50th Anniversary Symposium:

The Future of Employee Benefits




Click here to get your own copy of the Council's 50th anniversary publication, Reflections: Looking Back on a Half-Century of Employee Benefits.

Symposium Agenda


7:00 a.m.


8:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Council leadership outlines the important themes for the symposium.

Allison Klausner
Vice President, Counsel, Benefits
CBS Corporation

Chair, American Benefits Council Board of Directors



A message from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

8:15 a.m.

Poll Positions: Americans’ Views on Employee Benefits

The Council describes new polling data on Americans’ attitudes about employer-sponsored benefits.

>>  Results from the Council's National Poll

Jason Hammersla
Vice President, Communications
American Benefits Council


8:30 a.m.

Employee Benefits Past, Present and Future

Few, if any, Americans have held as many senior federal government positions with direct responsibility for health and retirement security as David Walker.

Council President James Klein interviews Walker on the future of private sector benefit plans, the viability of government health and retirement entitlement programs, and the evolving role of states in regulating employee benefits. 

David Walker
Former Assistant Secretary of Labor, Public Trustee for Social Security and Medicare, and Comptroller General of the United States

James Klein
American Benefits Council


9 a.m.

The Future of the Workforce: What Will Tomorrow’s Employees Want?

In a series of "TED Talk-type" presentations, representatives from emerging demographic groups describe their constituencies’ growing priorities for job-based benefits and compensation.

Benjamin Brown
Founder & CEO
Association of Young Americans

Anne Hedgepeth
Interim Vice President of Public Policy & Government Relations

Abigail Zapote
Executive Director
Latinos for a Secure Retirement




10 a.m.

The Future of the Workplace: How Will Employers Meet the Needs of Tomorrow’s Workforce?

A panel of corporate employee benefits professionals discuss the changing nature of work – including the rise of the “gig” economy – and how benefits will evolve to meet the needs of employees and overarching business goals.

Tami Simon [Moderator]
Managing Director
Conduent HR Services

Kevin Avery
Manager, Federal Government Affairs

Jennifer Graham-Johnson
Chief Human Resources Officer

Tom Sondergeld
Vice President HRIS, Global Benefits & Mobility,
Walgreens Boots Alliance

Fred Thiele
General Manager, Global Benefits


11 a.m. 

Measuring the Value of Employer-Sponsored Benefits

The Council, in partnership with the Employee Benefit Research Institute, has undertaken research that articulates the role and value of employer-sponsored benefits to workers and the American economy. The research findings are unveiled during this session.

>> The Unique Value of Employer-Sponsored Benefits (preview of research report to be released in full in early 2018)

>> Presentation Slides

Peter Baxter
Senior Vice President, Insurance & Financial Services
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Melissa Kahn
Managing Director & Retirement Policy Strategist
State Street Global Advisors


11:15 a.m.

When Big Data Comes Alive: Artificial Intelligence & Implications for Health and Retirement

In this panel discussion, experts on artificial intelligence and machine learning describe and predict how this new technological frontier will change employer and employee benefits experience.

Steve LeVine [Moderator]
Future Editor

Kunjorn Chambundabongse
Vice President of Innovation, Research & Development
UnitedHealth Group

Pia Ramchandani
Director, Artificial Intelligence Accelerator

>> Presentation Slides



1:15 p.m.

Thought Leadership Competition Award

The winner of the Council’s Thought Leadership Competition for Emerging Benefits Professionals presents the winning proposal on how to make the employee benefits system more successful in the future.

Thought Leadership Competition Winner

Breanna Dedrickson
Lead Benefits Analyst

Eunju Namkung [Moderator]
Manager, Communications and Social Media
American Benefits Council

>> 2017 Thought Leadership Competition Winning Entry: Improving the Employee Benefits System Through Personalized Benefits Offerings

1:30 p.m.

“Benefits Champion” Award for Policy Leadership

The Council presents an award to honor policymakers who have served with distinction and leadership on employee benefit matters.

Employee Benefits Champions: Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH)

Lynn Dudley
Senior Vice President
American Benefits Council


2 p.m.

Keynote: Lessons from Freakonomics

The keynote lecture ties together several of the themes common to the Freakonomics book, blog and podcast series, including business & management best practices, the power of incentives and how to think counterintuitively – “like a freak."

Stephen Dubner
award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality
Co-Author, Freakonomics


The video of the keynote is available to Council members only. Click here to view.


3 p.m.



    The Symposium was open to all Council members as well as the media, government officials and their staff, stakeholders and opinion leaders from all parts of the employee benefits system, and the general public.

    Date: November 30, 2017, 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, ET

    Location: JW Marriott Washington DC, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004

    If you would like further information on the Symposium, please contact Jason Hammersla, vice president, communications at jhammersla@abcstaff.org.


    Learn more about the Council's 50 years of service to the plan sponsor community.

    Follow the Council on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook