The UCR Staff Conference is a two-day event created by and for UC Riverside staff, co-hosted by UCR Staff Assembly, Leaders of Excellence and Distinction (LEAD) and Human Resources Employee and Organizational Development.

Our 2024 event will include three official tracks: leading to empower, change management, and safety and support culture.

The conference will take place virtually on Zoom on Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Register for the 2024 Conference

Want to review the 2023 Conference sessions while you wait?


Tuesday, March 26

9:00 a.m. Keynote

Tara Mohr

Stepping into Your Playing Big

Tara Mohr

Tara will share many of the key ideas and practical tools from her internationally acclaimed Playing Big leadership program and her award-winning book, Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead.

In this event, Tara will share: 

  • how to uncover what playing big means to you at this stage of your life and career
  • how to move past the self-doubt that holds so many people back (and why the answer isn’t about confidence!) 
  • the two kinds of fear that arise when we start playing bigger – one to avoid and one to embrace – and how to respond to each 
  • how to unhook from praise and criticism, so you can do your boldest work 
  • the “transition team”that all women are a part of at this important historical moment 
  • and much more… 

If you want to play bigger in your work or your life, this event is for you. Tara will share many of the key ideas and practical tools from her internationally acclaimed Playing Big leadership program and  her award-winning book, Playing Big: Practical  Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead

Speaker Bio

  • Tara Mohr

    Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on women’s leadership and well-being, and an author, educator and coach. 

    Tara is the author of Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead, published by Penguin Random House, and named a Best Book of the year by Apple’s iBooks. 

    She is the creator of the pioneering Playing Big leadership program and Playing Big FacilitatorsTraining for coaches, mentors and managers who support others in their personal and professional growth. Her work has been featured on The Today Show and  in publications ranging from TheNew York Times to goop to Harvard Business Review

    She has been a speaker at venues and companies including Watermark, TedxWomen, Emerging Women Live,  Yelp and Intuit, and her Playing Big model has been part of leadership development programs at Starbucks,  Google, Zillow, Bank of America, and many other companies. The Playing Big concepts have also been  incorporated into middle and high schools in the US and UK to support girls’ leadership development. 

    Tara received her MBA from Stanford University and her BA in English Literature from Yale University. She lives in San Francisco and loves dance, art, and long walks with her family. Learn more about Tara here.

10:00 a.m.

Boost Team Effectiveness with The Four Tendencies

JoAnna Van Brocklin

In just about any role we play – manager, health-care professional, coach, teacher, spouse, parent, colleague, to name a few – it’s helpful to know how we respond to expectations because it shapes every aspect of our behavior. According to author Gretchen Ruben, people fit into Four Tendencies and at work awareness of our Tendency can help us engage more effectively. When we can see other people’s perspectives, we can begin to understand why, from their point of view, their actions make sense. This workshop is based on the New York Times Bestseller, The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. 

Track:   Leading to Empower

How Can ChatGPT Help Your Productivity

Ann Kwinn

I will present how we have used ChatGPT for teaching and how it can shorten the time needed to create written pieces and improve the author’s writing skills for emails, reports, presentations, etc. ChatGPT can summarize longer documents and collapse data in a document. 

Track:  Change Management

Operationalizing Fairness

Andrew Larratt Smith

Why is Fairness so important to our success as a campus community? How do we translate it from a conceptual frame into practical, concrete action?

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

11:00 a.m.

Leveraging Partnerships & Collaborations

Dr. Shellee Stewart

The presentation will go over how individuals can leverage their partnerships and collaboration at work and in their personal lives. 

Track:  Leading to Empower

UCR Wellness

Hung Wu

More info coming soon.

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

Using Feedback to Fuel Success

Alex Rollins

Giving and receiving effective feedback is essential to fueling our success as individuals, as teams, and as an organization. Unfortunately, many of us do not know how to give and receive effective feedback. The feedback we give and receive is often vague and unhelpful, and therefore ineffective. Effective feedback, on the other hand, is thoughtful and reflective. When we learn how to master the art of giving and receiving feedback, we can use that feedback to fuel our success. Remember, with ineffective feedback, we fail, but with effective feedback, we excel.

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

1:00 p.m.

Staff Advisors to the Regents

Jo Mackness and Andanet Emiru

Overview of summary from campus visits on “employer of choice.”

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

2:00 p.m.

Culture Cultivation

Crystal Petrini

Starting with the foundation of organizational culture, the session will place a special emphasis on the influential role that individual contributors hold in shaping campus and office cultures.  

Track: Leading to Empower

The Change Curve

Seana Nuñez

When we recognize that change follows a predictable pattern, we can learn to manage our reactions and understand how to navigate change, both functionally and emotionally.  Gain insight into how to successfully navigate change to improve results.

Track:  Change Management

UCR Employee Perks You May Not Know Of

Sarah Dillon and Brittany Fraser

More info coming soon

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

Wednesday, March 27

9:00 a.m. Keynote

Doyin Richards

Real Talk About Race and Mental Health

Doyin Richards

We may find ourselves at the end of the COVID pandemic, but the oldest and deadliest pandemic in the world is racism. It impacts the mental health of our friends, colleagues, and communities in ways that can only be described as soul-destroying. In Doyin’s keynote he will discuss how we all must change how we think, how we love, and how we fight in order to eradicate racism in the workplace and beyond.


Speaker Bio

  • Doyin Richards

    Doyin (pronounced “doe-ween”) Richards is a dynamic keynote speaker who inspires people to be open about mental health/mental illness and embrace anti-racism in the workplace and beyond. 

    As a keynote speaker, consultant, and workshop facilitator, Doyin provides tangible, actionable solutions that provides results for his clients all over America. Proctor & Gamble, Amgen, Freddie Mac, Workhuman, and Salesforce are a few of the companies where he recently delivered a keynote address/workshop.

    Mainstream media values his message as he's often called on to make appearances for NPR and HLN, and has been interviewed by the TODAY Show, ABC News, Essence Magazine, Cosmopolitan, USA Today, CNN, Parents Magazine, Yahoo!, the New York Times, Sunrise Australia, and more.

    His message isn't just for adults. Doyin authored three picture books for children published by Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of mega-publisher Macmillan). His latest picture book YOU MATTER TO ME is told through the perspective of his puppy Biscuit as he watches Doyin navigate through his predominately white neighborhood. WATCH ME tells an inspirational personal story of what it’s like to immigrate to America from a 3rd world country while overcoming racism and other intense obstacles. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? tackles the tough topic of introducing kids to positive race-relations without raising them to be "colorblind." All three of the books were #1 new releases in their categories on Amazon.

    Through his books, recent TEDx Talk, workshops, media appearances, and his critically-acclaimed Anti-Racism Fight Club workshop, Doyin regularly demonstrates that he is a leader in the fields of mental health, anti-racism, and healthy masculinity.

10:00 a.m.

Handling Change in an Ever Changing World

Shannon Mintor

The purpose of this presentation is to identify the stages of change, our reactions to change and how to effectively handle those reactions. 

Track:  Change Management

Positive Traits to Fight the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Jacob Ravenscraft

This session will do a deep dive into the first three positive traits that fight the 5 dysfunctions of a team. One of the best ways to create and build trust (trait #1) on a team is to empower others with desired responsibilities and opportunities. Over time, your team will strengthen their commitment (trait #3) to each other and to the institution. Come learn the surprising trait in between trust and commitment and how it could take your leadership to another level.

Track:  Leading to Empower

Shifting from Blame to Contributions

Andrew Larratt Smith

When things go wrong, how do we respond? If we respond with a blame frame, we are liable to make things worse. A contribution frame opens the door to creative problem solving.

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

11:00 a.m.

Gainfully Educated: Balancing Work, School and Life

Dennis McIver

A panel of UC staff who have or are set to complete graduate studies while full-time employees will reflect on the experience. They will also provide advice and resources to those who are considering (or currently) going to school while working. 

Track:  Safety and Support Culture

Leading with Different Learning Types

Tanya Wine

More info coming soon

Track: Leading to Empower

Take a Vacation Already! Empower Your Team to Succeed without You

Brendan Jones

Empower by...

  1. Delegating authority, not tasks.
  2. Make them feel cared for and supported.
  3. Trusting them by trusting them.

Track:  Leading to Empower

1:00 p.m.

Professionalism Matters

Aaron Bushong

The presentation will identify four strategies for pursuing professional advancement at UCR. The strategies are universally applicable, regardless of one's current job title, one's future aspirations on campus, or the route one may take to get from one job to another.

Track:  Leading to Empower

Resiliency Through Change

Erika Santoyo and Brittany Fraser

We are faced with change almost everyday both within our professional and personal lives. How do we work through this change and find the positive through it all? As leaders, resiliency through change is critical in order for us to motivate our teams and work with the change rather than through it.

Track: Change Management

2:00 p.m.

In-Person: Closing Ceremony

at the Alumni and Visitors Center

This is an in-person event. Please RSVP at this link:

*Space is limited to 150 people. You will be sent an email prior to the event with reminder details.

We hope you'll join us on March 26 and 27!



While we're counting down to our 2024 event, you can watch replays of our 2023 and 2022 Staff Conferences on our Crowdcast channel or the 2021 Staff Conference in the UC Learning Center (log in through R'Space).