Kyle Cavanaugh
Vice President of Administration, Duke University and Duke University Health System

As vice president for administration, Kyle Cavanaugh, leads a portfolio which includes human resources, global administrative and travel support, emergency management, police and security, disability management, employee occupational health and wellness, parking and transportation services and visa services. The portfolio provides services to Duke’s 41,000 employees and 15,000 students across the university and health system.

In addition, Cavanaugh holds a faculty position within Duke University School of Medicine, and teaches within the Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Leadership Program. Cavanaugh frequently speaks across several schools at Duke, including Duke Law School, Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy.

Cavanaugh came to Duke in February 2009 from the University of Florida, where he started in 2005 as vice president for human resources and, in 2007, was promoted to senior vice president for administration, overseeing a range of business, financial and operational activities.

Prior to joining the University of Florida, Cavanaugh was associate vice president for human resources services for five years at The University of Texas at Austin, where he led all HR activities and had oversight of the campus police, environmental health and safety and parking and transportation services.

Previously, he was the chief human resources officer at Rice University and held senior HR positions at Vanderbilt University. Before entering the higher education field, he led health promotion and occupational health services for five years with AT&T.

Cavanaugh has served as a consultant on HR and other issues for numerous universities and organizations across the U.S. and at a variety of international locations. He held a faculty position for 16 years with the National Association of College and University Business Officers, College Business Managers Institute. Cavanaugh has held adjunct positions and presented extensively on various higher education business topics. He was elected in 2016 to chair the American Research Universities-HR Institute. He currently serves on the board of StepUp Durham.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Cavanaugh holds three master’s degrees in business administration from Belmont University; in health promotion and exercise science from Vanderbilt University; and in special education from The University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in special, elementary and early childhood education from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee.

Bob Chapman
Chairman and CEO, Barry-Wehmiller

Recently named the #3 CEO in the world by Inc., Bob Chapman is very intentional about using his platform as a business leader to build a better world.

Chapman is chairman and CEO of St. Louis based Barry-Wehmiller, a $3 billion global manufacturing business with almost 12,000 team members. The company began as a small pasteurizing and bottle washer business in 1885 and, through acquisition and organic growth, has grown into 12 business units serving primarily the packaging, paper converting, sheeting and corrugating industries. Chapman became the senior executive of this private company in 1975 at age 30 when the 80-year-old business had $20 million in revenue, outdated technology and a very weak financial position. Despite the obstacles, Chapman applied a unique blend of strategy and culture over the next 40 years in leading Barry-Wehmiller through more than 100 successful acquisitions.

Over the past two decades, a series of realizations led him away from traditional management practices to what he now calls Truly Human Leadership — a people-centric approach where his employees feel valued, cared for, and an integral part of the company’s purpose. At Barry-Wehmiller, they have a unique measure of success: by the way they touch the lives of people.

Chapman’s experiences and the transformation he championed were the inspiration behind his 2015 WSJ bestseller, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family. The book is co-authored by Raj Sisodia, founder and co-author of Conscious Capitalism.

Chapman regularly writes about the powerful intersection of people-centric leadership and good business strategy on his blog,, and on LinkedIn, where he is an editor’s pick. In 2016, Harvard Business School released a case study featuring Barry-Wehmiller’s unique approach to business.

Chapman’s list of speaking engagements include the Aspen Ideas Festival, Conscious Capitalism events, Fortune Scale Up Summit, TEDxScottAFB, the 2016 US Congressional Retreat, WorldBlu, CEO Global Leaders Forum, International City Managers Association, the AME International Conference, Institute for Healthcare Consumerism Forum, Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence Conference, HERO Forum for Employee Health Management and numerous others.

Chapman shares his leadership journey and the story of Barry-Wehmiller whenever he can as it is an example of the way businesses and organizations should be: focused on creating value for all stakeholders — team members, customers, communities and shareholders. Not only is it the right thing to do, it creates meaning and fulfillment for team members.

Chapman has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and an MBA from Michigan. He spent his early career as an accountant with Price Waterhouse.

Kevin Cox
CHRO, General Electric

Kevin Cox, GE’s chief human resources officer, is responsible for leading the global HR organization, including talent management, leadership development and learning, compensation and benefits, employee relations and security. He joined GE in February 2019 after more than two decades in human resources.

Prior to joining GE, Kevin served as the chief human resources officer for American Express. He joined American Express in 2005 after 16 years at Pepsi-Cola and the Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), where he held positions leading strategy, business development, technology and human resources. He played a significant role in the successful initial public offering of PBG in 1999.

Kevin has extensive corporate board experience, having served on the boards of the Kraft Heinz Company, Corporate Executive Board, Virgin Mobile USA and Chefs’ Warehouse.

Kevin is a recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Human Resource Executive Award from the Academy of Management. This annual award honors executives who have made significant contributions in the field of HR practice, research and education.

Active in a number of professional organizations, he serves as chairman of the Health Transformation Alliance, co-chair of Gartner’s CHRO Leadership Board, vice chairman of the Human Resources Policy Association, and as a member of the Cornell University Center for Advanced Human Resources Studies Advisory Board. In 2009, he was named a Fellow of the National Association of Human Resources.

Kevin holds a master’s of labor and industrial relations from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University.

Robert J. Jones
Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robert J. Jones became the tenth chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on September 26, 2016. Dr. Jones, who previously served as senior vice president at the University of Minnesota and as president of the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY) since 2013, is an experienced and accomplished scientist and research university leader. He is the first African American scholar to serve as chancellor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Jones’ tenured faculty home at Illinois is in the Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Jones is married to Dr. Lynn Hassan Jones, a diagnostic radiologist physician previously practicing 22 years in private practice in the state of Minnesota. Together they have five children and four grandchildren.

David Kryscynski
Professor and Researcher, Brigham Young University

David Kryscynski is an associate professor of strategy at Brigham Young University. His research explores how companies can realize competitive advantages through people, and his published work can be found in the Academy of Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, the Strategic Management Journal, the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, the Academy of Management Perspectives, the Journal of Management, and more.

A colleague of Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank — both of whom are well known for their work in HR transformation — David took the lead on the collection of data for the 2015 HR Competency Survey, developed by RBL Group and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Also in 2015, David joined CUPA‐HR and several higher ed thought leaders for a think tank discussion around HR transformation, and assisted in the development of CUPA‐HR’s business case for HR transformation and the HR transformation model. David has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in strategy from Emory University.

Steve Mizell
Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Merck & Co.

Steve Mizell is executive vice president, chief human resources officer at Merck, with responsibility for all aspects of human resources for over 68,000 colleagues worldwide. Steve joined Merck in 2018 from Monsanto, where he was responsible for creating an industry-leading workplace for more than 20,000 employees around the world. In this role, he oversaw the company’s approach to talent acquisition and development, employee wellness as well as diversity and inclusion.

Steve joined Monsanto as senior vice president of human resources in 2004, and served as executive vice president of human resources from 2007 to 2018.  Previously, he served as senior vice president and chief corporate resources officer for AdvancePCS, a pharmaceutical company, and also held key human resources management roles at companies across the energy, defense, beverage and technology sectors.

Over the course of his career at Monsanto, Steve’s leadership has helped the company earn recognition as a best place to work. Most recently, this has included being named among Great Place to Work®’s World’s Best Multinational Workplaces; a 2015 Top Employer by Science magazine; one of The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces; and one of DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

A resident of St. Louis, Missouri, Steve is actively involved in a number of community causes. He currently serves on the board of directors for Opera Theater St. Louis and is a supporter of the U.S. Kidney Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and Youth in Need. He has been recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of St. Louis’s Most Influential Diverse Business Leaders. He is a former member of the board of directors for Oshkosh Corporation, where he served as chair of the Human Resources Committee.

Steve holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s in management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Kelley Stuck
Vice President and CHRO, University of Virginia

Kelley Stuck, vice president and CHRO of University of Virginia, joined UVA in September 2016 with the charge of facilitating transformational change in the human resources service delivery model, elevating HR as a trusted partner, subject matter expert and strategic, integrated resource that delivers exceptional service to the organization. Through the Ufirst initiative, Kelley led the transition of UVA Academic Division and UVA Health to a single HR service delivery model supported by cloud-based technology. The new model allows the university’s human resources to better meet the demands of UVA’s changing population demographic, delivering high-level service and better value to all university employees. In addition, during the 3 years of service to UVA, Kelley has supported the organization through a transition to a new president, as well as a change to all three of the president’s executive vice presidents.

Kelley graduated from Truman University with a bachelor’s in marketing communications, University of Central Michigan with a master’s in Administration with an HR concentration, and holds a Senior Professional Human Resources Certification.

Allison Vaillancourt
Vice President, Business Affairs and Human Resources, The University of Arizona

Allison M. Vaillancourt, Ph.D. serves as vice president of business affairs and human resources at The University of Arizona (UA) where she is also a faculty member in the UA School of Government and Public Policy. She has been recognized for building a community of leaders, creating an inclusive organizational culture, supporting organizational turnarounds, reducing unnecessary complexity and guiding significant organizational change initiatives.

Allison writes about workplace issues as a regular contributor for The Chronicle of Higher Education and serves as a leadership advisor for several national organizations. She is the incoming chair of the American Research Universities HR Institute board, a Society for Higher Education Human Resources Executives board member, and is a former CUPA-HR national board chair. Deeply involved in her community, Allison is a Community Foundation for Southern Arizona board member, executive coach and consultant for Social Venture Partners, performance advisor for the Judicial Review Program, and past president and current advisory council member for the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.

John Whelan
Vice President for Human Resources, Indiana University

John Whelan has been IU’s chief human resources officer since June 2014. His top priorities have been to build a stronger and more collaborative HR function, to improve HR’s customer service and process efficiency, and to increase the engagement of IU’s 23,000 employees across seven campuses.

Prior to IU, John was the vice president for human resources at Baylor University. He has also held HR leadership positions at the University of Notre Dame, Bristol-Myers Squibb, The Gillette Company and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

John earned his bachelor’s and JD from the University of Notre Dame. He recently served as the chair of the national board of directors for CUPA-HR.

Elease E. Wright
Former CHRO, Aetna

Elease Wright built a successful 30 year career at Aetna Inc., a leading diversified health care benefits company, where she served as its chief human resources officer until her retirement in 2012. In her more than 25 years of human resources experience, she has held HR leadership positions in financial services, business reengineering, education, employee relations and leadership development.

In her career with Aetna, Ms. Wright helped shape one of the nation’s most heralded business transformations. She was instrumental in attracting and retaining key talent during Aetna’s difficult multi-year transition from broad-based insurer to health care leader. Her focus on both business success and attention to values and employee engagement yielded a highly effective senior team that took Aetna from a period of financial decline to one of significant, continuing success. More recently, Ms. Wright served as a consultant for RW2 Enterprises, a consulting firm that advises executives on leadership and high performance cultures.

In 2018, Ms. Wright served on the Steering Committee for the transition of the newly elected Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont. The previous governor, Dannel Malloy, appointed Ms. Wright to the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education in 2014. The Board oversees seventeen statewide colleges and universities and Ms. Wright serves as a member of the Board’s Executive Committee, Human Resource and Education Committee and chairs the Audit Committee. Ms. Wright is also the vice chair of the National Academy of Human Resources board and serves on the boards of Hartford Hospital and the Hartford Stage, an internationally recognized theater company. In the past she has served on the boards of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, the Human Resource Policy Association and the Greater Hartford Region YWCA, where she served as board president.