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.
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.
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 Jan 16, 2015 - Happy National Mentoring Month!
In honor of national mentoring month, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the gift of mentoring. Hardly a day goes by without me quoting one of mentors. Some of my favorite quotes include: "When one door closes another door opens.” "Success is taking the potential you were born with and living up to it!” "You can’t do your best swan dive while replaying in your mind your last belly flop.” So today, I want to honor my mentor Dr. Jan Northup. Jan was one of the most talented (and giving) women I have ever known and I will be forever grateful for her taking me under her wing. Jan made it a habit of finding the best in others and the positive out of a negative situation. I invite you to celebrate National Mentoring Month by taking a moment to thank your mentors for their wisdom, guidance and generosity! Also, pay forward your own good fortune by offering to mentor another.
0 Aug 13, 2014 - Wellness in the Workplace
Much has been written about wellness in the workplace and the innovative ways employers are getting their employees to move more, make healthier food choices and take initiative over their own preventative care. The state of our bodies and minds can be an accurate barometer of our professional success and personal happiness. Personally, when I am eating right, exercising and just making good choices, I have tons of energy and my mind is clear and focused. One of the best ways to enhance your own personal wellness is to commit to a plan with the very people that you spend the majority of your day with - your colleagues. That is exactly what Kerry Elam (a new consultant with TTC) did. In fact, her initiative was highlighted in this month’s Corporate Wellness Magazine. Kerry started a simple interactive initiative within her own organization that resulted in some very positive lifestyle changes and results for her co-workers. Her plan was simple and focused on encouraging small manageable daily changes to each individual’s current lifestyle. The changes resulted in weight loss as well as an increased feeling of fitness and wellbeing among her colleagues. Enhancing health and fitness can be fun - especially when you are surrounded and encouraged by those around you who are also committed to their health and overall wellbeing. Whether taking a walk with a co-worker during a break, or committing to packing healthier options for lunch, you will begin to see how these small changes are making you healthier and happier. Kathy’s top 7 tips for investing in your wellness: Start your day with a healthy breakfast and warm water with lime. Choose a glass of fresh water or green tea over soda or coffee. Avoid fast-food restaurants and fried food. Take a yoga class. Practice deep breathing techniques. Re-energize with plenty of sleep. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. For more on Kerry’s initiative, visit Corporate Wellness Magazine
0 May 05, 2014 - Happy Spring!
As many of you know, spring is my most favorite time of year! Spring reminds me of new beginnings and renewal and this spring in particular has been one of my most promising and productive! We are amidst of rolling out a number of new products at TTC and I am very excited about the launch of a new virtual mentoring event in the coming months. First, we have been doing quite a bit of writing. We are about to roll out our new and improved Mentor-the-Mentor series and have designed four fabulous handouts to accompany our revised and enhanced sessions; Asking Thought Provoking Questions Designing Developmental Experiences Giving Productive Feedback Sharing Wisdom Also, keep an eye out for the 2nd edition of The Keys to Mentoring Success. While making the updates, it was gratifying to see that the best practices that were laid out over a decade ago are still relevant today. However, with so many employees teleworking from home or working from remote sites we are finding the need to provide additional resources for long-distance mentoring. We are also excited to announce our anticipated launch of a Virtual Speed Mentoring Event. We are teaming with Brazen Careerists and have designed a platform that allows mentorees and potential mentors to chat virtually about a number of topics that will allow participants to get to know each other before making their matching choices. TTC is also happy to share some exciting new beginnings and announcements on a personal level. Melissa Hennen (my first full time trainer and facilitator) will be getting married in October of this year and Sarah Legros just became engaged (she is looking toward next spring to tie the knot). In addition, Kristy Atkins will be welcoming her second bundle of joy in the fall! These are exciting and happy times for TTC! Each day I am filled with gratitude to be able to be able work with such a talented team and do work that helps people grow personally and professionally. I hope we can find ways to pay this success forward!
0 Jan 06, 2014 - Happy New Year!
January is an exciting time of year. As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season comes to a close, a new year is ushered in that always fills me with excitement and a promise of an even better year to come. I always find this time of year the perfect opportunity to reflect on the many blessings that the past year has brought to Team TTC as well as the challenges that we have individually and collectively overcame. My team has been very resilient this year as some have experienced some personal losses but during these challenging times we have all gained some wonderful lessons on strength and grace. As you reflect on your own journey over the past year and plan the goals that you would like to achieve in the coming months, I invite you to create a Vision Board to help clarify those goals and expectations. This has been a ritual of mine for many years and I am always amazed at how my dreams and aspirations really do become reality. Creating a vision board is simple. It is all about compiling images and affirmations that you would like to become reality. It can be as simple as cutting out pictures that represent what you want for yourself and putting them together on a poster board or even a piece of paper. The one I created is framed and sits at my desk. It is a constant reminder of what I continue to work for and strive to be personally and professionally. As you prepare to set your own vision and goals for 2014, plan to focus on the details. Goals are great to establish, but realizing them is all about the process of completing each and every step along the way. This is where the journey begins. My wish for you is a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!!! Enjoy the journey, Kathy