Experience 2020 Mini Sessions

We are bummed that we could not host Experience 2020 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can bring some of the speakers and professional development resources to you. Virtual mini sessions and information will be posted here. Make sure to check back for updates!

How to Pair Food and Beer Like a Pro

We know a lot of you are practicing your culinary skills with extra time at home. And nothing pairs with food like an amazing beverage.

Alex Conner

Alex Conner, general manager of Starr Hill Pilot Brewery & Side Stage, is sharing some of her favorites. All of these brews are available to order online and pickup curbside from Starr Hill on Whitmore Avenue.

  • Pixie Pineapple Gose, available in the Say It Ain’t Sour Mix Pack, pairs well with a vibrant summer salad
  • Ramble On Juicy IPA, available in cans and bottles, pairs well with BBQ chicken
  • Stay Forever Espresso Stout, available in cans, pairs well with ooey-gooey s’mores
  • Front Row Golden Ale, available in bottles, pairs well with a big juicy cheeseburger fresh off the grill

Starr Hill was going to be the exclusive beer sponsor of Experience 2020 and the location has hosted previous Experience events.

“I was so excited for Starr Hill to be a part of the 2020 Experience Leadership Conference,” Conner said. “Every year this conference brings together like-minded young professionals to connect, grow, and network. It’s such a fun and immensely beneficial event for these people trying to better themselves professionally, and I wanted to do what we could to support and help make it successful!”


Practice Now: Active Listening for Better Communication

Interpersonal communications are at the core of professional and personal relationships, and its more important than ever, says former FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner.

Noesner, author of “Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator,” retired from the FBI in 2003 following a 30-year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator. (You might recognize his name from “Waco,” which is streaming on Netflix. The series is based on his book.)

A significant focus of his career was directed toward investigating Middle East hijackings in which American citizens were victimized. In addition, he was an FBI hostage negotiator for 23 years of his career, retiring as the Chief of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, Critical Incident Response Group, the first person to hold that position. In that capacity, he was heavily involved in numerous crisis incidents covering prison riots, rightwing militia standoffs, religious zealot sieges, terrorist embassy takeovers, airplane hijackings, and over 120 overseas kidnapping cases involving American citizens.

Following his retirement from the FBI he became a Senior Vice President with Control Risks, an international risk consultancy, assisting clients in managing overseas kidnap incidents. He currently speaks at law enforcement conferences and corporate gatherings around the world.

He has appeared in numerous television documentaries about hostage negotiation, terrorism, and kidnapping produced by the History Channel, Nat Geo, WE, Discovery, TLC, A&E, CNN, CBS, BBC, American Heroes Network, and others. He has been interviewed in Time, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Roll Call, Washingtonian Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.


Working From Home Assessment

Are you finding that you are a different kind of worker from home than you were from the office? Learn why.

Take the assessment any time now through April 30 (about 15 minutes) and join the webinar to learn more about your results.

Voltage Leadership Consulting in Roanoke has developed a Working From Home Assessment designed to help you understand how to be an effective worker while working from home. This assessment will produce a report offering personalized tips about how to work effectively based on your behavioral style and how to work with the highs and lows for each of the four factors.

jeff smith talent summitAfter receiving your report, if you would like to dig a bit deeper, join Jeff Smith for a short webinar on Thursday, April 30 at 3 p.m. The assessment and webinar are free!

Take the Assessment

Register for the Webinar


Managing “Mom Guilt” on Steroids

Balancing working from home with kids comes with challenges, but you can manage it with grace. Reyna Gilbert-Lowry, senior associate athletics director of student-athlete development and senior woman administrator at Virginia Tech, shares how she’s making the most of a new routine with tips you can use as well.

Gilbert-Lowry joined the Hokies in 2008 and is responsible for supervision and oversight of the daily operations of the Lombardi Student-Athlete Development Center. Through the Center, workshops and resources are provided to assist student-athletes with preparation for success both in college and after graduation in the core areas of career development, leadership development, and personal development.


Project Management Productivity Tip

“Always assign due dates to tasks. With the lack of face to face accountability, it’s even more critical now as a project manager to set dates. Be flexible. Your peers (and you!) are having to work weird hours to accommodate families, schools, and all other personal obligations.

An email at 11 p.m. doesn’t mean you need to be available but it may be the only time they are.”

Kristen Gorman, MHA, PMP, CPPS, is the Clinical Safety Systems Manager with Quality and Patient Safety at Carilion Clinic. She is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS), certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and candidate for Masters in Healthcare Administration at the University of Minnesota. Outside of work, she had volunteered the last 6 years with the local PMI Chapter running events and supporting the membership’s growth. She has also been in involved with Leadership Roanoke Valley as both a participant and advisor. She is an avid runner and finished her first ultra-marathon, the Blue Ridge Double (52.4 miles).


Real Talk About Nutrition During the Pandemic

Jennie Zabinsky, MAEd, RD, a performance nutrition consultant for Virginia Tech Athletics and owner of Bliss Nutrition, has some great tips and advice on how to fuel your body during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine.  (We know staying healthy isn’t easy at this time and there are a lot of nutrition myths out there.)

Connect with Jennie/Bliss Nutrition on Facebook and Instagram.


Working Remote Presents New Challenges, Navigate Them with Ease

Videoconferencing, team chat apps, and virtual meetings are making everyone a little uncomfortable. Working remotely is new for many of us and our aptitudes in technology are front and center. We feel angst as a coworker struggles to get Zoom off mute or when document-sharing isn’t so seamless. Learning curves are on display for all to see.

Becca Scott
Amy Doolan

Becca Scott, associate director of professional development and experiential initiatives for Career and Professional Development at Virginia Tech, says it happens everywhere. And in our regional healthcare practices, medical director Amy Doolan explained, many physicians are transitioning to tele-medicine visits.

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