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2014 Annual Conference - Workshop Abstracts
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2014 Annual Conference Session Workshops

Session A (10:30 - 11:30 am)

Session B (1:15 - 2:15 pm)

Session C (2:45 - 3:45 pm)

Session A (10:30 - 11:30 am)

A1 - Develop the Courage to Make Better Decisions

William Kuntz, Executive Director, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Cognitive Dissonance is the state of tension that occurs when a person holds two cognitions (ideas, beliefs, attitudes, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent. Most of us will do everything in our power to reduce dissonance in ways that will justify our mistakes, and maintain business as usual. The presentation will explain how to; recognize these self- serving habits, listen to the dissonance, develop a set of skills to improve our decisions, and become better leaders.

A2 - Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Deborah Kerr, Instructor, ESI International

Poor decision making is expensive.  Think about Netflix and now General Motors. What were they thinking??? Now think about your own organization.  Most decision makers have made mistakes, some more costly than others.  You will learn how to reduce decision errors by using five key steps that guide your critical thinking before the decision is made!  In this session,  participants will discover: - The three most expensive bad business decisions - How cognitive bias prevents clear thinking - Five steps to better decision making - Three questions to check the quality of the final decision.Empowering the Next Generation of Women

A3 - PMP® and CAPM® Certification Exam and Study Tips
Vicki Wrona, President, Forward Momentum, LLC
Preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP®) or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) exam can be daunting. Where do you begin? In this session, go beyond what you can find online. Learn tips on completing the application instead of spending 6+ hours to do that. Discover how to maximize your time and improve your focus when studying for or taking the exam. Learn from the tips gleaned from training over 4,500 people on the PMP® and CAPM® exam and from the experience of serving on PMI’s PMBOK® Guide committee. Includes slides handout plus white paper.

A4 - Unconscious Bias: Hidden Barriers and Proven Strategies to Overcome
Lisa David, Global HR Business Partner for the Health & Public Service Operating Group, Accenture
As leaders we are all responsible for creating an inclusive environment for the people that work with and for us, so that each person has an equal opportunity to be successful, feels included, and their contributions valued.  This session will provide executives the necessary skills to successfully grow and lead an inclusive work environment and tips to improve leadership’s effectiveness in managing workforce complexities.  We’ll discuss Unconscious Bias and how it plays a role in our everyday interactions and personal assessments of the people around us, the role UB plays in the workplace and more specifically, how it creates unintended behaviours which can impact the success of our Inclusion & Diversity goals.

 A5 - Building Your Credibility in the Workplace
Melissa Asher, Manager, Training & Development, CPS HR Consulting
Building credibility in the workplace is critical to the success of any leader. Well established credibility fosters an environment of trust and productivity and is the foundation for positive employee and employer relations. In this session, we'll discuss 10 actions that leaders can take to build trust and credibility in the workplace.

 A6 - Essentials of Successful Communication

Kay Crouch, President, Crouch Environmental Services

Our small, woman-owned consulting firm specializes in communications for large-scale infrastructure projects and governmental programs with significant regional impacts or benefits. From this experience, we are delighted to present the essentials of successful communication.  Successful communication boils down to meeting two basic human needs: a need for information and a need to participate. This applies for every size communication effort & whether you are launching a small-scale internal initiative or a broad-based public outreach campaign.  This presentation and interactive workshop will equip you with the tools and practice you need to effectively communicate with and engage your target audience to meet your communication goals.

A7 - I am Woman Hear Me Roar - Or Not

Rachel Gunner, LCSW,BCD,CPC, Psychotherapist, Mediator, Coach
Women’s brains are wired in such a way that lets us make decisions, reason, weigh options and have strong instincts, all traits that help make effective leaders. Yet, many women still feel self-doubting, unequal and apologetic in their dealings with authority figures, especially in the work place.  This workshop will address the biological, emotional, and social attributes that women possess that prepare them to be energetic leaders. We will examine the roadblocks that keep women from feeling empowered as leaders; in particular, one’s own self-concept and the existing stereotypes of the "strong woman.” Using a combination of didactic learning, interactive exercises, and self-reflection, participants will: 1. Identify traits of an energetic leader. 2. Understand how the woman’s brain helps us with decision making and strong instincts 3. Examine existing negative social stereotypes of the strong woman and reframe them into positives. 4. Reflect on personal roadblocks to empowerment and ways to overcome them 5. Strengthen self-confidence The goal is for participants to leave the workshop fueled with a strong sense of agency, assertiveness, and self-confidence to be energetic and effective leaders in the workplace.  R (Real) O (Open) A (Aware) R (Rational)= ROAR.


A8 - Being a Digital Leader in a Socially Connected World
Debbie Saviano, Social Media Strategist, Debbie Saviano LLC
Being a DIGITAL LEADER in a Socially Connected World - (Social Media - Communications - Professional Growth) Being a Digital Leader calls for Individuals with New Attitudes - New Skills - New Knowledge all in the arena of Social Media. No longer is Social Media a means to simply Interact, today it is how the Marketplace Communicates - Engages and Makes Decisions. This session includes specific Techniques and Strategies on providing Information whereby, You will walk away with the Skills to feel confident in being a Digital Leader. Take Away’s Include: 1. Digital Knowledge 2. Acceptances and Awareness of the Big 5 Social Media Platforms 3. Learn the Value of Connecting - Networking & Building Relationships using Social Media with those You Serve.

A9 - Controlling the Conflict
Sondra Johnson, Speaker, Texas Department of Transportation

Conflict in the workplace today is on the rise as a result of the divisiveness the country is experiencing politically, socially and economically.  As resources become more scarce and population increases, combined with a shifting demographic & particularly in Texas, conflict is at the boiling point.The cost of ignoring conflict can manifest itself in low productivity, high turnover rates and less than optimum human performance. It could ultimately shrink the marginal profits of a small organization and even cause them to go out of business. Managers must make it a priority to manage and resolve conflict.

A10 - Career and Management Tips from Two Recovering Agency Executives

Patricia Hayes, Attorney/Consultant, PVH Consulting Group, LLC
Are you buried in projects or overwhelmed by personnel issues? Do you dream of the day when a certain problem project is over? Or perhaps you just need a little objective input.  As "recovering state agency executives”, Patricia V. Hayes and Christi Martin will provide valuable insights on these scenarios and more.  Separately and collectively, these two women have managed multi-million dollar grant projects and contracts, re-organized agency programs and divisions, and facilitated crisis situations. In this session, they will share their perspectives on how to handle current sticky situations while preparing for future career moves.

A11 - Turn Management Challenges into Leadership Opportunities
Susan Johnson, Ph.D., Organizational Development Manager
What skills and competencies are needed from leaders?  If you do not know the answer to this question then this session is for you.  Effective leadership processes are needed at all levels of an organization.  Come explore and learn important leadership competencies and skills needed as well as how to contribute to the process of leadership.  You will leave this session with a Personal Development Plan to prepare you for the next step in your leadership journey.

A12 - Create & Maintain Your Own Personal Board of Directors
Heidi Murray, Chief Operating Officer, Leadership Women
Creating and Maintaining Your Own Board of Directors: Just like Robert’s Rules of Order, there is also a system of governing yourself that is just as important. Learn the importance creating a personal board of directors in your life, set goals, and strategies to manage toxic influences.

Session B (1:15 pm – 2:15 pm)

B1 - Coping Strategies for a 24-hour Society

Chan McDermott, Leadership Development Program Manager, Texas Health & Human Services Commission
Forget all the magazine articles and blog posts.  Here’s the truth:  work-life balance doesn’t exist.  Instead, our days are getting fuller, the sense of urgency is getting greater, demands   are coming faster & and most of us are suffering for it with symptoms of stress.  Is this issue the same for men and women, or is the impact greater for women?  What changes can you make to help you stay healthy and sane despite the many demands on your time and attention?  This session will give you some things to think about and some ideas to try.

B2 - Take it Up a Notch! Using Program Management for Increased Strategic Success

Lindsay Chamberlain, Instructor, ESI International 

Has your organization implemented project management and yet you still aren’t delivering the expected benefit from those projects? Don’t assume it is poor project management. Your organization may need to set the stage for success through program management. Program management isn’t just managing interrelated projects-it is about managing all aspects of the program to maximize benefits realization, ensure effort and expenditures align with the organizational strategy, and balance resources and initiatives for greater organizational success.  Participants will learn the life cycle of a typical program while identifying critical success factors and key tools for each step in the process.


B3 - Lead Yourself, Lead Others

Elizabeth Frisch, CXO, The Thrival Company / Thrival School

How many times have you heard or said yourself, things can’t change.  This can’t happen.  This will never happen because of the bureaucracy or ‘the system’.  Yet every day, people lead big transformations in the face of bureaucracies and mountains of resistance.  When a big vision or change has to happen, traditional change management focuses from the top-down and tends to treat people like they are functions in the change process.  People who are able to embrace that leaders are made not born, and master leading themselves first will 'move that mountain' and create huge shifts in their community, their company, or the culture at large know subconsciously that moving a mountain comes from the bottom up.  Individuals lead that shift.   Learn what great leaders do subconsciously and naturally to every individual who is ready to lead a big initiative.  Using a culture change framework, the practices in this workshop empower every individual on how to move a large group of people towards a shared goal.  Each practice is broken down into simple steps where any individual can step into leadership and turn around a company, a community, a nation with no formal leadership training.


B4 - Building Your Career Through Helping Others
Karen Collins, Technical Trainer/Human Resource Consultant, Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts
When I speak about the importance of achieving gender diversity at leadership levels in Texas government, I am frequently asked, "Why don’t women support other women more often?" Generally, this question is preceded by horror stories of deception, disloyalty and poor bosses. On the positive side, I hear stories about women who are great mentors, coaches and supporters. If the horror stories have painted a true, dismal picture, how do we change it? In this workshop, we will explore what my research has revealed as the truth of this situation. We will also talk about your truths and how to make difficult situations better. Lastly, we will discuss your role in inspiring others to take a leap of faith to achieve their dreams. Assisting others who are on their personal journey to success can catapult your own career to the next level. In this case, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. 

B5 - Navigating Leadership Rules... The Unspoken Ones

Pamela Benson Owens, Program Developer, Leadership Women

Every workplace has a written policy and procedures manual. But what about the unwritten rules? Can you name the disconnect of the communicated core values and actual workplace practices? If so, these are the unwritten rules.  These rules are changing every day. Using first names with work colleagues? Navigating what different leadership styles mean when they say "open door policy"?  Organizations that promote being "family first"?     Navigating these rules can make or break your career. The good news is, knowing the unwritten rules makes you better equipped when these rules occur in your workplace setting.


B6 - Taming the Toxic Workplace
Alicia Terry, Owner, OnPoint Communications & Training

Believe it or not, the bully has left the playground and entered the workplace. And, whether you call them bullies, intimidators, or aggressors, their behavior makes the workplace toxic and intolerable. So what can employers and you personally do to tame a toxic workplace? In a word, LEAD. Using case studies and scenarios, this session will present key strategies to stop workplace bullying in its tracks and bring civility back to the office.


B7 - Who is Driving Your Career?

Darlene Templeton, Ms., Templeton & Associates

Who is Driving Your Career? - What do you love about your job? - What are you really good at?  - What sparks your passion? - Who is driving your career? As women leaders, we are faced with many challenges in the business world and in our careers.    Darlene Templeton worked IBM for 36 years and is a master at the corporate challenges and personal and professional development.   She will share with you  the four simple and "easy to implement” strategies and techniques that will help you become your own best advocate in the workplace, leverage your skills and experience to move your career forward, and  achieve your specific career goals.  This workshop is fast-paced, unique, fun and interactive.  You will focus on how to define and clarify your goals, create and expand your network, clearly communicate your value and design a set of actions to ensure that you achieve your goals! You will then be TRULY driving your career!


B8 - A Best Practice for Thinking
Lisa Barglsey, Partner, Sage Speaking LLC
Management Skills   A Best Practice for Thinking   Do you have a best practice for thinking?  How do you streamline team meetings?  How do you and your team fully think through a situation?     Learn how to separate thinking into valuable roles using Six Thinking Hats.  Each thinking role is identified with a "thinking hat." Mentally wearing and switching hats, you will easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation, or the meeting.   Participants will quickly learn how to:  - View situations from new and unusual angles - Stimulate innovation and imagination  - Create dynamic, results oriented meetings in which people want to participate.

B9 - Asking the Right Questions

Sheneka Freeman, Senior Instructor, Forward Momentum, LLC

Have you ever come away from a conversation and felt like you really didn't get the information you need?  It could have been a conversation with a client, a co-worker, a doctor, a service provider or your partner. Every day we rely more on technology to do our communicating; whether leaving quick voice mails, sending brief emails or texting. It's getting more challenging to have productive discussions and conversations when the need arises. We're all short on time, so how do we maximize the face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) time we do have? It's all about asking the right questions! Too often we are passive participants in conversations and therefore don't gain the full benefit of discussions. In this session, we'll highlight the challenges of today's communication trends and give you ways to elevate your conversations: - Discuss the benefits of using questioning skills during conversations - Learn about questioning techniques that you can begin to leverage immediately - Get tips and tricks for planning out your conversations in advance so you gain information effectively and efficiently.


B10 - Calgon is NOT Taking You Away! Now What?

Katrina Spigner, CEO, Re-Source Solutions
Although there are days when we wish we could just float away into the sunset and land on a tropical island to spend our days lapping up a life of comfort and ease, the truth of the matter is the float has been deflated and the tropical island was destroyed in a storm. Now what? This workshop will provide you with tools that will help you navigate the waters in the tub where you've landed.   Participants will: - Learn tools for balancing the challenges of life - Receive insight into how to reset your thinking - Build on positive strengths


B11 - Empowering the Next Generation of Women

Kimberly O'Neil, Executive Leadership Strategist / CEO, The Giving Blueprint

There is often a digital and sometimes social divide between current women in leadership and those that have the ability to be our future leaders. What is it going to take to encourage our future generation of women to pursue leadership positions in government? How do we create mentoring relationships that lead to empowerment?  Is it possible to train others without feeling threatened of losing our leadership positions?  Be prepared for an open and engaging workshop on the importance of empowering and bridging the gap with the next generation of women leaders.


B12 - Body Language Confidential
Traci Brown, Body Language Expert, Traci Brown, Inc.
Body Language Confidential with Traci Brown   Do you know how to instantly read your staff and clients?  Can you tailor your body language and arguments to fill their unconscious needs so that you can easily hear "Yes”? This Talk Will Teach You How!  Your clients are always communicating with you.  Do you know what they’re saying? You are always communicating with your clients.  Do you know what message you’re sending?    It’s true.  You are unconsciously communicating all the time in any situation   — Interviewing  — Networking  — Sales Meetings  — Negotiations  — With Your Kids or Spouse  It’s your responsibility to hear what others are telling you and then give them your message in the way they need to hear it.  The end result is a person that's open to what's being said and easily influenced because deep unconscious needs are being met and objections are eliminated or bypassed.   This program is fun and includes an interactive quiz show and lots of video.  Participants will leave more flexible in their communication:  seeing the world with new eyes and listening with new ears.  These skills will assist you in the office and in personal life.    You’ll learn:   - How to get people to like you using only body language - How to easily get others to buy in to your ideas - How to read body language - How to uncover deep truths  - How to detect lies - What message is hidden in a handshake - Leading and pacing your client - Picking out the unconscious leader of a group - How to talk your way out of a traffic ticket - And MUCH more

Session C (2:45 pm – 3:45 pm)

C1 - Getting Better Value from Your Service Contracts
Nick Reynolds, Instructor, ESI International
Performance-based contracting means a structured approach around the results to be achieved rather than the manner by which the work is to be done. There are several best practices that can be employed to increase this likelihood.  Choosing a contractor whose performance history promises a better outcome. Creating a scope of work using a structured format that demands results, not process. Building a plan for monitoring work and enforcing our rights and expectations. Combined, these practices provide higher quality, improved customer satisfaction, enhanced vendor relationships and best value results in outsourcing critical service needs.

C2 - Don't Look Back, You're Not Going That Way: Driving Your Career Forward
Merridth Simpson, Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, UT Southwestern Medical Center
The road to success is paved with bumps and detours, and career curveballs can make the journey seem daunting if our attitude isn’t right. When it comes to your career, are you in the driver’s seat, or just along for the ride? When career hurdles come, are you prepared to jump or destined to stumble? This session explores the importance of maintaining a forward-looking attitude, and taking full ownership of your career. Participants will leave armed with practical tips and tools that can be applied immediately to advance their careers. Includes interactive exercises for discovering your strengths and effectively managing your time.

C3 - Strategies for Investing Wisely and Avoiding Fraud

Robert Elder, Communications Coordinator & Investor Education Specialist, Texas State Securities Board

Investors have more responsibility than ever for achieving their financial goals, yet few really feel equipped to make informed decisions about their financial future. This presentation tells investors how to cut through financial jargon, the value of simplicity and low costs in investing, the importance of asset allocation, and identifying the amount of risk you may be comfortable taking. It also provides valuable tools to avoid the ever-evolving world of investment fraud.


C4 – Soar 2 Success

Elizabeth McCormick, Former US Army Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot, Soar 2 Success International LLC

Through her real life experiences about being a US Army BlackHawk Helicopter Pilot, Elizabeth uses humor and vulnerability to share the lessons learned relating to leading yourself and others in life and your career.    You  will be  inspired to Soar 2 Success!  You will learn to:  Believe in yourselves to accomplish their goals no matter what is happening around them.  Discover your success factor within YOU focusing on being your best.  Lead from where you are, influencing others to climb to a higher level of success.


C5 - Virtual Presentation Power!
Vicki Wrona, President, Forward Momentum, LLC
More than ever, we are all living in a virtual world. Economic challenges and increasing globalization of business has resulted in our relying more on virtual technologies to get the job done. Whether it’s hosting virtual meetings, conducting virtual presentations or facilitating virtual training sessions, the way we do business has changed tremendously from the old days of face-to-face meetings in conference rooms with slide projectors. New technologies enable us to share documents, give demonstrations and conduct training for audiences who may be located across the country and even around the world. While this technology has allowed us to collaborate without the hassle of traveling, virtual delivery and design definitely has its challenges. There is an art to designing and delivering engaging and charismatic presentations and virtual learning that won’t put your audience to sleep. In this session, we’ll highlight the challenges of virtual design and delivery and give you ways to overcome those challenges: - Learn how to plan and build virtual presentations to include remote audience engagement - Discuss methods for keeping audiences engaged and demonstrate ways to adjust your presentation style to come across effectively to an audience you can’t see. 


C6 - Take a deep dive into interviewing-covering both sides of the desk for the interviewee and interviewer
Linda Ranostaj, Business Development Manager, Whitaker IT, LLC

Between the challenges government entities face attracting the best candidates, younger generations and national "quit rate” at its highest since 2009 (BLS) it becomes imperative to make a great first impression during interviews for both the company and candidate. Learn how to prepare for and present multiple types of interviews, best practices, structure generation-based questions, and how to present your company/agency or yourself in the best possible manner from interviewer and interviewee perspective.   Join as we discuss key tips to improving interviews from both sides, the candidate looking for their dream job and the company looking for their dream candidate.

C7 - A Roll of The Dice: Ethical Decision Making
Teresa White, Training Specialist, DFPS
Ethical decision making involves personal values and is integral to leadership and the development of trust and trustworthiness.  Decisions may be based on our history or religious beliefs or what we think someone else would want us to do like a parent, teacher, or supervisor.  Most ethical decision making is done internally. This leads us to make decisions based on our feelings and emotions in a subjective process.  We rarely discuss our dilemmas or examine our decision making processes.  This workshop will focus on objective decision making strategies that are designed to be both fun and useful.

C8 – Leadership and Cultural Diversity: Managing for Transformation
Shelia Craig, Associate Commissioner, Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
This interactive workshop focuses on the development of specific leadership skills as they relate to managing diverse teams within dynamic, changing environments. Participants will be given resources and tools they can immediately begin using within their own organizations.  Discussions will focus on strategies such as using race equity principles, engaging communities to improve decision-making, and effective collaborations across multiple systems.  Participants can expect to learn in an engaging, shared session that will challenge assumptions about diversity, enhance leadership skills, and inform practice changes.


C9 - Take the Yellow Brick Road to Accountability

Mary Castleberry, Training Manager, DFPS
This workshop is based heavily on "The Oz Principle" by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman. There are also references to the book "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum first published in 1900. As a supervisor you are accountable for many things. This workshop is about showing that accountability is more than reports; data; just the big picture.  Accountability is about the actions and choices we each make along the way.

C10 - Who's Driving Your Bus?

Denise Messina, Training Specialist, Texas Department of Transportation 
"Who's Driving Your Bus?" is an activity-driven class full of laughter, storytelling and instructor-led activities.  Participants will embark on a road trip to discover:   (1) Where have you been?  Identify Historical landmarks from the past that influence the present. (2) The "You Are Here" Rest Stop.   Take a minute and catch your breath.  Now, is this where you wanted to be?   (3) Where Are You Going?  Plot the next leg of your journey by updating your current map to include newly identified dreams and goals.  Participants will leave with a clearer vision of their unique purpose and be able to set goals that align with their individual dreams.


C11 - Finding Your "Happy Place" in the Midst of Challenge

Pam Parker, Founder and President, Born Again Bodies
This workshop will provide communication and wellness tools and techniques to help attendees reach THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS. In this workshop coping mechanisms, tools and strategies to help us live with mental clarity and physical astuteness - healthy, well and whole; utilizing exercise, dance, communication and leadership s to propel our aspirations of hope into lasting legacies in the lives of the ourselves, and then other people.

C12 - Blue Print for Happy Women: Empower Yourself!

Dokpe Ogunsanya, Ms. Dupsy Enterprises - Empowering & Moving People Forward

Create a happier and healthier YOU by empowering and nurturing your Mind and Body. Our body responds to the way we think and feel.  This super enriching and empowering session will focus on how to manage work-life balance by learning to energize your mind and body in a positive direction.  A healthy body and mind is important to achieving ones purpose in life.  Participants will learn ten steps/ methodologies to empower the Mind and Body.  This is an opportunity to create a happier and healthier YOU! "If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.”  You will leave the session happier than ever before!

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