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Competency Development Workshop: Overcoming the Art of Avoidance to Build Powerful Partnerships
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When: Thursday, July 16, 2020
7:30 a.m.-Noon
Where: Virtual Event
United States
Contact: Central Iowa SHRM

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Join us on July 16 for our Half-Day Competency Development Workshop!




Presenter: Sarah Noll Wilson

7:30-8 a.m. Announcements and Introductions
8 a.m.-Noon Presentation: Don't Feed the Elephants: Overcoming the Art of Avoidance to Build Powerful Partnerships


$99 for members; $125 for non-members

How to Stop Feeding and Finally Free the Elephant in the Room

You see the giant footprints the moment you walk through the door. The conference room is a swirling mess of tension, heaviness, anxiety, and peanut shells. Something is very wrong with your team. Everybody knows it, but nobody is taking about it.

It’s obvious there’s an elephant in the room. Is it an Avoidephant, feeding off the fears of retaliation and exclusion? Perhaps it’s a Blamephant—whom we love to feed because it makes us feel better about ourselves—or one of the other types of elephants. No matter what type you’re dealing with, know your elephant is not there by accident. It was created and it’s likely you and your team has been feeding it.

In this session we will explore how you can address the true elephant in the room: avoidance of what created it in the first place. I’ll share tips for having conversations you may be avoiding, inviting you to get curious instead of furious, and show how to own your role in freeing the elephant. You’ll come away with a shared language to call out the elephants you see—and the confidence to do so.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify different elephant “types” and the behaviors that create them
  • Discover what keeps us avoiding conversations instead of acknowledging them
  • Define key steps for addressing the elephant through curiosity, compassion, and candor both in 1 on 1 conversations and in group settings
  • Practice communication techniques that help you understand not just what you say but how you say it.
  • Strategies for how to hold steady when the conversations becomes uncomfortable
  • Examine ways to respond when the situation that caused the elephant cannot be changed 
About Sarah

As an Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker, Transformer of Teams, Researcher, soon to be Author, Sarah helps people close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. Sarah creates a safe, honest environment, preparing people to deal with real-world conflict, have more meaningful conversations, and create purposeful relationships.

Sarah holds a Master's Degree from Drake University in Leadership Development and a BA from the University of Northern Iowa in Theatre Performance and Theatre Education. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Universities. When she isn't helping people develop stronger relationships with themselves and others, she enjoys spending time with her husband Nick and their two fur babies Seymour and Sally.

We can't wait to see you there!

CISHRM Cancellation Policy For Events


SUBSTITIONS/TRANSFERS: Registrations may be transferred to another participant by submitting a request in writing at least three (3) days prior to the event. If the original registrant is a CISHRM member, then the substitute registrant must be a member or additional non-member fees will apply (fees vary per event). No refund will be given for transferring a registration from a non-member to a member. Substitution requests must be submitted by the original registrant and include the name and contact information (including email address) of the substitute registrant. Substitution requests will be accepted via fax (703-991-0806) or email ( only or.

CANCELLATION/REFUND POLICY: Cancellation request must be made in writing to CISHRM’s Administrator by fax (703-991-0806) or email ( only. Requests made by phone will not be accepted. Cancellations received two weeks prior to the event date will receive a full refund less a $25.00 processing fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations received within 2 weeks of the event date. Please include the name and email address of the registrant.


There may be situations requiring events to be rescheduled or canceled based on venue, weather and miscellaneous emergencies. In these situations, CISHRM will notify registrants via email using the address used to register for the event and posting a notification on CISHRM’s social media page(s). In the event we are able to reschedule the event, no refunds will be issued as a result of the decision. The REGISTRANT CANCELLATION POLICY would still apply.

If CISHRM is unable to reschedule the event within similar circumstances, the event may be cancelled. If an event is cancelled refunds will be issued for the amount paid to registrants within thirty (30) days. Refunds will not be issued to organizations; registrants will be responsible for repayment to any organization that paid on their behalf.