SARC Spring Conference

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SARC Virtual Spring Conference 2021 Agenda

May 26 - 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Opening Presentation - The Mosaics of Work: Motives, Values, & Perspectives, Denise Bissonnette

What keeps us in a job? By understanding a person’s work motives, values, and perspectives, we have insight into how to guide, supervise, and coach a person to achieve success based on their own definition.
In this session, Denise will share what she knows about the complex and multi-layered relationship each of us have with the world of work. Denise will share her thoughts on creative ways to assist someone to identify their abilities, gifts, values, and work preferences, demonstrate how our narratives, stories, and beliefs regarding work ultimately aff ect our experience, and what keeps us in a job, and adds to our sense of satisfaction in the workplace.

This session promises to be as enlightening personally as it is professionally, as Denise will inspire us to ask these questions with regard to our own work lives.


May 26 - 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Lunch and Learn Session - Person-Centred Saskatchewan Website

The new Person-Centred Saskatchewan Website has launched!

Starting at 12:00 p.m. on May 26, join members of the Person-Centred Culture Committee as they take you on a tour of their website.

In this Lunch and Learn session, you will be introduced you to the new website This is a website created in partnership with Saskatchewan disability service sector representatives with the goal of promoting person-centred culture.

The purpose of the website is to provide tools and resources to support Saskatchewan’s disability service sector in strengthening person-centred practices and culture. The resources on this site can be used by ndividuals, families, advocates, service providers, and anyone looking to learn more about the person-centred journey; there is something for everyone.

The Person-Centred Culture Committee is a proud collaboration of Inclusion Saskatchewan, SARC, Community Living Service Delivery and representatives from third-party service providers to promote person-centred practices in Saskatchewan.


May 26 - 1:30-3:30 p.m. - Concurrent Session #1

A: Supported Decision-Making and Healthcare: Perspectives of Self-Advocates in Saskatchewan, Inclusion Saskatchewan and the ICAN Network

In this session with Inclusion Saskatchewan and Self-Advocates from ICAN (Individual and Collective Advocacy Network), we will learn about their groundbreaking work in supported decision-making.

This session will provide you with practical decision-making tools (including the Health Passport and supporting someone with medical decisions). The group will discuss the experience of supported decision-making from the perspective of self-advocates, how to support people with decision-making in challenging situations, including the importance of “doing with, not for”, and common issues and myths around supported decision-making and the role of substitute decision makers.

The group will also share about their work on the upcoming release of the Supported Decision-Making Handbook.

B: The Cost Of Caring, Cara Taylor

In this session, Cara Taylor will guide you through some practical strategies for preventing and addressing compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout.

Compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout are occupational hazards. We will look at each of these in more detail and learn about strategies that can be used to address them, such as mindfulness, self-refl ective practice, and selfcompassion, and discuss things such as professional grief, boundaries, and value-based work.

Join Cara as she will provide you with a means to assess yourself to apply practical strategies to deal with the stress, fatigue, and other occupational emotional hazards that we all may be experiencing during and beyond the pandemic.


May 27 - 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Concurrent Session #2

A: How to Launch a Successful Virtual Meeting, Rita Gupta - LIMIT 20

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have made the move to virtual meetings and training with their teams. This session will equip you with tools and techniques for successfully launching a meeting or training event virtually!

You will leave this session with an understanding of how to get buy-in for a meeting’s purpose and outcomes with the group. You will gain an awareness of ‘who needs to do what’ in virtual meetings, and how to define a group’s level of empowerment.

Join Rita as she shares her extensive knowledge with facilitating virtual meetings and training.

This session is interactive and will require you to have a camera, microphone, and a basic understanding of Zoom.

This session is limited to 20 people - register early!


B: Direct Support Professional Competency in the Time of COVID-19, Joseph Macbeth, Dan Hermreck, and John Raffaele

When the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) staff have an opportunity to speak to direct support professionals (DSP) around the country, one of our key messages is that DSPs are highly skilled professionals. The NADSP Competency Areas describe a set of professional skills that DSPs use in their work each and every day. Those same skills will also be needed, although possibly used in new and diff erent ways, during and after the current COVID-19 pandemic. Join Joe Macbeth, Dan Hermreck, and John Raff aele as they share information about the best ways for DSPs to utilize competencies and ethics during a pandemic (and post COVID-19, too).

We will also discuss self-care for all of us during this crisis, but direct support professionals have been some of the last people to look after themselves. We will explore the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of the direct support workforce in a crisis, and off er practical and useful strategies that can ensure that direct support professionals are supported to be their best.


May 27 - 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Concurrent Session #3

A: Managing and Engaging Participants in Virtual Meetings, Rita Gupta - LIMIT 20

Many of us are making the move to virtual meetings and training because of the COVID-19 panedmic. Meeting organizers don’t only need to plan for going virtual, but they also need to be able to engage with those that they are meeting with. This session will equip you with tools and techniques for maximizing engagement in virtual meetings and training.

You will leave this session with an understanding as to why team member participation is critical in virtual meetings and training, and tips for preparing, starting, and managing great virtual meetups. You will then apply your learning to mitigate some common dilemmas in holding meeting participant’s attention.

This session is interactive and will require you to have a camera, microphone, and a basic understanding of Zoom.

This session is limited to 20 people - register early!


B: Supporting People During a Pandemic to Still Experience Community and Contribution, Cara Milne

Cara Milne of M-Powered Planning will explore the value of community and contribution even during a pandemic. Her stories of how we can support people to be ‘in the community’ will bring hope to the disability service sector - since community is right where you are.

Participants will come away with real and practical ideas! Come and be inspired!


May 27 - 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Closing Presentation - Inspiring Possibilities During a Pandemic, Joe Roberts

During the last year, every one of us has been confronted by adversity, challenge, and change. We have faced it with our families, work, health, and fi nances. Success in the face of adversity and change depends on our level of resiliency.

In this virtual keynote, Joe teaches how to build the resiliency needed to overcome life’s challenges and embrace change. As you walk with Joe through the tough streets of East Vancouver in the 1980’s, you will experience the depths and degradation of a former hopeless, homeless drug addict, to the heights and triumph of a successful entrepreneur.

Joe is a treasured Canadian whose life story embodies the resiliency of the human spirit. His message is inspiring, energetic, humorous, honest, raw, and unforgettable.

Virtual Spring Conference Presenters

We are pleased to be able to host a variety of expertise from local and international presenters.

Denise Bissonnette is an internationally renowned writer, trainer, and keynote speaker.  She has inspired people and organizations throughout North America to look beyond traditional concepts of job development and to craft livelihoods rooted in the individual genius of each person.  She has authored several publications on creative job development, state of the art job search techniques, the cultivation of the human spirit, and how to “shine” on the job.  Her book Beyond Traditional Job Development: The Art of Creating Opportunity  is considered the definitive text in employment programs and university classrooms throughout North America.  Denise has expanded her repertoire in spreading her passionate ideas through a variety of webinar series on topics including job retention, resilience, self-care, employer engagement, and inspiring the best in individuals looking for work. In her unique and characteristic style, Denise brings together her talents as poet, writer, storyteller, teacher and career developer.  For more on Denise’s work go to

Presenters from Inclusion Saskatchewan






Leanne Miller, Inclusion Coordinator, Inclusion Saskatchewan







Shandrea Verboom, Inclusion Consultant, Inclusion Saskatchewan






Mikayla McMechan, Inclusion Consultant, Inclusion Saskatchewan

Presenters from the Individual and Collective Advocacy Network







Aiden Young






Tina Millar










Charlene Eger







Jamie Ellis







Darren Wall


Cara Taylor is the founder of Oaks Mental Health, a therapist, and a mental health educator based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Through Oaks Mental Health, she has facilitated over 250 public speaking events, workshops, and trainings focused on mental health. Previously, she has worked in diverse mental health contexts as a social worker including mobile crisis response and inpatient psychiatry. Beyond professional credentials, Cara has lived experience of mental illness and suicide loss. Both her personal and professional experiences have profoundly shaped her knowledge of mental health. For her, education is a powerful way of encouraging compassion and kindness in response to mental health struggles.

Rita Gupta  Rita brings her unique blend of project management, professional facilitation and technology experience to the workshops she leads providing great insight and a unique perspective to in-class and virtual discussions as a Certified Facilitation First trainer, Rita is a strong believer in developing working partnerships. Prior to any meeting or workshop she facilitates, Rita will work closely with her client stakeholder groups to ensure her proposed process will meet the needs of the group. When facilitating, Rita is always thinking of alternative action plans for each process step based on the possible outcomes of the previous task. Our clients consistently tell us that Rita is skilled at helping groups to synthesize patterns and trends, identify root causes and reach consensus.

Rita has experience beyond that of facilitation. She has over 20 years of experience as a Project Manager, including a management role of Director of a PMO at an IT consulting firm. She also has several years developing and implementing Project Processes. She is a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Facilitation First - For over twenty-five years, Facilitation First has been top of mind for companies requiring Facilitation Services and Facilitation Skills Training.  We specialize in helping leaders and subject matter experts transition to the role of meeting facilitator, where a detailed process guides discussions ensuring better decisions, outcomes and optimum participant engagement.

Joseph Macbeth is recognized as an international leader in the advocacy & movement to recognize direct support as a profession and is a highly sought after speaker on the workforce challenges that affect the disability system. He co-authored the Report to the President: America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis: Effects on People with Intellectual Disabilities, Families, Communities and the U.S. Economy for the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID, 2017), he was the Issue Editor for Impact: The Direct Support Workforce and People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities (University of Minnesota, 2018) and produced an award winning Realistic Job Preview titled “Working as a Direct Support Professional: We Get It Done” (NYSACRA 2011). While working in New York, Macbeth partnered with the State University of New York (SUNY) by assisting more than 500 direct support professionals advance their college education through the “Disability Studies Certificate”. He is a guest faculty at the University of Delaware’s National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLCDD) and currently sits on the board of directors for The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLCPCP) and The College of Direct Support’s National Advisory Board. In 2016, Macbeth was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Member of the Advisory Council for the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, in 2019, he was appointed by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) as a member of the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Committee on Person-Centered Planning and has been recognized as a National Honoree, (2020 National Honors) by the National Historic Recognition Project for significant national contributions in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities in the US between 2000 and 2020. He lives in Albany, NY.

Dan Hermreck has been involved in direct support workforce development and advocacy issues at both the state and national level. In 2008, Dan served as the primary skills mentor to the first three DSPs to earn national certification through NADSP, and he was the instructor for a community college class that resulted in the first nationally certified frontline supervisors in 2015. He is able to draw on this experience to assist DSPs and frontline supervisors pursuing national certification as well as employers who are implementing certification programs. More recently he has been part of the 2016 revision of the NADSP Code of Ethics and the development of NADSP’s E-badge Academy.

John Raffaele LMSW, had his graduate education from Yeshiva University in New York City and State University of New York at New Paltz, NY. His career spans three decades and those years have been spent teaching direct support professionals and the people they support. Most of the people with whom he has worked and supported over the last 30 years are people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and at-risk youth, and people with chronic and terminal illnesses in home-care settings. Between 2001 and 2012 John worked as a Director of Training and Education for a developmental disabilities service provider in New York and gained notoriety consulting and teaching throughout the United States. John founded his own international direct support professional consulting company in 2012 and over the last several years, in contract with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and in close partnership with NADSP Executive Director Joseph Macbeth, has developed many exciting and informative training programs and helped propel the NADSP into national prominence. John became NADSP’s Director of Educational Services in December of 2016. John has educated tens of thousands of people in the NADSP Code of Ethics and Competencies and most recently, our Informed Decision Making curriculum and Frontline Supervisor Train the Trainer Curriculum.

Cara Milne is the owner of M-Powered Planning Ltd, a business that promotes positive and valuable roles for people with disabilities. Cara provides training and consulting that is innovative and practical for both families and agencies. Cara’s books and training seminars encourage staff and families to see the strengths of their existing services, and simple strategies that create positive changes in the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Cara’s positive and energetic approach supports both common sense and sustainable change.

Joe Roberts - As the former President and CEO of an extremely successful multimedia company, Joe Roberts has faced and overcome key business challenges, which confront every modern organization. What is most amazing about Joe is that in 1989 he was living on the streets of Vancouver as a homeless skid row addict. Through perseverance, determination, and his resilient human spirit, Joe pulled himself out of the darkness and despair, to become a highly respected business and community leader of today.


Interested in sponsoring the Virtual Spring Conference 2021?

Sponsoring this virtual event will ensure the continued professional development of nonprofit professionals in Saskatchewan.

Benefits of sponsorship:

  • Logos included in pre-conference correspondence to attendees
  • Mentions at virtual sessions
  • Logo displayed on screen during virtual sessions
  • Logo displayed on SARC website and social media pages
  • And much more!

To access the Sponsorship Opportunities package, please click here

Conference Registration Fees

  • SARC Member Early Bird Rate - $125 (until May 14)
  • SARC Member Conference Rate - $139 (after May 14)
  • Other Organization Conference Rate - $145 plus GST

Please Read

After you register for the conference, you will be sent a registration confirmation which will outline your selections for the concurrent sessions, as well as your payment method.

You will receive an email with information on how to access these sessions on Tuesday, May 25. Occasionally, this email will end up in the junk or spam folder, so please check there if you haven't received the email by 12:00 p.m. (noon).

If you haven't received the email with your access details by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, May 25, please email us at 



  • A: Supported Decision-Making and Healthcare: Perspectives from Self-Advocates in Saskatchewan

    May 26, 2021


  • B: The Cost of Caring

    May 26, 2021


  • A: How to Launch a Successful Virtual Meeting

    May 27, 2021


  • B: Direct Support Professional Competency in the Time of Covid-19

    May 27, 2021


  • A: Managing and Engaging Participants in Virtual Meetings

    May 27, 2021


  • B: Supporting People During a Pandemic to Still Experience Community and Contribution

    May 27, 2021


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