Program & Agenda


The primary focus of the workshop is to develop persuasive communication, negotiation, and leadership skills. Workshops are conducted by professional facilitators and are limited for optimal participation. Participants separate into two groups (postdocs and women faculty/scientists) for the day’s activities to allow them interact with each other and with the facilitators. The facilitators work with one group in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Participants are expected to attend both morning and afternoon sessions.

The entire group meets together for lunch and a final wrap up and evaluation session.

Sample Agenda

7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Welcome, sign in, and opening remarks
8:15 a.m - 12:15 p.m. Postdocs: Communications Workshop
Faculty/Scientists: Negotiations Workshop
12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Lunch
Presentation and Q&A with facilitators
1:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Postdocs: Negotiations Workshop
Faculty/Scientists: Communications Workshop
4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Evaluation and Wrap Up
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Reception

Session A: Communication Skills

Many accomplished professional women feel they are less effective than they wish when leading or participating in discussions, meetings, or group negotiations. They struggle with feeling unheard, with “old boy” gangs that dismiss them, with reactive rather than strategic behaviors, with physical stress and tension, and with ineffective speaking voices. The keys to success in such arenas are both strategic and physical: how one presents oneself and one’s ideas is a key to their acceptance. This workshop, which combines theater training, leadership training, and faculty development in an interactive format that encourages highly personal learning, is designed to enhance women’s abilities and confidence in such situations. It will 1) teach participants techniques used in theater and leadership programs to enhance performance; 2) using role-plays of their own cases, coach participants in strategic management of discussions and negotiations. Participants are encouraged to bring their own cases of personal ineffectiveness in meetings and negotiations and to wear comfortable clothes.

Session B: Negotiating Skills

This session will address the varying challenges in negotiation scenarios that women face as they advance in their careers. Course content includes key concepts of negotiations or interest-based solution finding.

Outcomes of this course are designed to deliver the following:

  • You will understand the value of BATNA - “best alternative to a negotiated agreement”
  • You will identify your personal negotiating style or pattern as well as the positive and negative aspects of different styles
  • You will practice case studies specifically designed to the challenges of your discipline
  • You will examine the sources of power and the ethical uses of power strategies
  • You will analyze difficult conversations and determine potential means of changing the tone of such conversations through changes in your own actions

Finally, you will practice with a coach and observer to study a challenge faced by one person in your sub-group so that finding positive alternatives to your own case studies can be further developed. A side benefit of attendance is building a net work of women who face similar challenges to your own so that you can mentor each other as you build a successful career future.


Mary Beth Stevens
Ombuds at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Facilitator Mary Beth Stevens HeadshotMary Beth Stevens has over 25 years of experience in crisis response & conflict resolution, including 16 years as organizational ombuds in a 10,000-person national laboratory. Her educational background in psychology has been made practical by a couple of decades as an ombuds, mediator, critical incident debriefer and facilitator of trauma survivor groups. She regularly provides training on conflict resolution, communications and negotiations skills and is certified by the National Council for Behavioral Health as a Mental Health First Aid instructor.

Nancy Houfek

Facilitator Nancy Houfek HeadshotA stage director, award-winning actor, and nationally recognized theater educator, Nancy Houfek presents workshops combining communication, negotiation and leadership techniques for corporations, think tanks, universities, and professional organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  At Harvard, where she was Head of Voice & Speech for the Tony Award winning American Repertory Theater from 1997- 2014, Nancy also taught in programs at the Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Medical School.  Nancy continues her work there with the Radcliffe Fellows, the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Graduate School of Design and the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. The Act of Teaching, a film of her work with Harvard faculty produced by the Bok Center, has been distributed to faculty development centers nationwide.  Since 1999, she has been a facilitator for COACh (the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists) offering negotiation and communication workshops to scientists.  She has also been a presenter for the Science Leadership Program since its inception in 2013 at the University of Toronto.

Nancy holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.F.A. from San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, where she remained as an actor, director and coach for nearly a decade. She has also held faculty or guest positions at the University of Washington, the Drama Studio of London, Southern Methodist University and the University of Minnesota. Nancy received seven consecutive awards for excellence in teaching from Harvard University. Nancy’s performance career spanned several decades in theaters from New York to California. Publications include articles in Voice & Speech Training in the New Millennium: Conversations with Master Teachers by Nancy Saklad, The New England Theater Journal, The Voice & Speech Review, The Complete Voice and Speech Workout and the VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainer's Association) News.

Jane Tucker
Jane W. Tucker & Associates

Jane TuckerJane Tucker is President of Jane W. Tucker & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in leadership development, executive coaching, and problem-solving skills. Dr. Tucker has over twenty-five years of experience working with leaders in both academics and industry. Her areas of interest include coaching of individual leaders, problem-solving negotiations and change management.

Her experience has been primarily in higher education, although she has worked with leaders of corporations in the U.S. and abroad as a faculty member of the Center for Creative Leadership, headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her higher education experience is both in Human Resources and Instructional Technology at Duke University. She has been Director of Learning and Organizational Development and is currently heading the Change Management team for an enterprise software system at Duke. Dr. Tucker has taught negotiations at Duke’s School of Business and has facilitated leadership development programs for both profit and non-profit organizations.

Dr. Tucker holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Development and is an alumna of Wellesley College. She did her graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests are in goal-setting and early adopters in change processes. She has worked internationally in Europe and Africa and has published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Management, the Journal of Biocommunication and the International Journal of Health Education.