Vice President of Talent and Development, Amazon Web Service
Michael Arena, PhD is the vice president of talent and development at Amazon Web Service (AWS) where he is responsible for the global talent practices, leadership development and learning, organizational effectiveness, new employee success strategies, executive recruiting, and the organizational research activities to enable the growth and innovation for AWS. He was nominated to the Thinkers50 Radar class of 2020 for his work leveraging network roles in creating adaptive organizations: brokers, connectors, energizers, and challengers.
Prior to joining AWS, Michael served as chief talent officer for General Motors Company (GM) where he was responsible for enterprise talent management, cultural transformation, leadership development, talent acquisition, and people analytics. While at GM he launched GM2020, a grass roots initiative designed to enable employees to positively disrupt the way they work, which was featured in Fast Company and Fortune magazine. This initiative and others are highlighted in his best-selling book, Adaptive Space: How GM and Other Companies Are Positively Disrupting Themselves and Transforming Into Agile Organizations.
His research on adaptation and networks won the 2017 Walker Prize from People + Strategy and has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, and Sloan Management Review magazine. Prior to GM, Michael spent two years as a visiting scientist with MIT’s Media Lab researching human networks. He also served as senior vice president of leadership development at Bank of America, where he co-designed and launched the Center for Future Banking, to positively disrupt consumer banking.
Michael is a faculty member in Penn’s master’s in organizational dynamics program and acts as a design thinking coach within the Stanford d.school.
Chief Human Capital Officer, U.S. General Services Administration
In her role leading the Office of Human Resources Management, Traci leads HR support activities for the agency’s 12,000 employees. She is responsible for GSA-wide policy and oversight of all aspects of Human Capital Management including: talent acquisition, development and sustainment, labor and employee relations, performance management, compensation, strategic workforce and succession planning, executive resources, diversity management, and data analytics.
Traci has extensive experience in federal human capital programs. She previously served as the Chief Human Capital Officer for the Peace Corps, where she oversaw all human capital services for Peace Corps employees including staffing, classification, benefits, payroll, employee and labor relations, data analytics, workforce planning, and employee engagement initiatives.
Prior to that, she served as Chief Human Capital Officer for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the Director for Human Resources Enterprise Management Systems at the Department of Agriculture; and as the first-ever career Deputy Director for the Chief Human Capital Officers Council at the Office of Personnel Management.
Traci is a member of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council representing more than 100 small agencies. Additionally, she chairs the Small Agency Human Resources’ Committee. Traci graduated from American University’s Key Executive Program in 2013 as part of USDA’s Senior Executive Candidate Development Program.
Traci holds a Master’s degree in Labor Policy and Workforce Development from Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Public Policy and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Communications from Miami University of Ohio.
Chief Learning Officer, Chief of Organizational Effectiveness, U.S. Small Business Administration
Joellen Jarrett has over 20 years’ human resource management and organization development experience in public, private and federal sectors with a winning track record of implementing organizational initiatives and contributing to overall mission success. She is a skilled facilitator who has successfully addressed organizational issues and projects related to resource utilization, performance management, performance improvement, enterprise systems implementations, organizational and leadership development, organizational change, conflict resolution, competency modeling, career pathing, assessments, technology-enable learning, training design, delivery and evaluation. In addition, Joellen's background also includes six years of active duty service in the United States Air Force as a cryptologic linguist and intelligence analyst.
Chief Learning Officer and Executive Director, Department of Veterans Affairs
Amy Parker became the chief learning officer and executive director of the Human Capital Services Center in June 2019, and is responsible for a diverse portfolio of learning, development, and accountability services. Prior to this, she served as executive director for both financial planning and analysis and programming, analysis, and evaluation for the Office of Management (OM). While at the VA, Parker served as a senior policy advisor to the assistant secretary/CFO and principal deputy and was OM’s chief of staff. Prior to that, Parker was the deputy director of total force planning and requirements in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Defense. While there, she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Parker began her government career as a navy civilian, including serving as the director of manpower optimization at the headquarters of the Naval Installations Command, where she coordinated the efforts of operations, contracting, human resources, and financial management functions to conduct the largest nationwide program to compete government services with the private sector, resulting in billions in savings for the navy at the enterprise level. Her private sector experience includes program management for small and large defense contractors. She is a proud wife and daughter of veterans as well as a step- and pet-parent.
Executive Director, Senior Executives Association
Jason Briefel is the executive director of the Senior Executives Association (SEA), overseeing day-to-day operations of the association and leading execution of the priorities and policies of the board of directors. He also leads strategic engagement efforts with members of SEA’s corporate advisory council and other organizations. Briefel serves as SEA’s legislative director, representing the association and its members on Capitol Hill and with the administration. He represents SEA with the Federal-Postal Coalition and the Government Managers Coalition, and he is a member of the American Society of Association Executives public policy committee. Briefel is a partner at Shaw Bransford & Roth (SB&R), where he works in the firm’s government affairs department, providing legislative and organizational representation. Prior to joining SB&R, Briefel worked in Congress for a member of the North Carolina delegation and interned with a DC-based think tank. Briefel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree from North Carolina State University. He’s also a regular host of FEDtalk on Federal News Network and Editor of the FEDmanager and FEDagent e-report newsletters.
Senior Program Manager, National Labor Relations Board
Dr. Theresa Horne is an experienced senior advisor in HR, human capital, training, and development who develops and aligns complex programs to business initiatives for the federal government. She has more than 15 years of experience contributing to the government, military and private industries in operations, diversity and inclusion, human capital and adult learning realms. Theresa has researched and developed comprehensive leadership and career development programs for a range of government employees, including future leaders and the executive suite. She is an award-winning novelist and industry columnist who has spoken at multiple federal agencies and private organizations on the intersection of culture, leadership, and strategic alignment. She is a proud Army veteran and enjoys reading, traveling, and coaching youth sports.
Faculty Member, Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Brian McNamara is the former chief learning officer for the International Trade Administration, a bureau within the US Department of Commerce, and current faculty member at the US Office of Personnel Management. He has more than 17 years of experience in professional and organization development and is a PCC through the ICF and a certified professional co-active coach through the Co-Active Training Institute. He also serves as an adjunct staff member and coach with George Washington University's Center for Excellence in Public Leadership and the Center for Creative Leadership. He published two TD magazine articles in 2019, “Just Care More—Employee Engagement Made Simple” and “Unleashing Your Organizational Talent.” He spoke at the ATD 2019 International Conference & Exhibition in May in Washington, DC, about unleashing your organizational talent. He holds a dual MBAs in international business from Texas Tech University and Universidad Anahuac in Mexico City. He enjoys travel, sports, and spending times outdoors. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter.
Director, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative
Sae Schatz serves as the director of the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, a research and development program under the deputy assistant secretary of defense for force education and training. Before joining the government in 2015, Schatz worked as an applied human–systems scientist, with an emphasis on human cognition and learning, instructional technologies, adaptive systems, human performance assessment, and modeling and simulation. During that time, she led the authorship and execution of the US Marine Corps’ Making Good Instructors Great course and accompanying instructor toolkit. She was also the chief scientist for the award-winning Border Hunter research effort and the Joint Staff J7’s Blended Learning–Training project.
Schatz has worked with the defense training and education community for more than 10 years. During that time, her efforts frequently focused on ways to enhance individuals’ higher-order cognitive skills. She has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed scholarly publications, led development of three military textbooks, and received best paper awards from the I/ITSEC and MODSIM conferences.
Schatz held an assistant professor position with her alma mater, the University of Central Florida, where she taught courses in visual design, web design and development, modeling and simulation, and human–systems interaction. Today, she continues to mentor UCF graduate students from the Institute for Simulation and Training, and she serves on the digital media advisory board.
Career and Leadership Development Coach, GPS Leadership Solutions
Alex D. Tremble (aka The Federal Career Coach) is an award-winning speaker, author, and leadership expert who has over 10 years of experience coaching and advising some of our nation’s most senior level government leaders. Specifically, Alex teaches government employees how to use strategic networking and political savvy techniques to increase their influence and gain career advancement.
Alex began his career managing three government-wide senior leadership development programs, and quickly went on to establish GPS Leadership Solutions LLC., while publishing two bestselling books ("Reaching Senior Leadership: 10 Growth Strategies Every Government Leader Should Know” and “The GPS Guide to Success”) geared towards helping government leaders gain influence and attain career success. Alex is a Leadership Center for Excellence 40 under 40 honoree. Alex is passionate and committed to helping our nation’s government leaders reach their highest potential; personally, and professionally.
Alex received his Bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology from William Penn University and his Master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Baltimore. Please visit AlexTremble.com to gain the tools and strategies you need to reach your leadership and career goals.