2011 Speakers

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2011 Speakers

Holland Banks

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller in 1982 co-founded Vera Bradley, which quickly grew into an internationally recognized organization…Read Full Bio

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Martha Beck

Psychology Today, USA Today and NPR have all referred to Martha Beck as one of the best-known life coaches in America. She is a columnist for O, the Oprah Magazine, has been a… Read Full Bio

Samantha Ettus

Jody Conradt

As only the second woman ever inducted into the Springfield, Mass. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Conradt is known as a pioneer, but also a durable, dynamic and ethical leader… Read Full Bio

Tory Johnson

Tory Johnson

Tory Johnson is all about spark and hustle at work, dating back to high school in Miami Beach where she joined her all-male debate team—and became the first girl (with her partner) to win a… Read Full Bio

Rose Mapendo

Rose Mapendo

Rose Mapendo is challenging the global community to accept peace and reconciliation. Mapendo has been honored by The White House, and in 2009 was named The Humanitarian of the Year … Read Full Bio

cindy-mccain

Cindy Hensley McCain

Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world. A mother of four, and wife of U.S. Senator John McCain… Read Full Bio

Turk Pipkin

Turk Pipkin

Turk Pipkin is the co-founder of the global education nonprofit The Nobelity Project, working for basic rights for children everywhere. He is the director of three feature films, including 2011 SXSW Film…
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lisa niemi swayze

Lisa Niemi Swayze

Lisa Niemi Swayze has spent decades in the film industry. She wrote, directed and produced the film “One Last Dance” in 2004. In addition to other projects, she directed her husband, Patrick,… Read Full Bio

Breakout Session Speakers

Holland Banks

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard

Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller in 1982 co-founded Vera Bradley, which quickly grew into an internationally recognized organization…Read Full Bio

Holland Banks

Holland Banks

began her career working for the Human Rights Initiative, a nonprofit legal organization helping human rights abuse victims. Banks then moved to… Read Full Bio

James Beckerman

James Beckerman

Cardiologist James Beckerman, M.D. was moved by his wife’s family experiences with heart disease to retool his own message into a flexible system for…. Read Full Bio

Jenny Blake

Jenny Blake

Jenny Blakeis an author, blogger, life coach and sought-after speaker who helps others “Wake up, live big and love the journey.” She has been featured on Forbes.com, in US News & World ReportRead Full Bio

Glinda Bridgforth

Glinda Bridgforth

is a leading financial expert who explores the emotional and cultural factors that block financial success. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her consulting practice, Bridgforth… Read Full Bio

Dr. Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown is a writer and research professor at the University Of Houston Graduate College Of Social Work. Her groundbreaking research on vulnerability, courage, and shame has been featured on PBS, NPR, CNN… Read Full Bio

Shannon Buggs

Shannon Buggs

Shannon Buggs’ passion for reading and writing led her to pursue a career in journalism and communications and to start a poetry nonprofit organization that… Read Full Bio

Deborah Duncan

Deborah Duncan

Deborah Duncan began honing her interviewing skills as a child raised in a military family, moving constantly. She was determined to learn everything about her new friends as they came into her life…Read Full Bio

Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus is a personal branding expert, bestselling author and TV personality. As a contributor to Forbes, Ettus writes “Personahood,” a blog focused on personal branding. Ettus is the bestselling… Read Full Bio

Nina Godiwalla

Nina Godiwalla

Nina Godiwalla is a recognized expert on leadership, diversity and women in the business world. She is the bestselling author of “Suits: A Woman on Wall Street,” which The New York Times describes as the… Read Full Bio

Divya Gugnani

Divya Gugnani

Divya Gugnani started her business career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and then moved on to private equity and venture capital at Investcorp International and FirstMark Capital… Read Full Bio

Patricia Gras

Patricia Gras

is an ardent storyteller, whether it is using the medium of television, or music. She has a background of life experiences as diverse as the city she covers. Her current award winning show “Living Smart”… Read Full Bio

Shama Kabani

Shama Kabani

Shama Kabani is a Web and TV personality, bestselling author, international speaker and award winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global digital marketing firm. Kabani is the face of…. Read Full Bio

Roxan Kraft

Roxan Kraft

Roxan Kraft joined Shell as part of the Shell/Texaco merger and has 22 years of refining experience, including two years with ARCO. Currently, she is in her first global role as the…. Read Full Bio

Simone Scialdo Krasan

Simone Scialdo Krasan

Simone Scialdo Krasan is an inspirational speaker who shares her own near-death experience in hopes of helping others find inner strength when facing difficulty, even life threatening…. Read Full Bio

Nancy Levicki

Nancy Levicki

In the summer of 1998,Nancy Levicki put her fashion skills back to work, but this time, it was not for a major retail specialty store. She and her long-time friend Susie…..Read Full Bio

Lorie Marrero

Lorie Marrero

Lorie Marrero is a certified professional organizer® and author of “The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life.” She’s also the creator…Read Full Bio

Laura Milazzo

Laura Milazzo

Laura Milazzo oversees marketing for the Employee Benefit Solutions channel, and manages the operations and administration of American General Worksite. Milazzo joined American…Read Full Bio

Laura Murillo

Laura Murillo

Dr. Laura G. Murillo was named president and chief executive officer of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HHCC) effective March 1, 2007. In less than four years in this role and with the support… Read Full Bio

Maria Murnane

Maria Murnane

Maria Murnane had a successful career in public relations for nearly 10 years before deciding she needed a change. She left for Argentina for what was supposed to be a two-week solo trip and ended up… Read Full Bio

Jessica Nadeau

Jessica Nadeau

Flip-flops stashed in the car were no longer cutting it for Jessica Nadeau as the go-to comfort shoe when her feet were sore from being in heels too long. So the San Antonio… Read Full Bio

Gina Otto

Gina Otto

An award-winning author, international speaker, producer, social entrepreneur and children’s advocate, Gina Otto is currently pioneering a movement to inspire individuals with her …Read Full Bio

Precious Owodunni

Precious Owodunni

Precious Williams Owodunni is a trusted advisor to business leaders on strategy and finance matters. She leads Mountaintop Consulting, a boutique management consulting firm that provides…Read Full Bio

Babette Pepaj

Babette Pepaj

Babette Pepaj is the founder and CEO of BakeSpace.com(2010 and 2009 Webby Award Nominee for “Best Social Network”) and the founder and producer of TECHmunch (food blogger conferences)…Read Full Bio

Turk Pipkin

Turk Pipkin

Turk Pipkin is the co-founder of the global education nonprofit The Nobelity Project, working for basic rights for children everywhere. He is the director of three feature films, including 2011 SXSW Film…Read Full Bio

Liz Pryor

Liz Pryor

As “Good Morning America’s brand new advice guru, Liz Pryor has become a modern-day Dear Abby. She’s the go-to girlfriend, the mom who’s got the answers, the best friend you run it all by… Read Full Bio

Stacy Dukes-Rhone

Stacy Dukes-Rhone

Stacy Dukes-Rhone has maintained her distinguished professional career over the last 25 years in the arenas of executive leadership, entrepreneurship, engineering… Read Full Bio

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins is a working mother of three and America’s Life Coach. She’s a relationship exert, syndicated radio host, author, columnist, lawyer and co-founder of Advice for Living ,Inc. Robbins is currently the star… Read Full Bio

JoAnn Ajayi-Scott

JoAnn Ajayi-Scott

JoAnn Ajayi-Scott is founder and CEO of Essence of a Lady, Inc. E/Linc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting females of all ages through educational … Read Full Bio

Lesley Jane Seymour

Lesley Jane Seymour

Lesley Jane Seymour was named editor-in-chief of More in January of 2008, where she led the magazine to a 2009 National Magazine Award nomination for personal service for an investigative piece… Read Full Bio

Cindy Solomon

Cindy Solomon

Cindy Solomon is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant, author and entrepreneur who helps organizations, teams and individuals find their courage. Their courage as leaders, as business owners… Read Full Bio

Jason Stevens

Jason Stevens

Registered and licensed dietitian Jason Stevens is driven to help cancer patients stay as nourished and strong as possible throughout their entire journey at Cancer Treatment….Read Full Bio

Sara Tays

Sara Tays

Sara K. Tays, southwest public affairs manager for Exxon Mobil Corporation, is responsible for state legislation and other public policy issues in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma… Read Full Bio

Tammy Tibbetts

Tammy Tibbetts

Tammy Tibbetts passionately advocates the power of social media to create social change. She is the founder and president of She’s the First, a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in… Read Full Bio

Telisa Tolive

Telisa Toliver

Telisa Toliver serves as senior vice president for Chevron Pipe Line Company which manages transportation risks, provides reliability assurance and leverages pipeline commercial… Read Full Bio

Capella Tucker

Capella Tucker

Capella Tucker joined KUHF in the spring of 1994 as a part-time reporter. She quickly gained a full-time position when she took over production duties for “Engines of Our Ingenuity… Read Full Bio

Dana Tyson

Dana Tyson

Dana Tyson has been waking up around 3 a.m. for 20 years now – not only to do lunges all over the neighborhood at a time when no one sees her, but also to host the Morning Show on SUNNY! Tyson and her husband… Read Full Bio

Karen walrond

Karen Walrond

Karen Walrond is a writer and photographer. She is a former engineer and a current (though non-practicing) attorney, with extensive… Read Full Bio

Bobbie Weiner

Bobbie Weiner

At 46 years old, Bobbie Weiner , a.k.a. “Bloody Mary,” started a new career by going to Makeup School in 1993 for the Film and TV Industry. After her first Horror Film, “Pumpkinhead II,” she was nicknamed Bloody…. Read Full Bio

Jess Weiner

Jess Weiner

Jess Weiner Considered this generation’s “Go to Girl” for self-esteem, Jess Weiner inspires audiences worldwide with her authentic take on living a confident life.She is founder and chief creative officer for Talk to Jess, LLC… Read Full Bio

Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams is the bestselling author of three books, the latest of which, “Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success,” has been optioned by Dan Jinks, the producer behind the…Read Full Bio

Expert Exchange

Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein was featured in the New York Times Sunday Styles section as the “next generation guru, motivational speaker, life coach and author.” Bernstein is making her mark. Expanding… Read Full Bio

Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus is a personal branding expert, bestselling author and TV personality. As a contributor to Forbes, Ettus writes “Personahood,” a blog focused on personal branding…Read Full Bio

Joan Luise Hill

Joan Luise Hill

has been accused of doubling as the energizer bunny.Her recent radio, television and personal appearances surrounding her new book, “The Miracle Chase” have taken her across the country …Read Full Bio

Katie Mahon

Katie Mahon

describes stepping away from her fast-tracked career in senior management in banking to be as uncomfortable as it was liberating. In retrospect, it was a defining moment that ultimately… Read Full Bio

Maria Murnane

Maria Murnane

Maria Murnane had a successful career in public relations for nearly 10 years before deciding she needed a change. She left for Argentina for what was supposed to be a two-week solo trip and ended up… Read Full Bio

Tina Pennington

Tina Pennington

Tina Pennington is the “Red” of Red & Black. Her prior career had been full-time mom, but her husband getting fired was the catalyst… Read Full Bio

Liz Pryor

Liz Pryor

As “Good Morning America’s” brand new advice guru, Liz Pryor has become a modern-day Dear Abby. She’s the go-to girlfriend, the mom who’s got the answers, the best friend you run it all by… Read Full Bio

Linda von Quintus

Linda von Quintus

Linda K. von Quintus serves as vice president of government and community affairs for AAA Texas.AAA Texas offers a variety of products and services, including roadside assistance,… Read Full Bio

Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams, the “Black” of Red & Black, retired from the oil and gas industry by the time she was 40. When boredom sank in she started racing cars – first Porsches, then Ferraris, and along the way… Read Full Bio

Local Leaders

Shannon Buggs

Shannon Buggs

Shannon Buggs’ passion for reading and writing led her to pursue a career in journalism and communications and to start a poetry nonprofit organization that… Read Full Bio

Kim Davis

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is a veteran news and sports journalist with more than two decades of experience in print, radio and television. A community advocate and pioneer, she’s also a self-proclaimed sports… Read Full Bio

Patricia Gras

Patricia Gras

is an ardent storyteller, whether it is using the medium of television, or music. She has a background of life experiences as diverse as the city she covers. Her current award winning show “Living Smart”… Read Full Bio

Fran Harris

Fran Harris

Fran Harris has spent the past 10 years building a multi-faceted celebrity brand. In 2010, she hosted HGTV’s “Home Rules.” A former ESPN announcer, Harris’ 15 plus years as a television personality… Read Full Bio

Laura Murillo

Laura Murillo

Dr. Laura G. Murillo was named president and chief executive officer of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HHCC) effective March 1, 2007. In less than four years in this role and with the support… Read Full Bio

Perry Ann Reed

Perry Ann Reed

Perry Ann Reedis a recognized expert on leadership in the not-for-profit, community service sector and on building strategic linkages between this sector and its’ commercial counterpart… Read Full Bio

Small Business Boot Camp

Michael Alter

Michael Alter

As president of SurePayroll, Michael Alter gives an annual award to an employee for the “best mistake” and he shares the power of mistakes every small business owner should know.
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Sara Bloom

Sara Bloom

founder and chief designer of Oliver B, a modern day baby bedding and accessories company.
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Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus

personal branding expert, bestselling author and TV personality
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Audra Jackson

Audra Jackson

is the director of Client Services for Pop Labs, Inc. in Houston, TX. Jackson has worked extensively in multiple departments of Pop Labs…
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Jessica Nunez

Jessica Nunez

award-winning public relations consultant and president of Nuñez PR Group
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Danae Ringelmann

Danae Ringelmann

co-founded IndieGoGo in 2008 with the goal of leveling the playing field. The company brings years of experience from the finance and entertainment industries to the fundraising world.Read Full Bio

Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins

is a working mother of three and “America’s Life Coach.” She’s a relationship exert, syndicated radio host, author, columnist, lawyer and co-founder of Advice for Living, Inc.Read Full Bio

Amy Simmons

Amy Simmons

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amy Simmons originally wanted to go into medicine. While in school and after, she worked at Steve’s Ice Cream, launching new stores…
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Cindy Solomon

Cindy Solomon

is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant, author and entrepreneur who helps organizations, teams and individuals find their courage.
Read Full Bio

Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams

bestselling author, founder, WORKS by Nicole Williams and connection director, LinkedIn
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Vanessa Wilson

Vanessa Wilson

Vanessa Wilson is the founder and proprietor of Crafty Gemini,LLC, a sewing, quilting, crafting and cooking tutorial website that showcases her many talents. Wilson is…
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Health & Wellness Pavilion Speakers

James Beckerman

James Beckerman

Cardiologist James Beckerman, M.D. was moved by his wife’s family experiences with heart disease to retool his own message into a flexible system for…. Read Full Bio

Dr. Elizabeth Coronado

Dr. Elizabeth Coronado

Elizabeth Coronado, M.D.,is an obstetrician and gynecologist who has focused her career on empowering women through education.Her extensive knowledge of the revolution of bio-identical…Read Full Bio

Julie Spier

Julie Spier

Julie Spier is director of pharmacy operations for Randalls/ Tom Thumb, supervising the operation of 107 pharmacies. Spier is a registered pharmacist and also a…Read Full Bio

Jess Weiner

Jess Weiner

Jess Weiner Considered this generation’s “Go to Girl” for self-esteem, Jess Weiner inspires audiences worldwide with her authentic take on living a confident life.She is founder and chief creative officer for Talk to Jess, LLC… Read Full Bio