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All sessions are May 5th, 10:30am - 5:00pm

Building Leadership Capacity for Racial Equity – A Path to Community Change
As practitioners, advocates, and educators dedicated to improving the lives of children and families, we encounter the results of structural racism all the time – through the disparities we witness in education and health outcomes, involvement with the criminal justice system, and employment opportunities. Yet, we often do not have a framework for understanding or communicating about these disparities through an analysis of structural racism. Without shared language, analytical frameworks, and an ability to talk about race with skill and confidence, we can find ourselves unintentionally perpetuating myths about racial superiority and inferiority, and focusing narrowly on incremental changes at the individual level while leaving the larger context in which individuals operate untouched.

This learning session will expose participants to a variety of tools to advance their understanding of structural racism, power, and privilege, and how a racial equity framework could help strengthen community change efforts that benefit children and families. Participants will develop a shared framework for understanding structural racism and how it intersects with early childhood issues. We will employ a variety of tools to analyze case studies and participant-generated examples of disparities through a structural framework, map racialized resource disparities in communities, and engage participants in large- and small-group dialogue to link personal observations and experiences with a broader systems thinking approach. We also will begin to surface relevant and meaningful racial equity outcomes and strategies that participants can pursue in their home institutions and communities.
Marisol Jiménez McGee serves as the Racial Equity Training Director for OpenSource Leadership Strategies, Inc. a national consulting firm committed to amplifying the work of social justice organizations. Through her presentations, trainings, and workshop facilitation, she brings forth a true union of heart and mind to her work with communities and organizations across the state. Marisol has worked with leaders in the areas of education, immigrant justice, workers rights, youth leadership development, health, and the environment. Some of the projects she is currently working on include: partnering with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to strengthen the immigrant justice movement in North Carolina; developing a logic model for an educational program supporting students of color; and offering racial equity trainings to community leaders across the state. Marisol earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago and her Master's in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Find out more at
Framing Early Childhood Messaging: How to Tell Your Story Your Way
At a time when breaking through all the noise is one of the biggest challenges facing communications and outreach professionals, creating a concise, impactful message has become a critical skill. This pre-conference session will provide a greater understanding of how to develop communications strategies and frame your early childhood messages. This includes discussing the definition and components of framing, developing tools to create target messaging, learning how to shift the frame and be ready to communicate at a moment’s notice, and integrating framing into all your communications efforts. Session presenters from Advocacy & Communications Solutions have helped organizations across the country work through these challenges facing early childhood professionals.

Scarlett Bouder and Heather Lenz from Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Advocacy & Communication Solutions is a women and minority owned consulting firm incorporated in 2004 after several years of planning to ensure the construction of a firm that could address the needs of clients within a limited, but purposeful, portfolio structure. Scarlett is the Vice President and directs strategic communication planning, government relations and advocacy efforts, policy analysis and strategy development for ACS clients. Heather is the Policy Associate.
Early Childhood Health and Nutrition: From Individual Health to Systemic Changes
Within the current landscape of healthcare, this pre-conference session will address why healthy weigh in early childhood is a critical component in improving national health and mitigating rising healthcare costs. In recent years, the importance of starting early to help children develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime has been supported by research and has led to the development of emerging best practices in the field. Experts working at the national, state and local levels will discuss how rising rates of obesity are impacting young children’s health and which strategies are showing promise in stemming the tide of the epidemic. Participants will engage in an interactive session using the ABLe framework, a community engagement approach that is being used to tackle early childhood obesity using a systems change approach.

Katie Boles, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Brenner’s Children’s Hospital; Julie Shuell, Project Director, Nemours National Office of Policy and Prevention; Erin R. Watson, Systems Exchange Co-Director, Michigan State University.
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