Last week, a group of Cenet staff headed to Chicago for the fifth annual Midwest Sponsors 2019 Health Safety Welfare Summit, which was held on April 9. Cenet jointly hosted the conference alongside fellow Midwest sponsors Greenheart and Spirit, both based in the Chicago area. The annual Summit provides a means for sponsor training on health, safety, and welfare within the Exchange Visitor programs.
We started off Tuesday morning with a presentation by ECA Public Affairs Specialist Lynette Evans-Tiernan called Pillars of Public Diplomacy. Evans-Tiernan’s presentation highlighted the importance of sponsors as the foundation of the State Department’s foreign policy objectives. This was followed by informative sessions on counseling and sexual harassment, presented by licensed counselor Shannon Plate and Spirit Director of Account Services and Operations Michelle Chapman-Rienstra, respectively.
The afternoon was dedicated to breakout sessions led by Cenet’s Executive Director, Robyn Walker. Breakout groups discussed a variety of topics including housing, anti-trafficking, mental health, and advocacy. Overall, the trip was a great opportunity to connect with fellow sponsors and collaborate on best practices and continued improvement of our programs in the future.