SEA Leadership Summit Program

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This conference will be focused on the themes of Self, People and Systems. Each track encompasses a holistic approach to effective government leadership and development.

You will be able to assess your level of readiness across three main themes to determine which session will help you discover the most insight, advice, and feedback.

  • Adaptive Space: Transforming Government Leveraging Lessons from GM & AWS & Federal Agencies
    An interactive learning session designed for senior executives. We will offer frameworks, research, tools, and tips to use Adaptive Space to transform government functions. Learn how others use this powerful model to create true innovation for sustained performance improvement. Networks matter and social capital is critical to innovation.

    1. Learn what GM, AWS, and federal agencies are doing
    2. See how it works in virtual environments
    3. Why it matters for YOUR federal career

    • Michael Arena
    • Sharon Benjamin
    View Speaker Bios>>
  • Breakout 1 - Self: Leading Government in a Complex and Remote World
    The current environment in today’s remote world is putting extraordinary pressure on organizations to rapidly adjust their business practices and lead through a complex and unexpected set of scenarios. For some organizations, that means key projects have stalled and budget dollars may have dried up. For others, it's a complex dance between supporting workers in essential functions immediately while identifying the longer term initiatives that need to be paused but maintained. And in the middle of that, many organization leaders are facing challenges that are requiring them to work in new ways and continue to lead and inspire their teams, often while their own personal lives and worlds are in flux.

    In this conversation with leading executives dealing with the many pressing issues across Government, we'll explore the ways leaders can identify and tackle the immediate challenges of running their agencies while maintaining their focus on serving the needs of the employees and constituents to lead through this time of crisis. Steve Dobberowsky, Cornerstone’s Senior Principal of Thought Leadership and Advisory Services, will lead the discussion of strategies for deploying and maintaining effective leadership strategies with Ken Quintana, Director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention University (invited), Amy Parker, CLO and Executive Director (ED) of the Human Capital Services Center at the Department of Veterans Affairs (invited), Terry Gerton, President and CEO at the National Academy of Public Administration (confirmed), and Heath Anderson, CIO Council – Legislative Chair (invited).

    You'll learn:
    • Strategies for making critical staffing and program decisions given conflicting pressures in today’s world;
    • Programs and initiatives to support leadership through a time of crisis in a remote world;
    • Frameworks for communicating to employees through changing times;
    • Best practices for balancing the needs of the organization, the employees and yourselves as leaders making sense of complex situations.

    Presented by: Cornerstone Ondemand
    • Steve Dobberowsky
    • Ken Quintana
    • Amy Parker
    • Teresa W. Gerton
    View Speaker Bios>>
  • Breakout 2 - People: Leader vs Coach, Can I be both? Should I be both?
    In 2018 the Office of Personnel Management released a memo stating that "coaching is a critical tool as the Federal Government strives to develop a workforce that supports the effective and efficient mission achievement and improved services to the American people." As this extremely important coaching culture has begun to sweep across the Federal Government, the many leaders have ask, "is it my job to coach my employees" and "will I have to be a coach to be an effective leader in the future?"

    This panel will discuss these questions and the approach Federal Agencies should encourage their executive leaders to adopt.

    • Alex D. Tremble
    • Robert Oberleitner
    • Sheila Wright
    • Dondrae Maiden
    View Speaker Bios>>
  • Breakout 3 - System: Advice for Senior Executives in a 24/7 Media Environment
    A panel of reporters will provide their perspective for government leaders on what makes a story news, how they go about reporting stories, why talking to the press is important versus crawling up in a ball and hoping the story goes away. The panel also will answer your questions about the often-heard, but mostly untrue claim of “liberal bias” in the media and what are some best practices to dealing with reporters.

    This interactive session will help you better understand how newsrooms work in the age of social media and changing marketplace dynamics.

    Presented by: FEDS
    • Nicole Ogrysko
    • Sudeep Reddy
    • Pamela Pennington
    View Speaker Bios>>

  • Intersection of Technology and Business from a Leadership Perspective
    M. Shane Canfield, CEO of WAEPA, will be joining the SEA Virtual Leadership Summit to discuss customer experience, technology, foresight and planning, risk management, and the workforce needed to manage each of those important tasks. Decisions made today can have long-term impacts on organizations, their employees, and the customers they serve.

    WAEPA, the life insurance choice of over 46,000 Feds and their families, spent the last 4 years under Shane’s leadership modernizing their business model to better meet the needs of all its stakeholders. Since Shane joined the organization as CEO in 2016, the staff has tripled in size, and new technologies have been implemented across every sector to prioritize customer retention and process optimization. Tune in to hear about how Shane and his leadership team navigated those challenges as a nonprofit association serving Feds.

    Presented by: WAEPA
    Shane Canfield
    View Speaker Bio>>
  • Salon/Workshop: You Can't Force Accountability
    95% of employees are dissatisfied with their organization's performance management process, and it’s not just employees that are dissatisfied. Research shows that the most neglected responsibility of executives is holding people accountable. In this session, participants will learn an accountability model that actually works.

    Learning objectives include:
    1. The underlying problem with accountability processes
    2. Developing accountable people
    3. An accountability model for immediate application

    Presented by: Arbinger Institute
    Mitch Warner
    View Speaker Bio>>

  • Breakout 1 - Self: Leading from the Heart
    Have you considered a new way to lead in a post COVID-19 workplace? How will you inspire and empower employees in a virtual landscape? The Heart of Leadership examines four leadership characteristics that will empower leaders, inspire employees, and elevate organizational performance, through meaningful and impactful interactions.

    • Tyra Dent Smith
    • Albert Spencer
    View Speaker Bio>>
  • Breakout 2 - People: Simulation and Leadership in the Modern Era
    As the world of Senior Executive planning and decision-making moves toward increased information overload, reduced certainty and higher complexity, new approaches to leadership are required. Simulation as an aid to decision-making and skill transfer dates back to the early days of DoD and NASA, but is now becoming a dominant force and a useful option for SES decision makers.

    This expert panel on Simulation will discuss the concept, some of its many possible practical applications, and the pros and cons of Simulation as a leadership tool for you. Panel members are retired Air Force Brigadier General Bob Ranck, international eyesight restoration non-profit Orbis’ Chief of Global Adult Learning Amelia Geary, and Executive Director of peak serious-gaming industry body Serious Play, Ms Sue Bohle.

    • John Kolm
    • Bob Ranck
    • Sue Bohle
    • Amelia Geary
    View Speaker Bios>>

  • Breakout 3 - System: How We Can Re-think Agency Operations, Citizen Services, Healthcare Delivery, and Law Enforcement
    As federal agencies navigate the pandemic, they are ably adapting to sustain the mission of serving the American public. But, this black swan event has also challenged norms and status quos—and exposed inequities, gaps, and yes, opportunities for a (more) digitally-enabled government. Around the world, a number of governments are making significant advances in citizen engagement.

    The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation website features examples of new technologies and methods supporting country-wide education platforms, grant and citizen aid distribution, digital court files, crowd sourcing, enhanced public health, and many others. We are witnessing unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation and cyber security capabilities—enabling federal agencies to operate with agility.

    During the first five months of COVID-19 we were focused on responding to the pandemic; but as optimism over a vaccine and a return to normal grows, we have all engaged in conversations about the post-pandemic world. It is critical, as we re-invent and define the “new normal”, that we be cognizant of what attributes of our pre-pandemic lives are important to retain. Meanwhile, in our personal lives, our expectations have completely changed: Brand new services have emerged, we visit our doctors via the web, we are selling and buying property from our couches, and we are now more impatient with services and organizations that require us to engage “in person”. How can we take these new expectations and completely re-think government services?

    Please join our panelists coming from many different perspectives including: agency operations, citizen services, healthcare delivery, and law enforcement to focus on how we can re-invent what we do and how we serve the citizens. Black swan events are an opportunity for leadership and creating our future.

    Presented by: CGI
    • Kenyon Wells
    • Bethany Blakely
    • Dean Phillips
    View Speaker Bio>>
  • Leadership in the Era of Digital Transformation: Responding to New Requirements for Success
    This session will explore where transformation is headed and what it will mean for government leaders (from the front lines up to top executives), for the public, and for individual jurisdictions and the globe. How will digital transformation reach you and how should you prepare and respond?

    In 1969, when we landed on the moon and safely returned, digital computing had already become essential for project management, accounting, and navigation. Since then, computer efficiency (instructions executed per dollar) has doubled roughly every two years. As a result, processing is 34 million times more powerful than 50 years ago, and headed to becoming 268 million times more powerful in just another 6 years. Most important, applications now reach and redesign larger value chains.

    They were first used to redesign tasks, processes, and jobs, and now redesign organizational units, services, enterprises, and entire industries and jurisdictions. The scope of change is much larger. The pace of change is faster (often as a crisis, threatening loss to many stakeholders). And the risks and rewards of change are both larger and different, based more on support or opposition from technology users (government workers and the public) than technology producers (vendors and government technology staff). While science and technology continue to offer new automation, economies of scale, and capabilities for analysis and transparency, success increasingly depends on leadership to create new jobs while transforming institutions, industries, and society.

    Presented by: Management Concepts
    Jerry Mechling
    View Speaker Bio>>

  • General Session - Keynote Speaker: Heidi Brooks

    Heidi Brooks
    View Speaker Bio>>

  • Salon/Workshop: Creating Innovation in Federal Agencies: Practical Application of Adaptive Space
    What are agency leaders doing now? What is working, what isn't working? Today we heard from Michael Arena and Sharon Benjamin about Adaptive Space and creating pockets of innovation within large enterprises. In this salon experience, hear more about the real-world application of adaptive space.

    How have leaders at federal agencies created teams as the entrepreneurial pockets? Join us to understand how Adaptive Space has been applied and what you can do when you get back to your day job to make it real at your agency.

    Presented by: The Clearing

  • Reimagining Workforce “Talent” in an Uncertain Future
    Our guest speakers will explore the challenges and opportunities that organizations face as they look to redefine talent – source, select, onboard, train, develop, and reskill for the future – in a highly competitive and cloudy environment.

    Learning Objectives:
    1. Revisiting your definition of “critical skills” at all levels
    2. Employee mobility's role in skills development
    3. A post-COVID world of talent in the short and long term

    Presented By: BGRS
    • Nancy Brickwood
    • Robert Martini
    • Emma Dodwell-Groves
    View Speaker Bio>>
  • Breakout 1 - Self: Curiosity – Fueling Personal and Workforce Reskilling
    Reskilling is an organizational learning strategy that prepares employees to continually acquire and develop new skills and capabilities to keep pace with disruptions changing the nature of their work.

    Presented by: Deloitte
    • Deanne Watts
    • Ryan Shallard
    View Speaker Bio>>
  • Breakout 2 - People: Building Resilience in Times of Disruption
    In the face of dramatically changing circumstances, stress is a growing problem leading to increased accidents, absenteeism, turnover, lower quality of work, and waste of government resources. Low levels of resilience take a toll on leaders’ health, mood, cognitive capacity and productivity.

    Powered by CCL’s global research and practice, this presentation will help senior federal government leaders understand the importance of resilience in their agencies as well as learn practical ways to enhance both personal and team effectiveness. Participants will:
    • Understand four areas of resilience: physical, mental, emotional, and social;
    • Enhance personal resilience with proven leadership practices including exercise, sleep, mindfulness, reappraisal, savoring, gratitude, connections, and contact;
    • Be more able to help their colleagues and teams to be resilient over time;
    • Acknowledge internal processes that often impact external behavior;
    • Build self-regulating techniques for resilience

    Presented by: Center for Creative Leadership
    Bill Adams
    View Speaker Bio>>

  • Breakout 3 - System: COVID-19: Leading Employees’ Safe Return to the Workplace
    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented health challenges nationwide resulting in the closure of Federal workplaces - most employees are now required to work off-site until it is safe to return. Leaders will participate in a panel discussion and Q & A on return-to-workplace policies, procedures, and protocols during and after COVID-19. Provide a high-level overview on how to prepare, respond and recover in compliance with guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

    Real world experiences and best practices will be shared on new safety measures, such as personal protective equipment, screening, distancing, hygiene and sanitization, visitor control, exposure and tracking, and other related topics. Attendees will learn how to effectively lead a return-to-workplace program and communicate to employees changes to expect in the new normal to avoid the risk of infections when their facility is authorized to reopen.

    • Calvin Byrd
    • Daryle Hernandez
    • Richard "Kris" Cline
    • Everette Hilliard
    View Speaker Bios>>

  • #FasterBetterTogether = Raising the Bar on VBA Performance
    Building on VBA's #BestYearEver. How we established and achieved higher goals in times of unanticipated challenges.

    Margarita Devlin
    View Speaker Bio>>
  • Salon/Workshop: Preparing Yourself and Your Team for the COVID-19 World and Beyond
    Talent development professionals are uniquely positioned to help agencies achieve their mission. This session will discuss the knowledge and skill sets your agency needs to be successful today and post pandemic. ATD’s Director of Research, Maria Ho, will delve into the impact COVID-19 has had on the training and development profession.

    Morgean Hirt, ATD’s Director of Credentialing, will identify key capabilities essential for talent development professionals to be successful. She will discuss how to know which capabilities to focus on for development, and review the tools available to create personalized learning plans to deepen your team’s knowledge and elevate their skills by using ATD’s new Talent Development Capability Model.

    Presented By: Association for Talent Development (ATD)
    • Maria Ho
    • Morgean Hirt
    View Speaker Bios>>

Attendee Access to the Conference
For all SEA Leadership Summit Attendees, sign in here to join your colleagues from across government to explore, learn, take time to focus on yourself, and build connections.

About the Senior Executives Association (SEA)

SEA is the non-profit, non-partisan professional association representing career members of the Federal Senior Executive Service (SES) and equivalent senior leaders. SEA connects its members to the networks, opportunities and resources that help them succeed. SEA also provides a forum for its members to engage in policy discussions on critical government management challenges and opportunities. Through membership, SEA members are part of the movement to transform government for the 21st century and to empower senior leaders to drive change. More information about SEA can be found at:

About the Association of Talent Development (ATD)

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees, improve performance, and help to achieve results for the organizations they serve. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. Originally established in 1943, the association was previously known as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). For more information, visit: