An Inspirational Presentation Opens the Event

The Opening presentation of the 2023 SMC was given by former Marine and Fox News Contributor Johnny “Joey” Jones. Joey is a decorated marine who served two combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Staff Sergeant and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. In 2010, he suffered an IED-related accident that resulted in the loss of both of his legs above the knee and severe damage to his right forearm and both wrists.
Though nobody would have blamed him for becoming bitter and angry, on the contrary, Jones considered himself lucky to have survived the incident and regain his ability to walk. His presentation consisted of life lessons learned from his dad in Dalton, Georgia, and then his time in the Marines. The presentation was incredibly inspirational and optimistic. Joey has dedicated his life and work towards improving the lives of all veterans and their families. And he uses his speaking engagements as an opportunity to ensure that people are taking advantage of the time and gifts they’ve been given. “Life is for the living and we have a responsibility to those who have died before us to live our lives to the fullest to honor their sacrifice,” he concluded.

Recruitment and Retention: A Hot-Topic

Following the Educational Track Sessions, all attendees re-convened for one more main-stage presentation before lunch. Executive Coach and Talent Management Expert Colene Rogers took the stage to discuss one of the biggest hot-button issues facing not only GAWDA members but businesses across all industries: recruitment and retention.
She discussed a widely-publicized and eye-opening Gallup Employee Engagement Survey on asking the right questions. Her presentation was stuffed with great insight and tips for not only recruiting new employees to your company but ensuring that they are positioned to succeed and stay with the company long-term. Colene’s presentation comes at a watershed moment for GAWDA members as we all contend with finding and keeping our A performers.
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