2021 Government Affairs Conference: How to Advocate from the HR Seat

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2021 Government Affairs Conference: How to Advocate from the HR Seat

May 18, 2021 @ 8:30 am - 1:30 pm


Government Affairs Virtual Conference

NCSHRM and Raleigh Metro SHRM are pleased to announce our annual Government Affairs Conference which will be held May 18, 2021. This free event will be a virtual experience from 8:30am to 1:30pm EST.  This event replaces our annual, in-person “Day in the District.” 

Have you ever wanted to focus on policy areas that have a meaningful impact in your workplace? Now more than ever, with a new presidential administration in place, there will be new legislation impacting America’s workplaces. Business and HR leaders must know what’s coming and how it will affect your work, workplace, and workforce. Take advantage of this conference where you will have the unique opportunity to learn ways to promote advocacy in your workplace and provide yourself with professional development in the legislative arena. Join us for insights from some leading legislative experts.

*Tentative Agenda*

8:30 AMAnnouncements and networking

9:00 AM- Keynote Speaker Emily M. Dickens, Chief of Staff, Head of Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary for SHRM

10:00 AM- Josh Dobson, NC Department of Labor’s Commissioner

10:50 AM – Julie Johnson, South Dakota lobbyist

11:30 AM – 1:00 Attorney panel with:

  • Xavier Lightfoot, Employment Attorney with Ward and Smith, PA
  • Gina Calaboro, Employment Attorney with Ogletree Deakins
  • Lindsey Surratt, JD, Area Sr. VP, Compliance Counsel at Gallagher

1:00 PM – Closing remarks 

This program will be approved for 4 hours of general SHRM and HRCI credit total. You must stay until 10 am to get one hour of credit. After that, each speaker portion will have individual credit assigned to it so you if you are not able to attend the entire session, you can receive credit for the Speaker portion you attended. Total credits are pending approval.

Meet the Keynote Speaker:

Emily M. Dickens is Chief of Staff, Head of Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). As a member of the executive team, she has oversight for implementing the CEO’s vision, corporate governance, global outreach, government affairs, and the organization’s real property. She serves on the executive board of the North America Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA) and Secretary-General of the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA).

Emily is an attorney with significant and progressive experience in government, higher education, and the non-profit sector. She has served as a member of the leadership team at the University of North Carolina system, the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.  Her prior roles include general counsel, chief relationship officer, senior vice president, vice president for public policy and assistant vice president for federal relations.  Dickens has also worked at Duke University and Fayetteville State University in administrative and external affairs roles. 

Emily is actively engaged in board service. She is a member of the Strategic Education, Inc. HIRE Advisory Board; the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) Board; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Advisory Council; a U.S. Department of Energy Equity in Energy Ambassador and chairs the International HBCU Task Force for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and North Carolina Central University School of Law. 

Meet Additional Speakers:

Josh Dobson was sworn in as North Carolina’s 18th labor commissioner on January  2, 2021, after serving eight years in the state House of Representatives. Dobson represented the 85th district covering Avery, McDowell and Mitchell counties located in the western part of the state. Dobson is a native of McDowell County and currently resides in Nebo with his wife, Valerie, and his daughter, Kennedy. 

Dobson served as a McDowell County Commissioner from 2010 to 2012 before being appointed in 2013 to the 85th House district seat. Dobson was appointed to replace Mitch Gillespie, who left to accept a position with the McCrory administration. Dobson subsequently ran and won re-election to the 85th district seat in 2014, 2016 and 2018. 

During the 2017-2018 legislative session, Dobson served as chair of the Subcommittee on Student Health for the Select Committee on Safer Schools, chairman of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee and chair of the House Health Policy standing committee. Additionally, during the 2019-2020 legislative session, Dobson served as a full chair of the House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the House Health Committee. Employee safety is Commissioner Dobson’s top priority. Dobson earned a Bachelor of Science in social sciences from Gardner Webb and a Master of Public Administration from Appalachian State University.

Gina Calabro of Ogletree Deakins concentrates her practice on discrimination and harassment matters, wage and hour claims, and noncompetition and trade secret litigation.  Gina regularly counsels businesses on all aspects of employment law, from recruiting and hiring through termination.  She assists clients in drafting policies and procedures and often trains management and non-management personnel on topics such as wage and hour compliance, harassment prevention, and disability awareness and accommodation.  Gina is an experienced litigator who has represented employers before federal and state courts, numerous government administrative agencies and arbitration panels in single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff and class and collective action litigation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a J.D. from DePaul University, College of Law.

Lindsey Surratt is Area Senior Vice President, Compliance Counsel, of the Legislative Compliance Practice within Gallagher’s Benefits and HR Consulting division. As leader of the Southeast Region’s Legislative Compliance team, she leads a group of professionals that support client needs within the region. Lindsey’s work with employers in many areas of the healthcare industry provides her with in-depth and cross-solution experience on health and welfare plan compliance.
Lindsey’s background working on healthcare reform, ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, and the Internal Revenue Code enable her to provide expert guidance and insight to employer plan sponsors. She educates clients on compliance issues regarding their health and welfare plans, while providing practical solutions and tools to ensure compliance. Lindsey uses the Gallagher Better WorksSM model to help clients comply with rules and regulations, delivering solutions that result in better outcomes and better work. Previously, she worked at an employee benefits consulting firm acquired by Gallagher in 2017.
Lindsey graduated cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a licensed attorney in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and an active member of the Health Law section of the American Bar Association. Lindsey frequently speaks at conferences and seminars on employer-sponsored health and welfare plan compliance.


May 18, 2021
8:30 am - 1:30 pm
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