Small Company HR Conference
Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend
Small Company HR Conference

When: Thursday, October 13, 2016
From 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM
Where: Hyatt Regency San Francisco
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, California  94111
United States
Contact: 415-291-1992

Online registration is closed.
« Go to Upcoming Event List  

Conference Details

Registration: NCHRA Members $270 / General $340     Bring a colleague for 50% off!

Qualifies for 6 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs) / HRCI Recertification Credits 


You do so much for your company. This day is for you.
The Small Company HR Conference is designed with your pain points in mind - as the one who holds the company together. Network with others in your shoes and get strategies for succeeding as a department of one, two or three. We’ll cover essential HR topics including onboarding and offboarding, improving productivity, building culture, and avoiding legal risk – all from your unique perspective. 

This conference is ideal for office managers, administrative assistants, vice presidents, directors and nonprofits.






8:00 – 8:30am: Registration & Opening Remarks 

8:30 – 9:45am: Building a Conscious Company Culture
Russ Elliot, Founder and Principal Consultant, Conscious Culture Group
“Shaping a culture is one of the leader’s most important jobs; it can be ignored, but only for so long and at one’s peril.” - Harvard Business School professor, James Heskett. When culture is intentional and known, employees form deep relationships at work and care about their company - increasing engagement and reducing turnover. And isn’t this the ultimate goal for all small departments and companies? Discover a practical approach to building a more effective culture based on over 30 years of HR experience. You’ll leave this session ready to:

  • Define what makes up a company culture and the importance of this HR leadership strategic work
  • Identify actions to put in place to impact organizational culture
  • Implement support systems that further the development and longevity of the intentional culture

9:45 – 10:00am: Break

10:00 – 11:15am
:  Avoiding Legal Risk in a Small Company
Mary L. Topliff, Esq., Law Offices of Mary L. Topliff
In this important session, you’ll take a look at the most significant legal risks facing small companies and get expert advice about how to manage them. Learn how to avoid the independent contractor and “everyone’s overtime exempt” trap, plus anticipate and address inevitable employee medical issues (pregnancy, workers’ compensation, and disability). You’ll also explore the pros and cons of paid time off plans and find out how to implement legally compliant paid sick leave plans.

Lastly, you’ll cover essential policies and practices, such as:

  • Overseeing all aspects of payroll
  • Documenting sales commissions and bonus plans
  • Providing reporting options for employee complaints of harassment/discrimination/retaliation

11:15 – 11:30am: Break

11:30am – 12:45pm: Preboarding, Onboarding, In-flight and Offboarding Compliance: Beyond the employee experience
Jenny L. Vonderwerth, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, CIP, HR Consultant and Benefits Advisor, Liberty Benefit Insurance Services
Are you and your employees ready for take-off, or will your company be grounded before you leave the runway?  Knowing the requirements for compliance, including regulatory reporting and notices are essential to building a sustainable infrastructure and keep your company on the right runway.

You’ll leave this session ready to:

  • Identify key components of a self-audit of your human resource practices
  • Use best practices for sourcing candiates, including social media and employment verifications
  • Provide propoer reporting and notices to new employees
  • Avoid potential fines and penalties

12:45 – 1:45pm: Networking Lunch

1:45 – 2:45pmSmall is a Selling Point: Recruiting in the Bay Area
Jean Greendyke, HR Manager at Concept Art House
Recruiting has never been the easiest task on our lists. For solo HR practitioners especially, who's got the time to network, build and nurture a talent pipeline, and maintain the magic ability to pull the perfect candidate out of the hat exactly when needed?

Discover how to turn the "small" in small business into your BIG selling point. Start with defining what makes your company unique, then identify and clearly communicate the "why" of working for you. By the end of this session, you’ll be able to: 

  • Experiment with HR analytics - determine baseline metric measurements and evaluate results
  • Assess the latest recruiting tools and trends and apply new strategies to your recruiting efforts

 3:00pm: Break

3:00 – 4:15pm: Becoming an Employer of Choice in the Bay Area
Eric Shangle, Head of People, ZeroCater 
Small and mid-sized companies are expected to compete for talent with larger companies like Facebook, Salesforce, and Google. But how? How do you create benefits programs and initiatives that are meaningful to employees and add value to their jobs? The secret is to involve employees!

Get strategies for identifying, creating, and implementing non-traditional benefits and programs that differentiate your company and make it attractive to top talent. Working from the bottom-up can help grow culture in ways you didn’t know. Leave this session ready to:

  • Identify alternative benefits and culture enhancers
  • Switch your employees from culture consumers to culture producers
  • Measure the value of culture and benefits in your company


About the presenters

Russ Elliot is the founder of and a principal consultant for the Conscious Culture Group, a company committed to linking culture to business performance by creating widespread ownership for shaping the culture and the business. We believe employees matter, leadership matters and culture is the bridge that creates the success.

For more than 30 years, Russ has been bringing his expertise in human resources and coaching to organizations across the country. His work has extended from the manufacturing plant floor to technology and financial companies including Toyota, NUMMI, Texas Instruments, Easton-Bell Sports and Bridge Bank. While serving as a Senior Vice President and human resources executive, Russ not only brought his strategic skills to implement change, but his coaching skills as well.

Russ holds a BS in Management Science from SUNY and an MA in employment relations from the University of Illinois. Russ is a trained coach, SPHR certified and has master’s level knowledge of The Toyota Way. Russ is on the faculty of Global Institute of Leadership Development (GILD), Women in Leadership (WIL) and UC Berkeley extension.


Jean Greendyke started her career in the communications department of the National Federation of Independent Business and has been working with small companies and entrepreneurs ever since. As a solo Human Resources practitioner at Concept Art House, Jean has managed all HR, Administration and Facilities functions since joining the company in 2012. She received her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in 2015.

Outside the office, Jean is currently participating in CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Training Level I with the fire department in her adopted hometown of Vallejo, CA. She also enjoys streaming British television, contemporary Bollywood music and, especially this time of year, all things pumpkin.


Mary L. Topliff has specialized in employment law counseling, training and compliance for over 20 years.  Ms. Topliff regularly advises business owners and human resources professionals on all aspects of workplace issues with the goal of preventing costly disputes. She frequently conducts wage and hour audits, workplace investigations and provides post-investigation consulting services. Ms. Topliff also negotiates employment and separation agreements for executives.

Ms. Topliff is a frequent speaker and author on practical applications of workplace legal issues.  She publishes the Workplace Wave, with articles on recent legal and legislative developments. Ms. Topliff serves on the Editorial Review Board for the State Bar of California’s Labor and Employment Law Review.  She served as an adjunct faculty member with San Francisco State University’s College of Extended Learning from 1999-2008.


Eric Shangle leads ZeroCater’s HR and Recruiting teams. Eric acts as a strategic partner in growing the company as a business and in making it a great place to work. Eric was previously Head of HR at Enjoy (, a new Kleiner-Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz backed startup delivering consumer electronics to your door. He was also Director of Human Resources at Torani ( and Clift Hotel/Morgans Hotel Group (

Eric is also a former Naval Officer with an M.B.A. from the Naval Postgraduate School, an M.A. in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.S. in Ocean Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. He calls the Bay Area his home and is active in the local Crossfit community.


Jenny Vonderwerth, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, is a customer-oriented senior human resources and employee benefits professional, who specializes in delivering comprehensive solutions to employers throughout the Bay Area.  Jenny successfully provides her clients with the finest employee benefit programs and Human Resources tools available. By establishing strategic pricing agreements with prominent carriers and the use of proprietary risk modeling tools, she is able to offer competitive quality benefit packages to her clients and their employees. 

Jenny is a leader in the human resource community and is the presiding Chair for the Northern California Human Resource Association (NCHRA) representing the members throughout the Santa Clara Valley Region.  For more information about Jenny, read the testimonials from her clients and HR colleagues posted on her LinkedIn profile.

Cancellations received less than seven calendar days from the program date are not refundable. If cancellation within seven days of the program is unavoidable, a credit for a future event will be granted, minus a $75 administration fee ($15 for regional meetings and Webinars). Credits must be used within one year of issue. A substitute attendee is allowed at the applicable NCHRA member/non-member rate in lieu of credit. Separate cancellation policies apply for the HR West Conference and Certification Preparation Courses.