Session 5: Seize the Courage: Move from Assumptions to Understanding in A Multi-Generational Workplace

New dynamics are taking shape in the workplace as employees, managers and leaders represent at least three, sometimes four generations in organizations.


Unsurprisingly, some of these new dynamics are creating challenges for all the generations resulting in barriers to understanding and to more effective working relationships.


Attendees will gain insight into how multiple generations in the workplace may impact individuals, teams, and business outcomes. Specifically, the workshop will delve into assumptions, misunderstandings and a variety of power dynamics as a means to surface tensions often present in a generational mix, but rarely discussed. Using authentic cross-generational conversations and personal introspection, participants will be equipped with the skills and understanding to work more effectively with generational differences. Participants will walk away ready to have intergenerational, courageous conversations that will make their organizations better, and more inclusive places to work.  



Learning Objectives: At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how organizational culture impacts generational differences in the workplace.

  • Recognize assumptions about generations in the workplace, including the assumptions each participant holds.

  • Understand the impact that those assumptions have upon intergenerational interactions and business outcomes.

  • Move beyond assumptions and identify the archetypal values and behaviors of each generation in the workplaces.

  • Start and hold conversations that bridge generational differences and improve work relationships.

Presenters: Keenan Barr, Lisa Fain, Joey McGuinness and Chuck Shelton

Keenan Barr is a consultant with Greatheart Consulting, a Seattle-based company that develops inclusive leaders for competitive and collaborative advantage. With nearly a decade of team leadership experience in a variety of settings, he brings a unique Millennial focus on developing inclusive leaders and processes that help people thrive and deliver sustainable results.


Keenan’s role with Greatheart is to equip leaders to be inclusive and engage men as allies in their organizations. Practically, this entails designing programs, strategic advising, and managing projects and events for clients. Additionally, he partners with other Greathearters to grow of the generation, gender, and race-related learning services that their organization offers.


Recently, he moved back to Hawaii to follow a call and learn more about his racial/cultural background. When not working, he spends his time at the gym, in the outdoors, reconnecting with family, or adjusting to his new life in Honolulu.

Lisa Fain is Leadership Development Services’ Vice President and lead in diversity strategy, cross-cultural competency, and conflict resolution. Her passion for diversity and inclusion work is fueled by her strong conviction that leveraging differences creates a better workplace and drives better business results.


As Senior Director of the Diversity and Inclusion function at Outerwall, Inc. (the parent company to automated retail giants Redbox and Coinstar), Lisa spearheaded the development, establishment and implementation of its diversity initiative. Prior to assuming that position, she worked as Outerwall’s in-house counsel, where she coached leaders and partnered with Human Resources to establish fair and effective policies and practices that would sustain the organization as it grew in size, revenue and renown.


Lisa practiced law with the Chicago office of a major multinational law firm and counseled employers on creating inclusive policies and practices. In addition, she served as a Master Trainer, training thousands of employees at a variety of companies, large and small, on how to create a better workplace.


Certified as a mediator through Chicago’s Center for Conflict Resolution, she applied her counseling skills to help clients understand and proactively prevent conflict.


Lisa holds a B.S. in Social Policy from Northwestern University and a JD degree from Northwestern University School of Law. Lisa is a Life Coach, and received her coaching certification from the International Coach Academy.


A native of Syracuse, NY, Lisa spent 17 years in Chicago and moved to Seattle, WA in 2014, with her husband and two daughters. She now spends as much time as she can hiking and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Josephine (Joey) McGuinness is outreach and marketing manager for the Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion, a non-profit organization that presents the NW Diversity Learning Series, a collaborative employer venture now in its 19th year in the Greater Seattle Area.


Joey also plies her talents as a staff member of the sustainability arm of the women’s fashion label, Green Eileen helping to create community partners and increase employee engagement. 

Previously Joey was part of a start-up sales company developing their training program from the ground up.

When the decision for college came around, Joey opted to leave the Pacific Northwest to attend a school in the center of United States, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). During her tenure at UMKC, Joey joined the college debate team winning multiple national debate awards. Debate yielded a significant lesson for Joey—under every perspective lays a reason—a reason that someone firmly believes. She graduated from the UMKC with a degree in Political Science in 2015 along with a diverse set of work experiences.

In her work at ISDI, Joey utilizes her debate experience frequently when approaching topics of diversity and inclusion. Relying on the frame that every perspective is tied to a reason, discovering what some of those reasons are is key to understanding people’s views of diversity and inclusion. This means asking questions and simply listening.

After work, you will most likely find Joey, a Seattle native, climbing in the gym or outside, hiking in the Cascades or listening to a political Podcast.

Chuck Shelton is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Greatheart Consulting in Seattle. For more than 25 years he has honed a unique expertise in engaging and equipping white male leaders and their diverse colleagues to grow their global business through inclusive leadership. This specialty led to the publication of his groundbreaking book, Leadership 101 For White Men.

He has developed inclusive leaders through global D&I projects on strategy, culture, engagement, talent, learning, and sales at Aetna, Alaska Airlines, Avon, Capgemini, the Johnson Space Center, Key Bank, Liberty Mutual, Turner Construction, and in more than seventy other organizations. He designed and directs the first and ongoing Study on White Men Leading Through Diversity & Inclusion. Corporate sponsors for the 2012 research included Alcoa, Bank of America, Exelon, Intel, Marsh & McLennan, PepsiCo, PwC, and Walmart Stores.

Earlier in his career, Chuck negotiated, designed and managed the first research project to benchmark 130 diversity practices in twenty leading firms in the technology industry, commissioned by Microsoft. In his first multicultural management job, he directed a social service agency for refugee resettlement across California, leading a team of thirty from five nations.

Chuck holds a master’s degree in ethics from an evangelical graduate school, Fuller Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in conflict studies from progressive Evergreen State College. He is certified to facilitate twelve leadership development programs.

Since 1981, Chuck has spoken, consulted, coached, trained, researched, and written on leadership development and global diversity and inclusion internationally, through more than 380 presentations and projects.

He lives near Seattle with Suzanne, a clinical psychologist, and loves to hike and work in the family’s 60-acre forest in the mountains of central Washington.

NWDLS is Managed by:  The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion (ISDI)


ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success.  


ISDI was founded in 2015 and assumed the management of the Northwest Diversity Learning Series in 2016, formerly managed by Archbright. Barbara Deane, the original NW Series co-founder, and Effenus Henderson, retired Chief Diversity Officer, Weyerhaeuser are the co-founders and directors of the Institute.  This is the 19th year of the NWDLS!


JOIN US for the Final Session in 2017:


Session 6:  Seize the Courage to Talk About Race. Monday, October 30