2020 Sessions

April 27th – 29th at Loews Miami Beach Hotel

Choose from a collection of carefully crafted offerings, including plenaries, smaller breakout sessions, roundtables, and workshops.  Whether you are an HR or employment law practitioner, there is something here for everyone.

HR Sessions

Career Development for the HR Practitioner

HR1 Monday, April 27 10:30 – 11:30am
Moderated by Alan Momeyer

We all know the benefits of taking a proactive approach to managing one’s career. However, in light of the myriad of opportunities available to us, it can be difficult to determine which options may be most relevant for supporting our development objectives. It is also critical to understand how to maximize the usefulness of the development opportunities that we choose to pursue. In this session, the panelists will identify the primary considerations for career development and discuss some of the key factors that can either promote or mitigate your efforts. In addition, they will consider and discuss development options within and outside the HR function, as well as within and outside the hospitality industry.


Session takeaways

  • Fundamental requirements for fast-tracking/advancing your career
  • Factors that can derail your plans
  • Answers to your questions about early-, mid-, and late-career development opportunities


Exploiting the Web for High-Impact Recruitment

HR2 Monday, April 27 10:30 – 11:30am

Online recruitment is a key part of an HR professional’s arsenal for sourcing talent, yet it has become increasingly difficult to stand out and get noticed in this dense and highly competitive marketplace. In this session, you will learn how to exploit the benefits of online recruiting from Ron Mitchell, CEO of Hcareers.com, the platform that is home to the industry’s largest community of hospitality talent. In addition to the fundamental requirements for increasing your online visibility and developing eye-catching content, you will also learn how to track and monitor your web presence to ensure your online recruiting practices help secure the best talent in the industry.


Session takeaways

  • Appealing job ads and position descriptions
  • Differentiating within and between platforms/marketplaces
  • Tracking results and responding in real-time
Ron Mitchell
, CEO, Virgil Holdings

Workshop: Virtual Reality for a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

HR3 Monday, April 27 10:30 – 11:30am

In this experiential session, you will not only learn how Virtual Reality (VR) can be used for empathy and perspective taking but you’ll get to experience it firsthand. Praxis Labs, a social impact driven venture that advances diversity and inclusion outcomes through Virtual Reality based unconscious bias training, will share how they are partnering with Fortune 100 companies to upskill the workforce of the future on working across difference to create workplaces where everyone belongs. You’ll have the chance to learn about the research supporting their work and how they are bringing their research-backed solution to global companies. Then, you’ll get to experience a full learning module and gain insights into how other companies are leveraging the training and the impact on their work, and lastly better understand how your organization could implement VR trainings for soft skill leadership development.

Session takeaways

  • Experience a VR based unconscious bias training
  • Identify how the insights and data from this tech-enabled training could make your workplace more inclusive
  • Learn how these experiential learning experiences could be implemented at your organization
Elise Smith
, CEO, Praxis Labs

Roundtable: Collaborative Recruitment

HR4 Monday, April 27 2:30 – 3:30pm
Moderated by Dedra Thompson

When it comes to recruitment and the ongoing war for talent, many companies utilize a “competitive” approach in their efforts to differentiate employment opportunities and attract candidates. As a complement these efforts, some hospitality companies have adopted a more “collaborative” model of recruitment that involves cultivating relationships among a wide array of stakeholders. In this interactive and limited-seating session, you will have the opportunity to discuss a number of ways to extend your recruitment efforts on the local, regional, and national levels, and learn how to amend your current practices to address a wide-array of recruitment challenges, from filling line-level, seasonal jobs to finding individuals for senior and specialized roles.


Session takeaways

  • Extending your recruitment network
  • Customizing your sourcing strategy
  • Increase visibility and your employment brand


Alice Cheng
, Founder & CEO, Culinary Agents

Navigating Accessibility and the ADA

HR5 Monday, April 27 2:30 – 3:30pm
Moderated by Peter Slatin

Hospitality HR departments face several complex challenges raised by the increasing presence of people with disabilities. On the employee side, the perceived lack of accessibility to finding open positions is a real cause for concern as advocacy groups seek to bolster hiring of people with disabilities, a severely and chronically underemployed population. Even following a successful offer, the challenges extend to making appropriate workplace accommodations, from providing adaptive technology and reconfiguring workspaces to addressing prevailing attitudes. On the guest side, HR departments are responsible for ensuring that all front-facing associates are fully equipped to interact smoothly and professionally with all guests, including those with disabilities, and that the property is able to offer equivalent service to this group. In this session, the high-experienced moderator and panelists will identify the primary environmental, technological and social barriers faced by prospective employees and guests, and discuss a number of prescriptive and easy-to-implement action steps that can be taken to ensure the workplace is welcoming and truly inclusive of employees and guests with disabilities.


Session takeaways

  • Understanding of the nature and scope of challenges for employees and guests with disabilities, and the resources available to address the focal needs
  • Effective management and operational strategies for welcoming employees and guests with disabilities
Paul Wagner
, Shareholder, CFO, Stokes Wagner

Workshop: Virtual Reality for a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

HR6 Monday, April 27 2:30 – 3:30pm

In this experiential session, you will not only learn how Virtual Reality (VR) can be used for empathy and perspective taking, but you’ll get to experience it firsthand. Praxis Labs, a social impact driven venture that advances diversity and inclusion outcomes through Virtual Reality-based unconscious bias training, will share how they are partnering with Fortune 100 companies to upskill the workforce of the future on working across difference to create workplaces where everyone belongs. You’ll have the chance to learn about the research supporting their work and how they are bringing their research-backed solution to global companies. Then, you’ll get to experience a full learning module and gain insights into how other companies are leveraging the training and the impact on their work, and lastly, better understand how your organization could implement VR training for soft skill leadership development.

Session takeaways

  • Experience a VR-based unconscious bias training
  • Identify how the insights and data from this tech-enabled training could make your workplace more inclusive
  • Learn how these experiential learning experiences could be implemented at your organization
Elise Smith
, CEO, Praxis Labs

Art and Science of Workforce Planning

HR7 Tuesday, April 28 11:00 – 12:00pm
Moderated by Robert Mellwig

In this moderated discussion, you will learn from a number of seasoned HR professionals about the art and science of workforce planning. Given the dynamic and complex realities associated with our industry, winging it is simply not an option. Moreover, labor pool demographics continue to shift, and we must be responsive to a workforce that is looking much different than in the past – in skill sets, motivations, and the general conception of what work and a career should be. How can we ensure that we have enough of the right kinds of people that are necessary to support our objectives? How can we balance longer-term workforce planning with the all-too-familiar immediate challenges – from no-call/no-shows, to building a bench for the future? This session will demonstrate how information on current trends inform HR strategies and planning priorities. A wide array of planning practices and processes will be discussed, including methods for assessing impact, so come prepared to get your hands dirty.

Session takeaways

  • Identify and articulate HR priorities
  • Leverage data and systems requirements
  • Partner across the organization to support the process

Designing an Impactful and Defensible Selection Process

HR8 Tuesday, April 28 11:00 – 12:00pm
Moderated by Jim Houran

This session will focus on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of designing a selection system that not only demonstrates real utility in hiring decisions, but also meets the requirements of job-relatedness, validity, reliability, fairness and, is free from adverse impact. Structured interviews, work simulations, assessment centers, online assessments – all are fair game for discussion. You will hear how hiring decisions are made for a number of key positions across several industry segments. In addition, strategies for selecting more senior vs. entry-level, as well the emerging uses of commercially available assessment. And of course, legal considerations will be integrated throughout the discussion.

Session takeaways

  • Employ certain selection techniques
  • Ensure job-relatedness
  • Understand test validation approaches


New opportunities for L&D

HR9 Tuesday, April 28 11:00 – 12:00pm

The days of herding employees into a traditional classroom for an instructor-led workshop appear to be on their way out. So, what are organizations doing instead?  This session will examine how more of an idiographic just-in-time, bite-sized, micro-learning approach has moved beyond fad status. Making content directly available to employees when they need it has become the mantra of the day. To do this, learning and development professionals are leveraging commercially available, public domain, and home-grown learning assets to develop a new generation of self-directed and self-generated learning options that include modular, cohort-based, and virtual/blended learning journeys. From the collation of data to articulate learning needs and develop learning objectives, to decisions regarding learning asset inclusion, sequencing/level of prescription, delivery mediums, use of gamification, and the optimal use of internal and/or external subject matter experts, there is certainly much to consider. Our panel will discuss their current L&D plans and efforts and plans and provide insights about future developments and key challenges.

Session takeaways

  • Align enterprise objectives, human capital strategy, and learning and development programming
  • Leverage self-directed learning
  • Understand the benefits of multiple, varied learning assets


Hospitality Payroll and Labor Productivity Trends

HR10 Tuesday, April 28 3:00 – 4:00pm

One of the critical requirements for effectively managing the largest component of your total operating expense – labor costs – is a keen and comprehensive understanding of market rates. But of course, the devil is in the details and in order to make informed decisions about rates of pay, benefit plans, and related resource allocation decisions, it’s critical to obtain specifics about how the cost components vary and trend over time. In this session, you’ll get access to longitudinal P&L data that shows detailed trends regarding hotel payroll, labor costs, and productivity. You will also learn about ways to integrate cost-related data within and throughout your firm’s HRIS/workforce management systems to enhance strategic and operational decision-making.

The Future of Work

HR11 Tuesday, April 28 3:00 – 4:30pm
Moderated by Michael Warech

Join us for what promises to be an enlightening moderated panel discussion on the implications of the Future of Work on the hospitality industry.  As more FoW technology and approaches enter the workplace, in concert with a seismic shift in labor pool demographics, and how that labor views work, we find ourselves in the midst of a sea change.  No longer something simply interesting or academic to read about, it has arrived. From robotics, to widescale use of AI, machine learning and big data, to hybrid man-machine jobs, and the spread and embrace of the gig economy, substantive changes are afoot. What does this mean for our industry? Are we being smart about where and how best to incorporate FoW? What about the impact on our people? Do jobs need to be redesigned? Is upskilling existing talent a viable strategy? Do we need to rethink our branding, attraction and recruitment strategies, given the apparent new world order? We may not get to it all, but this session will certainly give you pause and much to think about.

Session Takeaways

  • Understand FoW technologies
  • Define the current and future labor market
  • Impact on recruitment, selection, and management

Bonus Session Sponsored by Beekeeper: HR’s Role in Driving Operational Success

HRA Monday, April 27 7:45 – 8:30am

“70% of all change initiatives fail because change agents overlook the role front-line managers play in the success of the initiative.” (Gallup) HR has a critical role in supporting successful operations, particularly today, when all stakeholders (guests, owners, employees) become more and more demanding and the industry is battling sky high turnover rate. This session looks at how different organizations are not only trying to engage and retain their front-line employees, but also equip them to successfully implement operational initiatives that give their organization a competitive edge.

Session takeaways

  • Ensure your employees feel informed, connected, proud, and also heard and recognized
  • Increase employee collaboration and performance, and spend less time in meetings and more on wow-ing your guests
  • The workplace app benefits everyone, from your boss to your front-line employee

Law Sessions

Innovative Approaches to the Ever-Expanding Federal, State, and Local Employment Laws and Regulations

LAW1 Monday, April 27 10:30 – 11:30am

In the last decade there have been numerous state and local laws targeted at the hospitality industry.  From minimum wages for tipped employees, predictive scheduling, to limits on rooms/square footage for housekeepers….  In this new environment, multi-state or even multi-city employers find it impossible to comply with the numerous laws and regulations enacted.  For years, lawyers and HR professionals have acknowledged the compliance nightmare, but is there a solution?  In this session, we, technology professionals, and representatives from a new law firm/consulting firm partnership discuss innovative ways to address this world.

Session takeaways

  • Leverage technology to enhance employee productivity
  • Understand how technology could expose your company to liability
  • Learn how consulting firms and law firms can work together to create a more holistic approach to compliance and proactive employment policies and procedures

Me Too: The Continuing Development of Sexual Harassment Law, Training and Prevention

LAW2 Monday, April 27 10:30 – 11:30am

It has been two and a half years since the Weinstein scandal turned sexual harassment from another protected class to a movement that is pervasive in hospitality and all industries.  In this section, top discrimination lawyers from both the employer and employee sides will discuss the latest trends in cases, the type of training that employers use, the changes in the law, and anything else that affects Me Too.

Session takeaways

  • Discuss the changes in the definition of sexual harassment law
  • Examine the latest in training and other prevention methods
  • Leverage ‘best practices’ for investigations

The Changing Landscape of the Employment Relationship

LAW3 Monday, April 27 10:30 – 11:30am

Who is your employee, who is the employee?  Is anyone a contractor?  Is everyone a joint employer? Has this area of the law stabilized? Can employers define their employment relationship? In this session, seasoned employment lawyers provide a state of the law for employment relationships and provide guidance on how to structure relationships in accordance with the desires of the business and to comply with the law.

Session takeaways

  • Review changes to the law regarding independent contractors
  • Explore potential legal issues associated with the gig economy
  • Ensure that you are positioned to avoid joint-employer liability

The Current State of Labor Relations in the Hospitality Industry

LAW4 Monday, April 27 2:30 – 3:45pm
Moderated by Rick Hurd

For more than a decade the hotel industry has been the Holy Grail of organized labor. Now, organized labor has made inroads into food service, as well.  In this session, featuring a former NLRB member, the head of labor relations for a major hotel brand, and the lawyer for NYC’s employer association present a discussion that includes: (1) where the Trump Board has taken the NLRA and where it might be going, (2) the current status of union contracts in the hotel industry; (3) the use of corporate campaigns in the hospitality industry; and (4) other developments in the world of traditional labor.

Session takeaways

  • Hear an up-to-the-minute NLRA update
  • Review current hotel industry bargaining status
  • Explore options for responding to corporate campaigns

Labor and Employment Law in the 21st Century: What’s Next?

LAW5 Monday, April 27 2:30 – 3:30pm

For decades the law has trailed society and the 21st century workplace is prime example of this. Whether its non-competes, poaching polices, cell phones, GPS, state laws, privacy, social media polices, legalized marijuana today’s employers are faced with new issues on seemingly a daily basis. In this session we identify the latest issues and discuss how the industry and you should react and proact.

Session takeaways

  • Explore areas where the law is clearly behind society
  • Identify where and how legal gaps can be exploited
  • Implement advice on how to avoid liability

Roundtable: Sexual Harassment Training in 2020: What Works Best?

LAW6 Monday, April 27 2:30 – 3:30pm

Session takeaways

  • Examine the current state of legal affairs in the MeToo era
  • Hear about best practices to mitigate sexual harassment in your workplace
  • Create strategies for how to best introduce, utilize, and assess the utility of sexual harassment training in your organization

*Limited to the first 25 attendees

EEOC Update

LAW7 Tuesday, April 28 11:00 – 12:00pm

In the last 20 years, the EEOC has resolved approximately 2 million claims and labeled fewer than 400,000 of them as merit resolutions. This means that HR professionals and their lawyers have spent time and money defending 1.6 million claims that the EEOC found to have no merit. Clearly, employers need to figure out a way to avoid claims, not just defend. One cannot avoid claims, however, without being on top of the law and the EEOC’s priorities. In this session you will be provided updates on the law and the EEOC’s direction from leading experts.

Session takeaways

  • Review recent judicial changes in discrimination law and their effect on the hospitality industry
  • Explore EEOC policy and practice changes
  • Have a look into the future – cases on the Supreme Court docket for 2020

Immigration and Hospitality: Where are the Land Mines Employers?

LAW8 Tuesday, April 28 11:00 – 12:00pm
Moderated by Steve Rimmer

We all know that immigration policy is one of the United States’ hottest button issues.  Hospitality employers and unions know that the immigration uncertainty has huge effects on employees with respect to hiring, retaining, and morale.  Employers have huge obligations to comply with a confusingly drafted and enforced sets of laws.  In the session, experts discuss the most relevant immigration issues in context of the law, the media, and the fact that are more than 1 million hospitality jobs to be filled.

Session takeaways

  • Recognize the complexities associated with the immigration conundrum
  • Hear ideas for a thoughtful, measured approach to managing this challenge
  • Implement practical tactics for complying with the existing law

Roundtable: Wage & Hour Issues

Law9 Tuesday, April 28 11:00 – 12:00pm

Doing your internal Wage/Hour Audit and Responding to DOL/FSLA audits and preparing a defense.

Wage and Hour 2020 Including Leaves of Absences

Law10 Tuesday, April 28 3:00 – 4:00pm

Wage and Hour lawsuits continue to be the highest risk lawsuits in the employment sector.  Whether it is tip pools, service charges, missed classifications, pay equity, leaves of absences for pregnancy, disability, sick leave, and millennial trips for fun – employers continue to be faced with new and perplexing problems. In this session, wage and hour employment lawyers identify the current and “next big things” that employers must anticipate and provide advice on how to avoid lawsuits and liability.

Session takeaways

  • Hear about the latest developments on wage and hour law
  • Review the law surrounding leaves of absences
  • Examine proposed wage and hour theories to reduce your liability

What is the effect of Organized Labor’s Decline on the U.S. Economy?

LAW11 Tuesday, April 28 3:00 – 4:00pm
Moderated by Harry Katz

In this session, New York Times Columnist Steve Greenhouse presents his latest book that examines the decline of unionization and then contends that this decline has had a negative effect on the U.S. economy.  Commentators will push back on Greenhouse’s thesis for a lively session to make attendees think on a more macro level about the industry, unions, and the economy.

Workshop: Conducting Your Internal Discrimination Audit and Responding to the EEOC

LAW12 Tuesday, April 28 3:00 – 4:00pm

Session takeaways

  • Review the critical factors associated with a discrimination audit
  • Examine what the EEOC is typically looking for in these types of inquiries
  • Learn how to prepare a sound and winning response to an EEOC inquiry

Plenary Sessions

Engineering Excellence: Creating Partnerships that Empower, Satisfy, and Contribute

PLEN1 Monday, April 27 9:00 – 9:45am
Moderated by Bruce Tracey

In this conversational session, you will get to know and learn more about Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels & Co and Co-Chairman of the Board and a member of the Office of the President of Loews Corporation. Hearing about his incredible journey will help you forge strong partnerships and sustain a culture of excellence.

Tisch has led Loews expansion and emergence as a leading hotel company with a widely praised culture that embraces the power of partnerships – with team members, guests, communities and owners. He was voted “Hotelier of the World” by HOTELS magazine.

Recognized nationally as a leader of the multi-billion dollar travel and tourism industry, Tisch is Chairman Emeritus of the United States Travel Association, and previously served as Chairman of the Travel Business Roundtable as well as the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Committed to a vibrant tourism industry locally, for nearly six years Tisch served as Chairman of NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism agency, and was Chairman of New York Rising, established to bring back visitors and revive the economy after 9/11. Crain’s New York Business named him one of the “Top Ten Most Influential Business Leaders” and inducted him to their Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals who have transformed the City in both their professional work and in their civic and philanthropic activities.

Tisch is the author of three best-selling books: The Power of We: Succeeding through Partnerships; Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough: Reinventing the Customer Experience; and Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World. He was the host of the Emmy-nominated television series Beyond the Boardroom.

Tisch is a champion of corporate responsibility and active citizenship. More than 25 years ago, he initiated the Loews Hotels Good Neighbor Policy, a recipient of the US President’s Service Award. He is vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of his alma mater Tufts University, and is also the naming benefactor of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts. In 2017 he was honored by New York University’s School of Professional Studies with the naming of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, of which he has been a driving force for years. He is a founding board member and vice chairman of The Shed, New York’s new arts center designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture.

Session takeaway

  • Gain competitive insights for leveraging the power of partnerships from one of the most successful and people-focused CEOs in the industry
Jonathan M. Tisch
, Chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels & Co

50 Legal Tips in 50 Minutes

PLEN2 Monday, April 27 1:00 – 2:00pm
Moderated by Harry Katz

Join us as leading hospitality attorneys take turns presenting concise, practical tips for HR professionals on critical employment and labor law issues, including class actions, wage and hour compliance, gender bias and harassment, social media, wrongful termination, joint-employer, and more.  Learn what you need to know to stay on top of the broad and ever-changing legal landscape – all in one fast-paced, high-energy session.


Session takeaways

  • Learn about the hottest labor and employment law issues
  • Gather practical tips and strategies to address vexing legal issues
  • Identify nascent issues that may be just over the horizon

HR Challenges, Insights, and Solutions

PLEN3 Tuesday, April 28 9:00 – 10:00am
Moderated by Bruce Tracey

In this fast-paced session, you will learn how our esteemed panel of industry professionals address a wide array HR challenges. Holly, Mark, Greg, and Heather will discuss their approaches to strategic and operational issues that originate from within their respective organizations, as well as those that are borne of exogenous sources. Our experts will reveal “best practice” ideas and offer key insights about the most effective and sustainable policies and practices for staffing, performance management, leadership development, employee engagement, retention, functional metrics, employment branding, culture, total rewards, and much more. Be sure to come armed with some questions to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Session takeaways

  • Recognize current HR challenges posed by both internal and external forces
  • Discover overall approaches for devising solid human capital strategy
  • Design and implement a robust human capital programming agenda



Perspectives from Beyond: HR Outside of Hospitality  

PLEN4 Tuesday, April 28 1:30 – 2:30pm
Moderated by Bruce Tracey

HR’s role and relevance can vary tremendously from one company to another. What works for one organization may not work for others due to differences in scale, demand drivers, geographic location, evolutionary trajectory, industry sector, and other factors.  Many of the most innovative and effective HR strategies, solutions and programming are adaptations that have been implemented in settings outside the typical hospitality context. Come listen to four senior, seasoned, HR professionals share their insights regarding the most effective ways to identify, lift, adapt and employ strategies, policies, practices, and programming that have brought success to their organizations — outside the traditional hospitality segment.


Session takeaways

  • Identify strategies, policies, practices and programming that, with a “twist,” have universal relevance
  • Develop techniques for improving benchmarking and adaptation strategies
  • Improve your understanding of the requirements for supporting and sustaining an adaptive and flexible HR system

Retirement: A Lot Harder Than You Think

PLEN5 Tuesday, April 28 4:30 – 5:30pm
Moderated by Bruce Tracey

Fireside chat with Alan Momeyer and Debbie Brown: Planning for retirement

Alan Momeyer
, Chief Human Resource Officer Emeritus, Loews Corporation

Labor and Employment Policy in the Next Presidential Administration

PLEN6 Wednesday, April 29 9:00 – 10:00am
Moderated by Jan Katz

Whether or not President Trump is re-elected or the Congress switches to complete Democratic control, the country will continue to face a number of critical labor and employment policy issues. How will the election likely affect policies and the administration of those policies?  Will the NLRB once again become a driver of labor law reform? Will the Department of Labor continue to push the joint-employer doctrine? And, how might immigration policy and law change? You’ll get the answers to these and other questions during this lively panel discussion.


Session takeaways

  • Understand the impact that labor and employment policies and their administration by the DOL and NLRB have on your organization
  • Predict Presidential, Congressional, DOL and NLRB plans moving forward
  • Identify adjustments you can make to policies and procedures due to likely initiatives

HR Executive Summit

PLEN7 Wednesday, April 29 10:30 – 11:30am
Moderated by Dave Sherwyn, Bruce Tracey

This session offers a unique opportunity to listen in and learn from the strategic and function-specific discussions held in board rooms with owners and senior executives in the hospitality industry. Our panel of highly experienced hospitality executives and legal experts will discuss, debate, agree and, agree to disagree, on several vexing HR topics that hospitality companies deal with each day. This simulated executive meeting will probe a number of significant challenges facing the industry, currently, as well as complex issues looming on the horizon. You will leave the session with alternative perspectives, as well as prescriptive insights for both long-range planning and tactical decision making.


Stay Tuned for New Dates

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