WI SHRM 2021 
State Conference

October 13 - 15, 2021
Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI


2021 State Conference Keynote Speakers

Thursday, October 14, 2021 – Laurie Ruettimann
8:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. 
"Leading HR in a Post-COVID Environment"

HR leaders survived the worst only to feel overworked, exhausted, and frustrated. Many are still not making the traction they want or getting the recognition they deserve for guiding their workforce through a global crisis. It's time for a fix. 

Top career coach and HR consultant Laurie Ruettimann knows firsthand that leadership can operate a lot better. In a session packed with insights and stories about the future of work in a post-COVID landscape, she'll lay out the framework necessary to elevate the employee experience and create a human-centered approach to leadership while building an HR career you enjoy. 

You'll leave with a discerning eye for technology, a critical eye for hype, and the strategies needed to create a culture of self-leadership, implement practical wellbeing programs, invest in your organization's capacity to learn, and exercise resilience for taking more thoughtful risks to move the people-agenda forward in your organization once and for all. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify, analyze and contrast the emerging trends in leadership and HR — related to the central principles of wellbeing, continuous learning, and the employee experience— and assess whether these trends and technological solutions are a good fit for their organizations.
  • Define and distinguish between the most common leadership styles (authoritative, task-oriented, coach, servant, hands-off, self-leadership). 
  • Plan a personal communication methodology to become more effective at advocating for and leading the organization's people-agenda in a face-to-face, hybrid, or remote work environment.
  • Have a working proficiency with a risk-management tool called the premortem, which evaluates uncertainty and creates a framework for HR and leadership programs, policies, and procedures in a post-COVID environment.

Laurie Ruettimann is a former human resources leader turned writer, speaker, and entrepreneur known for her commonsense style and straightforward approach to workforce issues. Her podcast, Let’s Fix Work, is one of the fastest-growing management and business podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and Pandora. Laurie believes that self-leadership and individual accountability are the competencies required for the future of work.

Laurie’s career began in 1995 as an HR assistant for Leaf Candy Company, providing operations assistance and recruiting services for an hourly workforce in a manufacturing environment that was heavily unionized and staffed with immigrants from war-torn Bosnia. Since those glorious days, she’s worked at Monsanto, Alberto-Culver (now Unilever), Kemper Insurance (out of business), and Pfizer.

Laurie keynotes events all around the world, is featured on major media websites sharing wisdom and knowledge about HR and technology. Her second book, Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career, with Henry Holt Books was published on January 4, 2021. To learn more about Laurie, visit her website at


Friday, October 15, 2021 – Abbey Johnston and Greg Mutch
8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. 
"Dare to Lead"

What keeps leaders from being bold, courageous, and taking healthy risks? It’s our orientation around avoiding discomfort. We are inundated with leaders who are simply “playing not to lose” versus “playing to win.”  Brené Brown’s research shows that our organizations are desperate for braver leaders and more courageous cultures. Her research also reveals that the source of courage is vulnerability. Counter intuitively, vulnerability is a superpower – not a weakness. This leadership development experience will highlight the challenges faced when organizations choose to play it safe and are unable to lead with courage. It will dive into the nature of vulnerability, dispel the myths associated with it, and offer ways to lead with vulnerability so that leaders, teams, and the entire organization can be more effective, innovative, and impactful.

Learning Objectives:
  • Understand and appreciate the barriers to courage and what exists in our organizations when we don’t have brave leaders and courageous cultures. Create a vision for what is possible in an organization that builds a courageous culture.
  • Understand that vulnerability is the birthplace and source of courage. Define vulnerability, dispel the myths associated with it, and connect it to a definition of leadership.
  • Acquire skills and tools from the Dare To Lead research that can be immediately implemented and introduced to their divisions and teams creating more constructive conversations.
Abbey Johnston and Greg Mutch are co-creators of AG Collaborative, a leadership and people development company operating from the belief that every organization’s greatest strength lies within its people. Unlocking and unleashing the brilliance of your people is a game changer. We take a stand for co-facilitated experiences that are fun, engaging, inspiring, and transformative - over the long haul. This is what creates better leaders, better teams, better humans. Abbey works in the leadership space to empower people - especially women - to be big in the world and unapologetic in their leadership. A Gallup-Certified Coach with an Executive Coaching Certification, she believes our greatest opportunity for owning our influence and impact lies at the intersection of Communications + Leadership. Greg is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and leadership guru. In 2019, he got to slap hands with Brené Brown while becoming a Certified Dare To Lead™ Facilitator.

Friday, October 15, 2021 – Antonio Freeman
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 
"The Journey"
Friday's Keynote Sponsored by Anthem

Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame Wide Receiver, Antonio Freeman, will talk about his journey from Baltimore, Maryland to Green Bay, Wisconsin. As the lead wide receiver for NFL Hall of Famer, Bret Favre, Antonio Freeman played in the 1999 Pro Bowl, four NFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls. He ranks sixth all-time on the Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver list. 

The NFL has invited Antonio Freeman to participate in their annual ‘Rookie Symposium’ where he teaches NFL Rookies about financial responsibility.

Like anything worthwhile, Antonio’s journey has not been an easy one. However, every challenge brings opportunity. Antonio will share the highs and lows of his journey, including the challenges and how he overcame them, as well as what he has learned from those challenges that have made his life better - his Bright Vision.

We all have ‘Life Influencers’, those that care about us and help us along our journey. Are we coachable enough to learn the lesson(s) they teach? Who stands with us when we veer off course? How do we continually check ourselves to make sure we are stay the course?

Antonio Freeman’s well-known play dubbed ‘He Did What’ occurred when the Packers were considered ‘down and out’ in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre threw a long pass most thought was ‘uncatchable’, Antonio Freeman caught it on the ground, got up and ran in untouched for a touchdown. The Packers won!  What obstacles have you looked at and gave up on before you ever started?

Antonio Freeman was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the
1995 NFL Draft.  In his rookie season he returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown during a playoff win over Atlanta.  He went on to lead the Packers in receiving in four seasons from 1996–1999 and led the NFL in receiving in 1998.

In his ten NFL seasons, Freeman caught 477 passes for 7,251 yards, gained 1,007 yards returning kickoffs and punts, and scored 61 touchdowns. His teams made the playoffs in seven of his NFL seasons. He appeared in four NFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls. He ranks sixth all-time on the Green Bay Packers receivers list with 6,651 yards on 431 catches. Antonio Freeman had three 1,000 yard receiving seasons in his career, 1997-1999. Nicknamed "Free", in 2006 Freeman won a
Pop Warner Award for his work with youth. He played in the Pro Bowl in 1999 and participated in the NFL Alumni skills competition at the February 2007 Pro Bowl. 

On July 18, 2009, Antonio Freeman was inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.  Freeman is dedicated to his foundation ‘B’More Free Programs’ which aims to educate and empower under privileged children and families and provide resources for them to be successful in life. The foundation was founded in Freeman’s hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, however, it is Antonio’s personal goal to share this program with children throughout Wisconsin. Antonio is a Board Member on Wisconsin’s own “Buckets for Hunger” and volunteers with Maryland’s Hunger Solutions.  He is a representative for GO PINK, a breast cancer awareness nonprofit organization based in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  

Freeman currently serves on the NFL’s Player Safety Advisory Panel and Leadership Board and is involved with mentoring NFL Rookies through the NFL Rookie Symposium.   He can be heard throughout Wisconsin each Monday during the Packer season on The End Zone with Antonio Freeman.



WI SHRM is committed to keeping our conference as green as possible. We make an effort to provide all information electronically. We hope to limit use of excessive paper by offering electronic conference materials such as the conference schedule, speaker information, accommodation and travel information, and more. Please consider accessing information electronically before printing. We appreciate your efforts towards keeping the conference green as well!

Our 2021 Conference
Premier Sponsor

Platinum Sponsor

Online Registration Sponsor

Conference FAQs
Attendee Registration 
Conference at a Glance
Become a Sponsor, Exhibitor, Advertiser
Become a Speaker
Hotel, Travel & Directions
Conference Location:

Kalahari Resort
1300 Kalahari Drive
Wisconsin Dells, WI