2019 Workshop Descriptions
How to Talk with Your Children about Body Image
Gail Hall | BBI Workshop Speaker
About the Workshop
Eating disorders are complicated, bio-psycho-social mental illnesses with a strong genetic predisposition. They are not caused by families. However, one of the predisposing factors is living in a culture that is largely intolerant of diversity in body shapes and sizes. Learning to speak with your children using neutral or body-positive language, especially re: your own body, will significantly reduce the risk for the development of an Eating Disorder.
Gail Hall, LMSW, CEDS-S, is the owner and Director of Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders, and the co-founder of the Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance. She has a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work with NASW and is a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist and Supervisor through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. CTED is a small outpatient practice specializing in treating eating disorders in an intimate, personalized setting. MiEDA is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2011 to raise awareness and increase prevention efforts for Eating Disorders, as well as to decrease stigma for sufferers. After 30 years of treating eating disorders and seeing the damage which can be done to individuals and their families, Ms. Hall is passionate about preventing eating disorders before they can begin. As part of that effort we must end dieting and stop body shaming.
A Conversation about Disability
Elliot Keyes | BBI Workshop Speaker
Cassaundra Wolf | BBI Workshop Speaker
About the Workshop
Often, the conversation surrounding the experience of disability is one that is associated with medical needs or the problems with a body that is physically "different". However, people with disabilities share common dreams, fears, hopes and ideas about body image and self-esteem just like those who are able-bodied. This will be a facilitated conversation between two very close friends as they share their experiences of living with distinct physical disabilities, and how these experiences have shaped their views about body positive language, medical care, dating, self-esteem, and other areas of life. We invite you to join us in this conversation.
Elliot Keyes is 26 years old and has lived with Sacral Agenesis since birth. He is a chef at a local bakery, just completed a fellowship at a national political organization and a college student. He enjoys cooking new types of food, reading books that provoke thought, journaling, writing about the human experience and meeting new people. He is hoping to make a career advocating for people with disabilities, focusing on body image and sexuality, and bringing those topics to a national platform.
Cassaundra Wolf is a social worker and has experienced employment in non-profit and governmental agencies. Her work has been focused on advocating for the access and inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of life. These professional goals directly relate to her personal passions and her experiences of living with multiple disabilities. She is legally blind, and has Cerebral Palsy. She loves the city of Grand Rapids, and has lived here for her entire adult life, along with her husband and their two cats. Cassaundra loves discussing all things fashion and beauty, and she believes that every woman deserves to find the perfect shade of red lipstick!
LGBTQIA+ Panel Talk on body image
Larry DeShane Jr (moderator)
Larry DeShane Jr is the Center Administrator for Grand Rapids Pride Center. in 2014, after spending 20+ years in NYC and Philly, Larry returned home to West Michigan and began volunteering at the Pride Center (then known as The Network) as a facilitator for the LGBTQ youth group which is the same group he attended in 1989. He credits the group with saving his life by giving him a space where he could be authentically himself and hopes to give that gift to young queer people. Now as a full time employee, Larry oversees the center, 10+ social and support groups as well as all outside education. He lives in GR with his partner Rob, for 16 years and their two fur babies, Belle and Spinner!
Leslie Boker (panelist)
Leslie Boker serves as Educational Consultant for the Grand Rapids Pride Center, and a member of the Pride Center's Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Advisory Committee. Since 2011 they have presented more than 60 talks for health, education, and social services organizations to further understanding, inclusion, and equity for the LGBTQ+ community.
Jackie Green (panelist)
Jackie Green is a Grand Rapids radio personality on 105.3 HOT-FM, a wife and mother. Jackie was born with an intersex variation and works with organizations like InterACT to help raise awareness and hopefully end unnecessary surgeries that happen to intersex children all over the world.
Bux is a Grand Rapids artist; specializing in painting, costume, color design and drag. A lover of all things colorful and vibrant. They are a queer, beer drinking nerd. The daily routine is drink coffee, paint, party; repeat. Bux is a bizarre combination of everyone you know and no one you've ever met before. Down to earth, welcoming; weird and wild.
Linda Tellis wants you to smile. And it’s hard not to when she takes the stage as “Lady Ace Boogie”. Compelled to share both her story, and the stories of others; she conveys a message centered on personal growth, inspiration, and hopes to positively impact those who are listening. LAB’s acclaimed freshman album “Feel Good Music” landed her three WYCE Jammie Awards & the Feminist Leadership Award by the National Organization of Women for her work through music, and community advocacy. An in demand - electrifying performer, LAB has shared the stage with many national acts, Including: A$AP Rocky, TI, Tunde Olaniran, Lizzo, Slum Village, Killer Mike, Jean Grae, and Dead Prez. With newly released album Don’t Box Me In , Lady Ace Boogie is poised to break out of the Midwest and into the hearts of people all around the world
I am an Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Grand Valley State University. My teaching and research is in the field of sexuality education, Queer identities, social justice, and storytelling. I have been a sex educator for 24 years, happily queer, and excited to change the discourse around queerness, sexuality, and justice.
Dr. Matthew Clark is a gay Christian psychologist who works with LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. He enjoys presenting with friends and colleagues on a variety of topics including What LGBTQ+ Youth experience and how we can help them, Assisting Schools and Churches in being LGBTQ+ Celebratory and Safe, and Mental Health suggestions for LGBTQ+ people and their allies. Dr. Clark also works with children and adults who are experiencing depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and relationship challenges. His passion is helping people who come from conservative Christian backgrounds. Dr. Clark is currently writing a book about his life growing up Conservative Baptist and gay in small town, SW Michigan. His psychology practice is located in Caledonia Michigan in the new MI Kids Pediatric building.
Making Space for Embodied Self-Compassion
Rachael Koeson | BBI Workshop Speaker
Making Space Hakomi
Reynelda Jones | BBI Workshop Speaker
A Solution B
The goal of this workshop is to explore what gets in the way for you in connecting with a felt sense of compassion for yourself and your body. Often many of those barriers are a result of internalizing the messages from oppressive systems (patriarchy, white supremacy, ableism, etc) about what bodies "should" be like. We will use mindfulness and body-awareness within an anti-oppression framework to learn more about how you organize your body-related experiences. We will also work through a practice intended to cultivate a felt sense of compassion that is unique to you and begin to re-build a compassionate relationship with ourselves.
Rachael Koeson, a Certified Hakomi Practitioner who is committed to healing and integration of our whole selves and actively seeking collective liberation.
During my time as a Hakomi client I was able to change in ways that felt important and I wanted to share that experience with others, so I enrolled as a student of the method. I completed an 18 month comprehensive training through the Hakomi Institute in April 2015 and became certified in September 2016. I started Making Space Hakomi in October of 2017.
I feel strongly about the beautiful and effective synthesis of the strengths of Hakomi (based on mindful somatic work) integrated with a lens of systems of oppression to support people to heal from the toxic effects of developmental wounds AND oppressive systems by:
1) expanding our awareness of how we organize our experience;
2) creating new, more nourishing neural pathways through mindful, experiential processing;
3) accessing our intuitive wisdom;
4) integrating ALL of our many parts; and
5) cultivating embodied self- compassion
so we can be part of the movement toward collective liberation!
Reynelda Jones is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Acudetox Specialist. My goal as a therapist is to offer a safe and compassionate place where counseling clients from all over Michigan can become empowered and gain support as they navigate through the challenges of life. No matter what you're going through, whether it is stress, anxiety or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder there is hope!
About Me: I graduated from Michigan State University where I obtained my Bachelors of Science in Anthropology, followed with a Masters in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. With over a decade of experience in the field, studying the mind-body connection, and developing successful therapeutic curriculum and groups for local agencies, primarily for women and families; I chose to use my skills to develop A Solution B - a private practice with a holistic approach to therapy.
Fat, Black & Gifted: An Intimate Conversation with Latesha Lipscomb
Latesha Lipscomb | BBI Workshop Speaker
I GOT FACE
You… Yes... You! You’re invited to join Latesha Lipscomb for a fireside chat on what it’s like to be Fat, Black and Gifted in a society that often misunderstands confident black women. This candid conversation will take a deep dive into ethnicity, beauty, confidence, self-love and the social-cultural constructs that threaten how women of color view themselves in a predominantly Westernized civilization.
In this unique workshop, Latesha will share her story about her journey towards Body Acceptance, what it means to release your inner “Black Girl Magic” and about the power that all women… regardless of race, ethnicity or gender identity have to use their gifts to impact other women and girls to see themselves differently.
Fat, Black & Gifted is a moderated, intimate conversation with one of our favorite local boss babes who has found herself in a passionate love affair with Body Positivity for the last two years. Having recently turned 40, Latesha is unapologetic about living her best life and practicing self- love even when the mirrors and windows women encounter daily, simply don’t seem to love us back. Come hear her story and learn how you too can do away with negative self-talk and turn down the volume on others people’s perception of your personal standard of beauty!
is a Grand Rapids native who has a passion for working hard to better the lives of the underprivileged in a city's urban core. For the last year she has served as the Community Engagement Project Manager facilitating the Quality of Life Study for the City of Grand Rapids Planning Department. In her work with such organizations such as the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute and the Inner City Christian Federation, Latesha has become an advocate for those with quieter or muted voices in the city’s most vulnerable communities.
Winner of Start Garden’s 5x5 Pitch Competition, she is the beauty and brains behind I Got Face Cosmetic Concierge, the Women Who Wine series and POSH Innovative Event Management, an event design proprietorship that works closely with individuals, corporations and non-profits to advance girl power initiates or female focused events. Last year Latesha birthed a Body Positivity movement in West Michigan where she collaborated with other local Bossbabes to empower women to defy typical beauty standards and love themselves from the inside out. Latesha is the creative genius and thought leader behind Let Them Eat Cake, Eat More Cake, Cake for Breakfast and Haute Cakes which were all unprecedented, groundbreaking events where all women form many different walks of life had conversations and love fests over embracing the skin they are in.
Because Ms. Lipscomb is well connected, committed to community and quite the socialite, you can also find Ms. Lipscomb moving and shaking around Grand Rapids as the Social Media Jock for Magic 104.9 with Town Square Media and as a member of the WOTV4 Women Crew as the Beauty Expert. Through these assorted collaborations with local groups and many other local leading ladies, we thought Latesha would a great fit to share with us about what happens when we do away with culturally inappropriate, negative self-talk and invite Body Positivity to the party!
How to a body acceptance ambassador in our society (panel discussion)
An interactive panel where we discuss self-critical talk, body shaming, and how to approach it as an individual and a society.
Moderator, Hannah Sullivan, will be interviewing the panel on a few specific questions and then will open it up to the audience.
About Hannah (moderator)
Hannah Sullivan, LMSW, LMFT/Grand Rapids Specialty Therapy Hannah is a licensed Master Social Worker and licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with over 15 years experience working with individuals, couples and family systems. Hannah's work with clients frequently focuses on changing relationships with their body, food, partners, family, and careers. She specializes in treating disordered eating, relationship & family issues, depression/mood disorders, anxiety/OCD disorders, grief & loss, trauma & abuse recovery, sexual wellness, co-parenting/divorce transitions and compulsive gambling. Hannah creates an individualized treatment plan with each client tailoring evidence-based treatment methods that integrate mindfulness, Cognitive & Behavioral therapy, and systemic family theories.
Hannah is also approved by the NASW of Michigan as a supervisor, and provides off-site, private supervision to limited licensed social workers. Grand Rapids Specialty Therapy collaborates with the Center for Women's Sexual Health with on-site, integrative, comprehensive women’s sexual health care- the ONLY one in Michigan, and one of just a few in the nation! It is an absolute privilege to be able to collaborate with my clients and colleagues in areas of sexual wellness, relationship wellness & mental health.
About Jennifer (panelist)
Jennifer DiGennaro is the founder of Nourished Energy and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Body Trust® Provider, Lead Hungerwise™ Facilitator and has training in Internal Family Systems and S.A.F.E (somatic and attachment focused eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which is a powerful, evidence-based treatment for trauma and many other mental health concerns. Jen also has a passion for working with couples and combines the Gottman Method with emotionally focused and experiential couples therapy approaches. In addition to being a psychotherapist, Jen is an activist and Health at Every Size® advocate who firmly believes all sized bodies deserve respect and unbiased care.
Nourished Energy is a holistic psychotherapy & couples counseling practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, specializing in treating chronic dieting, binge eating disorder, body image concerns, trauma, PTSD, mood disorders and relationship issues.
About Topsie (panelist)
Topsie VandenBosch, LMSW, is a business coach for female entrepreneurs. She empowers rising female bosses in discovering freedom from negative thoughts and beliefs that prevent them from performing at their highest level at work and in their personal lives. She has also been a mental health therapist for the past 7 years, and owns a private practice in Grand Haven, MI, and has an office at Northwest Counseling in Walker, MI. In her role as a mental health therapist, she specializes in providing therapy to career focused women who are struggling with inner confidence and their overall emotional wellness.
About Jenny (panelist)
Jenny is the owner of Books & Mortar, an independent bookstore here in Grand Rapids. Prior to owning Books & Mortar, Jenny worked as Community Engagement Specialist with the Michigan League for Public Policy and West Michigan Community Organizer with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. She is passionate about reading, building community and changing public policy through grassroots organizing. She has three of the cutest fur babies you'll ever see.
About Lydia (panelist)
By day, Lydia VanHoven-Cook is a copywriter and graphic designer. By night, she is the founder of the Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival and The Bandit Zine, as well as a board member for the Better Body Image Conference. Lydia has worked for over ten years in Grand Rapids advocating for women's rights, reproductive justice, and LGBTQ inclusion.