Speakers for the 2022 NFPW Conference

North Dakota Professional Communicators is excited to host the 85th Annual National Federation of Press Women Conference in Fargo. Hundreds of communicators will travel here to “Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Legendary. Discover the Possibilities of the New Communications World.” The lineup of top-notch speakers will focus on ways professional communicators can adapt and achieve success in our constantly evolving industry. 

Review the conference schedule

Please check the NFPW’s conference page regularly for updates. 


Keynote Speaker: Nicole Phillips

Kindness is Contagious in the Workplace
• 9 a.m. Friday, June 24

Could kindness be the key to becoming a better leader and coworker? Yes! And it doesn’t take a complete overhaul of your workplace.Nicole Phillips, Keynote Speaker, and 2022 NFPW Conference logo (Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Legendary with pen and flames image) Keynote Speaker Nicole Phillips will explain the research-based chain reaction that happens within our bodies when we lead with kindness. She will also explore an interactive and practical set of micro-actions anyone can do to foster kinder communication and bring out the best in each employee. These tips will have an immediate impact on your entire organization's culture. Hearing Nicole share how to say no to the negative and yes to kindness will leave you feeling uplifted, refreshed, and equipped to better enjoy your life both personally and professionally.

About Nicole Phillips
Nicole spreads the message of the healing power of kindness as host of the show “The Kindness Podcast,” which was named by Oprah Magazine as one of the Top Three Happiness Podcasts in 2021. She also has a weekly column called “Kindness is Contagious” that runs in newspapers across North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. 

Nicole earned a Broadcast Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin and has worked as a television anchor and reporter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Madison, Wisconsin; and Fargo, North Dakota. You may have seen her on Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family show, HGTV’s House Hunters, or The Price is Right, where she learned a lot about kindness and won a car! Nicole is the author of five books, Kindness is Contagious, Kindness is Courageous, Workplace Positivity, The Negativity Remedy, and Borrow My Brave. As Miss Wisconsin 1997, she spent the year touring the state talking to kids and adults about overcoming crisis.

Nicole is married to her childhood crush who is a college men’s basketball coach at Northern State University. The couple lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota, with their three children and oversized Goldendoodle.

Featured Speaker: Patrick Kirby

• 10:15 a.m. Saturday, June 25

We’re in a bizarre new reality where there is an expectation and desperate need for personalization from clients and customers. So how do you, as a business, transform the way you interact with those you serve? Look to the nonprofit world!

Organizations that solicit individuals and businesses for donations are the key to understanding how to attract, and more importantly keep, customers. Using nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising work, Patrick will extrapolate some of the best practices that nonprofits use to make transactional gifts and turn them into transformative relationships – and how your business can get into the business of celebration and appreciation to develop customer relations better than you ever have before.  


What will attendees learn?
• A weekly framework to build better and more purposeful customer relationships.
• Examples of how to use social media to enhance your customer experience.
• Tangible and achievable daily tasks to combat the belief that "we don’t have time to do this.”


Patrick Kirby is the Founder of Do Good Better Consulting, author of the Amazon best seller Fundraise Awesomer! A Practical Guide to Staying Sane While Doing Good, and host of The Official Do Good Better Podcast. He is also a firm believer that “we’ve always done it this way” is the most dangerous phrase in the English language.


Patrick has spent nearly two decades working as a fundraiser in the nonprofit industry, for organizations of all shapes and sizes, most notably as the Senior Director of Development at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Minneapolis, Minn., and the Chief Development Officer at the Anne Carlsen Center, based in Jamestown, N.D. He earned his B.A. in Politics at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and is hopelessly addicted to super nerdy Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels and old school Nintendo games. Patrick lives in West Fargo, N.D. with his wife Shannon, their three children, and a puppy named Calvin.


Featured Speaker: Chris Ingraham

• 10:15 a.m. Friday, June 24

Journalist and author Christopher Ingraham will share the lessons he learned after leaving an established newsroom to start an independent newsletter in his presentation, “Leaving the Newsroom for the Newsletter.” He publishes The Why Axis, a Substacknewsletter covering all things data. Ingraham previously worked as a reporter for the Washington Post, and at the Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center. Ingraham authored the book If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now: Why We Traded the Commuting Life for a Little House on the Prairie, chronicling his family’s move from the Baltimore/DC metro area to live in Red Lake County, Minn.


What will attendees learn?

  • How 2022 email newsletters are a lot like 2012 blogs.
  • What readers want to know about the people who bring them the news.
  • The best and worst things about trading an editor for an audience.



    Featured Speaker: Andrea Mokros

    • 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 24


    Andrea Mokros has spent a career in communications and event production at the local, state, and national level. She will present“Building the Bold North.” Mokros, who served as Vice President of Communications for the 2018 Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, will share how her team used the world stage to turn Minnesota’s biggest liability — the cold— into its boldest asset, and leveraged the opportunity to tell a new story about the North. Mokros also has served in the White House as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Director of Strategic Planning for First Lady Michelle Obama. Prior to joining the White House, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton; Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minn.); and as Director of the Executive Offices at the Washington, D.C., offices of Kissinger McLarty Associates. Currently, Mokros is Executive Vice President and Chief Public Affairs Officer at Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis.


    What will attendees learn?

    • Changing the narrative from a negative to a positive.
    • How branding can turn communications tactics into a cohesive story that is easy for the media to tell.
    • Leveraging opportunities to tell a story.

    Featured Speaker: Michelle Olson

    • 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25

    Michelle Olson will present “Communicating Inclusivity with Intent.” She currently serves on the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Board as the Immediate Past Chair and is the CEO of Lambert, a full-service communications firm with offices in Michigan, New York, and Arizona. Olson has served clients across the U.S. and internationally and has significant experience in corporate communications and issues management across industries including healthcare, land use, hospitality, and sustainability. She routinely integrates content marketing, social media, brand journalism, and other online initiatives into public relations strategies, reaching audiences efficiently and quickly to impact change.


    What will attendees learn?

    • How to support a healthy information environment and collectively fight disinformation.
    • Tips for combating prejudice in promoting diverse perspectives in storytelling.
    • Suggestions for understanding the media’s role in advancing a free, civil and democratic society.

      Panel Discussion: The Media and Diversity

      • 1:15 p.m. Friday, June 24

      Panelists are:

      Katie Dachtler owns and operates Intersectional Resources, LLC., which provides specialized educational and training services in the areas of diversity, inclusion, intersectional social justice, and implicit bias for large and small organizations. She resides in Grand Forks, N.D., with her family. She believes in the power of engagement and enjoys working with and volunteering for various organizations and nonprofits within the community. She is particularly interested in advocating for equitable leadership

      through an intersectional framework. Katie is pursuing her Master of Social Work degree through the University of North Dakota and serves on the Grand Forks City Council.


      Courtney Davis Souvannasacd is an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She is an outreach coordinator with the National Resource Center on Native American Aging with the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Grand Forks.  Prior to joining the CRH, Courtney was a program coordinator for American Indian Student Services and the Native American Program liaison for the Grand Forks Public School District. She currently serves on the UND Indians into Medicine Tribal Advisory Board, High Plains Fair Housing Board, North Dakota Superintendent's Family Engagement Cabinet, and North Dakota Indigenous Education Coalition. She was recently named "Native American - 40 Under 40" by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Originally from Belcourt, N.D., Courtney attended Turtle Mountain

      Community College and UND. She earned an A.A. degree in Business Administration, bachelor's degree in Business Administration-Management, graduate certificate in Learning Analytics, and master’s degree in Educational Studies. Courtney is the owner of her consulting business, Real Equitable Solutions, LLC. Her most recent contract with the North Dakota Department of Health Equity Office was centered on provided COVID-19 education and mitigation. 


      Rosina Teye Appiah is a behavior modification specialist at North East Human Services while she awaits her licensure. When she receives her license, she will move into a mental health therapist role. She holds a master's degree in Social Work from the University of North Dakota. Rosina had her bachelor's degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. She is the founder of Dolly Foundation, an NGO founded ten years ago in Ghana. The NGO (Dolly Foundation ) provides training and community education on violence against women,  harmful cultural practices, and economic inequalities for women and girls in Ghana. She serves as Project Coordinator for United African Community, an African NGO based in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Rosina has obtained diplomas from Cambridge international college in London, England. She completed a one-year leadership program under the Women in Politics Training (WIFT ) organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), ABNATU, and Women in Broadcasting (WIB) in Ghana. She was a Vital Voice fellow for two years organized by Hillary Clinton's emerging young leaders program. In 2015, she was selected as a visiting scholar for New York University under the Ghanaian Women's leadership program in collaboration with the University of Ghana. In her political life, Rosina contested as a member of the Parliament for her constituency in Ghana. She is a regular radio panelist for a political talk show hosted by Four-star Radio in Atlanta, Georgia. Under Rosina's leadership, her NGO, Dolly Foundation, was nominated, voted for, and won an award as the African Young NGO of the year, 2016. She believes she has obtained the level she is

      at today because she stood on the supportive shoulders of others and believes she has a reciprocal responsibility to help others.

      Breakout Session Speaker: Colin N. Clarke

      How Research Can Help Your Communication Plan Succeed
      • 1:15 p.m. Friday, June 24
      This presentation will showcase how research can drive better results from communications plans. We will go over why research is necessary to understand your audiences, how it should be tailored and when it should be executed. Executives need confidence in their communications team to move the conversation, key points and actions forward, and research can give communication efforts the edge.

      What attendees will learn:

      • Why research is an important consideration for communications planning

      • How to scope a research project for communications planning

      • When to conduct research for communications planning

      • How to present the research by telling a story


      Colin N. Clarke, Ph.D., is a senior research strategist and consultant for Prime46 – specialized in brand, channel and customer insights. He consults for industries including health care, logistics, manufacturing, production agriculture and food production in geographies ranging from the Mississippi delta to the western Canadian prairies to the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. He has worked on assignments for local and regional clients as well as global clients including Bayer, 3M, Shell Oil, PepsiCo and Bobcat Company. Colin has earned a Ph.D. in business management and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).


      Panel Discussion: Podcasting: What you need to know to make this medium work for you

      • 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25
      Podcasting is a great way for you to reach a new audience and share information and content in an exciting format that more and more people are turning to for information and entertainment. But how do you get started? During this presentation, local podcasters will share their stories for getting started in podcasting as well as what they have learned along the way so you can benefit from their experience. 

      What will attendees learn?

      • The basic technology and equipment needed to create a podcast

      • Best practices for creating an engaging show

      • Tips and tricks for producing a high-quality show

      Panelists include:

      Jessi Woinarowicz is the co-founder of Glaze and Grit podcast and an executive administrator at Allegro Group. As a woman who chases adventure and champions vision, her journey includes serving eight years in the U.S. military, traveling around the world, and saying yes to new  experiences such as sand surfing in Abu Dhabi, skydiving, earning a master’s degree, and climbing Pike’s Peak. Jessi believes life’s journey is about connection, growth, and love; and is privileged to do so alongside her husband, Matt, and two boys, Saul and Crew. 



      Rebecca Larson founded the Tudors Dynasty podcast in 2017 to share her love of history – and specifically Tudor history – with the world. She’s on a mission to help others understand this dynamic time in history, and her podcast has included best-selling authors, historians and academics leading the field of history. When she’s not busy producing her podcast, Rebecca is also writing a nonfiction biography of Thomas Seymour (her favorite person from the Tudor era) as well as a historical fiction novel about him. Rebecca works full-time for Fargo Public Schools in the Department of Instructional Resources, and she lives in Fargo with her husband Troy, daughter Sara and her most handsomest cat, Gizmo.

      Tasha Barrett and Jamie R Swenson are best friends, moms, Midwesterners, and cheese and wine fanatics that love giving real estate advice. Together, they’ve created the Realtor Moms Podcast: an audio library of 10-15minute episodes covering all things selling, buying and real estate related. 


      Breakout Session Speaker: Anna Larson

      Why You Need Employee Ambassadors
      • 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25
      Your organization’s most valuable assets? Your people! About half of all employees use social media to post their jobs. When they post, the content is reshared 24X more than when your brand shares content. People trust people more than people trust brands. Use your people to amplify your organization through an employee ambassador program. Employee ambassadors can contribute to increased revenue, awareness, recruitment, and new business.

      What will attendees learn?

      • Why you need an ambassador program

      • How to get started

      • How ambassadors contribute to organizations internally and externally

      Anna Larson is a social media and content strategist and social media team lead who creates community online and offline. Her 15+ years of experience helps organizations deliver engaging content on social media. Her greatest passion is leading with empathy and helping her team grow and feel valued. She loves Brené Brown quotes and a good heart-to-heart. Anna lives in Fargo with her boyfriend, a butcher named Shane, and their fur roomies, Eva (cat) and Dobby (dog).



      Panel Discussion: How to Turn a Passion into a Profession

      • 2:45 p.m. Saturday, June 25

      Maybe you have a side hustle. Maybe you have a dream to write a best-selling novel. Maybe you've been thinking about a project for years but haven't been able to get it off the ground. In this session, our panelists will share how they turned a passion into a full-time job and what they've learned along the way that can help you on your own journey.


      What will attendees learn?

      • How to carve out time for a project or work that ignites your creativity

      • How to scale your passion up to career

      • The challenges and obstacles you may face and how to overcome them


      As founder and executive director of Growing Small Towns, a regional non-profit organization, Rebecca Undem helps the communities in southeast North Dakota be places people love to call home through programs that grow their human, social, and cultural capital. She is also an inspirational speaker, community advocate, and host of the podcast The Growing Small Towns Show. Rebecca went against her youthful declarations and married a farmer, Jeremiah, and together, they have three amazing kids: Andrew, Carter and Brynlee.



      What started as an Instagram account documenting home projects and the day-to-day life of a SAHM mom quickly turned into something more. Katie Sullivan has grown Pretty Domesticated into a lifestyle brand and interior design resource. You've seen her work in Rue Magazine, Midwest Living, Country Living and more!





      Breakout Session Speaker: Kent Kolstad

      How to Present Meaningfully in Hybrid and Virtual Formats
      • 2:45 p.m. Saturday, June 25
      Thanks to the pandemic, virtual events have become a way for people to continue learning and developing professionally without having to be in the same room as anyone else, and now that restrictions are easing, hybrid events have become popular. 

      What will attendees learn?

      • The dynamics of creating live events that engage audiences across in-person and hybrid environments.

      • The pros and cons of utilizing your favorite virtual meeting platforms versus utilizing a custom-built web portal that immerses your client in your brand and message.

      • Why it's so important to ensure that you can focus on your mission and message without having to worry about the tech behind it.  


      Kent Kolstad is founder of Livewire, a full-service live event production company based in Fargo, ND. Kolstad started his company at the age of 11, providing audiovisual, lighting and streaming assistance and service to weddings, small meetings and nonprofit events in his hometown of Alexandria, MN. Fast forward 23 years, and Livewire has become one of the leading event audiovisual and lighting providers in the Upper Midwest, serving clients around the country. Kolstad’s wide range of experience in live event and video production lends itself well to producing world-class virtual and hybrid content for a post-pandemic event landscape.




        Check out the NFPW Conference webpage for all the details of the 85th annual National Federation of Press Women Conference.


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