150 Attend Third Annual Conference
One hundred fifty AWI members and guests attended AWI's third annual conference in Oakland, California last week. The highlights included the keynote address by former US Attorney Joseph Russoniello (at left), remarks by AWI founder and outgoing president Amy Oppenheimer (at right), and many successful educational and networking sessions.
Mr. Russoniello, who served two terms as US Attorney for the Northern District of California, took the audience on a fascinating odyssey through his long career of civil and criminal investigations, pausing along the way to share masterful insights into the theory and practice of investigations. With his unique blend of a keen sense of justice, wisdom, and common sense, he offered pithy comments on some of the high-profile investigations he handled.
Ms. Oppenheimer, who founded AWI in 2009 as the California Association of Workplace Investigators, and led the association as President for three years as it grew to 400 members in 25 states, gave heartfelt reflections on her careeer, the importance of AWI to her personally, and the future of AWI. Ms. Oppenheimer's term as president ended at the conference, and Michael A. Robbins was elected as the incoming President.
The plenary sessions at the conference included programs on interdisciplinary perspectives on investigations by Keith Rohman and Susan Woolley, a legal update by Suzanne Solomon and Allison Neufeld, a question and answer session by defense attorney Tyler Brown, and a presentation on crisis communications by Janey Bishoff. Members of AWI's Guiding Principles Committee gave a presentation on AWI's newly-published Guiding Principles for Investigators Conducting Impartial Workplace Investigations.
The conference also included four breakout sessions on a range of topics, including credibility, disability, public sector, and timing. The conference concluded with the Annual Meetings of Members and of the Board of Directors.
The conference was preceded by a cutting-edge half-day pre-conference session on computer forensics in workplace investigations. It included an overview of computer forensics by Don Vilfer, a lecture on privacy issued by Kurt Kappes, and a unique hands-on computer forensics exercise developed and led by Deborah Allison and her team.
The networking sessions included a family-style buffet dinner for 50 on Thursday, a reception with a gorgeous view of the Bay Area at sunset on Friday for 100, and a breakfast meeting for those involved in workplace conflict resolution on Saturday. AWI's Annual Conference Committee, Chaired by Julie Moore, with Vice Chair Sue Ann Van Dermyden, is already hard at work planning AWI's fourth annual conference, which will be held October 24-26, 2013 at the Glendale Hilton in Glendale, California.