Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
I’m writing to recommend Dianne Sutton as a facilitator for diversity topics.
I’ve known Dianne for more than 20 years. We both are on the Board of the Training Officers Consortium, a group of federal training officials. In my capacity as a member of the organization development staff of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, I’ve hired Dianne to do a series of diversity workshops, so I have seen her work first hand. As a former 10-year department chair at the Graduate School, USA (formerly USDA), where I recruited, trained and evaluated faculty, I can compare Dianne’s performance with literally hundreds of other instructors.
Dianne has the two things every successful adult educator needs: subject matter expertise and a proven ability to communicate that expertise effectively to adults.
She knows the EEO/diversity/affirmative action subject matter cold. Her materials are up to date, attractive, and readable. She has an informal style that inevitably engages everyone. While she is friendly and creates a non-threatening atmosphere, she will not let people get away with misconceptions. She did a very nice job for us.
I know she is capable of doing training in a number of other subject areas besides diversity.
The strongest compliment I can pay a facilitator is to say that we would use her again. In Dianne’s case, we would and will use her again when we have that need. I would rate her in the top category of all instructors I’ve seen.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
We should set up a time to talk again when you have time! I really enjoyed all of your advice and have been putting it to good use. I did go to DC a few months ago; it was quite the whirl wind of an experience. I got up at 5am every day and didn’t leave work till 7:30pm every night. It was AWESOME! I job shadowed one of our agencies Deputy Administrators, sat in on meetings, went to White House Council meetings, in my spare time I set up interviews with other senior executive leaders. I think I was seriously asked about 50 times if I would move to DC and why I wasn’t already in DC….LOL….
At one White House council meeting I went to with a senior leader, I knew what the topic of conversation (which is a HUGE deal for small communities and billions of dollars in funding). I had been in previous meetings that week regarding funded projects, took notes (like you recommended – which was so helpful!), so I knew my hard facts. I fearlessly waited for my opportunity and spoke up (even though I was supposed to just kind of be observing). The senior leader I was with was so impressed he went back and told the Deputy Administrator I was shadowing how amazing I was talking with OMB. That felt really awesome!!!
Then a senior leader I interviewed wrote to my State Director saying “They needed more programs to grow leaders if I was the type of candidate these programs produced” – he took 5 of my business cards and made it known he had DC employees working in other states from the field and he was interested in future prospects. AWESOME again!
I could talk all day about my experience. I was tired, sad, and had swollen feet when I had to leave DC, but it was the best career experience of my life thus far!
My brain hasn’t stopped either. It only energized my thoughts even more, I am writing – I filled up an entire notebook of ideas to pitch for implementation, and they are really good too addressing current agency inefficiencies and problems offering positive, inexpensive solutions.
My State Director is a huge supporter of my ideas, and is also very well connected locally and nationally. I just have a feeling I will have the opportunity to be a part of some amazing changes here in the future and THAT IS SO UNBELIEVABLY EXCITING!!! I wish it would happen tomorrow! But I am trying to be patient.
Until then I will take your advice and keep improving myself to be better. Also – I really thought a lot about what you said about “everyone not liking you, not a popularity contest” – I get it…It has made me more confident in my decisions to just keep moving forward and doing what I am doing, who cares if it has never been done or what co-workers here think. Some think it is awesome; others seem…like I need to be put in my place. Also I have gained confidence in who I am, my talents, my creativity, what I bring to the table, talking to high level executives --- and many, many more things. I have grown leaps & bounds.
So THANK YOU for mentoring me!!!! It has meant a lot to me and even though we haven’t had a chance to talk, know that I took to heart all the advice you gave me, listened closely and applied what I heard. I appreciate all the help and if I can ever do anything to repay the kindness, please let me know. Thank you and I hope we can talk soon….
Defense Intelligence Agency
Re: Prevention of Sexual Harassment, EEO for Managers and Supervisors
"DIA, like many other federal agencies, were struggling with providing sexual harassment training to the workforce under a mandate by Congress. Rather than just provide any training to "meet the requirement" I sent out my employees with the task of find a "superior" training course on the subject. When my employees came back to me with the recommendation of Sutton Enterprises, I decided to check them out. What I found was not only a superior course on the subject, it was a done by Dianne Sutton with love of the subject. You could tell that the subject had been well researched and the delivery of the material was well presented by Dianne and her team of excellent instructors. Dianne's approach to training is to only provide a quality product. While many employees would have preferred not to attend mandated training, they all came away with a full appreciation of the subject and an understanding of how to treat their fellow workers both on and off the job. Dianne came to provide training at DIA at a time of intense need but stayed for a number of years conducting training in several subjects. Although I have left DIA, I still find that I am recommending Dianne Sutton to my colleagues in the training profession as a person you can rely on to provide a quality training product."
Arlington County, VA Government
Re: EEO, Telephone Skills, Interviewing Skills, Workplace Etiquette, Assertiveness Skills
“What I recall most is your ability to interact with all levels of clients. I especially remember your skillful delivery of information to individuals who were less than willing to participate and otherwise listen to matters of equal opportunity, diversity, job seeking and life skills. Your level of understanding of and response to resistance always struck me as unique. In the end, it was a rarity that participants left with the same resistance with which they entered. You have a gift. You always made sure that you had current info, hence, my poster to you based on your own philosophy about those who are not changing with the times, i.e. “Living in a CD world on 45 speed.”
What strikes me is your willingness to pass on your experience and education so that others might also progress as evidenced by your continued support for the Northern Virginia Chapter of the National Forum for Public Administrators.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Re: EEO and Diversity
“My first impression of you and your management training series is that you have a skill that evokes participation and, hence, learning on a variety of levels simultaneously. I found it refreshing that people from a variety of backgrounds were able to meld together like a choir in order to complete assignments. You made the exercise enjoyable while, at the same time, realistically portraying a bona fide management situation.
Overall, while your organization is extremely professional, you create a relaxed and nurturing approach to training and development. I think you made some real inroads in the federal government by being a participant in its manage/executive training programs. You created some pretty good managers throughout the government. Let me know if I can offer any additional information to assist you.”
Institute for Human Development, Fort Washington, MD
“As I think about your time building “your business” I think/know it has included struggle. However, at the same time, it has included an awful lot of highs and successes.
One of the things I remember is that you started out with a few programs in the area of diversity that you sold and marketed into a cadre of, my guess without the long list in front of me, 30-35 different courses that SE offered.
With heart, sweat, and a little fear, doubt and worry, you parlayed your meager beginning into a solid reputation for professionalism and have poured your soul into making a difference in the lives of a wide array of cultures, ethnic groups and organizations. Moreover, along the way, you created some training colleague connections that are solid and, in a sense, are soul mates who believe in you along with a host of companies and organizations. You have taken your skills and talents into organizations, corporate board rooms communities and wherever you’ve done your work, you’ve made an impact, impression or a difference! Sutton Enterprises is a model of genuine commitment, professionalism, and integrity. This speaks to your company and it speaks to you.”
USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
Management Support Staff (GIPSA)
Re: People Working Together (Diversity Awareness)
“Congratulations on marking 20 years of support to the training community! During that time, you provided USDA GIPSA with some quality training. Of particular note: in 2001, we traveled to various locations in the US. Sutton Enterprises led the training effort with the course, “People Working Together,” which focused on the benefits of using diversity for improving our work. The surveys and discussions, coupled with the workshop exercises, resulted in a more positive environment. Thanks for your contributions to training and development. I have enjoyed our work collaboration."
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Email)
Re: Diversity Awareness
“After one of the July sessions a gentlemen out of the class, saw an evaluation form that was left out on a table in our outer office, and spontaneously filled it out.
He was very satisfied, and circled “all 5’s for meeting objectives, effective facilitator, manual and overall rating. I thought you might enjoy his two comments."
What was the most beneficial part of the experience?
“It gave me a better understanding of the need to be more aware of what you say and how things can be taken.”
“Ms. Sutton was a very effective facilitator. Her knowledge and approach to the subject of diversity was non-confrontational and made you feel optimistic about going to this type of training. She challenged all of us in ways that others have not.”