Illustration of people assembling food boxes around a table with 2 trucks carrying food in the background.

Welcome to the 2023 Western Slope Partner Conference!

We are thrilled to invite our Western Slope Hunger Relief Partners to join us for the first Western Slope Partner Conference since 2019. Our aim is to foster a community of support by bringing together Western Slope champions of hunger relief. The conference will be a time to reflect on everything we’ve learned over the past four years, share best practices, lean into areas of growth opportunity, and receive inspiration for the upcoming year.  

We hope to see you on Friday, October 27, for this day of sharing, learning, and fellowship! 

Western Slope Partner Conference 2023: Doing More Good Together

Strengthening partnerships by sharing collective experiences

Date:  Friday, October 27
Time:  8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Happy Hour and Networking: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Location: Food Bank of the Rockies Western Slope Etkin Family Distribution Center
698 Long Acre Drive, Grand Junction 


8:00 a.m.      Check-in and continental breakfast
8:30 a.m.      Welcome 

9:00 a.m.      Opening remarks:  “Don’t believe everything you think”
Are there new approaches that we might not be seeing because of our filters? Michaelle Smith from the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation explores this topic.

Michaelle Smith, MPA, has worked in the Mesa County nonprofit sector for the past 38 years at Partners, United Way and Hilltop. She is currently Executive Director for the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation which funds efforts to support health and wellbeing in the 22 counties of the Western Slope. She has experience in all facets of nonprofit human services work ranging from prenatal care to services for survivors of domestic violence to assisted living and home care for seniors. Areas of expertise are training, grant writing, working with nonprofit boards, human resources, leadership, building culture and leading community wide collaborative efforts. She is a founding member of the Community Impact Council, a Mesa County group dedicated to the excellence and sustainability of all nonprofits in Mesa County. She is a founding member of the Women’s Giving Club in Grand Junction and has served as Chair for the Board of Directors of the Colorado Nonprofit Association.

10:15 a.m.      Breakout sessions 

  • Grant writing processes and tips: Janet Hollingsworth, Grants Manager, Hilltop Community Resources
  • Peer Support Networks- Mental Health Lifelines in Rural Communities:  Calandra Lindstadt, Ph.D., Rural Health Specialist, Colorado State University; Elena Broaddus, Ph.D., Associate Director for Research and Engagement, PEACHnet; Julie Elliott, LPC, Behavioral Health Specialist, Colorado State University
  • 211 and the Boundless Colorado Collaboration – Get Connected, Get Help:  Andrew Escamilla, CRS, Coordinator, Western Colorado 211, Hilltop Community Resources; Steve Kullberg, Chief Operating Officer, Food Bank of the Rockies

11:45 a.m.
      Lunch and panel session
1:15 p.m.        Breakout sessions

  • Food Bank Inventory and Operations Q&A: Matt Simpson and Josh Spencer, Food Bank of the Rockies
  • Taking control of your day and life: Kristine Ducote, BS, MA Clinical Counseling Candidate and Intern, CEC; Megan Knierim, BSW, MSW Candidate Intern, CEC
  • Press Releases & Media Relations: Aditi Desai, Chief Marketing Officer, Food Bank of the Rockies; Dusti Reimer, Elevate PR

2:15 p.m.
       Closing remarks and inspiration: Mona Highline, Keynote Speaker

Hailing originally from Oklahoma, Mona Highline assumes the role of visionary and Chief Executive Officer at The Joseph’s Center, a nonprofit outreach organization dedicated to aiding over 600 at-risk families and individuals annually through a variety of programs. Over the course of the past three decades, Mona has maintained an unwavering commitment to advocating for marginalized and economically disadvantaged populations in Mesa County, Colorado. The Joseph’s Center, an indispensable pillar of the community, has dutifully served its mission for the past seven years. Additionally, Mona Highline is a distinguished public speaker who receives invitations to address numerous speaking engagements.

In recent years, Mona has achieved notable milestones, including:

  1. Appointment to the Mesa County Board of Health.
  2. Recognition as the 2022 Kiwanis Citizen of the Year.
  3. Acknowledgment as Nexstar Media’s Remarkable Woman in 2023.
  4. Assumption of the position of Chair on the Board of Directors for the Bravestone Project.
  5. Active participation on the CSBG Grant Board of Directors.

Mona Highline’s extensive contributions and steadfast dedication to the betterment of Mesa County and the welfare of its residents exemplify a remarkable legacy of service and leadership.

3:00 p.m.      Happy hour and networking

Lodging Accommodations

We are pleased to offer hotel accommodations for partners traveling 2 hours or further to attend the conference. For information on booking hotel rooms, please contact Stanton Moore at 

Others interested in securing lodging on your own may also reach out to Stanton for Food Bank of the Rockies rates.