Atlanta Conference Expo (ACE) is the premier talent development conference where you’ll learn the foundational to experienced concepts and applications of organizational development, consulting, instructional design, training delivery and facilitation, evaluating impact, and learning technologies.
Every day, talent development professionals help create a world that works better. You unlock aha moments for learners. You design learning experiences to help others level up and unleash their potential. You create learning environments that drive results. Your efforts make a difference in the lives of so many.
Now, it’s time to make a difference in your career. Discover your own aha moments in a world-class environment dedicated to your professional growth. Learn among a vibrant community of L&D professionals from around the world and discover how to make a greater impact back on the job.
Why Attend ACE?
ACE 2023 will accelerate your skills of the future while combining successful strategies of the past. Take a journey with ATD Greater Atlanta through the following areas:
The Future of Work in Talent Development
Leveraging Technology in Talent Development
Instructional Design practices for new or experienced designers
Strategies to transition into learning & development
Creative ways to engage remote workers
Implement psychological safety in training
Interested in speaking at ACE? Click here for our speaker submission form.
Reserve your spot and join us as we take a deep dive on the elements of talent development. Learn from talent development from our keynote speakers, multiple educational sessions, and connect with peers during the networking events. Leave ACE knowing how to create richer learning experiences.
ACE 2023 Speakers
Morning Keynote: Maria Scarangella, MBA, SHRM-SCP, CPCC
Founder and President, Scarangella Consulting, LLC
Maria Scarangella is a dynamic senior leader with decades of experience in business operations and human resources. Maria is a thought leader on the economics of HR, talent strategy, leadership development, data-driven decision-making, and executive coaching. She partners with clients to improve efficiency, and productivity and realize 10X the value of their investment in people. Clients include PE-backed Financial Services & Manufacturing, Non-Profit, Insurance Companies, and Start-ups.
Maria’s unique perspective developed during her 37-year career at GEICO. She held senior leadership roles in HR and operations leading units that increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved customer and employee experiences. As the VP of Enterprise Talent and Learning, Maria found creative solutions to deliver 10X value on strategic people investments.
Maria is a certified executive coach and holds an MBA from Adelphi University, BS in Business Management from St. John’s University, and certifications from Harvard in Executive Communication, Cornell in Change Management, and UC Berkley in Strengthening Advocacy. She earned multiple awards for innovation, quality, process improvements, and sales.
Afternoon Keynote: Kevin Twomey
Principal Consultant, The Table Group | Founder, Twomey Consulting
Kevin brings over 15 years of consulting and general management experience to his partnership with The Table Group. He develops deep and lasting relationships with executive teams through his ability to help create a sustainable competitive advantage by reducing politics and confusion and improving clarity. Kevin’s clients enjoy his sincere interest in understanding their organizational pitfalls, dedication to developing solutions, and passion for ensuring work environments are optimized so that each employee can make use of their gifts.
Kevin works with CEOs and executive teams to quickly and effectively apply the concepts related to organizational health. His clients span a spectrum of industries including education, technology, banking, private equity, manufacturing, and health care.
Kevin is a convert to organizational health. After years of attempting to perfect the “smart” side of organizations in finance, accounting, and general management, Kevin partnered with The Table Group to develop and launch an organizational health curriculum for adoption in higher education. Through the development of the curriculum, Kevin built a deep knowledge of the organizational health content and a skill for helping others implement the content into their daily lives.
Prior to partnering with The Table Group, Kevin worked at Pat’s publisher, John Wiley and Sons, as an Executive Partnership Director in their higher education services group. Before that, he served in various roles in banking and public accounting. He earned an MBA from The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business with concentrations in Strategy and Entrepreneurship and a BA in Accounting from Michigan State University.
Kevin lives with his wife and four children in Cary, North Carolina.
Mark Burke, Ed.D.
Senior Director of Learning Strategy, Judge Learning Solutions
Mark Burke, Ed.D., is the Senior Director of Learning Strategy for Judge Learning Solutions where he consults with clients to help them assess their situation, create a strategy, and design and develop a best-in-class custom learning solution. Mark's experience includes the creation and management of online universities, the development of competency profiles and related onboarding programs for many Fortune 100 companies, owning his own assessment and consulting company, and 23 years of developing and implementing learning strategies in both the corporate and higher education environment. He received his doctorate in instructional technology with a focus on distance learning and assessment from Northern Illinois University. He lives outside Chicago with his wife, four children, and adorable dog.
Senior Content Developer, S2 Global | Education Innovator
Christian Calle is an accomplished Senior Content Developer with a passion for education and a flair for innovation. With a career spanning over 17 years, he has left an indelible mark in the fields of curriculum development, online learning, and educational technology. Christian is currently based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he continues to lead the way in revolutionizing the security industry's educational landscape.
Melissa K. Collier, M.Ed.
Change Leadership Director, Georgia Pacific
Melissa is a business transformation leader who is passionate about building people – their skills, their confidence and their professional presence. Over the past 25+ years, Melissa’s own career has led her from corporate trainer to learning leader and to her current role of change leadership director for Georgia Pacific. She is passionate about mentoring, especially for those just starting their careers and those who are preparing to lead for the first time. In 2023, Melissa will release her first book, Lead Like a Boss: 5 Leadership Accelerators for New & Aspiring Leaders. After being mentored in her own career and serving as a mentor to others, Melissa offers the readers lessons learned coupled with actions to accelerate their own career growth. Melissa holds a Master of Education in Adult & Lifelong Learning from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. She is a certified change practitioner (CCP) through Prosci and certified as a 360 Feedback Coach through Developmental Dimensions International (DDI).
Laura A. Davis
CEO & Founder, Laura A. Davis & Associates, Inc.
Laura A. Davis is the CEO & Founder of Laura A. Davis & Associates, Inc. an Atlanta-based transformational leadership & team development, executive coaching, and Diamond award-winning DiSC assessment firm founded in 1995. As a Master Facilitator and ICF Master Certified Coach, Laura has helped thousands of leaders and teams become more emotionally intelligent, cohesive, and high-performing.
Laura and her team have a proven track record of assisting leaders and teams to build alignment, trust, cohesiveness, and effective communication and collaboration to achieve their desired results. Her firm’s approach to transforming cultures creates greater employee engagement, retention, and employee and customer satisfaction as well as performance regardless of industry.
Laura prepares leaders to be more resilient and agile for the new world of work using the latest neuroscience research, validated assessment tools, and accelerated learning methodologies.
Laura and her team work both virtually and in-person to solve clients’ people problems to create “Great Places to Work” for the 21st century. Visit Laura’s website for more information about her firm’s offerings and social media links.
Kristine Ellis, M.Ed., MPC, PPC
Director, Employee and Executive Leadership Development, GuideWell/Florida Blue
Kristine Ellis always knew she wanted to serve people. First as a teacher, then school administrator, public speaker, trainer, coach, consultant and now, with business professionals and executives. Today, as the Director of GuideWell/Florida Blue’s Employee and Executive Leadership Development team, she is living out her passion working with employees, leaders and executives on topics such as communication, competency development, strategic thinking, personal branding and work-life balance. Kristine brings extensive leadership development experience along with a unique coaching approach, where she emphasizes the importance of servant leadership coupled with empathic communication.
In the past twenty years, Kristine has worked with a wide range of professionals, from teachers and school administrators to senior executives. In each case, she uses research-based frameworks, insights, and humor to instill confidence and inspire growth in each and every individual. Kristine has many qualifications, including a master’s degree in supervision and leadership from the University of Central Florida. She is also a credentialed Master Performance Consultant, and ICF Credentialed Professional Certified Coach and Certified Executive Coach.
In her spare time, Kristine loves going to the beach with her family, cycling and martial arts, where she holds third degree black belt status in Ko Am Mu Do. She is an active member and currently serves as the Chair, National Advisor for Chapters for the International Association for Talent Development and is on the Advisory Board for the University of North Florida’s Continuing Education Leadership Institute.
Automation Solution Specialist, IBM Digital Sales
Hamid is an Automation Solution Specialist for IBM’s Digital Sales Team. He is responsible for providing business efficiencies with user friendly cloud-based automation, while expanding IBM’s customer base and ultimately increasing company revenue. In prior roles, Hamid served as an Electronic Technician for Samsung. A few years later he then served as a Logistics Manager for Samsung. In his most recent role, he was a Sales Manager for Lifetime. In this role he was responsible for leading the sales team to reach/exceed monthly quotas, ultimately increasing company revenue. Born in England and raised in Texas, Hamid earned a BA in Logistics and Psychology at the University of North Texas. He currently lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and spends his free time giving back to the community by helping coach/train the youth in basketball.
Donna Smith Fee
Director of Content Partnerships, Learnie
Donna Smith Fee told her first story at age 5 when she used her reversible raincoat to become her own evil twin. She currently serves on the board of Rabbit Box, a live storytelling series in Athens, GA and is the Director of Content Partnerships for Learnie, a community microlearning platform.
Brandy M. Ford
Assistant Vice President Manager of Strategic Learning Projects and Analytics, FM Global
Brandy M. Ford is an experienced global learning and development leader with 15+ years of experience. She currently works as the Assistant Vice President Manager of Strategic Learning Projects and Analytics at FM Global. Brandy has a proven track record of managing and implementing portfolio project deliverables to drive business strategies. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, client relations, training, and employee development. Brandy is a seasoned leader in project management, change management, and data analytics, and has spearheaded transformative initiatives that empower individuals and foster team collaboration. She is a certified Prosci Change Management Practitioner and a Certified ROI Professional. Throughout her 18-year career in the healthcare and commercial property insurance industries, she has always been focused on anticipating stakeholders' needs and becoming their trusted advisor.
Director, Talent Management, GuideWell/Florida Blue
Energy, passion and humor are words that best describe Scott Fossler. His 30+ year career began with Andersen Consulting, in the Change Management Competency Group, helping clients achieve key business results. He has held organizational and leadership development roles at Pizza Hut, where he created the capstone leadership program for in-restaurant management personnel, Dell, Capital One, CSX, FranklinCovey, and currently GuideWell/Florida Blue where he holds the title of Director, Talent Management.
A common theme in Scott’s portfolio is the application of learning frameworks & models to the design, development and deployment of leadership content across all levels of talent; from on-boarding new hires, to management and executive development curricula, to high-potential development programs and processes.
Scott holds an MBA from Texas A&M University, as well as a BA in Speech Communication. He is certified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Change Style Indicator, Crucial Conversations, Zodiak, Leading at the Speed of Trust, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and a variety of other FranklinCovey titles. Scott is also a certified facilitator and feedback provider for the Korn Ferry competency model and KF 360 Leadership Assessment instrument, in addition to holding a Senior Talent Management Practitioner credential.
Scott lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida and is passionate about snowboarding, physical fitness, reading, cooking and music.
CMO, CYPHER Learning
Bringing innovations that matter to market is Jennifer Geisler’s unique expertise. Geisler is now the Chief Marketing Officer at CYPHER Learning where she defines and drives the company’s global marketing strategy with an emphasis on showcasing customer value and differentiating from traditional learning management system (LMSs). She brings more than two decades of marketing leadership, category creation and accelerating new-technology adoption, including two successful initial public offerings (IPOs). Geisler has previously held leadership roles at Vectra AI, Forescout, McAfee and Cisco, among others.
Caitlin Johnson is a strategic, high-achieving leader with 15 years of experience coaching and consulting. She is a Master Certified Performance Coach and specializes in leadership development, gamification, and execution. Over the course of her career, she has impacted over 70,000 global leaders. She has been recognized among the Top 4% of performers at a Fortune 200 Hospitality company. Caitlin received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Central Florida and is Project Management Certified.
Caitlin achieved the highest score in her Krav Maga yellow belt certification and is a proud 2x Ironman triathlon finisher. She, her husband, two daughters, and standard poodle are avid campers and enjoy discovering new adventures through travel.
David Morelli, PhD Co-founder and CEO, OwlHub
David Morelli, PhD is the co-founder and CEO of OwlHub and brings 25 years of executive coaching and leadership development experience. David is the creator of the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ framework and assessments.
Formerly, David was a business school professor in leadership with an instructor rating of 4.93/5 from executive audiences. David served also the SVP of Strategy and Talent Development for a tech company, helping them grow 100x in 7 years to a $3.5B valuation.
Additionally, David is the host of a #1 podcast, OwlCast with over 1.2 million subscribers. He holds an Executive MBA and PhD in business with research in executive coaching and leadership from the University of Denver.
H. Kevin Opela
Technical Trainer, DeKalb County Government
H. Kevin Opela is a decorated storyteller who developed his skills as a stage actor, mentored by such luminaries as Anne Bogart and the Tony Award winning Bartlett Sher. He developed his voice under the late, great Kristin Linklater and has won several awards for his acting, including the Hal Roach prize and an Off-off Broadway Review Award. With an MFA with honors from Columbia University, Kevin is also a producer, director, and playwright. He is the founder of two theatre companies, one in Madrid, Spain and the other during the pandemic that explored how to bring classical theatre alive in a virtual medium.
As a high school teacher, Kevin originated the theatre program at the highest ranking school in North Carolina, building the program from literally nothing to an annual budget of over $100k. He has presented to hundreds of people in 8 different countries and he led a multinational team of salespeople throughout Latin America and the United States in his position as sales manager for a global software company.
Kevin won first place in the Charlotte, NC region for Toastmasters International Speech Competition and Second Place in the state Humorous Speech Competition. In fact, Kevin was so sought after as a speaker and storyteller that he became a licensed wedding officiant and has married several couples - all of whom are still happily conjoined.
In his current position Kevin designs training materials from the ground up, and presents them to over 6,000 county employees whose background ranges from people without high school diplomas to PhDs. He is a proud member of ATD Atlanta and recently became a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD).
Founder and Owner, eXcelerate
Whitney Pettis is the founder and owner of eXcelerate, an analytics consulting and training company that was founded in 2017. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a BBA in Finance and graduated from Mercer University with her MBA. Some of the companies she has worked for include Home Depot, McKesson, Carter's, and Ingersoll Rand. Within these companies, she secured roles as both a Business and Data Analyst. She has utilized her MBA education, advanced analytical background, and sharp data analysis skills to pivot into entrepreneurship into teaching high in-demand skills to individuals and businesses for the use of SQL, Excel, data visualization tools, ETL, and SSRS as well as providing report consulting services to government agencies and private companies.
Owner, Claritas Consulting & Coaching
Gloriana equips leaders with data driven tools and strategies to help their people and projects thrive! Claritas provides strategy and talent management consulting services to organizations along with leadership and career coaching services. Gloriana has over 20+ years of corporate experience and has worked extensively with cross-functional teams using data and projects to unlock value for organizations. Prior to founding Claritas, Gloriana managed process development and optimization for a $500+ million and a $300+ million specialty chemicals division and also consulted for a Fortune 500 company. With her expertise in process development and optimization, she has long been an early adopter of cutting-edge technology. Throughout her career she has helped organizations re-think how they can leverage their data and optimize their processes. She will enable you to build high-performing teams and increase your work effectiveness by leveraging talent analytics and AI based automation tools. In addition to being an IBM business partner, Gloriana is a Harrison Assessments solutions provider, Project Management Professional (PMP), and certified coach. She is an avid reader and is based in metro Atlanta.
J. Allyn Walker
Managing Partner, Dale Carnegie of Atlanta, Nashville & Orlando
Allyn Walker is the Managing Partner of Dale Carnegie of Atlanta, Nashville & Orlando. He has led the team since 2001, resulting in multiple years of revenue and profit growth. Facilitator and coach with a driven focus on others success.
His strengths are seeing how to implement talent development projects within organizations, resulting in culture transformation.
His organization is recognized as Top Five global revenue, Top Growth & Top Ten Market Penetration for Dale Carnegie Global. Also, in 2019 & 2021, they received the “Top Quality in North America” distinction for highest Net Promoter Scores from clients.
Also, in 2017, Allyn received the highest honor for Dale Carnegie Franchisees the “One Dale Carnegie” award recognizing his contributions to the greater Dale Carnegie global network. In addition, his organization has been a finalist multiple times for the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Awards for Ethical Commerce.
Allyn is a certified Senior Trainer with Dale Carnegie working for over 25 years with organizations. During his career, he has facilitated training on multiple continents, worked with hundreds of companies, and several thousand professionals.
He is Past President of the International Dale Carnegie Franchise Association, an association of over 220 Dale Carnegie franchisees in 90 countries. During his tenure, he co-chaired committees to hire the current Dale Carnegie CEO, Rebrand the 112-year old company and renegotiated the Franchise Agreement.
He graduated from Harding University in Searcy, AR and lives in Murfreesboro, TN.
Founder, Communication Consultant, Speaking Trainer, Confident Communications
Kathryn Woods is a Communication Consultant and Speaking Trainer who founded Confident Communications to help business professionals and speakers learn to communicate with confidence, clarity, and charisma. Kathryn draws on over 20 years of experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist, giving her a deep understanding of how to work with the design of the human body and brain to achieve peak communication performance. She uses this knowledge to help her clients and their teams build habits that allow them to feel calm, confident, and in control when they communicate. This allows them to show up in their best light - even in high-pressure, high-stakes situations that may have previously shaken their confidence. Kathryn has been a Speaker Coach for TEDx Atlanta since 2021, and is a long time member of the Leadership Team of the Atlanta chapter of eWomenNetwork.
Earn ATD & SHRM Credit Hours
ACE 2023 has been approved for recertification credit hours through the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).