8 Must-Hear Breakout Sessions at Talent Connect 2018

September 12, 2018

We're counting down the days to Talent Connect, our annual conference that brings together thousands of talent leaders and influencers. 

This year, the conference will take place October 9-11th in Anaheim, California and you can expect plenty of time to network with your peers, hear about new LinkedIn product updates, listen to inspiring keynotes, and even party at Disneyland's California Adventure theme park.

In addition, we've built out an incredible agenda of 45+ breakout sessions that you'll get to choose from. These will cover a range of topics, including the future of work, diversity and inclusion, learning and development, upskilling, talent branding, candidate experience, and more. There's something for everyone and you can see the full list of breakouts here. Below, we've highlighted eight sessions that we think you won't want to miss:

1. Starbucks’ Sara Bowen and Dija Fraser will talk about how the company has achieved gender pay equity

You may remember that in March, Starbucks announced being fully committed to achieving 100 percent gender pay equity for its U.S. and global partners.

Fast forward a few months, and that promise has become an historic reality for the company. But who helped make it happen? First, there’s Sara Bowen, Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility, who helped lead the cause. There’s also Dija Fraser, the Head of Global Talent Acquisition, who led the team working to uphold this commitment to equal pay, including through increased transparency and authenticity in the hiring process.

At Talent Connect, you’ll hear about how Starbucks reached pay equality among men and women and get the inside scoop on the specific tactics they used to achieve it.

2. John Vlastelica, Founder of Recruiting Toolbox, will talk about how to fix 4 of the biggest recruiting challenges companies face

John Vlastelica is no stranger to the Talent Connect stage, having been rated a top five speaker at the conference over the years. And, it’s no surprise that he has lots of useful knowledge to drop. After all, he knows his stuff as the founder and current managing director of Recruiting Toolbox, which helps companies of all sizes improve their recruiting capabilities.

This session, John is making it his mission to help fix some of the challenges that talent teams face daily, including misalignment and not knowing what makes a good candidate, a poor culture of recruiting where the hiring manager doesn’t feel empowered, not having a strong resource model, and talent funnel problems.

John will offer solutions to these problems and draw on his experience leading a team that’s worked with over 200 companies, including thousands of recruiters and hiring managers over the years.

3. IBM’s Robert Gibby and Jerrod Wheeler will teach you how to use science to hack the art of recruiting

If you’ve never thought of HR being a game of science, then the session hosted by IBM’s Robert Gibby, Chief Talent Scientist, and Jerrod Wheeler, Director of Strategic Sourcing & Talent Attraction, will be a real treat.

More specifically, you’ll learn about the new role of “talent scientist,” which Robert and Jerrod say is crucial to providing new talent acquisition solutions, and why you should have one at your organization. Plus, you’ll get to hear ways that artificial intelligence is transforming the recruiting experience, including real-life examples from Watson, IBM’s AI supercomputer.

During the session, you’ll hear about what IBM does to acquire talent and what you can implement at your own company.

4. Leslie Miley, Chief Technology Officer of the Obama Foundation, will discuss how to use data to hire more diverse talent

Leslie Miley was a hit at our LinkedIn Talent Experience event in New York City and is coming to Anaheim to share his advice on how data is key to boosting diversity and inclusion efforts at the office.

In his discussion, Miley will draw on his experience being one of only a few black workers throughout his career at tech companies like Slack, Twitter, Apple, and Google. He’ll also talk about why referrals aren’t an effective ways to bring in more diverse talent, why mentorship is crucial to give women opportunities to advance, why there needs to be data collected about performance evaluations to ensure there’s little bias, and more.

You’ll leave this session with concrete strategies to take back to your company and make it more welcoming to diverse employees.

5. Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten will help you learn about mental transformation and how to optimize your performance at work

Life at work can get hectic, especially for talent leaders juggling many different meetings and projects in order to screen candidates, work with hiring managers to fill empty positions, and find top talent. So, to bring some calm to your day and help you think differently, you can check out this talk by Gelong Thubten, a Buddhist monk and consultant for Fortune 500 companies.

In this breakout session, Gelong will teach you about mental transformation strategies as well as how to optimize your own performance, so you can be happier and more successful at the office.

6. Global Industry Analyst Josh Bersin will share tips on how you can upskill your workforce

Talent is the top issue that CEOs are facing today, according to Josh Bersin, an experienced industry analyst who studies all aspects of HR and business leadership. That means companies are facing a major problem attracting and retaining top talent.

In his research-backed breakout session, Josh will talk about a “new world of work” that’s being created due to increased automation, a shifting U.S. economy, and employees who are working more than ever before (and feeling burnt out as a result).

Josh also says there’s a “bold new war for skills” and will discuss how employers of all sizes can use micro-learning opportunities and platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning, to upskill and retain their workforces.

7.  Small business guru Ed Nathanson will help you build an employer brand without breaking the bank

One of the great things about Talent Connect is there’s something for talent leaders at companies of all sizes. Ed Nathanson, the founder of Red Pill Talent, will share his expertise to help smaller companies with little budgets achieve stronger employer brands.

During his session, Ed will walk you through a working outline of how to create a compelling employer brand that stands out among the content from big brands with huge budgets and resources. If you want to help your company outshine Fortune 500 brands—without spending huge amounts of money—then this talk is for you.

8. Jill Vialet, CEO and Founder of Playworks, will talk about the importance of play at work

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Turns out it also make employees unproductive and unhappy. And that’s precisely what Jill Vialet of Playworks, a non-profit that helps schools use play to promote learning and well-being, will discuss in her breakout session. She will speak to how play at work can help companies improve their workplace culture.

Jill has the experience to back it up, having led Playworks for 22 years and managing over 600 employees in her career. You should check out this talk if you want to learn about how to embed playful habits, skills, and behaviors at your company to build human connection, increase productivity, and improve employee retention.

As mentioned, these are just a few of the sessions we have planned – you can see all the sessions on our website. Register for Talent Connect today and we'll see you in Anaheim!