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2018 Youth Workers Conference: Speakers
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youth worker conference bios speakers

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Speaker Biographies

Leslie Chaplin

Leslie Chaplin, MSW, LICSW is the Director of Operations at Northwood Children’s Services. In the last year she has worked to develop the first Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility in the state at the Northwood West campus. She has 25 years of experience in the field of children’s mental health as a counselor, therapist, director, supervisor and consultant. Leslie holds a Master’s in social work from the University of Minnesota Duluth and is currently conducting research on Vicarious Resilience for her PhD. Leslie has served on the board of the National Association of Social Workers and the Boys and Girls Club. She is a clinical supervisor, adjunct instructor and a peer reviewer for the National Council on Accreditation.

Dina Chou

Dina Chou works at the MN Department of Human Services in the Office of Economic Opportunity. She is a grant manager, focusing on administering state funds for Safe Harbor Shelter and Housing programs. She also co-facilitates the DHS Child Trafficking and Exploitation Work Group which is developing guidance for the child welfare system response to cases of sex trafficking and exploitation. Dina has a background in providing direct service to families experiencing homelessness, and she has a master’s degree from the University of MN, Duluth in advocacy and political leadership.

Denise Dallas

Denise Dallas has been working at Mille Lacs Academy for over nineteen years in various positions and is currently the training coordinator working with training staff on how to work clinically with juvenile males who have harmful sexual behaviors. She has developed an interest in vicarious trauma and self-care for staff. Believing that if staff develop good self-care they will stay in the field longer and better serve the youth we work with. Denise has presented on various topics at different conferences around the country.

Angie Erickson

Angie is Fundraising and Development Manager at North Homes Children and Family Services – a comprehensive mental health nonprofit in Grand Rapids, MN.  In this role, Angie supports work force development at the agency through staff training and as a support supervisor for interns.  She is also one of the high ropes course facilitators at Camp North Homes – where she enjoys watching youth challenge themselves to new heights.  Angie holds a BA in Urban Studies from Hamline University, a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Public Health Core Concepts from the University of Minnesota, and has over 11 years of youth work experience.  Prior to relocating and joining North Homes, Angie worked with Girls Inc. at the YWCA Minneapolis as Eureka! Program Coordinator.  

Khayman Goodsky

Khayman Goodsky is the Program Facilitator of LSS Together for Youth, a social support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, Two Spirit and allied young people. Khayman also serves as a counselor for NASA camp at Fond du Lac Reservation and works in the Indigenous First gift shop at American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth.

Dr. Dean Grace

Dean Grace, PhD recently retired after 45 years of direct service to at-risk youth and families, as well as teaching at the college level. He currently provides training and consultation services.

Kathy Hermes

Kathy Hermes has a Bachelor of Science degree in education and is currently a Program Coordinator for Lutheran Social Service in Duluth. Kathy coordinates Together for Youth, a social support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, Two Spirit and allied young people between the ages of 14 and 20. She also conducts outreach for a Minnesota Department of Health HIV testing and prevention initiative as well as does outreach education for National Safe Place. Kathy has presented on the topic of LGBTQ+ identities on local and national levels.

Amanda Kampa

Amanda Kampa has been working at Mille Lacs Academy for over thirteen years in various positions. She has been a case manager, a therapist, and is currently the Clinical Supervisor in the children’s program at Mille Lacs Academy. Amanda has been instrumental in the past several years in helping to train new staff about the effects of trauma on youth. She has also presented on various topics at different conferences around the state.

Kate LePage

Kate LePage works for Lutheran Social Service as the Central MN Safe Harbor Regional Navigator. In this role she provides eight counties guidance and support on the issue of sexual exploitation including sex-trafficking. Topics she teaches on include human trafficking, harms of pornography, healthy relationships and Safe Harbor. She also facilitates prevention curriculum to at-risk youth and provides direct services to youth and other survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. 

Annie Meehan

Annie Meehan is a speaker and an award-winning author based in Minneapolis, MN. After starting her career in corporate America, she is a powerful, successful motivational speaker with heart and determination that awakens her audiences to action. Annie uses personal and professional expertise to inspire her audiences, using dynamic and interactive presentations. She journeyed through life as the middle child of seven, raised by a single mom, and has many stories and life lessons to share. She has been a guest on Oprah and Twin Cities Live, a local celebrity show.

Annie is a member of the National Speakers Association, a graduate of their apprentice program, and a certified life coach. After working for Piper Jaffray, she was a contract speaker for one of the top non-profit companies in the United States. Today Annie is speaking across the country and internationally.

In addition to being a popular motivational keynote speaker, Annie is also the author of four motivational books, including Be the Exception and the inspirational journal Paths, Detours, and Possibilities. When not delivering upbeat, motivating talks for audiences across the country, Annie accompanies her husband in raising their three children, owning and operating their own Snap Fitness center, supporting a team of 100+ AdvoCare distributors, and volunteering.

Paula Minske

Paula Minske, MS, LMFT is the Director of Clinical Services for Nexus. She has worked in the residential field for 20 years within Nexus and Volunteers of America Programs. She also has experience in child welfare and foster care systems as a social worker. Paula has presented on many youth related topics at AspireMN and MACMH conferences, and part of her job is to lead training at all of the Nexus sites.

Blythe Navarro

Blythe Navarro has been working at Gerard Academy for 6 years. Throughout his time working at Gerard Academy he has been a Youth Care Professional. He started out on the middle-aged boys unit (Bordeaux) and then transferred to the older boys (Marseille) unit in 2017. He enjoys picking up extra shifts on the youngest boys unit. Blythe is a great mentor to new and experienced staff. He has also been trained as a Handle With Care Instructor and has a relationship with youth on campus that is fun, validating, and encouraging.

Charlie Orsak, Ph.D.

Charlie Orsak, PhD is a licensed psychologist providing assessment and clinical consultation. His background includes working with Outward Bound, in-patient hospital care, community out-patient services and residential treatment.

Nergis Petersen

Nergis Petersen is a licensed therapist and a clinical Supervisor of therapists that are co-located for Headway throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area. She specializes in mindfulness skills, positive therapy and strength based and stress reduction skills. She truly enjoys leading groups, presentations and facilitating workshops and seminars for professionals. She is excited to provide guidance and clinical support to her team, by encouraging healthy communication, compassion, collaboration and highlighting self-care techniques. Outside of work, Nergis teaches yoga and fitness classes, travels, attends live music concerts, and supports her adult kids in their activities and interests.

Stacey Trushenski-Carlson, Ph.D.

Stacey Trushenski-Carlson, PhD is currently the Vocational Manager at Mille Lacs Academy, overseeing the Vocational and Recreational Departments. Stacey earned her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from St. Cloud State University, and her Doctoral Degree in Sociology from South Dakota State University. Prior to joining Mille Lacs Academy in 2015, Stacey was a college Professor teaching in the disciplines of Criminal Justice and Sociology.

Cassandra Vokoun

Cassandra Vokoun has been working at Gerard Academy for 5 years. She started as a Youth Care Professional and then was promoted to a Unit Coordinator. She has a quirky personality and is very passionate about her job. She is a supervisor, mentor, and a great teacher to staff. She is also a certified Handle With Care Instructor.

Dr. Timothy B. Walsh

Dr. Timothy B. Walsh, MA, LP; DPA is the Vice President of Long Term Recovery and Mental Health Services at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. He completed his doctorate in public administration at Hamline University in 2012. He received his Master of Arts degree in counseling psychology from St. Thomas University in 1993. Tim earned a double Bachelors in Biblical Studies as well as Social Sciences/Psychology from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. He has been licensed as a psychologist since 1998. He has been an executive leader in the fields of chemical dependency, mental health, human services and corrections for over 28 years. Tim has been an independent strategic and organizational consultant for 20 years and is a frequent conference speaker and trainer in Minnesota and nationally. He has been a professor at Anoka Ramsey Community College and Hamline University. He currently teaches part-time for the University of Northwestern, St. Paul at the graduate and bachelor levels in Human Services and Psychology.

Joe Wotruba, Ph.D.

Joe Wotruba, PhD is a licensed psychologist and expert on trauma-informed care. He has run a treatment program for abusive men as well as has extensive experience treating troubled youth and their families.

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