2017 MAGiC Awards
Legal Award: Cate Boyko
Given to a person in the legal area who has done outstanding work in the field of guardianship or conservatorship.
Earlier in her professional career, Cate was an Investigator with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. For whatever reason, she left the RCMP and eventually landed in our midst, applying her skills and interests to improve conservatorship in Minnesota, with a special emphasis on addressing financial exploitation and mismanagement by conservators for the protection of protected persons under court jurisdiction.
Cate was hired by the MN Judicial Branch in 2012 to manage CAAP (Conservator Account Auditing Program), specifically to build the auditing portion for this new center to safeguard the assets of protected person through professional, impartial compliance audits. In addition, she was the project manager for the award winning MY MN Conservator (MMC), enabling electronic filing of inventories and annual accounts with MN courts, as well as being a financial management tool for conservators in reconciling accounts. This could be a daunting task for anyone, and has the potential to be met with resistance by professionals who may not appreciate such sweeping changes. But Cate successfully engaged professional conservators through MAGiC and other direct meetings, welcoming their input on the process.
Cate has testified at the US Senate’s Special Committee on Aging on Minnesota’s CAAP and MMC programs, has been quoted in the NY Times; locally, she is an active member of WINGS MN to assist in its efforts to avoid abuse in guardianship and conservatorship, and utilizing less restrictive alternatives to guardianship through innovative approaches such as supported decision making. She led an team of stakeholders through the early and middle stages of the development of an online training program aimed at improved knowledge and skills for all guardians/conservators, but especially families. Cate has recently left the MN Judicial Branch but has not left G/C behind. She is currently working with the National Center of State Courts on yet another online training program, this one nationally-based, and with an even stronger focus on informing would-be petitioners about less restrictive alternatives. As the coordinator of WINGS, I am grateful to have Cate on the Steering Committee, almost always saying “yes” to the call for volunteers for special projects.
We have benefited from Cate’s passion for, and dedication to, improving G/C systems in MN to detect financial exploitation by fiduciaries by developing accessible on-line educational tools, and for disseminating MN’s accomplishments on the national level. Please join me in congratulating Cate Boyko, the 2017 recipient of MAGiC’s Legal Award.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Referee Dean Maus
Given to a person in the legal or judiciary area who has done outstanding work in the field of guardianship or conservatorship
Referee Maus was the Ramsey County probate court manager for 5 years before serving 10 years as a Referee in the Ramsey County probate court. He moved to the Hennepin County probate court and served as Referee there for 7 years.
You younguns may not know that Referee Maus was instrumental in convincing the court system to take conservator accountings seriously by establishing an online accounting program which eventually morphed into My Mn Conservator and the auditing of accounts that we have with CAAP today. These efforts in Minnesota were first in the nation and are leading to similar efforts across the county.
But we are also honoring him today because he was a tireless worker in the court system that is charged with protecting our society’s vulnerable persons. In this age where flash/celebrity/fake leaders get oversized attention, it behooves us to celebrate those who really do deserve our recognition: the hardworking/nose-to-the grindstone citizens who positively contribute to society every day.
Referee Maus is one of those citizens who deserves the Lifetime Achievement Award which MAGiC gives to a person who has done outstanding work in the field of Guardianship/Conservatorship throughout his/her lifetime.
On behalf of MAGiC – we give you this award, Referee Maus, as a recognition of your service and a token of our appreciation for all you have done.
Doris Sveen Award: Jean Sulzle
Recognizing an individual who has done outstanding work on behalf of someone else.
Earlier in Jean’s career, she was working as a case manager for Catholic Charities helping seniors stay in their homes. The first time she heard of a Conservator was when she couldn't figure out what to do with a particular client and colleagues suggested a Conservatorship. She went through the process and her interest piqued. In 1989, she took the guardian and conservatorship class from VOA and soon landed her first client. She worked part-time building up more clients over 15 years when she finally got the courage to do it full-time and has been applying her skills, knowledge, and passion ever since.
The Doris Sveen award doesn’t even begin to cover the outstanding work Jean did on behalf of a recent case with the young woman in a horrific situation. With this particular case, it would have been appropriate and enough for Jean to buy this young woman clothes, to find her placement, and assist with making some difficult decisions. This is one of those cases that is hard to imagine and it would have just been easier to meet the young woman’s needs and move on -But Jean new this young woman wasn’t just “enough”, and easy isn’t in Jean’s vocabulary. Jean knew that given the horrors and evil of this situation, that this young woman needed more. She did not back down from all the nuance’s and challenges of this particular case-
No, instead Jean embraced her, rose to the challenge, and has since been putting her heart, soul, passion, and skills into guiding her and not only providing the best future for this young woman, but experiencing things with her and allowing her to just be a young woman (Ex. Taking her shopping, instead of just buying her clothes because no one had ever taken her shopping before. Jean toured places with her and allowed her to decide where she would like to live. Spending time and having lunch with her as these were simple things that in life we all can take for granted, when these were opportunities that this young woman never had the pleasure of experiencing.)
Other professionals involved with this case have stated that her skills and compassion were exactly what was needed at a very trying time, and that Jean has gone above and beyond all expectations with all the time, care, and advocacy.
It has been a true inspiration to see the results and love that Jean poured into this young woman. You know that question that we all ask ourselves, “Why are we here? What is our purpose?” This is why…
It is not enough to say that Jean is an outstanding Guardian. Jean is more. Her passion, and dedication to improving the lives of others is significant. Please join me in congratulating Jean Sulzle, the 2017 recipient of MAGiC’s Doris Sveen Award.
Recognition Award: Dawn Rootness
Given to a person who has done outstanding work for the MAGIC Association.
Dawn joined the MAGiC Board in 2011 as the Bylaws Chair. This position seemed to be a natural fit for Dawn. She immediately immersed herself in our bylaws, looking for any areas where language could be improved for simplicity, accuracy, and especially grammatically. By fall of 2011 Dawn had introduced, and passed, the first of four amendments under her term as Chair.
As a Board Member, Dawn is the kind of person that every board needs on it. She was always quick to be the first to offer to proof any correspondence from the board including marketing material and brochures, additions to our Standards, and meeting minutes. Dawn’s eye for detail is remarkable, and the Board could rest easy knowing a document was complete when Dawn had finished editing.
Dawn was also a highly organized and knowledgeable Board Member. Anytime there was a procedural question, Dawn could be depended on to come up with the correct answer, usually by memory. Dawn is also quick to recall details from previous meetings and quickly point to prior meeting minutes to end discussion on a point that had previously been settled.
As the CAMPER and MYMNConserv program expanded to include all conservators, including family members, Dawn stepped in to serve as an agent for family and professionals alike. Numerous attorneys would advise their clients to talk to Dawn, knowing that she could take a box of receipts and statements and prepare an on-line accounting that would keep their clients in the good graces of the court and auditors! Because of her own private conservatorship business, and her knowledge of a family member’s view of CAAP, Dawn was a contributing member of the CAAP work group comprised of CAAP team members, court staff, judges, attorneys and other key stake holders in ensuring the development and on-going process of the CAAP and MMC systems.
As Dawn transitions out of the fiduciary service realm, attorneys, court staff, the professional community, and family conservators will all miss the fantastic and timely service that Dawn has provided and we deeply thank her for her contributions to MAGiC and to our profession.