Jen Gurecki, Founder of Zawadisha, CEO of Coalition Snow, Podcaster of Juicy Bits, and Editor of Sisu Magazine

Jen Gurecki founded Zawadisha, the organization that receives 100% of proceeds from the Women As Change Makers Summit. Zawadisha is a social enterprise whose mission is to provide small loans to rural Kenyan women to finance their livelihoods. #investinwomen

She also is the co-founder and CEO of Coalition Snow, a women’s outdoor equipment and apparel company designed to deconstruct the status quo. Simply stated, Coalition makes women’s skis and snowboards that don’t suck. #sisterhoodofshred 

Jen has a master’s degree from Prescott College and dropped out of their PhD program when she realized that being a CEO was more productive than being a grad student. She spends her evenings recording the podcast Juicy Bits and recovering from her 70-day cycling trip across Africa (where the idea for Scout Magazine was born). She was recently featured on the CNBC show Adventure Capitalists where she turned down a $1 million offer from Bode Miller, and she is a seasoned public speaker who delivered a TEDx talk in January 2016.

Learn more about Jen here. 


Hillary L. Schieve, Mayor of Reno

Hillary L. Schieve was elected as Reno’s Mayor on November 4, 2014. She was sworn in on November 12, 2014, as the 28th Mayor of the City of Reno. Prior to being elected Mayor, Hillary was elected as At-Large Reno City Council Member on November 6, 2012, and was sworn into office on November 14, 2012.

Hillary brings to the Council her entrepreneurial experience as an employer and local business owner, as well as her out-of-the-box thinking which helped her businesses prosper during the economic downturn. Hillary is the owner and operator of three businesses in the City of Reno. She wants to use her business knowledge to help eliminate bureaucratic red tape and spur job creation.

Hillary’s other key issues are economic growth, public safety, regional cooperation and senior services. One of her major issues is the reformation and revitalization of downtown. Hillary has made it a priority since assuming office to put funding toward creating a downtown environment that attracts residents, students, businesses and visitors. She was named in Politico Magazine’s “America’s 11 Most Interesting Mayors” article. The piece refers to her as “The re-inventor” for her role in the positive transformation of Reno, which is “becoming a hub for tech entrepreneurs and companies, pulling coders and data analysts from far more expensive Silicon Valley four hours to the west.”

Get to know more about Mayor Shieve here.

A New Paradigm for Parity:  What Does the Rising Tide of a Diverse Consumer Base Mean to Your Business (and You)?

Dani Reyes-Acosta, Brand Innovator and Founder, Global Traveler, Author, Digital Nomad, Everyday Adventurer 

Jill Sanford, Journalist, Content Editor, and Copywriter

Creating a ripple effect: Does it begin with your company, your role, or simply you, and how does a 360° view of self relate to career, business strategy, and relationship-building? This high-energy workshop doesn't just explore the essential "What's my why?" question; it also explores diversity, equity, and inclusion issues outside of the gendered lens we often take as established and emerging leaders in our business and professional lives. Join Dani Reyes-Acosta—corporate graduate, entrepreneur, change-driven brand strategist and outdoor adventure devotee—and Jill Sanford—a reporter covering culture and conservation issues through the lens of outdoor recreation—in a highly interactive session designed to build connection, prompt personal development, and spark conversation on representation and inclusion, linking our personal experiences to connection points. 

Get to know more about Dani here. Get to know Jill here. 

Beyond the Gala: From Charitable to Changemaker

Kirsten Bunch, Founder, Changemaker Mentorship

You have the potential to have a huge impact on your community and the world. You are off to a great start, you give money and time to the causes that you love. But a voice inside your head (and heart) tells you that you could do more. You wonder how you could help more people and find more personal fulfillment in your life and work. In this workshop, Kirsten Bunch, Author of Next Act, Give Back: Live Your Legacy. Change Your Community, will you show you the path to creating life-changing transformation in your community and in yourself. This workshop will help you:

  • Go beyond giving to charity to create change in your community.

  • Discover three ways you can live your legacy, at any age.

  • Take your better world idea out of your head and put action behind it.

Get to know more about Kristen here. 

Hear Her Roar - It's Your Time to Rise! 

Hayley Collins, Founder & CEO of Hayley Collins Coaching

Now is our time. We are waking up and learning to use our voices as powerful tools to take a stand for others. Now it is time to take a stand for ourselves - to cultivate a culture of connectedness, unity, authenticity, and resiliency. How do you achieve that in business and entrepreneurship? How do you rise without burning out? How do you break the glass ceiling and live a life you love? We must dare to embrace our whole selves in order to rise.

As a former CEO of a nonprofit turned entrepreneur and business coach, Hayley Collins advocates for women in leadership and women in entrepreneurship. Hayley knows that sustained life success requires more than technical competence. Digging deeper into life's questions, Hayley has learned and shared with other women during her professional and personal journey: as a CEO, as an entrepreneur, and as someone who pushes through autoimmune disorders to reach her potential. Hayley works with women in business who want to thrive in business, health, and relationships.

Get to know more about Hayley here. 

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Lead from the Start: Lessons Learned from a First Time Founder

Norah Eddy, Marine Scientist and Entrepreneur

Norah recently exited her first company after building an internationally acclaimed consumer packaged goods brand for the last four years.  In this session she will share her lessons learned from building a brand from the ground up, navigating a male heavy industry (fishing and seafood) as a young woman, launching as a first time entrepreneur, fundraising,  starting a family while running a startup, building a team, the importance of integrity, and more. The lessons she learned during and immediately following the sale of the business were invaluable to her personal and professional development and her goal is to share them with other female entrepreneurs in order to make them more savvy, courageous, and informed business women. This session is for you if you are a first time entrepreneur, thinking about raising money for your business, wondering about balancing work/life/family, building a brand, and curious to know what start to sell looks and feels like.

Get to know more about Norah here. 

The Art of Action: Creating Impact by Getting Real and Becoming the Most Accomplished You

Francine Tone, Performance Optimizer & Business Strategist, Francine Tone & Associates LLC

One small action for massive change. Think about YOU to impact the world. Sounds all wrong doesn’t it? Despite a challenging childhood that should have left her an alcoholic, drug addict, prostitute or dead at an early age, Francine Tone discovered the Art of Action early in life and began effecting change from the inside-out. Her approach to life is upside-down and as she puts it, “sometimes backwards.” Against odds, in her 30’s, she became the lawyer she wanted to become. In her 40’s, she began to pursue her dreams to become a high level athlete.  Despite being told she was too old, started too late, and did not have the skills, she attained her full certification as a ski instructor, became a podium finishing standup paddleboard racer sweeping the Tahoe Cup in her 50’s and is now pursuing her adventure as a standup paddleboard surfer, dropping 10-15 foot plus waves in Hawaii in her 60’s. She is a 3-time #1 bestselling author and speaker. There are no “its,” no “guarantees,” no “absolutes.” From a personal point of view, there are no roadblocks or obstacles. The dangers we create for ourselves are using words like “passion,” marching with banners, creating affirmations and buying into trite trends. The decisions you make and paths you choose to travel are your Actions. Your Actions are the keys to all things you accomplish and how you impact and influence the world and community around you. Travel Francine’s journey, as you learn how the Art of Action can make you the most accomplished you and turn you into an impactful and influential member of society, effecting change along the way. Oh, by the way, you’ll also be creating amazing work-life balance, too.

Get to know more about Francine here. 


The Power of your Voice in the Public Sphere and Beyond

Jill Tolles, Owner of Tolles Communication Consulting

Women in politics are making headlines all over the nation from both sides of the aisle and Nevada has the potential to become the first legislature in U.S. History to have a female majority in office.  Jill Tolles never imagined she would be in elected office but realized that policy has the power to impact people's lives and after teaching students about using their voice to influence change, she decided to use hers as a private citizen to help get child abuse prevention laws passed.  That lead to a successful run for office and her first term in the Nevada State Legislature. Come listen to lessons she's learned from advocating in the public arena, along with tools you can apply to building a future in politics or creating change in your arena of influence. 

Get to know more about Jill here. 

We are all Investors

Kelly Northridge, Managing Partner, Audacity Fund

The word “investor” tends to bring specific images to our minds, images that few of us relate to.  But, we are all investors and have been from a very young age.  Join Kelly Northridge as we explore the power we each have to invest in our community, our passions, and ourselves, at any income level or life stage. 

Get to know more about Kelly here. 

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Test the Water(s)

Vay O’Brien, USSA U13 bronze and two time U11 Women’s Slopestyle Junior National gold medalist & Randi O’Brien, ceramic artist, historian, writer, presenter, and educator

Equip and unleash the next generation of young women to thrive. Vay O’Brien (the youngest woman to raft 556 miles of America's last wild river), along with Randi O’Brien, will offer practical insight on resilience, building confidence, controlling fear, and finding your flow. This lecture is designed for the ones willing to roll up their sleeves, deconstruct a goal, map (figuratively and literally) pathways for success, and embark on a personal journey of creativity, joy, fear, and courage. The lecture will include plenty of personal stories (images, video, and music), step by step tools for anyone planning their next big adventure, and conclude in a Q&A session.

Get to know more about Vay here and Randi here

Risk & Reward: To be happy or successful... why is that a question?

Rachel Macintyre, Founder, Wandering Wyld

On this journey in life there are times where we can find ourselves, and our dreams, lost in the comfort of what we know. Comfort can breed fear. I could never quit my job. What if I fail? How will I make a living? It’s too risky. These are the narratives we tell ourselves that keep us from finding both happiness and success.

Change the narrative. You deserve to be both happy and successful. Did you believe that statement when you read it? Now try saying it out loud. This is the mantra that unlocked a new world for Rachel. In this session she will share her journey, the lessons she’s learned along the way, and how her community inspired the courage she needed to take the leap from corporate exec to entrepreneur and community leader.

Through story telling and dialogue rooted in shared experiences this session will explore:

  • The power of vulnerability and self-reflection to unlock our potential

  • How to balance analysis with intuition to help you achieve your goals

  • The importance of human connection to inspire action

Get to know more about Rachel here. 


Julie Arsenault, Founder & CEO of Panty Drop

Julie is the Founder & CEO of Panty Drop, a size-inclusive subscription lingerie company that helps women of all shapes and sizes feel sexy, beautiful and confident. An engineering grad turned businesswoman, she's worked across marketing, product management, and operations for Seed to Series B-stage startups. She's a pro lady-boss hustler, growing her own business by doing her own web development, fulfillment, and marketing. She's now expanding the team here in Reno!

Get to know more about Julie here. 


Relina "Rey" Shirley, Co-Founder & CEO of HIDEit Mounts

Relina Shirley is CEO and co-founder of HIDEit Mounts, a leading vertical wall mounting company for all TV electronic components including cable boxes, gaming consoles, streaming devices and more.  As a self-funded entrepreneur -- whose initial investment was paid back within the first year of business – Relina turned her frustration with attempting to conceal cable boxes, wires and gaming consoles around the home into a successful new market for globally distributed products. Under Relina's leadership, HIDEit Mounts received the Summit VMS Venture of the Year award from EDAWN and made it on the Inc. 5000 List of fastest growing companies.

Get to know more about Relina here. 

Finding Your Financial Freedom:  A Discussion on financial planning, impact investing and living your life on your own terms

Kristen Mayer, Financial Advisor, Stifel Nicolaus

Financial Freedom, like success, is uniquely defined by each and every one of us. What is your definition of Financial Freedom?  Having a solid relationship with your finances and investments has such an enormously positive impact on your life.  Learn how to get a clear and compassionate assessment of your financial reality.  Identify your objectives and discover how to manage and create a plan to reach these goals using investment vehicles like your 401K and IRA, diversification and asset allocation strategies.  This session will also explore impact investing, how to direct our money and investments into companies and organizations that are making a change in this world you want to see, promoting a more sustainable economy, enterprises that are closing the pay gap, promoting gender diversity and women’s leadership. Kristen is passionate about educating and supporting women and investing.  Her goal is to open the conversation about finances and investment opportunities and to support each other by openly sharing our struggles and successes.  

Get to know more about Kristen here. 


Oscar C. Pérez, Community Educator at the North Tahoe Family Resource Center & Founder of Tending the Fire

Oscar C. Pérez PhD is a cross-cultural mentor, education consultant, and spiritual counselor. Oscar grew up in a bicultural environment on the U.S.-Mexico border, learning firsthand about the challenges faced by immigrant communities and their children. At a young age, Oscar was drawn to the study of different spiritual traditions, specifically those of the indigenous peoples of the world. For the past fifteen years he has dedicated himself to studying the healing capacity of storytelling and ritual in emotional, social, and psychological contexts.  He has applied cross-cultural wisdom for workshops and interpersonal communication trainings at Brown University, Harvard University, various public and private educational institutions and non-profit organizations.  He holds a PhD from Brown University and is the founder of Tending the Fires, an organization that focuses on mentoring and inspiring community leaders to create healthy, whole communities.


Haleigh Hoff, Designer, Illustrator, & Entrepreneur

Haleigh Hoff is a Reno-based designer, illustrator and owner of new apparel and accessories lifestyle brand, Hoff Goods. When Haleigh is not running her business, she is hosting her local radio show, teaching dance classes, DJ-ing on the weekends and keeping you all up to date with it on YouTube and Instagram. 

Get to know more about Haleigh here (PS -- she's the one who designed our Women As Change Makers logo)

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Michael Tragash, Reno Community Director of Yelp.com

Michael Tragash is a community connector and storyteller, whose mission is to tell the #storiesbehindstorefronts, connecting us with great local businesses, organizations, and hip happenings in our community. Think of him as a one-man PR and marketing agency for local businesses, organizations and events. Combining synergistic partnerships, creative marketing, engaging social media campaigns, interactive and experiential events, Yelp Reno’s Local Yelp newsletter, and strong local media relationships, he’s able to shine a spotlight on the brave business owners, non-profit professionals, and event organizers who have chosen to share their passions with us. Most importantly though, he’s a true advocate for our community, and a very accessible local resource! He’s been named one of the American Advertising Federation’s “Ad People of The Year”, “Influencer of the Year” by the American Marketing Association, and recognized by state and local government for his work in  spreading the good word about everything in the Biggest Little City.

Get to know more about Michael here.


Edward M. Gurowitz, Ph.D., Founding Partner of the Inclusionary Leadership Group

A social activist since the 1960’s, Ed’s work over the past five years has focused on engaging men as allies to groups that have traditionally been impacted by the unconscious bias and unearned privilege of straight white men. As one of the founding partners of Inclusionary Leadership Group, a consultancy dedicated to that purpose and of the Better Man Conference, and as Chair of the 35-year old non-profit The Mankind Project, Ed brings a lifetime of experience in organizational culture change and individual and group transformation to his work.

Get to know more about Ed here.


Enrique Carmona, Sexual Violence Services Coordinator with Tahoe SAFE Alliance

Enrique Carmona has been involved with the social justice and advocacy field for over 15 years. Enrique is currently a Sexual Violence Services Coordinator with Tahoe SAFE Alliance, a non-profit Domestic and Sexual Violence agency that provides direct services to victims of intimate partner and sexual violence. Before that he was one of the agency’s Bilingual Advocates and it’s when he presented at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the session: “Si Se Puede” A Conversation about Men Providing Direct Services in the Domestic and Sexual Violence Field, a discussion on men’s roles and responsibility when it comes to gender-based violence. Enrique also sits on the board of Project Mana, A Hunger Relief Agency servicing the North Tahoe and Truckee community.  Before moving to Reno, NV, Enrique spent many years peer-counseling and volunteering as a bilingual GED tutor and in several soup kitchens/ food banks in both his native inner-city New York City, NY as well as in Chicago, IL.  One of Enrique’s primary goals include forming alliances among like-minded men and women to help end our current “toxic masculinity” environment that not only reinforces the gender inequality in the professional world but also the gender violence normalization that our society has seemed to so often excuse.  

Get to know more about Enrique here.


David Bobzien, Reno City Council Member

David Bobzien was appointed to the At-Large Council Member position in 2014, and was elected to a four-year term in 2016. David holds a B.A. in Government and Politics from George Mason University, and a Masters of Public Administration from Boise State University.

For the last 18 years, David has dedicated himself to the citizens of Reno, beginning with his service on the City’s Recreation and Parks Commission. Prior to his service on the City Council, David served four terms as an Assemblyman in the Nevada Legislature. During his legislative career, he worked on a wide variety of issues, including education, health care, senior services, transportation, and others. He was most noted for his work on conservation and clean energy policy.

David is passionate about Reno’s identity as a hub of innovation, particularly in the clean energy economy. As a result of his leadership, the Reno was the first city in Nevada to join the C40 Compact of Mayors, and convened the city’s Climate Action Initiative Group to reduce the city’s carbon emissions. David has been recognized for this work with a “LEEDership Award” from the US Green Building Council.

David’s professional background includes a ten-year career at the University of Nevada, Reno in planning and budget administration, and information technology. He has also worked in marketing, including starting and owning a web marketing consultancy. In addition, he’s worked for a non-profit conservation organization, and now works as a policy consultant on public lands conservation issues.

Get to know more about David here.