Spring 2024 Speakers

Ronee Andersen (She/Her/Hers)

Coaching and Consulting by Ronee, LLC

In May 2019, Ronee Andersen established Coaching and Consulting by Ronee, a venture dedicated to unlocking individuals’ complete potential by harnessing leadership principles through the lenses of a growth mindset, positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and effective communication.

With a rich background spanning two decades in Human Resources, including 11 years spearheading HR functions, Ronee transitioned from her role as an HR Leader to embark on her entrepreneurial journey. Her diverse professional journey has encompassed roles in both small-scale enterprises and large corporations, spanning family-owned businesses, publicly traded companies, and local government bodies. She has been a pivotal member of executive and leadership teams, bringing her expertise to drive organizational excellence.

Ronee holds an MBA with a specialization in Human Resources and possesses a certification as a coach from Coach Training Alliance and trained Positive Psychology.  Her commitment to continuous growth is emphasized by her completion of an Advanced Certificate in Strategic HR from Cornell University and a Certificate in Organizational Analysis from Stanford University. In addition, she is a certified specialist in Talent Optimization through the Predictive Index methodology.


Lisa Behrends (She/Her/Hers)

Professional Speaker
Lisa Behrends

Lisa is a business strategist and experienced leader who has traveled the globe to 21 countries and has lived in Japan, Italy, and the Philippines. These experiences have equipped her to connect with people from different backgrounds and cultures. Organizations and individuals started to ask Lisa how to create connections and bring people together. In all of her work with organizations and individuals, she has realized the skills needed to connect people with different perspectives that work leaders need today in a hot button climate.

Lisa has 15 years skilled in presentation composition, and engaging, articulate audience presentations. She loves to speak and coach! She also is a public speaker for awareness issues such as human trafficking, food insecurity, and homelessness. Lisa has now turned these awareness strategies into workshops to introduce proven tools to allow anyone to connect, learn from one another, and work toward a common goal in the face of hot button issues. She coached basketball and volleyball at the collegiate level.

Lisa energizes, encourages, and knows how to command a room. She loves building her social and professional network! Lisa is involved in her community and is an active member of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Community Leadership Program Class of 2023.


Jacob Bennington (They/Them/Their)

Attorney 1
Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Jacob Bennington is an Attorney 1 for the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, focused on issues of employment, education, public accommodations, and credit. They have worked for the Commission since 2021. In addition to their investigatory work, Jacob serves as Administrative Rulemaking Coordinator, co-leads the ICRC’s intern program, and coordinates the training of new Civil Rights Specialists. Jacob graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2021. Jacob grew up in the Midwest and they have been an Iowa resident since 2014.

Ryan Boese


Ryan has 25 years of industry experience, 9 years with Workspace. Ryan provides a trusted partner in driving the ultimate customer experience by ensuring the customer’s vision comes to fruition. Ryan works diligently with the entire Workspace sales, design, and operations team to ensure we are on time and on budget. As a relationship-driven leader, Ryan understands the power of the partnership between Workspace and Ramona. He’s benefited from her executive coaching and witnessed the positive results her coaching has had on his team members.

Amy Boyce

Director of People & Culture
Navigate Wellbeing Solutions

Amy Boyce is the Director of People & Culture at Navigate Wellbeing Solutions in West Des Moines, Iowa. Amy began her role with Navigate in 2022. Over the last 15+ years Amy has supported all areas of Talent and Organizational Development as an instructional designer, classroom facilitator, performance coach, and leader of culture and employee engagement initiatives.

Amy is a past president of Association for Talent Development (ATD) Central IA, where she led efforts to plan the annual Professional Development Day in 2021. Amy was also part of the Leadership Iowa class of ’20-’21 where she had the opportunity to connect with other leaders to tour industries within Iowa and discuss the challenges and opportunities within the state.

Amy is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a Minor in Coaching. She resides in Urbandale, IA, with her daughter, son, and Boston terrier puppy.


Sara Bradshaw

VP-Employee Benefits
Holmes Murphy & Associates

Sara Bradshaw is a Vice President and Shareholder at Holmes Murphy in the Waukee, Iowa (headquarters) office and has been with Holmes Murphy for 15 years. Sara provides employee benefits consulting services for employers in a variety of industries and locations with a passion for helping organizations bring valuable benefits to their workforce while balancing their overall financial goals.

Sara holds active insurance licenses in Life, Accident, and Health. In addition to her insurance license, she has received her Group Benefits Associates certification (GBA) and serves as the President-Elect on the board for National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals, Iowa Chapter. Sara has also served on Holmes Murphy’s Compliance Committee for the past 14 years. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Sara earned her B.A. in Business Administration. She is married and has two adult sons.


Wade Britt (He/Him/His)

Partner & Managing Director
Bâton Global

Wade is a partner at Bâton Global and the firm’s Managing Director. Since 2016 he has helped clients improve their strategies, culture, and workforce skills.

Wade began his career in global logistics where he ran business units of DHL across Europe and Asia. In the education technology space, Wade has run several companies in Asia, South America, and the US prior to joining Bâton Global.

Wade has earned a Masters in International Business Studies and a BA in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina. A recovering academic, Wade has also taught Globalization and Strategy at Drake University.


Scott Burgmeyer

Founder and CEO
BecomeMore Group

Scott Burgmeyer, Leadership Excellence, Quality, Lean, Six Sigma & Baldrige Guru, is the founder & CEO of Creative Solutions Group.  For over 30 years, Scott has worked and consulted in manufacturing, technology, education, finance and health care industries.  Scott has held QA Manager, CI Manager, Human Resources & Talent Director, SVP Quality & Improvement, and Chief Improvement Officer titles.

As a Master Black Belt and creator of The DMAIC Way®, Scott’s goal is for everyone to Make it Better!  Make it Stick!


Elizabeth Coonan (She/Her/Hers)

Dentons Davis Brown, PC

Beth knows that the cornerstone of any effective human resources management strategy is a strong policy development and implementation process that adapt to the changing needs of her clients. Every report of discrimination, harassment or retaliation presents an opportunity for businesses to improve and every complex medical return to work situation or business visa conundrum presents an opportunity for businesses to foster a better connection with employees. From partnering with businesses to assess liability to training employees and fighting to protect confidential and trade secret information, it is important to Beth that her clients receive sound legal advice and a game plan for the future.

Beth represents businesses across a variety of industries including technology, manufacturing, and agriculture and partners with employers of all sizes to find solutions to their workforce-related challenges in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.

Hiring, Discipline and Discharge
Beth regularly works with employers to prepare enforceable employment agreements and when relationships break down, she devises creative solutions for separating employees while minimizing risk.

Family and Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Workers’ Compensation
With an extensive background in workers’ compensation, FMLA and ADA, Beth helps her clients manage medical leave and return to work issues without falling out of compliance.

Discrimination, Retaliation and Harassment
Beth partners with her clients to develop workable policies to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and regularly provides training on these topics. She also serves as an independent investigator and is a certified mediator.

Restrictive Covenants
Having enforced and defended non-compete, non-solicitation, and other restrictive covenants on behalf of employers and employees and with talent management at a premium, Beth crafts these arrangements to protect her client in this highly competitive labor market.

Beth works with employers to develop plans for recruitment and compliance when foreign-born talent is necessary. She guides employers through the business visa process and also advises on policies and procedures related to immigration.


Thomas Cunningham (He/Him/His)

Attorney / Shareholder
Nyemaster Goode, PC

Thomas M. Cunningham is the Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Department at Nyemaster, Goode, P. C. in Des Moines, Iowa.   Tom’s experience and skill has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Benchmark Litigation, Iowa Super Lawyers, Great Plains Super Lawyers, and Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business, all in the area of Labor & Employment Law and related litigation.  He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Iowa. He is admitted to practice in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.  His practice consists of representing private and public sector management clients in all areas of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on trials in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including discrimination and civil rights cases, and FMLA, ADA, wage/hour, OSHA, and affirmative action matters. In addition, Tom represents employers in the traditional labor law arena, having advised employers in union avoidance tactics and organizational campaigns and defended employers from unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board.


Julie Develin (She/Her/Hers)

Sr. Partner HCM Advisory & Human Insights

Julie Develin is a Sr. Partner, HCM Advisory & Human Insights at UKG. A sought-after speaker in the world of human resources, she was recognized as a top 100 HR Influencer for 2023 and has delivered countless keynote, general, and breakout sessions to HR, payroll, talent management, and business audiences of all sizes in the US and internationally. Develin co-hosts “The People Purpose Podcast,” a show dedicated to exploring all facets of the dynamic world of work.

Having worked for over 20 years in the human resources field as an executive and advisor, Develin is committed to exploring new ways to find the intersection of humanity and technology to enhance employee relations and foster talent development to help make every workplace great. Additionally, she is passionate about improving experiences and enhancing the overall relationship HR professionals have within their company.

Develin is a SHRM-SCP and holds a Global Talent Management Leader (GTML) credential. She has an M.S. in human resources development from McDaniel College and continues to work as an adjunct professor in the human resources management and human services management programs there.


Erik Dominguez (He/Him/His)

Speaker and Facilitator
Speak Up Stories

Erik Dominguez is a communication and confidence expert with over 25 years of experience teaching thousands of individuals
from all walks of life how to speak up for themselves. As an immigrant who grew up between two cultures and mixed messages, his familiarity with communication fears fueled him to learn and share the mindsets and tools to be seen and heard. His team-oriented approach has centered around a philosophy that everyone has a unique story and believes that everyone can share their minds and hearts with confidence, power, and – yes – a LOT of fun!


Steve Fredlund (He/Him/His)

The Safari Way

Steve Fredlund earned the title of “The Safari Dude” after leading multiple African safaris. He’s an award-winning actuary with Fortune 500 leadership experience, as well as a business and nonprofit founder. A career shift provided the opportunity to discover a breakthrough link between employee happiness and productivity, engagement, and retention. This discovery fueled his personal journey toward happiness and success that he now passionately shares with others.

He weaves his vast experience and data-based evidence into memorable messages. He is a two-time TEDx speaker who has become a sought-after keynoter who captivates attention with humor and challenges audiences to embrace life’s adventures. He delivers energetic talks that empower individuals to become better leaders and happier people.


Frances Haas (She/Her/Hers)

Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Fran litigates for employers in cases related to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, Family and Medical Leave Act, equal pay, and wrongful termination. She negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of management, as well as other labor disputes. She also takes on higher education cases in matters involving Title IX, Title VII, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. These cases often involve difficult facts relating to sexual misconduct or assault by employees or students—facts that she understands make people uncomfortable. “There are certain ways to handle cases that have delicate issues, and it often requires a soft touch and a lot of nuance,” she says.

While Fran enjoys litigating, she emphasizes consulting before issues arise. Whether she consults through a phone call, conducts in-person training, or reviews policies or anticipated employee terminations, she’s with the client from start to finish. “It’s not just about pointing out the problem but getting them to the finish line so they don’t have to worry about it at all.”

In addition, Fran leads webinars and speaks frequently on employment and higher education issues, with an emphasis on mental health and substance abuse issues in the workplace.


Amy Heverly (She/Her/Hers)

Civil Rights Specialist
Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Amy Heverly is a Civil Rights Specialist at the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Prior to her work at the ICRC, Amy practiced law in Oregon since 2009, including practicing employment law in private practice and in the public sector.  She is an Iowa native and graduated from the University of Iowa and Lewis & Clark Law School.


Brent Hinders (He/Him/His)

Managing Shareholder, Shareholder Attorney
Hopkins Huebner, P.C

Brent Hinders has been practicing law in Iowa for over 18 years. Brent is a graduate of Simpson College, Drake University College of Business and Public Administration, and Drake University Law School.

Brent has been named a “Best Lawyer” in the State of Iowa since 2020 in the areas of Employment benefits law; Employer and Employee Labor and Employment law, and as a litigator in the areas of labor, employment, and municipal law.

As an attorney for both private and public employers and employees he has advised and litigated a variety of areas including employee policies and handbooks; discrimination; harassment, and other issues affecting laws and conditions of work in the workplace. Brent also has experience in investigating a variety of employment claims for employers of all types and sizes.

As an attorney for government bodies, Brent has substantial experience in advising boards on legal matters, interpreting ordinances and statutes, writing policies, reviewing and recommending modifications to ordinances, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, representing municipalities in court and has tried numerous jury and non-jury trials. He has represented clients on cases involving on a wide variety of municipal law issues, including: statute and ordinance issues, open records and open meetings issues, contract interpretation issues, zoning issues, takings issues, and writs of certiorari and mandamus. Brent has represented municipal boards of adjustment, Zoning Commissions, and drainage districts.

Brent is an experienced speaker on employment and municipal issues throughout the State of Iowa and has spoken at a variety of seminars, webinars, conferences, and other gatherings to a wide range of audiences.


Beth Hlas (She/Her/Hers)

Marriage and Family Therapist
Eastern Iowa Family Counseling

Beth Hlas, PHR, t-LMFT, is a highly skilled HR professional with an impressive track record of over 15 years in various HR roles, spanning from recruiting and employee development to strategic planning. What sets Beth apart is her unique combination of expertise, as she is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist—a credential she pursued due to her deep appreciation for the human aspect of the HR field. With her extensive knowledge and experience, Beth offers invaluable insights and guidance. Having walked in your shoes as an HR Executive, she understands the challenges and nuances of the role, making her well-equipped to provide relevant and practical advice to help you achieve success in any position you hold. Invite Beth Hlas to your speaking engagement and tap into her wealth of expertise in HR, combined with her qualifications as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Benefit from her comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the human element in the workplace, and gain valuable insights that can enhance your professional journey.


Elissa Holman (She/Her/Hers)

Dickinson Law Firm

Attorney Elissa Holman is a highly successful and knowledgeable professional with nearly two decades of experience in Employment Law, Contract Law, Litigation, and Human Resources. At Dickinson Law, Elissa’s practice is focused primarily on
Employment Law and Civil Litigation. Her unique background helps her leverage her extensive business, HR and legal knowledge for her clients by helping them get in front of issues, in a proactive manner, to avoid costly litigation and headaches in the future.

Before joining the firm, Elissa spent three years as a litigator in Employment Law, Personal Injury, and Defamation Law. She was named a “Rising Star of the Great Plains” for her work by Thomson Reuters in2021 and 2022.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Elissa climbed the corporate ladder at Bank of America for 16 years where she held various roles as a Senior Vice President in the HR arena. Her predominant focus during her tenure was in leadership development, executive coaching, training and development, and assisting in the direction and execution of HR operational processes and services for more than 200,000 employees across the globe. She has also served as a consultant for Fortune 500 companies focusing on the customer and associate experience.


Steve Hughes

Hit Your Stride, LLC

Steve Hughes, CSP*, is president of Hit Your Stride, LLC, an international consultancy that helps people look and sound smart when they talk. A highly sought-after professional speaker, emcee, and author, he is called upon by Fortune 500 companies, national associations, leading universities, and non-profit organizations to electrify audiences and inspire more effective communication. Prior to founding Hit Your Stride in 2005, Steve spent 14 years in the advertising business and was a partner in a 50-person ad agency, where he made hundreds of presentations with millions of dollars on the line.

He is the author of Captivate: Presentations That Engage and Inspire, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Businessweek and on BBC World News, CBS, and National Public Radio. He is also the proud creator of “International Face Your Fears Day,” which is celebrated annually on the second Tuesday in October. Steve holds a BA in French Literature and European History from the University of Kansas and an MBA in Marketing from Washington University’s Olin School of Business, where he was awarded the prestigious Olin Cup.

* Certified Speaking Professional, a registered trademark of the National Speakers Association. The CSP is the highest earned designation from NSA and is held by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.


Amanda Hull

Wellness Coach
Hull Health

Amanda Brink Hull is certified in personal training, nutrition, and health coaching through the International Sports Sciences Association and provides wellness coaching in her spare time. She is deeply passionate about helping others and strives for the overall wellbeing of our communities. Organic health and nutrition along with fitness have been the foundation of her life for decades; so much so that she was nominated & served as a Hearst Wellness Champion from 2018-2021 encouraging fellow Hearst employees to lead healthier lives.

Eating clean is the most important part of overall fitness and health. What you eat plays a huge factor in how you look, how you feel, and how your body & brain function. Movement is another vital piece to overall fitness. Amanda has been doing CrossFit since 2012 but realize that not everyone loves CrossFit. She encourages people to find a workout routine that is feasible and that they like doing. Exercise should be fun and a celebration of what your body can do.

During the pandemic Amanda started two initiatives to encompass quality health when the people in her community need it the most. Both initiatives have grown and still exist today. You can find Amanda leading the #WednesdayWarriors, which is a free outdoor group activity/workout every Wednesday in the Altoona, Iowa area. And you can find #HullHealth on social media which was also started in 2020 to gift workout ideas, overall wellness tips, and healthy recipes to fans and followers. Amanda has self-published four books (three workout books & one cookbook) that include her own photography. You can find them at Lulu.com and search for Hull Health.

Throughout her career she has been a tremendous leader sitting on several boards and committees (both in Iowa and Washington DC). She has conducted highly rated breakout sessions and has taken the big stage at annual conferences through the National Association of Broadcasters. One of her highlights was being able to interview Dr. Mehmet Oz twice in front of a live audience of hundreds to dig into how big companies can create healthier & more productive employees and stronger work environments.

Amanda is an advocate of continued learning. She has an associate degree in business administration from the American Institute of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simpson College. She also obtained a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Walden University.

Amanda & her husband Josh reside in Pleasant Hill, IA and will be moving to Cape Coral, FL in the coming year. They have an adult daughter who works full-time in public education and a son who will be playing collegiate baseball this coming fall.


Mitch Johnk (He/Him/His)

Business Owner
Panorama Benefits Company

Mitch Johnk, MBA, CLU, ChFC, RICP, is a seasoned professional with deep roots in Iowa, where he was born, raised, and educated. He earned his BA from Simpson College and later pursued an MBA at Drake University, laying the foundation for a career spanning over 37 years in the benefit business.

His journey began as a college agent with Northwestern Mutual in 1984, shaping his understanding of the industry. Transitioning to the Principal in 1986, Mitch held diverse roles in marketing and product development, notably focusing on Executive and Business owner benefits in the Business Markets division. Joining the Des Moines Agency of the Principal in 1992, he co-established Total Financial Solutions with partner Jeff Dvorak in 2004.

In 2019, Mitch undertook formal training in Deferred Compensation, earning a Nonqualified Plan Advisor certificate from the National Association of Plan Advisors. This milestone marked a turning point, propelling him in October 2023 to divest a major portion of his individual practice to exclusively concentrate on the business market, co-founding Panorama Benefit Company with longtime assistant Ellen Betzer.

Central to Mitch’s philosophy is the belief that effective compensation and benefits programs should not only attract and retain talent but also reward and facilitate retirement. He advocates for:

1. Competitive Compensation and a Healthy Workplace Culture: Providing competitive salaries and benefits within a nurturing work environment.
2. Performance-Based Benefits: Emphasizing additional benefits tied to productivity rather than mere participation.
3. Comprehensive Financial Wellness Programs: Viewing these programs as investments in employees’ financial stability rather than mere expenses.

His vision extends beyond programs to foster a culture that empowers employees to make informed decisions and be more impactful in their roles.

Outside his professional endeavors, Mitch finds joy at Lake Panorama in Panora, Iowa, alongside his wife, Kim. They share their lives with three grown children and one grandchild. His leisure pursuits include golfing, boating, strumming Bruce Springsteen tunes on his guitar, indulging in movies, and cherishing moments with friends and family.


Cara Kirsch

Area Vice President

Areas of Responsibility
In her role as Area Vice President at Gallagher, Cara plays a pivotal role in consulting clients, acquiring new business, and positioning herself as an industry thought leader. She is committed to serving both the professional community and the broader society, making significant contributions in these domains.

Cara is a highly accomplished employee benefits expert with over 25 years of experience. With a deep passion for crafting employee benefit plans that strike a balance between value for employees and the company’s financial goals, Cara has established herself as a trusted advisor in the field. Her expertise lies in helping clients leverage data to gain a comprehensive understanding of their benefits landscape.

Cara has a proven track record in developing self-funded plans, establishing direct-to-employer provider networks, and effectively communicating the intricacies of employee benefits to company executives and their workforce. Her meticulous attention to detail and ability to navigate the complex vendor landscape empowers her to offer innovative solutions that yield substantial results.

Deeply committed to community well-being, Cara focuses her efforts on supporting the needs of women and families. In 2018, she founded the annual “Ignite! Women in Insurance” conference, which has grown to attract over 200 women in the insurance industry, fostering empowerment and support while facilitating learning and professional development. This impactful event has become an integral part of the Omaha community.

Residing in Omaha, Nebraska, Cara spends her time reading, cooking, and enjoying time with her three children, Mariyah, TJ, and Sean. An avid lover of the outdoors, she enjoys the summer months and spending time with friends, extended family and her dog, Oliver.

Affiliations and Awards
Board Member: Child Saving Institute (CSI) (Elected Position), Bellevue Chamber of Commerce (Elected Position) and, State of Nebraska Chapter of Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)

Omaha Chapter President: Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)

Active Member: Omaha Network (Executive Women’s Group) Positions held: Membership Co-Chair, Programming Co-Chair, Vice President, President

Midlands Business Journal 40 Under 40 Winner

Alumna: Leadership Nebraska Class X


Erin Lego

Leadership Coach
Erin Lego Coaching & Consulting, LLC

Erin is an experienced Leadership Coach with nearly 1,400 logged hours of formal coaching conversations. She’s passionate about helping leaders and teams work better together through gaining greater self-awareness, building trusted relationships through understanding how people relate to one another, and improving
communication along the way.

Erin serves on several boards:
Vice President with ABWA (American Business Women’s Association) West Des Moines Charter Chapter
Vice President with International Coach Federation (ICF) Iowa


Corey Lewis (He/Him/His)

The Healthy Project LLC

Corey Dion Lewis, a Clinical Health Coach at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa since 2017, is a committed advocate for health equity and education. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in managing chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Corey is not only a healthcare professional but also the founder of The Healthy Project, a public health media enterprise focusing on health equity and Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). This venture includes The Healthy Project Podcast, the Coffee Can’t Fix Everything show, and the My City My Health conference series, all contributing to a more inclusive healthcare future. His empathetic and community-oriented leadership style is an inspiration for those looking to make a positive impact. Corey’s educational background includes a degree in Health and Human Physiology from the University of Iowa, along with specialized training in the science of weight loss and behavior change from Johns Hopkins University.


Amanda Lynch (She/Her/Hers)

Director of Operations
Jordan River Group

Amanda Lynch is a seasoned Partner and Director of Operations at Jordan River Group, leveraging over a decade of experience in coaching leaders to foster meaningful progress within themselves and their organizations. Known for her practical approach and strategic insight, Amanda has been instrumental in steering the growth of Jordan River Group, a national coaching company dedicated to working with organizations nationwide. Central to their success is Jordan River Group’s commitment to helping leaders cultivate connections, prioritizing the time needed to build meaningful relationships before diving into content. Amanda’s legacy is defined by impactful leadership, positive cultural change, and a profound dedication to empowering others.


Molly Mackey, MBA, CPTD (She/Her/Hers)

Founder and Chief Learning Officer
LEAdeRNship Institute

Molly J. Mackey is an author, speaker and trainer of leaders. She believes that by intentionally intersecting the journeys of leadership and learning we can create better leaders. Better Leaders = Better Lives ™ Molly is the founder of the LEAdeRNship Institute has a passion for business, leadership and learning.

Molly is the founder and chief learning officer of the LEAdeRNship Institute. She also serves as the Director of Knowledge Acquisition and Transfer at Optimae LifeServices.

Molly J. Mackey received her undergraduate degree and Masters of Business Administration from the University of Iowa. In the fall of 2021, she earned her Certified Professional of Talent Development (CPTD) designation from the Association of Talent Development.


Kim Meyer (She/Her/Hers)

Health Education Specialist
MercyCare Business Health Solutions

Kim joined Mercy in 2022 as a Health Education Specialist after running her own coaching business since 2015. She’s earned her Health Coaching Certification, Nutrition Certification and SYNC Certification. She is also a published author, former podcaster, and Life Coach. She is motivated by seeing her clients make lifestyle changes that give them more confidence and energy to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Outside of work, Kim is often found at one of her kids’ many sporting events or being active out in the community. She enjoys being outdoors, spending time with family, Hallmark movies and binging personal development books/podcasts.


Christin Murphy

Strategic Design Specialist

As part of Workspace since 2004, Christin has had a diverse career with design projects.  As Workspace’s Strategic Design Specialist, she helps clients align and connect their workplace strategy with their culture and brand identity. Christin has found the partnership with Ramona to be very vital in maintaining a healthy mindset.

Julie Oeth (She/Her/Hers)

Vice President, Employee Benefits
Cottingham & Butler

Julie previously held the role of Vice President and Head of Human Resources at Cottingham & Butler for seven years before joining the Employee Benefits division. In her role, Julie was responsible for driving the strategic vision for Human Resources and lead the function through double digit headcount growth and navigated challenges through COVID-19. Julie has served as a member of the Executive Team, Benefits & Retirement Committee, and lead the Human Resources functions of Training, Organizational Design, Payroll, Benefits, Recruiting and Employee Relations.

Julie graduated from University of Northern Iowa. She spent time living in Boston developing her recruiting and HR generalist skills before moving back to Iowa in 2005. She spent over 10 years in Des Moines and has experience working in HR consulting and held roles in corporate procurement as well as HR Leadership in the financial services industry. She now resides in Dubuque, IA with her husband and three children. About Cottingham & Butler Cottingham & Butler is the top five independently held brokers in the U.S. and a recognized leader in offering innovative property & casualty and employee benefit insurance solutions. The company is headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, and employs over 1,300 employees across the U.S.


Kay Oskvig (She/Her/Hers)

Whitfield & Eddy Law Firm

Kay Oskvig delivers practical, efficient advice focusing on employment, union, corporate, and data privacy matters.

Kay counsels businesses, governmental entities, and nonprofit organizations on a wide range of workforce issues including civil rights complaints, hiring, discipline, internal investigations, terminations, health and safety, reasonable accommodations, non-solicitation and non-competition covenants, compliance with leave laws, responding to wage and hour audits. She drafts executive compensation, independent contractor, and separation/release agreements. Many clients rely on her guidance for compliance issues, and she regularly provides policies and procedures. Kay helps clients analyze a variety of federal and state laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. She also leads management-side union matters, negotiating collective bargaining agreements and handling grievances.

Kay regularly advises corporate clients on a variety of risk management topics and corporate governance matters, including buy-sell agreements, due diligence, data privacy, risk mitigation, cybersecurity, and nonprofit management issues. She counsels clients about workplace health and safety issues, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)compliance and investigations. In 2021, she attained the International Association of Privacy Professionals designation as a Certified Information Privacy Professional in United States law (CIPP/US). Kay fields questions from clients on data breach, information security, and risk matters often involving the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other state, federal, or international statutes. While Kay predominately works to help clients prevent and avoid litigation, she routinely defends agency complaints and advocates for clients in contested matters. She provides on-site and virtual training to clients and frequently presents to community and industry groups.

Kay has served on nonprofit boards across the state of Iowa and is actively involved in the Iowa State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. She is a former member of the ABA House of Delegates. She is a member of Leadership Iowa class of 2022—2023, Chair of the Whitfield &Eddy Law Labor and Employment Practice Group, and past co-Chair of the Whitfield & Eddy Law Information Technology Committee.

Contact today Contact Kay today or call us at 515.288.2500 for more information.


Steve Ott

Ott Leadership

Steve Ott is the founder and owner of Ott Leadership. He helps leaders reduce organizational friction caused by growth and success. He does this by working with leaders to “level up” in three key areas: leadership, culture, and strategy. His goal is to help leaders gain the clarity and confidence to maximize their organization’s mission impact.  By utilizing a combination of impact-driven development, coaching, and consulting, Steve wants to help you move your organization from stuck to thriving.

Steve holds a master’s degree in Transformational Leadership from Bethel University. Since 2019, he has worked with a wide variety of growing small and mid-sized organizations, from non-profits to nationwide retailers.  Steve resides in Davenport, Iowa with his wife, two daughters, and a yellow lab named Marley.


Katie Overberg (She/Her/Hers)

Of Counsel
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Katie has a unique and practical background counseling business and higher education organizations on employment and personnel matters, discrimination and harassment, Title IX and other compliance concerns.

As an employment attorney, Katie brings experience as both an advisor and litigator as well as in-house counsel, which allows her to work with clients to prevent legal problems through substantive trainings and identifying risks while also providing thoughtful responses to concerns that may arise. Her work as a Title IX coordinator for a private college also allows her to advise on policies and procedures that not only comply with current laws but also make sense practically for the organization. Through each of these roles, Katie has also developed significant experience advising and conducting internal investigations into workplace and education matters as well as drafting and reviewing employee handbooks and university policies. Katie is also an adjunct Employment Law instructor at Drake University Law School.

Ali Payne (She/Her/Hers)


As the President of ethOs, Ali Payne leads a team of engagement and wellbeing experts who work with clients to not only develop a strategy to drive employee engagement, but also to help them focus on the right employee experience and resources for all the demographics in their workplace.

Ali has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the organizational wellbeing, culture, and employee experience industry. Prior to joining Holmes Murphy, Ali spent 15 years with Gallagher Benefit Services as Divisional Vice President, Practice Leader, Wellbeing and Engagement and building a team of wellbeing and engagement professionals. Through this experience, she understands first-hand the value and importance of integrating organizational goals with strategies to engage talent. She helps her clients improve their employee retention and productivity through successful strategy development, implementation, and execution.

Ali is also an organizational engagement / culture expert and an award-winning thought leader. Recognized for her work in the industry, Ali was named the Employee Benefit Adviser’s Wellness Adviser of the Year in 2018.

Ali received her undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Iowa and her Master of Science Degree in Health Promotion and Human Resource Management from Nebraska Methodist College. She also holds a certificate in Leadership from Harvard Business School.

Outside of work, Ali enjoys spending time with her husband Charlie, daughter Olive, and twin sons Fritz and Otto.


Jenn Peterson

Talent Optimization Consultant
BecomeMore Group

Jenn Peterson is a Talent Optimization Consultant with the BecomeMore Group focusing on helping companies with their most valued resource – their people. She has over twenty-five years of experience in design, project management, leadership and sales roles that focused on aligning solutions to the needs of her clients.  She leverages her experience and passion for working with organizations and individuals to level-up and be the best they can be through hiring top talent, aligning strategy, and building dream teams.  She is a skilled facilitator and connects with people through shared experiences and stories – helping them along their own journey to becoming more.


Drea Piper

Design Supervisor

Design Supervisor at Workspace in Des Moines. Drea has been with the company for 8 years.  When Drea started attending coaching sessions with Ramona, she was new in her role as a Design Lead.  While working with Ramona, she has tackled many goals and fast-tracked her professional growth.  She is so thankful for Ramona and is excited to share her experiences with others.

Emily Pontius (She/Her/Hers)

Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Emily is an experienced advisor and litigator for employers.

Emily defends employers against allegations of sex discrimination, age discrimination, race discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and tortious interference.

To help employers maintain a productive workplace and avoid litigation, Emily partners with clients to provide supervisor and manager training, investigate internal discrimination complaints, provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, and navigate issues surrounding family and medical leave.

Emily works with employers of all sizes and has experience with for-profit corporations, non-profit organizations and cooperatives. She also provides specialized advice and litigates on behalf of colleges and universities in disputes concerning faculty discipline, tenure and promotion, student conduct, and accommodation of students with disabilities. Prior to practicing law, Emily worked in
higher education administration, supervising employees and gaining director-level experience in student judicial affairs and residence life. She draws on this experience when working with higher education clients.


Barb Ranck (She/Her/Hers)

Owner, Coach, Facilitator
CI Coaching & Development

Barb Ranck is a life-long learner and educator, holding an undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master’s degree from Drake University.

Barb’s passion for learning & growth includes a 25+ year career in corporate workplaces, training employees and consulting with leaders, helping those she served become more professional and productive in – and out – of the workplace.

Barb coaches and trains individuals, leaders, and teams to become more productive and collaborative, using self-awareness, leading to more accountable outcomes.

  • ACC-Coach Certified
  • iEQ9 Enneagram Certified


Libby Roberts (She/Her/Hers)

Training Manager
ATW Training Solutions

Libby joined ATW Training Solutions in 2016 after spending nearly 10 years in banking, where she started in customer service and moved to management and talent development. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Simpson College and holds a master’s degree in Adult Learning and Organizational Performance from Drake University.

Libby integrates instructional design, program development, and relationship building to her current role as Training Manager at ATW. Libby’s passion is people, and she strives to create a learning environment where all participants are welcomed, engaged, and challenged to move out of their comfort zones.

Outside of work, Libby enjoys spending time with friends and family, attending concerts, and enjoying the great outdoors with her family.


Jim Roy (He/Him/His)

Percipio Workforce Solutions

Jim Roy is the CEO of Percipio Workforce Solutions with 25+ years of experience in the fields of staffing, recruiting, and human resources.

After touring over 2,100 manufacturing and warehouse facilities, Jim has developed workforce best practices that can be utilized to improve retention and reduce turnover. The staffing industry has allowed Jim to learn many business lessons ranging from staff management to recruiting techniques and a healthy dose of acquisition activity, which he now passes on to clients and numerous mentees.

Jim earned his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a proud girl dad x 3!



Lindsey Roy (She/Her/Hers)

SVP Hallmark, Motivational Speaker
Lindsey Roy Speaking

Lindsey Roy has twice needed surgery to save her life. The first, a leg amputation after a traumatic boating accident and the second a double lung transplant after being diagnosed with a rare and progressive disease which constricted the blood vessels in her lungs. These experiences, coupled with her natural gifts for speaking and writing, have created a passion in Lindsey to tell her story in the hopes of helping others tackle whatever obstacles life throws at them. She did a TEDx talk in 2017 titled “What Trauma Taught Me About Happiness” which has been viewed by nearly 200,000 people. Her story has been featured in major publications, such as O MagazineFast CompanyForbes, and Working Mother.

Lindsey’s perspective is also honed by her roles as a corporate executive, mother, and wife. She is Senior VP Strategy & Brand at Hallmark, where she is leading various initiatives and groups—many of which draw from the lessons shared in The Gift of Perspective. She has a degree in Journalism & Advertising with a minor in Speech from Kansas State University and serves on many charitable boards, including Ability KC, Steps of Faith, and the Ad Council. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with her family—her husband Aaron and children, Mitchell and Morgan.


Todd Saffell

HR Director
Basepoint Building Automations

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.

Bobbie Jo Sheridan

Director of Human Resources
Occupational Safety Consultants

Bobbie Jo Sheridan is a SHRM-CP with a background in both the public and private sectors including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training and policy design. Miss Sheridan serves as the Director of Human Resources for Occupational Safety Consultants and supports employees and clients around the country. Additionally, Miss Sheridan owns her own retail business and is an instructor for Drake University. Miss Sheridan has her B.S. from the University of Northern Iowa, her Master’s Degree from Walden University and is a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker in Iowa.


Stephanie Smith (She/Her/Hers)

Training Consultant
ATW Training Solutions

Stephanie Smith is a training professional with over 20 years of training and leadership development experience. She came to ATW from the banking industry where she specialized in both virtual learning and classroom facilitation.

She is skilled in designing and developing management programs that upskill and reskill leaders at all levels. Stephanie is versed in adult learning styles which increases learner engagement and enhances overall comprehension. Stephanie’s ability to work in a fast-paced, agile environment and commitment to building strong partner relationships has proven to lead teams and organizations to success.

Stephanie has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, College of Business, majoring in Marketing. She enjoys volunteering in the local community and spending time with her family.


Sarah Sorensen

VP of People & Culture
Storey Kenworthy / Workspace

Sarah is passionate about building relationships, working strategically to shape culture, and is energized by impacting organizational change. In her 10+ year career in Human Resources, Sarah has placed a strong emphasis on employee mentoring and coaching through workplace challenges. Sarah is thrilled to be partnering with Ramona Wink as the company continues to focus on being an Employer of Choice.

Jack Stahlmann

Don’t Flinch, LLC

Jack Stahlmann’s entertaining and informative presentations are built around his experiences in Los Angeles as an actor, producer, director — and of course, a waiter.

In Hollywood, he launched his own production company which created several films that enjoyed international success and was an Assistant Director for the Margaret Cho stand-up show, Cho Revolution.

As an actor, his shining moment came in a co-star role on the CBS drama Cold Case, where he played a wimpy park ranger. He also appeared on Days of Our Lives and several commercials.

Jack has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Nataliya Stone (She/Her/Hers)

Senior Vice President / Shareholder
Holmes Murphy

Nataliya Boychenko Stone, MBA, an employee benefits leader for Holmes Murphy, an employee-owned insurance brokerage, is dedicated to providing creative employee benefit solutions. A native of Ukraine and fluent in three languages, Nataliya has a strong passion for lifelong learning, is a current Ph.D. candidate, and constantly explores cutting-edge solutions for her clients. Nataliya specializes in healthcare data analysis, health care compliance, wellness programs as well as a full suite of employer sponsored benefit programs. She is a frequent speaker on Health Care topics at local, regional and national events.

Dan Topf (He/Him/His)

Topf Business Learning

Dan is the owner of Topf Business Learning, an Iowa-based business acumen and leadership development company.  With over 25 years of experience, Dan is passionate about helping people and businesses achieve dramatic performance improvement through business learning.

Dan is expert in helping leaders at all levels see the bigger picture.  Perspective changes everything.  When leaders see the big picture, they can play their part to make things happen.

Dan has BA and MA degrees and has served on the faculty of the Drake University School of Education. He has also taught in the Tippie Executive MBA Program at the University of Iowa.

He’s an alum of Leadership Iowa. He’s also an active volunteer in professional societies: The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), and the Association for Talent Development (ATD).



Eric M. Updegraff (He/Him/His)

Shareholder Attorney
Hopkins Huebner, P.C

Eric Updegraff has practiced law in Iowa for over 18 years. Eric is a graduate of Simpson College and University of Iowa College of Law. Eric has represented public and private employers regarding city and state code as well as state and federal law compliance. Eric is a frequent seminar speaker and has presented on topics including drug testing, return to work issues, disabilities in the workplace, the interview process; job descriptions, unemployment hearings, employment law updates, employee classification issues, discipline policies, and how to write an effective employee handbook. Eric Updegraff has been included on the Iowa Rising Stars List by Super Lawyers for six years in a row.

Lindsay Vaught

Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.

Lindsay Vaught joined Ahlers & Cooney in 2013 and practices primarily in the Employment Law and Litigation Practice Groups. She works closely with both public and private clients, including institutions of higher education. She leads the firm’s Private Law Practice Area, and previously chaired the Employment Law Practice Group. Prior to joining the Ahlers firm, Lindsay served for three years as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Ronald E. Longstaff and the Honorable Celeste F. Bremer of the United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

She counsels clients on various employment law matters, including employee discipline and terminations, employment contracts, and drafting and revising employment policies. Lindsay conducts investigations for employers into internal employee complaints, such as complaints of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and employment policy violations. She also conducts trainings for employees at all levels regarding harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. She represents employers defending all types of employment claims, as well as defending administrative complaints before the EEOC, Iowa Civil Rights Commission, and local civil rights agencies. Lindsay represents employers, as well as employees, in non-compete contract matters. Lindsay has served as an investigator in Title IX matters for institutions of higher education. She has represented clients through jury and non-jury trials in state and federal court, and before administrative agencies. She also handles general litigation defense, including § 1983 litigation, personal injury, and contract claims.

Lindsay graduated from the University of Denver law school where she was a staff editor for the Law Review. While in law school, Lindsay worked for two years as a Research Assistant to a business contract law professor.


Whitney Warne (She/Her/Hers)

Ivory House Photography + Evoke EQ

Whitney Warne is a communications consultant specializing in evoking emotional intelligence in evolving leaders. She does this through the lens of the Enneagram and transformational coaching techniques.

Whitney’s experience comes through developing her own sense of power and ownership as a small business leader. She seeks to bring entrepreneurial passion, purpose, and creativity to the
corporate workplace.

She believes that all professional development is personal, personal growth strongly correlates with professional success, and that true leaders widen the path for people to walk next to them.


Chris Williams

Chris Williams is an Assistant Vice President in the Employee Benefits division for Cottingham & Butler. Chris began his career with Cottingham & Butler in 2014.  Before joining the Employee Benefits division, Chris served as Cottingham & Butler’s first corporate counsel, responsible for managing ongoing litigation and serving as in-house counsel to the Cottingham & Butler family of businesses. Chris offers consultative advice to business decision-makers regarding employee benefits, human resources issues generally, and state and federal compliance issues.  Before joining Cottingham & Butler, Chris practiced law in private practice in Dubuque, IA, and in the public interest space (veteran and active service member advocacy) in Chicago, IL.


Ramona Wink (She/Her/Hers)

LMHC, Motivational Speaker, Business Consultant
515 Therapy and Consulting

Ramona Wink is a licensed mental health counselor, motivational public speaker, and business consultant with 515 Therapy and Consulting in West Des Moines, Iowa. www.515therapy.com

She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Drake University and with her BA in Mass Communications from the University of Iowa.

In her role as a therapist, Ramona sees both individuals and couples. You can read more about Ramona at https://www.515therapy.com/ramonawink

Ramona is passionate about her motivational public speaking and business consulting because this work allows her to make a positive impact on even more people. As part of her business consulting work, Ramona offers on-site coaching to both leaders and employees. Check out Ramona’s website at: https://www.515therapy.com/ramonawinkspeaking

Ramona was appointed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and serves on the Iowa Board of Behavioral Sciences.


Monte Wyatt (He/Him/His)

Executive Development Facilitator
AddingZEROS Executive Development

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.


Jennifer Zach(She/Her/Hers)

Zach Coaching, LLC

Jennifer Zach founded Zach Coaching, LLC in 2009, a dynamic practice offering coaching, speaking, and learning facilitation. Jennifer hosts the insightful podcast “Leader to Leader with Jennifer Zach.” And soon, she’ll be releasing her book, “Somatic Awareness: Leading with Body Intelligence.”

Jennifer’s expertise has earned her recognition in various publications and conferences, including Choice Magazine, the Magazine of Professional Coaching, ATD’s ALC Conference, TD Magazine, Training Magazine, and the Iowa SHRM Conference. Jennifer has also been featured at DisruptHR, solidifying her reputation as a thought leader in leadership and somatic awareness.