November 19, 2018    |    Monona Terrace



Allison Liddle

President, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, Coach, Trainer

"The Art of Imperfect Action - All Success Comes from Daring to Begin"

Through Allison's presentation, you’ll get the practical tools you need to move forward in your life. You’ll understand some of the reasons you may feel stuck and how to break through them. You’ll be equipped, energized, and ready to create massive success in your life through practicing the art of imperfect action!

Allison provides clients massive results, strategic vision, and creative solutions to their challenges. She is an award-winning entrepreneur and a best selling author that teaches from experience on how to build sustainable businesses. She is a leadership expert on change and communication that knows how to engage teams to move forward quickly and get massive results. Allison has spoken at companies in the TOP 15 on the Fortune 500 and many other Fortune 500 Companies. She speaks at many State and National conferences.


Dr. Niraj Nijhawan

Founder - Life Ecology Organization

"Neuroscience - Leading Self and Others"

Dr. Raj's presentation takes a deep dive into stress in the modern world, survival biology, applied neuroscience, and social, behavioral, and cognitive psychology. All of this can be applied to your life in a new way to help you lead like never before.

Dr. Raj is a practicing physician. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1992, and completed a medical residency in Anesthesiology/Critical Care at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Raj received a National Institute of Health Scientist Training Grant where he acquired a Master’s Degree in clinical research as he was trained as a clinical scientist and designed and conducted medical research. He is also a healthcare leader and was recruited to run and build several medical departments in a variety of hospitals and healthcare systems. Dr Raj has spent nearly 30 years cataloging, practicing, teaching, and helping people integrate the latest knowledge from the realms of medical, social, and neuroscience into their lives.


Mary Burke

CEO & Founder - Building Brave

"How the Agile Approach Drives Innovation While Building Brave"

Mary's keynote address will be about the importance of remaining agile, creative and brave. In this keynote address, you will learn the tools and principles for innovative thinking and why seeing your work as an experiment on the way to a solution is essential.

After 20 years in business, Mary left the corporate world to use her talents and energy to try to make the world a little better place. She focused on improving educational opportunities for students at-risk by co-founding the AVID/TOPS partnership between the Madison Metropolitan School District and the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. Along the way, Mary was unexpectedly drawn into politics, serving as Secretary of Commerce for the state of Wisconsin and in 2014 running for governor of Wisconsin. She lost that race but the experience changed her life and inspired her to start Building Brave.


Laura Gallagher

President - The Creative Company

"The Power of Story"

Have you ever thought about yourself as a character in a story? What have you had to overcome to be where you are? Where is the character in your story going in the next chapter of your life? Learn how to put the power of story to work for you and your brand.

Laura is a visionary business and community leader with expertise in entrepreneurship, marketing, public relations, digital media and leadership. She is also one of 75 women in Wisconsin to be recognized by the Governor as a Trailblazer in Wisconsin. She is also the Regional Ambassador for WED North America representing the United States of America. As the founder and leader of The Creative Company, a full service public relations and web development agency she founded more than 25 years ago, she has led numerous campaigns for both local and national brands winning many awards along the way including a Gold Award for "Best Ad Agency in Wisconsin" by the readers of Corporate Report Wisconsin.

"Charting Your Path as a Woman in Leadership or in Business"

68% of us would rather talk about our weight than money. If we overcome that barrier, we can go places. Kim Sponem, the CEO of Summit Credit Union, a $3.2 billion organization with 181,000 members and 590 employees across 36 locations, will be speaking at WEDWisconsin. In addition to being one of the leading women in finance in the country, she is also the co-founder of STAR Credit Union, a credit union for kids offering hands-on learning about money and business.

Summit supports women in business. They support our future. They support our families and communities. Kim Sponem is a remarkable leader and she will be one of the leading women sharing their stories to guide you with yours at WEDWisconsin.


Kim Sponem
CEO & President - Summit Credit Union


"Beg, Borrow or Bootstrap"

According to the Kauffmann Foundation, the average cost of starting a new business is about $30,000. As a business grows, it needs additional influxes of capital. In this session, you’ll learn about various funding routes including SBA loans, angel investors, venture capital and more to take your business to the next level.


Andrea Hughes
Regional Project Director - WWBIC

Andrea's professional experience is focused around two main topics, adult education and business management. She has 15 years experience in the area of training, and has created documentation and training materials as well as preformed stand-up classroom training for (CUNA) Credit Union National Association. In addition to classroom training, Andrea  created on-line classes, webinars and developed a video training guide for farmers interested in Agri-tourism.


Vicki Resech
Director of Operations - McDEVCO

Vicki has always been driven to help others succeed. As the Director of Operations, her goals for 2018-2019 are simple — ensure that new entrepreneurs and existing ones have the resources to start their business, to grow their business, and to have a place to go when questions arise. Vicki has been a mentor, volunteer EMT/Firefighter, internal auditor, accountant, office manager, small business owner, and currently director of operations of MCDEVCO – Marathon County’s economic development corporation.


Julie Spitzack
VP Business Services - Summit Credit Union

Julie works with business owners to help them grow their businesses and reach their financial dreams. Her specialties include: start-ups, small business, women owned business, SBA financing, commercial real estate, and investment properties.


Dana Hoffmann
VP, Commercial Lending - Summit Credit Union

Dana is the key relationship manager and trusted business advisor with proven track record of mid eight figure business loan and commercial real estate financing originations. She has strong administration, portfolio management, client servicing and documentation skills and extensive experience and expertise in multi-faceted financial relationships, complex and challenging credit. Dana has 20+ years of Small Business Administration program experience, including last twelve where Summit has earned top SBA lender in its category last six years.


Chandra Miller Fienen
Director of Operations & Program - StartingBlock Madison

As a former attorney-turned entrepreneur, Chandra has a wide set of varying leadership skills including legal, public policy development and implementation, pre-ideation and emerging company business development strategy, community building, charitable organization inception and management, and fundraising. At StartingBlock Madison, she gets to engage in her passion to help cultivate entrepreneurs, accelerate startup growth and drive innovation.


Jing (Connie) Li, PE, PhD
Founder, President & CEO, TransSmart Technologies, Inc.
President & CEO, EJM Engineering

Dr. Li specializes in Traffic engineering, highway engineering, transportation planning, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and traffic modeling and simulations. Dr. Li has more than 27 years of experience in the advanced technology areas in traffic and transportation engineering. Dr. Li Served as project manager and design leader for various major transportation engineering projects.

"You, Inc."

What are you really communicating when you present, whether to large groups or in more intimate settings? Investors have a saying, “Bet on the jockey, not the horse.” In other words, choose the A+ team with the B- idea over the B- team with the A+ idea. Unfortunately, a compelling startup or business idea (or potential employee!) can all too often be overshadowed by a B- presentation--poorly-organized slides, an unfocused narrative, nerves.

In this talk, you'll learn simple strategies and techniques to convey the right information about what you’re actually selling - YOU.

  • Three presentation no-nos
  • The surprising power of silence
  • How to get the audience on your side
  • The one thing you can never do too much

Grace's background includes leadership roles in finance and real estate for Fortune 500 companies including Clinique, Estee Lauder and Revlon. She is a graduate of Stanford University and has her MBA from Harvard Business School. She is the CFO of her family of five and a tutor for Manhattan Prep as well as an entrepreneur!

Grace is just one of the many leading women who will be your guide at WEDWisconsin.



Grace Trewartha
Financial Educator


"A Better World - How to Start and Run a Social Enterprise or Non-Profit"

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States. Funding and sustainability remain among the top challenges for nonprofit organizations. In this session, you will learn what to consider before diving in, what works and what doesn’t in terms of fund development and which tools they are using to track outcomes and impact.


Founder - Jewels, Inc.

Marcell is the founder of Jewels, Inc. a non-profit she started in Washington D.C. to empower young urban girls as future leaders through education, training and social activism. She is the development director at Lighthouse Christian School and she is married to professional speaker and former Badger wide receiver and NFL player, Brandon Williams. They have five children.


Susan Fochs
Founder - Operation Not Alone

Susan founded her non-profit organization, Operation Not Alone, when she was 18 years old as a way to honor her father, who is a disabled Marine Corps veteran. Since then, this organization has sent Care and Cheer Packages to thousands of service members and veterans across the country (and the world), established the "Who Is Your Hero?" programming for schools, collegiate organizations, and corporations, and established a Girl Scout Patch available to all 1.8 million Girl Scouts nationwide.


Lisa Peyton-Caire
Founder & President - The Foundation for Black Women's Wellness

Lisa is an Educator, Social Entrepreneur, Non-profit leader, Women’s Health Advocate, and change agent whose work and service over the last 20 years has spanned the PreK through 16 education spectrum; merged the fields of education, human services, business, community and youth empowerment, and advocacy; and has included extensive leadership experience as a Manager and Administrator. Over the past 10 years, her work has expanded to include health advocacy with a particular emphasis on combating health disparities impacting African American women and their communities.


Diane Hanson
Owner - Thinking In Sync LLC, Originator of United Madison

The "Originator" of United Madison is Diane Hanson, the Owner of Thinking In Sync, a Madison area business development and marketing firm. Diane has a background in media, communications and training and has been involved in a variety of roles that relate to public relations and community support.

Hosts & Moderators


Tia Lyn
Owner - Contours Lingerie

Tia is an American fashion designer best known by her vintage inspired lingerie made modern with her own twist designed to fit the full busted woman. The Tia Lyn brand was launched in 2001. From the beginning, every style has consistently been offered in a curvy size range from S-3X. She is one of the leading designers in the lingerie market and her plus sized designs were recently featured in Glamour Magazine, The Daily Venus Diva and E News! Two-time winner of the International CILA Award for the “Best Plus Size Collection” Tia continues to expand and further develop her brand.


Calyn Ostrowski
Managing VP, Business Dev. & Financial Empowerment - Summit Credit Union

Calyn is Managing Vice President of Business Development & Financial Empowerment at Summit Credit Union. In this capacity, she leads teams responsible for providing award-winning financial education and employee financial wellness initiatives. Prior to joining Summit, she served as Executive Director of the World Council of Credit Union’s Foundation and Global Women’s Leadership Network where she led the ideation, development, and execution of long-term business development strategies and globally recognized programs.


Jessa Jeremiah
General Manager & On Air Talent - WI57

Jessa is the General Manager of Wisconsin’s 57 Television and host of local talk shows “Girl Talk”, “The Restaurant Show”, and “Talk of the Town”. A University of Minnesota alumna, she started and sold two small businesses and went on to management and marketing for retail stores including Eddie Bauer, Pier 1 Imports, and Best Buy. She gained the passion for local content after her Lead Anchor role for a newscast in Beaufort, South Carolina.

*Schedule & speakers subject to change

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Women's Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin is hosted and produced by The Creative Company

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“Great day! Thanks for the love, hard work, and collaboration. POWERFUL day! POWERFUL women! ”

- Alissa

“I am a future entrepreneur and have been more empowered to move forward. This conference was very successful and enlightening.”

- Erika

“One of the best conferences I've attended in a long time - solid content, solid speakers, consistent... Authentic, real, empowering and motivating!”

- Vicki

“A wonderful day that you could tell had a ton of heart and soul poured into it.”

- Danielle

“Nice diversity of topics, backgrounds of speakers, and experiences.”

- Amy

“Thank you Laura! Attending the Women's Entrepreneurship Day last November helped me to step outside of limiting parameters and begin to think and consider more broadly - along with gaining confidence and the mindset that there would be organizations that accept an older person as a workplace wellness leader. Thank you for your work - your message reaches farther than you realize!”

- Lisa

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