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

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

Federal Employee Engagement and Improving Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Scores Training Workshop

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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019


Shannon Finnegan
Assistant Director
Government Accountability Office (GAO)


Shelby Cain
Senior Analyst
Government Accountability Office (GAO)



Mika J. Cross
Award Winning Federal Workplace Expert 


Guest Speakers 

Dr. Christina Frye
Performance Strategy Expert
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Thevee Gray
Personnel Psychologist
Department of Agriculture (USDA) 


Dr. Ray M. Crawford, Jr. 
Chief of Staff
Executive Level Outreach, Office of Federal Student Aid 
Department of Education (ED)


Treva Smith
National Geospatial Agency (NGA)


Jason Briefel
Executive Director
Senior Executives Association (SEA)


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


Mallory Bullman
Vice President for Research
Partnership for Public Service

Darryl E. Peek II
Senior Manager, Strategy, Salesforce Public Sector North America
(Former DHS Executive)

Jason Keller
Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF) and
Senior Executives Association (SEA) Member



Thursday, May 2, 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trust in government by tackling systemic barriers to reform, including an ineffective personnel management system and outdated technology infrastructure.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. 

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.
  • How other agencies have improved their FEVS Scores and techniques to use in your organization. 
Why You Should Attend: 

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- The Future of Federal Work: Key Strategies for Managing and Engaging Talent


Shannon Finnegan, Assistant Director, Government Accountability Office (GAO); Shelby Cain, Senior Analyst, Government Accountability Office (GAO)



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


Panelists Include:

Thevee Gray, Personnel Psychologist, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); Dr. Ray M. Crawford, Jr., Department of Education (Ed); Treva Smith, National Geospatial Agency (NGA)


Refreshment Break


The Impact of Workforce Engagement on Government Continuity and Response Preparedness

-          Learn the most effective workforce engagement measures to help support your employees for any disruption in mission or normal operations.

-          Understand the best practices for developing communication tactics and a communication plan that will work regardless of the nature of the event

-          Reduce interruptions by learning the best tactics for identifying mission critical employees and making sure they understand what is expected of them during an unplanned event or disruptions in advance, and ensure they know what equipment and support they will need to perform their duties.

-          Establish a framework for workplace preparation and closure, consider that employees will need to prepare their families and take care of personal matters as well and understand the elements to assist them in developing personal preparedness plans.


Jason Keller, Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF) and Senior Executives Association (SEA) Member


Class Discussion and “Take Aways”

Previous Workshop Student Evaluations Requested

Additional Time for Student Q&As


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


Report Out from the  Working Lunch Discussion.


Lessons Learned from the Federal Government Best Places to Work: How to Improve Your Organizational FEVS Scores and Ranking


Mallory Bullman, Vice President for Research, Partnership for Public Service


Refreshment Break


Avoiding Cultural Pitfalls in Addressing Workforce Harassment- 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 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

Panelists Include:

Jason Briefel, Executive Director, Senior Executives Association (SEA); Dr. Christina Frye, Performance Strategy Expert, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM); Darryl Peek, former DHS Executive and Senior Manager, Salesforce


Additional Q&As & Final Remarks/


Workshop Adjourns 


Registration Information: 

  Early Bird Registration Fee Registering after April 14.
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 50% of the current government rate.
Industry and Contractors:
(Including contractors on-site and in direct support of government agencies).

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

Guest Speakers: 

Shannon Finnegan

Assistant Director of Examining Human Capital and Tax Administration Issues

Government Accountability Office (GAO) 


Shannon Finnegan is an Assistant Director with the Government Accountability Office examining human capital and tax administration issues. Prior to joining GAO, she served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Federal Air Marshal Service. She earned her Master in Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

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.

Thevee Gray

Personnel Psychologist

Department of Agriculture (AG)



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.

Dr. Ray M. Crawford, Jr., PhD

Chief of Staff

Executive Level Outreach 

Office of Federal Student Aid

Department of Education (ED)


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.

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.

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.


Darryl E. Peek II

Senior Manager, Strategy   

Salesforce Public Sector North America

(Former DHS Executive)


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


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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