Small Company HR Conference
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Small Company HR Conference

 Export to Your Calendar 10/13/2016
When: Thursday, October 13, 2016
From 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM
Where: Map this event »
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, California  94111
United States
Contact: 415-291-1992

Online registration is available until: 10/13/2016
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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: Onboarding, In-flight and Offboarding Checklists
Jenny L. Vonderwerth, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, CIP, HR Consultant and Benefits Advisor, Liberty Benefit Insurance Services
Session description coming soon

12:45 – 1:45pm: Networking Lunch

1:45 – 2:45pm​Small is a Selling Point: Recruiting in the Bay Area
More info coming soon

2:45  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.

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.

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.