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

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

Happy Holidays!


Thank you for your continued support of Potomac Forum Educational Events.

During this holiday season, we reflect on the great work of government employees and their industry partners and the difference they make for our wonderful Country. 




We send our best holiday wishes and a very Happy New Year to all!



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

We are sorry! We have had to "cut off" registration due to a "full" meeting room. This is a wonderful, high value workshop and so popular we have reached meeting room capacity. Please register early for future Potomac Forum Training Workshops

Morning Keynotes


Shannon Finnegan
Assistant Director
Government Accountability Office (GAO)


Shelby Kain
Senior Analyst
Government Accountability Office (GAO)



Afternoon Keynote

Mallory Bullman

Vice President for Research 
Partnership for Public Service



Mika J. Cross
Award Winning Federal Workplace Expert 


Guest Speakers 

Dr. Christina Frye
Performance Strategy Expert
Influencer Award Winner and Author

Thevee Gray
Personnel Psychologist
Department of Agriculture (USDA) 


Treva Smith

Senior Executive

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


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


John O’Connor
Organization Transformation Practitioner
Grant Thornton LLP


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 Kain, 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. Christina Frye, Performance Strategy Expert, Influencer, Award Winner and Author
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.


Afternoon Keynote: 
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, Influencer, Award Winner and Author
Darryl Peek, former DHS Executive and Senior Manager, Salesforce

John O'Connor, Organization Transformation Practitioner, Grant Thornton LLP


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.

Shelby Kain

Senior Analyst
Government Accountability Office (GAO)


Shelby is a Senior Analyst with the Government Accountability Office examining human capital issues. She earned her Master in Public Policy from American University.

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.

Mallory Bullman

Vice President for Research 
Partnership for Public Service


Mallory Barg Bulman serves as the Vice President of Research and Evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service. In her role, she is responsible for driving change in government by strengthening the evidence-base for the Partnership for Public Service, holding government leaders accountable for operational performance, and identifying innovation and best practices across government. As part of her portfolio, Mallory is responsible for the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings.


Mallory has more than ten years of experience overseeing the conceptualization, design, analysis and production of quality research products designed to improve government operations. Mallory has delivered presentations before Congressional staffs, agency officials, academic leaders, and private sector officials on topics such as interagency collaboration, shared services, human capital management, organizational transformation, performance management, implementation of the GPRA Modernization Act, pandemic response, and emergency preparedness. Prior to joining the Partnership, Mallory was a Senior Analyst in the Strategic Issues team of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ analytic and investigative arm.

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.

Treva Smith

Senior Executive 

National Geospatial Agency (NGA)


Ms. Smith currently serves as a Senior Executive with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Her expertise includes advisory and operational services for the workforce in the areas of, employee relations, benefits, awards and recognition, performance management, workforce flexibilities, wellness program and HR team that specifically support Agency directorates. Previously, she was the Deputy Director of the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity. In this capacity, she served as a senior advisor to Agency leaders on advancing equal employment opportunity, workforce diversity and workplace inclusion initiatives.

Prior to joining NGA, Ms. Smith served as the Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Scott Air Force Base, with the overall responsibility to develop and successfully execute a full suite of EEO, Diversity and Inclusion imperatives across its global enterprise. Ms. Smith also has the opportunity to serve as the Deputy Chief, Policy and Operations Division, Equal Opportunity Office, Defense Intelligence Agency. During her tenure she designed and scoped requirement to provide a slate of customized diversity management consultant services and matured capability of DIA’s accessibility and reasonable accommodation program.

With over 28 years as a civil servant, Ms. Smith has contributed to cutting-edge EEO and diversity initiatives within Department of Justice, Department of Veterans Affairs and various agencies within Department of Defense. As a trained facilitator, Ms. Smith has trained extensively and continues to facilitate discussions on the strategic business imperative of diversity and inclusion from a 21st Century approach. Ms. Smith earned both her Bachelor of Arts Degree in human relations and Master of Science degree in organizational development from Trinity University, Washington DC. As on avid volunteer, Ms. Smith serves the community through various outreach efforts as a member of Junior League of Washington and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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


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.


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


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.

Jason Keller

Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF and 

Senior Executives Association (SEA) Member


Jason Keller is a career public servant, having served in state and federal government, as well as through volunteer service. He is a US Army Veteran that served in South America as well as Africa. Jason is dedicated to creating a more agile government that can respond to the rapidly transforming threats faced in our current environment.

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