The Tough Stuff: Navigating Difficult Conversations*

Heart pounding. Palms sweating. Pacing. Mind racing. Looking for the door. Does this sound like you before, during, or after a difficult conversation? Ever found yourself avoiding tough discussions for fear of conflict?

Join this “funny-because-it’s-true” session about developing proactive skills to navigate tough conversations, conflict, and more. You’ll leave the session with tools to raise self-awareness and manage your reactions under stress, plus practical tips to embrace positive polarization and resolve conflicts with confidence.

Jenny Stotts

About Jenny Stotts:

Jenny Stotts serves as Ohio’s first Youth Ombudsman. The Youth and Family Ombudsman Office was created in early 2022 and opened to the public on May 31, 2022, supporting the resolution of complaints submitted by youth involved in the children services system. Stotts was appointed by Governor DeWine to lead the youth team. Previously, Stotts worked as the Executive Director of the Athens County CASA/GAL Program and served as the Regional Coordinator of CASA in Southeast Ohio, supporting the development of 3 new programs in the Appalachian region. Stotts led Athens CASA through a significant period of growth, effectively establishing the program as a leader in Ohio and across the country. Stotts developed a hybrid training program that is now used in 3 states. She was elected and served a 2-year term on the Rural Leadership and National Leadership Councils for National CASA. She served for 4 years as the Chair of Southeast Ohio’s Citizen Review Panel, a federally mandated child welfare evaluation program. She was previously an advisory board member of the Appalachian Children Coalition.

Stotts is a licensed social worker and a trauma specialist. She holds degrees in social work and social sciences, with a focus on applied government ethics. She is a graduate of Leading in Appalachia at the Voinovich School for Public Affairs. She previously worked in child protection as a caseworker and later as a forensic interviewer. She has extensive experience in crisis intervention and critical communications. She worked for several years in workforce preparation as part of Ohio’s University Partnership Program, educating future caseworkers. She is an accomplished speaker and trainer, having presented at events ranging from small community gatherings to international stages in front of thousands. She has given keynote addresses that have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She speaks on child welfare, trauma and resilience, and change management. She spoke with delegations representing 200 countries about the meaningful engagement of volunteers in humanitarian efforts at Rotary’s International Assembly. Her work on resilience and “listening with kindness” has been featured in international publications. She also speaks about her personal experiences as a foster care adoptee and as an adoptive parent.

In addition to her work, Stotts is an active volunteer in the community. She is a charter member and past president of the Athens Sunrise Rotary. She serves as an Assistant Rotary Coordinator for Zone 30, supporting approximately 30,000 members. Stotts also volunteers with the Make a Wish Foundation.

She was honored in 2018 as the Athens County Young Professional of the Year; 2019 “5 under 35” Notable Ohio Alumni; in 2020 as the Athens County Woman of the Year; in 2021 as the Boy Scouts of America’s Outstanding Community Leader; the 2021-2022 Rotarian of the Year; Ohio’s Mary Ellen Social Worker of the Year in 2022; and most recently in the fall of 2022, Stotts was recognized by the Adoption Network as the Triad Advocate of the Year.


*Session description and bio provided by the presenter.