Get the Inside Scoop on Conference From Meritorious Instructor (& NOLA native) Jeff DeMars

Photo: Spondylolithesis / iStock / Thinkstock
To learn about how Jeff and his staff at Louisiana Healthcare Consultants have reduced challenging and disruptive behaviors since implementing CPI training, check out this case study

What do the Welcome Room, the Geux Team, Night Out and About, singer Irma Thomas, and Razzoo’s all have in common?
They are all important features of CPI’s upcoming Instructor Conference, happening in New Orleans this July 19–24. If you’re all set to attend this incredible event, you’ll definitely want to read on! If you’re still deciding, there’s still time to book your spot.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Jeff DeMars, an expert on all things New Orleans and a Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Certified Instructor for over 24 years. These days, Jeff is busy handling his duties as the chair of the CPI Instructor Conference Core Committee, so we were grateful he found the time to talk with us about the finer points of attending our Instructor Conference.
Learn more about the above and enjoy Jeff’s interview for great tips on how to make the most of our Instructor Conference and the remarkable city hosting the event.
Terry: Hello and welcome. This is Terry Vittone, content producer and copywriter for CPI. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jeff DeMars. Welcome, Jeff.
Jeff: Thanks, I appreciate it.
Terry: You’re welcome. Our guest Jeff DeMars is the senior vice president for Louisiana Healthcare Consultants, which is the parent company for six skilled nursing facilities and three psychiatric hospitals. Jeff has also been a CPI Certified Instructor for 24 years and a Master Level Instructor since 1997. He is a master’s level social worker and counselor as well as a licensed nursing facility and home administrator. Jeff also holds many professional associations including the presidency of the New Orleans Continuity of Care Association.
Jeff is also the chair for the core team handling the upcoming CPI Instructor Conference being held in New Orleans this July 19th through the 24th. Jeff’s work with CPI and the Conference will be the focus of our interview today.
So then Jeff, let’s begin. Could you please tell us more about your role and history with CPI and your role on the Core Conference Committee?
Jeff: Sure. I’ve been a Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructor for 24 years. And when we started planning the Conference for New Orleans (basically when we announced it two years ago at the Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Judith Schubert, CPI’s president, came to me and some other Meritorious Instructors that are from Louisiana and asked us if we'd be interested in chairing as a Conference core team the Conference planned for New Orleans in July 2015.
And since New Orleans is such a unique city filled with different cultural festivities, we also decided to really spend some time to plan for special events around and inside the Conference.
One of the first things that we talked about is having an orientation table at registration for first-time Conference attendees because we’ve all experienced, people on the Conference core team, what it’s like to attend Conference for the first time. We took those experiences and we talked about them and we organized the program to have a meeting room for the new attendees as they come through the Conference.
Jeff visits the CPI Milwaukee office. 

Terry: I think I’ve heard about what you're speaking of, when a new Instructor gets to the Conference in New Orleans, they can get oriented in something called the Welcome Room. Could you give a heads up on exactly what that is? Also, I believe there's a program called NOLA Out and About that goes along with this Welcome Room. If you could speak to those, that would be helpful.
Jeff: Correct. First thing that we've established is that we would be the go-to team, and in New Orleans language that would be “Geux” team—with a symbol of the fleur-de-lis in the word "Geux." So we'll have little CPI vests and it's on the back of it, the Geux team. The orientation table focuses on letting them know about the Welcome Room and also gives them the opportunity to go over a few safety techniques about being in New Orleans and walking throughout New Orleans.
Then the Welcome Room also has the first-time Conference team table and there will be a core team member at that table, letting them know what to expect about the CPI Conference. Some helpful hints about going through the week at the Conference. There's also a unique feature called the Cultural Table. The Cultural Table is going to be operated by two ladies from Lafayette, Louisiana, that are on the Conference core team and they're going to focus on food (special foods in New Orleans), drinks, and music. When you think of New Orleans, you think about food, drinks, and music. So they're going to have that presentation, too, in the Welcome Room.
                                                                                   Photo: eye_capture/iStock 

Now the Night Out and About, which is planned for Wednesday night, all members of the Conference core team are going to make efforts in recruiting Conference attendees to join them on the night out. Some of the features of the night out are Jackson Square in the French Quarter of the city. They have mule tour carts that tour throughout the French Quarter, and I'll be leading that tour for Conference attendees that want to attend. Then we have other special features such as Razzoo's on Bourbon Street. When you come to New Orleans, you'll see that Razzoo's is a special feature nightclub, with music and culture. So those are a few of the things that we're going to have as far as the Night Out and About.
Terry: Excellent. In addition to the group CPI training during the day, there are many liaisons to help attendees to really get to know New Orleans in the week that they're there.
Jeff: Yes.
Terry: Excellent. Is there anything more you want to say about the Out and About or the Welcome Room that our attendees should know? Or should we move on?
Jeff: No, we can move on.
Terry: Okay, great. You've experienced Conferences before and you have a lot of experience with Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training and CPI as a whole, and I'm wondering what attendees will learn or experience at Conference that they maybe wouldn't at standard training?
Jeff: Well, the number-one thing that we're all excited about is the enhanced Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program. For the very first time it's going to be released on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday schedule at the Conference. And I think all Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructors are looking forward to that, getting recertified in the enhanced training program.
But in addition to that, they're going to have access to other Instructors that specialize in behavior management, education, security, and long-term care. There are even some chapters within Crisis Prevention Institute, and I represent the Louisiana chapter, that will have opportunities to meet with these chapters of the Crisis Prevention Institute and network and share ideas and learn from others.
Terry: Excellent. Could you talk about the Integrated Experience and how it relates to Conference?
Jeff: Sure. Integrated Experience is defined as the basic concept that our attitude and behavior as Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructors have direct impact on the people in our charge, our employees that we provide the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program to. So it's important that that attitude and behavior that we present be very professional and positive and motivating. But also, when I think about the Integrated Experience, at the Conference we're going to have a special time on Thursday where we're going to recognize three recipients. Two recipients are employees of the Crisis Prevention Institute with what we call the integrated, the ultimate Integrated Experience, CPI Oscar. And they'll actually get an Oscar just like they do at the movies. And one of those people being identified is Ms. Irma Thomas.
Ms. Irma Thomas is noted and recognized throughout the United States and maybe even beyond the United States as the Soul Queen of New Orleans. And when you think of jazz and blues, you think of Irma Thomas. The reason why we invited Irma Thomas is because she was the Integrated Experience when we were hit with Hurricane Katrina. Many of us were deciding if we should come back after that disaster and trauma that we had been through.
But Irma set the pace with Integrated Experience; her attitude and behavior was "I'm going back in New Orleans, where my home is, and I'm going to rebuild." And she lost her nightclub, her house, and it was all over the news about Irma Thomas. It was global. I'm going to talk about the news; it was a global feature about Irma Thomas. And that set the pace for every one of us from New Orleans. And that's the power of the Integrated Experience. So we're going to recognize Irma with this CPI Oscar on Thursday night, the week of the Conference. But also two other individuals that also set that pace with Integrated Experience because of their unique attitude and behavior.
Terry: What a memorable way to recognize that sort of achievement. Well, Jeff, are there any last thoughts you'd like to add about the Conference?
Jeff: I hear that the count is getting close to 500, if not more, so I'm excited. They're coming to my hometown! They're not only going to be bringing back the value of components of the enhanced program and the networking opportunities, but they're also going to get a taste of the city. And maybe even get to second line dance.
Terry: Maybe even do the second line, that's right. Or maybe hear drum circle in Congo Square. I forget which night they do that on. Is that still a regular thing?
Jeff: It's actually Wednesday night of the night out.
Terry: Excellent. Well, that's another thing for attendees to look forward to. It certainly sounds like there will be a lot at Conference this year, along with enhanced, a great chance to explore and to become familiar with the city of New Orleans. Well, my guest today has been Jeff DeMars. He's the senior vice president for Louisiana Healthcare Consultants as well as being a CPI Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructor for 24 years. Thank you so much for the interview today, Jeff.
Jeff: Thank you!