Northwest District Fall Conference

Presented by the Region 4 Board 
Bigwood Event Center
925 Western Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN
Thursday, September 21, 2017


8:00 - 8:30 AM -- Registration/Continental Breakfast/Visit the Exhibits!

8:30 - 8:45 AM -- Welcome & MSSA Update
Christina Zeise, MPP, MSW, Executive Director, MSSA

8:45 - 10:15 AM -- Keynote Speaker 

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Bukata Hayes, Executive Director, Greater Mankato Diversity Council
Bukata Hayes has served as the executive director of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council since September 2006. Prior to this role, he served as the coordinator of the Multi Ethnic Center at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, the first-ever position of its kind at the college. He received his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. He has membership and/or is on the board of numerous organizations including the Mankato Chapter of the NAACP (President), Mankato Family YMCA (Membership Committee), Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Board (President), Latin American Multicultural Association for Networking and Opportunity (LA MANO) (board) and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (board).

10:15 - 10:30 AM -- Visit the Exhibits!

10:30 - 12:00 PM -- Breakout Sessions
Personal Safety In and Out of the Office
Speaker: Sgt. Kevin Sonstebo, Fergus Falls Police Dept.
Sgt. Sonstebo will provide attendees with helpful tips for staying safe when visiting clients in their residences or public spaces.

This is What Advocacy Looks Like

Speaker: Christina Zeise, MSW, MPP, Executive Director, Minnesota Social Service Association
As health and human service providers, we play an important role in working toward social justice. There are many ways to advocate for yourself and your clients, and we can all find ways that fit with our unique strengths and expertise. Join us to learn how MSSA is revamping its public policy program to make advocacy easier and more accessible for our members. Whether you are new to advocacy, or have been active for many years, learn what you can do to work toward social justice and how MSSA can help you in your advocacy.

12:00 - 12:45 PM -- Luncheon/Membership Meeting/Visit the Exhibits

12:45 - 2:15 PM -- Breakout Sessions
Human Sex Trafficking and Exploitation
Speaker: Brie Sweeney, BSW, West Central Safe Harbor Regional Navigator, MN Dept. of Health/Heartland Girls Ranch
We will discuss the current state of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Minnesota. We'll also cover specific indicators and what to do if you suspect trafficking or exploitation. 

Drugs of Abuse: What Should I Know? 
Speaker: Vickie Schmidt, Schmidt & Associates
This ever changing, very real, very scary subject will be presented in a matter of fact, no nonsense session.  We will cover the different drugs, how they are used, some signs and symptoms, and how to test for them if so desired.

2:15 - 2:30 PM -- Last Opportunity to Visit the Exhibits! 

2:30 - 4:30 PM -- Breakout Sessions
Social Work Ethical Decision-making: A Refresher
Speaker: Amy Phillips, PhD, Fargo Site Coordinator, Minot State University - Dept. of Addiction Studies, Psychology and Social Work
This session will offer an overview of the key components of ethical decision making in social work practice, with a special emphasis on the ethical use of social media. Participants will have an opportunity to apply session concepts to case studies.
Motivational Interviewing
Speaker: Heather Brandt, Program Director/Clinical, Centre Inc., Fargo
Learn the ins and outs of motivational interviewing.

4:30 PM -- Adjourn

Cancellation and Refund Policy

MSSA does not refund individual or agency member dues.

MSSA does not refund registration fees, unless MSSA receives written notification of cancellation 3 weeks prior to the event. No-shows will be billed. There is a $25 processing fee for all refunds.

Event registration fees can be transferred to another person.

In some circumstances, refunds may not be available, in these cases the specific refund policy will be listed on the registration information. 

Region 4 Board of Directors

  • Kendra Lund, Chair (Alzheimer's Association)  
  • Stephanie Olson (Otter Tail County Human Services)
  • Krista Fix (Otter Tail County Human Services)
  • Amanda Fahlstrom (Lutheran Social Services of MN)
  • Laurie Dahley (Concordia College)
  • Rhonda Antrim (Traverse County Human Services)
  • Becky Boyd (MN DHS)

Region 4 Agency Members

Becker County Social ServicesDetroit Lakes
Clay County Social ServicesMoorhead
Stevens County Human ServicesMorris
Traverse County Social ServicesWheaton
Prairie St. John'sFargo
Region 4 South Adult Mental HealthAlexandria
MN State University - MoorheadMoorhead
MN Financial Workers & Case Aide AssocGlenwood
Concordia CollegeMoorhead
Blue Sky Inc.Detroit Lakes



2017 Registration Fees
Early Bird Rate Extended to 9/8/17:

Member $85
Nonmember $125
Student $25

After 9/8/17:
Member $110
Nonmember $150
Student $25

Exhibitor Information
To purchase an Exhibit Space click here
(includes one registration + one tabletop exhibit space) $195

Set up: 7-8 p.m. Sept. 20 and 7-8 a.m. Sept. 21.  
Tear down: 2:45 - 4:30 p.m. Sept. 21

Exhibit at the conference!
MSSA offers a unique opportunity for your organization to connect with health and human service professionals - including social workers, child and adult protection, mental health professionals, case managers, county and DHS staff and others. This conference will attract 75-100 decision makers as well as direct service staff from public and private agencies in the greater northern Minnesota area. 

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Please contact Lisa Johnson at or 651.789.4331 to discuss options.

Up to 6.25 Continuing Education Hours possible. 
MN Board of Social Work Provider # CEP-9

Hotel Reservations
Bigwood Event Center is connected to Country Inn & Suites by Carlson. Click here to make a room reservation or call (218) 739-2211 or (800) 830-5222.
Check in: 3 p.m.
Check out: Noon