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World Renowned Educational Psychologist To Speak at Imua Family Services Conference

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Dr. Michelle Borba, who wrote Thrivers, is the keynote speaker at the Early Childhood Development Conference hosted by Imua Family Services on Sept. 11 in Wailuku.

The annual Early Childhood Development Conference by Imua Family Services will feature keynote speaker Michelle Borba, Ed. D., an internationally renowned educational psychologist, award-winning author and parenting child expert who has spoken in 19 countries and five continents, and served as a consultant to hundreds of schools and corporations.

The conference will be held Sept. 11 at the Imua Discovery Garden in Wailuku. It will include a series of up-to-date discussions and trainings focused on the impacts, effects and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference will provide teachers, social workers, therapists, behavior specialists, administrators and other professionals working in the field with information and inspiration to continue their important, and in many cases life‐changing work.

Attendees, who can participate in person or virtually, will receive practical skills that can be used in their day‐to‐day work environment as well as their individual lives. The conference will cover topics important to practitioners navigating individual treatment and group/classroom work during these challenging and unprecedented times.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Borba is recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s character, resilience and reduce peer cruelty. Her clients include Sesame Street, Harvard, US Air Force Academy, 18 US Army Bases in Europe and the Asian-Pacific, H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and a TEDx Talk: “Empathy Is a Verb.”


Borba offers realistic, research-based advice culled from a career working with more than one million parents and educators worldwide. She is a media spokesperson for major corporations including 3M, Office Depot, Unilever, Similac, General Mills, Mastercard, All, Galderma, V-Tech, Cetaphil, Splenda, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson; and she is a consultant to Apple TV, McDonalds and Disney.


As a teacher, educational consultant and parent for 40 years, Dr. Borba has never been more worried for young people than she is about this current generation of kids. Across the nation, student mental health is plummeting, depression rates among teens are rising, kids are reporting severe anxiety at ever-younger ages – and the pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis. When Dr. Borba asks a group of students to “tell me about your generation,” most respond with stories of stress, anxiety, isolation and fear. “We’re like pretty packages with nothing inside,” one teen said.

But some young people aren’t struggling; they’re thriving. They cope with adversity, develop healthy relationships and embrace change. They are ready for whatever the world throws at them, even in uncertain times. Dr. Borba calls these kids Thrivers, and the more she studied them, she wondered, “What is their secret? And can it be taught to others?”

The conference also includes Jackie de Crinis, who will be leading a workshop on self-care for clinicians and early childhood practitioners. De Crinis is a Life Coach who is passionate about teaching individuals how to reduce their stress and feel happier in their lives. Her 30 years in the television business included developing a large slate of hit series, including Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Suits, Mr. Robot and Chrisley Knows Best, as the former Head of Original Programming at the USA Network.


She previously worked for ABC, 20th Century Fox and Sony TV, where she supervised dozens of award-winning series. While managing her career in television, de Crinis also was raising three children.

“My life was fueled by adrenaline, caffeine, sugar, anxiety, and hyper-vigilance,” she said. “I was so busy surviving my life that I never had time to enjoy my life. I made the conscious decision to find a different path both personally and professionally. Now I help other people learn to manage their stress by teaching them healthy habits and mindset tools to feel better.”

Imua Family Services also will utilize its own professional staff to cover the topics of trauma informed care, the pandemic’s effect on children and families impacted by autism, and lessons learned from the past year of Imua Inclusion Preschool and its practices around place-based education and inclusion.

The full schedule for Imua Family Services’ Early Childhood Development Conference, including speaker bios and registration information, can be found at

In-person activities will occur outdoors, with pandemic precautions in place. Food will not be provided, but there is plenty of open grass space to enjoy a picnic lunch brought from home. Registration is $80.00 per person, with a discount provided to University of Hawaiʻi students. For more information, go to or call 808-244-7467.

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