Potomac Forum The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

Developing, Managing and Supervising the Federal Workforce of the Future Training Workshop:

Meeting the Goals of the Administration: How best to encourage employee engagement, improve the Federal hiring process to enhance the employee experience and create Federal competency reskilling and optimal career pathways to achieve future workforce requirements in the modern, mobile workplace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Keynote Speaker

Rebecca Ayers, PhD,

Performance Management Solutions

United States Office of Personnel Management

(Awaiting Agency Approval)


Guest Speakers

Mika Cross

Award Winning Federal Workforce Expert


Dr. Ray M. Crawford, Jr.

Chief of Staff

Executive Level Outreach

Office of Federal Student Aid

United States Department of Education


Thevee Gray

Personnel Psychologist

United States Department of Agriculture


Chris Armstrong

Veritas Culture

Former Culture Executive

United States Intelligence Community Agencies


Vince Brantley

Veritas Culture

Former Culture Executive

Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)


Erica M. Roberts

Training Director, Customer Experience Expert,

and Employee Engagement Strategist

Former Director of Customer Service and Customer Service  Program 

United States Department of Labor 


Alex Harrington

Senior Special Advisor

Talent Management Division

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)


Robert Goldenkoff


United States Government Accountability Office 


Barbara H. Irwin

Founder and President

HR Advisors Group




Additional government speakers awaiting confirmation. Bios coming soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Meeting Location: 
Willard InterContinental Hotel

Willard Intercontinental Hotel
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington 20004
United States

Metro Center (Red, Orange, Blue Lines). Use the exit marked “12th & F Sts” to exit onto F St., then continue straight two blocks and cross 14th St.


The president’s management agenda provides a long-term vision for rebuilding public trust in government by tackling systemic barriers to reform, including an ineffective personnel management system and outdated technology infrastructure. The goals are threefold: deliver on agency missions, provide superior service to the public, and eliminate waste.


Experienced Huma Capital Executives and Leadership Experts will share their insight and experience in developing and implementing long and short-term workforce management practices that will achieve implementing the PMA vision and develop the next generation of Federal government leaders.


This workshop will provide you with practical, easy to implement tools and resources to help your agency develop an innovative hiring strategy that brings on the right talent with the right skills, empower employees, align skills and competencies with mission requirements and modernize your workplace for the digital age while understanding how best to improve performance, increase accountability and enhance mission efficacy through effective recruitment and retention.   


What You Will Learn: 

  • Identify the competencies needed as a successful supervisor to maximize employee performance and how to avoid common pitfalls to managing performance and conduct in the modern workplace
  • Optimize your strategy for recruiting, hiring, training and rewarding the Future Federal Workforce by bringing in the next generation of workers and retaining top talent; training (and retraining) personnel to forecast for future mission requirements, develop leaders across all levels of the organization and to enhance performance across the organization.
  • Adopt promising practices that drive positive outcomes by leveraging the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results into actionable steps to cultivate an inclusive, high-performing culture designed to retain top talent and maximize employee potential and performance 
  • Optimize employee recognition programs designed to recognize, reward and retain top performers;
  • Build your toolkit for cultivating a culture of engagement and accountability designed to achieve enhanced organizational and individual performance
Who Should Attend: 

  • Federal supervisors and managers
  • Federal HR Executives, managers and staff
  • Anyone responsible for implementing Agency restructuring plans
  • Federal employees or members of employee affinity groups
  • Communications practitioners responsible for leading change management and internal communications campaigns
  • IGs and Staff
  • Industry Partners who support the government


Can’t Attend this Workshop?  Learn how we can bring a customized version on-site to your Agency workforce on demand!  Contact: Info@PotomacForum.org



Lecture, guest speakers, and practical exercises.



Registration and Continental Breakfast




Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum


Morning Keynote-Encouraging a Performance Based Culture for an Engaged Workplace


-Rebecca Ayers, PhD, Performance Management Solutions, United States Office of Personnel Management- (Awaiting Agency Approval)


Panel #1- Enhancing the Federal Hiring Process- Tools of the Trade 


In this session, participants will learn:

  • How to design and implement the most cost effective, recruitment and employer branding tactics for attracting high qualified, diverse candidates;
  • Accountability strategies for leveraging candidate assessment tools that help workforce planning efforts, job-fit and enhanced engagement and retention;
  • Promising practices for leveraging Special Hiring Preference and Direct Hire Authorities 


Moderated by: Mika J. Cross, Federal Workplace Expert


-Alex Harrington, Senior Special Advisor, Talent Management Division, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

-Barbara H. Irwin, Founder and President, HR Advisors Group


Refreshment Break



Harassment in the Workplace- A Talk About a Topic That We Can No Longer Talk Around


  • Attendees will walk away having their own thoughts and perceptions challenged. It is important that people understand where they are coming from before they can get an entrée into the thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Understand the root causes that are prevalent around sexual harassment from the perspective of victims and bystanders. These themes resonate throughout every type of discussion or non-discussion and truly enable people to get a deeper understanding as to why the conversations are challenging in the first place.


-Chris Armstrong, Veritas Culture, Former Culture Executive, United States Intelligence Community Agencies

-Vince Brantley, Veritas Culture, Former Culture Executive, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)


Hosted Networking Lunch



Panel #2

Effective Employee Engagement and Successful Workforce Support Measures During Times of Change

  • Hear the lessons learned and best practices implemented from Agencies who have significantly increased their scores on the FEVS and what areas they are now focused on to meet the vision of the President’s Management Agenda and to encourage a performance-based culture
  • Learn how effective partnerships among labor and special interest/affinity groups help affect positive culture change
  • Understand how ongoing data and reporting, effective communication strategies and leadership accountability helps move the needle to create a performance-based culture focused on results



-Dr. Ray M. Crawford, Jr., Chief of Staff, Executive Level Outreach, Office of Federal Student Aid, United States Department of Education

-Thevee Gray, Personnel Psychologist, United States Department of Agriculture


Career Pathing Tools and Developing Career Pathways 


Learn from top innovators in the Training and Development field, who are undertaking ambitious “reskilling” and career pathing initiatives to implement across the Federal government.


-Erica M. Roberts, Training Director, Customer Experience Expert, and Employee Engagement Strategist, Former Director of Customer Service and Customer Service Office Program Manager, United States Department of Labor   


Refreshment Break



Panel #3

Human Capital Innovations for the Future Federal Workplace with Open Q&A to Follow


A panel of highly regarded human capital experts will discuss their collective experience, lessons learned and highlights to help agencies:

  •  Understand promising people practices needed to affect long-term change, Modernize IT systems and leverage Data insights and transparency;
  • Understand leading practices from organizations focused on implementing ongoing results-oriented performance initiatives to meet OMB’s mandate M-17-22
  • Consider the critical elements for creating effective short and long-term plans that overcome challenges to a culture of performance and accountability


Moderator: Mika Cross, Federal Workplace Expert


-Robert Goldenkoff, Director, United States Government Accountability Office


The Matter of Civility - Cultivating a Workplace Culture for the Future



-Dr. Ray M. Crawford, Jr., Chief of Staff, Executive Level Outreach, Office of Federal Student Aid, United States Department of Education


Final Q&A/Final Remarks/Workshop Adjourns



Registration Information: 


Super Early Bird Registration Fee

Nov 2

Early Bird Registration Fee

Nov 16

AFTER Nov 16
Government Employees:
(Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID)



$695 $795
Industry and Contractors:
(Including contractors on-site and in direct support of government agencies).
$595 $795  $895

Team “Learn Together” Rate: 

3rd  person (and all other subsequent group members) from same office receives a $100 reduction off their registration,

All Day Refreshments, beakfast and Hosted Luncheon

Keynote Speaker: 

Rebecca S. Ayers, PhD

Manager, Performance Management Solutions (PMS),

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Rebecca S. Ayers serves as the manager for Performance Management Solutions (PMS) in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  PMS provides reimbursable solutions to Federal agencies to address individual and organizational performance matters necessary to properly create and sustain a healthy and effective results-oriented culture.  She is also the Program Manager for USA Performance, OPM’s automated performance management system. She has managed consulting work and performance management projects for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Air Force, Health and Human Services, and numerous other independent agencies. Prior to this position she served as the Strategic Planning and Performance Manager for HR Solutions, the reimbursable divisions of OPM, and was responsible for organizational strategic and business planning and execution and performance management and evaluation. 


Rebecca has facilitated and worked with both public and nonprofit organizations to identify organizational goals, develop strategic plans, and implement performance management systems. She regularly presents at professional and academic conferences on performance management and strategic planning best practices and latest trends and research. She began her Federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow at OPM where she managed workforce and succession planning projects for other Federal agencies. 


Rebecca’s leadership in the development of USA Performance was recognized by a Government Computer News’ Rising Star award in 2014. USA Performance also won the NextGov Bold Award and People’s Choice award in 2014 for creativity and courage for driving advancement in government. Her leadership in the community and in the Federal Government was recognized by the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Leadership award in 2015. Rebecca is currently the President-Elect for the Junior League of Raleigh.


Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Transatlantic Studies from the University of Bath, England. She completed her Ph.D. in Public Administration at North Carolina State University where her research included public management, performance management, and strategic planning.  Her recent research examines the importance of goal alignment in Federal agency performance appraisal programs and program performance.  She is also teaches the Public Organizational Behavior class in the Masters of Public Administration program at North Carolina State University.


Rebecca is a fulltime teleworker with OPM and resides just outside of Raleigh, NC.

Guest Speakers: 

Chris Armstrong

Veritas Culture

Former Culture Executive

United States Intelligence Community Agencies


Chris Armstrong is the former Culture Executive at NGA. In this capacity, he is responsible for investigating, surfacing, and resolving culture issues. In his previous capacity, he served as the Diversity Executive for DIA. His expertise is in assessing climates, understanding root issues, and developing practical means for addressing them. His other areas of expertise are employee development, diversity and inclusion, and strategic planning. Chris has been an executive for 11 years, mostly in training, development, and human resource roles. He is a Certified Relationship Coach, Certified Facilitator, Certified Diversity Executive, and multiple award winner (16 total) for his work in advancing the cause for women and minorities. As well, Chris is a frequently requested mentor, panel member, and keynote for various History Month, diversity and inclusion, and mentoring events.


Ray M. Crawford, Jr., PhD

Employee Engagement Officer

Office of Federal Student Aid

United States Department of Education


Dr. Ray Crawford, Jr. is a skilled executive with a strong commitment to public service. For the past 20 years, he has been engaged in the growth and success of government agencies. He is presently the Employee Engagement Officer for the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office within the United States Department of Education. As the Employee Engagement Officer, he is responsible for managing employee engagement action plans, developing programs that enhance the relationship between managers and employees, and creating training opportunities that positively impact organizational culture. His overall goal is to help make FSA one of the best places to work in the federal government.


Dr. Crawford has worked within FSA’s Administrative Services and Business Optimization divisions for over ten years, and has keen insight into the challenges faced by executives managing within the current federal workplace. From the start of his career, Dr. Crawford has focused on a philosophy of servant leadership and garnered positive results. In the beginning of fiscal year 2015, he became the first Employee Engagement Officer for FSA and the only person of such distinction in the entire agency. Since entering into this role, employee participation in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey has increased by 15%. Dr. Crawford accomplished this by instituting a results-based communication campaign focused on organizational changes directly attributable to employee feedback. In 2016, Dr. Crawford became the Chairman of the U.S. Department of Education’s inaugural Diversity Change Agent program. As Chairman, he has established an agency-wide “Conversations on Culture” series as a platform for diversity, equity and inclusion presentations to be offered by and for senior leaders, managers, and staff. Dr. Crawford accepted this role because he believes that diversity, inclusion and employee engagement are the building blocks of a successful performance culture.


The foundation for Dr. Crawford’s work began at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. Although communication has been a key element in the progress of his career, his focus on higher education has been paramount to his growth as an executive. His passion for learning inspired him to attain both Masters and Doctorate degrees in Political Science at Howard University with a focus on Leadership. Dr. Crawford’s dedication to public service has provided the motivation for his educational pursuits. His personal mantra of “Put the People First” has enabled him to achieve success throughout his federal career while simultaneously expanding the definition of employee engagement within the organizations he has served.

Thevee Gray

Personnel Psychologist

United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (FSA)



Thevee joined FSA in November 2012. Her work focuses on Organizational Development and Workforce Engagement. During her tenure, she has spearheaded the development of a very successful Workforce Engagement program, which is known within the Agency as “WE are FSA!” She works closely with and has been a key advisor to the FSA senior leaders on employee engagement efforts involving a diverse workforce of over 12,000 employees. Her expertise has been instrumental in helping the Agency act on their Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results to improve organizational performance and address complex human capital and organizational challenges while ensuring plan alignment with FSA’s strategic goals. She has facilitated and implemented several initiatives that help move the needle in a positive direction. Through these efforts, the response rate has increased tremendously. Additionally, FSA has moved up in the “Partnership for Public Service Best Places to Work” rankings substantially.


While managing the WE initiative, Thevee created a robust Diversity and Inclusion (DI) program while acting as the Diversity program manager. She finalized the DI action plan and assessed the DI climate within FSA. She also provided briefings to the senior leaders and developed DI training for the workforce. Additionally, Thevee is certified in 360 degree feedback and provides coaching for USDA employees and leaders.


Prior to joining FSA, Thevee served as a Personnel Research Psychologist for the Office of Personnel Management where she managed and executed various initiatives related to the development, validation, and implementation of assessment instruments for employee selection.


Thevee graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Asbury University and an M.S. degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University. She has also completed the Emerging HR Leaders Forum through the Partnership for Public Service.

Erica M. Roberts

Training Director, Customer Experience Expert,

and Employee Engagement Strategist

Former Director of Customer Service and Customer Service  Program   Department of Labor 

Erica Roberts brings over 15 years of executive and professional leadership experience within Federal government agencies and non-profit organizations. As a Training Director, Customer Experience Expert, and Employee Engagement Strategist, she has partnered with Federal government agencies, industry associations, and workforce professionals to design and deliver customized organizational development solutions to deliver tangible results to clients.


A seasoned executive with more than a decade of experience, Erica has worked with senior leadership teams, mid-level managers and individuals to achieve maximum performance. She has delivered measurable value by engaging employees to transform culture and practices within organizations. From 2013 to 2018, Erica served as the Director of Customer Service and Customer Service Office Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In that capacity, she led, coordinated, and monitored customer service initiatives that cut across all organizational lines at DOL, including those related to performance management, planning and evaluation, technology integration, training and change management.


Ms. Roberts is recognized for driving process improvement across government agencies. Ms. Roberts has also reengineered and designed model training programs across several Federal agencies and delivered hundreds of synchronous and asynchronous courses to benefit new executives and managers, enforcement personnel, and clerical employees. An experienced training professional, nonprofit Executive Director, and career coach, Erica tailors service offerings to align with her customers’ learning and communications styles. Previously, Ms. Roberts served as Training Director for the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division where she transformed an enforcement agency into a continuous learning organization and met the training needs of nearly 1,900 employees. Among many notable accomplishments over four years in that role, Ms. Roberts developed and facilitated the agency’s two-week New Manager Training course for transitioning first-line supervisors, reengineered the agency’s flagship Investigator courses, and developed innovative on-demand training resources for all employees. Ms. Roberts has shared her knowledge with new managers as Supervisory Development course instructor for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).


Erica earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Florida A & M University. She completed a Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and was approved by OPM for appointment to Senior Executive Service in 2018. Erica is a certified Project Management Professional and Certified Professional and Executive coach. Erica is also a member of the National Black MBA Association (President), African-American Federal Executive Association, and Project Management Institute.

Vince Brantley

Owner, Veritas Culture

Former Culture Executive, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)


Vince Brantley is the Owner of Veritas Culture, a company he has recently founded to provide diversity and inclusion and culture consultation and training services. Prior to this stand-up, Mr. Brantley was a soldier in the United States Army where he served for more than 27 years in a number of senior leadership positions, to include the Culture Executive for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Chief of Staff.


While leading culture efforts at DIA and NSA, Mr. Brantley facilitated more than 300 workforce engagement sessions. He drew consistent praise from senior leadership and the workforce alike for his ability to focus on root issues while bridging long-standing communication and trust gaps.


Mr. Brantley is a Certified Coach, trained facilitator, and known expert in organizational culture. He has been a frequent keynote and panelist for dozens of events focused on diversity and inclusion and workplace culture.

Robert Goldenkoff

Director, Strategic Issues Team




Robert Goldenkoff has over 25 years of federal program evaluation experience. Currently he is a Director on GAO’s Strategic Issues team where he leads reviews of government-wide civil service reforms, as well as ways of improving the cost-effectiveness of the federal statistical system. He is also an adjunct faculty member of GAO’s Learning Center. Outside of GAO, Robert serves on the Advisory Board of the George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Affairs and Public Administration, and his articles on management, science policy, and other subjects have been published in Technology Review, Government Executive, Policy Studies Journal, The Public Manager, and Public Administration Review. He received his B.A. (political science) and Master of Public Administration degrees from the George Washington University, and was a Presidential Management Fellow.

Alex J. Harrington

Talent Management Directorate

Office of Human Resources Management

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Alex Harrington serves as a senior special assistant for the Talent Management Directorate, Office of Human Resources Management, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Prior to rejoining CBP, Alex served in various posts during his 15+ years in the federal government that included two previous tours with CBP; U.S. Department of Justice's INTERPOL Washington office; Army's Chief of Public Affairs Office, Pentagon; including overseas assignments in Japan, Republic of Korea, and Germany.


Throughout his federal service, Alex has gained extensive expertise in human resource, workforce development, talent acquisition, strategic communications, project and program management optimization, web-based platform engineering, and team building.


Alex is also a credentialed Global Career Development Facilitator through the Center for Credentialing and Education, and a member with the National Career Development Association. And his passion for community service has led him to build a youth program in Mansfield, Ohio; an internship program for Korean Universities; and pioneered and built a community job-service program in Tysons, Va., which was recognized by the former Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis.


He served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Alex is also a published author and avid blogger for cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Teresa, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Barbara H. Irwin

Founder and President

HR Advisors Group

Founder and President, Barbara Irwin has 30 years of experience in organizational development and human resources consulting, developing approaches that tie HR initiatives to the organization’s short- and long-term goals and objectives. She advises clients in strategies to achieve the highest potential of their organization in executive and employee development, career paths, employee satisfaction, competency modeling, recruitment and retention, and performance management, as well as developing competitive and equitable compensation, benefits, and incentive programs. Having served as an HR director for large, multinational firms, Barbara provides valuable inside and external perspectives to client organizations. Our clients appreciate Barbara’s collaborative and realistic approach, which helps them find ideal solutions that promote their goals and objectives as an employer and in their market position.


Some of HR Advisors’ Group projects included working with the DOI, Bureau of Reclamation, Grand Coulee Dam where the firm worked with the client on conducting a best practices benchmarking study focusing on employer branding, recruitment and retention. Other workforce development projects have included Training Needs Assessment, designing and delivering management and leadership development training programs, developing Career Paths for technical and non-technical staff, organizational assessments and design and conducting compensation studies.


Barbara holds an MA in Human Resource Management from Marymount University and a BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland, and she is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Leadership Academy and participated in one of the leadership programs at Darden’s School of Business, University of Virginia. She is active with SHRM, and AE Advisors, a forum of consultants focusing on the architectural and engineering space.


Mika J. Cross

Federal Workplace Expert

Mika Cross is a widely acclaimed human capital expert, speaker, strategist and innovator specializing in interdisciplinary expertise in the areas of innovative global workplace initiatives, culture change, strategic communications, knowledge management, next generation/future workplace predictions, performance and talent management, employee engagement, employee and labor relations, diversity and inclusion. Her two decade career in public service includes assignments throughout the United States Intelligence Community and all across the Federal government. She is a veteran of the Unites States Army, having served as both an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer.


Mika is highly regarded as a thought leader for transformational workplace practices and is regularly featured as a professional speaker and teacher at numerous industry and government-wide venues.  She is a regular guest on the ABC News Channel 8, nationally broadcast TV show, Government Matters in her capacity as a Federal Workplace Expert. On behalf of the White House and the National Security Council (NSC), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) invited Mika to contribute to the “Workforce of 2020” work group as a component of the joint-led task force to develop a new business model for vetting current and future Federal employees into positions of national security.


Mika has worked in partnership with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on behalf of the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Federal Women’s Program, to design innovative learning programs to help strengthen competencies for Work/Life, Diversity, Inclusion and Human Resources professionals from across the government. She has led several workforce transformation initiatives resulting in winning the organizations she has worked for numerous industry awards- the most recent being USDA named on the Forbes 500 Best American Workplace rankings in March 2015.


The Senior Executives Association (SEA) asked Mika to serve as the Vice-Chair for its new Governance and Innovation, Community of Change initiative.  As a volunteer, she served as the Government Chair for the Evolving the Workforce Community of Interest (COI) as part of the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Panel (ACT-IAC) and in 2016 was appointed to the Executive Board for the Association of Federal Information Resource Management (AFFIRM) as the liaison to the Federal Human Resources community.


You can follow her on Twitter @Mika_Cross or find her on Linkedin for more information.

Cancellation Policy: 

Confirmed registrations who cancel within 3 business days of the program will be subject to a $250 cancellation fee. Registrations cancelled after the program starts are subject to the full registration fee. Substitutions can be made at any time. In the event a particular training workshop is cancelled, the liability of Potomac Forum, Ltd is limited to refund of any prepaid registration fee.

  • © 2017-2018 Potomac Forum Ltd. All Rights Reserved
    Copyright also covers all workshop agendas and descriptions
  • 2800 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 210, Alexandria, Virginia 22314