In August, the Region IV Office of Counsel and Regional Counsel Antonette Sewell presented a Regional Training Conference for attorneys and paralegals. An employee Planning Committee worked for several months to determine the training needs and interests of the Region to create an agenda that would be informative and engaging. As a result, the Region participated via Teams in the four-day conference.
General Counsel Damon Smith made opening remarks, and Deputy General Counsel for Operations, Gayle Bohling, was a guest speaker in a session with staff.
Panels featured guests from outside OGC Region IV, and sessions led, moderated, and presented by attorneys and paralegals from across the Region. Breakout tracks were designed for litigation and program matters. The Region benefited from shared expertise and knowledge exchange from OGC and program presenters. Session topics reflected the broad scope of Region IV’s legal work, including Fair Housing Updates, Single Family Litigation, Asset Management, Assisted Housing, HUD Resources, Environmental Justice, Media Inquiries, 232 LEAN Updates, Construction Disputes, and DEC Matters.
Invited speakers from HUD included Multifamily Southeast Regional Director Mark Dominick; DEC Operations Division Director Jessica Vasquez; Atlanta DEC Satellite Office Director Uche Oluku; OAMPO Assisted Housing Director Belinda Koros; Assistant General Counsel, Assisted Housing Division, Howard Sims; Region VI Trial Attorney Anju Mathew; Region VI Trial Attorney Timothy Feeley; Region III Trial Attorney Patty McGarvey Knebels; FHEO Enforcement Director Vicki Johnson; MF SE Region Branch Chief Barbara Williams; Production Specialist Kathy Brewer; Troubled Asset Specialist Bill Duckworth; Public Affairs Specialist, Shantae Goodloe; and Public Affairs Specialist Shannon Watkins.
Two panels featured presentations from Administrative Judges from the MSPB and EEOC. In addition, AUSAs from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia participated in a panel presented by the Region IV litigation team.
A team-building event, Everything DiSC, kicked off the training week. This session was an interactive way to build connections and prepare to learn and engage during the training. The week closed with a wrap-up team-building session that was a successful ending to our week together.
OGC Region IV’s Employee Engagement Committee produced a Highlight Reel of team successes, innovative transactions, employee volunteerism, and team-building activities shown throughout the week. The Committee also concluded the week with a voluntary virtual happy hour featuring interactive games spotlighting team members and the Region.
The Training Conference was a success due to the efforts of the entire team to develop ideas for sessions, engage with presenters, make detailed preparation of materials, utilize IT and presentation knowledge, and demonstrate leadership at all levels throughout the Region.