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In this Issue

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Marc Eichenbaum, Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives

This interview with Marc Eichenbaum, Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives, was conducted and condensed by Mahogany Johnson.

MMJ: What does the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Initiatives do?

ME: Our office helps coordinate the activities amongst all the departments that either respond to, or are impacted by, homelessness. From the Health Department and the Housing Department to Houston Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Department, there are multiple departments all working on one issue and it helps to have a centralized coordinating office that helps break down those silos.

Furthermore, we help develop city policy, lead transformative programs and coordinate public and private efforts across a broad spectrum of stakeholders to respond to homelessness.

The City of Houston is one of 100 organizations working together through our coordinated, regional, community-based initiative to reduce homelessness, known as The Way Home. The city provides invaluable leadership that helps facilitate The Way Home.

Additionally, we work with our federal partners that provide all the funds as well as partners in the state. We also work with the private sector, which is an invaluable partner because they help us obtain resources and advance change. We work closely with management districts, as well as the philanthropic and business community. We have a list of companies that have been calling me recently and want to get involved and help. We help them get involved and maximize the impact they can have. We also engage in a lot of community outreach.

MMJ: What do you find is useful when working with civic associations and neighborhood organizations?

ME: On a weekly basis, I talk to community organizations that are concerned, if not angry about homelessness and street-related issues. By the time I leave those meetings, they realize the solutions to these issues are not simple or immediate, but they’re very appreciative just to know what’s going on. They appreciate my frankness in letting them know that it’s not going to be quick and easy. I explain that, “Mayor Turner and I would love to say it will be fixed by tomorrow, but I’m going to be extremely honest with you and tell you that’s not the reality, but that’s not going to stop us from doing everything we can to address the issue.” The reality is that Houston is no different from any other city. Homelessness is an issue in every major city in the nation. Even with the issue of synthetic marijuana, over 50 people in Austin were taken to the emergency room in one weekend. You have almost a quarter of all EMS calls in Anchorage, Alaska related to synthetic marijuana. You have 2,000 people in a week being taken to emergency rooms in New York for overdoses. It’s happening everywhere, and I’ll make sure the community knows that it’s a national issue, not unique to Houston.

It is human nature that if people don’t know you are doing something, they assume that nothing is being done. That is why it is so important to provide regular updates. Sometimes, it’s vital for us to let the community know that we are aware of an issue and working on it, even if you are still working on identifying solutions.

The community likes honesty, open conversation, being kept in the loop, and knowing that issues are not being ignored. From Montrose and the Near Northside, to Meyerland and Sunnyside, I get called everywhere. My visits are largely educational in nature, discussing what is currently being done and the complexities of homelessness, panhandling and substance abuse. There are often constitutional and legal issues, funding challenges, operating restrictions; human conditions and so forth that prevent quick fixes that people may assume are readily available.

MMJ: What do you think current impressions are of the state of homelessness in Houston?

ME: It’s mixed and it matters who you talk to. I get people all the time that come up to me and say it’s so much better. They thank Mayor Turner and all the partners of The Way Home. However, in my line of work, I get a lot of complaints. We have realized that until every person, homeless or not, are off of our streets, no amount of progress will satisfy everyone.

That is why we rely on data to track our homeless population and effectiveness of our programs. The reality is more is being done to respond to homelessness now than ever in the history of this city. Homelessness is an issue that has been around since the city was founded and has festered for decades. We have achieved more in less than five years than in the twenty years before.

Every year, over 32,000 Houstonians access homeless services. On any given night in 2011, there were nearly 8,500 homeless individuals on our streets. That number has substantially been reduced by nearly 60% in just 5 years. The total population in 2016 was down to around 3,600, and out of those, only 1,050 remain on our streets. The rest are in transitional housing or shelters.

Although homelessness is down, the population is more visible than ever. The unintended consequences of civility ordinances and security measures, along with increased development, results in less places for the homeless to exist, if they do not want to go to a shelter. Although overall numbers are at a record low, the homeless population is more condensed and in more public, highly visible places.

Although Houston is leading the nation in reducing Homelessness, we do not rest on our laurels. Just because we have achieved a lot does not mean that everything is perfect and homelessness is no longer a major issue. In fact, it means we have to up our game even more. As long as there are homeless individuals on the streets, we have work to do. We are constantly reviewing, modifying and working on improving, and that process never ends.

MMJ: According to a recent Houston Chronicle article, America’s homeless population – an estimated 633,000 people – has declined in the last decade. What factors have attributed to this?

ME: The biggest factor has been a national focus on the outcome based, data proven solution of housing. In the past, everyone was focused on managing the problem, using short-term band-aides approaches, instead of investing in long-term, permanent solutions.

Just providing food or building shelters does end a person’s homelessness. Many homeless will never go to a shelter. However, if offered a place of their own, they will go. It is a fact – a housed individual is not homeless. That why we are focused on housing as the solution. But, you have to remove the traditional barriers to such housing. Requiring a person to stop drinking or go to classes to get their housing acts as a barrier. That is old school and did not work.

For our most vulnerable, we are using a housing intervention called Permanent Supportive Housing, which provides long-term, highly subsidized housing with wrap-around supportive services for our most vulnerable. It has an 80% national success rate of housing the chronically homeless. Here in Houston, over 90% of the chronically homeless we have housed are still housed a year later. That’s incredible, especially when you’re dealing with the most vulnerable homeless individuals.

MMJ: Do you foresee sequestration cuts as a major challenge over the next five to ten years and what is your office expected to deliver in order to meet the needs of Houston’s homeless population and those at risk?

ME: Houston’s a very large city, and we are working with very little resources; however, with what we have, we’ve been able to accomplish what many believed could never be done.

The vast majority of funding used to respond to homelessness are federal funds. From Low Income Housing Tax Credits and housing vouchers, to the Emergency Solutions Grants and Continuum of Care funding, any cut in funding could be debilitating. Every budgetary cycle, we get concerned, which is only heightened with shifting federal priorities. However, we don’t dwell on it. Instead, we stay focused on our core goal to house our most vulnerable homeless and continue leading the nation in reducing homelessness.

There is no magic button to press that will solve homelessness overnight. It takes a lot of time, patience and energy. Homelessness never ends, for there is unfortunately always be a steady stream of individuals and family who hit upon hard times, face housing instability and end up homeless. Our expectations for the future is house the majority of our chronic homeless individuals, continue to house homeless families with youth and veterans, and initiate programs to reduce the number of non-chronic homeless individuals who account for the majority of our homeless population.

MMJ: What factors further complicate the issue of homelessness?

ME: A good portion of folks on the streets suffer from substance abuse or mental illness. We will never fully be able to respond to homelessness, until we have the capacity and resources to fully respond to mental health and substance abuse. For some homeless, mental illness is the reason why they’re on the streets, but a lot of them develop mental illness once they are on the streets. I’ve seen folks who are severely mentally ill to the point that they cannot logically understand what you’re offering them, and are unable to accept any help. Although it would make my job a lot easier, you cannot force people into housing and we cannot force them to accept resources. It takes consistent outreach by professional social workers.

The lack of affordable housing makes it very difficult to get the homeless off our streets. It’s one thing to have the funds to cover rent and supportive services; it’s another issue finding available units to rent in the first place. Even though we are paying for the units, it is difficult to find landlords who will allow us to house individuals with difficult backgrounds, like an eviction. Even when we are developing, very attractive, well-managed, safe and secure housing ourselves, it is a challenge siting locations. Every neighborhood has homeless, and we’re not going to be able to fully deal with the issue unless every neighborhood is willing to step up and be part of the solution.

Also, those that we perceive as homeless are not always homeless. Less than a half of panhandlers are actually homeless. Same too for those areas of town with large groups of folks hang around all day on the streets, we have discovered that a lot of them are actually housed.

There’s not a one size fits all solution to homelessness. There are some resources that are lacking and we’re working to fill those voids but it’s going to take a community approach. It doesn’t happen overnight, but great things can be accomplished.

When we have looked at other cities that have just done ordinances, what you find is that when you move people they come right back. If we’ve learned anything about all of this it’s the importance of operating as a system, and the importance of collective impact.

We find that our investors want to invest in transformative, system-wide projects. They are moving away from piecemeal allocations of funding that help organizations function without seeing larger, bigger impact. That’s not a problem. It’s best practices. It’s an opportunity.

MMJ: How did you come into your role?

ME: I’m a lawyer by training, so I just look at this as an extension of advocacy. I might not be advocating for people in a courthouse, but I’m still advocating for folks in need, and thereby for utilizing best practices and investing in real solutions that can be brought to scale.

I worked on a national political convention and campaigns, where I developed an interest in community revitalization. I started in the city handling external relations for the Housing and Community Development Department. There, I organized a trip to Denver, who at the time was leading the nation in reducing homelessness. We learned many lessons, including the importance of having a full-time person in the Mayor’s Office whose sole job it was to work in the issue 24-7. The Mayor eventually hired an expert and they needed help. That’s when I made the shift to the Mayor’s Office and started solely working on homelessness.

This has been an on-the-job learning process, but at the end of the day, I believe in the power of government to do good, to pull together different sectors of the community, and to lead transformational change. I call myself a policy wonk because I love taking that deep dive and going above the surface level. When I hear about programs, a million and one questions pop-up. At the end of the day, it’s all about actually following through and initiating it all, while learning to know the limits of your knowledge and abilities. I have become a pseudo-expert on homelessness and housing, but quite frankly in the areas of substance abuse and mental health I’m not an expert. That doesn’t stop me from saying that we need to bring in those individuals. However, it is important to note that before you talk to the experts, you talk to the people who have been living it, breathing it, and working on it in the field. You’ve got to have a conversation with both.

MMJ: How do you get people on your team and others you consult with to invest in your strategy?

ME: It is often said, “Change is easy, people are not.” It comes down to trust and a willingness to try new things. We don’t invent new approaches or force organizations to use certain strategies. Our strategies are community led. We held planning meetings with a variety of experts and over 400 community members, who decided to embrace data proven solutions and housing as the hallmark of what we do. They decided to start working as a system, combining their resources and efforts to maximize impact. It’s our job to help bring it to fruition.

It is important to have small, early success. For instance, we housed 100 homeless veterans in 100 days by working together and focusing on housing. We then housed 300 in 100 days. We used that success as proof that the strategy we were selling works, and used the momentum to get others on board. The early success was exciting and people wanted to be part of something special.

It can be difficult for established organizations that have done one-thing, one-way for year to try something different. That’s why it is always important to keep them focused on the ultimate goal, such as ending homelessness, and bringing in data to compare different approaches, If there is a new approach with substantially better results, let’s do it. If they don’t believe the data and results, then we ask them to just give it a try. I will often ask for them to just try something different for 30 days, and if it is bad or not working, we will go back to the old. It lowers commitment anxieties and is often enough for them to dip their toe in the pool. Now it is just trial basis. It is just a pilot. It is not as scary. Although they originally had a host of concerns, the new strategy usually always works and is adopted into standard operating procedures.

MMJ: What is Mayor Sylvester Turner’s involvement with the issue of homelessness?

ME: Mayor Turner came in and said that we’re glad the previous administration focused on homelessness but we want to do more and take it to the next level. Having that mayoral support and leadership is invaluable. When you have 100 different organizations all working together, the power Mayor Turner has to pull those organizations together, get their buy-in, and create that call of action is essential and cannot be ignored. Mayor Turner is very involved and we are currently working on a comprehensive, multi-faceted holistic plan to respond to homelessness, panhandling and other street issues.

MMJ: Should we be giving to people on the streets?

ME: Mayor Turner has been very explicit to ask individuals not give money to people on the streets, but to support The Way Home or the 100 organizations that are a part of it. The reason being that if a person can get their needs met on the streets, then why would they ever engage the system that has been designed to support them, and why would they be receptive to our outreach teams. Additionally, folks are being offered food without anything else, and we would say to these people who even want to provide the food, great! We have indoor locations where they could be treated with the dignity of having indoor running water, electricity, air conditioning and heat. A location where other services are offered and we can work on getting them housed.

When people give money or food up they don’t really know if the person is homeless, and a lot of times they’re being duped. If they are homeless, handouts make it difficult for our outreach teams. It is difficult for them to offer help, if individuals feel like they do not need it because they are getting their needs met by soliciting on the streets.

MMJ: Is there anything that you would like to share with the City of Houston’s workforce, or something you wish people knew more about the Mayor’s Office for Homeless Initiatives?

ME: Whether people know it or not, homelessness impacts the majority of the City of Houston’s departments: Department of Neighborhoods, Parks and Recreation Department, General Services Department, Public Works and Engineering, Legal, Health and Human Services, Municipal Courts, and others. Every City employee should take personal pride in what all of us collectively are doing to reduce homelessness.

It can be an uphill battle, and though sometimes it feels like we are unable to satisfy all the community’s desires, at the end of the day, to be able to look over a list of almost 8,000 individuals by name knowing where they’re housed, makes it worthwhile and provides the affirmation to keep on going.

Whether it’s a large organization or a city, it can be common that when you’ve been doing something the same way for a long period of time it ends up becoming an unofficial policy. Challenging the status quo and questioning why something is being done a certain way is vital. Perhaps, we’re doing it that way because that’s the way we’ve always done it. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “That’s the way we have to do it because of this grant, this regulation this policy or law.” To that, I say, “Let’s take a look at the grant or what the reg. says…” More times than not it’s either not there or has been misinterpreted. That emboldens us to try new things and to be innovative.

It might sound a little controversial, but our office is not focused on serving the “individual,” rather we are focused on “individuals.” We could spend all of our time personally trying to help a couple homeless individuals get help, or we can develop a machine … a system, that is capable of helping thousands of individuals.

MMJ: Why do you do what you do?

ME: I’ve always wanted a purpose for what I do. Having a purpose that is greater than yourself is my top priority in having a job, for that’s what gets me up every day. Being able to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods and transform people’s lives makes it worthwhile. I rely heavily on a lot of other departments, especially the Housing and Community Development Department and the Health and Human Services Department. It is a team effort and I always welcome people who want to get their hands dirty. I feel that firsthand experience when I see how we come through to help this vulnerable population that is unable to find assistance or housing with other systems.

2017 Homeless Count & Survey

How many people are homeless in Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County? How are Veterans, families, children, and other vulnerable populations affected by homelessness? The Coalition for the Homeless works to help answer these questions by conducting an annual Homeless Count & Survey.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look Inside Our Training Courses

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Check out our latest instructor-led training course focused on delivering effective presentations.

Effective Presentation Exercise 2017 @ the Learning and Development Center
Click Here to Download the Course Curriculum(s)

2017 Course Catalog | Learning & Development Center

Upcoming LDC Events

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Strengthening Your Core (SYC) Program

Come and experience our Strengthening Your Core Program that focuses on eight behavioral factors that are commonly chosen as part of the HEAR plan. This program is designed to provide you with more in-depth training on the eight behavioral factors.

Participants will:

  • Gain further understanding of the behavioral factors and how they pertain to job performance
  • Learn the behavioral factors and their definitions
  • Be able to identify the metrics used by supervisors to rate each behavioral factor

Strengthening Your Core classes are underway and available for registration until Thursday, April 20, 2017. SYC is held weekly every Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the LDC.

All registration requests can be sent to

For more information, please visit the TMS website:

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Learn How to Develop a Group Culture That Supports Organizational Values in the Pursuit of Workplace Objectives

Come and experience the Learning and Development Center's City Accreditation Program for Supervisors (CAPS). Learn skills on how to coach your employees for stronger performance. Discover eye opening modeling techniques that will allow you to have a more positive influence on the actions and attitudes of others. Mentoring your employees will enable them to advance farther and faster in their careers.

CAPS is a citywide, middle management multi-track program consisting of 18 sessions designed to assist supervisor competencies in managing various circumstances regarding employee workday considerations and performance.

***Next CAPS tracks begin Tuesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 27, 2017.***

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What areas of your job do you find most difficult or want to improve?

Come and experience our Administrative Development Program (ADP) that will equip you with the tools, techniques, and behavioral skills you need to maximize your success! If you are looking to improve your skills in communication, technology, professionalism, and other areas, then this is the program for you.

ADP is our multi-track program consisting of 16 sessions designed to enhance and empower administrative effectiveness and efficiency.

Please note ADP is only available to administrative assistants and those who wish to be promoted to administrative assistant.

A new track begins on June 19, 2017. ADP courses are held weekly every Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Learning & Development Center in room 131.

All registration requests can be sent to

For more information, please visit the TMS website:

Click Here to View our Calendar of Classes

***Click on one of the following course titles to register in the Talent Management System (TMS).***

Employee Learning Spotlight

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Featuring Catherine Frost: Community Relations Specialist for the Health and Human Services Department

MMJ: Which department do you currently work for and what is your role in that department?

CF: I work for the Health Department. I have a duel role working in the Health Department; I work for the clinic (La Nueva Casa de Amigos) as a Community Relations Specialist, assisting clients with applications and enrollment in federal and local programs, working with community social services referring clients to appropriate community agencies when necessary to meet all the needs they may have. I am shared with the Immunization Department and work as a Project Milestone Navigator, helping to insure that all children and adults receive the required vaccines on time. I work with the parents to see that all needed services are provided; whether it is family planning, help with nutrition and appropriate milestones being met, finding a local doctor or provider for health visits, referrals, taking care that the entire family unit has what they need to succeed. I provide outreach and education promoting many health programs throughout the community.

MMJ: How has your department or any other City of Houston department helped you to develop in your career?

CF: The City has so many wonderful opportunities to provide a continuing education. There are many classes and workshops, as well as in service training and technical skills that are available to everyone. Being able to build my skills and new learning opportunities have really helped me to advance. You also get to work with some really dedicated people who are great about sharing their knowledge and experience.

MMJ: Have you participated in any of the LDC’s training programs? If so, please describe your experience and share some positive outcomes.

CF: The Talent Management System provides many of its classes online to make it very accessible. I was able to take the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt on line which led me to earning the Green Belt-great skills that are valued by companies all over, which led me to pursuing my Master’s. The LDC has great classes like Strengthen Your Core, taught by upbeat, up to date teachers that really give you an entire toolbox of skills to use. There are classes for just about everything available, and they are opened to suggestions for anything that you might want to pursue.

MMJ: What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far (here, or elsewhere)?

CF: A) To be flexible, a former supervisor would say “You just got to role with it” and “it is what it is”, when you work with people you always have to expect the unexpected and be able to turn on a dime to get things done and needs met.

B) Love/like what you do and believe you can make a difference, put yourself in their shoes, and always do your best to serve others.

C) Always, always learn something new. Take away from any situation a lesson learned and willing spirit to make the changes needed.

MMJ: Why did you choose a career in public service?

CF: I don’t think you get to choose. Public service chooses you. I’m a former teacher and I have always worked in service to the public. All it takes is a heart for others and a willingness to serve wherever needed.

MMJ: If you could switch positions with anyone else within the City of Houston, whose job would you want?

CF: Well, I wouldn’t want his job, but I would love to shadow my director Stephen Williams for a week. I am in awe of how he is able to step back and look at the big picture, keeping all the wheels and cogs working together. We tend to just focus on our job or department and frequently miss opportunities to collaborate with other groups, even though we are working toward the same goals. I would like to see how he does it–pulling it all together and doing it so cheerfully.

MMJ: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

CF: Oh, there are so many! I would have liked to have been there for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Women’s vote, at the parades thrown for the end of the various wars, oh and when Mr. Hershey opened his factory.

MMJ: What’s your motto, personal mantra?

CF: My very favorite is: "Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow," by Mahatma Ghandi. The two that rank highest are,

“Always learn something new,” by former Principal Nancy House and

“If you think any job is too small for you, then you are too big for your britches,” by my Granny Powers.

MMJ: Favorite line from a movie?

CF: Something I try to impart to all the children I have taught, worked with, or coached. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think, “ said by Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh.

Featuring Lynn Phipps: Maintenance Manager for the Public Works and Engineering Department

MMJ: Which department do you currently work for and what is your role in that department?

LP: I work in the Public Works and Engineering Department's Street and Drainage section as a Maintenance Manager.

MMJ: How has your department or any other City of Houston department helped you to develop in your career?

LP: I would have to credit Deputy Director Eric Dargan and Assistant Director Diane Lowery-Binnie for instilling in me the importance of valuing each customer, whether internal or external, like they are our only customer. Street and Drainage Leadership has also taught me to always be open to looking into every process within the organization in an attempt to find room for improvement.

MMJ: Have you participated in any of the LDC’s training programs? If so, please describe your experience and share some positive outcomes.

LP: Yes. The LDC training programs that I have attended, have all been a rewarding experience for me. Each instructor presented themselves with a positive attitude and interacted with the class, ensuring that each and every trainee was fully engaged in what was being presented.

MMJ: What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far? (here, or elsewhere)

LP: Three career lessons that I’ve learned particularly as it relates to being a leader are:

  • It’s very important to be a good role model for those that follow you
  • Never have an attitude of “I know it all”
  • Always face challenges with the end in mind, knowing that all negative circumstances will eventually work for your good.

MMJ: Why did you choose a career in public service?

LP: I didn’t initially choose a career in public service when I began my career in 1994 but it has definitely given me a driving passion throughout the years and something that I enjoy doing every day. I wouldn’t trade my job for anything.

MMJ: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

LP: The miraculous US Airways Flight 1549 landing on the Hudson River. Although, I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the plane.

MMJ: What’s your motto, personal mantra?

LP: Quitting is not an option.

MMJ: Favorite line from a movie?

LP: "The guy that’s staring at you in the mirror is often your toughest opponent." (Movie: Creed)

Upcoming Industry Webinars & Events

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Support for Learning Positively Affects Employees' Organizational Commitment

Organizational leaders need to retain quality employees. A key indicator of an employee’s intention to stay is their level of organizational commitment. Attendees of this webcast will learn the definition and structure of organizational commitment, the organizational actions that increase commitment, and what the pre-attendance survey showed for how organizations help employees achieve their personal and professional goals through continuous learning.

Topic: Support for Learning Positively Affects Employees' Organizational Commitment

Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Time: 1:00 p.m. CDT


Change Behaviors and Improve Business: Helping Workforce Leaders Succeed With Training

For professionals charged with learning and development projects, there is nothing worse than realizing a course has brought little back to the organization after all that effort. This webcast details best practices for making a training effort deliver permanently changed behavior and visible business results, including bringing workforce leaders into a partnership for success. When professionals use these tools and begin to show business impact, the process gets easier and attracts even more support, growing your organization's learning culture and gaining credibility and value for training professionals!

In the webcast, you will identify the failure points for a past training effort and decide how to prevent that loss in future training programs. You’ll learn how to partner with leaders to communicate the criticality of their involvement and increase the probability of success with specific steps.

Additionally, you’ll learn how to:

  • Select a current training need and plan to meet it head on by following a simple model to ensure each critical element is achieved.
  • Design learning elements to teach new behaviors so that they can be practiced and applied on the job.
  • Plan for people to continue using new behaviors on the job in partnership with their leaders.

You will also be given a job aid with the simple four-part model the webcast is based on. You can use this to better partner with others in your organization to make training show needed business results.

Topic: Change Behaviors and Improve Business: Helping Workforce Leaders Succeed With Training

Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time: 10:00 a.m. CDT


Branding Learning: A Red-Hot Strategy for Talent Development Professionals

With branding, you can blaze a trail for learning in your organization that proves value, adds credibility, creates buzz, and garners support at all levels.

Competition for attention, time, and resources in organizations is stiff. With escalating demands on talent, building a compelling brand for learning is essential. Engaging staff, demonstrating value to the C-suite, and aligning the learning function’s brand to the organization’s brand are a must for all talent development professionals. To ensure continued support for investing in learning in these tough economic times, executives must trust that it is central to meeting the business needs of the organization. It’s up to each of us to communicate the learning function’s ability to create growth and better value for the business.

Through this webcast, you’ll add the following branding essentials to your portfolio:

  • tools to assess the learning function’s current brand in your organization
  • processes to develop and implement an authentic brand for learning
  • techniques guaranteed to create buzz around learning
  • links to resources for honors, awards, and recognition to build and sustain a powerful brand.

Topic: Branding Learning: A Red-Hot Strategy for Talent Development Professionals

Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time: 2:00 p.m. CDT


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Team development is a critical component of talent, leadership and learning development within all functions of an organization. With globalization, competitive market environments, product innovation and dispersed workforces, highly productive teams are integral to the success of any organization. Though interest in developing teams is of critical importance to organizations, our research finds that nearly 68% of organizations felt that they were not investing enough time and budget for team development based on their results and only 9% of organizations have a long-term strategy to improve team development

What are the three most important things about Team Development? Join Brandon Hall Group’s Rachel Cooke, Chief Operating Officer and Principal HCM Analyst, and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer and Principal HCM Analyst, as they explore the challenges and opportunities in today’s organizations and provide insights in how to create a high-performing team environment.

Areas to be covered will be:

  • Strengthening teams to better support business initiatives and anticipated growth
  • Engagement and continuous improvement
  • Motivating teams to drive results in a unilateral direction

Topic: Research Spotlight: The Three Most Important Things You Need to Know About Team Development

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT


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Creating a Culture of Resilience

In a lively discussion moderated by Rachel Cooke, Bonnie St John will share case study examples of how real companies have created a “culture of resilience.” As the pace of change accelerates, our organizations look to learning professionals not just to provide new skills and competencies, but also meta-competencies like resilience that help employees learn faster, absorb change better, and become nimbler.

Based on research from neuroscience, physiology, and positive psychology as well as her experience as an Olympic ski medalist, Bonnie provides a set of frameworks to parse resilience into “micro” steps that make it easy, immediately applicable, and yield instant results.

Attendees will learn:

  • How leaders can foster resilience with both formal, enterprise-wide policies as well as informal actions with smaller teams
  • The top three ways that leaders sabotage resilience and how to avoid them
  • How Micro-Resilience aligns with other ‘change management’ approaches

Topic: Creating a Culture of Resilience

Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CDT


About the Learning and Development Center-The Center for Excellence

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At a glance...

The Learning and Development Center (LDC) develops and provides programs designed to empower and enhance employee skills and competencies for improved performance and job satisfaction. Our services also extend to external businesses, organizations, and communities.

Our mission is to build a world-class, responsive and results-oriented workforce by providing the following:

  • Learning that meets critical business goals and needs
  • Lifelong learning opportunities that will prepare employees for life and work in an increasingly technological society

Facility Features

The LDC is a two-story, 54,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility featuring:

  • An auditorium capable of seating 150 with fold-down desktops
  • Instructor computers connected to HD projectors and the Internet
  • 170 available campus parking spaces
  • Break-room area with microwaves and refrigerators
  • Welcoming lobby area
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The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness

We often think the key to success and satisfaction is to get more: more money, time, and possessions; bigger budgets, job titles, and teams; and additional resources for our professional and personal goals. It turns out we’re wrong.

Using captivating stories to illustrate research in psychology and management, Rice University professor Scott Sonenshein examines why some people and organizations succeed with so little, while others fail with so much.

People and organizations approach resources in two different ways: “chasing” and “stretching.” When chasing, we exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of more. When stretching, we embrace the resources we already have. This frees us to find creative and productive ways to solve problems, innovate, and engage our work and lives more fully.

Stretch shows why everyone—from executives to entrepreneurs, professionals to parents, athletes to artists—performs better with constraints; why seeking too many resources undermines our work and well-being; and why even those with a lot benefit from making the most out of a little.

Drawing from examples in business, education, sports, medicine, and history, Scott Sonenshein advocates a powerful framework of resourcefulness that allows anybody to work

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