Building Stress Resilience

Speaker: Denise Deforest Pastoor
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date: May 7, 2014

On Wednesday, May 7th, the Office of Leadership and Professional Development sponsored Denise Deforest Pastoor to speak with a group of staff and faculty about strategies for Building Stress Resilience, which she defines as “how to quickly and efficiently move from chaos to calm.” Denise DeForest Pastoor is a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist and a wellness educator. Her passion for holistic Integrative Health has guided her journey from pediatric nurse to starting SunStone Wellness, LLC to share, consult, and teach Integrative Health practices. The program explored Integrative Health practices, including breathwork, mindfulness, mediation, and guided imagery. Denise discussed the importance of being aware of the connection between your mind, body, and spirit to build stress resilience.

The topics that Denise discussed are very important for the fast paced, high-stress world that we will live in. She explained the importance of Integrative Health practices in maintaining a healthy life balance. Although many people have misconceptions about contemplative practices, Denise assured the group of the important benefit of these practices with any level of practice. Denise provided some helpful tips to decrease stress in your daily life, these tips include:

-Pay attention to your thoughts- change the mind chatter to soothing affirmations, shift from negative to positive.

-Pay attention to your body- notice how you carry stress.  Do a body scan. Jaws tense? Shoulders lifted? Knot is stomach?  “Just Breathe” is truly good advice. Slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing resets a stress reaction and shifts to a relaxation response. Most important, your body craves movement.   So, walk in nature, work-out, do yoga, stretch, run, wiggle…; Just move. 

-Pay attention to your spirit- Random acts of kindness release endorphins, “happy hormones”. Smile at people and say hello.  When you are in a slump, don’t isolate…Connecting to people feeds the spirit. Laugh everyday

-Pay attention to your energy- Consciously be aware of your own energy and people around you. We tend to live in our heads, but sensing energy draws us to our hearts. Live in your heart… that is where you come home to yourself.

If interested in contacting Denise or learning more about Sunstone Wellness, she can be reached at and the website is

"How Do You Approach Change and Why Does It Matter?"

Speaker: Karen Jo Shapiro
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date: March 26, 2014

On Wednesday, March 26th, Dr. Karen Shapiro presented “How Do You Approach Change and Why Does It Matter?” This program filled quickly and the Office of Leadership & Professional Development had to start a waiting list. Dr. Shapiro is a psychologist by background and a leadership coach. She has been on adjunct faculty with the Center for Creative Leadership since 1999 where she works with corporations, non-profits, and education organizations on leadership and team development.

Using the Change Style Indicator (CSI), Dr. Shapiro helped staff and faculty understand their personal preferences when it comes to style of change. She explained that some people like change for the sake of change, while others prefer to keep things “as is” unless change is necessary. Once people understand their own preferences, they are better able to strengthen the effectiveness of their style of change. They can then be more open to the possibility of using other styles. In addition, learning about differences in style preferences in colleagues can help staff and faculty work better as a team.  It is Dr. Shapiro’s hope that staff and faculty use this information to increase their effectiveness in both their professional and personal experiences.

Purchasing Information Session

Speaker: Jeff Hendricks
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date: March 20, 2014

Jeff Hendricks, Director of Purchasing, recently spoke with a group of staff and faculty about the ins and outs of purchasing at Elon University. As Director of Purchasing, Jeff administers the P-card, reviews contracts for the university, and serves as a resource for people and departments for all of their purchasing needs.

He wanted to give this presentation because many departments do not have formal training in purchasing, and many people are interested in learning more about purchasing. With this presentation, Jeff seeks to relieve some of the frustration that often accompanies navigating purchasing. Difficult topics such as signature levels and when to use check and purchase requests were approached and discussed to alleviate concerns. He would like people to better understand the process and know where to go for help when they need it. Jeff hopes the main take away from his presentation was staff and faculty now know that “We [The Office of Purchasing] are here to help.”  

Jeff Hendricks
(336) 278-5587

Public Speaking Pointers

Speaker: Dr. Anthony Hatcher
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date: February 26, 2014

Communications professor Dr. Anthony Hatcher recently spoke at a program entitled “Public Speaking Pointers.” Dr. Hatcher’s focus on communications and public speaking came naturally as his interest in English and writing led him to a career in teaching. Although he teaches about it now, even he was nervous for the public speaking aspect of teaching before his first day of class over 28 years ago now. It is no secret that public speaking is not everyone’s favorite activity. While it is an important part of many positions here at Elon, the discomfort and unfamiliarity of being in front of groups can still pose a challenge to many staff members.

To lessen the anxiety and improve skills for public speaking, Dr. Hatcher offered tips and strategies that can help Elon’s staff and faculty prepare and successfully complete a public speech. He focused on the importance of energy, knowledge, and enthusiasm when approaching public speaking. To ensure the knowledge component, Dr. Hatcher explained the value of doing plenty of research on your topic of focus. If you know enough about your topic, you can’t be caught off guard. As a faculty member, public speaking is a part of his every day job description. Some of the tips Dr. Hatcher personally utilizes include: moving all over the room, making eye contact, making effective transitions, and varying voice, tone, and volume. 
This program on public speaking was a great success. Staff and faculty offered an active, engaged audience. They provided Dr. Hatcher with insightful questions focusing on difficult public speaking topics such as bored audiences, defusing tense situations, and acknowledging differences of opinion. Program attendees were able to leave this program with a greater knowledge of public speaking, personal questions answered, and a handout to serve as a reminder of tips and tricks to utilize in future public speaking endeavors.

Mentorship Focus Group

Speaker: Deirdre Lea
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date: February 26, 2014

Mentorship is an important part of leadership development and it’s now becoming an important part of Elon University culture. Deirdre Lea, a Human Resources Project Manager and Staff Liaison for the Office of Leadership and Professional Development, is well on her way to creating a mentorship program here at Elon. Supported by research on peer and aspirant universities and employees’ past experiences with mentorship programs, Deirdre is developing a program with elements that have proven successful in the past accompanied by adjustments that will make the program particularly geared towards staff at Elon. Deirdre believes that, “We are an exceptional university. I want a program that is unique to us.”
To follow up on a campus-wide survey on mentorship, Deirdre held a small focus group last week to gather more feedback from staff about how to make a mentorship program successful on our campus. Once started, mentorship pairs will receive guidance and support to facilitate a mentorship relationship in a way that is effective and productive for both members of the pair. Such a program can have significant benefits for a work environment. It’s a great way for a new employee to acclimate to the culture of Elon; it helps to improve retention, and generally supports productivity for employees. Following this focus group, the mentorship program will continue to develop and will soon be up and running on campus. As American Businessman John Crosby said, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” Deirdre looks forward to these dynamics and benefits of mentorship soon reaching many of Elon’s staff.

Presentation Design Tips and Tricks 

Speaker: Michael Vaughn
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date:  March 5, 2014

Michael Vaughn, an instructional technologist here at Elon, facilitated the last program in a series focused on developing effective presentations on Wednesday, March 5th at noon. That program was entitled “Presentation Design Tools and Tricks.” In his everyday life, Michael works with staff and faculty to use technology in useful ways and to make the most of electronic tools. Overall he works to utilize technology to improve educational experiences. His presentation will focus on three main objectives to help staff and faculty improve their presentation design including: where to find great images for presentations, an effective use of transitions, and a new web-based application that can be utilized for class and work presentations.

This topic is important to any staff or faculty member who has utilized or would like to utilize technology in presentations. Many people struggle with getting past the tendency to use PowerPoint as a crutch. Many people have a tendency to use slides to reduce presentation anxiety. This often leads to a crowded PowerPoint that has too many words and this style is often not effective for people who are listening. Michael’s presentation seeks help Elon staff and faculty be more visual with their presentations and better utilize technology to improve their presentation skills and effectiveness. Michael’s first two programs were “The Basics of Presentation Design” and “Designing Presentations for How We Learn.” Both programs filled very quickly and the Office of Leadership and Professional Development had to start waiting list for both of these. We look forward to continuing to learn from Michael Vaughn in the future.

Caregivers of the Elderly ERG- Kathryn Porter

Speaker: Kathryn Porter
Interviewer: Savannah Chaisson
Program Date:  March 5, 2014

Kathryn Porter of Home Instead Senior Care spoke on Wednesday, March 5th to the Caregivers of the Elderly Employee Resource Group (ERG) on campus. This ERG was developed for Elon staff and faculty members who are interested in learning more about caring for elderly family members and friends. As a Community Service Representative, Kathryn meets with families to educate them regarding in-home care options.  She also networks with other professional providers of services. That network allows her to link and refer families to services along the continuum of health and social care for aging people. In meeting with this Caregiver’s of the Elderly ERG at Elon, Kathryn had the opportunity to share her wealth of knowledge and experience with Elon staff and faculty who are interested in this topic. This ERG meets monthly and welcomes new members at any time.

The Caregivers of the Elderly ERG meets monthly and welcomes new members at any time. Please contact Mandy Stovall ( at the Office of Leadership & Professional Development for more information on the Caregivers of the Elderly ERG. Kathryn Porter can be reached at or 336-707-7466.

Change in Office Location

Our office has moved! We are now located at 202-D Manning Avenue; across the street from Arts West and diagonally across the street from Human Resources. 

Service Sabbatical Opportunities

Are you aware of a GREAT opportunity to give back to the community!! As part of Project Pericles at Elon University, Service Sabbaticals make it possible for staff members with two or more years of service to be relieved of their duties to the university for one month or less in order to work full-time for a community organization. Participants continue to receive their paycheck during the sabbatical. Project Pericles will cover the expense of replacing the staff member while they are gone from their job. Please contact Tm Arcaro, Director of Project Pericles, at x6442 or for more information about the application and approval process. See a video that highlights the Service Sabbaticals program.

Elon Challenge Course 

 Participants at the Elon Challenge Course engage in a variety of problem-solving initiatives and ropes course elements. Each program is specifically designed to meet your department's needs, and debriefing after each event allows facilitators to help your group work through common group dynamic challenges like communication, role recognition, problem solving, and more.

 Looking for an experience to strengthen your team?  Did you know that there is an unparalleled teambuilding experience just down the road convenient to your office?  The Elon Challenge Course is an accredited low and high ropes course providing personalized programs.  Imagine your staff working together in a unique, outdoor environment to develop important insights about themselves and their role within your department!  No special skills are required to participate in ropes course activities.  Individuals of all ages and physical abilities can successfully engage in our team-building endeavors.

A variety of team-building programs are available through The Elon Challenge; from half-day to multi-day programs.  The Elon Challenge Course is located on 18 wooded acres, the perfect relaxing atmosphere for a retreat.  Additional facilities at this location include a large multi-purpose meeting room with kitchen facilities (the Elon Lodge), a picnic shelter, and fire circle which can also be reserved for your group’s use. Contact Katie Hight, Director of New Student Programs, at 336-278-7320 for more information.