Who You Are Matters: Driving Professional Development

Education leaders are “zoomed out”! Fifty-three Colorado rural school districts came together starved for connection during their first in-person workshop since the pandemic. OneLifeTools’ Who You Are Matters! game was key to providing the structure and safety needed to stimulate reflection and engagement throughout the two-day hands-on workshop.  

Building bridges to promote student access to career and technical education (CTE), and support school-to-work and postsecondary transitions was the goal of “Helping Students be Future-Ready.” In front of screens the past year, participants said “finally, it’s so good to share with colleagues sitting around a table again,” and, "it was awesome, laughter, tears, understanding, they really got to know people they thought they knew."

Reflecting on what shaped their careers was a humbling reminder of how challenged students are when it comes to career planning. Exploring gamification tools to disrupt the Cost-Quality-Access Triangle (Feller, 2021) of career interventions was the charge.

Staff know that students want to design futures, not fall into them.  “Future-ready” is the new accountability. The workshop connected “experiential learning, reflective practice, and career development outcomes” by using tools participants could use immediately within classrooms, teacher in-service, or advising. The middle and secondary counselors, teachers and administrators learned how career development tools enhance their own “life design.” By practicing tools through role play and reflecting on their own career development, they return home with video tutorials to further support practical “muscle memory.” Off with a “box of materials” to embed within in their programs, career courses or individual advising they could see immediate impact. 

“Plug-and-play professional development works when career specialists gain muscle memory, translate their personal learning, and learn to facilitate reflection immediately,” said Rich Feller, workshop facilitator. Co-founder of OneLifeTools with Mark Franklin, Feller used Who You Are Matters! to make the material real, concrete and personalized.  Who You Are Matters! includes key principles and assumptions behind how holistic career development makes learners “future-ready.”  

Each participant left with a sets of innovative tools, demo videos and more. Armed with a HEROICg mindset, insights from the HEROICg Narrative Assessment Framework (Feller & Franklin, 2020) and training in facilitating the Who You Are Matters! game, a flurry of excitement followed to suggest that the best professional development includes personalized learning, practice, and ways to plug-and-play good tools into systems. 

Need to deliver a re-engagement or team (re)building workshop? Click here 

Experience Who You Are Matters!-virtual here 

Learn to facilitate any of OneLifeTools experiences here and join those now using these tools in 15 countries. 

By Rich Feller, PhD 


Feller, R. (2021). Disrupting the cost-quality-access triangle and developing HEROICg mindsets for the fourth industrial revolution. Career Planning and Adult Journal, 37 (2), 278-291.  

Feller, R., & Franklin, M. (2020). The HEROIC narrative assessment system: Helping undergrads navigate transitions. In P. Gardner & H. Maietta (Eds.).  Advancing talent development: Steps toward a T-model infused undergraduate education. Business Expert Press.  

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