Senior Facilitator

James J. Conway (Jim) is a veteran trainer and speaker with over 25 years experience providing training and consultation to youth-serving professionals and volunteers in educational and community-based organizations in the US and abroad. He has designed and delivered major training for Search Institute since 1995. For the last decade, he also served as a lead trainer and presenter for Vision Training Associates. Conway has also served as a member of the national training team, National Institute on Out-of-School Time, Wellesley College, MA. Prior to beginning his career as a trainer and speaker on positive youth development, Jim served for 15 years in leadership roles of various programs for children and young adolescents.

Major Keynotes and Presentations

Conway has extensive experience delivering presentations and keynote addresses. In addition to numerous local and state organizations and institutions, some of the national and international organizations with which he has made major presentations and keynotes include:

  • Children’s Defense Fund
  • National Middle School Association
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
  • National School-Age Child Care Alliance
  • YMCA of the USA
  • Public/Private Ventures
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Center
  • Work/Family Directions
  • Family Resource Coalition
  • National Park and Recreation Association
  • Boys Town
  • Center for Ministry Development
  • National 4-H


Conway is a popular workshop leader having designed and provided hundreds of workshops addressing elements of positive youth development for a broad spectrum of organizations, institutions, and communities. His highly interactive style mixing process with solid content ensures that participants leave his training both informed and inspired.

Curriculum and Training Design

In his work with Vision Training Associates and in partnership with other organizations including Search Institute, Work Family Directions, Inc, and The Center for Early Adolescence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Conway has extensive experience in training design and curriculum development. Some of his work includes:

  • Lead designer, Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment in Our Nation’s School Buses, (modular workshop series on bullying prevention for teachers and other educators), US Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, contracted through Vision Training Associates, Fall, 2012.
  • Lead designer, Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation’s Classrooms, (modular workshop series on bullying prevention for school bus drivers), US Department of Education, Office of Safe & Drug-Free Schools, contracted through Vision Training Associates, Spring, 2011.
  • Lead trainer and designer, The Salvation Army/Search Institute Youth Asset Development Initiative (multi-year national project to support youth development in Salvation Army Kroc Centers and system-wide innovation in youth programming) Search Institute, 2010 – 2013.
  • Lead trainer and designer, Bank It Training of Facilitators, Search Institute in partnership with Capital One Financial Services, 2010-2011.
  • Lead trainer and designer, Nurturing the Spirit of Youth: Framing a Conversation on Spiritual Development (modular training curriculum), Center for Spiritual Development in Childhood & Adolescence/Search Institute, 2008-2010.
  • Co-Author, More Than Just a Place To Go Video Self-Study Guide (for staff and volunteers of the Tiger Woods Learning Center), Search Institute, 2007
  • Lead trainer and designer, Infusing Assets into Out-of-School Programs, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation funded 2-year pilot study, Search Institute, 2001-2004.
  • Lead Designer and author, Essentials of Asset Building: A Curriculum for Trainers, Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 2002
  • Coordinator and lead trainer/designer, Habits of the Heart Project on Youth as Resources, Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN, March 2000 – December 2001
  • Lead trainer and designer with training delivery in seven cities, Uniting Congregations for Youth Development Project, Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN, October 1995 – October 1999.
  • Design team and contributing writer, By Design: A New approach to Programs for 10-15 Year-Olds, Middle School Youth Project, Work/Family Directions, Inc., Boston, MA, 1995-1998.
  • Revision teams and lead trainer (including training of trainers), Living with 10- to 15-Year-Olds: A Parent Education Curriculum and 3:00 to 6:00 PM: Planning Programs for Young Adolescents, Center for Early Adolescence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1987 – 1995

Major Publications

  • More Than Just a Place To Go: How Developmental Assets Can Strengthen Your Youth Program (2004), Search Institute.
  • Essentials of Asset building: A Curriculum for Trainers (Search Institute, 2002)
  • Essentials of Asset building: A Curriculum for Trainers, Revision Team (Search Institute, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Integrating Assets into Congregations: A Curriculum for Trainers (Search Institute, 2000).
  • Get On Board (co-authored with Jolene L. Roehlkepartain, Search Institute, 1999).
  • Building By Design: Creating Democratic Communities in Programs for 10 – 15 Year-Olds, (Contributing writer on adolescent developmental issues, Work/Family Directions, Boston, MA, 1998)
  • Concepts About 10- to 15-Year-Olds (Review and revision of research base for Planning Programs for Young Adolescents curriculum), Center for Early Adolescence, Chapel Hill, NC. 1994)

Professional History

Before he began training and consulting on positive youth development, Conway served for eight years as director of training at the Center for Early Adolescence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil, and  he spent 15 years as a youth worker in New York City. Some of his positions included:

  • Camp Director, Recreation Director, and Co-Director of Youth Cross Country Camping Program, Shelley’s All-Stars, Inc., New York, NY
  • Recreation Consultant, Corlears School and Public School #3, New York, NY
  • Co-Director, Teen Drop-In Center, Lower East Side, New York, NY


  • B.A., Speech Communications, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN.
  • M.Div., Psychiatry and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY.



Click below to inquire about booking Jim for your next event:

Learn More