KRA/CTWorks’ Staff "Empowered for Success"

On February 12th, KRA/CTWorks’ staff began the day with a “meet and greet”, giving a warm Connecticut welcome to guests and speakers invited to participate in Empowered for Success, the focus of a full day devoted to staff development and training.  According to Jerry Santostefano, Customer Service Representative, “These training days are held twice a year and are a welcome activity, are always fun and informational, and a great way to spend time with other staff that we do not see that often, as we work out of four different offices here in the North Central Region.”

Based upon a staff survey conducted to determine which areas of training to address, Beth McCabe, Core Services & Staff Development Coordinator; Kim Staley, Project Director; and many other employees representing Business Services Consultants, Career Agents, Subject-Matter Experts/Trainers, et al, participated in a planning meeting to design the agenda, select training topics, and make decisions as to Guest Speakers, the Keynote Speaker, and Workshop Facilitators.   

The first Guest Speakers…Tom Phillips, President & CEO, Capital Workforce Partners (KRA’s client) and Knowlton R. Atterbeary, President & CEO, KRA Corporation…spoke, in turn, about the importance of the work we do, the challenges facing the workforce development community, and the need to be proactive to ensure a continued presence of the CTWorks One-Stop Centers.  They encouraged all staff to contact their State and Federal elected representatives to convey to them the success we have had, and the need to continue…or even increase…funding for these valuable services offered to the citizens of North Central Connecticut.  Atterbeary also spoke to the staff about how much their dedication and professionalism has meant to countless Hartford area residents.

The Keynote Speaker, Randy Goruk,, is an independent entrepreneur whose business focuses on executive coaching, writing, and speaking on leadership-related topics.  He is the author of Sparks – A Business Fable, and has provided professional leadership coaching to executives and managers who repeatedly demonstrate “quantifiable results” within their organizations.  McCabe had suggested Goruk as the Keynoter because she “had attended several of his workshops at NAWDP conferences and always found his presentations to be very inspirational and motivational.”  The a.m. workshop, The Keys to Superstar Performance, focused on leveraging past successes, and provided strategies for continued success through increasing the confidence and performance levels of each team member.  Some strategies included: team- and individual- goal setting; developing the mindset for goal attainment; removing roadblocks that cause anxiety and stress; developing more effective interpersonal communication skills; and improving personal productivity.

In the p.m., non-managerial staff had the opportunity to improve their professional social-networking skills through LinkedIn 101 and Advanced LinkedIn workshops.  Facilitated by Chris Kuselias and Danielle Simone, LinkedIn 101 provided participants a hands-on opportunity, working in teams, to create professional profiles, provide and receive recommendations, and improve on managing professional contacts and groups.  Kuselias, CEO of Career TEAM, LLC, a private workforce development organization that creates technology-based career-coaching solutions, has trained thousands of workforce development professionals nationwide, and is an expert in the field of Peak Performance Coaching.  Simone, Director of Marketing Strategies at Career TEAM, is an accomplished and creative motivational trainer.  Advanced LinkedIn was facilitated by Harrison Tonne and focused on the savvy social media users that want to optimize the power of LinkedIn. In this workshop, Tonne, Director of IT and Product Development at Career TEAM, and a trainer in social media strategies, challenged staff to capitalize on the usage of LinkedIn by encouraging and engaging customers in setting up their own professional profiles. 

In another p.m. workshop, KRA/CTWorks’ managers, supervisors and “emerging leaders” participated in Goruk’s session on The Keys to Leadership & Organizational Success, which  focused on the difference between “managers” and “leaders”, and discussed the most critical leadership competencies that every manager must master.  Goruk provided specific action items that participants could implement immediately to strengthen the organization and to position it for growth.  He also covered the most critical mistakes that mangers must avoid if they want to achieve long term success as leaders.

The day ended, as it had began, on an extremely positive note, with awards being presented to Natalie Almonte, Career Services Expeditor, Core Services; Steve Duncan, Business Services Consultant; Susana Grados, JFES Career Agent; and Tony Gulino, WIA Career Agent.  All of KRA is proud of their achievements and their recognition as employees who epitomize Outstanding Performance and Dedication to KRA and the customers we serve.