May 13, 2024

UNLEASH America Conference Recap

Thousands of global HR leaders gathered at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, Nevada from May 7 – 9 for the UNLEASH America Conference & Expo 2024. Dubbed the “International Festival of HR,” this fast-growing event aims to redefine the future of HR and innovation, providing attendees with inspirational stories and groundbreaking technologies that shape organizational thinking. 

AI was at the heart of many conversations at the conference, as it has been for the past few years. But just as important were the discussions about leadership, employee engagement, and change management. With so much change in the world and the workforce since 2020, organizations are looking for solutions to help them go from treading water to swimming laps around the competition. 

This UNLEASH conference has long been a premier destination for HR enthusiasts, always featuring an impressive lineup of keynote speakers. Past speakers include Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of The Huffington Post, and Simon Sinek, best-selling author and founder of The Optimism Company. 

This year’s keynotes (which we’ll detail below) featured: 

  • Earvin “Magic” Johnson, NBA Legend & Chairman and CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises 
  • Ethan Mollick, Associate Professor, The Wharton School 
  • Dr. Kirstin Ferguson, Award-Winning Author 
  • Salim Ismail, Founder, OpenExO 
  • Mark Blyth, Professor of International Economics, Brown University 

OneSource Virtual at UNLEASH 

We had a blast hanging out on the Expo floor and hosting a happy hour to catch up with our customers. If you weren’t there to catch a demo of our services for Workday Payroll, Workday Benefits, or our employee digital wallet for financial well-being, don’t fret! You can schedule a demo with us at any time. 

As always, we had plenty of copies of our Cards Against HR game to hand out. We’d be happy to send you a deck as well when you schedule your demo. 

Unleash American booth photo

Keynote highlights 

The conference delivered 100’s of hours of content across 15 stages. From keynote presentations and panel discussions to case studies and workshops, there was no shortage of insights this year. Here’s what was covered in the keynotes: 

The Magic of Work Transformation 

Earvin “Magic” Johnson took center stage to explore the transformative power of courageous leadership and community empowerment. Magic’s journey from NBA icon to business titan provided a playbook for navigating uncertainty with grace and resilience, a crucial skillset in today’s volatile business environment. 

When it comes to Magic’s career, there is a lot to be inspired by — from his captivating performances on the basketball court to his strategic acumen in the boardroom. His session provided a fresh perspective and timeless wisdom, catering to both seasoned executives and emerging leaders eager to elevate their leadership game. 

From Disruption to Opportunity: Embracing the AI Revolution 

Wharton Professor Ethan Mollick challenged the audience to rethink our approach to AI, highlighting its disruptive impact on our work and way of life — comparable to the upheaval caused by the Covid pandemic. Instead of resisting the tides of change, he encouraged a conscious and proactive embrace of AI. 

His dynamic and interactive presentation provided a brief yet deeply curious and inspiring exploration of the seemingly limitless possibilities of the AI revolution.  

Modern Leadership in HR: How to Lead with the Head and Heart 

Dr. Kirstin Ferguson, an award-winning leadership expert, led a highly interactive session aimed at unlocking HR leadership potential. Through a blend of videos and case studies, Dr. Ferguson explored the art of modern leadership and emphasized the importance of balancing head-based skills and heart-based qualities. She challenged the audience to consider how we can effectively model leadership amid the complexities of our work environment. 

Drawing from her bestselling book, "Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership," Dr. Ferguson provided valuable insights and practical strategies for becoming an effective leader. This session reminded us a lot of this recent conversation OneSource Virtual had with Darcey Parker, director of payroll and benefits for CarepathRx, on elevating the humanity in payroll. 

AI Unleashed: Revolutionizing HR Strategic Now 

Salim Ismail, founder of OpenExO, also spoke about the transformative power of AI for HR. He challenged organizations to rethink how different HR departments can and should function in the age of AI. More specifically, he provided strategies for implementing AI across recruitment, talent management, training, and retention. 

With his roadmap to navigating AI transformation, attendees walked away with guidance on staying ahead of the rapidly evolving HR landscape and advice on how to shape the future of HR practices. 

Navigating the New Normal: How HR Can Harness Technology in a World of Populism and Aging Population 

Mark Blyth, professor of international economics at Brown University, highlighted strategic approaches to HR in an era of political and demographic shifts. With technological advancements and aging populations reshaping the landscape of the labor market, we must find ways to embrace digital disruption to achieve stability and prosperity. 

And in order to truly be successful, you must be proactive. He drove home the importance of immediately integrating technology into HR processes to create more inclusive, efficient, and adaptable workplaces. 

Looking forward to next year 

The International Festival of HR will again be hosted at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas in 2025. Mark your calendars for May 6 – 8 or register now to take advantage of super early bird pricing! 

More about OneSource Virtual 

As the leading provider of Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) solutions for Workday customers, we help hundreds of organizations streamline payroll and benefits operations. From administration and tax to COBRA and garnishments, we offer a variety of tiered services to meet your needs. 

And when it comes to delivering a next-level employee experience, our myFlexWallet solution provides employees with a full suite of financial well-being features. 

Check out an overview of our services for payroll and benefits or reach out to schedule a demo. We hope to see you at another event soon! 

Stay up to date with the latest news from OneSource Virtual

We share regular updates and communications about OneSource Virtual and our services in our newsletter. Sign up to be notified and receive this information straight to your inbox.

Required fields