Conference Highlights

We're pleased to announce our great line up of presenters at the 2019 Annual Conference, including these conference highlights.

Thursday, March 28 - Opening Session


Marva L. Lewis, Ph.D., Walter Gilliam, Ph.D.

Social Work Practice in 2019: Bias and Communication Across Cultural Divides


Session Description

In 2019, the fastest growing populations in the United States will identify as ‘multicultural’ based on diverse social identity groups including gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class. The tragedy of the death and accompanying violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 highlights the longstanding complexity of race relations in the United States. The secondary traumatic stress associated with years of direct social work practice with traumatized and oppressed populations traditionally served by social workers, may be unrecognized triggers for biases in communication. Further, these biases may be the basis for challenges in engagement with diverse multicultural clients. Social Workers need new tools for a deeper form of empathy, compassion and communication for effective practice.

In this six-hour general session participants will first be grounded in the latest research on the role of the brain and bias (Gilliam, 2016). A new conceptual framework (Lewis, 2014) based on universal meta-emotions is presented providing a foundation for an advanced form of cultural competency and compassionate communication.

In a psychologically safe environment experiential learning techniques participants will learn evidenced-based communication techniques to broach the topic of race. Prior to the workshop all participants will be asked to bring their scores from the Implicit Association Test (IAT) scores (a well-researched tool available for free at as evidence to identify their privileges, implicit biases, and social power based on their multicultural social identities. Participants will receive the Compassionate Listening using Meta-emotions© Workbook (Lewis, 2018) to practice effective multicultural social work. CEU’s will be awarded.

Presenter Biographies

Marva L. Lewis, earned a Ph.D in Sociocultural Psychology and is Associate Professor at the Tulane University School of Social Work with a clinical appointment in the Department of Psychiatry in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is Founder and Director of the Center for Natural Connections. The Center provides community-based interventions promoting hair combing interaction as a natualistic and culturally valid opportunity to strengthen parent-child attachment. She is currently a national consultant and member of the Advisory Board of the Quality Improvement Center for Research-Based Infant-Toddler Court Teams. She has published and presented her research at national and international meetings, and provides consultation, coaching, and training on issues of bias and organizational diversity.


Walter S. Gilliam is the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy and Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center. He is a member of the board of directors for ZERO TO THREE, Child Care Aware of America, and the Irving Harris Foundation; a research fellow of the National Institute for Early Education Research; and former Senior Advisor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Gilliam is co-recipient of the prestigious 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for the coauthored book A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children. His work frequently has been covered in major national and international news outlets, and he actively provides consultation to state and federal decision-makers in the U.S. and other countries.



Friday, March 29 - Morning Keynote


Fleet Maull, PhD, CMTP

Mindfulness & Social Work:  Mindfulness-Based Interventions with Clients and Mindfulness-Based Wellness & Resiliency for Social Work Professional


Session Description

This 3-hour plenary presentation will introduce a trauma-informed approach to basic mindfulness practice and various mindfulness-based self-regulation tools, both for use with clients and for clinician self-care.  The first half of the presentation will review the landscape and literature of various mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) appropriate for working with clients, e.g. DBT, ACT, MBCT, MBSR and MBRP.  The second half of the presentation will introduce a mindfulness-based wellness & resiliency (MBSR) model for clinician self-care.  The entire presentation will include experiential exercises; audience interactions; and an introduction to the physiology and brain science of chronic stress, trauma and other forms of distress as well as the physiology and brain science of mindfulness-based interventions designed to address such forms of distress. 


Presenter Biography


Fleet Maull, PhD, CMTP, is an author, mindfulness teacher, social entrepreneur and global changemaker, who has been teaching mindfulness for more than 30 years.  He is the founder of Prison Mindfulness Institute and it's divisions -- Engaged Mindfulness Institute, Center for Mindfulness in Public Safety, and Mindful Justice Initiative.  He is also founder of National Prison Hospice Association and the Naropa University Center for Contemplative End of Life Care.  He is the co-founder of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at the Upaya Institute in Santa Fe, NM and the Rwanda Bearing Witness & Peace Initiative.  He is also founder of Windhorse Seminars & Consulting and maintains a professional practice as a seminar leader, executive coach, organizational consultant and corporate trainer.  He is the author of Dharma In Hell, and the forthcoming Radical Responsibility: How to Move Beyond Blame, Fearlessly Live Your Highest Purpose and Become an Unstoppable Force for Good (Sounds True 2019).  He is also the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles and a frequent keynote presenter in the criminal justice and mindfulness fields.  Dr. Maull leads mindfulness retreats, bearing witness retreats, prison programs, and leadership trainings worldwide.


Friday, March 29 - Lunch & Learn

Latin Ballet of Virginia

Victor, the True Spirit of Love

Session Description

VICTOR, The True Spirit of Love, based on the autobiography Victor Torres, inspired by the true story of a teen from Puerto Rico, who was forced to survive the “dark street” of Brooklyn, New York. VICTOR, The True Spirit of LOVE, tells the story of a young gang member whose life was changed by the love and faith of his mother. The performance will include a conversation, questions and answers between the audience of the event and the real Victor Torres with the Latin Ballet dancers and artistic director, Ana Ines King.

About The Latin Ballet of Virginia

The Latin Ballet of Virginia (LBV) was founded in 1997 in Richmond, Virginia under the direction of Ana Ines King, a native of Colombia. LBV is a professional dance company and school of dance, providing multicultural dance programs, instruction and performances for a diverse community. The Company is Central Virginia’s pre-eminent Hispanic dance company, performing throughout the State and at select venues in North and South America. It was incorporated as a 501(c) 3 organization in 2000. LBV offers a wide variety of weekly classes in 2 dance schools taught by 13 faculty members. Over the years, LBV has built a company of 11 professional dancers from around the world, featuring 6 professional musicians, and mentoring 25 apprentice dancers. LBV enrolls approximately 400 students of all ages per year, conducts 5 professional dance productions annually, supports 85 long term residencies and 120 short residencies, and presents master classes and lecture demonstrations.

Friday, March 29 - Dinner & Movie

Movie: The Rape of Recy Taylor

Recy Taylor, an African American wife and mother in Alabama in the 1940s, was raped by a gang of youth on her way home from church. Rather than remaining silent, as did many women of color who were victims of sexual violence at the time, Taylor sought justice, leading to a nationwide protest that helped spark the modern civil rights movement.



Saturday, March 30 - Morning Keynote

Okpara Rice


Finding the Leader Within

Session Description

In organizations across this country there continues to be a need for truly trauma-informed and resilient leadership. Yet, there is also a reluctance and at times fear of assuming those roles. This session will shed light on some of those fears and how they can be overcome. How do we motivate our field to embrace this need? How can we use the collective power of our voice and strength to change policy? It starts first by social workers seeing ourselves as true change agents. We fail to see our own unique skills and how without even knowing it, we are the leaders who have been looking for. Join Okpara as he shares his leadership journey and lessons learned in developing leaders who can see the complexities of the world and have hope.


Presenter Biography

Okpara Rice joined Tanager Place as executive director in July, 2013, and assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer July, 2015. Rice also brings leadership experience from his work at the Jewish Child Care Association in Pleasantville, New York, the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, the Youth Campus in Park Ridge, Ill, and Starr Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. He is active in the field and in the community and currently serves as an Advisor for the Board of Directors for the Association of Children’s Residential Centers. He is a member of the Marion Cares Board, the SET Task Force, NAMI of Linn County Board of Directors, a member of the Cedar Rapids School Board Diversity Committee, board member of the International Youth and Child Care Network, member of the Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Advisory Committee, member of the Marion Civil Rights Commission, member of the Cedar Rapids MedQuarter SSMID Commission, and was appointed by the Governor to the Children’s System State Board. Okpara has presented internationally on issues that affect children in both Europe and Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Loyola University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He also holds an Executive Management certification from Georgetown University and an Executive Scholar Certificate from the Northwestern Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management. Okpara lives in Marion, Iowa with his wife, Julie, and two sons, Malcolm and Dylan.

Saturday, March 30 - Closing Session


Jacqueline Pogue

What About YOU?


Session Description

After all the power points, hand outs and talks giving great ideas, come to the closing plenary -- a low tech, high touch experience for your heart and soul. "What About YOU?" will be interactive, experiential and inspirational. Jacquelyn will also share her experiences in India working with Mother Teresa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While you can use some of it in your professional life, it is for YOU to leave the conference with a new point of view about yourself and feeling emotionally nurtured, physically energized and spiritually uplifted.

Presenter Biography

Jacqueline Pogue is the founder of Central Virginia’s Coalition for Quality End of Life Care. She has been a teacher and student of Buddhism for 40 years, studying under such teachers as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Thich Nhat Hanh, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

contact us

National Association of Social Workers - Virginia Chapter

4860 Cox Road, Suite 200 Glen Allen, VA 23060