Continuing the Conversation Keynotes

ICAN’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference – held for over 20 years in Omaha, Nebraska – is known to be powerful, insightful and authentic, representative of the leadership trends and transformations present in today’s workplace.

We are excited to provide you a greater number of powerful keynote speakers for 2016. In addition to our main stage speakers, we are shifting to a new offering: Continuing the Conversation Keynote Sessions. These experts will provide a more focused presentation on the content themes presented on the main stage as they relate to current shifts in the business world.  You will decide which two topics and expert speakers interest you most the day of the conference and then attend one keynote session in the morning and a second keynote session in the afternoon. This allows you to determine what conversation provides you with the best opportunity to transform yourself and your workplace.
Learn about our Main Stage Keynote Speakers.
Check out our 2016 speaker guest blogs


Chief Diversity Officer
Boots Alliance 

Capitalizing on Diversity
As the first Chief Diversity Officer one of the world’s largest companies, Steve will give his insight into how diversity has become a business advantage, not just a corporate social responsibility effort. In addition, he will talk about his background and how his life was transformed.

Pemberton is a child advocate, motivational speaker, and author of A Chance in the World. He currently serves as the chief diversity officer and divisional vice president for Walgreens, the first person to occupy this role in the historic company’s century-long history. He is widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative leaders on matters of diversity and inclusion, emphasizing the importance of “next practices.”

Steve’s perspective on differences and adversity comes from his formative years when, as a ward of the state, his future was left to a system that struggled with his bi-racial identity. He chronicles his life experiences in his 2012 memoir, A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home. The book is now in its fourth printing and is being translated into Chinese. Steve’s relentless journey to overcome obstacles, find his home, locate his biological family, and right the wrongs of his parents’ past continues to touch audiences worldwide.

Steve’s unconventional journey to corporate America has had a profound influence on the lives of others, inspiring young people, teachers, executives, and caregivers to embrace adversity and believe in possibility. His powerful story has been featured in People magazine and many other media outlets across the country.



The Executive Director
Stanford University Clayman Institute for Gender Research

The Language of Leadership
We know that language can shape perceptions of leadership. Master the language of leadership so that female and male leaders can be known for accomplishments and teamwork. A turn of phrase can make a person seem more or less qualified as a leader. Knowing this is especially important for women, as stereotypes often cause people to describe them in ways that disassociate them with leadership. Nurturing language and the language of leadership have practically no overlap. Thus, associating women more with nurturing traits can affect perceptions of them as leaders. Mastering the language of leadership does not mean that we should ignore or undervalue the language of nurturing. Instead use a balance of language to describe the qualities of men and women with whom you work and interact, and encourage others to do the same for you.

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie is Executive Director of Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, home to eminent scholars and activists forwarding gender equality. She defines the organization’s strategic direction and engages community members to drive impact with the research. Her work has been published in numerous outlets, and she speaks widely on the topics of blocking unconscious bias, women’s leadership and creating effective workplaces. She is executive editor of Gender News and the annual research magazine, upRising. Lori is the founder of the online Voice & Influence program offering the skills, information and inspiration to be agents of change in their own lives and more broadly, for gender equality. This curriculum has been widely viewed through partnerships with, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Darden Graduate School of Business.  Lori joined the Institute after working in marketing strategy and business management for 20 years at companies such as Procter & Gamble, Apple Computer, eBay, PayPal and CafePress. She is on the board of the Women’s Foundation of California and the Alliance for Girls. Lori has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.


Generational Guru & Author


The Workplace of the Future
There are big changes coming to the American workforce. In order to survive and thrive in the very different workplace of tomorrow, leaders need to know, plan and stay in front of some major workforce trends. This workshop with Anne Loehr will prepare you to lead through these changes – and help you win the war for top talent and grow your organization with the newest generation of leaders.

Anne thrives at the intersection of leadership, relationships, and connections. Her books, online learning programs, keynotes, and workshops seamlessly blend insights and experiences from Leadership Development and Management Development as she teaches clients how to leverage diversity in the workplace. Throughout her career, Anne has lived and learned at the crossroads. She graduated from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management and moved to Africa where she owned and managed eco-friendly hotels and safari companies for more than 15 years. Africa shaped her worldview, challenged her fortitude, and taught her firsthand the power of authentic leadership. Anne was named the “Generational Guru” by The Washington Post, thanks to her unique insights on leveraging the best in each generation and giving her clients an edge in their business.

Lori Gee_4X5_B&W

Director of Applied Placemaking
Herman Miller

Shifting the Stage for Work 
> Afternoon Session Only
Have you ever thought about the features of your workspace that help you in the course of your work? Or perhaps annoyances that hinder you? There’s an actual science involved in creating the optimal physical workplace to fit the type of work you do. Join Lori Gee, Director of Applied Placemaking for Herman Miller, in a workshop that explains this science, and offers attendees actionable workplace suggestions and proof of the results they can yield.

Lori spends most of her waking hours with organizations and their design professionals on the question of “Do you have the right workplace?” If anyone is qualified to ask that question, it’s her. She’s spent her life working on places—designing the places people work, thinking about how to make those places better for the people and the businesses they work for, and helping companies see how the places their people work can be a vital tool in helping them reach their strategic goals.

She’s had a lot of experience doing this – and, of course, the knowledge and professional credentials that come with three decades as a workplace strategist. Her experiences have included working with the largest and most progressive of the Fortune 500, innovative College and Universities, and provocative start-ups. Prior to joining Herman Miller, Lori led workplace strategy efforts for the breakfast cereal giant Kellogg’s.