A Human Workplace Virtual Gatherings Week of June 8-12

Renee Smith, founder of A Human Workplace and past ICSEW conference presenter has a few virtual gatherings this week on Working Alone Together. One of the webinars is geared to those who identify as women and ‘Standing Together for Love and Justice’ focuses on leaning into the work of overturning racial injustices. 

image of Renee Smith
Renee Smith


From Renee Smith:

Take time this week for self-compassion and connection

We are each facing a lot, holding so much…The pandemic. Opening the economy. Grief over the attrocities of racial injustice. We want to take wise actions, to listen and learn, to figure out what we can do.

Our nervous systems, bodies, minds, emotions are overloaded. I know I’m feeling it – I am guessing you are too?

To stay present and strong for ourselves and for those who depend on us, it’s a good time for self-compassion, for community and human connection.

Join us to connect with others, lower your cortisol, recover your energy and mental focus while experiencing practices you can use again and again.

Working Alone Together – for anyone: June 9  •  9:00 – 11:00 AM PDT
Hosted by Lori Heffelfinger and James Jackman. Learn more here.

Women Working Alone Together – for those identifying as women: June 10  •  9:00 – 11:00 AM PDT
Hosted by Shannon Patterson and Gina Lavery. Learn more here.

Standing Togther for Love and Justice – for anyone: June 11 •  1-2:30 PM PDT
Hosted by Derick Carter, Greg Flynn and Renee Smith. Learn more here.

Next Week: More Human Now begins. Join us!
This new 6-part series will help you move intentionally through the grief and overwhelm of these times by cultivating human skills, using evidence based practices for well-being, and moving toward qualities you care about – now.
June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21 • 1:00 – 2:30 PM
Hosted by Renee Smith and Greg Flynn. Learn more here.

With compassion,

Renée Smith, MSOD
Founder and CEO of A Human Workplace
she/her pronouns | to learn about pronouns
renee@makeworkmorehuman.com | 253-225-1001

More love. Less fear. Inspiring results.

Virtual Workshop: Working Alone Together Tuesday, March 31

woman beside laptop
photo courtesy of Unsplash

ICSEW is partnering with Renee Smith, Founder of A Human Workplace, to bring you this timely opportunity for support. “A Human Workplace Virtual Gathering: Working Alone Together” takes place Tuesday, March 31 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon via Zoom.

We are all working in a time of unprecedented challenges. We know you’re trying to adapt to this very difficult time. Many of us are facing loneliness, stress, and overwhelm but perhaps also strangely some hope. We may be struggling to work with kids at home or with the isolation of being alone 24/7. We may be questioning our value and purpose. We may enjoy working from home and the short “commute.” But we may also be worried about the safety of vulnerable family and friends or our financial security.

image of Renee Smith
Renee Smith

We want you to know that we care about you and want to support you during this time of uncertainty.

We are partnering with Renee Smith, founder and CEO of A Human Workplace who is offering Virtual Gatherings via Zoom.  This Gathering will help us to…

• Connect with each other while we are in the middle of this experience.
• Discuss practical tactics for building our person to person connection while we are isolated.
• Discover hope for the future and resilience to sustain us while we get there.

Join us for a conversation about “working alone together” in the age of COVID-19.

There is no charge to register and attend this event. Register here today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-human-workplace-virtual-gathering-for-icsew-working-alone-together-tickets-101099051986

For information on A Human Workplace visit www.MakeWorkMoreHuman.com

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.

2019 Transition Celebration Recap

Story and Photos by Tanyah Williams, Washington State Patrol
& Rachel Friederich  ICSEW Communications Chair

group of women standing in rotunda
ICSEW members listen to a tour guide inside the Legislative Building rotunda

More than 60 ICSEW members and guests attended the ICSEW’s annual Transition Ceremony & Celebration at the Washington State Legislative Building in Olympia July 16. 

The ICSEW welcomed 31 people who had become representatives or alternate members for their state agencies over the past fiscal year. The ICSEW also recognized 20 representatives and alternate representatives who had completed their service.

It also included two professional development trainings and an update from Rep. Doglio about new legislation impacting women and families that went into effect July 1 and work of the Washington State Women’s Commission.  The commission works to improve the well-being of all women in the state of Washington. It has up of nine voting members and four seats held by legislators who serve as non-voting advisory members. Doglio holds one of the legislative member seats.

Renee Smith

Renee Smith
Renee Smith talks about making work more human

Renee Smith, Director of the Workplace Transformation at the Results Washington, Office of the Governor, spoke on Human Work:  Leading and Teaming in an Era of Empathy.   

Smith says the best, most productive teams, are ones that make workplaces more human though loving gestures. But historically, workers have been trained to work in environments that are the opposite of love: fear.

Smith did research on this phenomenon by collecting “fear” and “love” themed stories form employees about how they were treated by leaders.  She said in fear environments, people:

  • Do not know how to be successful after change
  • Betrayed
  • Humiliated
  • Isolated during personal crisis
  • Uncomfortable during personal crisis

By contrast, in love-centered environments, employees said they:

  • Leaders cared about them
  • Had a healthy team/family
  • Felt supported in a personal crisis

So how do we make work more human?

Smith offered these tips:

  • Be there for each other
  • No more “Mean Girls” (raise each other up and don’t gossip about each other)
  • Question assumptions
  • Question ideal-era norms

She concluded her presentation with these words of wisdom:

  1. When people are comfortable, they perform better.
  2. Take off your mask.  They hide our real beauty.  They prevent us from connecting authentically.
  3.  Align words and actions.
  4. Bring our whole selves and welcome others to bring theirs.
  5. Transform workplaces with love and empathy.”

Beth Doglio

Beth Doglio
Rep. Beth Doglio gives an update about the Women’s Commission

Doglio, who represents the state’s 22nd legislative district, said the commission identified 15 priority bills in the 2019 legislative session, 11 of which passed. Doglio talked about a few of the bills enatacted into law at the Transition Celebration including:

  • HB 1303, which removes certain restrictions on subsidized health care for students at higher education institutions
  • HB 1713, which improves law enforcement response to mission and murdered Native American Women
  • HB 1166, which provides funding to eliminate a backlog of more than 10,000 untested rape kits
  • HB 1696,legislation designed to reduce the gender wage gap which prevents private employers from asking perspective candidates about their past wage histories
  • SB 5258, which would require companies that employ people who work in isolated environments (such as hostel housekeepers, janitors and security guards) to provide electronic panic buttons and sexual harassment prevention training

Linda Tilson

Linda Tilson
Linda Tilson talks about the ins and outs of networking

All attendees participated in a ‘lunch and learn’ session “Networking from a Place of Giving,” with Linda Tilson. Tilson is the co-founder of Coaching Hub.  Coaching Hub is a coaching platform that connects clients, coaches and people that support coaches together in order to accomplish their mission and vision.

Participants learned how to network using “appreciative inquiry.” Tilson says the concept of this form of networking is to “train your brain to actively listen.”

She says when most people go to a networking session, they’re taught the “30-second elevator pitch,” which is often rehearsed and scripted with key points you want to say.  But when you use appreciative inquiry, your mission is to listen to what a person is saying to find out what’s important to them.

“You lead with love, and logic comes second,” Tilson said.

For the exercise, participants paired up with a partner to respond to the question “If you could do more of something, what would it be?”  The person who was listening was supposed to ask follow-up questions to their partner to learn about the other person’s passions. At the end of the exercise, each participant had to introduce their partner and talk about something they learned about the person.

Tilson said by using “appreciative inquiry” in networking, it sets you up for more organic conversations and gives you more opportunities to share information freely and openly.

Meeting Minutes, along with the annual report and Transition Celebration program can be found here.




Professional Development Conference Speaker: Renee Smith

Renee Smith

The ICSEW will be publishing biographies and session descriptions of our Professional Development Conference presenters in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 27 conference. To register, please visit EventBrite.

Does LOVE Belong at Work?

This fast-paced, fun, interactive workshop will explore the practice of decreasing fear and increasing love at work. It will also explore the many types of love that are part of being human and successful at work. We aren’t talking about romantic love, but love expressed in respect, trust, kindness, empathy, appreciation, and inclusion – appropriate for the workplace and that in fact we need to thrive and achieve performance.

Through stories, reflection, and small group dialogue, participants will come to better understand loving experiences that support our best contributions, surprising innovations and effective collaborations. 

Renee Smith

As Director of Workplace Transformation at Results Washington, Office of the Governor, Renée champions a more humane and effective workplace through primary research, writing, and speaking on making work more human by increasing love and decreasing fear in the workplace. Renée leads the development of services and resources for state leaders, teams, and organizations to make Washington state government workplaces more human.

Before joining Results Washington, Renée spent nearly seven years at the Department of Enterprise Services leading the Organization Development Services division that provided Lean Transformation Services and Change Excellence Services to DES and Government-to-Government Lean consulting to other state and local governments.

Renée earned a Master of Science in Organization Development from Pepperdine University. She lives in a 102-year-old craftsman home in Tacoma and enjoys drawing for pleasure, cooking for friends and family, exploring foreign cities and swimming in the Mediterranean.

Lineup Announced for Transition Celebration July 16 in Olympia

Image of Renee Smith
Renee Smith


OLYMPIA—Renee Smith, director of Workplace Transformation for the Governor’s Results Washington office will speak at the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women ICSEW, annual transition celebration. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 16 inside the Columbia Room at the state Legislature Building, 416 Syd Snyder Ave. in Olympia. 

Admission is free and includes a catered lunch. Anyone interested in attending should register on Event Brite. 

The transition celebration is one of the ICSEW’s largest events of the year. It celebrates the committee’s accomplishments over the past year and also serves as a way for the general public and perspective members to learn about the committee’s work. The event is filled with inspirational speakers and professional development activities. Perspective members and current members are encouraged to attend and bring guests and their agency sponsors. 

Additionally, there will also be an induction ceremony of new ICSEW members and awards recognition for outstanding achievements of current members. The ICSEW will also honor outgoing members who have completed their terms of service.   

About Renee Smith: As Director of Workplace Transformation at Results Washington, Smith champions a more humane and effective workplace through primary research, writing, and speaking on Making Work More Human by increasing love and decreasing fear in the workplace. Renée leads the development of services and resources for state leaders, teams, and organizations to make Washington State government workplaces more human. 

Before joining Results Washington, Renée spent nearly seven years at the Department of Enterprise Services leading the Organization Development Services division that provided Lean Transformation Services and Change Excellence Services to DES and Government-to-Government Lean Consulting to other state and local governments.