Conference Speakers

 

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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!

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Conference Speakers

Dawn Briskey

Visit Website | Briskey Consulting

Dawn Briskey

Dawn Briskey has helped associations and non-profits grow for over 25 years. She consults with organizations locally and across the United States to help align people, operations and technology with strategic goals. 

As a Certified Association Executive with a master’s in non-profit administration, Dawn is passionate about using her talents to effect positive change. In addition to managing her own business, Dawn is the Vice President of Client Services for .orgSource, an award-winning association consultancy.

Dawn is also a mosaic artist who has sold her work to individuals and organizations across the country. You can find samples of her art on her mosaic website, Reclaimed Mosaics. A native Chicagoan, Dawn moved to the Chippewa Valley three years ago.

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.

Allison Cooley

Visit Website | Effectability, LLC

Allison Cooley

As Founder and CEO of Effectability, LLC, Allison brings 25+ years of senior leadership, organization development, facilitation and business ownership experience to her coaching sessions, workshops, retreats, conflict mediation and consulting engagements. Her enthusiastic and engaging style and deep knowledge of people and organization systems has inspired thousands of leaders and team members at hundreds of organizations to communicate more effectively, better manage change and conflict, build stronger, more inclusive relationships, create productive, resilient cultures and get things done.

Beth Crowell

Visit Website | Current Coaching, LLC

Beth Crowell

Beth Crowell 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.

Mindy Dale

Visit Website | Weld Riley, S.C.

Mindy Dale

Mindy is a shareholder who advises management in labor and employment issues.  

In her labor relations practice, she represents employers in union negotiations, and grievance arbitrations. In the employment area, Mindy assists employers in responding to allegations of sexual harassment, conducts workplace investigations, and provides counsel to employers on disciplinary matters. She advises employers in preparing personnel policies tailored to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other laws and regulations. She has represented employers before administrative agencies and in the courts, and also practices in the areas of municipal and school law.

Mindy received her Associates degree from Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1979 and a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University in South Bend in 1982. She studied law at Indiana University Law School, Bloomington, and was on the editorial staff of the Indiana Law Journal. In 1987, she earned her Juris Doctorate degree magna cum laude and was elected to membership in the Order of the Coif. After graduation, Mindy practiced law as an associate with Barnes and Thornsburg in Indianapolis until moving to Wisconsin in 1995.  Prior to joining Weld Riley, S.C., she worked as in-house counsel for a private corporation in Wisconsin and as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for Eau Claire County.

Mindy is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin (Labor Law Section), Eau Claire County Bar Association, Wisconsin School Attorneys Association, Wisconsin Public Employer Labor Relations Association and Chippewa Valley Society of Human Resource Management.

Deanna Dennison

Visit Website | Pro-Active Engineering, Inc.

Deanna Dennison

Deanna is one of Pro-Active Engineering’s most seasoned professionals, as a twenty-eight-year veteran in the electronic manufacturing industry.  She specializes in developing strategic business development plans for quality driven, small businesses focused on obtaining and performing government contracts to meet the needs of the Department of Defense. 

Throughout her long career, she has helped connect Contracting Officers from the DOD and Prime Companies to smaller companies with the goal of providing a win/win solution.  Dennison has been instrumental in numerous professional organizations including founding the Indiana Chapter of Women-In-Defense and serving as the President of NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association) for Greater Indiana.  She served on the Advisory Board of the Office of Economic Assessment in Indiana and facilitated monthly meetings for business owners and sales professionals for the Manufacturing Referral Network.  Ms. Dennison also served as Vice President of the ABWA (American Business Women’s Association) Indianapolis Charter Chapter.

Deanna Dennison, Sr. Account Representative/Sales & Marketing Manager for Pro-Active Engineering, Inc.

Lorraine Dixon

Visit Website | Legacy Chocolates

Lorraine Dixon

Immediately after relocating from Ontario, Canada to Eau Claire, Lorraine opened Cadeaux Gift Boutique and was the first place award recipient of DECI’s Jumpstart Downtown Business Plan Competition in 2008. Lorraine went on to own and operate Legacy Chocolates, which was based out of Menomonie, WI, and has since grown and moved both the manufacturing and retail store to Saint Paul, MN. She is happy to be invited back to be a part of the Women’s Business Conference as a guest speaker. This conference has afforded Lorraine with the opportunity to reconnect with the people and organizations in Eau Claire that gave her the informational, financial, and emotional support that has assisted in the sharp learning curve that was needed to open a business in another country and how to not only survive, but thrive.

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.

Renee Ernsting

Visit Website | Child Care Partnership, Western Dairyland EOC, Inc.

Renee Ernsting

Renee Ernsting is the Assistant Director at Child Care Partnership where she works to promote better outcomes for young children and their families. Her work focuses on supporting child care businesses in developing high quality child care.  This includes providing technical assistance to help start child care businesses, along with offering training and consulting on best practices in early childhood education so child care programs can provide the best possible care for young children. 

Mike Finger

Visit Website | Exit Oasis

Mike Finger

Mike Finger is a successful small business owner. Over the last 25 years Mike has bought, built and sold multiple businesses. Building his first business was a rewarding challenge, but what really captivated him was selling his first business. "Selling that business was a miracle in my life. It changed everything, but it almost didn't happen. I was 10 years in with 50 employees when I found out the business was unsellable. It was devastating. But we moved forward and focused on changing a few simple elements in the business. Those changes made that first sale possible, and it changed my life. I want to help other small business owners experience that same miracle when they are ready."

Kim Garber

Visit Website | Wisconsin Procurement Institute

Kim Garber

Kim S. Garber, Manager – Small Business Programs, Wisconsin Procurement Institute.   Ms. Garber 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.

Vanessa Klemish

Visit Website | Klemish & Johnson, LLC

Vanessa Klemish

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.

Katie Labedz

Visit Website | Learning to Lean

Katie Labedz

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 that has been practicing Lean and Six Sigma concepts for the past 20 years.

Allison Liddle

Visit Website | Allison Liddle Consulting/Prosper Wealth Management

Allison Liddle

Allison is a two-time bestselling author of Life Under Construction and her new book The Art of Imperfect Action. She is a John Maxwell Team certified keynote speaker, executive coach, and leadership trainer who is passionate about helping people thrive both personally and professionally. Allison is the recipient of the 2018 Athena Young Professional Leadership Award for her work developing leaders globally. As an entrepreneur, she started her first business at age twenty-three. She then went on to found a national, award-winning financial planning firm called Prosper Wealth Management that has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, and many other national media outlets. Allison is a lifelong Wisconsin resident; she currently lives in central Wisconsin with her family.

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.

Nick Meyer

Visit Website | Volume One

Nick Meyer

Nick Meyer is the owner of Volume One and The Local Store. He works in publishing, retail, event production, hospitality, and marketing, and has a deep background in video work that includes documentary, narrative, and promotional video spanning 20 years.

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.

Annette Pannier

Visit Website | Navigate Marketing Group

Annette Pannier

Annette Pannier is a 30-year marketing and business veteran. Through corporate marketing at a Fortune 500 company, in leadership roles at two marketing firms, and as a business manager, Annette has fine-tuned her ability to step back, ask smart questions, evaluate the big picture, and provide a laser focus to the business solution at hand. Her expertise in strategy, brand development, marketing, and customer engagement along with a collaborative working style provides her clients with the confidence, foundation, and tools to manage their marketing and communications more effectively.

Mike Paulus

Visit Website | Volume One

Mike Paulus

Mike Paulus has been an editor and writer with Volume One Magazine for over fifteen years. His "Rear End" column has appeared in Volume One since 2004, and he’s the host of its regular Let's Be Honest storytelling night. He's a frequent contributor to Wisconsin Public Radio's Wisconsin Life program.

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.

Joel Pearish

Visit Website | Volume One

Joel Pearish

Joel Pearish has produced national-quality video work in many industries and national markets for more than 10 years including manufacturing, real estate, retail, healthcare, and more. Now based in Eau Claire, he's an experienced director, shooter, editor, colorist, and drone pilot.

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.

Heather Rothbauer-Wanish

Visit Website | Feather Communications

Dr. Heather Rothbauer-WanishDr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, has been partnering with clients to write resumes and bios since 2008. She LOVES giving people confidence in themselves and enjoys finding the right words to describe people as a professional and as an individual. Dr. Heather has presented multiple workshops for the FBLA National Leadership Conference, National Resume Writers' Association Conference, and Polka Dot Powerhouse Celebration.

Donna Sachs

Visit Website | River Bend Winery & Distillery

Donna Sachs

Donna Sachs is Head Winemaker and Retail Operations Director for River Bend Winery and Distillery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. A mathematician by training and a computer programmer by trade, Donna previously worked for a national retailer in the Twin Cities area. After riding out the company’s bankruptcy and subsequent closure, Donna and her husband Al relocated to Chippewa Falls and planted the first grapevines on their property in 2007. The doors to the winery opened in 2009, and seven years later the business expanded to include a distillery focused on craft spirits produced with local grapes and grain. With quality of production the constant focus, River Bend was recently awarded Best Wisconsin Wine at the annual statewide professional wine competition.

Carol Schneider

Visit Website | Seek Careers/Staffing

Carol Schneider

Carol Schneider is founder and CEO of SEEK Careers/Staffing, Inc., a 49-year old commercial staffing service which has 17 offices in Wisconsin and 4 in Minnesota.  SEEK Careers provides temporary office, accounting, skilled and light industrial help.  She also founded SEEK Professionals, LLC, which recruits and places direct-hire manufacturing, IT and sales professionals and re-Employ.com, which re-engages retirees.  

A person who totally embraces the concept of community involvement, Schneider gives back to her community in too many ways to mention.  

Recently, Schneider formed an ad hoc community committee to improve the hours and availability of the Ozaukee County Shared Ride Taxi.  Subsequently, she was asked to serve on Ozaukee County’s Transportation Committee.  She is a leader in the conversation about the lack of skilled workers and is encouraging her teams to connect with high schools and technical colleges to help students and their parents understand that there are many high-paying career options in manufacturing. She is also deeply involved in initiatives to increase education for people who lack their high school diplomas and who may be incarcerated as a result of their lack of options.  

Here are just a few of her past efforts. She served on the Board of the Tempo® International Foundation and is a past president of Tempo International – an organization of executive and professional women.  She served on the Council of the Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Group.  Schneider formerly served on the Ozaukee County Economic Development Corporation Board and was on the UW-Whitewater Business College Dean’s Advisory Board.  She was one of the founders of Ozaukee County’s Youth Apprenticeship initiative. She led the organization that was responsible for public transportation in Ozaukee County, and she mentored Washington County’s transportation organization. 

Schneider and her late husband, Leon, were married 55 years.  They have 3 sons, 9 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.

Erika Schorbahn

Visit Website | WESTconsin Credit Union

Erika Schorbahn

Erika Schorbahn currently works for WESTconsin Credit Union as the Vice President of the Eau Claire and Altoona offices focusing on business development and building community relationships that make a difference. She has over twenty years of experience holding formal leadership roles in the service and financial industry. Her experience ranges from managing smaller on-location teams of 15-20 people, to leading a territory of nineteen offices for a $2.7 Billion Asset financial overseeing over 200 employees. These roles have been tasked with sales management, employee career development, strategic planning, training, and navigating resources through mergers and acquisitions.

Through her career she has remained passionate about helping others not only with specific and measurable goal setting but tapping into discretionary effort gained by anchoring goals in vision and intention setting. Through resilience and grit goals are achieved. One of her favorite quotes is “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” - Bethany Hamilton

Schorbahn is a graduate of UW-Stout in Marketing and Business Administration and currently serves as Vice-Chair on the Marshfield Medical Center-Eau Claire Community Advisory Board, is a founding partner of CVTC Money Matters Student Financial Literacy Program, and is active in the community as an Eau Claire native.

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.

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.

Colleen Weber

Visit Website | Owner of CWeber: Connect Collaborate Create and LunchboxEC

Colleen Weber

Colleen Weber is a serial entrepreneur and business owner, who loves connecting with like-minded people.

As the owner of several businesses over the last 25 years, Colleen is currently working on a "remote" or "ghost" kitchen concept with focused delivery. In addition, she is committed to working with new business owners and entrepreneurs to help them navigate the tricky stages of the first few years in a food business. Figuring out your niche and helping you develop a plan and a process are part of her strategic skills.

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 grew up in Milwaukee. WI. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, she and her husband Eric moved to Dallas, TX. There she began a career in staff recruiting for AT&T Cellular during the Telecom boom and gained enough experience to start her own recruiting firm. She got busy working with Silicon Valley clients during the dot com burst in the late 1990’s. After that, she started a family and in 2004, she and Eric bought the Erbert & Gerbert’s brand in Eau Claire, WI. There were 23 locations at that time, and now over 100 franchises. Today, Diane spends her time as a business coach, yoga instructor, and competitive tennis player.

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.

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