Lean In


Michelle PerdueMichelle Perdue, M.Ed.

Michelle Perdue, M.Ed., is a Resilience Keynote Speaker and founder of Speak To Advance Communications who within minutes captivates her audience. Michelle has the rare ability to infuse her tailored and transformative presentations with a theatrical flare to maximize audience engagement and cultivate resilience. Her superpower lies in the ability to empower others to overcome adversity and rise to their potential.

Michelle has had the privilege of working with clients from a diverse group of businesses and organizations. They include, but are not limited to Land O’ Lakes, Johnson & Johnson and Eclolab, just to name a few. She has also had the privilege of speaking at organizations such as TeamWomen, Domestic Abuse Project and Zonta International.

Above and beyond keynote speaking, Michelle has facilitated result driven workshops, interviewed highly recognizable and influential leaders on the Leadership Table Talk with Michelle Perdue show, and has been a CEO moderator to some of the most fearless and powerful corporate leaders in the nation. Finally, Michelle is a Veteran of the United States Army Reserves and continues to thrive as a cancer survivor.

In her spare time, Michelle enjoys writing and performing poetry, acting in film projects, and print modeling for various companies. It’s because of her creative talents and passion in helping others, Michelle has the confidence and courage to step out of her comfort zone to cultivate resilience and breakthroughs in the lives of others. Michelle firmly believes that when one rise, we all rise.

Christina Moffattlawson

Christina is a passionate business professional with a track record of developing strategic 
initiatives that positively impact businesses, communities, and people. She has exceptional 
experience in developing client services that support the diverse needs of small to midsize businesses and proven track record of how big businesses work to serve small business clients. She is a tireless promoter and advocate of programs and initiatives that drive organizational growth, leadership development, and positive workplace cultures of diversity and inclusion. She is a respected and trusted business partner and consultant to executive leaders and business owners.

A graduate of DMACC, Iowa State University and University of Toledo CBA Program, Christina did not only own and operate her small business she also served as the Regional Director of the Mid Iowa Small Business Development Center, Director of Small Business Resources for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Business Development Officer for Purpose Bank and currently serves as a Customer Growth Strategist for Small to Midsize Business in the financial industry for a Fortune 500 company. She also devotes her time and talents to many local boards. Christina has won several awards for her business including appearing on Food Network's Cupcake Wars.

Breakout Session I

William Kiefer

William holds a Bachelor of Science in both Microbiology and Nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, he received his DNP degree from Texas Tech University with a focus on Executive Healthcare Leadership.  He is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. 

Kiefer possesses many years of experience in healthcare management working in various rural communities where he has successfully improved the delivery of healthcare services.  He has served as Chief Clinical Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Executive Officer, achieving meaningful results in quality and financial outcomes. 

Professional memberships and awards include Vice President of the Texas Medical Foundation Executive Board, National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Healthcare Fellow, Texas Organization for Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH) Healthcare Fellow and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. 

He enjoys serving actively in both church and civic organizations, some of which include the Muscular Dystrophy Association and local Chambers of Commerce.  William has been married to Jasmine for 22 years and Jasmine focuses her time on raising their three children, Madison and Ethan who are 19 and in college and Sofie who is 16 and in High School. 

Lilian Okech

Coming to America at the age of 15, Lilian “Lily” Okech started high school in the United States speaking no English. She learned the alphabet while in the 9th grade and within months was on her way to speaking and writing English while identifying her passion and deep-routed need to help others.

Lilian was born in Kitgum, Uganda in a refugee camp a few months after her family fled from South Sudan. Over the years Lilian faced many health struggles with limited food sources and lack of clean water. Through it all she learned to place her trust and belief in God’s plan for her life. She knows the life of a refugee, that of a transplant who has lost family members, best friends, and her home. 

Lilian is also a collaborative author two Time Amazon #1 bestselling books, and Co-found of Bother Tech Community Organization, an internet-café, and Computer Training, to help bring Internet Services and computer training closer to people of South Sudan.

Her goal is to help build internet cafés for local schools to help the local population, increase their knowledge with computers, the internet, and computer training, and connect to the World Wide Web. Their goal is to change South Sudan in the advancement of technology. The goal is to motivate younger women and men to pursue their goals.

Angie Will

Passionate. Dedicated. Coach.

Angie Will joined the BIO Girls team, officially making it the BIO Girls “Team”! Angie has been involved as a volunteer with BIO Girls since the very first session. Her passion for our youth and dedication to BIO Girls is unmatched. In 2014, she took on the challenge of managing site expansion long before a paycheck was even a possibility. The growth of BIO Girls has been in large part to Angie’s ability to coach and motivate our volunteer force. She continues to support our Site Directors and manage site logistics to ensure successful program execution. Angie attended Minnesota State University at Mankato where she graduated with a degree in Community Health.  Angie resides in Bloomfield, IA with her husband Dave and two kids, Jada and Carter, and their dog Miley. In her spare time, Angie serves as a volunteer baseball coach in her community.

Discussion Panel 

Natalie McGee

Natalie McGee is currently Southcentral Iowa Local Workforce Area Development board chair.  She is in business as a real estate investor with her daughter.  Natalie recently retired after 43 years with Hy-Vee Food Stores, with her last 18 years spent practicing human resources.   She was the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources for the Chariton Distribution Center which employs approximately 2000 people in Lucas County.  She returned to college to finish her degree the year her youngest child went off to college.  Natalie earned her BA in Business Administration from William Penn University.  She also earned her PHR designation in 2006 and went on to earn the SPHR and then the SHRM-SCP designations.  Natalie is serving on the Board of Trustees for the county hospital, Lucas County Health Center, an elected position she has held since 2007.  She is passionate about lifelong learning, and anything relating to jobs creation and workforce development for the enhancement of living in Southern Iowa.

Lori Schaefer-Weaton

Agri-Industrial Plastics President Lori Schaefer-Weaton of Fairfield was named to an exclusive list of women manufacturing leaders who will be honored with a national award this fall.

Schaefer-Weaton is among 130 women who will receive a 2021 STEP Ahead Award from The Manufacturing Institute, partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. The STEP Ahead Award, which stands for “science, technology, engineering and production,” honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers “across all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.” Award recipients will be recognized during a reception and gala in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4.

“It is humbling to receive this award, and I receive it on behalf of the amazing team of people I work with every day at Agri-Industrial Plastics Co.,” Schaefer-Weaton said.

Schaefer-Weaton said she is driven to succeed by the 200 people she works with every day. She said her “boss, mentor and dad” Dick Smith motivates her to carry on his legacy in a way that will make the family proud. Smith founded Agri-Industrial Plastics in Fairfield in 1978.

Mayuri Farlinger

Mayuri (May) Farlinger is Vice President of Customer and Community Engagement at Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT). She joined Alliant Energy as an intern in 2004. Since then, she has taken on a series of progressively more responsible roles with several teams across the company, including Finance, Audit, Regulatory, Account Management, Field Engineering, Customer Renewables, Revenue Management and Operations.

Throughout her tenure at Alliant Energy, May’s ongoing leadership and initiative have energized others and delivered positive results for customers and communities.

David Bossou

David Bossou is passionate about community, family, and uplifting others. As the Community Relations Coordinator at C1st Credit Union, he is dedicated to building meaningful relationships that promote success for those in his community. You will often find him at events in the community representing his organization and finding ways to help those he encounters. He serves on many local non-profit boards and participates in city government. David was born in Togo, Africa, and is proudly rooted in Ottumwa, IA since 2009. He credits his success to his strong ties to the African heritage his parents have continued in their family. David recognizes that he has been so successful because of his family. His goal is always to lift up those around him and help provide the same access to resources that he was exposed to. When he is not serving the community, you'll find him cherishing moments with his beautiful wife Cyan, and their wonderful son Ezekiel. Let's connect and make a positive impact together!

Shea Greiner

Shea Greiner, the Director of Investor Relations at Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress, plays a pivotal role in advancing the economic and community development of the Ottumwa region. With a keen focus on fostering prosperity, Shea collaborates with investors, businesses, and community stakeholders to drive growth and investment opportunities. Her dedication to engagement and organizational advancement is evident in her work, ensuring that Ottumwa continues to thrive and attract investment. She is committed to enhancing the region’s well-being and economic vitality. Shea’s contributions are instrumental in achieving this mission, and her commitment to building strong relationships with investors is commendable.

Breakout Session II

Lexi Marek Beeler

Lexi Marek Beeler is a farm girl, an Iowa State University graduate, and a recently established full-time entrepreneur. She grew up on her family's diversified livestock and grain farm in Riverside, Iowa, where she discovered her passion for agriculture. Lexi's professional background includes agricultural marketing roles at a start-up business, a state government agency, and a for-profit corporation. She recently launched LMB Consulting, a marketing company that creates digital and event experiences. Currently residing in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, she enjoys exploring the vibrant offerings of city life.

Cheri Monahan

A resourceful, relationship-driven sales and business development professional with over 20 years of success in Eastern Iowa. Skilled in financial packaging, business planning and making powerful connections to support client prosperity and the multiplier effect to the local economy.

Claudia Schabel

Claudia is the Founder, President and CEO of Schabel Solutions. She’s been on a 20-plus-year mission to raise awareness and consciousness about social justice. Born and raised in Brazil, Claudia lived and worked in Japan for five years prior to moving to the United States and earning a BA in International Relations from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Her approach as a sought-after diversity, equity and inclusion consultant combines over 20 years of DEI and human resources practitioner experience, largely with Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, with her international, multicultural background. Her expertise and background positions her to offer impactful consulting, training and coaching services in the areas of DEI and cultural competency.

Breakout Session III

Marc Roe

Marc Roe is a former city councilperson, held many of the “C” titles, former college educator and current Executive Director of Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress.  He has worked in several industries including:  news media, education, manufacturing, disabilities services and economic development.  Marc holds a B.A. in Accounting from Buena Vista University and earned his M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix in 2006.  In addition to his day job, Marc has served on many community boards.  Marc’s personal passions are human equality and disabilities rights.  In his free time, Marc is a musician and enjoys writing music and playing shows. 

Andrea Shafer

Shafer joined Cambridge in 2007 and has nearly 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. Among the youngest members of Cambridge’s leadership team, she participates in long-term strategic planning efforts while representing the industry’s next generation of leadership. Shafer currently leads nearly 40 associates and oversees Cambridge’s Regulatory Affairs and Advocacy & Supervision teams with a focus on risk mitigation.

Shafer is a strong advocate for financial literacy in the Fairfield, Iowa community. She volunteers with a number of groups and has been a regular speaker at local and national conferences, including Iowa Women Leaders and FSI OneVoice. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law in addition to the FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66 licenses.

Brenda Clark Hamilton

Brenda Clark Hamilton is a dynamic keynote speaker who offers fresh perspectives in leadership, communication, team building, and offering one’s personal best to life, relationships, and career.  
Brenda launched her speaking business in the fall of 2005, by offering training to businesses in her northern Iowa community. She spoke at her first statewide conference in 2008. Since that time, she has become a nationally recognized conference speaker and audience favorite, speaking at approximately 100 events each year, in every industry imaginable.

Audiences are quick to note Brenda’s sense of humor, in-depth knowledge, high energy, and skill at keeping them engaged. Her recent speaking venues have included several trips to Colorado Springs to provide professional development for the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Her first international speaking event—to attendees from London, Dublin, and New York City—was virtual and mid-pandemic, in spring of 2021.

Brenda’s career experience includes coordinating professional development for 1200 Iowa teachers. She holds a Master’s degree in education.