Commentary: Build up and Amplify to Strengthen Community

handwritten notes on an index card
Notes taken by Marie Splaine a recent ICSEW meeting. Splaine says the notes represent a concept she learned at a “graphic facilitation” training. Photo by Marie Splaine.

By Marie Splaine, Department of Commerce

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on the Department of Commerce’s agency blog.

The Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW, meets every two months in Olympia. It’s a great group of state workers, and I am super excited to represent the Department of Commerce on the committee. I look forward to these meetings because they’re filled with valuable information and tips that anyone can take back and apply to their personal and professional lives.

In July, committee members heard from Renee Smith from Results Washington and Rep. Beth Doglio at our bimonthly meeting. We heard good messages about taking care of others and ourselves.

We all know supporting those around us helps strengthen our communities inside and outside Commerce. For example, think how great it feels when someone checks in with you when you’ve had a rough day or when you get a compliment on a project you worked hard on.

New movements lead to change, and our speakers encouraged attendees to be part of the movements. So let’s try to build up others around us at least once a day. It could be a smile in the hall, asking how someone is doing, or maybe noticing someone seems different from usual and might need a friendly ear.

We also discussed amplification.

Women in the Obama administration adopted amplification as a way to make sure they were heard in meetings. After one woman offered an idea, if it wasn’t acknowledged, another woman would repeat it and give her colleague credit for suggesting it.

The Washington Post also wrote an article about amplification that’s worth checking out.

So how can we support one another?

  • Bring our whole selves
  • Align our words and actions
  • Take off our masks
  • Bring our real selves to work
  • Question assumptions
  • Take care of ourselves

Pick one to try, and our movement will carry throughout our communities.

March 2019 Meeting Recap

The Interagency Committee of State Employed Women, ICSEW, had another successful meeting March 26 full of informative presentations and interactive training. Below is a recap of the guest presentations. Note: Meeting minutes and training session handouts are available on our Meting Minutes page.

Women holding a book in front of a podium
Amy Leneker (far left) coaches a couple of meeting attendees during her Clifton Strengths seminar.

Amy Leneker

Amy Leneker gave an interactive training on identifying and maximizing one’s Clifton Strengths.

Clifton Strengths are named after Dr. Don Clifton, former chairman of The Gallup Organization. Gallup conducted several years of research on personality types. The research suggested people who best understand their strengths and behaviors will be best-equipped to deploy those strengths in their personal and professional lives.

Leneker showed meeting attendees how to find their top five strengths. She taught attendees how to best use those strengths, and recognize when those strengths become weaknesses. She did a couple of individual coaching sessions. Workshop attendees also got to team up with partners for an exercise that allowed attendees to brainstorm ways to combine different strengths.

Women writing in workbooks at a table
ICSEW reps, alternates and guests fill in responses in their Clifton Strengths workbook during a professional development training.

For more information on Clifton strengths or to take the Clifton Strengths assessment, go to:

Dr. Arne Gundersen

Man pointing to PowerPoint slide about teeth.
Dr. Gundersen illustrates the effects of gum disease.

Dr. Arne Gundersen, from Gundersen Dental Care  in Thurston County gave a health and wellness talk. His presentation, “The Link between Oral Health and Wellness,” illustrated the correlation between periodontal disease and its impact on our overall health.

He said periodontal disease (the body’s inflammatory response to infections caused by buildup of bacteria and debris around the teeth and gums) can put you at risk for more serious diseases like diabetes and heart attacks.

He offered a series of preventative tips like using electric toothbrushes and/or a water pic.

Women’s History Month

collage of women representing various occupations
Image courtesy of

March is Women’s History Month. Rebecca Llewellyn, the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference and Events Manager for the Department of Labor and Industries also gave a brief presentation on events L&I sponsored for Women’s History Month.

L&I has a Women’s History Month Display in its lobby with a newsletter with Women’s History Facts and a list of books and movies on women’s history.

ICSEW Professional Development Training Now Available Through LMS


Did you know you can get ICSEW professional development training on your employee transcript?

If you’re a state employee, you can register for professional development trainings through the state agency Learning Management Systems, (LMS).

Here’s How: When logged into LMS, type in “WA State ICSEW” in the Course Catalog search field to view upcoming meetings and trainings.

Descriptions of all upcoming training will be posted on our blog and our upcoming meetings page.

Note: All meeting and event attendees must still register through EventBrite. Anyone who would like the training added to their transcripts should register through LMS after they have registered through EventBrite.

 Questions? Email