CNY SHRM will be holding our annual June conference as a virtual series again this year. 
The CNY SHRM Board of Directors along with our Programming Committee have decided that it would be best to hold our 2021 Annual Conference virtually. In an effort to make it easier for our members to attend all of the sessions, the conference has been scheduled into a weekly series beginning June 10th
We are excited about the lineup of speakers and topics we have in store for you and hope you are able to join us for as many sessions as possible! New this year, we will be adding a separate event for professional networking and raffle prizes at the conclusion of the series.
View the conference series schedule below, more details will be announced soon.


PART 1 |  2021 Legislative Update (2 credits)
Thursday, June 10, 2021
8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

2020 was a blitz of legislative and regulatory developments, and the pace of change is continuing in 2021.  In this session, we will discuss recent employment law developments, including New York’s legalization of the recreational use of marijuana, as well as the ever-changing regulatory response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Additionally, we will discuss President Biden’s agenda in an attempt to look ahead to likely federal changes impacting workplaces and workforces. 

Speaker: Laura Harshbarger, BSK

Laura was named Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by Best Lawyers in America® for management-side employment law in the Syracuse area. She continues to be listed in Best Lawyers in America® and New York Super Lawyers®. 

Laura strives to be actively engaged with her clients, taking the time to understand each organization’s unique needs and goals, and providing tailored, practical advice.

Laura counsels employers engaged in a wide variety of industries, including higher education, public school education, manufacturing, service and financial sectors, not-for-profits, and health care. With a practice that includes all aspects of labor and employment law, Laura counsels employers with respect to day-to-day human resources management. 

In the case of higher education, Laura advises colleges and universities with respect to Title IX (policy development, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct investigations and hearings), as well as accommodating students with disabilities pursuant to Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She represents colleges and universities in Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigations and in federal and New York state court litigation.

Laura regularly defends organizations in New York State and federal courts, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York State Division of Human Rights. She also represents clients in arbitrations and mediations, negotiates collective bargaining agreements, and advises clients with respect to labor relations issues.

In addition to providing in-house legal training, Laura is a frequent lecturer. She has also authored and co-authored articles on a range of legal topics. Laura has been named to a national team of educational instructors for the National Center for Campus Public Safety's Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication Educational Program.

For five years, Laura served as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s appointee as Chair of the Fourth Department Judicial Screening Committee and a member of the Governor's State Judicial Screening Committee. These Committees evaluate the qualifications of judicial candidates and make recommendations to the Governor with respect to which candidates are highly qualified to hold judicial positions.  

PART 2 |  Inclusive Talent Attraction & Recruiting (1 credit)
Thursday, June 17, 2021
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
This presentation will focus on how to reimagine your sourcing pools and how to be prepared to engage in a more inclusive way.  This is just the first step in the process but will help to frame how companies continue to evolve in their inclusion strategy. Attendees will walk away with some ideas on how to widen sourcing pools locally, how to inclusively frame job descriptions and some methods on how to communicate these objects across the organization.

Speaker: Laiza Semidey, Syracuse Surge Workforce Manager at Centerstate CEO

Laiza Semidey is the Syracuse Surge Workforce Manager at Centerstate CEO. Laiza specializes in bringing different groups of employers, community-based organizations and education to the table. Laiza has been uniquely impacting Syracuse whether with a tech company herself or driving the surge initiative to help bridge the gap between employers and access to diverse talent.

PART 3 |  Mental Health, Let's Talk (1.5 credits)
Thursday, June 24, 2021
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Marla Byrnes, President of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Syracuse will lead a discussion on mental health awareness.  Mental health is an important part of our overall health and well-being.  It includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.  It affects various aspects of our daily lives from how we think, feel and act.  It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices throughout our lifetime.

 It is more important than ever to support our family, friends and employees’ mental health.  It is essential for a productive society and workforce. Over the past year, we have experienced numerous changes and disruptions in our lives caused not only by the pandemic but political and social unrest.  This has caused many people to struggle with mental health issues.

 Attendees of this presentation will learn: 

What a mental illness diagnosis is;
Signs and symptoms of mental illness;
How to recognize early warning signs;
Learn coping strategies; and
The resources available for help and referral.

Speaker: Marla Byrnes, President of NAMI Syracuse 

Marla Byrnes worked at Hutchings Psychiatric center for 30 years as an RN.  During her time at Hutchings, she worked in inpatient, forensic, admissions, crisis outreach and outpatient clinics. She finalized her career as the Director of Nursing. Marla has been a member of NAMI Syracuse since 1983 when she sought information about brain illnesses because of her family history of mental illness. NAMI Syracuse, an affiliate of NAMI-NYS and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), is a non-profit, self-help, support and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of all persons affected by mental illness through outreach, education and community collaboration.

Marla is the current president of NAMI Syracuse. She has personal experiences with depression and her son struggles with schizoaffective disorder. She is passionate that our communities speak about mental illness as a medical condition that bears no shame for the person or their family. 

PART 4 |  Cybersecurity in a Remote Work Environment (1.5 credits)
Thursday, July 8, 2021
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

Cybersecurity- How vulnerable is your business to Cyberthreats?

Users: the weakest link: training and monitoring/auditing
How will a typical Cyber policy respond to an incident
What is excluded from coverage
What if you outsource your IT services
Regulation/legislation/notification/policies as a result of a breach

Speakers: Reggie Dejean, Specialty Insurance Director, Lawley and Jessica Copeland, BSK


Reggie DeJean

Reggie has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, working for insurance carriers and brokers. He currently leads Lawley’s Specialty Insurance department, where he consults with clients on coverages to protect themselves as well as their business. He has expertise in errors & omissions insurance, professional liability insurance, medical malpractice insurance, directors & officers insurance (D&O insurance), employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, cyber/network security (including privacy) liability and pollution coverages. 

Jessica Copeland 

Jessica advises her clients in all aspects of business counsel and disputes, with a particular focus on data privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property. Jessica is Chair of the firm's cybersecurity and data privacy practice.

Jessica’s broad experience includes advising clients on data privacy compliance, including state, federal, and international cybersecurity and data privacy laws.  She defends clients in data breach class action litigations and routinely manages data incidents, breaches and advises on breach notification obligations.  Jessica also prepares incident response strategies, information governance plans, privacy policies, and reviews technology and software contracts for data privacy compliance and intellectual property protection.  She has particularized knowledge on compliance with the NY SHIELD Act, CCPA, and GDPR, and industry-focused compliance with the NY Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Regulations, HIPAA, and HITECH. Jessica obtained a Certificate in Cybersecurity Leadership from Carnegie Mellon in 2019.  

Particular to her IP litigation experience, Jessica’s practice includes protecting patents and trademarks in federal and appellate courts and before the International Trade Commission for clients in industries such as medical and mechanical devices, computer software, and hardware, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and e-commerce technologies. Jessica’s experience in appellate work includes an argument before the Federal Circuit.

Jessica is a veteran commercial litigator with extensive trial and appellate advocacy experience in both state and federal court. Before joining Bond, Jessica practiced in the New York City office of a prominent intellectual property law firm, Morgan & Finnegan, LLP, (acquired by Locke Lord), and she was a judicial intern for Judge Leonard D. Wexler in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Jessica is a certified mediator and a member of the Federal Court Mediation Panel for the Western District of the United States District Court.

PART 5 |  Leadership in a Pandemic (1 credit)
Thursday, July 15, 2021
10:00 a.m.. to 11:00 a.m.
This inspirational presentation will focus on how leading through a pandemic has changed us all. This session is a recap of what some important leadership lessons that came from COVID and how it takes a new kind of focus to keep moving forward.

Speaker: Meg Tidd, VIP Structures

Meg Tidd is an accomplished CEO. Meg oversees collaboration and communication across all departments and is responsible for driving all sister companies to achieve and surpass sales, profitability, and business goals and objectives. Meg is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School, where she obtained an MBA with a focus in Corporate Strategy and Marketing. She is a 2014 graduate of Leadership Greater Syracuse and In 2016 was recognized as a Central New York Business Journal 40 Under Forty honoree. Meg also serves on the Board of Trustees for The Gifford Foundation, and is an M&T Bank Central New York Directors Advisory Council Member.



PART 6 |  Mindset Matters (1 credit)
Thursday, July 22, 2021
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The software of your life constantly needs updates. The original code was written by early life experiences – many resourceful and some not. In order to lead effectively, now and in the future, we must become fully aware of our internal software or mindsets and make conscious updates to the software that no longer serves you. 

This presentation will teach you how to update your mindset software, including in the areas of Possibility, Growth, Curiosity and Responsibility. We will discuss your belief system – how it developed, whether it remains productive, and how to change it if it is not. 



Speaker: Ralph Simone, Emergent

Ralph Simone has spent over a quarter of a century helping individuals and organizations transform themselves, raise their consciousness, and perform at their fullest potential.

As a Black Belt in karate and an avid reader, Ralph understands the benefits of consistent practice and continuous learning as an integral part of leadership development.

He received his B.B.A. from Siena College in 1979 with a major in accounting. He is a Certified Professional Coach, specializing in leadership and organizational effectiveness, and has amassed over 15,000 paid client coaching hours.  Additionally, he holds the following certifications.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People-Facilitator
Emotional and Social Competency Inventory
Leadership Agility
Leadership Development Framework
COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist
Leadership Circle Profile

An accomplished writer and sought-after speaker, Ralph is currently writing a book entitled “Transforming: A Leader’s guide to Integrated Intelligence.” He also published “Making It Stick” and The Daily Re-Tweet.” 

PART 7 |  Workplace Issues (1.5 credits)
Thursday, July 29, 2021
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The workplace is the intersection of people, culture, and business. When the three are aligned, people thrive, businesses grow, societies advance. SHRM and the HR profession operate at the nexus of this intersection, and the issues we face are also the ones shaping our society in the 21st century. The skills gap, immigration, the emergence of automation and AI, harassment, equity and inclusion—they all show up at work. We can leverage HR leadership to create a better world by creating better workplaces.

Speaker: Nicole Belyna 

Nicole Belyna, SHRM-SCP is a field services director at SHRM based in Alexandria, VA.  She possesses more than 15 years in human resources, specializing talent management and leadership.  She has worked extensively in the fashion/beauty retail, hospitality, and manufacturing industries.  Immediately prior to joining SHRM, Nicole was the talent strategy leader for a DC-area based manufacturer where she developed and executed the talent acquisition strategy, establishing the company’s reputation as a top workplace and employer of choice.  Additionally, Nicole is an experienced and dedicated volunteer leader, serving most recently as president for the District of Columbia Society for Human Resources (DC SHRM) and as a panelist of the talent acquisition Special Expertise Panel at SHRM.  Nicole has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Sage Colleges in Troy NY and is proud to be a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

PART 8 |  Virtual Networking & Raffle Event
Thursday, August 5th
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

These programs will be approved for Professional Development Credits (PDCs)
through SHRM for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.

CNY SHRM is currently seeking sponsors for this upcoming conference series. Please contact [email protected] for more information about available sponsorship opportunities.