On May 16 and 17 we held the highly anticipated HR Summit, HRPA’s first in-person event of this scale since 2020. Designed specifically for HR professionals and business leaders, this event featured a lineup of sessions that left attendees inspired and empowered. As one attendee notes, “HR professionals are helping other people find their own success and define it step-by-step; I love that part!”

Over the course of two action-packed days, industry thought leaders shared cutting-edge workplace practices, emphasized the importance of psychological wellness, and explored strategies for propelling organizations into the future. Let’s delve into the key highlights from this transformative event.

Embracing Innovative and Transformative Practices

The HR Summit brought together leading workplace experts who shared real and effective solutions for addressing today’s priorities in talent and culture management. From labour market insights to skills gaps analysis and talent attraction and retention strategies, attendees gained valuable knowledge on various fronts to enhance their organizations’ workforce and create thriving cultures. Speakers also analyzed various DEI initiatives for their effectiveness and discussed the benefits of a gratitude-centric company culture.

The sessions of the HR Summit made for a truly enlightening experience as attendees engaged in discussions on embracing innovative practices, rewriting the HR playbook, and fostering leadership teams and organizations for optimal success. The focus was on propelling workplaces forward, leveraging transformative strategies, and staying ahead in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Jill Hewlett’s Insights on Brain Fitness

Jill Hewlett, a prominent figure in brain fitness and one of the keynote speakers at the HR Summit shed light on the importance of maximizing our neuro-powers to thrive in today’s world. She emphasized the prevalence of brain fatigue and shared strategies to combat it. Hewlett also encouraged participants to develop awareness, educate themselves about the science behind brain function, and implement immediate changes to positively impact the brain’s state. In addition to this, a captivating game of rock, paper, scissors showcased the power of changing brain states, fostering a sense of empowerment among the audience.

Dr. Rumeet Billan’s Keynote on Workplace Equity

To wrap up Day 1, Dr. Billan delivered a thought-provoking keynote on “The Tallest Poppy,” highlighting the challenges faced by women in the workplace. In this study, 86.8% of respondents said that they were penalized for their professional achievements. In light of this, Dr. Billan explored how women’s achievements are often undermined, leading to exclusion and feelings of being silenced. She also addressed the impact of micro-aggressions, gaslighting, and ageism in today’s workforce. Her proposed measures for mitigating these issues, including greater accountability, awareness and zero tolerance, left the audience inspired to champion workplace equity.

Jann Arden’s Journey of Resilience

To kick-start Day 2 of the HR Summit, renowned singer-songwriter Jann Arden shared her personal journey, emphasizing the importance of resilience and perseverance. Arden’s anecdotes illuminated the significance of adapting to changing circumstances and finding humour, even in challenging situations. Her story resonated with attendees, reminding them of the power of resilience and the ability to find silver linings during adversity. Her reflections reminded us all that “Good things come from bad things”.

Tackling Trauma, Championing Anti-Racist Initiatives and Supporting Psychological Wellness

Accompanying these highlights were numerous interactive sessions on the key debates and current issues in HR. For instance, addressing the need for mental health support in workplaces, Angie Elliott spoke about her transformative experience at CAMH, where she credited the workers for saving her life. In this deeply moving conversation, she emphasized the need for organizations to implement supportive measures when employees must leave, such as avoiding overwhelming them with calls and emails and providing an easing transition back to work.

Also underscoring the need to focus on the challenges employees face both inside and outside the workplace, Suzanne M. Charles Watson from the Women’s College Hospital shed light on the expanded role of HR today. She stressed the importance of building back differently and highlighted the systemic nature of oppression. She also emphasized the significance of prioritizing impact over intention and considering how actions affect equity-seeking groups. This important session also delved into the impact of micro-insults and micro-invalidations, calling for increased awareness and understanding.

Networking and Professional Growth

Along with exclusive access to high quality learning sessions, the HR Summit provided a unique networking opportunity for HR professionals and business leaders. Attendees gathered over lunch, during breaks and at the networking reception to connect with peers, exchange insights, and build meaningful relationships within the industry.

If you missed out on this opportunity, stay tuned for more information on how to purchase recordings of the HR Summit sessions, for on-demand viewing at your own time and convenience. For more information on upcoming HRPA events, visit our Conference page, which is regularly updated with registration details and agenda highlights about seasonal conferences, executive events and other learning opportunities to come.