Save the date 2019: November 18, 2019


68% of us would rather talk about our weight than money. If we overcome that barrier, we can go places. In the opening remarks with Laura Gallagher and Kim Sponem, one of the leading women in finance, you’ll learn more about charting your own path as a woman in business and why your money matters.

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.


Laura Gallagher
Wisconsin's Ambassador and Master of Ceremonies - WED, President - The Creative Company


Kim Sponem
President & CEO - Summit Credit Union

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

Opening Keynote by Allison Liddle

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.



Allison Liddle

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


Neuroscience - Leading Self and Others

Keynote by Dr. Niraj Nijhawan

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.



Dr. Niraj Nijhawan

Founder - Life Ecology Organization



11:00am Morning Breakout Session

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.


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

Dr. Li earned her Bachelor, Master, and PhD degrees in three languages across three countries. After obtaining her bachelor degree from the Civil Engineering Department at Tsinghua University, she won a coveted scholarship to Tokyo University in Japan, where she was the first woman in more than a hundred years of the University’s history to earn a Master’s degree in transportation engineering. Dr. Li earned her PhD degree in civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Li is a registered Professional Engineer in the States of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, New York, and Virginia. She received the International Women of Influence Award from the Global Executive Women magazine. She was awarded the Woman of the Year by the Women in Transportation Seminar, Wisconsin Chapter.


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.


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.


Lorrie Heinemann
President & CEO - Madison Development Corporation

Lorrie is passionate about philanthropy, investing and entrepreneurship, and has spent her career helping people connect to strategic resources that will help them pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. Last year, Madison Development Corporation completed their newest building (The Mifflander), which is a high quality affordable housing 46 unit in the heart of Mifflin Street. They also launched their third MDC Venture Debt Fund and are currently investing in high tech Dane County companies that create high quality jobs. Lorrie is also the Founder of Wisconsin Angel Network (known now as Wisconsin Technology Council Investor Network), serves on the BrightStar WI Foundation Investment Committee and is on the Board of Trustees at WiSys Technology Foundation.

You, Inc.

11:00am Morning Breakout Session

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


Diversity and Inclusion

11:00am Morning Breakout Session

Successful entrepreneurs often learn as they go, hurriedly keeping one step ahead of the pace of their businesses. Diversity and Inclusion are factors every entrepreneur should intentionally weave into the fabric of their business growth ¾ starting with the development of vision and values. The broad reaching scope of diversity and inclusion ranges from recruitment and hiring to innovation and emerging markets. With more women owned businesses, more businesses owned by women of color, increased numbers of ethnic minorities on boards and CEOs who are open about their sexuality, diversity and inclusion are driving problem solving and innovation as well as urging businesses to be socially responsible community partners.

This session will highlight ways entrepreneurs can embrace diversity from the very beginning, including:

    • Building your network (reflect the diverse needs of customers)
    • Promoting Inclusion
    • Placing People at the Center (rethink your hiring practices)
    • Building Community

    Deborah runs the diversity and inclusion consulting, coaching, and training firm, High Performance Development Solutions LLC. She works with organizations who want to leverage the power of change to heighten development and performance for their people. Deborah designs and delivers thought-provoking and challenging experiences that help people THINK better, DO better and BE better at what matters most.



    Deborah Biddle
    Founder and Consultant - High Performance Development Solutions LLC


    Pivotal Moments - Small Giants

    11:00am Morning Breakout Session

    For anyone to take the leap, there is a moment where they know that it's time to make the move. At this session, you'll hear from three female founders who have done just that! From the corporate world to starting a business or non-profit to working for someone else to starting your own business, they'll share what you need to know to pivot, leap and succeed!


    Melanie Bean Galle
    Founder - DirectHERy

    Melanie has spent nearly two decades working in marketing and media, including a decade in digital marketing for NBC News' The Today Show. Having six sisters and three daughters, She is surrounded by talented, strong, amazing women and wants to do everything she can to support, empower and do her part to level the playing field in the business world. directHERy is an inclusive online directory of women-owned businesses and is a space committed to empowering women-owned business in the spirit of prosperity and building each other up. They aim to promote, support, and connect women business owners within their community and nationally, to each other and to the people who want to see them thrive.


    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.


    Christine Ameigh
    Owner - Slide Food Cart, Catering and Gourmet Potato Chips

    Isthmus Indie award winner, serial entrepreneur, innovator, founder of Slide Food Cart, Catering, and Gourmet Potato Chips as well as a commercial kitchen and retail space, Christine Ameigh employs 12 people and sells their hand-cut potato chips in retail locations in this region. She's also the founder of two organizations, "Let's Eat Out!" and "Carts for Community".

    How the Agile Approach Drives Innovation While Building Brave

    Lunch Keynote by Mary Burke

    Entrepreneurship requires bravery to forge ahead towards uncertain paths and unknown outcomes. Successful entrepreneurs approach this uncertainty with agility and intentionality. They know how to plan carefully while allowing ample room for flexibility. How to make educated assumptions and create space to continually test those assumptions.

    Three years ago, Mary started her journey as a social entrepreneur armed with the vision to create a global online community of 10 million women who would connect, inspire and empower each other. With no clear road map, she opened one Board of Directors meeting saying the only thing she was 100% certain on was that she didn’t know the answers.

    Mary didn’t let this uncertainty hold her back. Instead, as she developed Building Brave, she planned accordingly. Decisions were mitigated by evaluating risks. Assumptions tested with experiments. And most importantly being comfortable knowing it would all take much longer than she ever expected. Mary notes, “if you think the journey to success will take one tank of gas, plan for 5.”

    In her keynote address, Mary will share her entrepreneurial journey and lessons learned along the way. Whether you are an entrepreneur or not, Mary’s honest insights into embracing agility, curiosity, failure and the long journey will leave you inspired.

    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.



    Mary Burke

    CEO & Founder - Building Brave


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

    1:45pm Afternoon Breakout Session

    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.


    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.


    Kirsten Houghton
    Principal - SVA

    Kirsten is a Principal and the head of the Nonprofit Services Group with SVA Certified Public Accountants, S.C. In addition to providing audit, accounting, and tax service, Kirsten also provides review, compilation, and management advisory services. In addition, Kirsten has expertise in financial accounting, financial statement review and audit specific to the nonprofit sector where she works with a variety of nonprofit organizations including charitable organizations, membership and trade associations and those organizations receiving federal and state funding.  Kirsten serves as a Steering Committee member of WEDWisconsin. She also served as Chair of United Way Women United and currently serves as Co-chair of the United Way Woman in Philanthropy Breakfast.

    Business Fundamentals - What You Need to Know

    1:45pm Afternoon Breakout Session

    Whether you're starting or growing a business, you'll need support! Join leaders from banking, the Chamber, State and the SBDC as well as a female founder to learn what you need to know to succeed in business.


    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.


    Jessica Cavazos

    President & Ceo - Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County

    Throughout her career in government, Jessica has been deeply involved in organizations that build and support the Latino community. She has served as Secretary and board member of the National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives Midwest Region and coordinator for the Central Region’s Federal Diversity Committee. She was the former State Director of Woman’s Activities for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Wisconsin. She was a founding member of several women’s groups, including LULAC Latinas Council and Latinas En Acción (part of the Women’s Fund), and was the Community Midwest finalist for Verizon’s Nueva Latina Estrella Award. In 2012, she was named UMOS Hispanic Woman of the Year for her volunteerism and community advocacy.


    Jennifer Feyerherm

    Environmental Assistance Coordinator - DNR Small Business Environmental Assistance Program

    Jennifer is the newest member of DNR’s Small Business Assistance team. She began her career at the DNR helping design cross-media tools to help businesses, DNR staff, and the public identify better ways to prevent and manage pollution. Jennifer moved on to apply her skills as an organizer, policy analyst, and strategist for a national nonprofit organization where she worked for over a decade facilitating public involvement; developing advocacy and media strategies; building coalitions; analyzing environmental, health, and economic data; and participating in myriad regulatory processes. Now she is back at the DNR, striving to help small businesses navigate regulatory frameworks while finding solutions that enhance both business success and environmental stewardship.


    Tia Lyn
    Owner - Contours Lingerie

    Tia Lyn 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. Tia Lyn 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.


    Julie Wood
    Education Program Manager and Youth Entrepreneur Camp Director - UW-Madison Small Business Development Center

    Julie Wood has a B.S. and M.S. in curriculum & instruction from the University of Wisconsin- Madison (UW-Madison) along with an associate degree in Accounting & Data Processing from Madison Business College. She started and ran Check + Balances, an accounting systems business, at the age of 27 and sold the business to a larger regional consulting firm three years later. She has worked for the UW-Madison Small Business Development Center (SBDC) since 2004 in several capacities including Business Anwerline Coordinator, Education Program Manager, Trainer and Youth Entrepreneur Camp Director. In 2008 when the center’s funding was cut the youth entrepreneur camp was in jeopardy of being cut, Julie put her entrepreneurial cap on and rewrote the curriculum so that it could be taught by existing staff. In addition to the UW-Madison SBDC, Julie shares her passion for youth entrepreneurship as Chief Cultivator of E-seedling, LLC and is the author of More Than a Lemonade Stand.

    Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence

    1:45pm Afternoon Breakout Session

    In this session, you will learn more about:
    • Unlocking Creativity: Design thinking and a creative problem-solving approach to drive innovation
    • The need to be curious and disruptive to stay innovative
    • How to be successful by finding Purpose and Passion in what you do
    • Why entrepreneurship transforms companies on any scale

    Holding a Masters in Innovation from Cranfield, U.K., and a Masters in Technology from Touro in New York, Tania is determined to bridge the gaps between business, engineering, technology and design in an ever- evolving industry. With experience in advertising and tech startups both nationally and globally, Tania’s unique perspective on human-centered design and design thinking has played a pivotal role for a variety of brands, ranging from Nike to 3M and Go-Pro. Behind it all is her dedication to creating progressive design and technology that puts people first, and developing design that is purposeful. She believes empathy and human connection give technology the heart it needs for innovation.


    Tania Dsouza

    Creative Technology Director and Entrepreneur in Residence - BVK


    The Power of Story

    Final Keynote by Laura Gallagher

    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.



    Laura Gallagher

    Wisconsin's Ambassador and Master of Ceremonies - WED, President - The Creative Company


    hosts & moderators


    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.


    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.


    Melissa Ingells
    Morning Edition Host - WPR

    Melissa spent 27 years at WKAR in East Lansing, Michigan, first as a classical music host and talk show producer, and later as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition for 11 years. She began her career at CMU Public Radio in 1987, eventually becoming the local host of All Thing Considered before finishing college. She has a degree in English and Music from CMU. Melissa’s accomplishments include jumping out of an airplane, completing an Outward Bound in Colorado, getting hit by lightning while hosting a radio show, and losing spectacularly on Jeopardy! in 2005.


    Rachel Werner
    Digital Editor - Brava Magazine

    Rachel is the digital editor of Brava Magazine, a Wisconsin-based publication, a freelance writer, and the social media manager of “The Celebration Society, another subsidiary of Nei Turner Media Group. She's previously contributed print, photography and video content to Madison Magazine, Spectrum, Hobby Farms and Urban Farm Magazine. Not only that, she’s also a fitness instructor, health coach and a 2016-17 national WomenRide4Change Ambassador.


    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.

    *Schedule & speakers subject to change

    Is your business building, growing, or changing?

    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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    THANK YOU 2018 Sponsors

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