SHRM PA Webcast: Work, Racism and Uncomfortable Conversations: How HR Can Foster a Culture of Inclusion and Allyship


View live: August 5, 2020, Noon ET (available for on-demand viewing through August 2021)

Program length: 90 minutes

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As businesses reopen and employees return to conventional work settings, there is something considerably different happening at offices across the country. Beyond social distancing and wearing protective face coverings, a cultural shift is afoot. Employees have spent the last two months witnessing the most substantial racial and social unrest since the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others have sparked a national outcry for comprehensive transformation. This outcry is not only focused on our political and social systems, but it also focuses on the companies where employees work and the companies that market their products and services. Individuals are looking for their employers to denounce racism and take a public stand against injustice.  More than ever before, employees are exploring ways to engage in uncomfortable conversations as a way to shift their organizational cultures and create a more equitable environment for one another.

Join us for a 90-minute SHRM webinar co-hosted with the PA SHRM State Council as a distinguished panel of experts talk about the importance of diversity, equity, equality and inclusion for improved business performance, organizational engagement, employee well-being and overall employee retention. The panel will share practical tips and tools for helping HR professionals foster a culture of inclusion and allyship.

In this program, you will:

Explore current insights about employee well-being and the impact of heightened social unrest;
Learn about ways to help employees engage in open, honest, and impactful conversations about race and diversity;
Gain clarity about some organizational norms that reinforce racism and discrimination along with concrete tools organizations can use to dismantle them;
Identify what HR professionals can do to further support a cultural shift toward allyship; and
Hear how some organizations are taking the lead on creating inclusive and productive workplaces.

Meet Our Panelists: 
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Sheryl L. Axelrod, President and CEO of The Axelrod Firm, P.C., works in the Firm’s Philadelphia office and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Prior to founding The Axelrod Firm, a certified woman-owned law firm with offices in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, Ms. Axelrod worked at Blank Rome LLP, one of the largest law firms in the country. She provides strategic, results-driven advice and representation to companies concerning their general and products liability (including in the aviation industry), commercial, employment (including AIR21), and appellate litigation matters in Pennsylvania and New Jersey state and federal courts. In recognition of her litigation skills, she is among the less than 130 attorneys, and under 20 women, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to have been appointed a Judge Pro Tempore (JPT) / Settlement Master by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Court in which role she helps parties resolve business disputes. In addition to being available to advise and represent clients in litigation, she is available to serve as a settlement master, mediator, arbitrator, and receiver.

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Dr. Brandi Baldwin is a psychology and business professor turned entrepreneur who is a thought leader and author tackling the world's most relevant business challenges: diversity and inclusion, motivating millennials to level-up their leadership, and advocating for equity in all levels of business. She is an alumnus of Temple University, having received an undergraduate degree in Psychology, a Master's in Organizational Development, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Dr. Brandi has held teaching positions at institutions such as Temple University, Lancaster Bible College, and Johns Hopkins.

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Heather Hersh has over 20 years of experience as a licensed clinical psychologist, Ivy League professor, and well-being consultant who brings warmth, compassion, and wisdom to help people move forward in their lives.  Heather supports organizations by doing “deep dives” into an organization’s emotional health and well-being. She is also an engaging and innovative presenter. After her workshops, participants leave with skills and tools to help them thrive. Heather can be found at

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Dr. Charity Hughes (panel moderator) is an executive coach, HR consultant, and speaker who works with organizations and leaders on their quest to improve their leadership capability. Her personal leadership path of self-discovery to be more effective has been the driving force behind how she helps audiences understand and embrace emotional intelligence. She has received numerous awards and accolades including being recognized as one of the 2015 Most Powerful & Influential Woman by the Pennsylvania Diversity Council and being nominated for the Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year in 2012 and 2020. She is a force who continues to advance the profession and shed light on the impact of professional development.

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Jameel Rush, PHR, SHRM-CP, is the AVP of Diversity, Inclusion, and Early Talent Development at Aramark. In this role Jameel serves as the Chief Diversity Officer, leading all inclusion and diversity initiatives for Aramark’s 270,000+ associates and leads their campus hire programs. Jameel has over 12 years of global talent management and human resources experience having previously held roles in leadership development, organizational effectiveness, organizational development, change management, and several HR business partner roles.

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This Event Eligible for Recertification CreditRecertification Credit

SHRM Certification has approved this webcast for 1.5 PDCs toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification. A program code will be provided at the end of the webcast. The program also meets recertification credit standards set by the HR Certification Institute and other HR certifying bodies, but candidates must manually enter their activity into their records.


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