Conference Agenda


Conference Registration


8 - 9:30 am: Registration, Exhibitor Hall Open, Continental Breakfast, Networking

Western Wisconsin Women's Business Center

9:30 - 10:30 am: Loosening the Grips of Perfectionism in Business

Kaileen McMickle

As business owners (and especially females) the urge to do everything flawlessly and strive toward perfection can be incredibly compelling. We can feel like this protects us from making mistakes, failure, or pain, but the flip side is that it can easily push us toward procrastination, burnout, and drastically reduce our ability to think outside the box. Learning to be imperfect in our work can allow our business pursuits to be more creative and fulfilling.

Kaileen McMickle is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Owner/Founder of Inner Ascent Counseling LLC in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. She has been in the mental health field for eight years, six of those years post-grad. She spent six years working with adolescents in a trauma-based day treatment program and now works primarily with adult women. She specializes in trauma, anxiety, perfectionism, PTSD, and OCD, and holds certification as a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional (CCATP). She is equally passionate about helping people dismantle and and overcome shame. Click here to learn more about Kaileen McMickle.

9:30 - 10:30 am: Financing Your Business Start & Expansion

Tammie Clendenning

Learn about the resources available locally and through the Small Business Administration to help small businesses start, grow, expand, and recover. Services include funding options, government procurement programs, business advising, disaster recovery, and online assistance.

Tammie Clendenning is the Lead Economic Development Specialist for the Wisconsin District of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Tammie is responsible for providing training on SBA’s programs and services including capital access, procurement and business advising.  She enjoys talking to entrepreneurs about the many resources available to them at exhibits and networking events. Tammie is the district office technical representative for the Women’s Business Centers in the state and the Score Liaison. Prior to joining SBA, she held business development and leadership positions in commercial finance. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and is a small business owner. Click here to learn more about Tammie Clendenning and the SBA.

9:30 - 10:30 am: Recordkeeping and Tips to Help with Taxes

Amy Vik

One of the most difficult tasks a business owner has is recordkeeping and bookwork. We will be looking at some of the most common recordkeeping items and how to keep track of them. Join this session to get your recordkeeping and tax questions answered!

My name is Amy Vik. I am an Enrolled Agent with 25 years of experience at H & R Block. I specialize in individual as well as business tax returns. I love to help people save money and plan for their futures by sharing my tax knowledge. The new and ever-changing tax laws present a challenge that I enjoy applying to each tax return. Click to learn more about Amy Vik.

9:30 - 10:30 am: Canva for Business 101

Carolyn Zick

Join Carolyn's webinar to learn how to design your content and branding with Canva. You'll learn how to set up basic design templates and customize them so you can create awesome designs with no experience required.

I'm Carolyn Zick, owner of Bad Axe Enterprises LLC. I started my company in 2015 to help out a friend who desperately wanted a marketing expert on her team. Five years later, Bad Axe has not stopped rising to each new challenge it meets. If you need someone to build your website from the ground up, manage your existing site, enhance your web presence, create a custom social media plan, design logos, and branding, packaging, print materials, or take sweet pictures and capture rad video: you found us. Click here to learn more about Carolyn Zick.

9:30 - 10:30 am: Self-Care as a Business Strategy

Stacie Brenner

Success starts on the INSIDE! I will explain how prioritizing your self-care can help you reach your business goals! Participants will learn specific daily practices and mindset shifts to help them reduce stress, increase energy, productivity, clarity, and courage in order to generate the results that they desire with their business.

Stacie Brenner is a former teacher turned success coach who is passionate about health & fitness, personal development, family, and adventure. She works with females who are ready to pour into their mind, body, and spirit to become their BEST SELF. Stacie empowers her clients to lean into their intuition and breakthrough their limiting beliefs so they can align to their true purpose and create the life that they desire. Her programs combine mindset, health, and high-performance habits to equip her clients with the tools they need to achieve and maintain harmony and success. Click here to learn more about Stacie Brenner.

10:30 - 11:00 am: BREAK (Exhibitor Hall Open)

Speaker TBD

11 am - 12 pm: Building Better Boundaries in Your Business

Laura Gmeinder

Do you have a difficult time saying “no”? Do you struggle to set limits on your time or energy? Do you often put yourself last? We’ve all been there! You may have been taught to "play nice” or be a “team player” by always saying yes or putting other people's needs before yours. Many women are still struggling to separate their work and personal lives in what has become a boundaryless work wherever whenever world. Unfortunately, this kind of people-pleasing leaves you feeling used, stressed or burned out and resentful. The ability to say "no" to yourself and others is one of the clearest expressions of a good boundary. Join this session to learn how to align your day with what is most important to you. Give yourself a break, give up the guilt and take back your time!

Laura Gmeinder is an award-winning entrepreneur, certified coach and national speaker. She is an InBusiness Magazine “40 Under 40” and a BRAVA magazine “Woman to Watch”. She is committed to building community and giving back; Laura supports entrepreneurs for the Doyenne Group and The Coaching Fellowship. Laura has made it her life’s mission to empower ambitious women and provide the support they need to be successful -on their terms- in business and life. With over 20 years of experience in business and women’s leadership, her sweet spot is the intersection of mindset and strategy, the “can-do” and action plan we all need to play big and smash our goals. Click to learn more about Laura Gmeinder.

11 am - 12 pm: How to Protect Against Scams & Frauds Targeting Small Businesses

Jeff Kersten

You spend a lot of time building your business. But, if all of your hard work falls into the wrong hands, it can affect your reputation, your bottom line, your customers and your employees. The more you and your employees learn about scams and fraud that target small businesses, the more protected your business will be. The Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection will discuss the different types of scams and fraud, how to help prevent it, steps you can take to help protect your business, and what to do if you become a victim of a scam. 

Jeff Kersten is the Agency Liaison for the Bureau of Consumer Protection within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  As the Agency Liaison, Jeff travels around the state to educate the public, businesses and law enforcement on privacy protection, data security, identity theft, and other areas of consumer protection. Jeff has over 12 years of experience as a police officer and is a prior Consumer Protection Investigator for the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Click to learn more about DATCP.

11 am - 12 pm: Going All in to Grow Your Business

Molly Rodriguez

Get ready to roll up your sleeves and learn what it really takes to start a business! Social media portrays leaving the "old 9-5" to start a business look hip and flashy. Behind the social media reel, you will find a few select women who chose to go all in, sacrifice, and scale a business to impact their employees and community. Growing a business takes hustle and heart to a whole new level. Learn with Molly Rodriguez, RN, MPH, clinical nurse injector, and real-estate geek how to integrate strategy and mindset to launch an idea or side hustle into a business. Participants will be engaged to create the next step in their career or business! Molly will challenge the audience to collaborate in creative ways. Key learning objectives: -Business breakpoints & what it means to scale - How to avoid mistakes - How marketing always precedes sales and product development - Collaboration is the only true currency - How to stay sane in the midst of crisis and challenge.

Molly Rodriguez is an Arcadia native and cherishes her small-town roots. She moved back to the area from Chicago in 2019. Her career as a nurse, business owner, and professional speaker has led to amazing opportunities. She has worked internationally, is bi-lingual, a former professional dancer and worked the front lines as a nurse during the pandemic. Molly is a professional speaker and engages every last audience member to reflect deeply and grow professionally. You will love how everyone leaves the presentation with a new business strategy and a smile on their face! Click here to learn more about Molly Rodriguez and Eau Claire Body Care.

11 am - 12 pm: Email Marketing 101

Carolyn Zick

Put your email list to work for your brand! Join Carolyn from Bad Axe Enterprises to learn about the benefits of email marketing, how to build your list, best practices for writing and designing emails, and how to make sales with email!

I'm Carolyn Zick, owner of Bad Axe Enterprises LLC. I started my company in 2015 to help out a friend who desperately wanted a marketing expert on her team. Five years later, Bad Axe has not stopped rising to each new challenge it meets. If you need someone to build your website from the ground up, manage your existing site, enhance your web presence, create a custom social media plan, design logos, and branding, packaging, print materials, or take sweet pictures and capture rad video: you found us. Click here to learn more about Carolyn Zick.

11 am - 12 pm: Social Selling for Small Businesses (eCommerce & Social Media)

Anna Ledebuhr

Anna Ledebuhr will share her journey as a business owner and teach you how to sell your products online. Anna has successfully sold clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry in her brick-and-mortar boutique and online. Join this presentation to learn how to grow your sales and customer base!

How did Coulee Boutique get started? I was feeling restless and looking for a challenge - you'd think three kids would keep me busy enough! Though the idea was new and a bit crazy, my supportive family has backed me every step of the way. I am a teacher by trade, and my intrinsic need to help others is satisfied tenfold through this business. I sincerely appreciate each and every customer that Coulee Boutique has blessed me with. From a teacher with a restless heart to a full-fledgling business we are! Since opening Coulee Boutique, we have grown leaps and bounds. I left my teaching career of 13 years to pursue this business full-time. We've added a brick-and-mortar store, live sales, and a big move to the list of changes since opening in June of 2018. Click to learn more about Anna Ledebuhr.


12 - 1:30 pm: Lunch & Power Panel (incl. announcement of raffle winners)

Katie Labedz

The Power Panel features leaders of four prominent women-owned businesses. Join us for lunch as we learn how they got started, how they overcame obstacles and their tips for success.

Lunch & Power Panelists

1:30 - 2:30 pm: Legal Considerations in Starting a Business

Vanessa Klemish

Vanessa Klemish

Vanessa will be discussing the legal aspects to consider when starting a business, such as types of business entities, partnership agreements and complying with government regulations.

Vanessa A. Klemish is a partner with the law firm of Klemish & Johnson LLC in Eau Claire.  She is a graduate of Bloomer High School, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and the University of Wisconsin School of Law.  Vanessa practices general civil law which includes business, contracts, real estate and estate planning matters. Click to learn more about Vanessa Klemish.


1:30 - 2:30 pm: New Business Owner Roundtable

Tammy Tom-Steinmetz

Being a new business owner comes with many ups and downs, but we're here to support you along the way! Join this interactive session to get your questions answered by our panel of experts and connect with other business owners.

Tammy Tom-Steinmetz, Talking Results LLC: Tammy’s 25 years of experience includes working collaboratively and systematically to design customized solutions for businesses, organizations, agencies, non-profits and cooperatives to achieve their unique and specific goals. Tammy has a Masters of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Communication, Sociology and Psychology.

Erin Johnson, Integrity Audit & Tax in Black River Falls: Erin Johnson is a Certified Public Accountant who holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Viterbo University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has a well-rounded career including working for private corporations, tribal government, and public accounting offices. Her focus remains on helping individuals, businesses, and governments strengthen their financial affairs so they may achieve their financial goals.

Erin Trowbridge, Four Peas Consulting: Erin Trowbridge is a co-owner of Four Peas Consulting and has over ten years of experience in digital marketing in a variety of industries. She has worked on large and small marketing teams, for entrepreneurs and enterprise-level organizations. Her passion is educating other marketers, and by sharing her experiences, she hopes to help others become better practitioners and advocates of marketing best practices in today's digital landscape.

Gretchen Hudacek, Royal Credit Union: Gretchen has over 30 years of experience, including various leadership roles, within the financial services industry. She's a positive and energetic business professional with proven skills in business development, building brand recognition, and facilitating business meetings. Gretchen is a trusted adviser to business clients as well as a strategic community partner and leader. Gretchen also founded and ran JGT LLC dba What Grows Around Comes Around kids consignment sale in Sioux Falls, SD, for 11 years and successfully sold it. The business continues today under the name of JBF of Greater Sioux Falls.

Carolyn Jahnke, Athena Legal Solutions: Founding Athena Legal Solutions has allowed Carolyn to use her business, nonprofit, and legal skills honed after more than two decades in the private and public sectors. Athena offers innovative, value for cost legal solutions to business and nonprofit leaders who too often go without the critical advice they need because of fear or cost. Unlike most lawyers, she's never worked at a law firm. She's only ever worked as in-house counsel for an organization. Therefore, her approach to the law is based on the pragmatic realities of running an organization and focused on supporting you in achieving your goals!

1:30 - 2:30 pm: Interns & Mentoring As A Part of "We All Go Up Together" Strategy

Dr. Emily Elsner Twesme and Kate Tosteson

Emily Elsner Twesme

One tangible way to do 'something' to combat inequality in the workplace is to hire interns or have a formal mentor process. Wondering where to start? You're not alone! We'll share what we've learned in the last year mentoring and working with interns. Participants will leave with ideas and actionable steps for teaching and sharing with others.

Dr. Emily Elsner Twesme (CEO) and Kate Tosteson (Training Director) of Vibrant Virtual work with small businesses to set up and manage virtual interns. After a combined 25+ years of teaching, Emily and Kate have teamed up to help businesses strengthen their relationships with the next generation of employees. Click here to learn more about Vibrant Virtual.

1:30 - 2:30 pm: Opportunities for Businesses Owned by Women, Veterans, or Minorities

Kim Garber and Tru Mwololo

Learn how to compete and win local, state and federal government contracts as a woman-owned, minority-owned, and/or veteran-owned small business.

Kim Garber is the Director of Small Business Programs and Tru Mwololo is the Manager of Small Business Programs at the Wisconsin Procurement Institute. Kim has been with WPI 10+ years and has over 25 years of experience in government contracting. WPI Assists businesses in creating, developing and growing their sales, revenue and jobs through Federal, State and Local Government contracts. WPI offers: Individual Counseling at our offices, at client’s facilities or via telephone/GoToMeeting; Small Group Training through workshops and webinars; Conferences to include one-on-one or roundtable sessions. Last year WPI provided training at over 100 events and provided service to over 1,200 companies. Click here to learn more about WPI.

1:30 - 2:30 pm: I'm speaking! How to get people to listen to your brilliant ideas

Katie Labedz

Katie LabedzYou are ready to present at a meeting, conference or community do you engage your audience to have them listen, comprehend and take action on the information you are presenting? Because, let's face it, no one wants to present and sound like Charlie Brown's teacher ("wah, wah, wah")! Join me in this session to learn three key concepts to ensure that your brilliant ideas are heard, understood and activate change.

Katie Labedz is the President of Learning to Lean, LLC. Her goal is to work with individuals and organizations to improve their processes, eliminate waste and provide value back to the business. Katie has experience in deploying continuous improvement in manufacturing and non-manufacturing (IT, HR, Supply Chain) for Jabil, Oshkosh Truck and Plexus. Katie is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who's been practicing Lean and Six Sigma concepts for the past 20 years. Click here to learn more about Katie Labedz.

2:30 - 3 pm: Break (announcement of raffle winners and closing comments)

Speaker TBD

3 - 4 pm: Understanding Your Financials

Sam Kjelstad

Angela Olinger

Learn how to use your financials to make decisions, manage cash flow, and identify key performance indicators to assess the health of your business.

Sam Kjelstad is a BizOps Controller leading the Western WI Nonprofit team with the CliftonLarsonAllen Eau Claire, WI office. Sam has over nine years of experience in the accounting profession serving nonprofit organizations. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Click here to learn more about Sam Kjelstad.

3 - 4 pm: What’s Passion Got To Do With It?

LuAnn Buechler

LuAnn BuechlerEvery individual has unique talents, skills, and interests, as does every business or organization. Each provides a unique value to its customers and to the world. That unique value is the company’s purpose for being. When you allow individuals to share their unique gifts to contribute to the company’s purpose you create a culture of success. It speaks to increased engagement in your organization. Learn how to help your company or organization reach peak success by infusing it with passion! In this presentation, you will learn: Why passion is important in the workplace, wow to increase employee engagement in your organization, how to create a culture of success, how passion attracts customers and employees, and the process of creating a passionate culture in your organization.

LuAnn Buechler, founder & owner of PMC Events & Coaching since 2005, is affectionately known as the Little Spark, and that she is — sparking breakthrough change in businesses and individuals for over a decade. She is a transformational coach, speaker, master trainer, coach, event facilitator, and certified facilitator of the Passion Test & Passion Test for Business. LuAnn is the co-author of "Exceptional Care for Your Valued Clients" and "ihug: My Journey as a Hugger", which she self-published in 2017. In 2020, she activated the ihug Movement and is embarking on a campaign to ihug Across America to spread the message of bringing people together with the power of a simple human hug to rebuild human connection during a time when we are divided by polarization – Hugs Heal! LuAnn is a member of the Transformational Leadership Council where transformational leaders share best practices and co-create humanitarian projects to transform the world. She is also a Director Consultant for BNI, Business Network International, which she has been a part of for 15 years. She enjoys teaching networking to her business clients & audiences among many other topics. Click here to learn more about LuAnn Buechler.

3 - 4 pm: Manifest Your Dream Life & Business

Tara Nolan

Are you ready to dream to new levels, stop accepting less than you deserve in life, and empower yourself to new levels? Tara Nolan will share with you a four-step process for manifesting your dream life and business. Tara will inspire you to remove the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck in careers, relationships, and situations that don't serve you. Leave empowered to live out your life’s purpose, reach new levels of success, and create a life you LOVE.

With fifteen years in Corporate Management and Top Sales Performance, followed by another decade as a world-traveling yogi leading transformation retreats and training, Tara combines her experience in corporate business, cultural awareness, extensive yoga training, and spiritual study to take a holistic approach to modern business. She guides high achievers to define success on their own terms and rise with ease and flow, not stress and struggle. Tara dedicated years of study to Eastern Philosophy, Psychology, Spirituality & Yogic Lifestyle on a quest for knowledge on happiness and deep-level fulfillment. Through this journey, she also learned what is possible in the world of online business and social media to allow freedom in living anywhere doing anything. After traveling over six continents and 25 countries solo, and navigating her path through loss, pain, abuse, love, career change, and single motherhood, Tara has found her gift in guiding others to find their purpose, step into their power and create their ideal life. Click here to learn more about Tara.

3 - 4 pm: Speed Business Networking

Stacy Whaley

Stacy WhaleyWould you like to connect with other aspiring or existing business owners? Join this speed networking session for a fun and fast-paced way to make new connections!

Stacy Whaley is the Owner of Fire Up & Lead, a business coaching and consulting company she runs virtually from her home office in Chippewa Falls, WI. Stacy is passionate about helping busy and overwhelmed business owners take control of their time and their lives. At Fire Up & Lead the focus is on building the two critical sides of business, purposeful business development alongside purposeful leadership development. Fire Up & Lead's mission is to challenge and inspire entrepreneurs to DO better and to BE better in their business and in their lives. Click to learn more about Stacy and Fire Up & Lead.

This event brought to you by Western Wisconsin Women’s Business Center, a program of the Western Dairyland Community Action Agency.

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Agreements for persons with disabilities will be made at all times in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and associated amendments. Arrangements for persons with special needs will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. This institution is an Equal Opportunity Provider. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals.

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