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Home2023 Virtual-Only Info

Virtual-Only Conference Participants:

Here you will find the schedule, session descriptions, and facilitator bios for all hybrid/virtual sessions. 

All conference sessions are presented LIVE. No sessions are pre-recorded or will be recorded for later viewing. Virtual participants will have access to all large-group sessions and breakout sessions indicated below. Conference sessions are subject to change.

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Day One: Wednesday, July 19

Time (Central)

Virtual Track: Large Group Sessions & Breakout Sessions

9:00-10:30 AM


Large Group Session

Opening Keynote: 
Collective Healing — Breaking the Cycle of White Supremacy in Volunteerism


Donte Curtis, Catch Your Dream Consulting

In-Person Presenter

Come one, come all as we kick off the Great Volunteer Engagement Get-Together with Donte Curtis. During this energizing keynote, he will give you food for thought on why DEI needs to be a thing at your organization, just like Sweet Martha's Cookies at the Fair. He will take you on a ride through making your volunteer programs and culture more equitable and just, and invite you to break the cycle of white supremacy in your everyday actions. Finally, he will end with fireworks and celebrate as you continue your anti-racist journey.

10:30-11:00 AM




11:00 AM-12:30 PM

Past/Present/Future Volunteer Engagement: Practical Lessons & Re-Engagement Tips

Sammy Feilchenfeld and Kasandra James
Virtual presenters

As Volunteer Toronto celebrates its 50th anniversary as Canada's largest volunteer center, this session will explore the past, present and future of volunteer engagement through our unique lens. With a focus on where we go next, participants will leave this session with:
• An understanding of the context and experiences that have led to today’s volunteer engagement challenges across North America
• Practical volunteer re-engagement tips at all levels of the organization
• Tools to identify and advocate for what you need to successfully engage volunteers into the future.

12:30-1:30 PM


Informal Greater Minnesota Meetup


1:30-3:00 PM

Are You Ready for Equity? Self Reflections on the Way to Becoming Advocates

Faiza Venzant
Virtual presenter

Implicit bias - the unconscious attitudes or stereotypes held towards certain groups of people - is present in our society, systems, and even in volunteering! This session will guide attendees through a series of exercises and self-reflections where they can explore their biases and determine what they need to notice, learn and unlearn about their own capacity to advocate for equity in their communities. Leaders of volunteers also will be introduced to how the principles of white supremacy culture show up in volunteerism and will be encouraged to reflect on their own motivations to volunteer and invite others to do the same.

3:00-3:30 PM




3:30-4:30 PM

Bring Out the Best in Your People with Supportive Environments for Effectiveness (SEE)

Kayla Paulson
In-person presenter

Imagine the possibilities when volunteers and staff have a strong understanding of your organization’s work, feel capable of sharing their best selves, and know what they do is meaningful. Together, we’ll explore how Supportive Environments for Effectiveness (SEE) Framework helps identify small changes to make effective and long-lasting improvements changing the status quo. With the introduction to SEE and our resources, you can replicate the process of viewing and addressing additional challenges in a new way. Join us to quickly learn the key concepts of the SEE Framework and workshop how to resolve a challenge at your organization.


Day Two: Thursday, July 20

Time (Central)

Virtual Track: Large Group Sessions & Breakout Sessions

 9:00-11:00 AM  

Large Group Session
The Human Side of Recruitment


Beth Steinhorn, President of VQ Strategies
In-Person Presenter 

Recruitment is more than simply posting online ads. Ultimately, successful recruitment comes down to conversations. What does research tell us about what to “do” and how to “be” during these interactions to effectively inspire others to engage with our organizations? Through fun and purposeful activities, this session introduces a framework and skills to enhance your recruitment efforts through meaningful conversations. From tuning in to your prospect’s interests to designing compelling pitches about your organization, participants will leave with new perspectives on recruitment and useful tools to apply immediately.

11:00-11:30 AM




11:30 AM-12:30 PM 

Hidden in Plain Sight - Gaining Funder & Nonprofit Executive Support for Strategic Volunteer Engagement

Betsy McFarland, Sue Carter Kahl, and Beth Steinhorn
In-person presenters

Strategic Volunteer Engagement (SVE) is the thoughtful and deliberate activation of volunteers to advance mission and accomplish goals. Historically, funders have not invested in SVE, and nonprofits have not requested it. To bridge this gap, the Initiative for Strategic Volunteer Engagement commissioned groundbreaking research to better understand how funders and nonprofit executives prioritize volunteer engagement. The new findings highlight the need for SVE and provide a roadmap to increase support for SVE nationwide. This session shares key learnings from the research and provides concrete steps nonprofits and funders can take to deepen the impact of volunteers.

12:30-1:30 PM




1:30-3:00 PM

"On Your Side" Coaching: A Simple Approach to Volunteer Feedback

Becky Mares

In-person presenter

The goal of this session is to cultivate confidence and comfort in coaching volunteers, practice the art of giving (and receiving) feedback, and introduce tips for “on your side” conversations. Many volunteers want feedback, but staff can be hesitant to give it because they fear volunteers will be offended, feel like they don't have time, or aren't sure when and how to do so. Feedback isn't always easy, but investing in volunteer coaching helps increase retention, quality of volunteers, and better achievement of your mission!

 3:00-3:30 PM Break
 3:30-4:30 PM
Large-group Virtual Networking Activity

The Idea-A-Whirl is a fun exchange between conference goers, to hear about new ways to make our work with volunteers easier or more effective. Participants will have five rounds to choose from several mini-presentations on great ideas -- tips, hacks, tools for working with volunteers, and any other useful solutions you've found.

We are looking for people who have a great idea they want to share! In-person and virtual conference goers are encouraged to submit their great idea by June 26th. Idea-A-Whirl presenters will receive $25 off a future MAVA training. 
 Click here to learn more and submit! 


Day Three: Friday, July 21

Time (Central)

Virtual Track: Large Group Sessions & Breakout Sessions

9:00-10:00 AM

Innovative Strategies

Mackenzie Albrecht
In-person presenter

In this session, volunteer engagement leaders from Greater Minnesota will showcase their experiences of using innovative strategies to successfully engage volunteers in their communities. Come and learn from others and leave equipped with ideas and action items to take back to your organization!

10:00-10:15 AM





10:15 AM-12:00 PM

Large Group Session

Closing Keynote: Take your Blue Ribbon Ideas Home With You!


Jennifer Bennett, VolunteerMatch

In-Person Presenter

Before we say goodbye, we want to make space to turn our ideas into action. Jennifer Bennett, CVA, will facilitate our closing session and empower us all to channel our conference enthusiasm into next steps. Let's take our blue ribbon ideas home, and consider how we might test and fine-tune them for next year's get-together!



Virtual-Only Facilitator Bios 

Becky Mares (she/her) joined Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) as the Statewide Volunteer Coordinator in July 2019. With a personal passion for the outdoors, she is excited to listen, learn, and lend a hand to inspiring all people to be stewards of our natural resources. Prior to CPW, Becky spent 10 years with the Cooking Matters campaign in Colorado. Becky has 17 years of experience in volunteer management, community partner engagement, building programs from the ground-up, outcomes tracking and evaluation, and publication development. A collaborative and resourceful team leader, Becky is passionate about food and nutrition, wilderness and sustainability, education, social justice and equity, and cultural diversity. She is proficient in Spanish.

Betsy McFarland (she/her) has dedicated her career to mobilizing passionate individuals to tackle challenging societal issues. As a principal consultant at Adisa and Energize, Betsy specializes in maximizing the impact of volunteers by helping leaders align volunteer engagement efforts with their mission. She offers comprehensive assessments of current volunteer 
engagement strategies and provides customized support in strategy development, implementation and training to ensure efficient and effective achievement of organizational goals. With more than 25 years of experience in engaging and growing volunteer efforts in organizations of all sizes, Betsy is a Certified Volunteer Administrator (CVA). She began her career by developing the first-ever volunteer program for a local animal shelter. She went on to spearhead the launch of The Humane Society National Volunteer Center, the first broad-scale, coordinated volunteer effort in the organization's history, which now engages thousands of volunteers worldwide. Betsy also serves as co-director of the Initiative for Strategic Volunteer Engagement and as a facilitator for the National Alliance for Volunteer Engagement.

Beth Steinhorn (she/her) partners with organizations and their leadership to increase impact through strategic and innovative engagement. She regularly participates in the national dialogue about volunteerism and engagement and is co-editor of the new book, Transforming Disruption to Impact: Rethinking Volunteer Engagement for a Rapidly Changing World. Beth provides consulting and training to organizations across the US and Canada, including supporting dozens of organizations to become certified Service Enterprises.

Betsy McFarland (she/her) is a principal consultant at Adisa ( and Engage ( As a certified volunteer administrator (CVA), she specializes in helping organizations leverage the power of volunteers. She began her 25-year career developing the first-ever volunteer program for a local animal shelter and went on to spearhead the launch of The Humane Society National Volunteer Center, the first broad-scale coordinated volunteer effort in the history of the organization, which now engages thousands of volunteers globally. Betsy co-directs the Strategic Volunteer Engagement Initiative for The Leighty Foundation and serves as facilitator for the National Alliance for Volunteer Engagement.

Donte Curtis (he/him) is the Owner/Leader of Catch Your Dream Consulting where he keynotes,consults with, and trains teams and organizations, nationwide, on leadership development,racial equity, Inclusion, and supports them to create practical change. Donte currently is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors at Social Enterprise Alliance Twin Cities and is a member of the program investment committee at Youthprise. Donte brings his 15 years of facilitation and speaking experience with an expectation of getting you energized, you taking practical action and finding hope for a better tomorrow. Probably one of the most energetic people you will ever meet, Donte lives a life that is dedicated to leadership, social justice and liberation and resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his Wife, Rachel and two dogs, King and Moose.

Jennifer Bennett (she/her) joined VolunteerMatch to formalize and manage the organization's volunteer engagement program. With her breadth of experience she is well qualified to help VolunteerMatch's community of nonprofits better recruit and engage volunteers. She shares her knowledge with volunteer managers through the webinars found on the Learning Center, in newsletters and blog entries, and at conferences around the country. She also so-hosts the Time+Talent Podcast with Tobi Johnson from VolunteerPro, which finished its fourth season in December 2022. She currently serves as the Director of Knowledge on the Board of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. She is the current co-editor and a contributing author for the 4th Edition of Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice, published by LexisNexis Canada in January 2021. And, she contributed The New Volunteer Manager's Toolkit chapter to the guide Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights that are Changing the World published by VolunteerMatch in 2015.

Faiza Venzant (she/her) CVA is the Executive Director of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. With over 20 years of leadership experience in volunteer engagement, she continues this work with a goal of centering community amongst the profession, improving equity and access to volunteerism and increasing diversity amongst professional leaders of volunteers.  In 2018, Faiza published her first children’s book entitled, My Mamma Wants to Eat Me Up!  As a mother of two young boys, she has not actually eaten any of her children.

Kasandra James (she/her) is Volunteer Toronto's Director of Programs. Kasandra provides strategic leadership of the organization's programs, services and events that connect Toronto's diverse volunteer-seekers with community organizations and volunteer programs that need them. Since joining Volunteer Toronto in 2015, Kasandra has used her experience and expertise in non-profit and volunteer management, community development and program design to support capacity building efforts in hundreds of organizations across Ontario.

Kayla Paulson (she/her) fights for more strategic and impactful volunteer engagement. She has led a Volunteer Center, RSVP, and Service Enterprise in addition to volunteering with Volunteer Iowa, Points of Light, AL!VE, and United Way Worldwide to help improve volunteer engagement practices at local and national levels. Now she is helping nonprofits build capacity and better meet community needs as AL!VE’s National Service Enterprise Administrator and a Supportive Environments for Effectiveness Administrator for reDirect Foundation.

Mackenzie Albrecht (she/her) is MAVA's Greater Minnesota Program Manager. She's responsible for outreach, relationship-building, and supporting volunteer engagement organizations and networks across Greater Minnesota. As a resident of Central Minnesota, she has first-hand experience engaging volunteers in small town and rural areas. Mackenzie has been involved with nonprofits as a volunteer, board member, and staff member since 2014, primarily with animal and youth related organizations. Before joining the MAVA staff, Mackenzie worked as the Volunteer Manager at Ruff Start Rescue, one of Minnesota's largest foster-based animal rescues. 

Sammy Feilchenfeld, (he/him) CVA, is Volunteer Toronto’s Manager, Learning, designing and overseeing Volunteer Toronto’s learning programs for leaders of volunteers, board members, non-profit professionals and volunteer seekers. With a focus on addressing the changing needs of volunteerism, Sammy draws on more than 15 years in volunteer management and adult education. Sammy also serves as Director of Partnerships on the board of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA).

Sue Carter Kahl (she/her) has dedicated her professional life to working and volunteering within the nonprofit sector. Sue demystifies and translates research–making it accessible and even exciting. She helps organizations collect and make meaning from their data to enhance organizational decisions. A nationally-recognized expert on volunteer engagement, Sue has presented or facilitated sessions at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the National Park Service, Points of Light, the California League of Cities, the University of San Diego Governance Institute, and more.  She teaches a graduate course on Strategic Volunteer Engagement at the University of San Diego. Sue has a PhD in Leadership from the University of San Diego. Her dissertation, Making the Invisible Visible: Capturing the Multidimensional Value of Volunteerism to Nonprofit Organizations, articulated the diverse contributions that volunteers make to nonprofits. She has a Master’s in Social Work Administration and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management. 

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