Free Miscellaneous Topics in Chicago

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  • Carbon Pricing – What’s In It for You?

    Mike Zanillo, Volunteer and Illinois State Co-Coordinator, Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL)

    In today’s media-rich environment, many policy issues are in the news, but, often not at a significant level of depth. One of the topics of growing interest to many engaged groups is the topic of Climate Change. MORE >

    The discussion related to Climate Change can be confusing to many. Often, there is uncertainty of what Climate Change is, what are its effects and what can be done about it.

    The Citizens Climate Lobby, is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization that provides presentations to groups such as Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, League of Women Voters groups, college clubs and other local groups.

    The presentation will educate, enable, and entertain your group members. The presentation can include short videos, slides, stories and time for audience questions. While the length of the presentation is at your discretion, the following topics will be covered:
    • How will climate change impact the Chicago area ?
    • What climate solutions exist ?
    • How can we solve the problem and create jobs, grow GDP, increase household income and improve US competitiveness at the same time ?
    • What actions can ordinary citizens take to ensure a stable climate in the future ?

    After participating in our meetings, participants often feel more informed, energized and hopeful for a future stable climate. There will be no solicitation of donations or attempts to sell anything.

    Please contact me if you would like to discuss this opportunity for a presentation of this timely topic.

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  • Remodeling 101

    Stephanie Bullwinkel, Business Manager and Designer, CBD, Imperial Kitchens and Baths, Inc.

    Remodeling our homes is something we may do once in our lifetime. Don't walk into it blindly. Stephanie Bullwinkel, a Certified Bathroom Designer through the National Kitchen and Bath Association, will give you a good feel of what to look for in a contractor, how to assess a budget for your project and designing a space that will continue to look "current" in years to come. MORE >

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  • Love… What is it Anyway?

    Margaret Lome, The Love Lady, Toastmasters

    Margaret's contest winning speech at the division level in Toastmasters is focused on personal / spiritual growth. She includes a well-received demonstration at the end that shows how Love never ends.

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  • Travel Hacking

    Edwin Goitia, Founder and Visionary, I Am A Brand

    Often travel is seen as a luxury and an expensive hobby, but there is a way to access the world with less money or resources - travel hacking. Edwin dives into this incredibly hot and trending hobby that has picked up the pace globally with people of all ages and backgrounds.

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  • Transgender Identity and A Third Gender of the Future

    Melanie Griffis Jones, MA, LPC, ACCTH, TraceSuccessful and Griffis/Jones & Associates

    I have been working as a therapist with individuals with Gender Identity issues for close to 15 years. When I started most of my clients were mature adults who suffered from fear, shame and guilt. They kept this part of their lives as a deep secret, sometimes not even telling those closest to them about their gender issue. Today, with celebrities going public with their gender changes and TV shows and movies featuring trans individuals, I am seeing more and more teenagers "coming out" as transgender. It is almost becoming "in" to be trans among younger people. MORE >

    Years ago when I first started talking to groups about gender identity, there would be uncomfortable murmurs in the audience. Then I stated that everyone in the room knew someone one was transgender but just didn't know that about them. Today, almost everyone does personally knows someone who identifies as trans; either in their own family, at work, or via a friend talking about someone else in their life.

    While I am thankful having a gender identity issue isn't the terrible secret or shame it was 15 years ago, a new concern has surfaced. Having doubts or confusion about gender identity doesn't always mean a person should change from male to female or female to male. Rushing into hormones and surgeries without due process is now causing as many suicides as did identifying as trans 10 years ago. Truly getting to know oneself and how to identify as male, female, non or bi, gender fluid or whatever the newest key word is for those who see themselves as neither male or female, regardless of genital organs.

    My other concern is with those who want to change immediately and unethical doctors willing to go along with that. There are guidelines to follow, there is extensive counseling to work through, and resolving other issues first all need to be part of the process of coming to a healthy place with one's gender, one's body and one's mind. I welcome helping individuals work through all of this and the general population to better understand all the components of gender identity.

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  • Enhance Your Communications Skills

    Karin McNicholas & Dennis McNicholas, Mediation Services

    This husband/wife team has been successfully training individuals, families and groups in effective communications for 12 years.

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  • Achieving a Successful Outcome During a Situation of Crisis

    Stacey Jenkins, M. Psych, Founder, Adjunct Professor, Crux Conception

    The topics discussed will exhibit significant outlines that will motivate individuals to participate with enthusiasm; this innovated method is aimed at captivating, diverse consortiums while incorporating various points of the Crisis Intervention model. Individuals will take with them, original philosophies, and realistic appropriateness, which will increase proficiencies for individuals to utilize in their everyday people skills. The fundamental goal is to integrate people skills, psychology, and personal testimonies, using methods associated with Psychological/Behavioral Profiling. MORE >

    Key Takeaways:

    *Attendees will benefit from discovering to utilize a critical ingredient one’s everyday people skills.

    *Attendees will further appreciate their understanding of how we preserve and use every day and the reactions we feel when we observe incidents, individuals or surroundings that merely are uncommon.

    *From police work, hostage negotiation, mental health crisis, teaching, shopping, avoiding a vehicle accident. We all use familiar scenes, and that is the critical word (views), and it allows us to use our perception and judgment regarding everyday issues.

    *Through participation and role-playing scenarios, the attendees, with enthusiasm, will ascertain the methods of implementing Mental Health, Psychological Profiling (Behavioral Analyzing), and practicality to influence the awareness of law enforcement, civilians, educators and others to affect the outcome of their response, surrounding crisis situations.

    #Talk #Active Listening #Understand #Information Sharing = Successful Communication

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  • Understanding and Improving Team Dynamics (For Your Business & Customer Service): Using Hostage & Crisis Negotiation Methods with Active Listening Skills

    Stacey Jenkins, M. Psych, Founder, Adjunct Professor, Crux Conception

    As a Homicide Detective and Hostage Negotiator, Stacey not only uses Active Listening Skills (ALS) in situations of crisis involving expressive individuals, he also uses the skills to help resolve everyday life and business situations. This presentation will allow businesses to use the "Team Project Model" to help their team members cooperate with each other, with the focus on utilizing distinctive intensities within individual elements among members of a team. MORE >

    Attendees will discover (Learning Points):

    The individualities of a Team concept
    The difference between Team concept and group concept
    The methods by which Teams are utilized within their Company/ Establishment
    The idea of self-managing teams
    The value of how things are said
    The different messages that can be conveyed through how someone hears a word.
    How Team Dynamics in the business sector has changed over time.
    The loss of translation in a message when used in text/email.
    Utilization of Communication skills to increase work and business productivity

    Stacey’s presentation will illustrate that the above model is acceptable. However, a team will not communicate effectively if a team that has been taken apart and separated due to disconnection and lack of communication.

    As with all teams, each team was placed together because at the initial conception of the team; it was assumed that the team element is within the excellent working order. However, the appreciation of the team model must be well-oiled, and if not, members of the team will individually lack the proper function that is necessitated for TEAMWORK and fail to produce.


    By using ACTIVE LISTENING SKILLS (ALS), a method developed by the FBI, every team member will increase productivity regarding their specific missions, and when united, the team members will form successful finalization of their team-goal. By applying ALS, the team’s entire task will be the result of a collective productive representation of their work.

    Stacey’s experience as a Scholar (Forensic Psychology), Adjunct Professor (Group Dynamics/Psychology), and Hostage Negotiator has allowed him the ability to create a method for CIVILIANS to use regarding the application of Communication Skills.

    The attendees will take with them SKILLS used by Hostage/Crisis Negotiators, which have been Converted for personal, business, and everyday use.

    Key Takeaways:

    Minimal Reassurances (Building rapport and encourage individuals to continue talking):

    * Attendees will learn to use sounds especially on the phone, to let one person know the other is there and listening. Such as, “Oh?” “When?” and “Really?”

    * Attendees will learn to utilize these forms of questions, comments, or sounds that do not interfere with the flow of conversation but will let the other individual know that you are there and listening.

    Paraphrasing (This skill clarifies content, highlights issues and promotes a give and take between you and another, it tends to make the other individual a better listener):

    * Attendees will appreciate the skill of summarizing what they have just heard and repeated it back in their own words.

    * The skill demonstrates listening, creates responsiveness and establishes rapport because it is evident that you have heard and understood.

    * Usually, paraphrasing begins with the words, “Are you telling me…” “Are you saying…” or “So, what your saying is….

    Mirroring/Reflecting (useful when you are at a loss for words)

    * Attendees will learn to use this skill when they need clarification.

    * The skill provides an opportunity for the individual to think about what you have said.

    * This skill allows the listener to asks for more input without guiding the direction of the other individual’s thoughts

    * This skill elicits information when you do not have enough to ask a pertinent question.

    Open-Ended Questions (The primary use of this skill is to get individuals to talk)

    * Attendees will learn to encourage individuals to say more without directing the conversation.

    * This skill is used to have your questions answered with more than just a “yes” or “no.”

    * This skill gets information using fewer questions, they typically begin with: how, what, when and where.

    * Attendees will discover how to avoid using Closed-end questions such as “why.”
    * “Why” questions tend to steer the conversation toward blame and shut down communication.
    * “Why” questions also tend to pass judgment.

    * This skill gives a feeling of interrogation that makes rapport building difficult and causes you to work harder at thinking up new questions.

    “I” Messages (Used when communication is difficult and intense):

    * The attendees will discover that “I” messages enable them to let the other individual know how he/she is making you feel, why you think that way, and what the other individual can do to remedy the situation.

    * “When you said that, I feel….” or “I feel…. when you said….”

    Effective Pauses (Silence)

    * The attendees will develop this skill to use when emphasizing their point.

    * Silence can be very useful on several levels because most people are not comfortable with silence and will fill it with talk.

    * The attendees will discover to use silence just before or just after saying something important.


    This lecture/workshop can last from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.

    The lecture is approximately 30 minutes.

    The workshop is 1 hour.

    The workshop consists of PARTICIPATION from the attendees, using ROLE PLAYING scenarios to give them an authentic feel applying their skills.

    Further, if time is not permitted for a 1.5-hour session, at least 1 ROLE PLAYING scenario will be implemented into the 30-minute lecture.

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  • Safe Communities – Safe Kids

    Dr. Michael Litow, Executive Director, The Education Center

    Dr. Litow addresses keeping schools a place for learning, not fear. He brings basic and reasonable insights into how each person can make a difference in our communities to keep students safe.

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  • Domestic Violence: Treating the Abuser

    Rob Johnson, LCPC, Crossroads Counseling of Chicago

    It is not widely recognized that the perpetrators of domestic violence need help. In Partner Abuse Intervention, participants learn skills for handling conflict. Rob will discuss the background, curriculum and outcome of this intervention.

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