Southern New England Chapter of PMI

SNEC PM Conference & Workshops 2011 - Workshop Descriptions

Repeating SNEC's Successful Half-Day Workshop Offerings!




We've listened to your feedback about providing more in depth work sessions and are pleased to announce that we will again be offering four different half-day workshops on Thursday, April 28th.  This is the afternoon prior to our popular all-day PM Conference.  You can attend a Workshop by itself or combine with the PM Conference to maximize your learning while minimizing your financial investment. PMP's earn 4.0 PDU for attending a Workshop.

Below is a detail level view of this year's Workshop offerings:

Click on one of the following to jump directly to that Workshop Description or Speaker Bio:



 Rick Brenner
Organizational Politics for People Who Hate Politics

Workshop Abstract:

Have you ever felt powerless to implement an important new idea? Have you ever been “blindsided” at a meeting? Have you ever lost two good employees be-cause you could find no way to keep them from attacking each other? These are some of the issues of organizational politics.

Many of us have become enmeshed in politics, but we’ve also known some people who seem to be able to engage and prosper. How is that done? We’ll cover the territory from three perspectives: the Self, Relationships, and Organizations.

Unless you can manage your own inner politics, mastery of organizational politics is out of reach. When we act without thinking, we’re really acting without awareness. We’ll explore practical paths to increasing self-awareness with an emphasis on developing political skills.

Trusting relationships are essential for health and political success. In a dynamic workplace, where people come and go ever more rapidly, forming these relationships quickly is a decided advantage politically, and makes work a heck of a lot more fun. We’ll try to broaden your skills in relationship formation and maintenance.

Wherever you sit in the hierarchy, the culture of the organization is more powerful than you are. You can influence it, but you can’t control it. Success lies in understanding your limitations and searching for solutions that respect your limitations.

Learning objectives:

  • Recognize that workplace politics is not a game. Understand how politics and games are different.
  • Increase awareness of politics and its role in day-to-day interactions
  • Recognize ten devious political tactics and how to deal with them
  • Learn how to make person-to-person and email communication more effective
  • Learn how to avoid the ten common failure modes for meetings
  • Learn how your place in a meeting room affects your ability to influence the meeting

Who should attend

This program emphasizes insights and techniques for managing political situations that arise in everyday workplace interactions. The skills transferred are both “horizontal” and “vertical.”


 Speaker Biography:
Rick Brenner is principal of Chaco Canyon Consulting. He works with people in dynamic problem-solving organizations that are making products so novel or complex that they need state-of-the-art teamwork and stronger relationships among their people. In his 25 years as a software developer, project manager, software development manager, entrepreneur, consultant and coach, he has developed valuable insights into the interactions between people in complex dynamic environments, and between people and the media in which they work.

Mr. Brenner has held positions at Symbolics, Inc., and at Draper Laboratory, both of Cambridge, Massachusetts. At Symbolics, he was responsible for development of products based on Macsyma, a computer algebra system. At Draper, he was a principal investigator in a DARPA program, the Evolutionary Design of Complex Software, where he conducted research into advanced concepts for software development environments based on dynamic object-oriented programming languages. Since 1993, he has taught Spreadsheet Models for Managers, a course he devised, at the Harvard University Extension School. He serves as the facilitator and group administrator for a discussion group he created at LinkedIn.com: Office Politics, Workplace Politics and Organizational Politics. Discussions there are energetic and enlightening. The group now has nearly 700 members.

Mr. Brenner holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT. He is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), the Boston Software Process Improvement Network, and the Agile Bazaar Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. He has served in various leadership roles ranging from board member to vice president to chair (president) in local chapters of these societies. He was selected Chapter Member of the Year for NSA New England in 2001 and 2007. His current interests focus on improving personal and organizational effectiveness in abnormal situations, such as dramatic change, enterprise emergencies, and high-pressure project environments.

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 Bill Fournet
Going Commando: Applying Special Forces Tactics to Improve Project Delivery

Workshop Abstract:

When you think of your project team, do you think, “We are the Navy SEALs of Project Management!”? If that sounds like a lofty goal, think again. You can create and lead a high-performing project team with tried-and-true lessons we can glean from the Special Forces. Why the Special Forces? Because they are the military’s best units, dealing with ever-changing situations, taking whatever gets thrown at them. How many project teams do you know can say that?

Through hands-on experiential exercises, this unique workshop (which debuted at the 2010 North American PMI Congress), focuses on how to improve the overall performance of your project team. We will focus on how to prepare team members to be adaptable and agile, and will learn innovative techniques for improving customer satisfaction. We also will show how to develop better information networks for your teams, and how to better understand your customer and the environment, and quickly meet their needs. One of the fundamental issues this workshop will address is improving how project teams deal in crisis situations.

These techniques are important because the younger workforce seeks this environment of fast-paced, ever-changing tasks and responsibilities. Harnessing their energy, technology savvy, and (sometimes) short-attention spans can be a real challenge for project managers. Yet, when focused, it is powerful.

Audience members will increase their understanding of team dynamics and learn to identify derailers to high performance teams. Learn the four cornerstones of high performing teams, how to improve the way your team deals with conflict, and recognize team members’ motivators and boundaries.


 Speaker Biography:
When you want a program that transcends the ordinary, you need a speaker who doesn’t regurgitate tired material or canned speeches. Bill Fournet, who is hailed by colleagues as an accomplished rising entrepreneur, takes the same innovative approach to his programs as he does to The Persimmon Group LLC, the company he founded and leads today.

Bill, a member of the National Speakers Association, is a highly professional yet personable speaker whose youthful energy coupled with a matter-of-fact style has demanded repeat engagements from leading corporations and associations. His sought-after presentations feature a high-level of audience participation, and his shoot-straight-from-the-hip, no-nonsense approach to business is guaranteed to keep the crowd motivated and engaged.

Bill, who earned his Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Vanderbilt University and his Master’s in History from Oklahoma State University, has also taught within the higher education system. A Louisiana native, he and his wife, Christy, have been married for 16 years and reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma with their 3 sons and dog. He is an active member of his community, having served as vice president of his children’s school association, as a Cubmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster, and a coach for youth sports teams. He also is a member of various business chambers and affiliations. In 2010, Bill was named the Small Business Person of the Year by his region’s Metro Chamber of Commerce.

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 Gilda Bonanno, PMP
Bold Presentation Skills for Project Managers

Workshop Abstract:

Bold presentation skills are an essential competency for successful Project Managers. It's not enough to have technical skills and be knowledgeable about your project. Unless you also have the ability to communicate your knowledge and expertise to executives, colleagues and team members, you cannot be successful.

Getting support for your ideas, managing productive project teams and working effectively with your internal and external customers all depend on your ability to communicate in a confident, engaging and persuasive manner. In this interactive and engaging session, you will learn how to:

  • Apply the "Golden Rule of Communications": Communicate unto others as they want to be communicated to
  • Organize your material around your message and within your time limit
  • Keep your audience's attention by relating relevant and engaging stories
  • Practice your presentation in order to express a clear and concise message
  • Use powerful body language (voice, gestures, movement, and eye contact) to connect to your audience and convey meaning
  • Develop and communicate self-confidence
  • Convey a level of knowledge and passion that results in a presentation that is distinct and memorable, for all the right reasons!


 Speaker Biography:
Gilda Bonanno, PMP is a trainer, speaker and coach who helps people improve their presentation and communication skills so they can be more successful. She achieves these results by combining her extensive business experience with a background in improvisational performance and a belief that with the right training and practice, everyone can become a more effective communicator and leader.

Gilda speaks about communication, leadership, motivation and humor to groups ranging from engineers to healthcare professionals to investment bankers and also coaches individuals in public speaking. She has worked with clients throughout North America and in Europe, China and India.

She is a certified Project Management Practitioner (PMP), has a certificate in Process Reengineering and holds an Advanced Business Certificate in Management from the University of Connecticut School of Business. Her expertise in process improvement and project management and her work experience in the pharmaceutical and information technology industries allow her to help clients use their communication and presentation skills to solve business problems.

Gilda is also a member of the World Class Indifference improv comedy team, which performs shows and workshops in New York City and throughout Connecticut. She incorporates improv techniques into her speaking, training and coaching, helping people learn to think on their toes, be creative and develop confidence. She is President-elect of the CT chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA-CT) and Immediate Past President of the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD-SCC).

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 Larry Winters, PMP
Deadliest Catch: Risk Identification in the Vast Bering Sea

Workshop Abstract:

If you are a fan of the popular Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch, then this workshop is for you. What does a fishing crew have to do with risk management? Everything! Where else would you encounter more risk than on a potentially deadly job, an Alaskan King Crab fishing boat?

This interactive and engaging session, an encore-requested presentation from the 2009 PMI North American Congress, provides a simulated risk identification exercise in an interactive team setting. Through experiential exercises, project managers develop a deeper understanding of the limits of risk identification for their teams in real world situations.

Risk identification is not a new concept in project management. However, project teams continue to be challenged with the early identification of risk in the project process and spend far too much time reacting to problems. Project managers can do a better job of applying proactive behavior to projects, anticipating potential risks and planning accordingly. One way to accomplish this proactive behavior is to understand the limits of a team’s ability to identify risks common across projects, organizations and industries.

Through experiential exercises incorporating the show Deadliest Catch, project managers develop a deeper understanding of the limits of risk identification for their teams in real world situations. With specific barriers illuminated through the exercises, practical strategies for working through these limits are shared, leveraging the direct experiences of the participants. This session provides participants with a clear delineation of what is and is not a risk through an interactive team simulation illustrating the limits of risk identification. Using an engaging, comparative analysis from past and current participants, clear action plans and next steps are identified based on data gathered from hundreds of project managers over the past three years.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the barriers of risk identification for project teams through an interactive and experiential simulation
  • Discover specific tactics for working through these barriers for project teams
  • Develop management strategies for avoiding identified challenges on future projects


 Speaker Biography:
A member of the National Speakers Association, Larry Winters is an entertaining and sought-after speaker whose conversational style makes him a hit with all audiences. His easy-going manner belies his extensive knowledge and intense work ethic. Larry has managed multi-million-dollar budgets for numerous Fortune 1000 companies and has worked in project leadership and IT roles for major corporations such as JB Hunt and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. Larry, who has a proven track record for leading virtual teams and increasing organizational effectiveness, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Larry’s topics, which range from Project Management (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Project Managers; The Symbology of Project Management; Difficult Conversations for Project Managers) to Risk Management (The Deadliest Catch: Risk Identification in the Vast Bering Sea; Understanding the Language of Uncertainty) to Best Practices (It’s Not Easy Being Green: From Regulatory Compliance to Renewable Commitment; Strategic Alignment of Job Roles: A Case Study), are the culmination of his past work experience with major corporations to his present position as the Project Management Practice Leader for The Persimmon Group LLC.

Larry earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he was a SILO Research Fellow and was named an Outstanding Student of Economics. While earning his Master’s degree in Information Systems from the University of Arkansas, Larry taught within the Department of CISQ. Larry is active in a number of family-strengthening volunteer and community service programs in both Arkansas and Oklahoma. Larry lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wife Rose and their three children.

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Note: Workshop Events are subject to cancellation if minimum required participation is not achieved.