Spotlight, November 2021

From the President

President Stephanie Kruger
I’m Scandinavian by heritage which means I embrace the cold and dark winter months and count the days down until the shortest day of the year – which I celebrate on Santa Lucia (December 13th) just so I can start counting the days until the longest day of the year – which is celebrated during Midsomer!  Scandinavians like order, a proper schedule, the cycle of predictability, and traditions. We also love a good celebration, enjoying the outdoors, and coffee. We are diligently hard workers, try to be self-sufficient, and keep our opinions to ourselves (that quality may have skipped my generation). I’m thankful for my heritage. I’m thankful that I have a family legacy I can look to that demonstrates sacrifice, reinvention of self, grit, entrepreneurship, life after grief and loss, community solidarity, faith, and sense of adventure.   

As 2021 wraps up in a flurry of snow, I am hopeful that we are all able to draw on the legacies and inspirations that others have left us. We need to continue working diligently to connect with each other – helping and encouraging one another to grow personally and professionally in this world. I am thankful that we had that collective experience over the past year: within divisions of MRA, in different training sessions, and at the annual conference. We can also look forward to 2022 with a sense of adventure, putting into practice what we’ve gleaned over the past 2 years. 

Thank you to all who have contributed your professional opinions, abilities, guidance, wisdom, encouragement, and energy to MRA this year. Please know that you are a valued member!

Take care,
Stephanie Kruger
MRA President, 2021

Conference Committee

Season’s Greetings!

As the year winds down, I reflect back on the MRA Conference both in-person and online.

At Ruttger’s Bay Lake Resort, we were treated to beautiful sunrises, sunsets and a relaxing environment to call home for a couple of days. On September 29th, President Kruger welcomed the in-person attendees to kick off the pre-conference. That evening, we celebrated at the President’s Open House Fundraiser and Reunion Celebration. It is great to network and connect with friends and colleagues in the field. On September 30th, President Kruger welcomed both the in-person and online conference attendees to the general conference. That evening, we enjoyed a delightful meal, award celebration and bonfire. Congrats to all of the award winners! We ended the in-person and online conference with Steve Wooderson, who shared, “The Future of the Public VR Program”. 

Each year comes with its ups and downs, and this year was no exception. As a dedicated group of conference committee members, we stumbled a bit, were quickly humbled and learned a lot along the way about how to put on a conference. I am pleased to say that it was successful due to the incredible help of so many. I owe much gratitude to the Conference Committee, our technology support team, those behind the scenes helping with the online conference, conference speakers who dedicated their time, and President Kruger. I want to give a BIG thanks to those who attended the in-person and online conference. I can easily say, it was all worth it, and for that I thank everyone. 

While we don’t know what’s in store for next year, we are certain that no matter what comes the MRA Board’s way, a terrific conference is surely to follow.

With much gratitude,

Kelly Kennedy
MRA Conference Committee Chair

Job Placement & Development Division

Cristy Thomas, JPD President

As I end my year as President of JPD, I cannot help but reflect on how important our association and divisions are for those practicing in the field, now more then ever.  

In particular, JPD, we have a team that provides abundant opportunities to learn, teach, mentor, and share top quality advice and resources. A team that enables us to advocate, brainstorm, give back, meet, network and socialize with friends and colleagues all over the state. 

The changes around us—whether social, political, technological, economic or otherwise—require that we help our clients navigate through new and increasingly complex environments.

In many instances, we are responsible to help shape those new environments. Our terrific JPD community of professionals is a network on which I have become increasingly reliant when facing these new challenges and opportunities and I am thankful to them for that support. 

I’m proud of our Board’s successes over the last year and look forward to the opportunities and initiatives in the coming year. 

Thank you, members, for your continued participation and enthusiasm in our professional community. In addition, I’d like to give a special word of appreciation to our Board for their tireless work on behalf of JPD for all the resources, guidance and support they provide each and every day. Thank you all!

Wishing you all a successful and blessed 2022!

With appreciation, 

Cristy Thomas
MNJPD President 2021

MASPPR Division

Hello and Thank You!

It has been a privilege to be the President of the MASPPR division for the past three years. The conferences that we have put together as a team have been well attended and have received great feedback from attendees. The speakers and topics continue to be the best around! Thank you for showing up and growing your knowledge in our field. Thank you to MASPPR members: Frank Samlaska, Sarah Kacer, and Laura Hokeness, and all the speakers at the MRA Fall Conference, for doing a great job with your presentations.

I want to thank Kelly Kennedy and all of the members of the Conference Planning Committee. I appreciate your dedication and passion that you put forth to MRA. This year’s conference at Ruttger’s was not what we had planned twenty months ago! There wasn’t a section in the MRA Handbook on how to prepare and pull off a conference during a pandemic! But we persevered and made the most of it. Our presenters were fantastic, the location was beautiful, and the social bonding and togetherness was long overdue! I look forward to seeing you and many others at future MRA and MASPPR Conferences.

At the beginning of the new year, Laura Tykeson will be President of the MASPPR division. I look forward to her leadership and plans for the MASPPR division. I will continue to be an active member and will provide support to her for future conferences within our division and at the MRA Fall Conferences. I ask that you continue to support MRA and all the divisions. Show up to the next conference! Share our information with coworkers, colleagues, and people in your network that have never been to one of our conferences. The networking opportunities at our conferences are so valuable to all attendees as our members have so much knowledge and experience that they are willing to share.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Be safe, and take care!

Adam TeBrake
MASPPR President

Transition Specialties Division

Greetings from the Transition Specialties Division (TSD)!

As 2021 comes to an end, TSD wants to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season! We look forward to a new year where we can welcome new members, provide new professional development opportunities, and continue to make a difference in our communities!

Remember we are reimbursing memberships for 2021 when you become a TSD member! Take advantage of this free membership before the new year!

TSD is selling t-shirts for $20. The t-shirts are black and the front has a grey outline of Minnesota with the words “transition,” “passion,” “future,” “empowerment,” “job,” “new life,” “goals,” “motivation,” “creative,” “development,” “change,” and “career” in white along the outline. The back of the t-shirt says “MRA Transition Division” in white.
If you would like to order a t-shirt you can contact us at

If you would like to learn more about us, feel free to check us out on the MRA website or send us an email at .

Feel free to join us on one of our board meetings, for more information and a meeting link contact

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook too!

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