Concurrent Workshops

To accompany her Keynotes or plenary sessions at conferences, Denise has developed a terrific menu of topics for Concurrent Workshops. While, many of these topics are drawn from content that is part of her regular training seminars, several of them are on subject matter specifically developed to be delivered as Workshops. Apart from Conferences, Denise can also readily incorporate these modules into the design of particular Training Seminars.

Photo of Denise at Workshops

Beyond Traditional Job Development:
The Art of Job Creation

“Everyone has the potential for genius and it is our job to find the context in which each person can truly shine. Through job creation we come to realize that we that we are not just job developers, we are business developers and community developers.”

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of a colourful drawing of a birdConsidered a cornerstone of her work in the employment field, this highly acclaimed, one-of-a-kind, presentation offers a practical, innovative and proactive approach to job development, challenging the employment professional to look beyond traditional methods in assisting individuals with barriers to employment to bring their gifts to the world of work.  Equipping participants with the eyes and mind of the “entrepreneurial job developer”, Denise introduces six compelling questions with which to view the business world and to uncover the hidden opportunities in their local communities.  Chock-full of real-life examples, this workshop serves to expand and redefine the meaning of true job development and to empower people with the tools and thinking to practice the art of job creation!

Denise needs a minimum of 60 minutes for this workshop but recommends 90.

Target Audience:  Job developers, employment specialists, job coaches, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other staff who work with employers to develop employment or partnerships of any kind.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Cultivating the Spirit to Work:
Assisting People through Change and Transition

”There is nothing more resilient than the human spirit. Beyond barriers and the limiting stories we tell ourselves, there is a strength and a power just waiting to unfold. That is where we need to go, what we need to tap into, in order to effect real change in people’s lives.”  

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of gateRegarded as a “classic” in the realm of career counseling and coaching circles, this unique and inspiring workshop offers an elegantly simple framework for understanding the critical and often elusive issues of motivation and self-esteem.  Based on her illuminating model of the human spirit, Denise lays out ideas and tools, equally compelling and practical, for strengthening courage, affirming belief and fostering hope in those who feel lost, discouraged, or overwhelmed in the midst of change and transition.  More importantly, Denise uses this workshop to suggest a fresh, innovative, and highly effective way of working with and engaging individuals in their own process of change and transition – urging people to put less stock in “systems” and encouraging them to put more stock in the resilience of their own spirit! 

Urging participants to examine some of the changes they wish to make, Denise has them put her model to the test – making the concepts and principles immediately applicable in their own lives.  In her characteristic style, Denise she also provides attendees with hands-on tools for use with their own job seekers.  While the tools provided in this workshop are especially helpful in the realm of employment, they are relevant to any kind of change. Providing new language, a different paradigm, and a fresh framework upon which to hang this new understanding, this workshop is famous for forever altering one’s view of motivation!

Denise requires a minimum of 75 minutes for this workshop, but recommends 90.

Target Audience: Career counselors, job coaches, case managers, job club leaders, employment specialists, transition specialists, vocational instructors, job developers, vocational rehab counselors, HR professionals, or supervisors and managers working with individuals in the midst of change and transition.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Beyond Barriers to Passion and Possibility:
Creative Tools for Uncovering Assets, Strengths, and Work Preferences

“Leo Tolstoy once suggested that it is through one hour of play that we will learn more about a person than in a lifetime of “evaluations”.  What makes them tick, do a happy dance, or stay awake at night thinking about it cannot be measured in a paper and pen assessment. We need to inspire a playful environment in which the person’s heart is able to speak.” 

~ Denise Bissonnette

Image of graphettiIn this highly participative session, Denise shares some of her most popular tools and activities taken from her celebrated curriculum, “Cultivating True Livelihood”. There are limitless ways to use these tools but they are particularly useful as a means  to uncover a person’s gifts and strengths (whether or not they have ever worked), to identify a person’s work preferences and key values, to get around what sometimes appear as “unrealistic expectations”, and to capitalize on a person’s passions and interests when brainstorming vocational possibilities. Delivered in a “train the trainer” style, Denise takes participants through the exercises, encouraging them to put the techniques into practice in their own work settings, whether in private coaching session or in a group or classroom settings.  These tools have proven effective with those new to the world of work, the seasoned professional, and individuals with a wide range of employment barriers.

Denise needs a minimum of 60 minutes for this workshop but recommends 90.

Target Audience: Career counselors, job coaches, case managers, job club leaders, employment specialists, transition specialists, vocational instructors, job developers, vocational rehab counselors, or anyone working with individuals to prepare them for employment or to help them set their vocational goals.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Essentials of Effective Employer Engagement

“If we are to develop true partnerships with employers we need to speak, listen, and respond to the real issues lying at the heart of their valid concerns.  This doesn’t mean donning a business suit as much as it taking the time to value the perspective of those challenged with building and maintaining an effective workplace. We need new questions, new language, and fresh ways to introduce and market our services.“

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of vines connectingEffective job development requires the ability to engage employers in a variety of ways and in a variety of contexts.  Given the questions and concerns that many people in the business world have about working with individuals with disabilities and other employment barriers, it comes as no surprise that “employer engagement” is one of the most challenging aspects of the job.  With humor, intelligence and the hard-won experience to back her ideas, Denise offers frank, no-nonsense advice on how to open doors to employers, initiate and keep their interest, and develop mutually beneficial partnerships! Drawing from the rich reservoir of ideas in her book Beyond Traditional Job Development, Denise presents what she considers to be the “quintessential strategies” for communicating, marketing, and partnering with people in large and small business with the intent to bring them on board in working with our agencies and schools in a variety of ways.  Most importantly, she also offers ways to uncover and resolve employer concerns about hiring individuals with disabilities and/or other barriers.

Denise requires a minimum of 60 minutes for this workshop, but recommends 90.

Target Audience:  Job developers, employment specialists, job coaches, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other staff who work with employers to develop employment or partnerships of any kind.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Eight Classic Work Motives:
Why We Work and What Keeps Us Going

“Every person represents a complex puzzle of what makes them tick and what urges them to take the risk to step towards an unknown future. By understanding a person’s work motives, we have insight into how to guide, supervise and coach a person to achieve success based on their own definition.” 

~ Denise Bissonnette  

image of many residences built on a cliff overlooking the oceanBased on eight fundamental factors that enhance our sense of well-being, life satisfaction, and overall effectiveness in the world, this workshop helps to identify and examine why we work, what keeps us going once we are in the workplace, and what inspires us to look towards future opportunities.  Participants in this fast-paced session walk away with greater awareness not only of their own work motives, but with a deeper understanding of how they use the “Classic Eight” to further explore and understand the life values of the people they serve.   

Denise requires 60 minutes for this workshop but suggests 90.

Target Audience: Employers, employment specialists, job coaches, vocational rehab counselors, job developers, case managers, and those serving in the role of supervisors and managers.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Staying the Course through Resolve, Resilience, and Personal Renewal

“We have a strange concept of time in our culture, as if it is something to be managed.  Time is the current we wade, whether we move with it or against it.  There is no “time management” – there is only self-management.  The real heart of the matter is how we manage our goals, our values, our priorities and the choices we make within them.”

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of waves and textWhen our best efforts are not bringing us the results we want, in the time that we want them, how do we keep on keepin’ on?   This is a universal question lying at the heart of any worthwhile goal, whether imposed by the demands of the job, dictated by the needs of the family, or inspired by our own heart’s desire.   When the going gets tough, how do we fight off feelings of lethargy and sluggishness and bring, instead, fresh energy and renewed commitment?  How, with so much and so many vying for our attention, do we stay focused on what is important? In the midst of those who would urge us to give up, surrender the cause, or to cease tilting at windmills, how do we remain steadfast in our own sense of purpose?  And when our own cynicism and fear comes knocking, how do we refuse it entry, enlisting the company of optimism and hope instead?

In this fast-paced, no-nonsense presentation, Denise offers practical tips and techniques for “Staying the Course” with greater resolve, resilience and self-renewal.  Topics include:

Target Audience: This workshop was designed with job developers and employment specialists in mind, but Denise can tailor this workshop for any group of participants who are challenged to “stay the course” in their daily work, regardless of the industry, or for the people who manage and supervise them.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Seven Essentials for the Smart and Savvy Job Search

“The job search is a humbling process for everyone, regardless of one’s level of skill or ability. It is a journey that can be full of twists and turns, but with preparation, a positive outlook and persistence, it may lead to surprising places and to unexpected opportunities!”

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of whales jumping out of the oceanThere are many factors leading to success in the job search, not the least of which are qualities or attitudes which are most likely to serve people best during a difficult time of transition, like resilience, persistence, and the willingness to take initiative.   Attend this lively presentation for hot tips, cool tools, and out-of-the-box thinking to rev up, refresh and revive the job search with Denise’s Seven Essentials for the smart and savvy job seeker !  In a warm and engaging style full of first-hand examples and stories, Denise delivers a powerful combination of big picture concepts and blue-sky ideas with easy steps and practical ways to apply them in the job search.  Drawing from the deep reservoir of materials in Denise’s Cultivating True Livelihood, Denise offers hands-on job search tools that align with the following Seven Essentials: 

Denise requires a minimum of 90 minutes for this presentation.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document (approximately 15 pages) from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

Target Audience: Job seekers or anyone working with and supporting people looking for work including job developers, job coaches, job club leaders, job search instructors, vocational rehab counselors, employment specialist, transition specialists and vocational instructors.

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The Art of Disclosing Disability

“Making employers comfortable with disability and resolving their concerns about how the disability may affect one’s performance on the job is one of the most parts of the interview.  Ironically, disclosing a disability can provide a most unique opportunity to highlight one’s skills and assets.  Everyone’s situation is different, which is why the issue of disclosure is more of an art than a science.”

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of a doorway and textAt what point in the job search process should a job seeker disclose his/her disability?  How much information should be given?  How does a job seeker request an accommodation?  Are there situations in which it is appropriate to not disclose? How can the occasion of disclosing a disability become a launching pad for marketing one’s strengths?  How do we resolve employer concerns?  What do employers need and want to know in order to feel comfortable and confident in hiring someone with a disability? 

These are among the many issues and questions to be addressed in this highly informative and interactive workshop delivered by author, trainer, and veteran job developer Denise Bissonnette Described more as an “art than a “science”, this session does not pretend to deliver pat answers to these questions, as are more areas of grey than there are of black and white when it comes disclosing disability.  If you are a job seeker with a disability or an employment professional assisting people with disabilities, please come and join us as we explore the essential guidelines, the in’s and out’s, and the plus and the minuses when it comes to the art of disclosing disability. 

Target Audience:  Job seekers with disabilities or people with working with job seekers with disabilities.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Ten Shifts in Mindset:
The Quest for True Inclusion

“True Inclusion is about celebrating our shared humanity, finding kinship, nurturing connections, building relationships and fostering deep affinity with one another in the midst of the beauty and the tragedy, the joys and the sorrows of everyday life. It’s about focusing on what makes us unique rather than what makes us different and, as we celebrate our individuality, embracing our interdependence.” 

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of an ant moving a drop of waterTrue Inclusion in a workplace or a community denotes something far deeper and far richer than simply allowing similarities and differences to exist among its members.  True Inclusion is about a stance we take towards the world - an attitude, a bearing, a posture that involves certain commitments and convictions which define the meaning of our vision and the efforts we take to manifest that dream.  Drawing on her work in the area of Diversity for the past three decades, Denise identifies and examines ten fundamental stances that she contends are congruent with and essential to the quest for True Inclusion.  Presenting them as Shifts in Mindset from the more traditionally-held views, she moves attendees towards an understanding of what is required to inhabit and promote a more inclusive view. 

Denise requires a minimum of 60 minutes, but recommends 90.

Target Audience:  General audience, including employers and agency staff

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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Creating an Inclusive Workplace:
Putting the Dream of Diversity into Practice

“We need to practice diversity from the bottom up.  By becoming aware of our everyday habits of thinking and communicating, we take responsibility for the ways in which we inhibit or enhance the spirit of inclusiveness in our daily work.”

~ Denise Bissonnette

image of multiple fireworks explodingThis powerful workshop redefines “diversity” as an opportunity to be celebrated rather than a challenge to be managed.  Based on solid leadership principles and practical strategies drawn from her experience working with people from diverse populations, Denise will enlighten us with fresh ideas on how to foster the day-to-day mindset and habits that allow for, invite, and foster inclusiveness.  Based on the belief that we don’t need to wait for the world to change in order to change ourselves, this workshop empowers people to examine and identify the ways in which we daily enhance or inhibit, foster or sabotage the opportunity for everyone to bring their true gifts and potentiality to the table – within our teams, within our organizations, and within our larger communities. 

In her characteristic style of utilizing engaging exercises, weaving parables and poetry, and providing hands-on tools, Denise will equip us with key practices and habits we can put into immediate practice within the following areas:

Denise requires a minimum 90 minutes for this workshop.

Target Audience: Employers, agency managers, supervisors and staff.

Materials:  Customers will receive a PDF document from which to make printed copies for each attendee.

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photo of Denise Bissonnette

Denise Bissonnette
is one of North America’s most
sought-after trainers and
speakers on career development,
job development, workforce development, and
"true livelihood".

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All of Denise's current
Publications are available at:
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