CHANGING THE ODDS 2024

Critical Conversations on Mental Health

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Changing the Odds 2024 will be a dynamic, one-day conference addressing pressing mental health needs and inspiring impactful change. Centered around Momentous Institute's vision of emotionally thriving communities, our 2024 conference explores 'hot topics' such as addiction, technology's impact, puberty, neurodiversity, and more.

What to Expect?

Every year, Momentous Institute’s Changing the Odds conference brings together some of the world’s brightest minds in mental health and education who are focused on today’s children and families. This year is no different.

2024 Speakers

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CTO 2024 Speaker

Vanessa Kroll Bennett

Modern Puberty Explained

Vanessa Kroll Bennett is a national bestselling author and puberty educator. She is the co-author with Dr. Cara Natterson of This is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained. Together they co-host This Is So Awkward Podcast and run Less Awkward, the first company aimed at making puberty more comfortable with a membership for parents, an innovative health and sex ed curriculum for schools, and game-changing products. 

Vanessa and Cara speak to audiences across the country, using science and humor to encourage open (albeit awkward) conversations – a relatable, reliable approach to help keep kids safe and healthy. They don’t just hand out this advice; they live it: between them they are raising six teenagers.

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CTO 2024 Speaker

Drew Dutton

The Science of Addiction

Drew Dutton, LPC-S, LCDC, ACPS, is a seasoned leader in the field of adolescent substance use treatment and prevention, boasting over a decade of hands-on experience and leadership roles. Currently, he holds the position of President and CEO at Phoenix House Texas, a statewide nonprofit organization with a strong track record in addiction prevention and treatment services. 

Drew's professional trajectory is characterized by a deep dedication to crafting innovative, evidence-based programs designed to tackle the complexities of addiction. His overarching philosophy underscores the importance of experiential, informed, solution-focused, and positive interventions. Drew's commitment serves to combat addiction stigma and advance the field in a more robust and constructive direction. 

Nationally recognized for his expertise, Drew also actively contributes to the field through providing professional training in addiction and positive psychology. In addition, he serves as an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University, where he guides graduate students specializing in professional counseling.   

Drew holds a Master's in education from TCU, an MBA from Baylor University, and a Master's in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. This unique combination of qualifications reflects his dedication to a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach in reshaping the narrative around addiction. 

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CTO 2024 Speaker

Dr. Marisa Franco

Strengthening Social Connection, Community, and Collaboration... and Why It Matters

Dr. Marisa G. Franco holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland and works as a professor there. She writes for Psychology Today and has been a featured psychologist in The New York Times, Scientific American, NPR, and Good Morning America. Dr. Marisa G. Franco takes a data-driven look at community and connection, and speaks to private companies, universities, and non-profit organizations all over the country about finding and keeping new friends as adults, making (work) friends in a digital-only world, and overcoming loneliness. 

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CTO 2024 Speaker

Dr. Devorah Heitner

Youth in the Digital World

Dr. Devorah Heitner is the author of Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World and Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. She is delighted to be raising her own teenager and she lives with her family in Chicagoland. You can follow her  on Instagram @devorahheitnerphd and sign up for her newsletter here. 

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CTO 2024 Speaker

Dr. Cara Natterson

Modern Puberty Explained

Dr. Cara Natterson is a pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author of ten books including The Care and Keeping of You series. She is the co-author with Vanessa Kroll Bennett of This is So Awkward: Modern Puberty Explained. Together they co-host This Is So Awkward Podcast and run Less Awkward, the first company aimed at making puberty more comfortable with a membership for parents, an innovative health and sex ed curriculum for schools, and game changing products. 

Cara and Vanessa speak to audiences across the country, using science and humor to encourage open (albeit awkward) conversations – a relatable, reliable approach to help keep kids safe and healthy. They don’t just hand out this advice; they live it: between them they are raising six teenagers.

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CTO 2024 Speaker

Hanna Novak

A Conversation on Neurodiversity

Hanna Novak, M.S., CCC-SLP is the Clinical Director and a licensed Speech and Language Therapist/Social-Cognitive Specialist at The Center for Connection. Within her directorial role, Hanna leads an interdisciplinary team of 35+ clinicians spanning five professional domains. Hanna has a primary clinical focus on neurodiversity-affirming interventions that support self-regulation, social communication, executive functioning, and speech and language development. In addition to her directorial and clinical roles, Hanna works with school and therapy teams as a trainer and consultant to support greater understanding of her focus areas, as well as provide strategies and resources professionals can use with students to support students’ executive functioning, self-regulation, and social-emotional development in ways that best align with their neuro-constellations. Hanna has trained Preschool-12th grade teachers, parents, and professionals across the United States. Hanna is the co-creator of The Brain Talk Curriculum, the owner and founder of Bogen Speech & Language Therapy, and the co-founder of KinderWay.co.

I loved the speakers and topics as they together provided an eclectic and holistic set of the many facets impacting youth mental health and learning. I appreciated the diversity in the lineup of presenters as well as the structured organization of the overall event. I would love to attend next year again! ​

CTO Attendee 2023, Educator

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