ACLF Conference Speakers

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Danielle Atzeni, MBA

Danielle Atzeni is credit system specialist for the AAFP Credit System. She has worked in CME for nearly three years and serves as the chapter liaison to the AAFP Credit System. 

Mark Bernheimer

Mark Bernheimer is a nationally renowned communications expert who specializes in helping health care communicators deal effectively with the media. Prior to launching his consulting firm, MediaWorks Resource Group, Bernheimer spent 16 years as an award-winning broadcast journalist. During five years as a correspondent for CNN, Bernheimer covered some of most iconic stories of our time, including Columbine, the Unabomber case, and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. He was one of a handful of reporters inside the courtroom when O.J. Simpson took the stand in his wrongful death civil trial, and during the late 90s, he weathered five hurricanes on live national television. Today Bernheimer's media training clients include major medical centers, pharmaceutical and life science companies, research institutes, and private physicians who want to "level the playing field" with the reporters who cover them. 

Mark Engle, DM, FASAE, CAE

Mark Engle is a principal with Association Management Center in Chicago, IL. Engle earned his Doctor of Management degree in 2011 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, with study in nonprofit governance. Mark continually strives to develop and share research that leads to advancing association management. He is a frequent author and speaker on governance and high performing organizations and is a faculty member of ASAE’s Exceptional Boards program. He was recently honored with the Samuel Shapiro Award – Outstanding CEO – Association Forum of Chicagoland and was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives and the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Leadership. Engle is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer and formerly served as a chief staff executive for trade associations and professional societies for 29 years. 

Bradford Fitch

Bradford Fitch has spent 30 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, Internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher.  Fitch is a former radio and television reporter, and worked on Capitol Hill for 13 years as press secretary, legislative director, and chief of staff.  From 2001-2005 he served as Deputy Director of CMF, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advises congressional offices about how to improve operations.  He left CMF in 2006 to form a new company, Knowlegis, which is now a part of CQ-Roll Call Group. He served as a vice president there until 2010 when he returned to CMF as CEO. Fitch is also the author of Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials, and the Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress. He has also taught journalism and communications at American University in Washington, D.C. 

Jené Grandmont, MA

Jené Grandmont joined HealthLandscape in June 2010. Her primary responsibilities include managing application development and data for HealthLandscape. She works with users to understand how they can use data to make better informed decisions. She has extensive experience in social science research, including study design and advanced analytic techniques. Her research interests include exploring issues of health disparities and social determinants of health, access to care, and access to healthy foods and opportunities for active living. Jené earned a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Cincinnati.

Pamela J. Green, MBA, SPHR, ACC

Pamela J. Green is a business executive, leadership consultant, executive coach, keynote speaker, and published author with more than 25 years of business leadership experience. As the former VP/chief membership officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), she was responsible for membership revenue and strategies to engage and retain more than 260,000 business professionals. Since leaving SHRM and launching her consultancy in 2012, she has been serving as a leadership consultant to global corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. As President and CEO of The HR Coaching Institute she leads teams in developing strategies that increase productivity, employee satisfaction, commitment, and business results. Clients, including Walmart, Pepsico, WilmerHale, The Ohio State University, AARP, ICMEC, and the American Society of Association Executives, call Pamela to help achieve breakthrough performance with HR strategies, leadership initiatives, and professional careers.

Steve Gutzler

Steve Gutzler is one of the nation’s premier thought leaders and speakers on leadership, emotional intelligence, and personal transformation. Steve’s clients include many Fortune 500 firms, and he is a sought-after executive coach to CEO’s, business executives and leading entrepreneurs. Steve was recently voted No. 1 in a Huffington Post poll for “Social Media and Inspirational Leadership.” Steve has been engaging and inspiring audiences with his messages of extraordinary leadership, achievement, success, and significance for more than 25 years in more than 2,500 presentations.

Robert Hall, JD

Bob Hall is the director of government relations at the American Academy of Family Physicians. Bob directs all legislative and regulatory advocacy for the AAFP, including oversight of the Academy's Center for State Policy and FamMedPAC. Bob led efforts to improve insurance coverage for children at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) from 2006-2016. Prior to AAP, he served as counsel to U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, attorney advisor to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and chief clerk to the Texas House of Representatives Insurance Committee. He holds a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College.

Jennifer Higgins

Jennifer Higgins, partner at Chamber Hill Strategies, has a reputation in Washington for being an expert on health policy who gets things done. Jenn has spent the past 10 years using that tenacity and policy knowledge to help corporate executives navigate a constantly changing legislative and regulatory landscape. During her tenure in Washington, Jenn has represented a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies before Congress and the administration, serving as principal and partner with two prominent lobbying firms, as well as advising senior agency officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Jenn has spent the past 12 years cultivating relationships with key Republicans within the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, due to their primary jurisdiction on health care and tax issues. Her work with House Republican leadership has also facilitated clients’ direct access to key decision makers in health care, tax, and aviation. In 2015, she was elected to the Board of Directors for Running Start, a national nonprofit organization that helps young women develop skills necessary to run for political office. Jenn serves as a guest lecturer at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute and a regular contributor on PBS’s To the Contrary, a weekly discussion of news and national affairs with a panel of nationally known women.

Liz King

Liz King is an event planning superhero by day and closeted tech geek and introvert by night. Distraught by the thought of everyday civilians being conquered by spreadsheets, she resolved to re-channel her organizational and tech savvy superpowers, and she launched Liz King Events while still running events full time for Columbia University. Liz voraciously shared content on event best practices via social media and quickly became a thought leader/influencer among her peers. Her hopes of being an incognito event superhero went down the drain as her cover was blown once she started making cameos on lists like Successful Meetings’ list of “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” two years in a row and Connect Magazine's list of “40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners” in 2011. Liz employs her superpowers to help entrepreneurs and brands like Claudia Chan and Ramit Sethi plan smart, tech-savvy and engaging events. Outside of client events, Liz uses her prowess to educate and challenge industry peers to better integrate technology into live events and enhance audience experiences through auxiliary outlets like and PlannerTech, which she founded. When not saving others from event planning woes, Liz can be found unwinding by learning how to code, brushing up on her Korean, or indulging in Korean cuisine.

Shelby King, MPA

Shelby King is the legislative and policy strategist for state government relations at the American Academy of Family Physicians. Shelby tracks state legislation on issues affecting family medicine, performs ad hoc research for AAFP staff and state chapters, and assists the state government relations manager. Previously, she worked at Stateside Associates, a state legislative monitoring firm, to track health policy for various clients. She earned her Master of Public Administration from the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Political Science from Georgetown College. 

Clif Knight, MD, FAAFP

Clif Knight is the senior vice president for education at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). He oversees all organizational activities related to medical education and continuing medical education. These areas include education and training of medical students and residents; student interest in the specialty of family medicine, including federal policies that affect it; and CME curriculum development, production, accreditation, and regulations. Previously, Knight was a family physician in Indiana for nearly 25 years. He served as chief medical and academic officer for Community Health Network in Indianapolis, where he was responsible for patient safety, medical education, research, and medical staff support.

Winston Liaw, MD, MPH

Winston Liaw joined the Robert Graham Center in 2016 and currently serves as the medical director. In this role, he oversees the visiting scholars and fellowship programs, as well as conducting research on workforce, access, practice transformation, and integration of public health and primary care. Prior to joining the Center, he was faculty at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Fairfax Family Medicine Residency Program. In that role, he taught residents and medical students, directed the residency’s global and community health track, and served on boards for his practice’s accountable care organization and a community health center in northern Virginia. Dr. Liaw holds a bachelor’s from Rice University, a master’s from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine, He also has had family medicine residency training from Virginia Commonwealth University and health policy fellowship training from the Robert Graham Center. 

R. Shawn Martin

R. Shawn Martin is the senior vice president of advocacy, practice advancement and policy at the American Academy of Family Physicians and oversees the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care in Washington, DC. In his role, he directs legislative and private sector advocacy on issues such as physician payment and medical liability reform.

Mindi McKenna, Phd, MBA

Mindi McKenna is the director of the AAFP’s Continuing Medical Education Division and the staff executive for the AAFP’s Commission on Continuing Professional Development. In her role, she is responsible for ensuring the success of the AAFP’s CME Credit System, as well as the CME programs and products the AAFP provides.

Shannon Morey, JD

Shannon Morey is the state government relations manager of the American Academy of Family Physicians. In addition to assisting the AAFP’s state and territorial affiliates with governmental advocacy programs, Ms. Morey researches, writes, and lobbies on state and federal health policy issues of interest to family medicine. Previously, she worked at the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery managing its state affairs program. She earned her Juris Doctor with a concentration in health law from the Quinnipiac University School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Arizona. 

Shelly Rodrigues, CAE, CHCP, FACEHP

Shelly Rodrigues has more than 30 years of experience in medical society management. She has a bachelor’s in education and master’s in journalism from the University of Kansas and is a graduate of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough College on Collaboratives, Virtual Collaboratives, and Innovation. Shelly has been the deputy executive vice president for the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) for more than 20 years. Her role includes oversight of education, communications, and technology. She led the effort to secure ACCME accreditation for the CAFP and has achieved re-accreditation status four times. She serves on the executive team for The Evolution of Anticoagulation-AFib collaboratives (TEAM-A). She is a nationally recognized expert and frequent speaker on continuing medical education. She has served on the Commission on Continuing Professional Development of the AAFP and is also the executive Director of the CAFP Foundation. Shelly is a recognized leader in leadership development and co-founded the American Association of Medical Society’s Leadership Academy. She served as master faculty for the academy and has worked on leadership development projects with the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

Jolene Sammons

Jolene Sammons is an AAFP Credit System Specialist and is responsible for providing guidance to more than 1,300 CME provider organizations as they apply for CME credit. Additionally, she reviews CME credit applications, and travels around the nation to engage with CME providers who apply for AAFP credit. The AAFP’s Credit System is one of three national accreditors for physicians in the United States, in this role the AAFP sets and upholds the standards for over 124,900 family physician members. Jolene is viewed as a subject matter expertise in marketing and financial needs for the Credit System. 

Steve Smith, MS, CAE

Since 2007, Steve Smith has served as CEO and executive director of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) at Association Management Center (AMC) in Chicago, IL. Before joining AMC and AAHPM, Smith was senior director of business development, marketing, and membership services at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR) and worked in a variety of senior staff roles within the national office of the Alzheimer’s Association for nearly a decade. Smith is an experienced volunteer leader having served on several professional boards and committees within the American Association of Medical Society Executives, Association Forum of Chicagoland, American Society of Association Executives, Council of Medical Specialty Societies and Illinois State University. Smith is also a hospice volunteer and active in his community. He has received several awards including Association Forum of Chicagoland’s John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award in 2014 and its Inspiring Leader Award in 2009. Smith is frequent presenter, author, and consultant on a variety of topics for association and nonprofit leaders, including governance practices, membership and customer engagement, social media strategies for leaders, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Smith earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Illinois State University in communications with concentrations in organizational communication and gerontology/health care. 

Carson Tate

Carson Tate is a productivity consultant and the founder of Working Simply, Inc. She is the author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style. She serves as a coach, trainer and consultant to executives at Fortune 500 companies, including Deloitte, FedEx, Wells Fargo, and UTCS. She is a nationally renowned expert on workplace productivity whose views have been included in top-tier business media, including Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, CBS Money Watch, Fast Company, Forbes, Harvard Business Review’s blog, The New York Times, USA Today, Working Mother, and more. Prior to starting Working Simply, she worked in human resources and sales functions within Fortune 200 firms. Carson holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Washington and Lee University, a master’s in organization development, and a coaching certificate from the McColl School of Business at Queen’s University.

Wendy Taylor-Tanielian

A Telly Award-winning writer, Wendy’s career as a communication strategist includes teaching clients to listen prolifically and then tell their own stories really, really well. She has guided brands such as AT&T, DIRECTV and Tenet Healthcare to stronger audience communication strategies. Wendy’s speechwriting and presentation skills clients include political figures, CEOs, industry leaders, and nonprofit directors. She’s constructed speeches, testimonies, commencement addresses, and presentations given to local, national, and international crowds from Grand Saline, TX, to Washington D.C., to Baku, Azerbaijan. Her biggest “goose bump” moment to date is hearing her words delivered by the late Senator and Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient John Glenn.

Ray van Hilst

Ray van Hilst blends more than 20 years of marketing experience with modern web principles to create high value websites. He helps organizations meet their goals through user-centric, easy-to-manage websites. His diverse career includes work with Fortune 500 brands, including Disney and The Home Depot. He also assists many nonprofits and associations with membership, communications, event marketing, and website redesign projects.

Julie Wood, MD, FAAFP

Julie Wood is the senior vice president of health of the public and interprofessional activities at the AAFP. Julie oversees public health, scientific, and research activities of the AAFP, as well as the AAFP’s relationships with other medical organizations in the United States and abroad. 

Beth Ziesenis

Meet your new nerdy best friend: Beth Ziesenis. Author. Speaker. Nerd. Although the only real trophy she ever won was for making perfect french fries at McDonald’s in high school, Beth has been featured on best-speaker lists by Meetings & Conventions magazine and MeetingsNet. Since her first Commodore 64 computer, Beth has made a verb out of the word nerd. She helps computer users all over the country filter through thousands of apps, gadgets, widgets, and doodads. She shares the perfect free and bargain technology tools for business and personal use through presentations and her books, including the latest title, Nerd Know-How: The 27+ Best Apps for Work and How to Use ‘Em, available on