2018 Women in Business Conference: Embracing Workplace Differences

This annual half-day conference is held in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business. This event is geared toward visionary men and women who want to discover the tools for success, make strategic business connections and leave feeling empowered and inspired to take action. This event takes place on May 15th at the Country Club of Lincoln from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Register now!

8:30 a.m.Registration and Breakfast  
9 a.m.Welcome–Wendy Birdsall and Dean Kathy Farrell  
9:10 a.m.

Bridging the Generational Communication Gap

Age is big part of workplace culture and bridging the communication gap between generations is key to a productive work environment. Learn unique perspectives from panel leaders on how to encourage more effective cross-generational communication in your workplace.

Panel: Dr. Ellen Weissinger, Dr. Amber Williams and Aakriti Agrawal

10:30 a.m.

Working in a Multicultural World: Stereotypes and Cultural Competence
Staying silent in the face of demeaning comments, stereotypes or bias allows negative attitudes and behaviors to thrive. This undermines our ability to create an inclusive environment where everyone is welcomed, treated with respect and able to thrive. Yet, most individuals who want to speak up don't know how. So we say nothing. We will test your knowledge of other cultures and then introduce you to a tool to help you and others build the confidence and skills to speak up in the face of stereotypes or other disparaging comments.

Speakers: Dr. Samantha Fairclough, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice in management and Dr. Karen Kassebaum, Director of Staff Diversity and Inclusion in Human Resources at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.


Every day we are called upon to persuade, influence or convince others. In fact, we spend about 40 percent of our work time selling our perspective or our recommendations to others. Learn how to better understand your audience and more effectively sell your ideas and yourself.

11:50 a.m. 

Lunch and Keynote – Leveraging Your Strengths

Learn how to both use your strengths at work and communicate with others who have different strengths. Recognizing and leveraging the unique strengths we possess can make us all more productive and positively impact our relationships. Most beneficial if you take the CS Assessment formerly known as Strengthsfinder 2.0 prior to event.

Keynote Speaker: Mike McDonald, Gallup Senior Workplace Consultant, works with Gallup clients and the company’s internal managers to align strategies and initiatives to produce high levels of employee engagement and well-being. Mike has helped Gallup clients — from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the healthcare, hospitality and financial sectors — improve engagement and well-being. He ensures that managers, associates and teams have opportunities to use their talents every day in ways that benefit and develop them personally and professionally.

Currently, in his responsibilities as a Senior Workplace Consultant, he also serves as a Performance Lead. For more than 25 years, he has used measurement, recognition, and forecasting to align engagement strategies and increase performance.

12:50 p.m.

Closing Comments – Wendy Birdsall


Women in Business 2018 Speakers

Dr. Ellen Weissinger is an emeritus UNL professor of educational administration.  From 2009- 2015, she served as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.  In that role, she was the number two executive on the campus organizational chart, the chief academic officer, and the responsible official in the Chancellor’s absence.  She oversaw UNL’s academic budget, personnel, curriculum, policies and systems. Ellen retired from UNL in 2017 and joined RealmFive Agriculture, a fast-growing technology start-up.  As Director of Administration, Ellen helped the company develop its corporate organizational structure, hire C-suite execs, fundraise, and move from Innovation Campus to a 14,000 sqft commercial facility. Ellen is competing in the May 15 primary election as a candidate for the Southeast Community College Board of Governors.

Dr. Amber Williams is the Assistant Vice Chancellor Academic Services and Enrollment Management at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Through the development, implementation and evaluation of enrollment management and financial aid strategies, she works to attract and retain a talented and diverse student body. With almost 20 years of experience between the University of Nebraska and the University of Kansas, her work has been an integral part of the enrollment increases at Nebraska, including the largest freshmen class (fall 2017) in the previous 30 years. Amber provides leadership to the Offices of Admissions, Scholarships and Financial Aid, the University Registrar, Nebraska College Preparatory Academy and other college access programs that support the recruitment and academic success of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students. Originally from the Wichita, Kansas, Amber has called Nebraska home for the last 15 years.

Aakriti Agrawal came to Nebraska to study actuarial science in 2012. Originally from Pune, India, she grew up between India and Singapore. She became an advocate for the UNL international student population and used her knack for networking to connect with the community at large. After graduation, she began working at Brasch Group in data analytics for the healthcare industry and taught herself to code. An avid supporter of education for minorities, Aakriti serves on the board of the Nebraska Transition College, runs Lincoln’s Chapter of Girls Who Code and helps with logistics for Lincoln’s annual TEDxYouth conference. She has worked at Brasch Group now for two years and is always looking for opportunities to better her alma mater, the community and the state that she’s grown to love. 

Dr. Samantha Fairclough is the associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of practice in management. Originally from Tamworth, England, she earned her Ph.D. in strategic management from the University of Oxford in 2009 and then took up academic positions in Alberta, California, and Mississippi. She arrived in Nebraska in 2016, and enjoys helping students learn, create and experience innovation and entrepreneurship. Her teaching and research interests include women’s entrepreneurship, creativity, and the management of family businesses.

Dr. Karen Kassebaum is Director of Staff Diversity and Inclusion in Human Resources at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She is responsible for diversifying the talent workforce, and conducting diversity and inclusion workshops and retention efforts. Her dissertation looked at diversity recruitment at predominately white institutions and her graduate internship consisted of creating and supervising a student-athlete transitional peer mentoring program made up of 156+ Husker Track and Field/Cross Country student athletes from across the country known as Athlete2Athlete (A2A). Karen also teaches and serves as an advisor for the Black Graduate Association. She also serves on the Social Racial Justice Committee for the YWCA.

Sheri Irwin-Gish (panel moderator) is the Executive Director of Communications, Marketing and External Relations at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business. After joining the college in 2011, she launched an effort to rebrand the college with the Start Something campaign. She developed marketing plans for the college to recruit students, increase rankings, and re-engage alumni and the business community. Some highlights during her seven years include moving from #72 to #45 in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of undergraduate business programs, a 58 percent enrollment increase in first-year freshmen in five years, and greatly expanding alumni and community engagement through many creative, inclusive initiatives. She also planned the marketing and outreach efforts for the new privately-funded $84 million, 240,000-square-foot Howard L. Hawks Hall. Currently, she co-chairs the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Marketing and Communications Council Affinity Group, an international organization, and serves on the RISE Lincoln Board of Directors locally. In 2016, she earned the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Distinguished Service Award and in 2015, she received the College of Business Distinguished Service Award.