Join Us at Our 2017 Annual Conference this April!


MGS ConferenceEarle Brown Heritage Center
Brooklyn Center, MN

Registration: 7:00 – 8:00 am
Conference:   8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Download MGS Conference Agenda – 2 page
Download MGS Conference Program Summary – 5 page

Conference Overview
7:00 – 8:00 am                   Registration, Continental Breakfast, Networking

8:00 – 8:15 am                   Welcome, About MGS
8:15 – 9:15 am                   Morning Keynote: “The Longevity Economy”
                                                 Jody Holtzman, Senior Vice President, Market Innovation, AARP
9:30 – 10:45 am                 Concurrent Sessions (five)
10:45 am                             Exhibit Hall Opens (10:45 am – 4:00 pm)
11:15 – 12:30 pm               Concurrent Sessions (five)
12:30 – 1:40 pm                 Robert L. Kane Memorial Luncheon
12:30 – 1:40 pm                     MGS Scholarships & Gerontologist of the Year Awards

1:40 – 2:15 pm                   Poster Sessions; Exhibitors; Networking
2:15 – 3:30 pm                   Afternoon Keynote: “Economics of Aging – Business and Personal”
                                                  Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace

3:30– 4:00 pm                    Executive Reception; Prize Drawings


MGS members receive a substantial discount for the conference. Memberships must be active on April 28, 2017. Membership rates are listed on the registration form. You can join or renew membership as you register.

Registration questions? Contact Paulette Sorenson, Conference Registrar,, 612-255-6610. You are encouraged to register early to assure your attendance. Registration will close when the facility limit is reached.

Member – $135  
Non-Member – $235  
Member Retired – $105  
Non-Member Retired – $170  
Student – $60  
Lunch Program only – $40  

Partial Conference Scholarships: Sponsored by
A limited number of partial scholarships are available for low/moderate income individuals.
Group Registration Discounts: are available for groups of 5 or more from an organization.

Military Discounts: are available for active military personnel.

To inquire about any of the above discounts or scholarships, contact

Hotel Accommodations – A listing of nearby hotels. The Embassy Suites by Hilton Minneapolis North is attached to the Earle Brown Heritage Center.

Conference Program Details

General Sessions:

8:15 – 9:15 am: Morning Keynote: “The Longevity Economy”

jody-holtzmanJody Holtzman, Senior Vice President, Market Innovation, AARP
The Longevity Economy, “the sum of all economic activity serving the needs of Americans over 50,” is responsible for at least $7.6 trillion in economic activity every year. Overall, it accounts for nearly 90 million jobs and more than $4.5 trillion in wages and salaries. This far-reaching influence generates significant business opportunities. More than ever, people 50-plus are choosing to stay in the workforce longer, many of them launching second careers or starting new businesses. To keep up with this shift, employers must meet the needs of a multigenerational workforce.

Breakfast Program Sponsor:   aarp_in_minnesota

12:30 – 1:40 pm: MGS Luncheon
The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference
MGS will recognize the 2017 Gerontologist of the Year Award Winner and present four scholarships to Minnesota higher education students.

Luncheon Sponsor: la-minnesota-rgb

2:15 – 3:30 pm: Afternoon Keynote: “Economics of Aging – Business and Personal”

chris-farrell3948-002Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace
Chris Farrell shares his perspective on what he calls “unretirement”: The grassroots, social movement rethinking and reimagining the second half of life. The idea that retirement means saying goodbye to colleagues for the last time and embracing full-time leisure is fading fast. A series of broad, mutually reinforcing changes in the economy and society are making an aging population more of an economic asset than before. Boomers are better educated and healthier than previous generations. If society taps into the abilities and knowledge of those boomers who can and want to work, employers will benefit, society will be richer, living standards will be higher, and the financing problems of Social Security and healthcare easier to solve.

Afternoon Keynote Sponsor: CPM_logo_2C_RGB


Concurrent Sessions

(You must select a 9:30 and a 11:15 am session when registering.)

9:30-10:45 Break-out Sessions

A1 – Applying Design Thinking in Health Care
Dr. Cristin Moran, Head of Front End Innovation for 3M Health Care, Critical & Chronic Care Solutions
Heather Webb, Innovation Process Leader, 3M Health Care Business

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving approach in which managers apply the mindset and methods of designers to develop innovative products and business models. Design thinking is the interplay between “analytical mastery and intuitive originality”. This fuels growth and innovation within organizations in competitive markets. At 3M, design thinking is a rigorous, proven and repeatable approach to new product design. This session will describe the concepts of design thinking and explore how it is utilized to drive innovation.

B1 – Directing the Force – About Minnesota’s Workforce
Kari Benson, MPA, Executive Director, Minnesota Board on Aging, Department of Human Services (DHS)
Connie Ireland, Executive Director, Governor’s Workforce Development Council, Dept. of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
DEED and DHS oversee, manage and staff the jobs, providers and services impacting aging services in MN. Kari Benson’s perspective on the work being done by the MN Board on Aging and DHS’s Aging and Adult Services is current and at the heart of aging services in MN. The Governor’s Workforce Development Council has a responsibility to advise the Governor on Minnesota’s workforce system. Connie Ireland will discuss employer-led industry sector partnerships focused on better understanding of the skills that employers need and connecting skilled workers to those opportunities.

C1 – Business and Human Service Ethics: As different as Mars and Venus?
Charissa Eaton, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor, Social Work Department, Winona State University
Greg Eaton, ACA, Vice President, Director of Insurance, AgStar Financial Services
Professionals in business and human services face ethical dilemmas in their everyday work. However, these professionals often view their own ethical dilemmas to be as different as Mars and Venus. This presentation will provide an overview of business and human service ethics and explore whether business and human service ethics are truly that different. Some ethical dilemmas in aging services will be examined from both business and human service perspectives.

D1 Business Intersections with Aging – D1 session sponsor:
LaRhae Knatterud, MAPA, Director of Aging Transformation, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Our society is aging and we are experiencing a permanent shift in the aging of our population. The number of Minnesotans over age 65 is going to double between 2010 and 2030, and the number over age 85 will triple between 2010 and 2050. All our systems and sectors will be affected by this dramatic growth in the number of aging individuals. As a vital part of our economy and our communities, businesses (or the proprietary sector) intersect with aging in thousands of ways. This session will explore these intersections from the perspective of the customer, the aging of the workforce, and businesses as a community partner.

E1 – The MGS Network in Action: Speed Questions Workshop
Talk with a broad range of aging experts – including current and former MGS Board members, community experts and long-time supporters. In response to surveys completed by participants in past conferences, MGS is offering an exciting opportunity for students, current and potential leaders in the aging field to meet and talk with policy peers.  Bringing together a diverse group of leaders, this session has been designed to offer an effective way to access the knowledge of community leaders. Whether an emerging professional exploring initial career steps in aging or a longtime state leader, this energy-filled session is guaranteed to develop and leverage the MGS network, providing meaningful connections and advice to advance all attendee’s learning journeys!

11:15 – 12:30 Break-out Sessions

A2 – Tipping Point on Telemedicine
John Goodman, President and CEO, A-Vu Media

Barriers that have delayed or blocked telemedicine services to the homes of clients are quickly being resolved at the same time that the need for these services is rapidly expanding. We must create new models of care and communication to sustain people in Independent Living with better access to healthcare resources and outcomes. Technology in the home will be part of the solution. John Goodman has a career history in consumer technology and broadband networks. He is currently President and CEO of A-Vu Media. A-Vu Media has developed a low cost telemedicine system designed to deliver services to homes. A-Vu also offers remote monitoring solutions focused on the needs of persons with disabilities. These systems have been implemented as a shared resource in several Minnesota communities with an initial focus on rural installations.

B2 – Workforce Forces
Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace

Mary Jo Schifsky, Founder, GenSync

This session will focus on the interaction between current economic realities in the workforce and the historic four-decade career in America. The traditional dialogue about retirement has shifted—there’s an unprecedented four decades, aged 20-75, working together today. Longevity increases everyone’s accountability for daily choices. The question of “what to be when we grow up” is iterative, the process continuing over decades, providing opportunity and challenge.

C2 – Elder Law Panel: Estate Planning, Consumer Protections and Abuse Prevention
Marit Anne Peterson, Program Director, Minnesota Elder Justice Center – Moderator

Laurie Hanson, Attorney, Long-Reher-Hanson-Price
Ron Elwood, Legal Services Advocacy Project, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

This session will cover various aspects of elder law. Peterson will review the work of the MN Elder Justice Center’s work to prevent and alleviate abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults. Hanson will discuss ways clients can plan for incapacity and choose surrogate decision-makers to ensure the client’s wishes are followed and to minimize risk of exploitation. Elwood will discuss the work of the Legal Services Advocacy Project at the legislature and their work to improve state laws and rules that affect low-income Minnesotans including the elderly and persons with disabilities.


D2 – Creating Home – The Evolution of Environments for Aging
Susan Farr, V.P., New Business Development, Ebenezer Management Services
Kurt Apfelbacher, Senior Vice President, Dougherty & Company
Options of how and where one lives, what gets developed and by whom are evolving. This session will explore the evolution of environments (housing) for aging, and discuss some opportunities and possibilities for this market. Future trends and predictions that may shape the future of the senior housing industry will be discussed with an exploration of how other industries and new technologies may change the way future housing for seniors is built.

E2 – Unleashing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit for Aging
Joel Theisen, President & CEO, Lifesprk
Jennifer Anderson, President & CEO, Mirabelle Management Company
In the coming years, business leaders will be called to offer a new vision for the products and services needed by an aging society. From emerging technologies to innovations in how we train caregivers and provide services, prime opportunities lie ahead. To shift our thinking about how we can approach this changing marketplace with a more entrepreneurial spirit, this session is uniquely designed to both inspire you and prepare you through the real-life insights of two executives running award-winning, Minnesota-based businesses changing the way people age.

Other Conference Events

1:40 – 2:15 pm Poster Session
The Poster Session is a display of presentations representing research by faculty and higher education students in fields of study related to gerontology and aging. It is an opportunity to talk directly with a researcher about their findings and possible implications toward policy initiatives and practice projects focusing on older adults.

3:30 – 4:00 pm: Executive Reception and Raffle
Everyone is invited to attend the reception, which provides an opportunity to meet the exhibitors and to network with colleagues, students, professors and presenters from across Minnesota.  All participants receive one free beverage ticket. Multiple prize drawings for all who play Exhibitor Bingo (Must be present to win).
Executive Reception Sponsor: The Waters

MGS 2017 Conference Learning Objectives (pre-approved for 5 CEUs by MN Board of Social Work, BOSW, and the Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators, BENHA. Self-submit for other disciplines.)

From the content presented at this conference, learners will be able to:
1.Review the intersections between older adults and business, as customers, consumers and workers.
2.Understand the economic role of those aged 50+ and the purchasing power of this cohort today.
3.Discuss economic and societal forces helping define the aging population as an economic asset.
4.Learn the concepts of design thinking and ways it’s utilized to drive innovation in today’s economy.
5.Explore the similarities and differences between business and human services ethics in practice.  

Download MGS Conference Agenda – 2 page
Download MGS Conference Program Summary – 5 page