October 14, 2019

DCYF Administrative Professionals Conference attendees connect, learn

Nearly 200 administrative professionals from throughout the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families ecosystem came together Oct. 7 and 8 at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma to learn, share ideas and find new ways to connect.

This year’s event, “Connected and Making a Difference,” commenced with a moving welcome by Connie McCloud, a Puyallup tribal elder and the director of culture. She spoke about how violence has affected her community and ended her presentation with a traditional prayer.

She was followed by Ross Hunter, the DCYF secretary, who talked about the value administrative professionals have as the backbone of the offices they work in and manage. His words set the tone for the event, priming attendees to see that the value they bring was being appreciated through the production of the conference – all the content was meant to give them valuable tools to help them grow and progress.

The two moderators, Sandy Escamilla and Diana Blair, shepherded the programming throughout the rest of the day’s sessions. After Hunter, they introduced Joey Pauley, a leadership development specialist, who led an engaging and interactive session that taught attendees how to identify their personal values to better understand how that compass influences their work. Then, Ellen Langan, an organizational trainer, presented on a similar topic: interpersonal communication. She shared ways for identifying your own and others’ temperament, which affects how people communicate with each other and also how they interpret communications.

After lunch, the group heard from two DCYF colleagues: Samantha Trotter and Sara Games. Trotter, the organizational change management administrator, took the audience through a personal story of loss and recovery, with the ultimate message of resilience inspiring many attendees to share their own stories of overcoming challenges.

Games, the IT technical training manager, shared a range of updates to DCYF IT platforms and exciting upcoming changes, and also took a lot of time to gather questions and concerns from the audience and bring them back to headquarters to find answers and solutions.

The day closed with a presentation by Lisa Olsen, cofounder of Admin to Admin, whose many variations of headgear emphasized the lesson she was sharing: An administrative professional must wear many hats during their career, which shows their versatility and adaptability … and superhero capabilities!

Tuesday opened with a two-hour presentation from Bob Graham, CEO of Safety Awareness and Field Resources, on de-escalation techniques. This presentation was especially valuable to attendees as something they can apply right away in their positions, which are often on the frontline in dealing with clients.

The event’s final presenter was Chrissy Scivicque, founder of Eat Your Career, who tied up the sessions by acknowledging that at the end of the day, an administrative professional’s time is not his or her own. She shared many strategies for juggling projects, emails, and the myriad other demands on an admin’s time.

The conference pulled together an array of experts on a variety of topics that administrative professionals deal with on a daily basis, and gave them an opportunity to see that they share many of the same challenges and successes. “Connected and Making a Difference” indeed.

View images from the conference here!