Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

Women and Leadership 2016 – Empowering Through Knowledge

Women and Leadership Conference September 14 and 15, 2016There’s a reason women – and men – are blocking their calendars now for Women and Leadership! Our speakers are diverse, intelligent, and engaging;  our Skill Builders are relevant, fun, and informative; our networking opportunities provide meaningful connections and tips that can last a lifetime. Women and Leadership just gets better each year, thanks to the collaborative spirit of our attendees, sponsors, and community.

Conference Format and Agenda

Women and Leadership began as a collection of motivational speakers and has included such female powerhouses as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Admiral Michelle Howard, and the Associate Chief of the Forest Service, Mary Wagner.

Women and Leadership is now in its fourth year at Boise State.  Last year saw the addition of workshops, which have been expanded this year and include topics such as Leading with Integrity, Language and Leadership, and WordPress: The Nuts and Bolts. With the addition of the workshops and networking events, Women and Leadership is rapidly becoming known as one of the region’s top motivational and professional development events.

Women and Leadership 2016 is SOLD OUT!  Mark your calendars for next year’s event on September 27 and 28, 2017.


Continuing Education Units

The Center for Professional Development at Boise State is once again offering Continuing Education Units for attendees of Women and Leadership.  There is a $25 registration fee for the 1.5 CEUs.  You must register using the link below and sign in and out of the conference each day at the Information table.

Register for Continuing Education Units

Women and Leadership Keynote Speakers

MagdaMagda Boulet
Endurance Athlete
VP of Innovation, Research & Development
GU Energy Labs
photo courtesy Myke Hermsmeyer

Portrait of Commissioner BurrowsCharlotte A. Burrows
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Portrait of Linda DavisLinda Davis
Senior Executive Coach
Linda Davis Leadership Development

Portrait of Dr. LeshinDr. Laurie Leshin
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Portrait of Lisa MaatzLisa Maatz
VP, Government Relations and Advocacy
American Association of University Women
photo courtesy of Cronkite news

Portrait of Susan Sokol BlosserSusan Sokol Blosser
Sokol Blosser Winery

Portrait of Betty Anne WatersBetty Anne Waters
The Innocence Project

Portrait of Amy ZieringAmy Ziering
Oscar Nominated Documentary Filmmaker
The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground: Behind the Scenes and Issue Analysis

Amy Ziering, Nicole Boxer, Annie Kerrick, and Jennifer Landhuis will participate in this provocative panel moderated by Dee Sarton of KTVB News.

Portrait of Nicole BoxerNicole Boxer
Director, Writer, Producer

Portrait of Annie Kerrick
Annie Kerrick

Director of Title IX/ADA/504 Compliance
Boise State University

Portrait of Jennifer LandhuisJennifer Landhuis
Director of Social Change
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Women and Leadership Skill Builder Sessions

Andrus Book Club
Carrie Spradlin, US Forest Service

Portrait of Carrie SpradlinSome books just demand discussion! Unfinished Business and Seven Steps to Leading a Gender-Balanced Business are two such gems. In the first, Anne-Marie Slaughter recounts her decision to leave her dream job in order to return to parenting and why valuing caregiving in organizations and society is one of the keys to empowering both men and women. Her story was named one of the best books of the year in 2015 by the Washington Post, NPR, and The Economist. The second choice provides a clear framework for how to create sustainable gender and cultural balance in your organization. Does your organization have a twentieth or twenty-first century leadership framework? Read one or both books prior to the conference and join fellow attendees in using the material to create your own action plan.

Carrie Spradlin, in addition to her duties as a Forester with the U.S. Forest Service, leads a grassroots group within her organization called Lean In Together. This group, founded in 2013, was inspired to discuss Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean-In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Over the past three years, the group has created an inclusive environment to facilitate leadership training, gender issue awareness, and a forum for cultivating ideas focused on work-life fit and family. Carrie and the Lean In Together team have worked to facilitate discussions around family and career issues, revitalization of the Federal Women’s Program, body language, perceived power, sexual misconduct, qualities of a successful teams, organizational gender statistics and their implications, and organizational culture and change.

Be Your Own Boss
Erin Sorensen

Sorenson ErinDreamers and doers. Hackers and hustlers. Creators and collaborators. You can find all of the above at Trailhead, founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. In this session, learn the art of launching a business while on family leave, how to invest in your business skills, and how to become geographically strategic in everything you do-so that you can accomplish more in your day.

For Erin Sorensen, “side hustle” projects such as rental homes, a preschool, and a food truck park provided the learning experiences needed to develop startup confidence, Sorensen has recently become her own boss developing a web application at Trailhead.

Better Food / Better Health
Caroline Messerschmidt, St. Luke’s

MesserschmidtThere is an unmistakable relationship between nutrition, health, and robust longevity. With dozens of health claims on packages, it’s hard to know what we truly need to be healthy. Join us as we debunk nutrition myths and discuss the latest nutrition research.

Caroline Messerschmidt is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in employee well-being. At St. Luke’s she supports individuals in their weight loss journeys and strives to create an environment that fosters health. Recently, she received her master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina. With these new skills and her passion for nutrition, she hopes to implement changes that encourage all Idahoans to live long, happy, healthy lives.

Building an Authentic Workplace Culture
Shawn Miller, City of Boise

Shawn MillerDo you feel that you are making a positive difference in your job? Are you satisfied with your work life? Are you part of an organization where the development of culture is deliberate?  Does your workplace culture foster employee development and engagement?  What percentage of your employees or co-workers are passionate about what they do? If you have thought about any of these questions, please join us as we share our organization’s wake up call to culture, the steps we took, and lessons learned.  Ultimately we will share how deliberately focusing on your culture increases personal job satisfaction and makes good organizations great.  Warning – we would like to say that the infrastructure of this journey was built on research, and deliberate, pre-planned actions.  Rather, our journey was initially built on disenchantment, and has been fueled by emotion with some critical elements of “science.”

Shawn Miller is the product of four extremely influential women in his life – his grandmother, mother, sister, and wife.  Shawn comments that, “who he is, is a result of their efforts.” He currently serves as the Human Resources Director for the City of Boise.  Before he found his calling in life, he practiced employment law representing employers of all sizes. Shawn is a huge believer that workplace culture has the ability to transform organizations for good, and to impact the happiness of individual employees. He will be joined in his presentation by four additional influential women in his life – Olivia Aulbach, Yvette Earl, Sarah Martin, and Kelcey Stewart.

Community Action Training Camp
Emily Walton

Portrait of Emily WaltonBicycle lanes, street closures, tree removal, and gender equity are just a few of the issues Idahoans have been exposed to recently. Regardless of where you live or which side of an issue you are on, there are myriad ways to become involved that don’t involve running for public office. Community activism can be as simple as testifying at a city hearing or writing a blog. Becoming involved in your community is also an excellent way to develop and apply leadership skills.

Emily Walton got her start in politics when she was elected to lobby on behalf of over 20,000 students at Boise State University. She has a strong background in electoral campaigns, issue advocacy and civic engagement and has managed several campaigns at the municipal and legislative level. In 2014, she was elected to the Board of Trustees at the College of Western Idaho, beating the incumbent and a seven-term legislator with 58% of the vote. Emily attended a reception at the White House in May of 2016 for her role in fighting guns on campus for several years in Idaho. Emily is a legislative director at Everytown for Gun Safety.

Create an Awesome Personal Brand
Whitney Hansen
Whitney Hansen Consulting

HansenGolden Arches, Swoosh, Bulls-eye. Did you think McDonald’s, Nike, and Target? That’s branding and companies have been doing it for years. Now, in the age of the internet, individuals are branding themselves. Like it or not, every time you post, tweet, share, or like, you are sending a message about your identity.  Whitney Hansen has made a career out of personal branding, Join her as she shares her tips for success- some fun, some technical, but all worthwhile. This session will address Facebook and LinkedIn particularly, and is an excellent complement to WordPress Bootcamp. 

Whitney Hansen is a personal finance coach and entrepreneur. She teaches overwhelmed millennials how to pay off debt and be financially independent. Whitney’s money coaching business began when she learned the power of personal branding and telling your story in an online world. She is passionate about helping other’s share their message, interests and positioning yourself as an expert.

Develop A Women’s Network
Colleen Sollars, HP Inc.

Sollars ColleenBelieve it or not….it still really is all about WHO you know. Building a strong professional network is essential for women to grow their careers. Whether you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert, we can all use some tips on how to get started.  While some of us are natural networkers, others can find the prospect of reaching out to strangers to be rather daunting.  In this session we will explore some ideas that we have implemented at HP with big success.  We will actually build our own Women’s network right on the spot!  Bring your business cards if you have them and if you don’t, we will have some index cards available for you to write down your contact info.  You will walk away with lots of new names to add to your network and some ideas for how to continue expanding it throughout your career and beyond.

Colleen Sollars has worked at HP in Boise for 20+ years in various Program/Project/People Management roles. She holds an MBA in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University and a BS in Business Management from SUNY Buffalo, New York.  She also maintains the PMP and PMI-ACP certifications.  Colleen became passionate about the program back in 2014 after reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book and she now volunteers as the Global Program Manager for the LeanIn@HPI Program where she helps many people set up their own small peer mentoring circles.  She is an active member of Toastmasters and she was recently elected as VP of Finance for the Project Management Institute Western Idaho Chapter (PMIWIC) where she volunteers her time on the Board of Directors.  Colleen is deeply passionate about creating and maintaining real relationships with real people because after all, there can be no business without people.

Generations in the Workforce
Jerri Mizrahi, Boise State University

Portrait of Jerri MizrahiTalking about my generation…depending on your age, you’re either singing in your head or wondering why we’d write such a non-descriptive opener. Reality is there are up to five generations now in one workforce. What are the characteristics and demographics that shape each of them and influence their workplace culture? Discuss emerging issues and strategies to ease inter-generational tension and communication to meet mixed generational needs

Jerri Mizrahi is passionate about working with organizations to paint a vision for the organization, create cultural change and strategic alignment, recognize and celebrate diversity, implement tools to attract, develop and retain talent, and create possibilities for employees and organizations to succeed. She is the Learning and Organizational Development Manager at Boise State University, since 2004.

Get on Board
Sophie Sestero, Fahlgren Mortine
Beth Beechie, DaviesMoore
Boise Young Professionals

Portrait of Sophie SesteroBoard Service is often discussed as a way to advance your career, satisfy outside passions, use dormant skills, or even simply to fulfill a civic duty. However, breaking into the world of board service can be complicated. This session will address where and how to invest your time, feed your passion and seek out organizations that need your support. It will also address navigating the commitments, financial obligations and skills needed to sustain service. Sophie Sestero and Beth Beechie are public relations and marketing professionals who are part of Boise Young Professionals, a
Beth Beechiegroup that pioneered b|On Board, a program specifically designed to demystify board service, provide necessary training, and connect young professionals with community organizations. They will walk through the program’s success and share tips from local leaders who participated in this program along with their personal experiences from breaking into the world of board service.

Sophie Sestero is a senior account executive with Fahlgren Mortine, a public relations and marketing agency. Sestero is a chair-elect of Boise Young Professionals, an Idaho Statesman editorial board member, Zoo Boise board member, and part of the CATCH Inc. advisory board. Beth Beechie is an Account Executive at Davies Moore. She was program chair of Boise Young Professionals’ b|On Board Series, an active member of United Way Next, and is part of the Boise Ad Federation advisory board.

High Performance Communication and Collaboration
Tena Lokken, True North Consultants

Tena LokkenPersonal effectiveness and professional success are largely driven by accurate and authentic conversations. Team cohesiveness, accelerated value delivery, fewer wasteful meetings are a few of the benefits. In this skill builder, you will learn the “10 Laws of High-Performance Communication and Collaboration,” and you will walk away with a host of valuable communication skills that you can begin to apply immediately.

Tena Lokken held marketing, communications, and education roles at three different technology companies. During her tenure at Hewlett-Packard, Tena led high-performing teams across a variety of marketing functions, including marketing, communications, messaging strategy, customer advocacy, sales training and competitive response. She has also provided strategic advice to the leaders of numerous nonprofits. Tena is the co-founder of True North Consultants – a coaching and education company based in Boise, Idaho.

Language and Leadership
Nancy Buffington

Nancy BuffingtonLike it or not, the way you speak influences how people view you as a leader. This applies to all speakers, but women and men are often perceived differently in terms of how they use their voice (think vocal fry and upspeak) and body (posture and gestures) when they’re speaking in public. Find your leadership voice without sacrificing your personality. We’ll hold this highly interactive session in the Special Events Center, adjacent to the Student Union , to give participants the chance to stand onstage, handle a microphone and enjoy the spotlight-all in a safe, fun, no-stakes environment.

Nancy Buffington combines her past role as an English professor with her current persona as a public speaking coach to help people find their voices and tell their stories. In addition to coaching private clients and leafing corporate trainings, she’s the official speaking coach for TEDxBoise and TEDxTwinFalls, secretary of the Professional Coaching Association of Idaho, and a member of the Forbes coaches Council.

Leading With Integrity
Angie Shea

Headshot of Angie SheaHow can I be a successful leader and stay true to my gifts and personality? Can an introvert be an effective leader? Is respect mandated or earned? Is leadership about control or influence? Leadership varies at work, home, and in social settings. Many people, especially women, think they are not qualified to be leaders Explore concepts and styles of leadership and learn why anyone can be an effective leader.

Angie is a Boundaries coach; author and speaker who is passionate about helping people create lives and relationships that work by setting healthy limits. She uses her own story, experiences and breakthroughs to offer hope to people who are overwhelmed and exhausted. She is the author of the upcoming book “Fences Not Walls: Setting Healthy Boundaries Every Day”. Angie is also an entrepreneur and the owner of Bridges In-Home Care & Consulting.

Office Ergonomics Can Change Your Life
Dawn Brooks, BS, CEAS II, St. Lukes

Portrait of Dawn BrooksAmericans spend millions of dollars on gym memberships, yoga, massage, and general fitness. But when was the last time you overhauled your desk, chair, or phone? All contribute to your fitness and well-being. Don’t underestimate the impact your working space has on your quality of life.

Dawn Brooks graduated from Boise State, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science; Fitness Evaluation (Kinesiology) and received her Personal Training certification from American College of Sports Medicine in 2012. Dawn started working at St. Luke’s in 2013 as an Employee Safety Technician. Her role has since developed into St. Luke’s System Ergonomic Specialist after receiving her first level of certification from The Back School of Atlanta as a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist (2014). In this role, Dawn has helped develop a thriving ergonomic program for St. Luke’s.

On the Blue
Brad Larrondo, Associate Athletic Director for Football,
Boise State University

Portrait of Brad Larrondo

Whether you bleed blue or don’t know the difference between a safety and the extra point, there’s something for you in this rare opportunity to visit Albertson’s Stadium and stand on the Blue!  This Skill Builder begins in the Allen Noble Hall of Fame Gallery and will include a Bronco football overview as well as the Bronco Blue Print for Success.

Brad Larrondo is an Associate Athletic Director, overseeing the Boise State football program and day-to-day operations.  He also serves as Head Coach Bryan Harsin’s Chief of Staff in handling player development, recruiting, team scheduling, summer camps/clinics and external relations between Bronco Football and the community.  The over-arching theme of Larrondo’s job is to recruit, teach and connect, and to continually strive to improve the Bronco Way in all the team does.

Shift Into Thrive
Dr. Lynn Schmidt, Micron

Portrait of Lynn SchmidtWomen around the world are using resilience-building strategies to thrive in the face of career challenges. These six powerful strategies combined with practical action steps will enable you to create a career accompanied by growth, success, and satisfaction. Attend this session to find out which resiliency strategy you need to strengthen in order to increase your career satisfaction. Take a brief assessment to determine your resiliency needs and leave with at least one action that you can take immediately to increase your resiliency.

Lynn Schmidt, PhD has over 20 years of experience as a global talent management and organization development leader in large organizations across multiple industries including telecommunications, technology, finance, aerospace and defense, and healthcare. She has more than 15 years of experience as an executive coach and has coached executive, mid-level and frontline leaders. Lynn is currently the Director of Global Executive and Leadership Development for Micron. She is a sought after presenter for both national and international conferences and is the author of four books. Her most recent book is Shift Into Thrive: Six Strategies for Women to Unlock the Power of ResiliencyThe book is currently in pre-sales and can be ordered using this link.

Sustainability at Work and Home
Aimee Christensen, Sun Valley Institute for Resilience

Portrait of Aimee ChristensenSustainability is a risk as well as an opportunity, in our corporations, our communities, our investments and our lives. According to a 2010 report by Global Footprint Network, humanity uses about 40% more resources in one year than nature can regenerate within a year. With new technologies, business models, and strategies, there are more and more ways that environmental protection benefits economies and the bottom line and improves local quality of life. Learn how you can tap into this opportunity within your company, your community, your own investments as well as your life.

Aimée Christensen is the founder and Executive Director of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience to protect local quality of life and serve as a model and resource to communities everywhere. She is also CEO of Christensen Global Strategies, which she founded in 2005, advising clients including the Clinton Global Initiative, Microsoft, the United Nations and Virgin. She has over two decades’ experience in policy, law, investment, and philanthropy including with the U.S. Department of Energy, World Bank, Baker & McKenzie and Google where she guided the company’s first climate change initiatives. Aimée was the 2011 Hillary Laureate and a 2010 Aspen Catto Fellow. She has a BA from Smith College and a JD from Stanford Law School.

WordPress: The Nuts and Bolts
Tevya Washburn, Fiddler Online

TevyaWordPress (WP) is easily the most popular website platform these days. It’s easy to get started, has a lot of power under the hood, and has a strong online community.  As with any website building process, there is a learning curve.  Tevya will demystify WordPress as he covers the WP management flow, resources, plugins, themes, image editing and other tools useful to managing a WP site strategically and on a day-to-day basis.

Tevya is the lead website wrangler at Fiddler Online. He’s been building WordPress websites for over seven years, and has been a professional graphic designer for over two decades. Tevya is an active blogger, entrepreneur, and instigator of the first official WordPress Meetups in the Treasure Valley.