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

The Forum of Choice for Government & Industry Training Since 1982

POSTPONED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER: Maximizing Employee Performance and Managing Conduct in the Modern Federal Workplace and How to Meet the Requirements of Executive Order 13781: Beyond the Basics Training Workshop III

What Federal Executives, Managers and Supervisors need to know to succeed in implementing workforce accountability and effective performance management improvements for their Agency.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Due to the impending snow storm and the requests of our registered students,  we are Postponing the  March 21st Workshop


As we have advance notice of the snow,  we are not waiting until the last minute (Wednesday Morning) to make the postponement decision.

Many of our students and instructors would be driving into DC from outside the Beltway and even if DC Government Offices are open,  the commute  from outside the beltway may be treacherous and dangerous.


The safety and comfort of our students is our first priority.


We will be announcing a new date as soon as possible.


Thank you for your understanding!



Keynote Speaker:


Veronica Villalobos 
Principal Deputy Associate Director, Employee Services Division
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Government Speakers:


Rebecca Ayers

Manager, Performance Management Solutions (PMS)

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Marcus Brownrigg

Strategic Partnerships and Communications Advisor, Office of the CEO

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)


N. Tony Nguyen

Associate Director, Workforce, Relevancy & Inclusion Management

National Park Service (NPS)

Department of the Interior (DOI)


Ray Crawford, PhD

Employee Engagement Officer

Office of Federal Student Aid

Department of Education


Thevee Gray

Personnel Psychologist

Department of Agriculture (USDA)


Teresa (Terry) Gerton

CEO and President

National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA)


James Read

Director, Office of Policy and Evaluation

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)


Bill Valdez


Senior Executives Association



Additional government speakers awaiting agency confirmation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Meeting Location: 
Willard InterContinental Hotel

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

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


The President issued an Executive Order (EO) in 2017 which emphasizes the need to maximize employee performance by better managing poor performance and conduct and ensuring transparency in the Performance Improvement Process (PIP). This Potomac Forum Training Workshop for Government will provide information for Agency Executives, Managers and Staff to meet the long term requirements for workforce accountability and performance management efforts in response to the EO.

Experienced Human Capital Executives and Leadership Experts will share their insight and experience in developing and implementing long-term and near-term workforce management practices that will help attendees understand how best to improve performance, increase accountability and reduce costs.


This workshop will provide you with practical, easy to implement tools and resources to help you achieve the best results for managing performance and conduct in the workplace to achieve the goals of E.O. 13781 while enhancing employee performance to increase mission efficacy and increase retention.  


Learning Objectives:

  • Articulate the seminal learning from the course experience.
  • Formulate an actionable plan to apply learning and commit to specific actions back in the workplace.
  • Develop strategies to continue learning through follow-up and interactions with classmates and peers.
  • Retain awareness and knowledge of the management support resources that are available both within the organization and across the government, for dealing with performance and conduct issues in the workplace.


Check out the Government Matters video series for reference material.

What You Will Learn: 

  • Understand how to quickly differentiate between employee performance and conduct issues and what you need to know to quickly address employee discipline and/or termination;
  • Identify the competencies needed as a successful supervisor to maximize employee performance and how to avoid common pitfalls to managing performance and conduct in the modern workplace.
  • Know where to find practical support, assistance and resources to effectively deal with performance and conduct issues in the workplace;
  • 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.  
Why You Should Attend: 

  • Maximize employee performance by focusing on concrete steps to increase performance and effectively deal with poor performers;
  • Optimize employee recognition programs designed to recognize, reward and retain top performers;
  • Build your toolkit for cultivating a culture of engagement and accountability designed to achieve enhanced organizational and individual performance
Who Should Attend: 

  • Federal supervisors and managers
  • Federal HR practitioners and 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.

Lecture, guest speakers, and practical exercises.




Registration and Continental Breakfast




Art Chantker, President, Potomac Forum


Morning Keynote


Veronica Villalobos, Principal Deputy Associate Director, Employee Services Division, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)



Panel: Effective Employee Engagement and Successful Workforce Support Measures For Creating a Performance-Based Culture

  • Learn 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 moving forward to encourage a performance based culture
  • Hear how effective partnerships among labor and special interest/affinity groups help affect positive culture change
  • Understand how ongoing data and reporting, effective communication strategies and leadership accountability helps move the needle to create a performance based culture focused on results


Moderator: Mika Cross, Federal Workplace Expert



- N. Tony Nguyen, Associate Director, Workforce, Relevancy & Inclusion Management, National Park Service (NPS), Department of the Interior (DOI)

- Ray Crawford, PhD, Employee Engagement Officer, Department of Education

- Thevee Gray, Personnel Psychologist, Department of Agriculture (USDA)


10:45am Refreshment Break

Performance Management

  • How to design and implement the most effective performance management tactics
  • Accountability strategies for managing the performance of a modern, mobile workforce
  • Impact of effort, performance, and rewards through implementing an effective performance management strategy

Rebecca Ayers, Manager, Performance Management Solutions (PMS), Office of Personnel Management (OPM)



Hosted Working Luncheon



Performance vs. Conduct

  • How to differentiate between performance and conduct issues in the workplace
  • Examples and best practices for records management and documentation
  • Fundamentals of progressive discipline and how to initiative a Performance Improvement Plan when necessary
  • How to make the best use of an employee’s Probationary Period and what to do with a poor performer.


Marcus Brownrigg, Strategic Partnerships & Communications Advisor, Corporation for National and Community Service


2:00pm Refreshment Break

Interactive Case Study and Class Discussion


- Analyze a performance or conduct workplace scenario

- Share recommended tactics quickly addressing and resolving performance and conduct issues in the workplace
- Discuss proper documentation requirements for effectively addressing poor performers or misconduct 

Government speakers awaiting agency approval.



Panel: Promising Performance Management Practicecs 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 the implications of effective employee accountability and performance
  • Hear promising practices from organizations focused on implementing ongoing results oriented performance initiatives to meet OMB’s mandate M-17-22
  • Consider the critical elements for creating effective short and long-term plans that overcome challenges to a culture of performance and accountability


Moderator: Mika Cross, Federal Workplace Expert



- Teresa (Terry) Gerton, CEO and President, National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA)

- James Read, Director, Office of Policy and Evaluation, Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

- Bill Valdez, President, Senior Executives Association


Additional panelists awaiting agency confirmation


4:00pm Final Q&A: Performance and Conduct Questions
4:30pm FInal Remarks, Workshop Adjourns


Registration Information: 

  Early Bird Registration Fee AFTER March 9th
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 Fee Reduction)

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

Keynote Speaker: 

Veronica Villalobos

Principal Deputy Associate Director, Employee Services Division

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


Veronica Villalobos is Principal Deputy Associate Director for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Employee Services division. She has been a member of the Senior Executive Service since October 2010.


Ms. Villalobos' responsibilities include formulating and implementing human capital management strategies and policies to support Federal agencies in meeting their missions. She also oversees the division's performance on key strategic goals.


Prior to her current position, Ms. Villalobos served as the first Director of OPM's Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Managing OPM's Government-wide diversity effort, she helped develop, drive, and monitor strategies and initiatives designed to create a more diverse and inclusive Federal workforce.


Before joining OPM, Ms. Villalobos worked at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as one of the agency's first Honor Program Attorneys. From 2008 to 2010, she served as the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity where she was responsible for EEOC's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaint Processing and Affirmative Employment Programs. In spring 2010, Ms. Villalobos was detailed to OPM as Special Counsel to Christine Griffin, OPM's Deputy Director and Chair of the Inter-Agency Work Group on Diversity (Work Group). She coordinated the Work Group's efforts to develop a Government-wide Strategic Plan to create a Federal workplace that represents all segments of society.


In 2008, Ms. Villalobos served as the chair of the Federal Hispanic Work Group, which was charged by the EEOC chair with examining the Hispanic community's systemic concerns about Federal sector employment and executive development. From 2000 to 2008, Ms. Villalobos was assigned to the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations where she issued decisions in cases covering the entire spectrum of alleged discrimination, including race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, religion, and reprisal. In 2006 and 2008, Ms. Villalobos also served as a supervisory attorney and was responsible for reviewing the appellate decisions drafted by attorneys on appeals from agency and EEOC Administrative Judge decisions issued on Federal sector discrimination complaints.


In 2002, Ms. Villalobos was detailed to the EEOC's Office of Legal Counsel, where she litigated EEO and Merit System Protection Board cases on behalf of the EEOC and provided legal advice to the chair and commissioners regarding complex disability cases, as well as administrative and union matters. In 2003, she was detailed to the National Labor Relations Board, where she worked in both the chairman's office, drafting Board decisions, and the General Counsel's Contempt Litigation Division.


Ms. Villalobos was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She graduated from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana, in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and psychology. After graduation, Ms. Villalobos received the Telecommunications Fellowship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, during which she gained hands-on experience at the non-profit Public Technology, Inc. She earned her law degree from Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, in 2000. Ms. Villalobos is a member of the Maryland and Michigan Bars.

Guest Speakers: 

Tony Nguyen

Associate Director, Workforce, Relevancy & Inclusion Management

National Park Service (NPS)

Department of the Interior (DOI)


N. Tony Nguyen is the Associate Director, Workforce & Inclusion, for the National Park Service (NPS), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. In this capacity, he leads the service-wide workforce programs for the NPS’ 20,000+ federal employees: strategic human capital planning and analysis; human capital policy and accountability; learning and development; compensation and benefits processing; job classification; seasonal hiring; and youth programs. In addition, he leads the workforce management functions for the Washington Area Support Office (WASO): staffing; employee and labor relations; employee performance management; suitability and security clearances; and workers' compensation.


Throughout his sixteen years of federal civil service, Tony has led major programs, at the agency and government-wide levels, to implement and improve strategic planning and performance management; workforce analysis, planning, and metrics; recruitment and hiring; diversity and inclusion; employee engagement; and HR service delivery.  In 2002, Tony began his federal service as an analyst for the U.S. Peace Corps in the areas of volunteer recruitment and IT project management.  In 2006, he joined the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a quality assurance manager, senior advisor, and division director.  His career at DOE culminated with his appointment to the career Senior Executive Service (SES) from 2014 to 2017 as the Director, Office of Human Capital Strategy and Analysis.


Prior to his current position at NPS, Tony completed a one-year rotation to the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in the Performance and Personnel Management (PPM) Division of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He contributed to Government-wide policy:  the OMB guidance (M‐17‐22) on a Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce; the 2017 edition of OMB Circular A-11, Part 6; the President’s FY 2018 Budget Request; and the President’s Hiring Freeze memorandum.  He was a senior member of the interagency team that developed and promoted the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) new regulation and implementation guidance on Strategic Human Capital Management, 5 CFR 250 (B), which includes the new Human Capital Framework and the new Human Capital Operating Plan (HCOP).


He is a graduate of Lebanon Valley College with degrees in biology, philosophy, and Spanish. He attained the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential in 2005.  He resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with his wife and children.

Marcus Brownrigg

Federal Human Capital Expert

Strategic Partnerships and Communications Advisor, Office of the CEO

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

Marcus Brownrigg is a recognized Federal Human Capital Expert and seasoned speaker across industry and government. He is an instructor for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Center for Leadership Development and has extensive experience in developing and implementing training on employee and labor relations, as well as managing performance and conduct in the workplace. 


In addition to his public speaking as a Human Capital expert,  Marcus currently serves as the Director of Program Impact and Operations for AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service by working hand in hand with local partners, and tapping the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.  Prior to joining CNCS he served as the Deputy Director for the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) where he managed USDA’s “My Brother’s Keeper” portfolio in response to a White House initiative. Prior to this he served as the Pathways Program Senior Advisor to USDA's Chief Human Capital Officer. In this capacity he was responsible for providing the overall management and administration of USDA Pathways Programs and served as liaison between the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and USDA Mission Area Human Resources Directors (MAHRD's). Prior to this role, Mr. Brownrigg served as USDA's Office of Human Resource Management's (OHRM) Chief of Departmental Human Resources Operations Branch.


In 2012, he served as the Special Assistant to the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources at the Department of Veterans Affairs while on a six month detail as part of the Senior Executive Service candidate development program (SESCDP). He has also held multiple leadership positions at USDA's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services (FNCS) from 2003 to 2010. Prior to his positions at USDA, he worked at DC Department of Human Services, U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and AmeriCorps. He entered into federal service in 1998 as a Presidential Management Fellow. He received his BA and MPA from Auburn University and he is a graduate of American University's Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program and a graduate of USDA’s SESCDP.

Ray M. Crawford, Jr., PhD

Employee Engagement Officer

Office of Federal Student Aid

Department of Education


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


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


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

James M. Read

Director, Office of Policy & Evaluation

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)


James M. Read is an attorney and career Senior Executive at the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. He currently serves as Director of Policy & Evaluation, overseeing a staff of researchers who formulate data-driven recommendations for improving the management of the federal civil service. His past positions at MSPB include Chief Counsel to the Chairman and Director of the Office of Appeals Counsel. Mr. Read has also worked in senior positions at the Department of Justice, first as Special Counsel for Personnel with the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and later as Special Assistant to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s whistleblower protection program.


Mr. Read received his B.A. from Hamilton College and his J.D. from George Washington University, and began his legal career clerking for the Chief Judge of the Court of Federal Claims. He is licensed to practice law in New York and the District of Columbia, and served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Federal Service Labor & Employment Law Committee.

Terry Gerton

President and CEO

National Academy of Public Administration

Terry Gerton was named President and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration in January 2017. The Academy is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan organization, chartered by Congress to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations.


Ms. Gerton brings to the Academy nearly 12 years in the Senior Executive Service as a career member and as a political appointee, and 20 years of service as an active duty Army officer. She has a broad range of experience in all aspects of public service management, and her expertise has been recognized with both the Distinguished and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Awards.


Most recently, Ms. Gerton served from June 2013 to January 2017 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service where her work helped drive the national veteran unemployment rate to its lowest in eight years. While at Labor, she also led the Department’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.


Prior to joining DoL, Terry spent 2 years as a Vice President at The Cohen Group, a Washington, DC consulting company. From 2003-2011, she served for eight years as a member of the Senior Executive Service in the Department of Defense. In her last position there, she was the Executive Deputy to the Commanding General of Army Materiel Command where she was responsible for the daily operations of over 70,000 civilian and 1,500 military employees around the world. Prior to that, she served as AMC's financial controller for three years. She also served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Program Analysis and Evaluation where she was responsible for executing all aspects of the development of the OSD Future Years Defense Plan and submitting the plan to Congress.


Ms. Gerton's twenty years of military service included a variety of staff and leadership positions, including the Executive Officer for the Army's largest battalion (a 1200-soldier corps support maintenance battalion at Fort Hood), Professor of Economics at the United States Military Academy, and Company Commander of a 300-person direct support maintenance company in Germany.


Ms. Gerton graduated from the United States Military Academy and earned an MBA from Duke University. She earned the Distinguished Presidential Rank award in 2011 and the Meritorious Presidential Rank award in 2008. She also received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2011.

Bill Valdez


Senior Executives Association

Bill Valdez was appointed SEA President in September, 2016. Since his retirement from Federal service as a career Senior Executive in July 2014, Mr. Valdez has provided expert consulting services to major international corporations and governments in energy, environment and science/technology policy, serving as Principal at Deep Water Point, LLC, and Senior Vice President at The Consultants International Group, Inc.


Mr. Valdez's career with the Department of Energy spanned over 20 years. He has extensive knowledge in the areas of R&D portfolio analysis and and evaluation, grid security and regulatory policies, energy/environmental technologies and policies, small business development, supply chain analysis, science and engineering workforce development, budget planning, diversity and equal opportunity issues, science policy, human capital processes and policies, procurement processes and policies, corporate and strategic planning, and contract management.


Mr. Valdez held the positions of Acting Director, DOE Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; Director of Business Services, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and Director of Planning and Analysis, and Director for Workforce Development within DOE’s Office of Science. evaluation, grid security and regulatory policies, energy/environmental technologies and policies, small business development, supply chain analysis, science and engineering workforce development, budget planning, diversity and equal opportunity issues, science policy, human capital processes and policies, procurement processes and policies, corporate and strategic planning, and contract management.


Mr. Valdez is an Adjunct Faculty at American University’s School of Public Affairs, where he specializes in Federal government evaluation and strategic planning and is co-editing “The Handbook of Federal Government Leadership and Administration” to be published in 2017. He also serves on the board of directors and scientific advisory committees of non-profit and for-profit organizations, such as YEDF, I-Com, LaborVoices, Fuelcor and ipCrossing.


In addition, Mr. Valdez was co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council’s Science of Science Policy Interagency Working Group from 2005-2014. Mr. Valdez was awarded the Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious) in 2007, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006, and was elected to Senior Executive Association’s Board of Directors in 2005 and served as Chairman from 2011-13.


Prior to working at DOE, Mr. Valdez worked as a Senior Project Manager in private industry where he provided strategic planning services to Asian and European multinational corporations.


Mr. Valdez received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas and his Master of Arts in International Economics and Energy Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Rebecca S. Ayers, PhD

Manager, Performance Management Solutions (PMS),

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)


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


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


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


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


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

Thevee Gray

Personnel Psychologist

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (FSA)


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


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


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


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


Mika J. Cross

Federal Workplace Expert

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


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


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


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


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

Cancellation Policy: 

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

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