Beyond Ping Pong: Real Strategies for Tech Talent Retention

On June 6, ITAG will host its next Partnership Meeting including a panel discussion: Beyond Ping Pong: Real Strategies for Tech Talent Retention. We will kick off the meeting with partnership matters before our featured presentation. At the end of the meeting you are invited to stay for networking and happy hour.

“Should I offer more money? More benefits? More.… pizza parties?”

Are you tired of losing your best and brightest tech talent? Want to learn how to keep your employees engaged, motivated, and excited to get to work each day? Join ITAG for this interactive discussion where panelists will share strategies for tech talent retention that also increase productivity, lower hiring and training costs, and improve organizational performance.


  • Eric Barnes, HR Information Systems Manager, Wawa
  • Jeff Black, Branch Director, Eliassen Group
  • Marcia O’Connor, CEO and Founder, The O’Connor Group


  • Natalie Plummer, Esq., Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Bentley Systems

The competition for tech talent is fierce: to replace an employee, companies are facing recruiting and training costs averaging six to nine months of the employee’s salary. With skilled tech employees easily enticed by other companies with increased salaries or attractive perks, it is essential that organizations find creative ways to retain their top tech talent. Sign up today to hear what’s working and why.

Meet the Panelists:

Eric Barnes
HR Information Systems Manager, Wawa

Before becoming the H.R.I.S. manager for Wawa, Eric was the Manager of Enterprise Engineering and was responsible for the design and specifications for the company’s various technology platforms and services. He was also the lead managing technologies in the creation of Wawa’s mobile application where he was responsible for the design and implementation of the core infrastructure for the mobile platform. Through this work effort, Eric introduced over 54 new technologies to Wawa helping to lead the company into the digital age.

Prior to joining Wawa, Eric was the Retail PCI Network Architect/Sr. Retail Technology Consultant for Sunoco and was responsible for the design, management and support of Sunoco’s credit card and loyalty networks as well as other related retail technology systems, such as point-of-sales and back-office financial systems.

Through his career, Eric has developed an extensive knowledge in retail technologies, software, and systems development. Using his skills and talents he has been able to cultivate highly productive teams to implement these business technologies and to support them to scale.

Eric earned his MBA from West Chester University where he graduated with honors along with certifications in Finance/Business, Entrepreneurship and Project Management, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, TX. He holds a number of certifications including Agile Professional and Product Owner as well as a number of points-of-sale and back office technologies.

Jeff Black
Branch Director, Eliassen Group

Jeff Black is a Branch Director for the Eliassen Group with over 17 years’ experience in the staffing industry in both a production and management capacity.  While at Randstad he supported both the NY Metro and Rockville markets with more than 150 billable consultants.  Nearly 5 years ago Jeff joined Eliassen Group and continued to develop the NYC market as well as open new offices in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets.   Over the years his mission has been to serve his clients with the best possible talent while educating them on current market conditions pertaining to the labor force. Jeff has been able to build a strong team that continues to maintain an uncompromising focus on high quality talent and bottom-line profit improvement.

Marcia O’Connor
CEO and Founder, The O’Connor Group

The O’Connor Group is a certified women-owned business and is a leading provider of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition Solutions based in King of Prussia, PA. For the past 3 years, The O’Connor Group has made the Inc.5000 list, a recipient of The Philadelphia Business Journals’ Healthiest Places to Work, Best Places to Work, Soaring 76 and Entrepreneurs Forum Philadelphia 100 awards. Currently, Marcia is the President for the Philadelphia Chapter for the Entrepreneur Organization (EO), a 15,000 CEO international organization, she is a member of the Chief Women Executive Officers, a member of the Forum for Executive Women and the association Chief. Marcia earned her MS degree in Human Organization Development from Villanova and her BS degree in Accounting from Widener University. 

Natalie Plummer, Esq. (Moderator)
Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Bentley Systems

Natalie S. Plummer is the current Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Bentley systems.  In her role their the manages Bentleys IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Alliance), made up of five distinct affinity groups: Bentley OpenPride, Women of Bentley, POCUS (People of Color US), OpenAbilities and Veterans at Bentley.  Natalie is also directly involved in supporting and or spearheading collaborations with educational organizations focused on increasing opportunities in STEM for underrepresented group

Natalie attended the State University of New York at Albany for her Undergraduate degree, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for her Law Degree, and Cornell University for her advanced certificate in Diversity and Inclusion.  Natalie started her career as an attorney, and practiced law as a litigation/trial attorney for over twenty years.  During her tenure as a partner at a prominent Philadelphia firm she recognized that some underrepresented groups were not climbing the corporate ladder at the same rate as their counterparts, and some colleagues felt disconnected, as a result she expanded her focus and served as the Co-Chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) committee.  The goal of the committee was to address those areas of unconscious bias that may have been preventing the firm from increasing diversity.  The committee also did community service initiatives with, including but not limited to, the homeless and veterans, that energized the colleagues and staff.

Natalie also taught at Delaware Community College, and as a diversity consultant for Urban Trauma, a diversity consulting group.  Through her work as a diversity consultant Natalie has led trainings on implicit/unconscious bias, microaggressions and editing work policies and responses.  Natalie is dedicated to creating an inclusive, equitable environment for all.