MPS Facilitates Second MBTI Workshop for Public Allies

Posted in Community Involvement / Facilitation / Pro Bono Program on December 01, 2016

puballiesFor the second time this year, M Powered Strategies was called on to support Public Allies, a national nonprofit dedicated to leadership development, with core values focused on diversity and inclusion, integrity, collaboration, continuous learning, and innovation. In November, certified ​practitioners Jimmy Church and Patti McMullen facilitated a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop for a group of 25 allies. The aim was three-fold: to acquaint these young up-and-coming leaders with MBTI theory; increase their awareness of individual preferences; and help them understand how people with disparate preferences interact with each other.

Both Jimmy and Patti were excited about the workshop and MPS’ continued partnership with Public Allies. According to Patti, “The participants brought positive energy and enthusiasm to the workshop. They were engaged and excited to apply the MBTI concepts to better understand themselves and their colleagues.”

If you would like to learn more about how your organization can benefit from M Powered Strategies’ pro bono services, please contact Kat McDonald.


Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network Taps M Powered Strategies’ Caitlin Ellsworth

Posted in Facilitation on June 16, 2014
Caitlin Ellsworth

Caitlin Ellsworth elected to MAFN Board of Directors

Caitlin Ellsworth, M Powered Strategies (MPS) Collaboration Service Line Manager, was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network (MAFN), a regional community of professionals dedicated to advancing excellence in facilitation. MAFN focuses on increasing professional development, sharing business opportunities, and building the field. Benefits for its members include monthly seminars and events, a “Find a Facilitator” service, and networking opportunities.

M Powered has experienced significant value from MAFN membership and looks forward to Caitlin helping the organization strengthen the regional and national facilitation community. “I’m honored to have been selected for this role, and am excited about bringing the fresh perspective and focused energy we nurture at MPS to MAFN.

Caitlin also holds other leadership positions in her professional field, including Leadership Council membership for the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) Section on Environment and Public Policy (EPP).

Caitlin Ellsworth, Consulting Boot Camp Instructor,
Discusses Facilitation and Collaboration

Posted in Consulting Boot Camp / Facilitation on April 03, 2014
Portrait of Caitlin Ellsworth

Caitlin Ellsworth, Consulting Boot Camp instructor

With the first session of M Powered Strategies (MPS) Consulting Boot Camp fast upon us, our reporter caught up with Caitlin Ellsworth, Facilitation Services Manager  at MPS, for a brief chat about the interactive half-day course she will be teaching on April 21 – Meeting Management & Facilitation – The Group Dynamic. She talked about her personal journey in the field of facilitation and why it is becoming an increasingly vital function.

MPS: How did you get involved in facilitation in the first place?

Caitlin: In undergrad I majored in Politics, with a focus on Peace and Conflict Studies. When I got out of school, I found work at the local level—at community Mediation Centers—where I was able to apply my conflict resolution and mediation skills. It was there that I started meeting people who were involved in facilitation with larger groups.

MPS:   And you were intrigued? Inspired?

Caitlin: I wanted to apply what I had learned about working with small groups and individuals to larger systems and agencies that serve the public. I went on to get a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on Conflict Management. From there I got a job at a nonprofit called Keystone Center in Washington, DC. I figure altogether I’ve been facilitating for about 8 years now.

MPS: What is it that excites you about Facilitation?

Caitlin: Helping people think creatively and helping them solve their problems. Most problems people are trying to solve these days, especially in the public sector, require a level of collaboration that hasn’t always existed. It can be very difficult. Conflicts come up. So I see the role of a facilitator as making that collaborative process work easier. I think in the future the only way we’ll be able to get things done is if we start working across some of the boundaries, in terms of knowledge domains and organizational constructs, that used to exist.

MPS: What about the class you’ll be teaching for MPS Boot Camp?

Caitlin: I often approach training from a facilitative perspective, blending principles of adult education with facilitation. I enjoy engaging people in the learning processes, helping to bring to the surface information and ideas they already have inside them but maybe haven’t thought about it in a particular way, and helping to assemble that into a set of ideas and skills that they can then apply in a way that’s going to help them do their work more effectively.

MPS: How about take-aways? What will the students come away from this course with?

Caitlin: My hope is that they will take away a clear understanding of the role of a facilitator in helping to promote effective collaboration, along with concrete tools for better meeting management.

M Powered Strategies Consulting Boot Camp kicks into gear on Monday, April 21. For more information, visit our website, or contact Christopher Ashcraft.

VA Awards Facilitation Services BPA to M Powered Strategies

Posted in Contracting / Department of Veterans Affairs / Facilitation on November 19, 2013

Department of Veterans Affairs signM Powered Strategies (MPS) was recently awarded a BPA for Facilitation services with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). MPS will provide Facilitation and Requirements Facilitation services to five offices within the Office of Informatics and Analytics (OIA): Office of the ADUSH for OIA, Health Informatics, Analytics and Business Intelligence, Health Information Governance, and Connected Health.

M Powered Strategies President & CEO, Kendall Lott, views this opportunity as a natural outgrowth of the work MPS been doing for nearly a decade at the VA.  “MPS is familiar with the landscape, the processes, the people of this agency, and we are committed to driving organizational effectiveness that will last.”

Booz Allen Hamilton, Dovel Technologies, and Platinum Business Services will be supporting M Powered Strategies for this BPA.

Welcome, Caitlin Ellsworth!

Caitlin Ellsworth

Caitlin Ellsworth

Caitlin Connelly Ellsworth comes to M Powered Strategies as an experienced facilitator and conflict engagement specialist.  Her area of expertise is in group collaboration, solution creation, and stakeholder engagement. From 2010 to 2013, she was an Associate Facilitator with The Keystone Center, focusing on a range of multi-stakeholder efforts involving the intersection of science and public policy in the areas of energy, environment and health. Previously, she managed community conflict resolution and mediation programs in Washington, DC, and Ithaca, NY. Caitlin earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where she also received a certificate of advanced study in conflict management. While earning her B.A. in Politics from Ithaca College, she spent time in Ireland, where she studied peace and conflict issues. Caitlin will be joining the MPS team with an immediate focus on moving the Facilitation Service Line forward. She enjoys practicing yoga and building her skills in the visual arts, both of which inform her work as a facilitator, helping groups meet challenges and creating innovative solutions.

Newly Certified Government Meeting Professionals

Posted in Facilitation on November 15, 2012

SGMP logoAfter four days of intense training and examination, five staff members of M Powered Strategies’ Facilitation Service Line are now certified Government Meeting Professionals (CGMP). The training emphasized the importance of understanding Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and presented various methods for running a successful meeting.  The biggest take-away was a profound appreciation of the importance of skilled and effective planning when it comes to government meetings. The certification gives our staff an even greater edge as we continue to be subject matter experts in the government meetings space. Congratulations to Erin Bankey, Selena Hunn, Nic Turrentine, Alessandra Colia and Justin Heineman.

M Powered Strategies Entertains Job Candidates for Facilitation Service Line

Posted in Facilitation / Human Resources on April 03, 2012

Facilitation Meet and Greet

They came from all over the country – California, Florida, Texas, and places in between – for an informative but fun Happy Hour hosted by M Powered Strategies. More than a dozen candidates, all carefully pre-screened by our Human Resources department, were here to meet with members of the FSL team. There were undergrads as well as graduate students, liberal arts majors, former Peace Corps volunteers, Governance and Policy experts, all eager to learn more about M Powered Strategies and what they can bring to our Facilitation Service Line and the company.

The event, which was organized by Alessandra Colia and Jenny Weng of M Powered Strategies, took place in the large conference room at M Powered Strategies HQ. Andrew MacDonald, director of HR, was impressed with the caliber of candidates as well as the energy and enthusiasm exhibited by the M Powered Strategies team. “This is the kind of event we can replicate for other hiring efforts and service lines in the future.”

Employees Rack Up More Professional Certifications

Posted in Facilitation / Professional Development on March 30, 2012

Erin Bankey and Nic Turrentine

Workplace Conflict Management and DiSC Assessment were at the top of M Powered Strategies’ March Spring Training agenda.

At the Workplace Mediation Training, offered by the Mediation Training Institute, Wes Cronkite, Alessandra Colia, and Erin Bankey studied a variety of techniques drawn from legal and counseling methodologies.  The M Powered Strategies group was a noted force in the class, made up mostly of government mediators, as they brought their client delivery and professional backgrounds to bear in role playing and theoretical discussions. At the end of the two-day session, they were certified as Professionals in Managing Workplace Conflict.

The primary focus at the Everything DiSC (Dominance, influencing, Steadiness, andConscientiousness) Trainers workshop in Minneapolis was personality assessment. Along with human resources professionals, independent consultants, and executive coaches, Erin Bankey and Nic Turrentine were there to learn the fine points of DiSC assessment, and the art of training others to use the tool. It’s all about understanding your own personality (each attendee received a series of detailed personality assessments related to workplace, management, and leadership styles) as well as the work styles of your colleagues. The more you understand, the better you can listen, and the more effectively you can respond. Congratulations to Erin and Nic for becoming certified DiSC Trainers.

Kudos from Prime Contractors

Posted in Facilitation on December 13, 2011

ApplauseOver the past three months the Facilitation Service Line has received rave reviews from clients and prime contractors for facilitations in the Department of Veteran Affairs. M Powered Strategies facilitations are known not just for quality delivery on the day(s) of the meeting but also in the thorough preparation leading up to the facilitation itself. Clients are pleasantly surprised to see the robust level of effort that we provide to prepare for facilitations. Our attention to prepare for meetings makes our facilitations more effective for both the client and the prime contractor. The quality of work and success of meetings we facilitate are constant evidence to our prime contractor that we are experts in facilitation and driven to move the client’s agenda forward.

The Facilitation Service Line is continuing to work on various contracts to bring more value to clients through preparation and enhance organizational performance during the facilitation. For more information about the Facilitation Service line, click here.

One VA EA Business Reference Model

Posted in Department of Veterans Affairs / Facilitation on December 13, 2011

M Powered Strategies has played a role in the creation and development of The One VA EA Business Reference Model, or BRM, by providing meeting management and logistical support, as well as providing meeting documentation. With a common set of process definitions to make the complex integration between business processes transparent, the BRM will supports architectural analysis and is a resourceful tool for enabling innovation and transformation. Specifically, the BRM helps the VA to:

  • Improve citizen services by highlighting opportunities to integrate operations and IT investment along common lines of business.
  • Guide VA administrations in the development and submission of business cases, improving the quality of service and lowering costs.
  • Provide IT vendors with a better understanding of the work done by VA administrations to allow them to provide products, and services that are more citizen-focused outcomes along functional lines.

The One VA EA BRM is the first ever-interactive Business Reference Model throughout the entire Federal Government. M Powered Strategies is proud to have played a role in this great accomplishment by the VA!

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