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Elizabeth Bellsey Marketing and Business Development Coordinator BAM Architecture Studio

Elizabeth Bellsey
Leadership Lunch: “The Optimistic Leader – Using Happiness and Positivity to Propel Performance” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” We’re all familiar with this adage, but Katherine Poehnert, Positivity Coach at Arden Coaching, presented research on neuroplasticity proves this adage untrue. Our brains are incredibly malleable, and we can continually change our behavior and outlook, especially in regard to positivity. As an internal optimist, Rhonda Cardone, Marketing Manager at Dewberry, selected this topic to reinforce the skills we have as marketers to inject positivity into our workplace environments.

[expand title=”Click here to read more about February’s Leadership Lunch…”] As a Positivity Coach, Katherine Poehnert pointed out that we would all probably be surprised at the amount of negative thoughts that go through our minds starting as soon as we wake up. This is referred to as a “negativity bias;” the fact that negative thoughts or experiences overshadow the positive. The theme of her discussion was “new tricks” for positivity, and her co-presenter, Petra Knochenhauer, Marketing Director at Dewberry, explained how these tactics may be applied to our industry and workplace. An especially helpful trick is “Reframing” situations, since the frame around which we see something will determine how we articulate it. Instead of thinking that we are failures, it is important for people to look at challenges or a problem from a different perspective to find the positive. Petra says she has seen this negativity within her firm. Young employees work on proposals, which don’t win the project and they become devastated. Petra and Katherine agreed that as leaders, even if the proposal was turned down, it is important for leaders to focus on the positives. Petra recommends asking the employees what they learned while working on the proposal, and what he or she felt were the positive aspects of the proposal. There are still positive, strong aspects to proposals that don’t win, and if the employee doesn’t see them, Petra will point out the great areas of the proposal. Gratitude can very quickly change brain chemistry to make us more positive, and a proven method is to write down three things you are grateful for each day. Doing this consistently for 21 days will make you aware of the good aspects of your life, and will make you more positive and happy overall. If you have someone that influenced you, whether in your office or your own life, write that person a short email telling them that you are grateful for how they influenced you. At Dewberry, Petra writes each person a note or an email on their anniversary date of hire, thanking them for their work and contributions to making the company a success. Rhonda commented that, as leaders, “we have to remember to be positive while communicating our vision.” She feels that Katherine and Petra provided “wonderful tools to enable our industry leaders to lead with positivity.” Speakers Katherine L. Poehner, a Positivity Coach and a member of the Arden Executive Coaching Team for Arden Coaching, has over 30 years’ experience training and supporting leaders in many industries. A “Positivologist,” Kathy incorporates powerful approaches in her coaching, and training, including Appreciative Inquiry, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Accelerated Learning, neuro-plasticity research and Positive Psychology. She founded and co-hosted The Positivity Project, a comprehensive telesummit of world experts in the application of Positive Psychology leadership skills to personal and career development. Petra Knochenhauer, Marketing Director at Dewberry, oversees client and teaming relations with an up-beat and team-oriented approach. With passion, enthusiasm and unyielding energy, she is responsible for developing new markets and implementing Dewberry’s strategic marketing plan for the firm’s Northeast region, a more than 425-employee operation. Petra works closely with the firm’s top leadership, including the executive board members, CEO, COO, and CFO, and was recently promoted to corporate director after 22 years of experience in marketing and sales. Planner/Facilitator Rhonda Cardone, Marketing Manager for the New York City office of Dewberry, has over 29 years of experience in the A/E industry involving local and international billion dollar projects. Her specialties include strategizing and positioning the office to pursue and win contracts by initiating and implementing marketing programs which integrate relational databases and reports for progress pipelines with business development and networking activities for existing and new areas of work. She is actively involved in SMPS national as well as the NY Chapter and is currently the Chair of the Leadership Committee. [/expand]