2017 Women's Business Conference Speakers | NAWBO

2017 Women's Business Conference Speakers




Erin Brockovich

True American hero determinated to lend her voice to those who do not have one. Say the name Erin Brockovich and you think, strong, tough, stubborn and sexy. Erin is all that and more. She is a modern-day “David” who loves a good brawl with today’s “Goliaths”. She thrives on being the voice for those who don’t know how to yell. She is a rebel. She is a fighter. She is a mother. She is a woman. She is you and me.

Her story and film made “Erin Brockovich” a household name. Over time, Erin realized that she could use her notoriety to spread positive messages of personal empowerment and to encourage others to stand up and make a difference.  Read her full bio >>

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon 

Author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana and Ashley's War

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author most recently of the New York Times bestseller Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015); as well as the New York Times bestseller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), about a young entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban.

Lemmon began her career as a journalist in Washington. From 1997 to 2004, she covered politics and public policy issues for the ABC News Political Unit and served as an editorial producer during the first year of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In 2004, she left ABC News to pursue her interest in international development and began MBA study at Harvard. During this time that she began reporting from conflict regions.  Read her bio >>


Kristin Haffert

Project Mine the Gap

Kristin is an expert in women’s leadership and gender equality. She co-founded Project Mine the Gap in 2016 to improve the bottom line impact of companies by addressing gender equality in the workplace. Her award-winning efforts to support women have included work with the government, major philanthropies and financial institutions in more than 120 countries over the past two decades.

Blair Milo

Secretary of Career Connections and Talent
State of Indiana

Blair is the State of Indiana’s first Secretary for Career Connections and Talent. Appointed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Blair serves as the state’s Chief Talent Officer as Indiana works to fill an estimated 1 million job openings over the next 10 years. Prior to this, Blair served as Mayor of LaPorte, Indiana, after being elected in 2011 and reelected in 2015. 


Courtenay Siegfried

Vice President of Communications

As vice president of communications at Alice, Courtenay leads Alice's external communication efforts, including marketing and public relations strategy.  On the entrepreneurial front, Courtenay previously was owner and president of 20K Group, a global communications agency that worked with a diverse client roster, including BG Group, Devon Energy, Service Corporation International and many mission-driven organizations.



Jearlyn Steele

The Steeles

Jearlyn is a member of the internationally acclaimed musical family The Steeles. For 10 years, she has been an entertainment reporter for Twin Cities Public Television’s award-winning show Almanac. As a keynote speaker, facilitator and emcee, she has inspired audiences from Minnesota to New York to the Caribbean. For more than 18 years, she has also hosted “Steele Talkin’,” her own CBS Sunday night radio program.


Linda McMahon

U.S. Small Business Administration

Linda serves as the 25th administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.  As a cabinet member, she advocates on behalf of the almost 29 million small businesses in America, which employ nearly half of all American workers and account for 56.8 million jobs.  An entrepreneur and business executive herself, Linda is a co-founder and a former executive officer of Women's Leadership LIVE, LLC.


OmarIlah Omar

Minnesota House of Representatives
District 60B

Ilhan is an experienced Twin Cities analyst, organizer, public speaker, and advocate.  She was recently elected as the Minnesota House Representative for District 60B, making her the highest-elected Somali-American public official in the United States.  Ilhan is an assistant minority leader, with assignments to three house committees: Civil Law & Data Practices Policy, Higher Education & Career Readiness Policy and Finance and State Government Finance.


Dr. Tererai Trent

Tererai Trent International

Dr. Trent is one of today’s most internationally recognized voices for quality education and women’s empowerment. Distinguished as Oprah Winfrey’s “All-Time Favorite Guest,” Dr. Trent is a scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, author and founder of Tererai Trent International, whose mission is to provide quality education in rural Africa.  Her book, "The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can," is based on her story of perseverance.





Erin Andrew

Managing Director
Live Oak Bank

Erin is managing director at Live Oak Bank. She joined Live Oak Bank with more than six years at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Most recently, she was associate administrator for Capital Access, where she oversaw the SBA’s lending efforts that included $100 billion of government loan programs for small businesses. She is also a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Kauffman Fellow (Class 20).

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Breakout Session Track 4: "Small-Medium Business Breathrough"

Crystal Arredondo

MPACT Financial Group

Crystal is a past chair of NAWBO National and a partner at MPACT Financial Group, a boutique financial planning firm in Dallas, Texas, that specializes in wealth management for high net worth individuals and families. As the daughter of an immigrant mother who owned and operated a small family business, she especially enjoys helping women and business owners make decisions that affect their financial independence.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 Leadership General Session: "Who Me"

Jill Calabrese Bain

Managing Director & Head of Small Business of America Merchant Services
Bank of America

Jill is the managing director and head of small business for Bank of America Merchant Services. She is responsible for managing small business from an end-to-end perspective, leading sales and provideing the oversight, development and delivery of critical business priorties.  Jill joined Bank of America in 1992 and has been in the financial services industry for 25 years. She was previously the small business national sales executive for Bank of America

Mary Lyn Baker

DH Casters

Mary is president of DH Casters, a manufacturer of casters, wheels and material-handling equipment. She joined the company in 1994 as a business partner and, in 2014, became its sole-owner and president. She travels to China to audit numerous factory operations, negotiate multiple supply agreements, evaluate new technologies and establish product quality requirements.


Darla Beggs

ABBA Staffing

Darla's business experience includes consulting with HR professionals to evaluate and establish effective managed care plans with a focus on cost effectiveness coupled with employee satisfaction and retention.  Darla has held positions in account management, marketing, and benefits administration leadership. She has succeeded in balancing the needs of the employee population with cost-effective solutions for business clients to provide solutions that provide a “win-win” solution at every turn.


Karen Bennetts

Founder & Owner
Little Red Bird

Karen is founder and owner of Little Red Bird (LRB), a brand development and strategic creative services firm that helps companies discover and express their brand voices through strategic creative communications. LRB uncovers what’s unique and authentic about a brand and then conveys it in a meaningful way to form new connections with customers. Karen is past president of NAWBO-Charlotte and chair-elect of the NAWBO National President’s Assembly.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 3:15 - 4:15 pm, Panelist  Breakout Session: Growing Through NAWBO


Stephanie Breedlove

Care.com HomePay

Stephanie has been walking the walk of a successful entrepreneur for more than 20 years. She is co-founder of Care.com HomePay, the nation’s largest household payroll and tax firm. Her startup grew to national leadership and was later acquired for $55 million. She is also the author of All In: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Think Bigger, Build Sustainable Businesses, and Change the World.


Amanda Brinkman

Communications Officer
Deluxe Corporation

Amanda is a small business marketing expert and chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe Corporation, where she leads a team of experts who provide marketing services to millions of small businesses across America. Amanda also produces and stars in the acclaimed Small Business Revolution – Main Street series, in which she and her team provide a $500,000 revitalization to one lucky small town and its Main Street businesses.


Susan Brooks

Cookies from Home

Susan is a high-performance coach for women business owners beyond the start-up phase, who are now ready to grow, in both revenue…and profits.  With more than 30 years of ‘boots on the ground, in the trenches’ in co-founding and growing Cookies from Home, a multi-million dollar company. Susan uses her years of business experience to coach high revenue women business owners in achieving greater profitability.

Jennifer Chernisky

Jennasis and Associates

Jennasis is comprised of a team of designers, writers, developers and strategists who help brands create more meaningful relationships with consumers. Through creative solutions and fresh thinking, Jennasis and Associates inspires brands to be more. Jennifer's drive and determination has garnered national recognition and a list of clients ranging from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Sandy Clitter

Your Tech Tamer, LLC

Sandra is president of Your Tech Tamer, LLC. She works with companies to make their data “one-buttonable” by helping them to proactively manage the data and systems that drive their business. Sandy has a unique perspective for understanding business requirements, while also comprehending technology solutions that support business. Sandy is also treasurer of the NAWBO-Philadelphia Center for Advancing Entrepreneurs (the Philly Chapter’s 501(c)3)

Jaqueline Connor

Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Federal Trade Commission

Jacqueline is an attorney in the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. She investigates and litigates violations of U.S. laws enforced by the Commission that govern the privacy and security of consumer information.  Ms. Connor is currently working on various non-public investigations and consent negotiations.  She has investigated and resolved matters involving data security, privacy, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Mary Cravets

Mary Cravets

Mary Cravets is a highly-sought after Business Development Expert and International Speaker. Groomed in Silicon Valley, she teaches busy entrepreneurs how to attract more high-end clients so they can significantly grow their business – without working nights and weekends. Using her methods, the majority of her clients quickly increase their income 50-100%.


Colleen Dellilio-CoonsDell olio_Coons

Director International Sales

Colleen is director of international sales supporting UPS’s West Region with a focus on growing international sales in 25 states. Colleen has had an extensive 25-year career at UPS, with positions in business development and marketing. She has taken a leadership role in UPS’s Women’s Business Resource Group and Asian Business Resource Group, both of which focus on community, mentorship and business connection development.



Angela DePaoli

Bargas Environmental Consulting, LLC

Angela is president and CEO of Bargas Environmental Consulting, LLC, a multi-faceted biological consulting firm specializing in the analysis of natural resources and project management services, which has a staff who provide services throughout California. She has been honored with multiple awards, including Latina Excellence in Business, NAWBO Woman on the Way and SBA Woman-Owned Business of the Year.


Steve Embry

Frost Brown Todd, LLC

Stephen is a member of Frost Brown Todd LLC and is a member of the firm's Class action, Privacy and Mass Tort groups. He frequently defends partici­pants in consumer class actions and mass tort litigation. Stephen is a national litigator and advisor who is experienced in developing solutions to complex litigation and corporate problems. He is the former chair of Frost Brown Todd’s mass tort practice group. Stephen has dealt with a broad range of problems; his mission is to find simple, successful and elegant solutions to the problems posed by complex and substantial litigation, primarily in the mass tort and consumer class actions, and more recently, the privacy and data breach arenas.

Mercedes Eggleton-Garcia

VP Senior Business Leader Global Community Relations
Master Your Card

Mercedes is responsible for developing relations with consumers, merchants, labor organizations, consumer advocacy groups and governments through MasterCard's Master Your Card (MYC) Program, which is designed to help these constituents leverage the electronic payment network.  Mercedes is also involved with key women's organizations, on behalf of the Program, serving as a keynote speaker and panelist and delivering workshops.


Ana Fernandez-Parmet

Parmetech, Inc.

Ana, a first generation Cuban American, is the President/CEO of Parmetech, Inc. She and her husband, Mike Parmet, co-founded Parmetech in 1991 by selling only re-manufactured toner cartridges for laser printers, and later expanded into break-fix service. Parmetech is a certified woman-owned and minority-owned enterprise that has successfully evolved into a full-service consulting firm and a leading regional document management solutions provider.


Marcy Fortnow

Engaging Play

Marcy is the owner of Engaging Play, a training and team building company dedicated to bringing experiential learning programs to groups, organizations, and companies to improve communication and problem solving.  She is also launched Have A Bashery, a celebration and event programming company, that to bring theme parties to families in Atlanta and Chicago.  Prior to her entrepreneurial ventures, Marcy accumulated over twelve years in the business software world, in development, training, and consulting, in the US and Europe.

Loreen Gilbert

Wealthwise Fiancial Services

Loreen Gilbert is an experienced wealth manager who has spent more than 20 years creating successful wealth strategies for her clients.  Gilbert has been in private practice as a wealth manager since 1997 and is currently the President of WealthWise Financial Services, which offers securities and investment advisory services to individuals, business owners, and corporations through her affiliation as a registered principal with LPL Financial.


Molly Gimmel

Co-Founder & CEO
Design to Delivery Inc.

Molly is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Design To Delivery Inc. Gimmel has worked in the field of government contract and acquisition management since 1991. Before founding D2DInc, she spent eight years working in the government practices of three of the “Big Five” accounting/consulting firms. Recognized as an expert in government contracting, she is regularly asked to speak to groups interested in federal contracting.


Karen HarrisonHarrison

Bank of America
Senior Vice President

As Bank of America’s senior vice president and small business national sales performance manager, Karen is responsible for driving the national sales performance of complex credit solutions to priority small business clients across the United States while also ensuring clients benefit from the full franchise value of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. A 30-year banking veteran, Karen held senior executive management positions at other leading financial institutions prior to joining Bank of America in 2011.

Syndi Craig Hart

Smart Simple Marketing

Since 2006, her team has been helping companies to drive engagement with sought-after, growing market segments. They also help small businesses fully leverage their diverse status, capture more business and increase their revenue when selling B2B. It’s perfect for companies that want to increase the value of existing-customer spend, recapture marketing investments and grow customer lifetime value or decrease attrition.


​Sue Hawkes


Sue Hawkes’ passion is helping business leaders and their teams succeed. As a bestselling author, Certified EOS® Implementer, Certified Business Coach, WPO Chapter Chair, internationally recognized seminar leader, speaker and award-winning entrepreneur, Sue brings over twenty five years of business experience to her clients. She is CEO of YESS!® and has designed and delivered dynamic, transformational programs for tens of thousands of people globally.  Sue works with leadership teams to improve performance and brings contagious energy to her clients. 


Mary Hiland, Ph.D.

Hiland Consulting

Mary has 40 years of experience with nonprofits as an executive, board leader and consultant. She has been consulting with and coaching nonprofits for the last 15 years with a passion for helping nonprofit leaders unleash their board’s potential for mission impact. Mary is also a published author, speaker, trainer and researcher and has served on the boards of NAWBO-Silicon Valley and the chapter’s Education Fund.


Susan Inouye

Executive Coach/Founder
Susan Inouye Company

Susan’s proven track record in transformational change has positively impacted more than 600 businesses in two decades. An executive coach, her “Gift-Centered” approach that integrates mind and body practices has created dramatic turnarounds and executives living more balance and fulfilled lives. A recognized expert with Millennials, she co-founded a revolutionary method used globally because of its capacity to unite all generations through their gifts, passions and purpose.


Nicole Kaeding

Center for State Tax Policy, Tax Foundation

Nicole is an economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation. Previously, she was a budget analyst for the Cato Institute focused on federal and state fiscal policy, and the state policy manager for Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Nicole’s work has been featured in the Washington PostChicago Tribune, National Public Radio, Huffington Post and numerous other national, state and local publications.



Sarah Kemp

Deputy Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration

Sarah E. Kemp became the Deputy Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service on August 8, 2017. In this role, Sarah serves as the chief operating officer of the U.S. government's premier export promotion agency, managing its domestic and overseas trade offices.

Sarah most recently served as the acting Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade in Washington, D.C. In that role, she oversaw the daily operations of the International Trade Administration (ITA), which has an annual budget of $483 million with approximately 2,100 trade and investment professionals—based in more than 100 U.S. cities and 70 countries around the world.


Laura Licursi

Elite Virtual Assistants

Laura is founder of Elite Virtual Assistants (EVA). EVA helps small business owners get more done in less time by helping them focus on accomplishing the things that will grow their business and bottom line. Laura was a virtual assistant for 20 years before starting EVA with a vision to attract the best virtual assistants in the industry by providing a great working environment and company culture.


Virginia Littlejohn

Quantum Leaps

Virginia is co-founder and president of Quantum Leaps, a global accelerator for women’s entrepreneurship. She is a NAWBO National past president, was a primary architect of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 and coordinated NAWBO’s involvement in the White House Conference on Small Business. She served two terms on the National Women’s Business Council and has received such honors as SBA’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year and Enterprising Women Hall of Fame.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:30-10:30 am:  Panelist,  Creating Leaders for a World of Change: Past Presidents Panel

Christina LozaLoza

Quantum Leaps

Tina is the founder and managing partner at Loza & Loza LLP, an intellectual property law firm. She has a breadth of experience working for a large firm and as in-house intellectual property counsel. She has experience in all areas of intellectual property law, including trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, domain name disputes, internet law, eBay dispute resolution and IP licensing, counseling and litigation. 


Lisa Crilley Mallis

Impactive Strategies

Lisa is founder of Impactive Strategies. For more than 15 years, she has provided customized, practical solutions to everyday capacity building challenges, allowing her clients to accomplish more in less time, while still enjoying their lives. She delivers motivating keynote speeches, leads dynamic and engaging workshops and creates results- oriented coaching programs.




Reggie McKinney

Branck Chief for Industry Engagement and Resilience
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Reggie has served in several capacities since his arrival to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2004.  He currently serves as the acting branch chief for the Industry Engagement and Resilience Branch and oversees the Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community (C3) Voluntary Program, where he works with public and private industry stakeholders to mangage their cyber risk and improve the overall cyber resiliency of the Unites States' critical infrastructure sectors.


Kelly McQueen

Senior VP/Relationship Manager
PNC Corporate Banking Group

Prior to PNC, Kelly spent 15 years in Wells Fargo's commercial and non profit healthcare banking groups.  Kelly graduated from Purdue University with a degree in math.  She sits on the Risk Management Association's Board of Directors and volunteers with several non profits.



Teresa Meares

DGG Uniform and Work Apparel

Teresa is immediate past chair of NAWBO National and president of DGG Uniform and Work Apparel, a distributor of business and uniform apparel. She also manages Audibelle, a clothing line for girls between the ages of 13-17 launched by her daughter, Kayla. Teresa is a published author of the “Think Safe 2 Be Safe” series focused on teaching children how to stay safe.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:30-10:30 am: Panelist, Creating Leaders for a World of Change: Past Presidents Panel

Maggie Moore

Professional Staff
Committee on Small Business, Chairman Steve Chabot

Maggie Moore serves as Professional Staff with the Committee on Small Business under Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). Her portfolio includes the areas of entrepreneurial development, including issues related to women-owned businesses, and energy-related matters. Prior to joining the House Small Business Committee, Maggie began her career with the Committee on House Administration.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Applied Economics from the University of Maryland.


Ester Morales

Executive Director
National Women's Business Council

Esther is executive director of the National Women’s Business Council. She most recently served as White House Liaison at the Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to that, she worked at the White House in the Office of the First Lady as Associate Director of Policy. She has also served at the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Administration for Children, Youth and Families.


Terry Neese

Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women

As CEO and Founder, Terry leads the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women to accomplish its mission through public policy and entrepreneurial education training programs for women business owners. Since its creation in 2006, the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program has empowered hundreds of women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. Terry is also the Founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:30-10:30 am: Panelist, Creating Leaders for a World of Change: Past Presidents Panel


Allison Neumann-Lundy

Alision's Cleaning

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Alison grew up in a family business environment and this laid the foundations for what became the core business values for Alison's Cleaning. Her cleaning business focused on providing outstanding, professional service, quality and commitment to each client's individual needs has become the premiere cleaning service in Downtown Minneapolis, serving hundreds of clients from small lofts to large homes.


Shannon Nickerson

Shannon Lee Health Coaching

Shannon is a mountain lover and soul driven health coach. She gives entrepreneurial women the tools and support to lose weight and sustain it, sleep through the night, and build stamina to rock their business. Shannon delivers programs that combines no nonsense, customized, whole food based nutrition, and stress management tools to help women ditch dieting for good, manage their stress and sleep, in a way that is sustainable, delicious, and feels good. Her clients consistently say that they feel better in their clothes and have more time and energy for their loved ones and for their clients!


Sarah Pagliocco

Small to Medium Business Engagement Coordinator

Sarah is an SMB Community Engagement Coordinator on the Facebook Small and Medium Business team in Menlo Park, CA. She focuses on showcasing how small businesses are using Facebook and on helping small business communities understand how to use Facebook to connect and grow. Sarah is especially passionate about working with small businesses having watched both of her parents start and run small businesses.

Suzanne Pease

Ampersand Graphics

Suzanne is the owner of Ampersand Graphics, a 29-year-old design firm specializing in brand management, and she has also developed a designer line of wearable art. Through these two passions, she attracts attention for growing businesses and makes them look good in person and on paper. From 2003-2004, Suzanne served as the NAWBO National Board Chair.



Jennifer PingJennifer Ping

Bose Public Affairs Group

Jennifer is managing director of strategic business services and brings the firm several years of experience in government relations and focuses her practice on legislative and executive branch lobbying, federal, state and local procurement, political consulting and grassroots and grasstops consulting.  She is also a principal of Bose Government Strategies, focusing on government regulatory consulting.


Theresa Proctor

Forward Movement Enterprises

As an international transition expert, keynote speaker and best-selling author, Theresa continues to impact audiences across the globe with her inspiring message of “Forward Movement.” She is CEO of Forward Movement Enterprises, an elite company that provides professional development and innovative educational opportunities. Her company continues to thrive in strengthening countless lives with the core message to revive, realize and release forward movement.


Griselda Quezada-Chavez

Q&C Exim 

Griselda Quezada-Chavez is the President and Owner of Q&C Exim, an import and export company. She is the International Affairs Director with NAWBO-Silicon Valley and the Ambassador of the International Task Force with NAWBO National.  She participates in many international business delegations and embraces connecting with global woman business owners.   Her joint venture, “World Boutique & Gallery” a mobile boutique, showcases items from different countries through relationships with local artisans, cooperatives and government non-profits.  


Sabina Ramsey

Insight Digital Design Agency

Sabina is the Founder and CEO of Insight Digital Design Agency. Technology-enabled, design-savvy and client-focused, Insight collaborates with organizations to strengthen their brand and grow their digital footprint.  She is a Past President of NAWBO Buffalo Niagara. Sabina received the “Above and Beyond” Leadership Award at the Women Making History Gala in 2016, and has earned many other leadership awards in her region.


Jennifer Brand Ransom

Brand Solutions Group

Jennifer is chair of the NAWBO National Presidents Assembly and founder of Brand Solutions Group. She has a passion for helping people and organizations create and implement results-driven social media, marketing, strategic communications and PR campaigns that elevate their brand. She works with companies, entrepreneurs and celebrities to leverage media attention to get their message to the masses.


Scott Reid

National Director Cyber Insurance
Gallagher Affinity Insurance Services

Scott is national director of cyber insurance for Gallagher Affinity Insurance Services and executive director of the American Cyber and Data Security Alliance. Recognized as an innovator in the cyber insurance market, Scott has helped to create awareness across multiple industries concerning the persistent threat of cyber liability exposures. He promotes carrying cyber insurance.

 Elizabeth Romero  

Senior Vice President
Bank of America

Elizabeth is a senior vice president and small business central division executive for Bank of America. The division is responsible for delivering small business solutions to clients across 11 states. In this role, Elizabeth develops and implements the overall sales plan and strategy for the profitable expansion and retention of the small business banking segment within Bank of America’s footprint. She has been in consumer banking for 24 years and joined Bank of America in 1993

Kelly Scanlon

Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc.

Kelly is owner of Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc., a company that connects growth-minded business owners with practical strategies, resources and information that will take them to the next level of success. She serves on a variety of boards designed to advocate for and assist small businesses and has received numerous honors and awards in recognition of her role in the small business community. She is a past NAWBO National Board Chair.

Joel Schlade

Small Business Specialist

Joel is an automotive marketing and sales leader with 40 years of experience (33 of those with Fiat Chrysler Automotive).  He poineered digital marketing for the Jeep brand and later helped launch the Ram truck as the Ram 1500 national brand manager. He is now back in his native state of Minnesota helping small businesses take the hassle out of managing their automotive and truck needs.

Nancy Schuelke

Upper Midwest Affluent Segment Director
Wells Fargo Community Banking

Nancy is the upper midwest affluent segment director overseeing Wells Fargo Community Banking affluent customer segment strategy in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska. Nancy leads a team of five affluent segment leaders and is based in the Twin Cities. She has 36 years of experience in the financial services industry and is a 29-year Wells Fargo veteran.

Pamela Seagle

Global Women's Programs
Bank of America

Pamela is the manager of Global Women’s Programs at Bank of America. She is responsible for the strategic development and implementation of women’s programs across the company’s global footprint. This includes the Global Ambassadors Program, the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program and other programs and initiatives leading to the economic development of women leaders.


Jane Skeeter


An entrepreneur, designer, artist and engineer since childhood, Jane founded her stained glass and glazing company in her garage in the early ‘70s. Since then, UltraGlas has evolved into a global enterprise and serves a variety of OEM, construction and designed building material markets. The largest project to date is 125,000 square feet of UltraGlas to clad the exterior of the world’s 6th largest hospital in Kuwait.


Lesa Seibert

Mightily and Xstreme Media

Lesa is the founder and CEO of Mightily and Xstreme Media, two Louisville based international branding and multi-media firms. Mightily is a brand first digital marketing agency providing customized design and marketing strategies where Xstreme Media’s focus is template driven web design, social media and internet marketing.  Lesa has 15+ years in the web/internet industry, overseeing the company from design to operations. She speaks around the region and hosts seminars on web design, social media and internet marketing for groups and companies.


Walter Simson

Mentor & Middle Market Expert
Walter Simson Venture Consulting

Walter mentors ambitious leaders of middle market companies, including several members of the Inc. 5000. He was CFO and CEO of a number of investor-backed companies—one of which he took from $7 million to almost $70 million in three profitable years. He writes on management and executive life for Inc.com and is a Certified Turnaround Professional and member of the Gazelles Scaling Up community.


Phyllis Hill Slater

Hill Slater Group

Phyllis is the owner and president of Hill Slater Group, a third-generation, family-owned engineering and architectural support system that services the engineering, architectural and construction management communities in the private and public sectors. Phyllis has received hundreds of awards from governments and business and community organizations for her leadership and advocacy for the advancement of women and minority business interests. She is a past NAWBO National Board Chair.


Monica Smiley

Enterprising Women

Monica is editor and publisher of Enterprising Women, a global print and digital magazine that reaches nearly a million women entrepreneurs in more than 185 countries. In 2010, Monica launched the Enterprising Women Foundation to increase philanthropy among women entrepreneurs and support initiatives to help women business owners worldwide grow their businesses. Monica has represented the U.S. as a six-time delegate at Global Summit of Women conferences.


Carrie Summer

Chef Shack

As co-owner of the popular Minneapolis restaurant and food truck fleet Chef Shack, Carrie Summer is known locally as one of the “Godmothers of food trucking in the North.” Carrie and her partner Lisa Carlson started Chef Shack in 2006 and it quickly became one of the most successful food trucks to hit the Twin Cities. Today Chef Shack continues to grow and expand, including the addition of a second brick-and-mortar location in Bay City, Wisconsin. Carrie began her career in New York City where she worked with well-known French chef Jean George.


Diane Thomas

Premier Sales, Inc.
President & Designated Broker

As President of Premier Sales, Inc., a 27 year old business brokerage firm in Arizona, Diane manages business sales transactions and engagements with privately held companies with revenue from $1 to $25 million.   Her client centric approach includes:  Value Enhancement; Business Continuity & Succession Planning; and, Business Exit Strategies to achieve stakeholder objectives.  By designing a strategy with clients, Diane achieves a 75% success ratio, which is well above the 30% industry average.  


Sophie Wade

Flexcel Network

Sophie is founder and workforce innovation specialist at Flexcel Network. She speaks, consults and writes as an authority on Future of Work issues, including attracting, engaging and retaining talent; digital transformation; managing distributed workers; workplace flexibility; and intergenerational communication and new career paradigms. Sophie is also the author of Embracing Progress: Next Steps for the Future of Work. 


Kathy Warnick

Warnick Consultants

Kathy is chair of NAWBO National and founder of Warnick Consultants. With her more than 30 years of business and leadership experience, she has an expansive understanding of the needs of a variety of businesses. She built Warnick Consultants on the principle of refusing to believe that one size fits all; every business has a unique set of needs for its financial and operational systems.



Gayle Watson

People Ink

Gayle has been a business owner since 1991, when she started as the founder of Performance Solutions, Inc. Since then, she has served on the management teams of five startup companies and the family business, a Hallmark Gold Crown retail store. Currently, she is a partner and COO of People Ink, where she leads the consulting team to create high-performing company cultures. She is also a past NAWBO National Board Chair.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 9:30-10:30 am: Moderator  Creating Leaders for a World of Change: Past Presidents Panel

Autumn Way

Regional VP, Southern Minnesota
Wells Fargo


A 19-year company veteran, Autumn leads operations for more that 540 team members in 42 community banking branches.  Prior to assuming her current leadership role, she was a district manager for the Southern San Gabriel market and a district manager for the West Los Angeles and Marina market.


Meredith West

Deputy Staff Director
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Meredith is deputy staff director on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She is responsible for all Committee activities, including policy, oversight, strategy and legislative agenda. A veteran of small business policy, Meredith has been with the Committee for over eight years. Prior to that, she served as assistant administrator for policy and strategic planning at the Small Business Administration (Senior Executive Service level).


Cathleen Wyatt

Business Combinations and Capital Transactions, Frost Todd Brown

Cathleen focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, bankruptcy, and general business planning.  Prior to joining Frost Todd Brown she graduated from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and she was recognized with the Sigmund J. Beck Outstanding Law Student in Bankruptcy Award and the MRBS Distinguished Law Student Award.  Additionaly, she spent 12 years in banking on anti-money laundering compliance and fraud prevention.


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