PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES FOR 2020:
Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in our area, this event will only be presented virtually. In addition to the full day conference, all paid participants will receive additional pre-recorded BONUS sessions to watch at their own pace.
2020 Women’s Empowerment Conference
Save your spot at the YWCA Greater Green Bay’s 3rd annual Women’s Empowerment (WE) Conference: Be the One!
Friday October 16, 2020
7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Join us as we create a space for you to enhance your personal, familial, and community lives at this one day empowerment conference. This powerful, life-changing event promises to provide you with practical tools to help you move forward in all areas of your life including social, emotional and physical health. It also serves as a wonderful networking opportunity in Green Bay. Funds from this conference support the Greater Green Bay community.
This third annual conference brings together a broad range of community members from all sectors (e.g. homemakers; socialites; educators; community organizer; systems practitioners; peace officers; health and medical practitioners and others…) to laugh; learn; and share current realities, information, and strategies, while networking with peers around issues that impact the lives of women and girls. The goal is to encourage learning and dialogue to address and respond to the empowerment of women and girls. This conference will provide participants with opportunities to build knowledge, skills and behaviors to identify and remove barriers that often prevent women and girls from being everything they were created to be.
Wherever you are in your life journey, connect with others who are similar and different from you. Share space with women who can contribute to your personal and professional development. Hear stories of successful women in a range of professions who have been right where you are and experienced success where you would like to go.
The 2020 Women’s Empowerment (WE) Conference offerings provides information on:
- Education and Empowerment (EE)
- Business and Services (BS)
- Culture and Advocacy (CA)
- Health and Wellness (HW)
Keeping Everyone Safe
We are moving this event completely online for 2020. The live events will still take place as planned remotely via Zoom. Several educational breakout sessions will be pre-recorded, and all paid participants will have access to the pre-recorded sessions the morning of the event and the full conference after its conclusion to watch at their own pace.
2020 Keynote Speaker, Carol Bruess, PhD
Resident Scholar | Cassandra Voss Center, St. Norbert College
The YWCA Greater Green Bay is excited to welcome back Carol Bruess, PhD as the keynote speaker for this year’s 2020 Women’s Empowerment Conference. Carol is the Resident Scholar in the Cassandra Voss Center for equity, identity and dialogue-across-difference at St. Norbert College, WI. As a professor, researcher, author and speaker the past 26 years, Carol’s primary passions are in studying how our relationship micro-moments of ritual and interaction are key to not only joy and happiness, but also to our physical health and longevity.
In her keynote speech, Be the One, she will share research on the power of relationships. It highlights that we are responsible for ourselves and the importance of caring for ourselves well before we can connect with others. Infused with research and passion, you will understand your capacity differently than you ever have before.
Conference Agenda – Workshops and Presentation Descriptions
Downloadable 2020 Conference Agenda
Please note the agenda was created for the in-person event and the language may not reflect the new online only format.
Agenda for Live Conference (In person and via Zoom)
Madison Street Boutique will be open during this time for you to peruse. The boutique is located on the second floor.
Join the YWCA’s CEO as she shares the forward-facing direction of the organization and how it intends to accomplish its dedication to eliminating racism and empowering women.
This provocative keynote shares research on the power of relationships. It highlights the reality that we are responsible for ourselves and encourages us to care well for ourselves in light of the exponential potential of one well woman connecting with another. Infused with research and passion, you will understand your capacity differently than you have before.
Madison Street Boutique will be open during this time.
In little more than a decade, the impact of social media has gone from being an entertaining extra to a fully integrated part of nearly every aspect of daily life for many. This workshop will unveil the impact social media uses have on relationship and provide information to help participants assess and make decision about their practices.
Madison Street Boutique will be open during this time.
Robyn Davis | President and CEO, Brown County United Way
Celestine Jeffreys | Chief of Staff, City of Green Bay
Michelle Langenfeld | Retired Superintendent, Green Bay Area Public Schools
Gail McNutt, | Coach and Consultant, Green Bay
Guests will be inspired by the wisdom and experience shared in this powerful cross-cultural panel including women who have ahd life experiences that shed light on blind spots related to “Othering” others. Panel members will collectively share how gaining a braoder perspective helped make them a better ambassador for change in their respective spheres of influence and a part of the solution to what ails our society.
Resilience looks different for marginalized members of Brown County. The “Race Card” involves a complex dance when negotiating the needs of disenfranchised citizens. Robin Tinnon took on this dance and, in a few months, has provided services to more than 500+ members of our community on the front lines of a pandemic. Services of the We All Rise African American Resource Center are shaping the future for youth of color in Northeast WI. Participants in this session will learn how and be invited to join the work.
Madison Street Boutique will be open during this time.
Melissa Borowicz | CEO, Owner, The Utech Group
Bridget Krage O’Connor, | Founder, O’Connor Connective
Renita Robinson | CEO, YWCA Greater Green Bay
Melissa Borowitz, Bridget O’Connor and Renita Robinson will share a space where they candidly detail the realities associated with being female leaders and business owners in the Brown County community. This time will include perspectives from taking over a company as CEO; leading through other women perspectives; communication and connectivity; perspectives from a young administrator turned entrepreneur; leading with direct communication in a world of “nice;” horizontal hostility and implicit leadership stereotypes.
BONUS Pre-Recorded Online Sessions - Sent to Paid Participants at the Beginning of the Conference
Participants will find out ONE thing you need to know about each of your gynecologic organs, ONE thing you should pay attention to in each of those areas, ONE thing you should ask your doctor about, and ONE thing you should tell a friend that you learned today.
Janine Rae Moreno I Computer Aided Design (CAD) in Art and Fashion
Lynette Cox, I Race Car Dashboard Design
Gianna Nobili, I Metal Casting Projects
Ananya Goyle I The Importance of Organization and Mental Health
Natasha Lee I How to Build Animatronic Systems for Props
Janine has enlisted a group of female engineers, STEAM students, and young professionals to share their experiences with girls attending this conference. They will share their research and experiences. It is a great opportunity for young girls to gain exposure on the lives of engineering students so they can see themselves in STEAM fields!
This introspective workshop is a demonstration of the principle “to whom much is given, much is required.” It details the journey of an MD, PhD through educational attainment, school board presidency and experiences learning the costs, benefits, privileges and responsibilities associated with being white, educated and female in a big-small conservative community.
Wash you hands for 20 seconds, refrain from touching your face, practice social distancing: Staying healthy during a pandemic involves a lot more than these all too familiar commands. Participants in this workshop will gain exposure to a broad range of ways to stay socially, emotionally and physically healthy during COVID-19.
Michelle Minikel, MD will use this time to share about decisions she’s made in her sphere of influence that create opportunities for others to have a better life. When she began to learn about how health disparities influenced her lens and current location in life, she did something about it. Her presentation will inspire you to do something in your sphere of influence to change the realities of those less fortunate than you.
This workshop is a beautiful display of two women from different backgrounds and races becoming friends and the tremendous impact that that friendship has had on them personally, professionally, and by extension positive outcomes in Brown County. It is a display of how uncommon friendships enrich lives and grow perspectives that can help make every woman a better ambassador for change in their respective sphere of influence.
About the Workshop Presenters
Melissa Borowicz is an expert at defining corporate culture and helping companies maximize their management teams and their people. She has a rich understanding of how relational barriers limit personal and company growth, while providing practical solutions that add value at each phase of the process. Her comfortable and relaxed style puts people at ease during even the most difficult leadership transitions.
Melissa establishes a common language and common ground that permeates an organization – from the Leadership Team and employees, to the customers and communities they serve. She understands the importance of how to establish buy-in at every level, both internally and externally, and knows how to accomplish it.
With over 15 years of experience, Melissa has developed her expertise by working with organizations that range from 10 employees to 3,000 employees, across the United States and Canada. She specializes in effectively utilizing leadership assessments, values identification and values articulation, to drive culture, develop leaders and enhance team interactions.
Carol J. Bruess (rhymes with “peace”), Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Communication and Journalism and formerly Director of Family Studies at the University of St. Thomas, MN. She currently serves as Resident Scholar in the Cassandra Voss Center for equity, identity, and dialogue-across-difference at St. Norbert College, WI. As a professor, researcher, author and speaker the past 26 years, Carol’s primary passions are in studying how our relationship micro-moments of ritual and interaction are key to not only joy and happiness, but also to our physical health and longevity.
She is the author of five books, has presented her work at dozens of national, regional, and international conferences, recently spoke at TEDx Minneapolis (“Are All Relationships Messy?”), and has been featured in a variety of national media outlets, including: PBS, Oprah Radio, Cosmopolitan Magazine, American Health, Natural Health, CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC. In her free time, she enjoys drinking an IPA beer, doing hot yoga, and sewing with vintage fabric (not all at the same time).
Robyn Y. Davis is the President and CEO of Brown County United Way, Green Bay, Wisconsin, a community impact organization that unites people, ideas and resources to create community solutions that strengthen every person and every community in Brown County. Robyn began serving in that role in May 2017. Prior to joining Brown County United Way, Robyn led Freedom House Ministries, Inc. in Green Bay as its President for 8 years. Freedom House Ministries, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to equipping homeless families with the skills and resources needed to achieve financial stability. Robyn is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors, the Weidner Center Presents Board of Directors, and the Northeast Wisconsin Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a long-standing member of Management Women, Inc. and was the 2017 recipient of the organization’s Nancy A. Felhofer Leadership Award. Robyn also serves as a facilitator with the Center for Exceptional Leadership of St. Norbert College and is a sought-after speaker on leadership topics. She has been a faithful attendee of Living Hope Church in Green Bay for the past 13 years.
The oldest of five children, Robyn was born and raised in New York City, New York. She has been a resident of the Greater Green Bay area for the past 16 years and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., Rhode Island and Michigan. Robyn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University in English and Sociology as well as a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University School of Law. Robyn has leveraged her education and professional experience through a variety of leadership positions, including the practice of law, retail management and ministry.
Since moving to Green Bay in 2000, Celestine has become a part of the fabric of the Green Bay Community. In April of 2006, Celestine became Green Bay’s first African American Alder. She served on many committees and in 2008, was re-elected by a 2-to-1 margin. She continued her political career on the Green Bay Area Public School board and was elected to two terms.
Celestine has served as Chief of Staff for Mayor Jim Schmitt, and is currently serving for Mayor Eric Genrich. She successfully partnered with Green Bay Area Public Schools to create program for free rides for students. She re-wrote the special events ordinance, implemented employee resource groups, and has won grant funds to help improve Green Bay’s environmental profile. Celestine plays a central role in improving relationships with the Oneida Nation, which will culminate in an improved Intergovernmental Agreement. Celestine is a graduate of the University of Chicago. She is married to Professor Derek Jeffreys, and they have two sons.
Bridget Krage O’Connor is the Principal and Founder of The O’Connor Connective. Her 20 years of strategy and communications experience with family-owned businesses, privately held companies, colleges, universities, non-profits and service-based industries. She is an experienced facilitator and big picture thinker that helps senior leaders reach their intended results. Bridget received her B.A. in Communication from St. Norbert College and Master of Liberal Studies focusing on Change Communication from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Bridget has helped organizations tell their unique stories for the past 25 years. In short, she combines business strategy and communications strategy to grow organizations. In 2013, Bridget launched O’Connor Connective.
Prior to launching O’Connor Connective, Bridget was a vice president at St. Norbert College and led a division of 30 people driving the college’s marketing, communications and enrollment. Prior, she worked for Wood Communications Group in Madison, Wisconsin, and the University of Minnesota Foundation and Cuningham Group Architects in Minneapolis. She has received the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Greater Green Bay Chamber, and now this year, was named the Business Person of the Year, also by the Greater Green Bay Chamber—just the fifth woman to receive this award in 30 years. She is a graduate of St. Norbert College and has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
Bridget is a guest lecturer for the Center for Exceptional Leadership at St. Norbert College and serves on the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation Board, the Greater Green Bay YMCA Board, and the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship Committee. She previously served on the Mulva Cultural Center Board, Green Bay Botanical Garden Board, the Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay Advisory Board, Scholarships, Inc. Board and the New North Marketing Committee. Bridget’s latest business endeavor is The Connective: A Place for Women in Business which offers a place for women to gather, work, learn and grow along with other women who are focused on advancing in business.
Since 2011, Langenfeld has served as the Green Bay Area Public School District’s first woman superintendent. The average urban superintendent tenure is approximately five years or less. During her tenure, she has overseen many notable changes and accomplishments in the District including, but not limited to: the increasing graduation rates and gap closing for ALL student groups, Passage of an operational referendum of $16.5 million for ten years, which has enabled the District to maintain class sizes and retain staff. Implementation of Turbocharge for College Credit, which in partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay has a goal of all students graduating with 15 college credits beginning in 2023, and so much more. Dr. Langenfeld has been active in the community, serving on many boards, including Achieve Brown County, Partners in Education, Greater Green Bay Chamber, Einstein Project and Brown County United Way. She was also appointed by Representative Robin Vos to serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission for School Funding.
Dr. Lyerly is a specialist in general obstetrics and gynecology with Prevea Health, providing comprehensive services for women of all ages including obstetrics, surgery, and preventive care. She received her MD and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where she focused on creating solutions to address disparities in women’s health care through advocacy, education, and health policy. She believes in providing high quality, evidence-based care for her patients, and never misses an opportunity to empower women, both within and outside of the exam room, to live to their highest potential.
Michelle Minikel, MD, is a board certified physician specializing in Family Medicine. Dr. Minikel believes in attending to the health of individuals in the context of their families, their communities, their values, and their life circumstances. After getting to know a patient, her first goal is to provide education about their health and available tests and treatments in plain, understandable
language. Dr. Minikel wants to work together with her patients to improve their health. She doesn’t give up easily and asks the same of her patients.
Gail McNutt retired in 2018 as CEO of Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. Prior to her leadership at Girl Scouts, Gail was Vice President of Human Resources and Senior Vice President of Finance at Schneider, a transportation and logistics company headquartered in Green Bay, WI. Deeply rooted in her Green Bay community, Gail has also held volunteer board and leadership positions with several organizations including the Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay, Greater Green Bay Area Community Foundation, the YWCA, and the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Gail also completed Marquette University’s prestigious social innovation training and her personal mantra comes from Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” As a coach and consultant, Gail is committed to living out this vision along with helping those she meets to achieve more than imagined.
Janine is an undergraduate Biomedical Engineering student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She had a cool idea for a mentorship/big buddy engineering program for the YWCA TechGYRLS program and designed an experience to explore this idea for this conference. Many of her friends are female engineers, STEAM students, and young professionals, and she enlisted them to share their experiences for girls attending this conference. It is a great opportunity for young girls to gain exposure on the lives of engineering students so they can see themselves in the STEAM field!
Laurie is the president and CEO of the Greater Green Bay Chamber, the state’s second-largest Chamber, comprised of nearly 1,200 member businesses representing more than 88,000 employees. During her nearly nine-year tenure with the organization, she has spearheaded numerous initiatives rooted in economic and workforce development, as well as bolstered membership and legislative advocacy among Chamber members.
This has included: Repositioning and rebranding the Chamber in the marketplace, establishing a new mission statement, vision statement and strategic initiatives adopted Chamber-wide, and much more. In addition, she co-authored and unified the Greater Green Bay community around its first-ever Economic Development Strategic Plan in 2017, an undertaking involving more than 300 community, business and academic leaders and the methodical crafting of 11 initiatives to strengthen the community’s future economic viability. Radke has been a community leader in both economic and workforce development realms for more than 25 years: She is a founding partner of Achieve Brown County (ABC), a forward-thinking community partnership that provides a common framework for improving appropriate cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth and development from birth into their careers. Also, she has served as a board member and treasurer for the Community Leadership Council of ABC and countless others.
In 2019, Radke was honored with the 2018 W. Heraly MacDonald Award for her outstanding contributions to the community and the Brown County United Way. Further, she was one of 22
chamber of commerce professionals nationwide selected in 2019 to participate in the American Chamber of Commerce (ACCE) prestigious Executive’s Fellowship for Education & Talent Development. In 2020, she was honored with the Difference Maker – Business Community Award as part of the Women of Influence Awards by Insight Publications. Prior to her role with the Chamber, Radke served as the dean of corporate training and economic development at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, working with more than 1,200 public and private entities. During that time, she led the development of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance, the Center of Entrepreneurship and the international studies program. She also spent 12 years in capacities including counselor, assistant director and director of the Green Bay campus of Lakeland College.
Renita is the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA Greater Green Bay. Prior to this post, Renita spent over 30 years serving women and children. Formerly licensed as a graduate social worker (LGSW), and 6 th-12th grade English and social studies teacher, Renita has developed effective programs and influenced policy related to services for youth and their families. She has been an advocate, educator, and supporter of the homeless, victims of sexual and domestic violence and children across the life, gender, and race span.
For over 30 years, Renita has developed curriculum, designed conferences and programs, conducted workshops, and addressed a wide range of audiences as the owner of Teach ‘Em To Fish, LLC, a non-profit consulting business dedicated to curriculum development and training on a variety of social justice issues. Renita’s workshops range from tools creating culturally responsive workspaces to the impact of witnessing violence on children. Renita is an accomplished former student-athlete: A National NCAA National Champion in the women’s triple jump; a multi-year Big 8 Scholar Athlete; winner of the 1988 Olympic Trials Exhibition, and as an educator was honored as Teacher of the Year by the Anti-Defamation League in 1997. She is a Doctoral Candidate in Teaching and Learning and has raised two compassionate sons.
Dr. Erin E. Stevens is the board-certified gynecologic oncologist with Prevea Health. She graduated from New York Medical College in 2005 and then completed her residency in obstetrics & gynecology at Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island and her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, NY. Her career then took her to Billings, Montana, where she practiced for five years and lead the department of gyn oncology during that time. She is a nationally recognized speaker, having given over sixty regional and national presentations on gynecologic oncology, living with cancer, sexual health, and end of life issues. She has received the Community Leadership award from the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and was named in the Billings Gazette’s 40 under Forty in 2017. She’s known for going above and beyond, having her head shaved by one of her patients at the Yellowstone County Relay for Life event in July 2017 after she and her team raised over $38,000 for the American Cancer Society that year. In September of 2018, she joined Prevea Health to take over the well-established gynecologic oncology program and continue to provide excellent comprehensive care for patients with gynecologic cancers here in Green Bay. She’s excited to be a member of the community here and is looking to do big things!
Robin Nicole Tinnon, born on August 6th, 1991, on the south-side of Chicago, Illinois is an activist, public intellectual, and writer who advocates for the oppressed. Currently an Executive Director for We All Rise: African American Resource Center, she strives to help black youth and their families be positive participants of healthy relationships, and intentional about their investments in black history and culture. As a community activist, Founder, Feminist & Mom Boss—she is impressed with our community members and their intentionality around healing together. Robin works endlessly to ensure that her teachings are derived from the historical foundation of true mentorship which includes creating safe places, belonging and togetherness as we all move forward in progress.
Currently, writing the book Let Me Be Here for YOU While YOU Stand Up For YOURSELF, she asserts that there are no current writings that give a realistic view of her coined term ‘African Americanism.’ This book discusses race, culture, and spirituality as it all comes together to form the black experience. As a passionate community member, she intends for her work to touch the lives of many and bring homage to those living within the margins or race, class, and gender managing every day to find ways to live their best lives.
Brenda has been on the Green Bay School Board since 2004, she served as president from 2012-2020. She was a pediatrician in Green Bay for seven years before “retiring” to become a stay-at-home mom in 1996. Over the course of the last 24 years, Brenda has been a community volunteer in various capacities: active volunteer in Green Bay schools and on leadership teams for United Way and Achieve Brown County, current member of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants Team, currently serving on the Community Advisory Board for the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Board of Directors for the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. Part of her work for the Medical College has included working with a team to help improve access and opportunity for students of color who want to become physicians.
Brenda recently earned a Ph.D. in education leadership. Her dissertation examined barriers preventing scientifically based reading research from positively impacting classroom practice. Her focus over the last five years has been working to improve how reading is taught in Wisconsin and nationally so that all children learn to read. With the recent events in our country, her work feels even more urgent as we all strive together to eliminate racism.
Comments from 2019 Conference Attendees
“I just wanted to reach out and say thank you to you and your team for Friday. I am always go-go-go so it was a much needed break to focus on myself. I am going to encourage every woman I know to attend next year and to check out all the great things happening at your facility. This community is blessed to have you!” -Samantha
“…I’d like share with you that I greatly appreciate all the hard work you put into setting up that WE conference last Friday. That was a wonderful experience for me….I really enjoyed it….so thank you. I had a challenging week at work and going there on Friday and listening to the speakers was like setting the re-start button on myself. It was exactly what I needed. I look forward to attending more conferences like that at the YWCA.” -Rebecca
Thanks to our sponsors!
Chris Woleske / Bellin Health
Woodward Radio Group
If you are interested in sponsoring the Women’s Empowerment Conference, please download this sponsorship levels form. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Leslie Asare, CEO at email@example.com or call (920) 432-5581 x135.