Our inaugural Conference was a huge success! Besides being well-attended, our first event served as a lunching pad for many successful conferences to come. We encouraged (and always do) feedback from everyone – from vendor, sponsor, speaker and attendee – and all of the comments were positive and lifting. We thank you for such a great kick off. Below are the highlights!


Registration/Continental Breakfast – Sponsored by ETF Global

Conference Host’s Welcome – VETS Indexes and Military Times

Opening Keynote Address
Putting Our Veteran Community to Work in the Digital Economy

Chris Cortez, Vice President of Military Affairs, Microsoft

Recruiting Top Veteran Talent

Just a few years ago, veteran unemployment was at crisis levels and companies didn’t have to work too hard to recruit employees with military backgrounds. Now, the latest generations of Vets are essentially at full employment levels and many of the country’s biggest companies are aggressively seeking veteran talent. In this new competitive environment, companies must work harder to recruit top veteran talent. This expert panel will discuss the best ways to optimize the results of this process including: creating vet-specific recruiting teams, attending vet job fairs and networking through existing veteran employees.

Moderator: Nicholas Antaki, Director of Marketing – VETS Indexes

Carol Eggert, SVP Military & Veteran Affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal
Chris Davison, Veteran Recruiting & Warrior Integration Program Manager, BAE Systems
James Perduto, Head of Global Talent Acquisition & Mobility, First Data
Tommy Jones, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Military & Diversity Recruiting – Verizon

Morning Break – Sponsored by First Data Corporation

Retaining New Vet Hires

Transitioning from one corporate enterprise to another is a very different experience than transitioning from the military to your first private-sector employer. Veterans, fresh out of the military, must acclimate to very different cultures, rules, organizational structures and more. If a company isn’t thoughtfully guiding their new veteran employees through this transition, attrition could cause a revolving door, losing Vet employees as quickly as a firm recruits them. Our experts will explore these challenges, as well as, some of the best solutions that companies have found to address them.

Moderator: Brian Rathjen, President, Roberts & Ryan

Scott Leishman, Assistant Director of Career Services, West Point Association of Graduates
Andrew Morton, Director, Social Engagement, Society for Human Resource Management
Keith Nattrass, Director, Military & Veteran Affairs, General Motors Defense LLC
Jim Beamesderfer, Vice President, Veterans Initiatives – Prudential Financial

Hard and Soft Skills: Understanding What Vets Bring to the Corporate Table

Do your recruiters know MOS codes? Do they recommend all Vets start in entry-level positions regardless of their military experience? Do they see Vets as leaders? Vets can bring a wealth of skills to companies, but in order to benefit, companies must first understand them. The military teaches service members hard skills, many of which are in high demand in corporate America: IT, logistics, engineering and many other technical specialties. Perhaps even more valuable are the soft skills that Vets learn: Leadership, responsibility, teamwork, accountability, service to others. We will discuss these hard skills and soft skills, as well as how companies can learn to better recognize and capitalize on them.

Moderator: George Altman, Editor, Military Times Rebootcamp

Jeffrey Jack, Veterans Employment Program Manager, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Mike Miller
, Chief, Private and Public Engagement, DoD, Transition to Veterans Program Office
Chris Crace, Military/Veterans Affairs Leader, Ernst & Young
Christopher McManus, Executive Director, Veteran and Spouses Hiring Program, Accenture

Luncheon & Networking Session – Sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal

Sponsors Exhibit Hall

Partner Recognition

Afternoon Session Keynote Address
Lorraine Wilson, Director of Investment Products, JUST Capital

2:35 – 3:25
Building a Strong Veteran Culture

It’s about more than a yellow ribbon and “Thank you for your service.” To build a culture that is welcoming to and supportive of veterans and the military community, companies must go beyond the superficial and symbolic. In this panel, we explore what it takes to build a company culture that truly makes Vets feel at home. Among the most important elements: employee resource groups, training on military issues for the larger employee population and people with military connections in your C-suite.

Moderator: Leo Shane III, Deputy Editor, Military Times

Michael Kelly, AVP, Military Affairs, USAA
Gerry Borja, Sr D&I Program Manager, Oracle HR Diversity and Inclusion, Oracle
Rosalinda Maury, Dir of Applied Research and Analytics, Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University
John Tien, Managing Director – Citi

3:25 – 3:45
Afternoon Break

3:50 – 4:40
Sharing Your Employees with the Military: National Guard and Reserves

Employees who are in the National Guard or Reserves face unique challenges, focusing on civilian jobs most of the time but regularly having to drop everything – sometimes at a moment’s notice – to follow military orders. If a company handles its Guard and Reservist employees the right way, they can look forward to prestigious awards from the federal government, recognition from peers and veterans service organizations and most importantly, happy employees. This panel will provide a guide to the rules, potential pitfalls and opportunities related to employees in the National Guard and Reserves.

Moderator: Karl Snyder, Chief Market Strategist, VETS Indexes

Bruce Townshend, Chief, Employer Engagement, DoD l ESGR
Latoya Roberts, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
John Tansill, Head of Veterans Program, FDM Group
Jamal Jessie, Senior Military Recruiting Consultant – Southern Company

Supporting Spouses and Military Families

Where would your career be right now if you had to move around the country every few years because of your spouse’s job? Military spouses must build their careers despite this huge obstacle and several others. Through their policies and practices, companies can help military spouses overcome these challenges. We will explore what actions companies can take to keep their military spouses even as they move around the country, to support spouses and families when their service members are deployed, and to bring more military spouses into their ranks.

Moderator: Christine Aquino, VP, Business Operations, Sightline Media Group/Military Times

Cheryl Endres, Advisor, Military Programs, LaQuinta by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Chip Hawkins, Diversity & Military Talent Program Lead – Manager, Talent Acquisition, Aetna
Liz O’Brien, Senior Director, Military Spouse Program, Hiring Our Heroes/U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
William Pishotta, National Military Recruiting Program Manager – Combined Insurance
Laura Schmiegel, Head of Military and Veteran Affairs – Booz Allen Hamilton

Closing Remarks – VETS Indexes

Networking Cocktail Reception

There will be a private reception for attendees immediately following the program.

** The Expert Series reserves the right to alter the agenda without notice including substitution or cancellation of speakers and topics.