Oregon Fire Service Office Administrators

"Sharing a Standard of Excellence"

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2011 Conference summary

Thu, Nov 03, 2011

OFSOA recently enjoyed another great conference!  Our co-chairs Deb Keehn and Tammy Robbins from Jefferson Fire District did a wonderful job treating all the attendees to a beautiful location and excellent teaching and networking.


It is so easy to say in a few words that we had a great event, but so much more is involved. It takes many work sessions and a lot of planning to pull off a successful event. You have to be creative, organized, have negotiating skills, have good communication skills, be flexible, be dependable, and much more. So when I say we had a great conference, it is because ALL of these aspects and more came into play.


I can only briefly give you an idea of the sessions and speakers as our time was packed with information, humor, discussion, and shared experiences. If you missed this event, I am sorry, but I hope you can make our workshop in April and our next conference in 2012 where we will be celebrating twenty years of ‘Sharing a Standard of Excellence’!


v    To start our conference we brought back a favorite speaker, Steve Hanamura, who gave us a better understanding of generational differences in the workplace. It was so interesting to see how each age group perceived the others and how they thought the other groups perceived them. We looked at key characteristics of each of the groups: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millenials (Gen Y). 


 A good example of our differences can be seen in our description of the word ‘respect’.  To a Traditionalist or Boomer respect is defined as ‘Do what you’re told, when you’re told; respect should be given whether or not I agree’; To the Gen X group “Respect has to be earned”; To the Millenials “Show me and then I’ll respect you”.

Steve concluded his presentation with Five Ways for Working Together Effectively. They are:

1.      Create a positive climate

2.      Converse respectfully

3.      Listen with empathy

4.      Work together for the common good of the total organization

5.      Recognize and appreciate different perspectives.


v    There were several breakout sessions where attendees could choose a class that best fit their needs, such as CPR training, Fire Extinguisher Safety, and Fire Bridge Reporting.


v    Taking good care of ourselves helps us be our best and give our best. With this in mind, Michael Severson from TVF&R led a very informative and comprehensive session on health and wellness. He covered the importance of reading labels and what the terminology provided on labels actually means, such as ‘All Natural’ and ‘Low Fat’. We learned how the supermarket is designed to slow us down so we will spend more time (and more $), and about shelf and display tactics. He gave us strategies on portion control, healthy snacking, fitness, ergonomics, and injury prevention. The following resources were provided for more information: USDA www.choosemyplate.gov ; find your target calorie intake using the Harris-Benedict Formula www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/harris-benedict-equation/


v    Kori Sarrett with Koontz & Perdue, PC gave a very informative and important presentation on Payroll Law which included instruction on how to classify employees, New Hire reporting, benefits (taxable or not?), how to be prepared for audits, and payroll recordkeeping.


Our conference concluded on Friday with another favorite speaker, Bill Gallagher, on Managing Gossip in the Workplace. We discussed the statistics, the problems, the types of gossipers, and mainly, strategies for managing and stopping this damaging practice. Our words can do a lot of good or a lot of damage; they are very powerful, so we would be well advised to ask ourselves three things about what we are saying: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

~Rhonda Grant

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