Jefferson Forum: Recognizing and Inspiring Resilience

Registration is now open!

Register Now!

Attendees are limited to two per organization. (Exceptions will be considered – please contact Mary Phan-Gruber at 412-267-6771 or


The 5th Annual Jefferson Forum is bringing together over 250 community and nonprofit leaders committed to change in the South Hills and lower Mon Valley and will include engaging speakers, a panel of experts, dynamic morning and afternoon workshops, live polling, spotlight speakers, a photo gallery, a multi-generational mixer, and more!


Highlights of this year’s Forum include: 

-Featured speakers, including an opening dialogue with Tim Hindes, originator of the Stronger than Hate logo and Principal of TrailBlaze Creative, and Whitehall Mayor James Nowalk, who will reflect on resilience and how we all can be “Stronger than Hate”

-Panel of Experts Discuss the Impacts of Trauma and the Role of Resilience for individuals, organizations, and communities, featuring:

  • Stephanie Walsh, Executive-in-Residence, Center for Victims
  • Taili Thompson, Violence Prevention Coordinator, Allegheny County Health Dept.
  • Erin Troup, Owner and Licensed Professional Counselor, Sprout Center for Emotional Growth and Development
  • Ashok Gurung, Co-Founder of the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh
  • Joe Martin, Allegheny County Dept. of Human Services, Facilitator of the Trauma Think Tank

-Light breakfast and a full lunch

-New This Year! You will have the opportunity to attend TWO skill-building workshops of your choosing. One workshop will take place in the morning and one in the afternoon, which will inspire you to build personal, professional, and organizational resilience. Workshops include:

  • Cultural Humility: Challenging Assumptions for Life-Long Learning – Dr. Azadeh Masalehdan Block, California University of PA, Dept. of Social Work We all have personal experiences that shape our perspectives of the world around us and of other people. This session will challenge participants to dig deeper into personal and societal biases and assumptions through individual and group activities. Improve your awareness of cultural humility and learn strategies of self-assessment to cultivate continuous learning.
  • Learning to Love Change: How Leaders Can Create Cultures that Support Change – Wayne Jones, Owner of Wayne A. Jones Consulting Nonprofit leaders operate in a complex and dynamic environment which demands that their organizations learn and adapt. This session will help leaders understand why staff and boards may be resistant to change and how to create inclusive approaches and supportive cultures to successfully navigate change.
  • Shifting the Lens: Practical Applications of Trauma-Informed Care – Joe Martin, Facilitator of the DHS Trauma Think Tank (Morning session only) This interactive training explores the health effects of traumatic stress and practical applications of trauma-informed care principles as they relate to participant engagement, service planning, and workforce well-being. Participants will identify how to apply these principles in their own professional roles.
  • Staying Well While Doing the Work: Self-Care through a Trauma-Informed Lens – Stephanie Walsh, Executive-in-Residence, Center for Victims (Afternoon session only) As our efforts focus on understanding trauma and resilience in our participants and communities, we may neglect building our own resilience. This session will provide an overview of how trauma can also impact community providers, and provide tools and insights to practice trauma-informed self-care.
  • Building your Facilitation Skills- Leslie Bonner, Principal, Bonner Consulting Do you wish you had best practices for facilitating productive meetings and community conversations? This fast-paced workshop, led by a trained professional facilitator, will highlight seven ideas or tools for new or experienced facilitators to get the most out of group discussions.
  • The Power of the Pen: Getting Public Attention on Your Issues – Mila Sanina, Executive Director, PublicSource The pen is a powerful tool for creating change. An experienced editor and journalist will share tips on how to compose a powerful narrative built on stories and data. Interactive activities will include practicing a story pitch for media attention and learning important aspects of storytelling in the digital age.
  • Resilient Fundraising: Professional Tips for Obtaining Government Grants – Joe Kuklis & Luc Montminy, Wellington Strategies Attracting and leveraging funding support for your vision and programs is key to assuring the resilience of your organization. This session will provide insights into leveraging government grants, offer do’s and don’ts, and share a template for grant development from a highly accomplished team.

The Jefferson Gallery, where you will learn more about the Jefferson area by visiting the Jefferson Gallery of photographs – you will likely see familiar places and faces.

-Spotlight Presentations highlighting inspiring, compelling speakers throughout the day as they share stories of resilience at an individual, organizational, and/or community levels in brief presentations.

-Multi-Generational Mixer, which is your chance to learn, network, and connect with others as we explore the power of resilience through the lenses of different generations including millennials, gen X, baby boomers and more!  Which characteristics and cultural happenings define your generation and shape your experiences? How can we leverage our differences to develop personal resilience and inspire strength in our communities? Come ready to share and also have dessert! We will explore the uniqueness of each of our generational perspectives through small, interactive group discussions and live polling.

If you have any questions or issues while registering, please contact Amy Ganser at 412-267-6770. We look forward to seeing you on May 8th!