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46th Annual MCSEA Conference

Shining Brighter Together

Speaker Biographies

Lani De La Garza

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Lani De La Garza began working with the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records in June 2020 in their issuance unit, and moved into a field representative position about 15 months later. During this time, she became responsible for receiving requests for search of the putative father registry, as well as training other team members in the Bureau of Vital Records to process those search requests. This was in addition to the normal duties of a field representative, which include providing training to 115 local public health agencies for issuance of vital records, training data providers such as hospitals, funeral homes, and medical certifiers on their processes for registering birth and death certificates, and providing light technical support to users of the Missouri Electronic Vital Records (MoEVR) System. After working with stakeholders and data providers as a field representative, Lani then moved into the position of Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Vital Records. Lani currently supervises Missouri’s field services staff of three field representatives and one senior field representative, and assists them in their communication with and training of vital record data providers.

Lynda Dillard

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Lynda Dillard is with the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) Support team for the Federal Office of Child Support Services (OCSS), supporting child support programs in regions 7, 8, 9, and 10 by helping them to maximize usage of Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) data with automated processes and the Portal. Prior to joining OCSS in 2020, Lynda worked for Washington State Division of Child Support for almost 20 years, where she gained state perspective, and experience with casework, training, and IT business analysis for programs including the Federal Case Registry (FCR), Child Support Portal, Child Support Enforcement Network (CSENet), Multistate Financial Institution Data Match (MSFIDM), and more.

Ruth Eakers

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Having attended 11 different schools, moved 22 times (thus far), worked for faith-based organizations for 36 years, and now is in public service, Ruth Eaker is no stranger to change. "I've been laid-off twice, both in times of fiscal uncertainty. That kind of change can be scary and difficult. But it’s also a signal of opportunity: the great opportunity to pay attention to what matters most at work and in life, culminating in choosing a different path to travel.”


Ruth’s paths have been defined by her passions for learning, teaching/training, writing, and coaching and developing others. She is equipped with a love of laughter and humor inspired by her family, an MBA from Lindenwood University, a teaching degree from the University of Evansville, and completion of ministerial and Biblical studies at RHEMA Bible Training Center.


At one time shy, Ruth has enjoyed speaking engagements across the Midwest (and 1 women’s prison in Jamaica), with groups of 20 to 1,800 and engages them with her down-to-earth humor and stories, providing practical strategies that can be applied personally and professionally.

Vickie Endicott




Vickie Endicott, is a Child Support trainer who specializes in the financial aspects of child support.  She has been with child support for twelve years; six of them as a financials specialist and these last six as a financials trainer.  She has attended several circuit clerk colleges to present sessions as well.

Sara Forhetz

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Sara Forhetz is a speaker, journalist, and podcaster. She spent 17 years as an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and anchor.  Sara now speaks full time all over the country and around the world.  Her travels often take her to Africa, where she speaks about her faith in Jesus at open tent revivals.

Sara is also a wife and a homeschool mother of three kids, ages 10, 12, and 14. She loves swimming, biking, and running and often competes in triathlons.

Sara and her husband, Ethan Forhetz, have been named one of the most influential couples in Southwest Missouri, and have been recognized as such by multiple publications.

Sara was also honored as a “30 under 30” award recipient for her work in the Springfield, Missouri community.

John Ginwright

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John Ginwright has been with the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) since 1992, and has worked with all aspects of the child support program (paternity, establishment, enforcement, modification, and foster care).  Beginning in 2000, Mr. Ginwright worked in Central Office as the DSS legislative liaison for child support issues and managed the Customer Relations Unit, Parents Fair Share program, and various outreach initiatives.  He has also managed multiple state contracts including the Child Support Customer Service call center.  Mr. Ginwright currently serves as the Family Support Division Deputy Director.  In this role he manages the Child Support program for the state of Missouri.

In 2015 Mr. Ginwright created the Child Support Outreach Unit to develop and coordinate child support services with community agencies. The Outreach Unit engages the public with six driving pillars (employment, parenthood, pre-parenthood & young adults, corrections, diversion programs and community engagement). This unit focuses its effort to meet its child support goals, thinking beyond normal child support actions and procedures, while meeting problems before they manifest.  The Child Support Outreach Unit has collaborated and established partnerships with over 100 organizations in Missouri, and has a budget in excess of thirteen million dollars.

In 2023 Mr. Ginwright received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Partnership for Community Leadership, for his outstanding contributions to the fatherhood community. Mr. Ginwright also serves as a member on various boards and committees, including the Missouri Reentry Program Steering Team and the Government Contact Center Council.  He is a sought out speaker on various topics nationwide.

Nikki Hartley

Nikki Hartley is the PA Liaison Contract Manager for the DSS Family Support Division.  She started her state career over 15 years ago as a court clerk in the Cole County Circuit Clerk’s Office where she worked in both criminal, civil, and juvenile divisions as well as clerking for Judge Byron Kinder.  In April of 2011, she began working for the Jefferson City Regional Prosecutor’s Office, as a Legal Assistant in the Child Support Unit.  Nikki returned to the State of Missouri as legal assistant for Family Support’s Legal Counsel in May 2021. She accepted her current position in October of 2022.  In her off time, she serves on the board for the Callaway County Humane Society and is the website administrator for the Missouri Child Support Education Association (MCSEA). 

David Hartsfield 

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David Hartsfield is a Child Support Outreach Coordinator for the Missouri Family Support Division, and has been with the Division for 8years.  Prior to joining the state, he served as a professor of political science at Truman State University and a local pastor for the United Methodist Church. He currently pastors St. Paul United Methodist Church in New Bloomfield, Missouri and St James United Methodist Church in Fulton, Missouri; serves as a volunteer chaplain for Capital Region Medical Center and is on their Clergy Board of Governors. His work with FSD focuses primarily on Responsible Parenting Initiatives, and providing child support information as well as pre-release/re-entry assistance in various DOC facilities in Central Missouri.

Melissa Johnson

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Melissa Johnson completed her Juris Doctorate degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1999.  She spent almost 6 years as the Neosho county attorney handling criminal prosecution, child welfare cases, and serving as the county counselor over all civil issues.  She joined the Kansas Department for Children and Families in 2006 as an attorney for the IV-D program.  Since 2006, she has served the IV-D program in both legal establishment and enforcement roles.  In 2011, she joined the Child Support Services Central Office in Kansas and was soon named the deputy director for the program.  In March 2015 she joined the Federal Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) as the Region 7 Program Manager.  In January 2019 Melissa was named the director for the Division of Regional Operations with OCSS.

Cathy Kocian

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Cathy began helping persons with disabilities 30 years ago, and became very knowledgeable of state & federal resources along with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). Cathy worked for the State of NC Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Disabilities as a Mental Health Program Coordinator providing technical assistance to consumers and family members on state wide changes in the public service sector. In order to better help people with disabilities she obtained her second Master’s degree in Counseling with a focus on Rehabilitation in 2014, and relocated to Missouri.  Today she works for MO Vocational Rehabilitation in the Kansas City area serving youth and adults with a variety of disabilities so they can reach their career goals, and provide for themselves. In her free time Cathy likes to tend to her perennial flower garden, cook a variety of foods, and spend time with her two cats Fredrick & Franz.

Dawn Kuhlman

Dawn E. Kuhlman, MA became the Executive Director of M.A.R.C.H. (Mediation Achieving Results for Children) Mediation in the fall of 2019. M.A.R.C.H. is a state-wide nonprofit that provides free supervised visitation, mediation and legal services to eligible families in Missouri.


Dawn is a respected pioneer in the mediation field and loves to create, challenge, and share ideas. She is the creator of a Trauma Informed Mediation Model and has been engaged in dialogue with mediators internationally regarding the concept of Trauma Informed Mediation. Dawn’s TEDx Talk on Trauma Informed Mediation has been recognized and placed on the TED website at


She holds a Masters (MA) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor of Science Degree (BS) in Psychology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Dawn is both a Missouri and a Kansas Supreme Court Approved Mediator. She is also a certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).


She has served as an Advanced Mediation Training Instructor at Johnson County Community College since 2012. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Baker University, MidAmerica Nazarene University, and Park University. Dawn served in a leadership role for the Missouri Chapter of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (MO-AFCC) from 2007-2015 and has been a member of the Association of Missouri Mediators (AMM) since 2005.


Dawn has trained thousands for nearly 20 years on various topics such as forgiveness, mediation, personality type, domestic violence, non-defensive communication, trauma, conflict coaching, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, high conflict personalities and so much more.


She has been described as driven, compassionate, intelligent and hilarious. Dawn loves to inspire and encourage the best in others and is dedicated to promoting healing and growth in the community. When Dawn is not wearing her entrepreneur hat, she loves to drink coffee with her husband and spend time with their two beautiful daughters.

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Grant Kelley

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My name is Grant Kelley, and I am honored to served as the Region VII Director for the Missouri Child Support Education Association. I began my career in child support when I joined the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney's Office in March of 2016 as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney (APA) after having a private practice. As an APA, I was primarily responsible for Clay County's Civil Dockets, including Paternity/Establishment, Modifications, and Civil Contempt, but I also handled Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal matters as well as Federal matters for Domestic Support Obligations owed in Bankruptcies.


In July of 2021 my role with our office changed, transitioning from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney to Office Manager, and now Director/APA, where I am thrilled to encourage the growth and development of our Department.


When I am not at work, and I am doing what I really want to do, I am spending time with my wonderful family.

Rebecca Lambert

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Rebecca received her BA in Sociology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and her JD from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  She has been an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County for twenty-one years.  Rebecca started in the Paternity Establishment Unit, where she was named the Family Support Prosecutor of the Year in 2003.  She then transitioned to Child Support Enforcement, where she has prosecuted criminal nonsupport, civil contempt, and the diversion program. Rebecca served as the Trial Team Leader for the enforcement unit for seventeen years prior to her appointment as the Director.

Sydney McCarty




Sydney McCarty has been with the Family Support Division since 2019. In April of 2023 she was promoted to Mo-SAVES (Missouri Safe Access for Victims Economic Security) Domestic Violence Grant Manager. In this capacity she oversees all grant operations and serves as the contact for grant partners and federal partners. She also developed and leads the DOC entry project that is aimed at providing child support services during the intake DOC process.

Brian Neal

Brian serves as First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of the Office of the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney-Child Support Unit. Also known as the Springfield Regional Prosecutors' Child Support Office, the Unit handles child support enforcement, paternity and registration cases in Greene, Christian and Taney Counties. Brian joined the Greene County Prosecutor's Office in January 2007, and is from Springfield, Missouri. He received a B.A. in history from Missouri State University in Springfield, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Brian graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 2006.

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Dan Pingelton

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Dan Pingelton is an attorney in private practice in Columbia, concentrating on civil litigation and family law. He graduated from Arizona State University in 1981 with a degree in journalism and received his law degree from the University of Colorado in 1984. Some of Mr. Pingelton’s reported cases include Dye v. Missouri Division of Child Support Enforcement, 811 S.W.2d 355 (Mo.banc 1981) [constitutionality of administrative child support enforcement statutes]; Baird v. Baird, 843 S.W.2d 388 (Mo.App.E.D. 1992) [first Missouri case confirming use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to seize ERISA retirement funds for child support and maintenance arrears]; McCreary v. McCreary, 954 S.W.2d 433 (Mo.App.W.D. 1997) [multiple issues including proper standard for modification of custody; proper use of remedy of equitable accounting in a fiduciary relationship for child support; mandatory award of attorney fees; and liability for medical expense reimbursement]; and Deuschle v. Jobe, 30 S.W.3d 215 (Mo.App.W.D. 2000) [established Missouri precedent that an unmarried person can recover damages for negligent transmission of the herpes virus]. Publications include two chapters for Missouri Family Law, 6th and 7th editions (The Family Support Division and Marital Separation Agreements), and three chapters for the 8th edition (The FSD, Separation Agreements, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act - UIFSA), published by the Missouri Bar. Dan recently completed the third edition of Missouri IV-D Law (2022). Dan has presented CLE programs for national, regional and state associations.

Gail Ragan

Prior to beginning her career with Family Support Division (FSD), I had 20 years of work history in training and business development, her most recent experience being with John Deere as their Training and Development Coordinator. As life changes, so too, did her life and living adventure! Life brought her back to her home town of Rolla where she started with FSD in January of 2019 with an eye toward becoming a trainer. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to join the training unit in April of 2021!

She truly enjoys training and wants you to know that it is always her goal for you to have a positive, fun, learning experience!

Gail is an outdoor adventure enthusiast. Camping and kayaking are her favorite! Woodworking is one of her hobbies and she loves trying new foods and traveling.

Ellen Rutledge




Ellen Rutledge, a Director Consulting Expert at CGI, is a health and human services professional with more than 20 years of experience. She uses her wide variety of skills to lead, support, and create initiatives and programs to benefit her colleagues and the larger community. Depending on the situation, Ellens bleeds gold, along with black or brown. She is a proud graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Law (brown) and the University of Missouri School of Journalism (black).

Joseph Sampson




Joseph Sampson is the Liaison with the Missouri Department of Corrections for Missouri Family Support Division.  He has been with the Family Support Division since January 2018.  He worked for the Missouri Department of Corrections from April 1995 to January 2018. He served as a Correction Officer 4/1995 to 9/1995, Caseworker 9/1995 to 12/1997, Functional Unit Manager 12/1997 to 6/2006, Assistant Warden 6/2006 to 11/2007, Deputy Warden 11/2007 to 8/2011, and Associate Superintendent 8/2011 to 1/2018.  He is responsible for Coordinating Child Support Outreach services with the correctional facilities.

Jason Sax

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In 2005 I join the Department of Social Services with the Division of Youth Services. I became a trainer for Child Support with the Family Support Division in 2017.

I endeavor to provide a learning environment that is engaging and affords the greatest opportunity for learning and the exchanging of ideas. I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Melissa Stickle

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Dr. Melissa Stickel currently serves as the Executive Director of Community Partnership of Southeast Missouri, a local nonprofit organization in the Cape Girardeau, Missouri community. Prior to her current position, Melissa worked at Gibson Recovery Center as their Director of Research and Development and United Way of Southeast Missouri as their Director of Operations and Community Impact. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Southeast Missouri State University a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. Melissa has volunteered her time and talents with multiple community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Love INC, and Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Missouri. She served 3 years in the United States Army, receiving an Honorable Discharge in 2000.

When there is passion behind the work we do, it fuels us to work for the change we believe is possible. Beyond Melissa’s experience, she is passionate about the work that she does in this community and for people that are in need. 

Angela Terry

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Angela Terry graduated from Lincoln University earning a B.S. in Business Administration.  Angela began her career in the Child Support Program in 2000 as a Child Support Technician in Financial Resolutions Section. In 2005 she went to work for the Department of Social Services as the legislative liaison. Angela then went to the Family Support Payment Center where she supervised the Customer Service Department. In 2007, she joined the Policy and Systems Unit as a Program Development Specialist and was also the Divisional Security Officer for Child Support. In May 2019 Angela became the Child Support Systems Unit Manager and oversees MACSS, Child Support Systems Helpdesk and Child Support Security.

Daylon Tillman




Daylon Tillman is a Child Support Program Specialist for the Missouri Family Support Division based in Springfield, MO, and currently supervises staff within the Child Support Outreach Unit.  He has worked with the Family Support Division since June of 2014, and with the child support program since May of 2015.  He currently is assisting with the Good Dads program in Springfield, MO providing responsible fatherhood initiatives and helping to break down barriers for individuals within that program.  He also provides outreach to various DOC facilities throughout the state providing individuals in pre-release programs with information regarding the child support program and other responsible parenting initiative programs.

Jeremy Toulouse

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Biography Coming Soon

Lara Webb-Fors

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Lara Webb-Fors is an assistant prosecutor in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office in Kansas City. She supervises the legal unit of assistant prosecutors and staff for paternity, establishment, enforcement, and UIFSA.


Lara has spent nearly thirty years working in the IV-D program. She started in the Jackson County, Missouri Prosecutor’s office as a 2L in 1994 and then as an assistant prosecutor. She also has worked for MAXIMUS as a staff attorney in Wyandotte, Kansas, an assistant prosecutor in Greene County in Springfield, MO, as the deputy director of the Family Support Division-Child Support, the director of the Springfield Regional Prosecutor’s Office for Greene, Christian, and Taney Counties, and as a management consultant for Public Knowledge®.


Lara is a past president of Missouri Child Support Enforcement Association (MCSEA) (2007) and the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) (2014).  She currently serves on several ERICSA committees and is a member of the ERICSA Honorary Board. Lara has presented to numerous conferences and events including ERICSA, National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA), National Tribal Child Support Association (NTCSA), Western Intergovernmental Child Support Engagement Council (WICSEC), and MCSEA.


Lara was awarded the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award (2009), the MCSEA Honorary Life Member (2014), the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly Women’s Justice Award for Public Service Practitioner of the Year (2016), the ERICSA Honorary Life Member (2019), and the inaugural ERICSA Patrick W. Quinn Intergovernmental Scholarship Award in 2022. Lara received her undergraduate degree at Central Methodist University and received her J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is a member of both the Missouri and Kansas Bars.

Christopher White

Christopher White is a Child Support Outreach Specialist for the Missouri Family Support Division, and has been with the Division since February 2023. Prior to joining the State he worked as a Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer for his local community. His responsibilities with Outreach include: working to educate and assist inmates within the Missouri Department of Corrections on Child Support Programs as well as attending events throughout the State of Missouri to provide information and resources to Missouri citizens.

Reverend Frederick Wilson

Reverend Frederick Wilson has worked in the substance use disorder and behavioral health fields for over ten years.  He currently is working at Imani, part of Swope Health as a Recovery Coach, at Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center as a Spiritual Counselor, and is a contract worker at Footprints as a counselor.


He uses his lived experience as a formerly incarcerated individual and volunteers at the Lansing Correctional facility proving pastoral care and teaching economic development.  As an expert in the reentry population and resources, he mentors men as they exit prison; assisting with employment, repayment of child support, and how to become a first-time homeowner.  In addition, he provides life coaching to these men to assist them in identifying destructive patterns as they find value in themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives.


He is a Certified Associate Alcohol & Drug Counselor in Missouri, a Certified Peer Specialist, a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, and a trainer and educator of Narcan distribution.


He has made presentations at numerous churches, substance use disorder treatment centers, prisons, and training at the local, state, and national levels.

Gwen Wood

Gwen is a Senior Staff Development Training Specialist and Supervisor for the DSS Human Resource Center.

She started her state career over 15 years ago as a child support specialist.  She became a child support trainer in 2013 and has been in a training role ever since.  She is a self-proclaimed happiness advocate and loves what she does.  Her passion shines through in her delivery as she strives to motivate and inspire others to be the best they can be.

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Chris Wray

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Chris Wray is Of Counsel at Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, MO.  His practice focuses on defending class actions and complex civil litigation at the trial and appellate level.  He earned his law degree from Notre Dame Law School and his undergraduate degree in accounting and finance from Washington University in St. Louis.  After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Duane Benton on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. 

Prior to his time in private practice, Chris served as the chief of staff and deputy solicitor general in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. During his time in public service, Chris won several high-profile appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Supreme Court of Missouri, and the Missouri Court of Appeals. Chris oversaw all operations of the Attorney General’s Office, supervising more than 300 attorneys and staff.  He also served as Missouri’s deputy state treasurer, where he managed the state’s $4 billion portfolio and its banking and unclaimed property operations.

Chris serves as an adjunct professor at the UMKC School of Law. He is a CPA and has also served on the accounting faculty of the University of Notre Dame and Avila University. He is a published designer of board and card games.

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