Conference on Family

Conference on family image


Utah Valley University's College of Humanities & Social Sciences is excited to announce the 2015 UVU Conference on Family, featuring keynote speakers, John and Jane Covey and plenary speaker Barbara Leavitt. It will be held Friday, November 6, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Sorensen Student Center on UVU's Orem campus.

The conference is designed to meet the interests and needs of those seeking information on strengthening relationships, family life and parenting. We hope to serve the needs of those in all phases of life — beginning relationships (and dating), parenting, committed couples, empty-nesters, extended family members, etc. 

Along with the keynote and plenary presentations, there will be morning and afternoon concurrent sessions on various topics of interest to families in our community. Topics such as improving family bonds and social interactions, grandparenting, crucial conversations, marital strength training and more will be offered. See Presenters and Sessions for more detailed information.



John and Jane CoveyJohn Covey is director of the Home and Family Division at Franklin Covey Co. He is also co-founder of the Education Division and has served as senior consultant with such businesses as Conoco and the U.S. Army Corps. As director and co-founder of Franklin Covey's Home and Family Division, John was heavily involved with his brother, Stephen R. Covey, in the design, development, and editing of the book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" and co-author of "The Proactive Family Guide Book" with Stephen. John and his wife Jane have given numerous presentations and seminars on the family throughout the world. John received a Masters degree from Harvard in Business Administration and a Doctorate of Education at Brigham Young University. He and Jane reside in the Rocky Mountains of Utah with their children.

Jane Covey has traveled widely as a public speaker. She has been a professional presenter and teacher in business, education, and family. Jane received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and is currently in a masters program. Jane contributed stories and examples to "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families," and is co-author of the "Proactive Family Guide Book" with her husband. She has published numerous articles on parent/child relationships. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Jane derives her passion for strengthening families from her experience as the mother of seven daughters and three sons.


Barbara LeavittFor the last eight years, Barbara Leavitt has worked with United Way of Utah County in multiple roles including: directing a home visitation program manned with volunteers; implementing the Help Me Grow system statewide in Utah; working with child welfare to bring the Strengthening Families Framework to Utah; and within the early childhood arena to build regional and state systems that support parents.

In her spare time she has been training nationally with the Strengthening Families Framework: Training of Trainers team for the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds.  She has continued to also train within Utah and has been instrumental in building a Strengthening Families Framework training system within Utah.

Call for Proposal

You can download the call for proposal here.


Janelle ChristensenJanelle Christensen

Janelle Christensen is the Parent Advocate at the Family Support & Treatment Center in Orem, UT. She graduated with her BSW from Brigham Young University Hawaii in 2012 and has been working with parents using the Love, Limits and Latitude curriculum since, in addition to presenting in the community regularly. She enjoys providing parents with tools to help their children and families thrive.


Jennifer CornettJennifer Cornett, LCSW, BCBA

Jennifer Doty Cornett is excited to share her mama-bear moments and parenting do-nots alongside her mother Kris Doty. Jennifer received a Bachelors Degree in Behavioral Science at UVU, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She currently works as a social worker for Intermountain Home Health and maintains a small private practice in Salt Lake City.


Nathan Cottle, PhDNate Cottle

Dr. Nate Cottle is an Associate Professor of Family Studies at Utah Valley University. He holds a Doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Texas, and Master’s and Bachelor’s from BYU in the same field. At UVU, Nate teaches courses in romantic relationships and family life education and serves as the Family Studies Program Coordinator. He is a Certified Family Life Educator who has made over 100 community presentations and workshops to individuals and couples nationally and internationally. He has worked with the Twogether in Texas program and Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. He has also worked with the military through the Strong Bonds and Yellow Ribbon programs, and was appointed by Governor Herbert to serve on the Utah Governor’s Commission on Marriage. He has published several journal articles, educational curricula, and book chapters, and presented at national conferences, including the National Council on Family Relations and the National Association for Relationship and Marriage Education.


Kris Doty, PhD, LCSWKris Doty

Kris is a graduate of Utah Valley University, having received her bachelor’s degree in Behavior Science. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in Social Work from the University of Utah. She researches issues surrounding early returning missionaries and depression in LDS women. Kris is a licensed clinical social worker with a specialty in crisis intervention. Her practice experience includes crisis counseling in the emergency room at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, and conducting individual and group therapy at a residential treatment facility for adults with learning disabilities. She is currently a disaster mental health volunteer with the American Red Cross and maintains a small private practice. She is also a popular speaker and trainer on topics related to early returning missionaries, depression and perfectionism, and self-care. Kris is currently the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Science at Utah Valley University and teaches in the BSW program.


Bri EwellBri Ewell

Bri Ewell is the Education Specialist at the Family Support & Treatment Center. As such, she serves as a community educator about child abuse prevention and frequently does presentations in junior high and high schools. Her professional experience includes work in residential treatment centers helping teenage girls and their families in the recovery process. Bri enjoys being outdoors and participating in international humanitarian work.


Karen S. Fairchild, LCSWKaren Fairchild

Karen Fairchild is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at the Family Support & Treatment Center (FSTC) in Orem, Utah where she is a mental health counselor. Karen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marriage Family and Human Development and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Prior work experience includes 5 years in Early Intervention at Kids on the Move and 9 years at Wasatch Mental Health's GIANT Steps Autism program. Karen is a certified Bringing Baby Home Gottman educator. She has also been actively involved at both the state and county level in promoting and linking families to supports and services.


Encarni GallardoEncarni Gallardo, CPM,

Encarni Gallardo serves as the Children’s Service Society Executive Director. As such, she is responsible for the overall administration of the agency and contract service compliance. With more than 25 years of experience, Encarni received her Bachelor of Arts in Education at the Universitas Malacitana, Spain, and received her Certified Program Manager (CPM) accreditation from the State of Utah. Encarni presents at local and national early childhood conferences, she is a certified Touchpoints trainer by the Touchpoints Center in Boston, MA and is a Bilingual Accreditation Observer for the National Association for Family Child Care.


Suzanne Grimshaw, LCSWSuzanne Grimshaw
Suzanne has worked with adults who are on the Autism Spectrum and those with Learning Disabilities for the past 9 years. She has co-developed, and currently teaches, a social skills curriculum that is geared specifically for teens and adults. Suzanne has had the opportunity to present at many national conferences on social skills and transitioning into adult services. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in Political Science.


Ryan Hawks, TRS, CTRSRyan Hawks

After working for ScenicView Academy for 6 years as a recreation therapist, Ryan was recently hired as a psychotherapist at ScenicView. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from Brigham Young University, and recently finished his master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from University of Phoenix. He has presented at a local, state, and national level on topics such as transition planning, ScenicView’s recreation therapy and social skills programs, and working with individuals with ADHD.


Julie K. NelsonJulie Nelson

Julie Nelson is a wife and mother of five children. She holds a Master's in Marriage, Family and Human Development. Her scholarly research and relationship articles have been published in journals and news media outlets. She is the author of two books: Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 tips for surviving parenthood and Parenting With Spiritual Power. Julie is a parenting guest expert on KSL TV and BYU radio and is a full time lecturer in Family Studies at Utah Valley University. Her website is 


Grant Richards, PhDGrant Richards

Grant Richards is a Professor of Psychology at Utah Valley University where he teaches classes in mediation, communication, family studies and positive psychology. He and his students work with many schools in the Alpine and Provo School Districts teaching conflict resolution skills, facilitating parent/teen mediations and conducting the Strengthening Families program.



Scott Wood, CMHC Scott Wood

Scott graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.  Scott has worked for ScenicView since it opened, and has enjoyed seeing its growth, and seeing the students benefit from the services provided there.  Scott also works with the WHY TRY organization as a National Training Consultant helping youth and others develop the social and emotional skills necessary to reach their goals.


Keynote Session

9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Opening Keynote – John and Jane Covey

(Grande Ballroom – Sorensen Student Center)

Much loved speakers on strengthening family relationships, John and Jane Covey will introduce the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. John and Jane will discuss how implementing these habits can contribute to building a happy healthy family, nurture strong positive relationships, strengthen bonds between family members and allow the family to grow as a unit and as individuals.

Morning Concurrent Sessions

10:30 a.m. Sessions (sessions end at 11:45am)

The Bridges We Call Relationships: 10 Activities to Improve Family Bonds and Social Interactions – Suzanne Grimshaw, LCSW; Ryan Hawks, TRS, CTRS; and Scott Wood, CMHC (SC 206ABC)

Why is it that as parents we sometimes feel as if we are standing on one side of a canyon and our child is standing on the other? We can see and feel the need to build some sort of bridge, but are not sure how to do or what the bridge should look like. This session will help identify tools you already possess, as well as additional skills necessary to build those bridges – and strengthen those already established. Presenters will focus on 10 hands-on activities you can use with your family to help strengthen family bonds, enhance your child’s ability to make friends and generally improve interpersonal relationships. [This session will be of particular interest to parents, and is appropriate for basic experience levels.]

How to Be a Grandparent When You’re Children Move Home With Their Family – Encarni Gallardo, CPM  (SC 213 AB)

More and more children are moving home to live with their parents, and bringing their children with them. Encarni will explore this phenomenon, and discuss the impact upon the family dynamics. How do you effectively grandparent when grandchildren live in your home? What if your parenting style conflicts with those desired by the parents? How can you bring the whole family together to strengthen one another, but still allow for individual family freedom? [This session is appropriate for all audiences, and of particular interest for those filling a grandparent role.]

Flexible, Feisty and Fearful: 3 Main Temperament Styles in Children – Julie Nelson, author (Centre Stage)

Join Julie as she outlines each of the 3 main temperament styles in children. She will explore the strengths – and weaknesses – of each, and highlight how parents can adjust their own style to create a ‘goodness of fit’ to meet the needs of the child. Join her as she illustrates how understanding these temperament styles can help parents build healthy self-esteem within their children, and nurture a positive parent-child relationship. [This session is appropriate for all audiences.]

Staying Connected In Marriage – Nathan Cottle, PhD (Ragan Theatre)

With children, work, stress, and other responsibilities - couples often drift closer and further apart throughout marriage.  To stay connected, couples need to learn each other’s love styles (or languages) and the importance of intimacy, sensuality, and sexuality in their relationships.  This presentation will focus on the things couples need to do to create that lasting bond and connection that will keep their relationships strong in the busy and turbulent times they face.  [This session will be of particular interest to individuals in an exclusive relationship, or anticipating marriage.]

LUNCH and EXHIBIT FAIR Grande Ballroom and Ballroom Commons Area (11:45 – 1:00 p.m.)

Afternoon Plenary Session

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Barbara Leavitt

(Grande Ballroom – Sorensen Student Center)

For the last eight years, Barbara Leavitt has worked with United Way of Utah County helping professionals and families in Utah to build regional and state systems that support parents and children. She trains nationally with the Strengthening Families Framework Training of Trainers team for the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds.  Today she will discuss the 5 Protective Factors for nurturing strong, productive, healthy families.

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

2:45 p.m. Sessions (sessions end at 4:00 p.m.)

Crucial Conversations – Grant Richards, PhD (SC 206ABC) We all know that communication is essential – particularly when family members are involved. Crucial Conversations research has revealed effective ways to handle difficult conversations with family and others regarding what you consider to be bad behavior on their part. This presentation will share four recommendations for talking with family members about their ‘bad behavior’ in a way that can resolve problems and actually strengthen relationships. This session is appropriate for everyone. 

Marital Strength Training for Parents – Karen Fairchild, LCSW (Ragan Theatre) Join Karen as she explores the importance of maintaining a healthy couple relationship. She will present tools for sustaining a happy marriage while raising children - including methods for maintaining friendship and resolving conflict well, building and maintaining healthy intimacy, and maintaining your own sense of identity. This information will help to sustain a healthy marriage that lasts and nurtures the entire family unit. This basic information session will be of particular interest to those in a committed relationship who are raising children.

Controlling the Inner Mama Bear: Freeing Yourself to Let Your Children Grow – Kris Doty, PhD, LCSW and Jennifer Cornett, BCBA, LCSW (Centre Stage) All mothers have the instinct to protect their young and keep them from harm. But sometimes that desire is compounded by societal pressure and perfectionistic tendencies. This often results in pushing children to overachieve, comparing them to others, and not allowing them to learn from their mistakes. In this session, the mother-daughter therapist team of Kris Doty and Jennifer Doty-Cornett openly discuss parenting issues that impact the autonomy children need to enjoy healthy development and accountability. So, park the helicopter and enjoy frank discussion understanding and honoring parenting boo-boos and some healthy laughter. After all, we may be mama bears – but we are only HUMAN! This session will be of particular interest to Mama Bear moms, and PaPa Bear dads of all ages and experience levels.

Love, Limits and Latitude: Setting Limits While Building Self-Esteem – Bri Ewell  and Janelle Christensen (SC 213 AB) Discipline and setting limits is one of the more difficult parts of parenting. We want to give our children freedom and build their self-esteem through positive nurturing. But what happens when behavior warrants response? How can we put the responsibility for their behavior back on the child, teach them the connection between choices and consequences – and not shame or pile on guilt? Join Bri and Janelle as they outline ways parents can separate the child from negative behavior and allow the child to use their own capacity for positive change. This session will provide practical, immediate solutions for parents seeking to avoid shaming, guilt-tripping and negative programming. This foundational level session will be of particular interest to parents and those working closely with children.


We are excited to offer exhibit space to organizations who offer services and support to families. Conference participants are free to visit the exhibit fair throughout the day, and a special time is reserved during lunch to gather information from booths. We encourage you to participate as an exhibit vendor. Exhibitors park for free, and lunch for two booth staff is included with your registration. We also encourage those staffing the booth to alternate during concurrent session times, so that both staff members can enjoy sessions that interest them. 

Parking is available in the Parking Garage just east of the Sorensen Student Center. View this map for more information.

Please submit this application to request booth space. Note: Sales of any kind are prohibited. However, products can be displayed and orders can be taken. 

If you have any questions about exhibit space please contact Toni Harris at 801-863-6816 or

Conference History