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  • June 29, 2021 CNG Virtual Meeting

June 29, 2021 CNG Virtual Meeting

  • 29 Jun 2021
  • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)
  • Online: Link will be emailed separately


Registration is closed

CNG Virtual Meeting - June 2021

Making the Most of Your SMEs: How to Motivate and Engage

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In many ways, the ultimate quality of a credentialing or certification program is dependent on the quality of subject matter experts’ (SMEs) input to the process. Thus, how can we best ensure SMEs are motivated to produce high quality materials, provide thoughtful input, and contribute in a positive way to the program? This panel discussion brings together four experienced credentialing professionals who have worked with thousands of SMEs throughout their careers. They will share their observations as well as a diverse array of recommendations on strategies to promote SME motivation and engagement.

The first 90 minutes will consist of the panel discussion and the last 30 minutes will be reserved for networking, announcements, job postings, etc.



Jared Zurn, Vice President, Examination, serves as a member of the senior leadership team at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Zurn has responsibility for the strategic direction of examination related initiatives, professional ethics initiatives, as well as oversight of and participation in research regarding the current and future states of the architectural profession. Zurn is a licensed architect and Certified Association Executive.

Before joining NCARB, Zurn operated a sole proprietorship architectural design firm in northern Minnesota. He also served as faculty of the Architectural Technology program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College where he served as a Division Chair and led the Architectural Technology program in the areas of curriculum development, course assessment, and program outcome assessment.


Nancy Woolever is the Vice President of Certification Operations at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She joined SHRM in 1997 to plan SHRM’s conference, seminar, e-learning and executive education programs. In 2006, she began leading SHRM’s academic initiative to raise HR educational standards and led the test development and administration of SHRM’s student capstone exam before joining the certification team as director of exam development in 2017. In 2019, Ms. Woolever became the vice president of certification operations as overall product and project owner with responsibility for exam development, certificant care and

testing administration. Before joining SHRM, Ms. Woolever held various management positions in industry and academia. Her specialty areas are test development, training and development. Ms. Woolever holds a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in HR both from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.


Lavina Harless is a licensed clinical social worker and senior director of examination services for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). She oversees development and administration of the social work licensing examinations used in the United States and Canada. Her responsibilities include the coordination of more than 150 volunteers, consultants, paid item writers, and staff and the management of several examination-related contractors. Harless is the author of Becoming the SME Whisperer: Creating a Culture of Engaged, Hardworking (and Happy) Subject-Matter Experts, a resource document white paper for the Institute for Credentialing Excellence on recruiting and retaining diverse subject matter expert talent. Before starting at ASWB, she served as the clinical director at a residential treatment facility for children. Harless earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Radford University.


Alejandra Amador Garcia is the is the manager for the Certification Content group at the Project Management Institute (PMI). Her primary responsibilities focus on ensuring that high quality, valid, and reliable exam content is developed for all PMI certifications and translated to necessary languages with the same level of quality. PMI ensures the applicability of their exams by engaging SMEs at every stage of the exam development and translation process. Currently, Alejandra’s team engages with approximately 1,200+ volunteer SMEs globally on a regular basis. Alejandra has published works in both the Educational Measurement: From Foundations to Future and the SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, 4th edition. Alejandra has worked in the field of assessment for 15 years. Prior to her current role, she acted as an independent assessment consultant including working with SMEs in different fields to develop valid assessments, and (just for fun) as a professor of statistics at a local university. Alejandra has an M.S. degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology and is completing her ‘research in educational measurement and psychometrics’ (REMP) doctoral degree (ABD). Prior to COVID, she was an active member of NERA (Northeastern Educational Research Association – conference co-chair in 2019), NCME (National Council of Measurement in Education), and AERA (American Educational Research Association).

Session Moderator:


Dr. Taylor Sullivan is the Director of Credentialing Services at the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO). She is responsible for managing projects and collaborating with professional association and licensing board clients and partners. Dr. Sullivan has over 10 years’ experience as a consultant, adjunct professor, and project manager specializing in applied research and implementation of evidence-based testing solutions. Her primary areas of research and experience are in strategic planning, development, and administration of certification and licensure testing programs. She earned her Ph.D. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia.

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