Parenting Conference

Northeast Indiana Parenting Conference

Postponed - New Date TBD Soon!

Calling all parents and caregivers!

Register below and join us for a day-long event that celebrates the joys and challenges of parenting. At the Northeast Indiana Parenting Conference, you'll have the chance to 

  • listen and learn from dynamic speakers
  • engage in meaningful breakout sessions
  • ask your questions during our panel session
  • learn about various aspects of parenting

This event is open to everyone and approved for foster parent training credits. For just $15, you'll receive lunch and gain access to a day of learning and connecting with others. Register with a friend and enjoy a 20% discount!

In addition to our keynote speakers, we'll have breakout sessions on a variety of topics to choose from, including mental health, art therapy, child/adolescent development, LGBTQIA+ youth, social media, foster care, finances, and homelessness. Registrants will need to sign up for their breakout sessions separately and will be emailed a link when available.

The conference will be held at First United Methodist Church (1203 E 7th St, Auburn, IN) from 8:30-4:00 pm with the doors opening at 8:00 am to give time for mingling and checking out all of our vendor booths. Get ready to leave feeling empowered and supported. See you there!

Registration is open and breakout sessions will be available soon.

Our Speakers


Dr. Ron S. Lewis

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Ron S. Lewis is the founder of Lewis Way Leadership Development. Lewis Way Leadership Development (LWLD) is a professional development and consulting firm designed to support organizations and businesses to achieve workplace synergy and harmony. Dr. Ron S. Lewis is a dynamic and inspiring trainer and speaker who has passionately presented to thousands of students and professionals about G.R.I.T. (Guts, Resilience, Intensity, and Tenacity). 

He graduated from Barry University with both his bachelor's and master's degrees, graduated from Indiana Tech with his Ph.D., and recently graduated from the University of Saint Francis with an MBA concentrating in Marketing. After four years in the non-profit industry, Dr. Lewis transitioned to higher education. He taught undergraduate and graduate collegiate courses, including Managing Human Resources, Leading Change Management, Organizational Development, and Culture. 

Dr. Lewis uses relatable principles accompanied by compassionate stories from his own experiences and research through his doctoral education. Dr. Lewis has delivered presentations about leadership, academic success, and diversity. Dr. Ron Lewis's recent appointment to Assistant Professor and Director of the Marketing & Sports Management Program at the University of Saint Francis illustrates his continued dedication to inspiring, training, and teaching others.

Carrie Wisehart

Keynote Speaker

Carrie Wisehart can best be described as creative, energetic, and in relentless pursuit of Jesus Christ. She is a speaker, worship leader, prayer warrior, author and high school teacher. In every area of leadership, Carrie’s life reflects her passion for knowing God and leading others into His life-changing presence. Carrie loves speaking and leading worship, using drama, music, poetry and humor to communicate the love of Jesus.

For the past 23 years, Carrie has touched the heart of her high school students by recognizing their unique strengths and helping them develop their fullest potential. Through the privilege of educating students, Carrie has won NBC 33’s Excellence in Education award, was featured for her innovative teaching on one of the final episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was honored as a Woman of Northeast Indiana by 21 Alive television. Most recently, she was named Remarkable Woman of 2022 by WANE TV.

Carrie holds degrees in Vocal Performance and English Education from Olivet Nazarene University, as well as a master’s degree in theatre from The Ohio State University. She also has her Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from Purdue University.

She loves to speak to people about her heart, tell stories, and give credit to the Man who took her brokenness and became enough so she didn’t have to be: her Jesus. In addition to speaking at church and religious settings, she leads educational workshops for teachers and future teachers. She loves inspiring others to choose joy in this adventure called life. Carrie has great passion for changing the world wherever she is planted.

The most important people in her life are husband, Brady and 17-year-old daughter, Kayden. They live in a little house in the woods in Ft. Wayne, IN. Carrie currently serves as the Associate Principal at DeKalb High School in Waterloo, Indiana.

Lesley Barton

Lesley Barton has worked as a board certified art therapist, child life specialist, and developmental therapist for the past 25 years. She has a passion for working with children and teens who have experienced trauma, grief, and abuse. Lesley and her husband Rob (pastor of First UMC of Auburn) are the parents to 5 wonderful children. They understand the great joys and challenges of being biological, adoptive, and foster parents.

Mitch Figert

Mitch and his wife have three kids, ranging from elementary through high school. Mitch is no stranger to encountering people in crisis and providing strong leadership. He worked for the Red Cross responding to emergency calls and working with families in crisis for more than 20 years. In his current role, as the Executive Director of Fortify Life, he leads a team providing services to some of our most vulnerable neighbors experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.

Meg Friesen

Meg Friesen is an RN with Huntington County Community School Corporation. Meg also works at her local community hospital as a nurse in the emergency department. She is currently working towards her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree at Indiana University School of Nursing. Meg is passionate about supporting schools to create environments where physical, social, mental and emotional health are valued equally. She believes that school nurses in partnership with parents, counselors, teachers and community organizations can make this a reality.

Jesse Hanna

Jesse Hanna has been working with youth and their families for over 25 years. He is passionate about creating safe spaces for teens to communicate in healthy ways with their caretakers. He and his wife, Amy, work as a team to impact the lives the thousands of teens across the state and beyond. They have two beautiful daughters who are now young adults. 

Jordan Kerner

Jordan Kerner has over a decade of experience working within student and youth development. From coaching basketball, being a small group leader, middle school teacher, and now a nonprofit executive, Jordan has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on how to properly engage with students in their space, and inspire hope. Most recently, Jordan has published a book "The Head & The Heart: The Internal War," navigating childhood trauma, and how to come out on the other side being healthy and confident. Within the first week the book reached #1 New Release in multiple categories, and reached as high as a #6 Bestseller for Biographies by Social Activists.

Jeremiah Otis

Jeremiah Otis has been involved in the Auburn community for years. He owned and operated Jeremiah's Brewed Awakenings, a mission-driven coffee shop with a focus on cultivating community and connections, for nearly a decade. He now works as the Director of Innovation at Fortify Life, dreaming up new ways to remove barriers and connect resources with community members at risk of a variety of forms of instability.

Jordan Peterson Stephan

Jordan Peterson Stephan is a therapist at Maple Heights Behavioral Heath & Willow Center For Healing. He describes himself as a social worker, LGBTQIA+ Advocate, parent of 2 and a spouse. His goal is to empower people by giving them the tools they need to thrive. He works in inpatient psychiatric settings for youth and group private practice, specifically seeking to work with LGBTQIA+ folks of all ages and their families.

Wayne Peterson-Stephan

Wayne Peterson-Stephan currently serves as the Director of Addiction Recovery for the Bowen Center.  Previously, Wayne has served as a Director of Youth Ministry, the Executive Director of a child advocacy center and a family case manager for the Department of Child Services having over a decade of combined experience in the social services field. Wayne is a native of Huntington, a graduate of Huntington University, a husband,  father, and former foster parent. His driving philosophy is that people require connection and thrive in community.

First United Methodist Church
1203 E. Seventh Street | Auburn, IN 46706 | 260.925.0885


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