Please read about the members of our Training Department and the gifts and experience they bring to each class and to your experience with MORC Training.
Kym Juntti- Director of Training & the Center for Positive Living Supports
Kym Juntti has worked in the Human Service field for over thirty years and came to MORC as a Trainer in 1996. She began her journey of learning about a Culture of Gentleness in 1987 while working for a large vocational provider supporting those with complex needs and it is has been the center of her work since. In 2008, she became Director for the newly developed Center for Positive Living Supports, which supported statewide shareholders in moving home over a hundred individuals during the closure of the Mt. Pleasant Center. As Director of Training she has presented on aspects of a Culture of Gentleness across the state, country and internationally. Kym shares “to get to do what feeds your soul every day is not something everyone gets to do. Working alongside passionate training and direct support professionals, driven to educate, mentor and empower others is a gift.” You can reach Kym at Kym.Juntti@morcinc.org or by calling 248-276-8084.
Ed Kiefer-Training Supervisor
Ed Kiefer is a licensed social worker who earned his degree from Central Michigan University. I started in the field in 1995 working for a provider as an entry-level Direct Support Professional. Since then, the positions I have held have included Home Manager, Case Manager, Social Worker/Support Coordinator, and Senior Training Consultant for the Center for Positive Living Supports. I have the utmost respect for caregivers and the vital role they play in supporting those in need. My current role, as both MORC’s and The Center for Positive Livings Support’s Training Supervisor, affords me the opportunity to help create Cultures of Gentleness for those in helping professions that align with Integrated Healthcare initiatives. I am inspired everyday by the commitment of our training team to ensure the thousands of caregivers we have the opportunity to influence will feel empowered to provide the highest quality of care for those they serve. You can reach Ed at Ed.Kiefer@morcinc.org or by calling 586-292-5825.
April Strnad-Training System Administrator
April Strnad has been an enthusiastic member of MORC since 1998. Data has been the focus of her career starting as a Data Technician in the Data Management Department, then served internal staff and providers as the IT Help Desk and Training Administrator. April finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Systems & Health Management, then took on the Training Supervisor role when Kym Juntti became the Training Department Director. April’s IT and IT Training experience helped the department transition from a paper-based model to one utilizing an online learning management system; she continues to serve MORC as the Training System Administrator.
Joshua Frei-Organizational Training & Curriculum Specialist
With a career background in manufacturing engineering, Joshua shifted his focus toward education in pursuit of a career that afforded him more time with his family. Earning his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan, he continued work as a fifth grade teacher and eventually as a Behavioral Intervention Consultant in the public school system. In 2012, Joshua began contracting with the MORC SIS Department before accepting a permanent position as a Trainer. Having recently completed a certificate in Leadership from Cornell University, Joshua is continuing his goal towards completing his Master of Adult Education and Training. Joshua is currently the Organizational Training and Curriculum Specialist at MORC with roles including the development of both Instructor Led and E-Learning platforms, as well as the implementation of an internal leadership-training program. The thing Joshua loves most about training is helping others see strengths inside themselves that they have yet to realize. You can reach Joshua at Joshua.Frei@morcinc.org or by calling 586-289-3369.
Tim Hylka- Senior Trainer
Tim Hylka started as a Senior Trainer for MORC in 2013. Prior to his career at MORC, Mr. Hylka has served in the non-profit human services sector as a Trainer for over 25 years at Spectrum Human Services, Spaulding for Children, and Samaritas (formerly LSSM). In addition to Mr. Hylka’s Instructor-led training, his passions also include video & audio production, online training development, and training product improvement and enhancement. Mr. Hylka received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois, in Champaign/Urbana and his Master’s degree from Michigan State University. Prior to and following his academic work at Michigan State, Mr. Hylka also served as a Direct Care Worker at both Alternative Services in East Lansing & Community Mental Health in Lansing. Mr. Hylka is an avid reader, biker, and strong advocate of preventative health care measures. Mr. Hylka’s additional areas of interest include Empathy & Compassion Fatigue, Ego Liberation, and Human Right’s issues. Mr. Hylka is committed to his learners’ ability to walk away from his trainings with a firm understanding of what it authentically means to embrace our “Culture of Gentleness” and to practice it daily in all facets of their personal & professional lives.
Stella Cowan- Senior Trainer
Stella Cowan is a learning and development professional with extensive experience in training and instructional design-related positions. She is passionate about both teaching and learning – referring to herself, with pride, as a “continuous or lifelong learner.” Stella seeks to set-up everyone she trains or teaches for success. Helping learners be successful in the classroom is perhaps her greatest joy relative to her role as a trainer. Stella joined the training team at MORC in November of 2016.
Stella has a Master’s Degree in Education and her professional experience includes Management Development Specialist (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan), Learning Systems Consultant (Development Dimensions International), and Senior Performance Specialist (Plante and Moran). The scope of Stella’s expertise in the training discipline includes facilitation, course and curriculum design, needs assessment, evaluation and measurement, and train-the-trainer. Additionally, Stella is an adjunct professor for Spring Arbor University’s Bachelor Degree program in organizational management.
Finally, Stella is the author of several training and organization development booklets published by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), including Alternatives to Classroom Training, Fostering Resilient and Change-Ready Employees, and Change Management. Stella also published (HRD Pres) a train-the-trainer workbook entitled Be a Star Facilitator and Presenter of Training.
Tom Persinger- Trainer
Tom Persinger holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Tom has been training since 1995. Tom received his Master Training certification through the Child Welfare Institute, and participated in close to seventy hours of Emerging Leader Training. Tom joined the MORC Training department in 2016 and shares, “What I enjoy most about being a training professional is helping learners to understand and get excited about the concept of a Culture of Gentleness”.
Kathleen – RN Trainer
Kathleen has had a long-standing relationship with MORC going back to 1975 as a Direct Care Professional when de-institutionalization was just beginning. She worked in the field and was directly involved with bringing folks from the institution to community placement with the opening of several group homes in Macomb County. After obtaining her Associates Degree in Nursing from MCCC she has spent many years within the local hospital system specializing in Cardiac Nursing when out of nowhere the opportunity came to interview for a Nursing position at MORC. She has worked within the agency as a Community Nurse along with the development of MORC Home Care. Kathleen joined the Training Department in 2009 and enjoys working with the caregivers in the classroom. Simply stated, “What I enjoy most about training is when a trainee has that moment of clarity and realizes the importance of the best quality of care that is needed for those we serve and how they play such an important role in that care.”
Marije Markaj-RN Trainer
Marije Markaj, is a Registered Nurse Trainer and joined MORC’s training department in 2012. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Marketing from Oakland University and Nursing Degree from Baker College of Auburn Hills. Currently, she is working on her Master’s Degree in Nursing. Her first job after graduating from Oakland University was in marketing, but she soon realized her passion was in helping others. Aside from marketing, her experience in nursing includes geriatrics, medical surgical, and allergy and asthma. Her favorite part of training is working with the Caregiver’s and hearing their stories of how they love doing what they do. “Their commitment and compassion to caregiving is what the Culture of Gentleness is really about!”
Tanya Stewart- RN Trainer
Tanya Stewart joined MORC in 2012. Her journey in healthcare began in 1998 as a caregiver. She graduated from Davenport University with an Associate’s Degree in 2009. She enjoyed working in home health care and long-term care as a RN, prior to joining the training department. As a former caregiver, Tanya recognizes the hard work and dedication given each day to those supported. When asked the most important part of her job, Tanya stated, “Providing a meaningful learning experience and helping caregivers succeed because I know this will later directly influence the lives of those supported in the community.
Debbie Smith-Office Manager
Debbie Smith began working with MORC in May of 1997 as the Office Manager of the Training Department. Debbie’s past work history includes secretary for one of MORC’s providers, office manager for the Mayor of Cape Coral, FL and personal assistant to the CEO of a legal firm in Michigan.
Debbie has been the face and voice of MORC’s Training Department for two decades and loves what she does. MORC is a large part of Debbie’s life and she considers those in the Training Department “work family” and dear friends. Debbie believes Gentle Teaching really works and has helped her to be more caring and understanding. Her feeling is to treat everyone the way you would like to be treated or have a member of your family treated. Debbie hopes to makes things easier and less stressful for anyone needing her help and will continue to do so each day.
Favorite things when not at MORC include just being with family, enjoying good friends, loving her dog, grand dogs and growing flowers. You can reach Debbie at Debbie.Smith@morcinc.org or by calling 248-276-8031.
Jennifer Brandt- Secretary
Jenn Brandt started working in the Training Department in 2015 after a brief time in MORC’s Health Information Management Department. She works primarily at the Lincoln Center in Clinton Township and supports The Center for Positive Living Supports. She is the editor for the Training Department’s quarterly newsletter and is usually the face behind the Training Department’s general email address. Being a huge devotee of the Culture of Gentleness, her favorite of the 6 Elements is Structure. Favorite John McGee quote: “Our primary strategy is repeated acts of love.” You can reach Jenn at Jennifer.Brandt@morcinc.org or by calling 586-464-0400.
Greg Denise- Guest Trainer
Greg joined MORC Training as a guest presenter in 2011. He passionately shares his experience of living in an institution and the difference a life in the community has made for him and his family. Greg shares with those in the helping profession what a rich, full life means to him. He also explains the characteristics he looks for in a caring support professional. He provides a review of what supports professional can do to build a positive and supportive relationship with those supported and interactions that can increase fear, anger and frustration. Greg is trained in a “Culture of Gentleness,” is a motivational speaker, and a gentle mentor to those entering human services.
Ricky Bledsoe – Guest Trainer
Ricky joined MORC Training as a guest presenter in 2013. He passionately shares his experience of living in environments that did not honor his unique gifts and dreams for a meaningful life. He shares the difference a self-determined life in the community has made for him and his family. Ricky shares with those in the helping profession what a rich, full life means to him. He also explains the characteristics he looks for in a caring support professional. He provides a review of what supports professional can do to build a positive and supportive relationship with those supported and interactions that can increase fear, anger and frustration. Ricky is the business owner of DJR Productions, LLC. He provides outstanding DJ services for all occasions and enjoys sharing his love of music with others.
Sheldon Schwitek-Contract Trainer for CPLS
Sheldon Schwitek has been supporting individuals with complex behavioral needs in the United States and in Canada for almost three decades. His initial interest in person-centered practices grew out of supporting a young man with Autism. During this experience, he was introduced to the founding members of the Marsha Forest Center (www.marshaforest.com) and became a facilitator of the processes of Maps, Paths and Circles of Support.
For almost 10 years, he worked closely with Judith Snow, a pioneer in developing circles of supports and helping to identify ways that others could discover their gifts and contribute to their communities. For 20 years, Sheldon has been an integral part of the Toronto Summer Institute, helping to facilitate connection and community with diverse groups of participants. Sheldon has utilized the knowledge and skills he gained throughout his career to ensure the supports a person receives are focused on the unique preferences and needs of the individual and those who know them best.
During the last decade, Sheldon’s work has been associated with The Center of Positive Living Supports (www.positivelivingsupport.org) in Michigan. The focus of The Center’s work on the importance of relationships was a perfect fit for how Sheldon approached the issues surrounding those who are most at risk of being excluded.
Sheldon’s wish is to bring his broad experience to bear in helping organizations and teams provide the best-individualized supports to those who are the most brokenhearted and present significant challenges to those who provide assistance. He believes that with the correct training and support, anyone can be supported to thrive in a community setting.
Chris Hench-Contract Trainer and Consultant for CPLS
Chris Hench Is the mother of two adult children, one of whom experiences developmental disabilities and one of whom is Deaf. She has spent her entire adult life working in the field of disability. She has an MSW from the University of Michigan. She worked at a provider organization for people who experience developmental disabilities for over 30 years. During that time, she facilitated many trainings on various aspects of caregiving, disability and Deafness. Upon retirement, Chris came to the Center for Positive Living Supports part-time to facilitate the Culture of Gentleness Practicum and the Providers’ Culture of Gentleness Workgroup. Her favorite part of being a trainer is connecting with the many wonderful caregivers who are the backbone of Michigan’s support system for people with disabilities.