Planners’ Picks — April 2, 2024

Planners’ Picks  A collection of resources from CSN planning committee members worth mentioning

April is upon us, but don’t be fooled; we are just getting started in our journey to be better leaders. Let’s change the world with our acts of kindness, speak up, and grow some courage in our resources this week.

*Note: Don’t fret if you can’t get to all of these resources! If you’re short on time, maybe choose one or two that are of interest to you to pursue.


:: Image of the Week

Hands holding a plant and soil with the quote: “Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”


:: CSN’s Book of the Week Recommendation

Humankind: Changing the World One Small Act at a Time

Named best inspirational book of the year by the Independent Book Publishers Association and chosen as an International Book Awards winner, HumanKind is the heartwarming, feel-good book we all need right now. These inspiring stories will open your heart and rekindle your faith in humanity.

You’ll meet the mentor who changed a child’s life with a single lesson in shoe-tying and see the far-reaching ripple effects of that seemingly small deed. You’ll also meet the six-year-old who launched a global kindness movement; the band of seamstress grandmothers who descend on Philadelphia every week to patch clothes—and, in the process, mend hearts—for homeless people; the woman whose decision to make an extra meal to feed someone in need led to a movement that’s provided more than sixteen million meals; and many other heroes.

There are also practical tips for making a difference with your own words and deeds, and the resource section lists organizations where you can channel your efforts to create your own ripples of kindness.

HumanKind will leave you grateful for what you have and provide a refuge from the negativity that surrounds us. This feel-good book will touch your heart. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be reminded of what really matters.

Catch the author on this recent podcast where he shares his mission and some of the stories from his book:


:: Gratitude in Leadership

Gratitude is a Leadership Mission

Imagine a workplace where acknowledgment is scarce. Compliments? Almost never. It’s a place where motivation is sapped and enthusiasm fades. Now, picture a simple heartfelt genuine “thank you” infusing life into that environment. It’s not just about manners; it’s about recognizing worth, effort, and value.

Leaders who express gratitude encourage their teams to reach higher. It’s a catalyst for growth – both personal and professional. Thankfulness can turn routine tasks into opportunities for innovation and inspiration.

More on this from Skip Prichard at

“Those who have the ability to be grateful are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness.” ― Steve Maraboli


:: Communication

Why Are We Nervous Speaking in Front of Groups?

It is no secret that teaching classes or giving a presentation in a professional setting can be nerve-wracking.  So, why do we get nervous in these situations?  Is it a fear of failing or making a mistake?  Is it the silent judgment we think people will have about us?  All are likely causes, and I can address each of them as a future topic.  For now, let’s focus on the nervousness itself.


:: Self-Leadership Development

Learning to Be a Leader

Starting from a design background with little leadership experience, Julie Zhuo used her passion for interpersonal engagement as a foundation for developing effective leadership practices. In this article, she shares three key lessons she has learned over her seven-year journey of learning to be a leader:

  1. A great manager must genuinely enjoy working with people.
  2. They don’t need to have all the answers but should inspire their team to find solutions
  3. A manager’s strength is reflected in their team’s strength and success.

Zou stresses that becoming a confident senior manager takes a minimum of three years, as management experience cannot be fast-tracked but is gained over time through diverse challenges.


3 Mind-Changing Habits Every Leader Should Follow

As leaders, we need reminders to focus on our mindset. Discover three mind-changing habits every leader should embrace to drive success and inspire greatness in this article from

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.” – Anatole France


:: Work Culture & Team Development

How Can Leaders Cultivate a Culture of Courage?

We are all too familiar with this feeling:

The fear of failure. The fear of being wrong. The fear of rejection. The fear of being emotionally uncomfortable.

Research tells us these fears are common, part of what makes us human. Many of us are trying to be courageous in the face of these fears, step by step. But what if our workplaces, where we spend so much time, instead of helping us feel supported, make these fears worse?

When fear stops us from sharing ideas, pointing out issues, or speaking up about problems, it’s not just our own growth that’s stifled, but the entire team’s chance to innovate, thrive, and succeed. Speaking up is more than just an action; it’s a crucial part of being ourselves, vital for our growth. And creating a space where everyone feels safe to be courageous is key to any organization’s success.

So, how can you, as a leader, help cultivate a culture of courage, where it is not only encouraged but celebrated?

Join Renee Smith in this episode of To Work: With Love on the Gut+Science podcast to find out.

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – André Gide

What is Ikigai?

A simple word, yet a powerful concept.

It mixes 2 Japanese terms:
• “Iki,” meaning “life” or “alive”
• “Gai,” meaning “worth” or “benefit”

Ikigai is the balance of your:

  • Mission
  • Passion
  • Expertise
  • Calling

Read more about Ikigai and reference a nice infographic at this post:


:: Mental Health and Self-Care

Why Grownups Should Be Playful Too

Playfulness can improve your relationships, help you excel at work, and reduce stress. We explore a strategy shown to help you become more playful. Listen to this short recording on some benefits of exploring the idea of playfulness from the Greater Good Magazine team.


:: Upcoming Events

Donate Clothes to Help Young Leaders In Their Career Journey!

Please consider donating gently worn professional, business and business casual clothing to the SuccessWorks Career Closet.

·         The SuccessWorks Career Closet provides free clothing to L&S students to dress for success in interviews, internships and more.

·         We are in particular need of masculine and feminine clothing in sizes extra small and small, and medium. Additionally, we are looking for feminine jackets in all sizes. However, if you have items outside of those categories that you’d like to donate please don’t hesitate to include them.

·         Items can be dropped off at the SuccessWorks Offices, 711 State Street, Suite 300 (3rd floor of the University Bookstore Building) Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm.

Please share this upcoming event with your students to help them feel fully prepared for their summer internships or post-graduation jobs:

Career Closet Shopping Spree
Date: April 10th 
Time: 2:00-4:30pm

Showcase will Feature Breakout Sessions Around Leadership

Attend Showcase on April 18, 2024, at Union South.

The annual Showcase event is designed to celebrate and strengthen a culture of innovation and continuous improvement at UW–Madison. It offers an opportunity for colleagues from across campus to share best practices, learn from each other’s successes, and connect.

Showcase is free and open to all UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students, as well as community members. The day includes poster exhibits, poster flash talks, a keynote presentation, and a variety of breakout sessions that highlight campus strategic initiatives and best practices in the areas of process improvement, change management, organizational design, project management, and leadership.

Note: Attendance is free, but you are required to register for this event.

Date: April 18, 2024
Time: 8:30 am-3:00 pm (see full schedule for times of specific events)
Location: Union South Varsity Hall

Breakout Sessions:

National Student Employment Appreciation Week

April 15th-19th is National Student Employment Appreciation Week. We encourage you to celebrate and recognize the talented student employees in your unit and/or division during this week. We also encourage you to invite your student employees to our campus-wide free in-person celebration events including free bowling, trivia, and more.

In addition, we have created a “toolkit” full of ideas and unique ways you can communicate appreciation to your student employees. This includes in-person and virtual gathering ideas, email templates, and unique ways to give individual and team shout-outs. Please feel free to utilize these resources and share with others in your circles. Thank you for recognizing your student employees!

Questions about Student Employee Appreciation Week? Contact our team at