Empowering Change: Highlights from the Career Development Roundtable 2023

Skills, Skills, Skills - a report from the 19th CDR in DC

Since Michael Emery, HR Director of IOM, founded the Career Development Roundtable (CDR), 2023 marks a milestone - two decades of transformative impact. After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the 19th CDR convened 350 HR professionals in the heart of Washington, DC, creating history as it unfolded on the North American side of the Atlantic.

With over 100 international institutions participating, including heavyweight hosts such as the IMF, World Bank, and IFC, the conference echoed the theme 'Time to think differently - Accelerating HR.'

Amid the cold yet breathtaking backdrop of Washington DC, the gathering reaffirmed what had already surfaced at UNLEASH earlier in the year – skills are the rallying cry for HR professionals. The resounding buzzword? Skills.

As I depart from D.C., I carry a newfound confidence sparked by the observation that skills have become the heartbeat of HR conversations and that Impactpool has taken pole position in becoming the sector-tailored provider.

Our mission at CDR was clear when we presented the session 'AI Pools In the Impact Sector - will a Swedish Startup Win the Race and Be the #1 Talent Management Provider?

By the end of the conference, the Impactpool team stood tall, confirming the uniqueness we've built. The Talent Suite we've developed showcases promising potential in assisting organizations to reach new levels of success.

A decade of dedication to sector-specific skills taxonomy is the secret sauce that sets us apart from all other Talent management and Talent Intelligence vendors.

In this article, join me as I distill the essence of the sessions I had the privilege to attend. With seven parallel sessions running throughout the day, this report captures the highlights of the ones I had the privilege to attend.

Unveiling the HR Extravaganza: A Recap of the Career Development Roundtable 2023

Step into the vibrant world of the 19th Career Development Roundtable (CDR), where tradition meets innovation, and HR professionals gather to reshape the future of international organizations. Hosted in the heart of Washington DC, this year's CDR marked two decades since Michael Emery founded the groundbreaking event. After a pandemic-induced pause, the CDR rekindled the spirit of collaboration, with 350 HR professionals converging to explore and share innovations.

A Grand Welcome and Multilateral Musings

The traditional pre-event cocktail was launched with a recorded video message by Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF. She welcomed all participants to the historic event, and the theme echoed through her words—recognizing the pivotal role of HR in international organizations.

Thursday dawned with insights from luminaries like Michael Emery, Director of HR at IOM, David McFarland from the U.S. Department of State, and Antoinette Monsio Sayeh of the IMF. Their welcome notes resonated with the urgency of multilateral cooperation, the imperative of capacity-building for managers, and the indispensable role of technology, including the revolutionary generative AI.

Keynote Extravaganza: Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen Unleashes Global Talent Trends

Keynote speaker Anne-Birgitte (AB) Albrectsen, Managing Director and Partner at LEAD took the stage for a keynote that promised to unveil the secrets of the attractive and inclusive workplace. Albrectsen captivated the audience with a macro-level exploration of global talent trends, dissecting talent surplus/deficit dynamics and the geographical magnets of talent.

Transitioning seamlessly from macro to micro, Albrectsen delved into HR within organizations. Her proclamation that "dropping talents because they don't have a formal degree is not the future" resonated. She tackled attrition risks, onboarding challenges in the UN system and introduced a 16-step model for talent engagement and retention. A poignant closing note shed light on gender disparities within the UN, leaving the audience with much to ponder.

Sessions That Sparked a Revolution

The conference buzzed with impactful sessions, where industry leaders showcased their strides in revolutionizing talent management.

During Impactpool's AI Pools session, Henrik Ryden and Emil Boettge introduced the Talent Suite, showcasing its significance in aiding 2700 International Organizations. Our commitment and management of the largest Impact-related skills database garnered considerable attention, as the presentation showed the power of having a system that uses Machine Learning, Large Language Model (LLM), and Semantic Search that is trained one million relevant job descriptions and 800,000 CVs. The Talent Suite also enables Organizations to use this technology for Talent Intelligence, Workforce Planning, and Candidate Screening.

WFP and Devex's FIT Pools success story, presented by Joanna Saidy and Krystie Sevilla, narrated a 7-year partnership in building a Future International Talent pipeline. The FIT Pools initiative aimed to reduce time, retain high performers, and enhance diversity, a testament to the power of strategic collaboration.

World Bank and IFC's session, led by Edna Diez and Daniella Araujo, explored "Next Generation Talent Management—Responding to Extraordinary Times." The duo delved into the nuances of enhancing the External Value Proposition and fortifying the employee experience. Skill-centric insights were at the heart of their engaging discussion.

Irina Stavenscaia and David Bearfield delivered a compelling and uplifting presentation, unveiling UNDP's transformative path towards a holistic and forward-thinking talent management system under the People Strategy 'People For 2030.' Their insights illuminated a journey from transactional processes to an integrated, strategic approach, igniting inspiration and new possibilities.

Fiona Bourdin-Farrell and Lavanya Shrinagesh presented CGIAR's monumental two-year journey culminated in unifying its autonomous 13 organizations into a singular culture, driven by the pursuit of efficiency. This transformation propelled them towards cohesive collaboration, anchored by a shared vision and collective actions. A comprehensive consultation process engaged staff across hierarchies, resulting in a unanimously agreed-upon culture description. Six core principles, coupled with corresponding behaviors, now guide the organization. Management plays a pivotal role, holding themselves accountable to these principles, fostering impactful change.

A Grand Friday Finale: Mindfulness, Women Leaders, and Technological Triumphs

As Friday dawned, Michael Emery set the stage for a day of reflection and empowerment. Pandit Dasa, Workplace Culture and Mindfulness Expert delivered a much-needed keynote on mindfulness, paving the way for an inspiring panel of global women leaders. The discussion, featuring HR luminaries, aimed to strengthen people management functions and accelerate HR in international organizations.

On the women leadership panel sat the highest-ranked HR leader in the entire UN system, Martha Helena López, Assistant Secretary-General for HR. Joining her were distinguished leaders: Catriona Purfield, Director of the HR Department at the International Monetary Fund; Diariétou Gaye, Vice President for People and Culture at the World Bank Group; Beatriz López Galvis, General Manager of the HR Department at the Inter-American Development Bank; and Irada Sadykhova, Senior Director of Organizational Development at Microsoft.

This diverse and accomplished panel brought a wealth of experience and insights, adding a powerful dimension to the conversation on strengthening HR practices globally.

For me, the curtain fell on the CDR with a technological tour de force as Irina Stavenscaia and Saumik De from UNDP unveiled their journey leveraging AI, Predictive Machine Learning, and Robotic Process Automation for strategic workforce planning. The session provided a glimpse into the future, where smaller tech companies, such as Impactpool and Eva.ai hold the keys (and technology) to efficiency wins.

The 19th CDR proved to be a melting pot of ideas, innovation, and collaboration, setting the stage for a new era in HR. As participants departed from Washington DC, they carried with them knowledge and a renewed sense of purpose—a testament to the transformative power of the Career Development Roundtable. Thanks to the CDR team, and see you next year in Lithuania.

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