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Villanova HRD Fall Development Series Recap - Fall 2023

This semester, #VillanovaHRD and the Villanova SHRM student chapter, VUSHRM, co-hosted a free hybrid development series. This series included various HR related topics and many students, faculty, and HR professionals from around the country were able to partake in this learning. We are looking forward to continuing this series in the Spring. Here is a recap of the Fall sessions!


Artificial Intelligence and HRM: What we know and how to prepare

Dr. Gerry Brandon, Villanova HRD Director, was the main speaker of the first session. He gave an engaging and educational presentation about artificial intelligence (AI) and human resource management (HRM). He began the workshop with 2 interactive polling questions about how attendants were familiar with AI and what they thought about using AI. This was a great start to get people involved in the topic and express their feelings. Dr. Brandon then went on to talk about how AI was changing the HR industry. He explained that there are multiple ways that HR professionals can take advantage of AI. Potential areas include recruiting, pay equity, employee experience apps (onboarding, job transition, administration), training & compliance apps, employee development & growth, performance management & operational improvement, retention, hybrid-work, wellbeing, engagement analysis, etc. However, he mentioned some potential pitfalls of using AI that users should pay attention to, and then recommended how to best use AI applications. Finally, Dr. Brandon incorporated practical AI, during which attendants had a chance to share their experiences with AI from both personal and professional experiences.

Dr. Gerry Brandon discussing AI and HRM.


Employee Wellbeing, Work-life Balance, and DEI: Can ONE program do it all?

In this second session of the development series, Dr. Heather Cluley discussed how work-family, well-being, and DEI all require complex, thoughtful programming if such efforts are going to succeed within an organization. Dr. Cluley also offered an overview of the bottom-line, evidence-based approach to each of these separate efforts. The workshop was very interactive, as Dr. Cluley used several polls to receive input from both in-person and online attendants. She then went on to analyze the polling trends. Additionally, she presented detailed situational examples to help participants better envision her points about the managers’ role in the implementation of wellbeing, work-life balance, and DEI programs. The workshop concluded with an interesting Q&A section, during which, Dr. Cluley received some thought-provoking questions from the audience. The section was turned into an insightful conversation, allowing both the speakers and attendants to voice their opinions.  


Dr. Heather Cluley preparing for her session.


Amplify Your Impact: How to influence from all levels

For this third session, there was an alumni panel that focused on leveraging the skill of influence within one's position in an organization. The panelists included Colleen Malcodi (Class of 2022) currently working at Boeing Company, Michelle Johnson (Class of 2018) currently working at Main Line Health, Kevin Taylor (Class of 2021) currently working at Play Fly Sports, and Jennie Killebrew (Class of 2021) currently working at Eli Lily and Company. The panel was moderated by Bethany Adams, an Associate Director of the Villanova HRD program. The topics discussed included sending and receiving feedback, creating influence, mentorship, relevant skills, taking opportunities, etc. Many useful advice and tips were given by the panelists regarding professional development and leveraging organizational resources to make an impact. The session also served as a great chance for students, applicants, guests, and alumni to network and build meaningful connections.  

Our panelists and moderator after their amazing session!


Unionized Workplaces: HR Challenges and Opportunities

The fourth session was another panel that included different HR professionals, focusing on unionized workplaces. The panelists included Colleen Malchodi, Senior HRBP at Boeing, Luis Buentello, President and Owner of Beacon Associates, LLC, and Annemarie Dwyer, Staff Attorney at the Pennsylvania State Education Association. The panel was moderated by Dr. Gerry Brandon, Director and Associate Professor of VU HRD program. The session was very informative with the panelists sharing experiences from their diverse perspectives and various professional backgrounds. Dr. Brandon asked each of them several questions including comparing HR conduct in unionized and non-unionized settings, the panelists’ general philosophy for serving a unionized workforce, how a unionized workplace influences performance, and how they plan to address related issues in the future. Dr. Brandon concluded the event by asking panelists to give advice for graduate HRD students who are looking to work in a unionized organization. Meaningful advice was given by the panelists regarding necessary skills for effectively serving a unionized workforce and important elements that students need to be aware of. 

Our moderator and panelists after discussing unionized workplaces!


Pay Transparency: Parting the veil on changing laws & practices

This fifth session was hosted by Keith Black, a Villanova HRD adjunct faculty member. He gave an interesting presentation on changing laws and highlighted the underlying concepts of fairness, respect, and equality that support the position that pay transparency is beneficial for all parties. The workshop focused on pay transparency in two main areas. The first topic was job posting. Dr. Black started an engaging discussion on how including salary ranges in job advertisements would be beneficial to both employers and candidates and how the absence of salary information will negatively affect companies' ability to attract top talents. The second topic was salary history. Dr. Black then continued to speak about the legal framework of this topic and how people can deal with unwanted questions about salary history during job interviews.

Keith Black's virtual discussion on Pay Transparency!


Emotional Intelligence: Skills for a Post-Pandemic Workplace

This final session was hosted by Villanova HRD Associate Director, Bethany Adams. Her presentation focused on different emotional intelligence (EI) skills that employees need and how HR professionals can nurture these skills in their organizations. The workshop started with some common myths and truths about emotional intelligence. Bethany then continued with her insights on three emotional intelligence skills including emotional literacy, emotional agility, and emotional courage. In order to keep the audience engaged, Bethany posed several interesting discussion questions which encouraged participants to share their opinions and ideas about how emotions were perceived in the professional environment. The session left a strong impact on the attendants with three main conclusions drawn: (1) using emotional data requires curiosity about emotions; (2) flexibility in emotional responses leads to resilience and growth, and (3) EI requires courage to be vulnerable and take actions.

Will D. Cat stopped by to say hello before the Villanova Tree Lighting Ceremony!


Be sure to check our socials for updates on our Spring 2024 Development Series!

Instagram: @Villanovahrd

Facebook: Villanova HRD

Twitter: @Villanovahrd


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