Diversity World: Enriching Workplaces and Reducing Employment Barriers - Training, Publishing, Consulting
Denise BissonnetteDisability and EmploymentWorkforce Diversity

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Picture of Denise BissonnetteAfter completing her Masters Degree in Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco, Denise began to work in ESL programs. Her early literacy work with political refugees drew her to the difficulties that they faced in trying to establish themselves in American workplace. In response, she made a career change and became a Job Developer – working with employers to secure jobs for people from groups that were not traditionally part of the workforce.

Her extraordinary success as a job developer led to requests for her to share her expertise with other practitioners and organizations. Soon, as a partner in the firm of Milt Wright & Associates, Denise was in demand throughout North America - delivering seminars to Job Developers and Employment Specialists throughout the Employment and Training field.

Denise's job search curriculum, Pathways, became a cornerstone for the placement services of many social service agencies and educational systems. Her book Beyond Traditional Job Development stands as the definitive text for job development professionals throughout the continent. Denise's early program Crossroads and the later Cultivating the Spirit to Work respond to the “motivational” issues encountered in clients of placement services. Her revolutionary concept of “activity-based placement” led to the development of the comprehensive Cultivating True Livelihood curriculum. Denise's new 30 Ways to Shine as a New Employee is a proactive response to emerging job retention issues.

Concurrent to her work in the arena of Human Services, Denise has worked closely with the Corporate sector. Companies like Oracle, EDS, Hyatt Hotels and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) have drawn on her expertise to enhance their Workforce Diversity efforts.

In recent years, Denise has also been called upon to design training programs and manuals to enable companies to effectively engage the talents of employees emerging from welfare-to-work initiatives. These are primarily tools for Managers and Supervisors to skillfully deal with the diverse backgrounds and experiences that these individuals are bringing to the workplace. Developing the New Employee (training curriculum) and Helping the New Employee Succeed (supervisor handbook) are exciting products that have emerged from this work.

Human Spirit

Denise unapologetically frames her work with respect for the human spirit. She unabashedly asserts the worth of each human being - and the right that each of us has to a livelihood that draws on our best qualities, stirs our truest passions, and brings us joy.

In a world where the worth and value of individual workers seems lost in the quest for corporate profits and organizational efficiencies, Denise causes all of us to pause and to re-examine the “human” side of the equation – and how our individual actions can enhance or diminish the life experience of others and ourselves.

World of Work

Educators, parents, job developers, career counselors, human resources professionals, managers and supervisors…  wherever “work” is a concern, Denise has a compelling and inspiring message to offer. At whatever stage in the journey of livelihood, her concepts, perspectives and strategies revitalize her audiences and equip them for new adventures.


Denise is especially passionate about her work as it applies to individuals with “employment barriers” and for those who work on their behalf. 

From people with disabilities to migrant workers, from women re-entering the workforce to dislocated workers, from individuals leaving public assistance to new immigrants… Denise’s work is about the potential that lies within each of us, our own originality and unique gifts – and how to develop livelihoods that embrace and affirm them.

She ardently affirms an economy and workplaces that are inclusive of all – and that proactively give every individual their opportunity to “shine”. 


Denise’s work, written and spoken, is illustrated with practical, real-life anecdotes. It is adorned with poetry, prose and quotations from both time-honored sages and contemporary prophets. It is all delivered with Denise’s unbridled enthusiasm and contagious passion.

Known for her innovative hands-on techniques and creative approaches, Denise creates an open, dynamic and enjoyable learning environment. She inspires her audiences with visions of new possibilities, motivates them to commit to new strategies, and empowers them with practical tools for their journeys.

General Comments on Denise's Work

"I hope you realize the number of lives your work has changed (including mine)!!! The "Cultivating True Livelihood" curriculum has added the warmth and inspiration that many of our clients so badly needed. The "Beyond Traditional Job Development" book is one that I make sure all new Job developers read, and your "30 Ways To Shine as a New Employee" has opened many of our staff's minds to what clients may be experiencing during those first weeks so that they are better able to support them."

"My organization, which has 10 offices in a 9 county-wide area, uses only Denise's curriculum. In August of last year (2000) we went exclusively to using Denise's various programs, and since then we have seen our numbers rise, dramatically. I would say about 78% more of our customers are finding and retaining jobs than they did using other curriculum in our trainings. Since August of last year... we have trained over 300 customers (youth, welfare to work, older workers and WIA) using her materials. Each year I, as well as my staff, need another "shot" of Denise's spirituality and effervescence ..she is my "Alka Seltzer"!

DeeJaye Kohrs-Greer
North Central Texas Workforce Centers

"I loved Denise’s comprehensive approach – including poetry, analogies, personal examples, parables and quotes. Combined, these brought her learning points alive I could have sat and listened to Denise for a week – More than two days would have been great, but take what you can get!"

"Denise's training is extremely practical, but more important... I feel my passion and purpose again!"

"Jump up and down, do whatever you have to do - but don't miss a Denise Bissonnette training event!"

"I was impressed that Denise was so passionate about her work and didn't use any props or gimmicks to make her powerful message come through.  I felt energized because I could use a lot of what she said."


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True Livelihood - Newsletter for career professionals. Click here for details.


Click here to shop for Denise's books and videos.

NEW In-Service Training on DVD
DVD Cover : Beyond Barriers to Passion and Possibility with Denise Bissonnette
Beyond Barriers
to Passion
and Possibility

with Denise Bissonnette

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