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

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

Empowering an Engaged Federal Workforce and Improving Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Scores

How best to encourage employee engagement, enhance a culture of civility and respect, improve the performance of Federal workplace processes and improve overall workforce engagement to achieve future mission success and achieve workforce restructuring requirements in the modern, mobile workplace.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019



Mika J. Cross 

Federal Workplace Expert 




Michelle Amante
Partnership for Public Service


Alex Harrington
Senior Adviser and Special Assistant
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Kimberly Steide

Human Capital Planning and Program Performance Program Manager
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Kristin McNally

Director of Employee Engagement, OHR, OASAM

U.S. Department of Labor 


Michele Perez  

Vice President

Department of Management and Administration OPIC


Jason Briefel

Executive Director 

Senior Executives Association


John O'Connor

Organizational Strategy and Transformation Expert
Grant Thornton Public Sector


Chris Armstrong

Veritas Culture
Former Culture Executive 

Intelligence Community Agencies 


Vince Brantley
Owner, Veritas Culture 
Former Culture Executive

Defense Intelligence Agency

Darryl E. Peek II

Senior Manager, Strategy and Business Development
Salesforce Public Sector North America


Dr. Christina Frye
Performance Strategy Expert and Award Winning Author 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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trust in government by tackling systemic barriers to reform, including an ineffective personnel management system and outdated technology infrastructure.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 Human 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 workforce engagement strategy that brings on the right talent with the right skills, empowers 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.

The workshop will also address methods and lessons learned to help agencies  improve agency Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Scores.


What You Will Learn: 

  • 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 
  • Identify the competencies needed as a successful supervisor to maximize employee performance and engagement 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.
  • Design workforce engagement strategies to prepare for continuity of operations, and supporting the workforce during, before and after unplanned or unexpected events and tumultuous times;
  • Build your toolkit for cultivating a culture of engagement and accountability designed to achieve enhanced organizational and individual performance
  • Identify best practices from other agencies who have improved their FEVS Scores and better understand new techniques to use in your organization.
Why You Should Attend: 

Experienced Human 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 workforce engagement strategy that brings on the right talent with the right skills, empowers 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.

The workshop will also address methods and lessons learned to help agencies  improve agency Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Scores.

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

Instructor Presentations, Classroom Discussions, and Guest Speakers


Agenda Subject to Change

7:30 AM

Registration and Willard Continental Breakfast


Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum


Morning Keynote –

Lessons Learned from the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government


Michelle Amante, Partnership for Public Service


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 
  • 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 


  • Learn about ongoing workforce reskilling and upskilling efforts and how to plan for an optimal, engaged workforce of the future


Moderated By:  Mika J. Cross, Federal Workplace Expert

Expert Panelists:

Kimberly Steide, Human Capital Planning and Program Performance Program Manager, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Michele Perez, Vice President, Department of Management and Administration OPIC


Dr. Christina Frye, Performance Strategy Expert and Award Winning Author 


Refreshment Break


Agency Best Practice Case Study in Performance Management and Employee Engagement

  • Learn the importance of establishing and integrating the organization’s vision, values, mission and strategic goals into a three-tier human operating system: 1) Strategic (Organizational Outcomes); 2) Team (Operational Activities); and 3) Individual (Functional Tasks & Outputs).


  • Gain insight of how to use the FEVS Scores to conduct further climate surveys in order to identify potential performance and engagement gaps;


  • Understand the benefits of integrating the Balanced Scorecard approach to strategic, operational and team planning; and


  • Learn why it’s more important to assess and change an internal performance system before focusing on low performers.



Alex Harrington, Senior Adviser and Special Assistant, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Class Discussion and “Take Aways”

Morning Session Recap

Additional Time for Student Q&As

Student Evaluation Request


Hosted  Working Lunch
Students will be presented with a luncheon discussion topic.  A leader will be selected at each table to facilitate a discussion  during the Workshop


Interactive Report Out from the Working Lunch Discussion


Change Management Playbook for Transformational Change 

  • Obtain practical tools for successfully managing change in an organization
  • Learn to identify the elements necessary to make change successful and discuss how to identify missing elements
  • Understand how to use effective change communication tactics to drive positive action and changes in behavior


John O'Connor, Organizational Strategy and Transformation Expert, Grant Thornton Public Sector


Refreshment Break


Moving to Healthy Discourse from Screaming Pitchforks: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Workforce Culture

·         We are talking more and yet becoming more divisive. This is an inarguable reality in our everyday culture. But why? What has occurred that is driving so much tension, hate, and outright visceral? More importantly, what, if anything, can be done about it? 

·         At the root of all culture challenges are human challenges. This includes our tendency to: listen to respond, practice confirmation bias, assume negative intent, and practice high institutional distrust and high personal association. Take part in an authentic and informative dialogue with two people who have facilitated more than 4,600 culture sessions and lent their expertise to high visibility issues such as the Kavanuaugh confirmation process and the Charlottesville race riots. 


Chris Armstrong and Vince Brantley of Veritas Culture and former Culture Executives, Intelligence Community and DoD Agencies 


Refreshment Break & Informal Q&A


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; 
  • Learn about the leading practices from organizations focused on implementing ongoing results-oriented performance initiatives to meet workforce restructuring goals; 
  • Consider the critical elements for creating effective short and long-term plans that overcome challenges to a culture of performance and accountability for attracting and retaining top talent and an engaged workforce.


Moderated By:  Mika J. Cross, Federal Workplace Expert



Jason Briefel, Executive Director, Senior Executives Association


Darryl E. Peek II, Senior Manager, Strategy and Business Development, Salesforce Public Sector North America

Kristin McNally, Director of Employee Engagement, OHR, OASAM, U.S. Department of Labor


Additional Q&A and Final Remarks


Workshop Adjourns 


Registration Information: 

  Early Bird Registration Fee Registering after August 15
Government Employees:
(Federal, State or Local Government Issued ID)
Special Reduced Rates in Support of Government Budget Reductions
Team Rate for Government: Send a government team to learn together. Register two government employees from the same office at the same time and the third person registers at $200 discount of the current government rate.

Registration Includes: Presentations, Workshop Notebook, Continental Breakfast, All Day Refreshments and Hosted Luncheon

Guest Speakers: 

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.

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.

Kimberly Steide

Acting Director for the Office of Strategy, Evaluation, and Analysis

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Kimberly has over 25 years of Human Capital experience that spans military service, private industry, and Federal level public sector. She has been with the Federal Government since 2004. Her areas of expertise include human capital planning, workforce planning, program evaluation, workforce analytics, and metrics.  She has been with the Department of Treasury since 2012 in a variety of roles.  In her current role, she serves as the Acting Director for the office of Strategy, Evaluation, and Analysis within the Office of the Chief Human Captial Officer.  Kimberly holds Doctorate in Public Administration from Capella University.


Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.  Autograph your work with excellence!


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.

John O'Connor

Organization Transformation Practitioner

Grant Thornton LLP


John O’Connor is a Organization Transformation practitioner with Grant Thornton LLP. He has over 20 years of experience solving complex organizational and operational problems for clients across the telecommunications, high technology, law enforcement, national security, and other Federal government communities.

Chris Armstrong

Veritas Culture

Former Culture Executive

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.


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.

Darryl E. Peek II

Senior Manager, Strategy and Business Development 

Salesforce Public Sector North America


Darryl Peek is a Senior Manager, Strategy & Business Development of North America Public Sector at Salesforce. Darryl is a dynamic IT leader, business developer, consultant, project manager, subject matter expert and organizational change agent with extensive experience in utilizing and implementing business systems and processes to drive results in the federal government and the intelligence community. Darryl previously worked at the Dept. Of Homeland Security as a Director of Digital Innovation and Solutions responsible for acquisitions, agency-wide initiatives and shared services. He has a BS in Computer Engineering from University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Engineering from Penn State University. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/darrylepeekii/

Twitter: @depeekii


Michele Perez

Vice President 

Department of Management and Administration 

Overseas Private Investment Corporation 

Ms. Perez joined OPIC from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where she served as Director of Administrative Operations for the Office of the Secretary. In that role, she was a key advisor and consultant to the VA Chief of Staff on matters including human resources, strategic planning and financial management. While at VA, she was also a part of the inaugural team which stood up the Veteran’s Health Administration’s Office of Workforce Services, responsible to oversee the agency’s human capital enterprise strategies and advance the agency’s goal to improve veterans’ access to healthcare.

Throughout her tenure with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, she partnered with public housing authorities, cities, counties and states to increase affordable housing, and enforced labor laws and the payment of prevailing wages throughout the Midwest. As a survivor of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, her most meaningful achievement includes her work supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Chicago-based call center in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

Ms. Perez holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. in Management from the Catholic University of America. She attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government Community Builder Fellowship program at Harvard University and completed the Executive Education in Innovative Business Practices program with the Brookings Institute.

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.

Michelle Amante

Director of Agency Outreach and Business Development

Partnership for Public Service


Michelle supports federal agencies by understanding their needs and working with Partnership staff to design and develop programming to help agencies attain their goals. Prior to joining the Partnership, Michelle ran the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. She also spent years working for Deloitte to consult with unemployment agencies across the country and work on business process improvement and IT modernization efforts. She loves to build partnerships, solve problems and help agencies bring out the best in their people. Michelle’s favorite public servant is Francis Perkins.

Dr. Christina Frye

Performance Strategy Expert
Influencer, Award Winner and Author
Awarded as the International Association of Women 2019-2020 Influencer


The Founder and President of Frye Consulting Group, a SBA Hubzone certified women owned business, Dr. Frye has 20 years of experience working in the human services industry. The global consulting firm assists clients, both national and international, with multiple lines of business services. “One of the main products and services offered by Frye Consulting Group is my life balance and performance curriculum called Engagement Finder 2.0,” she said. With this product, Dr. Frye helps executives become more effective leaders, balance their work and family lives, and have a greater impact on their organizations.


Dr. Frye finds it very rewarding to be able to help others reach their goals and achieve success. “My own future goals include creating the second version of Engagement Finder 2.0 life balance and performance curriculum, which will include virtual learning and artificial intelligence development,” she said. “I also hope to continue my humanitarian work for two nonprofits, including the Mildred Taliaferro Foundation, for lupus awareness and raising funds for a cure, and Open Wings Sanctuary, for women with children in domestic violence relationships and homelessness worldwide.”


Education & Awards: Master of Education with specialization in Educational Leadership, from Concordia University-Portland; Lean Six Sigma Black-Belt training with the Army; E-Learning Post Master's Certification from Northcentral University; Doctor of Philosophy, Capella University School of Public Service Leadership, Human Services with specialization in Management; Master of Business Administration, University of Maryland University College; Bachelor of Science, Bowie State University, Sociology with Criminal Justice concentration; Awards: Making a Difference Award from GRA Health Initiatives; OPM Director's Award from Director of the Office of Personnel Management; Five Years’ Service Award from the Chief & Deputy Financial Officers from OPM; OPM Special Act Award from OPM CFO; Phoenix Award from TMA at OPM


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.

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