Don't miss these Houston highlights!

Use my recommendations for the FEM Global Mobility Conference, Houston to plan your day and make the most of all the compelling content on offer.

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I am always amazed at just how much we manage to pack into an FEM Event and this year’s Houston Global Mobility Conference is no exception. There are just too many engaging sessions and great speakers to really do them justice here, so my advice (once you have read some of these recommendations) is to take a good look at the full Agenda and make a note of which sessions are your absolute unmissables.

Create your own agenda

We have a number of plenary sessions, but also two tracks to choose from, and it’s worth remembering that you can switch between the tracks to create your own tailor-made program. It's best to reserve your place at the discussions that you want to take part in though, so if you’ve registered to attend, keep checking your email inbox because we’ll be sending you details of how to book in very soon.

A great start

Our opening panel session: Managing Change and Controlling Costs in Uncertain Times promises to kick the day off with an examination of some of the most pressing concerns for the global mobility industry and particularly for those working in the oil and gas sector.

Our panelists, Elizabeth Karcher, Director Global Mobility & Total Rewards Communications at Discovery Communications, Marie Butler, International HR & Global Mobility Business Partner at Wood Group Mustang and Berna Anderson, Director Global Mobility at Weatherford will look at the changing role of GM, from a transactional, operational one to a more strategic part of business, and will suggest ways in which you can make cost savings through the integration of mobility and payroll, and how you can maintain a suite of attractive benefits and yet reduce overall costs. They will also discuss cost projection, measuring ROI and exception management.

Timely advice on immigration changes

Then, we will move straight on to another crucial matter – that of the impact of President Trump’s new immigration measures. So, for our second panel session: Managing immigration to and from the US in the light of changing attitudes and new governments we have assembled a panel of some of the leading global immigration lawyers from Berry Appleman and Leiden, Foster Global, Fragomen and Newland Chase. We’ll be asking them all about the latest regulations including the 10-point immigration plan and 'Extreme Vetting' Executive Order.

Plus, we’ll want to know about how the new Administration’s changes will affect training and education assignments to the US and what the new DHS regulation set to take effect January 17, 2017 will mean for job portability for high-skilled foreign workers. We’ll also examine what is likely to happen to H-1B reform and the green card backlog and how companies should prepare for a shift in enforcement priorities. Ultimately, in the light of shift in attitudes to immigration and trade, we’ll be asking whether it’s now time to refocus on local talent?

Get on Track

After a pit stop for refreshments and a chance to catch up with other delegates, we’ll be going straight into the Tracks, where attendees can choose from Track 1: Managing Global Challenges or Track 2: Managing Programs & Policies. Please remember that you can switch from one track to another, so please choose those which best suit your needs.

At 10.40 am there’s a session that’s particularly pertinent to the energy industry, where Berna Anderson, a well-known FEM speaker and EMMAs judge will discuss Managing assignees and travelers in the Middle East and challenging locations and how you can identify suitable candidates for assignment in challenging locations, what additional support should you be offering to expats and their families, and how you can take a proactive approach to security.

At the same time in Track 2 meanwhile, Ian MacDonald, Partner & Practice Lead, GreenbergTraurig LLP will be looking at the new tax implications for the changes in overseas treaties as a result of the new Trump Administration and how you can take a proactive approach to addressing proposed changes that impact your business.

Then at 11.15 in Track 2, Kelly Cobb, of Fragomen will be giving delegates her essential Top ten tips to help you navigate US immigration policy and addressing some vital issues including: effective management of Form I-9 employee verification audits, clarifying E-Verify requirements, handling state and federal investigations and understanding how an immigration issue can have larger and unexpected ramifications (eg discrimination, wage compliance, labor relations). Plus, she'll be giving some essential advice on how to handle the press when things go wrong.

If you’re grappling with the challenges of managing an aging workforce, then go to Track 1 at 11.50am where Jennifer Manis of Haliburton will be speaking about The generational shift of employees and how to deal with an aging workforce and anticipate skills gaps. She’ll look too at how to balance the needs of four different generations of expats and what impact will the influx of Millennials into the workforce have on Global Mobility?

Don't miss out on your copy of FEM's 2017 Policy in Practice Report

Our Networking Lunch at 12.20 will give everyone a chance to refuel and chat to old and new contacts, then at 1.30 I will be presenting our 2017 Policy in Practice Report: Managing Risk & Compliance in an Uncertain World. Our panel, comprised of Berna Anderson, Matt Burns, Elizabeth Karcher, and a new speaker at Houston, Renee Robideau of Mosaic will be exploring the findings that are in parts both encouraging and concerning. This will be the exclusive launch of the Report, so be sure to come along, pick up your copy and make your voice heard too.

Back on Track

Then we will go back to the Track system at 2.05, where among other topics, at 2.40 in Track 1 we will be examining the future of business travel between the US, Canada and Mexico with a session entitled: Our neighbors north and south: Understanding business travel challenges of Canada and Mexico. Herman Van Reekum, and Sarah Del Castillo of Newland Chase will examine how to manage questions from immigration authorities resulting from frequent cross border travel, additional requirements for foreign workers located in the US (traveling to Canada and Mexico), and what to do about travelers who have been refused entry to Canada or Mexico.

At the same time in Track 2, Jill Firse, Manager – Global Mobility & Tax, Frontica Advantage will look at Managing your program in uncertain times: Handling currency, inflation and economic volatility and discuss how inflation and exchange rate changes can impact on assignee pay, and review techniques to address volatility and best practice in policy design, administration and communication.

What is the future of Global Mobility?

Then from 3.40 onwards we will all join together again for two sessions where we will examine the future of global mobility. The first will be with Jenny Midyat, Director Total Rewards & Global Mobility and Kimberly Range, Head of Talent Management at Parker Drilling Company where they will ask, How can talent management and global mobility work together for the best outcomes?

Finally, our closing panel, comprised of Jane Munoz, Director Global Employee Services at Diamond Offshore Drilling, Jill Firse, Manager – Global Mobility & Tax at Frontica Advantage and Heather Falk, Global Mobility Specialist at Lloyd's Register will discuss Rebranding global mobility to the wider business and look at measuring and delivering results to the wider business and raising stakeholders’ awareness of challenges and risks. They’ll also explore how well-designed policies and programs can aid overseas expansion and promote diversity and gender equality.

Join us to share your experiences and raise some key questions.

Time to network!

At 5.00pm it will be time for some informal networking as we move through to the foyer to relax at our Drinks Reception. I look forward to seeing you in Texas very soon!

Claire Tennant-Scull

Global Director, Content & Events, Forum for Expatriate Management

Claire Tennant-Scull is Global Director of Content & Events at the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM). She produces and chairs all FEM’s Conferences and Summits in Amsterdam, the Americas, APAC and EMEA and oversees FEM's global awards (EMMAs). Claire works closely with key clients, leads FEM’s London Chapter and oversees the FEM website, reports and publications. In addition to her experience in Global Mobility, Claire has more than 20 years’ expertise in publishing, working as a managing editor, writer, journalist and broadcaster, both in the print and digital world. With thousands of contacts across the Global Mobility community, Claire is always keen to welcome new members and to broaden the FEM community.

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