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2019 Winter Conference: Building Your Personal Capabilities

December 14, 2019 – Benedictine University, 5700 College Road Lisle, IL 60532

Session Descriptions

Know Thyself: The Art of Meaningful Connection
Erich Kurschat

Successful learning and development professionals embrace effective communication as a competitive edge. However, little is possible without a strong foundation of self-awareness. We risk "autopilot" approaches to our most important relationships, and we're left wondering what went wrong.

In this inspiring session, Erich Kurschat (founder of Harmony Insights and HRHotSeat) argues that each one of us has the potential to lead, sell, and communicate with greater influence. Erich will introduce a valuable framework for navigating the four basic personality styles that we encounter on a daily basis. You will walk away with the tools to assess the needs and motivations of key stakeholders, as well as a newfound confidence in your unique contributions!

Erich Kurschat


Erich Kurschat, Owner & Connection Coach, Harmony Insights, is the founder of Harmony Insights LLC, a company that helps coaches, consultants, and organizations benefit from the DiSC personality assessment. He is also the founder of HRHotSeat, an inclusive mastermind community of real HR pros solving real HR problems. Erich draws from a broad range of experiences as a corporate HR professional, a public speaker, a career coach, a classical musician, and a proud introvert to inspire others toward meaningful work and productive workplace relationships.

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LinkedIn is a Love Fest:
How to Build a Powerful Network of Influential and Talented Friends

Callista Gould

Are you tired of having a LinkedIn account that’s just a collection of connections? Learn how to reach out, what to post and how to show love on LinkedIn, so you build a powerful network of talented and influential friends to further your career and personal goals.


Callista Gould is the author of the book, The Exceptional Professional: What You Need to Know to Grow Your Career, and Founder of the Culture and Manners Institute. She is a certified etiquette instructor who speaks at universities and businesses across the U.S. Prior to this, she was Director of Marketing for InterTech Media, a pioneer in web video based in Stamford, Connecticut; Manager of Public Relations for Amana Appliances in Amana, Iowa; and Marketing and Event Planning for Sony Music in Chicago for artists such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Ozzy Osborne and Korn. She has an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago and Bachelors in English and Medieval Studies from the University of Iowa. Her etiquette expertise has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and The Des Moines Register. Her Etiquette Tip of the Week blog can be found on LinkedIn and sometimes...she Tweets. For more information, please contact Callista Gould at: cgould@cultureandmanners.com

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Coaching: Benefits & Tools to Accelerate Progress Toward Your Career Goals
Dan Johnson, CPC, CNTC

Coaching is essential when you long for something bigger in your career or business, you want to make an impact and create memorable work, you’ve taken first steps but can’t seem to get to the finish line, and/or you would benefit from shifts in your mindset about what is possible (whether you work internal or external to an organization). Coaching accelerates your progress while reminding you of what is possible.

In this interactive session you’ll learn what coaching is, the benefits of coaching when you are in a career transition, the different forms coaching can take, and you’ll experience career coaching tools that accelerate progress toward your career goal.


Dan Johnson, CPC, CNTC, Consultant with Performance Mastery, a performance improvement and coaching firm that specializes in leadership development, change management, talent development, and feedback. As a Certified NeuroTransformational Coach, Dan uses brain-based coaching strategies to accelerate measurable outcomes and insight for his clients in large financial institutions, manufacturing, retail, not-for-profit, government, agriculture, and healthcare industries. His client roster includes corporate presidents, executives, healthcare professionals, team leaders, private detectives, actors, and spiritual leaders.

Dan graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. from Purdue University in Financial Planning and earned an M.S. from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology. His coaching certifications include Certified NeuroTransformational Coach (brain-based coaching) through BeAbove Leadership and Certified Professional Coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. His expertise in coaching groups and teams stems from advanced training from the Center for Right Relationship.

A longtime contributor to the Talent Development profession, Dan currently serves as the Leader for ATDChi’s Coaching Professional Development Network and serves on the ATDChi Board as Director of New Member Engagement. In his free time Dan serves as a Docent for the Chicago Architecture Center, leading tours on the Chicago River, throughout downtown Chicago, and Oak Park.

You can learn more about Dan’s neuroscience-based coaching, consulting, and training at www.performancemastery.com.

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People Skills: Learn How to Master Your Value Proposition
Hayward Suggs

Maybe it’s a high-stakes meet with a potential client, a career defining moment with a new boss or a major networking opportunity in the hot gig economy. Then the big question comes: What Do You Do? How will you respond? Of course you know what you do, but can you articulate it under pressure and maximize your signature moment? If your goal is to confidently inform, inspire, and ignite the listeners desire to want to know more, this program is for you. Discover how to promote your value in any situation with class, clarity and supreme confidence. Learn how to design and deliver a pithy and powerful value proposition that quickly separates you from the competition.

In 88 minutes or less, you will learn how to define:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Why it matters

CAUTION - There will be FUN!


Hayward Suggs, MBA: For over twenty years successful executives and entrepreneurs have partnered with Hayward Suggs to improve their business results, professional relationships, and personal rewards. Having served in non-profits from the line staff level through CEO and Board Chair roles, Hayward is well versed in mission-driven decision making, large system change efforts, leadership development, and team building. He specializes in outcome focused professional coaching and training services that enhance leadership behaviors and soft skills.

Hayward’s areas of training and coaching focus include:

  • Work Place Behaviors
  • Difficult Conversations
  • Cultivating Global Mindset
  • Communicating with Maximum Impact
  • Leveraging Relationships
  • Public Speaking in Critical Moments
  • Signature Moment Readiness

Managing Principal for Commonquest Consulting Co-author of Shattering the Glass Ceiling: How to Break Through Without Breaking Down. Hayward specializes in soft-skills training and public speaking coaching for successful executives and entrepreneurs. www.haywardsuggs.com

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The Power of Networking
Rose Pagliari & Kris Felstehausen

Networks play a critical role in both our personal and professional lives. This workshop will provide insights in how to build, analyze and maintain your network for increased success.

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • State both the professional and personal benefits of networking
  • List reasons why people don’t like to network and how to get over those barriers
  • Analyze your network to determine if you have the right types of connections
  • Practice starting networking conversations


Rose Pagliari is a joyful sales professional in the learning and performance industry. She works with clients to identify learning solutions to address corporate training needs. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Northern Illinois University, where she majored in Marketing and minored in Psychology. Most recently, she earned a Masters of Science in Communication at Northwestern University. In the program she studied the power and importance of networking in both the professional and personal setting.

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Pay Me (Please…)
Dr. Gia Suggs

There are many factors that have an impact on compensation and promotion. That said, the average person sitting in front of a potential employer is not trying to figure out how to dismantle social constructs that might be imposing on their opportunities or determine if the "personality ethics" technique will be impactful during the conversation.

The greater likelihood is, she is simply contemplating how to ask for what she thinks she deserves and actually get it.

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of negotiating
  • Identify the components of a negotiation strategy
  • Leverage negotiating techniques


Gia Suggs, EdD, MPH, MA is an Organization Development Consultant. She manages a private practice and is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor at Olivet Nazarene University and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Gia combines her educational accomplishments and professional consulting experience to ensure she remains current in both the academic and business worlds. She brings her comprehensive consulting knowledge to the classroom setting and shares her academic acumen with professionals and business organizations.

Through her private practice, Dr. Gia Consulting, her clients benefit significantly from her 20 years of experience as an organization development professional, adult learner expert, skilled instructional designer and professional coach. She has developed, designed and delivered over 1,000 business programs for the following client industries: Public Health, Food Service, Private Equity, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Insurance, Non-profit, Government, Academia, Associations, Commercial Banking, Financial Services, Sales, and Social Service.

Dr. Gia has a proven track record of effectively assessing organizational needs, developing and implementing recommendations for improving outcomes, and evaluating results. Highly engaging and extremely influential, Dr. Gia works with identified partners to design and apply highly successful organization development interventions.

Dr. Gia is the author of the following books:

  • Onboarding; Maximizing the Success of New Employees (Suggs, 2013)
  • Shattering the Glass Ceiling; How to Break Through Without Breaking Down (Suggs & Suggs, 2017)
  • Onboarding Quick Guide; Take Your Workforce to New Heights (Suggs & Suggs 2018)

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The Good, the Bad, and the Meh of Working in the Gig Economy
Gretchen E. Hartke

Join learning leader, entrepreneur and author of So, you want to join the gig economy… now what?, Gretchen Hartke, in a conversation where she’ll share her lessons learned, (sometimes) hard won wisdom, and perspective on how to thrive as an independent learning consultant. She’ll use a conversational, Q&A approach to answer your questions about:

  • Deciding if the freelance life is right for you,
  • Making the leap,
  • The business side of things—sales, rates, space, support, etc.
  • Anything else you want to ask her about her life as an independent consultant.


Nothing makes Gretchen Hartke more excited than a conference table/jump drive full of source material from a client with one request—take this jumble of information and turn it into something that’s going to help people perform. Since 2008, she and her team at Hartke Designs in Chicago, approach most assignments in the same way—begin with the end in mind—which allows them to get knee deep into their client’s content without getting buried.

A teacher at heart, Gretchen started her career as a middle school history teacher and earned her MS in Instructional Systems Technology in 2000 from Indiana University. Over her nineteen-year career as in instructional designer and project manager, she's created learning experiences for organizations like BlackRock, McDonalds, Sanofi Aventis, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Walgreens.

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