2015 Breakout Sessions

ICAN’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference – held for over 20 years in Omaha, Nebraska – is known to be trend-setting, authentic and defying the norm. At the 22nd annual Women’s Leadership Conference we want to start a new conversation – the Redefinition of Leadership.
What should leadership look like in the future? What does the world need from its leaders in terms of style and capabilities? How are women uniquely poised  to lead in this increasingly complex business climate?

blog_lcol_bg_picCreate Your Own Luck: Become a Leader of your Own Career Path

Nicole Williams

Have you set a career goal for yourself? Do you wonder what strategy you should take to accomplish it? The most critical thing you can do to change the course of your career is to up your “preparation” game.  Join Nicole Williams in this interactive workshop providing practical strategies around how to create your own “luck” by making connections, building recommendations, and following industry trends, all while exploring how the latest social marketing tools can help propel your career to the next level.

selena rezvaniThe Art of the Ask: Negotiating with Confidence

Selena Rezvani

Women negotiate all day every day, often without even realizing they are in a bargaining situation. Whether the negotiation is a small, everyday matter, or a bigger, more structured business deal, making the most of these conversations is imperative. Leveraging tips from her award-winning book, PUSHBACK: How Smart Women Ask–and Stand Up–for What They Want, Selena Rezvani’s interactive, skill-building workshop is filled with actionable how-to information, real-life examples of top women executives, and powerful guidelines for improving your business negotiating skills.

Susan Courtney headshotJennifer Richardson headshot“Go Together”: Building a Culture of Collaboration using Agile Development & Leadership Principles

Susan Courtney & Jennifer Richardson

Our story begins with a crisis; a huge initiative on the brink of failure.  For our company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, the effort to turn it around led to more than a new methodology. It set us on a journey to transform our culture and the way we think. By embracing new values like transparency and empowerment, we’ve tapped into employee energy and engagement like never before; and we’re seeing a major impact on business drivers like quality, speed, and our ability to serve our customers. During this session we will share with you our amazing (and sometimes surprising) story, including our challenges, successes and lessons learned.

Michelle Ray Promo PhotoOperation Collaboration

Michelle Ray

In these volatile times, teams within every type of organization are grappling with the challenges presented by the different values, attitudes and expectations present in today’s business climate. “Operation Cooperation” offers you a winning strategy to build an outstanding workplace culture where everyone is empowered to communicate, collaborate and connect. During this enlightening session by Michelle Ray, the concept of cooperation will be reinforced with an emphasis on the importance of successful internal workplace relationships to achieve an atmosphere of camaraderie, results orientation and respect. Our external professional relationships are compromised when the spirit of a unified team is lacking. Participants will have the opportunity to refocus, re-energize and be reminded of the value of collective wisdom… prerequisites for outstanding team achievements.

Metro_March_50074_cropMark WatsonWired for Compassion

Mary Prefontaine & Mark Watson

Are you a compassionate leader?  Do you bring compassion into your workplace?  Is it possible to increase compassion within your organization? Mary Prefontaine and Mark Watson will share the latest research on compassion in business and confirm that where compassion is emphasized employees are less stressed and more satisfied, engaged and loyal – all of which positively impact the bottom line.  Studies show how focusing on kindness through meditation activates and creates new neurological pathways helping us to be more empathetic to others. The session will culminate in an experience – a compassion mediation exercise – so you leave with the tools to expand your compassion the world around you.


“What Was I Thinking?”: Converting our Nonassertive thoughts into Assertive Communication

Karen Lisko, PhD

Women in business are all about rising to our assertive selves when communicating.  But we might just be missing a critical step in making assertive communication “stick” — and that is the need for assertive thinking.  Are we unintentionally putting nonassertive thoughts into our daughters’ and granddaughters’ heads?  Dr. Lisko will share her latest “thinking research” on:  1) the funny, sometimes sad non-assertive thinking women engage in, 2) how to “rephrase” our thinking, and 3) how to make sure the words we use look and sound more like assertive communication.

Flowers_Pic2The Power of Women and Collaboration

Stacey Flowers

Successful women are women who collaborate. Competition and collaboration are two of the most powerful tools in the business world today. When competition goes wrong we lose the power of collaboration. Goals are in conflict, people disengage, and performance suffers. You must become intentional about collaborating with people who are excellent in their role, people you work with and focus on the positive results of collaboration. Stacey Flowers will teach you to succeed by leveraging your network, leaning into your personal power and voicing your value confidently.

Copyright ownership of this photograph has been granted to Victoria Medvec.

Building and Leveraging Your Network

Victoria Medvec

 Research suggests that women often build very different networks of professional relationships than their male colleagues do.  Women’s networks often include very strong relationships with people who generally know each other.  On the other hand, men’s networks are more likely to include boundary-spanning ties between people who do not know each other.  The reach of these more entrepreneurial networks often provides men with an advantage in accessing information, increasing the speed to get this information, and allowing men to gain more referrals from network contacts.  In this session, we will discuss different types of network structures and encourage participants to examine their existing network.  We will also discuss strategies for building unique professional relationships to expand the reach of your network.  In addition, we will discuss how to leverage your network to your advantage.