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

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

Employee Engagement - Improving Agency Rankings on the Best Places to Work List and Your Agency FEVS Scores Training Workshop III

Creating a Culture of Engagement at Your Agency

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Check out Keynote Speaker Chelsa Gurkin and Instructor Mika Cross in their recent Government Matters interview discussing federal workplace challenges:

http://govmatters.tv/making-government-a-best-place-to-work/

 

Instructor:

Mika J. Cross

Federal Workplace Expert

 

Keynote Speaker:

Chelsa Gurkin

Assistant Director, Strategic Issues

United States Government Accountability Office 

 

Guest Speakers:

Julie Osowski

Senior Research Psychologist

Office of Policy and Evaluation
Merit Systems Protection Board

 

Peter Leeds

Senior Research Psychologist

Office of Policy and Evaluation
Merit Systems Protection Board

 

Eden Murrie

Director for government Transformation and Agency Partnerships

Partnership for Public Service

 

Amanda Blatnik

Associate Manager

Partnership for Public Service

 

Rebecca (Becky ) Johnson

Director, HCO S&F/Engagement and Organizational Improvement

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

 

Ray M. Crawford, Jr., PhD.
Employee Engagement Officer

Office of Federal Student Aid

U.S. Department of Education

 

Sydney T. Rose
Chief Human Capital Officer and Director
Human Resources Center
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
U.S. Department of Labor

 

Clo Taylor
Chief Learning and Engagement Officer
Chief Human Capital Officer Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

 

Kristin McNally
Director, Office of Employee Engagement

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

U.S. Department of Labor

 

Jason Briefel

Executive Director

Senior Executive Association (SEA)


Robert Goldenkoff
Director, Strategic Issues team
GAO

 

Cindy Auten

Principal

ICF International

 

Karen Comfort

Deputy Associate Administrator & COO, Agricultural Marketing Service

USDA

 

Andrea Zappone, M.A.

Personnel Research Psychologist

HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions

OPM

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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.

Overview: 

This is the third iteration of the Employee Engagement Training Workshop starting with a very successful and highly acclaimed Workshop in May 2016. Students rated the Workshop as “Excellent” and requested repeat workshops to permit additional staff to attend.  This updated Workshop is scheduled at the request of previous students!
 

The White House set a goal of raising the government wide engagement score to 67% by the 2016 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and as the results indicate this year, many Agencies have continued making great progress. This workshop is designed to help Federal leaders understand how to effectively cultivate a culture of engagement that connects each employee to the mission of their organization through engagement and excellence in order to lead to higher organizational performance, employee empowerment and an effective performance based culture.

 

Presentations and interactive panel discussions will help supervisors, managers and practioners involved in FEVS action planning understand how to utilize best practices in workforce engagement to achieve greater outcomes for the public and ensure their Federal employees are working in productive, highly effective work environments.

 

What You Will Learn: 

  • How to operationalize the GAO, MSPB and OPM drivers of engagement on a tactical level;
  • How to lead performance conversations and create meaningful rewards to inspire engaged teams who can operate in a flexible, modern, performance based culture;
  • How to develop effective communication strategies from Federal Agencies who will help you understand what’s needed to implement successful internal campaigns and implement ongoing performance strategies that drive cultural transformation at all levels of the organization.
     
Why You Should Attend: 

  • Learn proven strategies from Federal Agencies which have improved their FEVS scores year after year;
  • Understand how to interpret your FEVS scores in order to design effective action plans that enable you to measure engagement throughout the year and how to build a performance based culture;
  • Build your toolkit for creating a customized employee engagement strategy in your own organizations that will sustain and improve your FEVS scores year after year;
  • Learn tools and techniques for improving employee engagement.

 

Who Should Attend: 

  • Federal supervisors and managers who care about fostering engaged teams at the local level.
  • Federal HR practitioners; Chief Learning Officers, and anyone responsible for employee engagement and FEVS survey action planning.
  • Communications practitioners responsible for leading internal communications campaigns.
  • Inspector Generals and staff.
  • Executives, Managers and Staff responsible for improving performance and employee engagement.
Format: 

Instructor and Panel Presentations, Classroom Discussions, and Guest Speakers

Agenda: 

 

7:30 AM

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30

Welcome
Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum

8:45

Keynote Presentation- Understanding the Drivers of Engagement (GAO)

  • Differentiate between the six drivers of employee engagement, as recognized by OPM and GAO
  • Understand how agencies can build on these dimensions to become more successful
  • Discuss how best to use FEVS results to shape future engagement action planning

 

Chelsa Gurkin

Assistant Director, Strategic Issues

United States Government Accountability Office 

9:30

Participant Q&A and Refreshment Break

10:00

Panel 1: What Gets Measured Gets Done

How to design and implement ongoing and periodic organizational performance measures for looking at success in:

  • Effective Job Design and Candidate Assessments
  • Onboarding and Pre-boarding
  • Reviewing the impact of ongoing engagement and internal partnership efforts

 

Panelists:

 

Rebecca (Becky ) Johnson

Director, HCO S&F/Engagement and Organizational Improvement

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

 

Ray M. Crawford, Jr., PhD.
Employee Engagement Officer

Office of Federal Student Aid

U.S. Department of Education

 

Kristin McNally
Director, Office of Employee Engagement

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

U.S. Department of Labor

11:00

Designing Work That Engages- Job Characteristics, Rewards and the Supervisor
Learn how to structure and implement engaging and motivating work by developing successful strategies in:
  • Effective Job Design and Meaningful Performance Conversations
  • Administering Rewards and Recognition that matter
  • Understanding Supervisory best practices for engaging employees that make a difference

 

Julie Osowski & Peter Leeds

Senior Research Psychologists

Office of Policy and Evaluation
Merit Systems Protection Board

12:00 PM

Hosted Networking Luncheon
1:00

Overview of the Best Places to Work index: Partnership for Public Service)

  • Hear from experts at the Partnership for Public Service to understand how the Best Places to Work rankings were designed
  • Understand how to use the rankings as a mechanism to serve as a roadmap for organizational improvement
  • Leverage year-to-year data to identify what strategies are working well and what early warning signs may signal a need for improvement.


Eden Murrie & Amanda Blatnik
Partnership for Public Service
(Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Developed in Partnership with OPM)

1:45

Panel 2: Creating the Model Federal Workplace:

Understand how ongoing data and reporting, effective communication strategies and leadership accountability helps move the needle

  • Learn the lessons and best practices implemented from Agencies who have significantly increased their scores on the FEVS
  • Hear how effective partnerships among labor and special interest/affinity groups helped effect positive results

 

Panelists:

Sydney T. Rose
Chief Human Capital Officer and Director
Human Resources Center
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
U.S. Department of Labor

 

Clo Taylor
Chief Learning and Engagement Officer
Chief Human Capital Officer Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

 

Karen Comfort

Deputy Associate Administrator & COO

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

USDA

 

3:00

Refreshment Break

3:15

Beyond Pizza Parties and Casual Fridays:  How to Build a Culture of Engagement for Today's Multi-Generational Workforce

  • Design practical strategies for engaging a modern, mobile workforce for all ages
  • Implement effective and engaging performance conversations
  • Understand the newest research on drivers of employee engagement to tailor to your own teams and organization

 

Robert Goldenkoff
Director, Strategic Issues team
GAO

4:15

Ask The Experts:

Participants will engage in an open Q&A with leading experts and practitioners who are focused on developing sustainable organizational and cultural changes in employee engagement action planning.

 

Panelists:

Jason Briefel

Executive Director

Senior Executive Association (SEA)

 

Robert Goldenkoff
Director, Strategic Issues team
GAO

 

Cindy Auten

Principal

ICF International

 

Michael Dukes

Office of Human Resource Management

USDA

 

Andrea Zappone, M.A.

Personnel Research Psychologist

HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions

OPM

5:00

 

 

Final Q&A/Workshop Adjourns

Agenda Subject to Change

Registration Information: 

Reduced Fees – Based upon Government Requests
(Due to the Importance of This Engagement Workshop and the Requests of Government Managers (with limited budgets) to Send Numerous Employees to this Important Event – Potomac Forum has Initiated a Price Reduction to Respond to Government Requests)

 

Government Employees: (Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID)
Early Bird Registration Fee: Now $695 until 10/23/2016

Reduced Registration Fee: $795 after 10/23/2016

 

Team “Learn Together” Rate:

2nd  person (and all other subsequent group members) from same office receives an additional $100 reduction off their registration.

 

Industry Employees: (Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID) 
Early Bird Registration Fee: Now $795 until 10/23/2016

Reduced Registration Fee: $895 after 10/23/2016

 

Team “Learn Together” Rate:

2nd  person (and all other subsequent group members) from same office receives an additional $100 reduction off their registration.

Keynote Speaker: 

Chelsa Gurkin

Assistant Director, Strategic Issues,
GAO
(Co-Author - GAO Report to Congress FEDERAL WORKFORCE Preliminary Observations on Strengthening Employee Engagement During Challenging Times GAO-15-529T:  Released: Apr 16, 2015)

 

Chelsa Gurkin is an Assistant Director in the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Strategic Issues team.  GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. GAO’s Strategic Issues team supports Congressional oversight through audits and analysis of government-wide human capital management and other cross-cutting issues, major management challenges, and programs at risk for waste, fraud and abuse.

 

Chelsa has 14 years of experience at GAO designing and leading performance audit teams. In addition to employee engagement, her research addressing federal human capital issues includes evaluating the General Schedule classification system, analyzing the effectiveness of federal hiring authorities, and prioritizing human capital investments in an era of fiscal constraint.

 

Chelsa is an organizational steward, actively supporting GAO’s employee engagement, recruiting, professional development, and quality assurance programs.  She earned her MPA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Guest Speakers: 

Rebecca (Becky ) Johnson

Director, HCO S&F/Engagement and Organizational Improvement

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

 

Becky began her IRS career over 27 years ago as a Collection Revenue Officer in Ohio. Throughout the years, Becky has had the honor and privilege to work on both the Compliance and the Operational Support sides of the Service. From various roles in Collection, Taxpayer Education, Leadership and Education, Human Capital and Strategy and Finance, Becky has a unique perspective of the many facets of the IRS. Becky has also led many special projects including the Return Preparer Strategy and Private Debt Collection which furthered her understanding of the “big-picture” thinking needed in today’s environment. Becky became the first IRS Engagement & Organizational Improvement Director in July 2013. This was the first time a Treasury organization placed made an executive responsible for IRS Engagement and Organizational Improvement.

 

Becky has a B.S. in Business Administration (summa cum laude) from the University of Akron (Go Zips!) Being a strong proponent of continual learning, Becky pursued her Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations at George Washington University in her 40s and received her Master in Professional Studies in 2011. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Akron. Becky also secured her ACC from the International Coaching Federation in 2015. She is a certified coach.

 

Becky and her husband Jeff reside in Alexandria, VA along with their three cats – Herbie, Natasha and Stella.

Kristin McNally

Director, Office of Employee Engagement

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

U.S. Department of Labor

Kristin leads the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new Office of Employee Engagement, created as part of the Secretary’s vision to continue implementing culture change initiatives in the areas of Training and Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Flexibility, and engagement data analysis.

Kristin previously led Human Capital and Engagement Strategic Communications for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), U.S. Department of the Treasury, including promotion of BEP’s Human Capital Strategic Plan and longstanding Best Place to Work efforts. While at BEP, Kristin managed the Center for Excellence (Training, Development and Work-Life) and the Performance Management/Benefits Division within the Office of Human Resources. She was also BEP’s first Work-Life Coordinator and helped to establish the Bureau’s Coaching and Mentoring Program.

Prior to joining BEP, she consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense at Booz Allen Hamilton and the Center for Organizational Excellence and managed Corporate Partnerships at the Boston College (BC) Center for Work & Family while earning her MBA at BC’s Carroll School of Management. Kristin’s active engagement and leadership in the work-life field includes being Chair of the WorldatWork Work-Life Advisory Council and a Steering Committee Member for the Greater Washington Work-Life Network.

Kristin is an energetic mom to two young daughters and loves to ski and participate in triathlons among other athletic pursuits.

Julie Osowski, Ph. D.

Senior Research Psychologist

Office of Policy and Evaluation
Merit Systems Protection Board

 

Julie Osowski Ph.D. is a senior research psychologist at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). While at MSPB, Julie has contributed to several research reports including Federal employee motivation and engagement, training and experience assessment, favoritism, and telework. Julie is the project manager of a current study of Federal employee engagement which combines survey data, past MSPB research, and professional literature to describe person drivers of Federal employee engagement, the nature of the engaged state, and correlates of engagement. Julie has also served as editor of MSPB’s Issues of Merit newsletter. Prior to working at MSPB, she was a personnel research psychologist for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management where she contributed to personnel policy and assessment projects including two occupational studies, a structured interviewing guide, a realistic job preview, and an assessment decision guide. Julie earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at Virginia Tech.

J. Peter Leeds, Ph.D.

Senior Research Psychologist

Office of Policy and Evaluation
Merit Systems Protection Board

 

J. Peter Leeds Ph.D. is a senior research psychologist with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board where he analyzes data in support of reports to the President of the United States and to Congress. He is currently an adjunct professor of industrial and organizational psychology in the applied psychology Masters program of the University of Baltimore, where he teaches graduate courses in statistics, personnel selection, leadership, satisfaction, and motivation. He was formerly a psychologist with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Postal Service where he developed and validated selection tools and performed survey research. He earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Eden Murrie

Director for Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships

Partnerships for Public Service

 

As the Director for the Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships, Eden leads teams assisting federal agencies in developing and implementing strategies to improve workforce management. Prior to her current position, Eden worked as a consultant assisting clients with organizational transformation and legislative advocacy. Previous to that, Brigadier General Murrie culminated a 29-year Air Force career as the Director of Air Force Services. She has senior executive experience including working on the National Security Staff, serving on the staff of a member of Congress and leading multinational organizations. Her graduate work includes a Master’s in Political Science from University of South Dakota, a Master’s in National Security Strategy from USAF Air War College and in July 2016, a Master’s in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University.

Amanda Blatnik

Associate Manager

Partnerships for Public Service

 

Amanda first joined the Partnership as a Development Fellow in January 2015 before transitioning to the research team as an Associate. She supports the Partnership’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® program by conducting analysis of federal employee survey data and related research. In addition, she assists the Advisory Services team in supporting federal agencies’ understanding of their Best Places to Work scores. Amanda earned her Bachelor of Social Work and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree at George Mason University.

Clo Taylor

Chief Learning and Engagement Officer

Chief Human Capital Officer Office

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

 

Mrs. Clo Taylor, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Chief Learning and Engagement Officer for the Chief Human Capital Officer Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Recently, Mrs. Taylor left DoD where she was the Principal Deputy Director of Administration for the Under Secretary of Defense. She was a member of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) community since July 2008. While concurrently serving as the Principal Deputy Director of Administration, Mrs. Taylor was also the Acting Director OUSD-AT&L Human Capital Initiatives where she provided leadership and expertise in Human Capital Management as demonstrated by her management of the Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project, Senior Executive Service performance management program, and military personnel staffing for OUSD.

 

Recently, Mrs. Taylor served as the Director, Human Resources in the Executive Office of the President on a long-term training assignment. The assignment enabled her to further develop an operational portfolio, as she handled a diverse array of agency-wide programs including Senior Executive Service, Acquisition Demonstration Project, National Security Personnel System, Safety and Occupational Health, labor/employee relations, engagement, workforce development and other special programs.

 

Mrs. Taylor has served in different capacities across the federal government. In her more than 23 years of professional experience, she has achieved a strong record of accomplishments, leading people and organizations in the development and execution of forward-thinking programs in strategic planning, human capital management, business process improvement, and administrative management.

 

Mrs. Taylor was born in Fort Myers, Florida. She earned a Master of Business Management and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida State University. Mrs. Taylor is married to Mario Taylor and they have two children, a son, Mario Taylor II, who is a Georgia Tech University graduate and a daughter, Latavia Taylor, who is a senior at James Madison University.

Sydney T. Rose

Chief Human Capital Officer and Director
Human Resources Center
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
U.S. Department of Labor

 

Sydney T. Rose has over thirty-six years of Federal service, all of which have been spent in human-resources related occupations.  She has served as the Chief Human Capital Officer and Director of the Human Resources Center of the U.S. Department of Labor since February 2012.  Ms. Rose is responsible for all the Department’s human capital policies and programs including recruiting and staffing, work-life and benefits, executive resources, training and development, employee and labor-management relations, human resources information systems, and diversity and inclusion.  Since the summer of 2013, she has been a key advisor to Departmental leadership on employee engagement efforts involving a diverse workforce of over 17,000 employees.

 

Ms. Rose works closely with Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez to improve workforce engagement through conducting employee listening sessions and town hall discussions; expanding workplace flexibilities and developmental opportunities for all DOL employees; and collaborating on various workplace issues with managers and union officials. These efforts did not go unnoticed by the U.S. Department of Labor workforce, who responded to the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) at much higher rates.  The results indicated significantly higher levels of workforce engagement and global satisfaction.  The Partnership for Public Service recognized the Department of Labor as the most improved Department and Large Agency for both 2014 and 2015. 

 

Ms. Rose joined the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in January 2011 as the Deputy Human Resources Director and Chief Labor Negotiator.  She previously served eight years as the Human Resources Director for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  From 1996 to 2003, she was the HR Director for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  With over twenty years experience as a senior HR official and the highest ranking HR official at two cabinet-level agencies -- the Departments of Labor and Commerce -- Ms. Rose managed all human resources policy, programs and operations.

 

She began her Federal career in 1980 as an Investigator with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and was recognized in 1987 as the agency’s Investigator of the Year.  While at OPM, Ms. Rose conducted and managed security clearance and EEO investigations, and investigations of Trust Fund fraud and Merit Systems violations.  She also served as liaison to the White House, U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court and the Central Intelligence Agency.  Ms. Rose’s employee relations work included the successful prosecution of the first Internet threat case in the Commonwealth of Virginia.    

 

Ms. Rose has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mary Washington College.  She lives in Virginia and has a grown daughter who lives and works in Boston for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   Sydney is known for her love of horses and is a horse racing aficionado.  She experienced the thrill of a lifetime attending the Belmont Stakes in June 2015 to see American Pharoah win the first Triple Crown in 37 years.

Jason Briefel

Executive Director

Senior Executives Association

 

Jason Briefel serves as Executive Director of the Senior Executives Association.  He previously served as Legislative Director, providing lobbying and consulting services for SEA and several other associations, businesses and coalitions.

 

Mr. Briefel joined Shaw Bransford & Roth in 2012 to work in the firm's government affairs department, providing legislative and organizational representation to clients of the firm's government affairs practice, as well as conducting non-legal research for law firm clients as necessary. In addition, Mr. Briefel is a regular host of FEDtalk on Federal News Radio.

 

In 2013, Mr. Briefel's portfolio expanded to include serving as Editor of the FEDmanager and FEDagent e-report newsletters. He is the principal author for both newsletters, and collaborates closely with the Online Editor to expand the reach, content offerings, and external partnerships of the newsletters.

 

Prior to joining SB&R, Mr. Briefel worked in Congress for a member of the North Carolina delegation and interned with the DC-based think tank Third Way. He also served as a research assistant and project manager for the FireChasers, a collaborative research endeavor between the U.S. Forest Service and North Carolina State University.

Mr. Briefel holds a B.A. from the University of Richmond and an M.S. from North Carolina State University.

Robert Goldenkoff

Director, Strategic Issues team

GAO

 

 

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.

Cindy Auten

Principal, ICF International

 

Cindy Auten has served in a communications and engagement role inside and outside of the Federal government for nearly 15 years. For more than 12 years, she worked at a marketing, communications, and public relations firm serving Federal, state government, and private-sector stakeholders. In her most recent years, Ms. Auten worked at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer. She specializes in public-sector communications and engagement strategies as well as tactics on managing and working in a distributed workforce.

Michael Dukes

Office of Human Resource Management

U.S. Department of Agriculture

 

Michael Dukes serves as Program Analyst to the Diversity, Recruitment and Work/Life Division, Departmental Management, in the Office of Human Resource Management at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where his portfolio includes workforce analytics and special emphasis programs.  He recently served on a special project as the Lead Analyst on the White House initiative "My Brother's Keeper" for the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership Division at USDA, where his contributions related to ground breaking and innovative mechanisms for Federal hiring and recruitment strategies for diversity.

 

Michael also served as the Chairperson for the Civil Right Executive Advisory Team at USDA's National Agricultural  Statistics Services (NASS), while working in the Information Technology Division, Network Support Services, as a Senior IT Specialist. Prior to arriving at USDA, Michael worked in both the private and federal sectors, as a Senior IT Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and for the U.S. Army Family Morale and Welfare Recreation Command.

 

A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from Johnson C. Smith University, and a Federal Acquisition Certificate for Project and Program Managers. He's also earned a Master's certificate in Project Management from George Washington University.

Karen T. Comfort

Deputy Associate Administrator & COO

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

USDA

 

Karen T. Comfort is currently the Deputy Associate Administrator/Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Agricultural Marketing Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As Deputy Associate Administrator, Ms. Comfort leads the Agency’s overall direction, coordination and continuous evaluation of Agency operations, with special emphasis on new and emerging programs. She oversees the Agency’s strategic planning, civil rights and special emphasis planning, human capital planning and recruitment planning. In addition, Ms. Comfort leads overall Agency recruitment. She is the Chair of the Agency’s first Recruitment and Hiring Functional Committee. In this role, Ms. Comfort monitors, and implements measures to improve workforce diversity through recruitment, outreach and employee development programs designed to enhance the hiring and retention of highly qualified employees from diverse backgrounds. Ms. Comfort has worked at USDA for over 20 years, serving in numerous leadership roles and on various Departmental Taskforces, Committees, and Initiatives. One of her most recent notable accomplishments was serving as the 2014 Feds Feed Families (FFF) Campaign’s National Program Manager on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture. As the FFF National Program Manager, Ms. Comfort represented the Office of the Secretary, leading National Chairs and Champions across 40 Federal Departments and Agencies; and promoting the annual FFF government-wide initiative in which Federal employees in the Washington metropolitan area and around the world donate perishable and non-perishable food items to food banks, food pantries, and shelters. Under Ms. Comfort’s leadership, Federal employees donated over 14.8 million pounds of food, and her campaign is considered the most successful since the FFF initiative started in 2009.

Andrea Zappone, M.A.

Personnel Research Psychologist

HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions

OPM

 

Andrea Zappone is a Personnel Research Psychologist in the Organizational Assessment section of OPM’s HR Strategy and Evaluation Solutions. She has a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University and began her career as an Educational Psychologist for the United States Postal Service. Since starting to work with OPM in 2010, Andrea has worked on various assessment projects including OPM Leadership 360 TM assessments, training needs assessments, organizational climate surveys, customer satisfaction surveys and exit surveys. Andrea has also facilitated structured interviews, focus groups and action planning workshops. She is currently pursuing her ICF accreditation in executive coaching.

Instructors: 

Mika J. Cross

Federal Workplace Expert

 

Mika J. Cross is a seasoned Workplace Transformation Strategist specializing in innovative global workplace initiatives, culture change, strategic communications, knowledge management, next generation/future workplace predictions, mobility and flexible work policy, diversity, inclusion and employee engagement.  Her 18-year career in public service includes assignments throughout the United States Intelligence Community and 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 flexible and transformational workplace practices and is regularly featured as a professional speaker at industry conferences and events. 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” strategy session 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 was invited to speak at the House Smart Contracting Caucus roundtable on Telework and Mobility, by Co-Chairmen Gerry Connolly and Rob Wittman.  She has also 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 strategies to help align Work/Life, Diversity, Inclusion and Human Resources professionals from across the government to share strategic vision and value for integrating a flexible and supportive workplace. 

 

In 2014, Mika was selected as a President’s Management Council (PMC) Interagency Fellow at OPM and worked on government-wide projects affecting culture and process change. As a component of the President’s Second Term Management Agenda sub-goal on People and Culture, she helped create an online Employee Engagement Community of Practice (eCOP) within OPM’s interactive dashboard (the Unlocking Federal Talent data tool at unlocktalent.gov).  The eCOP is targeted for Senior Executive Management to help Federal agencies collect and use data to create a more engaged workplace. She also 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.

 

Mika has led the strategic communications and initiatives capability for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and currently does so for the Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS.)  Mika was awarded the Fed50 “Most Inspiring Up-and-Comer” award, the Federal News Radio “Causey Award” as well as a Next Gen Gov public service award. In 2013 she was named a ‘Work-Life Rising Star’ by WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress.    She currently serves as Government Chair of the Human Capital Shared Interest Group (HC-SIG) for the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Panel (ACT-IAC) and as a Board member for WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work/life Progress (AWLP.) 

Comments from Students: 

Student comments from the May 9, 2016 Employee Engagement Workshop
Student Names and Government Organizations are Redacted  

 

I enjoyed the conference (Workshop) and the reference material is excellent.  I liked how the layout and agenda tied everything together.
Will recommend this workshop to other leaders I like all the presenters…

Executive Officer, Office of Budget, Facilities and Security
Government Administration

The Panel was fabulous!  Great execution ideas.
The overall workshop was excellent.
Lunch was a very special treat
Engaging with other agencies was helpful (at hosted working luncheon)

Director, Executive Management Staff
Office of the Secretary
Cabinet Department

Excellent Speakers
Great Workshop!  Would recommend to others.

OPS Manager
Cabinet Department

Very enjoyable and a lot of useful information
Thank you!
Also, the panel was outstanding!  I wrote 2 pages of very useful notes to take away.

Management & Program Analyst
Cabinet Department

Excellent Speakers
Great Workshop!  Would recommend to others.

OPS Manager
Cabinet Department

Overall it was Fantastic and enlightening.  I absolutely loved the panel…
All refreshments were great

Biologist
Government Agency

The workshop provided me with valuable information that I can take back to my agency to assist with increasing employee engagement!
Unit Chief
Government Administration

Excellent Program – a lot packed into 8 ½ hours!
I liked the opportunity for Q&A throughout the program – Very Important

Chief of Staff, Department of XXX
Administration

I picked up a lot of ides and definitely learned to refocus on management improvement over communications enhancement.
Lead, Internal Communications
Government Agency

Lots of good information given.  Can’t wait to get back and share!
There was a lot of info in a short amount of time.
Lunch was amazing!

Training Specialist
Government Agency

Loved it!  Great speakers and information.
Strategic Human Capital Specialist
Defense Agency

Great topics and Speakers!
Deputy General Counsel
Government Administration

The workshop was great. All the presenters gave some great information and or material and were very engaged.
Anonymous Attendee
Government Agency

Enjoyed the spectrum of presenters and their perspective on the engagement topic and how to implement engagement activity in my organization.
Financial Management Analyst
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Cabinet Department

I liked that the presenters used hard data, they were well prepared and they didn’t read the slides but refereed to them as necessary.  Thanks for the binder.
Lunch was amazingly good.  Hats off to the chef
.

Media Specialist
Government Agency

The Workshop was excellent.  The well-prepared speakers provided valuable information.  Also appreciate the binder of information for future reference.
Deputy Director of Audit
Office of the Inspector General
Independent Non-Executive Department Agency

 

Cancellation Policy: 

Confirmed registrations who cancel within 2 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 Potomac Forum Ltd. All Rights Reserved
    Copyright also covers all workshop agendas and descriptions
  • 400 N. Washington Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314