EVENT INFO

Come experience this educational and empowering event. Please see more event information below.

Conference Schedule

The 2021 conference has a great lineup of speakers and topics. Below is the most up-to-date conference schedule. Times, speakers and presentation topics are subject to change. 

October 28, 2021

10am
Keynote
Russell Lehmann, Author
11am
Disability as Diversity in the Classroom
Mary Kate Brown, The Center for Disability Integration
11am
Irresistible Churches
Gavin Dillinger, The Arc Tennessee
11am
Removing Barriers to Housing Choice
Hal Baker, The Arc Tennessee
11am
Utilizing Distance Learning for Individuals with Employability Obstacles
Lori Allen, Tennessee Rehabilitation Center
12pm
Eating Mindfully
Donna Nasso, Southwest Tennessee Community College
12pm
Employment Innovations in a Post COVID Environment
Matt Brown, Director of Employment and Community First CHOICES at TennCare
12pm
Innovation and Emerging Technologies on the Horizon
Harold Sloves, DIDD
12pm
Texting 911
Curtis Sutton, Director of Tennessee Emergency Communications Board
1pm
IDD Integration TennCare, DIDD, MCO Panel
Panel
1pm
Respite and Childcare
Lauren Pearcy, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities
2pm
I need a social life too!
Molly Anderson, The Arc Tennessee
2pm
Our Place Nashville: Living Independently and Affordably
Carolyn Naifeh, Our Place Nashville
2pm
The Voice of Families: Pathways to Integrated Employment for Individuals with IDD
Emily Lanchak, Vanderbilt University
2pm
Trauma Informed Bellydance for Fun and Fitness
Dina Savvenas, My Health My Choice My Life
3pm
Future Planning with the Center for Decision-Making Support
Penny Johnson, The Arc Tennessee
3pm
Preventing and Managing Medical Anxiety and Trauma
Melissa J. Hogan, Author
3pm
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder: New Look, Same Valuable Resources
Megan Hart, Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
3pm
MCO 101
Lauren Pearcy, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities

October 29, 2021

10am
From Aidan to AbleVoices: Disability Advocacy through Storytelling and Collaboration (Fri. Keynote)
Jen Vogus, Able Voices
11am
Partnering for Success!
Linda Fisher, Community Tennessee Rehabilitation Center
11am
Special Needs Planning: Essential Documents and Aging Caregivers
Barbara McGinnis, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law
11am
The Fostering of Empowerment in Special Education
Katrina VanBuren, The Arc Tennessee
11am
What's In It For Me? Empowering Your Finances, Preserving Your Benefits
Casie Stephens, Midwest Special Needs Trust
12pm
Changing Spaces
Lauren Pearcy, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities
12pm
Student Led IEP's
Susan Carr, The Arc Tennessee
12pm
Success in Fading Paid Supports in the Workplace
Stephanie Potter, Amerigroup
1pm
IDD Integration TennCare, DIDD, MCO Panel
Panel
1pm
Preparing for the Unexpected
Heidi Mariscal, Office of Emergency Management
1pm
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder: New Look, Same Valuable Resources
Megan Hart, Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
1pm
Supporting Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Access for Young Children with Disabilities
Allyson Arserio, TennCare LTSS

2021 presenters

Hear best practices and inspiring ideas from leaders in the industry

Russel Leihman

Russel Leihman

Keynote Speaker

Speaker, Poet, Advocate.

Author of Inside Out:

Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind

Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker, poet, author and advocate who happens to have autism. His words have been featured in the USA Today, LA Times, NPR, Yahoo! News, Autism Speaks, Success Magazine and archived in the Library of Congress. He is the author of “Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind” and “On the Outside Looking In.”

Learn More

Jen Vogus

Jen Vogus

Able Voices Tennessee

Able Voices Tennessee

Photography for Self-Expression, Empowerment, & Advocacy

Jen Vogus is a parent of a teenage son with disabilities, a photographer, and educator, She more recently founded AbleVoices, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to amplify the voices of people with disabilities through their photographs. Jen will share her story and the importance of storytelling for everyone in the  disability community to foster positive change.

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Penny Johnson

Penny Johnson

The Arc Tennessee

The Arc Tennessee

Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Support

Penny Johnson is the Program Coordinator for the Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Support. She has over sixteen years of experience working in a variety of social service positions. To visit the Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Support, click on the button below.

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Lauren Pearcy

Lauren Pearcy

TN Council on Developmental Disabilities

Public Policy Director

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities

Lauren Pearcy is the Public Policy Director with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. Lauren worked at TennCare before joining the Council. To learn more about the Council, click on the button below.

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Molly Anderson

Molly Anderson

The Arc Tennessee

The Arc Tennessee

South East Family Engagement Specialist

Molly Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree in Child Development. She has a disability and has over 5 years of experience working with people with disabilities. She currently works for The Arc Tennessee as a

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Susan Carr

Susan Carr

The Arc Tennessee

The Arc Tennessee

South Central Family Engagement Specialist

Susan has more 11 years teaching experience in the field of Special Education (Behavior Modification, Transition, Comprehensive, Modified). She currently works for The Arc Tennessee as a Family Engagement Specialist for the South Central region of the state.

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Presenters

Each year, the presenters at MegaConference include speakers from across the state and throughout the nation.

2021 presenters

Hear best practices and inspiring ideas from leaders in the industry

AWARDS

Two Award Events

Two award events happen each year during MegaConference, the Employment & Community First CHOICES Direct Support Professional awards and The Arc Tennessee awards. This year both award events will take place apart from the virtual conference as separate events!

The Employment & Community First CHOICES Direct Support Professional awards will be virtual on Wednesday, November 10th, with the deadline for nominations on Friday, October 1st. See the link below to submit a nomination. The Arc Tennessee Award categories, nomination details and date will be announced later this Fall. 

Have more questions?

Reach out to us anytime if you still have questions or need more information. 

2021 Platinum Sponsors

 

The MegaConference would not be possible without sponsorship of community businesses, agencies, disability organizations, advocacy groups and individuals that invest in this event each year! Visit our sponsors page to view our full list of 2021 MegaConference sponsors.