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Amy S. Tolbert, Ph.D., CSP  

Principal of Effecting Creative Change in Organizations

As a Distinguished Faculty Member at Carlson Executive Education, Dr. Tolbert is the founder and principal of a global firm - ECCO (Energizing Cultural Change in Organizations) International - which specializes in creating inclusive workplace cultures. She focuses on global communication skill development, communicating and managing across styles, and inclusive leadership skills. She is well authored with several books, many articles, assessment tools, active blogs, and several global and inclusive online learning courses. She approaches all her work (and life) from a lens of curiosity.

She earned her Certified Speaking Professional designation with the National Speakers Association. The CSP is the speaking profession’s international measure of speaking experience and skill. Fewer than 10 percent of the speakers who belong to the International Federation for Professional Speakers hold this professional designation. She was awarded the Mark LeBlanc Award for excellence in the speaking industry and was inducted into the MN Speakers Hall of Fame. Dr. Tolbert earned her doctorate in Human Resource Development, focusing on international/cross-cultural and diversity education/training, from the University of Minnesota.

Speech Topics

Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity: Pulling your head out of the sand

What is the Ostrich Approach?

Although the image of an ostrich burying its head in the sand is based on myth rather than fact, it is the perfect icon to depict the many avoidance tactics we use to deal with the tough stuff – including diversity. All the running, hiding and avoidance (a.k.a., the ostrich approach) won’t change what’s going on around us. We need to be strong, make a commitment and pull our heads out of the sand so we can communicate more clearly and effectively with one another.

Communicating Across Styles

Why is it easy to communicate with some individuals while communicating with others creates conflict and confusion? Communication and behavioral styles vary from person to person and are culturally bound; some are compatible with ours and, for various reasons, some are not. By understanding our own behavioral strengths and learning how to identify and value behavioral strengths in others, we can improve the way we work with others across styles, discover viable solutions to resolve conflict, and relieve stress that comes with miscommunication. During this session, keynote speaker Dr. Amy Tolbert uses audience activities in a session that is motivating, inspirational, life-changing (okay – educational and informative, too)!

Is Your Bias Showing?

Are you free of biases? Think again.

Knowing we are all biased may be a hard pill to swallow. Unconscious bias, a key component of inclusion, impacts our communication and our workplace relationships every day. It is not a question of if we are biased, but knowing which bias is at play is the first step to awareness. With that understanding we can then make a conscious choice to shift thinking which in turn allows us to change behavior. To understand bias, we have to understand ourselves, our own implicit bias and our target audience.

Develop your mindset and skills to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Examine bias to G.R.O.W. inclusive behaviors.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Moving from Unconscious Bias to Conscious Inclusion (focused on leaders)

The implications from not providing the tools to address diversity, equity and inclusion and the inability to build skills to leverage diversity and create an inclusive work environment can not only be devastating to an organization but undermine its success. Diversity, equity and inclusion create an organization’s lens for innovation. The impact on the talent pipeline alone can leave an organization stagnant and unable to address the needs of its diverse workforce and customers. Learn to tap diversity and build an inclusive culture to build organizational strength.

Leading Across Styles: Adapting for Maximum Effectiveness

This keynote is designed to be educational and informative, which features audience activities. It aims to develop leadership communication strategies to increase performance and bottom-line results using DiSC®.

How would leadership effectiveness improve if you could control your communication outcomes? Leaders spend most of their time communicating. Therefore, it is no surprise that the most effective leaders are great communicators. Using behavioral style practices to develop communication strategies can improve leadership skills and maximize your effectiveness with employees, clients, customers, and other leaders.

When you hone your ability to influence and persuade, you enhance several workforce aspects: you develop coaching and mentoring skills, cultivate teamwork from a diverse group of employees, motivate according to style, reduce team conflict, and model behavior for others to emulate as they interact with each other.

Open Mind, Open World: Improving Intercultural Interactions O.P.E.N. Your Business to The World!

How an organization can effectively harness its collective global thinking abilities, learning capacities, and creativity are all that separates it from every other organization. Put smart global business communications skills to work and help your clients and organizations cross international waters without drowning in cultural situations by:

  • Identifying Cultural Tendencies That Impact Our Interactions and Effectiveness with Global Colleagues
  • Identifying and Responding to Situations Involving Intercultural Dynamics
  • Distinguishing Between Effective and Ineffective Intercultural Communication
  • Using Global Awareness and the O.P.E.N. Process to Improve Communications and Productivity

This keynote is designed to equip all-level employees with quick tools to resolve cultural communication conflicts. This educational and informative keynote session includes audience activities. It can be offered as a training session in a one-hour overview, a half-day, or a multi-day session. Open Mind, Open World is a fresh and relevant video-based training solution that uses engaging, realistic video vignettes and guided discussions; participants learn a simple model to interpret the most complex interactions. When you open your mind, you open your world.

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