This annual half-day conference is held in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business Administration. 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.

. Schedule:   
9 a.m.Welcome–Wendy Birdsall and Kathy Farrell  
9:15 a.m.

Women in the Workplace: More Engaged and Better Managers
Samantha Kennelly, Program Coordinator, Clifton Strengths Institute, UNL


A recent survey about the engagement and well-being of women in workplace shows how women perceive the workplace and how that impacts their level of engagement. Find out how to use your strengths at work and learn some proposed solutions to issues that can strengthen your engagement.

10:40 a.m.

Influence with Intention
Laura McLeod, Assistant Professor of Practice in Marketing, UNL CBA


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.

12 p.m. Lunch and Keynote: Telling your Story
Jody Koenig Kellas, Professor Communication Studies, UNL

Stories and storytelling are central to understanding our personal, professional, and relational lives. Research shows the ways in which we story our lives relates significantly to our well-being and happiness. “Telling Your Story” introduces concepts and practices to highlight the importance of storytelling and improve interpersonal communication.


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Thank you to our sponsors:

Samantha Kennelly is the program coordinator of the Clifton Strengths Institute and a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business. In this role, she creates strengths-based programs at the university to empower students, staff and faculty to lead successful, self-directed lives with the knowledge of their talents and how to apply them.

At the institute, she helped create and develop a groundbreaking approach to student development and student success. Her main responsibility is training, managing and developing 80 student strengths coaches to coach 800 first-year business students to maximize their college experience through discovering and developing their strengths and prepare them to have a strong start towards building “Great Jobs and Great Lives.” 

Kennelly earned her master of arts in educational administration-student affairs at Nebraska and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.


Laura McLeod is an assistant professor of practice in marketing and teaches in the Center for Sales Excellence. After receiving her MBA from Duke University, McLeod spent more than 20 years in sales and marketing roles. She worked for The Coca-Cola Company in brand management and was also a member of their key account team for the McDonald’s Corporation. McLeod also worked in marketing and sales for several local companies and advertising agencies in Lincoln. Most recently, she was a marketing strategist with Whole Foods Market and managed their entry into the local market. 

Jody Koenig Kellas (Ph.D., University of Washington) is professor of communication at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She studies how people communicate to make sense of identity, difficulty, health, and relationships. She is founder of Narrative Nebraska, dedicated to understanding the ways in which communicated sense-making, narratives, storytelling content, process, and functions can be translated to enhance individuals' and families' well-being. She has published over 40 articles and chapters and received national awards for her scholarship.