Date: March 27th, 2018
Location: College of DuPage | Jack Turner Conference Center | Glen Ellyn, IL
Time: 8:30a-1:30 pm
Illinois women are Second to No One. We have amazing talent, determination, intelligence, and resolve. 

Yet, our presence in the boardroom, c-suite, and management levels, ranks at percentages better suited for centuries past.  While we as women have always known struggles, have always had to fight against biases and power plays, we are speaking up. And we are empowering each other.  The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois’ leading business organization, offers no less. We stand with our fellow females and present this conference to empower our already Strong Women for a Stronger Illinois. 

This women's conference will harness the experiences, leadership, and aspirations of women in business, politics, and the nonprofit world to explore what it takes to put more cracks in the glass ceiling.  
We will explore pathways to leadership, what it’s like at the top, and ways men and women can work together to inspire the next generation of female leaders in Illinois.

Draft  Agenda – subject to change

8:00 am          Registration

8:30 am          Welcoming Remarks

  • Megan Woltman, Incoming Chairwoman of the Board Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Advocate Hospital
  • Candace Gerritsen, COO Illinois Chamber of Commerce

8:45 am          Featured Speaker

  • Amy J. Keely, MBA, M.Ed, PhD Cohort

Lessons Learned from My Mom: The First Female Engineer at General Motors
There are many things Amy learned from her mother, but cooking, baking and knitting were not among them. Her mother was a pioneer in a male-dominated industry, resulting in a tumultuous relationship. This lecture shares what Amy has learned from her mother that has aided her in business and in her educational endeavors.

9:15 am          Special Video Message from Representative Cheri Bustos

9:20 am          Featured Speaker

  • Mary Ann Ahern, Political Reporter, NBC Universal
  • Todd Maisch, President and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce (Moderator)

Women make up one-third of the journalism workforce and like many industries, contribute invaluably to reporting the news, keeping the public informed of the day’s activities and facts, and being storytellers.  As more and more women prominently share their voices onscreen and in-print, this shift still comes with its challenges. 

9:50 am          Networking Break – Visit Exhibitors

10:15 am        Navigating a Non-Traditional Field and Emerging as Leaders

  • Beverly Alfon (Moderator) – SmithAmundsen LLC
  • Engineering – Nicole Wolter, HM Manufacturing
  • Energy - Trina Salvisburg, Region Engineer, Enbridge Energy
  • Finance – To be determined

Fields like science, finance, sports, and technology offer lucrative and fulfilling careers and are attractive for any professional.  They have been, however, traditionally male-dominated fields which can present unique challenges for women. In this discussion, we will hear from women who have succeeded in these fields, explore barriers women commonly face, and the trials at work and with career advancement.

11:00 am        Leadership and Communications Panel

  • Nicki Anderson, President and CEO of Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce (Moderator)
  • Panelist: Christine Corelli, Motivational Speaker and Author
  • Panelist: BG (Ret.) Alicia Tate-Nadeau, Executive Director, City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management & Communications
  • Panelist: Neli Rowland, President/Co-Founder A Safe Haven Foundation

Women can thrive as leaders in their professional role no matter what level. This panel will explore how utilizing communication skills and confidence can convey power and authority.

11:45 am        Keynote Speaker

  • Janice Christiansen, President and CEO, J.C. Schultz Enterprises Inc./The FlagSource

Janice Christiansen never wanted to be known as a woman in manufacturing; she wants to be known as a manufacturer. She will talk about her career path, the challenges she has faced and overcome, and her successes as the only woman president of a full line flag and banner manufacturing company in the USA.

12:15 pm        Closing – prize drawings – adjourn to Chocolate social  

12:30pm         Networking and Chocolate Sampling

Visit exhibitors, talk with other like-minded women and enjoy samples from chocolate manufacturers around the Chicago area.

1:30 pm          Adjourn

Speakers for the Day

  Keynote Speaker

  Janice Christiansen, President and CEO, FlagSource
  Read Janice's bio



  Featured Speaker

  Mary Ann Ahern, Political Reporter, NBC Universal
  Read Mary Ann's bio




  Featured Speaker

  Amy Keely, MBA, M.Ed, PhD Cohort
  Read Amy's bio




 Moderator, Navigating a Non-Traditional Field and Emerging as Leaders Panel

  Beverly Alfon, Partner, SmithAmundsen, LLC
  Read Beverly's bio



  Panelist, Navigating a Non-Traditional Field and Emerging as Leaders Panel

  Trina Salvisberg, Senior Engineer for Great Lakes
  Region Operations, Enbridge Energy Company

Read Trina's bio


  Moderator, Leadership & Communication

  Nicki Anderson, President and CEO of
  Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce

 Read Nicki's bio


 Panelist - Leadership and Communication

  Christine Corelli, International Conference Speaker and Author
  Read Christine's bio




Thank you to our Event Sponsors:


Thank you to our exhibitors:

Edwards Jones
United Healthcare
Illinois State Treasurers Office
Hollingworth Candies
Greater Oakbrook Chamber of Commerce
Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce
Lombard Chamber of Commerce
Daily Herald/Business Ledger

more to be announced . . .


 Thank you to all of our Marketing Partners Listed Below.