Unit chief of the FBI Cyber Division is this year’s featured speaker

The 18th annual Expo for Seniors, a free event providing a wide variety of activities geared toward those age 55 and up, is returning to the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud on Aug. 17, from 8 a.m.-12 noon. The event is completely free and includes a breakfast, plenty of vendors, health screenings, a keynote speaker, door prizes and more.

Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. or while supplies last. In addition, there is complimentary coffee and water available throughout the morning.

Parking is available on street and ramps near the River’s Edge Convention Center.

“We will have free shuttle service provided by Executive Express and Voigt’s Bus Service, running the entire event,” said Sue Christensen, co-chair of Expo for Seniors. “Shuttles will provide transportation from the Centre Square ramp and Swan Lot to the Convention Center.”

More than 100 vendors will be at this year’s event.

“This includes housing, health care, medical supplies, banking, insurance, travel, funeral services, home care, attorneys, etc.,” she said.

Vendors will be on hand for the entire event. Some of the vendors will provide free health screenings, including blood pressure, ear screenings, strength and wellness, to name a few.  For a list of all the vendors, visit expoforseniors.com/vendors/.

This year’s featured speaker is Donna Gregory, FBI Cyber Division. Gregory will be speaking from 10-11 a.m. The theme this year is Scams 101: Prevention, Protection, Next Steps.

Donna Gregory is the unit chief at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) under the FBI Cyber Division, Cyber Operations V Section and leads a Unit of approximately 35 Cyber and Criminal Division staff.

Donna Gregory, the Unit Chief at the Internet Crime Complaint Center under the FBI Cyber Division, will be the featured speaker at this year’s Expo for Seniors. Contributed photo

Gregory has served with the FBI for 24 years, entering on duty July 1994.  Her primary focus is working with both the private and public sector to develop effective alliances, define growing trends, and ensure IC3 filed information is processed for investigative and intelligence purposes for law enforcement and public awareness.   She has been with the IC3 since its development in 2000.

Prior to the IC3, Gregory was a supervisor in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) where she assisted in the setup phase of the NICS program after the implementation of the Brady bill.

“There will be plenty of time to visit with vendors, gather information, have a bite to eat and get informed on how to protect yourself from scams and frauds,” said Christensen, who feels fortunate to have Gregory speaking at this year’s Expo.

“At last year’s event the community outreach specialist from the FBI, Minneapolis office was a vendor,” said Christensen. “Through that relationship, we were able to have some conversations about the FBI presenting at a future Expo event.  The opportunity to have the FBI share their knowledge, recommendations, and expertise on the subject we thought was a “no brainer.”

Christensen said some of the committee members have had personal experiences with their aging loved ones being scammed, or their identity compromised in some way. Others had seen it happen with clients that they serve.  

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for our attendees to gain knowledge on this important topic so they can be better protected and, hopefully, not become a victim of any type of fraud crime,” she said.

Planning for this year’s event started immediately after last year’s event concluded, and ramped up in January.

One of the highlights of the Expo for Seniors each year is the featured speaker. This was the scene during a speech from a past speaker. Contributed photo

“The planning committee consists of 18 volunteers from various companies in our community,” said Christensen. “They represent mostly senior service providers and are a very dedicated group of volunteers.  Countless hours go into the planning, but many hands make light work.  In addition to the committee members we also have countless volunteers the day of the event from the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP).  We are so fortunate to have their help. We literally couldn’t do the event without them!”

And when everything comes together and the event is a success, it is a satisfying feeling for all those who contributed.

“It is both exciting and rewarding,” she said. “The committee is dedicated to the event and the people it serves.  The excitement definitely builds, and we look forward to seeing everyone the day of the event.  It’s a labor of love for the committee, no doubt!  We receive lots of positive feedback through our surveys, along with suggestions for future events.  We use that feedback to make improvements or changes for the following year.   This is our 18th year, and I don’t see an end in sight.”

Major sponsors of this year’s Expo for Seniors include St. Cloud Times/LocaliQ, The Good Shepherd Community, and  Centracare/St. Benedict Senior Community.

“We appreciate their sponsorship,” said Christensen.

To learn more about the Expo for Seniors, visit www.expoforseniors.com.

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