Small Talks Recap:

After Hours, Featuring “America’s Worst Mom” Lenore Skenazy

This event took place on Thursday, April 25, 2019 | 7:30am – 9:00am

Thank you to all who attended and helped make this Small Talks After Hours a success!
Please enjoy photos, resources and a video to recap the special event.

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Featured Speaker and Panelists:


Lenore Skenazy

President, Let Grow, | Founder, Free-Range-Kids Movement

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A journalist by trade, Lenore spent 14 years at The New York Daily News as a reporter-turned-opinion columnist, and two more at The New York Sun. In 2008, after her column “Why I Let My 9 Year Old Ride the Subway Alone” landed her on every talk show from The Today Show to Dr. Phil, Lenore founded the book and blog “Free-Range Kids.” These launched the anti-helicopter parenting movement and garnered her the nickname, “America’s Worst Mom.” She got a promotion of sorts when Discovery Life tapped her to host the reality TV show, World’s Worst Mom. Lenore has lectured internationally from Microsoft to DreamWorks to the Sydney Opera House, and been profiled everywhere from The New York Times to The New Yorker. (She was even on The Daily Show!)

Over the years, she has written for everyone from The Wall Street Journal to Mad Magazine. Yes — Mad. After 10 years of watching parents nod along as she described how our culture has force-fed them fear, her aim at Let Grow is to turn agreement into action, making it easy and normal to give kids the same kind of freedom most of us had — and loved. Lenore received her B.A. from Yale and her Master’s Degree from Columbia. She lives in New York City with her husband and beloved computer. Her sons have (safely!) flown the coop.

Erin Erickson

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Erin Erickson is a nurse practitioner, dual certified in women’s health and family practice, and a specialist in maternal-child health. She has extensive experience speaking and writing on issues related to health and parenting and, with her mom, Dr. Marti Erickson, is owner and co-host of the weekly podcast Mom Enough® ( After completing her Master of Public Health (MPH), Erin felt drawn toward direct patient care and pursued a career in nursing. She completed the Master of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at the University of Minnesota. In addition to her studies in nursing, Erin also has a Master of Arts in Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching. She loves working with families and is dedicated to sharing her understanding of the mind-body connection and mindfulness-based skills to help both parents and children become more reflective and intentional in their lives. Erin’s greatest joys are being a mom to her 15-year-old daughter, 13-year-old son, and 15-year-old stepson, and sharing this journey with her husband, Brett.


Marti Erickson

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Marti Erickson had a long career at the University of Minnesota, serving as founding director of the Children, Youth & Family Consortium and Director of the Irving B. Harris Training Center in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Building on her research on attachment-based interventions for children and families in high-risk circumstances, Marti has written for many academic publications and speaks and consults frequently throughout the U.S. and abroad. In the 1990s, Marti’s work caught the attention of then-Vice President Al Gore, who tapped Marti to help lead his nonpartisan family policy initiative, Family Re-Union, throughout his terms of office. Marti also has appeared regularly on KARE-TV News (NBC) since 1995 and, since 2006, has hosted a weekly radio show and podcast, Mom Enough®, with her daughter, Dr. Erin Erickson. Mom Enough is available for listening or downloading at In her personal life, Marti cherishes traveling and sharing outdoor adventures with her family, including husband Ron, two adult children and their spouses, and five delightful grandchildren, ages 10 – 15.


Mike Huber

Early Childhood Teacher
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Mike Huber has dedicated his life to serving children, families, and the field of early childhood. He has been an early childhood teacher since 1992 and currently teaches at Seward Child Care Center in Minneapolis. Mike has also worked as a trainer and consultant for the Minnesota Department of Education, the Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children (MnAEYC). Mike served on MnAEYC’s board from 2007 to 2011, presents at local and national early childhood conferences, and has written for Teaching Young Children and a number of stories, songs, and puppet shows for children. He is the winner of the 2012 Kate Davidson Tanner Award from MnAEYC, the Scholastic Early Childhood Professional Award Honorable Mention in 2006, and Teacher Leadership from Hamline University’s Master of Arts Education Program in 2006. Mike holds a master’s degree in education from Hamline University.

Sheila Williams Ridge

Director, Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School, University of Minnesota
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Sheila Williams Ridge has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education, as well as experience as a school business manager, preschool teacher/naturalist, and director. She is a facilitator for the NAEYC Young Children and Nature Interest Forum, on the Voices and Choices coalition, a board member for the Minneapolis Nature Preschool, and a member of the Natural Start Alliance Council. She is the co-author of the book, Nature-Based Learning for Young Children: Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Budget, published by Redleaf Press and is passionate about encouraging nature-based play and the lasting developmental benefits of a relationship between children and nature.






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