Workshops & Speaking

Our workshops provide an informative, supportive and fun group environment to explore professional development topics. At AWC, we believe that adult learning is most powerful in settings that are interactive and experiential. We also emphasize the importance of finding concrete takeaways that can be implemented immediately through the action planning component of our programs.

Our content has been delivered in organizations, university-based Executive Education programs and at industry association events.

Clients may choose from sample topics below. We enjoy partnering with our clients to customize existing programs or design from scratch, with the goal of best meeting participants’ needs. Optional pre-reads can be provided to attendees.

Sample Topics (click session name or “+” for description):

Discover & Use Your Strengths

Research over the past 10 years has shown that people who are aware of and use their strengths regularly report higher levels well-being, engagement, and team effectiveness. Prior to this workshop, participants will take Clifton StrengthsFinder, a scientifically-grounded online assessment used by millions across the world. During the session, participants will learn about strengths-theory, delve into their top 5 strengths, and identify concrete ways to apply this knowledge in their careers and life. We will also discuss how when strengths are overused they can become career-limiting derailers. Participants will leave with a personalized strengths-based action ready for execution. For groups attending this workshop as a team, we can also incorporate a team grid, showing how members’ individual strengths are distributed across the four domains of Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking.

Is It Just Me? Recognizing & Overcoming Unconscious Bias at Work

In this interactive and experiential workshop, you will develop a greater understanding of what unconscious gender bias is, how women (and men) can be negatively impacted, and what we can do to build successful careers despite it. We will explore common workplace scenarios where gender bias appears and delve into a 4-step framework women can implement to react in the moment as well as proactively inoculate against themselves against bias in the future.

Note: While the session is geared to individual women, all are welcome including male allies and organizational leaders interested in reducing bias in their workplace.

Understanding & Mitigating Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

If you have a brain, you are biased. Our unconscious minds efficiently use mental shortcuts that enable us to quickly process huge amounts of information on a daily basis. However, research demonstrates that some unconscious biases can lead to sub-optimal conclusions, particularly in the case of decisions affecting talent. And while unconscious bias can’t be completely removed from how we think, in order to build stronger, more inclusive cultures, mitigating bias in business processes and leadership norms is key. In this interactive session, you will develop a greater understanding of what unconscious bias is, how it impacts organizational effectiveness, and what leaders can do about it.

Note: Designed primarily for organizational leaders. For content designed for individual women, please see our workshop “Is It Just Me? Recognizing & Overcoming Unconscious Bias at Work”.

Career Advancement Strategies for Women

This interactive workshop focuses on best practices for women looking to drive their career, with special emphasis on the challenges often faced in heavily male-dominated environments where they often find themselves “the only woman in the room”. Topics include career navigation, seeking feedback, evaluating and building your network, understanding difference between mentors and sponsors, and building and projecting a style of confidence that works for you. During the program, participants complete a handout containing self-reflection, goals, and their personal next step action items.

Note: We can provide several relevant pre-reads, and also have recommended to employers “Lean In” and “Feminist Fight Club” if they would like to provide attendees with a book as a takeaway.

Leading Authentically with Impact & Influence

Research shows that the two largest components of executive presence are effective communication style and gravitas. Both telegraph to people that you are in command of your topic and are leadership material. Yet, in traditionally male-dominated environments, where the phenomenon of “the only woman in the room” is common, striking the right balance is not always easy. The key is to create a win-win: cultivating a leadership style that feels right to you and is effective in your environment. In this workshop, we will apply a 4-step framework for making the most of leadership moments that we find ourselves in or create intentionally. The emphasis will be on internal confidence and exhibiting leadership behaviors that others see and hear. Participants will have time to reflect and self-assess, and will walk away with action items they choose to implement going forward.

Strategies to Make Networking Productive & Enjoyable

We all know that the size and quality of one’s network is a key factor in career success. Yet, when you hear the term “networking” do you cringe? Do you envision walking into a room full of people you don’t know, and don’t know what to do with, and then imagine wanting to run for the door? Many people have a negative association when it comes to networking, but it does not have to be that way. In this interactive workshop, come learn strategies for expanding and deepening the key relationships that contribute to your success. You will walk away with a personalized networking plan for yourself, and action items you can implement immediately.

How to Craft & Deliver Your Elevator Pitch

Many people are great at describing what their company does, but less comfortable talking about themselves. Having a solid elevator pitch ready to go allows you to be confident and clear when communicating who you are and how you add value. And it all starts with the end in mind: being purposeful about what you want your audience to remember about you. Working from a simple template, you’ll craft an updated version of your pitch and have an opportunity to practice and get feedback. You will leave with valuable tips for content and delivery, and the ability to customize your message for audiences inside and outside of your organization.

Strategies for Successful Career Navigation

The ability to navigate a successful and meaningful career is a key 21st century competency that professionals of all levels need to develop. This involves thinking strategically about your career development, being able to articulate your own definition of success and having a plan for getting there. Yet, most professionals do not set aside adequate time to self-reflect, take stock and set a course for the future. During this interactive workshop we will use several simple self-assessment exercises to identify what the enablers of your success will be and what potential obstacles could get in the way. You will walk away with a first draft of your own “Career Roadmap” to help guide your career going forward, including self-identified action items to be implemented.

Note: this workshop is appropriate for groups of mixed seniority levels, as well as men and women.

Managing Your Leadership Journey

This workshop is designed for women at mid-career and beyond who would like to create a roadmap to guide their career going forward. The ability to design and navigate a stimulating and meaningful career (which fits into one’s life) is a key competency for today’s leaders. This involves being able to articulate one’s own definition of success and manage the external and internal obstacles encountered along the way. Yet, most people do not create the time in their busy lives to do the necessary career visioning and planning. Through a series of self-assessment exercises, we reflect on where you’ve been during the various chapters of your leadership journey (both highs and lows), and look ahead at your desired future milestones. We identify what the enablers of your success will be and what potential obstacles could get in the way. In particular we consider recent research about how women can maintain and build confidence during times of change and professional growth. You will walk away with a “Career Roadmap” document that can be implemented immediately.



What People Are Saying:

"Michelle was fantastic to work with--we provided her a very general overview of what our organizations goals and objectives were for an interactive workshop and she delivered beyond our expectations. The programming and materials were information, interactive, and enjoyable and the feedback from attendees very positive. I'd highly recommend Michelle's skills and knowledge in developing workshops and events, and hope to work with her again in the future."

Mary Robinson, Policy Manager
The Structured Finance Industry Group, Inc.

“Michelle's passionate approach to coaching, mentoring, and guiding individuals and organizations to success is an inspiration. I had the pleasure of experiencing an unconscious bias session where Michelle captivated the audience with scientific evidence on how we think and the impact it has on business. Michelle is a transformational leader and is value added to any organization.”

Kate Migliaro, Director, Veterans & Diversity Initiatives
Apollo Global Management LLC