and transform unhappy employees into accountable, successful members of the workforce. Through her prolific work with companies such as Bayer, New York Presbyterian, National Institutes of Health, Hallmark, Verizon Wireless, TD Ameritrade and Wells Fargo, Wakeman has helped eliminate tired, impersonal management techniques in favor of a reality-based revolution. An expert blogger on FastCompany.com, Forbes.com and The Huffington Post, Wakeman’s ideas have been featured on the TODAY Show, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Insider, The Daily Muse, Success.com, and SHRM.com. She’s written two books, Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, & Turn Excuses into Results (Jossey-Bass; 2010) and The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace: Know What Boosts Your Value, Kills Your Chances, & Will Make You Happier (Jossey-Bass; 2013). Wakeman is a highly sought-after conference headliner and holds a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker’s Association, placing her within the top 3%of speakers. She was also voted #15 on the Global Guru’s list of Top 30 Leadership Professionals for 2017. For more information, visit www.realitybasedleadership.com.

Vicki Hess, RN

As a keynote speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of four books; Vicki Hess inspires clients to take action by sharing high-impact, easy to implement ideas that transform the way people work. As a cancer survivor and victim of a surgical mistake, she brings the voice of the patient into her programs.

Vicki holds a BS in nursing from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in human resource development from Towson University. She was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Business for five years. Vicki is the author of four books about employee engagement. Her writing can be found in industry and association publications including Hospital & Health Network, Becker’s Hospital Review, NurseTogether.com, Nurse Leader, and American Nurse TodayRead more.


Dr. Arnold Mackles, MD, MBA, LHRM

Dr. Arnold Mackles practiced hospital-based neonatal medicine in Florida for more than 22 years after completing a pediatric residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, and a fellowship in neonatology at Cornell University Medical Center. In addition to receiving an MBA from Nova Southeastern University, he obtained his license as a healthcare risk manager through studies at the University of South Florida. Arnold was elected to the board of directors of the Florida Society for Healthcare Risk Management and Patient Safety for a two-year term from 2006 to 2008, and again for a one-year term from 2014 to 2015. He has served as an instructor with the University of Florida Distance Education Risk Management and Patient Safety Program, and also participated as a faculty member of the University of South Florida Risk Management Licensure Program. In addition, Arnold is the author of multiple online continuing education courses on patient safety topics for the Sullivan Group. He now works full time on risk management and patient safety issues.


Darelyn “DJ” Mitsch
Darelyn "DJ" Mitsch's personal mission is to rehumanize work with a specific focus in the healthcare industry. DJ is an award-winning game changer, pioneer of the coaching profession, and president of the Pyramid Resource Group, which partners with leaders and healthcare providers to ignite genius and unleash full potential in their organizations.

The sixth president of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a founding global board member, DJ helped drive ICF chapter development across borders. She founded the Healthcare Coaching Institute (HCI) in 2013 to advance coaching as a key leadership capability for life sciences. HCI is now partnering with Virginia Tech’s international outreach and healthcare innovation programs.

Combining her leadership experience in broadcasting and love of sports, DJ designed the first corporate team-coaching process around a strategic game plan. Team Advantage guides teams to transcend habitual ways of working and create new ways of working. Read more.




Flora-AlvesFlora Alves

Flora Alves has been working in the talent development field for more than 25 years. She founded SG, a training company focused on learning transfer, which has helped companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Rubbermaid, EMD Serono, Merck, and AMIL, among others, for the last 15 years. She invented the Trahentem Methodology for Learning Design Using Canvas, a learning solutions design tool that uses three Canvas models to facilitate the process of diagnosis, the selection of knowledge and content, and the design of solutions focused on how people learn and how they perform.

Flora is the author of the bestsellers Gamification: How to Create Engaging Learning Experiences, A Complete Guide From Theory to Practice and Learning Design Using Canvas: Trahentem. She is a professional speaker and has presented sessions and workshops at the Brazilian Conferences organized by ABTD, the Brazilian Association for Training and Development, and at the ATD International Conference & EXPO (2016 and 2017).

Jacque Burandt, MEd

Jacque Burandt partners with individuals and organizations to sharpen job performance, polish people skills, develop leaders at all levels, and win recognition and awards for their work.
A proven expert in creating an award-winning culture, Jacque led the team at University Health System (UHS) that won seven ATD BEST Awards and ATD’s first Innovation in Talent Development Award. Only three companies in the world have won more BEST awards than UHS; none of them is in healthcare and all are for-profit organizations. She and her team also won four Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Learning Elite Awards, including Editor’s Choice for Best Midsize Company in 2016, and five CLO Learning in Practice Awards. Read more.

Jill Christensen

With three decades of consulting, speaking, and in-the-trenches global Fortune 500 executive-level experience, Jill’s view is radically different. She shares with listeners that although HR “owns” culture change, they do not own culture change. Employees will not re-engage unless senior leaders and managers fundamentally change the way they lead the company and their teams.

Jill is founder and president of Jill Christensen International, and has served as the head of global internal communications at both Avaya and Western Union. She is a bestselling author and international keynote speaker, holds a Six Sigma Green Belt, and was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer for 2017. She works with the best and brightest leaders around the world to re-engage employees, improving productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Her clients include AT&T, Nokia, ARROW, Crocs, Novartis, TIAA, ACT, and numerous U.S. cities and nonprofit organizations. Read more.

Deanna Frings

Deanna Frings is a recognized expert in patient and family experience, leadership development, and educational design. She has extensive experience as a senior strategist for improving the patient experience. Through her role as vice president of learning and professional development with the Beryl Institute, she has helped shape the institute’s learning strategy and led the development of the Patient Experience Body of Knowledge courses, a comprehensive learning framework that provides a clear path to delivering superior patient experience performance.

With a passion for bringing together a variety of voices, experiences, and perspectives from the institute’s global community, Deanna has expanded the development of numerous educational events and learning offerings focused on patient experience solutions, proven practices, and idea generation. She has a widespread impact on improving the patient experience, leading the content selection for the annual Patient Experience conference, facilitating regional roundtables, and visiting healthcare organizations through the institute’s On the Road series. Deanna has also been instrumental in bringing physician leaders and champions together in forming the physician community of the Beryl Institute.

Prior to joining the institute, Deanna worked at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, beginning her career as a respiratory therapist and holding a variety of leadership roles focusing on patient experience, strategic planning, operations, organization development, learning strategy, and solution deployment. She holds a master of arts in education and instructional design.

Charlotte F. Hughes

Charlotte is a strategic talent and organizational effectiveness consultant at Ascension Health. Her responsibilities include organization development, talent management, change leadership, associate engagement and inclusion, performance management, and culture transformation. She has more than 15 years of experience in learning, leadership, and organization development across multiple industries in key talent development positions. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Morgan Stanley, Kimberly-Clark, Cox Media, Autotrader.com, Chase Bank, SunTrust Bank, Ameriprise Financial, CSX Logistics, and JCPenney. Charlotte is a catalyst and advocate, partnering with HR and business leaders to deliver data-driven solutions for measurable impact on businesses. She inspires leaders and organizations to continuously improve to reach their full potential. 

Charlotte earned a bachelor’s degree in human ecology from Cornell University and a master’s degree in human resources management from New York Institute of Technology. She is also certified by the Human Capital Institute as a Human Capital Strategist and Strategic HR Business Partner. She is a Certified Profession in Learning and Performance, and has achieved Continuous Improvement Blue Belt Certification.

Charlotte contributes her expertise through skills-based volunteerism by coaching and consulting on executive team effectiveness and performance management for nonprofit organizations.  

Greg Hunter

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter is the co-founder of ManageUP PRM, an operational management platform designed to humanize the workplace. He has worked with numerous organizations around the country for over 25 years. Greg studied graphic design at the University of Georgia and later attended Gwynedd Mercy University with a focus on radiation oncology.

Ben Locwin, PhD, MBA, MS, MBB

Dr. Ben Locwin is an international speaker and expert on healthcare topics, including improving patient care, optimizing data analysis for better evidence-based medicine, and improving organizational structures and systems to more repeatably deliver better patient experiences and business performance.

Ben has been featured by the CDC, the Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, Forbes, and other top-tier media outlets. He is a member of the Advisory Board for ATD's Healthcare Community of Practice, which is helping to improve healthcare practices worldwide. He also serves as an expert media contact for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, a steering committee member for the American Statistical Association, and various other board appointments. Find Ben on Twitter @BenLocwin.

Lee Massaro

Lee Massaro

Lee brings a passion for helping people bring their best selves to work every day. She is a Certified Master Coach and has worked with all levels of leadership to help individuals develop their influence and communication skills as well as improve their work-life balance. As a gifted theater professional, Lee brings a creative eye to her work with organizations to support real and authentic change through group and one-on-one leader coaching, presentation skill development, large group training, and e-learning modules. Her many clients range from TED speakers to healthcare executives to nonprofit organizations.

Cindy McCauleyCindy McCauley

With over 30 years of experience at CCL, Cindy has contributed to many aspects of CCL’s work: research, publication, product development, program evaluation, coaching, and management. Cindy co-developed two of CCL’s assessment tools, Benchmarks and the Job Challenge Profile, and co-edited three books for talent management professionals: The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development (Jossey-Bass, 2010), Experience-Driven Leader Development (Wiley, 2013), and Using Experience to Develop Leadership Talent, (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Her most recent publications include Change Now! Five Steps to Better Leadership (CCL, 2014), which guides leaders through a process of crafting and enacting development plans, and Direction, Alignment, and Commitment: Achieving Better Results through Leadership (CCL, 2016) which helps leaders diagnose leadership issues in groups. As a result of her research and applied work, Cindy is an advocate for using on-the-job experience as a central leader development strategy, for seeing leadership as a collective endeavor, and for integrating constructive-developmental theories of human growth into leader development practice.

Su Niedringhaus

Su Niedringhaus

Su is the co-founder of JSL Creative Learning, a boutique training company that specializes in creating dynamic and memorable learning experiences through multimedia, group experience, and individual coaching. As a communication specialist, facilitator, theater artist and writer, Su has spent more than two decades designing and delivering powerful educational experiences for such diverse organizations as Kaiser Foundation Healthplan, the University of Colorado Office of Research Development, Cherry Creek Public Schools, Colorado Permanente Medical Group, and CH2M Hill.

Theresa Scepanski, MA

Theresa Scepanski, MA, is the senior vice president, chief administrative officer of University Health System. In this role, she has spearheaded significant improvements and expansions in all her areas of responsibility: human resources, the Center for Learning Excellence, employee health, safety and wellness, environment of care, emergency preparedness, detention health care services, and the University Health System Foundation. Previously she was the interim chief executive officer for community first health plans, HMO, from April to December 2010.


Yon Sugiharto

Yon Sugiharto is constantly searching for innovative ways to make learning and professional development more accessible to healthcare workers and care providers who are juggling multiple organizational priorities while caring for patients. Yon fell in love with the healthcare industry as an EMR trainer more than 10 years ago. Since then, he has worked in various learning and development capacities at organizations such as BMO Financial Group, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Health Quest. Yon is currently the director of learning and development for Yale Medicine, the physician specialty practice of Yale University’s School of Medicine, where he is developing a core curriculum addressing accountability, engagement, change readiness, and operational awareness.

Yon holds a master’s degree in instructional technology and media from Teachers College, Columbia University. He also received Training magazine’s Top Young Trainer Award in 2009.

Ramon TisaireRamon Tisaire

Ramon Tisaire has demonstrated success in building and transforming organizations, turning concepts into sustainable and value-generating products and services, and inspiring breakthrough thinking that propels organizations forward. He has a comprehensive understanding of organizational ecosystems founded on 25 years of working in operations and professional advisory roles, and as a serial entrepreneur. He is a business pioneer in the digital health space with proven success launching companies and taking them from zero to revenue generating, while serving as executive, board member, and shareholder. These companies have included Psious, the leading virtual reality platform for mental health, and HealthEngine, a dynamic marketplace platform for healthcare services. Ramon is a multicultural leader who collaborates with executives across industries and continents, including the United States, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe; he speaks English, Spanish, French, and Catalan.