November 6 - 7, 2018 | Des Moines, IA | Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center

Central Iowa Conference

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2018 Presenting Sponsor

2018 Conference Speakers

New 2018 Speakers Announced: Stedman Graham and Geena Davis

Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace,” Wakeman has helped companies such as Facebook, Pfizer, Caterpillar, New York Presbyterian, Catholic Health Initiatives, Eli Lilly, Keurig Green Mountain, and Nationwide learn to navigate our rapidly changing world using good mental processes to harness energy wasted in workplace drama and reinvest that effort into achieving profound business results.

Wakeman holds a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation from the National Speaker’s Association, placing her within the top 3% of speakers. She’s a regular contributor on,, The Huffington Post, and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. In 2018, she was voted both Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter and #10 on the Global Guru’s list of Top 30 Leadership Professionals.

Wakeman has published three books, the latest of which is No Ego: How to Cut the Cost of Drama, End Entitlement and Drive Big Results (2017). Cy also hosts her own No Ego podcast, a Facebook Watch show, Life’s Messy, Live Happy, and adds weekly video content on YouTube to address leaders’ biggest challenges in the workplace.

Elias Johnson - Emcee

Elias Johnson - Emcee

Iowa native and award-winning journalist Elias Johnson joined the Local 5 News team in November 2014 and currently anchors Good Morning Iowa. Johnson also covers in-depth investigative and features stories each week. He takes a hands-on approach to his work by producing, shooting and editing the pieces he covers.

This October, Johnson was recognized with a Regional Emmy® Award by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science.

Johnson began his career in Des Moines in 2007 as a reporter with KDSM FOX 17. In April 2008, Johnson was honored in Las Vegas at the annual Broadcast Educators Association Festival as the national news reporter of the year and by 2009, his writing produced an Emmy nomination. In 2010, he was honored with a National Edward R. Murrow Award for a story of a troubled man who turned his life around by becoming a boxer while reporting for WHO-TV. He was also awarded a regional Murrow the same year for breaking news coverage of a river rescue in downtown Des Moines. His work has been recognized by the Northwest Broadcasters Association, which selected him for an Eric Sevareid award for feature writing.

By late 2010, Johnson moved south to work at KPHO CBS 5 in Phoenix, Arizona as a multimedia journalist. He also worked as a public information officer for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Before coming home, Johnson was a news anchor in Reno, Nevada where he won three Edward R. Murrow awards for Investigative Reporting, Feature Reporting and Hard News Reporting. Johnson also won three AP Excellence in Journalism awards for Investigative Reporting and Videography for Hard News and Feature photography. In March 2014, he was recognized at the annual National Press Photographers Association conference in Norman, OK for shooting the Best Serious Video Feature as a shoot and edit participant. His feature series of Honor Flight Nevada’s trip to Washington D.C. was also nominated for an Emmy by the San Francisco chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences the same year.

Johnson is a decorated graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, where he earned a degree in broadcast journalism. While attending ASU, Johnson won several national awards including the William Randolph Hearst National Championship for Television Broadcasting in San Francisco. He was also awarded Best Use of News Coverage at the annual festival for his story on the anniversary of the summer of love.

Sports were also an area of high interest. Johnson was a member of the Sun Devils 2006 PAC-10 championship wrestling team at 141 pounds. He was a Maroon and Gold scholar-athlete in 2006 carrying a 3.25 GPA. Prior to attending ASU, Elias spent one year at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, IA, where he competed in golf on a scholarship and walked-on the Triton wrestling team. He earned academic All-American honors in golf in 2003.

When he’s not on the desk or enterprising stories, Johnson enjoys spending time with his wife, Niki and their two young children.

Gale V. King

Gale V. King

As the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of a Fortune 68 financial services company with more than 34,000 associates, Gale V. King oversees Nationwide's Human Resources, Corporate Real Estate, Security and Aviation functions -- with accountability for approximately $1.1 billion in operating budget and benefits expenses.

She has extensive experience leading C-Suite organizational initiatives, including the successful 2009 CEO transition, the company’s decision and implementation of an integrated enterprise business operating model and their "one company" talent and culture strategy. Gale provides leadership over large-scale organization designs, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures and is highly successful in building relationships and bringing the organization together in order to accomplish business goals. Under her leadership, Nationwide has been widely recognized for its leading HR practices, its engaging culture, and diversity and inclusion commitment.

Geena Davis

Geena Davis

Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks.

Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the offbeat dog trainer Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist. She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise, in which she co-starred with Susan Sarandon. Davis went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of baseball phenomenon ‘Dottie Hinson’ in A League of Their Own.

Earning the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show Commander in Chief.

Davis made her feature film debut starring opposite Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. She went on to star in such films as The Fly, Beetlejuice, Angie, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Stuart Little.

Few have achieved such remarkable success in as many different fields as Davis has: she is not only an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor, but a world-class athlete (at one time the nation’s 13th-ranked archer), a member of the genius society Mensa, and is now recognized for her tireless advocacy of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the Founder and Chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters — and reduce gender stereotyping — in media made for children 11 and under.

Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Davis is also an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide.

Geena Davis and festival co-founder Trevor Drinkwater founded the Bentonville Film Festival in 2015 to champion women in media. BFF’s mission is to encourage content creation in film and other forms of media that reflects the diverse — and half female — world we live in. BFF proactively supports content creation by women and diverse voices with a platform to showcase their work and, with the help of our partners, is the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners. The Festival takes place in early May in Bentonville, Arkansas and is research-based and commercially driven.

Most recently, Davis starred in 20th Century Fox’s The Exorcist; a serialized psychological thriller based on the 1971 book of the same name, Marjorie Prime, based on the Award-Winning Play Dear Angelica, one of the first VR narrative films from Occulus.

Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College.

Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls is the best-selling author Of The Glass Castle, one of the most highly anticipated major motion pictures of 2017.

From the pages of her #1 New York Times best-selling book and the critically-acclaimed film, Walls moves you to realize the power of the human spirit as she inspires courage in the face of new and longstanding fears, and reveals how our weaknesses can be our greatest strengths.

A celebrated author, Walls is best known for her best-selling memoir, The Glass Castle, which details her life growing up in extreme poverty and the tale of her emergence from it. Named by Amazon as one of the top 10 books of the decade, in August 2017, her inspiring story was brought to the big screen in one of the most highly-anticipated major motion pictures of the year starring Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts and Brie Larson as Walls.

On stage, Walls takes audiences inside her resilient journey in pursuit of authenticity, revealing the power of courage and determination in overcoming unimaginable obstacles.

Audiences are captivated as she reveals bittersweet anecdotes from her past that often exemplify grander truths about courage and the positive rewards that come from confronting challenges. With an unforgettable story of triumph over unrelenting adversity, Walls inspires the realization that we're all stronger than we think, leaving listeners emboldened to face the "demons" in their lives.

Jeffery Tobias Halter

Jeffery Tobias Halter

Jeffery Tobias Halter is a TEDx speaker, Huffington Post blogger and the country’s leading male expert on advancing women and engaging men. Jeffery is President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership issues. YWomen focuses on driving actionable business plans and strategies to help organizations create Integrated Women’s Leadership Strategies.

Jeffery is the former Director of Diversity Strategy for The Coca-Cola Company. He has extensive knowledge of the consumer package goods, retail, food service and hospitality industries and is sought after speaker at industry forums and corporate programs. Jeffery is the author of two books, WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men and Selling to Men, Selling to Women.

Joanne Lipman

Joanne Lipman

Joanne Lipman is the former Chief Content Officer of Gannett, and Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK, comprising the flagship publication plus 109 local news organizations including the Detroit Free Press, Cincinnati Enquirer, Arizona Republic, and Des Moines Register

Lipman began her career as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, ultimately rising to deputy managing editor – the first woman to attain that post—and supervising coverage that won three Pulitzer Prizes. While at the Journal, she created Weekend Journal and Personal Journal and oversaw creation of the paper’s Saturday edition. She subsequently was founding editor-in-chief of Conde Nast Portfolio magazine and, which won Loeb and National Magazine Awards.

Lipman is a frequent public speaker and has appeared as a commentator on ABC, NBC, CNN, CNBC, PBS and other networks.  Her work has been published by outlets including The New York Times, Time, Newsweek and Harvard Business Review. She is co-author, with Melanie Kupchynsky, of the acclaimed music memoir Strings Attached.

A winner of the Matrix Award for women in communications, Lipman is also a member of the Yale University Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, and is an International Media Leader for the World Economic Forum as well as a member of the Knight Foundation Commission on Truth, Media and Democracy. She sits on boards including Spirited Media, the World Editors Forum, Yale Daily News and the advisory boards of and the Yale School of Music. She and her husband live in New York City and are the parents of two children.

Sabrina Ahmed - Emcee

Sabrina Ahmed - Emcee

Morning and Midday anchor Sabrina Ahmed joined the Local 5 News Team in May 2013 as a photojournalist. Born and raised in West Des Moines, she graduated from Valley High School and is thrilled to be back working in West Des Moines.
Seeking adventure but wanting to stay close to her family (she is one of seven kids), she ventured to the University of Kansas and graduated from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Economics.
Ahmed spent three months living in Barcelona, Spain and interned at Le City Deluxe, an international luxury lifestyle magazine. While at Le City, she was a part of the pilot program to create a luxury television station in Istanbul, Turkey. During her last semester at KU, Ahmed interned at 6News and reported for the station three days a week.
She comes from our sister station in Lincoln, NE, where she began her career. Ahmed says she is excited about the opportunity to become more involved in the community. She is a member of Junior League of Des Moines and looks forward to spending her time giving back to the community.
When she isn't working or volunteering, you will find her running or spending time with friends and family. Her youngest brothers are 6, 11 and 12 and they keep her on her toes.
Ahmed has been recognized regionally and nationally for her work in political journalism. Most recently, Ahmed along with other members of the Local 5 political team received a Regional Emmy® Award in the Politics/Government Program category, for a This Week in Iowa special program called, Medicine in the Making.

Stedman Graham

Stedman Graham

As a businessman, educator and speaker, Stedman Graham presents, consults and conducts training with a variety of clients, including Gulfstream Aerospace, Microsoft, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, Lenovo, the US Departments of Labor, Education and Agriculture, CVS Pharmacy.

Graham is the author of eleven books, including two New York Times bestsellers,
 You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success, Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success, and Identity: Your Passport to Success.

Identity Leadership programs, driven by his
 Nine-Step Success Process™, are based on the philosophy that individuals hold 
the power to their educational, career and personal success or failure. His message is grounded in the fact that the key to success is self-leadership capability.

Graham is also an adjunct professor or guest lecturer at Northwestern, Harvard, Wharton, University of Chicago, the University of Illinois-Chicago, National University, Highpoint, Howard, Temple, Morehouse, and Pepperdine.

He holds a bachelor's degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University, a master's degree in education from Ball State University, and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Coker College.

Additional Information

Explore all the conference has to offer

Day 1: Tuesday, November 6

7:00 a.m.

Polls Open for General Election
Remember to vote before or after the conference at your local polling location

7:15 - 8:15 a.m.

CEO Forum (invitation only) Sponsored by EMC Insurance

Speaker: Joanne Lipman, Former Chief Content Officer of Gannett, Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY & USA TODAY NETWORK

That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together

7:30 - 8:15 a.m.

Conference Registration 

(Exhibitors open, continental breakfast and networking)

8:30 a.m.

Opening Remarks/Welcome

IWLC and Presenting Sponsor Nationwide

8:45 a.m.

Keynote - Joanne Lipman, Former Chief Content Officer of Gannett, Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY & USA TODAY NETWORK

How Men Can Join the Conversation to Close the Gender Gap

10:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

1-A Transformation Begins With You: Addressing Sexual Violence in the Workplace and Beyond 
Presenter: Shundrea Trotty, Director of Iowa Services and Projects, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault

1-B Influencing Others – How to Influence Change in Your Community
Panelists include: Rekha Basu, Des Moines Register Columnist; Erin Olson Douglas, Urban Designer, City of Des Moines; Joe Gonzalez, Executive Director at Latino Resources, Inc & former Lieutenant with Des Moines Police Department
Moderator: Claudia Schabel, President of Schabel Solutions

1-C MEN’S TRACK (Men’s Track participants only) Engaging Male Advocates
Presenter: Jeffery Tobias Halter

11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Networking Luncheon

Sponsored by American Equity

1:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions 

2-A Finding the Needle in the Haystack – Employee Engagement, Communication & Responsibility
Panelists include: Angela Gallagher, Manager, Employee Communications,
 John Deere; Katie Wengert, Broadlawns Medical Center; Tina Finn, Sr. Talent Acquisition Partner, Athene USA; Kavilash Chawla, Baton Global
Moderator: Jana Rieker, Trilix

2-B Civility in Public Discourse (How Did We Get So Rude?)
Presenter: Ambassador Mary Kramer

2-C Building Inclusion into Your Network – Bead Awareness Exercise
Presenters: Heather Schott, AD of Diversity & Inclusion, Principal; Courtney Fox, Marketing Communication Strategist, Principal

2:30 p.m.

Keynote - Jeffery Tobias Halter, Nationally-known male expert on advancing women and engaging men

WHY WOMEN – The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men

3:45 p.m.

Keynote - Jeannette Walls, Author of The Glass Castle

4:45 p.m.

Closing Remarks - IWLC 

9:00 p.m.

Polls Close for General Election
Remember to vote before or after the conference at your local polling location

Day 2 - Wednesday, November 7

7:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Conference Registration 

(Exhibitors open, continental breakfast and networking)

7:30 - 8 a.m.

Conference Registration: Student Track Attendees

8 - 8:45 a.m.

Student Track Orientation Welcome & Introductions

IWLC and Student Track Sponsor – ISU Business College

9 a.m.

Opening Remarks

IWLC and Presenting Sponsor Nationwide

9:15 a.m.

Keynote - Cy Wakeman, Speaker, researcher and best-selling author on Reality-Based Leadership

No Ego

10:45 a.m.

Breakout Sessions

3-A Reality-Based Leadership Deeper Dive 
Presenter: Cy Wakeman

3-B Maximizing Your Ability to Influence – Personal Development
Presenter: Rowena Crosby, President, Tero International, Inc.

3-C Undoing the Damage of Teen Talk Barbie: The Intersection of Femininity & Tech
Presenter: Antoinette Stevens, Cybersecurity Analyst, Principal & Founder of Reboot Iowa

3-D MEN’S TRACK (Men & women invited to attend) Why Being a Male Ally is Important
Panelists include: Nick Andersen, VP Commercial & Farm Services at Nationwide; Eric Faust, President & Chief Operating Officer at EMC; Bob Brownell, Polk County Supervisor; Phil Hall, Sr. VP Human Resources at Wells Fargo
Moderator: Georgia VanGundy, Executive Director, Iowa Business Council


Keynote Luncheon - Gale V. King, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Nationwide

Becoming a Woman of Influence

Sponsored by Aureon

1:30 p.m.

Keynote - Stedman Graham, Businessman, educator, and speaker on self-leadership capability as the key to success

Identity Leadership

3 p.m.

Keynote - Geena Davis, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor, world-class athlete and advocate for women and girls

Geena Takes Aim: Empowering Our Daughters & Ourselves

4 p.m.

Closing Remarks - IWLC

4:15 p.m.

Student Track Wrap-up & Debrief

IWLC and Student Track Sponsor – ISU Business College

Register here

Individual Registration: $550

Group Registration: $5,500 per Table of Ten

IWLC's Student Track programs are designed to assist aspiring young women to take a meaningful step on their leadership journey and learn more about women’s leadership and career preparation. As a conference attendee, undergraduate 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.  

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


Register here

$99 per student

$990 per table of 10 students

$891 for 9 students + 1 advisor 

The Men’s Track Program is designed for men who are eager to learn more about gender intelligence and how to have a positive impact in the workplace. 


Register Here

Individual Registration: $550

Group Registration: $5,500 per Table of Ten

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

Professional Track Scholarship Application

Student Track Scholarship Application

Please note that the deadline for BOTH Professional and Student Track is Oct. 1, 2018. IWLC will notify applicants on Oct. 11, 2018, ​if they have received a conference scholarship.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please call 563.275.8749 or email

Register Here

Central Iowa conference Exhibitor Pricing

  • Business Exhibitors - $525
  • There are a limited number of double spaces available for $800. Please inquire about availability before registering for a double space.
  • Nonprofit Exhibitors - $425
  • All exhibits include one 3 x 8 foot skirted table, 2 chairs, wastebasket and small table sign.

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

For more information contact: Bobbi Segura.

Exhibiting at IWLC is:

  • A great way to showcase women-centric companies and organizations in Central Iowa and beyond to more than 1,000+ men & women
  • A great way for attendees to learn about companies and nonprofit organizations that market to and provide services to women

IWLC 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 IWLC Exhibit Committee. Automated registration confirmation from the UI Center for Conferences is does not indicate that the exhibitor has been guaranteed a spot. Iowa-based companies and organizations, as well as previous exhibitors, will receive preference when exhibit location is determined.

Kathryn Braet, Meredith Corporation

Angela Carnahan, EMC Insurance

Carole Chambers, West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

Bridget Cravens-Neely, Nationwide

Michelle DeClerk, Conference Event Management

Jayme Frye, Bankers Trust

Tabitha Garner, Nationwide

Christie Goodrich, Sammons Financial Group Member Companies

Jessi Goodsell, Nationwide

Carrie Gosnell, Nationwide

Kelli Greiner,  Aureon

Andrea Hansen,  Iowa Public Radio

Cyndi Harmeyer-Fisher, Aureon

Ashley Bohnenkamp, Business Publications Corporation

Dale Hoppe, Nationwide

Roxanne Huggins, American Equity Investment Life

Tiffany O'Donnell, Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC)

Sarah Onnen, Nationwide

Kristine Perkins, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women

Lance Randolph, Nationwide

Alison Reinhardt, Communications Innovators

Jana Rieker, Trillix

Jetta Rumley, Nationwide

Karla Sanchez, Nationwide

Bobbi Segura, Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC)

Anna Sweeney, Nationwide

Tracy Willits, Pivot Bio

"IWLC raises the bar every year in the quality of speakers and content. 2015 was no different. My inbox has been overflowing with compliments from attendees!”


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