2023 speaker

Albert Munanga, DrBH, MSN, RN, HC

Clinical faculty, University of Washington School of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Care Informatics

Dr. Albert Munanga has served in various professional senior leadership roles in health facilities caring for seniors, and he remains active in gerontological care. Dr. Munanga is currently chief clinical officer for Serengeti Home Health based in Renton. He is also clinical faculty at the University of Washington’s School of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Care Informatics. Munanga is a widely cited clinical scholar who has published in several medical journals. In 2021, he released The New Rules of Engagement: Infection Prevention & Control in Group Living Settings: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals and the Concerned Public as a call to arms in the battle against communicable diseases. He is chair of the WSNA long-term care committee and has been active in state and national long-term care quality committees over the years.

2023 speaker

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN

Senior Policy Service Professor at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, George Washington University School of Nursing

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a senior policy service professor at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at the George Washington University School of Nursing and professor emerita at Hunter College, where she held the Rudin Endowed Chair and founded the Center for Health, Media & Policy.

Dr. Mason is the programme director for the International Council of Nurses’ Global Nursing Leadership Institute, a past president of the American Academy of Nursing, and former editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing.

She has produced and hosted radio programs on health and health policy since 1985 and currently hosts HealthCetera in the Catskills on WIOX Radio.

She has served as the only health professional on the National Advisory Committee for Kaiser Health News since its inception in 2009.

Dr. Mason is the lead editor of the book Policy and Politics in Nursing and Health Care and blogs on policy for JAMA Health Forum. She is the principal investigator on a 2017 replication of the 1997 Woodhull Study on Nurses and the Media published in 2018 in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. She did an additional analysis of journalists’ experiences using nurses as sources in health news stories published in the American Journal of Nursing.

She is chair of the National Advisory Board for the Rush Center Health and Social Care Integration and of the Steering Committee for the Catskills Addiction Coalition.

She is the recipient of numerous awards for policy, leadership, dissemination of science, writing, education, public health, media, and advocacy, including the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Health Policy by the New York Academy of Medicine in 2019.

Dr. Mason received a BSN from West Virginia University, MSN from St. Louis University, and PhD from New York University.

She will speak on elevating your power.

2023 speaker

Elsa Sjunneson

Author and advocate

Elsa Sjunneson is an internationally published author on the subject of disability and ableism. As a deafblind activist, she has worked to dismantle structural ableism. As an author, she’s written her memoir, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, reported for Radiolab on “The Helen Keller Exorcism,” and been the subject of a PBS American Masters Short Documentary. Being Seen was nominated for a 2022 Hugo Award and won for best biography/memoir in the 2022 Washington State Book Awards.

Sjunneson lives at the crossroads of blindness and sight. Sjunneson has partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids. She cannot see well enough without a guide dog or cane, but she can see people react to her disability and often hears what they say.

Sjunneson will address ending ableism against people with disabilities in the healthcare system.

2023 speaker

Jennifer Flynn, CPHRM

Vice President of Risk Management, Nurses Service Organization

Jennifer Flynn, CPHRM, is Vice President of Risk Management for Nurses Service Organization in the Healthcare Division of Aon’s Affinity Insurance Services, Inc. Specializing in risk management and having worked in the health care insurance business for over 21 years, Jennifer is dedicated to educating nurses and health care professionals on professional liability risks and offers strategies to mitigate those risks by supporting patient safety principles and developing quality management programs. In addition to being a frequent national speaker on healthcare risk and liability, Jennifer is also a published author on various risk management topics. Jennifer is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management and is a licensed Property & Casualty agent. She earned a BA in Psychology from Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

2023 speaker

Jennifer Magnani, MSW, LICSW

Assistant Program Director, UW Psychiatry Consultation Line

Jennifer Magnani, MSW, LICSW, is the assistant program director for the Psychiatry Consultation Line run by the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services.

She has been a social worker for over 23 years, and has worked in a number of clinical areas including inpatient, emergency, ambulatory, psychiatry, and home hospice.

Magnani got her masters of Social Work degree at the University of Washington and holds a bachelor of science in Journalism from the University of Kansas.

She previously worked extensively at Harborview Medical Center and Providence Hospice. Magnani is passionate about helping the most difficult-to-serve patients and creating health and social systems that work effectively.

2023 speaker

Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

President, American Nurses Association

Jennifer S. Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is currently an assistant professor at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing in Portland Oregon. Mensik Kennedy is a sought-after presenter and prolific author. Her books include Lead, Drive, and Thrive in the System and The Nurse Managers Guide to Innovative Staffing 2nd ed. She co-authored Lead like a Nurse, A Nurse’s Step-By-Step Guide to Transitioning to the Professional Nurse Role and The Power of Ten (Second Edition) and contributed a chapter to the book The Career Handoff: A Healthcare Leader’s Guide to Knowledge & Wisdom Transfer across Generations.

Mensik Kennedy has held numerous high-profile leadership positions within the nursing profession. She served as President of the Arizona Nurses Association 2007-2010. Nationally, Mensik Kennedy has served as Treasurer, Second Vice President, and Director-at-Large on the American Nurses Association board of directors. Additionally, she held the role of governor of nursing practice for the Western Institute of Nursing in 2010-2014.

Mensik Kennedy earned a PhD from the University of Arizona College of Nursing with a focus on health systems and a minor in public administration from the Eller College of Management. Mensik Kennedy's MBA degree is from the University of Phoenix, while her BSN degree is from Washington State University. She also holds an ADN degree from Wenatchee Valley College-North. Mensik Kennedy was inducted as a fellow to the American Academy of Nursing in 2014.

2023 speaker

Katharine Weiss, MPH

WSNA Director of Government Affairs

Katharine Weiss, MPA, is the Director of Government Affairs at the Washington State Nurses Association. Since joining WSNA in 2019, Katharine has helped lead efforts to pass legislation addressing health system transparency, Presumptive eligibility for workers compensation for nurses with COVID-19 and increased training and resources for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

Katharine began her career as a community organizer in Southern Arizona connecting people to health insurance and health care. After experiencing firsthand the disconnects between health policy and how people experience health care on the ground, Weiss decided to pursue a degree in Public Administration. In 2017, she received her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington. Prior to joining the WSNA staff, Weiss worked as a policy, research and politics expert for the Washington State Labor Council, Washington State Health Care Authority and Community Health Plan of Washington.

2023 speaker

Kim Petram, BSN, RN

Director of Case Management, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center

Kim Petram is a registered nurse with over 20 years of leadership in the field of care management. Kim is currently the Director of Case Management for UW Medicine Valley Medical Center, a 335-bed public hospital and Accountable Care Organization serving the residents of South King County. Kim is responsible for the coordination of high quality care delivery, strategies to reduce care barriers, hospital throughput, development of care transition models, and risk mitigation models ensuring the success of multiple value-based initiatives and programs.

2023 speaker

Lois James, PhD

Assistant Dean of Research and Associate Professor, Washington State University College of Nursing

Lois James, PhD, is an assistant dean of research and an associate professor in the Washington State University College of Nursing, where she focuses on the impact of sleep loss, fatigue, stress, and bias on performance and safety in shift workers such as nurses, police officers, firefighters, and military personnel. She has received multiple honors and awards for her work and is internationally recognized as a leading expert in her field. She is the founding director of Counter Bias Training Simulation (CBTsim), a novel and innovative simulation-based implicit bias training program that has been featured in National Geographic and the feature-length documentary “bias.” Dr. James’s work has been published extensively in academic journals, practitioner magazines, and mainstream media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

She will speak on her latest research on the effects of fatigue among nurses.

2023 speaker

Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN

President, Washington State Nurses Association

Lynnette Vehrs, RN, MN has served as president of WSNA for the past two years. She is a registered nurse who has worked in a broad variety of health care capacities, including at Providence Visiting Nurses in Spokane; Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane; Providence Medical Center in Seattle; in an intensive care unit in Lillehammer, Norway; and in psychiatric nursing in Tacoma.

Lynette went on to teach classes at& the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing prior to her retirement from the workforce.

Lynette obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, as well as her certification as a nurse educator, at WSU.

2023 speaker

Meghan Eagen-Torkko, PhD, CNM, ARNP, FACNM

Associate Professor and Director of Nursing, University of Washington Bothell School of Nursing & Health Studies

Meghan Eagen-Torkko, PhD, CNM, ARNP, FACNM is Associate Professor and Director of Nursing at the University of Washington Bothell School of Nursing & Health Studies and maintains a clinical practice in sexual and reproductive health at Public Health Seattle-King County. She has practiced as an RN since 2001 and as a CNM/ARNP since 2009. She completed her BSN (2001) and MN (2009) at the University of Washington, and her PhD (2015) at the University of Michigan. Dr. Eagen-Torkko’s research is centered on the effects of structural power and equity on sexual and reproductive health outcomes, with a particular focus on nurses in abortion care and LGBTQIA+ health. She has published widely on ethical issues related to abortion and nursing, on the effects of racism on birthing families during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impacts of trauma on both patients and nurses. She currently serves on the Ethics Committee and the Gender Equity Task Force for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and previously served on the Truth & Reconciliation and Scope of Practice Task Forces. She also currently serves on the Board of Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health, as well as the Enduring Guidelines Cervical Cancer Task Force (NIH/NCI), and as a DEI Advocate in the University of Washington School of Nursing. She has been a member of WSNA since 2013.

2023 speaker

Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN

Interim Director, Manning Price Spratlen Center for Anti-Racism and Equity, UW

Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN is the Interim Director of the Manning Price Spratlen Center for Anti-Racism and Equity at the University of Washington School of Nursing, where she will also become the Interim Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion pending regents approval in July 2023; a Professor in the Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing; and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Health. After declaring at the age of eight that she wanted to become a nurse, she earned her BSN from the College of New Jersey, a MPH from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in oncology genomics at UCSF. She has worked her entire career in reproductive health, rights, and justice. She retired from clinical practice after a 28-year career in 2019 and has continued to devote her time and energy to reproductive justice, research, and health equity.

Dr. McLemore is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Health Equity Journal, Board Member of the Black Mama Matter Alliance, Sigma Theta Tau member, Immediate Past Chair of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Section of the American Public Health Association, and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She is widely published and cited in numerous books and articles.

2023 speaker

Patti Timbers, MBA, RN-BC

Certified coach, speaker, and trainer

Patti Timbers, MBA, BSN, has been a nurse for over 25 years with a passion for helping people and their growth. Along with being director of informatics at Northwest Kidney Centers, Timbers is a life coach helping nurses become the best versions of themselves. Her mission is to help individuals and groups find their passion, let go of their past hurts, and become the truest version of themselves to improve the world around them.

She will speak on personal change, motivation, and growth. Her talk will also discuss how to find your passion and let go of what doesn’t work, while refining what you want to carry forward.

2023 speaker

Ronda Conger

Business woman, professional speaker, and author

Some say she was raised by wolves, others claim truckers. No matter what her upbringing, this superwoman has flourished in a male dominated industry for 30 years. As Vice President of CBH Homes, Idaho’s largest homebuilder, Ronda leads the CBH troops daily, and has overseen all areas of the company for the past 20 years.

Ronda firmly believes that winning is a habit. She’s been named the 2021 NAHB Woman of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders, and recently recognized by Women We Admire as a Top 50 Women Leaders of the Mountain Region.

Serving others is important to Ronda. As a business woman, professional speaker, and author, Ronda is on a mission to spread a movement with her five books: Better Human, Better Thinking, You Go First, Leading Through Extraordinary Times, and her latest book New Market. New You.

It’s been rumored her high energy and passion come from shotgunning red bulls daily, but she’ll tell you it comes from her incredibly hot husband, Jim Conger ( just ask her) and her two sons.

She thanks the heavens each day for this incredible journey and is so very grateful for the opportunity to serve and love all those that she comes in contact with.

2023 speaker

Sara Kim, PhD

Associate Dean for Educational Quality Improvement, School of Medicine, University of Washington

Dr. Sara Kim, Research Professor of Surgery, received her PhD in Education in 1999 from University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Currently, she serves as Associate Dean for Educational Quality Improvement, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Dr. Kim is the inaugural holder of the George G. B. Bilsten Professorship in the Art of Communication with Peers and Patients. She actively leads research programs in conflict management and collaborates with a wide range of clinical, administrative, and educational stakeholders across UW Medicine. Since 2014, she and her team have developed training programs and taught over 10,000 healthcare professionals conflict dialogue and speaking up skills. Her work has been primarily supported through the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine grants and the UW Medicine Patient Safety Innovation Programs (PSIP). She has numerous peer-reviewed publications in leading medical education and medical specialty journals, covering topics of communication skills for resolving conflict and negotiating power hierarchy.