SHRM Global Mobility and Immigration Symposium

Keynote Speakers

  • David Frum


    David Frum is a senior editor at the Atlantic and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. 

    Frum has served as chairman of the British think tank, Policy Exchange, as a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and as a senior policy adviser to the Rudy Giuliani for president campaign. In 2001-2002, he served as speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush. He is a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC.

    Frum's first book, Dead Right, was described by Frank Rich of the New York Times as “the smartest book written from the inside about the American conservative movement” and by the late William F. Buckley as “the most refreshing ideological experience in a generation.” His memoir of the Bush administration, The Right Man, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. 


    Emily M. Dickens, J.D.

    Emily M.

    Emily M. Dickens, J.D., serves as SHRM Chief of Staff, Head of Government Affairs & Corporate Secretary.  She is the executive responsible for coordinating staff to implement the CEO's vision, serving as corporate secretary for the SHRM Board and subsidiary boards, as well as managing external partnerships and providing oversight for the Government Affairs division.

    Dickens is an attorney with significant and progressive experience in government, higher education and the non-profit sector. She has served as a member of the leadership team at the University of North Carolina system, the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Her prior roles include general counsel, chief relationship officer, senior vice president, vice president for public policy and assistant vice president for federal relations. Dickens has also worked at Duke University and Fayetteville State University in administrative and external affairs roles. 

    Emily is actively engaged in board service. She formerly served on the Fayetteville/Cumberland (NC) Chamber of Commerce (Secretary of the Board), the Cumberland County Workforce Development Board, the North Carolina Partnership for Defense Innovation Board, and the Educational Advancement Foundation. She is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences at North Carolina Central University, and chairs the International HBCU Task Force for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

    She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and North Carolina Central University School of Law. 

    Emily is a member of the SHRM Speakers Bureau.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 4:30pm to 5:15pm
  • Nick Schacht, SHRM-SCP

    Schacht, SHRM-SCP

    Nick Schacht is a highly experienced executive with more than three decades of experience in professional services, education, and corporate learning and development. He has a history of driving product innovation, growth and profitability, and he has led organizations operating worldwide.  

    Schacht is Chief Global Development Officer for SHRM, the world's largest HR professional society. Before joining SHRM, he was the founder and CEO of KnowCyber, a learning and development company focused on improving the cybersecurity-related skills of people in all types of organizations worldwide. Prior to KnowCyber, he was President and Chief Operating Officer for PetroSkills, a provider of training and development services to the worldwide petroleum industry. Prior to that, he was CEO and President of Learning Tree International, a publicly traded provider of IT and management learning and development. Schacht was also the President of Global Learning Systems, a start-up focused on e-Learning and digital content. He served in a variety of capacities at ESI International, culminating in his role as President when ESI was sold to the Institute for International Research (IIR) and then as Group President for the Americas for IIR. He has been a Research Fellow at the Logistics Management Institute, and began his career as a U.S. Navy Supply Officer, on the headquarters staff of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.  

    Schacht graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy, and holds Master's degrees in Administration from the University of Maryland University College and Information Systems Technology from The George Washington University.


    Bill Graebel


    Bill Graebel is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Graebel Companies, Inc. a global leader in corporate relocation management and commercial workplace services. 

    Bill has been a part of the Graebel organization since 1975 (36 years full-time; 44 years en total, which includes his part-time summer service as a packer and driver).

    Bill received a B.Sc. in Economics and Political Science from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is an active member of the OMNI (Overseas Moving Network International), Worldwide Employee Relocation Council, the Rocky Mountain Relocation Council and Young Presidents Organization.  He also serves on the Board of Advisors at the University of Colorado Denver Business School and is on the Board of Directors of Leader’s Challenge and Colorado Uplift.  Additionally, Bill serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Denver Area Council of Boy Scouts.

    Bill has also obtained the designation of Senior Global Mobility Specialist from the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 9:00am to 9:45am
  • Bo Cooper


    Bo Cooper is a Partner in Fragomen’s Washington, DC office, leading the Government Strategies and Compliance Group. He serves on the firm’s Executive Committee, where he works to set Fragomen’s strategic vision and philosophy, manage its worldwide operations, and ensure it remains progressive, agile, efficient, innovative, and consistent across all its jurisdictions. He provides strategic immigration advice to a diverse clientele, including corporations, nonprofits, hospitals, universities, and media outlets. Bo has extensive experience in navigating complex immigration challenges, interacting with Congress, executive agencies, and consulates, and representing clients in federal audits and investigations.

    Previously, Bo was General Counsel of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1999 to 2003, directing a legal program of 700 attorneys. He advised top U.S. officials on immigration law and has significant federal litigation experience as a former trial attorney in the Department of Justice. Bo has frequently testified before Congress and appeared in various media outlets such as PBS Newshour, Sixty Minutes, and CNN. He participated in negotiating international immigration agreements and served as a U.S. delegate to international organizations.

    Bo has taught immigration, national security and related courses at the Michigan, Georgetown and American University law schools, and he currently teaches asylum law as a member of the adjunct faculty at Tulane Law School. He has an extensive pro bono practice and has contributed as amicus in key Supreme Court cases, served as an expert witness in federal litigation, and advised the Department of Homeland Security. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Migration Policy Institute. Bo received his J.D. from Tulane Law School and his B.A. from Tulane University.


    Leon Rodriguez


    As former federal prosecutor and leader of multiple federal and local agencies, clients look to Leon to give them direct advice on the risks related to investigations, to give them guidance on responding to investigations, to advocate for an optimal resolution, or to aggressively litigate their matters to positive outcomes.

    Leon is a founding member of the firm's Immigration and Compliance specialty team. He has helped clients understand this rapidly changing and increasingly risk-laden area. Leon has assisted a number of clients with I-9 audits, training on best I-9 practices, and negotiating with government authorities when enforcement events arise. When clients have difficulties obtaining visas to travel to or remain in the US, he assists them either by negotiating with government authorities or by bringing litigation to secure a positive outcome to their case.

    In his practice, Leon draws upon his foundational training and experience as a litigator and investigator, primarily gained as a federal and state prosecutor, along with his wide variety of substantive experiences secured through high-level government leaderships posts. From 2014 to 2017, Leon served as the Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), following a more than two decade career as a prosecutor, law firm partner, and government agency leader. From 2011 to 2014, Leon served as the Director of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights. This diverse range of experiences make him most effective for multidisciplinary matters involving multiple and serious risk vectors for clients.

    Leon serves as chair of Seyfarth Government Relations Policy Group and works with clients to develop multifaceted strategies to achieve desired public policy outcomes. A veteran of many congressional hearings, he also assists clients who either have been summoned to testify or provide documents before congressional committees. Leon has also handled interdisciplinary problems requiring an attorney with extensive and diverse experience in litigation and investigations, in interacting with the government at all levels, and interacting with media and external stakeholders.

    Leon is also chair of the firm's Health Care Regulatory and Compliance group, and a co-chair of the Health Care Privacy, Security and HIPAA group. He assists firm clients with complex and novel HIPAA questions. Leon also counsels and assists clients who have experienced data breaches or otherwise under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Service Office for Civil Rights.

    Leon enjoys Seyfarth's collegial environment across its international services, and the firm's commitment to using innovative delivery and pricing approaches to deliver consistently positive outcomes for clients.

    Prakash Khatri, Esq.


    Prakash Khatri has a national Immigration Law practice ( located in Bethesda, MD. His practice focuses primarily on assisting individuals, companies and law firms in resolving post filing complications at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, other DHS entities as well as at United States embassies and consulates abroad. He has been practicing law for more than 35 years. He is a nationally recognized expert on Immigration law and process.

    Recognized as one of the “50 Most Influential Indian-Americans” by India Abroad in 2007, Khatri is a renowned specialist and public speaker on immigration law and related matters. He has provided expert commentary on immigration issues for television and radio programs and has shared his insights at countless immigration conferences, seminars and debates. He has also been an expert witness in Federal and State courts.

    From July 2003 until March 2008, Khatri served as the nation’s first Ombudsman for Citizenship and Immigration Services in the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. Khatri managed the growth of this independent office from a one-person entity to a professional team of more than two dozen professionals and administrative staff.

    As CIS Ombudsman and a recognized expert on immigration matters, Khatri provided senior executive leadership, vision, and direction to policy makers in several cabinet level agencies. An immigrant himself, Khatri was regularly consulted for advice by policymakers in the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Labor and Justice, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House on immigration-related matters.

    Khatri is a graduate of Stetson University and Stetson College of Law in Florida. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the Florida Bar, and the Maryland Bar.



    Laura D. Francis

    Laura D.

    Laura D. Francis, a senior legal editor with Bloomberg Law, has been covering immigration and employment for more than seven years. Her reporting spans all three branches of government, and she has provided in-depth analysis of developments related to various immigration programs and policies, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Temporary Protected Status, the H-1B visa program, Optional Practical Training, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program, H-4 employment authorization documents, and the H-2B visa program. Laura also has made numerous appearances on Bloomberg Radio and has participated in immigration-focused podcasts and panel discussions. She holds a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 3:45pm to 4:30pm
  • Ray S. Leki

    Ray S.

    Ray S. Leki is a career member of the Senior Executive Service of the United States government at the Department of State, Foreign Service Institute. He is also an adjunct professor of intercultural management with the rank of Senior Interculturist in Residence at American University, and an author. At the Foreign Service Institute, he is the director of the Transition Center, where he oversees preparation and support for employees and family members entering, transitioning within, and leaving the U.S. foreign affairs community. He has developed, designed, and overseen the implementation of international awareness training for the U.S. foreign affairs community for nearly 40 years. His work in government began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal in 1979, and continued with a series of Peace Corps staff assignments in Washington, Nepal, Pakistan, and Poland, before joining the Department of State in 1991.

    Ray has taught a range of graduate courses and seminars through American University’s School of International Service, Intercultural Management Institute. They include international personal and organizational security, crisis management and communication, intercultural facilitation and training, multicultural negotiation, and spirituality and conflict transformation. He is a recipient of the school’s adjunct faculty of the year award.  

    Ray published Travel Wise: How to Be Safe, Savvy and Secure Abroad through Intercultural Press/Nicholas Brealey Publishing in 2008. The book shares his thoughts, experiences, and techniques in preparing sojourners for international success through integrating cross-cultural competence, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills, and security awareness with careful identification and analysis of motives and motivation. Travel Wise is used by businesses, study abroad programs, international and non-governmental organizations and government employees and agencies to protect people and ensure mission success.

    At the U.S. Department of State, he has been a leader in dealing with far-flung diplomatic communities experiencing crisis and trauma. Recent interventions included work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Moscow, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He has focused his organizational efforts on creating smarter, more resilient, and more effective expatriates. In 2016, he opened the Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience as a new division within the Transition Center.

    He is a fellow of the International Academy of Intercultural Researchers, and is on the advisory boards of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research USA, the Foreign Service Youth Foundation, and the International Association of Protocol Consultants. Current interests include resilience, leadership, intercultural communication, crisis management across cultures, and crisis aftermath psychology. He studied chemistry at Southern Illinois University and has his master’s from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.





    Edna Diez


    Ms. Edna Diez is Director for Performance, Careers and Learning at the World Bank Group.  She is responsible for promoting the continuous improvement of organizational initiatives to retain, motivate and develop World Bank Group staff. As a Human Resources transformation leader for 24 years, she helps organizations and individuals increase their effectiveness.  Edna specializes in performance management, career development and mobility, leadership development, coaching, diversity and inclusion, learning and employee engagement. Prior to joining the World Bank group, she was Director of HR Policies and Programs at the Asian Development Bank, where she led the design and delivery of HR reforms over a wide spectrum of functions.  She has held several leadership positions at the Inter-American Development Bank, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    Edna holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Houston in Texas.  She is also a trained Executive Coach.

    Marina Vassilev


    Marina Vassilev leads Compensation, Mobility and Executive HR for BASF North American.  In her role she shapes the BASF NA compensation and mobility strategies to inspire and empower employees. 

    Prior to joining BASF in August 2018, Marina was with Boehringer Ingelheim for over six years where she led a variety of total rewards projects, managed the US Executive HR function and supported the US Supply & Quality organization as a Compensation Business Partner.  Some of Marina’s accomplishments include the roll out of a total rewards optimization study and leading the design and implementation of a global Long-Term Incentive program which insured Boehringer Ingelheim remained competitive to attract, retain and motivate employees.  Prior to Boehringer, Marina was a Senior Consultant with Deloitte Consulting where she advised clients on a variety of total rewards topics. 

    Marina Vassilev holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a MBA from New York University. Marina is a Certified Compensation Profession (CCP), Certified Executive Compensation Professional (CECP) and Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) with Worldatwork.

    Melissa Myer


    Melissa Myer is Director, Global Mobility, Total Rewards at Mastercard.  In her role she is involved in the strategic development of the Global Mobility function through policy design/implementation (lump sum and core/flex), technology and process improvements, as well as monitoring trends and best practices.  She also functions as a strategic advisor to the Operations & Technology and North America Markets business units on people movement, immigration and taxation. Melissa managed a successful phased transition of repeatable and transactional Global Mobility tasks to a shared services center and continues to provide operational oversight to this team on policy governance and relocation exceptions.

    Prior to joining Mastercard in March 2014, Melissa was an Assistant Director, International Programs at Ernst & Young where she directed a team that provided mobility support for long-term and short-term structured international mobility programs for career development and busy season resources. Melissa also held leadership roles at Goldman Sachs as a Global Mobility Senior Assignment Manager and HR Business Partner during her 12-year tenure.

    Melissa holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management with a concentration in Career Development from The New School, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University.


    Alain Verstandig


    Alain Verstandig, President of the NET EXPAT Group, is an engineer who has passionately embraced International Mobility and Talent Management through personal experience.

    He currently lives in the USA but was born in 1962 in Brussels, Belgium to a French mother and a German father.

    He graduated with an Engineering degree, later supplemented by an MBA. Right after graduating, he travelled the world in an amazing 18-month backpacking adventure through more than 50 countries.

    Alain then worked over ten years for multinational corporations in various senior positions where he acquired first-hand knowledge of international mobility, being expatriated himself on several occasions. Alain speaks five languages.

    In 1998, Alain founded the NET EXPAT Group specializing in assessing, training and coaching for expatriates and their partners. Through its unique, innovative approaches, NET EXPAT soon became a global market leader, with offices in 76 countries around the world and a loyal customer base of more than 400 international corporations.

    More information can be found at    

    Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 9:45am to 10:45am
  • Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP

    Johnny C.
    Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP


    Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is President and Chief Executive Officer of SHRM. With nearly 340,000 members in 180 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 362 million workers and their families globally.

    As a global leader on the future of employment, culture and leadership, Mr. Taylor is a sought-after voice on all matters affecting work, workers and the workplace. Recognized as one of the “300 Most Influential Executives in Corporate America” for 2024 by Savoy Magazine and one of the “Most Influential People Shaping Public Policy” in our nation’s capital by Washingtonian Magazine, Mr. Taylor is frequently asked to testify before Congress on critical workforce issues and authors the weekly USA Today column, "Ask HR."

    Mr. Taylor's career spans more than 20 years as a lawyer, human resources executive and CEO in both the not-for-profit and for-profit spaces. He has held senior and chief executive roles at IAC/InteractiveCorp, Viacom's Paramount Pictures, Blockbuster Entertainment Group, the McGuireWoods law firm and Compass Group USA. Most recently, Mr. Taylor was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

    He is the author of the national bestseller, RESET: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval, which immediately upon its release in September 2021, was in the top three of The Wall Street Journal’s list of best-selling hardcover business books.

    Mr. Taylor is a member of the United Way Worldwide Board of Trustees and serves on the corporate boards of XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO), Flores & Associates, and Guild Education. He previously served on the White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board and as chairman of the President's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities during the Trump Administration.

    The Women Business Collaborative (WBC) named Mr. Taylor as one of its 2023 Trailblazers in Gender Equity and Diversity for his work to achieve equal position, pay and power for all women in business. In 2020, he received the Distinguished Executive of the Year Award from the Academy of Management, and he was named 2021 ALA Professional Society CEO of the Year by CEO Update.

    He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources and is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C.


    Monday, November 4, 2019 - 9:00am to 9:15am
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