Speakers

 

Check out our list of speakers for 2022! We have a amazing line up speakers this year. Scroll below for the list of presenters. Previous year's conference information can be found on the About Us/History page.

Stuart Ablon, Ph.D.:

Stuart Ablon, Ph.D., is Founder and Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. An award-winning psychologist, Dr. Ablon is Associate Professor and the Thomas G. Stemberg Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of three books: Changeable, The School Discipline Fix, and Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach.

Dr. Ablon received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and completed his training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. One of the world’s top-rated thought-leaders and keynote speakers, Dr. Ablon teaches educators, parents, clinicians, managers, and leaders a very different approach to understanding and addressing challenging behavior of all types and in all people. Dr. Ablon has helped hundreds of organizations throughout the world implement the Collaborative Problem Solving approach.

About Me: I’m Stuart (he/him/his), and I’m the father of three kids who make me feel very proud to be their dad. I was born and raised in Boston and have spent most of my life here, except for a few wonderful years in California for graduate school. I’m an athlete and a big Boston sports fan. Both my parents are mental health professionals, so becoming  a psychologist was not a big stretch in my family! I spent the early part of my career helping kids with behavioral challenges and researching why different forms of therapy are effective. I learned that a lot of it comes down to how well we create helping relationships. For more than 30 years now, I’ve tried to teach people how to create helping relationships with kids in situations when it’s especially hard to do so.

Rita Cameron Wedding, Ph.D.:

Earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Santa Barbara in 1992. She served as the Chair of the Women’s Studies Department at Sacramento State University for 23 years.  Currently she is Faculty Emeritus in the departments of Women’s and Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State University. Dr. Cameron Wedding’s curriculum Implicit Bias: Impact on Decision-Making, was one of the first national implicit bias trainings for judges, and practitioners in child welfare and juvenile justice beginning in 2005.

As a faculty for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), she has trained judges at court improvement initiatives in over 40 states. She was a consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one of the largest child advocacy foundations in the U.S., from 2007-2009. In 2013, in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s 3-year investigation and findings of civil rights violations, Dr. Cameron Wedding led a training team of 5 experts to provide implicit bias training to the entire Shelby County Juvenile Court in Memphis TN. In 2009-11, she was awarded a grant by California’s Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to develop and lead an implicit bias training program designed to mitigate the effects of the School to Prison Pipeline by identifying practices contributing to negative school outcomes that place students of color at increased risk of juvenile justice involvement. Dr. Cameron Wedding provided expert testimony before the U.S. Commission on Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities under President Obama (2015). As a Fulbright Scholar Dr. Cameron Wedding conducted research in Tanzania and South Africa. She conducted implicit bias Train the Trainer Institutes, webinars, keynotes and curriculum development in numerous agencies and states throughout the country. 

Suzie Kuerschner, M.Ed.:

Ms. Kuerschner is a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Consultant, and a Child Development Specialist, child and family program developer with intensive training and experience. Ms. Kuerschner’s work includes program development, assessment, intervention, parent training, and the design of learning environments for over 45 years.

Ms. Kuerschner has been an Early Intervention Specialist, special education coordinator, and program developer for schools, state, tribal and county programs, clinics and public and private agencies. She has developed numerous Early Childhood Education Centers, Early Intervention, Inter-agency and Family Resource programs within the context of state, count, tribal and community schools and treatment settings; integrating Federal, State, County and Tribal services.

Her experience includes development and delivery of community-based prenatal prevention programs using a Mentoring Mother’s Model. She has worked with Juvenile Justice and Adult Corrections in cognitively re-tailoring strategies and services within those settings as well as providing court and judicial assistance in designing appropriate sentencing for individuals with an F.A.S.D. She also developed a demonstration model inter-agency education-based program for adolescents and young adults involved in Juvenile Justice and Corrections which is sustainable and replicated. She is currently involved in developing a project, Red Lodge Transitions, for incarcerated adults transitioning back into community settings. She is also currently involved in providing both training and technical assistance to national and regional Head Start Programs developing environments and strategies for children with behavioral and processing difficulties associated with an F.A.S.D.

Lynn S. Price and Karyn Schimmels:

Lynn Price is a renowned, international speaker, author and social entrepreneur. Her deep concern for relational health was one of the motivations for publishing two books: Vision For A Change, A Social Entrepreneur's Insights From the Heart and Real Belonging, Give Siblings Their Right to Reunite.

As a former youth in foster care, she set her sights on learning the system from which she came serving along the way as a CASA, shelter volunteer, foster parent, adoptive parent and founder of Camp To Belong. As an Ashoka Fellow, she is one of only a several hundred in the US recognized as a global social entrepreneur who tackles society's greatest challenges with system changing solutions.

Lynn continues to advocate for successful relationships in her current role as Project Director for Ready2Relate, a project of The Center for Relationship Education. She also continues to contribute as a thought-leader to Camp To Belong and the journey of siblings who are separated through foster care.

Karyn Schimmels has lived and worked in Oregon for over 30 years. Karyn has been recognized locally and nationally as a subject matter expert in Sibling Issues in child welfare and fought tirelessly to raise awareness about this often-overlooked topic. She has testified as an expert witness in Oregon and other states about sibling separation and was instrumental in the development of Oregon's sibling policy and sibling bill of rights that exists in Oregon today. She is the original author of the sibling curriculum taught to all Oregon caseworkers.

She is most often described as a passionate and dedicated service/servant leader. She retired from state service and is a consultant, educator, and writer. She and her husband Charley are the Founders of a non-profit organization in Oregon called Kinship Matters.

Jessica Pryce, Ph.D:

Dr. Pryce is an Assistant Professor at Florida State University. For over 10 years, she has been involved at multiple angles of child welfare (direct practice, teaching + training & policy and research). She has published on child welfare related topics, such as, training and education, racial disparity, and anti-poverty practices.

She has presented her research at 100+ conferences both nationally and internationally. She is the author of several op-eds focused on racial disparity and effective strategies to impact racial disproportionality within child welfare. Her TED Talk on Implicit Racial Bias in Decision Making has since been viewed over 1.3 million times. Dr. Pryce has worked on the frontlines of child welfare, conducted primary research, been a policy advisor to Florida’s legislature and taught graduate level courses in child welfare. In 2019, she received a 5- year appointment to the Advisory Board of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, where she consults and advises on leadership and workforce interventions around the country. She currently sits on the Florida Dependency Court Improvement Panel, alongside judges and advocates who are working towards a more trauma informed approach within the judicial system. She has maintained and cultivated a commitment to the wellbeing of vulnerable children and families, the sustainability of the child welfare workforce, and effectively addressing inequity. Her paramount goal includes re-building and leading a child welfare system that focuses on strengthening families instead of pulling them apart.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, LCSW, BC-TMH, CBHCM, RBT:

Since her first National Keynote at age 14, Ashley Rhodes-Courter has shared her story with thousands in the United States and in over 7 countries. Ashley Rhodes-Courter is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at age 12. Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.

Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship, graduating ahead of schedule with honors, earning a double major in Communications & Theater and a double minor in Political Science & Psychology. During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She was also selected as one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by DoSomething!.

Ashley went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Ashley has received State, local, and National awards for her speaking, advocacy, and philanthropy. She has spoken on Capitol Hill and has been invited to the White House twice.

By the age of 22, Ashley became a New York Times Bestselling Author, with her first book, Three Little Words. Her second book, Three More Words debuted at #1 on Amazon Bestseller list.

To Be Announced: