Save the Date!
Symposium 2024 will be Wednesday, September 25, 2024

Calling all Symposium attendees! Help us make 2024 an amazing event! Volunteers are needed for the Symposium Planning Committee. If you are interested in serving, please contact Kate Dyer


Symposium logo 2023

IWIL Women's Symposium 2023
Thursday, September 28, 202

7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Crowne Plaza, Springfield IL

 Don't miss this day of inspirationmotivation, and actionable tips for professional and personal fulfillment!

Program Overview

Questions? Contact Symposium Chairs Melisa Galloway and Kate Dyer

Two ways to save: 

  • Register for $149 
  • Buy 5 registrations, get 1 free! (enter 6 registrations and use the code 6FREE to save!)

Registration will close Monday, September 25, at 11:59 p.m.

*IWIL is unable to provide refunds. If you cannot attend an event for which you have registered, we encourage you to send someone in your place. Simply have your guest indicate at the check-in table that she is your substitute. We appreciate your understanding.


Enjoy a day of leadership tips, inspiring personal growth, and networking with Springfield-area women.  What's the plan for the day? Read overviews of the empowering sessions planned.

Who should attend? Any adult professional of any experience. You don't need to be a member to attend IWIL events. But we'd love it if you'd join! Join IWIL leaders! 

 " I look forward to the Symposium each year, because during the day, I know, I will recharge and meet so many new friends!"

- Amy Beadle

 New for 2023: Symposium T-Shirts Click to learn more !


Become A Sponsor!

We need your support for this amazing event and are seeking sponsors! Several levels are available and include free registrations for the women leaders at your business. All sponsors will be heavily recognized before and during the event. Sponsorships are accepted now! Please contact our Sponsorship Chair at [email protected] for more information.








Become an Exhibitor!

The Symposium exhibits are a highlight of the day! Our attendees love shopping, learning more about services in our community. 

For $250 you can present your business to over 350 professional women and your admission to the conference and lunch is included! Register now or contact [email protected] with any questions.


  • Nothing Bundt Cakes
  • BJ Grand Salon and Spa


Keynote Speakers

The morning will be filled with three inspiring keynote speakers! 

8:15-9:15 am

Nicole Bianchi: Bravership

Bravery + Leadership creates a competitive advantage, Are you ready?

 Bravery is a skill, and Leadership is an action, without the skill it can be impossible to take action. You were built to stand out with bravery, live out loud, and take action. Change is here to stay and we have a choice to embrace uncertainty or leave it to chance.

Identify the ways that fear shows up in their lives and learn how to give themselves permission to experiment to stay in forward momentum. Living a life of Small Brave Moves, leaders will grow influence, accomplish more, and fear less.

 Nicole starts by building bravery right there in the room. This interactive keynote is designed to help each audience member to use experimental ideas and learn mindset, behaviors, and habits to build confidence and answer the question, “What’s the bravest move I need to make right now?”

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover what gets in the way of being brave
  • Identify how the bravery + leadership mindset creates a competitive advantage
  • Develop behaviors + habits to make bolder choices
  • Build your relationships to ones of accountability and engagement, increasing productivity and, ultimately, results

Warning – being a bit braver will transform your business and your life.

Watch Nicole's Intro

Nicole is widely regarded as the go-to source for bravery + leadership and the author of Small Brave Moves: Learn why little acts of bravery are the key to life-changing leadership. She shatters the false belief that only some of us are brave by showing us what gets in the way, and she shows us the path forward with practical steps to help us advance.

After sixteen years as an executive in two Fortune 300 companies, Nicole co-founded and scaled Bravium HD, which partners with companies like Google, GE, Macy’s, First National Bank, and Union Pacific.

She is an international speaker, author, and award-winning entrepreneur who works with executives, leaders, and teams to craft their small brave moves. Her second book, The Five Tough Conversations for Exceptional Leadership, will be released later this summer/early fall. 

Off-stage, she loves traveling with her husband and cheering on her three young adult children in life. You can catch her singing off-key karaoke with a full-bodied glass of wine in hand.

9:30-10:15 am

Mary Shores: “Dream with a Deadline"

Mary Shores

Dream with a Deadline is an insightful and an inspiring experience focused on igniting your personal power to achieve your ultimate dreams.

Mary Shores emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision of our dreams and taking action to turn them into reality. By igniting our personal power, we can awaken much needed inspiration and motivation to work towards our goals with focus and dedication.

She shares her personal experience from her bestselling book, to overcome challenges and achieve success. With step-by-step guidance to change their mind, their choices, and their life.

Mary Shores – an award-winning Hay House Author, a speaker, and an entrepreneur – spends her career generating unique, positive, and pragmatic solutions for people who are freaking out. She has created and developed a revolutionary customer service and communication strategy that has radically decreased complaints, dramatically improved customer and employee satisfaction and retention, and genuinely makes people feel good. After implementing this philosophy within her own company, revenues grew more than 34% within the first year alone.

She is the Founder and CEO of what has been named as one of the most unique collection agencies in the country. Mary teaches compassionate, empathetic collecting that strives to build connection through the words we speak. In February 2022, Mary’s ideas were featured on the TEDx stage in Wyoming with her talk: Connection is Currency, What I Learned Collecting America’s Debt.”

 10:30-11:15 am

Laurie Guest: “Life in the Espresso Lane” 

Laurie Guest
Laurie Guest, CSP, is well-known for her imaginative ideas and entertaining style. With experience that encompasses over 24 years in healthcare and more than two decades as a business owner, Laurie can speak from practical point of view.

Laurie is a member of the National Speakers Association and is a Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by less than 10% of speakers worldwide. Her ability to blend real-life examples with proven action steps, is the reason over three-quarters of her clients ask for an encore appearance. Laurie lives in DeKalb, IL, is a published author, a board game enthusiast, and a terrible cook.

 Watch Laurie's Intro

Breakout Sessions

After lunch, attendees will have their choice of multiple breakout sessions. See session descriptions below. 

 1:00-1:45 pm

“In the Arena”

Get inspired to make a difference
on issues that you care about.These
leaders will share insights about collaborating and communicating
with others when you see an issue differently.


  • Misty Buscher, Mayor of Spfld
  • Avery Bourne, former IL State Rep 95th District
  • Doris Turner, IL Senate 48th District
  • Lakeisha Purchase, Alderwoman Ward 5
Moderator: Angie Muhs

"Comeback” Panel: Overcoming Adversity"

Get inspired by these speakers who have conquered their personal tribulations.  


  • Sonja Jones (Weight Loss)
  • Dana Pfiffer (Sex Trafficking
  • Megan Murray (Addiction)

Moderator: Stacy Srysak

"Sandwiched:  Resources
for Taking Care of Older
Relatives-and Yourself!”

How do you have the tough conversations?
What documents should you have? 
What financial adjustments should you
make? Get answers to these questions, get advice for caregivers, and much more. 


  •  Alicia Lehman, Memorial Health
  • Melissa Coulter, The Edwards Group

Moderator: Jean Winn



 2:00-2:45 pm



 Managing Stress Levels & Self Care

You know you need to. Katey will show you how. 


Katey Kratz, MT-BC, Music Therapy Connections

 The Healthy Human Diet: A Look and Sampling of the Mediterranean Pattern

If healthier eating is also on your to-do list, this sessoin is for you.


Charlyn Fargo Ware and Dr. Stacy Sattovia, SIU

 Self-Defense for Women 

Skills every woman should know. 


Amy Giles, Progressive Kemp Karate,
Cardo Kickboxing and Krav Mega

Reviving Your Soft Skills


Desi Logsdon, Bunn


3:00-3:40 Closing Session

Clock Out ... Check In  

A review of the breakout sessions from a panel of IWIL members. Moderated by LaMyiah Pearlinia.

LaMyiah Pearlinia: Emcee

Lamyiah Pearlinia

LaMyiah Pearlinia is Lifestyle Host & Producer for WICS. Though she is a Minnesota native, LaMyiah went south to attend Prairie View A&M University. While pursuing her degree in The Arts of Communication, LaMyiah achieved many endeavors. She became President of a women's empowerment organization, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the first woman in her family to graduate from a Historic Black College University.

Through hard work and dedication to her community, LaMyiah was awarded an official proclamation from the city of Amarillo, Tx, the first city she ever reported for. As she continues to use her platform to highlight people in Central Illinois, LaMyiah dedicates her ability to do so to her Lord, Jesus Christ. She lives by this Bible verse: "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

3:45-5 pm 

Reception - Don't miss a chance to relax, chat about the day, and network with fellow attendees! 


SESSION: In the Arena


  • Misty Buscher, Mayor of Spfld
  • Avery Bourne, former IL State Rep 95th District
  • Doris Turner, IL Senate 48th District
  • Lakeisha Purchase, Alderwoman Ward 5

Get inspired to make a difference on issues that you care about.These leaders will share insights about collaborating and communicating
with others when you see an issue differently.

SESSION:  Worthy: Tuning into the Importance of Self-Care

Katelyn Kratz

Have you ever struggled with making time for self-care? Do you think you’re already doing enough?  Do you think self-care is overrated?  If you said yes to any of those questions, this is the perfect place for you!!  Do you want to make more money, have more time, or feel happier in your everyday work?  Yes?  Then, this session is also for YOU!!  I want to make self-care a practical and easy thing for you to incorporate into your daily life!!  My goal is to help you life your best, happiest, most profitable life!

 Come engage in an immersive self-care experience, develop one-of-a-kind self-care tools, deepen your understanding of what self-care really looks like, and learn how tuning into your self-care practice can enhance every part of your life!  

 Participants will walk away with:

  • Practical self-care tips, tools, and exercises to take into daily life 
  • Resources to support an ongoing self-care journey 
  • An understanding of how self-care translates into success and profit
  • A FREE digital workbook including practices to create a happier life

 Katelyn Kratz is a multi-business owner, board certified music therapist, musician, mentor, and coach living in Springfield, IL.  Graduating from Western Illinois University with her degree in music therapy, Katelyn used her unique set of skills to grow two private practices that touch the lives of over a thousand people in Central Illinois each week.  Throughout her last decade of business ownership, Katelyn has presented throughout the midwest on a host of topics, including: business, leadership, happiness, music therapy, and self care. She has appeared in several podcasts, TV programs, radio interviews, and more throughout her career along with performing with several entertainment groups and her solo act. 

SESSION: "Sandwiched:  Resources for Taking Care of Older Relatives-and Yourself!”

Aging family members may be releuctant to address their health problems. If you're helping a family member, you might have feelings of guilt and fear, and be reluctant or confused about how to manage it.  How can you be prepared for a health crisis? What documents you should have and how to talk to aging family members about their health and encourage them to complete the documents.

You'll also get insight into financial and legal considerations, including medical expenses, property ownership, power of attorney, and wills.

Get peace of mind and learn how to handle being the "sandwiched" generation. 

Melissa Coulter, Elder Care Director

Melissa CoulterMelissa Coulter joined Edwards Group LLC in 2014 as a Benefits Specialist and in 2020 assumed her current role as Elder Care Director. She has been instrumental in further developing our Elder Care program with an emphasis on helping families identify appropriate care options, define strategies to pay for care needs, and assist with comprehensive estate planning when considerations for care are required. Melissa has vast experience with the intricacies of the long-term care Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance programs. She successfully guides families through these processes on a daily basis.

Prior to joining Edwards Group, Melissa held various positions at the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Springfield including Program Administration Coordinator and Assistant to the Director of Programs. Her time working at IICLE provided her the opportunity to become familiar with many in our local legal community which has shown to be advantageous to clients.

Melissa cultivates relationships with all who provide services to the geriatric population across Central Illinois. She currently coordinates the Sangamon County Aging Network and previously served on the Board of Directors of Sangamon County Senior Services.

Melissa is a native of Quincy with some time spent in New Mexico along the way. She is a faithful Cardinals fan married to Bryan and mom to teenager, Ethan.

Alicia Lehman 

Alicia Lehman, LCSW, MSW, MBA, has 15 years of healthcare experience in the hospital and ambulatory settings. She currently serves as System Director of Care Management for Memorial Health where she leads the advance care planning, care coordination, social work, palliative care, and hospice transitions programs. Alicia is a certified lean six sigma black belt who holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration degree from McKendree University. Alicia currently serves as a board member for POLST Illinois and the IDPH Abuse Prevention Review Team. Alicia is committed to ensuring that all individuals understand the importance of considering, discussing, and documenting preferences in regard to future healthcare treatment.


"Comeback” Panel: Overcoming Adversity"

 Sonya Jones 

Sonya Jones was a finalist on NBC's Reality TV Show The Biggest Loser, and is the author of the best-selling book, 44 Lessons From a Loser: Navigating Life Through Laughter, Prayer, and the Occasional Throat Punch. 

A physical education teacher who should have been modeling health and fitness, Sonya Jones felt like a hypocrite as she neared 300 pounds in 2014. Six months later, she stepped onto the scales (and into the hearts of millions of Americans) to drop a whopping 144 pounds (50.88% of her total body weight) on national television as the only female finalist on Season 16 of NBC's reality TV show, The Biggest Loser. 

Prior to her Biggest Loser journey, Jones was a former semi-professional athlete (two-time Collegiate All-American in fastpitch softball) who earned a degree in Physical Education from Greenville University (in Greenville, Illinois--where she was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018). After earning graduate degrees in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield, she spent nearly two decades in education before opening her own weight loss clinics called Losin' It with Sonya Jones located in Springfield and Litchfield, IL. Through this clinic Sonya has helped her clients lose thousands of pounds cumulatively. Sonya is also an Assistant Professor of Sport and Kinesiology at Greenville University in Greenville, IL.


Megan Murray will discuss addiction.








Practical Personal Safety ~ Easy to Learn and Easy to Recall Self-defense techniques for Women 

Amy Giles

Amy Giles

Amy Giles is a world renowned martial artist with  over two decades of martial arts and fitness expertise. She is a 6th degree Black Belt and the highest ranking female Black Belt in the United States under Israeli Krav International. She owns MindBody Martial Arts (a.k.a. Progressive Kenpo Karate) and operates a full-time studio in Springfield, IL for children, teens and adults.

In addition to martial arts, she is passionate about personal development and is a mindset, movement and happiness coach. 

Amy has one son, Griffin, who shares her passion for martial arts. 

In her free time, she loves being outdoors and  highlighting local boutiques on her Facebook blog - My Purple Blazer. 

“Listen, Lean In & Learn; Reviving Your Soft Skills”


Desi Logsdon

Where oh where have the “soft skills” gone?  Eighty-nine percent of recruiters say when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually comes down to lack of soft skills. In this session, we will explore the behaviors, personality traits and work habits that help professionals prosper at work and discuss how we can all sharpen these critical skill sets.

Desiree is a Senior Vice President of Corporate Citizenship for Bunn-O-Matic in Springfield, IL, overseeing the company’s corporate social responsibility initatives. As a 38-year veteran with the organization, she represents the company the the community and at key events and trade organizations in the beverage and food service industries. In addition, she oversees the Marketing and PR strategy for the Pease’s at BUNN Gourmet Operation.

BUNN is a leading manufacturer of dispensed beverage equipment, doing business in 90 countries around the globe. 

Desiree is passionate about the Springfield and has a 40-year history as an active community volunteer.

Session: The Healthy Human Diet: a Look and Sampling of the Mediterranean Pattern

Speaker: Charlyn Fargo Ware Charlyn Fargo Ware

Charlyn Fargo Ware, MS RD LDN, is a registered dietitian in the Culinary Medicine Department and General Internal Medicine Department at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. She received her master’s degree in Nutrition from Eastern Illinois University and two bachelor’s degrees (food and communication) from the University of Illinois-Champaign. She completed a nine-month internship for her Registered Dietitian at Passavant Hospital in Jacksonville, IL. She enjoys teaching nutrition at the University of Illinois-Springfield and Lincoln Land Community College as well as in the community. She is the current president of the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, past president of the FBI Springfield Citizens Academy, past board member  for the U of I College of ACES (Urbana-Champaign) representing Region 5, secretary-treasurer for the Illinois Association of County Fairs which represents 103 county fairs in the state. She grew up on a farm in central Illinois. She and her husband, Brad, have two children and a 3-year-old grandson.

Speaker: Dr. Stacy Sattovia 

Stacy Sattovia

Dr. Stacy Sattovia is a hospitalist and professor of clinical medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. Born and raised in central Illinois, she attended Illinois Wesleyan University for her undergraduate degree. She attended medical school at SIU School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency with chief resident year at University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. She practices clinically as an academic hospitalist, with an interest in quality and performance improvement. This interest led her to pursue a master's degree in business administration from the University of Illinois in Springfield. 

Administratively, she serves as the medical director for the SIU Office of Continuing Professional Development and the co-director of the Professional Development Pillar of the SIU Center for Human and Organizational Potential or cHOP.

A love of food and desire to positively and deliciously impact learners’ nutritional knowledge led her to complete the Culinary Medicine Specialist Certification program at Tulane University in the spring of 2019. She serves as the director of the SIU Culinary Medicine Program.

New for 2023: Symposium T-Shirts!

Commemorate your Symposium day by purchasing a branded t-shirt! Available in unisex and ladies' cuts. A limited quantity will be available for purchase at Symposium so get them early! All shirts are $20 + tax. 

Pre order your shirt:

Pick up and pay for your shirt at the IWIL table during the Symposium. Cash or Check accepted. 


Women's V-neck Ringspun cotton

All shirts are $20 + tax. 

  • Small-XL 
  • 2X 
  • 3X 


 Unisex round neck Ringspun cotton

All shirts are $20 + tax.

  • Small-XL   
  • 2X  
  • 3X-4X