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Session Descriptions

Session I – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Re-branding for your Organization's Success

Presenters:  Kristin Dowling and Anne Dudley
Location: Governance Chambers

The presenters will share how the team in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State University paired with IdeaBase to revive the department's brand.  The goal of this project was to use research and input from students, staff and faculty to build a website and logo that reflected the department's warmth and welcoming nature, focus on its students, and innovative research.

Biographies: Kristin Dowling is the Business Development Manager for IdeaBase (formerly The Tannery).  She is responsible for building client relationships in order to provide high quality experiential learning opportunities for Kent State University students.  She previously served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation in the Kent State University College of Business.  Her experience prior to coming to Kent State University was as Regional Operations Manager for Kinko's Inc (now known as FedEx Office).

Anne Dudley was the marketing coordinator in the Schools of Communication Studies and Visual Communication Design during the re-branding project.  She currently serves as the Communications Manager for the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.  Dudley earned a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.A. in Public Relations from Kent State.

3 Steps to More Productive Conversations

Presenter:  Barbara Blake
Location: 306 ABC

Have you avoided talking about your professional development or been unsatisfied with the result when you have? Ready to master these conversations? Critical (to you) Conversations: 3 Steps to More Productive Conversations tackles the how of critical conversations. In this interactive session (including role play and small group discussions) you will learn how to set up, prepare, and manage critical conversations through skills of storytelling, emotional centeredness and demonstrating business impact.

Biography: Barbara Blake melds her experience as a manager, leader and consultant to guide clients to self awareness, transformation and solutions to achieve their professional and personal goals.  She works one-on-one with clients to build leadership competence through intensive coaching sessions. As one client stated, "Barbara is the shortcut to getting where you need to be." Clients appreciate her insights, her personal interest in their welfare and the quick sustainable results they experience.  Barbara has worked with clients in a variety of industries making a positive impact on their business. Her clients have included leaders from Fortune 500 companies, start ups and middle market clients across the country as well as federal healthcare entities and higher education institutions. She has been a coach for the YWCA's Momentum Women's Leadership Program for the past six years.  Barbara is a certified executive coach, has an MBA from the University of Chicago and AB from Miami University. She is a board member of the HR Leaders Group of NE Ohio and a member of the International Coach Federation Cleveland Chapter.  Barbara has presented leadership topics for groups in NE Ohio including MAGNET, Entrepreneurs' Edge, and Kent State University's Spirit of Women in Business Conference.

Empowering Women to Take Control of Their Financial Future, to be Comfortable with Money, Investments and Success

Presenter:  Vicki Kline
Location: Ballroom Balcony

Although we women are starting businesses faster than men and making more daily financial decisions, we are under-served and often ignored by many in the financial industry.  We have a unique relationship with money and it is vital to our success that we explore and understand that relationship.  Our schools are beginning to recognize the importance of financial literacy, but we have a long way to go.  Every decision we make as an adult has a financial aspect and we graduate from college with little, if any, understanding of money.  I help women acknowledge where they are financially and how they arrived there and then we go to work on creating a plan to get them where they want to be.  I listen much more than I talk and that’s how I learn – it’s about you becoming the best you possible and being successful however you define success.

: Vicki is a FINRA Registered Securities Representative and is also licensed in life, health and disability insurance as well as variable annuities.  She has earned many designations during her career – Certified Financial Planner, Certified Public Accountant and Personal Financial Specialist.  She graduated from Kent State University in 1994 with her MBA.  Currently Vicki is a member in good standing with the Financial Planners Association, American Institute of CPAs, Ohio Society of CPAs, AICPA Personal Financial Planner Division, Women’s Network and League of Women Voters.  She has offered her expertise on many non-profit boards, i.e. United Way of Portage County, First Book and the Residential Resources for the Developmentally Challenged, Inc. and is very active in her community with programs with the Ohio Society of CPAs (Accounting for Kids) and the American Institute of CPAS (360 degrees of financial literacy).  She is listed in the Marquis Who’s Who of American Women,  Marquis Who’s Who in America, and the 2000 Notable American Women.  Vicki appeared periodically on Fox 8 News’ StreetWise and has written several financial articles for the Record Courier and for the Institute of Management Accountants’ montly newsletter.  Vicki emphasizes trust, integrity, and personal service in everything she does.  In her leisure, Vicki enjoys reading and bicycling.  She is a dedicated professional who enjoys working with people and giving back to her community.

Session II – 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Know Your Network – Interactive Networking Activity

Presenter:  Chris Keller, session facilitator
Location: Governance Chamber

Why do we network?  Why is it important?  In this interactive workshop, young professionals will cover the following information with session participants:

1)  What is a 20-second commercial and how can you practice this and get feedback from others in the room.

2)  What is your Professional Network?  How do you assess your network and add to it?  Share examples of how people are connected.

3)  Informational Interviewing – What is it, ways to approach it and how this can provide one insights that others do not have.

Biography: Chris Keller leads the EDGE Fellows Summer Intern Program, coordinates the InnoQuest Program and Leading EDGE Awards, and organizes and facilitates other EDGE initiatives.  He was raised in the Youngstown area and grew up working for family-run businesses in the Salem area (The Salem China Company and Brass Accents), which forged manufacturing relationships in Japan, China and Asia in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.  He earned his B.A. degree at Bates College and Master’s (M.Ed) at John Carroll University.   He is an experienced teacher, community leader and organizer and has 18 years of program development and non-profit management experience at The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, and The Entrepreneurs EDGE.  Christopher is a leader with community-based initiatives and is a graduate of Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland.   He serves on JumpStart’s Higher Education Council on Entrepreneurship as well as the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy (RECS) Council on Entrepreneurship.

Beyond the Donation: Serving your Community as a Business Professional

Presenter:  Jennifer Wiggins-Johnson
Location: 306 ABC

Many business professionals seek to serve their local communities, to help charities or nonprofit organizations, or to use their knowledge to support social causes. This session will discuss a number of different ways that business professionals can engage with the nonprofit community beyond donating money.  Topics of discussion will include how to develop corporate partnerships and sponsorships with nonprofit organizations, ways to use your business skills and experience to help organizations succeed, and opportunities to engage with the broader community as a business professional.

Biography: Jennifer Wiggins Johnson is Associate Professor of Marketing at Kent State University.  Dr. Johnson's research focuses on consumer helping behavior, charitable donations, and consumption of arts experiences. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Johnson’s professional work has been in the areas of nonprofit and arts marketing, including positions in marketing and development for the Madison Boychoir, the Elvejhem Museum of Art, and the Contemporary American Theater Festival. She has also consulted with nonprofit arts organizations on audience research, fundraising, and pricing strategies.

Emotional Intelligence - Four Agreements to Managing the Self

Presenter: Velvet Landingham
Location: Ballroom Balcony

This session highlights four simple agreements which can improve individuals' emotional intelligence and overall success in the workplace.

Biography: Velvet Weems-Landingham, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Kent State University.  She received her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in 2004.  Dr. Weems-Landingham has taught numerous courses at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels.  She has published articles in well-known journals and presented at host of national and international conferences.  Her research interests include: virtual teams, teamwork, leadership, individual and team performance, competency development, and technology enhanced teaching/learning.  In addition to scholarly activities, she has 20 years of experience designing, developing, and managing (face-to-face and virtual) consulting projects within a wide array of organizations, ranging from hospitals to manufacturers and not-for-profit agencies.  Areas of consultation include leadership, followership, coaching, conflict resolution, competency development, emotional intelligence, and diversity and inclusion.

Session III – 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Diversity at the Top of Corporate America

Presenter: Betsy Bruening
Location: Ballroom Balcony

Although women and minorities have made some progress in Corporate America, at the Board and senior executive levels, diversity is still sorely lacking. Betsy will discuss the current state of diversity at the top, why the issue is essential, and what we can do to increase the number of women and minorities in key decision making roles.

Biography: Betsy Bruening is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of The Prout Group, a diversity-focused Executive Search firm in Northeast Ohio. As a founding partner of the Alliance for Board Diversity, she has spent many years studying the topic of board diversity and has worked with numerous companies that understand the value diversity brings to the Board and senior executive levels of their organizations.

Entrepreneurship: What is it and can I do it?

Presenters:  Denise Easterling and Craig Zamary
Location: 306 A

Many people carry around with them every day an idea for a new product, service or business.  Others simply wish for a more independent lifestyle in which they work for themselves and establish their own rules.  This session will discuss the true nature of entrepreneurship, the resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs, and the unique challenges and opportunities entrepreneurship creates for women.  Topics will include 1) defining entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mindset, 2) examples of “typical” startup businesses, 3) a discussion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the resources available to entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio and, 4) a discussion of the challenges and opportunities associated with entrepreneurship that are unique to women. The session will also include an “audience participation” entrepreneurial exercise that clearly illustrates the nature of the entrepreneurial mindset.

Biographies: Denise Easterling is an entrepreneur who has co-founded five start-up companies whose outcomes have included the outright sale of a company to Steris Corporation, the sale of her interest in a company to a private buyer, business shuttering after success in order to pursue a different opportunity, and business shuttering after failure to get a product to market. Two of the businesses were in the medical industry, two were in the construction industry, and her latest business, Launch In A Day, LLC, is a new venture start-up guide and related blog located at Denise is also a CPA with 7 years of public accounting experience.  Denise is currently a faculty member at Kent State University in the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship where she is involved in teaching, new course creation, and mentoring and coaching entrepreneurship students. In 2011, Denise received the Kent State University College of Business Teaching Excellence Award. She was also recently profiled in a September 2013 article about entrepreneurs in Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Craig Zamary launched his first business at the age of 24 from his kitchen table. He grew it into a successful corporation and sold it to investors in 2006.  In January 2007, he launched, an online television platform that attracted viewers from over 100 countries around the world. Green Energy TV was acquired by a Florida-based private equity firm in November, 2010.  Craig is an Entrepreneurship Faculty member at Kent State University where he teaches and helps students with their startup companies and serves as an advisor to numerous startups.  In addition, Craig is a Partner at US Wine Exports Company, Ltd. and Co-founder & Advisor for Launch In a Day. Craig has appeared in the following television and online media outlets, and recognized by: Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, the Kauffman Foundation,, Fast Company, Fox News, Cnet, HI Velocity Media, inside Business, Reuters, Ohio Means Business,, and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee.

Mission Possible: Becoming an Empowered Communicator

Presenter:  Lisa Waite
Location: 306 BC

Bring your best attitude and sense of humor! Learn to create change, build credibility, develop rapport, gain respect, and maintain authority. Sample topics include: how to avoid landmines in the workplace, mastering the five greatest interpersonal skills, recognizing four behaviors that sabotage a career, seven ways to empower yourself to handle conflict in conversations, learning how people become addicted to chaos, six greatest principles for change, responding to the number one question asked by men and women, ending workplace gossip (yes really!), and disagreeing with competence and credibility.

Biography: COMING SOON!