Fall 2022 Speakers
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Keenan Crow is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at One Iowa, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization. Keenan joined the organization after a history of political and non-profit involvement with organizations such as Cedar Valley Citizens for Undoing Racism. Keenan has worked to train a diverse number of organizations and institutions around LGBTQ issues including K-16 educators, local and federal agencies, businesses, health care providers, and law enforcement agencies.
COSMH, LLC (Can’t Out Scheme Mental Health)
Bill Dean founded COSMH, LLC in January of 2021. COSMH focuses on helping organizations identify their system gaps between the formal & informal. COSMH supports organizations in creating a seamless process in recruiting, to onboarding through retention focus areas. This approach allows leadership teams to achieve maximum outcomes while focusing on the business and minimizing daily process challenges.
In Bill’s first 24-year career he was an accomplished senior executive across the Behavioral Health & Healthcare industries. Areas of expertise & focus included: YOY growth, customer service, operations management, team development & change management.
Bill is a husband, father of 3 (one golden retriever), and lifelong coach…#KeepPracticing is more than a hashtag to Bill & COSMH, it’s an engrained way of life that supports maximizing each day!!!
Speaker, Trainer, Consultant
Speak Up Stories
As an immigrant who grew up between two cultures and mixed messages, the familiarity I have with
speaking fears fueled me to learn and share the tools to overcome those obstacles. For nearly 25 years, my team-oriented speaking and teaching style has centered around shared experiences, a philosophy
that everyone has a unique story, and a belief that everyone can share their minds and hearts through
- Bachelor of Arts in English Literature
- Masters of Science in Curriculum Instruction and Assessment
- National Speaking Association Member
- Advanced Professional Speech Educator and Coach Accreditation
- Certified in Mastering Pillars of Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Speaking and Facilitation
- Certified Enneagram Facilitator and Coach
Corporate Relations Specialist
Kelly is a seasoned non-profit and marketing leader with a passion for community engagement. While at IMT Insurance, she has built a corporate relations program focused on meaningful community giving and impactful brand awareness. Prior to IMT, Kelly worked for non-profit organizations and in the marketing and advertising industry.
As a third-generation graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Kelly has an affinity for the Oxford comma and the smell of freshly printed magazines. Outside of work, she can be found with her nose in a book, baking delicious treats, or planning her next adventure. Kelly has the gift of gab and loves to connect with new people.
Talent Management and Leadership Development Director
Denise Forney is a Talent Management and Leadership Development Director with over 28 years of progressive management and training expertise. She has led training and engagement efforts throughout the central Iowa region, developing and facilitating courses for both domestic and international audiences. She has presented at the Iowa Employment Conference for the past nine years because to be honest, this is the BEST professional development conference leaders can attend to network and grow their skills.
Denise holds an MS.Ed. degree in Training & Development from Drake University and is a certified Clifton Strengths coach and facilitator. In addition to her presentation talents, Denise is an accomplished guitarist and singer, performing regularly in our community at events with her family. She and her husband John reside in West Des Moines and have three beautiful children: Rachel, Kaitlyn and Jacob.
Training & Development Coordinator
Kai Gillespie has been in Learning &a Development at IMT Insurance for the past 6 years. Prior to her work at IMT, she has also worked as a L&D generalist and instructional designer. Kai is originally from Washington, DC and found herself in Iowa after receiving a prestigious full- tuition scholarship to Grinnell College. Needless to say, the move was a culture shock. Kai later received her Master’s of Science in Leadership Development from Drake University.
These days Kai focuses more on organizational development and culture. She is on a mission to make organizations people-focused. Kai likes to have long discussions on the state of work, organizations, people, and life. She is always up for a coffee date to discuss these topics and
Ag Rural Mental Health & Addiction Specialty Coordinator
COVID Recovery Iowa
As owner of Haglund Consulting LLC., Haglund provides behavioral health subject matter expertise and executive coaching based in Story City. Understanding the uniqueness of rural Iowa, Haglund strays beyond his professional experiences and draws upon the lessons he has learned from his own multigenerational family farm. As co-owner of Boone County based Hickory Grove Family Farm, Haglund is the 5th generation to continue the family farming tradition. Keeping up with the constant evolving pace of science, technology, and management of uncertainty can be overwhelming. Haglund understands first hand juggling all of this is required to own and operate a technology informed, financially viable, sustainable family business. This unique perspective affords Haglund to lead engaging, relatable discussions on topics such as stress management, emotional wellness and burnout.
Haglund, an accomplished senior executive, delivers guidance, system design consultation, and educational trainings on suicide prevention, mental illness, addiction, behavioral health policy, crisis/disaster management, stigma, and stress. Haglund is leading a speciality team at the Iowa Department of Human Services implementing the FEMA crisis counseling program disaster response to the Pandemic and Derecho of 2020. This project draws upon in-depth expertise of the state behavioral healthcare system, mental health literacy, change management, and his deep agricultural roots.
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa
Employer health and well-being consultant
Cory Jackson joined Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 2013 and her responsibilities include working directly with employer groups on the design and execution of health and well-being products and services to support employer group strategies to improve organizational and employee performance
- More than 23 years of experience in the health and well-being field. Focused on assisting customers with their business objectives by aligning them with employee well-being, engagement, and the organization’s culture and environment
- Skilled at consulting with employer groups to understand their business issues and desired outcomes concerning employees’ health and well-being results and activities
- Analyzes customers’ health care and pharmaceutical claims history, demographics, and risk data to recommend a customized program that meets their needs
- Able to provide guidance to customers on their short- and long-term well-being and medical management strategies
- Bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix
- Certified Thriving Workplace Consultant and Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine
Area Vice President
Gallagher Insurance | Risk Management | Consulting
Cara Kirsch is a seasoned employee benefits expert with more than 20 years of experience. Her passion is helping employers of all sizes build employee benefit plans that employees find valuable while still adhering to the company’s bottom line.
In her role as Area Vice President, Cara is responsible for business development as well as consulting her clients. Cara has specific experience with developing provider networks, using direct primary care strategies and managing self-funded plans. The combination of her keen eye for detail and her ability to navigate the complicated employee benefit vendor arena gives her an arsenal of solutions to deliver huge results.
Cara is community oriented with a focus on the needs of women and families. She currently sits on the Executive Board of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and is the treasurer for the Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters. Cara was a Midlands Business Journal 40 under 40 winner and is a graduate of Leadership Nebraska Class X. Cara created the annual conference “Ignite! Women in Insurance” in 2018 to establish a place for over 200 women in insurance to feel empowered and supported as they learn and develop in their work. She also authors articles that have been published in various employee benefit magazines such as BenefitsPRO.
Cara lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, and spends her time reading, cooking and enjoying time with her three children, Mariyah, TJ and Sean. She loves the outdoors and her favorite season is summer. Sunday family dinners with her children have become one of her favorite parts of the week, and she loves taking her dog Oliver for walks.
Dan is originally from Platteville, WI. After high school, he entered the United States Army as a military police officer serving in Frankfurt, Germany, The Republic of Panamá, and Fort Devens, MA. Dan served in various leadership roles in the military prior to transitioning into public education where he taught and ultimately held several executive roles.
Dan practices situational leadership while focusing on those he serves. In 2019, Dan along with two partners started Dinamico, Inc., and works as a compensation expert helping employers make connections with their employees via their compensation systems which saves time and money and helps them attract and retain great people.
In 2022 Dan followed his passion and started Leading Like a Buffalo, Inc., and continues to coach and mentor leaders across the country.
Skye HR Consulting
Skye Mercer, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is an Iowa based HR Consultant with 20 years of professional experience. Skye provides comprehensive HR services, including leadership training, handbooks, and monthly retainer HR consulting, to nonprofits, local governments, and small businesses all over the US.
Skye has worked with various Iowa based and multi-state organizations including county governments, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Grand Canyon Trust, and the Iowa Small Business Administration. Skye has presented at the Iowa Employment Conference, the Nonprofit Conference for the Greater Good, Idaho Nonprofit Conference, and the Becoming More Conference in Iowa.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration/Human Resources from Western Washington University, Skye went on to receive an MBA from Arizona State University. She is nationally certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), a Society for Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS).
Through working with Skye, you receive clear, inclusive, and effective HR and leadership strategy and programs that increase employee engagement, attract and retain the best employees, reduce risk of State and Federal compliance issues, and save time and money. Schedule a complimentary discovery call at www.skyehrconsulting.com
Gilmara Vila Nova-Mitchell
Gilmara Vila Nova-Mitchell is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant and IMT Insurance DEI Director. She is on a mission to put people first in the workplace and help others do the same. Born in Brazil, Gilmara’s interest in DEI began when she immigrated to the United States. Her personal experiences as an immigrant, and a woman of color greatly impacted her perspective on inclusion. As she designed organizational systems that attended to all people, Gilmara learned firsthand that inclusive leadership was an essential component of any organization’s success.
Through her signature style of heart, honesty, and thoughtful inquiry, Gilmara helps people create relationships and cultures that are inclusive, expansive, and deeply connected. She works with leaders to learn how to effectively respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by diverse workforces, unfamiliar markets, and rapid shifts in the competitive
For almost two decades, Gilmara has helped organizations become more inclusive through her engaging DEI sessions, transformative executive coaching, and innovative systems redesign. In addition to working at IMT, Gilmara enjoys supporting leaders through her collaboration with the amazing team at Sarah Noll Wilson Inc., as well as through her own consulting firm, Inklude.
Gilmara holds a Bachelor of Multicultural Education from FUMEC University (Brazil) and a MSE in School Counseling from Drake University. She has doctoral studies in Organizational Development with a focus on trust in the workplace. She is also a proud mama to two incredible and strong daughters.
Dr. Teresa Peterson
Director of Learning and Development
Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc.
Dr. Teresa Peterson is the Director of Learning and Development for Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. Teresa is passionate about applying best practices for learning to make development experiences meaningful, engaging, and accessible for all types of learners. In her role, Teresa co-creates powerful learning content and guides deep research. Teresa holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Northern Iowa and brings over twenty years of experience teaching, facilitating, and leading. She is trained in Immunity to Change Coaching and Certified in Appreciative Inquiry. Clients love Teresa’s grounded energy, depth of thought, and ability to listen deeply.
Porter Law, LLC
David Porter has been supporting businesses for over 30 years in private practice, in-house legal roles and as a compliance officer. David is first and foremost a businessman who understands that law is a part of business and does not run the business. So, his advice is focused on achieving business objectives, not checking legal boxes. In addition to his law practice, David has a coaches and trains business leaders to create sustainable systems to support consistent, positive outcomes. David spent 20 years as a professor at Webster University and has authored three books on building the elements of successful outcomes for customers and teams.
David is a native of Sunrise Beach and graduated from Camdenton High School. He has a bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College and his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School. David and his wife, Lydia, have four grown children and live in Four Seasons.
Juris Doctorate – University of Notre Dame Law School
AB – William Jewell College
Courageously Imperfect Coaching & Development, LLC
Barb holds a teaching degree in Secondary English Education, though her career path ultimately led her into the corporate workplace, where she has over 25 years’ experience facilitating professional development topics, including today’s topic. As a certified life coach, Barb also loves helping people understand what motivates them, what drains them, and how to best manage their energy to get the outcomes they want most, at life and at work.
• B.A – Secondary Education – University of Northern Iowa
• Masters – Adult Learning & Human Performance – Drake University
• Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coaching Federation (ICF)
• Certified Enneagram Coach through Your Enneagram Coach, LLC
• Certified Facilitator, Data Dimensions International (DDI) Leadership Training
Control Installations of Iowa, Inc. (CI3)
An experienced blend of military leadership and HR experience, Todd focuses his attention on addressing the number one people-issue affecting employers, disengaged workers. In addition to his daily work in the trenches of HR, he recently joined with a group of other HR professionals to create a HR community focused on Strategic HR and business impact. His practical tips provide leaders from the C-suite to the front line with a framework to improve workforce commitment and retention.
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa
Beth Shelton is the Chief Executive Office of Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, overseeing all operations for 13,500 members in portions of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Beth led her organization to record revenue and membership growth while simultaneously spearheading a cultural transformation that led to her organization being named on the selective Top Workplaces in Iowa, and #1 in the nonprofit category. She has received national accolades for her vision and innovation; highlighted recently on platforms ranging from Good Morning America, CNN, and ABC World News Tonight to Working Mother Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today and the Today Show. She has shared her passionate message of recognizing the human side of workplace culture and benefits from coast to coast, from the Seattle Interactive Conference to the National Academy of Sciences. She was recently named one of the 15 People To Watch by the Des Moines Register and one of the Business Leaders to Know. Celebrities ranging from Brene’ Brown and Kristin Bell to Jennifer Gardner and Glennon Doyle have engaged in and supported the work Beth and her team are doing. Beth received the 2018 Alumni Achievement award from Simpson College. She serves as a guest lecturer in the Drake University MBA program (where she also earned her MBA) and received the 2019
Young Alumni of Achievement Award by Drake University. She recently completed the Artificial Intelligence certificate program at MIT.
Beth, a life-long amputee, also serves on the board for the Iowa Amputee Golf Association, raising scholarships for families affected by the trauma and impact of limb loss. She has a lifelong love of sports, having been a 3-time collegiate MVP, and coaches youth teams in basketball and softball, as well as leading her local Girl Scout troop.
Lori Vande Krol
Owner & Productivity Consultant
Life Made Simple, LLC
Lori Vande Krol is a productivity consultant, speaker, and trainer who helps busy professionals and growing businesses around the world implement systems to increase efficiency and success. Lori has developed programs that help her clients tackle overwhelm by better managing time, space, and information. Her work has resulted in savings of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours for her clients, in addition to a considerable reduction in stress and frustration.
After receiving a BS in Mathematics from Iowa State University, Lori worked 13 years as an Actuary and Risk Manager in a Fortune 500 company. During this time, she spent 10 years studying for and passing the rigorous series of actuarial exams. But eventually she realized being an actuary was not her true passion. Lori saw there was a need to help those that, like herself, often feel overwhelmed with work and life. In 2005, Life Made Simple LLC was born with the mission of helping others live more productively, feel less stressed, and have more time for what matters most.
After several years of working with productivity clients, Lori used her experience and expertise to create The ProAction Planner™, a weekly planner utilizing the ProAction Process™ and a simple, unique layout to encompass everything needed for busy professionals to attack, overwhelm and reach their goals.
Lori’s expertise has been shared around the world through various publications, tv, and radio, such as Bloomberg Business, The Sydney Morning Herald, Des Moines Living Magazine, FedEx.com, AmericanExpress.com, WHOtv, ScanSnapWorld, CentralJersey.com, Des Moines Amplified, and Blog Talk Radio, and as a contributing author for the Amazon Best-Selling book, One Habit for a Thriving Home Office: Killer Habits of the Happiest Achieving Home-Based Business People on the Planet.
Active in her industry, Lori is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and served on its Board of Directors from 2015-2018. She was honored with the NAPO President’s Award in 2019. Lori received her Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 2000 and graduated from the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Class of 2015.
Lori lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, three beautiful daughters, and two cats. When she isn’t working on new ways to find and help clients, Lori enjoys working out, puzzles, reading, lounging by the pool, traveling with her family, and anything Disney.
Jo Ellen Whitney
Dentons Davis Brown
Jo Ellen is adept at managing the everyday chaos employers and human resource managers face. She is known for her approachable demeanor and practical approach to employment law. She shares her knowledge regularly – Jo is a prolific speaker and writer – simultaneously educating and entertaining audiences on the grey areas of employment law.
Her clients are employers, managers, physicians, hospital administrators, and HR professionals in the health, manufacturing, telecommunications, technology, agriculture, and finance industries as well as not-for-profit service organizations. She is described as “top notch” by clients she advises on a wide array of matters and issues relating to employment & labor law, health law, fair housing, privacy/data security compliance, and contract/policy issues relating to grant funding.
Sarah Noll Wilson
Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc.
Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. Our goal is to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. We create a safe, honest environment, preparing people to deal with real-world conflict, have more meaningful conversations, and create purposeful relationships. Working with CEO’s, HR leaders, and organizations that care deeply about their employees and understand the connection between employee development, employee satisfaction, and organizational success, Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. specializes in transforming relationships from good to great.
Through her work as an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants”, Sarah Noll Wilson helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations”, is certified in Co-Active Coaching, Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.
With 15+ years in leadership development, Sarah earned a Master’s Degree from Drake University in Leadership Development and a BA from the University of Northern Iowa in Theatre Performance and Theatre Education – no wonder clients love the energy she brings to their teams! When she isn’t helping people build and rebuild relationships, she enjoys playing games with her husband Nick and cuddling with their fur baby, Sally.
Ramona Wink, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Motivational Public Speaker
515 Therapy and Consulting
Ramona Wink is a licensed mental health counselor and motivational public speaker with 515 Therapy and Consulting in West Des Moines.
As a therapist, Ramona sees individuals and couples. She combines her innate ability to connect with people in an authentic manner with her educational training and her own life experience to support her clients as they navigate the journey of life. https://www.515therapy.com/ramonawink
Ramona is passionate about her motivational speaking role because it allows her to make a positive impact on even more people. Ramona’s superpower is to share the stories that she hears in her therapist’s chair, with details changed to protect her clients’ confidentiality, normalizing the fact that mental health issues are real! Her messages are packed with tools and techniques that audience members can learn to achieve and maintain mental wellness. https://www.515therapy.com/speaking
Appointed by Governor Kim Reynolds, Ramona serves on the Iowa Board of Behavioral Sciences.
Executive, Business and Leadership Coach
AddingZEROS Executive Development
As one of the top coaches in organizational development field, Monte Wyatt brings over 25 years of remarkable leadership, business and personal development experience to executives and business owners.
Monte’s brand promise is threefold – Advance a career. Transform a company. Achieve incredible results.
To fulfill these promises, Monte defines what he does in four words:
Awareness Helping you see things that you cannot see in yourself and your organization.
Education Bringing proven strategies in leadership and management, influencing up and down, hiring and training your team, strategic thinking and execution planning, communication adapting, business and personal development.
Implementation Assisting you in thinking through and putting the education into practice into your daily activities.
Discipline Holding you accountable to your goals and the actions you commit to.
Monte’s 18-year career as an award-winning executive leadership coach and 14 years in the agricultural input industry has prepared him in his thought-leadership journey. Within Syngenta Crop Protection, Monte has proven success in sales, sales training, sales management, crop management, and customer relationship marketing management.
As CEO of AddingZEROS, an executive development firm, Monte creates leadership and management clarity to CEOs and their executive teams through strategic thinking and execution planning. Our team of facilitators help mid-market organizations align and engage their teams.
The purpose of AddingZEROS Executive Development is to Release the Potential of the Business World. Monte wants to help you create a successful organization. One that is sustainable, predictable, stable, consistent, and has an emotional connection.
For more information, visit montewyatt.com or AddZerosNow.com.
Dentons Davis Brown
Breanna is a small-town Iowa native, a lover of dogs, and a drinker of strong coffee. Practicing for more than 15 years, she is a sought-after speaker for accountants, community organizations, financial advisors, and attorneys on estate-planning topics and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. Individuals, families, farmers, and small businesses rely on Breanna’s guidance to optimize their estate plans, develop succession plans, create businesses, and more. She is a compassionate LGBTQ+ advocate, helping clients protect their families with confirmatory adoptions, wills and trusts, powers of attorney, and other legal documents. Breanna also works with employers and healthcare entities, including hospitals and long-term
care facilities, as they draft inclusive policies and plans to provide a welcoming environment for all patients.
Daniel Zinnel, EdD
President and Founder
Growth & Joy
Dr. Daniel Zinnel is a facilitator, speaker, and learner. Authenticity, intentionality, humility, compassion, and joy are his leadership values. In 2020, he launched Growth and Joy, LLC to help individuals, businesses, and organizations develop proactive, practical, and purposeful leaders. He has trained and spoken to over twenty thousand individuals on a variety of topics including leadership, power and privilege, LGBTQ inclusion, and building your personal brand.
Daniel was previously on faculty as an adjunct at Des Moines University and Iowa Central Community College. He developed One Iowa’s LGBTQ Leadership Institute, was part of a team that created the 4Equity Tool, and has previously served on the curriculum committee of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute. Daniel has over 10 years of nonprofit administration and leadership including currently serving as the CEO of Proteus, Inc. and previously as the Executive Director of One Iowa. He serves as Tri-Chair of the Social Capital within Capital Crossroads, Vice Chair of the John Stoddard Cancer Center, Vice Chair of the Iowa Primary Care Association, and is on a variety of other community boards and advisory councils.
Daniel earned a Doctorate of Education in Leadership from Creighton University, M.A in Health Studies from the University of Alabama, B.A. in Liberal Arts with Psychology and Sociology Minors from Grand View University, and A.A. from Iowa Central Community College. He has formal training through the Perception Institute on explicit and implicit bias, stereotype threats, and racial anxiety. In 2021, Daniel was recognized as a business leader to know in the Des Moines Business Records Book of Lists. He was awarded the Community Vision Award for Challenging by the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute in 2019. In 2018, Daniel was named the Influencer of the Year at the Young Professionals Connection and Des Moines Register Young Professional of the Year Awards. He received the Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 award in 2015. Daniel also received the Karen Packer Spirit of Collaboration Award at the Iowa Cancer Summit in 2012.