The 2019 Conference Planning Committee is excited to announce our 2019 Keynote speakers!

Dr. Jon Sexton

Jon Sexton serves as the Senior Vice President of Culture and Leadership Development at Vibrant Credit Union. In his role, Jon focuses on facilitating employee engagement initiatives, developing unique leadership development programs, and sustaining Vibrant’s surprisingly different work culture. As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Sexton facilitates workshops and trainings to help team members understand how to tap into their natural talents. He also provides executive coaching for leaders to help them identify and leverage the strengths of their teams in order to ensure that staff have an opportunity to do what they do best everyday. Sexton spent over ten years in Higher Education at Grinnell College and the University of Iowa (where he earned a Masters in Student Development and a PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies) prior to being drawn to Vibrant’s unique culture and the organization’s stated desire to create impactful learning and development opportunities for their dynamic staff.

Session Title: Leveraging & Supporting Employee Authenticity to Spark Inspired Action

(Quadrant 2 of the CUPA-HR Learning Framework: Self-Awareness, Leadership, Coaching, Team Building)

Session Description:

Many of us work in fast paced environments that rarely allow an opportunity to stop and reflect on the meaning of our roles.  The influence of technology has only amplified this dynamic, making it difficult for us (and the employees we support) to disconnect from the workplace.  Couple these challenges with generational disruption calling for a deep sense of meaning in regards to work…and we’re suddenly presented with an interesting juxtaposition.  Providing opportunities for employees to regularly reflect on the meaning and alignment of their values and professional identity and placing an emphasis on employee engagement can significantly buffer the aforementioned challenges many institutions face in regard to talent attraction, retention, performance, and engagement.


Blair Wagner
CPCC, ACC, Prosci Certified Change Practitioner

Blair is a professional leadership coach and organizational change consultant with 20+ years of project management, leadership development, and change management experience. She is a project coach for the University of Iowa’s Executive Leadership Academy, provides leadership coaching to emerging leaders, and serves as organizational change manager on high profile change initiatives. Blair co-authored an award-winning curriculum on female bullying, which is being used in 43 states and five countries. As Founding President of the International Coach Federation (ICF) of Iowa, Blair serves as a leader in the coaching community and volunteers her time to build the coaching profession and to educate and mentor junior coaches.

Session Title: “Performing and Thriving in a High-change Environment: Working with Ambiguity and Leading Others Through Change”

Session Description:
New financial constraints in higher education and key strategic initiatives within higher education organizations are driving a need for change management leadership throughout the HR community.
During this keynote, Blair Wagner will prepare us to support our campuses through change. As higher education HR professionals, Blair will introduce us to managing change in our personal and professional lives, successfully working with ambiguity, and coaching others to thrive in a high-change environment. Together we will discover how to improve our skill and credibility as change leaders within our organizations.

Definition:  Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.

Concurrent Sessions

Day 1: Dave Jones, Midwest CUPA-HR, What Creates an Engaged Higher Ed Workforce?
Day 2: Kelsey Knowles, Legal Update

Breakout Sessions

Day 1, 12:30-1:40 pm:
Dr. Jon Sexton, Vibrant Credit Union – “Developing Luminescent Leaders – Essential Tools for Every Manager’s Toolkit”
Dr. Jim Casey, Des Moines Area Community College – “New Faculty Orientation for Community Colleges”
Leslie Ginder and Megan Johnson, Iowa State University – “Make the Future Accessible: Strategies and Tools for Universal Design and Inclusivity”

Day 1, 1:50-3:00 pm:
Heidi Eichorn and Susie DeMoss,  Iowa State University – “Building Agents of Change Through a Staff Mentoring Program”
Joan Troester, University of Iowa – “Using Data to Drive Human Resources Strategy”
Megan Hammes,  University of Iowa – “Social Connectedness and Its Relationship to a Thriving Campus”

Day 1, 3:45-4:55 pm:
Nathan Stucky, University of Iowa – “The Family and Medical Leave Act”
nicci port, Iowa State University – “Supporting Transgender Employees in the Higher Ed Workplace”
Cristina Wildermuth,  Drake University – “Slow Down: The Challenges of Ethics in the Workplace”

Day 2, 9:10-10:10 am:

Dave Jones, Midwest CUPA-HR – How Have the #metoo and Times Up Movements Created a Call to Action on Campuses?
Sean Hesler, University of Iowa – Performance Management: What Really Matters?

Click here for descriptions of the sessions and speaker bios.

Registration is Open!
2019 Iowa CUPA-HR Annual Conference Registration