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NASW Student Advocacy Training
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NASW Student Advocacy Training

When: 12/12/2019
9:00am-1:00pm; lunch provided
Where: University of Utah College of Social Work
395 S. 1500 E.
Okazaki Community Room
Salt Lake City, Utah 
United States
Contact: NASW Staff
(801) 583-8855

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 NASW, Utah Chapter

2019 Student Advocacy Training

Thursday December 12, 2019

Pre-registration required


9:00: Check-in 

9:30-10:30: How to change the world one act at a time: a dialogue Kilo Zamora, MSW

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-11:00: Overview of NASW's Online Advocacy Platform Madison Norris, CSW 

11:00-11:45: Advocacy 101 Travis Wood and Joel Johnson NASW Lobbyists 

11:45-1:00 Lunch & Panel Q&A  Joel Johnson, Travis Wood, David Parker, Emily Bleyl, Shireen Ghorbani



FREE for NASW Members 

$15 for non-members 
Lunch will be provided

Location:  Room 155 Goodwill Building, University of Utah College of Social Work 395 South 1500 East/SLC Courtesy parking in east stadium lot


Click for Directions and Parking Details


-Members must be logged in to receive discount.
-Full refunds available 5 days prior to event date. 
-Disability requests must be received 7 days in advance. 
Please contact  

Presenters and Panelists

Kilo Zamora, MSW Kilo Zamora is known for his skills to increase peoples capacity for social change. He creates learning environments for groups to develop themselves and transform their communities. Kilo teaches an array of social change classes at the University of Utah, including the Westside Leadership Institute, Gender On The Hill, and Gender Theory and Community Organizing. He served as the past chair of the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission and the former Inclusion Center for Community and Justice, Executive Director. Kilo is at his best when facilitating dialogues to foster compassion and creating solutions to divisive issues. His awards including the University of Utah’s faculty recognition award, School of Social Work’s Teacher of the Year, Pete Suazo Social Justice Award, Equality Utah Award, Utah Education Association Award, Utah Martin Luther King Award, Southern Utah University Humanitarian Award, and University of Utah’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Some of his recent successes are leading Weber School District’s first equity plan, helping establish Park City’s first equity plan, conducting President Obama’s Dialogue for Immigration Reform in Salt Lake City, assisted in passing the HB 250 (mandatory processing of all Sexual Assault Kits) and the passage of both Salt Lake City Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, and assists in rewriting the Westside Leadership Institute’s manual. 

Madison Norris, CSW Madison first completed her bachelor's degree in Social Work at Texas Woman's University where she was an officer of Phi Alpha Honor Society. She completed a part-time internship with Cumberland Children's Home, and a full-time practicum at Mayhill Hospital, both in Denton Texas. She then moved to Utah to pursue a Master's degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. While at the U she presented on methodologies of working with individuals living in homelessness in SLC to a group in Mongolia, built a website using Weebly for challenges and resources for individuals who are aging and LGBTQ+, organized and planned an event over the topic of resilience in aging, and interned part time at NASW during the Spring semester with Emily Bleyl. She received the Elise Kasteler Hutchings Award for Leadership in NASW at the University of Utah College of Social Work for the hard work she exhibited during the time she spent with Emily, and has decided to stick around beyond graduation. Her interests include policy engagement, advocating on behalf of social justice issues, engaging with communities in creative ways, and encouraging Social Workers across Utah to be engaged with THE professional organization that represents them, and just about anything Social Work related!

Travis Wood With 19 years experience, Travis Wood is one of the longest serving lobbyists on Utah's capitol hill. Wood started as the political intern in 1994 with the Senate Minority Leader's office, and soon after was recruited by the Utah Public Employees Association. At UPEA, Wood managed their political action committee, Citizen Action by Public Employees (CAPE). Travis expanded the organization's operations, and is credited with helping to elect dozens of state and local candidates. In 2000, Wood left UPEA to become the Vice President for Government Relations at the Utah League of Credit Unions. In that role, Wood oversaw the largest PAC in the state at the time. Wood also managed an independent expenditure campaign that the Federal Election Commission ruled should serve as the model for such efforts.

Today, Travis is the Executive Director of Utah Health Plans. UHP is the largest trade association in Utah representing the health insurance industry. Travis founded Community Solutions Consulting in 2014.
Known as a Democrat, Wood has excellent working relationships with members of both parties. He is known as an expert for health policy and financial services whose advice is sought out on such issues. Travis believes that honesty and loyalty are the most important attributes of any political relationship, and he strives for both in every endeavor.


Joel Johnson Joel expands the expertise of Community Solutions Consulting into several areas including Real Estate and Property Management. Prior to joining CSC, Joel had worked nearly ten years in these fields. Joel left direct involvement in these fields to begin working in public advocacy.  After working with the Utah Association of Counties during the legislative general session in 2011, Joel was recruited to become the Director of Advocacy for the Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA). USARA is the largest public advocacy group that advocates on behalf of funding for the recovery community. While serving in this position, Joel was also recruited to serve as the Interim Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party. Joel served in this role for approximately six months before being recruited to serve as Deputy Director of the Capitol Hill Association. The Capitol Hill Association is the largest trade association representing the lobbying community in the State of Utah.  Joel is one of the founding partners of CSC. He is currently involved with multiple nonprofit associations, representing a variety of social service needs. His advice is heavily valued and sought after by many professionals in the mental and behavioral health industry.  Joel believes the most important qualities in any business relationship are those of honesty and integrity. Joel was recently married to his wife Ashlyn, and they currently reside in the Salt Lake City area

David Parker, EdD Dr. David Parker collaborates with corporate and nonprofit organizations to create and sustain communities defined by authentic inclusion.  By his own definition, authentic inclusion is an environment where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives are respected and people are treated with an intentional sense of value. Through customized workshops, Dr. Parker gently helps participants learn about and actively build this kind of environment.  Bringing a long history of dynamic, intelligent, and expansive presence, he gladly shares his deep passion for the arts. In his workshops, he draws on his experience as an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter to help others express feelings and new understandings. He incorporates popular music to set themes and invites movement to engage participants.  Growing up in Queens, New York, Dr. Parker was the second of five children in a family that valued religious observance. Young David was a Boy Scout who loved to sing in the choir. He attended high school with 5000 students.

He learned social responsibility and skillful listening from his hard-working mother. “We are here to listen, to hear one another’s stories,“ she would say.   Dr. Parker was also influenced by Academy-award winning actor Sidney Poitier and General Colin Powell. From their examples, he learned perseverance in the face of bias. Similarly, he was inspired by Brooklyn Dodger’s ace pitcher, Sandy Koufax, who defied and transcended stereotypes. Dr. Parker also fondly recalls Miss Linda, a neighbor who lived on the tree-lined street of his childhood. He noticed she used the name of each child passing by when asking “how are you today?” She would then require specific details beyond their first response, making it clear she wanted to know for certain how each of them felt.  Dr. Parker received his Bachelor of Science in Social Work at the State University of New York, Brockport, and his Master’s in Education from American InterContinental University. He earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with a focus on cultural transformation from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His social work perspective is at the foundation of his work, his career and his life. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the National Council on Communicative Disorders. His numerous community service awards include the Richard Follett Memorial Award from the Pittsburgh Speech Hearing and Deaf Center.

Emily Bleyl, LCSW  Emily Bleyl is the executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, Utah Chapter, and an associate instructor in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah.  She graduated with an MSW degree from the University of Utah, and continued her social work training as a clinical social work fellow at the Yale Child Study Center and a Bush fellow at the Yale Ziegler Center in Child Development and Social Policy.   After completing her fellowships, she was the director of public policy and research at the United Way of Tucson and southern Arizona before returning to Utah where she spent several years  on the crisis and inpatient psychiatric service at the University Hospital, in a children’s outpatient clinic and in private practice.  She serves on the Governor’s Behavioral Healthcare Workforce Workgroup, National NASW school violence policy committee, and is a founding member of the Utah Coalition of Mental Health Professionals.  Since 2010, she has successfully developed, lobbied and implemented several pieces of social work related legislation in Utah, and was recently recognized as the NASW Outstanding Executive Director of the Year, and one of Utah Business Magazine’s Thirty Women to Watch.  Her primary interests are the intersection of social work practice and policy development, and professional ethics.  

Shireen Ghorbani is an at-large Salt Lake County Council-member, serving 1.2 million Utahns. Shireen first became involved in public service in 2016 to fight for access to affordable healthcare. Shireen is passionate about healthcare and mental healthcare, efficiency and innovation in government, and engaging everyday citizens in the political process. Professionally, Shireen is an associate director of communication and organizational development in Facilities at the University of Utah. In her community work, Shireen is the board chair of the Rape Recovery Center, and serves on the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling Board, the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area, and Salt Lake County Health Department's Environmental Quality Advisory Commission. Shireen holds two Master's degrees in Communication and Policy. From 2003-2005 she served in the United State Peace Corps in Moldova with a focus on gender and development and anti-trafficking work.


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Utah Chapter, NASW
University of Utah, College of Social Work Room 229
395 South 1500 East • SLC, UT 84112
Phone: 801-583-8855 • Email: