2021 Hands & Voices
Leadership Conference

These Boots are Made for Leading

Franklin, Tennessee
September 17-19, 2021

A Conference for H&V Chapter Leaders, H&V GBYS and ASTra Programs, Family Based Organizations, Parents of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, and the Professionals Who Work with Us

Exciting Leadership Topics!

•  Building Cultural Resiliency in a Diverse Community

•  Developing Parent Leaders: Where do Professionals Fit in?

•  Influence vs Authority:
Expanding your Influence to Create Giants of Others

•  And more: Leading with joy, homeschooling, mental health, non-profit management, balancing life and leadership…

UPDATE on COVID-19 Considerations:

NEW Update 9-8-21:  Conference Gathering Guidelines for participants

As we adjust to the current climate, we want to reassure you that we will be taking all necessary precautions to create a safe experience for you. As the situation is fluid, and as recommendations and guidelines emerge in the coming weeks, we will post our final information here and directly to registered participants. In addition to working closely with our hotel partner to ensure we follow federal, state, and local guidelines, we will be taking steps of our own to ensure your safety onsite. At this time, here are the recommendations you may see:

  • Opportunities to eat outside
  • Social distancing opportunities within the conference rooms
  • Hand sanitizer will be available
  • Do not enter the conference space if you are feeling ill
  • Clear face masks will be available
  • Additional considerations for our community members who are Deaf/HH will be available to ensure accessibility

Again, further information and clarifications will be available as we draw closer to our time together. As federal, state, and local guidelines change, this information will be updated and more detailed. Finally, we are aware that every person will have a different level of comfort being with a large group of people, and for many this may be the first time you have traveled in many months. We seek to establish a culture of kindness and respect as we come together. – After all, we are Hands & Voices.

NEW Exhibitor & Sponsorship Opportunities this year!

Click for information on being an Exhibitor or a Sponsor at the Conference.

Are you a presenter? Click here to download the Presenters Guide.

The Hands & Voices Leadership Conference brings together family leaders from all over the world to develop skills, to receive training on providing leadership to others and to impact local systems. It is the only conference of its kind devoted exclusively to teach family members with children who are deaf or hard of hearing to be effective agents of change.

This conference is an excellent time to network and learn. Please help us build our audience by extending an invitation to a favorite teacher, your EHDI Coordinator, an important school administrator or families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you are not involved in specific activities for Hands & Voices, this is still a fantastic conference containing up-to-date information, fascinating conversations, and exploration of content in a new and exciting way.  Please join us!

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The H&V Leadership Conference



$445 - Full general conference

$325 - Saturday Only

$325 - Student – full general conference

* Housing is NOT Included in price

CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICY: Refunds will be made to those registrants who cancel, less a $75 processing fee per registration. Written cancellation requests must be received on or before August 16, 2021. No refunds will be made after August 16th, 2021. Substitutions are welcome at no charge. Please EMAIL cancellations to jeannene@handsandvoices.org.

Please note:  We are closely monitoring the CO-VID 19 Pandemic. As of now, we are planning to have an in-person conference.  We are following state and federal guidelines and recommendations. The safety of our staff, attendees, and conference center employees will be our number one priority. In the event we must cancel an in-person conference due to mandatory state and or federal guidelines the following refund policy will be implemented: Full refund of conference registration fees less a 5% processing fee will be implemented. Hands & Voices will only refund the cost of registration. No other travel costs will be refunded by Hands & Voices.

The Leadership Conference runs Friday through Sunday, September 17-19th, 2021

General Registration includes:

Friday 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm - (Includes light meal and opening session/activities)

Saturday 7:00 am – 4:30 pm sessions - (Includes breakfast and lunch)

Sunday 7:30 am – 12:30 pm sessions - (Includes breakfast)


Instructional Sessions (Pre-Registration Required)

H&V Leaders’ Joint Meeting
(Registration Required)

8:30-11:30 am on Friday, Sept 17th.

FREE - Must Pre-register

Audience: Chapter leaders (Regional Coordinators, Directors, BOD Presidents and/or one designated Chapter representative) and GBYS/ASTra Program Coordinators are highly encouraged to attend. This combined meeting is intended for Hands & Voices Chapter Leaders (Authorized, Provisional, and recognized Start-ups) and GBYS/ASTra Program Coordinators ONLY. You MUST pre-register to participate.


Description: This year we are extremely excited to bring all of our H&V Chapter and Program Leaders together for this Friday morning session! At Hands & Voices we encourage (and require) cohesion between our Chapters and Programs; what better way than working together while we are all in person! We will be working in teams by Region-- we want you all to have an opportunity to get that valuable face time with your neighbors. First, we are going to take a deeper dive into technical assistance and support provision. How can we more effectively assess our own health as Chapters/Programs, proactively addressing and meeting our own state/province-wide needs and those of all of our Chapters/Programs, organizationally? Let’s dig in! We will then come back together to share the gained wisdom among us.

Friday Instructional Sessions

1-4pm on Friday, September 17th 


*Select only one of the three pre-session topics below

Friday Instructional Session I

Graphic Design for Dummies… Advertising and Website Design

This training reflects the needs of most small non-profit leaders, having to learn at least the basics of certain technical skills to run an organization.   Learn the basics you should know when designing logos, brochures, flyers, web sites, postcards, t-shirts, mugs etc.. Software and concepts professional printers/vendors expect/hope that you know and use when going to production.

You do not have to be an Advertising Executive to create an effective website or advertising piece. Whether you are a novice, been around awhile, or a pro at promotions... you can get results by following the steps and advertising concepts shared in this session. Use your own insight to create meaningful messages for your audience and seal the deal. What’s in it for you? See more families at your events, more qualified applicants for your jobs, and more money in the bank!

Trainers:  Joe DesGeorges and Karen Wisinski

Friday Instructional Session II

Effective Facilitation: Build Your Skills

This workshop will focus on facilitation skills for leaders resulting in increased effectiveness in leading committees, inter-agency meetings, staff and board meetings, panels, and other types of situations where facilitation skills are needed.  The presenters will share some case studies from real life examples. Participants will be prepared to avoid the pitfalls of poorly managed meetings and increase the likelihood of success. The HOW-TO’s of great facilitation will be explored, including:  Preparing ahead of time; What comes first?  (Relationships or Action Plans); Participant in and/or neutral party in discussions? It depends; Embracing (and mitigating) your own personality and temperament as a facilitator; How to maintain flow when there is disagreement; Building and leading agendas: when to stay on task and when to ‘let it flow’; Getting input from others (the quiet ones and the talkative ones); Facilitating virtual meeting platforms;    Decision making (consensus or ?); How to know when NOT to facilitate a group; Wordsmithing by committee; Who needs to be at the table; Do you need to co-facilitate?

Trainers:   Cheryl Deconde Johnson, Rick Hauan, Janet DesGeorges

Friday, Sept. 17th: 1-3pm & 4-5pm

FREE Special Sessions: Pre-Registration Required

Special Session I - FREE

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Hands & Voices NEW Leaders Training

Chapter leaders AND new GBYS/ASTra Coordinators - (new in position within 1-2 years) - This session will provide new H&V leaders with the opportunity to share with others in similar positions some of the challenges and successes they have experienced as a new H&V leader. Hands on technical assistance, resources, and supports will be provided by Hands & Voices HQ representatives during this session. Bring your questions, ideas and energy!

Presenters:  Tammy Breard and Liana Robbins

Special Session II - FREE


First Time H&V Leadership Conference Attendee Gathering

If this is your first time attending the Hands & Voices Leadership Conference, this is a session you don’t want to miss. This will be a fun and interactive session to welcome you to the Leadership Conference and share with you some tips to make the most out of your conference experience.

Presenters:  Deshonda Washington and Scarlett Giles

Special Session III- FREE


DHH Guides, Mentors and Role Models: A Round Table Discussion

Come join this session if you are a deaf/hard of hearing GBYS DHH Guide, Role Model or Deaf Mentor. Let’s take a moment to applaud the endurance of dhh providers who persevered through this difficult last year and look ahead to enhancing services for families.  Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert come, share and let’s learn from one another. Bring your insight on one or all of these questions. We are excited to see you!

Presenters: Stephanie Olson, Karen Putz

Sunday Instructional Sessions - $99

Sunday Instructional Sessions

2-5pm or 2-6pm on Sunday, September 19th.  Select only one of the three post-session topics below

Sunday Instructional Session I   2:00– 5:00 pm

$99 - Limit of 20 participants

Hands & Voices Train–the–Trainer “Sharpening our skills to train others”

Hands & Voices Train–the –Trainer “Sharpening our skills to train others” is a session for Hands & Voices Leaders who are in a position of training others. This may include a Hands & Voices board member, GBYS Coordinator, ASTra Advocate, etc. Participants in this session will learn about adult learning theory, how to find balance between lecture and interactivity, how to apply storytelling, managing participants, and overcoming training challenges. If you are a Hands & Voices leader who is interested in presenting and training others, this session is for you!

Presenters: Lisa Kovacs and other HQ Staff

Sunday Instructional Session – II 2:00- 6:00 pm


Parent Cafe (DHH version) Facilitator Training

Parent Cafés are physically and emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. Through individual deep self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning, participants explore their strengths, learn about the Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families.    Cafés are structured discussions that use the principles of adult learning and family support. They are committed to an approach that engages and affirms parents as leaders.   Participants leave Parent Cafés feeling inspired, energized, and excited to put into practice what they have learned.

Trainers:  Sarah Roof, Michelle Niehaus

Sunday Instructional Session III 2:00 – 5:00 PM


Cultural Sensitivity: Exploring Triggers and Tools that Diffuse them

A culturally sensitive perspective changes the way we approach, counsel, support, and provide services to families who have children with hearing loss. Through transformational leadership practices, this presentation will guide participants to uncover a beginning personal journey towards cultural competence by exploring triggers related to cultural differences and discovering tools that may diffuse these triggers to build strong, meaningful and lasting relationships with the families they serve.

Presenter:  Michael Douglas

Hotel Information


Have You Booked Your Room?

Limited rooms available at the Conference Center
Rooms Available at Nearby Overflow Hotels
Special Room rates expire soon!

Hotel rooms at the conference center, Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, are currently available for Friday and Saturday nights, September 17th and 18th only. If you need a hotel room for Friday and/or Saturday, please click here. Special group rate available until August 27th, 2021.

If you need a hotel room for Thursday night, September 16th and/or Sunday night, September 19th, please book with one of our overflow hotels located walking distance away, Residence Inn Franklin Cool Springs or Courtyard Franklin Cool Springs. Click here for special group rates available until August 18th, 2021.

Hotel Information

Franklin Marriott Cool Springs

700 Cool Springs Blvd.

Franklin, TN  37067


Air travel:

Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Ground Transportation to Hotel/Conference Center:

The hotel does not provide shuttle service. Ground transportation options from airport include:

Find complete information on ground transportation from the airport