Dialogue Days

Dialouge Days Monday, October 19 - Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dialogue Days is about you! Connect with industry professionals, community members, and alumni. Learn from the experiences of seasoned leaders to see what real-world situations look like in your industry.

This four-day program brings CEOs, financial advisors, sales managers, and other industry experts into the classroom to connect with students and share their insight into the business world.  Each class is matched with a speaker who closely relates to the course objects such as managerial accounting, enterprise architecture, portfolio management, or venture development.

Dialogue Days will be held from October 19 - 22, 2020. This year we will also be hosting a special panel on Facebook Live that discusses the topic of Breakthrough Leadership: Managing through a Crisis.

Panel Discussion

Breakthrough Leadership: Managing through a Crisis 

What does breakthrough leadership mean to you? What traits does a leader need to carry their team through a crisis? Learn from industry experts as they share their experiences with managing during a crisis.

Tuesday, Oct 20  |  5:00 PM EST  |  CBA Facebook Live

» Panelists


Deirdre Drake 

Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, US Cellular 

As executive vice president and chief people officer, Deirdre leads the human resources organization and is responsible for delivering integrated human resources solutions that directly enable the achievement of U.S. Cellular's strategic objectives. She collaborates with various teams to ensure there is appropriate support for the organization's mission and vision of providing an excellent customer experience. 

Deirdre began her career in human resources in 1989 with Marathon Oil Company. She has also held increasingly senior leadership positions in human resources with Kraft Foods, ARAMARK Corporation and The Bank of Montreal Financial Group. Prior to joining U.S. Cellular in April 2014, Deirdre was managing director and chief human resources officer for the Bank of Montreal Financial Group—Capital Markets Division. 

Deirdre earned a bachelor's degree in human resources from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and a master's degree in business administration from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She is a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association, serves as a board member with the Chicago Public Library Foundation and American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, and is actively involved in a number of local and national not-for profit organizations. 


Gary Johnson 

Chief Manufacturing and Labor Officer, Ford Motor Company

Gary Johnson is Chief Manufacturing and Labor Affairs Officer, effective October 1, 2018. In this role, Johnson is responsible for overseeing the global operations of every Ford assembly, stamping and powertrain plant around the world. In addition, he leads the company’s worldwide engineering support for stamping, vehicle and powertrain manufacturing, as well as Ford’s Material Planning & Logistics, Ford Production System, Manufacturing Business Office and Labor Affairs organizations.  

Previously, Johnson served as vice president of North America Manufacturing, a role he held since January 1, 2016 and was responsible for Ford’s North America manufacturing footprint – the company’s largest in the world with more than 30 manufacturing plants.

Prior to leading Ford’s manufacturing in North America, Johnson served as vice president of Manufacturing Operations for Asia Pacific since January 2010. In that position, he oversaw a host of new vehicle and engine launches as well as the construction of ten new plants in the region – seven in China, two in India and one in Thailand – the company’s largest expansion in 50 years. 

Johnson has worked in manufacturing and quality for more than 30 years in increasing levels of responsibility at various locations and is a leader in lean manufacturing. Among his assignments in North America, he served as director of manufacturing for engine operations and director of vehicle operations for quality. 

Born in 1964, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.


Ricardo Resio

Director of HR, Morley Corporation

As the senior executive in charge of human resources (HR), Ricardo’s role is to focus on strategic planning for the enterprise as well as team member development, enhancing company culture and positioning Morley as an “Employer of Choice.” Morley Companies is headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan.

Prior to joining Morley in 2018, Ricardo has held a variety of positions in various industries. He was the Executive Vice President of Corporate Servces for Merrill Technology, a manufacturing company in Michigan. His responsibilities included overseeing the company’s human resources, information technology, and marketing departments. Ricardo also worked for Rehmann, a regional CPA and Consulting firm, as its Chief Human Resources Officer. He had the honor of being the first associate of an ethnic minority descent to be promoted to principal in the firm’s history. Not only did he serve as labor law counsel, managed employee relations, and directed strategic planning for the multi-state company, he also provided human resource consulting to clients. Ricardo has had human resources responsibilities for Michigan Sugar Company (MSC) as an employee relations supervisor. MSC is a union-based agricultural cooperative, currently headquartered in Bay City, Michigan, that specializes in the processing of beet sugar. Ricardo’s HR efforts have been recognized with the Arbor Award for Excellence, Michigan’s most coveted award for human resources best practices and innovation. Ricardo was one of twelve recipients who received the Ruby Award in its inaugural year. This award recognizes the upward, bright and young of those who work in Bay, Midland, or Saginaw counties.

Ricardo holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a major in Human Resource Management from Central Michigan University and a Legal Studies Certificate from Saginaw Valley State University. He holds several professional credentials including a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification, a Senior Certified Professional certification (SHRM-SCP) and a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. Past Professional

» Moderator


Misty Bennett

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Central Michigan University College of Business Administration