Oakwood Management Enrichment Training

This course's goal is to motivate an improvement on company culture, focusing on inclusion and non-bias, better communication, team building, and interviewing practices.

Introductions - Meet the Hexagon Team!

Justin Brown, Director of Client Crisis Management

Justin Brown

Justin has been the Director of Client Crisis Management for Oakwood Management since July 2018. He is responsible for developing Crisis prevention strategies as well as crisis management protocols.  Justin will be receiving his degree in Corporate Communications in December of 2018.

Before accepting a position at Hexagon Solutions Mr. Brown worked for DocuSystems. DocuSystems services law firms all over the Houston area and has over 1000+ employees. Mr. Brown has a passion for Client Crisis Prevention and Management.

Judith Garcia, Director of Public Relations

Judith Garcia

Judith has served as the Director of Public Relations at Oakwood Management since July 2018. Judith is responsible for creating a strong industry network, expanding a positive corporate image by planning, developing, implementing and assessing effective communication strategies for clients. Garcia received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a concentration in Corporate Communication from the University of Houston-Downtown. Prior to joining Hexagon Solutions Ms. Garcia was working for the City of Houston Human Resources Department- Communications Division, alongside 25 city departments to inform and engage over 21,000 city employees and 65,000 city retirees and dependents. Ms. Garcia is dedicated to ensuring complete client satisfaction after implementing personalized valuable strategies from Hexagon Solutions.

Brittany McCree, Director of Human Resources

Brittany McCree

Brittany has served as the Director of Human Resources at Hexagon Solutions since 2016. Placing a high value on service, Brittany oversees employee relations and compliance, benefits management, human capital management, payroll management, and training. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a concentration in Corporate Communication from the University of Houston Downtown. Prior to joining Hexagon Solutions, Brittany acquired 5 years of recruitment experience in the corporate and education fields, along with 8 years of human resources management experience working for the international cosmetic retailer Sephora. Brittany’s current experience coupled with her previous experiences allows her to bring a broad perspective to Hexagon Solutions and a strong client focus to everything she pursues.

Ashley Miles, Director of Accounting & Finance

Ashley Miles

Ashley has been with Hexagon since March 1, 2016. She received a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication from the University of Houston Downtown has led to this very moment. Ashley typically provides consultant-level services to an organization’s controllers and finance personnel. The goal is to fulfill revenue objectives and adhere to accounting and report job duties for directors of accounting which can include reviewing and analyzing finances, ensuring compliance with regulations and refining reporting documentation. At the director level, responsibilities also include verifying the integrity and accuracy of financial operations, safeguarding organizational assets and developing efficient business processes to record revenue. As a director of accounting, she is responsible for overseeing relevant contracts as well as computer hardware and software system acquisitions, particularly those affecting financial reporting. Others support company initiatives by directing stock option accounting, leading strategic planning for accounting policies and maintaining internal controls over financial transactions. Being the director of accounting manages personnel and may also serve as liaison among the accounting/finance department and other areas of a firm, as well as with external advisors. Financial Reporting functions and the financial services area including Credit, A/R and A/P. She is responsible for implementing and maintaining a system of internal controls that will ensure that the company assets are adequately safeguarded and that all financial reporting is prepared in compliance with all financial policies.

John Rivas, Director of Creative Development

John Rivas

John is the Director of Creative Development for Hexagon Solutions. Mr. Rivas has reached a tenure of five years. His responsibilities are to implement developmental projects and work with to incorporate innovative ideas among the group. His long experience with working with developmental projects across the state of Texas has given him the vision to assist in project and creative developmental projects. My most important ambition with Hexagon is to give the client the best creative vision. Mr. Rivas has received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Corporate Communication. He has also worked in creative design for over 20 years.

Charles E. Vaughn Jr, Director of Education & Training

Charles Earl Vaughn Jr.

Charles, or "Chuck," is the current Director of Education and Training for Hexagon Solutions and is directly responsible for the delivery and facilitation of training and development programs that are conducted with Hexagon’s clients. Mr. Vaughn has attended San Jacinto College—Central where he studied Theatre Arts and graduated the University of Houston—Downtown with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies, with a concentration in Corporate Communications and a minor in Drama. An actor for over 9 years, he found an interest in the way that people communicate with one another and decided that, as someone who is both comfortable and skilled as a communicator, it would be a great mission to help others who may not be as confident in their communicative abilities. He has experience in facilitating training and team building activities with groups of a variety of sizes and industries as an independent consultant. Something that makes Charles’ approach unique is the clear marriage he has created between his acting experiences and communication theory.

Module 1: Inclusion & Non-Biases in the Workplace

Implicit Bias

Implicit Bias:

Also known as unconscious bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

Implicit Bias includes thoughts and beliefs that we do not want to fully admit. 

Implicit Bias Cont'd

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias operates at a very subtle level, below our awareness. It results in almost unnoticeable behaviors such as paying a little less attention to what the other person says, addressing them less warmly or talking less to them. 

Combating Implicit Bias

How to Combat Implicit Bias

Know where you are in terms of your motivation to change or manage your biases. It is unrealistic to expect immediate change.

Consider getting tested to identify the types and strengths of your unconscious biases. This can enable you to avoid making unchallenged  decisions about groups for whom you know you have negative associations. 

Explicit Bias

Explicit Bias

refers to the attitudes and beliefs we have about a person or group on a conscious level. Much of the time, these biases and their expression arise as the direct result of a perceived threat.

Do you know the difference?

  • Conscious ( Explicit) Bias
    Biases that we consciously have towards others
  • Unconscious ( Implicit) Bias
    Bias that we are not aware that we exhibit.


Examples of Conscious Bias

Often associated with terms such as hate speech, racism, sexism, ageism, and discrimination.

Module 2: Better Communications Among Department and Subordinates

Effective Email Communication

Effective Email Communication

Goal: Establish a culture that values the importance of reading emails especially

Emails are used to communicate at all levels of the company among management, subordinates, staff. Emails are sent to/from/among all levels of the company

It is critical that emails be read thoroughly, have appropriate content, and have proper priority

Reading Comprehension Training – all employees will take a simple test to gauge their reading comprehension skills to determine areas of improvement

Content Training – the human resources training will provide a presentation and train all new employees of appropriate email content. This includes training as to the following areas:

Software Training – effective email communication requires that employees know how to properly use email software

Effective Verbal Communication

Effective Verbal Communication

Goal:  Creating a culture where employees employ appropriate verbal communication

  • Introduction - Verbal communication is still the most used form of communication at the office among employees.    By nature, employees that work at an office and/or business regularly interact with each other on a daily basis. 
  • Effective verbal creation helps foster teamwork, avoids awkwardness and stressful social situations, and minimizes a company’s risk in terms of legal obligations and business performance.
  • It is essential to set rules and expectations, to make employees comfortable, and allow people to effectively communicate with each other face to face.
  • Effective verbal communication promotes a more productive, efficient, and enjoyable work environment.
  • Human Resources Training – training should be provided to all employees of how to effectively communicate verbally

Effective Communications in Meetings

Effective Communications in Meetings

Goal: Adopt policies for meetings to run more efficiently and be more productive

  • Introduction – Meetings are often unpopular with employees due to dominating personalities, inefficiency, and that they can be time-consuming.  Adopting strategies to make meetings more efficient and productive will help a company’s results.
  • Agenda Setting  - An effective meeting begins with an agenda that sets out subjects, goals, a timeframe, and what to expect in the meeting.
  • Agenda should be sent out via email or printed out before a meeting begins
  • A good agenda has a clear organization for the meeting
  • Organization – Each meeting should have a clear subject, goals, and organization.
  • A good meeting often has a team leader or keynote speakers
  • Robert’s Rules of Order – this is a parliamentary procedure technique that allows for organization in meetings.  Effectively, it lets one person speak at a time while they have “the floor.”  The chair of a meeting recognizes other speakers by a show of hands. 
  • Adopting this procedure leads to less interruptions, less chaos, and more efficient meetings where one person speaks at a time
  • Time Management – Adopt a policy that all meetings should start and end on time as much as possible.  Employees often complain about meetings because they interfere with schedules.  Setting expectations in terms of how much time it will take will help employees plan their schedule.
  • No Cell Phones Policy -  Cell phones should not be permitted in a meeting.  This gives speakers everyone’s undivided attention.   This policy also minimizes distractions, and helps everyone talk and get to know each other at the beginning and end of meetings.
  • The meeting leader must take responsibility for the meeting.  Specifically, meetings should start on time, be kept on subject, and welcome input from participants if feedback is appropriate.  
  • Memorializing the Meeting – there should be an employee that takes minutes of the meeting to demonstrate what was discussed, what decisions were made, and what goals were set in anticipation of the next meeting.  This can be done by taking notes, video-recording the meeting itself, and/or having participants take notes that are compiled into a meeting summary.   It is important that people can read about what happened at meetings.

Communication Strengths and Weaknesses

Communication Strengths and Weaknesses

What area of office communication are you strongest at? What area of office communication would you like to improve upon?

What is inclusion


 Inclusion in the workplace is defined as the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization's success.

Module 3: Team Building in the Workplace


Engaging activities in the workplace creates an environment that increases employee productivity and fulfillment. Not all team-building activities must be specifically work-related.

Team Building Activities

Benefits of Investing in Team Building

The positive outcomes of having a united team in the workplace

  • Employees improve their problem-solving skills by learning to work in teams
  • Builds trust, mitigates conflict and increases collaboration within the organization.
  • Leads to an improvement of communication amongst executives and subordinates. 

What is an activity that you would like to try in your organization to promote a united team? Please explain in detail.

Module 4: Thinking about Interviews


What makes an interview unique?

An interview is unique to the many other types of communicative acts, because with it comes a social contract that the two parties involved will listen and interact with one another in a purposeful way.

In the case of a hiring/recruitment interview, it is the responsibility of the person conducting the interview to ask meaningful questions of their interviewee with the intent of ascertaining their abilities and character, and how they fit with the organization.

Common pitfalls for interviewers lie in the types of questions used, and a lack of active listening skills.

Time for a Video

For Your Consideration

Watch this video, and as you do, think about the types of questions that you have asked in interviews.

Types of Interview Questions

Informational Questions

Informational questions are the easiest to ask, as well as the easiest for your interviewees to answer. The interviewer, you, has a specific question that the interviewee. They can be used to learn more about a person’s life and personality and give a great idea of how they will fit within your organization.

Examples of Informational questions:

“What do you do at your current job?”

“What is something that has helped you in your success?”

“Who is someone that has inspired you in life?”

Behavioral Questions

Behavioral questions are your chance as an interviewer to see how a potential employee has acted in previous situations. These questions are straightforward, and usually, begin with “Tell me about a time…” A good candidate will respond to a behavioral question with an answer that shows their ability using a real-life example from their past experiences.

Examples of Behavioral questions:

“Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it went well.”

“Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What went well and what didn’t?”

“What was a time that you made a mistake at a job, and how did you handle it?”

Technical Questions

We ask technical questions to get an idea of what a candidate can do. Sometimes there are examples of an individual’s abilities available if they have made a portfolio of their work available to you. Unfortunately, not every candidate will have a portfolio, so it is still the job of the interviewer to get a gauge of their interviewee’s skills.

Examples of Technical questions:

“How does your experience prepare you for this role?”

“Have you done any projects recently that you would like to talk about?”

Cliché Questions...

Let’s be honest: interviewing is a lot of work. Because of that, it is easy to use cliché questions instead of more personal ones. 

Whatever the reason, we cannot allow ourselves to fall back on these types of questions. 

They are boring. 

They are not personal. 

And most of all, they make you as an interviewer look lazy and disingenuous. 

Cliché questions are the interviewing equivalent to asking someone about the weather. Leave those ways behind you.

Examples of Cliché Interview Questions

"Tell me about yourself”

When you ask this question, you are being a lazy interviewer and may also make a nervous interviewee even more so with such an open-ended query. Instead, be more specific in what you would like to know. Instead of ‘tell me about yourself,’ you can ask them any number of more specific questions that will tell you something about them: “Who do you look up to,” “How hobbies do you enjoy in your free time,” and “What is a skill that you wish you used more” are all much more engaging questions, will enable your interviewee to think of a genuine and specific answer, and also encourage the interview to move forward.

“Why should I hire you?”

This isn’t a bad question, but it can be framed much better. Instead of asking someone to compare themselves to your other applicants-- people that your interviewee has never met, ask them about their qualifications and skills and how they make them the right fit for the organization.

Have a Conversation!

Create more interesting, personal questions that provoke the interviewee to provide rich answers. You will find that interviewing can be an enjoyable experience on both sides with the right person guiding the process along.

Questions to Avoid

Be Mindful!

There are, of course, types of questions that should be avoided. These questions include any that involve a person’s race, sex (including sexual orientation), gender, religion, or family. These types of questions are illegal under the protections of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Examples of Questions that should NOT BE ASKED!

“Do you have a disability or work restriction?”

“Do you have a green card?”

“Are you getting married soon?”

“Is English your first language?”

“Who is your Pastor?”

“Do you plan on having children?”

“Have you ever been arrested?”



That's it! 

This marks the end of the training course. 

Thank you for your participation from us all at Hexagon Solutions.

Next, please complete our trainee evaluation form so that we may be able to receive any feedback that you may have! 

Finally, click this link to access your completion certificate!