Connect Conference

Thanks to our attendees and sponsors for making the 2022 year a success!

Join us on October 28th for our annual professional development conference – the Connect Conference, located at the Northern Michigan University Center Ballrooms.

Experience a day filled with networking and a variety of topics all focusing around “Resilience” you can utilize both in your personal and professional work. There will be breakout sessions, interactive presentations, and a keynote you don’t want to miss! The 2022 Keynote Speaker is Robert Lion of Black River Performance Management

Registration, networking and coffee will open at 8:15, with the conference starting at 9am. Lunch will be provided and we expect to close around 4pm.

Rob Lion - Keynote Speaker

Robert Lion - Keynote Speaker

Rob is a professor of human resource development where his teaching and research focus on organizational psychology and behavior. He uses this as a framework to help build sustainable systems and initiatives with his clients. As an experienced business owner himself (businesses in the food and beverage, personal fitness, and business development industries) and over a decade of work in economic development, Rob draws upon his background in human behavior, opportunity recognition, and relationship development while coaching and advising business owners and executives.

With over 15 years of significant hands-on experience in leadership, management, and organization development, Rob is considered a thought leader in his field. He focuses on sustainable and strategic performance improvement practices for individuals and organizations, helping them build effective teams and networks.

Angie Lion Connect Conference

Angie Lion
Black River Performance Management

Stefani Vargas

Stefani Vargas
DEI Consultant and Trainer and SEEC Coordinator

Naima Jones

Naima Jones
Clinical Supervisor at Great Lakes Recovery Centers

Connect Conference Speaker

Brigitte Lapointe-Dunham
CEO of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

Kristen MacIver

Kristen MacIver
Upper Peninsula Health Plan

Jessica Musawski
Great Lakes Recovery Centers

Gabby Revord
Founder of Therapy Milk


  • Check-In 8:15 - 9:00 am

    Registration, Networking, Continental Breakfast
    Complimentary Headshots with Molly Jo Photography

  • Conference Welcome 9:00 - 9:15 pm

    Conference Welcome Message and Thank Yous

  • The Truth about Work-Life Balance 9:15 - 10:15 am

    Kristen MacIver - MBA Human Resources Manager for Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP)
    Kristen dives in to the truth about achieving and maintaining work-life balance and provides insight into the best practices that you can explore to maximize productivity and get the job done without needing to sacrifice your well-being.

  • Diversity in the Workplace 10:15 - 11:15 am

    Paneled discussion focused diversity featuring Stefani Vargas, DEI Consultant and Trainer, Student Equity & Engagement Center Coordinator and Co-Chair of the President's Committee on Diversity at Northern Michigan University, Brigitte Lapointe-Dunham of Chief Executive Officer of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, and Naima Jones from Great Lakes Recovery Centers.

  • Break 11:15 - 11:30 am
  • Breakout Sessions 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Option 1 - Burnout Syndrome, What is it and How to Manage it with Great Lakes Recovery's Jessica Musawski
    Option 2 - Are you an Emotional Intelligence Unicorn? with Angie Lion
    In this session you will learn what Emotional Intelligence is, and how it is consistently identified as an essential or must-have skill in today’s workplace. The session will provide an overview of the four elements that influence our emotional intelligence and what you can do to grow them.

  • Lunch 12:30 - 1:00 pm
  • Therapy Journaling and Mental Health 1:00 - 2:00 pm

    Awareness with Northstar EAP, Theraphy Milk, and Bloom
    Start incorporating mental health and wellness tactics and habits into your day to day. Learn from three groups in this space, 'therapy milk', 'Northstar EAP', Bloom Counseling, as they give you information about their entry points into the mental health space. They will discuss their businesses, how they work together, and provide you options to improve yourself personally and professionally.
    Presented by: Gaby Revord of Therapy Milk | Sarah Santiago of Bloom | Jess Jones of Northstar EAP

  • Break 2:00 - 2:15 pm
  • Keynote 2:15 - 3:45 pm

    Work Should Fuel the Human Spirit, Not Drain It! with Rob Lion
    Having a better understanding of our own needs, motives, and behaviors is the first step in helping ourselves and others thrive in a transitioning world of work. Whether it is working from home, leading others, advocating for yourself, or merely being a better human for those we work with and those we love, improving our understanding of human behavior is essential to creating higher quality life experiences. From a work-centric approach, this session will introduce a selection of tools that will improve our understanding of things such as culture and motivation with the goal of helping us become more impactful and compassionate leaders.

  • Closing Remarks 3:45 - 4:00 pm

    Wrap up and thank yous

Our Sponsors

Interested in becoming a sponsor for our conference?

Learn more about our sponsorship opportunities for supporting the Connect Conference. Packages include tickets to this year’s event so you can send your own team to attend! Click here to see all sponsorship options.

Refund Policy

This year any cancellations will be considered a donation that will go towards making next year’s conference bigger and better. We hope to see everyone who registers if possible! For more information on this, feel free to reach out at

The Connect Conference is an event geared towards professionals looking to develop new skills and gain inspiration from other professionals. Traditionally hosted at Northern Michigan University, the event consists of panels and workshops to provide new learning opportunities for workers in any industry. 

Save the Date – Connect Conference 2022 – October 28th

Our Conference Committee is actively planning the 2022 Connect Conference now! If you have input to share or would like to be apart of organizing the event, learn more about the committee and how to reach out here.

Our Past Speakers Include

Nancy Lyons Work Like A Boss Connect Marquette Winter Summit Keynote Speaker

Nancy Lyons

Joe Lubig NMU Connect Conference Speaker

Joe Lubig

Jenna Neaves Marquette Nutrition Winter Summit Speaker

Jenna Neaves

Brice Strummer Velodrome Winter Summit Speaker

Brice Sturmer

Want Updates About the Next Connect Conference?

We'll send you an update when details have been published so you can decide if the event is right for you!