Jim Trinka
Former Chief Learning Officer and Talent Management Officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Background: Military Leaders
Topic: Business Strategy, Change Management, Corporate Culture, Decision Making, Leadership

Speaker Profile

Summary: Jim Trinka thinks differently to help us learn to become the people we want to be and the leader we wish we had. He is a Senior Organizational Consultant with Signature Resources focusing on surveys, employee experience, leadership development, change management, customer satisfaction, and a subject matter expert and popular keynoter on discovering and leveraging strengths. He served in four Federal government agencies (IRS, FBI, FAA, and VA) as a senior executive in various human resources and talent development roles solving complex culture, leadership, strategy, hiring, and training issues and achieving breakthrough results in all. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a decorated fight pilot in numerous locations worldwide. Using the concepts in his book, Strengths, Clarity, Purpose he has made a measurable positive impact in every organization he worked in or with. Jim holds a doctorate degree in political science from The George Washington University with a focus on international relations. 

Why would a prospective client want you to be their keynote speaker or to support their speaking event? What are some compelling aspects of your background/career/experience that we should know about? 

I think differently to help myself and others learn to become the people they want to be and the leader they wish they had. 

What are your primary topics/areas of expertise? Some examples may include: Conflict resolution, International Relations, Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, Cybersecurity, as well as specific countries or geographical regions. 

  • Leadership Development
  • Executive Development
  • Workforce Capability
  • Succession Planning
  • Learning & Development
  • Talent Development/ Management 

What are some positions you have held in your career that you would like prospective clients to know about?

  • Senior Organizational Consultant, Signature Resources, Jun 2004 – Present 
    • Focuses on surveys, employee experience, leadership development, change management, and customer satisfaction. Subject matter expert and popular keynoter on leveraging strengths. 
    • Strength-based leadership consulting effort with a credit union changed corporate culture, embedded strategy into organization, and raised employee engagement by 5 points. 
    • Authored two editions of a book entitled Strengths, Clarity, and Focus: Thinking Differently to Achieve Breakthrough Results in 2017 and 2021. 
    • Co-authored book entitled A Legacy of 21st Century Leadership: A Guide for Creating a Climate of Leadership Throughout Your Organization in 2007. 
  • Chief Talent Management Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jul 2017 – Oct 2020 
    • Successfully combined human resources; technical, leadership, and organizational development; and employee engagement functions to ensure organizational success through people. 
    • Initiated leadership development that increased employee engagement and customer satisfaction 19 and 14 points that earned the CUBIC leadership development award. 
    • Pioneered competency-based development using individual needs assessments and customized plans to garner the Chief Learning Officer Gold Learning Elite Award
    • Comprehensive IT Customer Experience focus combined monthly and annual surveys and customized improvement training based on individual site survey scores.  
  • Chief Learning Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jun 2014 – Jul 2017 
    • Embedded learning as a key business strategy for mission accomplishment by boosting workforce capability in role-specific technical training, managerial leadership, and program management.  
    • Delivered value across employee, leadership, and organizational development, resulting in an unprecedented 20-point increase in workforce capability to accomplish the mission. 
    • Managed the Leaders Developing Leaders change effort, resulting in a 60-80% increase on organizational transformation awareness, feeling valued, and witnessing positive change. 
    • Competency-Based Professional Development for IT Staff was selected as a world-wide winner for an Association for Talent Development Excellence in Practice Award!  
  • Executive Director Leading EDGE, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jan 2012 – Jun 2014 
    • Led Leading EDGE (Executives Driving Excellence in Government) government-wide executive development program featuring workshops, action learning, assessments, coaching, and web portal.  
    • An overwhelming number of participants (94%) said program content was relevant to their jobs and 93% reported they would recommend the program to a colleague.  
    • Action learning project teams delivered demonstrable cost avoidance results, such as a Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council saving $5 billion annually on shared service contracts and IT shared service delivery yielding $1.4 billion annual savings.  
    • Touted in commendation letter with “superb” leadership as key to program success. 
  • Director Training and Development, Federal Aviation Administration, Jul 2006 – Jan 2012 
    • Spearheaded effort to hire and train 17,000 air traffic controllers by coordinating all business lines to meet year-end actual on board targets set in an innovative annual Controller Workforce Plan.  
    • Implemented a pioneering recruiting and onboarding strategy for external, military, and college recruits to achieve record level applications and reduced processing time to hire. 
    • Converted an archaic skills-based training environment to a competency-based, continuous developmental framework with desired proficiency levels required at various career stages.  
    • Awarded Air Traffic Organization Leadership Award for integrating hiring and training. 
  • Chief Learning Officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jun 2004 – Jul 2006 
    • Instrumental in transformation from an investigative organization to one that prevents terrorism through wide-ranging, diverse programs for law enforcement and intelligence personnel.  
    • Implemented new intelligence analyst training combining classroom instruction, practical applications, and experiential exercises to accurately mimic field intelligence roles.  
    • Implemented new counter-intelligence agent course highlighting technical specifications, interagency coordination, and communication for the 16-agency intelligence community.  
    • Redesigned leadership development programs to support organizational transformation garnering a top-five ranking by Executive Excellence Publishing for three straight years. 

What are some speaking events you’ve supported recently?

I’ve spoken at numerous leadership development programs, conferences, and speaking engagements as an instructor, panelist, and keynote speaker on various topics (listed in Q2 above) in the past 20 years. 

Do you have any articles or publications? Have you been featured in any? If so, what were they? 

  • Strengths, Clarity, Focus, 2nd Edition, (GoldTouch Books, Jun 2021)
  • Strengths, Clarity, Focus, (iUniverse, Sep 2017)
  • “Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration,” Public Manager, Summer 2014
  • “Building a Culture of Executive Collaboration,” Tackling Wicked Government Problems, (Brookings Institution, 2013)
  • “Leadership as Legacy Work,” Seeing the Future Through New Eyes, (World Future Society, 2008)
  • “Performance Engagement,” Leadership Excellence, Vol. 25, No. 8, Aug 2008
  • “High Impact Leaders,” Leadership Excellence, Vol. 25, No. 6, Jun 2008
  • “Leadership Legacies,” Leadership Excellence, Vol. 24, No. 12 (Dec 2007)
  • A Legacy of 21st Century Leadership, (iUniverse, Aug 2007)
  • “What’s a Manager to Do?” Leadership Excellence, Vol. 32, No. 9, Sep 2005
  • “Great Leaders,” Leadership Excellence, Vol. 22, No. 7, Jul 2005
  • “What’s a Manager to Do?” Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 37, No. 3, 2005
  • “Building Great Leaders at the IRS,” Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 36, No. 7, 2004. 

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