Conference Speaking

Keynote – 45-60 Minutes

Keynotes are for large audiences at conferences or corporate meetings. Keynotes include storytelling, motivation, and inspiration.

From Conflict to Connection

Most of us avoid conflict because we see conflict as a problem, but conflict is not the problem: mismanagement is. When we mismanage conflict, we lose connection with ourselves and with others. In this keynote presentation, Marlene Chism, author of From Conflict to Courage says, “There has never been more conflict and division in our world. As a result, there has never been a greater opportunity; the opportunity to be a channel for chaos or a catalyst for clarity.” This presentation offers a new perspective on how conflict can be your greatest teacher personally, and a catalyst for leadership growth professionally.

General Sessions – 90-120 Minutes

General sessions are intended for the main stage at conferences or corporate events. Different from a keynote, a general session might include teaching methods, models, round-table discussion, and an opportunity for Q&A when time permits.

Achieving Leadership Clarity

You may have a strong group of leaders but still be weak in leadership clarity. That’s why there’s so much dysfunction between executive teams, boards of directors, and between boss and employees. Without a strong sense of leadership clarity, it’s easy to overreact to external conflicts smoothing things over or avoiding conversations entirely. Leadership clarity is the ability to see the situation clearly, articulate the desired outcome and identify the real or perceived obstacles. This session offers a model to improve decision-making and significantly increase clarity.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the three core components of leadership clarity 
  • Accurately describe the current reality 
  • Articulate the desired outcome 
  • Identify obstacles 
  • Distinguish between a priority and a distraction 
  • Spot obstacles and resistance 

Meet You Where You Are Forum

The Meet You Where You Are Forum is not a workshop nor a lecture, but an interactive facilitated discussion to explore possibilities, unearth conflicts and discuss relevant issues.

Provide an engaging and supportive environment for participants to discuss relevant concerns, learn new models, challenge the status quo,and co-create a mutually rewarding experience.

Forum Objectives

  • Co-create a conversation about important issues.
  • Give participants a space to voice concerns.
  • Invite the “elephant into the room.”
  • Address challenges in the moment with coaching.
  • Prepare and deliver a briefing of recommendations and observations.

Breakouts – 60-90 Minutes

Breakout sessions are for concurrent sessions at an association meeting but work equally well for corporate events as a general session or add-on virtual lab.

Release Resistance: Leading and Managing Difficult People

Guess what every difficult conversation has in common? Resistance. Resistance means the

conversation is either not advancing or not going in the direction you want. Because it’s so difficult to deal with resistance, many leaders avoid conversations, and as a result, they resist the resistance. Learn how to identify and test for resistance, as well as two techniques to overcome resistance.


  • Identify three types of resistance
  • Use a magic phrase to test for resistance
  • Learn a method to overcome resistance
  • Redirect non-productive conversations

Stop Workplace Drama: Coaching to Empowerment

Whether it’s negativity, complaining, or resistance, drama is an obstacle to collaboration and employee engagement. In this content-rich session, participants identify three root causes of drama that inhibit personal responsibility. Participants will learn coaching techniques (Tools for Transformation) by applying three communication skills to reduce resistance and promote healthy workplace relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the impact of negativity on health, effectiveness, and performance
  • Acquire three communication skills to move the conversation forward
  • Learn a coaching technique to promote personal responsibility
  • Understand the “fulcrum point of change” when navigating through resistance
  • Spot obstacles and resistance

Marlene’s Bio

Marlene Chism works with leaders to build drama-free cultures that drive growth and reduce costly mistakes. Marlene is known for helping managers address “the elephant in the room” and initiate conversations that get results.

Marlene is a recognized expert on the LinkedIn learning platform, producing five educational video series on topics that include anger management, working with high-conflict people, and having difficult conversations. She has a degree in Communications and a master’s in Human Resources Development, and she’s an advanced practitioner in Narrative coaching. Her most recent book, From Conflict to Courage, was nominated for an international award in the category of Learning Impact by getAbstract.