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2016 Small & Medium Business Conference

Austin, TX - October 10-11, 2016

Attend the 2016 Small & Medium Business Conference to learn from Best Workplaces as they share their challenges and successes, inspiring you to leverage your most powerful asset - your people.


SHRM has pre-approved this conference for 5.5 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) toward SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM Certifications.

Great Place to Work(R) is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

701 E 11th St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 478-1111
Check back for regular updates to agenda!
Monday, October 10
Pre-Conference Day
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Early Registration

Concurrent Pre-Conference Sessions (Seats are limited; choose one)

8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
School of Cirrus Rock!
Immersion Experience, hosted by Cirrus Rock Cirrus
11:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Unplugged with Austin's Best, hosted by Square Root Square Root
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Kick-Off Party at Rattle Inn

Join us on the rooftop of the Rattle Inn for some local Austin BBQ, drinks, a live country band and best of all, great company to help kick-off the conference!

Please note: Transportation to and from the conference hotel will be provided. Cowboy boots optional - but highly encouraged!

Tuesday, October 11
Greatness Within Reach Conference
7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Morning Wellness Activity:

Awaken in Austin with mindful meditation and gentle yoga.

7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
7:45 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Welcome Remarks
9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m
Great Place To Work
Morning Keynote
Back to Basics: Unleashing the Greatness in your People

Laurie Minott, Partner, Great Place to Work®

For many small and medium-sized businesses, advancing to a great, high-performing culture means going back to basics. In other words, business success starts with the basics of how people—especially leaders—treat each other at work. Trust-based interactions and relationships are a crucial foundation that supports organizations as they grow, respond to adversity and navigate the speed of change.

In this session, Laurie Minott, Great Place to Work® Partner, will share strategies for returning to the basics in order to foster a great culture that can be applied and reinforced in any organization. Laurie will introduce "Giftwork®," Great Place to Work's method to elevate levels of trust among leaders and employees. She will explain how to approach everyday interactions as opportunities to build trust and fuel performance. Through real-life stories and best practices seen at great workplaces, she will show that when leaders at all levels in an organization engage in Giftwork® interactions, they create a culture that unleashes the greatness in their people and the performance of their organization.

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • How Great Place to Work's concept of Giftwork® can be a critical piece of your people strategy as your organization evolves.
  • How to apply Giftwork® to better live out the values of your own organization.
  • How to leverage your existing practices, programs and resources to build and maintain a great, high-performing workplace.
11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Morning Refresh
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Great Place To Work
AT & T Logo
Great Place To Work
Innovation Within Reach: Driving High-Trust Culture as the Key to Radical Collaboration

Ruth Yomtoubian, Director, AT&T Foundry™ (Innovation Center)
Tony Bond, Partner, EVP & Chief Innovation Officer, Great Place to Work®

Whether in business, non-profit, sports or entertainment, organizations across all industries are continuously asking the question “How can we become more innovative?” Leaders have quickly recognized that their organization’s competitive position largely depends on its capacity for innovation but are often at a loss of where to start. Creating and sustaining a high-trust workplace culture that fosters radical collaboration is imperative to an organization’s success. Because of this, small and medium sized businesses are uniquely positioned to scale innovation efforts throughout the organization. As an organization grows and evolves to keep up with the pace of change, innovation has an invaluable role in business and, as the social ecologist Peter Drucker asserted, “Innovation by nature is risky as is all economic activity. But defending what was done yesterday is far riskier than making tomorrow.”

Since opening their doors five years ago, the AT&T Foundry™ has built “tomorrows” by solving business challenges through partnerships with an external ecosystem and by exploring bleeding-edge technology (from the Internet of Things to software-defined networks) to ultimately power new customer experiences. In this session, Ruth Yomtoubian, Director of AT&T Foundry™ and Tony Bond, Chief Innovation Officer of Great Place to Work®, will share insights to help you develop a framework for innovation within your own organization. They will provide specifics on the key building blocks of an innovative culture, address and dispel widely-held assumptions organizations have around cultivating innovation and share tactical, real-world examples of innovation at work, including strategies on evaluating (and celebrating) success.

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • How to build and maintain a workplace climate that fosters innovation
  • How to best apply your best internal resources (aka your people) to drive innovation
  • How to leverage the power of an “innovation ecosystem”
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Facilitated Networking Lunch
1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Best Workplaces Panel

Moderator: Julian Lute, Consultant, Great Place to Work®

Join us for an in-depth discussion with people leaders of the 100 Best Small & Medium Workplaces List as they share their perspectives on what it takes to be a leader building a great culture. You’ll hear real examples and expert perspectives on current trends around recruiting for talent, challenges and strengths of being a small enterprise and above all, what it takes to build trust in the workplace to ensure business success.

Elise Pereira, Director, Global Employee Experience, Etsy
Etsy Logo

Michael Pongon, CEO, Point B, Inc.
Point B Logo

Brandon Phipps CEO of AcademicWorks
Academic Works Logo

Mai Ton, VP of HR, OneLogin
OneLogin Logo

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Breakout Session #1
Great Place To Work
Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Great Place to Work®
The Trust Mindset: Getting Your Head in the High-Trust Game

Ed Frauenheim, Director of Research & Content, Great Place to Work®

Great workplaces are not just about the perks and benefits, but more importantly about leaders who build trusting relationships throughout the organization. In order to lead a high-trust workplace, you need the right mindset around trust.

In this hands-on workshop, Ed Frauenheim, Director of Research & Content at Great Place to Work®, will explore the inner-workings of the Trust Mindset and give you the tools to develop the attitudes and beliefs needed for a high-trust workplace -- where people collaborate more effectively, innovate more boldly and navigate organizational changes more effectively.

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • How your Trust Mindset influences your ability to trust others and, as a result, build and maintain trust in your organization
  • Ways to improve your Trust Mindset, strengthen relationships at work and foster a high-trust, high-performing culture
  • How the right Trust Mindset benefits you both professionally and personally
2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Breakout Session #2
Great Place To Work
Etsy Crafternoon: “Making” as a Means for Connection

Elise Pereira, Director, Global Employee Experience, Etsy

Creating consistent moments of connection is one of the key ways to create an ongoing culture of trust -- one where employees assume best intentions of each other and the company, particularly important when managing growth and change, as well as fostering an environment of innovation. Etsy was founded in June 2005 in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York to fill a need for an online community where crafters, artists and makers could sell their handmade and vintage goods and craft supplies.

In the spirit of handmade, founder Rob Kalin and two friends designed the first site, wrote the code, assembled the servers and spliced the cables to get Etsy up and running. In 2008, Chad Dickerson joined Etsy as its first CTO, and created the company’s foundational engineering culture, treating “Code as Craft”. One of the ways Etsy regularly creates moments of connection is through “making”, a chance for employees to connect with each other and across the organization through creativity and vulnerability in a way that ties back to their community of creative entrepreneurs.

Join Elise Pereira, Etsy's Director of Global Employee Experience, to get creative through a collective “making” session, connect with your peers and to learn more about simple ways to create and nurture an intentional workplace culture within your own organization.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Breakout Session #3

Great Place to Work®
Certification Nation: An Essential Primer for Small and Medium Businesses Reaching for Greatness

Kim Peters, EVP, Certification Program, Great Place to Work®
Sarah Lewis-Kulin, VP & Senior Editor, Certification Program, Great Place to Work®

Better Business. Better World.
That’s the promise of joining the “Certification Nation,” the community of organizations that have certified their workplace as great and have benchmarked themselves against the best through Great Place to Work®. High-trust companies that are Great Place to Work®-Certified see improved business results, have greater insights into how to elevate their workplace culture and are building a better society by helping their people thrive on the job. Join Great Place to Work®'s EVP, Certification Program, Kim Peters and VP & Senior Editor, Certification Program, Sarah Lewis-Kulin, for a workshop that will give a soup-to-nuts overview of Great Place to Work® Certification. Kim will explain why all small and medium businesses should certify their workplace as great, describe the ins and outs of applying for certification, and show how companies can leverage their badge of certification to attract talent and grow their business.

Once you join the Certification Nation, you’ll be part of a movement of companies creating a Great Place to Work® For ALL.

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • The benefits of certifying - it's more than just recognition, it's an investment in your people
  • Easy step-by-step instructions on how to apply for Great Place to Work® Certification
  • Examples of how current Best Workplaces are using their survey data to set themselves apart
  • How Great Place to Work® and Fortune Magazine share your recognition achievements
3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Afternoon Refresh
4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Great Place To Work
Closing Keynote
4:30 pm - 4:40 pm
Closing Remarks
Tuesday, October 11
2016 Best Small & Medium Workplaces Awards Gala
Bullock Texas State History Museum
1800 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 936-8746
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Cocktail Reception
7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Awards Gala Dinner