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Identifying and Addressing Communication Complexities

This workshop can be delivered in 2-hour, ½-day, 1-day, or 2-day formats in order to meet organizations’ varying needs. This highly interactive workshop introduces participants to communication complexities that can create barriers and present challenges to effective and productive communication. The primary objectives are for participants to gain an increased awareness that “the same things mean different things to different people,” to address the need to unlearn/relearn how we handle cultural differences and indifference, and to emphasize the need for listening for understanding (not necessarily agreement). Opportunities for introspection and increased self-awareness are provided via group discussions and exercises.

Approaches and best practices for building the capacity to promote constructive and meaningful communication with colleagues, peers, members of the community, stakeholders, and others are presented with an open mind toward the discovery of new solutions. Cultural awareness and the importance of diversity, understanding micro-aggressions and how they affect others, acquiring an awareness of one’s own biases, prejudices or lack of understanding, and strategies to facilitate an understanding and acceptance of others’ differences are points of emphasis.

Case studies are integrated into the ½-day, 1-day, and 2-day sessions to reinforce the importance of identifying and addressing the communication complexities.

Workshop Foundation

  1. Conversations regarding diversity, inclusion, and culture present many complexities.

  2. The same things mean different things to different people.

  3. Learning to be open to change and willing to learn, unlearn and relearn.

  4. Good listening skills should be acquired and practiced: Actively listening for understanding, not agreement.

Get Started

Connect with an expert today to begin planning a Diversity and Inclusion workshop.

Our team has delivered this training at multiple venues for hundreds of participants. Here is some of the feedback from participant workshop evaluations. 

“This class was very helpful with the controversial and sensitive topics we have to address and educate on.”

“The breakout groups were effective as they made you think of things for yourself. Different group members brought different perspectives and ideas.”

Meet the Facilitators

Mark Basnight Image

Mark Basnight

Vice President of Communications and Marketing, SummitET

Mark Basnight Image

Drew Diamond

Retired Tulsa Chief of Police and Nationally Recognized Expert on Community Policing and Racially Biased Policing

Mark Basnight Image

Rebecca Feaster

Public Relations and Government Communications, SummitET

Holly Hardin Image

Holly Hardin

Manager, Strategic Communications Program, SummitET

Randy Melton Image

Randy Melton

Human Resources Manager, SummitET

Mark Basnight Image

Frank Salomon

Deputy Chief/Public Information Officer, Phoenix Fire Department

Mark Basnight Image

Alvaro Zableta

Public Information Officer/Police Officer, Miami-Dade Police Department

Get Started

If your organization is interested in more information on this workshop, fill out this form and our experts will contact you directly. Or Call 630-642-5595.

Cost-sharing Options

Our strategic communications workshops are available as both in-person and virtually based facilitator led trainings that focus on attendee participation. Our experts use multimedia driven exercises and interactive tools and workbooks designed for small groups to maximize information sharing and learning. 

Facilitator Bios

Mark Basnight Image

Mark Basnight 

Director of Strategic Communications/Strategic Communication Program 
SummitET 

Mark Basnight manages strategic communication planning, training and exercise efforts to assist customers in being prepared for effective communication to internal and external stakeholders before, during and while recovering from emergencies, natural disasters, intelligent adversary incidents, national special security events, and internal crises. 

Before joining SummitET, Mark served as Senior Emergency Management Communication Analyst at Argonne National Laboratory and co-established the Public Affairs Science and Technology Fusion Cell as well as the National Public Affairs Academy. He was responsible for assisting government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private sector groups with plans, protocols, procedures, training, and exercises relating to internal and external affairs. 

A former Public Information Officer for the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD) and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management, Mark was responsible for the innovation of how the fire department and emergency management division engaged in public affairs. Basnight was the lead writer for all news releases and introduced new perspectives for interacting, gathering and disseminating information pertaining to public affairs. He was responsible for research, development, and initiation of social media technology. The CFD was one of the first public safety agencies (2009) on the east coast to employ social media for risk and crisis communications. Mark was recognized by the Charlotte City Council for his efforts to develop the synergies that led other areas of city government to utilize social media. 

Basnight is a founding member and a past Chair for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Virtual Social Media Working Group. He served as a Lead Public Information Officer during the 2012 Democratic National Convention and had a significant role in planning, coordinating and implementing the Joint Information Center for Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Mark has established relationships and worked closely with police departments across the nation, the FBI, and the U.S. Secret Service. He is an alumnus of the inaugural FEMA 389 Masters Public Information Officer Course and has served as an adjunct instructor for the Emergency Management Institute (Emmitsburg, MD). 

Basnight is a resourceful communication and public safety ace with over 32 years’ experience in these industries combined. He is accomplished at leading and managing national, regional, and tribal relations to promote knowledge, awareness, and support for multifaceted issues and programs. Mark has a degree in Communications and is sought after as a subject matter expert in the areas of media relations, crisis communications, emergency public information, Joint Information Systems\Centers and social media technology & strategy for public safety agencies. He is a nationally known communications crackerjack who has assisted dozens of communities and organizations in preparing to effectively communicate with multiple audiences during times of crises. 

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Drew Diamond 

Retired Tulsa Chief of Police and Nationally Recognized Expert on Community Policing and Racially Biased Policing 

Drew Diamond currently serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Tulsa and the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art. He came to Union after completing sixteen years as Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Mr. Diamond is the retired Tulsa Chief of Police. He completed twenty-two years of service with the Tulsa Police Department and served as Chief from October 1987 until his retirement in November of 1991.  Prior to joining the Tulsa Police Department, he was an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation until he entered the U.S. Army and became an Agent in the Army Criminal Investigations Command.  He is a graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma State University, the 116th Session of the FBI National Academy and the 12th Session of the FBI National Executive Institute. 

During his years as a police executive he became widely recognized as a leader in Community Policing and for his commitment to community service.  He initiated a number of progressive community-oriented reforms, including the development of innovative programs to improve the police response to persons with disabilities and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and hate crimes. He led a successful effort to reform the minority hiring and promotional practices of the police department. 

Mr. Diamond directed several large community policing projects for PERF, including: prisoner re-entry; Weed and Seed; Urban and Rural Neighborhood-Oriented Policing; Community Policing in Public Housing; Drug-Impacted Small Jurisdictions; Improving Police Response to People with Mental Illness; Training in Cultural Differences for Law Enforcement and Juvenile Justice Practitioners and a project for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women, to address domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking from a community policing perspective. In 2009 the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Police Services published two national studies he developed on the emergence of community governance and the future of community policing. 

He has served as an instructor at the Senior Management Institute for Police. He developed training, provided technical assistance, and facilitated national workshops on behalf of the U. S. Department of the Treasury Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of State Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance, National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Agency for International Development.  He also serves on the faculty of the National Academy for People with Developmental Disabilities, Temple University. 

In 2001 he co-authored a book entitled “Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response.” The book, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, guides law enforcement executives in their response to racially biased policing. 

During 1995 Mr. Diamond carried out a nine-month assignment in Washington, D.C. as the Director of the Community Policing Consortium project funded by the Department of Justice. He coordinated the efforts of the Consortium members, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, The Police Foundation, the National Sheriffs Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Police Executive Research Forum in designing and delivering community policing training and technical assistance nation wide. He also worked in Bosnia during the spring of 1996, providing technical assistance to the International Police Task Force. In recent years Mr. Diamond completed projects with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) providing community policing and training for JCF officers and community members and in Great Britain with the British Transport Police providing training and technical assistance. 

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Rebecca Feaster

Public Relations and Government Communications
SummitET

Rebecca is a member of SummitET’s strategic communications team and has worked in a variety of strategic communication leadership positions in the United States and internationally. She has facilitated and presented seminars and training around the world, and is known for her high-energy presentations and workshops. Rebecca specializes in “best-in-class” crisis communication and leadership communication training, developing communication training curriculum, facilitating community engagements, and providing cultural awareness and sexual harassment training programs.  Prior to opening her own firm, Rebecca served with a diverse number of organizations, including the City of Rockville, MD as the city’s public information officer, spokesperson for Virginia State Police, and as a communications consultant in the Middle East. While living in Bahrain, she worked as a reporter for Associated Press and Bahrain’s Ministry of Information. She also spent time as a public affairs officer in the US Air Force, at bases throughout the US, and in Saudi Arabia and Puerto Rico. She holds a Master of International Policy from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in economics from Tufts University, and is a certified mediator in the State of Virginia. In 2007, Ms. Feaster completed a fellowship program on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University.

NATIONAL RECOGNITION 

  • Stevie Award for Women in Business – National Community Involvement Program of the Year 
  • Fast Company Reader’s Choice FAST 50 (national recognition, business innovative) 
  • MarCom Creative Awards (Communication Training) 
  • Women in Business Achievement Award – Inside Business Magazine, Norfolk, VA
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Holly Hardin 

Manager, Strategic Communications Program 
SummtET 

As the Strategic Communications Program Manager at SummitET Holly manages, develops, and delivers public affairs, risk and crisis communication and emergency public information training, exercise support, and technical assistance. Holly also manages strategic communications research analysis, in addition to developing publications related to the enhancement of advanced communications systems for public safety and health. 

Prior to joining SummitET, Holly served as an Emergency Management Communications Analyst at Argonne National Laboratory and co-established the Public Affairs Science and Technology Fusion Cell, as well as the National Public Affairs Academy. At Argonne, Holly was responsible for assisting government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private sector groups with plans, protocols, procedures, training, and exercises relating to internal and external affairs. Prior to Argonne, Holly worked for the Department of Justice in counterterrorism programs and was a first responder in the Department of Energy Oak Ridge Reservation Joint Information Center where she also managed a cadre of technical experts and provided risk and crisis communication and digital/social media expertise to Federal, state, and local government agencies, in addition to the commercial nuclear industry. 

Holly holds 15 years’ experience in emergency management with a focus on training and technology development. She has developed and delivered public affairs technology training courses for government agencies and the commercial nuclear industry, in addition to providing emergency public information training and exercise support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) and Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program and the Department of Energy complex. 

Ms. Hardin served as project manager for the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Emergency Management Issues Special Interest Group Emergency Public Information Subcommittee and as a first responder in the Oak Ridge Reservation Joint Information Center. She has additional experience in risk and crisis communications training, performing emergency management system appraisals and analysis, and providing expertise in exercise evaluations, audits, and quality assurance. She holds a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Adult Education and is a FEMA Certified Master Exercise Practitioner. Additionally, Holly is a member of the DHS Science and Technology Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management and a former volunteer for the Colorado Virtual Operations Support Team. 

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Randy Melton

Human Resources Manager
SummitET

Randy Melton has been with SummitET for over 5 years managing all aspects of the HR department. Prior to SummitET he spent over 30 years working for Publix Supermarkets Inc., a Fortune 500 company, with a strong background in Human Resources, Management, and Customer Service.  As a Regional Associate Relations Specialist with Publix he provided HR support to divisional Vice Presidents, Regional Directors, District Managers, and Store Management, as well as over 9000 associates in over 60 + facilities. His position acted as a proactive force to prevent inappropriate practices and violations of law or corporate policies.  As a field representative, Mr. Melton played a key role in facilitating communication between the corporate Human Resources Department and the company’s operational units.  He has participated in numerous projects implemented and still used by Publix such as the Management Mentoring Program, Associate Transfer process, and Child Labor Hours Policy.   

Randy has extensive experience in conducting employment related investigations, monitoring federal and state compliance, administering management testing, monitoring management selection processes, providing human resources-related advice, and monitoring progress of diversity initiatives. He has facilitated many HR related training sessions and was instrumental in helping roll out the Publix Management Training Academy, a multi-day new management training session covering topics such as Conflict Management, EEO Laws, Harassment,  Performance Evaluations, Conducting Investigations, Proper Documentation, Importance of Diversity, Progressive Disciplinary Process, Proper Hiring and Separation practices.  

Randy received an AA degree from Daytona State College and attended the University of South Florida in Tampa majoring in Psychology.  He is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management and is currently working on his SCP certification. 

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Frank Salomon

Deputy Chief/Public Information Officer
Phoenix Fire Department

Francisco Roberto Salomon (Frank) is a native of Nogales Sonora, Mexico, and emigrated to the United States in 1969. Since 1985, Frank has been a member of the Phoenix Fire Department, where he has served in numerous ranks and capacities. He has ascended from the position of recruit Firefighter to Deputy Chief of the Public Affairs Division. His bi-cultural background, bilingual skills, and focus on community education, safety, and advocacy have allowed Frank to serve in various leadership capacities. These positions include, but are not limited to, Public Information Officer for the Phoenix Fire Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Program (US&R) and Flight Paramedic for Samaritan (PHI) AirEvac. Frank has been an active member of the Command Staff of the Blue Incident Support Team for FEMA US&R as the Information Officer for over ten years. Frank’s commitment and passion for instructing have taken him to various countries, states, and around Arizona as a representative for the State of Arizona Fire Marshal’s Office, as well as Arizona’s Department of Emergency Management. However, his real passion is using a variety of platforms to present life-saving education to the Spanish-speaking community.

As an instructor for Summit, Frank is excited to share his diverse and extensive experience in crisis communications from an emergency responder perspective. His many years of federal deployments as an Information Officer with FEMA US&R and 35 plus years with the Phoenix Fire Department as the Deputy Chief of Public Affairs, have given him a profound perspective and understanding of crisis communications that he is eager to share.

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Alvaro Zabaleta

Public Information Officer/Police Officer
Miami-Dade Police Department

Alvaro Zabaleta is a Police Officer and Public Information Officer with 21 years in law enforcement. Zabaleta currently serves as a Public Information Officer (PIO) for Miami-Dade Police Department.  Zabaleta has had the responsibility to handle Crisis Communications, Scene Management and National Events including major hurricanes (Katrina, Wilma and Irma) as well as two Super Bowl Joint Information Centers.  Locally, he has experience working police involved shootings, press conferences, scene management, and plane crashes.

At Miami-Dade Police Department Zabaleta’s duties include response to emergency calls for service, training recruits assigned to the district and training Basic PIO Seminars to local, state, and international audiences.  Additionally, Zabaleta is fluent in both English and Spanish.

In 2012 and 2015, Zabaleta coordinated fund-raising events for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. A total of $26,000 was raised for their organization. Miami-Dade County Mayor gave special recognition during the State of the County Address for the selfless work for a great cause.