Creating Opportunity Out of Adversity…

Building Agile and Innovative People-Driven Organizations to Beat the Slow Growth Economic Blues

2015 CEO Challenge Rebecca Ray, The Conference Board’s Executive Vice President, Knowledge Organization and Human Capital Practice Lead, will discuss the results of  the CEO Challenge® 2015 survey. Begun in 1999, the annual study, sponsored by The Conference Board, identifies critical corporate growth hurdles in the year ahead. Results are analyzed by regions, across industry groups and across companies of different revenue sizes.

In this year’s CEO Challenge® survey of 943 business leaders, CEOs say a strong and aligned leadership cadre, a highly engaged workforce, improved organizational agility, a focus on customers, and building an entrepreneurial spirit around innovation capabilities are the tools they need to make headway against the buffer of slowing economic growth.

As the top challenge for 2015, CEOs view Human Capital, in all its forms, from dynamic leadership to a skilled workforce cadre, as the primary fuel to drive the engines of growth within their organizations.


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Rebecca Ray serves as the Executive Vice President, Knowledge Organization for The Conference Board. In Ray-Rebeccathis role, she has oversight of the research planning and dissemination process for all three practices areas (Corporate Leadership, Economy & Business Environment, and Human Capital) and is responsible for the research agenda which, in turn, drives much of the business planning process for The Conference Board. She is responsible for overall quality and the continuing integration of Conference Board research and engagement efforts. She oversees Ask TCB™, their Business Information Service. Rebecca is also the leader of the global human capital practice. Human capital research at The Conference Board focuses on human capital analytics, labor markets, workforce readiness, strategic workforce planning, talent management, diversity and inclusion, human resources, leadership development and employee engagement. In addition to published research, related products and services at The Conference Board include peer learning networks, conferences, webcasts, and experiential and other executive events. She hosts the monthly Human Capital Watch™webcast, which explores current issues, research and practitioner successes in the field of human capital. She oversees the Human Capital Exchange™, a website that offers research and insights from The Conference Board, human capital practitioners and our knowledge partners. She created the Senior Fellows program in human capital with some of the profession’s most acclaimed leaders. She is the Director of The Engagement Institute™, a research community of practice she created with Deloitte Consulting and Sirota.

She is the co-author of numerous publications with a focus on leadership development and engagement. Rebecca is a frequent speaker at professional and company-sponsored conferences and business briefings around the world. She is often a guest in business media (Bloomberg TV (Hong Kong and Europe) and Bloomberg Radio, CNBC India, and her research, commentary, initiatives or the accomplishments of her various teams have been featured in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and South China Morning Post newspapers as well as in Harvard Business Review, Chief Learning Officer, Leadership Excellence, Training, CIO, Workforce Management, Human Resources, HR Magazine (Hong Kong), Chief Executive Officer, HR Magazine (UK), EMBA Magazine (Taiwan), People & Strategy (The Professional Journal of HRPS) and Talent Management.

Rebecca was previously a senior executive responsible, at various times, for talent acquisition, organizational learning, training, management and leadership development, employee engagement, performance management, executive assessment, coaching, organizational development, and succession planning at several marquis companies. She taught at Oxford and New York Universities and led a consulting practice for many years, offering leadership assessment and development services to Fortune 500 companies and top-tier professional services firms. She was named “Chief Learning Officer of the Year” by Chief Learning Officer magazine, and one of the “Top 100 People in Leadership Development” by Warren Bennis’s Leadership Excellence magazine. She serves on the Advisory Boards for New York University’s Program in Higher Education/ Business Education at The Steinhardt School of Education; the University of Pennsylvania’s Executive Program in Work-Based Learning Leadership; and the Board of Advisors for Georgetown University’s MPS Human Resource Management program. She was elected to serve on the Business Practices Council of the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

Rebecca received her Ph.D. from New York University. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including her co-authored works, Measuring Leadership Development (McGraw-Hill) in 2012; Measuring the Success of Leadership Development: Case Studies (ATD) expected in 2014; and Measuring Employee Engagement (ATD), expected in 2015.

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