October 27 - 28, 2021 | Iowa Events Center | Des Moines, IA

2021 Central Iowa Conference

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EMC Insurance

2021 Central Iowa Conference Presenting Sponsor

The Speakers

Creative sessions from today's top experts

David Smith, PhD & Brad Johnson, PhD

David Smith, PhD & Brad Johnson, PhD

David Smith, PhD, is co-author of the book, Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace and Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Naval War College. A former Navy pilot, Dr. Smith led diverse organizations of women and men culminating in command of a squadron in combat and flew more than 3,000 hours over 30 years including combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a sociologist trained in military sociology and social psychology, he focuses his research in gender, work, and family issues including gender bias in performance evaluations, dual career families, military families, women in the military, and retention of women. He is the co-author of Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women and numerous journal articles and book chapters that focus on gender and the workplace. Learn more about David at workplaceallies.com.

W. Brad Johnson is Professor of psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy, and a Faculty Associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. A clinical psychologist and former Lieutenant Commander in the Navy’s Medical Service Corps, Dr. Johnson served as a psychologist at Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Medical Clinic at Pearl Harbor where he was the division head for psychology. He is a recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Teaching Excellence Award, and has received distinguished mentor awards from the National Institutes of Health and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous publications including 13 books, in the areas of mentoring, professional ethics, and counseling. His most recent books include: Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women, The Elements of Mentoring (3rd edition), On Being a Mentor (2nd edition), and the forthcoming, Good Guys: How Men Can be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon talks about U.S. national security in terms that are personal, relevant and digestible. She has spent the past fifteen years chronicling the post-9/11 conflicts and writing about Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq in terms that make far-away conflicts feel close to home. She combines a rare mix of business acumen, using her Harvard MBA and current experience in leadership at an emerging technology company focused on AI for defense, with a gift for storytelling and helps make global issues approachable.

An intrepid chronicler of strong and resourceful women, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes about the power of resilience, courage, and grit to overcome obstacles. She is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a partner and Chief Marketing Officer at the technology company Shield AI. Her forthcoming book The Daughters of Kobani, the “extraordinary and humbling story of the women leading the fight against ISIS” (Angelina Jolie), tells the story of what ISIS has left in its wake: the world’s most far-reaching experiment in women’s equality in the least likely place in the world, brought to you by young women who served as America’s ground force in the fight against the Islamic State.  A Western with policy implications, the book takes readers inside the world of young women battling ISIS alongside U.S. special operations forces in order to create a more equal society for women once the fight is over.

Lemmon’s second New York Times bestseller Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield is now at Universal in the screen adaptation process with Reese Witherspoon producing. Her first book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, told the story of a young entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban.

Lemmon, who earned her MBA from Harvard, brings business acumen to inspiring stories about people working to better their communities against long economic odds. She also speaks about her own experiences growing up in a community of single mothers, and about being the first in her immediate family to graduate from college.

Lemmon began her career as a journalist in Washington. From 1997 to 2004, she covered presidential politics and public policy issues for the ABC News Political Unit. She also served as an editorial producer during the first year of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In 2004, she left ABC News to pursue her interest in international development and earn her MBA. While serving as a vice president at the global investment management firm PIMCO, she began reporting from conflict regions.

Jennifer Pastiloff

Jennifer Pastiloff

Jennifer Pastiloff travels the world with her workshop “On Being Human,” a unique hybrid of yoga related movement, writing, sharing out loud, letting the snot fly, and the occasional dance party. Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, calls Pastiloff “a conduit of awakenings.” She has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, Health Magazine, CBS News and more for her distinct style of teaching, which she has taught to thousands of women in sold-out workshops all over the world.

Pastiloff’s inspirational memoir, On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real and Listening Hard, recounts how years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty; how deafness taught her to listen fiercely; how being vulnerable allowed her to find love; and how imperfections can lead to a life full of wild happiness.

Centered on the touchstone stories told in her popular workshops, On Being Human is the story of how a starved person grew into the exuberant woman she was meant to be all along by battling the demons within and winning. Pastiloff did not intend to become a yoga teacher, but when she was given the opportunity to host her own retreats, she left her thirteen-year waitressing job and said “yes,” despite crippling fears of her inexperience and her own potential. After years of feeling depressed, anxious, and hopeless, in a life that seemed to have no escape, she healed her own heart by caring for others. She has learned to fiercely listen despite being nearly deaf, to banish shame attached to a body mass index, and to rebuild a family after the debilitating loss of her father when she was eight. Through her journey, Pastiloff conveys the experience most of us are missing in our lives: being heard and being told, “I got you.”

Judi Holler

Judi Holler

Judi Holler owns a creative company that uses humor to help people live braver lives, protect their mental health, and build high-performance habits that last. Her work takes the experimental principles of the improv theatre and helps you apply them to the unscripted stage of everyday life. These ideas will teach you that while you’ll never be “fearless” ... you can get really good at ... FEARING FEAR LESS!

Judi is a professionally trained improviser and alumni of Second City’s Conservatory in Chicago and she uses her training every day to smash self-doubt and experiment with fear. Judi’s book, Fear Is My Homeboy, became an instant bestseller on Amazon, and was endorsed by the inspiring Mel Robbins calling it .... “relatable, relevant and most importantly ACTIONABLE!” Additionally, Judi is the creator of the Fear Boss Community, The Vibe and Thrive goal-focused planner, and her top-rated podcast “Yes, And” which are all on a mission to help you fear LESS so you can DO more. Judi likes her books non-digital, her wine bubbly, and her music hip-hop.

Judi’s Mission: To help you get more comfortable being uncomfortable.
Judi’s Vision: A world so brave that fear is no longer the enemy, comfort is!
Learn more by visiting www.judiholler.com.

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Luvvie Ajayi Jones is what happens when you blindly follow doing what you love without expectation. Born outside the box, her brilliance is the unifying theme for all her endeavors. The New York Times best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and podcast host thrives at the intersection of comedy, media and justice. Her debut book, I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, hit the New York Times best-sellers list at #5 in its first week. Her upcoming book Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual released March 2, 2021 is already receiving critical acclaim. 

Selected for Oprah Winfrey’s inaugural Supersoul 100 list for “elevating humanity,” Ajayi Jones is known for her trademark wit, warmth, perpetual truth-telling and trouble making. Putting into words the thoughts few dare to say; the veteran blogger could give a masterclass on disruption. Internationally recognized, she has graced stages around the globe for some of the world's most innovative companies and conferences, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, MAKERS, SXSW and the Obama White House. Her wildly popular TED talk “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” has over 5 million views and climbing.

It is the TedTalk that almost didn’t happen if fear had anything to do with it.

Ajayi Jones was once afraid to call herself a writer and almost skipped out on her life-changing Ted Talk because of imposter syndrome. But she does not stop there. On a mission to call fear out, she hosts her podcast, “Professional Troublemaker,” where she and her guests with humor and honesty, enterTain transparent conversations about living life loudly, with courage and conviction; recognizing that the things we must do are more significant than our fears.

Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani

Selena Rezvani is a recognized leadership consultant, speaker and author. Her mission is to help women carve out paths to leadership on their own terms. Selena also uses workplace culture assessments to help clients be more inclusive and welcoming. She promotes her message through presentations to corporate audiences, universities and associations, and at many conferences, including TEDx, Linkedin, Microsoft, PIMCO, AstraZeneca, Duke, Harvard, Cisco, Pfizer, Princeton, J&J, Comcast, Apple, Society of Women Engineers, and many others. 

Selena’s the author of two leadership books targeted at professional women – Pushback: How Smart Women Ask—and Stand Up—for What They Want(Jossey-Bass, 2012), a bestseller, and The Next Generation of Women Leaders(Praeger, 2009). Selena’s experience and success in the women and leadership arena make her a frequent resource for news media and an in-demand business speaker. She has been quoted, interviewed and profiled by the LA Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Oprah.com, ABC, and NBC. She was a regular commentator on NPR’s syndicated The 51% Perspective and wrote an award-winning column on women and leadership for The Washington Post. In 2019, Selena’s TEDx talk on gender bias was recognized with the Croly Journalism award. Today, Selena writes on women and work for Philadelphia Magazine.

Selena’s earlier experience includes serving as a Lead within Deloitte’s Greenhouse Experience team, where she taught teams how to foster better diversity and collective intelligence. Selena also led the assessments practice at Washington, DC-based Management Concepts, where she administered and coached clients on personality, leadership, and aptitude measures. Selena has led numerous workplace culture research campaigns and studies on women in the C- suite, millennials, stretch assignments, program managers, and negotiating habits, which were covered by international media.

Prior to her 3 years at Management Concepts, Selena worked as a senior member of the consulting team at the Great Place to Work® Institute, the firm best known for ranking Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work® in America list. While at the Institute, Selena consulted widely on issues of organizational change and workforce development, working with Fortune 1,000 and non-profit organizations internationally and across many industries including Monster.com, Novartis Corporation, DaimlerChrysler, Inova Health System, and Brooks Brothers. Client services included focus group facilitation, employee opinion surveys, 360º assessments, leadership workshops, and customized survey assessments.

Over the last year, Selena launched five popular courses on leadership with LinkedIn Learning – which have been viewed by over 180,000 learners. She has B.S. and Master of Social Work degrees from New York University, and has an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. Selena lives in Philadelphia with her husband Geoff and 8-year old boy/girl twins. 

Additional Information

Explore all the conference has to offer

Register Now on Whova

Individual Virtual Registration: $550/person

Individual In Person Registration: $550/person

Check back here for updates on the full conference agenda.

We'd be thrilled to visit with you about sponsorship opportunities at the Central Iowa Conference. Benefits include brand exposure to 1,000+ conference attendees, complimentary registrations, and much more.
Contact Bobbi Segura at Bobbi.Segura@wlcglobal.org or call (515) 240-7883 to learn more about sponsorship opportunities and benefits.

Women Lead Change's Student Track programs are designed to assist aspiring leaders to take a meaningful step on their leadership journey and learn more about women’s leadership and career preparation. As a conference attendee, full-time undergraduate/graduate students have access to locally and nationally-known women leaders with invaluable expertise and an opportunity to network with hundreds of professionals within their own community.

Women Lead Change is committed to providing the right development opportunities, leadership programs, education, and mentoring opportunities to give aspiring young women a chance to own their success.

Student Track registration is for students currently enrolled in a college or university.

Student Track will take place on Day 2 ONLY and IN PERSON.

Individual Student Registration: $99/student: Must currently be enrolled in a college or university.

STUDENT ADVISORS: Buy 10 student registrations & get YOUR REGISTRATION free!

10 students + 1 advisor = $990 for group of 11

To purchase a Student Track block of tickets, contact info@wlcglobal.org for invoicing and registration procedures.

Register Now on Whova

We hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity to market exclusively to women.

Exhibiting at Women Lead Change is:

  • a great way to showcase women-centric companies and organizations
  • a great way for attendees to learn about companies and nonprofit organizations that market to and provide services to women

Women Lead Change reserves the right to select exhibitors based on interest and content for our conference participants. An exhibitor is not guaranteed a spot at the conference until it receives confirmation from the Women Lead Change Exhibit Committee.

In addition to having an in-person booth, exhibitors will also have the opportunity to be a virtual exhibitor by using Whova. Here exhibitors can use a variety of methods including live-stream showcases, pre-recorded videos, pictures, handouts, promos, and online chatting to interact with attendees. To learn more check out this video Whova Virtual Exhibitor Hall or email Anna Fisher at anna.fisher@wlcglobal.org

Exhibitors also have the option to choose to be a virtual exhibitor ONLY. You will be prompted to make that note when you purchase your exhibitor ticket. 

Exhibitors do not have access to conference sessions. 

Business Booth Exhibitors: $550

  • Includes 8-foot table, two chairs, wastebasket, boxed lunch
  • Register here

Non-Profit Booth Exhibitors: $450

  • Includes 8-foot table, two chairs, wastebasket, boxed lunch
  • Register here

Beth Nigut, EMC

Meyer Lehman, EMC

Lisa Hamilton, EMC

Lisa Simonetta, EMC

Deidre Williams, EMC

Sara Weno, EMC   

Lonnie Daffney, EMC

Natali Justiniano-Pahl, EMC

Bobbi Segura, Women Lead Change

Dawn Rizzi, EMC

Maggie White, EMC

Clair Muselman, CWG

Mel Appenzeller, EMC

Anna Sweeney, Nationwide

Sarah Paoli, EMC

Jessica Hendricks, EMC

Michelle Struck, EMC

Tammi Dickey, EMC

Doug Van Zanten, EMC

Ray Schmidt, EMC

Women Lead Change is committed to making our events accessible to as many individuals as possible -- and our Scholarship Program exists to make that happen. Applicants are eligible to receive a one-time scholarship to attend a WLC event. Once a scholarship has been awarded, individuals are not eligible for future scholarships.

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact Bobbi Segura at Bobbi.Segura@wlcglobal.org

To be granted to individuals, companies or non-profits seeking registration assistance.
To be granted to full-time undergraduate and graduate college/university students. 
To be granted to individuals from non-profit organizations whose mission is to serve and provide advocacy for minority communities.

The Scholarship Application form is due Sept. 15, 2021

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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

This was an incredible conference. Lots of inspiration, lots of great ideas. I love how well-rounded this conference was, too. It wasn't just about work, but about leading in every aspect of life.

-2020 Conference Attendee

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