Rave Reviews & Personal Takeaways from 2018 Leadership Conference Breakout Sessions

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications News, Stories

Rave reviews are still pouring in for our 2018 Leadership Conference. We thought we’d share just a few of the a-ha moments and takeaways that attendees have shared with us!

(And to experience a-has of your own, register now for the follow-up meta-skills classes we’re scheduling through the end of the year in the NLC Training Center. Seats are limited to 30 per class, so don’t dawdle!))


SELF CARE: Strategies to Replenish, Recharge & Reboot

NLC trainer and consultant Ellen Nastir was invited back by popular demand and delivered another stellar breakout session. She walked session participants through real-life strategies for understanding and dealing with the people, events, and issues we may struggle with.

For instance, the reminder that “it’s not about capability but capacity” resonated strongly with the hard-working professionals—and parents, and volunteers, and caregivers—in the room.

Ellen laid out the principles of the 4 quadrants of self-care and provided a page full of practical self-care tips, and it was the “practical aspects” of the session that helped participants the most: “’Self-care is so important!’ I hear it all the time but this session made me realize the VALUE of knowing my self-worth, moving forward to recognize my limitations and set healthy boundaries. Thank you!!”

Perhaps the highest praise she could get is the numerous commitments that people made to “share this with others.”

And Ellen’s “snowstorm” exercise was a HUGE hit—but we can’t tell you anymore about it because we don’t want to spoil the fun when Ellen joins us on June 29th for the half-day, deeper dive into SELF CARE: Strategies to Replenish, Recharge and Reboot.


LEADING CHANGE: Releasing Fear and Embracing Innovation in Your Life & Work

NLC trainer and consultant John Loblack, Ed.D., returned for his second Leadership Conference in a row to share with his

breakout participants the steps they can take and tools they can use to get the most from change.

The feedback we heard most often was that John’s session was “awesome” and “very relatable.”

His participants walked away with a new understanding that “change is neutral; our perception makes the difference” and one’s “perception of change can be changed from negative to positive—and thinking of the positive can make fears go

And more than that, they left armed with concrete action plans to “respond to change, not react it.”

John Loblack will deliver even more transformative information in his follow-up session LEADING CHANGE: Releasing Fear & Embracing Innovation in Your Life & Work on July 17th.


INCLUSION: Building a Safe Environment for Open Communications & Belonging

Michele Reeves, NLC’s newest Board member and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Raymond James, shared insights into our essential need for belonging and foundational best practices doing to create a safe environment and encourage people to engage in courageous conversations

There were many a-ha moments around the distinction between equality and equity and the understanding that “inclusion is a deliberate action e must put into practice on a daily basis.”

Those who attended Michele’s session hailed it as “motivational and inspiring” and committed to “living the inclusive leadership method, bringing awareness to future leaders” in our midst.

Join Michele for her half-day follow up class INCLUSION: Building a Safe Environment for Open Communications & Belonging on July 20th.



CONNECTION: Relationship Building for Personal & Professional Success  

Expert panelists Kelley Parris and Jack Levine and moderator Bill Fries had a dynamic discussion of the panelists’ best tips and resources to build deeper connections with those around you and foster personal satisfaction and professional success.

With so many passionate folks in the room, it’s no wonder that Jack and Kelley’s networking and advocacy tips were often mentioned as crucial takeaways form this session. The concepts of “intentional coincidence” and volunteers as “time philanthropists” were just two that were cited over and over.

“positivity and pessimism are both contagious.”

NLC trainer Margarita Sarmiento will take the reins for our follow-up class to this engaging panel. Join her at NLC on August 1st for CONNECTION: Creative Ways to Connect at Work.


VISION: Creating Strategic Direction for Your Life & Career

NLC’s own Board Chair and CEO of Girl Scouts of West Central Florida Jessica Muroff joined us this year to facilitate her first breakout session and illustrate the use of dashboards, powerful tools for individual and organizational goal tracking and strategic decision-making.

Attendees were thrilled by “the diversity of the dashboard’s uses—from professional to personal!”

We heard teams discussing—and even applying–the content immediately “This is how to take tracking to the next level! We developed as team –so many ideas bubbled up based on this [breakout].”

And a board member was thrilled with the session: “As a board member I now have expectations for what information should be presented [by my organization].”

We also heard great things about the exchange of ideas and experiences: “The room was filled with people of all levels within their organizations, sharing feedback.”

Join Jessica for a deeper dive into personal and organizational dashboards at her follow up class VISION: Dashboards 101–Creating Strategic Direction for Your Life & Career on August 9.


MINDFULNESS: The Power of Contemplative Leadership

Native Floridian Rick has served as a pastor, nonprofit leader, and Spiritual Care Director in hospice. His interest and leadership in mindfulness and meditation began in seminary and as he served as a pastor. He then took these practices to the business and nonprofit world, leading seminars and trainings, including at Florida Blue, where he now manages community development and education for Florida Blue’s West Region.

During Rick’s highly interactive breakout, attendees learned how mindfulness fosters intentional leadership decisions and a healthier, more productive environment at work and in one’s personal life.

One person called Rick’s “the most interesting and engaging session I’ve been to in years!” Another said, “The 15 practical steps to bring mindfulness to work will be placed on my board at the office. I needed that!”

And then attendees took the next step to develop their personalized actions plans and commitments.

And we’ve already heard back from several teams who have instituted the Mindful Minute at the beginning of meetings! Several others shared their commitment to “quit using words as weapons” after Rick’s session.

Rick’s in-depth follow up to his breakout session sold out on June 1st, so we’re working to arrange another session with him later in 2018.

If you’re feeling bummed that you missed out on one (or all) of these fantastic sessions, be sure to register now for the (longer!! more in-depth!!) sessions through the end of the year. And to be sure you’re among the first to know all about our 2019 Leadership Conference (and other NLC events), subscribe to our weekly emails.