In-depth education kicks off "Essential" in-person pregnancy help conference

In-depth education kicks off \"Essential\" in-person pregnancy help conference (Lisa Bourne)

Hundreds in the pregnancy help movement learned about leadership, how to grasp their calling in life, The LOVE Approach, Abortion Pill Rescue® and more this week during a full day of in-depth education just prior to the official start of Heartbeat International’s Annual Conference.

Heartbeat’s Annual Pregnancy Help Conference officially kicked off Wednesday, Apr. 28, with both a virtual and in-person event. The pre-Conference in-depth day Tuesday drew well over 300 attendees, a precursor to the much larger Conference. 

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Participants in the in-depth day also learned about marketing, fundraising, and took part in maternity housing and executive roundtables, as well as hands-on ultrasound training. 

Heartbeat’s Annual Conference is the largest pregnancy help conference in the global pregnancy help community, providing valued education and networking opportunities.

The 2021 Conference marks the return of an in-person event after the 2020 Conference having been reimagined in the span of just a few weeks as the coronavirus began its spread. 

Lisa Bourne


Heartbeat is also celebrating its 50th year of its mission to reach and rescue as many lives as possible around the world through an effective network of life-affirming pregnancy help, to renew communities for life.

The 2021 Annual Conference theme is “Essential,” honoring the vital nature of pregnancy help. 

Providers with the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) educated pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) on the network and saving lives through APR. Abortion pill reversal is the cutting-edge application of a treatment used for decades to prevent miscarriage, and offers women who take the abortion pill and experience regret a chance to save their unborn child.

Attendees of the LOVE Approach, a signature Heartbeat International training, learned the effective and compassionate outreach that has been used for years by PHOs worldwide. 

Ultrasound hands-on training at Heartbeat's Annual Pregnancy Help Conference In-Depth Day/Lisa Bourne


Pregnancy help ultra-sonographers advanced their skills with an in-depth hands-on training that addressed both new imagers and experienced sonographers.

Maternity housing leaders shared advice and addressed pertinent topics in a roundtable discussion. The roundtable was led by representatives of the National Maternity Housing Coalition and touched on marketing, staff recruitment, the future of maternity housing and more.

Marketing and boosting on-line visibility through social media, local search, websites, and newsletters was covered by professionals with Heartbeat International, including Communications and Marketing and Extend Web Services.

In the area of fundraising, participants were trained on connecting with donors, specifically offering donors and prospective donors a powerful vision to believe in. 

A roundtable forum was held as well for leaders of larger PHOs. The forum included interactive discussion on how to mobilize expertise, spread ideas and prompt action.

Dave Rodriguez, CEO and Founder of Destinyworks, LLC, spoke to participants in his “A Why To Live For” training about how to better understand the calling in their lives.

Rob McKenna led a leadership development training along with colleague Daniel Hallak, focusing on intentionally integrating faith and development as leaders, or “becoming whole.”

McKenna is also the founder and CEO of WiLD Leaders, Inc. and the creator of the WiLD Toolkit, a leadership development process. 

Rob McKenna/Lisa Bourne


McKenna, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and leadership development expert, also offered the lunch keynote address, emphasizing recognition for the whole person for intentional leadership development.

The “whole story” of a person often includes paradoxical tensions, he said in his address, but it is nonetheless the whole story.

In asking the question of how to set leaders up for success, McKenna told Conference attendees, “When we ask a leader to develop, we are asking them to change, and change is almost always difficult.”

Leaders need development throughout life, he pointed out.

McKenna identified different types of leaders who may be resistant to change, and invited those in attendance to consider how to invite those leaders into this “whole story.”

His hope for the Conference and those who were taking part, he said, was that those whole stories will emerge. While there was hope for them to emerge, he said there are parts of our stories we do not share, that are continuing to emerge, that we are not ready to share yet. 

“But I think if we started to intentionally begin to see one another,” McKenna said, “to think about the leader capacity, instead of telling people, ‘here is your personality,’ or just one part of it, then we would start to think more wholly about what’s going on in the nuance of a person - how different it might become.”

Tweet This: I think if we started to intentionally begin to see one another, to think about the leader capacity .. how different it might become

He closed by asking those in the audience several self-examining questions, first and foremost, what would change if they heard the Lord’s voice more clearly today.

Heartbeat’s virtual pregnancy help conference runs Apr. 28-30, and the in-person event taking place in Columbus, OH, continues after the Apr. 27 in-depth day to run through Apr. 30.

Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network and Pregnancy Help News.

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