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Speakers



Melissa Asher

With more than 22 years of experience in training and development, test administration and recruitment, Melissa provides a wealth of practical knowledge at CPS HR Consulting. As a hands-on leader, she is responsible for the growth and development of the CPS HR Training and Development and Executive Recruitment divisions. Having led large-scale public sector projects for online learning initiatives, foundational supervisory training programs, leadership development and high-profile executive searches, she develops creative and valuable solutions for clients that increase organizational performance. She is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute and is recognized as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management. Additionally, she has published numerous articles in HR publications and regularly speaks at conferences. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of California, Davis.




Vicki Brashear

Vicki Quintero Brashear is a member of the senior leadership team at CPS HR Consulting. Her wide-ranging experience includes the design, development and administration of the assessment center process, primarily for public safety positions, and content validation, job analysis, standard-setting, subject matter expert panel facilitation and test development (multiple-choice written exams, structured oral interviews and practical examinations).




Brian Elms

Brian is the author of Peak Performance and the Director of Peak Academy and Analytics for the City and County of Denver. He specializes in process improvement and has more than 15 years of experience providing political, policy, legislative and program management expertise to government agencies, elected officials, trade associations and non-profit organizations. Brian started his career in public service after graduating from Regis University and joining the National School and Community Corps (AmeriCorps) as a team leader. After working in Washington DC for AARP, Brian moved back to his hometown and served as the Assistant Director of Government Affairs at Denver International Airport.

Brian is a certified Lean Black Belt, Six Sigma Green Belt and Change Management Professional. In his current role as the Director of the Peak Academy, he developed curriculum, training and consulting services that focus on employee-led performance management and continuous improvement. Since its inception in 2011, Peak Academy initiatives have saved the City and County of Denver almost $25 million. Brian has been called a “government innovation spark plug.”




Gage Dunghy

Gage provides management-side representation and legal counsel to clients in all matters pertaining to labor and employment law throughout the State of California. His clients have included cities, counties, special districts, hospitals and public sector businesses. Gage’s broad expertise ranges from employment discrimination/harassment/retaliation, disability accommodation, family/medical leaves of absence, compensation, the employee discipline and due process to the meet and confer process, labor relations and negotiations and the preparation of employment guidelines and policies. He represents employers not only in court, but also before boards and in private negotiations. Working in Sacramento, he leads LCW's legislative tracking efforts on labor and employment law legislation and works closely with the League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties and California Special Districts Association to advise on the impacts of such legislation.

Gage is a popular speaker and trainer and has presented numerous presentations, preventative trainings and workshops for employers, agencies and trade associations.

Gage has been recognized as a Northern California Rising Star in the field of employment and labor law in 2009-2016. He has also published articles on current labor and employment law cases and trends in the Daily Journal and the California Public Employee Relations Journal.

Gage previously served on the U.C. Davis School of Law Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2006 to 2016, including as its Board President from 2013 to 2015. He was the recipient of the University of Notre Dame Young Alumni Award in 2008.




Paula Gibson

Paula Gibson is the Director, Human Resources with the City of Centennial and a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. She has over 25 years of experience in the role of strategic business partner, program manager, and organizational development leader. She is a Human Resources professional who helps organizations and individuals discover their innate talents and capitalize on their capabilities and has spent her career in a variety of sectors, including financial services, not-for-profit, and municipal government. Her broad understanding of various areas of business has solidified the idea that focusing on talents brings excellence in all environments and allows employees to come to work every day to do what they do best.

Imagine a workplace where employees come in every day energized, passionate about their roles, and love their jobs; this is the reality a strengths-based organization creates. Through her work with the employees of the City of Centennial, Colorado, Paula has real-world evidence that managing to Strengths, focusing on Engagement and holding people accountable to high performance standards creates an Award-Winning organization. She challenges you to be more than you are, realize your strengths every day, and soar with your innate super-hero powers.




Michael Grabow

Michael has more than 28 years of experience in human resource development and management with global organizations. He is a certified instructor with Ken Blanchard Companies and Franklin/Covey. He is also a certified Business Coach with businesscoach.com and an instructor for CSU Sacramento. His passion is to see the human potential within organizations realized, released and renewed.

He is the owner of a training, leadership and management company, The Essential Link Business Coaching and Training Network, and has been conducting training, coaching businesses and developing leaders since December 1981. Michael’s projects have taken him to Australia, Japan, Turkey and Okinawa. His primary focus is developing workplace training processes and programs in which people development and personal growth exceed expectations.

His superpowers are found in human resources, leadership, project management and skills development.




Jessica Kreigel

Dr. Jessica Kriegel works as an Organizational Development Consultant for Oracle Corporation, where she acts as an adviser and strategist in matters of organizational development, change management and talent development. She is also a partner at OE Consulting Group, a consulting firm specializing in organizational effectiveness.

In 2016, she authored “Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes” published by Wiley. She has a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Management with a specialization in Human Resources Development as well as an MBA in International Business.

She was awarded the Association of Talent Development’s One to Watch Award in 2015 and Training Magazine’s Emerging Training Leaders Award in 2014.




Robert Lavigna

Bob Lavigna has more than 30 years of experience leading public sector HR organizations and programs. He is retired from the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of HR for the University of Wisconsin. He recently joined CPS HR Consulting to lead a new unit dedicated to helping public sector and nonprofit organizations measure and improve employee engagement. Bob’s previous positions include Vice President-Research for the Partnership for Public Service, Senior Manager for CPS HR Consulting and Administrator of the state of Wisconsin civil service system. He began his career with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and was selected as a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine. Bob is a past national president of IPMA-HR and past national chair of the American Society for Public Administration Section on Personnel and Labor Relations. He has a B.A. in Public Affairs from George Washington University and an M.S. in HR from Cornell University.




Randy Mayeux

Randy is a broad-based knowledge consultant, professional speaker and writer. He delivers more than 400 public presentations annually to various audiences, groups and conferences. He served as a professional member of the National Speakers Association and recently served on the board of the National Speakers Association of North Texas. He specializes in reviewing books and presenting book briefings on book titles ranging from subjects as diverse as business, history, biography, social justice and many areas related to personal growth.

Randy has appeared as a guest on numerous local and national radio stations and has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at Pepperdine University, Richland College the University of Texas at Dallas and Eastfield College. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Communication: Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Southern California.




Keni Thomas

In 1993, Staff Sergeant Keni Thomas was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia with the 3rd Ranger Battalion as part of an elite special operations package called Task Force Ranger. Their mission was to find and capture a criminal warlord named Mohammed Farrah Aidid. Keni and his fellow rangers distinguished themselves in an 18-hour firefight that would later be recounted in the book and movie “Blackhawk Down.” Nineteen Americans gave their lives, and 78 were wounded in the worst urban combat seen by U.S. troops since WWII.

A powerful speaker, Keni captivates audiences from beginning to end as he tells the incredible story of extraordinary individuals and how they fought to bring each other home. Drawing from his experiences on the battlefield, he inspires people to achieve greatness by stressing the importance of outstanding leadership at every level, even if the only person you are leading is yourself.

After leaving the Army, Keni started a successful music career and now works as an award-winning country music recording artist and songwriter in Nashville. His band Cornbread was featured in the movie “Sweet Home Alabama,” and his music can be heard on country stations nationwide.

Keni has been recognized by the President of the United States, by Congress and has been awarded the American Patriot Award. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and the recipient of the bronze star for valor.




Diane Vertovec

Diane Vertovec is the Director of Marketing & Communications for the City and County of Denver, Office of Human Resources. In her position, she oversees internal communications, talent acquisition and employment branding, employee engagement, public information, media relations, web development, advertising and mass marketing. Diane has more than 28 years of experience in marketing, communications, public relations, product and brand management, business development and fundraising. Her career also spans the private sector with experience in corporate marketing, business development, client services and small business start-ups. She has in-depth experience in sports marketing and event development and management. In addition, she has worked in the nonprofit sector as Regional Vice President of Marketing and Development for the nation’s largest volunteer public health organization and Development Director for an organization serving abused and neglected children.




Kirk Weisler

Chief Morale Officer Kirk Weisler is an expert at creating outrageously cool workplace cultures and high-performance teams. Over the past 18 years, more than 50,000 leaders from across every industry and continent have sought Kirk’s advice and wisdom on building teams, strengthening leaders and improving culture.

Years ago, Kirk helped to create a corporate culture so rich in ownership spirit, engagement and measurable results that he was invited to share his approach first nationally and then internationally. He now travels around the world sharing everyday things leaders can do to positively influence, nurture and build super-cool cultures and high-performance teams.

His unique background as a U.S. Army Ranger, a member of the 19th Special Forces Chaplaincy, his work with At-Risk Youth and experience as a Master Storyteller & Team Builder make him a very fun, engaging and sought-after speaker. He authored the best-smelling book, The Dog Poop Initiative, and the semi–sweet best smeller, The Cookie Thief.

Kirk lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Rebecca and their six children.