Workforce development and talent recruitment and retention are top concerns for area businesses in 2024. The Eugene Chamber and Onward Eugene look forward to hosting the Leadership Summit, covering workforce development topics including talent recruitment, talent retention, and developing leadership.

The Leadership Summit is proudly sponsored by PeaceHealth and Northwest Natural Gas, with support from Chambers Construction and McKenzie Willamette Medical Center.

The Eugene Chamber created the Women Business Leader of the Year award to proudly honor women whose achievements, commitments, and vision have made them leaders in their professional fields and our community. Join us as we celebrate women in our community who inspire, innovate, and lead us in promoting a healthy, thriving local economy.

The Women Business Leader of the Year award is presented by Northwest Community Credit Union with additional support from Chambers Construction and McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center.


Join us at the Leadership Summit for a day of unparalleled learning and networking opportunities. Designed for business leaders across all levels, from executives to HR professionals and middle managers, this event is your gateway to addressing common workforce and leadership challenges.

Delve into crucial topics such as workplace culture and wellness, recruitment and talent strategies, and effective retention techniques through engaging workshops and interactive experiences. Gain valuable insights and practical tools to enhance your organization’s performance and drive success.

& Wellness

Discover how to cultivate a workplace culture that fosters employee well-being and retention.

Recruitment & Talent

Explore cutting-edge recruitment and talent strategies to help shape the future success of your organization.

& Business Training

Discover effective methods for training and developing your workforce, and learn strategies to foster a culture of continuous learning.

River Aaland has more than 15 years of expertise in issues of girls and youth advocacy, poverty, body positivity and fat activism, anti-oppression practice, healthy communication, and mentorship. Before coming to Ophelia’s Place in 2011, she worked at Options Counseling and Family Services and St. Vincent de Paul’s First Place Family Center, working with families experiencing various forms of stress and marginalization.

She is dedicated to the belief that it is possible to change systems of power that exploit and isolate into spaces rooted in relationship and reciprocity. River is committed to approaching everyone she works with from a human-centered, compassionate, and respectful viewpoint and feels especially fortunate to be able to support adolescents and those who work with them.

In her personal life, River is a fiber and mixed-media artist, forager, forest wanderer, potion-maker, and tiny-bird enthusiast. She lives with a bossy cat in a house full of books.

Creating a Culture of Improvement:
Leading your Team to Success

From business strategy development to engaging employees to create a culture of problem solving, learn how to establish the foundation and implement systems to enable your team to drive organizational improvement. During this workshop we will explore methods for communicating true north to your team, establishing improvement mechanisms, and driving change. By providing the tools for success leaders can free their teams to deeper engagement and organizational evolution.

Child Care as Recruitment and Retention Strategy:
Promising Local Models

Hear from local employers and child care providers about promising partnerships and models designed to increase access to quality, affordable child care and learn how your organization might undertake these strategies to improve recruitment, retention, attendance and productivity.

With panelists:

  • Mark Schmelz, VP of HR, UO
  • Michael Wargo, ED, Willamalane
  • Drea Smith, Director, Tip Tap Grow
  • James Trujillo, Workforce Wellness Solutions Manager, Lane County

Developing Early-Career Talent Pipelines
for a Gen Z Workforce

Gen Z will make up about 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030, that’s 50 million jobs! While Gen Z may have some overlapping characteristics with millennials and other generations, this session will highlight some of the defining characteristics of this growing local workforce, their career readiness potential, and what they’re looking for in their job searches. Join us for table chats around Gen Z recruitment and retention best practices, as well as learn more about how you can be developing, recruiting, and retaining early-career talent pipelines to foster the next generation of Eugene young professionals through part-time jobs, paid internships, mentorship, and other career readiness initiatives.

Bridge Hiring Gaps

WorkSource Oregon offers worksource solutions thorugh their program offerings, including their On The Job Training Program, which support employers to improve and implement talent recruitment strategies to bridge gaps in hiring. Walk away with tangible ways to utilize some of their training programs in your workplace.

What Women Really Want:
Unveiling Workplace Dreams, Promotion Pathways, and Retention Realities

In this dynamic panel session, join a diverse group of women as they offer unfiltered insights into what truly attracts, motivates, and retains female talent in the workplace. Drawing inspiration from the film “What Women Want,” this session goes beyond clichés to delve into the authentic desires, aspirations, and challenges faced by women in various professional settings. From envisioning their dream job environments to dissecting the key factors for promotion and retention, these panelists provide invaluable perspectives for leaders seeking to create inclusive and supportive workplaces. Prepare to gain a deep understanding of the often-unspoken needs and aspirations of women in the workforce and discover actionable strategies to foster gender equality and career growth.

With Panelists:

  • Taina Saltysiak, Manager of Data and Analytics, Lane County
  • Collina Beard, Chief Business Officer, 4J
  • Alma Fumiko Hesus, VP of Resource Development, United Way of Lane County
  • Judy Williams, Chief of Staff, Lane County

Activate Your Workplace Culture:
Develop an Empowered and Connected Team

Engage in an exciting discussion with panelists whose businesses are recognized for their work culture and have been honored as “Best Places to Work in Oregon” and the Eugene Mayor’s Bold Steps Award.
Learn about what it looks like to activate an excellent team culture, promote and empower employees in the workplace, and serve as champions of our broader Eugene-Springfield community.

With Panelists:

  • Emma Sackinger, Production Department Manager, Hummingbird Wholesale
  • Amy K. Delaney, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Kernutt Stokes
  • Jaclyn Rudebeck, Attorney, Watkinson, Laird, Rubenstein

Justin Freeman provides organizational culture consulting and leadership coaching for companies and nonprofit organizations throughout Oregon. He and his wife also own two food manufacturing businesses in the Eugene-Springfield area: Bagel Sphere and Oregon Copacking. Justin currently serves on the boards of several Oregon-based organizations, including the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, and both the board and supervisory committee of Oregon Community Credit Union. Justin is an active mentor for students and startups at the University of Oregon. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Justin enjoys hiking, skiing, paddleboarding, and enjoying the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.