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Talia Jaide Ní Dufaigh

Current Employer
Washington State Employment Security Department
Current Position/Title
Supervisor, WorkSource Thurston
Years as IAWP member:
Number of Workforce Development/International Educational Conferences attended:
Please list your past IAWP leadership experience including at the International, District, and Chapter level:
  • Washington State Chapter President
  • Washington State Chapter President Elect
  • WA Northwest Chapter President
  • Washington State Community Service Chair
  • Awards Committee Member
  • Conference Committee Member
  • Veterans Event Committee Member
  • Crab Feed Committee Member
List your experience with other boards. Include the name of the board and the position served (i.e. Youth Committee Member, Washington State Independent Living Council (WASILC)
Tell us about your experience leading groups towards a common goal or outcome. Please provide a specific example.
Trained local Order Control and Business Services Team of 5 and centralized Business Services Team on Customer Service Skills in an outbound/in-bound call center setting performing outreach; utilizing technology, scripts, data gathering techniques while prioritizing and managing multiple complex tasks and projects simultaneously to achieve performance goals. Provided coaching and trained Business Outreach and Order Control team members on the use of templates and organizational tips to post jobs, streamline tracking and measuring processes, and to market services. Wrote and proposed Business Services vision for WS Center Certification. Established and maintained working relationships with educational training institutions, employers, public agencies, and community-based organizations to enhance workforce development and connect educational program completers to jobs through the application of concepts related to human resource functions such as training, workforce planning, recruitment and assessment. Analyzed goals and strategic objectives to coordinate, strengthen and enhance performance of Business Services team members engaging King County Employers through inbound, outbound, and field services supporting state-wide workforce development initiative, ‘Retooling Washington’s Workforce Business Outreach and Referrals Work Plan as a team. Results: 1) Provided Workforce Development/Business Services Manager project roll-up data, meeting area economic vitality measures, for report at Governors’ GMAP (Government Management Accountability and Performance); 2) Ensured 100% requirement compliance for posting and promoting jobs created under the ARRA Stimulus Program (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009); 3) Captured quantitative and on new jobs posted to King County job search website,; 4) Designed, implemented and trained team members on performance tracking using Excel spreadsheets; 5) Captured qualitative data on customer service on Featured Employers, Hiring Events, and Veteran Job fairs including internal/external partners; 6) Increased sharing of Best Practices; 7) Applied new techniques to match employers skill requirements with job seekers by occupation and industry; and 8) Proactively negotiated with Microsoft’s Veteran’s Diversity Taskforce liaison, WorkSource leadership, and Technical Support to resolve policy and productivity issues facing employers required to post jobs on WorkSource website [to ensure its OFCCP compliance as a Federal Contractor Job Listing (FCJL) during the transition from America’s Job Bank (AJB) to the opening of JobCentral, the National Labor Exchange designed to guarantee Veteran’s Priority consideration in employment]. Successfully negotiated for Microsoft jobs to be posted by WorkSource sans wage requirement. Effectively communicating with each organization’s position, alerted team to the need for resolution of accidental system change that created accessibility challenges for job seekers accessing the Microsoft website. Working with Microsoft, the problem was resolved–in 1 weekend—which ensured their legal compliance with Workforce Investment Act (WIA), American’s with Disabilities (ADA) and EO and increased availability of jobs for customers; ensured compliance with accessibility, federal rules and regulations; and increased numbers of job seekers, specifically Veterans, hired by Microsoft in permanent jobs.
Tell us about a time when you strongly disagreed with a decision a group or team your were part of made.  What did you do to communicate before, during, and after the decision?
As a Program Coordinator 3, I did not agree with the decision of local/independent decision for Business Services Teams in a large County to compete for services based on the programs and populations served under the Workforce Investment Act. Background: Facilitated multi-agency workgroups for the purpose of engaging diverse stakeholders in the creation a grass roots initiative to facilitate job creation in industrial hubs and community renewal zones for the purpose of strategic planning. Analyzed the present state of Workforce Development partnerships. Identified, evaluated, and observed the resolution of complex/sensitive issues experience by WorkFirst customers and partnering program providers for the purpose of resolving unmet service delivery needs. Post individual interviews: coordinated key stakeholder presentations to introduce ‘Beyond Traditional Job Creation’ for the purpose of engaging stakeholders. Group Exercises: Utilized Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis) processes for the providers of Business Services in Pierce County. Thoroughly documented the process for incorporation into the Tacoma Concept, a project known as “Beyond Traditional Job Development” created by Victor Vasquez to transition to Community Trade and economic Development. Partnership Building: Applied all findings from the project, to create a Community Alliance with lead organizations representative of Workforce Development, WorkSource/WorkFirst Integration Communication Skills: Interacted with and read the audience – Identified agents of change, to gather a Community Alliance to develop connections to non-traditional employment opportunities; employer driven training programs; high wage/high demand jobs; an Apprenticeship Hub and Tribal connections working with economic development, government, and business. Determined the groups’ objectives and identified the potential for community-wide decision making to determine the diversity of the planning group and to assess whether or not there was value in convening the group. Identified targets of change and proposals to initiate an action plan, composed of information and ideas gathered while brain storming. Spoke to peers in program-specific technical and academic terms; conveying information according to the needs of the audience; receiving and understanding spoken information. Identified key stakeholders to participate in a grass-roots initiative, “Beyond Traditional Job Development”, to reduce duplication of services and embrace non-cyclic, meaningful high wage/high demand short-term training and job opportunities. Organized participation in the identification of key stakeholders to participate in a Community Alliance and in the development of a strategic plan to initiate the “Beyond Traditional Job Development” project for replication in three test economic development areas. Outcome/Work products: Initiated the First Community Alliance in Peirce County to target the needs of business and labor; created and informed small business on opportunities for small business expansion, tax credits and incentives, and related benefits such as operating in community renewal zones. At the same time, engaged employers in the process of workforce development using the Urban League and Salishan Hope VI Project as a model for the creation of short-term/high demand/high wage job opportunities. -Outcome/Work products: Facilitated integration of service providers with conflicting goals and performance measures, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and the Department of Social and Health Services in the creation of short-term/high demand/high wage job opportunities.
What is your preferred way to communicate?  Why?
Within the 4 ways to navigate different communication styles at work, fall back to a task-oriented ‘Conscientious’ style described as systematic, logical, reserved, process-orientated, cautious, and risk-averse when I am new to a team. However, I move to the ‘Steady’ approach, rather quickly, which is described as cooperative, relaxed, patient, support-oriented, friendly and thorough. As a expansion of my communication skill set, to help coach and motivate others; I like to move myself into the Influencer role, defined as outgoing, enthusiastic, persuasive, relationship-oriented, lively, and optimistic. Most often, I do not choose to communicate within the Dominant role. To the latter, I have received coaching that I should be more decisive. If I have invested a great deal into a project, I do find that I am efficient in these communications, intense, results-oriented, and competitive. My goal, in terms of competitive, is to keep it fun and recognize all contributions. Within the Dominant communication style, risk-tolerance is something that I flex to with influences such as Lean-in and Fail Forward. If one were speaking to another of the many 4 communication style models, to include passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive; I have to honestly say that I utilize all types of these behaviors and do not prefer to be passive-aggressive. I prefer another model which includes Director, Relator, Socializer and Thinker. In this case, I seem to oscillate between Director (want’s small talk and get down to business) and Thinker (goes slow and wants time and space to think things through). Depending on where we are in a project, I also shift between Socializer (takes time to build a relationship and socialize with others) and Relator (likes warm and inviting people who focus on their feelings). As you can see, I flex between a variety of communication styles. This is valuable in the sense that it makes it easier to meet people where they are. If a difficult situation occurs, understanding where I am performing from and trying to recognize where others may be makes it easier to find a common ground. To this, I offer influences from ‘Crucial Conversations’ (I love the Shared Pool of meaning) and ‘Mindset’. In the virtual environment, reflection on communication styles has been well worth my time and energy.
Tell us about a time when you led an effort to make a change within a group, team, or organization.  What was your role? How did you lead? How did you deal with conflict or resistance? What was the outcome?
Outcome Supporting change in the State-wide WorkFirst Program, as Subgroup Facilitator, I brought qualitative and quantitative information from participating GE WorkOut front-line and supervisory WorkFirst Staff Members to Senior Leadership panel, which resulted in the removal of Tier 2 WorkFirst Measures. Role/Leading In support of my assigned group, I led individuals by allowing them to express their frustration with the work and helped move that frustration to solution development. When conflict arose, we recognized the situation and the emotion it was coming from (most often, it was specific to not being able to serve a customer in alignment with the program and the unfortunate amount of extra work a key performance measure was causing). The group recognized the phases of the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning process. Each member was recognized for their contributions and celebrated by the group and upon their presentation to Senior Leadership as a part of the GE Workout Process. Conflict/Resistance In my lead role, I dealt with conflict and resistance by interacting and reading audience for the purpose of program design and policy making. As a group, we engaged in problem definition, agenda formation, policy adoption, implementation, and policy evaluation (sunset), review and problem re-definition using the GE Workout Process. Facilitated productive interactions between team members discussing alternative tasks that could be streamlined into the time savings; reducing process steps to save time, effort and program money. The workgroup strove to build service capacity in absence of ‘restrictive performance measures’.
How have you promoted IAWP within your workplace and/or community?
• Social Media Promotion • Contributing the update/development of Washington’s COVID resource page for the WA State IAWP webpage • Marketing/Flyer Creation • Creating and Establishing Pies for Spirit • Supporting the Ugly Sweater Conference • Marketing IAWP to all those interested in Workforce Development • Supporting a Young Professional’s Rate for joining WA IAWP • Write-ups for Conferences published online • Advocating for Group payment for Workforce360 • Promoting Virtual Social Hour • Veterans Day Recognition Video Development • Presentation of Awards from IAWP at Veteran Events (late summers) • Supporting IAWP Veteran Recognition (Veterans Day) • Collaborating w/ the Employment Security Department to promote “the association” • Attending IAWP Softball Events and assisting with set-up • Community Service Events • Bowling Night • Baseball Game Attendance (with a sign on the reader board) • Creating/funding the Kingston-Rainier Memorial Scholarship • Helping new members attend events financially • Recognizing the passing of our Members • Supporting the Southwest Crab Feed 2018 and 2019 • Building a Trello Board with Projects for Review by those active and in-active in the Organization • Supporting the creation of a local 501C3 (Did not work out) • Volunteering for State Conference Planning 74th, 75th, and 76th • Hosted/facilitated fireside chat with Employment Security Department, Commissioner Levine, at the 76th Annual International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP) Conference • Moderated Reentry Panel with Q&A session at the 75th Annual IAWP Conference to introduce Ban the Box, highlight disparate impact and diversity, inclusion, and opportunities for the Business Community • Providing Group Lunch-n-Learns • Wrote international and state winning awards for Innovation in Workforce Development (Power of a Job; Lean Culture; & Lean Process Improvement Inventory) • Submitted 2 additional awards, to recognize the Employment Security Department for International in 2020 • Volunteering/Tabling at the 2003 State Conference (Tacoma?)
In light of COVID, Washington State Employees are not allowed to travel by order of the Governor. In the future, based on a variety of models to be considered by the Washington State Employment Security Department; remote work may be approved, which would support travel. My current Administrator, supports virtual/phone meetings for IAWP.