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Keynotes | Holly Elissa Bruno


Partnering with change: We have to do what!

When you share a new idea to change things for the better, how thrilled are the people around you about making a change? Resistance, in any form, undermines constructive change. Find out how courage and savvy usage of change strategies can turn nay-sayers into hooray-sayers. Are you ready?

Hats Off to You:  Everyday Miracle Workers in Children’s Lives

Do you give yourself credit for the difference you are making? Or, do you keep up the hard work without taking a quiet moment to appreciate the good that you do? We educators are so expert at putting everyone else’s needs first that we rarely have time left over for ourselves.  Let’s instead step back to acknowledge our contributions, take better care of ourselves, and reclaim the joy that is rightfully ours. After all, each time you change the life of a child, you are changing the world.

Play’s the thing: Using humor and fun to uplift your workplace

Lighthearted and playful educators set a tone for creativity and joy in the workplace. Humor frees our brain’s executive function to invent new approaches, solve problems effectively and stay optimistic no matter what. Work need not be the opposite of play. Learn how to restore fun and passion around you to chase the blahs and restore enthusiasm for our invaluable work.

Learning from the Bumps in the Road: Turning potholes into grand possibilities

We all hit bumps in our road. As we choose “the path less traveled by”, we can’t always see what lies ahead. When we trip, what matters is how we pick ourselves up, learn, grow and make things right. Bumps can be painful; failure can be devastating. But, without trying and failing, how can we learn? Let’s practice strategies to help us regain our footing, reclaim our confidence, rekindle our joy and humor, and turn potholes into grand opportunities.

Creating a community of problem solvers: Winners not whiners

Are you ready to kick gossip, whining and negativity to the curb? Fear of confrontation holds us back from facing underlying tensions and conflicts. Practical problem solving models and tips equip us with skills to resolve issues. Imagine looking forward to work again!

Leading on purpose: Emotionally intelligent early childhood administration

The emotionally intelligent person reads people as well as she reads books. She listens to unspoken words and anticipates needs before they are expressed. Understanding the neuroscience of relationships sharpens these EQ (emotional intelligence) skills.

Fired up or burned out: Your power to make a difference

When we look out for others, how can we find time to take care of ourselves? Burn out from “care givers’ syndrome” can creep up on us.  If we burn out, we can’t do the work we want to do. Rediscover your calling. Learn how to nurture yourself. Rekindle your unique power to make a difference.

With the sun in your heart: Relational leadership

We manage through relationships; but, at times we feel at the mercy of the people around us. Discover the 3 principles to healthy, productive and enduring professional relationships. Allow the sunshine in your heart to light up your workplace.

Inspired, optimistic and realistic: Keeping your eyes on the prize in challenging times

Budget cuts, staff shortages and paperwork can weigh us down. Learn practical ways to uplift your team’s spirit and restore your soul. Are you ready to move from frenzy to freedom?

Brought to you by your amygdala, mirror neurons and OFC (Orbito Frontal Cortex): Leadership principles from the new world of neuroscience

Neuroscience is the study of how our relationships affect every cell in our body. Thanks to fMRI technology, scientists can measure how we influence each others feelings and outlook. Let’s be the first to apply these insights to uplift our workplaces.

Our emotions, Our professional selves

Professionalism requires us to transcend emotion and remain objective, right? Hold on a second! Emotions relay powerful, useful information. We “read” each others’ emotions in a heartbeat, before we can stop to think. What if we could learn from our feelings, especially the difficult ones, in the moment? A new kind of authentic professionalism could emerge.

Bounce-back strategies: Use your brain’s capacities to triumph over whatever pushes your buttons

Negative forces can push an educator’s buttons as we aim to stay upbeat: whining, gossip, disrespect, dishonesty, condescension or demands that feel overwhelmingly. What if you could prevent your buttons from being pushed, or at least quickly regain professional perspective when they do? Good news: Your brain has the capacity to help you step away from drama, face conflict with confidence, and find underlying solutions to difficult problems.  By practicing bounce-back strategies one step at a time, you can triumph over negativity. Work is a joy again when you know how to use your brain to stay cool under pressure.

Supervision for the gentle in spirit: Five steps to holding resistant employees accountable

For the “I just want to make everyone happy,” conflict-avoidant administrator, supervision can be daunting. Holding resistant staff members with “attitude” accountable for their professional behavior takes courage. Are you ready to say good bye to mediocrity, whining, lateness and other behavior issues? Bring the butterflies in your stomach and expect to depart with a belly laugh of confidence as you learn and practice the five proven steps for holding resistant staff accountable.

Between a rock and a hard place: Resolving ethical quandaries in early childhood settings

Baby Xander’s mom, Nadine, has custody; but, she appears intoxicated when she insists on driving Xander home.  Toddler teacher, Marylou, confides that her team teacher, Maxine, is using drugs; Maxine tells you Marylou is the “druggie”. Dad, Mortimer, on the sex offender list tells you he didn’t know the young woman was underage; she lied to him. He wants to participate in family activities at your program. You have almost no space left to enroll new children in your program. Wanda Harrington, struggling single mom of special needs toddler, Rose, cannot hold down her two jobs unless you enroll Rose. The Elliott family offers to fund a much needed playground renovation if you enroll their toddler twins, Martin and Mason. You cannot accommodate both families. How do you choose? Ethical dilemmas can pit our core values in a clash with program survival. How do we decide what’s fair? If you are ready to challenge yourself by tackling everyday ethical challenges, you will emerge from this session with deepened confidence and honed skills about doing what’s right.

The Comfort of Little Things

Do you offer yourself enough comfort, encouragement, and freedom? In The Comfort of Little Things, Holly Elissa shares her personal narrative, the advice from experts in the field of neuroscience, and personal anecdotes form fellow educators to share that “Every day is an opportunity for a second chance.” In this session, you will be invited to transform stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and claim your birthright of joy.

Underdog or top dog: How do you define and measure your own success?

What will your signature legacy be? How can you triumph over the limited understanding many have of our profession?

Will you be underdog or top dog in having a professional impact? How much of your success will be measured from the outside in versus the inside out? Prepare to stake a claim to how you will make a signature difference regardless of restrictive views by others of our profession.

Being thick skinned in a thin skinned profession.

Research indicates that many of us would rather internalize conflict that address it head on. Consider the impact that an undercurrent of unresolved conflict has upon the young children we teach. Learn strategies to strengthen our own social-emotional development and become empowered to give and receive feedback from a deeper place of assurance and strength.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Right to Emotional Support, Positive self-image, Empathy, Caring, and Time). RESPECT-ing ourselves? Learn strategies for turning pain into possibilities, mistakes into wisdom, and broken hearts into artful professionalism.

As early childhood educators, we often criticize ourselves harshly while giving love and credit unconditionally. We deserve the same care and respect. Do you want to learn how to be generously gentle to yourself? Begin by asking yourself three RESPECT-fully liberating questions as soon as you begin to say “I can’t” or “I’m not___ enough”. Children learn from our example – we are child’s curriculum. Let’s model RESPECT.

Are you making waves or settling for being a “drop in the bucket”? Bring it! Be the oasis in someone’s desert

Have you ever run into someone who has no idea what early childhood leaders accomplish in a day? Someone who is unaware of a child’s brain development from zero to three? We know. We know “when you change the life of a child, you change the world.” Our power to make a difference is unmatched. So, why wait or make ourselves smaller than we are. Today is our day to sing our song, celebrate our profession, and make waves! Why be content to see yourself as a drop in the bucket when you are an oasis in someone’s desert?