workshop-photo-smallHolly Elissa can also design a new workshop and/or tailor an existing workshop to meet your needs. Keynote topics can be adapted into workshop topics.

Heart to heart conversations on leadership: Your guide to making a difference

Leaders are supposed to be “all things to all people”, knowing how to face daunting issues and challenging people. The truth is, most of us wish we could  honestly and confidentially share and find answers to what stumps us, bothers us, engages us and inspires us:


  • How do we keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs and blaming us?
  • What can we do to minimize our risk of being sued?workshop-photo3-small
  • How can we summon up our courage to confront people that push our buttons?
  • Can we be confident we are making the wisest decision?
  • Do we sometimes feel like an imposter?
  • Who can we trust?
  • When should we apologize and when not?
  • How can we avoid burn out and keep our thinking new?


Life’s too short to do anything but enjoy it daily, especially at work

When’s the last time you felt free of stress? Accomplished everything on your “to do” list so you could kick back and take it easy? For most educators, stress-free days are dreams more that realities. Demands on our time and energy don’t quit. Given that reality, we can choose to do things that help us keep our sense of humor, maintain healthy perspective and enjoy the ride. In this session, we will practice how to eliminate whining in the workplace, kick gossip to the curb, partner with change rather than feel at the mercy of change, and rediscover why our work is a calling, not just a job. Did you know laughter is the shortest distance between two people and that the team that plays together stays together? You will after this workshop! Life’s too short to do anything but enjoy it daily.

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming you”: Four essential EQ competencies for educational leaders

According to research reported in Harvard Business Review, our most successful leaders are skilled managers of people who inspire employees to greatness. Eighty percent of crucial life decisions require emotional intelligence (the ability to read people as well as we read books). What competencies do we need to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize especially when those around us are losing their cool and blaming us? You’ll leave this workshop with some powerful answers and useful tools.

Gossip-free zones: Problem solving to prevent power struggles

Do you believe that like “death and taxes”, gossip and whining will “always be with us”? If so, get ready for a workplace makeover! In this interactive, humor-based, “cut to the chase” session, we identify why power struggles exist and learn everything from a systemic overhaul to nitty-gritty practices to stop gossip in its tracks. Armed with “gossip stoppers for peers”, revised job descriptions to “do’s and don’ts” to end whining, you’ll be a powerful force for change.

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 gossip, 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 5 proven steps for holding resistant staff accountable.

At the end of the day: Legal and ethical issues when families pick up children

Baby Jasmine’s uncle, on the authorized list, appears intoxicated when he arrives to pick up Jasmine. DeSean’s mom, in a contentious custody battle, forbids you to release DeSean to his dad. No one is home at Noah’s when the school bus driver arrives, as scheduled, to drop off Noah. All three children say they would rather stay with you than go home! Come learn and share ways to both prevent and address these sticky legal and ethical issues at the end of the day.

Managing Legal Risks in Early Childhood Programs: Case studies in prevention & problem solving

Early childhood educators make decisions with legal ramifications daily. Few of us are trained as attorneys and not many of us can afford a lawyer on retainer. Learn how to prevent and address legal issues (hiring, firing, ADA, staff babysitting, privacy in cyberspace) in the workplace. Let’s address those legal hotspots through an engaging, true-to-life case study approach.

Managing power dynamics when women work with women

In predominantly female organizations, marvelous dynamics evolve: support, humor, and creativity. However, our research shows that 68% of early childhood professionals also experience gossip, negativity, back-biting and sabotage at work. Children mimic our behavior. For their sake and ours, we need proven strategies and policies to lead an uplifting transformation at work. Let’s replace indirect manipulation with respectful communication.

Managing the legal risks that technology brings

Technological changes evolve at laser speed. The law cannot keep up. Online videos, social networking sites, cell phone cameras can all invade our privacy. Can we protect our program’s children, families, employees and ourselves from unwanted publicity and exposure? Share your issues and learn steps you can take to maintain professionalism and confidentiality in the cyberspace era.

Hearing parents in every language: Partnering with families unlike your own

Children bring a colorful kaleidoscope of cultures into early childhood programs each day. Their families may have child raising traditions, religious beliefs, and lifestyle choices that differ from our own. By using the “Ask & Listen” process, we can partner with every family by hearing their dreams and learning what’s at the heart of their values.

Team building with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

Every team can us a shot of energy. To avoid conflict, we can lapse into ho-hum ways of communicating, and not saying what matters to us. With the MBTI, we not only identify our differing communication styles and temperaments, we gain a sense of humor about them. We gain effective ways to communicate with our opposites and work through issues before they become conflicts.

Turning bad hair days into “no problem” days: Resilience and resourcefulness when your buttons get pushed

Amygdala schmigulla! Yes, we all have a gland, the amygdala that spurts adrenalin into our systems when our buttons get pushed. Yes, even the most upbeat person can have a bad hair day. Can we stop our energy from slipping away and our humor going down the tube? You bet! Learn practical everyday strategies to turn yourself around. Reclaim your humor and shake off those cooties. Turn “no way” into “no problem”, especially under stress.

Your calling or just a job: Reclaiming your passion for everyday work

When our work starts to feel like “just another job”, we know it’s time for change. What happened to our passion? Not to worry: your “calling” never abandons you. We need to create a clearing where we can once again hear our calling, rather than dismiss it. Research says happiness at work does not depend on our salary, but on “doing work that aligns with our deeply embedded life interest”. Are you ready for a tune up?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) everyday: Why “reading people as well as we read books” matters

EQ is the ability to read people as well as we read books. Sixty-five to 90% of human emotion is communicated without a word. Your heartbeat communicates to people within 5 feet: “Come sit beside me”, or “Don’t come any closer”. The new field of neuroscience confirms what we always knew: caring, emotionally intelligent, people put us at ease and help us feel at home in the world. EQ can be learned and enhanced. Social emotional intelligence isn’t just for children anymore!

Expanding your circle: Welcoming LGBT and gender fluid families, peers and children to your program and classroom

Where do you personally and where does your program stand on welcoming LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) families, children and peers. Recent legislation points the way to openness and acceptance of all orientations. Not everyone is ready or willing to welcome people who differ from them. This workshop is an invitation to gently explore our attitudes, practices, and possibilities.

Relational sanctuaries for children and families: Protective factors that counter PTSD

We don’t always know what a child or family’s life is like at home. We do know that isolation is the key factor that leads to abuse and neglect. We know that 70% of adults, abused as children, do not abuse their own children. Rather than label a family “at risk”, we can seek out strengths or “protective factors”. By building “relational sanctuaries” for children and families, we can counter PTSD’s effects and reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect.

Give me your tired, your weary, your restless teachers yearning for a Caribbean cruise

The threat of burn out comes with the territory of service professions. We continuously care for others, while promising ourselves “some day” we’ll do something for ourselves. Some day needs to be today! In this joyous, interactive, skill-building workshop, experience and learn little ways to uplift your spirit and restore your soul on a daily basis.

Let it go. Let it go: The art, science, and Meditation in the Moment (MIM) magic in learning to be less harsh and judgmental (toward yourself and others) while becoming enthusiastically open to 2nd chances for all is

If you see crazy coming down the street, what do you do? Research on the adult brain can help you stay cool (and even happy) in difficult situations

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.

It’s Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood

Can you forgive yourself as well as others? The art, science and practical use of forgiveness to heal professional ruptures.

Amygdala Schmig-dala: Learning to fall up, not down

Let’s say goodbye to the little white lies: Strengthening caring communities by telling the truth

First you see it and now you don’t: Strategies for exploring transparency vs privacy in adult education

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