May 7, 2020 | Moline, IL | TaxSlayer Center

2020 Quad Cities Conference

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Our Sponsors

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Emilyne Slagle at emilyne.slagle@wlcglobal.org.

The Speakers

Creative sessions from today's top experts

Carla Harris

Carla Harris

Carla Harris is a Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley.  She is responsible for increasing client connectivity and penetration to enhance revenue generation across the firm. She formerly headed the Emerging Manager Platform, the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries and was responsible for Equity Private Placements.  Ms. Harris has extensive industry experiences in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors. In  August 2013, Carla Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council.

For more than a decade, Ms. Harris was a senior member of the equity syndicate desk and executed such transactions as initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, the General Motors sub-IPO of Delphi Automotive, and the $3.2 Billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, one of the largest biotechnology common stock transaction in U.S. history.  Ms. Harris was recently named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America”, U. S. Bankers Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance (2009, 2010, 2011), Black Enterprise’s Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business (2010), to Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street” (2006 – 2011), and to Essence Magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World”, Ebony’s list of the Power 100 and “15 Corporate Women at the Top” and was named “Woman of the Year 2004” by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum  and  in 2011 by the Yale Black Men’s Forum.

Ms. Harris began her career with Morgan Stanley in the Mergers & Acquisitions department in 1987.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Carla received from Harvard Business School an MBA, Second Year Honors and an AB in economics from Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude.  Carla has also received Honorary Doctorates of Laws, Humanities and Business from Marymount Manhattan College, Bloomfield College, Jacksonville University, Simmons College, the College of New Rochelle, St. Thomas Aquinas College and Fisk University respectively. Carla Harris is actively involved in her community and heartily believes that “we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to someone else.”

Lauri Freking

Lauri Freking

As a communication trainer, speaker and strategist, Lauri Freking has more than 20 years of experience in the communication industry. She joined Wixted & Company in 2004 and leads intensive communication, media, crisis and presentation training programs for clients in health care, energy, finance and agribusiness. 

Lauri prepares clients to communicate about sensitive issues, face difficult audiences, and respond to hostile news reporters on the local and network television level. Her expertise lies in providing executives and leaders with tailored communication coaching that is professional, candid and gets results. Lauri also offers strategic communication counsel and training for health care clients facing crises and issues such as medical errors, felony drug charges and layoffs.

Lauri spent more than a decade in television news and video production in both the private and public sectors. She spent five years as a television news reporter, photographer and video editor for NBC and CBS affiliates in the Midwest. Her news experience includes running a news bureau and managing daily news coverage while shooting, writing and editing news stories as a reporter. She covered a broad range of news events ranging from human interest to crime and business stories.

Lauri also worked in public broadcasting as a producer and writer for statewide Iowa Public Television. Her experience includes creating award-winning educational content for K-12 schools and producing content for local programs. She also produced, wrote and hosted live, interactive fieldtrips using video conferencing technology and was an on-camera host for  IPTV’s annual fundraising broadcast. She is the recipient of a Telly Award for her work in broadcasting.

A native Iowan, Lauri earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Iowa State University.

Michelle Poler

Michelle Poler

Michelle Poler is a creative and passionate social entrepreneur, keynote speaker, fear facer, and branding strategist.

She is the Founder of Hello Fears, a social movement empowering millions to step outside of their comfort zone and tap into their full potential. She has spoken at TEDx, Google, P&G, Facebook, ESPN, Netflix, Microsoft, Toyota, and many more.

Michelle is also the creator of the project 100 Days Without Fear. Her work has been featured on CBS, CNN, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, NBC and Daily Mail among many others.

Early on in her career she worked as an Art Director at Young & Rubicam for brands such as Hershey’s, Wendy’s, AT&T and Revlon. Michelle is originally from Venezuela and she holds a Masters in Branding from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Steve Robbins

Steve Robbins

A powerful storyteller with a powerful story to tell, Dr. Steve L. Robbins has an uncanny ability to inspire people even in the midst of disrupting and challenging the way they think about the world. Born in Vietnam, Dr. Robbins immigrated with his mother to the United States where they faced many challenges during a time when there was much anti-war and anti-Vietnamese sentiment. 

Working through and rising out of the challenges of poverty, discrimination and the tough streets of Los Angeles, Dr. Robbins now brings insightful perspectives on issues of inclusion & innovation, leadership, and the power of caring.  Drawing upon a compelling life journey, his talks and workshops are filled with intriguing stories, laugh-out-loud humor and a keen understanding of human behavior. 

Dr. Robbins uniquely knows how to simultaneously challenge and motivate people with a dynamic use of storytelling, humor and extensive knowledge of pertinent issues and concepts. The inclusive power of his message are why organizations like Coca-Cola, Disney, Walmart, Pixar, NASA, US Navy, Boeing, Dow Chemical, Michelin, Toyota, Exxon Mobil,  and numerous others call on Dr. Robbins to inspire, educate and prepare their people for the exciting challenges of dynamic and diverse environments. 

A thought leader and innovator, Dr. Robbins' unique, science-based approach to inclusion and diversity has captured wide acclaim from numerous audiences and organizations across the United States. His approach does NOT blame or point fingers. It uses neuroscience and the science of human behavior to encourage individuals and organizations to be more open-minded, mindful and intentional about inclusion and valuing people for their unique gifts, abilities and experiences. 

His new video training series called “Inclusion Insights” is already being talked about as a much-needed and effective tool for cultivating and maintaining conversations on pertinent inclusion and diversity related issues. He describes the short, two to three-minute videos as “burst-learning” opportunities that help to create inclusive mindsets and encourage the practice of inclusive behaviors. The 10th Anniversary edition of his book (published October 2018), “What If? Short Stories to Spark Inclusion & Diversity Dialogue,” is used by numerous organizations and schools to invite people into deeper conversations about diversity, inclusion and the power of caring.

Dr. Robbins earned an undergraduate degree in Communication from Calvin College, and his masters and doctorate in Communication Science from Michigan State University.  His background in communication, socio-psychology and cognitive neuroscience drive his work with individuals and organizations – the core of the work is about understanding human behavior and leveraging human differences in an ever-changing, fast-paced 21st world.

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Each of the speakers offered something different and I really, really enjoyed all of them. I walked away learning a lot of new information and feeling more confident!

-2019 Conference Attendee

All the speakers were great! I wasn't sure what to expect with the line up, but I was impressed and inspired by my ability to relate to all of them in a personal way and can see how I can better myself just from hearing their words.

-2019 Conference Attendee

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