North Dakota United is proud to present our third annual Professional Growth Institute this June 10-12, 2019, in Bismarck. This Institute is open to anyone interested in attending and will be focusing on community health. Our communities are the core of our lives, and the health of its members is crucial to our survival and success. Whether it is the health of our students, ourselves, our workplaces and schools or the community as a whole, we all must take part in ensuring its success. North Dakota United stands united in support of the health of our communities, and this conference will look at all the pieces of the puzzle to its health. Break-out sessions will include topics such as student behavioral health and the effects of trauma, personal health and fitness, workplace safety and general education topics.

We will also be offering free pre-conference sessions for NDU members-only on National Board Certification, PRAXIS testing, Compassion Fatigue, or Retirement Planning.


History of the Professional Growth Institute

The Professional Growth Institute is an annual three-day conference hosted by North Dakota United that gives all public educators and employees opportunities to see guest speaker presentations and attend specialized workshops and/or breakout sessions. It occurs in the month of June and travels to different communities in the state each year. Public educators and employees from all over the state usually book the same hotel to stay overnight. In 2017, the first-ever Professional Growth Institute took place in Medora on June 5-7. Last year, the second Professional Growth Institute occurred on June 4-6, 2018, at the CanadInn in Grand Forks. The main theme was “Working 4 North Dakota.” The guest speakers included Heidi DeMars of Mindful You-Mindful Me, NDU Vice President of Education Karen Christensen and 2018 ND Teacher of the Year Leah Juelke. The topics discussed were mindfulness, trauma, stress and time management, financial and retirement planning, resilience, leadership, social media ethics, student behavioral health, tech disruption and building bridges.

This year, the theme will be “Supporting Healthy Communities,” with the conference taking place at the Ramkota in Bismarck on June 10-12, 2019. The keynote speakers include fitness expert Melanie Carvell, attorney Mike Geiermann, and former Miss America Cara Mund.

The Professional Growth Institute is an opportunity for all public educators and employees to enhance skills in their fields and to network with other specialists and/or experts. It is an event for all members to unite for North Dakota.


Melanie Carvell

Finding the Heart of Health and Happiness
June 10, 2019
Melanie Carvell

A renowned athlete with an impressive resume and widespread travel experience, Melanie Carvell’s life began in small-town North Dakota. The harsh climate and small-town culture have helped to form and equip her for accomplishing success.

Carvell was an All-American triathlete six times, and she won a bronze medal in Germany in 1999. She is a certified worksite wellness consultant and is the former director of Sanford Women’s Health Center in Bismarck.

In July 2014, her book titled “Running with the Antelope: Life, Fitness, and Grit on the Northern Plains” was published. Her philosophy states, “If I can do these things, given the modesty of my upbringing and the harshness of the Dakota climate, so can you.” She has a deep love for North Dakota and continues to be a highly sought-after speaker.


Mike Geiermann

Workplace Safety
June 11, 2019
Mike Geiermann

Mike Geiermann studied at the University of North Dakota from 1981-1987; he earned a degree in secondary education as an undergraduate and then a law degree in graduate school. Immediately after, he worked for three years as the Assistant Attorney General. All-encompassing, he has represented North Dakota educators since 1987. He is currently situated in Bismarck at the law firm Geiermann Bergeson & Guler.


Cara Mund

Standing Up for Yourself in the Workplace
June 12, 2019
Cara Mund

In the spring of 2016, Cara Mund graduated from Brown University after studying Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations. In less than two years, Mund became the first-ever North Dakota native to be awarded the title of Miss America.

As a speaker who travels and tours extensively, she advocates for empowering women and putting a major emphasis on education and community service. She believes that the ingredients to making a dream come true are failure, determination, persistence, and courage. She also serves as a National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and is a major supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She firmly believes that the lives of individuals are defined by the legacies they leave behind.