MLA 2018 Featured Speakers

Opening Keynote with Brenda Viola

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
9:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Brenda Viola head shot

Go the Extra Mile (When You're Running on Empty)

Dedicated librarians are the wind beneath EVERYONE'S wings - from staff to volunteers to the community at large. No one asks you to go the extra mile - you just DO, because that's what you're known for - passion, dedication and unwavering resolve to set the standard of excellence in your organization. But what if you're close to running on empty? Even superstars have battle scars and need to re-charge their batteries. Learn the six secrets to getting your mojo back in this inspirational keynote.

The goal is to take a moment for self-reflection; a "report card" accompanies the presentation so that participants can grade themselves on six key areas that can cause burnout. Being aware of areas in need of improvement will empower you to take action that will enable you to Go the Extra Mile (when they feel like they’re “running on empty.”)

Brenda Viola has worked in the field of Communications for over 30 years as a journalist, news anchor and as an award-winning Public Information Officer for a first-ring suburb of Philadelphia. She has coached thousands of professionals to "Master the Media" and effectively speak - whether at a podium, in a meeting, or in front of the TV cameras. In recent years, her training has evolved to include motivational speaking, with a special emphasis on the challenges faced by government employees and how to reconnect with the joy of public service.

People are most fascinated, however, by her brief stint as a QVC Show Host or by her 10,000+ follower Facebook page entitled "FLUFFI" (Fabulous Ladies United for Fun, Fearlessness and Inspiration.) She loves her local Sarasota, Florida library and is a competitive public-speaker with her local Toastermasters organization.

Go the Extra Mile (When You're Running on Empty).pdf

Thursday Keynote Lunch with Patty Buccellato

Thursday, October 18, 2018
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Patty Buccellato Head Shot

Influence Without Words: What You Say Before Opening Your Mouth

You uphold an unwavering commitment to excellence. You’re uber-competent, and you maintain high standards of leadership and in serving patrons. But are you at the top of your game in the nonverbal skill set? Human beings speak at an average rate of 125 words per minute, yet it’s been documented that our brains process at 400-800 words per minute. What are your listeners hearing during the gap?

Nonverbal cues speak volumes. Though we’re not all born gifted communicators, the traits of the masters can be acquired. Infuse new energy into your messages with the Three Secrets of Stellar Communicators. Learn how you and your staff can master the messages sent between your words for impactful outcomes in every interaction!

Patty founded her company, Refined Images, at the dawn of Business Casual, helping clients demystify workplace dressing in their new, less formal environments. Many things have changed since those early days, but what remains constant, is the value of appearance as a tool to one’s goals and aspirations.

Today, Patty finds passion in helping clients define that often-elusive visual presence that fuels their path to success in work, love, play -- in life. She’s a featured author in the Stepping Stones to Success book series, alongside experts like Jack Canfield and Deepak Chopra; a contributing writer at; and her work is featured in WXYZ TV’s “A Whole New You” personal-improvement special for women. As an all-around teacher of style and wardrobe mastery, Patty’s specialty is bringing her clients out of the closet with a personal style that suits their body, psyche, and circumstances.

Influence Without Words What You Say Before Opening Your Mouth.pdf

Closing Keynote with Maxine Bleiweis

Friday, October 19, 2018
11:30 - 12:30 p.m.

Maxine Bleiweis Head Shot

You Came, You Saw. Now How to Go Out and Conquer

Following a full conference schedule, it would be good to kick back and relax, right? Not after you listen to Maxine Bleiweis spur us on to take what we’ve heard and experienced over the conference and put in into practice. Listen and be inspired to turn your notes and conversations into action as you hear how someone with seemingly little chance for success looked at the world with a different lens after being challenged by her circumstances.

When Maxine Bleiweis decided to become a librarian—more specifically, a reference librarian in a college library—she never expected what would happen next. From her small-town upbringing to be-coming the public library director serving such noted people as James Comey and Paul Newman, Maxine had to quickly rise to the occasion and take on new challenges.

During her years as a library director, she pioneered the concept of economic development and public libraries, reimagined the rules of customer service and organizational assessment, and created the first large public library makerspace for experiential learning.

In her new chapter as consultant, coach, and speaker, she challenges librarians to be their best, to bring the library message to the entire community, and to shed any and all barriers to service.

She has been honored by her colleagues in being named the Connecticut Librarian of the Year and the recipient of PLA’s Charles Robinson Award for Innovative Leadership.

Internationally, her career has led her to keynote at the American Library in Paris, give workshops in Moscow, and explore the libraries of China, the Netherlands and Denmark.