2017 Institutes2017 Training Institutes for Workplace Investigators

February 20-24, 2017 ♦ Monterey, California, USA
May 1-5, 2017 ♦ Baltimore, Maryland, USA

September 11-15, 2017 ♦ Austin, Texas, USA
A four-day course, and a half-day series of tests,
with a certificate for students who pass the tests.

Certificate Program Announcement
Certificate Program FAQ

In keeping with our mission to promote and enhance the quality of impartial workplace investigations, in 2017 we are presenting three sessions of our intensive Training Institute for Workplace Investigators, the gold standard in our industry. The Institute consists of four days of training, including 10 hours of small group sessions with our experienced faculty, and a half-day series of tests. Students who pass the tests will receive a certificate. The Institutes generally sell out, so register early.

2017 Certificate Institutes Tuition*
AWI Member Non-Member
Monterey Regular Registration
By December 31, 2016.
US$2,995 US$3,145
Monterey Late Registration
After December 31, 2016
US$3,195 US$3,345
Baltimore Early Registration
By January 31, 2017 with $500 Deposit


Baltimore Regular Registration
By March 31, 2017.


Baltimore Late Registration
After March 31, 2017


Austin Early Registration
By May 31, 2017 with $500 Deposit


Austin Regular Registration
By July 31, 2017.


Austin Late Registration
After July 31, 2017



*Tuition includes training and tests. Students who have attended a previous Institute may contact the AWI office for a 25% tuition discount code.

2017 Institute Registration Links:
The Monterey Institute is sold out. Sign up on Wait List
Baltimore Institute With $500 DepositBaltimore Institute With Full Payment
Austin Institute With $500 DepositAustin Institute With Full Payment
  • Hyatt Regency Monterey, 1 Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, CA 93940. $179 per night reservations or call (800) 233-1234
  • Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor, 300 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21202. $199 per night reservations or call (410) 528-1234
  • Doubletree Austin, 6505 Interstate Highway-35 North, Austin, TX 78752. $135 per night reservations or call (800) 347-0330

Curriculum Includes

  • Introduction
  • Understanding and Avoiding Bias in Investigations
  • The Law Governing Why, What, and How We Investigate
  • Identifying the Issues and Planning the Investigation
  • Evidence Theory and Practice in Workplace Investigations
  • Interviewing Witnesses in Workplace Investigations
  • Making Credibility Determinations
  • Achieving Excellence in Investigative Report Writing
  • Full Day Small Group Mock Investigation
  • Half Day Small Group Analysis and Report Writing Exercises
  • Ethical Issues for Attorneys, Private Investigators and Internal Investigators
  • Litigation and Other Events After the Investigation
  • Question and Answer Session

Monterey Faculty 

Nancy Bornn
Kevin Calder
Gary Edwards
Donna Evans
Sydney Howell
Emily Kaufer
Lynn Lieber
Amy Oppenheimer
Cara Panebianco
Stacey Perrin
Michael Robbins
Keith Rohman
Julie Yanow

Baltimore Faculty

Frank Cania
Britt Marie Cole-Johnson
Apryl Evans
Elizabeth Gramigna
Monica Jeffrey
Judy Mims
Reuben Mjaanes
Amy Oppenheimer
Michael Robbins
Keith Rohman
Alex Sperry

Austin Faculty (partial list)

Jeremy Eaves
Karen Kramer
Eli Makus
Vida Thomas
Sue Ann Van Dermyden
Susan Woolley

Last Updated on Monday, November 28, 2016 09:00 PM

2017 InstitutesAWI Launches Certificate Program for 2017 Training Institute


The Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) is launching its new assessment-based certificate program for its 2017 Workplace Investigations Training Institute (Institute). In 2017 AWI will have three Institute sessions: in Monterey, California in February; in Baltimore,  Maryland in May; and in Austin, Texas in September.

The Institute consists of four days of training and one-half day of tests. The tests will cover knowledge, interviewing, and analysis and report writing. Students who attend the Institute and pass the tests will receive a certificate.

The training and tests at the 2017 Institute will be a fully integrated certificate program. The four days of training will train the Institute students in the core knowledge and skills for workplace investigations. The tests will test the knowledge and skills taught in the training. And the certificate will document that the student has learned what has been taught at the Institute.

The certificate will have a designation and an acronym (initials) that the student will be able to place after the student's name to signify that the student has learned what has been taught at the Institute. AWI will be seeking accreditation of its certificate program from an internationally recognized accrediting body.

AWI is an international association of workplace investigators, founded in 2009. It currently has 750 members in the US and several other countries, with chapters in Canada and Australia.

The first session of the AWI Institute was in June, 2012. Since then AWI has conducted seven sessions of the Institute, at which a total of approximately 400 workplace investigators have been trained. Students who completed the 2012 through 2016 Institutes were awarded a certificate of completion, which has come to be recognized as as the gold standard for training in the rapidly growing and developing field of workplace investigations.

The new assessment-based certificate program will provide additional value to the Institute, because it will give students the opportunity to demonstrate that they have learned what has been taught at the Institute. The certificate program is being developed by AWI subject matter experts in collaboration with two highly qualified consultants.

As part of the process of preparing for accreditation, AWI has revised the Institute curriculum for 2017 to reflect best practices in training and education. While the Institute has always been committed to preparing students to successfully conduct workplace investigations, the commitment to continuous improvement led the Institute to effectuate changes that an outside accrediting body would be able to recognize as world class. This applies to the content, the activities, and the assessment that will lead to an internationally-recognized credential and designation.

Further information about the 2017 AWI Institutes and the new certificate program is available on the AWI website or by contacting AWI.

Last Updated on Thursday, November 10, 2016 10:44 PM

215 Attend 7th Annual Conference


215 workplace investigators from 17 US states, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom attended AWI's 7th Annual Conference in San Francisco, California from November 3rd through 5th, 2016.

The agenda began with a half-day pre-conference session about depositions of the workplace investigator. The panelists, including an external workplace investigator, an internal workplace investigator, a plaintiffs' attorney, and a defense attorney, combined a mock deposition of a workplace investigator with interactive exercises and audience participation in a lively format before a standing-room-only crowd of 120.

The keynote address was given to the full conference by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a world-renowned researcher, teacher, and expert witness on memory. Dr. Loftus gave examples from her own research in which she and her colleagues have implanted false memories in thousands of experimental subjects, and of actual criminal cases in which false memories have led to false convictions. Dr. Loftus also did a live experiment in which she succeeded in implanting false memories in some of the conference participants.

The theme of the conference was "Innovations in Workplace Investigations". The conference agenda included 14 other sessions on a wide variety of topics of importance to both external and internal workplace investigators. Each session included information on innovations in the field of workplace investigations related to that topic, and many of the sessions were presented in an innovative manner.

The concluding session on audio recording of interviews was presented by Bryan Cook. Mr. Cook came all the way from Brisbane, Australia to attempt to persuade the conference participants that they should audio record all of their workplace investigation interviews as he and his colleagues in his firm do. Currently many workplace investigators do audio record their interviews, and others use more traditional methods such as note-taking and signed statements. Several conference participants approached Mr. Cook after his presentation and told him that he had persuaded them.

In addition to the formal sessions, the conference offered numerous opportunities for the participants to connect with old friends and meet new colleagues from around the world. These networking opportunities included the annual dinner, at which Monica Jeffrey from Toronto, Canada was presented the annual AWI Achievement Award, the networking reception, wellness activities including guided walks, runs, and yoga, the conference luncheon, the welcome corner, and many other informal opportunities.

AWI's 8th Annual Conference will take place October 5th through 7th, 2017 at the Marriott Hotel in Marina Del Rey, California. Many participants were looking forward to the 2017 conference as they departed the 2016 conference.


Last Updated on Sunday, November 06, 2016 10:06 AM

2017 InstitutesAWI Institute Certificate Program Frequently Asked Questions


What is the purpose of the AWI Institute Certificate Program?
The certificate program will give students the opportunity to demonstrate that they have learned what has been taught at the Institute.

How will students demonstrate that they have learned what has been taught at the Institute?
By achieving or exceeding the passing score required for the series of tests that will be given at the Institute on Friday between 8:00 am and 12:30 pm.

What will the tests consist of?
A multiple choice knowledge test, an oral interviewing test, and an analysis and report writing test to which the student will write the answer on a computer.

What is a certificate?
Students who pass the tests will receive a certificate. Certificate holders will be able to use the certificate designation and also use the certificate acronym (initials) after their name, to show that they have attended the Institute and passed the tests.

Have the Designation and Acronym been determined?
Not yet. AWI has not yet completed the development of the certificate program.

What is the value of the certificate?
The certificate shows to the student and to the student's employer or prospective employer that the student has attended the Institute and passed the tests. Obtaining a certificate means that the student has demonstrated success at achieving the stated learning outcomes of the training program. For 2017 AWI has updated the training program to incorporate best practices in training and education. By training and evaluating workplace investigators AWI is fulfilling its mission of enhancing the quality of impartial workplace investigations. High quality impartial workplace investigations are valuable to employers, employees, and society in general.

Is this a certification program?
No. A certification program certifies to general competence in a field, based on a job analysis of the job duties in the field and an established body of knowledge.

Why did AWI choose to establish a certificate program rather than a certification program?
Workplace investigations is a relatively new field without standardized job duties or an established body of knowledge. AWI is in the forefront of establishing standards in the field and building a body of knowledge. But given the current gaps in knowledge and training in this field, AWI feels the field is not yet well enough developed to support a certification program. This is the type of situation in which a certificate program is generally more suitable, which is why AWI chose the latter.

Can an individual who has not attended the Institute take the certificate tests?

No. The certificate tests are tied to the content of the Institute so only individuals who attend the Institute are eligible to take the tests.

Are there prerequisites to attend the Institute or take the certificate tests?
There are no required prerequisites. However the Institute curriculum and tests are intensive and fast-paced. Some previous experience with such training and testing programs and/or some previous experience in the field of workplace investigations are recommended.

If a student fails a test can the student take the test again?
The student can take one or more of the tests twice. The opportunity to retake a test will depend on the availability of space at a future testing session within one year of the previous test. If space is available, the student retaking the test will need to attend the future testing session at the student's expense. There will be a fee for retaking a test without repeating the Institute. The amount of that fee will be determined before the first administration of the tests in February 2017. If the student cannot pass the tests after two attempts the student cannot demonstrate that the student has adequately learned what was taught at the Institute, and will need to repeat the Institute prior to further retakes of the tests.

How long will the certificate be valid?
AWI has not made a final determination whether the certificate will be valid indefinitely or for a more limited period, perhaps 10 years. This determination will be made before the first administration of the certificate test in February 2017.

Will the certificate program be accredited?
AWI will apply for accreditation from an internationally recognized accrediting body after the tests have been successfully administered. If accreditation is granted, it will apply to certificates granted to students in the training program beginning February 20, 2017.

Will this accreditation also apply to certificates of completion issued for Institutes before 2017?
No, it will apply only to the new certificates issued after attending the Institute in 2017 and thereafter and passing the tests.

What is the difference between the certificate of completion issued for attending previous Institutes and the new certificate?
The certificate of completion issued for Institutes before 2017 documented that the student attended the Institute. The new certificate issued in 2017 and thereafter will document that the student attended the Institute and passed the tests, showing that the student learned what was taught there.

Will students who attend the Institute in 2017 and thereafter but do not take or do not pass the tests receive a certificate of completion?
No, the new certificate indicates that the student learned the Institute's learning outcomes and it replaces the old certificate of completion. To avoid confusion with the new assessment-based certificate, AWI will no longer issue a certificate of completion as it previously did for Institutes before 2017.

Will students who attend the Institute in 2017 be required to take the tests?
No. The Institute and the tests are an integrated program so students who do not take the tests will not receive the full value of the Institute, and will not have the opportunity to receive a certificate or any other documentation from AWI of their attendance.

Will students who attended the Institute in the past be able to take the certificate tests without attending the Institute again?
No. The tests are tied to the Institute so this will not be possible. However, any student who has attended a previous Institute may contact the AWI office for a 25% tuition discount code.

Is there a chance accreditation will not be granted?
AWI is working with two highly qualified consultants to develop the tests and help AWI apply for accreditation. AWI is committed to successfully completing the process that will lead to accreditation. However, accreditation is made by an independent evaluation from an accrediting body, so the accreditation decision cannot be guaranteed.

Besides the new certificate, will there be other changes to the Institute in 2017?
As part of the process of preparing for accreditation, AWI has revised the Institute curriculum for 2017 to reflect best practices in training and education. While the Institute has always been committed to preparing students to successfully conduct workplace investigations, the commitment to continuous improvement led the Institute to effectuate changes that an outside accrediting body would be able to recognize as world class. This applies to the content, the activities, and the assessment that will lead to an internationally-recognized credential and designation.

Now that tests will be part of the Institute, will the program materials be provided before the Institute so students can study ahead of time?
No. The Institute is designed to be self-contained, and the tests are designed to assess whether the student has learned what has been taught at the Institute. Institute students are busy hard-working professionals. AWI wants students to approach the Institute eagerly anticipating spending a week acquiring knowledge and skills at the core of their professional success, and building lasting relationships with their colleagues. AWI does not want students to approach the Institute as yet another obligation for which to prepare.

Will there be rules governing the Certificate Program?
Yes. The rules will be finalized before the first administration of the tests in February 2017. Students will be required to agree to the rules before they will be permitted to take the tests.

Will the certificate help the student obtain a professional license to practice workplace investigations?
No. There is no relationship whatsoever between the certificate, which shows that the student attended the Institute and learned what was taught there, and any professional license.

How much does the certificate cost?
For students who take the certificate tests as part of their participation in the Institute, the cost of the certificate program is included in their Institute tuition, so there is no additional cost for the certificate program.

What if I have further questions about the Certificate Program?
Email your questions to AWI Executive Director Stephen Angelides at sa@awi.org. Questions about the Certificate Program will not be answered individually. However frequently asked questions will be added to this web page, so check back for further details. Thank you for your interest in the AWI Institute Certificate Program.

Last Updated on Friday, November 18, 2016 10:42 PM

Four New AWI Directors Elected


Teresa Abad Levenfeld, Monica Jeffrey, Emily Kaufer and Debra Schroeder have been elected as new members of the AWI Board of Directors. When they take office on November 2, 2016, they will join re-elected directors Karen Kramer, Elizabeth Rita, Sue Ann Van Dermyden, and eight other continuing directors on the AWI Board.

137 of AWI's 750 members voted in the annual election, which took place between September 27 and October 6, 2016. Each candidate received at least 118 affirmative votes. Click here for the complete election results.

Ms. Abad Levenfeld is an attorney with Spinielli, Donald & Nott in Sacramento, California, USA. Ms. Jeffrey is an attorney with JMJ Workplace Investigation Law LLP in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ms. Kaufer is Manager of Human Rights, Harassment and Privacy Compliance for Air Canada in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Ms. Schroeder is Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Ethics and Compliance Officer at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, USA.

The four newly-elected directors will replace outgoing directors Margaret Michaels, who founded the Canadian Association of Workplace Investigators, Amy Oppenheimer, who founded AWI and is currently serving as Chair of the AWI Institute Committee, Susan Woolley, who serves as the Editor of the AWI Journal, and Julie B. Yanow, who Chaired the AWI Institute and the Guiding Principles Committee.

Photos and biographical summaries of the recently-elected directors are below. Click here to view photos and biographical summaries of the current AWI directors.

Terri Abad Levenfeld: Collaboration, education, networking and friendships - AWI is a professional association at its best, and it provides valuable benefits to its members. I am honored to be considered for a position on AWI’s Board of Directors.

I have enjoyed being an active member of AWI since its inception in 2009.  AWI has grown from a small group of investigators who sought to collaborate with, and learn from, one another into a large organization intent on providing its members with quality educational opportunities and valuable networking events.  In that time, I have been a Sustaining Member, served on the Steering and Conference Committees, and most recently became a Co-Convener for the Sacramento Local Circle. I have also had the privilege of attending every annual conference and the AWI Training Institute. 

Professionally, I am a bilingual attorney who conducts impartial workplace, education and Title IX investigations in both English and Spanish. My clients include public entities, private employers and educational institutions. Prior to dedicating my practice to investigations, I spent over 15 years representing both plaintiffs and defendants in employment, civil rights and personal injury cases.

AWI has been an important part of my professional development over the past 7 years. I would welcome the opportunity to serve its members on the Board of Directors to help continue the important contributions AWI has made to the investigation industry. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Monica Jeffrey:  I am very excited to be a candidate for the AWI Board.  I was one of the first Canadian members of AWI and have been involved since I attended the 2013 Training Institute in Santa Barbara.  Since then, I have been a co-convenor of Toronto’s local circle and served as full-time faculty for the east coast Training Institute in 2015.  In addition, I was honoured to serve as local chair and full-time faculty at the first AWI/CAWI Training Institute in Niagara, Ontario in 2016.

I am extremely dedicated to AWI and its mission to enhance the quality of impartial workplace investigations.  The AWI Guiding Principles and the organization’s generous, knowledgeable members have been instrumental to me in my practice.  I am a founding partner in one of the first law firms in Canada to exclusively conduct third party neutral workplace investigations. 

Previously, I worked as an associate lawyer at a boutique labour and employment law firm in downtown Toronto.  I represented and advised both employers and employees in all matters relating to the workplace.  I have conducted workplace investigations throughout my career specifically relating to complaints of human rights discrimination and harassment, bullying and other employee misconduct.   Over the past few years, I have gained significant experience dealing with numerous complex investigation issues including: multiple, anonymous complainants, multiple respondents, reciprocal complaints, and investigating matters at the highest level in very politicized and sensitive workplaces. 

Emily Kaufer: I am thrilled and honored to be a candidate for the 2017 AWI Board.  I joined AWI in 2015, and that year attended the Training Institute in Mystic, Connecticut.  I was thoroughly impressed by the caliber of educated faculty members and the Institute’s well-rounded curriculum, and knew quickly thereafter that I wanted to get more involved with AWI.  I returned to the Institute in 2016 in Niagara, Ontario as one of the full-time Canadian Faculty members at the first AWI/CAWI Institute.

The AWI Guiding Principles support my ongoing mission of conducting impartial and thorough investigations, as an internal workplace investigator at Air Canada, located at the Headquarters office in Montreal, Quebec.  In my capacity as the Manager of Human Rights, Harassment and Privacy Compliance, I conduct multifaceted workplace investigations, involving allegations of harassment, bullying, discrimination, workplace misconduct and violations of policy.  I also deliver training to employees and managers on human rights, harassment and conflict resolution, and manage employee privacy requests. 

Prior to my employment at Air Canada, I practiced entertainment and labor law at a multimedia company in Montreal, Quebec.

Karen Kramer: I welcome the opportunity to continue serving AWI members as a Board member in the position of Treasurer.  Since joining AWI in 2009, I have been an active member, participating on the Annual Conference committee to make each conference more successful than the previous ones.  I served as Chair of AWI’s Nominating committee for two years, and am currently the Co-Chair of the Training Institute committee.  I received AWI’s (then-CAOWI) first “Volunteer of the Year” award at the 1st Annual Conference in 2010.  I am an employment law attorney whose practice since 2000 has been devoted almost entirely to conducting workplace investigations.  I am amazed by what AWI has accomplished in such a short time and feel very fortunate to have been a part of its tremendous success.  I look forward to keeping that momentum moving forward as a member of the AWI Board of Directors.    

Liz Rita:  I have been conducting workplace investigations since 1994, when I met and was trained by long term AWI member Keith Rohman.  I developed a love for this work and a determination to create a career from it.  I successfully escaped my law practice to start my business doing investigations full time, and in surfing the Internet one night in search of some kind of community/organization/association for workplace investigators, I discovered AWI's website – and it was love at first click.  I quickly became an active member and a cheerleader for the organization.  I helped to get the Denver area circle off the ground, and participated in conferences and publications as a contributor.  I now serve as the Chairperson for the Annual Conference, with the best and most hard working committee.  I bring my enthusiasm and commitment to the organization, and hope to serve the Board as a passionate advocate for AWI and its mission.

Debra Schroeder:  I am delighted to be considered for a position on the AWI Board.  I attended the 2015 Training Institute in Mystic Connecticut and last year’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.  I am impressed and inspired by the knowledge, dedication, and enthusiasm of AWI’s leaders and members, and I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the organization as a Director.

I am Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Ethics and Compliance Officer at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California.  I have conducted and overseen workplace investigations for over twenty years, both as in-house counsel at manufacturing, health care, and non-profit organizations and in large law firms, including as Senior Counsel at Littler Mendelson, PC.

As in-house counsel at the senior executive level, I will bring another perspective to the AWI Board, representing a key stakeholder group in the field of workplace investigations.  In addition, my knowledge of non-profit corporate governance will bring value to the organization.  I would particularly like to focus on membership outreach to in-house counsel, who I believe could benefit greatly from the training and resources offered by AWI.

Sue Ann Van Dermyden. It has been my humble honor to serve as the third President of AWI since November 2015. I welcome the opportunity to continue to serve you in this capacity through November 2017.  I remain passionate about AWI and its purpose.  I commit to you to bring the same level of dedication and vision that I have brought to AWI since it was founded in 2009.  I want to continue to build on the solid foundation of past Presidents before me – education, publications, inclusivity, awareness, and networking.  Based on our strategic plan, I also intend to expand our focus to advocacy, external recognition and a certificate program.  My professional world continues to be all things investigations. As I lead a team of 10+ lawyers in my firm, I will continue to extend my experiences to AWI.  I feel fortunate to work with such a dedicated team of volunteers in AWI.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you for two more years.  I will not take your vote lightly.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 01, 2016 09:17 AM
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