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2020 Fall Conference a Virtual Event


October 20 @ 10:00 am - October 23 @ 3:00 pm

Join industry professionals from all specialties from across North America for 4 half-days of virtual information and premier education convening October 20-23, 2020 (Tuesday through Friday) in the comfort of your own home or office setting.   Sessions will focus on leadership behaviors, business strategies, and proven tactics critical to managing corporate performance beyond crisis to take advantage of the emergent new business environment.

Looking beyond the pandemic, companies will do well to develop leadership that supports innovation, challenges assumptions and encourages risk taking and creativity.  The COVID crisis has revealed not just vulnerabilities but also opportunities to improve business performance

GBA will hold Board of Directors and Committee meetings on Tuesday; General Business Meeting and Round Table Sessions on Wednesday; and two half-days of education sessions on Thursday and Friday.

We will also showcase sponsor partners.  This conference will allow you to continue building lasting personal and professional relationships with industry stakeholders  Attending GBA’s Fall Conference (virtually) requires only 2-4 hours of engagement each day and offers up to 7.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) for the education sessions.








Gold Sponsors   

Silver Sponsors   


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

10:00AM – 1:00PM – GBA Board of Directors Meeting

11:00PM – 1:00PM – Emerging Leaders Class Meeting

1:00PM – 3:00PM – Committees Meeting

  • Council of Fellows
  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  •  Resource Collaboration Committee

3:00PM – 5:00PM – Committees Meeting

  •  Business Practices Committee
  •  CoMET Business Committee
  •  Emerging Issues and Trends Committee
  •  Environmental Business Committee
  •  Geotechnical Business Committee
  •  Legal Affairs Committee
  •  Peer Review Committee

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

12:00PM – 12:45PM – General Membership Meeting

GBA President, Kenneth R. Johnston will provide his 6-month report and share his thoughts on GBA’s role in helping members manage risk and optimize performance as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times. You will hear how your firm and region are performing relative to the rest of the country from the most recent Business Snapshot Survey. In addition, GBA’s Board of Directors will recognize the dedicated individuals and firms who provided significant contributions to the profession
and our association during the past 18 months.

12:45PM – 1:00PM – Break

1:00PM – 2:00PM – Virtual Business Round Table – Session 1

Facilitator-led groups will focus on a specific topic relevant to today’s business environment. Participants will learn from the experiences of fellow geoprofessional colleagues and will discuss best practices related to the topic.

Topics for this session include:

Employee engagement and retention
• Engaging a remote workforce
• Employee compensation in a recession
• Retaining employees after post-crisis

The workplace of the future
• Is remote working here to stay?
• Benefits and drawbacks of remote working
• Leveraging the benefits and managing the drawbacks

Leveraging technology to support our businesses in uncertain times
• Available tools to support remote working
• Virtual team collaboration
• Cybersecurity concerns with a virtual workplace

2:00PM – 2:15PM – Break

2:15PM – 3:15PM – Virtual Business Round Table – Session 2

Facilitator-led groups will focus on a specific topic relevant to today’s business environment. Participants will learn from the experiences of fellow geoprofessional colleagues and will discuss best practices related to the topic.

Topics for this session include:

The future of the geoprofessional industry
• How has the COVID crisis changed the industry?
• Temporary versus permanent changes
• Planning for the future

Effective leadership in trying times
• Importance of communication
• Making the tough business decisions
• Demonstrating care for staff

Business development in a post-COVID world
• Developing business remotely
• Building and maintaining relationships
• Client appreciation

Thursday, October 22, 2020

12:00PM to 1:25PM

Turning Barriers into Bridges: How to Accelerate Results through Inclusive Actions
Presented by Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP, CPAE – CEO UbuntuGLOBAL, Author and Speaker

Dramatic recent events highlight the necessity for deliberate discussions related to perceptions and realities as it relates to supporting an inclusive and diverse workforce.

Culture is much more than race/ethnicity and gender. It is all the ways we are similar and different. As the dramatic shift to a highly diverse workforce continues, leaders know they must help their teams at all levels understand, appreciate, and capitalize on differences as well as similarities. They know the cultural backgrounds and experiences of diverse teams and clients can enrich the organization, making it more innovative and competitive, yet the firm’s ability to manage diversity can strengthen or impede results. Enhancing inclusion practices helps organizations incorporate behaviors that improve the work environment and culture and attract, develop and retain the best talent.

This highly interactive, non-judgmental, and fun session provides an opportunity for participants to discover how and why unconscious bias impacts decisions and then how to implement behaviors that strengthen trust leading to positive bottom-line results.

What You Can Expect to Learn:

  • Recognize that biased behaviors often occur unintentionally
  •  Sharpen your awareness of the impact of micro-behaviors on others
  •  Understand the neuroscience of bias and decision making
  •  Explore the influence of bias on talent decisions
  • Utilize actions that demonstrate an ability to be a “safe” ally for all employees/team members
  • Develop a personal action plan using the Four Cornerstones of Multi-Cultural Competence that accelerates inclusion strategies
  • Apply B-BASIC a technique to disrupt biased thinking

1:25PM to 1:35PM – Break

1:35PM to 3:00PM

Looking Beyond Crisis – GBA Leaders Forum

In support of our Conference theme “Recovery, Revitalization, & Resurgence Beyond Crisis”, we will convene a panel of GBA leaders to help you start looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis. This forum will focus on leadership behaviors, business strategies, and proven tactics critical to leading corporate performance beyond crisis. This will help you take advantage of the emerging new business environment.

What You Can Expect to Learn:

  •  Technology Adaption
  • Employee Engagement and Labor Strategies
  • Business Development
  •  Client Management
  •  Emerging Markets for Geoprofessionals

Attend this session to learn what other GBA Member Firms are doing to elevate performance, innovate delivery processes, diversify their businesses, and thrive in a new economy post COVID-19.

3:00PM to 3:10PM – Break

3:10PM to 4:30PM
Great Leaders Pivot, Not Panic- 6 Keys to Help Your Team Buy into Change, Adapt Quickly & Innovate for Future Success
Presented by Betsy Allen-Manning – Founder Motiv8u Enterprises, Author and Speaker

With change comes many challenges. Team members start operating out of fear, which turns into loss of focus, lower productivity, conflict, and disengagement; which eventually results in profits taking a hit. Leaders need to be equipped with the #1 skill required to help their teams navigate through changes effectively…the ability to ‘pivot’. During this presentation, Betsy will share her research, as well as experience managing change for billion-dollar corporations. You will discover why some leaders fail through change, and others succeed; and you will walk away with a 6 step strategy to communicate your change effectively, generate higher levels of innovation and buy-in, reduce the conflict that comes with change, and reshape your culture for a positive and successful team moving forward.

What You Can Expect to Learn:

  •  Betsy’s ‘Communicate Change Technique’ for conveying new changes, addressing fears, and setting behavioral and performance expectations.
  •  The ‘6 Keys of Leading Through Change’ and utilize strategies to prep your team for success in the “new normal”.
  •  The psychology of change and discover how different personalities will react, what causes people to lose emotional control, and how to keep them focused on future results.
  • How to anticipate potential conflict that change can bring and learn a method for resolving issues immediately.
  • Collaboration opportunities that increase innovation, engagement & morale during downtimes.

Friday, October 23, 2020

12:00PM to 1:20PM

Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence
Presented by Erica Dhawan – CEO Cotential, Author and Speaker

During this unprecedented time of change and uncertainty, we are collaborating faster and more often than ever before. We feel like we’re connected – but are we really? Erica will teach you the art and science of working better together using Connectional Intelligence, the key to productivity and collaboration for geoprofessionals in the “new normal”. This virtual experience will help you replace the challenges of inefficient meeting and email overload, cross-team duplication or delays and build a culture of maniacal clarity that fosters the highest performing teams and business relationships.

What You Can Expect to Learn:

  •  Discover new ways to lead, inspire, and communicate with diverse teams through uncertainty.
  • Learn how to keep cross team collaborations aligned, build trust, and foster motivation.
  • Gain specific actions to inspire teamwork, innovation, resilience, revitalization and results-driven progress.
  • Behaviors to understand and build trust and connection, no matter the distance.

This virtual session offers conference attendees an “interactive experience” with the use of the chat tool for engagement and polling. The session will lead with inspirational stories and then move to practical 21st century collaboration strategies for every geoprofessional.

1:20PM to 1:30PM – Break

1:30PM to 2:50PM

The Four Investments Smart Teams Rely on During Uncertainty
Presented by Jon Acuff – New York Times Bestselling Author and Speaker

Six months ago, “change” was something we all knew we’d need to deal with someday. It was just over the horizon. It was around the corner. We knew it would come, we just didn’t know when and we didn’t know how. Then the world got flipped upside down.

Change is no longer a topic of conversation for your team, it’s the norm. The new vocabulary. The new reality. The elephant isn’t hiding in the corner of the room now. The elephant is the entire room.

Every team will face a choice. Pivot or panic? The smart ones will lean into four different investments. They’ll double down on Skills, Character, Relationships and Hustle in intentional ways that bring clarity to chaos. They’ll refocus, rebuild, and relaunch to better serve their community. They’ll emerge with new tools and a new direction. Why? Because a crisis is a classroom. It’s an invitation to innovation you might not have planned for, but definitely need.

Join New York Times Bestselling author Jon Acuff as he shares practical steps and inspiring insights to help your team navigate this brave new world.

We all get to make a choice. Every day our team members and our communities are counting on us to make the right one.

Pivot, don’t panic.

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books, including his most recent Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller, “Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done.”

Published in more than a dozen languages, his work is both critically acclaimed and adored by readers. After reading “Do Over,” marketing legend Seth Godin wrote in his endorsement, “This is the best career book ever written. I’m not even sure what book comes in second.” After the release of “Finish,” thousands of people reviewed the award-winning audiobook giving it a 4.8 out of 5 stars.

When he’s not writing, Acuff can be found on a stage, as one of INC’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers. He’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, colleges and companies around the world including FedEx, Nissan, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Chick-fil-A, Nokia and Comedy Central. Known for his insights wrapped in humor, in 2018 Acuff tried his hand at pure comedy. His two night, 60-minute set at Zanies, the largest comedy club in Nashville, sold out in 72 hours.

For over 20 years he’s also helped some of the biggest brands tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. His fresh perspective on life has given him the opportunity to write for Reader’s Digest, Fast Company, The Harvard Business Review and Time Magazine. When he’s not writing for major media companies, he’s appearing on them, with spots on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets.

Betsy Allen-Manning is founder of the consulting firm, Motiv8u Enterprises, and is a top-rated keynote speaker; known for inspiring people with her story of going from failure…to worldwide singer…to global impactor. With an expertise in human behavior and experience working as a manager for Disney and numerous 5-star hotels, Betsy is honored to have trained over 7,500 leaders & teams for small businesses, franchises & associations, to billion dollar corporations, such as Toshiba, Fidelity, Six Flags & The U.S. Dept. of Defense. Betsy is an author of 3 books and has been featured on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and TEDx., Betsy’s mission is to develop the ‘Impact Leader’ in everyone, so they can live a more successful & significant life.

Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a CPAE (Council of Peers Award of Excellence) Hall of Fame speaker and an internationally recognized authority in the areas of inclusion, diversity, and bias. She has been included as one of the 100 Global Thought Leaders on Diversity and Inclusion by The Society of Human Resource Management and was named by Diversity Woman Magazine as one of the twenty top influential diversity leaders in the US. Her award-winning diversity leadership research is recognized in academic journals internationally. Additionally, she serves on the Advisory Council of the Nido Qubein School of Communication, High Point University, as well as on the adjunct business faculty of two other universities.

Diversity, inclusion and disrupting bias is a full-time focus for Lenora. She partners with clients to help them leverage their diversity of thought to impacts employee talent engagement and retention, attracting customers, community, and corporate relations. Her powerful yet engaging style inspires virtual and in-person audience members to take personal and organizational actions that disrupt bias and accelerate bottom-line business results.

She has presented to audiences in over 41 countries and six continents, including such places as Dubai, Isreal and South Africa and Malaysia.

Billings-Harris co-authored TRAILBLAZERS: How Top Business Leaders are Accelerating Results through Inclusion and Diversity, and is the author of The Diversity Advantage: A Guide to Making Diversity Work, 3rd Ed. Most recently, she was the cover story for Inclusion Magazine, 2019 winter edition.

In addition to management positions held with two Fortune 100 companies plus the Business School at The University of Michigan, Billings-Harris has held leadership positions with several non-profit organizations. She is a past president of Win-Win Resolutions with a mission to reduce bullying, violence and prejudice in schools and communities, and was a founding charter member of the Maricopa County Black Chamber of Commerce. She is a past president of the National Speakers Association, and past president of the Global Speakers Federation. In 2016 she was the Cavett Award recipient, the highest honor bestowed upon professional speakers in the USA. In 2018 she was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame and is the only Africa American woman to hold this honor.

Erica Dhawan is a leading authority on 21st century Collaboration and Connectional Intelligence.

She challenges audiences and organizations to unlock the collective power of teams, business units, customers and other stakeholders. Her newest research – Digital Body Language – decodes the new signals and cues of effective collaboration in a digital-first human workplace.

Erica Dhawan is the Founder & CEO of Cotential, a global organization that helps companies, leaders, and managers leverage 21st century collaboration skills and behaviors to improve game changing performance.

She is the co-author of the bestselling book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, named #1 on What Corporate America is Reading. Dhawan was named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas” and featured as one of the emerging management thinkers most likely to shape the future of business. She hosts the award-winning podcast ‘Masters of Leadership.’

Erica speaks on global stages ranging from the World Economic Forum at Davos and TED to companies such as Coca-Cola, Fedex, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, SAP, and Cisco. Erica writes for Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company. She has degrees from Harvard University, MIT Sloan, and The Wharton School.


GBA will award up to 7.5 Professional Development Hours (PDHs).

You are invited to join us as wine expert Ray Zemke of West Mountain Wine Retreat and wine maker JJ Williams bring award-winning Kiona Vineyards right to your living room with this unique wine tasting experience.

You, your friends at home, and your GBA friends from across North America will enjoy this engaging and educational “virtual” wine tasting event. Our world-renowned wine experts will share information about the winery and wines that have been carefully selected for GBA members participating in this sensorial experience.

What you will receive:

  • Three (750mL) bottles of Kiona Wine shipped directly to your home
  • An opportunity to meet and learn from highly-regarded wine maker JJ Williams and expert wine taster Ray Zemke
  • A history lesson about the cataclysmic geological events that formed the now famous Red Mountain wine region of Washington state
  • Suggested food pairings for each varietal
  • A chance to gather virtually with your GBA friends from across North America


Within 7 days prior to the conference start date (Tuesday, October 20th), each registered attendee will receive an  e-mail with specific instructions on how to login to the conference (Wednesday through Friday events) via the Zoom platform.   Individuals who indicate an interest in participating on a committee (meetings scheduled for Tuesday) will receive a separate e-mail invitation customized for the specific committee with instructions on how
to login.

For security reasons this information will be provide only to registered attendees.

Should you have any questions, please contact Barb Nappy [email protected] (727) 457-2272 or Sara Menase [email protected] (301) 565-2733

A refund (less $45/per person administrative fee) will be given to individuals whose cancellations are received by 5:00PM Eastern Time, Monday, October 5, 2020.  No refund or credit may be given after 5:00PM on Monday, October 5, 2020.


October 20 @ 10:00 am
October 23 @ 3:00 pm