AAFEA LDW 2023: Reimagining Possibilities

Management Concepts was proud to sponsor the 19th annual African American Federal Executive Association (AAFEA) Leadership Development Workshop (LDW) on September 18–20, 2023, in College Park, MD. This three-day event included an impressive list of keynote speakers, multiple breakout sessions, and a full exhibit hall.

The 2023 LDW theme was “Leading in a Reimagined Workplace,” and with so much change in the federal workplace over the last three years, attendees were fully engaged in the program, both gaining and sharing knowledge. After introductions from AAFEA leadership to open the conference, Lisa P. Grant, Deputy Clerk of the US House of Representatives took the stage. In her inspiring remarks, she recounted her own professional journey, with turning points and lessons learned, and the insights audience members could take away into their own career journeys.

Monday’s closing keynote speaker was equally impactful, with a different approach. Stedman Graham, a business advisor, best-selling author, and chairman and CEO of S. Graham and Associates, is also perhaps best known for his long-time partnership with celebrity Oprah Winfrey. Mr. Graham touched on this during his presentation on “Identity Leadership,” cautioning against the tendency for people to let other people define them, rather than taking the lead and defining oneself. He provided strategies for how to accomplish this, drawing from his own experience growing up and achieving beyond the labels attached to him at an early age through the many phases of both his career and personal life.

Management Concepts was pleased to again offer a full-day workshop, with three impactful sessions addressing hot topics. Dr. Hannah Toney, director, custom learning solutions at Management Concepts, presented “Employing Storytelling to Lead in a Hybrid Environment.” In this session, Dr. Toney explored why storytelling matters, how to cultivate stories to influence and to build connections, and why we’re all storytellers. This participative session encouraged attendees to develop their own leadership story and to consider how to transfer the concepts into their everyday lives and work. You can explore our leadership and management courses for leaders at all levels.

Next, Lonney Gregory, director, human capital advisory services at Management Concepts, presented “The Equity Paradox.” Gregory started the conversation with how one might define equity and equality through the diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) lens. Mr. Gregory led the discussion through several threads, including deconstructing and reconstructing the DEIA timeline to focus on the need for equitable practices; examining DEIA relationships, with an emphasis on belonging; and reviewing equitable practices from a variety of different organizations. Participants also discussed ways to normalize and communicate the concept of equity, vis-à-vis the concept of equality. Learn more about Management Concepts’ DEIA offerings here.

Rounding out the workshop, Dr. Ryan Simmons, senior manager, human capital advisory services at Management Concepts, presented “Owning Our Differences.” In this session, Dr. Simmons introduced thought-provoking questions for participants to examine their own understandings of generational conversations, discuss personal barriers and what benefits breaking through them might bring, and how to work through practical next steps for engaging generational strengths to bring lasting culture change to participants’ respective organizations. Dive into these topics in Management Concepts' “Moving Beyond Generational Differences” course.

Awards ceremonies and networking opportunities throughout the event served as relaxing and collegial breaks between the many thoughtful sessions and speakers. In all, the AAFEA LDW delivered what attendees came for—providing the information and inspiration to reimagine the workplace of tomorrow, today. Check out our event photos on Facebook and stay up-to-date on our ongoing events with the AAFEA on our partnership page.

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