The BizWest Leadership Academy is an original program developed by and for Front Range professionals to develop strategic leaders in our community.
Prominent speakers from key disciplines will inform and engage participants on leadership principles and techniques, encourage application of these concepts to real world experiences, and create cross-sector insights that spark innovative approaches to pressing challenges.
Following are a selection of our outstanding expert presenters.
C-level executive, thought leader
Susan Graf, a long-time Colorado resident, is passionate about helping businesses succeed. Graf was vice president of operations at Leanin’ Tree, a Boulder greeting-card manufacturer and vice president of finance and administration at Bhakti Chai. She also led the Boulder Chamber for more than eight years as CEO, helping found the Innovation Center of the Rockies, Naturally Boulder and Co-Labs. Graf now helps socially and environmentally conscious companies connect with the capital they need to fulfill their missions. She currently serves on the board of Boulder Community Health and is treasurer of the board of both Naturally Boulder and the Colorado Enterprise Fund.
VP Security, Data Privacy & Protection, EPI-USE America
Juliet Henry leads the GDPR, Security, and Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) practice at EPI-USE America. With more than 21 years’ experience in strategic advisory, solution architecture and delivery, as well as best-practice security role design, Juliet brings extensive expertise related to information security, access control, and identity management, with a specialization in human resources and payroll, including protection of PII. With a passion for knowledge sharing and enabling clients with a proactive approach, she works side-by-side with clients to identify the right approach to manage risk and compliance for information security and data privacy requirements. A frequent presenter at SAP Insider and ASUG events, she is passionate about mentoring and championing women in technology.
Sage B. Hobbs
Coach, Writer, Speaker, Sage Hobbs Coaching LLC
Sage B. Hobbs is a leadership coach, author and speaker. Her passion for maximizing human potential and cultivating cultures of equity has led to more than 20 years of experience working in public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Her speciality is relational leadership and communication, enabling leaders and team members to create positive, collaborative and effective relationships that ensure greater success and satisfaction.
With a quick ability to see the underlying challenges, Sage supports clients to access deep insight, discover their full capacity, and take meaningful action for positive change. She supports leaders in making an even bigger impact in their communities, organizations, and the broader world.
Sage is the author of Naked Communication. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Colorado Denver and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
She’s also a mom of two, a cancer survivor, a “retired” school counselor, and a beach-loving-book-nerd. She lives in Boulder with her husband who teaches high school and their two awesome kids.
Founder, Body Mind Consulting
Evan Manée is founder of Body Mind Consulting. For more than 10 years, he has provided custom integrated wellness programs for individuals, businesses and organizations. A life-long study of fields such as neuroscience, epigenetics, systems biology, business biomimicry, human behavioral science, leadership and customer service, and human potential have lead to various certifications as a trainer, facilitator, coach, educator, speaker and consultant in multiple modalities. Evan’s mission is to:
- Improve people’s relationship to their incredible and inspiring bodies.
- Change people’s approach to health and wellness.
- Destroy false and limiting beliefs with inspiring education.
- Help young and old alike optimize their health and live extraordinary personal and professional lives.
Principal, Whole Mind Strategy Group
Eric Meade, principal with Whole Mind Strategy Group, accelerates the shift to a better world by grounding the emotional charge of the past, creating the space for innovative thinking about the future and providing tools and processes to bring new ideas into the present. He is a futurist, consultant, and leadership coach serving businesses and nonprofits in the social sector. Through inclusive and innovative facilitation and mind-bending insights, he reframes issues, shifts perspectives and sparks new ways of thinking to bring the future into your leadership and your leadership into the future.
Principal, 303 Alpha LLC
John O’Dea is principal at 303 Alpha LLC. An entrepreneur with two decades in the grey area between the public and private sectors, John understands the opportunities and pitfalls that occur at the intersection of commercial interest and public policy. He provided expertise in business intelligence, government relations and human-factor risk management. John developed a proprietary methodology for using big data to help mitigate insurance fraud, civil litigation & public policy risks and to inform business strategies.
He specialized in due diligence, business, political & regulatory risk assessments, fraud reduction and business intelligence.
Melissa Reynolds O’Dea
Melissa Reynolds O’Dea is an attorney with the Maine law firm McKee Law, focusing on business law, real estate, probate, estate planning and gaming law. As a 10th-generation Mainer, she attended Brewer High School and went on to pursue pre-medicine at the University of Maine. Not long into her studies, she knew that medicine was not for her, and began studying International Affairs. After briefly toying with the idea of working as a diplomat, Melissa decided that if she could overcome her fear of public speaking, she would study law. She immersed herself in a theater class and a public-speaking class, coming out the other side with newly found confidence.
Melissa attained her law degree in 1996 from the University of Maine School of Law. She worked for a Bangor law firm before joining the Maine Attorney General’s Office, where she served for 12 years. While there, she chaired the national working group to enforce the public health provisions of the landmark Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement against Big Tobacco. She was awarded for her leadership by the National Association of Attorneys General and by the University of Maine, receiving the prestigious Spirit of Maine Award in 2006.
In 2010, she left the Attorney General’s Office to found her own law firm. She became a “recovering litigator” focusing instead on estate planning, business law and real estate. She brought her practice — and her great spirit — to McKee Law in 2015.
Founder, The Baca Journey
Laurie Seymour, M.A., is a #1 best-selling author, founder of The Baca Journey, host of the Wisdom Talk Radio podcast, speaker and executive coach. She is the developer of the Inner Compass method, serving entrepreneurs and executives to grow their creative intelligence so that they can bring their big visions to market effectively. Laurie’s work is particularly valuable for professional innovators: thought leaders, product designers, company founders; because her work accelerates the time from ideation to implementation and revenue, while also opening the innovator to new levels of confidence, peace and satisfaction.
Dr. Jennifer Simpson
CEO, Integrated Work
Dr. Jennifer Simpson is CEO of Integrated Work. She leads development of innovative solutions that drive business growth and help organizations make a difference that matters. Jennifer is active in SheEO, a global initiative focused on building an innovative new model to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur herself, Jennifer brings her depth and breadth of experience to co-create with colleagues and client partners behavior-change methods and solutions in fresh, pragmatic and powerful ways.