Educational Seminars

Wednesday, August 21
ISAC Educational Seminars

All educational seminars can be attended by any conference attendee at any time. We have some educational track suggestions, but they are not mandatory. See all seminar detail below.

Flood Track – all day
Leadership Track – all day
Jester Park Mobile Tour – morning only
HR Seminar – afternoon only

Flood Track
9:00 am – 2:30 pm
Meeting Room 307-310

Flood Track hosted with the Iowa Flood Center (PDF Flier/Agenda)
This full-day conference within the Annual Conference will cover all things flooding in Iowa. Registration is included in the price of the full conference registration.


Leadership Track
9:00 am – 2:30 pm
Meeting Room 312 – 314

The Power of Accountability: Driving Ownership Within Your County Organization
9:00 am – 10:00 am

Most of us want our colleagues and employees to act like owners.  But what does that really mean?  What we’re looking for is a shift in team culture – where people don’t pass the buck or drop the ball.  We want employees, at all levels, to own mistakes and not blame others or make excuses.  Accountability means having a sense of ownership of projects, processes and problems that cut across lines AND the willingness to face consequences that come with success or failure.  People are usually willing to own success; they’re less willing to own mistakes or unmet goals.  During this dynamic and interactive workshop, learners will learn about the Ladder of Accountability and how they can shape a work climate that will support more ownership within themselves and others.

Speakers: Cindy Maher and Jamie Guite, Leading Edge Coaching and Development

Feedback is a Gift – But, I’d Prefer a Box of Chocolate
10:15 am – 11:30 am

Me: “Hey, can I give you some feedback?”
You: “Um … no thanks!”

A significant part of our county reputation comes from how well we take feedback from others.  So why is it so difficult?  We know that feedback is essential for development, growth, and healthy relationships – but most of us dread and dismiss it.  That’s because feedback sits at the heart of two conflicting human desires: we want to learn and grow but we also want to be accepted and respected just as we are now.  Receiving feedback effectively is strongly connected to personal and professional success.  Walk away prepared to defuse defensiveness in yourself and others through a unique blend of improvisational comedic scenes, the latest leadership research, small group discussion and self-reflection.

Speakers: Cindy Maher and Jamie Guite, Leading Edge Coaching and Development

Maximizing Energy in a World That Sucks You Dry
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Our typical response to rising demands and pressures in the county workplace is to work longer hours.  Unfortunately, that quickly takes a toll on productivity, creativity, engagement and health.  The problem with time is that it’s a finite resource (you only get 24 hours in a day).  But energy is renewable.  During this workshop, you’ll explore the four wellsprings of energy, and take a close look at what you’re doing to contribute (or not) to your own health as a leader.  Leading Edge founder Cindy Maher and Chief Humor Officer Jamie Guite will spark reflection, discussion and commitment through a wildly interactive presentation.  Through an innovative mix of improvisational comedy, cutting edge research, and peer learning, you’ll walk away with a greater awareness of the capacity you have and a 30-day roadmap that will lead to the energy you want.

Speakers: Cindy Maher and Jamie Guite, Leading Edge Coaching and Development


Jester Park Mobile Tour
9:00 am – 11:30 am

This off-site tour will feature four Jester Park sites that are run by Polk County Conservation. The bus will leave from the convention center promptly at 9:00 am and will return at 11:30 am. Seating is limited, so registrations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Please dress comfortably and wear walking shoes.

Opened in August of 2018, this $10M facility has already hosted thousands of visitors and school groups and has become an instant regional attraction within central Iowa. 

This Audubon-certified golf course has gone through recent renovations including an expanded clubhouse, building a new mini-golf course, and improvements to the 18-hole course and driving range.

A “one of a kind” facility in Iowa, this center has many successful programs including the Horses Helping Hero’s veterans’ program, therapeutic riding instruction, and a variety of public events. We will tour facility and see new renovations.

We will view Jester Park’s bison and elk herds and experience our unique Nature Playscape involving natural elements with children’s play.

Tour Guide:  Richard Leopold, Polk County Conservation Director


HR 202: How to Effectively Manage Public Employees
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Meeting Room 302-304

Elected Officials and Department Heads are increasingly involved in human resources and personnel matters. This presentation will provide attendees with tips and tricks to apply from the moment a job is posted until an employee retires, resigns, or is terminated. The presentation will address HR matters unique to counties and will cover topics beyond the basics of hiring and firing to include day-to-day management of a department as well as response to problem employees or challenging workplace situations.

Speaker:  Katherine Beenken, Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.