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2019 Annual Conference Plenary Sessions

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2019 Annual Conference Plenary Sessions


Opening Plenary: Changing Perspectives, Moving Mountains
5-6:30 pm

As the official kickoff to the 2019 Annual Conference, this opening plenary session will start with welcoming remarks and the State of ANCOR address from Board of Directors President Robert Budd. Then, Conference participants will enjoy a keynote address from Rick Guidotti, author of Positive Exposure. Positive Exposure is an innovative arts, advocacy and education organization that utilizes the visual arts to celebrate human diversity, inclusive of ethnicity, religion, age, ability, learning style, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

Following the opening keynote address, ANCOR will join with NADSP and the Research & Training Center at the University of Minnesota to announce the recipients of the 2019 Moving Mountains awards. You won't want to miss the opportunity to hear about these inspiring agencies who are making strides in our collective effort to invest in a sustainable DSP workforce!


  • Robert Budd, FREE, Inc.
  • Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure
  • Amy Hewitt, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota
  • Desiree Loucks Baer, National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals
  • Barbara Merrill, ANCOR


Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The Future of I/DD Services and How We Got Here
8:30-10 am

To kick off the first full day of the ANCOR Annual Conference, ANCOR CEO Barbara Merrill will deliver her annual State of the Association address, during which we'll reflect on the part year’s triumphs and tribulations. Then, Conference participants will enjoy a keynote address delivered by Poppy Crum. Dr. Crum is a visionary futurist and neuroscientist whose work sits at the intersection of technology advancement and human evolution. Highly regarded in both the technology sector and academic circles, she is an Adjunct Professor in Computer Research at Stanford University and the Chief Scientist at Dolby Laboratories, a leading global innovator and developer of audio, imaging and voice technologies. Dr. Crum’s presentation will focus on how personalized technology and artificial intelligence have the potential to reshape and redefine the human experience for individuals with I/DD.


  • Poppy Crum, Stanford University & Dolby Laboratories
  • Barbara Merrill, ANCOR


Straight from the Source: Administration Priorities on the Horizon
2:30-3:15 pm 

One of ANCOR’s key commitments is to keep members apprised of what’s happening in and around Washington when it comes to federal policies that impact I/DD supports and services. As part of that commitment, participants in this Plenary Session will hear from Keith Sonderling, Acting Administrator for the Wage & Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor. Sonderling will share updates on how the Division is approaching wage and overtime rules and regulations, and give ANCOR members the opportunity to hear straight from the source about what’s on the horizon.


  • Keith Sonderling, Wage & Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor


What's New, Now and Next for ANCOR’s Government Relations
5-5:45 pm 

Even as ANCOR continues to expand the services it offers to members, federal advocacy remains at the heart of why members come together in this growing community. While you use your voice in your state and local community to advance I/DD services, ANCOR's government relations work aims to ensure a federal policy landscape that facilitates your ability to deliver better outcomes for more people.


  • Esmé Grewal, ANCOR


Leading Legacies: Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovation
8:30-9:30 am 

Past meets present in this inspiring Plenary Session. We'll start by looking back at the pioneers of ANCOR's past by honoring 2019’s inductees into the Legacy Leaders Circle, which recognizes visionary figures that have left an indelible mark on the association. Attendees will then hear from another visionary leader from beyond our membership. As she prepares for her retirement, Mary Lee Fay, Executive Director of NASDDDS, will offer reflections on her incredible career and advice for the future of our field. With inspiring reflections on our shared history to guide us, keynote speaker Vikki Wachino, former director of the federal Medicaid program, will focus our attention on our field's future. As ANCOR members know well, Medicaid and other payers are innovating new payment approaches to incentivize quality, efficiency and coordination. What do these new “value-based” models mean for services for people with I/DD, and how do they differ from fee-for-service? Can providers, individuals with I/DD and families play a leadership role in developing payment innovations? If so, how?


  • Mary Lee Fay, NASDDDS
  • Vikki Wachino, Viaduct Consulting, LLC


Set Down the Stethoscope. The Heart of Health is Social
11-11:45 am

When supporting people’s health, services typically center on physical, mental and medical factors, even though medical care only accounts for 10-15% of health-related outcomes. What about the remaining 85-90%? The rest can be attributed to the social determinants of health, the impact of which is monumental. Focusing on social determinants of health can positively impact allocation of resources, strategic directives, specific supports and personal quality of life. During this Plenary Session, participants will learn all about social factors that improve health, including data that demonstrate success and the effect of agency supports. Additionally, participants will leave this session with a tool to automate organizational analysis.


  • Mary Kay Rizzolo, CQL: The Council on Quality & Leadership
  • Linda Timmons, Mosaic


Bridges to Excellence: 2019 Direct Support Professional of the Year Awards Presentation
2:30-4 pm

Each year, ANCOR honors some of the nation’s leading Direct Support Professionals and celebrates the significant impact they have on the individuals they support and in the communities where they work. This year, we’ve selected 54 award recipients from nearly 350 nominations. To say that we’ve been blown away by the accomplishments of this year’s cohort of DSP of the Year award recipients would be an understatement! From reuniting individuals with long-lost family members to helping navigate significant health challenges and everything in between, these DSPs really are doing it all. Join us in celebrating these outstanding professionals during the closing plenary session of this year’s ANCOR Annual Conference—you won’t want to miss it!

The DSP of the Year awards are proudly underwritten by Relias.


  • Ravi Dahiya, YAI
  • Natasha Fisher, Relias
  • Esmé Grewal, ANCOR