Pre-Conference Workshops

The following two pre-conference workshops will be offered virtually on Tuesday, November 2nd. In order to participate in these workshops, pre-registration is required.  You may purchase more than one offering - allowing yourself to participate in one workshop live and watch the other via recording within 6-months post Annual Session.  

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM ET
Values Driven Leadership and Working Towards A Vision for Common Good
Presented by: Ritchie Harrison, Co-Director, Great Lakes Leadership Academy Michigan State University Extension

Effective leaders not only need the skills to perform their jobs and navigate daily interactions, but they also must possess an awareness for the influence their actions can create for shaping an improved vision for the future. The workshop will help participants broaden their knowledge and understanding for the key leadership skills and values that can empower self and others.
For more than 14 years, the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) has promoted positive change, economic vitality, and resource conservation to enhance the quality of life in Michigan by encouraging leadership for the common good. GLLA believes that great leaders are individuals who use their skills to improve organizations and communities. Topics covered during the workshop include:

  • Effective strategies for working across differences
  • Identifying core values to create a greater sense of satisfaction
  • Creating synergy between values, vision, and impact
  • Improving interactions in conversations and dialogue with others
  • Increasing feelings of inspiration, drive, and enthusiasm

Learning Objectives:

  • Broaden knowledge and understanding for the key leadership skills and values that can empower self and others.
  • Learn effective strategies for working across differences
  • Identify core values to create a greater sense of satisfaction
  • Create synergy between values, vision, and impact
  • Improve interactions in conversations and dialogue with others
  • Increase feelings of inspiration, drive, and enthusiasm

Ritchie Harrison
Ritchie Harrison is a passionate leader and advocate for building thriving communities. He grew up in Detroit but has also lived in the southern US and east coast. These experiences have shaped an appreciation for improving communities, neighborhoods, and quality of life in comprehensive ways.

He is currently the co-director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) at the Michigan State University Extension. He has led programs targeting neighborhood improvement and revitalization in the City of Detroit. His range of experience and competencies includes community and economic development; urban planning and land-use; community engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and leadership development. Prior to joining Michigan State University Extension, Ritchie was the community planner for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy where he led extensive planning and development efforts targeting the Detroit Riverfront. His work demonstrates successful achievements through collaboration, diverse civic participation, and engagement.

Ritchie is an alumnus of the GLLA, Leadership Advancement Program (2011-12). He has a Bachelor of Science in urban planning and a graduate certificate in entrepreneurship from Eastern Michigan University. He holds a master of community development from the University of Detroit-Mercy. Ritchie has also completed the Larson Center for Leadership Program through the Michigan Urban Land Use Institute and the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program at Wayne State University. He is an avid runner and enjoys spending time with his family.

10:30 AM - 1:00 PM ET
Turning Points: A Narrative Approach for Capturing, Writing and Presenting Interesting Impact Statement
Presented by: Jennifer Strauss, Speaker, Storyteller & Narrative Coach. Founder, Truth Be Told

For generations, the human brain has been hardwired for story. We think, learn and retain information in images that our brain translates into meaning. If you want to make a point, leave an impression, explain a process, or gain the support or stakeholders, storytelling is the most powerful tool. Three parts of the brain are activated by “story”; knowledge, emotion and imagination. By including Personal Narrative in your impact statements, you will achieve greater outcomes.

In this workshop, Narrative Consultant and Storyteller, Jenifer Strauss will share her Turning Points Narrative Process. Participants will not only understand the brain science behind “story”, they will be given a model and framework for including personal narrative in impact statements.

Learning Objectives

  • Become familiar with the Turning Points Narrative Process.
  • Understand the brain science behind “story”
  • Leave with a model and framework for including personal narrative in impact statements.

Jennifer Strauss
Jenifer Strauss helps educators, organizations and individuals use STORY to connect, communicate, and realize their goals. Following ten years as a middle school educator, Jenifer combined her love of teaching and storytelling and in 1993, founded her Narrative Consulting business, Story Be Told.

Traveling nationally, Jenifer delivers over 300 presentations a year, offering dynamic story performances, keynotes, writing workshops, and trainings along with long-term involvements as an Artist-in-Residence.

During her years in the classroom, Jenifer used storytelling with her students to capture interest, motivate learning, and inspire writing. Jen learned that people think, learn and imagine in story or narrative and helped her students make powerful connections between imagining, speaking, and writing.

Jenifer is the creator of the Turning Points Personal Narrative Process which she presents to schools, organizations, businesses and individuals. Her curriculum-based program, “Tell It, Read It, and Write It” has been performed and positively received by schools across the United States. She offers a powerful Youth-At-Risk program focused on bully prevention and positive self-esteem called “Keeping an Eye Out for Coyote”. Jenifer is a teaching artist for Art for All Grand Traverse, a non-profit organization that provides art experiences for people of all abilities. Since 2018, Jen also serves as an Academic Success Coach at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan.

Jenifer’s credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan, an elementary education degree from Western Michigan University, and a secondary education degree in Biology from Michigan State University. Jenifer was a speaker for Dr. David Walsh and the Institute for Media In the Family, partner in a collaborative called Cygnus Storytelling, LLC, whose publications and recordings include Telling Stories: The Cygnus Storytelling Handbook and award-winning CD called U Tell A Tale: Stories Told Through-U. Her recording; Michigan Legends and Lore: Stories from Shore to Shore, released in the fall of 2009 focuses on Michigan History and is based on Jen’s years as a Touring Artist for the Michigan Humanities Council.