Conference Speakers

 

Become a Speaker

Do you have practical tips and specific information for starting, growing, or improving a business? We would love for you to share your knowledge at our Eau Claire business conference!

View speaker application

Conference Speakers

Becky Albert-Breed

Visit Website | Integrity Audit & Tax

Tammie Clendenning

Becky is proud as a minority and woman business owner dedicated to helping others build financial strength.  She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University.  Her graduate and thesis research focused on investments, fiduciary responsibility, and taxation.  Internal audit expertise includes 3 years of federal and state gaming regulatory audits for multiple tribes, over 8 years of government auditing including City of Milwaukee and Tribal Government, manufacturing audit, as well as corporate bank trust auditing. Audit engagements not only addressed compliance & regulatory needs but also included analysis of process efficiency and internal controls. 

She has over 15 years of career management experience overseeing Ho-Chunk Nations’ gaming enterprises CFO’s, non-profit organizations, and Treasurer of the tribal government. Her large contributions include creation and serving on a Trust & Investment Committee overseeing over 400M in funds. This resulted from her volunteer interests she has in building communities and supporting solutions to meet these needs. With her interest in taxation, she has worked over 10 years; with CPA accounting firms and specialty tax organizations including many years supporting a family tax business in Milwaukee, WI. With her many community organizations that she volunteers for and those that she has career managed, her focus remains on helping individuals, businesses, and governments strengthen their financial affairs so they may achieve their financial goals.

Julie Bollinger

Visit Website | Green Oasis (in addition: Allnurses.com and Bollinger Rentals)

Julie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration- Finance degree from UWEC and is now a veteran of small business. With almost 40 years of owning, managing, developing and assisting small businesses, Julie has been involved in most phases of small business growth.

Green Oasis (formerly Greener Grass Systems, INC) closed out its first year in business under the ownership of Julie and Wayne Bollinger with 175 customers serving the Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls area.  Years later, Greener Grass Systems’ name was changed to Green Oasis to better reflect the next generation of expanded service offerings and the addition of their son, Nathan, to their ownership and management team.  Green Oasis won the Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year in 2015 and today serves 6000 customers in Northwestern WI and parts of eastern MN.  

After years of management at Green Oasis, Julie recognized the limited resources and challenges facing small businesses.  As the Women’s Business Manager at Western Dairyland, Julie saw the need and became a proud founding member of our first Women’s Business Conference in the Chippewa Valley.  

Allnurses.com is a small business that was founded and owned by a nurse and friend of the family.  After his sudden death, Julie was asked for emergency business advice which turned into a full-time position handling all business operations, including marketing, human resources, finance, and general management.
 
The Bollingers also own and manage 22 commercial, residential and short-term vacation rentals.  In her free time, she loves to spend time with her grandchildren, spend time outdoors, and cheer for Wisconsin sports, Go Pack Go! 

Holly Anne Burns

Visit Website | BB7

Holly Anne Burns

Holly Anne Burns is a senior design manager at bb7. She has a Master's in Design Management from Pratt Institute of Design in New York City. A lifelong badger, she moved back to Madison three years ago to be closer to family after spending eight years living and working in NYC. Holly has spent more than a decade working across design disciplines, leading project teams in design work for the medical, hospitality, healthcare, real estate, entertainment, education and financial industries. Holly has experience working on cross functional teams, with people from a variety of disciplines. In her current role at bb7, a firm specializing in product development, she works with industrial designers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, physicists, software developers, and industrial engineers. Holly is known for her ability to connect people and unify teams. She's well versed in communications, and loves sharing information and best practices to help people learn and grow.

Tammie Clendenning

Visit Website | U.S. Small Business Administration

Tammie Clendenning

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.

Mindy Dale

Visit Website | von Briesen & Roper, s.c.

Mindy Dale

Mindy Dale is a member of the Government Law Group where she focuses her practice on labor relations, labor and employment, municipal law, and school law. Mindy represents both public and private sector employers throughout Northwest and West Central Wisconsin.

In her labor relations practice, she represents counties and other municipalities in union negotiations and grievance arbitrations. Mindy also assists employers in responding to allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination, conducts workplace investigations, and advises employers on personnel and disciplinary matters. In her municipal law practice, she regularly advises clients regarding Wisconsin’s Public Records Law and Open Meetings Law. 

Mindy is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin (Labor Law Section) and the Eau Claire County Bar Association. Mindy is active in her community and currently is a member of the Chippewa Valley Society of Human Resource Management. She previously served as President and on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin School Attorneys Association and received the WSAA George Tipler Award for 2020. She also has served on the Advisory Board of the Western Dairyland Women’s Business Center and has been a frequent speaker at its annual conference. Mindy resides in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with her husband and has two grown children. She enjoys hiking and camping in their RV as they work towards achieving their goal of visiting all of the National Parks in the continental United States. 

Angela Eckman

Visit Website | Chippewa Valley Technical College

Angela Eckman is the Campus & Business Development Manager for Chippewa Valley Technical College where she has worked for the last 5+ years serving the Chippewa, Clark, Taylor, Jackson & Trempealeau counties with their workforce solutions.  She also manages the CVTC branch campuses located in Chippewa Falls & Neillsville.   Prior to that she was a Senior Branch Manager for Adecco Staffing serving Northcentral Wisconsin for 8+ years working with area businesses to offer Human Resource Management solutions. She currently serves on the Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce Board, Neillsville Area Chamber Board, Industrial Development Corporation Board for Chippewa County, Women’s Business Conference Planning Committee & the Eau Claire School District Revenue Committee.  She has also completed Chippewa Fall’s Leadership Academy Program, CVTC’s Leadership Academy and is certified in Crucial Conversations.  She holds an undergraduate degree from UW-Stout in Business Administration and is currently pursuing her MBA at Lakeland University.  She lives in Eau Claire with her husband and 4 children.

Beth Elliott

Visit Website | The Hippie Banker

Beth Crowell

Beth Elliott is The Hippie Banker. Formerly a business loan officer, she is now a life coach and business loan consultant whose passion is to help entrepreneurs overcome the two biggest barriers to business ownership she has witnessed in her almost 15 years of working with businesses – finances and fear. The Hippie Banker helps bridge the gap between the small business loan applicant and the commercial lender by taking all of the work (and stress) of obtaining a business loan off of both the applicant’s and the banker’s laps. She then stays with the client to coach them through their launch or expansion to help new owners stay focused and accountable while celebrating wins, and navigating the world of entrepreneurship.

Dr. Emily Elsner Twesme

Visit Website | Bright Business Consulting

Stacy Whaley

Dr. Emily Elsner Twesme is a consultant and thought leader in effective management techniques, developed from years of study, consultation, and direct experience. In early management roles, Emily found she was frustrated trying to understand why some teams were effective and others were not, seemingly without cause. But as she dove deeper, she learned more about what made effective managers different – and how they were able to make small changes to create big results. After her roles in management and then as a University-level instructor in Business Communications, Emily developed Bright Business Consulting to help business owners and middle-to-senior level managers get better results from their teams – and remove the common issues managers face of fatigue, frustration, and wasted time not getting results.

Kim Garber

Visit Website | Wisconsin Procurement Institute

Kim Garber

Kim S. Garber is the Director of Small Business Programs at the Wisconsin Procurement Institute. Kim has been with WPI 10+ years. With 25 years’ experience in Government contracting. The Wisconsin Procurement Institute (WPI), a non-profit organization established in 1987, is an outgrowth of then Congressman Les Aspin’s efforts to help Wisconsin businesses win federal contracts, especially defense contracts.

WPI’s mission is to assist Wisconsin businesses in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties to create, develop and grow their Federal, State and Local Government sales, revenues, profits and jobs.

Nicole Howard

Visit Website | ABC Truss

Nicole Howard

Nicole R. Howard, Recruitment Coordinator for ABC Truss. Nicole has been an active recruiter since 2013. Current speaking engagements include local high schools where she presents Soft Skills and Interviewing Skills Workshops to 6th - 12th Grades.

Gretchen Hudacek

Visit Website | Royal Credit Union

Michelle Madl-Soehren

Gretchen Hudacek 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.  

Michelle Madl-Soehren

Visit Website | Atuni Group, LLC

Michelle Madl-Soehren

Michelle Madl-Soehren boasts a background that encompasses over two decades of developing people within a variety of roles in the field of human resources, small business and entrepreneurial development, customer service, organizational development and talent development. Michelle is a natural leader highly skilled in partnering and establishing interpersonal relationships. Key accomplishments include designing and implementing professional/organizational development initiatives for business and industry throughout northern and northeastern Wisconsin. She has been recognized as a Native American Woman in Community Leadership by the Wisconsin Women of Color, the first recipient of the Urban Hope/E-Hub Woman in Leadership award and graduate of Leadership Green Bay (2018), Leadership Oneida County, Leadership Forest County and Sheboygan County Leadership Institute. She holds an MS in Management and Organizational Behavior from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc and a BA in Behavioral Science from Mount Mary College, Milwaukee. Michelle is the Founder/Owner of Atuni Group, LLC, a Native American and woman-owned consulting firm offering training & small business/organizational development consulting/coaching and workshops and Founder/Event Coordinator of the Northeast Wisconsin Women's Business Summit held annually in Green Bay, WI.

Tina Nazier

Visit Website | Wipfli LLP

Tina Nazier

As a leader in Wipfli’s Organizational Performance and Strategy team, Tina Nazier focuses her talent in helping clients effectively address their strategic, cultural, people, and operational challenges.  Drawing on more than 25 years of experience in strategy, leadership, professional coaching, organizational and cultural development, succession planning, change management and performance improvement, Tina helps executives overcome the major issues that create roadblocks to reaching their full potential.

Krista Paulus

Visit Website | Security Financial Bank

Krista Paulus

With more than 23 years of lending experience, Krista works with SFB clients to help find the best possible solution for their business needs utilizing all resources available.

Areas of Expertise
- Commercial Lending
- State and Federal Loan Programs and Guarantees

Education
Krista earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and has successfully completed the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) Commercial Banking School. She has attended a wide variety of additional WBA courses and received a certificate in Community Development Finance from the University of New Hampshire.

Activities
Krista is a 2019 graduate of Leadership River Falls and is involved in several community organizations. She is a Board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of NW Wisconsin and serves on its Bowl for Kids’ Sake and Golf Outing committees. Krista also volunteers as an Ambassador for both the River Falls and New Richmond chambers of commerce and spearheaded a Women Mean Business Initiative in River Falls.

Linda Pophal

Visit Website | Strategic Communications, LLC

Linda Pophal

Linda Pophal, MA, SHRM-SCP is owner/CEO of Strategic Communications, LLC, and a marketing and communication strategist with expertise in strategic planning, B2B content marketing, PR/media relations, social media and SEO. Her background as a freelance business journalist, advertising copywriter and corporate communication professional provides the foundation for understanding how to produce and use high-quality, personalized content to inform, motivate and engage audiences. This, coupled with expertise in online marketing, SEO and social media, serves as a foundation for working with clients to find the most cost-effective combination of traditional and digital communication tactics to get the results they're looking for. Linda is the author of several books on marketing and business practices, most recently Best Practices in Influencer Marketing. Linda is accredited through the American Marketing Association and is a member of the Association of Health Care Executives, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Association of Health Care Journalists. She is a digital marketing specialist with the State of Wisconsin's Center for Business Intelligence.

Katia Ravé

Visit Website | Ravé Strategy Studio, LLC

Katia Rave

Katia Rave is French Native business strategy coach, philanthropist, and International Speaker. She inspires entrepreneurs to set higher goals and attain them promptly. She helps individuals and groups to identify what is missing and fills the gaps from boosting their bottom line, getting more clients, and making consistent improvement in their income successful.

Jan Schaffner

Visit Website | Schaffner Tax Solutions

Jan Schaffner

I’m Jan Schaffner, owner of Schaffner Tax Solutions. Growing up on a farm in Melrose, I discovered what the Midwest work ethic is all about. After stumbling upon the tax world by accident and loving it in 2008, that work ethic is a part of how I help my clients put the pieces of the tax puzzle together to find solutions for their business. I offer you the experience of someone who has worked in both big firms and those small- town firms built on hand shakes and hard work. You don’t have to know anything about tax planning or tax management. I’m here to make it clear by showing you how the right approach can positively impact your livelihood. When I’m not hard at work, you can find me playing in the great outdoors with my husband and our three children near Fountain City, and working on my Masters in Business Taxation. 

Lisa Tavares

Visit Website | Lisa Tavares - Image Consultant

Tammie Clendenning

Lisa Tavares has been involved in the beauty industry for 20 years where she has experience working with people to help teach skin care and color cosmetics. She has also been a middle school teacher where she taught a variety of subjects, which included health resiliency, mindfulness, and stress management. As a runner, she coached cross country and track at the middle and high school levels, helping athletes improve themselves in their athletic ability and how they talk to and believe in themselves. Lisa believes in helping people live their best life from the inside out.

 

Erin Trowbridge

Visit Website | Four Peas Consulting

Erin Trowbridge

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.  She has experience in team leadership, project management, campaign strategy, content strategy, marketing analytics, marketing technologies, graphic design, training and process improvement. 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.

Justin Vajko (vay-koh)

Visit Website | Dialog Design Co.

Stacy Whaley

Justin Vajko (vay-koh) is a speaker and award-winning marketer who is passionate about connecting great employers to great employees. Justin has seen too many fantastic companies struggle to recruit. That's why he and his company Dialog Design Co. help Wisconsin employers generate more job applications by building their reputation online using videos, online reviews, revamped job descriptions, and more. Justin lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin with his wife and three kids in their first home where he’s on a steep learning curve wrangling non-working appliances and fixing leaky faucets. Learn more about Justin and Dialog Design Co. at www.recruitwithdialog.com.

Amy Vik

Visit Website | H&R Block

Amy Vik

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.

Amelia Wenzel

Visit Website | Child Care Partnership

Regulation & Recruitment Specialist

Stacy Whaley

Visit Website | Fire Up & Lead, LLC

Stacy Whaley

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.

Beverly Wickstrom

Visit Website | Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs

Beverly Wickstrom

I have practice law as a trial lawyer for 36 years. This has given me experience talking with juries and with the media about my cases. I also have given presentations at a variety of seminars, have spoken to classes at the University and Technical college about legal issues and regularly MC banquets and events.

Diane Wolfe

Visit Website | E&G Franchise Systems

Diane Wolfe

Diane and her husband, Eric, purchased the 23 Erbert and Gerbert‘s restaurant locations & Franchise company in 2004.  They grew the brand to 100 locations around the Midwest and $50 million in sales. Since the pandemic, they have learned how to pivot their business model, and implement new tools for their franchisees to stay successful.

Since moving to Eau Claire, Diane is impressed with the history, success, and continued momentum of the entrepreneurial spirit in the Chippewa Valley. She has been an active member of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and has a heart for mentoring young men and women to be bold!
 

Jim Zons

Visit Website | EZ New Media

Jim Zons

Jim Zons, owns EZ New Media, a website development, photography and video production company located in Colfax, WI. He has over 25 years of experience in all aspects of marketing and advertising and has received over two dozen awards for creative excellence. In addition to working with numerous small and mid-sized businesses here in Western Wisconsin, Jim has also worked with many large Fortune 500 companies including Walmart, Kellogg's, BP, MillerCoors, Buffalo Wild Wings and more.

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.

SBA Logo