Los Angeles HR Star Conference
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Speaker Information


Paul Meshanko, MBA, CSP is an acclaimed author, international speaker, CEO and business leader with over 20 years of experience in leadership development and organizational culture change. After founding Legacy Business Cultures in 1997 his business has grown to become one of the country's top training, development and employee survey providers. As a presenter and facilitator Paul has captivated over a quarter million leaders and business professionals on five continents. His training materials have been translated into over 25 languages, and his newsletter is read by thousands of subscribers each month. His clients include: the US Senate, US House of Representatives, US Treasury, US Department of Justice, The Cleveland Clinic, DuPont, Parker Hannifin, Progressive Insurance, Johnson Controls, P&G, Symantec, Toyota, Johnsonville Sausage, Ernst & Young, Wake Forest Medical Center, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Congressional Office of Compliance just to name a few. Always with any eye toward research and science Paul's speaking themes include organizational and personal adaptability, unconscious bias, employee engagement and respectful work cultures. His most recent book, The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace was published by McGraw-Hill. Paul holds a BSBA from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


Allison West, Esq., SHRM-SCP, AWI-CH is the Managing Principal of Employment Practices Specialists and holds a simple approach to employment practices: be proactive. Using her employment law background, coupled with her sound knowledge of human resources practices, Allison provides proactive risk management services aimed at helping companies both prevent and resolve employment claims. She is a top-rated speaker at the annual SHRM conference as well as other HR conferences speaking on employment law and human resources topics. Allison specializes in delivering customized in-house training programs to companies of all sizes, serving a wide variety of industries. Her expertise also includes delivering one-on-one sensitivity training to executives, managers and employees concerning harassment, discrimination, and disciplinary and/or behavioral issues as well as conducting workplace investigations, providing expert witness assistance and other HR consulting. Allison is a member of the State Bar of California and holds an AWI-CH credential.


Debbie Birndorf, Esq., MBA has been practicing law for thirty years - with many years at major law firms in both Chicago and Los Angeles. She represents employers in all aspects of employment law, including defense of harassment and discrimination claims, wage claims, wage and hour class actions, wrongful termination, disability claims and misappropriation of trade secrets. She also provides preventative counseling and drafts and reviews employment contracts, severance agreements, employee handbooks and policies. Debbie has been named a 2022 Super Lawyer in Employment and Labor. She was previously awarded the Super Lawyer honor in 2013 and 2015-2021. She was also named one of the 2022 Women of Influence: Attorneys by Los Angeles Business Journal, named one of the Top Employment and Labor Attorneys in Los Angeles and one of the Top Women Attorneys by Los Angeles Magazine. Birndorf Law Offices was also recognized by Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Best Law Firms in Los Angeles. Debbie serves on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Section and Co-Chairs the Saturday Seminar Program Committee. Debbie earned her B.A. from UCLA, her M.B.A. from NYU and her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated at the top of her class. In addition to her full-time practice, Debbie frequently speaks on a variety of employment law topics and teaches Legal Aspects of Employee Relations at UCLA Extension as part of the HR Certificate program.


Matt Charney is the Talent Acquisition Community Leader for HR.com where he serves as the internal subject matter expert and external spokesperson for all recruiting and hiring research, content, thought leadership, learning and events for HR.com - and its 2 million members. Previously Matt served as a Partner and Executive Editor for Recruiting Daily, the world’s largest dedicated content platform for talent acquisition and staffing. Matt started his career as a corporate recruiter for companies such as Amgen, Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Company. He has held marketing leadership roles for HR Technology companies, including Cornerstone OnDemand, Allegis Group, SmartRecruiters and Monster Worldwide. In addition, Matt has served as an advisor to over two dozen startups in the HR Technology space, including Textio, Universum Global, HiringSolved (acquired by Allegis), HumanPredictions, TrustSphere, Clinch (acquired by Pageup), Rolepoint (acquired by Jobvite), Drafted (acquired by Instawork), Take the Interview (acquired by Entelo), TextRecruit (acquired by iCIMS), Worqdrive and Paired Sourcing. A graduate of the screenwriting conservatory at the University of Southern California, Matt’s writing has been featured in publications such as the Huffington Post, Forbes, Mashable and the Los Angeles Times. His personal blog, Snark Attack, was named by Wordpress as one of the top 15 business blogs in the world. Matt has been recognized as one of the top influencers in the HR and recruitment industry by such publications as Business Insider, HR Magazine, HRO Today, the Sunday Times, the Guardian and Human Capital Magazine.


Leonora “Lenny” Schloss, Esq. is a Principal in the Los Angeles office of Jackson Lewis P.C. where she is the California Leader of the Wage and Hour Internal Audit Subgroup. For more than 25 years Lenny has focused her practice on wage-and-hour and leaves of absence issues. She advises and trains employers on preventative measures, drafts policies and agreements, conducts wage and hour classification audits and training, and handles employment investigations. Lenny has substantial experience litigating single plaintiff and class action discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage/hour cases in state and federal courts, including jury and court trials. Lenny has defended in excess of four dozen class action cases and she has tried a representative class action case. Her experience includes successfully defeating class certification and obtaining dismissal of numerous wage/hour claims on various preemption grounds, including claims for missed meal and rest breaks, claims for overtime, minimum wage, work off the clock and other unpaid wages and inaccurate wage statements. In addition she is a frequent speaker at human resources conferences and seminars on various employment related topics. Lenny is graduate of St. Louis University - summa cum laude - and Columbia University School of Law. She has been recognized by the Who’s Who of American Women, Super Lawyers®, the Los Angeles Business Journal, "Most Influential Women Attorneys" and Legal 500 USA.


Liliana O. Salazar, Esq. is the Chief Compliance Officer for the Pacific Region for HUB International and is responsible for addressing employers’ health and welfare responsibilities under federal and state laws and city ordinances. She works closely with HUB’s service teams and clients to develop short-term and long-term strategies that allow clients to remain in compliance while addressing clients’ financial and human capital needs. Liliana interacts with regulatory agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state insurance departments to discuss the applicability of laws and regulations to group health plans. Liliana possesses 25 years of experience in addressing the compliance and regulatory needs of employers and their group health plans. She actively worked with carriers and clients in ensuring their compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and HITECH Act rules, GASB 45 obligations and more recently the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Prior to joining HUB, Liliana was National Practice Leader for the Employee Benefits Compliance Practice of Wells Fargo Insurance Services and Vice President of Compliance for ABD Insurance Services. Liliana is a regular speaker at national and state conferences sponsored by employers, employee benefit chapters and HR associations, including ISCEBS, SHRM, CALPELRA, PERLA, NAFOA and others. She is also a regular contributor to national and regional employee benefit publications. Due to her many industry contributions over the years, Liliana was the recipient of the Women to Watch Award from Business Insurance.


David Thompson, MS, CFI® is Partner and President of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (WZ) as well as an active instructor for the organization. He is responsible for the strategic vision of the company and oversees the day-to-day operations of the business. David also leads the evolution of interview and interrogation curriculum development to provide research-based investigative tools to practitioners while driving change in the industry. Through his experience as a practitioner David has had the opportunity to manage a variety of cases while conducting interviews and consulting on investigations, ranging from theft and fraud to sexual harassment and homicide. David has created and delivered customized training programs internationally. In addition he has conducted live broadcasts of training and has presented keynotes at numerous events. With a dedication to leading change David has collaborated with members of the academic community, advocacy groups and other relevant partners to further the enhancement of interview and interrogation protocols throughout the US. He has contributed expert opinions for a variety of cases and has been cited by the Federal Court of Appeals for his involvement on the topic of interview and interrogation. He has also provided consultation on legislative propositions and has served as a subject matter expert for reform efforts and case evaluations. David attended Canisius College in Buffalo, New York where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. He continued his education at Arizona State University, earning a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology.


Sheree Knowles, SPHR, CPM, EQi is a talented executive with over 25 years of HR leadership and project management experience. She is the founder of two human capital and talent management firms: HR Knowledge Source (HRKS) and Human Capital Consulting Consortium (H3C). In 2021 HRKS was recognized as one of the Top 30 Small Businesses of the Year in Cobb County, Georgia and was featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle as well as in a televised edition of Inside The Blueprint. Prior to founding HRKS and H3C, Sheree held several highly visible senior-level HR positions for companies with national geographic footprints, including VP of HR for a $1B+ professional services firm. Her experience includes project management as well as leading centralized and matrixed teams in the following areas: talent acquisition; workplace civility; diversity, equity and inclusion; learning and development; talent management; performance management; employment investigations; compliance; organizational design and development; employee engagement and human resources optimization. Sheree is an accomplished practitioner who has achieved multiple certifications and designations throughout her career including: EQi 2.0, SPHR, CPM (Certified Project Manager), MBTI and DiSC. In addition she is a Certified EEOC Investigator, a Certified Facilitator for ELI’s Civil Treatment Programs, a Master Facilitator for Facebook’s Leadership and Diversity Programs and a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach. As an inclusion and diversity leader, she helps organizations build respectful work environments where all humanity is valued and where unique differences bridge people together. Sheree is a sought-after speaker, subject matter expert and dynamic facilitator where she blends humor and high energy with real-world examples and practical applications. She has been a presenter at multiple HR conferences as well as featured on radio and television. Sheree is also active with a variety of nonprofit organizations and has served as a Board Advisor for the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources Atlanta Chapter. Sheree is a graduate of the University of Dayton.


Keilon Ratliff, MBA is a Vice President and Vertical Leader within Kelly Services' Professional & Industrial Business Unit. His key focus areas include relationship management, client business strategies, governance structures for human capital oversight, ensuring operational excellence, the deployment of workforce solutions, program management across mutiple platforms and the execution of expected objectives. Mr. Ratliff has more than 23 years of experience in the human capital industry and 19 years of experience with Kelly Services. There he has served in key roles throughout his tenure including: Recruiting Supervisor, Branch Manager, District Partnered Staffing Manager, Regional Operations Manager, Global Client Relationship Manager and Vice President, Vertical Operations Leader in the Global Talent Solutions Division. Mr. Ratliff holds an MBA, a BA in Psychology and Human Resources from Ohio Dominican University and is a Six Sigma Green Belt.


Lauraine Bifulco is the President and CEO of Vantaggio HR, ltd. - a full service HR consulting company providing business-savvy solutions to employers of all sizes and across all industries. Lauraine founded Vantaggio HR in 1993. Their offices in Southern California, Hawaii, New York and Colorado serve clients across the U.S. and abroad. Vantaggio's HR consultants specialize in employment law compliance, resolving complex employee issues and implementing sound HR policies and procedures. Lauraine has been advising clients for almost 30 years on various HR topics, and she lectures frequently in the area of HR compliance. She serves as co-chair of the California Small Business Administration’s committee on Labor Issues which reviews and makes recommendations on pending labor/employment laws keeping her abreast of legal developments. In addition Lauraine is relied upon by publications across the country as an expert on HR matters. Her firm is frequently referred by a number of prominent management defense attorneys who rely on Lauraine and her Vantaggio staff to help keep their clients in compliance. Lauraine received a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and conducted graduate level studies in linguistics at the Sorbonne in Paris.


Sejal Thakkar, Esq. is the Founder and Chief Civility Officer of TrainXtra. She has extensive experience providing legal advice and guidance to senior management, human resources professionals and legal counsel concerning employment practices and actions. Ms. Thakkar has conducted investigations or inquiries regarding hostile workplace, sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, retaliation and other matters related to employment law. Additionally, she delivers customized legal compliance training for sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, unconscious bias and other employment law topics. Ms. Thakkar's clients include: Coca-Cola, Verizon, Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Systems Integrations, Department of General Services, Bureau of Land Management, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Oakland Housing Authority. Ms. Thakkar earned a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a cum laude graduate of the Northern Illinois College of Law. 


Candice Gottlieb-Clark, MS, CRC, BCE is the Founder and President of Dynamic Team Solutions as well as a Business Advisor, Coach and Conflict Management Specialist. Candice founded Dynamic Team Solutions, to help businesses strengthen their leaders and employees through enhanced conflict management, communication, teamwork and leadership. Dynamic Team Solutions provides executive and leadership coaching, team building and development, and conflict management and resolution to positively transform business functionality in terms of employee relations, morale, turnover, culture and productivity. Candice is a sought after speaker and writer on the topics of leadership, teamwork, communication and conflict management and is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Candice holds a Master's degree in Counseling from San Diego State University, is a Certified Mediator of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is a Board Certified Executive Coach.


Jeff Hunt, CMC® is the President & CEO of GoalSpan - a performance management software company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He founded GoalSpan in 2008 where his team has been assisting SMBs to improve their performance and workforce alignment ever since. Jeff is a Certified Management Consultant through IMC-USA and leads his company’s strategic management consulting practice. Disciplines include business planning, executive coaching, workforce alignment, change management, employee engagement, process improvement, performance management and high-performing teams. In his career he has run public and private companies as well as sold, acquired and merged numerous businesses. His expertise in continuous performance management has helped clients improve engagement, experience, alignment and profitability. Known as a CEO who also "speaks HR" Jeff has deep expertise in employee performance management and a long string of success in managing complex workforce organizations. He serves on several corporate boards and is the host of the Human Capital Podcast where he uncovers the deeply human aspect of work. Jeff graduated with a BS in Business Management from Oregon State University. In his spare time he is a sought-after speaker and facilitator as well as an open-ocean sailor.


Adal Padilla is a Senior Consultant at TIAA and a ScholarShare 529 representative. His geographic area of influence includes Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. A firm believer that education is one of the most valuable treasures we can provide to our future generations, Adal focuses on helping employers enhance their benefits packages by incorporating the free and valuable financial wellness benefit of the ScholarShare 529 Workplace Savings Program. Employers increasingly have become interested in understanding the growing need for their employees to support financial issues beyond the paycheck, including health care benefits, retirement savings and college savings. Doing so connects the company to the employee’s family, reduces employee financial stress and helps foster loyalty and retention. Adal Padilla joined TIAA in 2018 and brings with him over 10 years of financial services experience. He has worked with some of the nation's top employers and major universities. In addition Adal is an active member of the TIAA Business Resource Groups, volunteering for different projects to make a positive impact in area communities. Adal holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at La Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico and holds FINRA series 7, 6, and 63 licenses as a financial professional.


Lauren Sweeney is the Vice President at Rise Up For You - a global, SHRM certified educational and motivational company that focuses on enhancing company culture and personal development through teaching soft skills. Their mission is to help serve humanity by focusing on its most essential component: the people. Lauren has spoken for thousands of people on leadership, emotional intelligence and women in the workplace, and she has been featured on multiple podcasts, in Shout LA magazine, and recognized in a number of California Chamber Magazines. She is an activator and a creative thinker with a heart for public service. Disciplined and goal-oriented, Lauren has a passion for leadership development and collaboration. She holds a Bachelor's of Science in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis and advanced coaching certifications from the Direct Sales World Alliance (DSWA). At UC Davis Lauren earned the prestigious Charles Hess Community Service Award for her efforts in the community. Lauren thrives on questions-oriented mentoring, active listening, leadership development and being a positive example of what she teaches. Recently Lauren was awarded the 2021 Ambassador of the Year for the Brea Chamber in Orange County. She serves on the Executive PIHRA Board as the Regional Representative for the Central Chapters.


Braden Albert is the Founder and President of the HR Star Conference and its parent company, Abbington Court Media. A graduate of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Braden began organizing job fairs and trade shows in the mid-1990's. Intrigued by the idea of bringing people together for a shared, learning experience - and impressed by the impact such an experience can provide - Braden organized his first HR Star Conference in 1999. Today, the scope of the HR Star Conference includes annual events in Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; and Cleveland, Ohio. Over 3,200 HR professionals attended an HR Star Conference in 2019.