August 3-6, 2010 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV several DirectEmployers Association staff and member companies attended the National Industry Liaison Group Conference (NILG). This two and a half-day conference had approximately 750 attendees from employers like Abbott Labs, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, IBM Corporation, as well as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The following video was captured and edited to provide a brief overview of the conference:

Thank you to all of the many participants who stopped by to say hello to us and pick up a copy of the book “Leadership from the Heart: Diversity & Ganas for Inspired Inclusion” personally autographed by co-author, Cari Dominguez. Mrs. Dominguez was gracious and signed the complimentary books provided by DirectEmployers Association to all attendees.  The interest was overwhelming creating a line at the DirectEmployers booth. Three hours and one very sore writing hand later, the event was over for the day and the venue lights were turned off to signal the end of the book signing.

Cari Dominguez signing book for Sandra Zeigler

Cari Dominguez Book Signing at DirectEmployers booth

Concurrent Sessions included topics from “You Conducted your Comp Analysis: Now What?” to “The Changing Face of the Workforce” conducted by the OFCCP, EEOC and many other experts.

Chad Sowash, Vice President of Business Development for DirectEmployers and retired U.S. Army Reserve Infantry Drill Sergeant had the privilege to present, “Best Practices in Hiring Military & Veterans for the Corporate World”. Guest Speakers during Chad’s presentation were Alicia Wallace, EEO Program Consultant, Disability Outreach Manager, WellPoint and Laura Harlos, Manager, Compliance and Diversity Programs for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air providing examples from their organizations.

Chad Sowash, DirectEmployers, VP Business Development Presenting

The Opening Keynote address was given by the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Department of Labor, Patricia Shiu. Director Shiu expressed that the ILG is an important stakeholder and partner in OFCCP’s quest for making equal employment opportunity a reality for all workers. She spoke about women in the workplace and the lack of equality in pay, even though the Equal Pay Act was signed into law 47 years ago by President Kennedy. “This wage differential has significant ramifications for families and for women, and not just for a brief time, but for years. Women who are paid less earn less, and often for a lifetime, not just once.  This means that they have fewer resources to raise their families, which affects where families live, what families eat and how much time mothers and fathers can spend with their children at home…One prominent labor economist has opined that if we could close the pay gap, we could cut in half the number of children living in poverty in this country,” stated Director Shiu. Full remarks are available on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Newly appointed Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provided the EEOC Keynote address. “There are many miles to go before we sleep”, was the theme for Chair Berrien’s presentation. The theme focused on the many laws that have been enacted since the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The laws protecting people from discrimination are:  Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Genetic Information NonDiscrimination Act (GINA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Both Keynote speakers shared their visions for a future of inclusion, rather than exclusion and both expressed their goal to increase staff and resources to ensure they were prepared for the task ahead.

The highlight of each NILG conference is the panel’s question and answer session with the Regional Directors of the OFCCP. This panel included Evelyn Teague, Regional Director, Southeast Region; Melissa L. Speer, Deputy Regional Director, Acting Regional Director, Southwest and Rocky Mountain Region (SWARM); Michele Hodge, Acting Regional Director, Mid-Atlantic & Northeast Regions; William Smitherman, Pacific Region; Sandra Ziegler, Midwest Region. The Regional Directors provided highlights and trends from their regions, as well as answered specific questions from the audience. Each Regional Director expressed interest in creating consistency across all regions with their staff providing the same feedback. They also advertised their hiring initiatives in an effort to fill their additions to their staff.

As always, the ILG National Conference exceeded expectations and truly was an example of Federal Agencies and Corporations United in Equality… Believing it and Achieving it!

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