Dr. Michele Harper is an emergency room physician and the author of The Beauty in Breaking, a memoir of service, transformation, and self-healing. In her talks, Dr. Harper speaks on how the policies and systemic racism in healthcare have allowed the most vulnerable members of society to fall through the cracks, and the importance of making peace with the past while drawing support from the present. In each anecdote, she shines a light on the disenfranchisement of patients and providers alike due to poverty, profiling, sexism, and stigmas.
Speaking with honesty and compassion, Dr. Harper reflects on her journey from navigating a complicated family in Washington D.C. to attending Harvard, where she pursued emergency medicine and met her husband. They stayed together through medical school—until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a Philadelphia hospital, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Dr. Harper began a new career in a new city, as a newly single woman. Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Nonfiction, The Beauty in Breaking tells how she learned to bring insight and empathy into the emergency room, and how recognizing and mending physical, emotional, and psychological breaks are all crucial parts of the healing process.
A graduate of Harvard University and the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Dr. Harper has worked for over a decade in various hospitals, including being the chief resident at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx and an attending physician in the emergency department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. She currently resides in Philadelphia.
She challenges audiences and organizations to innovate faster and further, together. Her newest book – Digital Body Language – decodes the new signals and cues of effective collaboration and teamwork in a digital-first human workplace.
Erica Dhawan is the Founder & CEO of Cotential, a global organization that helps companies, leaders, and managers leverage 21st-century collaboration skills and behaviors to improve game-changing performance.
She is the co-author of the bestselling book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence, named #1 on What Corporate America is Reading. Dhawan was named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas” and featured as one of the
Top 20 Management Experts around the world by GlobalGurus. She hosts the award-winning podcast ‘Masters of Leadership.’
Erica speaks on global stages ranging from the World Economic Forum at Davos to TEDx and for companies such as Coca-Cola, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, SAP, and Cisco. Erica writes for Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company. She has degrees from Harvard University, MIT Sloan, and The Wharton School.
Sarah Thomas changed the game in the world’s most quintessential male-dominated sport—football—when she became the first female NFL official. Now she’s inspiring others to dream big and believe anything is possible.
Officiating her first game September 13, 2015 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, Sarah’s hat, whistle, and flag are now on display at the NFL Hall of Fame and serve as a testament to this historic achievement. Sarah also made post-season history by being named Down Judge for the Patriots/Chargers 2019 playoff game. No stranger to being the first or breaking gender-barriers, she was the first female official to ever work a major college football game, to officiate a bowl game and to officiate in a Big Ten stadium.
Since her addition to the NFL's roster of officials, she has become a trail-blazing inspiration to women everywhere, embodying the notion that with a belief in self, inner drive, hard work, preparation, and a mindset of being the best you can be, no barrier or ceiling is impenetrable.
With the same unflappability that it takes to make a split-second call on the field, Sarah exudes equal confidence on stage as she shares key insights on overcoming adversity – and the odds – finding your passion while maintaining work-life balance, decision-making, and not only succeeding as a female in a male-dominated industry but achieving breakthrough success for males and females alike.
Agenda Subject to Change
Wednesday, Oct. 13
8:00 - 8:45 a.m.
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Keynote from Erica Dhawan
Digital Body Language
11:00 - 11:15 a.m.
11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Quad Cities Women of Influence Awards Luncheon
1:30 - 1:45 p.m.
1:45 - 2:45 p.m.
Keynote from Dr. Michele Harper
The Beauty in Breaking
2:45 - 3:45 p.m.
Keynote from Sarah Thomas
Breaking Through: My Journey to Becoming the First Female NFL Official
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