1-Hour Breakout Session
Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. ET
ECQ 2: Leading People
Attendees Can Earn 1 CPE Credit
Are you home? In the office? A combination of both? Where are your team members? Direct reports? Managers? In the hybrid world, the complexities of managing your team are immense. In order to ensure proper collaboration and communication, you must create crystal clear expectations.
Key Takeaway: In this session, you will hear from a government leader who has mastered the complexities of hybrid teams.
Relevant Competencies: Oral Communication, Written Communication, Problem Solving, Technology Management
Mika J. Cross, Federal Workplace Expert and Workforce Transformation Strategist
Mika J. Cross is a distinguished human capital expert, transformational workplace strategist and innovator. With experience designing and implementing innovative, strategic workplace solutions she has expertise in remote and flexible work implementation, change management communications, talent acquisition/management, recruitment branding strategies, next-generation/future workplace forecasting, and the employee experience.
She is known on a national scale for implementing precedent-setting, federal government-wide human capital policy and workplace initiatives to implement telework, wellness and remote work policies serving in organizations such as the United States Intelligence Community, the Department of Agriculture, the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor, before working for private industry as Vice President of Employer Engagement for the fully remote company FlexJobs.
In December 2021, Mika was requested as one of three experts to testify at the “Future of Federal Work” senate committee hearing for the Subcommittee on Government Oversight and Reform where she brought her expertise and recommendations around strengthening public service at large, with flexible, accountable and strategic workplace strategies.
Javier E. Inclán, Assistant Inspector General for Management and Chief Information Officer, National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General
Javier E. Inclán joined the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General as the Assistant Inspector General for Management and Chief Information Officer in May 2022. In this role, Mr. Inclán has responsibility for the OIG’s budget planning and execution; human capital; IT operations; diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); training; policy and planning; and other administrative support services.
Previously, Mr. Inclán served in several different capacities at NSF, including Deputy Office Head for the Office of Equity and Civil Rights, Deputy Office Head for the Office of Information and Resource Management, Acting Division Director for the Division of Human Resource Management, and Acting Division Director and Deputy Division Director for the Division of Administrative Services. In addition, Mr. Inclán has also worked for the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, and the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center. Mr. Inclán earned his B.A. degree in History from William Paterson College and his master’s degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Karen Comfort, Chief Employee Experience Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Karen T. Comfort is a results-driven, innovative thought leader, with over 20 years of Federal service, serving in numerous leadership roles with a proven track record.
Currently, Ms. Comfort is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Chief Employee Experience Officer. In this role, she develops and leads Department-wide strategies to improve USDA’s recruitment and hiring, employee training and development, promotion and advancement, and awards and recognition policies, processes, and procedures, integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility principles. She also leads USDA’s employee engagement and voice of the employee programs designed to enhance employees’ experiences and to improve employee retention and workplace satisfaction.
Previously, she was the Deputy Associate Administrator/Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Agricultural Marketing Service at USDA. In this role, she led the Agency’s direction, coordination, and evaluation of its administrative operations. Specifically, she led the Agency’s strategic planning, key performance measures development, business process improvement and re-engineering, and project management processes. She oversaw the Agency’s compliance, internal audits, safety, security, emergency-preparedness, and continuity of operations programs, working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Office of the Inspector General, and other law enforcement agencies.
Ms. Comfort graduated Magna Cum Laude from Trinity Washington University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She also earned a Master of Public Administration from The American University where she graduated with honors and distinction.
Ray Crawford Jr., Acting Performance Improvement Officer, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Ray Crawford, Jr. is a skilled executive with a strong commitment to public service. For over 26 years, he has been engaged in the growth and success of government agencies and community organizations. He is presently serving as the Acting Performance Improvement Officer for the US Department of Education. Over the past three years, he has been the architect of both Federal Student Aid’s FY2020 – 24 Five Year Strategic Plan, as well as the Department’s FY2022 – 26 Strategic Plan which provides a new direction for the agency. Dr. Crawford serves as a critical thought partner to the Deputy Secretary of Education while offering sound counsel to other senior agency officials in support of the Department’s overall goals and objectives.
From the start of his career, Dr. Crawford has focused on a philosophy of servant leadership and garnered positive results. In 2018 he was selected as the lead research analyst for the President’s Federal Commission on School Safety. His efforts led to an appendix of resources to support schools, communities, and research professionals in the area of school safety. From 2018 to 2021 he was designated as the Co-Chairman of the Secretary of Education’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, having served as Chair of its Diversity Change Agent program since its inception in 2015. Dr. Crawford is grounded in a philosophy of “put people first” and has held positions that have been consistent with this idea, including managing large-scale employee engagement efforts as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives that led to measurable change in employee satisfaction. Dr. Crawford believes that diversity, inclusion, equity and engagement are the building blocks of a successful performance culture not only in the Department of Education but in the entirety of the federal government.
His dedication to furthering organizational goals, supporting the growth and engagement of people, and his long-term commitment to public service have provided him with tremendous opportunities within the Department and other organizations. His education has prepared him for this platform, as he holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University, and both master’s and Doctorate degrees in Political Science from Howard University. In 2020, Dr. Crawford published his first book entitled The Legacy of Mayor Anthony Williams; Economic Development in the Federal City. The book provides an analytical tool for leadership that is appropriate for executives in both the public and private sectors.