IOA 2024 Conference Schedule


The IOA Conference Planning Committee is excited to produce an in-person program for #IOA2024. We encourage you to take a moment to review the schedule-at-a-glance and detailed session descriptions. 

 Saturday | Sunday | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday



Preconference Workshops 

Saturday | 16 March

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 

Registration Open | White River Registration

8:30 AM – 5:00 PM 

 Pre-Conference Workshop: 3Practice CirclesRoom 101-2

Jim Henderson and Jim Hancock


 Sunday | 17 March

1:00 PM – 7:00 PM 

Registration Open | White River Registration

8:30 AM – 5:00 PM 

Pre-Conference Workshop: Adult Mental Health First Aid CertificationRoom 103-4

LaToya Burdiss

8:30 AM – 12:00 PM 

Pre-Conference Workshop: 3Practice Circles ContinuedRoom 101-2

Jim Henderson and Jim Hancock

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM 

POSTPONED (This course will be offered virtually after the annual conference, date and time TBD.)

Pre-Conference Workshop: Play, Simulate, Reflect: A Guide for Deep Group Facilitation | Room 101-2

Jennifer Mahony

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Pre-Conference Workshop: The Value of Contextualizing Case Categorization to Elevate Your Ombuds Program | White River I-J

Alicia Booker, PhD and Wayne Blair

Main Conference Begins


5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Ombuds Lounge Open

6:00 PM – 6:30 PM 

New Attendee Meet and Greet | White River E-F

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM 

Welcome Reception | White River E-F


Monday | 18 March  

7:30 AM – 7:00 PM  Registration Desk Hours White River Registration
6:30 AM – 7:00 AM 

Early Morning Activities

Run | Offsite

Pilates | Room 102

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM   Breakfast Buffet | White River Foyer
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM  Welcome and Round Table Discussions White River E-F
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Keynote: Khaliah O. Guillory White River E-F

"Unleash your Dopeness"

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Break | White River Foyer
11:15 AM – 12:00 PM

Mary Rowe Keynote: Hector Escalante White River E-F

The Mary Rowe Honorary Keynote Address critiques an area in the ombuds profession that warrants discussion, debate, and exploration. This keynote embodies the spirit of the significant contributions that Mary Rowe graciously and selflessly provided the organization ombuds profession and associations throughout her career.

"Ombudsing in a Polarized World: An Exploration of Impartiality"

12:00 – 1:15 PM

Welcome Lunch: Let's All Celebrate Volunteers | White River Foyer

Welcome Lunch for all attendees to Join IOA in Celebrating Our Volunteers and Scholarship Recipients

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM Concurrent Session Block 1 

CS 1A: Staying With & Embracing Conflict: Moving from Triage to Long Term Recovery | White River C-D

William Austin

CS 1B: The Usual Suspects 2.0 | White River I-J

Roy Baroff, Geetha Ravindra, Brian Bloch, and Elisa Enriquez

CS 1C: Using Positive Psychology to Help Ombuds – and Our Visitors and Organizations- Flourish! | White River G-H

Julie Muroff

CS 1D: Failure, Self-Reflection, and Accountability in Ombudsing White River A-B

 Brian Green and Tessa Byer

2:15 PM – 2:30 PM  Break | White River Foyer
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM   

Concurrent Session Block 2 

CS 2B: Getting Unstuck from Ombuds Data Collection and Analysis: Seven Simple Principles | White River G-H

Lisa Yamagata-Lynch and Bina Patel

CS 2C: An Introduction to Powerful Non-Defensive Communication (PNDC) for Ombuds | White River I-J

Melinda Gehris and Lauren Adams

CS 2D: Facilitator's Toolkit Refresh: Make Outreach More Engaging, Impactful, and Joyous White River C-D

 Frieda Hoffman

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Break | White River Foyer

IOA Research Café | Ombuds Lounge

Please join members of the Research and Assessment Committee for IOA’s first Research Café! A research café brings the ombuds community together to create space to exchange research ideas, get peer feedback for an idea that they may have, and build potential research collaborations in a friendly and low-stake setting.  

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Special Topic Discussion: Impacts of Global Events | White River G-H
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Afternoon Snack SessionsWhite River E-F

Tossing Pebbles or Stones: Change Management Bites for Ombuds, Ellen Miller

An Introduction to MindmappingAmanda Dean

Generic Options, Particular ChallengesJames Claxton

Ombuds and Sustainability: An Unexplored ConnectionWiktoria Maslowska

Navigating Resource Challenges: Free and Low-Cost Resources for Your Ombuds OfficeMichael Brochu

Ombuds Merit BadgesMeredith DeFraites

Disrupt Defensiveness by Checking your R.A.T.E.S., Jenn Mahony

Pulled it Out of a HatGreg Edens

To Infinity and Beyond!Allison Posner

Breaking Through the Gender Binary with the Genderbread Person: Supporting our non-gender-binary-conforming visitors and all visitors to be more fully themselves, Laurel Gordon and Heidi Stensby

Connecting Neurodiversity with Our Cultural Humility, Nadia Ferrara and Jennifer Swann

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Ombuds Work, Members of IOA Research and Assessment Committee/Artificial Intelligence Working Group

5:00 PM – 5:45 PM  End-of-Day Learning Circles | White River E-F
5:45 PM  6:30 PM Break
6:30 PM – 7:15 PM  Ombuds Stories | White River E-F
7:15 PM 

Dinner with an ExpertOffsite

Join a group of 4-6 people and discuss a particular topic of interest together. The group will depart from the Ombuds Lounge at 7:15 PM unless otherwise noted. Please review the available slots and sign up with your name and onsite contact information. All participants are responsible for their dining expenses.

9:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Night Owl Activities | White River E-F

OmbudSing group sing-along  Whether you’re a shower or freeway singer or sing professionally when you’re not ombudsing, we look forward to having you join us for a night of song! Dana Hinojosa and Chuck Doran will host and provide lyrics and guitar accompaniment for your favorite songs from the past 60 years! All you need to bring is your voice and love of music! (Music lovers who don’t sing are also welcome to attend.)


 Tuesday | 19 March 

6:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Registration Desk Hours | White River Registration

6:30 AM – 7:00 AM

Early Morning Activities

Run | Offsite

Pilates | Room 102

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM Breakfast Buffet | White River Foyer
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Keynote: Adar Cohen | White River E-F

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures: Alternative Mediation Strategies for an Era of Not Listening

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Practice Edge/Undebate | White River E-F

The Practice Edge/Undebate is the next generation of the Howard Gadlin Undebate that began in 2016. The intent of this plenary remains the same: To raise for discussion critical questions related to the practice of organizational ombuds. This session continues Howard’s encouragement to "push the envelope” in a way that challenges us to openly discuss difficult practice issues in a critically supportive manner.

The debate is a time to rethink the settled foundations of ombuds practice so that we can better understand our commitment to those foundations or begin the process of re-examining them?

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM

CO-OP® Panel Session | White River E-F

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Headshot Lounge Open | White River Foyer

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM

Break | White River Foyer

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

Sector Meetings

Academic Sector Meeting | White River C-D

 Government/Federal Sector Meeting | White River G-H

Corporate Sector Meeting | White River E-f

International Sector Meeting | White River A-B

K-12 Sector Meeting | Room 103/4

Open/Unhosted Sector Meeting | White River I-J

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM

Lunch Buffet | White River Foyer

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM 

Concurrent Session Block 3 

CS 3A: Salaries, Systemic Change, and DEIB – Implications from IOA Compensation and Practice Data | White River A-B

Jennifer Schneider, Mary Rowe, Timothy Hedeen, and Hector Escalante

CS 3B: Leveraging Cultural Diversity: Identifying, Resolving and Preventing Cultural Conflicts | White River G-H

Qinhui Jiang 

CS 3C: Pandora's Box or Powerful Tool? Befriending Emotions in Ombuds Practice | White River I-J

Tracey Brant

CS 3D: Putting Aside Neutrality: When an Ombuds Needs to Advocate for IOA Compliance | White River C-D

Chuck Doran, Tom A. Kosakowski, and Charmhee Kim

2:30 PM – 2:45 PM

Break | White River Foyer

2:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Concurrent Session Block 4 

CS 4A: The New Ombuds in Your Office: What You Think They Need to Know and What They Think They Need to Know | White River A-B

Marsha Baum and Ronnie Thomson

CS 4B: Advocating for Your Office | White River G-H

Ellen Miller, Sarah Klaper, and Mark Patterson

CS 4C: The Spiral of Conflict: Finding Connectedness through the Darkness and Isolation of Being in Conflict | White River I-J

Neal Powless

CS 4D: Neuroscience, Ombud's Practice, and Scared Brains | White River C-D

Francisco Espejo

3:45 PM – 4:15 PM 

Break | Lounge

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM  

Concurrent Session Block 5 

CS 5A: Arm's Length – Ombuds, Organizational Leaders, and Human Resources | White River C-D

Stacy Rouse

CS 5B: Enhancing Visitor's Engagement: What Are the Vital Functions of Ombud Office Websites? | White River G-H

Sara Kim, Heidi von Harscher, Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg, and Tom Kosakowski

CS 5C: Introduction to Research for All Ombuds: What and Why We Need to Know | White River I-J

Julie Muroff, Shannon Burton, Lisa M. PytlikZillig, and Donna Edmondson

CS 5D: Adding Value-Expanding the Pie beyond the Numbers: Making the Case for Organizational Ombuds' Continued Fiscal and Operational Utility in Challenging Times | White River A-B

Kevin Linder

5:15 PM – 5:45 PM 

Learning Circles | White River C-D

5:45 PM – 7:30 PM 

Movie Night: Keynote Speaker: Noam Ebner | White River E-F

"Star Wars and Conflict Resolution" 

Join us for a fun evening with Noam Ebner, co-editor of Star Wars and Conflict Resolution: There are Alternatives to Fighting. Unlock your inner conflict and space opera geek, as we watch lots of Star Wars, identify characters’ conflict styles, crown the saga’s best negotiator, and give heroes and villains alike helpful advice for managing their conflicts. Along the way, we’ll get a sense of how pop culture can help us in our real-world work. [No prior Star Wars knowledge required!]

9:00 PM

Karaoke Night  | White River E-F

Party it up with karaoke with your ombuddies on the last night of the conference! You can pick any song and do it with a friend – no need to worry about how you sound, just come have fun with friends and enjoy music. Feel free to join in on the late-night fun even if you don’t plan to sing!


Wednesday | 20 March

6:30 AM – 12:00 PM 

Registration Desk Hours | White River Registration

6:30 AM – 7:00 AM 

Early Morning Activities 

Run | Offsite

7:00 AM – 8:30 AM

Breakfast Buffet with the Board

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM 

Concurrent Sessions 6 

CS 6A: Teaching Resilience through an Ombuds Lens | White River C-D

Michael Steinberg

CS 6B: Supercharge your Ombuds Practice  | White River G-H

Cindy Mazur

CS 6C: Defensive Communication and Threats to Identity: Reshaping Our Communication Choices White River I-J

Laura Umphrey

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM

Break | White River Foyer

9:45 AM  11:15 AM 

Mentoring Event | White River A-B

What Would You Do? Ethical Dilemmas for New Ombuds Mentoring Subcommittee

This is a session for any practicing ombuds with less than two years of experience. Experienced ombuds from the Mentoring Subcommittee will present a variety of realistic scenarios for the new ombuds to practice according to the IOA standards of practice. This is an interactive session where all new ombuds get to try out the scenarios.

Discussion Groups | White River I-J

This is a parallel session to the Mentoring Event and is an opportunity ombuds with two or more years of experience to work through a case scenario in small groups, discussing practice, organizational, and intervention options.

11:15 AM  11:45 AM 

IOA Common Reading Experience | White River E-F

Common reading experiences are an avenue for ombuds to come together to support one another as they explore scholarly literature. They offer an avenue to begin scholarly reading habits in a fun and enjoyable way with peers. Learn more and read the article >

11:45 AM  12:00 PM

Closing Ceremony | White River E-F

12:00 PM  1:00 PM

Traveling Snacks White River Foyer