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Mentoring Blog


  • 0 VA ORD Speed Networking

    • Training
    • by Eileen Marshall
    • 10-04-2018

    One of the most rewarding parts of being involved in facilitating and helping to sustain mentoring programs is the opportunity to watch innovation become reality and produce results.  Mentoring Program Managers and Coordinators are constantly challenged to motivate their participants and offer them opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally.  That’s why working with Rebecca Crawford at the Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development (VA ORD) has become synonymous for me with being on “the cutting edge” of mentoring program design! I was fortunate enough to be part a Speed Networking event that was Rebecca’s brainchild – an event that brought mentees from multiple federal agencies and organizations together at the National Press Club. What is “Speed Networking,” you might ask?  Speed Networking is a fast-paced and powerful way to cultivate strategic relationships!  It’s unique, interactive and encourages participants to make impactful introductions and build respect and rapport among their peers – outside their own agency. It also creates a wonderful ripple effect, because participants leave feeling rejuvenated and energized, eager to share their experience with others in their own organization. This event was facilitated by Pam King, a gifted and engaging facilitator with The Training Connection, Inc. who kept the participants on track to make as many connections as time would allow.  Pam also offered a brief introduction about honing your “elevator speech,” and making the most of the few minutes participants would have to add to their sphere of influence. Rebecca is one of those Program Coordinators who not only wants the best for her mentoring program participants, but really invests in cultivating and nurturing her mentees with pioneering, meaningful opportunities.  Special thanks to Mentoring Program Managers Brian Twillman (Environmental Protection Agency), Cheryl Harley (Department of Homeland Security), Sabrina Clark (Veterans Affairs) and Jane Sanville (Executive Women in Government) for their assistance in the recruitment of participants for this exciting event.

  • 0 Phyllis is Enjoying Retirement!

    When I started work at TTC we had a Team Building session within our office and Kathy had us all do a Vision Board. I had never heard of this and when she explained the purpose I was let's say, “skeptical.”  However, as time went on sure enough the pictures and words I put on my Vision Board started to become reality!  So, fast forward about 7 years or so when I felt it was time to retire, Kathy suggested that I update my Vision Board since so much had already happened. So, I did, because I wanted some different things and there were still some that had not happened yet.  Well, I am still amazed that most of what is on my board is once again:  a reality.  We have been able to travel and spend much time with our family and friends.  My son married a wonderful woman and we now have another grandbaby on the way. We purchased a fifth wheel camper and can load up the motorcycle and hit the road any time we want to.  I volunteer at the Fauquier Hospital Gift Shop one day a week.  The saying, “I don't know when I had time to work" is so true!!! I am so blessed to be married to my best friend for 46 years and look forward to celebrating 50 years and beyond!!!!

  • 0 The Pareto Principle: Maximize Efficiency with the 80/20 Rule

    There has been much written and researched about the Pareto Principle; a theory about productivity and efficiency and pea pods, discovered over 100 years ago by Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. His work focused on the distribution of wealth in society, where he observed that 80% of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20% of the population.  What was most fascinating about Pareto’s work was that this 80/20 distribution turns up everywhere.  Pareto even saw this rule occurring in his garden - 20% of his pea pods contained 80% of the peas.  He came up with a guiding principle for, well, everything:   80% of the outputs are the results of 20% of the inputs.   So, it seems it’s been scientifically proven that effort, reward and output do not directly correlate with each other.  A certain minority of activities result in the majority of the outcomes. For example, who hasn’t been involved in a group project where 2-3 of the people do 80 percent of the work?  Interestingly, this principle also says that individuals and organizations are spending 80% of their efforts to accomplish 20% of their results.    How can this simple principle be exploited to the very best advantage? The key is to put the maximum effort in areas that will gain the most return.  Stop and think about the areas of your life that could benefit from the Pareto Principle.  Ask yourself:   Do you own at least five amazing suits, but 80% of the time or more you grab the same one or two? Do you have 10-15 rooms in your home, but spend 80% of your time in just your bedroom, family room, and kitchen? Do you have 50 different mobile apps on your smart phone, but 80% of the time you are only using about 10?   The fact is, there are opportunities for efficiency in every area of your life.  And the best part is, because it’s something you have control over, it’s something you can improve.   So how can you apply Pareto’s principle to increase your return on your time/energy/money investment?  Many professionals are constantly faced with the challenge of limited resources. Instead of trying to do the impossible, a Pareto approach is to truly understand which projects are most important. What are the most important goals of your organization, or boss, and which specific tasks do you need to focus on to align with those goals? What tasks can you delegate or let go? This can also be applied to your personal life. Concentrate on those areas that provide you with a happy and healthy lifestyle and meaningful relationships.  

  • 0 Passing the Torch

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018

    TTC recently had the honor of participating in the celebration of USPTO Mentoring Program Manger Rosie Saberton’s retirement!  It was bittersweet to say goodbye to Rosie, as her passion and dedication to mentoring at USPTO has been nothing short of legendary! But we are very excited that she has passed the torch to Kathy Camou, who has been named the new Mentoring Program Manager. Kathy is well prepared for her new role and has learned from one of the best mentors out there!   We wish Rosie heartfelt happiness as she begins her new and exciting journey, and look forward to many more successful mentoring programs at USPTO with Kathy at the helm.

  • 0 Speak your Kind

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018

    Earlier this month, TTC held their annual team building session at the Montclair Country Club with this year’s theme of "Speak your Kind.” The morning session was hosted by author, life coach and wellness expert, Kerry Alison Wekelo who provided an engaging and interactive presentation about "What Makes a Great day.”  She shared her 6 Daily Principles for a Great Day and how mindfulness can enhance every moment both personally and professionally.   During the afternoon, Team TTC shared successes from the past year and their goals for 2018. The also discussed their DISC styles with one another and reaffirmed their best practices for communication and collaboration.  TTC looks forward to this session each year as it reinforces their strong inter-office relationships and re energizes their commitment to the TTC mission - all while having fun in the process! 

  • 0 Encourage the Study of DISC Work Styles as Part of the Employee Experience

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018

    Forbes Magazine said that one of the four biggest HR trends to watch out for in 2018 is heavy focus on the employee experience. The attention will be directed toward what the employee journey looks like within an organization. They will also concentrate on how leaders connect the dots between organizational culture, employee engagement and performance management. Differences in work and communication style have much to do with the way professional relationships develop and, in turn, the way employee performance, satisfaction and team success unfold. Join Kathy and Jennifer at the next DISC Train-the-Trainer (March 8-9, 2018) to learn the science behind DISC and gain insights to better communication and higher productivity.

  • 0 DCAA

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018

    Earlier this month, Kathy and fellow-facilitator (and TTC strategic partner) Nicole Champlin had the pleasure of conducting a Train-the-Trainer event with the folks at the Defense Contract and Audit Agency (DCAA) in Atlanta. Kathy and Nicole worked with seven DCI instructors who came from a variety of professional disciplines including law enforcement, education, military, and EMT. Kathy and Nicole were grateful for the wisdom and experiences the instructors shared and are confident they will do a great job facilitating the mentoring process in-house at DCAA. 

  • 0 Women's History Month 2017

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018

    As we wrap up Women’s History Month, I am inspired to say thank you to the wonderful trailblazers in my life who have mentored me both on a formal and informal basis. Olive Burns (aka Nana) — My grandmother was a "Rosie the Riveter” during World War II when men went off to war and women went into the factories. I truly believe that the tenacity of women like my grandmother has greatly contributed to the empowerment of women to this day! Barbara Fife — My mother was a teacher and a day care provider as long as I can remember. We always had a home full of children and my mother nurtured them, gave them a sense of structure and rules to follow, and of course showered them with plenty of love. Their parents could work with assurance, knowing that their children were in a safe and comforting place. When she wasn’t caring for children from our home, she provided day care through a special state-sponsored program that allowed single mothers to send their children to a safe environment where they could grow and flourish. I feel like my mother is an unsung hero who helped raise a lot of children, and in turn helped their parents invest themselves in their careers because they knew their children were safe and genuinely cared for. But her work didn’t stop there. Well after retirement she volunteered at her church, caring for infants and toddlers during church services, giving their parents a much-needed break and an opportunity to strengthen their spirituality. Dr. Jan Northup — My first mentor. Jan was the first person to help me realize that women needed to help each other grow personally and professionally. Her motto was: "Women helping women.” She developed a wonderful training program entitled, The Promotable Woman: What Makes the Difference? Jan inspired many individuals and organizations to think not only about the technical skills that set them apart, but the interpersonal skills that made the difference. She also taught me the power of mentoring and recommended that every woman attending her sessions should find a mentor. Jennifer Sellers — My Vice President. Jennifer came into a one-person business with a passion for helping people and the dexterity of a true multitasker. She helped me build TTC into a business that is known throughout the federal government and private industry. Jennifer is particularly well-known as a mentoring match maker and troubleshooter. She has traveled the country facilitating the matching process with amazing results. The stories we hear from past program participants who have prospered in their careers because of their mentoring relationships would warm your hearts and touch your souls! Honestly, I could go on and on extolling the virtues of trailblazing women I have had the pleasure to work with and observe in my personal and professional life. For now, I feel satisfied with thanking the smart, talented, and savvy women of The Training Connection who are investing their time and energy to help others grow personally and professionally through mentoring:  Jennifer Sellers  Trisha Milligan  Alison Sfreddo  Corinna Natale  Sarah Cubbage  Kristy Atkins  Melissa Uzzo  Staci Weekes  Nicole Bridge  Gina Becton All of these women, and more, have made me a better person by helping me grow in body, mind, and soul. As a thank you, I try to carry a piece of them all with me every day, and share the experience of their wisdom with others.

  • 0 What motivates you?

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018

    Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a Train-the-Trainer on the Workplace Motivator’s Model for both my internal facilitation team as well as my Mastermind Group.   I’m not sure if you have ever heard or participated in a "Mastermind Group,” but the best way to define it is a group mentoring process.  Several women entrepreneurs from around the country get together periodically and mentor each other on best practices, lessons learned and share various strategies to maintain harmony in the workplace and increase productivity.  We have been meeting for over six years and hold each other accountable for our business plans and goals, support each other professionally and pay devil’s advocate if we think one of us is going down the wrong path. We even support each other personally.  For example, when I lost my mentor (Dr. Jan Northup) over two years ago, I was touched to the core as I received notes of compassion from various colleagues in my Mastermind Group.  They were also there to offer words of congratulations when I purchased my dream home (on a lake) that I had set as a goal several years ago.  I thought it was a wonderful learning experience for my internal team (made up of my Vice President—Jennifer Sellers, my Training Manager—Trisha Milligan and my Co-facilitator/Trainer—Melissa Uzzo) to not only gain a credential around the Workplace Motivators assessment, but to also experience the power of a Mastermind Group.  It was an awesome and energizing experience! The training was facilitated by Judy Suiter.  Judy is a walking encyclopedia about DISC and Workplace Motivators.  She is the co-author of The Universal Language DISCand the author of Exploring Values! Releasing the Power of Attitudes. She helped us understand the missing link – workplace motivators and the integration of it with DISC behaviors. We met in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia which was a perfect environment for learning but also provided easy access to some wonderful restaurants and shopping in the evenings.  My take aways… The Workplace Motivator’s Model is a unique tool that goes beyond the DISC Behavioral assessment and gives managers and team members a unique perspective on what motivates each employee in the workplace and how and what stressors can breakdown a team. Every individual has different passions and motivators. These are the actual values that drive a person to do and act the way they do.  Of course not everyone shares the same passions in life, but it is important to understand what drives others and self and how different individual workplace motivators will impact the team. There are six motivators that make up an individual value system. As we all most likely have more than one – to varying degrees - there is usually one that stands out in front.    Think about what you value and which of these could be considered you motivator(s): Theoretical: How one values and approaches knowledge and information. Utilitarian: How one values and approaches time and resources. Aesthetic: How one values form, harmony and balance. Social: How one values and approaches efforts to help people and causes. Individualistic: How one values and approaches authority, power and control. Traditional: How one values and approaches traditions and a system of living. Consider each of these categories and how they may drive you in your work and relationships.  Then think about the others that surround you and what may be driving them. When we know what is important to those we spend our workday with, we are better equipped to respect and embrace what motivates them and can in turn make the workplace more harmonious and productive.   How will I apply this new knowledge… Armed with this deepened knowledge around workplace motivators, I hope to help the individuals I am mentoring understand the culture of the workplace and find work that appeals to their own value system.  

  • 0 Happy 20th Anniversary TTC!

    • by Administrator
    • 20-03-2018