Monday, November 20, 2017

Women's Business Development Council 20th Anniversary Gala - Photos

The beautiful red jacket is
courtesy of DARA LAMB
I was honored to serve as Emcee and Event Producer for the Women's Business Development Council's 20th Anniversary Gala celebration at the Greenwich Hyatt on October 20.

The sold-out crowd of over 700 including elected officials, corporate professionals, entrepreneurs and stakeholders who came together to support WBDC in its mission to train and educate women entrepreneurs. 

Woman With Impact Honoree Dara Lamb, CEO and Designer, DARA LAMB Custom Clothing
Woman With Impact Honoree Abby Kohnstamm, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Pitney Bowes
The Honorable Linda McMahon, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
Fran Pastore, WBDC CEO and Founder
Woman With Impact Honoree Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley and Chair, National Women's Business Council
Carla Harris wowed the crowd with her wisdom, energy and even singing!

Sharing a light moment with U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon

The Honorable Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator, offering remarks

A tribute to 20 of WBDC's clients representing 20 years of supporting women-owned businesses.
They were surprised by the presentation of a free, round-trip airline ticket for each of them, courtesy of event Impact Sponsor Southwest Airlines!

To find out more about WBDC, please visit

Photos courtesy of Aviva Maller Photography

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nature-Inspired Signs to Give When Presenting

Here in the northeastern part of the United States, autumn has arrived and winter is not too far behind.  How do I know?  The leaves have turned from green to gold and red, there is frost on the grass in the morning and the days are getting shorter. Nature gives clues that signal the end of one season and the coming of the next.  These signs tell me what to expect and they help me get ready to rake the leaves, pull out my winter coat and set the clocks back. 

When you present, you can be like Nature – and give your audience signs as to what's coming next.  When you set your audience's expectations, it allows them to follow your message more easily. 

  • In your introduction, share your message – what is the point of what you're going to say and why is it important to them? If you're clear about you want them to get out of your presentation, it's easier for them to focus on hearing that message.
  • It may help to remind the audience how long you will speak.  For example, you can say, "in the next 10 minutes, I will share…" or " as we work together over the next hour…"  That clue helps them to calibrate their time, especially if there is a full schedule of presenters.
  • Be clear in your organization.  Try to group your material into a few sections to make it easier to follow.  For example, tell the audience if you're going to cover three case studies or four reasons or five steps. 
  • Make it clear how one section of your presentation is related to the next.  Give the audience clues: are you continuing in the same theme, presenting the opposite point of view, focusing on a different company or talking about a different time period?
The End is Near
  • Give the audience a sign that you're nearing your conclusion.  For example, "the third and final reason you should consider Jimmy's Jammies for all your pajama needs is… " or "the last story that I'd like to share with you about the bride and groom is…" 
Don't Tease
  • If you give a sign that you're almost done, for example, by saying "in conclusion…," don't go on for another 20 minutes.  The audience will get restless and may stop listening.

If you act like Nature and give your audience signs and clues when you speak, it will be easier for them to follow your presentation and make sense of it.  And setting their expectations will help them understand and retain your message.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stop Being a Bad Manager

Presentation by Gilda Bonanno

Want to avoid these problems and instead, become a better manager?My Mastering Management Communication Mentoring Program covers everything from having coaching conversations with employees and delegating work to talking with senior executives and giving feedback to your team.  
The program is for new or experienced managers who want to manage and communicate with ease and achieve results with less wasted time and effort. You'll learn management best practices and insights from my experience working with managers on four continents, from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Email me for an application or to find out more. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

ATD Hot Topic Round Table 11/13 in Norwalk


Monday, November 13, 2017
ATD - SCC's Perenially Popular
Hot Topic Round Table Discussions
5:45- 8 PM Norwalk Inn, Norwalk CT

Join us for an interactive forum to learn about trends in workplace learning and performance, as well as to share best practices:
Influencing  - Steve Gardiner

Join Steve Gardiner in a fast-paced look at the art of Influencing Up, Down and Sideways.  Discover the tips of: Preaching in the Rain, Peddling Pancakes Door to Door, Shooting for the Moon, Star Wars Strategies, and A Card from Hallmark.

Bio: Steve Gardiner is President of Gardiner Associates, which specializes in conflict resolution, building collaborative relationships, and "rapid coaching," among other leadership skills. Steve is former Head of Learning and Development at International Paper and Purdue Pharma.

Good Intentions Don't Make Good Assessments - Donna Horrigan

There's no shortage of assessments designed to grow self-awareness and ultimately improve performance. And while well-intentioned, these same assessments may also be limiting your capacity to learn, grow and develop.  Join our interactive session to learn about Lumina Spark's approach and how it might help you in your personal and professional development.  Bring your smart phone to experience Lumina Splash App in real time.

Bio: Donna Horrigan is Vice President of Client Solutions for Lumina Learning, a talent development company that uses research-based, next-generation psychometrics. Prior to joining Lumina this year, Donna managed client services for Fortune 1000 clients in the Northeast for other talent development companies.

Team Coaching Techniques - Gavin Pommernelle

Are your team development activities feeling stale or ineffective? Have you considered team coaching and understand the difference between team coaching and team building? Gavin Pommernelle will discuss a few of the techniques he has used successfully in coaching teams, followed by a group sharing of methodologies they have found to be effective.  Areas to be explored include emotional awareness of other team members, the setting of clear expectations amongst team members, and the use of conflict resolution techniques to deflect conflict. 

Bio: Gavin Pommernelle is an executive coach with extensive global leadership experience. Notable accomplishments include facilitating a leadership team that added 70% business value through coaching, personal performance and team dynamics; and increasing employee engagement scores by more than 15 index points through leadership coaching and talent strategies. 

 "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" - Julienne B. Ryan

Learn about the power of story-telling for leaders! Julienne Ryan will take you through an interactive storytelling exercise guaranteed to have you thinking, smiling, and communicating.  You will leave with valuable insights about personal and intellectual strengths that you can use in your professional life and techniques you can share in your organization.

Bio: Founder of J. Ryan Partners, Julienne Ryan is a story connector, speaker, trainer and coach.  She utilizes stories and humor as learning tools and works with individuals and teams to develop their unique talents and strengths. Her methods allow clients to see themselves in new ways so they can become more productive, improve communications, and enhance knowledge transfer and collaboration.

Virtual Reality, Learning and xAPI - Hugh Seaton

Join Hugh Seaton as he takes a soup-to-nuts approach to Virtual Reality in Learning. We'll review VR's virtues, how it can be used, and what is going on in the marketplace today. In addition, a new analytics standard, Experience API, is gaining in popularity, and we'll explore what that means for L & D professionals. And of course, we'll have VR experiences ready for attendees.

Bio: Hugh Seaton is a board member of ATD SCC and CEO of Aquinas, a next-generation learning software platform that provides learning reinforcement solutions. Hugh is organizer of the NYVRExpo and multiple NYC & CT VR and xAPI meet-ups, as well as a frequent speaker on eLearning topics. Hugh has been an adjunct professor at NYU & Sacred Heart University, advertising & marketing executive, and technology enthusiast.
Monday, November 13th, 2017
Time: 5:45 PM Networking/Registration; 
6:15 PM Dinner and Program
Registrations starts at 5:45 PM

5:45 to 6:15 PM "Heavy" Hors d'oeuvres, Pasta Station, 
Cash Bar followed by Program
Early-Bird Registrations through Friday, November 10th:  
$35 Chapter Members; $50 Non-members;   $25 In-Transition; $20 Students

After FridaymidnightNovember 10th, for Regular Registrations and Walk-ins:  $45 Member; $65 Non-member; $35 In-Transition;  $20 Students

Bring a Corporate Practitioner Guest!!!

Members are welcome to bring one free guest per event, an internal Corporate HR practitioner only, if the guest has not yet attended a regular speaker event free within the past year.

Meeting Location: Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

For more info or to register, visit

Friday, November 3, 2017

Public Speaking is Just a Skill You Can Improve

As a presentation skills coach and trainer, I have had the opportunity to observe presentations by many people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

It is my firm belief - and experience has not contradicted me - that while some people are more naturally comfortable with public speaking, EVERYONE can become competent at it, IF they spend the time and work on the right things. Yes, this means YOU, too!

We all know people who are very knowledgeable about a topic but can't communicate effectively. We also know people who don't know very much, but they "talk good." Each group of people can only get so far in their careers before they hit a roadblock. Your goal is to have both knowledge AND the ability to communicate that knowledge effectively.

The ability to communicate effectively what you know is the one skill that will differentiate you from everyone else. It doesn't matter what your background is, where you went to college (or even IF you went to college) or where you grew up - if you are an expert at something and can communicate that expertise effectively, you will succeed. Period.

Make this the time in your life that you commit to getting better at public speaking and eliminating the roadblock in your path to success and confidence. 

How? There are many things you can do... practice, volunteer for opportunities to speak at work, join Toastmasters, hire a presentation skills coach, videotape yourself presenting, take a presentation skills class, watch a colleague who is a good presenter... the first step is to BELIEVE that you CAN get better and the second step is to COMMIT to spending the time and energy to get better by practicing in the right way. 

And as you take those steps, feel free to reach out to me for guidance.  

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Gilda challenged us to think outside the box… and laugh!

"I highly recommend the talented Gilda to you! Gilda led a fun team building event for our GE Capital Controllership team. The belly laughs we all had at the event were a great way to let off steam after a challenging business quarter. She employed techniques used in improvisational comedy to engage the team, challenge them to 'think outside the box' and most importantly, let their hair down and laugh! 

Under the umbrella of good-natured fun, the team picked up subtle negotiation skills, as presented in Gilda's "Yes, and..." improv exercise, and met that important 'thinking on your feet' challenge. Thanks, Gilda!"
-Monica Zarba, Training Coordinator & Executive Assistant, GE Capital

To find out more about how Gilda can bring fun and learning to your organization, visit

Monday, October 16, 2017

Gilda to Emcee Women's Business Development Council's 20th Anniversary Gala 10/20

Women’s Business Development Council 20th Anniversary Gala

Join the Women’s Business Development Council on Friday, October 20th to Celebrate and Support Women’s Economic Empowerment:
I'm excited once again to be serving as Emcee for this event!
Hyatt Regency Greenwich
1800 East Putnam Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT 06870
11:00 AM Registration, Networking and Raffle
12:00-2:30 Lunch and Awards Ceremony
Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
Abby Kohnstamm, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Pitney Bowes

Dara Lamb, Founder and Designer, Dara Lamb Custom Clothing

20 for 20

A special tribute to the Women’s Business Development Council graduates of the last 20 years.
For information, please contact Alicia Kalish at