Connect. Empower. Transform. 2023 Key FEDTalks

Celebrating 12 years of community support programming, Key is delighted to announce the 2023 series' focus is centered on the future of communication.
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About the Series
5 Reasons to Attend

Celebrating 12 years of community support programming, the Key Executive Leadership Programs is delighted to announce the 2023 Key FEDTalks Speaker Series. This year's focus is centered on the future of communication in leadership and public service.

Participants who attend three or more live sessions will be eligible for a certification of participation at the end of the series.

5 Reasons to Attend the Key FEDTalks

  1. Provides a stimulating environment for Key current students and alumni, which is conducive to continued intellectual and professional growth.

  2. Cultivates professional connections between current students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
  3. Supplements your Key experience with subject matter relevant to improved leadership in the public sector.
  4. Current students and alumni are eligible to receive a certificate of completion for attending at least six seminars within a two year period.
  5. Allows the Key Executive Leadership Program to reciprocate the support and serve the public good.

5 Reasons to Attend the Key FEDTalks

  1. Provides a stimulating environment for Key current students and alumni, which is conducive to continued intellectual and professional growth.

  2. Cultivates professional connections between current students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
  3. Supplements your Key experience with subject matter relevant to improved leadership in the public sector.
  4. Current students and alumni are eligible to receive a certificate of completion for attending at least six seminars within a two year period.
  5. Allows the Key Executive Leadership Program to reciprocate the support and serve the public good.

Upcoming Session:

Session Description: 



Catch Up on Previous FEDTalks

Check out our previous FEDTalks session recordings from 2022! 

View Recordings

The Future of Communication 2023 Series

AI, Government and the Public Workforce

Watch for a panel discussion on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in the federal government, where we will explore: the potential promise of AI; mitigating risks; addressing concerns with transparency; implications for the public workforce as new technologies are integrated into the workplace and more!

Inclusive Leadership: An Alternative to Traditional DEI

This session describes the limitations of traditional DEI and how to forge a new path with a more nuanced, holistic analysis of people and culture. As an emerging innovative approach, Inclusive Leadership teaches leaders at all levels how to “reset” with a personal strategy to use within organizations to address division, foster connection, and create change.Show less

2022 FEDTalks Series in Review

Watch replays of all four FEDTalks sessions from 2022! Topics include neurodiversity in leadership, trust and government, public and private space ventures, and succession planning.

Neurodiversity in Leadership

Moderator: Patrick Malone, Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs, School of Public Affairs, American University

Speakers: John Marble, Founder, Pivot Neurodiversity; Instructor, Neurodiversity Pathways; Ranga Jayaraman, Director, Neurodiversity Pathways; Kevin Zachery, Engagement and Chief Learning Officer, FDIC Office of Inspector General; Rochelle Johnson, Senior Education and Training Advisor, Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience, Department of State

Public vs. Private Ventures & the Changing Space Paradigm

Moderator: Andrew Hunter, American University Adjunct Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Program; Retired Deputy CFO NASA

Panelists: Brett Alexander, Vice President, Civil Sales, Blue Origin; Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, Chief Government and External Affairs Officer, Axiom Space; Phil McAlister, Director, Commercial Space Flight, NASA HQ

Trust & Our Government

Moderator: Clarence Crawford, American University Adjunct Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Program; President, Maryland State Board of Education Board; Associate Director for Administration, Executive Office of the President; Director of Operations, National Security and International Affairs Division, General Accounting Office

Panelists: Dan G Blair, Counselor and Independent Consultant, U.S. Agency for Global Media; former President/CEO, National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA); Kimberly Walton, CEO, Kimberly Walton & Associates, LLC; NAPA Fellow and Vice-Chair Panel on Public Service; former Executive Assistant Administrator for Enterprise Support, Transportation Administration Security (TSA)

Succession Planning & the Great Resignation

Moderator: Patrick Malone, Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs, School of Public Affairs, American University

Speakers: Kara Cotsalas, Chief, Workforce Management Branch National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH, Department of Health and Human Services; Kristen G. Ellis, Esq., Director of Regulatory, Intergovernmental, and Stakeholder Engagement, US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM); Russell Robinson, EdD, Founder of Amplified Research, Civil Servant and Researcher Focusing on Employee Engagement, and Voice/Silence

2021 FEDTalks Series Review

2021's FEDTalks Series focus was centered on the future of excellence in leadership and public service. This series featurec discussions on kindness, love and leadership, end-of-fiscal-year reporting, ethics, and more. You can learn more about each session on the right.

2021 FEDTalks Speaker Series: Future of Excellence in Leadership and Public Service

Session Information

FEDTalks Feb 2021 Flyer

Description: Join us as we kick off the 2021 FEDTalks series, "Future of Excellence in Leadership & Public Service," with this session focusing on leading with kindness and love. Simple practices of gratitude, compassion, and humility can never be underestimated in terms of their impact on creating inclusive and innovative workforces. Now, more than ever, it is time to return to the basics of kindness in love for ourselves and with those we lead.

Moderator: Dr. Patrick Malone, Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs, American University School of Public Affairs
Panelists: Andrew Bennett, Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Programs
Dr. Kimya Lee, Executive Director, Strategic Workforce Planning & Analysis, DHS
Dr. Reginald Wells, Executive-in-Residence, Key Executive Leadership Programs
Dr. Ruth Zaplin, Senior Executive-in-Residence, Key Executive Leadership Programs


FEDTalks Apr 2021 Flyer

Description: This FEDTalks session will focus on what human capital leaders can do to build a better federal workforce geared toward the future of work that factors remote work, connection, wellness, burnout, social justice issues and hyper-partisan politics.

In The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, the CEO of the World Economic Forum argues the future of work in the public sector should empower both customers and employees. The mediator for these outcomes is having emotionally intelligent leaders. Further, human capital strategists are assessing the future workplace after the major events of 2020 (COVID-19, social justice and hyper-partisan politics). Issues like connection, remote, work, employee voice, wellness and burnout impact public sector agencies, and human capital officers should navigate these factors to develop their workforce of the future.

Moderator: Dr. Russel Robinson, Key Ambassador
Panelists: Dr. Rhonda Jones, CEO and Managing Member, Human Capital Focus, LLC
Michael Anderson, Anderson Global Talent
Elida Sarmiento, U.S. Department of Justice
Jason Lauritsen, Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture Expert


FEDTalks Jul 2021 Flyer

Description: Have you ever wondered why some agencies or offices seem to fair better than others even in lean budget years? Why do some agencies continue to receive budget increases even after the President has identified them to budget reduction or elimination? In your agency, why does a particular program or region consistently receive more favorable budget treatment than other parts of your agency? Do they know something that you don’t know? The answer in most cases is YES – they have learned or been taught the secret sauce of budgeting. There are number of excellent agency budget documents and academic resources to tell the “what” about Federal budgeting. They give you everything but the ingredients for the secret sauce that takes the meal to the next level.

In this FEDTalks, Gwen and Clarence are going to give you the budget secret sauce’s ingredients with practical steps, lessons learned, and stories that you can immediately use.

Panelists: Gwen Sykes, CFO, U.S. Secret Service; Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Programs
Clarence C. Crawford, President, Maryland State Board of Education; Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Programs


FEDTalks Sept 2021 Flyer for YouTube

Description: In this FEDTalks, Susan Jenkins and Ted Kniker will discuss the importance of the mandates, practices, and available resources to help leaders build and effectively use the needed evidence base to achieve greater success in critical areas facing agencies. Susan and Ted will also provide examples from their experience as government leaders and evaluators in fostering learning in organizations.

Panelists: Susan Jenkins, Director, Office of Performance and Evaluation, Administration for Community Living (ACL), US Department of Health and Human Services; Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Programs
Ted Kniker, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, IMPACT Paradigm Associates; Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Programs


FEDTalks Nov 2021 Flyer

Description: In this FEDTalks, James Eisenmann will explore the ethical issues lurking in decisions leaders in the federal government and industry make that can impact workers, stakeholders, and the public. Whether it is WMATA and the safety of its rail fleet, the FDA and CDC regarding the health of the nation or federal agency leaders managing the implementation of the federal COVID vaccine mandate, leaders ignore ethical issues at their peril. We will discuss how to identify and address common ethical issues facing government leaders.

Panelists: Jim Eisenmann, Partner, Alden Law Group; Faculty, Key Executive Leadership Programs


2020 FEDTalks Series Review

The Key Executive Leadership Programs and the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) are partnering for the 2020 FEDTalks! This series centers on proven results-focused principles, practices and processes for the Performance Improvement Professional. Each workshop aligns with OPM’s Executive Core Qualifications and the 10 Standard of Performance Improvement. A certificate will be given upon completion of the full series.

Key and ISPI FEDTalks series overlay of Capital building

Session Information

FEDTalks: Performance Architecture and Re-engineering with ISPI and Key
About the SpeakerRose Noxon, PhD, CPT, President, International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI)

Dr. Rose Noxon has more than 35 years’ experience in business process improvement, learning and development, and performance evaluation and. She holds certifications as a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT), as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and also holds a Performance and Training Certificate from the ROI Institute. She has a PhD in Education with a specialization in Training and Human Performance Improvement from Capella University.

Rose has 18 years in government service, primarily in training and performance improvement, serving DoD and evaluating troop readiness including 5 years at the 7th Army Training Command in Europe. She is the founder of CACI’s award-winning corporate university and has designed and implemented numerous training and human capital governance processes for several Government agencies. Rose currently serves as a performance improvement solution architect and consultant with CACI, International, Inc. where she has worked with FAA, DHS, and DoD customers.

Key FEDTalks with ISPI - Building a Culture of Accelerated Performance
Session Description: The world is increasingly interconnected and digital yet, performance improvement approaches are typically flat and analog. In normal environments, this creates inefficiencies and vulnerabilities and tears at consultant-client relationships. When organizations shift to a virtual model, the challenges are magnified. As we consider the future of work, impending changes to the federal budget, and the addition of virtual work requirements, having effective methods and tools is crucial to empowering teams, saving time, reducing risk, and showing value.

Dr. Hill will discuss:

  • Three factors that lead to poor change results in normal times
  • Why traditional business tools are insufficient for virtual performance improvement actions
  • The business case for using the cloud to establish and sustain a performance-oriented culture
  • Examples – from local, state, and federal – of virtual support tools for planning, analysis, project management, reporting, and employee engagement
  • Four “must haves” for improving adoption

Additional Resources:
Presentation Slides
Part One Session Recording
Part Two Session Recording

Key & ISPI FEDTalks Workshop Series. Building High-Performance Teams: Creating, Leading & Evaluating High-Performance Teams in Governments with Dr. Jack Phillips
Session Description: Every organization wants high-performance teams. But just what does this mean? How are high-performance teams created? How do you lead and evaluate them? This session will explore these issues, underscoring the three main influences for building high-performance teams: The performance management system of the organization, The extent that culture supports performance, and The focus on innovation that encourages and supports innovative approaches to improved performance. This session begins with examining these three issues and how they influence high-performance organizations. Next, the session will focus on leadership, how it has changed, and the new definition of leadership as it relates to high-performance organizations. Finally, the session will explore how these teams are evaluated, using objectives with key results to drive high performance. Objectives After attending this session, participants should be able to:

1. Define a high-performance team.
2. Explain how a performance management system should support high performance.
3. Define the role of culture in driving high-performance organizations.
4. Describe how innovation should support the high-performance teams.
5. Explain the leader’s role in delivering high performance.
6. Evaluate high-performance teams at the impact and ROI levels.

Additional Resources:
Watch Session

Key & ISPI FEDTalks Workshop Series - ECQs: How to Make Them Real with Dr. Judy Hale
Session Description: This FEDTalks session is about how to make the Executive Core Qualifications reflect everyday work life for members of the senior executive service. Organizations invest millions of dollars and thousands of hours in defining performance expectations so their people can be more effective. Most of those initiatives are short lived, rarely going beyond the tenure of the executive sponsor. The Executive Core Qualifications, though well-intended and excellently crafted, could be at risk of having a short life span. Hale, in her talk will explain what you can do to make the core qualifications real, part of your management toolkit and a reflection of your daily behavior. She will share the 18 reasons why initiatives like the Executive Core Qualifications fail, what the barriers are to sustainability, and what you can do to prevent them from becoming a short-lived fad. She will present a model of sustainability and will share stories of innovative tactics executives have taken to change their culture, so their senior staff demonstrate many of the behaviors described in the Executive Core Qualifications.

Additional Resources:
Watch Session
Presentation Slides

2019 FEDTalks Series Review

Last year, Key hosted five sessions focusing on various aspects of federal government and professional development. The 2019 FEDTalks Series featured coaching sessions, a panel discussion of women's growing roles in government, a look at the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act and increasing awareness, and other insightful discussions. You can read more about each session in the menu on the right.

Collage of FEDTalks attendees during session in February 2019

Session Information

Resilience and Mindfulness in Uncertain Times with Dr. Ruth Zaplin from Feb. 2019

Description: Coming off the heels of the longest furlough in United States history, this session will discuss practical ways to develop resilience and the role mindfulness can play. Moderated by Key Executive-in-Residence, Dr. Ruth Zaplin, join us for the first FEDTalks of 2019.

Participants also had the opportunity to directly interact with some of Key's Executive Coaches, Carlynn Larson, Mandeep Singh, Mimi Darmstadter and Vinay Kumar, and Key's Assistant Director, Jennifer Tether, for a more intimate and immersive learning session.

Women and the Future FEDTalks from April 2019

In this special edition of FEDTalks, participants who did not attend the Key Executive Women in Leadership Forum in March 2019, will have the opportunity to engage in a more intimate conversation with the presenters in this session.

Description: Research has shown women are more likely than men to face challenges in career advancement despite both groups reporting equal desire to succeed in their respective organizations. This panel will examine current trends and cultures surrounding women in the workplace, evaluate unconscious biases and innovative policies, and discuss how women can be successful in the face of today’s challenges through resilience and vision.

Speakers: Gwendolyn Sykes, Chief Financial Officer, US Secret Service and Zina Sutch, Ph.D, Deputy Associate Director of Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion at the Office of Personnel Management

Change Your Career Change Your Life FEDTalks from May 2019
Description: Join us for an interactive and informative discussion on how to "Change Your Career, Change Your Life." Moderated by Dr. Reginald Wells, former Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources at Social Security Administration and Key Faculty member, this dynamic panel discussion will provide participants with tools, tips, and personal anecdotes for moving on or moving up in your federal career.

Moderator: Dr. Reginald Wells, former Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources at Social Security Administration and Key Faculty member

Panelists: Cynthia (Gallegos) Cavalieri, Executive Director, Baltimore Federal Executive Board & Antonio Rios, Director, Federal Employees' Compensation, Department of Labor

Workplace Culture and Disability Rights FEDTalks from October 2019
Description: The passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in July 1990 made discrimination against those with disabilities illegal in the United States, enacting similar provisions applied in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including requiring public spaces be accessible for those with disabilities, reasonable accommodations from employers and equity in the hiring process. However, as its 30th Anniversary approaches in the summer of 2020, there is still room for improvement in terms of accessibility, inclusion and equity for those with disabilities.

In honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month, this Key FEDTalks - Workplace Culture & Disability Rights - will feature a panel of experts in the field to enhance awareness, provide key tools and new thought processes for those in attendance to apply professionally and personally.

Moderated by Dr. Zina Sutch, Deputy Associate Director, Outreach, Diversity & Inclusion, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the panel consists of Dr. Filippo Trevisan, Assistant Professor, American University School of Communication & Deputy Director, Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP), Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton, Principal Attorney & Mediator, Hamilton Law & Mediation, Gary Norman, Esq. L.L.M. Chair at the Md. Commission on Civil Rights, Washington College of Law Alumnus and Presidential Management Fellowship Alumnus and Natalie Veeney, Diversity Program Manager, Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion Center of Employee Services, Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Culture: A Mission-Critical Priority FEDTalks with Eagle Hill Consulting from November 2019
Description:  It’s no secret that an agency’s culture impacts its ability to successfully meet its mission. But what does the federal workforce really think about their agency’s culture? Working with Government Business Council, Eagle Hill recently polled federal employees on multiple aspects of culture—including leadership, employee satisfaction, and employee experience. What Eagle Hill found might surprise you. Join us to learn more about the research findings.

Speaker: Melissa Jezior, President & CEO, Eagle Hill Consulting