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Convergence Day 1: Today’s New Normal Promises Future Opportunities

Cornerstone Editors

The first fully virtual Cornerstone Convergence kicked off today and there is just so much to tell you about the event! Under the conference theme of "unbound thinking," Cornerstone clients, partners and employees from across the globe engaged in sessions, networking chats and Q&As to explore how organizations—and their people—can revisit and replace yesterday’s thinking with fresh perspectives needed for our new world of work.

On behalf of everyone at Cornerstone we’d like to send a special thank you to our remarkable customers for sharing how they're using our technology to drive talent development outcomes in their organizations.

Now, let's check out some highlights from Day 1!

Navigating the Now of Work—Opening Keynote from Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders

"Is this what you expected?"

To kick off Convergence 2020, Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders asked a question that over 17,000 attendees likely had the same answer to: definitely not. None of us could have predicted that we’d be attending Convergence from our home office (or couch or kitchen table). The future of work is now, and this new reality is calling on people and organizations to think and act differently.

Phil touched on the changes that are on the horizon for Cornerstone that will enable people to rise to be extraordinary and be drivers of innovation. The company’s new mission and vision is customer-centric, focused on investment in innovation and a continued commitment to the work of the Cornerstone OnDemand foundation. Phil also introduced three key tenets guiding Cornerstone’s vision and mission: to help people be understood, be guided and belong.

Phil closed his talk with a note of appreciation for the opportunity to foster connections and conversations with customers, partners and employees at Convergence. With over 50 sessions across five tracks, Convergence 2020 delivers an unmatched opportunity to learn from an amazing group of talent leaders and innovators about navigating change, empowering employees, embracing innovative technology—and much more.

Navigating Constant Change—in 2020 and Beyond

The need to navigate constant change echoed across almost all of the sessions on Day 1—no matter the topic.

In the panel discussion, Identifying the right skills and content strategies to navigate unprecedented change, Cornerstone’s own Summer Salomonsen and Mark Lamswood engaged Liggy Webb, award-winning author and thought leader on human resilience, in a conversation adaptability. They discussed how curiosity and an openness to challenging ourselves are key to handling unprecedented transformation. Learning content can also help drive change in the workplace—so that organizations can transition from a place of anxiety to action, achieving in a matter of weeks what might have taken years.

Another critical role of learning content is its ability to advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across companies. Several sessions today reminded us that addressing racism doesn’t have an end date; and fostering a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace is more than an HR strategy. Supporting leaders in developing inclusive leadership capabilities is just the start.

Embracing a Personalized, Enriched Employee Journey

The three key tenants (be understood, be guided and belong) CEO Phil Saunders outlined in his keynote came alive in many of today’s sessions focused on putting employees first.

The onboarding experience is a critical step to encourage new hires to feel welcomed and have a clear vision about their role. In Building a world-class onboarding approach, Pamela Greenwood, IT Officer and Makarand Kulkarni, Senior Business Solutions Officer for World Bank Group shared how they used Cornerstone Onboarding to successfully onboard 940 new hires in one year!

In LEADing the way: Innovating an award-winning leadership development strategy, John Niedzielski and Lynda Cribari from Davenport University shared how they partnered with Cornerstone to develop a suite of leadership offerings to increase employee engagement.

Driving Innovation with Disruptive Technology

Once employees are comfortable navigating change and feel engaged in their growth, they’re able to lean into new technologies to drive innovation.

Candidates, employees, hiring managers, and HR are all feeling the impact as talent acquisition teams undergo a period of unique change. In Assemble the best people for today and tomorrow, TalentLink experts shared the key to better communication—trust, transparency and authenticity—and the capabilities available within TalentLink to enable it.

Another session highlighted the massive opportunity of blockchain to match talent to career opportunities with a single, employee-owned source of truth.

Finally, Talespin CEO Kyle Jackson engaged Manal Houri, Head of Digital Transformation, Facebook Learning and Development and JoAnne Rossouw, Head of Digital Learning at Nestle in a discussion aboutBuilding leadership and communication skills using virtual reality.

Both Facebook and Nestle are at different stages of their journeys in implementing VR as a learning modality but the potential is recognized. "It provides a safe space for learners to learn," commented Rossouw. "Once we started using the format where a person gets in a VR headset, we started to see mindsets shift," Houri added.

Of Course, Cornerstone Made Several Announcements at #CSODCONF20

While sessions kicked off on Day 1 of the conference, Cornerstone also made several key announcements aligned to its new vision, strategy and innovation commitments, and we’re excited to share them here.

  • Cornerstone welcomes Ajay Awatramani as Chief Product Officer! Ajay will lead product strategy, management and design as the company doubles down on its vision to accelerate innovation and further strengthen its leading people development solutions.

  • Introducing the Cornerstone Skills Graph, an AI-powered skills engine that has been built into the company’s portfolio of products. The technology enables organizations and their people to implement "strategic skilling" — the practice of matching skills to people, learning content and job roles — to predict, prepare for and quickly respond to dynamic business changes.
  • Cornerstone report on Skills Development reveals significant confidence gap between businesses and their people. This global study uncovers the greatest challenges organizations face when it comes to helping their employees develop new skills and offers practical advice for closing confidence gaps related to skills development. Read a conversation about the findings between Heidi Spirgi and Mike Bollinger on Cornerstone’s ReWork, or click here to access the full report "A License to Skill: Embracing the Reskilling Revolution."

  • Expanded collaboration between the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation and Project HOPE, a nonprofit global health and humanitarian organization. This new online curriculum teaches frontline healthcare workers how to safely screen, triage and treat COVID-19 patients in remote regions. Starting today, the courses offered through Project HOPE will now be available in more languages, including English and Spanish, and in new regions, including Africa. To date, more than 2,800 learners in 139 countries have taken approximately 5,000 hours of training, and demand for the online learning program continues to grow. Amazing!

Academy Award-winning Actor, Producer and Philanthropist Viola Davis on "Being True to Yourself"

Day 1 of Convergence ended with an inspiring closing keynote with the truly awesome Viola Davis and Cornerstone's Chief Learning Officer and VP of Organizational Effectiveness Jeff Miller. Their conversation centered on why we need to embrace and own our life story.

As Viola explained, we are the amalgamation of everything that has come before us. Not only must you accept and own your life story, you also need to share that story. Because when we share our stories, we begin to understand ourselves and others more, which fosters empathy.

Viola's final guiding message was centered on developing a giving mindset. Recognize that every decision you make leaves a crumb, a legacy for the future generation. Accept your past to release your blessings, then give of yourself - however small, to build something better.

Fun, Networking & Food! Yes, Food!

Finally, it wouldn’t be Convergence without great conversations, fun and food!

Live from Los Angeles, Chef Curtis Stone joined Convergence to teach us how to cook a mouth-watering pasta dish: ricotta cavatelli with sage brown butter and parmesan. Yum-mazing! And for the home chefs who really wanted to kick it up a notch, Chef Curtis taught attendees how to make homemade ricotta. The chat was buzzing with hungry attendees - and if you watched live, you know that the automatic pepper mill really stole the show!

Take a look at a few of the Day 1 moments captured and shared by attendees!

Look at that mise en place!

And That’s a Wrap for Day 1 of Convergence!

Thanks again to everyone who participated. There were so many insightful speakers and sessions today—with more to come in Day 2!

To watch any sessions you missed on Day 1 and to see what’s planned for the Day 2 agenda, visit: And keep the conversation going! Follow Cornerstone Convergence 2020 on social media channels: Twitter @CSODConvergence, Instagram @CornerstoneOnDemand and Facebook @Cornerstoneconvergence. You can engage with the conversation using #CSODConf20.

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Countdown to Convergence: Customize Your Conference Experience

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Countdown to Convergence: Customize Your Conference Experience

Cornerstone Convergence is only six short days away! Since it’s an all-virtual event this year, you have the unique opportunity to personalize your Convergence experience by designing a custom schedule and choosing the sessions that most interest you. Below you’ll find details on the different tracks you can attend this year, along with a video guide for customizing your schedule. This is your Convergence—here’s how to make the most of it! Introducing the Convergence Virtual Event Platform Before you start designing your conference experience, take the time to explore your options and access the full agenda on the Convergence website. In addition to the keynote sessions, there are five different tracks to choose from: Product Training Labs, Product Discussions, Bold Thinkers, Tech Talks and Client Spotlight. And keep in mind—you don’t have to commit to one track. Feel free to mix and match your session options! Maybe you start the day in the Bold Thinkers track, and then shuffle to Product Discussions or Tech Talks tracks later in the day. Here’s a little more information on each track: Product Training Labs: Go beyond "what’s new" to "how to" with guidance from our training experts. Each lab will explore a variety of practical use cases and provide tips and tricks for better administering your current solutions, helping you develop a sharper understanding of your current products and expand your proficiencies in managing them for your organization. Product Discussions: Learn more about the latest capabilities and plans for your current solutions and the new offerings your organization might want to explore. You’ll not only get exclusive looks at our upcoming product roadmap but you'll also get to explore several hidden gems that can help you drive adoption and make the most of your current products. Bold Thinkers: Cornerstone and other industry bold thinkers discuss topics that will help you align your talent strategy to your evolving business strategy. Covering the latest talent research and the bold concepts shaping industries, these talks are designed to inspire you with new ideas about the future of work and your role in shaping it. Tech Talks: These sessions focus on some of the most popular topics your IT experts want to explore — from cloud and products to data and privacy — you’ll hear firsthand from our technology team about our latest platform advancements and technology direction. Client Spotlights: Imagination. Innovation. Inspiration. These sessions bring together industry peers from across our customer community to share ideas and success stories. Hear about lessons learned in using Cornerstone solutions to attract, develop, and retain talent, and how these clients delivered strategic outcomes for their organizations. Choose Your Convergence Adventure! Once you’ve explored the conference agenda and have an idea of which sessions you’d like to attend, it’s time to choose your Convergence adventure! Start by signing into the Convergence platform using your login information, which will be sent Monday, September 14th to all registered attendees via email. If you haven’t received an email by September 14th, try searching your inbox (including your spam folder!) or contact us at  Once you’re logged into the event platform, you’ll want to create your profile and make sure that your time zone and region are correct. Then, it’s time to select the sessions you’d like to attend! To add events to your agenda, simply enroll in the sessions you’d like to attend and they will be added to your ’My Agenda’ page. Click here to watch a video explaining how to bookmark a session and explore other Convergence activities via the platform. Network with Speakers and Peers Throughout Convergence Once the conference starts, follow your agenda to attend the sessions you’ve selected. In between sessions, use the chat bubble icon at the top of the homepage to chat with peers and Cornerstars. Each session will also have a chatroom where you can engage in discussions with fellow attendees. Some sessions will also have live Q&A to engage speakers too! Announcing a Cook-Along with Curtis Stone! You’ll want to get shopping for the latest addition to the agenda: an exclusive LIVE cook-along with celebrity chef Curtis Stone on September 16 from 1:30–2:30 pm PT / 4:30–5:30 pm ET / 12:30-13:30 pm BST. Chef Curtis is a master when it comes to rolling pasta dough, and he’ll share his tips and tricks while teaching you how to make handmade ricotta cavatelli with sage brown butter and parmesan. Yum. No need to sign up for the live cook-along in advance. You already have free access to the session because you registered to attend Convergence; simply enroll in the activity when you access the platform—along with the 40+ other sessions you won’t want to miss. ;) Here are the ingredients you need to cook along with Chef Curtis: Cavatelli 115 g (4 oz) fresh, very soft ricotta cheese 5 g (≈1 1/2 tbsp) beaten egg 15 g (≈1 1/8 tbsp) parmesan cheese, microplane 100 g (≈3/4 cups) plain flour Sauce 13 oz broccoli florets with 1-inch stems 8 tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 cup coarsely chopped basil 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice Salt and pepper Extra virgin olive oil for serving Parmesan Tuile 3 oz grated parmesan cheese Don’t fancy getting your hands dirty? Then join the session to pick up tips and tricks, save a new recipe for later and have a good time! Join in on the Fun and Games! While Convergence is virtual this year there is still tons of opportunity to network and engage in fun experiences throughout the conference. From the Convergence platform select the "Fun and Games" icon to join a yoga or meditation session, check out what people are saying on social, or as mentioned earlier, cook along with Curtis Stone! Every action you take during the conference, whether it's participating in Fun & Games, completing your profile, attending sessions, participating in chats or visiting our sponsor booths, will help you earn points. And you’ll want to collect as many points as you can because they will put you in the running for some amazing prizes—like a Peloton bike package, a Breville Express machine, Apple Airpods and more! Join the Convergence Experience From Anywhere, At Any Time We’re excited to offer you a global conference this year, enabling attendees to watch from anywhere in the world. And if you can’t make all of the live sessions, that’s okay! They will all be made available on-demand, so you can watch them at a later time. Will we see you at #CSODConf20? If you haven’t registered for Convergence yet, then what are you waiting for? It’s all-virtual, all free and offers plenty of learning, connection, and fun! To register and build your personalized session schedule, visit: If you’ve already registered, be on the lookout for your registration email. See you September 16th and 17th! Click here for a video on how to navigate the virtual Convergence platform and create your own conference agenda. And to follow Cornerstone Convergence 2020 on social media, visit our Twitter @CSODConvergence, Instagram @CornerstoneOnDemand and Facebook @Cornerstoneconvergence. You can engage with the conversation using #CSODConf20.

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