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41st Convention an all-around gold-medal day

From the opening keynote address by Olympic gold medalist in judo Kayla Harrison to the closing Chair’s Reception, the human services sector shone brightly on Monday during the Providers’ Council’s 41st Annual Convention & Expo: Inspire | Ignite | Impact at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel in Boston.

Harrison, who was the first American to win gold in judo at the London Games in 2012, spoke candidly of a career that almost didn’t happen because of sexual abuse that occurred in her early teens. After winning her second gold medal in August in Rio de Janeiro, Harrison retired to focus on her Fearless Foundation and continue to speak out as a survivor of abuse.

The morning celebration also included the presentation of 15 Awards of Excellence to individuals, organizations and business whose contributions have bettered the Massachusetts human services sector. EOHHS Assistant Secretary of Administration and Finance Alda Rego delivered remarks on behalf of the Baker Administration, praising a productive partnership with community-based providers.

The afternoon program kicked off with the Peer Provider Awards hosted by Shayna Seymour of WCVB’s Chronicle. The lunchtime events also included final voting in The Caring Force’s Fifth Annual Broadcast Your Love of Human Services Contest. The top selfie came from United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston, followed by runners-up Doc Wayne Youth Services and HMEA.

The sold-out expo was buzzing throughout the day as the 1,200 attendees visited with nearly 80 exhibitors to discuss new products, services and trends available to their organizations.

Attendees participated in 34 workshops as well, gaining new information and insights applicable to all aspects or organizational operations.

Expo Bingo and presentation of the Chair’s Award capped the eventful day. Board Chair Michael Moloney praised the commitment and leadership of Board Vice Chair Bill Sprague in presenting the 2016 Award.