2018 Work Life Office Conference

Building Community in a Culture of Change

Thursday, October 16, 2018

MSU Union Building

The WorkLife Office-hosted conference, “Building Community in Culture of Change,” focused on navigating change and difficult climates and connecting with colleagues to build trusting collaborations at Michigan State University.

Conference Schedule

8:30 a.m. - 8:40 a.m. Welcome by Dr. Barbara Roberts
8:40 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Keynote Address by Dr. Michele Williams
9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Workshop Sessions
11:00 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. Break
11:10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Plenary Session & Panel Discussion

Michele Williams speaking to audience at the WorkLife Office Conference.

Keynote Address: Dr. Michele Williams

"Actively Building a Culture of Trust, Community and Collaborative Work Relationships

Michele WilliamsBuilding work relationships that are collaborative and highly effective allow you to accomplish your goals with less frustration and more engagement. However, difficult situations and organizational change can generate suspicion and undermine once strong working relationships, while difficult people can undermine your ability to collaborate and accomplish your goals. What can you do? Learn how trust and distrust impact your workplace and gather tactics for navigating your workplace interactions in ways that build trust, repair relationships and foster productive collaborations.

About the Speaker: Michele Williams is assistant professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. She has taught negotiations to executives, startups, MBAs and undergraduates at leading schools of management for over 10 years. She is co-author of the Four Capabilities Assessment, an online 360-degree performance assessment used by organizations to enhance the leadership of potential managers.

Dr. Williams’s research addresses two challenges that organizations face:

Trust and Relationships—Building, maintaining and repairing trust in team-based relationships and across demographic and organizational boundaries; Sustaining high performing, cross-boundary relationships.

Women in Leadership & Entrepreneurship—Gender equity within firms and across established and entrepreneurial ventures; factors affecting women as team members, boundary spanners, and business owners; social construction of gender.

Dr. Williams recently joined the Tippie College of Business faculty as the John L. Miclot Fellow in Entrepreneurship. She is also a scholar at Cornell University’s Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution and with the Smith Family Business Initiative in Cornell’s Johnson College of Business. Previously, she was a member of the faculty at Cornell University and MIT's Sloan School of Management.

She has authored papers and case studies, published in notable academic journals, and speaks at academic and professional conferences on her topics of research. She produced a unique course offering on Women in Leadership, Negotiation & Entrepreneurship and has spoken on this topic at JP Morgan.

Dr. Williams earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Johns Hopkins University, her Master of Arts degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Workshop Sessions

Michele Williams speaking during the workshop for supervisors.Supervisor’s Toolkit for Building and Coaching Collaborative and Effective Work Relationships

Great supervisors are made, not born. Sharpen your skills, acquire new strategies and learn how to help others navigate their work relationships. Leave this session with a toolkit for building strong, highly effective work relationships and for helping others navigate feelings of betrayal and conflict in ways that enable collaboration and optimum performance.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Use research-based tools to analyze opportunities and challenges in developing your current work relationships, especially those with and among your subordinates
  • Generate first steps in a culture change action plan for your workgroup
  • Build your own network of trust change agents

Presenter: Dr. Michele Williams, assistant professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa.



Carrie Galdes and Todd Bradley stand at the front of the room of people to discuss developing cohesiveness.Developing Cohesiveness: Building a Culture of Trust

Participants will explore contemporary methods to increase team cohesiveness and establish a positive day to day interaction expectations that will enhance communication, team morale and foster a highly effective work culture. Workplace environments are critically important to the ways we experience our life at work – and we all have a part to play in building that environment. Learn tactics for building community with your colleagues and skills for influencing a culture of trust.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Learn techniques to create and maintain a healthy work culture
  • Explore the “Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team”
  • Build an understanding of how thought patterns and processes affect personal and team performance

Presenter:  Carrie Galdes, Organizational Development Consultant and Todd Bradley, Senior Learning and Organizational Development Specialist, MSU Human Resources



Closing Plenary

Making the Concepts Work for You: Creating a Plan for Implementation

Building community and contributing to a positive work culture often requires us to be intentional about how we interact with others and be conscious of our role in creating that environment. This facilitated plenary session will review key points and utilize each participant’s personal goals to imagine a new community in a culture of change. Participants will develop strategies and follow-through plans for implementing the concepts from today’s conference.

Facilitators: Valerie Smith, Coach, Great Lakes Leadership Academy and Jerry Jennings, Coach, Great Lakes Leadership Academy



What conference participants said...


  • I am more empowered to control how I react in challenging situations.
  • Need a larger facility to allow more people the opportunity to join this amazing event!!!
  • I plan to share/teach these concepts to others in my sphere.