Reflections on my return: ACO ADD/ADHD Coaching Conference 2014

I’m B-a-a-a-ck!
(in body, if not in brain)

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

This one was even MORE WONDERFUL that usual! **

I just returned from the Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, this time in Phoenix, Arizona. ANOTHER great experience to reflect upon, now that I am home and have had a solid twelve hours of “recovery sleep.”

CRAZY return, but soooooo worth it! **

It was well after two AM the morning after my afternoon flight back from Phoenix when I was finally unlocking my front door.  The l-o-n-g trip home was BRUTAL, so I babied myself for a day – mainlining caffeine as I typed, hoping to clear some cobwebs.

  • I almost missed a connecting flight because the first-leg flight was delayed coming, boarding & going!
  • I went without food all day (unless you count a kings-ransom chocolate bar and plastic cup of rock-hard fruit as food). All vendors but the fast food/gluten guys were MIA in Phoenix, NO time to do anything but sprint through the concourse in Denver, and NOTHING open in Cincinnati after midnight;
  • It took considerable time for the bag I checked through to show up after our Cincinnati landing; and
  • My cabbie drove me home from the airport by way of Alaska (or so it seemed as he kept asking, “Do you know where you are yet?”)

But it truly was soooooo worth it! **

In my [not yet unpacked] state, I have a smile on my face** as I recall wonderful sessions and wonderful conversations with wonderful people — OUR TRIBE!

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Start saving NOW to BE there next year, AGAIN in Phoenix
May 1-3, 2015 (pre-conference sessions April 31st)
Mark your calendars, and add a line-item to your budget.

[CLICK HERE for the 2015 Conference Page on the ACO website – EarlyBirds $ave!]

WHAT a relief to be among the ADD Tribe,
where individuality is celebrated
rather than regimented!

If you’ve never given yourself the gift of getting to swim with the school of fish who swim like YOU, you simply must. It will change your attitude about ADD and about yourself — which will change your entire approach to life.

You NEED to get to know a great many more amazing folks like YOU, I promise: ACO, ADDA & CHADD give you 3 yearly conference opportunities.

We had a BALL — and you would have too!

ONE MORE TIME, I must second Dr. Charles Parker’s comment in his 2013 post-conference article on his Corepsychblog, “If you are an ADHD coach and haven’t yet connected with the ACO  . . .  now is the time to get on it and get cracking.”

** Even MORE wonderful because they honored ME with The Glen Hogard Award (more about that in a separate article, And the Winner Is . . . )

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

ONCE AGAIN, I must repeat how grateful I am to have had another wonderful chance to swap expertise with my colleagues as I got to connect with many whom I’ve known for years, had the opportunity to meet many of my virtual colleagues “live and in person” for the first time, and to be introduced to many more I hadn’t had a chance to meet in any venue. What a feast!


GoodJobCONGRATULATIONS to the 2014 Conference Co-Chairs (a first!), Katherine Jahnke and Robin Nordemeyer (mentored by last year’s chair & current ACO president, Joyce Kubic).

Congrats and thanks to the entire conference team and all of the pre-conference planning and on-site volunteers tasked with keeping the balls in the air before, during and after the 2014 ACO Conference.

AHEM! – Need I remind us all that many of these guys are doing their amazing job despite the reality of their own ADD/ADHD lives and challenges! 

They get extra credit, right?!

Kudos to each of the Presenters — without the generous sharing of your expertise there would BE no conference. In addition to speakers from the USA, there were speakers from Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada presenting at this year’s conference. Now THAT’s some serious travel!  Thank you.

Tapes & Audio Interviews

ADHD Support TalkAttentionTalkRadioJeff Copper of Attention Talk covered the conference, and (as always) Tara McGillicuddy, founder and Director of along with ADHD Support Talk Radio, has (and will have) guest experts talking about their conference offerings and reactions.

Once I have the pre-ordered Conference Tapes in my hot little hands I’ll be able to hear the sessions that went on while I was busy in others.  I can tell you from the sessions I attended, however, that the quality of the information was top-notch.

As soon as the exhausted Conference Organizers have time to post a page where YOU can order tapes on the ACO Website, I’ll post it HERE.

If any of you 2014 Speakers post your session materials online, PLEASE leave a link in the comment section below, and I’ll move it up into this wrap-up.

The 2014 Conference Committee Members deserve a special mention, since they have served valiantly with little to no online recognition:

From the Printed Conference Manual: LaJuan Abbey, Liz Ahmann, Kay Axtel, Alan Brown, Virginia Hurley, Mindy Katz, Herve LeBouef, Shelley Mitchell, Monika Pompetzki, Vickie Roche, Lee Rozycki, Bobin Storfer, Patricia Wood, Renee Woods – with SPECIAL thanks to Jay Carter, who keeps our technical equipment hooked up and running during our conferences.

ANYBODY I’ve inadvertently omitted, leave me your name in a comment below and I’ll add you post haste – with my gratitude and sincere apologies.  None of us who have not walked the miles in your shoes can truly appreciate all you have done to make this year’s conference the raging success that it was.

Love and gratitude to each and every sponsor, including those who paid a sponsorship fee for vendor tables.  Since “ticket” prices never cover all the expenses, nobody puts on a successful conference without sponsorship! You guys are the BEST!

AGAIN, my personal thank you to Shire! 

Diamond Level sponsorship was provided by the pharmaceutical company that has always supported ADDers and their families over and above expectations – and NO, they weren’t on board to push medication.

Their representatives were there to learn more about ADD Coaching and how they themselves can work with the ADD Coaching field to better support the team approach they’ve always claimed is the best way to manage ADD.

  • They were willing to answer any and all medication questions that were brought to them, but they did not, and DO not, promote medication as the one and only thing needed to sharpen focus and improve functioning.
  • Those who were around at the time (or have taken the time to learn the history of ADD and our battles with various medication detractors) will join with me in letting you know that Shire put people over profits during the FDA Adderall re-approval debacle, and have always generously supported the efforts of CH.A.D.D., ADDA and now ACO.
  • For my money, Shire and its people have always been “the good guys,” they take a lot of undeserved flak from the general public, and they deserve our support and gratitude, never our censure.

I’d like to encourage all of you to get to know them better by visiting the Shire website.

And hey – thanks to ADDA for their sponsorship of ACO this year!

Since I plan an entire article about the upcoming ADDA Conference, I’ll keep this brief for now:

Click Here for Info about the upcoming
25th Anniversary International ADULT AD/HD Conference
July 24-27 in Orlando, Florida

Celebrating the Progress of the Past and the Promise of the Future


A Global ADD Coaching Community Gathers

As usual, ADD Coaches came to the ACO Conference from across the United States, but we were also joined by coaches from around the globe. Several of our Canadian colleagues made the trip, including Barbara Popoff and Christina Johnson-Quan from LDAS – The Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan.

I met them for the very first time in the hotel lobby, when they saved the life of a stranger in trouble – ME!

I want to extend a SPECIAL expression of gratitude to them for making sure I had a place to lay my head when there was a room reservation snafu the evening of my arrival, coupled with no room at any Inn due to the temporary shut-down of LAX, leaving many travelers stranded in Phoenix for an additional day.

God bless you both – and if I can help YOU in any way, you have my card (and you can always rouse my attention by leaving a comment here on

An OFI Reunion

00_OFI_215x159I caught up with a number of the OFI Associates, those who received their initial ADD Coach training with the original two to three year ADD Coach Training curriculum (ACT) I developed and delivered through my first company, The Optimal Functioning Institute™.

I was thrilled to reconnect with OFI grads Linda Anderson, Dana Rayburn, Barbara LutherPat Wood, ACO past-president Sarah Wright, ACO co-founder Glen Hogard and others who will, no doubt pop into my brain as soon as I have one again!

Look at them now!

As the ::HUGE grin:: 2014 Hogard Award-winner (who developed the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum — the only one for years), and co-founder of the ADD Coaching field itself, I was again overwhelmed with gratitude for the beautiful garden growing from seeds I planted decades ago, like some female Johnny Appleseed.

It will never get old (in my own mind, anyway) to repeatedly express how I continue to stand blinkingly amazed at all the “new varietals” being developed now — all over the world — and without my having to lift an additional shovel!

What a relief to know for sure that I can finally put down my watering can and use that time to move forward personally!!

Sprinkled throughout the world (although still concentrated heavily in the US), ADD Coaches can now be found working

  • in the prisons
  • in our schools and colleges
  • with community mental health services
  • in their own coach training companies and treatment centers
  • hosting radio shows
  • writing books and producing videos
  • and let’s not overlook their private ADD Coaching with ADD-flavored individuals, partners, parents and groups with specialized techniques proven to be effective in neuro-diverse populations.

It is simply amazing to watch my original vision come alive before my eyes!

Meeting Colleagues “in person”

Even though the sessions themselves are enjoyable and enlightening, connecting 3-D faces and bodies to colleagues whom I’ve only met online or on TeleClasses is always my favorite part. It was a pleasure to connect with EVERYONE who was there, and to exchange a few words (however briefly) as we hustled to squeeze as much as we could into the relatively short time we had together.

Unfortunately, I did not get to do much more than smile, nod or wave at, and/or hug so many more I wish there had been time to speak with and get to know.

I think we need an entire WEEK — peppered with lots of time to meet and network!

I was especially pleased to note the attendance of colleagues and team-mates from the fields of medicine, psychology, education, social work, and more — some of whom are also trained coaches in addition to their original specialties, and many who are “card carrying members” of Team ADD.

I believe ADD Coaching is now firmly established and primed for warp-growth, don’t you? After 25 years of non-stop advocacy, are we finally on the cusp of mainstream acceptance?  What will it take to make it so?

MORE to Come

I could go on – and will in future posts – but this is more than enough for one article, doncha’ think?

As my colleagues are unpacked, caught up and able, many of them will no doubt be writing articles about their experience of the conference – and some of the speakers may be adding content from their presentations to their blogs and websites.

For those who contact me with availability, I will post links to their impressions and information here on this post, as a loosely organized blog-tour develops. So stay tuned.

I hope to see YOU next year – AGAIN in Phoenix!

As always, if you want notification of new information in the ACO Conference Update series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right.

(You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too) STRICT No Spam Policy

Links to speakers and attendees blogs and websites (and anything ELSE mentioned above) will post below as they contact me that their content is ready.

ACO Conference Articles

All links below open in a new window/tab
(read, close the window, come back here for the next stop on the tour)

ACO Conference 2014

Past ACO Conference Articles for you

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

3 Responses to Reflections on my return: ACO ADD/ADHD Coaching Conference 2014

  1. Denny Bausch says:

    Good to hear from you again, Madelyn! I can’t believe it’s taken me 3 years to find you!! I’ve been in touch with Donna from our OFI class, wondering what’s going on. When I found your new website/blog I was excited. Hope to catch-up soon.


    • I have been searching for you guys too (computer drama – contacts lost) – there’s even an “I’m in ACT-12″ check-box on my e-me form! Check your email and I will send my contacts – contacts for a NY minute, anyway. Phone will stay stable.

      Long story, but I am being forced to move suddenly AGAIN (serious kitchen repairs, so it seems – May 31 to get it all done – notice RIGHT before I left for ACO) – so I am scrambling to find a place to live, pack & move (for now – planning to relocate but right now I can’t manage more than another place here in Cincy).

      Anyway, time is TIGHT – but I would love to touch base (out most of day “house-hunting” and moving boxes to temp storage – so nites are when I can talk — while I pack!)

      Not sure what you’ve read here on the blog, but link ==>“No contact possible – mugged at gunpoint” will catch you up with the immediate background. Cast hasn’t been off for long – so grateful to be able to type again, but VERY little time for online activities currently.

      RE: ACT 12 — Ginger found me (and she’s in contact with Jennifer, of course) – but you are the first to find your way here. THRILLED. Lots to share – and I want to square myself with you guys.

      L-o-n-g crazy saga, hopefully behind me soon (oh Lord, soon!) so I can, once again, attempt to move forward.

      Hope all is wonderful with you – we will speak soon, if only to touch base and make a plan for more.
      SO psyched you contacted me. I’ve thought of you often.


    • Hey Denny – I WIN the Bobby Burns award for all time I think – BUT, I’m finally in new digs, partially set up, mostly unpacked, and ready to have our promised conversation (after 9PM best to catch me – still Eastern – same 865 area code phone number). I’m only able to do an hour or two online until I’ve turned this Pre-War apt. into a functional home, but would LOVE to take time to touch base by phone. Call me!


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