NASW-MN's 2024 Winter Virtual Conference

Winter’s Brightest Ideas

3 Fridays highlighting social work practice and research in Minnesota via virtual platform (no in-person option)

February 2, 9 & 16 - 9:00am-4:30pm CST

18 CEUs through live training and/or independent learning*

Our Virtual Conference is an opportunity for social workers in all practice areas to get up to speed on the creative and cutting-edge ideas our practitioners and academics are exploring in research, pilot programs, new interventions, complex systems, diverse experiences, and more.


Early Bird Pricing - Register by the end of 2023 to get these prices!

NASW Student Member - $25
NASW Retired Member - $50
NASW Regular Members - $100
Not-Yet-Members - $175

Regular Pricing - These prices go into effect in 2024

NASW Student Member - $50
NASW Retired Member - $75
NASW Regular Members - $125
Not-Yet-Members - $200

Student and Retired Pricing only applies to NASW Student Members and NASW Retired Members, respectively.

NASW Members save $75+ on registration! Join NASW today, and save!

Pricing includes access to:

  • All 3 live conference dates
  • Winter Virtual Conference All-Access Channel to catch up on session recordings through end of March**
  • Sponsor Resources Folder, filled with useful materials from sponsoring organizations
  • Up to 18 CEUs available through live training and/or through independent learning!*


Schedule At A Glance 

(All times posted are in Central Time Zone)

Day 1 - February 2 // 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM CST (6 CEUs)

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Moral Distress in Social Work: Recognizing, Addressing and Reframing toward Resilience - Kristen M Fischer, LMSW, NSW-C 

Moral distress occurs when you know the ethical course of action, but internal and/or external constraints keep you from carrying it out. It makes your guts churn and can make it hard to continue to come to work each day. Participants will learn to identify moral distress in themselves and colleagues, and develop processes to address and cope with situations and constraints that contribute to moral distress. A framework for addressing and working through moral distress, personally and in a team environment, will be discussed.


A kidney transplant social worker for two decades, Kristen also serves on the Sanford Clinical Ethics Committee. Her areas of expertise are moral distress, staff well-being and resilience, and professional boundaries. As founder of Kristen M Fischer Consulting, Kristen provides education and guidance for local, regional and national colleagues through public speaking and healthcare leadership consultation. Kristen serves on the NKF Council of Nephrology Social Workers Executive Committee, and on the NASW-ND Board of Directors.

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM  Indigenous Wellbeing - Practice Considerations -  Estelle Simard, MSW, ABD - Educational Leadership

Cultural Responsiveness, Clinical

Indigenous children’s well being indicators, outcomes, and metrics are an important part of developmental frameworks, however, they must be constructed in manners that include historical contexts on identity and context. This workshop presents these historical influences on Indigenous peoples, the dichotomy of Indigenous identity development through a cultural socialization process, and concepts of cultural attachment as Indigenous wellbeing indicators. Further, it will conceptualize Indigenous wellness as cultural attachment as seen through six developmental domains.


Estelle is from the Anishinaabe Nation, from the territory of Treaty #3, and the community of Couchiching First Nation. She is an Indigenous Faculty within the Department of Social Work at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In addition, Estelle is the Director of the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies. Estelle is pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Phoenix University, and her dissertation is a descriptive qualitative study on Cultural Attachment Theory.


11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Who Should I be Talking to? - Mary Frances Price

Attorney-in-fact, Power of attorney, Health Care Agent, Health Care Power of attorney, trustee, guardian, conservator, Executor and Personal Representative – Do you know what these all are and what the difference is? This session will cover these topics and more as we explore the various fiduciary relationships that you may encounter in the field of social work.


Mary Frances Price is a shareholder at Moss & Barnett. She is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline College of Law and received her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Mary Frances has been licensed to practice law since 2005 and has counseled and advised hundreds of clients on their estate, tax, and elder care plans. Mary Frances is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Elder Law Section and is licensed to practice in Minnesota State Court. She was nominated to the Elder Law Governing Council in 2012 and is currently serving on the Education Committee. She has served as Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Section. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and has served on the Board for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Minnesota Chapter. Mary Frances is accredited to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM Break

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Anti-oppressive ethics: An Innovative Framework for Practice - Dr Bibiana D Koh, PhD, LCSW-C, LICSW
Cultural Responsiveness, Ethics, Supervision

As social workers, we are committed to fighting for social justice and against oppression. Yet this fight is often overlooked in ethics. In response, an innovation anti-oppressive ethics practice framework will be introduced. The framework mobilizes systemic change with goals to eliminate racism, end ethical isolation, and promote a just society with a stronger institutional moral fabric (Koh, 2023, in press). By attending this one-hour workshop, you will join me in this change for change.


Dr. Bibiana D. Koh (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Salisbury University. She was previously at Augsburg University (Minneapolis, MN) for nine years, where she held a three-year university appointment (2018-2021) as the Batalden Scholar in Applied Ethics. Her work in this role focused on Buddhist, Neo-Confucian and Hmong Shaman ethics. Dr. Koh is currently writing a book on intersectional and anti-oppressive social work ethics (Columbia University Press).

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM Artificial Intelligence vs Emotional Intelligence in Social Work - Preethi Fernando
Cultural Responsiveness, Supervision

Social workers in Minnesota are increasingly being directed by artificial intelligence. Yet social work is an intensely "human-driven" field where feelings and emotions govern. Finding that balance between Ai and EI is key. We have become too comfortable with AI and rather uncomfortable with EI. The more we are connected artificially, the less we are connected emotionally. Electronics dampen our emotions. An emoji symbol in an e-mail jus does not seem to cut it. from spell checks to voicemails, AI is prolifically creative. Its structure and outputs are aligned with the human brain. Everything comes at a price. It is also dampening human creativity, straining face to face communications, and some people are already beginning to feel like puppets with AI holding the remote control.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize and communicate using the appropriate feelings in specific situations. Listening, empathizing, reflecting self awareness, social skills, improve our emotional intelligence. AI is related to machine. EI is related to humans and hearts. AI is related to algorithms and numbers.
I will discuss how AI and EI can co-exist n social work and how to avoid stepping on some of the landmines when they co-exist.


Preethi Fernando is an author of thirteen books, speaker, and consultant. She is the winner of Stephen King’s Haven Foundation Award, given to one author each year. Preethi is also the recipient of the Carnegie Fund for Authors in New York. Preethi does workshops, training, and seminars on emotional intelligence, mindfulness, rising above disengagement, and more. visit  

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM Getting Unstuck: The first Element of “Ready, Set, Go!” is “Ready” - Jeni Kuhfuss, MSW, LICSW & Shannon Gullette Eue, LPCC, CPRP
Clinical, Cultural Responsiveness

This presentation explores the gap between expressed goals and action which often leaves everyone feeling stuck and frustrated. Shannon and Jeni propose that using Psychiatric Rehabilitation’s Assessing Readiness method will meaningfully improve services. Attendees will learn techniques to explore readiness for change regarding need, commitment, awareness, and personal closeness including tools for assessing commitment and environmental awareness.


Jeni has 10 years of experience in the field with a bachelor’s and master’s in social work. Jeni has worked in a substance use treatment setting, served as housing case manager, Veteran rapid rehousing case manager, and then program supervisor. At SpringPath, Jeni provided case management and therapy on an ACT team for 3 years before transitioning to Quality Assurance Manager in 2021. Jeni has been training others on Psychiatric Rehabilitation for 3-4 years.

Shannon is an LPCC and a therapist on the SpringPath Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Team (FACT). Shannon has been with the company for 15 years and has experience working in IRTS, ACT, and FACT. Shannon is an advocate for person-centered practices and the importance of meeting people where they are at in their stage of change, recovery, and life. She has been facilitating trainings for 7 years in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Person-Centered Planning.


Day 2 - February 9 // 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM CST (6 CEUs)


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Social Work Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Clients: Clinical and Policy Interface - Neerja Singh, LICSW, LADC 
Clinical, Cultural Responsiveness, Ethics

Presentation will cover the unique needs and strengths of the clients with immigrant and refugee clients. The presenter will challenge the participants to her our of our comfort zones associated with finding “uniform solutions to unique problems” our clients experience. The presentation will incorporate examples on strategies to facilitate an interface of clinical work with policy formulation and advocacy based on social justice framework.


Neerja Singh has been practicing as a licensed independent social worker for almost two decades. As the Clinical Director in DHS, she is leading Minnesota’s health care reform efforts through an equity lens. Neerja is the 2023 Bush Fellow and is working on developing culturally responsive models of civic engagement withe social justice framework.

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM Grief as Activation towards Emotional and Ecological Healing in the Time of Climate Collapse - Tessa Anttila, MSW, LICSW
Clinical, Cultural Responsiveness

So many us over the last few decades have become increasingly aware of and distraught by the impact of human-caused climate change. We are watching our ecosystems collapse before our eyes and we have no road map for how to proceed emotionally. This presentation proposes that our work, especially as mental health practitioners, is to sit more with climate change emotions for ourselves and with our clients. And the paramount climate collapse emotion is grief. This is because grief is love lost and feeling grief helps us avoid losing more of what we love. Grief in practice gives us hope and momentum. This training is steeped in the belief that climate change is a result of colonization. The emotional impacts of colonization are avoidance and apathy and keeps us stuck with trauma that is unresolved. We’ve been taught to feel like our only choice in a world entrenched in capitalism is apathy and avoidance over love and connection. This training proposes that if colonialism and emotional avoidance are the vehicles to climate collapse then grief and love are the antidotes.


Tessa E. Anttila, is a psychotherapist and a citizen ecologist who lives in Minneapolis with her family of human and other than human people. Her practice is rooted in a de-colonized and ecological approach that seeks to adapt the larger view of emotional healing to one that is more collaborative and lives within a complicated and wild world. She also runs a podcast on climate change and emotional healing to help herself and others’ activate purpose towards planetary well being. She wants to practice with others like you what it means to belong and be well in the anthropocene. Therapy Practice Website: Psychology Today listing: Podcast Website: Essay Written :

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Money Talks: Merging Mental Health and Money - Lindsey Konchar, MSW, LGSW, CFSW

Money is more than just a math problem; there is always so much more to the equation. And even though, as social workers, our job is to delve into the intimate details of a client's life, we rarely discuss how money stress is impacting a person. With money being reported as the leading stressor for Americans, it's about time we learn to talk about money.


Lindsey Konchar is a Certified Financial Social Worker, merging emotion and behavior with the logistics of personal finance. As a CFSW, Lindsey uses a holistic approach to empower clients to be competent and confident, using money as a tool to life the life they dream of.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM Break

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Revisioning Child Welfare Reform - Miriam Itzkowitz, MSW, LICSW
Cultural Responsiveness

The Institute to Transform Child Protection (ITCP) seeks to create substantive change in the child welfare system, and the way it is experienced by children, families, and communities, through direct parent representation, innovative policy reform, community engagement and inter-disciplinary training. This presentation will introduce attendees to the work of ITCP as well as offering a window into the strategic process of developing inter-disciplinary, multi-pronged efforts at system change and harm reduction.


Miriam Itzkowitz is the Director of Trauma-Informed Care for the Institute to Transform Child Protection. Miriam develops programming and trains on best practices at the intersection of legal services and trauma-responsive care. Miriam works directly with individuals, families and communities impacted by the child welfare system. She provides social work supervision for MSW and law students providing holistic family representation. In her private practice, Miriam uses an eclectic approach to therapy, incorporating cognitive and somatic techniques to assist clients in sustaining authentic identities, coping with difficulties, and overcoming trauma. She received her BA from Grinnell College and her MSW from the University of Minnesota.

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM Expansive Ethics: Embodying our Values in a Complex Landscape - Casie Iwata, MA, MSW, LICSW

The use of collaborative and critical models of ethical decision making in the field of social work is long overdue. These models, emphasizing care and context, allow for creativity in making ethical decisions. Using collaborative and critical models, social workers will better engage in values-aligned practice and advance from the traditional, rigid models of ethical decision making. In this presentation, participants will experience a more expansive approach when facing ethical dilemmas in social work practice.


Casie Iwata, MA, MSW, LICSW, is a co-owner, psychotherapist, and supervisor at CAMI Community Health and Trauma Recovery, as well as a psychotherapist at Through Therapy Collective. Casie worked in the torture treatment movement for 11 years and has worked as a psychotherapist in various settings with individuals for 6 years focusing on trauma healing. Casie has also taught ethics to MSW students through the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota as an adjunct faculty member.

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM Applying the Upstream/Downstream Parable to our Practice - Dr Nancy M. Fitzsimons, PhD, MSW, LICSW

Does your work feel like a never ending cycle of rescuing one person, one family at a time? That is because most of our time, energy and investment centers on trying to "fix" the problem after the fact. This presentation centers on "The River Story", exploring downstream, midstream and upstream approaches to promoting community health and wellbeing. Gain the insights you need to help move your organization and community to "Going Upstream".


Dr. Nancy Fitzsimons is a Professor of Social Work at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She primarily teaches MSW courses focused on social welfare policy and services, policy practice and advocacy, and community engagement. Nancy’s mission as a social work educator is to help students understand the macro-context of their social work practice. She is currently collaborating with her local United Way on "going upstream".


Day 3 - February 16 // 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM CST (6 CEUs)


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Humor as Intervention in Social Work and Psychotherapy - Glenn Maloney, MSW LICSW LADC
Clinical, Cultural Responsiveness, Ethics

This presentation provides information about how to use humor in our work in safe and ethical ways. We will review past literature and research related to humor, identifying it as an evidence-based practice. We will consider several primary uses of humor as intervention, and share stories about how we have used these successfully. This workshop will be fun and humorous, moving the exploration of humor from being purely academic towards also being enjoyable.


Glenn Maloney resides in Duluth, Minnesota. He is a psychotherapist, and spends his time away from the office hiking, reading, writing, and listening to hip hop. Over the past several years he has been exploring the use of humor in psychotherapy, looking at research and intervention method. He recently released his first book "Twelve Poems," and has completed a second book, which provides instruction about the use of humor in psychotherapy and social work.

10:15 AM - 11:15 AM Challenges and opportunities for using restorative justice frameworks for gender-based violence - Michele Braley, MSW, LICSW & Dr Katie Querna, PhD, LICSW, RYT
Cultural Responsiveness

Lifetime risk of experiencing gender-based violence (GBV) for women, queer, and trans people is as high as 90% in the USA. Increasingly, survivors of GBV are seeking restorative justice (RJ) as a more holistic, effective approach to responding to GBV than the current legal system. This experiential session will describe restorative approaches to GBV and explore their potential in the Minnesota context via the results of a recently completed, collaborative, community-based research project.


Michele Braley (she/her), Executive Director, Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice. Michele became familiar with restorative justice in 2002 when, with the mentorship of Alice Lynch, she helped develop and facilitate re-entry circles for people leaving prison. She is the co-author of the study, Challenges and Opportunities to Using Restorative Justice for Gender-based Violence. Michele believes in the potential for restorative justice to transform not just the legal system but all aspects of how we live and work together.

Katie Querna is an assistant professor and intersectional feminist gender researcher in the Social Work Department at St. Cloud State University where she uses community-engaged, contemplative, and creative approaches throughout her work. Katie also teaches adaptive yoga, and loves to dance and tell jokes to her senior dachshund Willie.

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Executive Functioning Strategies for Regulation and Resilience - Jamie-Sue Peterson, MSW, LICSW

In this session, we will explore the impact of neurodiversity and executive functioning skills on learning and behavior. We will begin with a brief overview of executive functioning generally, and the impact of executive functioning challenges across the lifespan. We will then discuss specific strategies for each executive functioning category which can be modified and adapted to individual situations, and will further consider executive functioning as it relates to provider well-being.


Jamie-Sue Peterson, MSW, LICSW is a school social worker, working primarily with children ages 5-14. Jamie uses trauma-informed, holistic, collaborative approaches to support children and families experiencing anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and adjustment challenges. Her areas of expertise include ADHD, ASD, and twice-exceptionality, and she is particularly interested in blending skill-based executive functioning coaching, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and creativity (play, art, music, and metaphor) to support neurodiverse children, parents, and families.

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM Break

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Tired as a Mother: Occupational Hazards for Working Moms - Laura Hanley, MSW, LICSW
Clinical, Cultural Responsiveness

Today's workforce is composed of up to 60% of individuals who identify as women, but only 35% of senior leadership positions are held by women. Fifty years after the feminist movement, it can't be just about the hours, or the cost of childcare, or the school schedule. Rather, research and popular culture continue to highlight a deeply internalized belief about the "best place" for mothers and the challenge for clinicians when one walks through our doors.


Laura Hanley is a clinical social worker with experience in inpatient, outpatient, and community-based social work. She is particularly interested in the intersection of women, trauma, and internalized belief systems.

2:15 PM - 3:15 PM Authentic Presence: Becoming a True Other for our LGBTQ+ Clients - Leora Effinger-Weintraub, MSW, LGSW
Clinical, Cultural Responsiveness, Supervision

In this session, we’ll dive into the Triangle of Social Experience, from Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, to explore how our clients’ internal working models (IWM) are founded in attachment and social power dynamics. We’ll explore the concrete ways that our authentic presence and professional self-disclosure can help restructure these IWMs and facilitate healing. Leveraging the therapist’s authentic presence is especially effective to undo the pathogenic aloneness experienced by our LGBTQ+ clients living under societal oppression.


Leora (Lior) Effinger-Weintraub holds a Master of Social Work degree from St. Catherine University and is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker practicing psychotherapy with the LGBTQ+ community in the Twin Cities. Lior uses they/them pronouns and is a member of multiple historically marginalized communities: mixed-race, bisexual, queer, trans/nonbinary, and invisibly-disabled. Lior specializes in working with clients with complex experiences of trauma and dissociation, and acknowledges how LGBTQ+ lived experiences include traumas often unrecognized by cisheteronormative society. They have previously presented on trauma-informed conflict engagement at local conferences and often use their art to communicate and educate.

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM NASW-MN Update on the Social Work Profession - Dr Karen Goodenough, PhD, MSW, LGSW


Dr. Karen E. Goodenough, PhD, MSW, LGSW has been Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers - Minnesota Chapter since 2018. She received her BSW from St. Olaf College, MSW from Augsburg University, and PhD in social work from the University of Minnesota. Previously, Dr. KG worked in direct practice, non-profit program management, and has been a consultant in evaluation, data utilization, and strategic planning. She has also served as adjunct faculty in numerous BSW and MSW programs throughout Minnesota. Dr. KG is a skilled supervisor, trainer, and macro practitioner. She has supervised, coached, and trained interns, volunteers, contractors, board members, and staff from various professional backgrounds, and has provided hundreds of hours of training in such areas as supervision, ethics, policy advocacy, leadership, budgeting, evaluation, and research. Dr. KG is passionate about using data and best practices to support the social work profession and build a purposeful future. Her dissertation research was focused on exemptions from licensure, and she is currently focusing much of her research and advocacy efforts on social work licensure issues. Dr. KG is a member of the MN Board of Social Work Advisory Committee and Legislation and Rules Committee, Co-Chairs the NASW Licensure Task Force, and is on the Document Writing Team for the Social Work Interstate Compact.


Winter Virtual Conference All-Access Channel

View everything you missed - until the end of March! Catch up on Virtual Conference recordings through our All-Access Channel - on your own time, and at your own pace! All Virtual Conference sessions will be recorded and available for viewing through March 31, 2024.

Can't attend live conference dates? No problem!

You can still register to get admission to the Winter Virtual All-Access Channel! Catch up on content through recorded sessions** and/or earn independent learning CEUs*!

*Check with the regulatory board in the state(s) where you are licensed to learn how this event can be counted towards your licensure requirements.

**Recordings only available to conference registrants.


Registration Deadline: Registration is open through 11:59pn CST on Thursday, February 15th, 2024. Register by January 31st to ensure you have the link for the first session. 

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