Workshop Descriptions & Leader Bios

Between Selfishness and Selflessness:  Finding a Place for Your Needs in Your Marriage  --  Jessie Allison

Together we will explore the idea of becoming a "real self" and learning how to bring that self into your marriage. This workshop will look at the needs that we all have, discuss ways to prioritize these needs, learn new ways of communicating your needs to your spouse, learn to receive from your spouse, and look at when to put your needs aside. Marriage can be a place where both spouses find what they need!

Jessie is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She loves working alongside her husband, Matt, (who has his PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy) to provide counseling for individuals, couples and families, focusing on those in ministry. She loves the ministry they do together at Great Lakes Christian College, where she supervises the women's dorm.  It's been such a blessing to share their lives and living space with college students!  Together they raise their five children (four awesome girls and one beautiful boy) and together they dream about one day having a home that is quiet and clean.  


Bible Study: The Gospel of John  --  Kate Blakely

Journey into the story of God as we walk through two different sections of John’s Gospel. What is God up to in each passage? What is He restoring? And what might He be tearing down to make space for renewal? Each workshop will be different, so feel free to attend just one or both sessions.

Kate Blakely has recently returned to Michigan after living ten years around the United States (and a few months in Mexico!). Kate loves to walk through the Scriptures with women, whose experiences bring such depth and insight to the discussions. A native of Nebraska, Kate met and married her husband Andrew while both were students at GLCC. She now serves as Professor of Cross-Cultural Ministry at Great Lakes Christian College, having just finished teaching her first year.


Gospel Girls II:  Influence Wisely and Well  --  Shelly Larson

As a disciple-making Gospel Girl, you are a woman of significant influence!  To maximize that call, you may wear a couple different hats—mentoring and coaching.  Let’s explore some ways to wear each of them well for the benefit of those we influence toward Christ. 

Shelly Larson is a Gospel Girl—she invites others to follow her as she follows Christ, and it’s one of the greatest privileges of her life!  Now, this Gospel Girl (G.G.) has officially become GiGi to her first grandchild and she is over the moon for Grayson!  Dare you to ask her to see his picture!


I Could Use a Nap and a Million Dollars  --  Jessie Clemence

Are you looking for the abundant life Jesus promised, but not finding it? In this workshop we’ll talk about the many kinds of stress we face, what the Bible has to say about them, and how we can choose to live differently. We’ll also laugh, tell funny stories, and leave feeling encouraged. 

Jessie Clemence has written three books; the latest is titled I Could Use a Nap and a Million Dollars: Biblical Alternatives to Stressed Out Living. She loves to help women connect their daily lives with biblical truths, often telling ridiculous stories in the process. She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband, two teenaged children, and one very very terrible cat. She attends West Kalamazoo Christian Church and works at Oakland Drive Christian Church as the Administrative Assistant. You can find her at  


Learning Contentment:  A Single Perspective  --  Dr. Esther Hetrick

Learning to be content in whatever "season" of life we find ourselves in is not just a challenge, it is a choice. When the "what if," "if only," or "why" questions begin to crowd in, we are challenged to choose to be content, because we trust in God, who is the source of our help and our hope. Workshop leader, Esther Hetrick, shares practical, biblical principles from her experiences as a single person, but also from her life as a Christian, a woman, a daughter, sister, aunt, preacher's kid, musician, teacher, life-long learner, and ministry leader.

Esther grew up in a Christian family, developing a heart for ministry from her preacher father, and a love for music from her mother, an elementary music teacher for over 30 years. She has fond memories of coming as a girl with her mother and sisters to lead music for the “WOW” Conference when it met in Kalkaska, MI as “Northwomen.” For 28 years, she has taught on the faculty of Great Lakes Christian College, teaching music, worship and ministry courses. In addition to her work at the college, Esther is very involved in her local church, playing keyboard for the worship band and serving as a network leader for small groups.


Make It - Give It  --  Paula Strachota

In this workshop, you will make a unique Bible Ribbon Marker for your Bible - you will make your own and/or make one to give to IDES to sell in their "Harvest of Talents" craft shows. The marker fits into the spine of your Bible and can mark up to 6 of your favorite pages. You will choose from supplies available or may choose to bring your own cardstock, ribbon and charms. There will be a $3 fee to attend this workshop. NO crafting experience needed - it is just a cut, fold, tape, and tie craft. Each Workshop is limited to 20.

Paula Strachota is from the Duplain Church of Christ, St Johns, MI. Paula has 3 sons, 2 daughters in law, 1 granddaughter and 4 grandsons. She is a retired nurse.  Paula finds joy through crafting for her church and others, along with scrapbooking, sewing, and glass etching. Her hope is to inspire others to follow Jesus!


Ministering Through Your Motivational Gift  --  Dr. Dan Cameron

In this workshop, you will complete a survey to discover which is your primary Motivational Gift and then clarify the features of each gift. Finally, we will discuss how personal ministry is shaped and focused through our giftedness.  This is a 2-part workshop; ladies should attend both sessions.

Dan is a recently retired GLCC Professor of Theology & Ministry, having taught at 2 colleges for 27 years. He and Donna have been married for 47 years and have served in the pastorate for 33 years, 15 of those years concurrent with teaching at GLCC. They enjoy reading, gardening, home renovation, nature, cats…and Dan loves motorcycling.


Parenting Challenging Children  --  Ashley Trieu

My passion for helping parents and children is summarized in John 10:10 -- "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  I feel called to help people embrace the fullness of the life Christ intended for us when he died on the cross.  God has equipped me to help children and parents with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Ashley Trieu is a Limited Licensed Psychologist and a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor.  She has been working with challenging children for over 7 years in multiple settings, including home-based, school-based, impatient hospital and private practice. Currently, Ashley works as a Behavioral Health Consultant at a pediatric and internal medicine clinic. She is also a wife and a mother of two children, 1 and 5 years of age.


Self Care: How to Nourish Your Body, Mind and Spirit  --  Kim Waggoner

Isn’t serving and loving others supposed to be fulfilling and make your feel energized? If so then why are you so exhausted? Are you making you a priority? Self care isn’t selfish it’s an act of self love that helps you flourish.  In this workshop I will share simple healthy self care strategies that you can implement right away.  Topics include nutrition, exercise, breathing, mindset, prayer and more! 

Kim is an ER nurse turned Healthy Living Coach after a personal stage 4 cancer diagnosis in 2010. Kim’s mission is to inspire, educate and equip women to live healthy, happy, hopeful lives.  (Kim's website  is


Whose Voice is True?  --  Laura Kellicut

What do we deserve in life? Good things, bad things, rewards, or punishments? When asked this question, many women become their own worst critics. Sometimes the voice we hear is our own telling us that we are not good enough. Sometimes it is the voices of others; our parents, past significant others, bosses, teachers, etc. Either way, we find ourselves feeling inadequate, unworthy, and valueless. We have a God that feels differently, though. We have a God who bestows grace upon grace on us, regardless of whether we deserve it. Come and explore what it looks like to live in that grace and experience how to challenge those voices with self-grace that comes from a true understanding of who God has created us to be.

Laura Kellicut is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master's of Counseling degree. The last few years she has been working on her PhD in Counselor Education and is currently writing her dissertation to finish up. She practices with Cornerstone Christian Counseling in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has been a ministry wife for 14 years and is presently ministering at Oakland Drive Christian Church in Portage, Michigan, where her husband in the Senior Minister. She also has two beautiful and spunky daughters that keep her on her toes!


Women...What to Do?  --  Tracy Kjergaard

Women’s Roles has been a hot topic for years. As Christian women, what are we to do and not to do in the church? What is our role in the home?  Does the Bible have anything to say about it?  In this roundtable, we’ll look to God’s Word for answers and have a healthy discussion about this very relevant and important subject.

For more than 30 years, Tracy Kjergaard has ministered beside her favorite preacher, Mike, who currently serves Christ’s Hope Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tracy leads worship at Christ’s Hope. In addition to music, Tracy serves in women’s ministry. She has a passion to share God’s Word with women; she enjoys teaching Bible studies and has spoken at various women’s retreats and other events. Tracy and Mike have two adult children.