Strengthening Individuals and Organizations in Challenging Times

October 5 and 6, 2023
Location: DMACC FFA Enrichment Center

1055 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy, Ankeny, IA 50023

Keynote Speaker: Friday, October 6, 2023

Matthew L. Vasquez

Matthew L. Vasquez, PhD, LMSW

New Directions for Addressing Toxic Stress and Burnout

Co-Founder and Senior Consultant
Gulf Coast Trauma Institute, LLC

Dr. Vasquez is the co-founder of the Gulf Coast Trauma Institute, an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa, and former trauma therapist. For the last 10 years, he has taught, conducted research, and provided consultation services on trauma-informed care practices all over the country. His current area of research focuses on the effects of mind-body and movement-based interventions on trauma, stress, and other mental health disorders. His research has been published in numerous academic journals, and featured on National Public Radio and in the Washington Post. Dr. Vasquez has also provided extensive consultation services on trauma-informed care practices across a variety of settings, including school districts, residential treatment centers, outpatient mental health practices, child welfare agencies, along with regional and national entities such as Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Midwest Trauma Services Network, and the International Trauma Center.

New this year

Featured Speaker: Thursday, October 5, 8:30 am - 11:45 am

Sydney Spears

Sydney Spears, PhD, LCSW

Light, Love and Liberation: Cultivating Non-Oppressive Human Service with the Power of Mindful Humility, Body-Based Presence, Self-Compassion and Active-Compassion

Sydney Spears (she/her) identifies as a cisgender Black-multiracial woman. She has deep passion for elevating and advancing global social justice, equity and compassion in the world. Consequently, Sydney is highly committed to providing and integrating non-oppressive, strengths-based, and trauma-sensitive practices within her private practice work as a licensed clinical social work in Missouri and Kansas.

Sydney currently serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, a certified Mindful-Self Compassion (MSC) teacher and a Board member for the Center of Mindful Self-Compassion based in California. She also participates as a member of the leadership team for the Center for Trauma and Embodiment in the Boston area. Providing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging consultations for non-profit organizations is another aspect of her non-oppressive service work for the greater good.

Sydney recently published a very user-friendly and experiential workbook for those who are interested in practicing mindfulness and self-compassion. The workbook is called “Finding Self-Compassion: A Mindfulness Workbook for Getting to Know and Love Yourself.”This can be especially useful for teens, young adults and for mature adults who are new to mindfulness. The workbook is also a great way for clients to explore and practice mindfulness and self-compassion as a self-resource.

This event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. We also may share these recordings through NASW-Iowa website or related platforms. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded, and you are waiving any and all claims regarding the use of your image by NASW-Iowa.


Registration is a two step process if you are attending on Thursday

You will need to go in and pay and then log back into the app to select your sessions

Registration instructions

You will need to choose the dates you plan to stay and then click search. The rate should come up as $129.00.

Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities

Find information on becoming a Sponsor or Exhibitor at the NASW IA 2023 Symposium