Eduardo Villavicencio is a conversation curator, skilled facilitator, and interactive trainer.
He has a gift for creating engaging and safe learning spaces where both volunteer and “voluntold” participants find value in learning the topic at hand.
Eduardo’s passion is helping people learn how to listen better to themselves, each other, and what’s being said throughout an organization. He has a strong ability to surface and harness any elephants in a room. Often, people who work with him see a marked change in their ability to work with each other.
He regularly facilitates sales, communication, management, change, and user-experience workshops. He’s a quick study and able to customize materials or tailor off-the-shelf content to meet a range of client needs.
Eduardo has native command of both English and Spanish. He is also a student of French, Korean, Italian, Japanese, and sign language.
Eduardo’s facilitation and consulting work has supported such organizations as Roche/Genentech Pharmaceuticals, Inter-American Development Bank, United Way of Calgary, the LiveStrong Foundation, and AmericaSpeaks. He has also worked with such educational institutions as the National Cathedral School, Latin American Youth Center, and Alexandria City Public Schools.
Eduardo’s professional career began during his second year at Harvard University when he became a math teacher at one of Boston’s leading private schools.
Following graduation, he took a position with a boarding school teaching math and computer science, a job that evolved into a role as the director of information technology. That experience allowed him to hone his teaching abilities while learning how to manage a team and department.
Through a series of circumstances, an opportunity to work in Korea presented itself, and Eduardo jumped at the chance to experience another culture.
After a year away from home, Eduardo returned to the United States to again work in education as an information technology director. No stranger to the role, he continued to grow his leadership skills as he learned how to design an organizational structure and launched his initial work in change management.
His work with change and organizational design led him to pursue additional education at Johns Hopkins University. While there, he began freelance training for a host of organizations. His work focused on both soft-skills development and technology, with an emphasis on producing interactive large-scale distance meetings and televised town halls.
In 2017, Eduardo joined KPMG. There he ran several process improvement and marketing projects for the US Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy.
The following year, Grant Thornton recruited him as a government consultant. He supported the Veteran Affairs OIT office as a budget liaison, the Veterans Health Administration as a trainer and e-learning curricula developer, and the US Patent & Trademark Office as a senior contract specialist.
Eduardo joined Business Training Works in 2019.
Eduardo completed his BS in economics at Harvard University and earned an MS in adult education from Johns Hopkins University. He also holds a certificate in instructional design from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Additionally, he is certified as a Prosci (ADKAR) Change Management Practitioner, a Gallup Clifton Strengths (Strengthsfinder) facilitator, and a Technology Business Management (TBM council) consultant.
An Interview with Eduardo
What three or four words describe your facilitation style?
Interactive, inclusive, and innovative.
How has your work in IT helped you on the soft-skills side?
It taught me the importance of translation and what can get lost in the process. That’s always top of mind for me. Even when people are speaking the same language, they’re not always hearing the same thing.
What does good training design mean to you?
That’s easy. Good training means everyone walked away with some value from their time investment and felt a sense of ownership in taking new actions for enhanced performance.
How do you prepare for a client?
I ask a lot of questions, listen actively, and synthesize what’s said. Once I understand the real objectives behind a need, I’m able to design a solution.
Are you creative?
I’m creative at making connections. What I learn in one part of my life may have endless application in another area that on the surface seems unrelated. I think that ability helps me help participants connect classroom content to their lives back on the job or, for that matter, at home. This also helps me in customizing my training workshops to balance activities that inspire both critical and creative thinking.
You have a lot of experience in change management. What makes that work exciting to you?
As a former K-12 educator, I came to realize that most people don’t really resist change itself. Instead, they reject the notion that they must be changed. This occurs as there’s something wrong with them. I enjoy creating workshops that offer individuals self-awareness and appreciation for what they bring to the table while also providing a “brave space” for acknowledging areas of improvement in their performance. It helps when people feel like they don’t have to let go of what they have (knowledge, skills, habits) in order to realize the value of something new.
I know you’re a big believer in the value of listening, and it’s the cornerstone of a lot of your work. What are some of the listening roadblocks you see participants overcome during their time with you?
In short, the biggest listening roadblock is the phrase, “I already know that.” Studies in neuroscience suggest that people only learn something new by connecting it or comparing it to some previous knowledge. However, this filtered approach to listening can prevent someone from fully appreciating the value of learning. Instead, I ask participants to actively engage in a class by being curious – asking themselves, “I wonder what I don’t know about this yet?”
You spend a lot of time making sure people see value in investing time with you. How do you show them that value?
At the beginning of every workshop, I ask participants to voice out loud what value they would like to take away from the session and “why” it would be impactful for them. Once they share that with a partner (or whole group), it’s important for them to write it down. Then throughout the day, when we return from the breaks, I ask them to look at that “declaration statement” and reflect if any of their perception in that area has shifted. By the end of the workshop, participants usually tell me they received more value than they expected.
You can facilitate training in both English and Spanish. How has being able to communicate in two languages helped you in the classroom?
As a bilingual person, I live my life balancing viewpoints and perspectives based on minor nuances in language. This practice helps me understand that each of the participants in my classroom may come from different cultures, regions, and linguistic backgrounds. So, I often repeat important concepts in varying formats as well as ask participants to restate a question their peers may have asked in their own words before responding. I enjoy hearing comments such as, “I didn’t realize that!” It’s very rewarding.
Outside of work, what are your interests?
When I’m not in a facilitating or speaking role, I enjoy traveling and dancing. I find that traveling helps practice some mental flexibility as I’m forced to reckon with a variety of people’s traditions, habits, and expectations. These experiences keep me on my toes. Additionally, partner dancing (e.g., salsa, merengue, swing, and tango) helps with my physical flexibility while also being lots of fun!