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UPHRA is pleased to present the 19th annual HR Conference, now known as the Spring Summit, to be held on May 16, 2023 at NMU's Northern Center in Marquette, MI. This event has become the U.P.'s premier HR Professional Development event with information applicable to any size organization in any industry. There are up to 5 SHRM/HRCI recertification credits available across various topics such as retention/burnout, HR technologies, time management, wellness, leadership/succession planning, employee engagement, and more! Learning and value can certainly also be found for leadership and management professionals not focused in Human Resources. UPHRA welcomes attendees from throughout the organization!

Keynote Speaker

Angie Morgan Witkowski

Author | Speaker | Executive Coach

Angie is a proven leader, successful entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and a

sought-after guide who helps others become the best leaders they know. Angie wasn’t born a leader. She became a leader after she graduated from the University of Michigan and earned her commission as a United States Marine Corps Officer, where she was one of only 1,000 women managers in an organization 175,000 strong. Angie endured some of the toughest training on earth to build her leadership and risk-taking skills, which she’s applied in her personal and professional life to achieve success. Today, she’s honored to share these exact same skills through her work as a keynote speaker, consultant, coach, and advisor inside the world’s top organizations.

After Angie left active duty in 2001, she rose through the ranks quickly as a pharmaceutical sales representative before transitioning out of corporate America to launch her consultancy, Lead Star, in 2004. Through her business, she’s been honored to partner with exceptional clients to include Google, Facebook, Oracle, Boston Scientific, Marathon Oil, Walmart, and many smaller – and equally impressive – small businesses and organizations.

Angie’s been a featured guest on CNN, FOX News, and CNBC. Her thought leadership has been published in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Inc., and Entrepreneur. She’s the author of the New York Times Best-Selling SPARK, Leading from the Front, and Bet on You, the game- changing book for professionals who are contemplating taking risks in their lives.

Angie has an MBA from the Ross School of Business. She’s an avid athlete who competes in marathons and triathlons... and is never one to turn down a push-up competition. She’s also the mom to two great boys and commits a tremendous amount of energy and time to being a super fan at their sporting events.

Breakout Session Presenters

Dennis Beste Strategic Partnerships Manager at Western Governors University

Contributing to work-force initiatives such as Detroit Drives Degrees, Oakland80, and MCAN’s Educated Workforce Advisory Board, Dennis Beste has years of experience supporting organizations as they balance their needs and resources. He understands that navigating new endeavors can be challenging for any company. In earning an MBA and an MA in Counseling, combined with his professional experience, Dennis is equipped with a foundation of knowledge that is capable of addressing the goals of businesses and the people they serve.

Skills, networks, and collaboration are essential to any successful work-force development strategy. Dennis takes a solution focused approach that allows room to build flexible, innovative, and effective pathways that maximize the options available to them and advances opportunities for employers and employees.

Thom Giguere Director of Sales at Paylocity

Thom Giguere is Paylocity’s Director for West Michigan, The UP and NW Ohio…whose Mission is to offer an intuitive, easy to use HR and Payroll product suite that helps businesses tackle today’s challenges while moving them towards the promise of tomorrow. Known for its unique culture and consistently recognized as one of the best places to work, Paylocity accompanies its clients on the journey to create great workplaces and help people achieve their best through automation, data-driven insights, and engagement.

Thom is an avid outdoors lover, but his real passion is Riding and Racing his Mountain Bike all over Michigan with Jamie his amazing bride of 25yrs and two daughters and sons-in-law. If Thom is not on a Trail, you are likely to find him on the Sand Dunes of Silver Lake …”Yes I LOVE PURE MICHIGAN” or working his Hobby Farm in Wauseon, Ohio. Thom is very proud of his Military Service and enjoys helping Veterans wherever they are in their journey. For the past 25yrs Thom has been helping Organizations Maximize their investments in Employee Benefits and HR Technology by focusing on the Employee Experience and Effective Communication. He is a Lifetime Member of the VFW, American Legion and Past Board Member and Chair for Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

John Gardiner Attorney at Law at Bodman PLC

John David Gardiner is a member of Bodman PLC, working out of Bodman’s Grand Rapids office, most often remotely from his home in Maple City, MI. Mr. Gardiner has a decade of experience practicing business and employment law throughout Michigan. His legal practice is focused on the representation of employers in employment law matters and on general business and civil litigation. He also represents business owners and their families in connection with alleged white collar crime and other criminal investigations. Mr. Gardiner began his legal career as an assistant district attorney for Bronx County, New York. As a law student he interned with the corporate legal department of Rockefeller & Co., Inc., a registered wealth management and investment advisory firm.

He is active in community and professional activities. Mr. Gardiner serves as a board member of Legal Aid of Western Michigan and on the Human Resources Committee for the Michigan Bankers Association. He is a former member of the board of Ministry with Community, the Kalamazoo County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee, and the Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo. He also formerly served as a member and committee chair with the Kalamazoo Law Post and as a member of the Kiwanis Club Board of Directors. He volunteers with a number of charities related to the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Mr. Gardiner and his wife Addie are the proud parents of five children and thirteen Suri alpaca; if Mr. Gardiner isn’t at work, you’re likely to find him trying to farm!

Dawn Evans Facility Manager | Personal Trainer at Perform4Life

Dawn Evans is a graduate of Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, holding a degree in Professional Communication and Management. She was introduced into fitness in 2014 and has enjoyed learning and growing since. She is a Nationally Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine where she also studied and completed their Exercise is Medicine certification. She continues to develop her skills and is currently pursuing a certification as a Cancer Exercise Specialist through the ACSM. She loves to focus on the abilities of the individuals she is working with to establish attainable and maintainable goals through techniques that create a ‘can do’ attitude. Dawn lives in Negaunee with her husband, Mark, and her son, Aiden. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, golfing, snowshoeing, and spending time with her family.

Northstar Panel

Northstar EAP offers comprehensive employee well-being solutions to organizations.  We believe in high-touch personalized services for our clients and their employees.  Our solutions result in healthier and more productive employees which translates into more efficient workplaces, more engaged employees with strong company loyalty.

The Northstar team operates as an extension of your organization.  Our goal is to provide tools, resources and services that increase your employer value proposition. Part of our strategy is to extend support beyond employee care to organizational leadership and human resources departments.  We offer our organizational partners additional resources through training, workshops, coaching and strategic planning.

Northstar EAP is a group of dedicated individuals who provide assistance and resources to employees and their families as well as Human Resources and Managers.  We are subject matter experts in a wide variety of fields from mental health to business operations.  Our leadership team has more than 50 years of combined experience in supporting organizations and their teams.

The panel will be led by Jess Jones and Kerri Tuuri.

Meet Jess:  Jess is our business relationship champion.  She focuses on building partnerships that benefit clients, organizations, and the Northstar EAP Team.  Collaboration and teamwork is in her DNA and she approaches every situation as an opportunity to find a win for our clients. She does this all with a smile on her face and endless positive energy.

Meet Kerri:  Kerri is our resident HR and Operations guru.  She helps employers navigate strategic and day to day challenges with innovative solutions.  She brings direct communication and problem solving to our organizational partners.  Her deep knowledge of HR best practice coupled with operational excellence tools deliver quick wins with our organizational leaders and human resources professionals. 

MISHRM Learn and Lean

During this session, you will hone in on some specific ways to shape and strengthen your organization’s culture in an effort to take your company from good to great!

We’ve all heard a motivational speech or two about “raising the bar” or “becoming an industry leader,” but what does that have to do with HR? Do we actually have the ability to make a difference in our company’s trajectory? The answer is a booming YES!

When you look at world class brands, or even your competition, many HR teams consistently focus on creating training programs, attractive benefits, advancement opportunities, and flexible policies as a way to support and strengthen the core values and culture of the organization and develop a workforce that is in alignment with that culture.

  • Create unique training, benefits, advancement opportunities and flexible policies to inspire a modern, multi-generational workforce and support the organization’s statements of vision, values and ethics.
  • Develop work-life balance programs that cater to working parents, minimize workflow disruption from unexpected family emergencies, and keep employees engaged with the organizational culture
  • Strengthen your company’s culture by developing best practices for taking advantage of available partnerships and programs that support the workforce at all levels and stages of employment.

Click Here to Download the Agenda    


The cost includes a light continental breakfast, lunch, education sessions and conference materials. Advance registration will close on Tuesday, May 15th at 11:59 p.m. EST. Register by Saturday, April 15th, to receive the "Save the Date" special, $10.00 off your registration!

UPHRA members: $80 

General Public: $100

Day of Registration: $100

Register Today!    

Hotel Room Rates

A block of rooms was reserved for Spring Summit attendees at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott located at 808 S. Lakeshore Blvd, Marquette, MI. The group rate is $109 per night. Rooms are available for both Monday and Tuesday night. Please call Fairfield Inn and mention that you are with UPHRA to reserve your room!

Day of Details

  • Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the event kicks off promptly at 10:00 a.m. 
  • Coffee, tea and breakfast goodies will be available during registration.
  • Following the MISHRM Learn and Lean closing session, there will be a networking happy hour until 5.30 p.m.! 
  • Be sure to bring plenty of business cards and visit our exhibitors as they will be raffling off an assortment of amazing prizes.  Additionally, have each exhibitor sign off on the card you receive at registration for a chance to win our GRAND DOOR PRIZE!


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