The International Bullying Prevention Association’s Annual Conferences: “Looking Back” to Look Forward to Chicago

By: Nicolette G. Granata and Andrew Faubel

With the 16th Annual IBPA Conference quickly approaching (November 7-9, 2019), we decided to take some time to reflect on how our annual conferences have become the special spaces that we believe and see them to be. To do this, we needed to hear from the presenters and attendees that choose to fill these spaces again and again each year. From their testimonials, we created a list of the “best” reasons to attend our annual bully prevention conference. 

  1. At our conferences, you get to meet experts in the field face to face by attending their sessions and connect with them through interactive Q&A sessions. Our expert researchers and practitioners are excited about engaging with their audiences, and truly go out of their way to do so. 

“The International Bullying Prevention annual conference is an opportunity to meet, engage, and share ideas with on-the-ground experts in youth violence prevention. I am always happily surprised by whom I meet in the elevator, share breakfast with, or sit with in a session. The personal connections made at the IBPA conference are invaluable.” – Sally Kuykendall, Professor, St. Joseph’s University. 

“Learning from experts around the nation, and in fact, the world on issues related to bullying has been invaluable in helping to transfer the knowledge to the local school districts I interface with.” – Nancy Buyle, School Safety/Student Assistance Consultant, Macomb Intermediate School District, Michigan.

“Presenters represent a variety of professionals, from local innovators to nationally-respected researchers, and I always leave with exciting ideas and helpful tools.” – Emily Moore, Clinical Psychologist, Social Empowerment NM, New Mexico.

  1. At our conferences, you get to form new connections and build your professional network. These connections are formed in both formal and informal settings throughout the conference. 

“Social connections among attendees seem to form naturally, in response to an atmospheric commitment to kindness and inclusion.” – Emily Moore, Clinical Psychologist, Social Empowerment NM, New Mexico.

“I have made friends from Sweden and New Zealand as a result of attending these conferences.” – James R. Brown,PhD, MSW, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. 

“IBPA has been, and continues to be, my go-to source for current research in bullying prevention and intervention. Even more important, the annual conference provides networking opportunities for me to learn from other practitioners.” – Mary Yoder Holsopple, Consultant, Elkhart, Indiana. 

  1. At our conferences, you get to learn about new research and initiatives on a multitude of topics as well as current strategies that are working for others in the field. You can take what you have learned at our conference and use it to improve your own sphere of influence. 

“Every year I learn things that help me to grow as a parent, educator, and community member.” – Sara Evancho, Curriculum Specialist, BJC Healthcare, Arkansas.  

“Each time I attend an IBPA conference, I learn new ways toimplement evidence-based bullying prevention practices in my school district.” – Mary Wade, M.Ed, LPC, Olweus Bullying Prevention Trainer/Consultant, Licensed Trainer for Restorative Practices, Sources of Strength Certified Trainer, Prevention Intervention Coordinator, Paulding County School District, Georgia.

“We always encourage our trainers to attend to hear the latest research, learn how to put the research into practice, and network with colleagues.” – Jan Urbanski, Ed.D., Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. 

  1. At our conferences, you get the opportunity to learn in a different space. And not only a different space, but a vibrant one. Leaving your everyday work space for a few days can not only promote greater learning but can get you more excited about the work you are doing.

“As I prepare my yearly schedule, attendance to the Annual International Bullying Prevention Conference must be included. This conference helps me to refocus and re-energizesme to continue the fight against this very devastating epidemic called bullying.” –  Shawn Clarke, Chief Executive Officer, Supreme Counseling, Barbados.

“Having the luxury to think and focus is something this conference provides that you can’t replicate anywhere else.” – Matt Nie, Speech and Media Instructor, Burlington High School, Wisconsin. 

“I’m so lucky that my employer sends me every year, but even if that were not the case, I would find a way to fund the trip myself.  It is the best One-Stop-Shop for up to the moment best practices and data driven bullying prevention and intervention training.” – Frances “Pinkie” Weesner, Bullying Prevention Program Manager, Harmony at Home. 

  1. At our conferences, you get to meet like-minded individuals – individuals that feel just as passionately about creating a kinder world for our youth. Most of the people attending the conference are there for the same overarching reason, which means you all have something important in common from the start. This makes it easier to connect with and discuss your ideas with them.

One of the biggest take-aways is that we are all in this together and it’s so helpful to hear and learn how others are addressing very similar issues.” – Nancy Buyle, School Safety/Student Assistance Consultant, Macomb Intermediate School District, Michigan.

“The conference is robust with like-minded individuals striving to create positive climates within our communities, schools, and homes.” – Jenny Mischel, Ph.D. Candidate, George Mason University, Virginia. 

  1. At our conferences, you get the opportunity to try a workshop. Learn hands-on from professionals in the field that have personal experience with the issues you care about and hear testimonies about the methods that they have found successful. 

Each year the IBPA conference has helped me gain new perspectives on bullying and unacceptable behaviors. I have been able to share these insights through professional development workshops with my faculty and activities with our cadets. I have found the pre-conference workshops and discussions to be particularly helpful to me in developing our anti-bullying and unacceptable behavior programs at my school.” – Eric Boland, Headmaster, Camden Military Academy, South Carolina.

“For me professionally, IBPA is a great event, offering a unique balance of research information and application strategies.” – June Jenkins, M.Ed., Training-Consultation Coordinator, Safe & Humane Schools at Clemson University, South Carolina. 

  1. At our conferences, you get to have fun! Whether you choose to join us for sunrise yoga or take our recommendations on what to see and do in a new city, studies show you learn more when you are having fun while doing it. 

“For me personally, IBPA is a source of inspiration and a time to network and reunite with friends.” – June Jenkins, M.Ed., Training-Consultation Coordinator, Safe & Humane Schools at Clemson University, South Carolina.  

“All 8 of the IBPA conferences I have attended have been consistently excellent and very enjoyable.” – Emily Moore, Clinical Psychologist, Social Empowerment NM, New Mexico.

“The organizers consistently recruit relevant, dynamic keynote speakers; they offer 6 to 8 great options for each of the 5 break-out sessions and multiple opportunities for networking and socializing with colleagues.” – Frances “Pinkie” Weesner, Bullying Prevention Program Manager, Harmony at Home. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to register for the conference, please visit:


Post by Nicolette Granata and Andrew Faubel

Nicolette Grace Granata is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Psychology and a minor in Special Education. She is thrilled to be staying at Vanderbilt for five more years to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences (Developmental Psychology) within Vanderbilt’s Peabody School of Education and Human Development. She will continue her undergraduate research investigating young children’s concepts of norms, morality, disability, and empathy from a developmental perspective in order to better foster meaningful social inclusion for individuals with disabilities and differences throughout the lifespan. Nicolette has also served as the Communications Coordinator for the International Bullying Prevention Association (IBPA) for over a year now. 

Andrew Faubel is an event planning intern from Troy, MI. He currently attends Central Michigan University, where he is finishing up his undergraduate degree, majoring in Recreation and Event Management, with a minor in Marketing. He has 5+ years’ experience in events, mainly from his jobs as event staff at two different conference centers. One of Andrew’s proudest accomplishments is being a part of a team that planned and executed a wiener dog race as part of a class project. The event drew 300 people in attendance and raised over $1000 for the Humane Animal Treatment Society in Mt. Pleasant.

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