Veteran Teacher Institute

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

St. Mark's School, Southborough, MA
8:15 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


  • Registration, Networking and Breakfast: 8:15 - 9:00 a.m.
  • Welcome: 9:00 a.m.
  • Morning Program: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Networking Lunch: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
  • Afternoon Program: 12:00 - 2:45 p.m.
  • Reflections and Farewell: 2:45 - 3:00 p.m.

Register Here

Morning Program

Difficult Conversations: Strengthening One’s Communication, Mentoring Abilities and Leadership with Gillien Todd

We all have conversations we dread and find unpleasant, that we avoid or face up to like bad medicine – such as raising a sensitive topic with our boss, giving or receiving negative feedback, or confronting a colleague who has offended you. In this workshop, we will focus on the structure of difficult conversations and the systematic errors we make when trying to discuss sensitive or emotional topics. At heart, the problem isn’t only in your behavior, but in your thinking.

We will focus on the mental shifts that can help you change your difficult conversations into learning conversations: certainty to curiosity, blame to joint contribution, and intent to impact. In addition, we will explore the role of strong feelings and identity and how they throw us off balance and hijack our ability to stay rational and problem-solve.

Afternoon Program

Meaningful Mentorship in Action: Veteran Teachers engage with Beginning Teachers

About Our Facilitators

Gillien Todd is a lecturer on education at HGSE and a lecturer on law at Harvard Law School. At both institutions, she teaches the Negotiation Workshop.

She teaches workshops on negotiation, difficult conversations, and effective feedback in a variety of industries, as well as at top teaching hospitals in Boston and as part of Harvard University's internal leadership development programs.

Todd helps leaders navigate their hardest conversations, understand how their own leadership profile impacts their teams, and repair strained relationships. As a facilitator, she has mediated contract negotiations for school districts and symphony orchestras; facilitated strategic relationship management among alliance partnerships; and led a multi-year multi-stakeholder collaboration in the public sector.

Todd's work is guided by theories of interest-based negotiation and difficult conversations developed by the Harvard Negotiation Project and Triad Consulting; by her work on dialogue and team dynamics with Dialogix UK and David Kantor, author of Reading the Room: Group Dynamics for Coaches and Leaders; and by her work with Ronald Heifetz, author of Leadership Without Easy Answers.

Todd received her B.A. from Yale University, her Ed.M.'96 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.