Dr. Darin Eich is a keynote innovation speaker and the author of Innovation Step-by-Step and Root Down & Branch Out: Best Practices for Leadership Development Programs. He is the president and co-founder of InnovationLearning.org and BrainReactions, an innovation consulting company founded by UW students, where he led idea development and innovation projects for organizations like P&G, the United Nations, & U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Darin earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin. He has been a graduate student and developer of programs at the University of Maryland & William and Mary. Darin’s passion involves helping people to become themselves, find and live their strengths, and become more creative, innovative & successful leaders.
Jeff Dieffenbach is Associate Director of the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), which funds, connects, and shares research investigating learning effectiveness across pK-12, higher education, and workplace learning.
Previously, Jeff has served in senior product management, business development, sales, and marketing roles across a range of education companies: online teacher professional development provider Medallion Learning; education consulting firm Consulting Services for Education; workplace learning/software company Global Project Design: large publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; mid-sized publisher Cambium Learning, and reading software publisher Lexia Learning.
In parallel with his professional work, Jeff served for ten years as an elected school board member in a suburban town west of Boston and for six years the advisory board of HILL for Literacy, which develops and deploys sustainable literacy programs in K-12 school districts. Prior to entering the field of education, he led business development for a boutique management consulting firm. Jeff has master's degrees in Technology and Policy and in materials engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Patty Glines-Kotecki is the Organizational Effectiveness Leader for Spectrum Brands, a global consumer goods company. She works with business leaders to identify, design, and translate human capital strategies into practical solutions that engage employees and achieve business results.
In parallel with her professional work, Patty is a life-long learner and an award-winning scholar and athlete. Her PhD dissertation won an international award for its focus on improving the effectiveness of global Human Performance practices. An avid kayaker and cyclist, she is a ride leader for the national Bell Joy women’s mountain biking program and is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, NY, Gregory St. Fort has a passion for community building, marketing, and event production. He believes we can fight for social justice, impact disparities in racial equity and education through entrepreneurship. He founded LetsKeepBuilding Inc, also known as LKB, in 2013. LKB is an entrepreneur lifestyle brand and connects entrepreneurs by creating events, technology and community initiatives. In June 2015 Greg became the Executive Director of 100state. 100state is Wisconsin’s largest coworking community. He works with all of 100state partners, sponsors, staff and board. He creates and pushes 100state’s vision. Greg is also on the board of directors.
Eugenia holds a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies, M.A. in Latin American Studies, and J.D. from UW-Madison.
A master of straddling different spheres, Eugenia channels over 15 years of nonprofit, international development and tourism experience into her role as co-founder of Synergy Coworking. She is passionate about each professional hat she wears—a female entrepreneur; a Senior Director of economic empowerment and entrepreneurship at Vital Voices Global Partnership (an international NGO based in Washington DC); and a local business mentor. “I love seeing people succeed and excel. I am a problem solver and am passionate about sharing information, knowledge and skills, and connecting people to others that can contribute to their growth.”
Cheryl is CEO/Co-founder of TheHIVE44. She has spent most of her adult life being a working single mom and a business owner. She has a diverse background , with expertise in advertising, marketing, public relations and photography. After numerous years in the corporate business industry, she knew in her heart that she was finished with the rules of corporate America, and what she really wanted was to own a business of her own, be involved with small business and the people who owned them, AND have lots of fun doing it.
Khalida Ali is Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion at Zendesk. In this role she’s responsible for working across the organization to foster a spirit of community that gives individuals the chance to thrive. Prior to Zendesk, Khalida was a Vice President at Bank of America where she served as the Chief of Staff to the Global Head of Campus Recruiting and Junior Talent Management. She has also worked at NBCUniversal and Morgan Stanley in Corporate Diversity.
Raised overseas by parents devoted to traveling the world for non-profit work, Caleb Campbell has had a passion for engaging and motivating people from all walks of life for as long as he can remember. He has spent the past two decades leading positive change for non-profit, academic, healthcare, and IT organizations, and is currently Chief of Staff and culture guardian at Bluetree Network. Bluetree exists to help healthcare organizations around the country better care for their populations, and is equally dedicated to giving back to its own community here in Madison. Caleb moonlights as a motivational speaker and has spoken in over half of our states as well as around the world.
Laura S. Gmeinder is a passion igniter. She’s the Leading Lady at Laura Gmeinder Coaching & Consulting. Those in-the- know would tell you she’s a top rated coach, business consultant and motivational speaker.
Laura holds a degree in adult education (University of Wisconsin- Madison) and has studied through the Coach Training Institute. Laura loves a good question. She coaches both individuals and teams; in addition to providing training and ongoing support for her clients to create a coaching culture. She is the founder of Coach Collective, a 2018 featured contributor for the International Coach Federation (ICF) Coach World and served as a coach for the Emerging Women Live conference (deemed a “Top Women’s Conference” by Forbes). Laura is a proud graduate of Leadership Greater Madison and the Vice President of Disrupt Madison and Disrupt Milwaukee . Her expertise has been shared in the media for outlets like Huffington Post, US News & World Report and Wall Street Journal MarketWatch (talking about Taylor Swift no doubt). She strives to live an interesting life; the above was accomplished in the spirit of “Do one thing every day that scares you."
Anne has spent her career building Project Management teams and PMOs in major financial, insurance, and manufacturing organizations. She managed teams of 40 project managers, project portfolios of $250M and led executives through strategic portfolio planning. Having lived through multiple organizational change initiatives and mergers, Anne gains energy from working with leaders who have the vision and fortitude to make change happen. Her passion is to incorporate the human aspects of work into a future focused leadership and culture model.
Anne grew up in Minnesota but spent most of her career in New York City and New Jersey. In 2010, she returned to the Midwest to settle in Madison. In retirement Anne transitioned to part-time consulting and enjoys the extra time to read, think, and write.”
Joe Pleshek is the President and CEO of Terso Solutions. Since joining Terso in 2007 he has overseen rapid growth for the company providing overall strategic direction and financial management for the business as well as managing day-to-day operations. He has worked closely with Terso’s clients in the Healthcare and Life Science markets to drive business value through Terso’s RFID enabled inventory management solutions.
Bruce Holoubek is the President and Co-Founder of Contracted Leadership. Bruce has served as a leader at various levels and in various organizations in an interim or contracted leader standing. These have included roles ranging from Director of HR to Director of Operations. Bruce holds a bachelors degree with emphases in Business, Psychology, Chemistry, and Biology in addition to an MBA with an emphasis in strategy. He is an accomplished professional speaker and has presented at such events as the Disrupt Series, was the keynote speaker for the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation Annual Gala, and many others.
Jennifer Pulvermacher is President and Founder of Mind Groove.
An experienced business leader and management consultant, Jennifer specializes in strategy, mindfulness and change management. She has worked with Fortune 500 and midmarket companies across a wide range of industries, leading diverse groups through organizational change and transformation.
Jennifer is passionate about working with leaders to develop environments that create organizational effectiveness and overall well-being. In 2014, she launched Mind Groove to bring mindful leadership, awareness and compassion to the workplace. Mind Groove offers executive coaching and experiential learning that taps into the mind/body connection and emphasizes real-life application of mindfulness practices.
Suzanne Qualia, ACC, MBA, CIRM, empowers individuals, teams, and organizations to achieve their full potential. She spent 25 years as an executive with Fortune 500 firms and intimately understands challenges leaders face in achieving alignment between intent and impact. Suzanne launched her own business, Qualia Inc., to achieve this goal in 2012.
She continues to hone her skills through formal training with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), the Center for Executive Coaching, and NeuroChangeSolutions, which utilizes a proprietary neuroscience model. Suzanne recently co-launched People Partners Progress, a company that helps businesses bring strategy to bottom line results through people.
Dan Golden is a veteran digital marketing executive, entrepreneur and business innovator. As President of digital ad agency Chicago-based BFO, he has built a business model on employee empowerment and giving back to the community. These strategies earned BFO recognition as Ad Age’s #1 Best Place to Work 2016, a 6th straight year as one of Inc. 5,000’s Fastest Growing Companies and continued agency success as a finalist for three US Search Awards.
As a member of the Small Giants Community and a Chicago BBB Board Member, Dan believes business should contribute to the good of all stakeholders.
While working for a multi-billion dollar software company 20 years ago, Dave Will was advised to "walk faster and smile less, because perception is reality". Dave took this to heart and started a business on the antithesis of this advice.
In 2015, Dave successfully sold his company. Since then, he's been working on the key to success in that business - a system to drive thriving employees and happy customers. His new venture, PropFuel, is the first SaaS platform to marry employee feedback with customer feedback to help businesses see their world in a whole new light.