Jean Turner is a Buyer at the Metropolitan Utilities District, (M.U.D.), and Supply Chain Procurement in Omaha, Nebraska.  Her responsibilities include seeking and securing small businesses, women and minority owned businesses for Procurement and Supplier Chain contracts since 2010.  Jean has been with M.U.D. since 1979, having worked her way up to a key Buyer position.   
Prior to M.U.D., Jean worked for Nebraska Furniture Mart at a Purchasing Administrator for ten years.  She is a Graduate from Bellevue University with a Masters in Business Management, and a Graduate from the Institute for Supply Management and Project Management for Procurement Certification.  She is a member of the NAPM (Nebraska Associ
ation of Purchasing Management), ISM Nebraska Inc. (Institute for Supply Management) Member, GPMSDC (Great Plains Minority Suppliers Development Council), MMSDC (Midwest Minority Suppliers Development Council), Corporate Partner Position-Executive Advisory Committee, ESB (Employers Speakers Bureau) and the United Way 2010 (Executive Committee). 

Jean will be in the Procurement/Certification Breakout Session, and on the panel during lunch.

Barbara Soderlin is one of seven reporters on The Omaha World-Herald's Money desk. She covers employment issues, technology and the food business, and moderates the Money Talks business blog.  Barbara studied English literature at Northwestern University and is pursuing a master's degree in journalism at South Dakota State University.  She is a Chicago native and lives in Omaha with her husband, World-Herald photographer Ryan Soderlin, their two daughters and their rabbit, Sunny B.
Barbara is on the Afternoon Media Panel to reveal tips on how to grab the news media attention.

Marisol U. Rodriguez is the Technology Commercialization program director at the Nebraska Business Development Center.  Marisol consider herself as a successful woman intrapreneur:  Growing customer base, developing and implementing marketing plans, building professional networks and creating partnerships, adding value to stakeholders, managing budgets, etc., are some of her accomplishment during her professional career. 
Marisol's business consulting experience consists of start-up consulting, financing application/process for lenders and private investors, cash flow analysis, business model development and business plan writing, marketing plan development, and financial projections development and analysis.   Recently, she has expanded her knowledge in the grant government, technology transfer, and technology commercialization arenas.  
Marisol, who is bilingual in Spanish and English, holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Science in economics.  She is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council and Certified as Technology Consultant by the Association of Small Business Development Centers.

Stephanie Healy founded Vente, Inc. in 1999 to develop highly segmented, permission-based marketing databases for companies wanting to reach qualified prospects. As CEO and Co-Founder of Vente, Inc., Ms. Healy aggressively built a high margin business with over $18 million dollars in annual revenue and employing over 75 people. In 2005, she successfully negotiated the sale of Vente to Experian’s Marketing Services Division. 
Prior to starting Vente, Healy profitably managed the online division for Omaha Steaks. She built OmahaSteaks.com into a multi-million dollar business. As an experienced direct marketer, Healy has a wide range of experience leading both B2C and B2B companies. 
As a native of Omaha, Nebraska, Ms. Healy graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a BS in History. In 2008, Ms. Healy was Inducted into the “Hall of Fame” for Nebraska’s Distinguished Entrepreueurs by the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Ms. Healy was voted one of the Omaha’s 40 Under 40 by the Midlands Business Journal and named Emerging Entrepreneur of 2002 by Ernst & Young for the Nebraska/Iowa region.   She has also been featured as a leading entrepreneur in publications like The Wall Street Journal, Direct, DM News and Target magazine.

Sara Hanlon isCEO and Co-creator of Blogglebeans, a website and app where grandparents and kids can play and share. Sara has more than a decade of online sales, marketing and product development experience. Hanlon oversees the business strategy for the company as well as day-to-day operations, strategic partnerships, and customer acquisition. She lives in Omaha with her husband and 4-year-old twin girls.  @HanlonSara

Sara is on the Successful Midwest Woman Entrepreneur Interview Panel.



Keith Fix is a serial entrepreneur and marketing connoisseur, Keith managed to raise six-figures from private investors to start his 3rd company, blabfeed, while still in college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Keith graduated in December 2012.  His work as a budding small business enthusiast across various tech ventures has been highlighted in Entrepreneur Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, articles on Yahoo, Omaha World Herald and more. 
blabfeed, a Perfecta Media LLC, specializes in the procurement, installation, integration and design of digital signage solutions. The firm also assists clients in identifying digital out of home marketing opportunities. Since 2012, blabfeed has experienced 1551% revenue growth and made a national footprint with clients


Julie DeWitt is the Director of Marketing for Koley Jessen law firm where she is responsible for branding, marketing, public relations, business development strategy, and community involvement. Within the Omaha community, she serves on the board of Maha Music Festival and on the steering committee of the Benson Mural Project. She is a past board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands and Inclusive Communities.  Julie is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Omaha and received the Ten Outstanding Young Omahans award in 2005.  In 2004 and 2005, she served as the first chair of the Young Professionals Council, now Greater Omaha Young Professionals.  Julie has a degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.


Paige Cahill is the Constant Contact Regional Development Director for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska & Oklahoma. Paige is an email marketing and social media expert, small business & non-profit advocate, advisor, entrepreneur, professional speaker and trainer. Paige’s expertise and knowledge has been acquired from her entrepreneurial expertise and 20 plus years in education, training, consulting, technology plus marketing industry. Paige speaks to over 10,000 small businesses and non-profits annually regarding traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies. Paige’s passion is to help small businesses and non-profits “thrive and survive” in any economy. As a Regional Development Director for Constant Contact, Paige’s mission is to “coach and connect” small business and non-profits to best marketing practices, strategies, tips, tools and real-world examples to help “Rev Up Your Relationships, Referrals, Revenues and Results. 

Paige is leading the Email Marketing & Social Media Breakout Session.


Dr. Joel Bessmer is the founding physician and Medical Director of Members.MD, a company that pairs patients with concierge health care providers in Omaha, NE.  Dr. Bessmer opened his concierge clinic in 2009 to provide unprecedented care and significantly improve the quality of his patient’s lives. Dr. Bessmer has been named one of the "Best Doctors in America" annually since 2001. Last year, he also received Concierge Medicine Today’s “Top Doc” honor naming him one of the top 15 concierge physicians in the country.A native of Plainview, Neb., Dr. Bessmer received his undergraduate degree from Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney) in 1988 and his medical degree from UNMC in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at UNMC, where he was chief resident. Dr. Bessmer joined the UNMC faculty in 1997, serving as associate professor of internal medicine, associate director of the internal medicine residency program, co-director of the UNMC medicine/pediatrics residency program, and medical director for UNMC Physicians Turner Park Clinic and Baker Place Clinic.



Brandon Athy is a commercial lending professional, serving the Greater Omaha area, with SAC Federal Credit Union.  Before joining the SAC Federal Credit Union team, Brandon was a Branch Manager with US Bank in Omaha, and a Business Banker for Farmers State Bank in Marion, IA. Brandon received his bachelor’s degree in Business/Finance from Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, IA and is currently finishing his MBA.  At present time, Brandon is a member of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce President’s Club and the Bellevue Rotary Club.

Brandon will be in the Morning Breakout Room, Show Me The Money- Bank Loans, Lines of Credit & State Grants.



Speakers from the September 27, 2013 Conference:

Angela Lee was born in Western Nebraska and raised on a cattle ranch.  She grew up knowing how to work hard and the value of a dollar. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2000-2004 and received a degree in journalism and went on to establish Strictly Business Magazine in the Omaha market. In 2011, Angela invented the SHOLDIT Clutch Wrap™ purse that within first year of launch has been featured by the TODAY Show, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Time, Yahoo Finance, profiled by The Associated Press as well as other national, regional, and local newscasts. 
In creating the idea for the SHOLDIT brand, many things came to heart. I had grown tired of carrying a traditional bag. I soon realized I wasn't the only one. As women, we all face the constant dread of carrying a heavy purse, digging around forever to find something, setting it on the floor or chair back only to get dirty or swiped. I decided there has got to be a better way! I love the look and feel of a scarf, the security of cross body bags, and the simplicity of a clutch....why not incorporate it all into one. Enter SHOLDIT.  
The world spins with people trying to prevent problems or if one must, create a solution. SHOLDIT has done both. Introducing the world's one and only patent-pending Clutch Wrap™ purse.



Andrea “Andee” Hoig was the editor of what she would eventually upgrade into metroMagazine when she purchased the existing publication (at the time known as Metro Monthly) from her father in 1996 with the dream of transforming it into a vital component of the Omaha philanthropic community.
As publisher, she has also introduced “The Event Book,” a resource guide to charity events and nonprofit giving guide. She created AHL Publications Inc., expanding products and publications offered, and created the “Big Event,” an annual Academy Award-style evening recognizing efforts of those involved in successful events. She started the weekly interview radio show “metroCONNECTIONS: Spirit of Omaha.”
Andee launched a Weekly Insider e-newsletter for charity events, and is a weekly guest for metroMagazine’s Weekly Insider segment on KMTV’s “The Morning Blend” and appears weekly on 101.9 with Dave Wingert. In recent years Ms. Hoig has also launched a full featured website: SpiritofOmaha.com, which supports her company’s mission of promoting nonprofits and philanthropy. In 2011 Andrea launched a unique local guide, “101 Things to Love about the Greater Omaha Metro” and keeping in line with her passion for animals, “Pet & Animal Enthusiast Magazine.”


Stefanie Garcia, Whole Foods Market.  Stefanie is Local Forager & Competitive Strategy Coordinator at Whole Foods.  Previously, Stefanie managed the customer service department at a multimillion dollar natural and organic food retail store with a team of 85 customer service team members, 15 floor Supervisors, and 4 Associate Team Leaders. Stefanie helps identify new products and growth opportunities for Whole Foods Market in the Midwest.
Stefanie is on the Retailer Afternoon Panel, and is a key decision maker for the Whole Foods Market- Omaha Store, plus Midwest Region.

Rissa M. Conner began her career with the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) in 1988 as a Junior Clerk in the Transmission and Distribution Division.  In 1996 she was promoted as a Corporate Buyer for Purchasing and Contracts and in 2011 named as the Manager of Corporate Purchasing and Contracts.  Rissa is speaking in the Procurement/Contract Morning Breakout Session. 
Her involvement includes:  Board member for the Institute of Supply Management; Minority Purchasing Council (previous member); Visiting Nurses Association (previous board member); Formal Mentoring at OPPD.  Ms. Conner was selected for the OPPD Award of Excellence and as the Buyer of the Year by the Great Plains Minority Purchasing Council.
Ms. Conner earned a Masters of Arts in Management from Bellevue University and a Bachelors of Science in Urban Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  She is also a Certified Purchasing Manager through the Institute of Supply Management and a Certified Lean Facilitator.  To contact Rissa Conner, please call 402-636-3088.

Pamela Peterson has more than twenty-five years of diversified experience in sales and marketing at the national and global level with a proven track record of success. Her industry expertise includes professional service firms and industrial and durable goods manufacturers ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations including Accenture and Tyco. She has significant experience managing complex marketing and sales initiatives across highly matrixed organizations with multiple stakeholders. Equally conversant in the sales and marketing disciplines she specializes in defining and executing go-to-market strategy, identifying and capitalizing on new product and market opportunities, building brand equity and creating viable sales enablement tools. In addition, Pam teaches courses in sales, marketing and management at the University of Nebraska Omaha.  Pam is leading the Morning Breakout Sessions on Sales for Entrepreneurs & Small Business (2 sessions).

Jason Nickla, JD LLM is the Director of Intellectual Property at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and its technology transfer entity, UNeMed Corporation.  As a registered patent attorney, Jason works with inventors and outside counsel to analyze and protect UNMC inventions.  Jason also drafts and negotiates various contracts relating to intellectual property, including licenses, sponsored research agreements, material transfer agreements, and confidential disclosure agreements.     
In addition to his work at UNMC, Jason supports local and international technology transfer efforts by being a Consultant on the Innovation Philippines project for the International Intellectual Property Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, an Adjunct Professor teaching Intellectual Property Law in the MBA program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and recently began working with the World Intellectual Property Organization’ technology and innovation support centers. Prior to arriving at UNMC, Jason worked at two intellectual property specialty law firms in Chicago where he drafted and prosecuted patent applications, conducted prior art searches on inventions, and provided patentability and freedom-to-operate opinions.  Further, he conducted prior art searches and drafted written opinions on PCT patent applications on behalf of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Jason is leading the 

Morning Breakout Session on Intellectual Property Issues many Small Business Owners face like Patents and Licensing Agreements..


Dr. Deepak Khazanchi is Professor of Information Systems and Quantitative Analysis, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Community Engagement and Internationalization Officer in the College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Prior to becoming Associate Dean, he served as chair of the Information Systems & Quantitative Analysis department in the College of IS&T. He is also an affiliated faculty in UNO’s International Studies & Programs.  Dr. Khazanchi’s current research interests are focused in the areas of virtual project management, mutual knowledge, project management best practices, B2B assurance services and risk analysis in extended enterprise environments, and the application of philosophy of science in the Information Systems discipline.  
Dr. Khazanchi has been engaged in collaborative interactions with the business community through various R&D projects and service to the IT profession and community at the regional, national and international levels. 
Dr. Khazanchi is leading the Morning Breakout Sessions on Technology, Websites and E-Commerce with some of his students.

Stephen J.George,CFA. Stephen is Founder and Managing Partner at Panorama Point Partners, Ltd.  An Omaha-based, unconventional investment partnership focused solely on private markets and unlocking proprietary opportunities via a network of entrepreneurs and families.  Stephen is the former Co-Founder, Chief Investment Officer, Managing Partner of Capricorn Investment Group, LLC, a private family-focused investment firm with $5 billion in capital; currently he is a non-operational Partner and Senior Advisor.
Stephen is on the Investor/Funder Afternoon Panel.

Bart Dillashaw is a partner at the Koley Jessen law firm in Omaha, Nebraska, where he practices general corporate and securities law. Bart primarily works with private companies on general corporate and transactional matters, including formation, equity financings, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, Bart represents venture capital and angel investors on investments in high growth companies.
Bart is actively engaged in the angel and venture capital community in Nebraska, and he is the President of the Nebraska Angels, Nebraska's largest formal network of angel investors. In addition, Bart is a mentor for the Pipeline entrepreneurship program and for the NMotion and Straight Shot business accelerators, and he is a member of the advisory board of the Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Nebraska College of Law.  
Bart is on the Investor/Funding Afternoon Panel.


Laurie Hellbush Wolford is owner Spirit World a gourmet deli and specialty wine, beer and liquor store located in midtown Omaha, Nebraska. They are known for their famous chicken and tuna salads, as well as a wide selection of wine, specialty import and microbrew beers, and hard-to-find liquors and cordials. Spirit World is a local favorite, having won Omaha Magazine's Best of Omaha award for Best Wine Store, Best Liquor Store and Best Deli for many years!
Laurie is on the Afternoon Retailer Panel, and Spirit World is providing lunch!



Korey Young is a SBA Lender Relations Specialist at the Nebraska District Office.  A native of Creighton, Neb., Korey comes to the SBA from Isabelle Court in Austin, Texas, where he worked as financial director/managing partner.  Prior to that, he served for five years as an area business specialist in Norfolk, Nebraska, with the Department of Agriculture, with direct responsibility for overseeing loan guarantee programs for small businesses within a 36-county area in the Cornhusker State.  Among his accomplishments: managing a project spanning 12 months resulting in a $22 million guarantee, and developing a structure among service providers which increased USDA small business applications sevenfold.  
Young also has experience in small business lending, first with US Bank in Blair, where he moved up quickly from loan officer to bank relationship manager.  From there, he moved to Washington County Bank as commercial lending officer and bank security officer, where he was responsible for more than $10 million in loans in the lender’s portfolio; while there, he also served as the president of the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club, and on the board of directors for the Gateway Economic Development Corporation

Karen Linder is Partner, at Linseed Capital LLC. She is an entrepreneur and a member of the Nebraska Angels and Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN). She is a former small business owner and former faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She serves on the boards of the Museum of Nebraska Art, KANEKO and SkyVu Entertainment.  Linder spent nearly 30 years as a Cytotechnologist, studying cells, and has written numerous medical scientific journal articles and books.  Her book, The Women of Berkshire Hathaway, was published in 2012.
Karen is on the Investor/Funder Afternoon Panel.