Rising Stars 2021

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June 15-17, 2021 | Virtual Program

 Registration closes April 30 

Rising Stars 2021 is here! Register now to get the insight and upskilling you’ll need to take the next major step in your career journey. With hours of coaching, networking opportunities, and a customized 360 assessment, you’ll walk away with a strong understanding of your strengths, strategies to keep derailers from getting you off track, and everything you need to rise! 

Interested in the program but need to make your case to attend? Check out our 'Ask Your Boss' memo for inspiration on how to make the ask!


Register for Rising Stars

Program Agenda

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 (CDT)
1:00 - 2:00 PM Pre-Show Video Presentation  
2:00 – 2:05 PM Program Opening  Karianne Gomez 
2:10 – 2:30 PM Agenda Review
Understanding Competency Connections Review
CAR Overview 
Karen Jones, Kat Ortiz & Dean Cox 
2:30 – 3:30 PM Featured Keynote Innovation and Risk-Taking  Wendy Davidson
3:30 – 4:00 PM Break  
4:00 – 5:30 PM Group Coaching Connection – Virtual Breakouts  Executive Coaches 
5:30 – 5:35 PM  Day 1 Closing  Karianne Gomez 
5:45 – 6:15 PM  Virtual Cocktail Hour/ Networking NEW Staff Moderated Breakout Rooms 


Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (CDT)
9:00 – 9:30 AM  Virtual Morning Stretch   
9:00 – 10:00 AM  Pre-Show Video Presentation  
10:00 - 10:15 AM  Welcome Back & Day 1 Key Take-Aways Karianne Gomez 
10:15 – 11:00 AM  Panel Discussion – Diversity is Not Enough:  Fostering Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace NEW WOC Advisory Council Members 
11:00 – 11:15 AM  Break - Virtual Scavenger Hunt  
11:15 – 12:15 PM  Featured Keynote Fascination Advantage – Part 1 Finka Jerkovic 
12:15 AM – 12:45 PM  Lunch  
12:45 – 1:45 PM  Fascination Advantage – Part 2  Finka Jerkovic 
1:45 – 2:30 PM  Leading with Compassion: A COVID-19 Era approach to managing others  
2:30 – 3:45 PM   Group Coaching Connection – Virtual Breakouts Executive Coaches 
3:45 PM – 3:50 PM  Closing Reflections and Adjourn  Karianne Gomez
4:00 PM – 4:45 PM  Virtual Cocktail Hour/ Networking NEW Staff Moderated Breakout Rooms 


Thursday, June 17, 2021 (CDT)
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  Pre-Show Video Presentation  
9:00 AM – 9:05 AM  Welcome Back, Day 2 Reflections  Karen Jones 
9:05 – 9:15 AM  CEO Reflections Sarah Alter
9:15 – 10:30 AM  Featured Speaker –
Get Your Shift Together: Move from Doing to Leading
Jo Miller   
10:30 AM – 10:45 AM  Break  
10:45 – 10:50 AM  What’s Next? – Program next steps  Kat Ortiz & Dean Cox 
10:50 – 11:50 AM  Group Coaching Connection – Virtual Breakouts  Executive Coaches 
11:50 AM – Noon  Farewell Remarks  Karianne Gomez 

Featured Speakers


Wendy Davidson

Wendy Davidson is a global executive with over 25 years of experience in the branded CPG, retail, and food service industries, with a record of accomplishment in innovation, turnaround and profitable growth of mature businesses. As the President of the Americas for Glanbia Performance Nutrition, Wendy is responsible for leading the $1.2B business across North America and Latin America for leading brands in sports and lifestyle nutrition including Optimum Nutrition ™, Slimfast ™, Think!, Amazing Grass™, and Isopure ™. 

Previously, Ms. Davidson spent 7 years as President of the $1B Away From Home business for the Kellogg Company leading business from small format retail to foodservice, vending, ecommerce and unique business models and strategic ventures. Prior to Kellogg, she worked as Vice President & General Manager for the US & Latin America for McCormick & Company and spent over 15 years as a part of the executive team at Tyson Foods Inc. During her tenure, she held a variety of leadership roles including Senior Vice President and General Manager Prepared Foods; Group Vice President Food Service; and Senior Vice President and General Manager of the McDonald’s Global Business Unit.

A frequent keynote speaker, Ms. Davidson was named to the 2020 Crain’s list of Notable Women Executives Over 50, the 2019 list of Most Influential Corporate Board Directors by WomenInc. Magazine, awarded the National Diversity Council’s 2017 Top 15 Business Women in Illinois and received the Luminary Award in 2016 from Girl Scouts of Chicago & NW Indiana. She was previously named to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s “40 under 40” and “Diamond Decade”. 


Finka Jerkovic

Finka Jerkovic (Yer-ko-vik) is an author, international speaker, workshop leader and coach. As President of FINKA Communications Inc., she consults with clients in areas of personal branding, leadership, sales, client experience and employee engagement. She brings over two decades of experience in corporate Canada in the financial services industry, with an expertise in sales, leadership, communication, and coaching.

Her book Sell From Love: Love Yourself, Love your Client, Love your Offer released November 2020, hit Amazon’s #1 Best Seller List and was listed as a Hot New Release. Finka helps her clients discover their “Brilliant Difference”, so that they get 100% clear on their unique talents, skills and expertise so that they can use their personal strengths to grow their business.

Finka is the Program Director and Master Coach for How to Fascinate® and the creator of the Certified Fascinate® Advisor program. She has personally trained and coached nearly 10,000 thousand people using the Fascination system and tools. 


Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019) which was a #1 bestselling new release on Amazon’s Women in Business chart and has sold more than 9,000 copies. 

Jo consistently receives rave reviews as a dynamic, engaging, and inspiring speaker. She delivers more than 70 presentations each year to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her audiences span the globe, including North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. She has spoken at women’s leadership conferences, professional associations, and corporate women’s networks for more than 300 commercial, government, nonprofit, and academic organizations, including Amazon, Bank of America, Boeing, eBay, NetApp, MetLife, Microsoft, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and Princeton University. 

Jo is the CEO of Be Leaderly, a firm focused on leadership development, consulting, and research initiatives to elevate women’s voices at work.