Recap: 2016 ICC Breakfast Event, “Navigating Turbulent Economic Tides”

 In Blog

By: Shawna Simcik

More than 100 ICC clients and friends attended the exclusive, invitation-only breakfast event on December 1 at the Wellshire Inn. The always informative event was kicked off by Susan Ruhl, CFO and Co-Founder of ICC, who welcomed guests and gave a brief overview of the recently released OI Global Partners Survey, “Future of Work,” including the top four people challenges companies are facing today. To read more about the results, click here.

Laura Brandt, Director of Economic Development for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce was the featured keynote speaker and spoke directly to the growth in the Colorado economy. Specifically, she revealed that 79 new prospective companies were interested in moving to the metro area in 2016, which compared to the last four years’ average which is closer to 100, is very low. However, the potential of new jobs in 2016 is greater than any of the last 10 years in Colorado. Less companies, but better quality. Moreover, she noted that 16 new companies accounted for more than 2,757 jobs and 10 existing companies in the metro area expanded in 2016 and accounted for 1,975 new jobs.

Colorado is unique in many ways, but the companies interested in Colorado vary based on industry and are spread across areas such as, but not limited to, beverage production, bioscience, IT-software, healthcare, financial services, energy, aerospace and more. Large growth is being seen in Broomfield, Aurora and Fort Collins.

The panel discussion of the morning was “Navigating Turbulent Economic Tides: How the Economy Impacts Talent,” in which four leaders discussed talent management and economic concerns.

The panelists included:

  • Liza McKelvey, VP People and Culture and General Counsel, Cochlear Americas
  • Rick Matsumoto, Chief Technology Officer, SIMPLIFYA
  • Sarah Walker, VP Human Resources, National Jewish Health
  • Dana Held, AVP Medical Operations, Pinnacol Assurance

The big question: reflect on the immediate and long-term impact of these economic times on your company, your workforce and your 2017 talent management strategy.

Liza noted that although it is not difficult to attract millennials to their mission-driven culture, finding the right talent is their toughest task – the audiologist that can sell. Cochlear continues to focus on global alignment and laying the foundation for high employee engagement.

Sarah echoed Liza’s challenges – finding the right talent. Although she said it is a privilege to work in the number one respiratory hospital in the world, with it comes big responsibility. Her and her team are focused on “hire right, not twice,” and this starts as early as the job description phase, setting behavioral expectations throughout the entire life cycle of the employee, because hiring the wrong person at National Jewish can mean the difference between life and death.

Unlike Cochlear, Dana mentioned that attracting millennials to a 100-year old insurance company doesn’t have much appeal. They are focused on getting ahead of the digital disruption occurring in the marketplace, and are tackling the problem of a retiring workforce who will exit over the next two years. Pinnacol’s focus will be to become an “employer of choice” in the Denver economy.

SIMPLIFYA is a small start-up IT company, which allowed Rick to speak to very different challenges. As the company only has 7 employees to date, they are looking for the right people to support growth, and although many people are attracted to the cannabis industry, they are in it for the wrong reasons.  Rick noted that the industry is a $7B industry and the recent elections could potentially have a major impact on their business.

All four panel members agreed that staying nimble and flexible with the right talent will be the key to future success. After the panel discussion, audience members could ask questions.

This proved to be another dynamic event, as ICC works to provide the very best in thought leadership to the Denver business community through these exclusive events.


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