MGS 41st Annual Conference – April 28, 2017

The Business of Aging: Exploring Partnerships, Possibilities, & Priorities

Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, MN

MGS Conference Booklet

Conference Session Handouts

Thanks to all who attended the 41st annual conference! Below is a recap of the speakers and day’s events. We greatly appreciate all who attended and were a part of making it a success!

Conference Highlights

393 attendance; 12 sponsors & 36 exhibitors



  • Conference sponsors





  • Morning Keynote speaker, Jody Holtzman, AARP





  • Morning breakout session: MGS Networking Session





  • Morning breakout session: Workforce Forces





  • PM breakout session: Elder Law Panel





  • Robert L. Kane memorial luncheon







  • Fun with the exhibitors






  • (L) Charissa Eaton, MGS President;
    (R) Helen Kivnick, MGS 2017 Gerontologist of the Year



Jim Tift and Jack Spillane with the 2017 scholarship winners:
Gerald Bloedow Scholarship
Leah Oien, Minnesota State University Moorhead; Brianna Lauer, Univeristy of Minnesota
Elva Walker Spillane Scholarship
Amanda Clemens, St. Cloud State University
Ruth Rath-Nesvacil, University of Minnesota


See more photos of the event on our Facebook page

                                                 Thank You – 2017 Conference Sponsors

Morning Keynote: “The Longevity Economy”

Jody 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 multi-generational workforce.


MGS Luncheon
The Minnesota Gerontological Society 2016 conference
MGS recognized the 2017 Gerontologist of the Year Award Winner and present four scholarships to Minnesota higher education students.




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 re-imagining 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.



Breakout Sessions:

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

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)

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

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

The MGS Network in Action: Speed Questions Workshop

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

Workforce Forces
Chris Farrell, Senior Economics Contributor, Marketplace
Mary Jo Schifsky, Founder, GenSync

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

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

Unleashing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit for Aging
Joel Theisen, President & CEO, Lifesprk
Jennifer Anderson, President & CEO, Mirabelle Management Company

Executive Reception and Raffle

An opportunity to meet the exhibitors and to network with colleagues, students, professors and presenters from across Minnesota. All participants received one free beverage ticket. Multiple prize drawings for Exhibitor Bingo.


Poster Session

A display of presentations representing research by faculty and higher education students in fields of study related to gerontology and aging. An opportunity to talk directly with a researcher about their findings and possible implications toward policy initiatives and practice projects focusing on older adults.


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.