MC & ORGANIZER | Jen Gurecki, Coalition Snow & Zawadisha

MC & Organizer who promises to deliver a few lively comments and will make sure you have an outstanding experience. 

WACM (ie, me): What is your definition of a change maker?

JG: Someone who believes that service is the rent you pay for life.

WACM: What do you think is the 'secret to success' for taking a bold idea and turning it into reality?

JG: You have to be willing to overcome your fear of failure, your anxiety of not being good enough, and your self consciousness about what people will think. Basically, you get over yourself and you wake up each and every day ready to put the world in the palm of your hand and crush it.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?

JG: Find good mentors early. They can help you navigate all of those uncertainties that fuel your fear.

BIO: Jen Gurecki specializes in designing creative approaches to building resilient communities and cultivating female leadership. She also is the co-founder and CEO of Coalition Snow, the world’s first women’s ski and snowboard company. #sisterhoodofshred

She also founded Zawadisha, a social enterprise that provides small loans for clean energy and water products to rural Kenya women through an innovative model that is soundly pro-poor, pro-woman, and pro-environment. #investinwomen

She has a master’s degree from Prescott College and was most recently delivered her first TEDx talk in January 2016.

CHOOSING ADVENTURE | Georgina Miranda, Altitude Seven

FLASH SESSION: In this flash session, Georgina will share how she breaks trail both on and off the mountain and how to break through the challenges associated with being a female founder.

WACM: What is your definition of a change maker?

GM: Being a catalyst for changing the status quo of any given issue/situation.

WACM: What was a defining (or BOLD) moment in your career or career path?

GM: I've been the only woman in the room, boardroom, expedition team. Each of these moments have been defining in their own right and given me the confidence to push through other barriers.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?

GM: Align yourself with champions male and female.

BIO: Georgina is the founder and CEO of Altitude Seven, an adventure lifestyle media platform that helps a global community of women adventurers and travelers discover the best outdoor and adventure travel products, experiences, stories, and inspiration all in one place. The company’s brand was created for a new generation of outdoor, adventurous, and globetrotting women, with a mission: To Inspire and Equip Women to Live Adventurous, Bold, and Worldly Lives. It is spreading the global message for women to #ChooseAdventure.

Georgina's career spans from leading teams in the corporate world, to founding start-ups, to management consulting at various Fortune 500 companies globally. Her heart lies in adventure and it has led her to scale 6 of the 7 Summits (highest peak on each continent), including Mt. Everest and many other peaks around the world to raise awareness around gender-based violence. She is currently in the process of completing the Explorer Grand Slam.

Although Georgina did not discover her love for the outdoors until her mid-twenties, she credits the mountains and a life of adventure to shaping who she is today. Her mission now is to share the gift of adventure with others.

PITCH COMPETITION JUDGE | Melinda Choy, Elevate Wellness Center

Melinda Choy is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and CEO of Elevate Wellness & Acupuncture Center in South Lake Tahoe. Melinda has been a practitioner for over 12 years with a passion for bringing natural medicine and health and healing to the community. She shares her vision in her development of Elevate Wellness Center, a multi-disciplinary holistic family medicine center, where the community can access the talent of various holistic health providers ranging from midwifery to neuro-muscular therapy. Elevate was created to help empower patients through education and lifestyle modification and specific therapies to enhance the power of the body to heal itself and promote balance. Melinda has spent over 15 years in the natural medicine field and is excited to be involved in the ever-evolving system of health care and medicine. She is actively creating a platform for holistic health providers to be more accessible and available to the public. 

WACM: What was a defining moment in your career path?

MC: My mother died of cancer when I was 21 years old. At the time I was in Washington DC at my dream internship at Amnesty International. At that moment, I felt completely helpless. I was in DC at my dream internship fighting for human rights when at home my mother had lost her battle with cancer. I knew that her cancer overwhelmed her body because she had lost a connection with who she was and how to take care of herself. She had the type of cancer that people don't generally die from. She was so focused on her career and taking care of her family and life stresses that she lost a sense of her body and what was really important. That event changed my focus forever. I knew I had to understand more in how our mental state affects our body and mind body medicine allowed me to do that. I realized that if you weren't able to connect with yourself, that it's impossible to connect at a global level. I knew that I wantedto be able to help people connect with themselves at an intimate level so that they can see they are connected to the environment and world around them. I now have the dream job that forces me to focus on my own state of mind and health in order to assist others in changing their lives.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?

MC: Do what you love and understand what you are wiling to suffer for. The means of getting what you want and creating your career requires a certain level of sacrifice and commitment. Be realistic with your goals and don't ever sacrifice your health and spirit. Taking care of yourself and those close to you are the most important aspect of being a woman in business. Don't do it like a man. Carve a path that is unique in honoring who we are as women and make our own way.

IGNITING THE OLYMPIAN IN YOU | Marilyn King

KEYNOTE: In this experiential keynote two-time Olympian Marilyn King will show participants how to apply the principles of Olympian Thinking™ to their personal and professional lives. Through inspiring stories combined with practical applications, exercises and activities attendees learn step-by-step how to develop the daily habits that invariably lead to exceptional performance.
 
Through a series of exercises and conversation, Marilyn will help you discover the three essential traits of every high achiever—and how you can align these to access high levels of energy and creativity; the four ways mental images impact your health, your performance and your future; the truth about willpower and discipline - why they are NOT necessary - or even desirable - for sustained peak performance; how to practice using "The Olympic Minute" to dramatically increase effective daily action; and the importance of enlisting training partners and coaches as part of their high performance team.

WACM: What do you think is the 'secret to success' for taking a bold idea and turning it into reality?
M: Trust yourself and when some people say you are crazy, spend time with other activists.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?
M: Stay connected to others who are up to something meaningful.

WACM: Thinking about your career, your community, and your country, what is your vision for the future at these three different scales?
M: The ML King vision that "people everywhere have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds freedom and dignity for their spirits."

BIO: Marilyn King is a two-time Olympian in the five event Pentathlon. Her 20-year athletic career includes five national titles and a World Record.  An automobile accident in 1979 rendered her unable to train physically for her third Olympic Team.  Using only mental training techniques she placed second at the Olympic trials for the 1980 Moscow Games.
This extraordinary experience and resulting research led to a 35-year career as an expert in the field of exceptional human performance. Her work focuses on systemic change in the areas of business, education and peace.
Marilyn’s participation in an international, five- year business think tank led to a career conducting programs for senior executives with global responsibilities at Fortune 500 companies. Her corporate clients include: AT&T, IBM, Ikea, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Starbucks and Wells Fargo.
Marilyn has also presented at over 200 national and international education conferences with academicians and researchers who are designing the schools of the future. Her most pioneering work, a joint Russian-American venture called “The Peace Team” resulted in two opportunities to speak at the United Nations and an invitation to create a U.N. sub-committee on the role of sport in peace building.

GROWING YOUR WILLPOWER MUSCLE | Nikki Warren, Founder & CEO Kaia FIT

KEYNOTE: Take away tools that will help you build up your willpower muscle through simplifying daily processes to take your life and your career to the next level.

WACM: We are increasingly seeing more women pushing the boundaries in business and being recognized for their contributions. What do you think is behind this shift in women “leaning in” (if we can borrow from Cheryl Sandberg)?
N: Our trajectory has been pointing in this direction for a long time. While progress has been [relatively] slow, it's simply been a matter of time. The compounding effect of a small group of women rallying for the vote, has grown to the possibility of our first female president. More women are gathering behind the idea of our own power, and speaking up and speaking out.

WACM: Why did you choose to carve time out of your already packed schedule to speak at Women As Change Makers?
N: I think that's its very important to always take time to give back. Pulling people together towards a common cause is my passion. The idea of giving back to bold women and generating brilliant ideas spoke to me. Plus, this is my community and its important to me to connect and give back to those women,  to inspire synergy.

BIO: Nikki Warren is the founder of Kaia FIT, a women’s focused program that currently has 55+ locations, in 6 different states. She has coached gymnastics, fitness, running, triathlon training and snowboarding for 20+ years. She brings the same motivation and expertise to her public appearances, giving attendees the tools to live a centered, healthy life. “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal,” she says. “Every single moment we’re given the opportunity to live our best.”
Drawing on these years of experience, Warren has expanded from coaching high-level athletes into leadership training. To women across the country on how to run a successful business, in addition to a successful life. Through the teachings of work-life balance, and simple steps to creating the life you deserve, Warren has streamlined her training down to three simple steps to thrive: Get Your Mind Right, Strength for Life, and Gather Your Tribe.
With her non-traditional upbringing, young motherhood, and touch and go birth of her youngest, Kai, Nikki approaches all interactions with a positive attitude and wealth of information, both personal and learned. She is an incredibly encouraging role model for any woman, young or old.
She currently lives in Lake Tahoe, running 3 businesses with her husband Ed, hockey-obsessed son Kai & their active pup, Laila. Warren has more than 15 years’ experience of public speaking on health, fitness and nutrition, and has been featured in various magazines, including Fitness Magazine, while also presenting at both TedX and Vistage.

 

BRAND WITH BOLDNESS | Brianna Bullentini, The Basement and RAWBRY

SESSION: Leave this session inspired to build your brand from one of the boldest female entrepreneurs in Reno.

WACM: We are increasingly seeing more women pushing the boundaries in business and being recognized for their contributions. What do you think is behind this shift in women “leaning in” (if we can borrow from Cheryl Sandberg)?
B: Well I think it goes back to a lot of jobs were tailored to men for frankly manual, physical labor. There is a much wider range of 'carriers' this day and age that men and women are both equally capable of. I also believe marriage is happening later, so women can be in the workplace longer and build a name for themselves.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?
B: You have to believe in yourself more than anyone. If you don't believe in your idea, no one else will. A lot of people will doubt you, your faith in your strength and discipline will get you through. Also, other women are not your enemy... they are your partners!  

WACM: Thinking about your career, your community, and your country, what is your vision for the future at these three different scales?
B: As far as career, I hope to bring change to the world through innovative design and problem-solving creations. For community, my vision is to see more connectivity in the urban core, physical connectivity, not digital. Walkability. The feeling of an actual co-working, co-living, and co-existing community. Lastly, for The United States I hope to see us not be so judgmental, to keep innovating with no inhibitions, and through all the growth to stay grounded.

BIO: Brianna Bullentini is an experiential and architectural designer who was born and raised in Reno and recently moved back from New York City where she went to Parsons School of Design and graduated with her Bachelors in Sustainable Architecture. Her latest project is reimagining Reno’s old Post Office and spearheading the underground marketplace called The Basement. Where she also opened Reno’s first cold-pressed juice bar, RAWBRY, which is one of 14 stores in The Basement. Brianna’s journey has led her far from the beaten path. She still stands as the only female all-regional wide-receiver in the state of Nevada from when she played on the boys Varsity football team her senior year at Galena High School. After graduating high school she booked a ticket to Ghana, Africa where she moved for almost a year to coach soccer and live at an orphanage. Once returning back to The States she challenged herself to the greatest design school in the US, which had her packing her bags once again and moving to New York City. There she had the opportunity to work for a leading architecture firm ICRAVE, Michael Jordan, Anthropologie, and a summer internship with Extreme Makeover Home Edition in Los Angeles. ‘Seven years in NYC’ was long enough she said, and is ecstatic to be back in her hometown, Reno where she stated ‘its just the beginning of great things to come!’

SUCCEED IN SALES | Alice Heiman, Sales Coach

SESSION: Everyone is selling something, whether you are a non-profit, for profit, politician, job seeker, teacher, or parent. In this talk, Alice will reveal how sales leadership plays a crucial role in success.

WACM: We are increasingly seeing more women pushing the boundaries in business and being recognized for their contributions. What do you think is behind this shift in women “leaning in” (if we can borrow from Cheryl Sandberg)?
A: I believe there is more focus on insuring women succeed and when we focus on something it usually improves. I also believe that women are more supportive of each other because they see that in supporting everyone wins.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?
A: Take care of yourself. That means be the best you can be. Eat healthy, sleep, exercise, drink plenty of water. Learn and grow daily. Be kind to yourself and others.

WACM: What do you think is the 'secret to success' for taking a bold idea and turning it into reality?
A: Believe you can do it and get help. Surround yourself with smart, innovative people who can propel you to success.

BIO: National sales expert Alice Heiman will turn your team into a selling machine. Although she works with companies nationwide she is a huge advocate for entrepreneurs and startups right here in Nevada. She teaches sales leaders to have a mindset that moves their company to rapid and exponential growth that is profitable and sustainable. She'll move you as she talks about the leadership mindset and give you ideas you can use immediately. Community advocate, instructor for entrepreneurship at UNR, Sales Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Call Alice if you want to improve your sales.

MENTORING THAT MATTERS | Estella Hunt, Managing Director of Pivot Partners

SESSION: In this session Estella will share the must-haves of mentoring and inspire us to understand mentoring as an exchange that empowers us to stretch our abilities so that we can improve personally and impact our communities both locally and worldwide.

WACM: What is your definition of a change maker?
E: A change maker identifies a problem, cause, or an opportunity to make a positive impact on society and/or the lives of others.  Change makers have the acuity, acumen, and passion to collaborate with others and to lead.

WACM: Why did you choose to carve time out of your already packed schedule to speak at Women As Change Makers?
E: I believe that mentoring is key to making change and I want to increase awareness so that more women are proactive about seeking mentoring opportunities, as a mentor and a mentee.  We are all change makers and it is up to each of us to determine the meaning and magnitude of our contribution to society.

BIO: Estella Hunt is a strategic problem solver and tactician.  She integrates her 20 years of management experience in operations, finance, and engineering to assist companies with their strategic initiatives and business processes.   As Managing Director of Pivot Partners, she consults with small to mid-sized companies.  She works with management teams to assess, develop, and execute strategies to manage its next growth opportunity.  Estella is an advisor to entrepreneurs and she participates in the growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in both Reno, Nevada and the Philippines.  She is a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Council – Silicon Valley, Entrepreneurship Nevada and Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology.

CREATE COMPELLING STORIES | Kim Wyatt, Publisher Bona Fide Books

SESSION: Leave will the tools to tell your own story and discover how storytelling can serve you and your communities to make change.

WACM: What do you want the audience to take away from your talk?
K: I believe that books are the most perfect democratic invention, and that telling stories saves lives. There is a relationship between reading and writing and a thriving, full-bodied democracy—storytelling emboldens personal growth and societal change in significant ways. I would like the audience to leave my talk with a glimmer of how storytelling can serve them and their communities to make change. This involves finding the right container for the story; the vessel that’s right for one story might not be right for the next. I want to give the audience the tools to tell their stories. I want to fire them up. I want them to leave burning to tell their stories.

WACM: What was a defining (or BOLD) moment in your career or career path?
K: A defining moment in my career was inspired by my friend the artist Melissa Lanitis Gregory. We were both doing work for money in our chosen professions, art and publishing, respectively, and were burning out. We weren’t spending enough time on the things most important to us, and what I was being asked to do on behalf of publishing companies was corrosive. We took a road trip to visit an artist who inspired us to to trust the creative process and live our best, most authentic lives. On our way home, we made a pinky pact to be brave and unapologetic about doing our true work—me with literature, and Mel with art. Soon after, she died unexpectedly. She was 47. I decided that day to start Bona Fide Books, and devote my skills to unsung voices and the power of literature to change lives. It's never too late to change course, or, in my case, to return to the flow.

WACM: What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to young female entrepreneurs or aspiring community leaders trying to start out today?
K: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, that your dream is impossible, or that you're doing it the wrong way. That is cynicism talking, and you have no time for that – you have things to do! Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Don't try to convince others of your ideas, but welcome those who recognize and support your vision.

Kim Wyatt is the publisher of the award-winning press Bona Fide Books in South Lake Tahoe, California, where she runs the Center for Wayward Writers, home to Tahoe Writers Works, the Lake Tahoe Society for Storytelling & Enlightenment, and Tahoe Letterpress. She also teaches in the Incarcerated Student Program at Lake Tahoe Community College. Before starting a publishing company, she worked as a book, magazine, and website editor for 15 years, and as a feature writer, arts reviewer, and columnist for online and print publications including the Anchorage Daily News and Web MD. She's also been a bunny girl, deckhand, and nurse, and lived in Yosemite National Park for 13 years. Kim holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and is currently working on a poem, an essay, a memoir, a novel, and a half dozen ‘zines.

 

PRESENT WITH POWER | Bret Simmons, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Management at The University of Nevada, Reno

SESSION: In this talk, Bret will share the three principles about improving your chances of being selected to speak publicly that also apply to how to market yourself and your business.

WACM: What is your advice to aspiring community leaders or young entrepreneurs?
B: Give yourself permission to do things others are not willing to do.

WACM: Thinking about your career, your community, and your country, what is your vision for the future at these three different scales?
B: Change scales. Change in our country will begin with change in our community. Change in our community will only begin when each of us decides to change ourselves. Your circle of influence is greater than you think.

WACM: What do you think is the 'secret to success' for taking a bold idea and turning it into reality?
B: No fear of failure and an insatiable drive to learn and improve

Bret L. Simmons, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Management at The University of Nevada, Reno. He earned his doctorate in Business Administration at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.  Bret teaches courses in organizational behavior, social business, and personal branding to MBA and Executive MBA students. Bret blogs about leadership and social business at his website Positive Organizational Behavior. You can also find him on Google +, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

 

INVEST WITH IMPACT | Gino Dante Borges, Ph.D., Partner & Director of Impact at OpenPath Investments

SESSION: In his session, he will inspire the audience to embrace business as a vehicle for social and environmental impact.

WACM: What was a defining (or BOLD) moment in your career or career path?
G: When I connected the dots between money and doing well while doing good.

WACM: What is your advice to aspiring community leaders or young entrepreneurs?
G: Stay close to the heart. Partner with people of character. Discover what you need to take care of yourself (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically). It's a long-game so feel free to get "lost" and wander a bit. I felt 'lost' for the bulk of my 20's and early 30's. It wasn't until my mid 30's where I felt the stars begin to align.

WACM: What do you think is the 'secret to success' for taking a bold idea and turning it into reality?
G: There's more good ideas than energy. So I think learning how to be persistent and execute is vital to success.  Moreover, I believe it's easier to execute by working in teams -- helps you lever the group's collective resources and frankly, is more fun. :)

Gino helps mission-driven businesses and asset managers implement investment practices that account for the welfare of people and natural systems, as well as stakeholders, thus achieving full potential for positive impact. Gino applies his combined interest in finance and quality of life to 8 years of experience in impact investment, 10 years in land stewardship and 15 years in community building and public speaking. His commitments and experience drive the success he shares in identifying and assessing unique opportunities for financial returns that build healthier societies, environments, and wealth.

 

ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEMS | Jamie Orr, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Tahoe Mountain Lab

SESSION: Jamie will share how take on how creating entrepreneurial ecosystems can benefit communities, not just companies.

WACM: What is your definition of a change maker?
J: Someone that is willing to do the work, not just talk about it.

WACM: We are increasingly seeing more women pushing the boundaries in business and being recognized for their contributions. What do you think is behind this shift in women “leaning in” (if we can borrow from Cheryl Sandberg)?
J: We stand on the shoulders of giants. More and more, young girls are starting to see role models that show them they can be anything. That has a magnifying effect. The more we push those boundaries, the more another woman realizes she can too.

WACM: We’re all pushed and pulled in so many directions, and based on my own personal experience we know how time intensive it can be to prepare for a speaking engagement. Why did you choose to carve time out of your already packed schedule to speak at Women As Change Makers?
J: Women supporting women matters. As a physicist, I am used to being the only woman in a room. WACM is a unique opportunity for me to speak to a room full of amazing women and my hope is that, in the very near futures, being the only woman in the room is an abnormally rare occasion.

BIO: Dr. Jamie Orr is a successful entrepreneur, physicist, and educator with expertise across a wide range of technical fields. She is passionate about helping young companies and students alike to thrive and discover their potential. She is founder & CEO of Tahoe Mountain Lab, South Lake Tahoe's first coworking space and innovation hub and provides workforce development expertise for the California Community Colleges as a regional director for the Energy, Construction, & Utilities sectors, which includes one of the coolest job titles out there, “Deputy Sector Navigator.” Passionate about nature and science from an early age, she received her BS in physics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Jamie then went on to obtain a M.S. in experimental condensed matter physics studying the fabrication and characterization of magnetic nanostructures followed by a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UC Davis focusing upon protein folding models associated with amyloid diseases.

PITCH COMPETITION JUDGE | Lauren Klein, Girlmade

Lauren Klein owns Girlmade and the Girl Empire conference in Reno, Nevada, USA. holds a Bachelors of Arts from Michigan State University in Social Science with an International Studies and Latin America certificate. She is a leadership coach with a specialization in social business, communities and change management with experience as a strategic member of corporate leadership teams. Skilled in grooming impactful leaders in today's fast-paced business environment. Background in breaking down cultural and communication silos while designing process improvements and driving policy decisions. Experienced in designing engaging communities, mentoring community managers and leaders, leadership coaching, external speaking, presenting and facilitating. A strong professional foundation with over 20 years of business experience with Fortune 500 and international corporations.

PITCH COMPETITION JUDGE | Karol Hines, Karol Hines Consulting

Karol leverages over 30 years of experience as an executive with a Silicon Valley enterprise software startup; CIO of a San Francisco healthcare company; Project Executive with IBM Global Services; Project Director of a Business Intelligence system provider and Independent Management and IT consultant, in assisting and advising entrepreneurs and the startup community in Northern Nevada. Karol assists aspiring business owners through the process of defining their business model and developing realistic and comprehensive business plans and strategies to start their business, grow their business and obtain financing. She is a past board member of Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (NCET), a mentor for Entrepreneurship Assembly (EA) and a member of Entrepreneurship Nevada.