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Grazie to Italy!

Thank you Italy! Over the past several months I’ve been honored and happy to work in Italy! Due to Covid it has all been remote but I am optimistic and looking forward to working in-person with my new Italian colleagues.

All of this has been possible thanks to my stellar colleague and friend Richard Hotchner. A big shout-out of gratitude for Rick!

Here’s a peek at some of the work …

Abitudini Per Una Maggiore Produttivita = Habits For Higher Productivity

I taught “Habits for Higher Productivity” to students at Free Mind Foundry Academy in Catania, Sicily. It was a productive learning environment and fun cultural exchange. Thankfully all the students spoke fluent English!

Lorenzo Vetrano | Project Manager Instructor and 12 students

We took an authentic look at habits that HURT Project Managment productivity including:

* blaming others and not taking responsibility
* lazy (lazy or is it really fear, depression or self-sabotage?!)
* imposter syndrome
* negative mindset
* lack of loyalty
* overly sensitive to comments and criticism
* judgmental
* react vs respond
* procrastinate and miss deadlines

And… then we took POSITIVE STEPS for healthy habits for increased productivity:

* deeper self-awareness and self-accountability
* tips on transforming a negative into a positive
* healthy habits to ensure productive professional and personal outcomes

Fun and meaningful conversations create positive learning experiences and outcomes!


Project Management Institute in Southern Italy

Rick and I co-taught “Empower Your Soft Skills, Gain Your Hard Power”

Please meet Rick Hotchner! He uses examples of the leadership skills he honed after retiring from the CIA in 2018 as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service after 28 years of service in the Directorate of Operations. He served as a Deputy Chief of global counterterrorism operations in the CounterTerrorism Mission Center, and was the senior deputy of a national, strategic program with a billion-dollar budget and thousands of personnel. I personally always find Rick to be authentically caring, approachable, empathetic and an excellent listener. He is a leader I respect, trust and am honored to work alongside.

Course Objectives: Build your own path. Communicate effectively. Deal with complex situations.

SOFT SKILLS = emotional intelligence, advanced communication and working toward self-mastery.

I share my academic education in cognitive, social and behavioral studies with real-life examples of successes and failures and their consequences and valuable lessons learned.

HARD POWER = servant leadership that is inclusive, inspiring, decisive, empathic, powerful and productive.


A special thanks to Vincenzo Vitiello e Davide Maniscalco for these two interviews in Italy.

AFECA – Capitolo di Roma: Interview Questions – 1st Round

Abbreviated Questions:

  • Rick, In assessing the challenge of Islamist terrorism and the need to build capacity to counter it, how important for strategic success is the counter-ideology component?
  • Rick, will you please talk about your approach to leading officers and teams working the counterterrorism mission?
  • Abigail, in addition to being a mother of two United States Marines, you work with the U.S. military and in the corporate environment to develop individual skill sets and team culture. Will you please discuss how you see the role of soft skills as it applies to both the military and the workplace?
  • Abigail, are there any take-aways you can share from your work that illustrate how leaders can leverage soft skills to enable and empower their teams to achieve mission success?


AFECA – Capitolo di Roma: Interview Questions – 2nd Round

Abbreviated Questions:

  • Rick, could you give us a sense of how your leadership philosophy worked in practice?
  • Rick, what soft skills did you need to be a successful leader at the Agency? Can you give us a few anecdotes?
  • Abigail, could we talk, also for the pandemic and its consequences, about PTS? And how is it possible to cope with such an extensive, deep discomfort that, from the beginning of 2020 until today, still does not see a reassuring light at the end of the tunnel?
  • Abigail, is it already possible to define and identify post-pandemic behavioral categories for different types of individuals, especially in the professional field, and where the answer is affirmative, what are the approaches adopted in this regard?
  • Abigail, can you give us your overview on how these two concepts (soft skills and hard power) are combined in social life and how these toolboxes are used in your professional activity, especially in working with national security agencies?

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