Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System

Speaker Bios

Public Child Welfare Conference Keynotes

John Harper

September 25th Opening Keynote

Mr. Harper is currently Manger of the Office of Child Welfare, Child Protective Investigation Unit for the Florida Department of Children and Families in Tallahassee, Florida. His 37 years of combined experience in child welfare, substance abuse and mental health has provided him with unique experiences and insights uncommon to singular disciplines or practitioners. He currently serves as co-chair for Florida’s Drug Endangered Children’s Alliance, was recently selected to be a member of Florida’s statewide Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) workgroup and statewide Task Force on Forensic Interviewing, and was the state’s representative at the Tri-Regional SAMHSA, ACF and National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare meeting on Plans of Safe Care.  John has developed and provided numerous trainings and webinars for the University of South Florida Center for Child Welfare, including The Threat Continuum – Assessing for Risk and Safety, Substance Abuse and Child Development, and New Safety Planning Requirements.  John draws on his past interactions with real families, using humor and story-telling to take the edge off hard lessons learned and provide a new sense of hope and direction for individuals working with substance involved families.






Rise Together

September 25th Closing Keynote

Anthony Alvarado is an entrepreneur and the President and co-founder of Rise Together, a grassroots organization that is empowering thousands of youth to stand up and speak out on the issues they care about. Often seen as a disruptor, Anthony is one of the most sought-after speakers today. Since fall of 2013, he has traveled over 200,000 miles, taken the stage more than 400 times, and spoken to 130,000+ people in a variety of settings. He started out with one goal: to help save lives. By 33, Anthony has already been identified by FORBES as a movement builder and featured for his work to inspire hope. His work is also featured in Huff Post, USA Today, NPR, PBS, NBC, ABC, CW14, FOX and more. Whether he is on stage, in a classroom, on his podcast, or online, he looks to start one of the largest cultural movements within his time; driving millions to find their meaning & purpose. For more info visit: www.AnthonyAlvarado.com.

Nadine Machkovech, Program Manager: Nadine Machkovech is a certified recovery coach and person in long-term recovery. As an educator on addiction and mental health, she looks to positively disrupt the current landscape for adolescents, especially young women, across the country. Through her unique style of storytelling, Machkovech will leave her audience feeling inspired and motivated; reminding them that they have the choice to utilize their power to change their world and the world around them. Machkovech, at the age of 24, has traveled the country, been featured in Forbes, and is often aspired after for her dynamic peer leadership skills. She has created measurable social change while educating students, teachers, professionals, and peers on topics of substance use and misuse, mental health awareness, leadership, and the development of life skills. She is also a Co-Owner and Program Manager of RISE TOGETHER, a grassroots organization that is helping to lead a movement of young people to stand up and break the silence around suicide, bullying, mental illness, drugs, and alcohol. For more info visit: www.NadineMachkovech.com.

Douglas Darby, Co-Founder:  Douglas Darby is a person in long-term recovery that is committed to setting the very spark in the person that will help change the world we live in. Douglas, Co-Founder and distinguished motivational speaker at RISE TOGETHER, has educated over 120,000 people across the nation. It is their mission to create communities where today’s youth can be heard, loved, and inspired to live in hope. Douglas speaks out with passion, heart, and powerfully inspires others with a story of redemption, motivating young people everywhere to compassionately be there for others.

Mike Kenney

September 26th Opening Keynote

Mike Kenney was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, where he resides with his wife and fourteen-year old daughter. Mike and his co-founder, Shannon Deinhart, started the Waiting Child Fund (now known as Kinnect), born out of the belief that all children have a family and it is our job to find them. Over the last 13 years, Kinnect has helped to provide training, coaching, and permanency consultation to 16 Ohio counties, developed a statewide leadership-level Family Finding conference and committed to help build a strong and permanency-driven workforce throughout Ohio.

Tamra Oman

September 26th Closing Keynote

Tamra Oman is the 2015 recipient of the State of Wisconsin’s Virginia Hart award. She is a national speaker, consultant, group facilitator, and believes deeply in cultivating a culture of hope, healing, and compassion for all. She is a co-founder of Hope Road, LLC – Soul Punch Skill Training (with love).  Her “day job” is Human Services Program Coordinator Recovery Support Specialist at the Wisconsin Resource Center; a mental health treatment facility classified as a prison. She was the first “peer/consumer” to be hired in the state of Wisconsin to work in a correctional facility in the past 30 years. She has facilitated Thinking for a Change, Anger management, Domestic Violence groups, and assisted people with reentry planning. Ms. Oman is a proponent of systems creating a recovery “culture” that includes Trauma Informed Care, Person Centered Planning, Strength Based Approach, Motivational Interviewing, and Evidence Based Practices. We are in this together! It is up to us to create the world we wish to live in. We need each other now more than ever. Tamra is always reminding us that, YOU MATTER AND WHAT YOU DO MATTERS!!