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Heartbeat International Conference


45th Annual Heartbeat International Conference

Atlanta, Georgia | March 29 - March 31, 2016

Hotel Information |  Conference Schedule | Exhibitor Information

Keynotes | Workshops | In-Depth Day | Conference Brochure


Hotel Information for 2016 Conference

Sheraton Downtown Atlanta
165 Courtland Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Heartbeat has negotiated the following group rate: $149++/Night (Single/Double). You can book your room here.

Note: The hotel will require a deposit equal to one night room and tax when you make your hotel reservation. Upon check-in, the deposit will be applied towards your hotel bill. Deposits paid are refundable, if notice is received by the Sheraton Atlanta at least three (3) days prior to arrival and a cancellation number is obtained. The hotel will require an early departure fee of $100 if you check out prior to the confirmed reservation check-out date.

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Schedule at a Glance for 2016 Conference

Monday, March 28
5-7pm - Registration for Pre-Conference In-Depth Day

Tuesday, March 29
Pre-Conference In Depth Day (paid registration is separate)
8:00am - Registration
9:00 to 5:00pm - In Depth Day training
2:00pm - Conference Attendee Registration Opens
2:00pm - Exhibit Hall Opens
6:00pm - Annual Conference Opening Session (Dinner & Keynote)

Wednesday, March 30
8:30am - Morning Session & Keynote
Workshop Session A
12:00pm - Lunch & Keynote
Workshop Session B
Break & Prayer Time

Thursday, March 31
8:30am - Morning Session & Keynote
Workshop Session C
12:00pm - Lunch & Keynote
Workshop Session D
Workshop Session E
6:00pm - Closing Banquet (Dinner & Keynote)

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  Early Bird Pricing
ends Feb 17
Regular Pricing
Feb 18 - March 4
Late Pricing 
after March 5
In-Depth Day Only $145 $155 $165

In-Depth Day and Opening Dinner

$220 $240 $260
2016 Annual Conference $389 $489 $589
Conference Bundle $499 $599 $699



We are glad to welcome Keynote speakers for the 2016 Heartbeat International Annual Conference, who are key leaders in the pregnancy help movement, as well as prolife leaders from around the United States.

Reverend John Ensor, President, PassionLife 

John Ensor is a glad co-laborer in the rapidly expanding pregnancy help movement. He is the President of PassionLife, an ordained evangelical pastor and the author of several books, including Innocent Blood: Challenging the Powers of Death with the Gospel of Life. He and his wife, Kristen, have been married 34 years. They have three grown children and live in Roswell, GA

Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr., Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church 

Harry R. Jackson, Jr. is senior pastor of Hope Christian Church, a 3,000-member congregation in the nation’s Capital with his wife Vivian Michele. Bishop Jackson is also the Presiding Bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches. This network of networks currently oversees 1,000+ churches around the world. He also is founder and president of High Impact Leadership Coalition, which exists to protect the moral compass of America and be an agent of healing to our nation by educating and empowering churches, community and political leaders.

Pat Layton, Author, Surrendering the Secret

Pat is a passionate and inspiring leader who during her 25 years in full time ministry has founded a variety of ministries including a Pregnancy Resource Center, a Christian Adoption Agency, and an abstinence education program. Pat hosts a national woman’s conference and a post abortion recovery program called Surrendering the Secret. She is a busy speaker, author, and Life Coach. Her post abortion recovery Bible study Surrendering the Secret was published by Lifeway in 2008. She has recently published a Bible studies gift book series called Born to Bloom, A Surrendered Life released by Baker books in August 2014 as well as her latest release called Life UnStuck.

Shawn Carney, Co-Founder, 40 Days for Life 

Shawn Carney, co-founder of 40 Days for Life, is one of the youngest and most inspirational pro-life speakers in America. Shawn began in the pro-life movement in college as a volunteer and after college was asked to be the Executive Director of the organization he volunteered for, the Coalition for Life which is made up of over 60 churches. Shawn’s passion for local pro-life ministry led to rapid growth during his years as executive director. Shawn helped recruit and train thousands of volunteers, increased the income of the organization’s annual banquet from $80,000 to $322,000, and orchestrated the purchase and remodeling of a new office next door to the Planned Parenthood abortion facility to offer free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, and loving support to women.

Andy Merritt, Pastor, Edgewood Baptist Church 

Andy is the pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia, where he has served for over 38 years. In addition to his pastoral duties, Andy is one of the early pioneers of the Pregnancy Center Movement. In 1981 Andy led his church to establish the nation’s first church sponsored Pregnancy Center, which now has had the opportunity to minister to over 65,000 different women.

In addition to the Center, the church established the New Beginnings Adoption Agency in 1984. Andy has traveled nationwide assisting in the establishment and training of over 500 Pregnancy Centers, and his church hosts a National Pregnancy Center Conference every other year the first weekend of March.

Joy and Jim Pinto, At Home with Jim and Joy 

Jim and Joy have been recognized locally and nationally for their ministry to the poor, and for promoting racial reconciliation and the dignity and sacredness of every human life. Their radio and television show At Home with Jim and Joy plays on EWTN every week promoting life, marriage, and family. Joy serves as Executive Director of Her Choice Birmingham Women’s Center, a Pregnancy Resource Center in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama where Jim also serves in Ministry Development. The Pintos are proud parents of 4 children and 15 grandchildren and have been married for 38 years.

Leo Severino, Producer, Metanoia Films 

Leo Severino is a writer and producer of the films Bella, Crescendo and Little Boy. He graduated from the University of Southern California Law School in 1999 and started his career as a young lawyer in one of the world’s largest law firm’s (Gibson Dunn & Crutcher) prestigious Los Angeles and London offices. In 2001, he moved to the Fox Networks Group where, as Director of Business Affairs, he was the youngest executive in the department and worked for three years with the company handling the national programming division. A chance meeting with Eduardo Verástegui in 2004 resulted in Leo’s departure from 20th Century Fox to become a partner and producer, in charge of Business Affairs, for Metanoia Films.


The 2016 Heartbeat International Annual Conference is offering a rich lineup of workshops, with a total of 75 workshops organized in 15 distinct tracks. Two tracks (Medical Advancement and Ultrasound Advancement) are tailored for nurses and medical professionals in the pregnancy help community, and offer Continuing Education Nursing Contact Hours provided through Heartbeat International. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 16061 for 1.25 contact hours each workshop. All courses are eligible for Life-Affirming Specialist credit hours.

Advancing Leaders

Whether you've been a pregnancy help leader for 20 years or 20 minutes, Advancing Leaders is designed to give you the tools you need to walk out the door the best leader you can be.

The Millenials are Coming! How to Connect with the Emerging Generation

Joe Baker and Mark Vermillion

Just Say "No" to Secondhand Scraps

Tammy Kocher

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life

Deborah Taylor LAS

Leadership: The Great Multiplier

Jan McDonald

Exploring Servant Leadership

Shawn Stevenson M.Div.

Board Business

Designed for board members and primary leaders who govern and guide, Board Business will challenge both veterans and novices alike.

Are You Ready? Defending Your Ministry

Jeff Mateer J.D.

Why Policies Matter

Tom Lothamer MA

Wielding Data to Extend Your Reach

Trudy Bodenbach and Debbie Case

Protecting Your Pregnancy Help Organization

Elissa Graves J.D.

Pregnancy Help FAQs

Panel: Tom Glessner J.D., Anne O'Conner J.D., Danielle White J.D., and Ellen Foell Esq.

Client Culture

Establishing a culture of life is a challenge, especially with clients. Help them develop that life-affirming culture.

Not Again...

Evie Lastra West

Making Heroes with Incentive Programs

Nicki McLeod

Multicultural Evangelism and Pregnancy Help

Tom Lothamer MA

Seven Habits of Effective Decision-Making

Ducia Hamm

Our Clients are Heroes

Laurie Steinfeld

Client Interventions

Dealing with clients is no simple task. Increase your awareness and deepen your understanding of your client's behavior, culture, and needs, with Client Intervention.

Competing with the Abortion Industry

Abby Johnson

Helping Mom and Baby Bond

Martha Shuping MD

Helping Clients Construct Safe Relationships

Catherine Wood LAS, SRA

Identifying Predatory Relationships, Sex Trafficking, and Forced Abortion

Cindy Collins BCBT

The A Team: A Collaborative Pro-Life Approach

Kristin Meyer LMSW and Michelle Thorne

Client Programs

Looking to start or enhance an initiative at your organization? Look no further than Client Programs.

Heroically Presenting Adoption

Traci Newell LBSW

Empowering Dad as Part of the Solution

Daphne Nicely LAS, SRAS and Wayne Paul RES, CPST

Helping Heroes Conquer the Culture Conversation

Pat Upchurch

Grab Your Toolkit: Let's Build a Men's Program!

Clarke Cayton

Moving Forward with Trauma-Informed Care

Judi Weldy LAS, DEM

Fundraising Dynamics

Fundraising and friend-raising are critical for ministry and mission. Fundraising Dynamics offers essential tips for engaging new donors and increasing long-term support.

Crafting a Planned Giving Program

Debbie Nieport LAS

Banquet Success in Changing Economic Times

Mike Williams

The Art of Envisioning - Not Fundraising

Kirk Walden

The Leaky Banquet: How to Avoid 5 Common, but Costly Mistakes

Reverend John Ensor

Engaging Donors with #SocialMedia

Savannah Marten

Gaining Perspective

Go deeper by discovering how abortion is affecting - and is affected by - the bigger picture of our world in Gaining Perspective.

Secrets to a Persuasive Presentation

Christina Terrenal and Bruce Smith

Creating Hero Films with a Message

Kathy DiFiore Ph.D.

Activating Pregnancy Centers for Election 2016

Fr. Frank Pavone and Janet Morana

Engaging Donors, Churches, Media, and the Community for Life

Kim Ketola

Mobilizing First Responders in the Church

Donna Perry

Healing Care

How does your organization minister to women and men dealing with long-term effects and guilt often associated with abortion? Sharpen your approach with Healing Care.

Grieving the Children We Could Not Save

Janet Morana and Fr. Frank Pavone

Abortion's Impact on Siblings

Theresa Bonopartis

Helping Men be the Heroes God Intended

Brad Mattes MA

Weekend Warrior on the Retreat

Fern Buzinski

Understanding the Impact of Medical Abortion

Michaelene Fredenburg

Housing Helps

Presented by pregnancy help housing experts, Housing Helps highlights the process of extending care beyond the first visit, solidifying a life decision for a lasting impact.

How to Start a Housing Program

Panel: Chris Bell MA, Kathy DiFiore Ph.D. and Anne Pierson

Encouraging Success with Consequences and Rewards

Marianne Donadio

Loving Her: Individual Roles and Group Dynamics

Callie Neff

Taking on the Toughest Scenarios

Panel: National Maternity Housing Coalition

In the Hood: Addressing Crisis in an Urban Setting

Carina Scecchitano

Marketing Ministry

Marketing is key in connecting to a community, particularly as you seek to extend your reach to the women and families in your sphere.

Strengthening Church Relationships

Amy Ford

Online Marketing Tactics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Jacob Barr

Being a Hero to an Internet Generation

Dawn Marie Perez LAS

The Optimized Website: Good, Fast, Secure

Christy Poloni

The Big 5 of Google Ads

Bri Laycock, LAS

Medical Advancement

Gain insight from medical professionals covering a wide range of topics related to your pregnancy help organization while earning nursing contact hours in Medical Advancement.

Abortion Pill Reversal 101

George Delgado, MD, FAAFP

God's Miracle of Life in the Womb

William Lile DO, OB-GYN, ACOG, FACOG

The Healing Touch: It's Always Good News

Karolyn Schrage RN, BSN

Mandated Reporting

Susan Dammann RN, LAS

GO-Mission: Taking it to the Streets

Karolyn Schrage RN, BSN

Sexual Integrity

Reflecting the core of Heartbeat International's Sexual IntegrityTM Program, Sexual Integrity features presentations that reinforce the proper expression of the gift of sexuality.

Discover the Key to Authentic Intimacy

Stephanie Libertore

The Top 10 for This Gen

Jeffery Dean

Saving Lives on Campus

Ketra Hancock RN, LAS and Melissa Killen, LAS

Showing the Value of Marriage to a Cohabitating Generation

Joneen Mackenzie RN, BSN

Fertility Awareness and the New Feminism

Marybeth Adams FNP, MSN, APRN

Spiritual Refreshment 

The heart of our work is spiritual. That's why Spiritual Refreshment addresses the spiritual dynamics pregnancy help leaders like you face every day.

Living Water: Essential for LIFE

Julie Parton Ph.D.

Walking the Paths of Spiritual Health

Chris Bell MA

LOVE: The Real Superpower

Derrick Tennant

Be Grateful for Local Heroes

Kim Padan LAS

Life-Changing One-on-Ones

Anne Pierson

Staff Stuff 

Building the Best YOU

Lori DeVillez

Change is Good... Right?

Amy Scheuring MS, LAS

Empower Your Team of Heroes

Dan Kulp

The "Redemptive Gifts" for Life-Giving Management

Kaye Gauder MS

Ultrasound Advancement 

Make the most of your ultrasound services and gain nursing contact hours thanks to Ultrasound Advancement.

Images: Unexpected, Unusual and Abnormal

Audrey Stout RN, RDMS

Instrumentation, Image Optimization, and Documentation

Jim Scheffler RDMS

Ultrasound and Doppler Safety

Kevin Rooker RT(R), RDMS, RVT

Ultrasound Systems, Supplies, Support, and Maintenance

Dennis Grizzle

Updating Ultrasound Standards for the PMC

Connie Ambrecht RDMS, CMB


In-Depth Day (March 29)

The 2016 Annual Conference experience will start with 15 different In-Depth Day opportunities. This exclusive all-day training goes from 9 am to 5 pm with an inspirational keynote at lunch.

Invisibility is Not a Superpower Heartbeat International Panel

No offense to the invisible man, but there’s not much upside to remaining unseen. Internet invisibility can be particularly painful for your pregnancy help effort for the simple reason that if a client can’t find you, she’s not likely to be helped by you. Likewise, if potential donors can’t find you, their dollar is going to end up somewhere else. Join Heartbeat International’s five-expert panel as they help you down the road to visibility through social media, local search, websites, newsletters and more.

Volunteer Training: The L.O.V.E. Approach Carrie Beliles, Heartbeat International

This interactive training is for new volunteers, trainers of new volunteers, and will be a refresher for experienced client services staff. This training in effective and compassionate outreach is used by pregnancy help organizations all over the world. Those in attendance will receive The LOVE ApproachTM Training Manual.

Surrendering the Secret Pat Layton, Surrendering the Secret

This is an excellent training resource for independent post abortion recovery leaders, pregnancy resource center volunteers and staff; church ministry leaders and Christian Counselors and Coaches. This training will equip attendees to fully understand the STS healing process and includes tools for engaging the church; reaching women and men who need help and step by step tips on how to get your ministry started.

Trauma Informed Care in the Maternity Home Belinda James MOFDC, MSW facilitated by Mary Peterson LAS

Join maternity homes and other life-affirming organizations for a day of learning and discussion on how to be aware of and sensitive to the role that traumatic events play on the women we serve. This training, geared toward those without counseling training, will focus on creating a culture and environment of safety and healing. Topics will include trauma-informed care, overview of mental health, and practical examples of how to address trauma within a life-affirming context.

Messaging for the Court of Public Opinion Bruce Smith, Alliance Defending Freedom

Is your community on your side? How do you get them there? Take this chance to focus on the strategy and mindset needed to successfully manage interviews and the verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to persuade and motivate the court of public opinion.

Executive Round Table: Strategic Foresighting Tim Welsh, PDHC and Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International 

Rapid changes are driving a dynamic future PHOs will have to adapt to. This Roundtable will explore “futuring” by discerning global trends beyond our normal strategic planning window. Understand the future more clearly with this fast paced, cutting edge forum that will help you lead your organization in, and into, the future. Executive Roundtable is reserved for executives of organizations ≥$350K, or are multi-site.

Five Guarantees When Doing Pregnancy Center Work Andy Merritt, Edgewood Baptist Church

Join us for a day of spiritual refreshment. Drawing lessons from Nehemiah 4, we will discover five guarantees when doing God’s work and how God’s grace is adequate for any and every circumstance we face in pregnancy help ministry.

Ultrasound Scanning and Optimizing Your Staff Connie Ambrecht RDMS, CMB, Sparrow Solutions Group

It’s time for some scanning practice for the RDMS or the RN in a pregnancy medical clinic. Whether you serve together or independently, the PMC of today benefits from both of you, especially when you work well together. Get ready to do both at this in-depth day. This training is provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 16061 for 6 contact hours.

Integrating STI Services for Today's Client Karolyn Schrage RN BSN, LifeChoices Health Network

STI testing creates access-points for your center - giving you a pro-active response to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and intervene in the lives of men and women who are most abortion-vulnerable. Learn the steps to integrate STI testing and treatment and develop a clinic strategy to be an answer to the sexual health crisis of your community. This training is provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 16061 for 6 contact hours.

Ministering Meaningfully with Major Donors Wesley Rediger, Rediger Taylor Group LLC

Effective compassionate ministry focuses on donors as much as on clients. Uncover the Biblical basis for ministry with donors, principles of cultivating donor passion and how to draw major donors into your circle.

Making the Case for Life Mike Spencer, Life Training Institute 

Do you ever find yourself struggling for the words to defend your pro-life stance? Mike will equip you to respond to popular "pro-choice" arguments and to expose the logical fallacies of abortion-choice rhetoric without the need for vitriol and angry dialogue.

Abortion-Minded Caller Start to Finish Brad Imler Ph.D., ACP 

Talking to abortion-minded clients is intimidating. Gather the tools needed to gain confidence as you engage in these conversations about life and death situations.

Violence Against Women and Abortion Martha Shuping MD

In this course, nurses/attendees will learn to identify clients who are victims of intimate partner violence (domestic violence) and/or reproductive coercion, how to conduct screening, and best practices for responding and referring patients for further services to increase patient safety, and improve bio-psychosocial outcomes. This training is provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 16061 for 6 contact hours.

Teaching Virtue in a Complicated Culture Leslee Unruh, National Abstinence Clearinghouse

Almost half of pregnancy tests at a pregnancy center are negative. With so much information on how to talk to youth about sex, what information is best? This in depth day will help you maximize the opportunity to talk with youth about sexual integrity both inside and outside the pregnancy center.


Order Recordings from the 2015 Conference