Brenda Clark Hamilton is a dynamic keynote speaker and workplace trainer who provides fresh perspectives in leadership, communication skills, team-building, and offering one’s best self to life, relationships, and career.
A skilled and respected educator, Brenda’s career experiences include coordinating professional development for 1200 teachers, serving on the Iowa Department of Education’s Professional Development Stakeholders Group, and managing multiple projects as Professional Development Consultant for an Iowa education agency. Brenda holds a master’s degree in English Education, has supervised student teachers for two Iowa colleges, and has taught numerous graduate-level courses for teachers.
Since launching Fresh Coffee Professional Growth Programs in 2005, Brenda has become a nationally-recognized speaker and audience favorite at conferences, conventions, association meetings, and within workplaces in every field imaginable. Audiences are quick to note Brenda’s sense of humor, in-depth and timely knowledge, and skill at keeping an audience engaged throughout her presentations. They often use the words “practical” and “fun” to describe how Brenda provides them with concrete, usable strategies and combines a presentation of content with audience interaction, which inevitably leads to funny, spontaneous moments.
The content for Fresh Coffee presentations comes from Brenda’s everyday career and life experience combined with her ongoing study of how to maximize individual potential. “I’m someone who really pays attention to how people live their lives, and I’m an avid reader of materials related to personal and professional growth. I’m always trying to come up with new ways to educate, intrigue, and challenge individuals to come up to the next level.”
“Recalculating! Skills for When Life’s GPS Takes an Unexpected Turn” We’ve all experienced that moment when, traveling our journey of life, the road takes a sudden, unexpected turn, and our life’s GPS announces, “Recalculating!” For most of us, these sharp turns are laden with a certain discomfort or even dread of what might lie ahead. This fun, upbeat, and interactive session is chock-full of practical, take-home strategies, based on current research into how to face times of uncertainty with strength, wisdom, and creativity. The next time your life’s GPS announces, “Recalculating!” you’ll be looking forward to the opportunity, not anticipating the worst.
“Bring Your A-Game…to Every Aspect of Your Life” What does it mean to “Bring Your A-Game”? What percent of the time would you say that you bring the very best you have to offer to your work life, your home life, and your relationships? In this fun, interactive session, we will explore—in a very painless way—what the latest research has to say about ways to keep yourself feeling upbeat and energized on a day-to-day basis. Join us in taking the “Are You In a Rut?” test and in learning practical strategies for shaking things up and bringing your A-Game to your relationships and to every aspect of your life.
“Leading Others Through Organizational Change – Strategies and Insights for Managerial Success” Woodrow Wilson said, “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” Undoubtedly, periods of organizational change are some of the most challenging, and potentially rewarding, times for managers. This engaging, interactive session is focused on strategies for managers helping employees through organizational changes. We’ll discuss several stages that individuals and organizations tend to go through when facing change, including common managerial pitfalls to avoid during the change process. We’ll explore the range of emotions that managers may encounter in employees, and provide practical strategies for preventing and resolving emotionally-charged conflicts. Finally, we’ll discuss strategies for personal strength and resilience during periods of change, understanding that the better equipped you are to personally navigate change, the more dynamic leader you will be for your employees.
“Communication Strategies for Managerial Success” How important is communication to your success as a manager? Both research studies and practical experience scream, “Very important!” In this engaging, interactive session, we will explore the many components that comprise excellence as a communicator, particularly when serving in a managerial role. Topics to be covered include setting clear expectations for staff, giving effective praise and feedback, the role of verbal and nonverbal communication, and how to communicate in ways that keep tense conversations calm and productive. You will leave armed with practical, take-home strategies that you can implement immediately in your current position to make you more confident and effective.
“The Mentally Strong Leader – Strategies for Facing Uncertainty with Quiet Confidence” Eleanor Roosevelt said, “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” In many of our ever-changing industries, today’s leaders are being asked to demonstrate steady fortitude in uncertain and volatile times. This engaging session focuses on how leaders can become consistently mentally strong in order to face these challenges with a quiet confidence that says, “I can face whatever is thrown my way.” Using compelling research and real-life examples, Brenda will provide participants with practical, take-home strategies for remaining positive, level-headed, and assured, i.e., truly the type of leader up to the task of leading their people through whatever the future holds.
“Death By Meeting? – Learn the Skills to Run Productive, Positive, and Efficient Meetings” Even the most skilled and experienced managers have times when they dread running the upcoming team or project meeting. The diversity of personalities, roles, personal agendas, and communication styles often make meeting facilitation a genuine challenge. This engaging session will provide participants with practical, take-home strategies to increase their skills and confidence in facilitating productive, upbeat, and efficient meetings. Topics to be covered include soliciting and managing robust and civil idea exchange, preventing and/or addressing common hindrances such as side-bar conversations, and critical pre and post-meeting work to ensure a seamless transition between meetings.
“Toxic Individuals in the Workplace – How Can We Protect Our Organizations?” More and more research has been conducted in recent years on the significant, negative impact that so-called “toxic individuals” have on workplaces. This session will identify several types of toxic individuals and what we, as organizational leaders, can do to make our workplaces strong and healthy organizations where toxic individuals do not thrive. Utilizing research from Kusy and Holloway (Toxic Workplace!: Managing Toxic Personalities and Their Systems of Power, Jossey-Bass, 2009), we will explore effective and ineffective strategies for dealing with toxic individuals, including strategies at the organizational, team, and individual level.
“Success Strategies for Times of Change” It has been said that the only real certainty in life is change. An ability to navigate change at work and home with strength, optimism, and an open mind affects not only your success in these areas but also your happiness and peace of mind. This engaging, interactive session will provide practical, take-home strategies for approaching change in ways that lead to successful outcomes. We’ll discuss common stages that individuals and organizations go through when facing change, including how to overcome specific obstacles such as fear of the unknown and conflicts with others going through the change process with you. Reluctance to change is a normal human emotion, but learning skills for confidently navigating change sets you up for a bright future…personally and professionally.
“Rally Your Communication Mojo!” How confident are you when you socialize or do business with others? Do you look forward to speaking in front of a group…or break out in hives at the thought? In this engaging, interactive session, we will explore simple strategies for increasing your skills and confidence as a communicator. We’ll cover key areas including word choices, clarity of message, consideration of audience, nonverbal communication, the art of small talk, and how to make others feel valued and at ease in your presence. These strategies can be immediately implemented in a range of business and social settings to make you feel more confident and be more effective when you communicate.
“Skills for Handling Workplace Conflicts – Being Thoughtful of Both People and Results” We’re all going to be faced with conflicts and disagreements with others throughout our lives. For most of us, it’s our least favorite part of living with, and working with, other people. The good news is that there are some simple techniques you can learn to increase your skills and confidence in dealing with conflicts—at work and at home—in more peaceful, effective ways. Join us in identifying your own, natural style of responding to conflict and in learning what to say—and not to say—to keep difficult conversations calm and productive. Attendees will leave armed with practical, take-home strategies for “fighting fair” and experiencing the power that comes with approaching conflicts in ways that are considerate of both people and results.
“That Sweet Blend – Strategies for Achieving Tremendous Success When Working Toward a Common Goal” Baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth once stated, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” This engaging, interactive session will focus on strategies for working synergistically as a team to achieve a common goal, despite diverse backgrounds, perspectives, life experiences, and personalities. We’ll identify common hindrances to team success, and provide practical, take-home strategies for communicating, listening, respecting, and ultimately, maximizing individual and team capabilities.
“Respecting & Appreciating Generational Differences in the Workplace” Radio Babies, Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, Generation Y…we’ve all heard the terms, and chances are that your workplace contains a sampling of each of these generations working side by side. This engaging, interactive program is designed to increase understanding of the different points of view that each generation brings to a workplace. Participants will leave armed with practical, take-home strategies for respecting generational differences and maximizing the benefits of working on, or leading, a multi-generational work team.
“Without Saying a Word – The Power of Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace” Research from UCLA tells us that 55% of what people pick up from us in communicating is through our body language. This engaging and practical session will help you become more effective at reading others’ body language…and better understand what you might be saying through your own! We’ll cover several aspects of nonverbal communication, including hand/arm gestures, positions when seated or standing, facial expressions, and hand-shake positions. You’ll learn how to establish a base line for interpreting others’ body language and how to decode universal nonverbal behaviors. Throughout the session, we will incorporate real-life workplace applications, so participants will leave with information that is not only fascinating but also helpful in successfully working with others.
“I Know I’m Supposed to be Wonder Woman, but I Don’t Have Any Bullet-Blocking Bracelets!” Remember Wonder Woman and her bracelets that could deflect any bullets aimed at her? As women, sometimes it seems like “bullets” are coming at us from all directions: multiple responsibilities, too-high expectations, difficult people, and daily aggravations. In this fun, interactive session, you will learn strategies to take you from burnt out and overwhelmed, to vibrant, passionate, and—dare I say—powerful!
“Pretty Amazing…Just as I Am!” Do you feel “pretty amazing” just as you are, imperfections and all? One of the most beautiful traits a woman can possess is a quiet confidence in who she is. This confidence involves an understanding of what makes her unique and a willingness to use her strengths to enrich others’ lives. In this inspirational, interactive session, we will deepen your understanding of your own worth, and you will learn take-home tools for maintaining and increasing that quiet, genuine confidence on a daily basis. You will gain strategies for learning from past mistakes without dwelling on them, and for planning a future that entices you. And, if Brenda has her way, you will leave this session believing with all of your heart that you are truly amazing…just as you are!
“If you’re looking for practical, fresh, and engaging content, look no further than Brenda Clark Hamilton. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Brenda on several occasions, and our members always walk away energized and armed with new ideas to take back to their office. Brenda has a wealth of knowledge to share and presents the information in such a way that is fun, useful, and memorable. Brenda is down to earth, genuine, and a blast to work with; we’ll continue to invite you back again and again!”
Sarah Ruzek, Director of Education, Midwest Society of Association Executives
“Brenda Clark Hamilton does a great job getting to know your business and how to relate her programs with your needs. She easily engages everyone with her smile and great personality.”
Rodney Davis, Human Resources Director, Suidae Health & Production
“I first saw your presentation on dealing with difficult people at an Iowa HFMA meeting. I remember thinking, in my travels to all my hospital and clinic clients I kept hearing that staffing issues keep them from focusing on the real job at hand – taking care of the patient! At that time, I was a programming chair for the Hawkeye AAHAM Chapter. I didn’t waste any time booking you for our next meeting. The feedback at the AAHAM meeting was immediate. Patient Accounts Managers and Billing Managers were grateful to have some real solutions to their more difficult staffing problems. Brenda, on behalf of Iowa AAHAM—thank you!”
Pamela A. Brindley, Regional Account Manager, H & R Accounts / MedPay Management Systems
“Working with Brenda has been a very positive experience. Her level of expertise and enthusiasm captivated the participants, along with her ability to get the audience involved during the presentation. I really appreciated being able to provide areas of emphasis that I wanted her to include in her presentation. Kossuth/Palo Alto Economic Development Corporation looks forward to many other training and development sessions. This is a great service our office can provide to our area leaders and government officials.”
Maureen Elbert, Executive Director, Kossuth/Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation