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Our Speakers

We are delighted to present a fantastic group of keynote speakers and breakout session speakers who have been selected to inspire and energize you! Learn more about each of our speakers:

Keynote Speakers


Laura Berman Fortgang, MCC

Laura’s professional life is anchored by her international reputation as a pioneer in the personal coaching field. She has worked extensively as an executive coach as well as personal coach to business owners and individuals.

One of the first to receive formal coach training, and the Master Coach Credential, she also was part of the founding team of the International Coach Federation which led to being called upon in corporate, government, and public sectors as an expert on coaching skills training and its impact on leadership.

Laura has brought coaching to NASA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Florida’s State Government as well as to dozens of Fortune 500 companies that include giants in finance, pharmaceuticals and food service and supply. She has worked internationally for the World Bank, J&J in Singapore, a private company in Tokyo and teaching coaching skills in London, Dublin, and Stockholm.

Also popular in mainstream American media, Laura’s appearances on Oprah, The CBS Early Show, NBC’s Today, Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, to name a few, as well as a long stint as contributing editor for Redbook Magazine and as a Huffington Post blogger, has helped her reach millions of people who want to improve their work and life.

Laura is a sought-after professional speaker whose signature sense of humor is part of her appeal. The same voice is captured in her five best-selling books now published in 13 languages. They include: The Prosperity Plan, Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction, Living Your Best Life, Take Yourself to the Top, and The Little Book On Meaning—which was a finalist for a Books for a Better Life award alongside the Dalai Lama.

Through her coaching company, InterCoach, Inc./Now What?® Coaching, Laura’s individual clients have sought her out to strategize career and life direction. Corporations have hired her as an Executive Coach to emerging leaders and C-Suite executives alike. Recently, she has been called on to bring her career coaching methodologies to high schools and colleges.

Laura holds a B.S. in Communications from Boston University, is a graduate of Coach University and was ordained in 2006 by One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City. She speaks Spanish fluently and uses her French when needed.

A wife and mother of three, Laura resides in New Jersey where she holds leadership positions in the community, including being the newly minted Chairwoman of her political County Committee.

Laura BermanFortgang
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Catherine Brown

Catherine Brown understands what it means to start and build a business during challenging times. She launched her first company with two little, small boys at home in 2003, and she now runs a sales training firm called ExtraBold Sales. ( 

She is a veteran of more than 25 years of selling, recruiting, and fundraising with for profit and nonprofit organizations. Her training includes psychology research that gets at the heart of why people hesitate to sell.

In her new book, How Good Humans Sell™: The Proven Path to B2B Sales Success, she combines best practices with social psychology principles. Her process helps business owners take the frustration and worry out of business development so they can close new business without wasting money on one-size-fits-all sales training. 

Catherine has a Bachelor's degree from Rice University in Houston and is trained in marketing through the 7-pt marketing framework, StoryBrand. She lives in Texas with her family. She loves taking walks, reading, planning her next globetrotting adventure, watching sci-fi with her family (#nerds), and hosting dinner parties. Catherine is a sales leadership contributor on LinkedIn, and you can see more about her here.

Catherine Brown

Sara Smith, MCC

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Sara Smith, executive coach and consultant, spent nearly 30 years with IBM in sales and sales leadership. Her success opened the door to management and leadership positions and eventually to coaching. Sara joined IBM’s global transformation team - the group that orchestrated the rapid evolution of IBM into a premiere services company. Sara served as an executive coach, internal consultant and professional change agent.

Since leaving IBM, Sara has continued to help organizations and individuals transform. Sara is CEO of Smith Leadership, and her clients include executives of global firms, small companies, and higher education as well as athletic coaches and their teams. She helps individuals and organizations accelerate transformation and measure success and is a master helping people change, increase their effectiveness as leaders and reinvent their organizations.

Sara earned both bachelor and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University and is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) through the International Coaching Federation where she served as the 2020 Chair of the Professional Coaches Board of Directors. She received coach training and credentials through The Coaches Training Institute, the Teleos Leadership Executive Coaching Program and Neuroscience, Consciousness, and Transformational Coaching and Organizational and Relationship Coaching.

She fills her free time playing with Jake, a rescued Greyhound, enjoying outdoor activities with husband, Paul and traveling in their RV.

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Rick Tamlyn, MCC

Rick Tamlyn inspires people to be their best.  He teaches that every experience, emotion, reaction, and relationship is all made up. As an author, “activational” keynote speaker, co-active trainer and thought leader in the inspiration business, Rick has delivered his message around the world to people and organizations from all walks of life. His corporate clients include Disney, IBM, Microsoft, and The Y Organization. Rick currently delivers personal and leadership development training virtually to hundreds of people each month.

In 2001, Rick co-created The Bigger Game: a tool that inspires people from all walks of life to get out of their comfort zones and invent the lives they want. He is the author of Play Your Bigger Game: 9 Minutes to Learn, A Lifetime to Live (Hay House, Oct 2013). 

As a trusted advisor for Fortune 100 companies, small businesses, nonprofits, and churches, he has built a global audience, speaking and conducting workshops in more than 17 countries. His current bigger game is “to activate millions of people around the world to play their own compelling bigger games.” 

Rick is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and is a senior trainer for The Coaches Training Institute, a world-renowned coach training and leadership development organization. He has MFA from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in Communications from Hope College in Michigan. 

And, a fun fact... he is obsessed with The Carpenters.

Rick Tamlyn

Breakout Session Speakers

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Teresa Bitner, ACC

As a resiliency, change and loss specialist, Teresa Bitner partners with those who have been knocked down by life and want to build resiliency and move forward to a bold life. She has 20 years of experience coaching people in many different areas. She also has over 20 years IT industry experience where she was a team lead, manager, mentor, and project manager of both small and large world-wide diverse leading teams to success. Teresa chose to leave high-tech and started her education career working in special education and as a middle school classroom teacher, team lead, department head and mentor, working with parents, students, other educators and administration for what was best for students’ success.  

Teresa regained the joy of life and living fully after the significant loss of her first spouse in 2009. The journey from gut wrenching grief to boldly living and her own life coaching experiences led her to leave the classroom to help others find their passion and live their true unique lives. 

She also has the life experiences of dealing with her elderly parents as remote caregiver where she learned about elder transitions including independent living, assisted living, in home care, hospice care, the eventual death of her mother due to congestive heart failure, and now memory care for her father with dementia. She has been at the highest of highs in life and brought to the lowest of lows and is very blessed to be living an amazing BOLD Fulfilled life. 

Teresa holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Science and Math, from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and Project Management Professional (PMP). She is an Authorized Facilitator of Laura Berman Fortgang’s NowWhat Coaching Model. She served 3 years on the ICF Greater Austin Board of Directors as Community Outreach Chair and Secretary. She regularly volunteers as a pro-bono coach for ICF Greater Austin, Women for Change Coaching Community, and Stand Beside Them. She is the author of Soul Love: How A Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again and co-author of Torn in Half: The First Days.

She is happily remarried, and her sons are grown and living amazing lives. She wants everyone to know there is life after loss and no one has to do this alone.

Teresa Bitner
Mina Brown
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Mina Brown, MCC

Few professional coaches have the depth of executive leadership experience, masterful coaching reputation, all around credentials and positive impact that Mina Brown does. 

Her passion for coaching shines through in every engagement. With more than 20 years in coaching, she has worked with hundreds of senior leaders in a wide variety of industries ranging from technology and healthcare to real estate. With her expanding team of qualified coaches, she provides affordable coaching programs for professionals at every level in an organization.

She is a gifted and inspiring teacher of coaching skills to corporate leaders and certification candidates. Her programs through Coach Academy International are ICF and BCC accredited.

Before coaching, the first stage of her career was focused on corporate leadership, starting as an auditor with Price Waterhouse and progressing to become the CFO of a publicly traded company and the SVP and General Manager of its Aerospace Division.

Mina holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and BBA in Accounting from Eastern Kentucky University. She is an ICF Master Certified Coach (MCC), Certified NeuroTransformational Coach (CTNC), Board Certified Coach (BCC), and Master NLP Practitioner. She is also certified in many well-respected assessments, including the Hogan, Korn Ferry’s Leadership Architect, Kolbe Index®, among others.

She has co-authored five books. The second edition of her popular book, BE SHARP: “Tell Me About Yourself” in Great Introductions and Professional Bios, continues to receive rave reviews. Her book, BE SMART: Sail Past the Hazards of Conventional Career Advice, is “rewriting the career planning rulebook.”

Mina lives in Dallas, TX, equidistant from her son in DC and daughter (and new granddaughter) in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about singing, playing handbells, and dog rescue. 

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Ruth Calabrese, ACC

Before launching her leadership coaching and consultancy firm, Ruth Calabrese was a global senior executive in a Fortune 50 company for over two decades. Throughout her corporate career, Ruth’s professional development and interests were always people-focused, particularly in developing talent and building great teams that work well together, innovate and consistently exceed their goals. As a certified leadership coach and consultant, Ruth focuses on maximizing leadership potential and performance excellence with clients in a wide range of business fields. Using compassion, humor and candor, her effective coaching style creates transformative collaborations that unlock potential and create the space and confidence her clients need to successfully pursue and achieve their goals.

Ruth is an impactful professional speaker and humorist at national conferences and events, noted for her interactive workshops and comedic storytelling. Her most requested topics include developing emotional intelligence capabilities for leaders and increasing employee engagement.

After negotiating professionally for 20 years, Ruth discovered the need to build negotiation skills and confidence in professionals, especially coaches. She has delivered her Negotiation Skills workshops around the world to hundreds of participants.

Ruth is an Associate Certified Coach and graduate of the Rice University’s CoachRICE Certificate program. She holds numerous certifications, including Certified Gallup Strengths Coach, Birkman Certified Professional, EQ-i Certified Coach and WBECS Enhanced Practitioner.

Ruth lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, daughter and two rescue cats.

Ruth Calabrese
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Laurie Hall, PCC

Laurie's vision is to be the champion inspiring sustainable change in the professional world to help everyone come alive. "Don't ask yourself what the world needs -- ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." (Howard Thurman)

Laurie Hall – a certified facilitator, certified coach and seasoned speaker – founded New Horizon Strategies in 2011 to inspire sustainable change in the professional world. New Horizon Strategies guides leaders who are facing a change by themselves – and feeling stuck. They help clients reflect, resonate, resolve, and refocus so they get bigger breakthroughs faster. Through executive coaching, facilitation, and consulting, leaders move from transition to transformation. They provide individual, team, and enterprise transformation services to not only survive transition (which seems never-ending) but thrive with sustainable, positive change. Transformation can be an over-used word, but it indicates a simple thing: have beliefs been adjusted enough to not even question why something is being done in a new way? If the answer is yes, that’s transformation! 

Laurie is also a frequent keynote and breakout session speaker on technical and motivational topics to inspire personal and professional growth.  Laurie has presented at dozens of conferences and professional meetings to small and large groups. 

Laurie received her Master of Science in Technical Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Bachelor of Science in BioProcess Engineering from Kansas State University. She has unique experiences at NASA centered on management, executive facilitation, and organizational development. She completed Kepner Tregoe Project Management training and numerous NASA leadership classes.

Laurie Hall
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Meg Rentschler, PCC

Meg Rentschler is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and Clinical Social Worker. As a coaching instructor and mentor coach since 2008, Meg is passionate about helping other coaches thrive. Her weekly podcast, The STaR Coach Show, offers over 250 episodes focusing on strategies, tools and resources for coaches to build skills, confidence, establish flourishing businesses and to strengthen organizations through the impact of coaching.

At a Focus on Results Executive Coaching, Meg partners with leaders to function in a way that promotes the health and wellbeing of themselves, their teams and their organizations while increasing effective communication. Prior to transitioning to executive coaching over a decade ago, Meg spent over 20 years as a psychotherapist working with individuals, couples, families and groups to create positive change in her client’s relationships and lives. 

Her extensive experience in working with others gives her a rich perspective on human dynamics and leadership principles as well as understanding the elements of productive communication. Her expertise in assessment, behavior change, and communication styles enables her to quickly identify strategies for improving performance and resolving conflict in the workplace or in the balance of work and life. Meg has worked with a variety of industries including healthcare, education, manufacturing, finance and transportation.

Meg graduated with her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and earned her Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Meg is on faculty at two coach training institutions, UTD in the Organizational Development and Executive Coaching Program and Coach Academy International.

Meg lives in North Texas with her college sweetheart and husband of 35 years and their dog. Her 2 adult sons live within 30 minutes, much to her joy!

Meg Rentschler
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Juanita Rowley, PCC

As an executive and professional coach, Juanita Rowley has over 35 years of professional experience in coaching individuals to identify and overcome the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their goals, dreams and happiness. In her career, she has worked in program development and implementation, has been a CEO, and has launched three successful entrepreneurial businesses. 

Coming from a biological perspective with neuroscience studies and a fascination with the science of happiness, she developed her program “Happiness Through Neuroscience” so that anyone can find happiness for themselves. Her coaching embodies the understanding of the physical workings of the human mind, helping clients to come to a realization of their typical behavior patterns – and together with the client, crafts an individual, customized experience which allows them to overcome these patterns and move beyond them to achieve success in all areas of life.

Juanita earned an MA in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and has completed her Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching through the University of Texas at Dallas.

Together with her husband William, Juanita professionally raises, shows and sells purebred Birman cats.

Juanita Rowley
Kelley Russell-DeVarney
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Kelley Russell-DuVarney, PCC

A Certified Positive Psychology Coach (CPPC) and a credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC) member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), Kelley exemplifies the new standard for professional coaching. Her approach to coaching is versatile, choosing to coach a variety of clients at all organizational levels and in a multitude of sectors. A sociologist by training, Kelley believes she and her clients benefit from such a diversity of perspectives.

Kelley’s background in Sociology allows her to notice both individual and institutional barriers to success which include issues related to race, gender, and sexuality that can stall professional advancement. Kelley believes that coaching must focus not only on agency and what the individual themselves can do to achieve their goals and solve challenges but also on structure and how systems can thwart individual and group progress. 

Kelley is certified practitioner of Appreciative Inquiry and MHS’s EQ-i 2.0 suite of emotional intelligence assessments. She is an active Fellow Member of the Institute of Coaching at McClean Hospital, a Harvard University affiliate, co-publishing her first article on resilience with Margaret Moore in 2019. She is the Past President of the ICF Greater Austin Chapter, serving on the board for four years and currently serves on the Chapter’s Advisory Council. 

As a life-long learner and evidenced-base coach, Kelley is committed to her own professional development and continues to train and be mentored by accomplished coaching professionals and academicians in associated fields of study. 

Although native New Englanders, Kelley and her husband have called Austin, TX home for the past 20+years. Kelley spends many hours outdoors hiking and running on Austin’s boardwalks, streets and trails and traveling to both coasts to visit her adult sons living in Seattle and DC, and her extended family in New England.

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Steve Sosland, PCC

Steve Sosland currently serves as the Vice Chancellor for Leaders and Culture Development for the Texas Tech University System. He joined Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in January 2018 after spending four years creating a values-based culture with the team at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Now in an expanded role he works with the leadership teams across all of the universities in the Texas Tech System to help transform lives by creating a positive sustainable values culture and development programs for all team members. The result of this work is an environment that allows team members to live their hopes, dreams and goals. In this role he has established an approach to leadership development, through individual and team programs, which result in the creation of an environment which prioritizes people and allows them to achieve their strategic vision and goals. 

Higher education is Steve’s fifth career industry.  After graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, he spent 11 years as an Infantry officer, where he held worldwide assignments in mechanized and Ranger units. After completing his master’s degree in business administration at Boston University, Steve spent six years in restaurant general management with PepsiCo and Brinker International and 13 years as a corporate recruiter focused on helping junior military officers find careers in corporate America. Prior to transitioning to higher education, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas and facilitated the journey to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The consistent thread of experience in five industries is the ability to understand and share the power that comes from working with people who share common core values. 

Steve is an alumnus of the United States Military Academy at West Point, holds an MSBA from Boston University, and a Graduate Certificate in Professional and Executive Coaching from the University of Texas Dallas. He is a Professional Certified Coach and a Founding Board Member of the Coaching in Organizations for the International Coaching Federation. 

Steve and his wife of 36 years, Kelly, are avid travelers. Their two daughters and two grandchildren fill them with love.

Steve Sosland

Special Event Presenters


CurVie Burton, ACC

CurVie Burton is Founder/CEO of TheRoad B4U, a consulting firm that specializes in life and leadership coaching assisting individuals and leaders from hundreds of companies achieve higher levels of performance. CurVie grew up in the Information Technology (IT) industry evolving from systems engineer to executive leader and trusted advisor. He worked in leadership roles in GM, EDS, and HP. He is the current President of Texas Coaches Coalition

CurVie Burton
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Jason Fry, ACC

Jason Fry is a coach and consultant at Effective Leadership in Ministry Coaching and Consulting. As a retired minister, Jason partners with pastors and other ministry leaders to put good practices into action for effective leadership of Christian congregations. As a Doctor of Ministry, Jason was the senior pastor of several Methodist churches in Texas.

Jason Fry
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Tyler Mallet, ACC

Tyler has spent over a decade in K-12 positions at various levels, including central office, and also worked in hundreds of schools nationally as a consultant for a major curriculum publisher. His coaching practice is focused on helping K-12 professionals manage the stress of the job. He founded Better Day for Educators in 2020 to support the growth and personal resilience needed by our teachers and administrators in challenging school settings today.

Tyler Mallet
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Stan Ward, ACC

Stanley Ward is a leadership educator, writer, and professional coach specializing in the areas of moving conflict to collaboration, burn out, and ethical leadership. He holds a PhD in Leadership Studies and is an Adjunct Professor of Business Communication. Based on years of writing experience, including books of his own, he has developed a turnkey model for quickly converting ideas and inspiration into published books.

Stan Ward
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Tracy Winter, PCC

Tracy Winter is an executive and leadership coach who helps people who are brighter than the average bear learn the soft skills they need to be successful in their work and life. As a PhD in Human Development, she serves as a faculty member for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and International ADHD Coach Training Center.

Tracy Wnter
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Sherry Yellin, ACC

Sherry Yellin is a brain-based learning expert equipping leaders, coaches, trainers, and teachers to create programs for maximum impact. She has a PhD in Cognitive Learning and over 20 years experience designing, creating, and delivering high-impact solutions to leaders in education, government agencies, and private industry. Her book Unforgettable Leadership reveals practical ways to achieve unforgettable results in leadership, learning, and living.

Sherry Yellin
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Ellen Zimmerman, ACC

Ellen Zimmerman brings experience, training, and passion to individuals and teams aiming for business and personal success. As a PhD in Learning Technologies, she understands the importance of excellent communication skills and team alignment to conquer constant changes. She is a full-time professor in the College of Business at Lamar University.

Ellen Zimmerman
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