SAVE THE DATE
for the 2014 Women's Leadership Conference
August 6 & 7 at MGM Grand Las Vegas

**Check your inbox once you register to receive your
exclusive room rate offer for this conference.**

Watch and Be Inspired!

The purpose of the Women’s Leadership Conference is to inspire women to seek their highest level of personal and professional development by providing participants with information, perspectives and strategies concerning various dimensions of development. The programming content will feature subject matter in four basic areas: personal development (such as health maintenance, financial management, stress management, presentation, etc.), career development and advancement, leadership and community engagement. The conference format includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, individual coaching sessions, workshops and networking opportunities. The conference is inclusive and open to women, as well as the men who support them.

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**Check your inbox once you register to receive your
exclusive room rate offer for this conference.**

You are one step closer to the 2014 Women's Leadership Conference. Space is limited, so we encourage you to sign up early.

To complete registration and ensure your spot in this inspiring event, please click on the link below.

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For MGM Resorts International Employees please register via Mlifeinsider.com under Hot/Entertainment Offer tabs.

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SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Wednesday, August 6

Time Event Speaker
7:00am-5:00pm Registration & Information
Desk Open
7:00am-9:00am Breakfast Buffet  
9:00am-9:30am Opening Remarks & Aspire Higher Phyllis James
9:40am-10:00am General Session - Panel Discussion: Women in Leadership Moderator: Natalie Allen
Panelists: Pat Mulroy, Jean Birch, Wendy Davidson
9:40am-10:00am Conference Opening  
10:00am-10:15am Networking Break  
10:15am-11:30am Education Session I
  - Emerging Leader Shari Harley
  - Emerging Executive Fawn Germer
  - Executive Mike Hourigan
11:30am-12:30pm Keynote / Q&A Bertice Berry
12:30pm-2:00pm Networking Lunch  
2:00pm-3:30pm Education Session II
  - Emerging Leader Vicki Hitzges
  - Emerging Executive Shari Harley
  - Executive Fawn Germer
3:30pm-4:00pm Networking Break  
4:00pm-5:30pm Education Session III
  - Emerging Leader Vicki Hitzges
  - Emerging Executive Mike Hourigan
  - Executive David Rabiner
5:30pm-7:00pm Celebration Reception

Thursday, August 7

Time Event Speaker
8:00am- 2:00pm Registration & Information
Desk Open
8:00am- 9:00am Breakfast Buffet  
9:00am- 9:15am Conference Open Remarks  
9:15am-10:00am General Session - Keynote Conference Soledad O'Brien
10:00am-10:15am Networking Break
10:15am-11:30am Education Session IV
  - Emerging Leader Ty Bennett
  - Emerging Executive David Rabiner
  - Executive Bertice Berry
11:30am- 12:30pm Women Inspiring Women
The Essentials of Leadership: Developing Your Emotional Intelligence Ondra Berry
The Power of Social Media Valarie Sparks
Women: The Next Emerging Economy Kara Valikai
12:30pm-1:30pm Networking Lunch  
1:30pm-2:15pm Women Leading Dynamic Organizations & Closing Moderator: Gail Becker-Edelman
Panelists: Catherine Cortez-Masto, Rosemary Vassiliadis, Susan Gambardella, Suzan Kereere
2:30pm-3:00pm Conference Closing  

*Schedule subject to change.

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Book now and receive up to 15% off room rates.

Special runs Monday, August 13 through Thursday, August 16, 2012
Don't miss out, offer expires August 14, 2012.

ARIA VdaraMGM Grand The Signature Mandalay Bay THEhotelThe Mirage Monte CarloNew York-New YorkLuxor Excalibur Circus Circus

DISCLAIMER
Offer must be booked by August 13, 2012. Offer is subject to promotional availability. Rates are subject to change and restricted dates apply. We are unable to guarantee specific room types and locations; however a sincere effort will be made to accommodate your needs. Offer is not available for existing reservations. This offer is non-transferable, subject to availability, may not be combined with any other MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL® promotion, and is not available to groups or persons attending meetings or conventions other than the Women’s Leadership Conference. All prices are subject to taxes and/or resort fees and based on double occupancy on a per-night basis. You must be 21 years of age or older. MGM Resorts International reserves the right to cancel or modify this promotion at its discretion and without prior notice.

MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL endorses responsible gaming. If you or someone you know has a problem gaming responsibly, please call the 24-hour Problem Gamblers Help-Line at 800.522.4700. ©2012 MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL. All rights reserved.

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Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at foundation@mgmresorts.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

2014 SPEAKERS

Natalie Allen Gail Becker Ty Bennett Bertice Berry
Natalie Allen Gail Becker Ty Bennett BERTICE BERRY
Ondra Berry Jean Birch Catherine
Cortez Masto
Wendy Davidson
Ondra Berry Jean Birch Catherine Cortez Masto Wendy Davidson
Susan Gambardella Fawn Germer Shari Harley Vicki Hitzges
Susan Gambardella Fawn Germer Shari Harley Vicki Hitzges
Mike Hourigan Suzan Kereere Pat Mulroy Soledad O'Brien
Mike Hourigan Suzan Kereere Pat Mulroy Soledad O'Brien
David Rabiner Valarie Sparks Kara Valikai Rosemary Vasilliadis
David Rabiner Valarie Sparks Kara Valikai Rosemary Vasilliadis
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SURVEY

Thank you for attending the 2012 Women's Leadership Conference. Your feedback is important to us, please take a few minutes to complete the Conference Evaluation.

Your thoughts and ideas will help us develop and improve future conferences.

If you complete the evaluation by 4:30 pm on August 15, 2012 you will be enter into a drawing for Fantastic prices to include great MGM Resort getaways. (You must be present to win)

Day 1 Survey

Day 2 Survey

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2014 SPEAKERS

Gail Becker
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Gail Becker

Gail Becker is Chair of Canada, Latin America and the U.S. Western Region for Edelman Communications, the world's largest public relations firm with 63 offices and more than 4,200 employees worldwide, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities.

Gail joined Edelman as General Manager of the Los Angeles office, which she led for seven years and served as Western Region President for more than eight. Throughout her tenure, she has served as strategic counsel on a broad range of clients including Warner Bros., Starbucks, Microsoft, Norton, Activision, MPAA and The Recording Academy/Grammys.

She joined Edelman after serving as Vice President of Communications at Warner Home Entertainment. Prior to joining Warner, she received a political appointment in the first Clinton administration to serve as Director of Communications for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Donna Shalala. She also served on the national press staff for President Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential campaign.

Gail began her career as an on-air broadcast journalist in local news and then as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She has a degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Gail currently serves as Chair of Edelman's Global Women's Executive Network (GWEN) where she is responsible for overseeing the company's effort to increase the number of women at the senior most levels. She served on the board of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and was featured in the book, "Hire Me, Hollywood!"

Gail has directed a short documentary film, "A Journey with Purpose". It follows her young son's trip to Auschwitz with his grandfather, who was a prisoner for four years. The film is part of Facing History, www.facinghistory.org, a non-profit organization that provides supplemental learning materials to schools around the world to combat racism, anti-Semitism and prejudice, and nurturing democracy through education.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Debi Benedetti
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Debi Benedetti
Debi is a Certified Executive Coach who specializes in assisting executives, leaders and entrepreneurs in exploring unrealized goals and personal strategic plans. She helps them focus on leadership attributes, emotional intelligence and communication skills in a challenging and objective environment. Her rich enthusiasm, knowledge and operational experience spans over 30 years in the hospitality industry. As a founding corporate officer of Bon Appétit Management Company and at various positions in Saga and Marriott Corporations, Debi served such clients as Oracle, HP, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, The Getty Center and Pac Bell Park. She is an adjunct professor at The Culinary Institute of America, serves on the Advisory Board at UNLV's Harrah's College of Hotel Administration and is a Conti Professor in the Hotel School at Penn State University. Debi was named the Conrad Hilton Distinguished Lecturer at San Diego State University and most recently received The Lifetime Achievement Award from The Society of Foodservice Management.

Debi works with several executives, owners and entrepreneurs in the Hospitality and related industries. She also provides Strategic Planning, Leadership Summits and key note presentations for corporations, small companies, organizations and associations. She sits on the boards of the Women's Foodservice Forum and Healthy Dining.
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2014 SPEAKERS

BERTICE BERRY
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Bertice Berry

Growing up poor in Wilmington, Delaware, the sixth of seven children, Bertice Berry was told by a high school teacher that she was "not college material.” Fortunately, another teacher believed in her. Berry applied to colleges with no funds to pay tuition. The day her application arrived at Jacksonville University, a wealthy benefactor called the Admissions Department looking for a potential student "who could swim if they had the right backing.”

Bertice Berry certainly could “swim” – she graduated magna cum laude, and went on to earn a Ph.D. from Kent State University. She became a very popular teacher at Kent, realizing the power of humor in addressing difficult subjects like racism and sexism.

Dr. Berry then became an award-winning lecturer and comedienne, winning the coveted national Comedian of the Year Award several years straight.

Dr. Berry hosted a national talk show, The Bertice Berry Show, and hosted USA Live on the USA Network. She has appeared often on television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and ABC's 20/20.

Dr. Bertice Berry is the author of many best-sellers, including: her memoir, I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head; the hilarious Sckraight From the Ghetto, You Might Be Ghetto If and You STILL Ghetto; her novel Redemption Song; and The Haunting of Hip Hop. Her other books include the award-winning Jim & Louella Homemade Heart-fix Remedy; When Love Calls, You Better Answer; and her family history, The Ties That Bind. A Year to Wellness and Other Weight Loss Secrets shares her journey of losing 150 pounds.

Despite her many honors and achievements, Dr. Berry is most proud of becoming the "instant mother" to her sister's four young children. "When you walk with purpose," Berry says, "you collide with destiny!"

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PAST SPEAKERS

Ellen Brown
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Ellen Brown
Dr. Ellen Brown relocated to Nevada from West Michigan in 2002. Las Vegas was the site of her second full-service Day Spa operation.

Dr. Brown is a first generation business owner who has pledged to always lend a hand to individuals starting or operating a business. She has five business startups on her list ranging from consulting to full service day spas to online retail. However, Ellen began her career following college graduation in the corporate arena where she held management positions in Public Relations and Marketing for Lear Siegler Aerospace Division and Training and Development for Spartan Stores. Ellen also served as Associate Professor and Dean at Davenport University, a reputable business institution located in the Midwest.

Dr. Brown holds bachelor and master degrees from Grand Valley State University in Public Relations and Communications; a post graduate certification in Administrative Management from Cornell University and a doctorate in Christian Business from Jacksonville Theological Seminary.

Maintaining a longstanding Commitment to serving the community, she has received many awards and acknowledgments including the Giants award for community service in Grand Rapids Michigan and Joseph Dudley Business Award in Chicago. In Las Vegas Dr. Brown received the Community Leadership Service Award from the Women's Council of Nevada Association of Real Estate Brokers.

In 2011, Ellen became a Certified Business Mentor for SCORE, a resource partner with the Small Business Association where she counsels emerging entrepreneurs in startup and marketing .
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PAST SPEAKERS

Christine Cashen
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Christine Cashen
Christine Cashen delivers a fast-paced, hilarious program with useful content that makes her a sought after speaker worldwide. For more than 14 years, she has jazzed an amazing variety of audiences. Christine is an authority on sparking innovative ideas, handling conflict, reducing stress and energizing employees.

Before hitting the speaking scene, Christine was a university admissions officer, corporate trainer and broadcaster. Christine holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication and a Masters Degree in Adult Education. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). CSP is an earned designation awarded by the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers. It is the speaking profession's international measure of speaking experience and skill. Fewer than 10% of the speakers on the planet hold this designation.

Audiences respond to Christine's humor and down-to-earth approach. Whether talking about her "hottie engineer" husband, her pet peeves or growing up in an Italian/Irish household, audiences always relate to her experiences, struggles and lessons.

Christine was featured as a creativity expert in HOW Designs at Work magazine and is co-author of the book Mission Possible, Volume Eight. She developed the A Dynamic Speaker series of learning resources: Get What You Want With What You've Got DVD, Why Can't Everybody Just Get Along CD and Got Humor video. Her new book, The Good Stuff, really is good stuff! Christine lives in Dallas with her husband, their two children and Murphy, the chocolate lab.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Kathleen Ciaramello
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Kathleen Ciaramello
Kathleen was recently appointed President of Coca-Cola’s Refreshments National FoodService and On-Premise division. She has responsibility for all global, national and regional customers operating within the Foodservice and On-Premise channels of business in the United States. Prior to this Kathleen was East Zone Vice President for the FoodService/On-Premise division with responsibility for the 22 east coast states. In this role, Kathleen led a cross functional team to deliver unique solutions that delight guests and grow beverage profits for our FoodService and On-Premise customers.

Kathleen is also one of 12 inaugural members of the Coca-Cola Women’s Leadership Council sponsored by CEO, Muhtar Kent. The Women’s Leadership Council is a sustainable advisory organization designed to help the Company meet the global leadership demands of a rapidly changing marketplace by increasing the focus on the development and movement of women into leadership roles. In her role on the council, Kathleen led work that became the catalyst for the Flexible Work Arrangements rolled out in 2009 across Coca-Cola North America and Corporate. Kathleen also leads the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Southeast Region of Coca-Cola Refreshments.

In 1985, Kathleen joined The Coca-Cola Company’s North America FoodService unit, serving in various account management roles in New Jersey, Boston, St. Louis and Atlanta. She became director of Leisure Marketing in 1997, group director of Leisure and Strategic Alliances in 2000, and Vice President, Strategic Alliances in 2001. From October 2006 to May 2009 she was Group Vice President of Strategic Partnership Marketing. In that role, she was responsible for the sales and marketing of the Company’s strategic partnerships such as on-site, travel, cinemas, and theme parks.

Kathleen fights hunger as the Co-Vice Chair of the advisory board for the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s “Atlanta’s Table”, supports the Georgia Restaurant and Foodservice Industries as a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association Board of Directors and is engaged in building strong communities as a member of the YMCA Metro Atlanta Board of Directors. Kathleen was a 2008 Recipient of "25 WOW Women to Watch" Award (Bloomingdale’s and Uptown Scoop). Kathleen was inducted into the ShowEast Hall of Fame in October, 2011, a tribute given to a select group of individuals who have served the motion picture industry with great distinction. She was also awarded the 2011 GRACE Award, Industry Partner of the Year, for her exemplary contributions to Georgia’s prolific restaurant industry.

A native of Massachusetts, Kathleen has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Boston College.

Kathleen and her husband, Paul, live in Atlanta with their two children.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Dan Coughlin
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Dan Coughlin
Dan Coughlin is a business thought leader on managing for long-term business success. He delivers keynote speeches and seminars from Maui to Budapest and everywhere in between.

As a management consultant and executive coach, Dan observes and advises presidents, vice-presidents, and senior directors in a wide variety of business functions and industries, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. He and his clients hone simple processes that improve performance throughout their organizations.

Dan Coughlin is one of America's most practical business teachers. Real-life stories from his management consulting work make his points vivid and memorable. People appreciate his penetrating insights and practical takeaways that they put to use immediately to achieve sustainable improvement in their performance and business results.

In his presentations, Dan Coughlin focuses on three crucial management topics: leadership, innovation, and branding. Participants appreciate the usefulness of Dan's ideas, the down-to-earth and humorous way in which he delivers them, and the way he customizes his remarks for their group.

Dan Coughlin is the author of four management books: Find a Way to Win: Management Insights from Terry Michler, America's All-Time Winningest Soccer Coach, Accelerate: 20 Practical Lessons to Boost Business Momentum, The Management 500: A High-Octane Formula for Business Success and Corporate Catalysts: How to Make Your Company More Successful, Whatever Your Title, Income, or Authority, which was translated for both China and India.

As a business thought leader on generating sustainable, profitable growth, Dan Coughlin is frequently quoted in media including USA Today, The New York Times, Investor's Business Daily, The Journal of the American Management Association, and dozens of other publications. Dan Coughlin's articles have been published in over 100 trade association publications.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Lillian Coury
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Lillian Coury
Lillian Coury reinvents workstyles for high performance leaders across the U.S. with her integrated approach called "DARE to FLY". Partnering with Lillian ensures greater effectiveness, impact and influence and cultivates business professionals' authentic leadership style and presence in results-driven organizations.

As a leadership development expert, certified executive coach, workshop facilitator, speaker and life learner, Lillian practices what she preaches in every area of her life. With 20 years in sales and marketing, Lillian founded and ran her own NYC printing company for 13 years, then sold it to follow her passion: to make a difference in the business world through her powerful coaching approach. She founded Pegasus Pathways in 2001 to specialize in transformational leadership development.

Lillian is a certified executive coach, workshop facilitator, trainer, speaker, author, and philanthropist, and maintains her credentials as a Certified Integral Coach (CIC) with New Ventures West Coaching School, and as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation. Pegasus Pathways is a WBE (Woman Business Enterprise) certified with WBEC - West since 2010.

You can learn more about Lillian and her offerings at www.lilliancoury.com

Contact Lillian at coach@lilliancoury.com or 480-474-0850
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PAST SPEAKERS

Carol Evans
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Carol Evans
Carol Evans serves as President of Working Mother Media, a division of Bonnier Corporation. Carol’s involvement with Working Mother magazine dates back to 1978, when she played a critical role in its launch and was Advertising Director and then VP Publisher for its first decade. In 1986 she founded the Working Mother 100 Best Companies, which is today the most important workplace benchmark in the country.

In August 2001, Carol acquired Working Mother magazine and the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), becoming the first mom to own Working Mother. She launched key initiatives including Best Companies for Multicultural Women and Best Companies for Hourly Workers. In 2006, Evans acquired Diversity Best Practices (DBP), the country’s leading diversity and inclusion membership organization. Since the acquisition, DBP has launched the Network and Affinity Leadership Congress (NALC), CEO Roundtables, DBP Benchmarking and Assessment Tool and the Global initiative.

Carol serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the March of Dimes. She speaks nationwide and appears on major talk shows including Today Show and Oprah. Carol’s book, This is How We Do It: The Working Mother’s Manifesto was published by Penguin. Carol has two children and celebrates 27 years with her husband, Bob Coulombe.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Ruth Hedges
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Ruth Hedges
Ruth Hedges is the CEO of Unismart Capital Software Inc, creator and key architect of the Funding Roadmap online licensable business plan and due diligence reporting system platform. Ms. Hedges has been responsible for pioneering a new and innovative virtual system for business planning, crowdfund compliance and due diligence reporting on the cloud.

Ms. Hedges, the creator of Crowdfundingroadmap, has been active in pioneering this new industry and from the beginning of 2010 helping the startup exemption to move the bills passage through Congress. She has since been building awareness through her global event in Las Vegas and development of best practices, compliant technology and educational material. Ms. Hedges currently teaches on equity based crowdfunding at UNLV, making it the first university in the United States to cover this information.

Ms Hedges is a founding board member of the Governance committee for the Crowdfunding Professional Association Organizing (CFPA) and also a founding board member of CrowdFund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CFIRA). She is a council member of the Crowdfunding Accreditation for Platform Standards (CAPS) program, a Crowdsourcing.org initiative that promotes the adoption of best practices for the operation of crowdfunding platforms globally.

In 2000, Ms. Hedges started and developed an incubation company in Pasadena California helping dot-com companies properly structure their operations, write business plans, and raise venture capital. Her lifelong entrepreneurial experience was a resource many companies needed. Helping those companies became the inspiration for the idea behind http://fundingroadmap.com
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PAST SPEAKERS

Phyllis James
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Phyllis James
Phyllis A. James is Executive Vice President, Special Counsel for Litigation and Chief Diversity Officer for MGM Resorts International. In this capacity she is responsible for management and supervision of Company litigation, including the coordination of outside litigation counsel. Ms. James is Chief Diversity Officer with responsibility for oversight of MGM Resorts' Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, as well as the Company's philanthropy programs and Diversity and Community Affairs Department. She also serves as a board member of, and special advisor and counselor to MGM Grand Detroit, LLC. Ms. James joined MGM Resorts in March 2002 as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel.

Prior to joining MGM Resorts, Ms. James served with Mayor Dennis W. Archer as Corporation (General) Counsel and Law Director of a department of approximately 100 lawyers for the City of Detroit. She also practiced with the San Francisco-based law firm of Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro before her position with the City of Detroit.

Throughout her career she has been active in bar and civic affairs including work with the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, and the Bar Associations of San Francisco and Detroit. In 2010 she was recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners, Southern Nevada Chapter, with the Women of Distinction Award in Gaming, Hospitality and Convention Services.

Ms. James graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in American History and Literature from Harvard/Radcliffe College and earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Cindy Kiser-Murphey
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Cindy Kiser Murphey
Cynthia Kiser Murphey is President and Chief Operating Officer for New York-New York. In this capacity, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations at the property. In addition to New York-New York, she is responsible for MGM Resorts International's Corporate Benefits' programs, including extensive community and state involvement in quality and wellness improvement initiatives.

Before assuming her current position, Kiser Murphey was Senior Vice President of Human Resources for MGM Resorts International. In this role, she supported a team of Human Resources professionals. She was a guiding force in the development of the company's comprehensive wellness and disease prevention program, the negotiation of labor agreements and the fostering of joint labor management cooperative relationships as well as the implementation of diversity initiatives and culture-building people programs.

Kiser Murphey joined the Company in 1989 as part of the Human Resources opening team for The Mirage. She then joined the MGM Grand opening team in 1992 and managed all Human Resources activities related to the property's opening. Kiser Murphey was instrumental in the creation of an in-house corporate university and an on-site child development center as well as the design of an unmatched benefits package.

Kiser Murphey is involved in a number of charitable and professional organizations. She currently serves as Chairperson for the State of Nevada Academy of Health, Chairperson for the Health Services Coalition of Southern Nevada, a Trustee for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union Health and Welfare Fund. She also has served on the State of Nevada Governor's Commission on Medical Education, Research and Training.

Kiser Murphey earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where she has served on the faculty as a part-time professor. In addition, she was named UNLV's "Alumna of the Year" in 2008.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Marilyn Sherman
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Marilyn Sherman
Marilyn Sherman motivates and inspires audiences to get out of their comfort zone and get a front-row seat in life!

Marilyn has over 22 years of experience in professional speaking, training and development, and facilitating workshops. She started her corporate career with Chrysler First Financial Services. As an in-house trainer, she was responsible for writing, producing, and presenting training programs to 2,400 employees across the United States. She trained all levels from new hires to senior executives, specializing in communication classes and building effective teams.

When NationsBank acquired Chrysler First Financial Services, Marilyn was an instrumental member of the transition team. She put her experience as a team building trainer to help the individuals of both companies quickly meld into one team.

Marilyn left NationsBank to be a full time seminar leader for SkillPath Seminars. She quickly became one of their most sought after speakers.

In 1988, Marilyn formed her own company, UpFront Presentations, to help people improve their morale, teamwork, and communication skills – and ultimately achieve better results. Marilyn helps companies increase productivity, manage change, and improve bottom line results.

With her engaging and fun personality, Marilyn connects with audiences and delivers content they can immediately use when they get back to the office.

Marilyn is a graduate of Washington State University and is a 19-year member of the National Speakers Association. She has served in several leadership roles in NSA, including board member for San Diego and Las Vegas chapters, chair of the Motivational Speaker Professional Experts Group, and director of educational labs across the country.

In addition to articles in trade magazines and national publications, Marilyn is the author of several books: Whose Comfort Zone Are You In?, Why Settle for the Balcony? How To Get A Front-Row Seat In Life!, and I.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Maria Silva
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Maria Silva
Maria Silva is very proud to call Las Vegas home. Her family has lived in Southern Nevada since 1981. Maria's broadcast career spans more than 14 years. A graduate of UNLV, she holds a Bachelors in Communication with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism.

In 1999, Maria became the first anchor/reporter for Univision Las Vegas. After ten years of hard news, she moved on to the lighter side and is now the feature reporter for FOX 5's Lifestyle/Entertainment Show.

Not one to stand on the side-line, she gets involved in the happenings of the community, volunteering at food drives, local parades, charity fundraisers and other events. Having lost her amazing mama to cancer, and as a way to honor her memory, Maria is involved with the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network. She's traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby for cancer research and funding.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Angela Taylor
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Angela Taylor
Dr. Angie Taylor has a long history of excellent leadership, staff development and commitment to diversity. Currently, she serves as General Manager for Guardian Quest, an organization specializing in providing training, organizational development and leadership solutions for corporate, government, educational and military clients across North America. In addition, she is CEO of ExcelQuest, a training agency that works specifically with the faith-based community and small non-profit organizations.

While working with Guardian Quest, the organization partnered for a time with the Leadership Foundry, a military focused training organization that specializes in personal development through assessment. During that time, Dr. Taylor was certified to facilitate leadership inventories such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument, Thomas Kilmann Instrument on conflict, and the Change Style Indicator instrument. Angie has designed curriculum, facilitated workshops and delivered keynote addresses for corporate, government, educational and military clients across North America. She is a regular presenter at various national, regional and statewide leadership conferences, typically earning excellent and exceptional evaluation ratings.

Angie has an earned doctorate in Educational Leadership, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Policy (MPA) and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, all from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her background is in higher education where she completed a storied 20-year career at the University of Nevada. While at Nevada, she served in several senior level leadership positions including Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Assistant Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, and Associate Vice President for Student Success Services.

Dr. Taylor has served on numerous committees, task forces and boards for the University, the local community and nationally. She currently serves as either a board or advisory board member for the Access to Healthcare Network of Nevada, Education Alliance of Washoe County, Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society, Junior League of Reno, and Nevada System of Higher Education.

Angie is a passionate, energetic presenter and has dedicated her life to making people and organizations better. She has received many awards and recognitions for her leadership and community service including membership in three halls of fame and inclusion on two “people to watch” lists. Dr. Taylor is also an ordained minister and serves as the administrative assistant pastor at Greater Light Christian Center in Reno, Nevada.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Lu Torres
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Lu Torres
Lu has been in senior nonprofit leadership for 29 years including organizations as YMCA, Girl Scouts, Educational Foundation, The Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada and most recently CEO and President of Nevada Microenterprise Initiative serving the state of Nevada. Lu's area of expertise lies within change management, and reorganization strategies. Lu has taken four organizations through reorganization process in which all organizations have turned around fiscally and programmatically through mission driven activities creating a sustainable environment. Lu has served as a certified train the trainers for two national organizations developing and implementing curriculum throughout the western region of the United States. Lu's background in small business development includes starting and owning several small businesses including a Travel agent which she developed and sold. Currently she is co-owner of a Microenterprise with her husband, a Property Inspection Service; she is an artist selling her works locally and in California.

Lu received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Service Administration graduating Suma cum Laude and receiving the Provost Scholar Award from Springfield College and her Masters Degree in Organizational Management, Antioch University. In 2011 Lu was an "In Business Women to Watch Honoree" from the publication Vegas Inc. 2012 recognized as one of the top 100 women in non-profit leadership in Nevada from Oprah Winfrey -Non Profit Sector As a graduate of Leadership Henderson 2010 she believes through strong leadership and strategic partnerships the development of small businesses will put Nevada back to work.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Char Wenc
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Char Wenc
The Chicago Tribune calls Char Wenc “a speaking dynamo.” You'll enjoy and grow from her engaging and moving program. Char shares step-by-step actions you can take to substantially improve in your profession.

A nationally recognized speaker, Char is also a consultant to the medical and business communities, school districts and other educational associations in the United States. Her career has included work as a classroom teacher, clinical counselor and a graduate school professor.

Char Wenc is the author of Cooperation – Learning Through Laughter and also Parenting – Are We Having Fun Yet?.

Char empowers people to establish more positive environments in which to live their lives. Char specializes in helping people improve relationships in the workplace and at home and school.

Experience the energy and magnetism of award-winning educator Char Wenc!
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PAST SPEAKERS

Pamela S. Williamson
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Pamela S. Williamson
As Executive Director, Dr. Williamson is responsible for the day-to-day operations of WBEC-West, achieving organizational goals and fostering WBEC-West's mission to serve as corporate America's premier agent for certification, enhancement and promotion of Women Business Enterprises in the western region.

Biography: Dr. Williamson brings more than 15 years experience in executive level management, including 4 years as the Vice President of a Behavioral Health Care Organization. Her extensive experience in developing and implementing innovative alliances with key stakeholders has enabled the organizations she has worked with to reach new levels of growth and stability. Her ability to lead and empower staff members creates a strong team environment which filters throughout the entire organization.

Her approach to leadership creates a new corporate culture within WBEC-West. The concept of servant leadership fosters strong relationships with constituencies, community partners, and staff creating a solid foundation for growth. Through the implementation of servant leadership principals, Pamela is working to enhance and create innovative ideas for the expansion of the organization.

Pamela holds a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration, a Master's degrees in Business Administration, and bachelor degrees in both Sociology and Social Work and psychology.
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PAST SPEAKERS

Kathleen Wood
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Kathleen Wood
Kathleen is the founder of Kathleen Wood Partners, LLC, an innovative growth strategy firm, specializing in shifting leaders and businesses to new levels of success. Kathleen and her partners offer strategic consulting services, brand development, keynote presentations and results-driven solutions for hospitality, healthcare, service, manufacturing and retail clients. Her firm consistently works with Fortune 500 leaders, INC 1000 founders and entrepreneurs.

In 2012, Kathleen, her sister and niece launched their concept Suzy's Swirl in Gurnee, Illinois. Suzy's Swirl is a self-serve yogurt, gelato and sorbetto shop. Their vision is to re-ignite the American Dream through swirling frozen goodness, swirling greatness and swirling gratitude.

Kathleen is a nationally recognized growth strategist, motivational speaker and author, and a proven leader in business and non-profits. She blends her corporate sensibility and rigor with entrepreneurial vigor and innovation to deliver sustainable solutions. In 2010 she published her first book, The BEST Shift of Your Life – The Restaurant Manager's Guide for Success Outside the Restaurant.

Before founding her own companies, Kathleen served as the President and COO of Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers from 2005–2007. This award-winning, $100M company operated 68 restaurants in 14 states with over 2,100 employees. During her tenure, she led the organization through the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the extensive recovery process that followed and through an unprecedented 100% growth in two years.

Kathleen is also a featured speaker and keynote presenter at corporate events, association meetings and multiple industry functions.

Kathleen is currently a board member for the People Report™, executive committee member for the Women's Foodservice Forum, and is the co-founder of The Foodservice Council for Women. She also serves on the strategic advisory council for People Matter. Kathleen is a past president and board member of Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers.
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2014 SPEAKERS

Natalie Allen
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Natalie Allen

Natalie Allen is an anchor and correspondent for CNN International after having spent 10 years as an anchor for CNN from 1992-2001. Allen also served as News Anchor for MSNBC. As a correspondent for NBC, she has appeared live on "The Nightly News," "The Today Show" and CNBC.

In 2011, Allen videotaped, produced and wrote a 3-part "Freedom Project" special for CNN International on child trafficking from Vietnam and Cambodia. Allen primarily focused on one community in the Mekong Delta.

Beginning in 2007, Allen served as The Weather Channel's first full-time environment and climate correspondent. As Primary Anchor for the network's weekly news program, "Forecast Earth," Allen traveled the country interviewing environmental pioneers and leaders in sustainability.

Allen started her career at WREG-TV in Memphis, Tennessee, becoming the first newsroom intern elevated to General Assignments Reporter while still a student. Three years later she was named Co-Anchor of WREG'S 10pm News.

At WFTV in Orlando, she covered the Kennedy Space Center and co-anchored the top-rated morning news show "Daybreak." She earned an Emmy Award and Edward R. Murrow Award for News Reporting and was voted "Favorite Morning Personality" by The Florida Today Newspaper.

Allen Served for three years as the keynote speaker for Atlanta Magazine's "Women Making a Mark" Awards Program. She has been a guest speaker for numerous organizations and in 2008 was featured by Atlantan Magazine in an entitled "The Green Queen."

National Public Radio profiled Natalie for her work at The Weather Channel covering environment for "Forecast Earth."

She has also been featured in many news articles and magazines including The Commercial Appeal's Mid-South Magazine, Atlanta Magazine, Jezebel Magazine's "Most Beautiful Atlantans" and The Chicago Tribune.

With her focus on sustainability and environment issues, Allen has been a speaker/moderator at Wal-Mart headquarters, The Commit Forum at NYSE, Microsoft top 100 CEO Summit, Fortune Magazine's Brainstorm Green, MIT forums, Georgia Solar Summit keynote speaker, keynote speaker for University of Memphis Journalism Awards and University of Southern Mississippi keynote speaker for Graduation Day Honors Awards Ceremony.

She has appeared in the movies "Contact" and "Castaway" and was featured in an episode of the sitcom "Mad About You."

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2014 SPEAKERS

Ty Bennett
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Ty Bennett

Emerging Leader Track: The Power of Influence: Increase Your Impact

No matter your company, or the role which you play in it, you are in the business of people. Because of that, leadership is a driving force behind growing your business. How do you become a solid leader? Through influence. How do you become a successful leader? By using influence to engage and inspire others with integrity. Ty shares his philosophies and tools for increasing your influence and impact as a leader. Ty’s humorous, insightful and interactive presentation will send attendees home as better leaders-making for better and more profitable businesses.

About Ty Bennett

When Ty Bennett was 21 years old, he and his brother Scott started a business in direct sales, which they built to over $20 million in annual revenue while still in their twenties. Since that time, he has developed over 500 sales managers in 37 countries. As an entrepreneur, Ty uses the power of influence and storytelling to engage his teams and develop the vision of growing their organization.

As a speaker Ty is a young, fresh voice with a fun, engaging style. He speaks on leadership, influence, entrepreneurship and storytelling. More than 500,000 people from 50 countries have learned from Ty Bennett’s insights.

With a natural ability to engage and empower others, Ty draws on his experience to share tangible techniques and principles of leadership and influence. Ty’s interactive presentations are engaging, dynamic and inspiring.

Ty Bennett’s best-selling books The Power of Influence and The Power of Storytelling: The Art of Influential Communication is used in graduate courses at multiple universities including MIT, as today’s version of the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.



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2014 SPEAKERS

Fawn Germer
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Fawn Germer

Executive Track: You've Leaned In, Now Lean OUT

You've been leaning in, leaning in, leaning in. Maybe it is time to lean out a little. As one of the nation's premier speakers on work-life balance issues, Fawn brings together the tips and strategies from America's most successful women leaders at all levels in the business world. This session will end the madness, change your life and completely reduce your stress level. You will learn to:

  • Give yourself a break already! Everybody struggles with this. The guilt will kill you, so let it go.
  • Take a hard look at what really matters to you and honor those priorities.
  • Say no. If you can't set boundaries, you'll never sleep at night.
  • Understand that there will be times when you get it right and when you don't, but you might as well enjoy the ride.
  • Extend your family so you don't have to be everywhere at the same time.


Emerging Executive Track: Hard Won Wisdom

Be prepared to be inspired. This presentation will give you the performance jolt needed in order to excel without limits. If you are searching for greatness on your own terms, you will learn to:

  • Realize that your greatest potential rests with your ability to take risks with confidence, always moving forward.
  • Make peace with your insecurities, embrace who you really are, then go for it.
  • Ask for favors and build mentorships in everyday interactions.
  • Realize that networking is part of the job... so seek and embrace connection opportunities.
  • Give up on perfection and be decisive.
  • Make the decision to be a change-maker, not a change-reactor.
  • Utilize the new technology and changes in the workplace so you are always expanding your visibility and moving ahead.

About Fawn Germer

A very nasty boss told Fawn Germer that she’d never be more than she was then – a newspaper reporter. We hope her boss was one of the millions watching when Oprah Winfrey featured Fawn’s first book, Hard Won Wisdom, on her show and said it was “very inspiring.”  Fawn has written seven best-selling books, and is a successful, beloved speaker. She’s real, honest, and shares leadership and success strategies learned from interviewing many of America’s most successful leaders.

Fawn’s distinguished reporting career earned her numerous awards including four Pulitzer Prize nominations and the prestigious Green Eyeshade Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. An acclaimed investigative reporter, she’s worked as a correspondent for The Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. Fawn is a regular columnist for The Huffington Post.

Fawn looks back on that bully boss who tried to hold her back and says, “Some people have mentors. I had a tormentor.” If not for him, she’d never have looked for anything different from her career. One thing she’s learned: It’s all about the obstacles.  Fawn Germer shares stories of creating triumph out of defeat, inspiring us to believe in ourselves, take risks, and live a bold life.



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2014 SPEAKERS

Shari Harley
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Shari Harley

Emerging Leader Track:  Managing Your Reputation:  What They Say When You're Not There.

No one wants to hear that she isn't doing a good job. Thus no one wants to tell her. Telling your boss you're frustrated or aren't hitting your targets is even more difficult, and thus many of us don't. Worse is that most feedback, positive or negative, is useless because it's vague. Get a simple formula to make even the most difficult conversation easier. Conversations will be short, specific and on point. They won't be personal. They will be actionable. You'll be able to say what you want to say, when you want to say it, in a way that the other person can hear you and take action.

Emerging Executive Track:  How to Say Anything to Anyone: Setting Expectations for Powerful Working Relationships.

You have a request for one of your co-workers but don't know how to say it, so you don't say anything. A project you worked on for six months has become a black hole. There is no information about the status. You're frustrated, but you don't say anything. Two employees aren't working well together. It's impacting the atmosphere in the office. You don't know what to say, so you don't say anything. Speaking up when we are frustrated is hard and, as a result, most of us don't. Instead, either we tell other people (aka gossip) or we say nothing, and relationships become strained. You can say anything to anyone and have it be easy. You just need to lay the groundwork to do so, and most of us don't.

About Shari Harley

Shari Harley brings candor back to the workplace, making it easier to tell the truth at work. Managers tell employees the truth about their performance. Employees ask for what they need. Prospects tell you why they did or didn't hire you. Customers tell you how things are really going, giving you the chance to retain their business.

An engaging, funny, content-rich business speaker, Shari’s practical approach has led her to speak and train throughout the U.S. and in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Dubai, and Australia.

She is the author of the book How to Say Anything to Anyone A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work.

Shari Harley is the President of Candid Culture, a training and consulting firm.  Before launching Candid Culture, Shari led leadership development training for OppenheimerFunds, conducted customer service training for American Century Investments, and facilitated and sold programs for Dale Carnegie Training. She holds a Masters in Communication and taught leadership at the University of Denver. 

From making meetings work and delegating better, to managing your career and saying anything to anyone, Shari’s techniques delight and inform. Audiences laugh while they learn, and gain tools and techniques to transform any relationship.



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2014 SPEAKERS

David Rabiner
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David Rabiner

Executive Track: Creating a Culture of Personal Leadership and Growth

What difference would it make if personal leadership -- initiative, accountability, character, and sound decision-making -- was the most obvious quality in your workforce? This program explores what it takes to imbed personal leadership into the fabric of your organization and why doing so is critical to engaging your workforce, retaining your top performers, and achieving strategic objectives.

Emerging Executive Track: Practical Leadership: Bridging the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

As students of leadership, we all face the same challenging question: How do we close the gap between what we know about leadership and who we are as leaders? How do we become the leaders we want to be? This program explores the obstacles that keep us from excelling at leadership at the behavioral level and provides the necessary tools for overcoming those obstacles. Participants will leave with a plan that will allow them not just to understand what great leadership is, but how to live it. This presentation on the discipline of leadership growth and development is a must-attend event for those who want to take their leadership skills to the next level.

About David Rabiner

David Rabiner, CSP is a rare combination of subject-matter expert and humorist.  Participants in his content-rich programs discover small, high-impact changes they can make to have greater influence with others and achieve better outcomes in business and in life.  They leave motivated, inspired, and with real-world tools they will use each day at work and at home.

David Rabiner enjoyed a successful career in radio news broadcasting, in executive-level public service, and as an entrepreneur. In 1993, David founded Rabiner Resources, delivering programs that improve leadership, business results, and individual effectiveness at work. 

In 2003, David passed rigorous standards to earn the Certified Speaking Professional designation, the international benchmark for speaking excellence.  This designation is held by the top 10% of speakers worldwide.

A graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University, David has presented over 2,000 programs in 46 states and twelve countries. He combines the captivating style of a great speaker with a deep understanding of what it takes to learn. David’s funny and down-to-earth presentation style helps people visualize and grasp the topic and motivates them to make the changes necessary to keep pace, stay balanced, and succeed.



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2014 SPEAKERS

Jean Birch
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Jean Birch

Jean Birch likes to describe her career in three chapters. Her first chapter was focused on managing complex manufacturing operations - taking her from making potato chips in a union plant for Frito Lay to making computer chips for medical pacemakers for Medtronic Inc.

Her second career chapter tapped into her fascination with consumer behavior and love of eating - she has spent 25 years in the restaurant industry - primarily in operations. She started on the fast food side working at Pizza Hut advancing to eventually become Sr. Director of Concept Development where she aligned international branding for Pizza Hut and was responsible for keeping McDonalds out of the pizza business. She moved on to Taco Bell where she ran 1800 restaurants accounting for 1.8 billion dollars in sales with over 50,000 employees.

Eventually Jean wanted to lead the full business so she left Taco Bell to become President of Corner Bakery Café - a 120 unit fast casual restaurant brand. Because she was so successful at Corner Bakery Café, Jean took on the President's job at the much bigger brand of Macaroni Grill -a full service brand and bar of 240 restaurants in the US and 4 foreign countries.

Jean's most recent role in restaurants was as President of IHOP Restaurants, a 2.7 billion dollar brand of 1550 restaurants in the US and eight international countries. She was responsible for the complete brand repositioning, repairing franchisee relations and engineering new growth in a mature and revered brand.

Jean is now in her third chapter where she coaches and consults in the areas of strategic planning and organizational effectiveness. In addition, she serves on the board of directors for Cosi, a publicly traded restaurant company, and the Children's Miracle Network.

Jean has a double degree in Economics and Oriental Studies from the University of Arizona and completed her MBA at Southern Methodist University.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Mike Hourigan
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Mike Hourigan

Executive Track: Riding the Waves without Getting Wet: How to Lead though Change

Reorganizations. Changing laws. The global economy. How can you keep your lifejacket buckled while the stormy seas of absurdity churn around you? This program shares strategies for managing change in organizations swirling in the turbulent waters. One thing is certain, people are looking to their leaders for direction and leaders are trying to find it before it changes again. Whether you are at the crest or in the trough he will show you how to become change resilient and stay dry. This lively program makes leading change as fun as a day at the beach. When you leave the program you will be able to recognize, predict, and plan for change. You will also be able to teach your mangers how to motivate through change rather than dread it.

Emerging Executive Track: How to Get what YOU Want through Negotiation Skills

When it comes to negotiation, all people are created equal, but it is the people who understand the negotiation process and practice it who win! In his negotiation program, Mike Hourigan will demystify this process and guarantees everyone will leave with the skills necessary to enter their next negotiation from a position of strength and get what you want. Don’t miss this fun, funny and factual program designed to improve your negotiation results. Here are just a few takeaways:

  • You will be less intimidated when approaching a negotiation.
  • You will know how to use professional negotiation tactics in everyday situations.
  • Your will learn how to disarm some of the nasty tricks other negotiators play.

About Mike Hourigan
Mike Hourigan, CSP brings humor and real-world wisdom to audiences, helping them navigate constant change. Mike entertains and energizes, illustrating his points with insightful stories from his varied work experiences… from picking strawberries for 10 cents a pint at age 12 to heading sales and marketing at large international companies.

A veteran leadership consultant and productivity expert, Mike provides easy-to-use solutions that help audiences thrive in today’s workplace and global marketplace. Audiences leave his program ready to face challenging situations head on.

Mike’s corporate career spanned 17 years with international companies including Olympus Corporation and Cargill, Inc. This real-world executive experience informs Mike’s completely fresh approach to leadership, team building, sales management, customer service, and balance.

Mike addresses the key issues that companies grapple with most, from interpersonal communications to the subtle nuances of conducting business in a global economy. Mike’s dynamic presentations help audiences achieve higher levels of performance.

Mike Hourigan is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the highest earned accreditation awarded by the National Speakers Association, and achieved by only 10% of speakers worldwide.  His books include Riding the Waves without Getting Wet: A Journey to Leadership, The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus, and Motivational Selling.



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2014 SPEAKERS

Patricia Mulroy
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Patricia Mulroy

A leader in the international water community for more than 25 years, Pat Mulroy serves as the Senior Fellow for Climate Adaptation and Environmental Policy at University of Nevada—Las Vegas' Brookings Mountain West, a joint research and policy development center created by Nevada's largest institute of higher education and the internationally renowned Brookings Institution. She also holds a faculty position at the Desert Research Institute, where she serves as the Maki Distinguished Faculty Associate. Mulroy is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.

Between 1989 and early 2014, Pat Mulroy served as General Manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, a municipal purveyor serving more than 350,000 accounts, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), the regional agency responsible for acquiring, treating and delivering water to two million Southern Nevadans and 40 million annual visitors. Mulroy was a principal architect of the SNWA, helping to guide Southern Nevada through an unprecedented period of growth and one of the worst droughts in the history of the Colorado River.

As general manager of one of the country's most progressive water agencies, Mulroy was exceptionally active in regional and national water issues, a passion she brings to her current roles. During her long tenure, she negotiated numerous agreements with neighboring Colorado River Basin States and the country of Mexico. Her reach in the water community extends far beyond the desert Southwest. She currently serves as a member emeritus of the Water Research Foundation Board of Trustees. She previously was on the board of the National Water Resources Association and was a member of the American Water Works Association. Additionally, she was the original chairperson of the Western Urban Water Coalition, is immediate past president of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, and has served on the Colorado River Water Users Association's board of directors.

At UNLV's Brookings Mountain West and DRI, Mulroy's focus is on helping communities in water-stressed areas throughout both the American Southwest and the world develop strategies to address increased water resource volatility and identify solutions that balance the needs of all stakeholders. In her faculty role at DRI, Mulroy also will explore the role of technology in optimizing the use of water resources.

A resident of Southern Nevada for more than three decades, Mulroy is equally active in the community. She currently serves on the board of the Keep Memory Alive Foundation, and she has served on the Nevada Public Radio Board of Directors. Mulroy also is actively involved with the Diocese of Las Vegas and has served on the Board of Regents of Bishop Gorman High School. Her honors include National Jewish Medical and Research Center's Humanitarian Award, the University and Community College System of Nevada Board of Regents' Distinguished Nevadan Award, and the Education Hero Award from the Public Education Foundation.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Rosemary Vassiliadis
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Rosemary Vassiliadis

Rosemary A. Vassiliadis was named Clark County Director of Aviation in March 2013. She had previously served as Deputy Director of Aviation since December 1997. She oversees all operations at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, as well as general aviation airports in North Las Vegas, Henderson, Jean and Overton, Nevada.

Vassiliadis is the eleventh person to lead Clark County's aviation system since McCarran was establish in 1948, and is the first woman to serve as Director.

McCarran annually ranks among the world's busiest airports, serving more than 41 million passengers in 2012. Under Vassiliadis' leadership, the airport has developed an industry-leading security program while maintaining a strong commitment to world-class customer service. Vassiliadis manages the work of nearly 1,500 employees, ensuring that the airport system's operational plans are efficiently and effectively implemented.

Vassiliadis works with several national organizations that are critical to the U.S. and global travel industries. Since February 2011, she has overseen McCarran's efforts as an Executive Board Member of the U.S. Travel Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that promotes American travel interests both domestically and worldwide. In February 2014, Vassiliadis was elected by member vote to serve a 1-year term as the Association's Board Treasurer. Since 2009, Vassiliadis has been an advisory board member for the International Aviation Law Institute, a premier source for research, analysis, and study of international aviation law and policy based out of the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

In September 2011, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Vassiliadis a member of the Nevada Homeland Security Commission, which is responsible for setting goals and programs to counteract or prevent potential acts of terrorism or related emergencies; she had previously served in this role from August 2004 through July 2007. Vassiliadis has been a member of the United Service Organizations' Las Vegas Advisory Council since April 2010, and was proud to participate in the opening of Nevada's first USO Center at McCarran on Veterans Day 2010.

Vassiliadis came from the Clark County Department of Finance, where she amassed 16 years of progressive government experience. As director of finance for Clark County, she was responsible for a $2.2 billion operating budget and a $2.4 billion capital improvement plan. Before joining Clark County, she worked for the City of Las Vegas Finance Department, beginning as a financial analyst and progressing to manager of finance and budget.

A native of Chicago, Vassiliadis earned a bachelor's degree in accountancy from DePaul University. She and her husband have two children and enjoy a variety of community activities.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Soledad O'Brien
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Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O'Brien is an award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor, producer and television personality. At the forefront of the biggest breaking news stories of the past two decades, O'Brien is one of the most sought-after journalists of current day. In June of 2013, O'Brien launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity, through personal stories.

O'Brien was the originator of the highly successful documentary series for CNN "Black in America" and "Latino in America" which will continue being produced under Starfish Media Group. Through SMG, O'Brien will also contribute additional programming to CNN, as well as short-form segments for Al Jazeera America. Furthermore, O'Brien will take over the reigns as Executive Producer and moderator for The Geographic Bee later this year.

O'Brien recently entered into a multifaceted partnership with HBO, the premium cable and satellite television network. O'Brien joins the Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel team as of June 2013, giving her the opportunity to further delve into the compelling storytelling she is known for, except now through the vast prism of sports. In addition to appearing on the award-winning program, the deal with HBO encompasses a first-look opportunity for scripted projects and long-form programming concepts with O'Brien's Starfish Media Group.

Earlier in her career, O'Brien co-anchored for Weekend Today and contributed to segments on The Today Show and Nightly News. In 2003, O'Brien transitioned to CNN where she was the face of CNN's morning news shows for many years, and in 2011 won an Emmy for "Crisis in Haiti Report" on Haitian orphanages, following the massive earthquake. In 2013 she won 2 Emmy awards for reporting on "Kids and Race" and for the networks reporting of the 2012 Presidential election. Her coverage of Hurricane Katrina earned her and CNN a George Foster Peabody award. She also received another Peabody award for her coverage of the BP Gulf coast Oil Spill. Her reporting on the Southeast Asia tsunami garnered CNN an Alfred I DuPont award. O'Brien's critically acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and its follow-up "Latino in America" are among CNN's most successful domestic and international franchises. In 2013, "Latino in America 2," the story of a Latina boxer who dreams of Olympic glory, won the celebrated Cine Award for documentaries. Her documentary "Gay in America: Gary and Tony have a baby", and "Unwelcome, the Muslims Next Door" also won numerous journalism awards. O'Brien was named journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists and one of Newsweek Magazines "10 People who Make America Great".

In 2013, O'Brien joined Harvard University as a Distinguished Fellow and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the foundation for The National Archives.

In the wake of hurricane Katrina, O'Brien and her husband, Brad, created The Starfish Foundation to help disadvantaged young women get to and through college. This year they will award scholarships to 25 deserving young women.

O'Brien lives in Manhattan with her husband and four children.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Susan Gambardella
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Susan Gambardella

Susan Gambardella recently held the position of Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing Operations for Coca-Cola North America where she was responsible for media and interactive, digital platforms, sports and entertainment, national programs and region assets. Prior to this assignment Susan was the Central Region Vice President for Coca-Cola Foodservice, where she was responsible for managing sales and cross-functional relationships in 20 states in the Central U.S.

Susan joined The Coca-Cola Company as a FoodService Account Executive in New York and was promoted to roles of increasing responsibility including Director Area Sales, Area Vice President, Vice President of National Accounts, and Region Vice President. Before joining The Coca-Cola Company, Susan was a Unit Manager with Proctor and Gamble, where she led a key customer team.

Susan serves on the Executive Committee for the Women's Foodservice Forum Board of Directors and served as a past chairperson of the organizations Leadership and Development Annual Conference. Susan assumed the chair position at the Women's Foodservice Forum for the 2014-2015 year. She also serves on the advisory board for The Center for Accountable Leaders at Kennesaw State University. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Connecticut.

She and her husband have two children and reside in Atlanta, GA.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Vicki Hitzges
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Vicki Hitzges

Emerging Leader Track: A River of Blessing

People reach out to people who reach out. A Carnegie Study explored why people get, keep and move ahead in jobs. The results of that scientific study are presented in this laugh-provoking presentation. Time will fly in this highly interactive session where audience members participate in small-group activities that teach them how to shake hands (a huge number don't know how), actively listen, encourage others and connect. And you'll take away vital skills to use both at work and at home that will benefit you.

About Vicki Hitzges

Vicki Hitzges, CSP started her career communicating with the public in the front office for the Dallas Cowboys. As her career progressed, Vicki worked as a television news anchor and talk show host in Dallas, where she interviewed U.S. presidents, business moguls, movie stars, authors and athletes.  She hosted the Cowboys weekly TV show, Special Edition.

Vicki became a publicist, and one of her clients, motivational guru Zig Ziglar, urged Vicki to speak and personally mentored her. Within three months, she’d spoken around the world!

Vicki works with companies to build cultures of encouragement.  Vicki combines stories, humor, useful content, and audience interaction in her presentations to powerful effect.  Her core message is how to build stronger relationships, because relationships are the key to our success and satisfaction in life.  Vicki provides tips and ideas that people can implement immediately. 

In 2004, Vicki Hitzges earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest earned designation awarded by the National Speakers Association. Fewer than 10% of speakers worldwide have earned this title.  Vicki has spoken as far away as Qatar, New Zealand, Panama and Thailand. She is the author of Attitude is Everything and Stuck on Stop – How to Quit Procrastinating.



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2014 SPEAKERS

Catherine Cortez Masto
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Catherine Cortez Masto
In January 2007, Catherine Cortez Masto began serving as Nevada’s Attorney General. Known for her integrity and leadership, she has committed her time in office to protecting and advocating on behalf of the people and communities in Nevada.

General Masto has worked on many issues, which include mortgage fraud, cyber bulling, sex trafficking, senior citizen protection, substance abuse, domestic violence against women, and consumer protection.

She served as the 2012-2013 chair of the Conference of Western Attorneys General and a 2012-2013 executive committee member of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Prior to her service at the Attorney General's Office, she worked as an Assistant County Manager for Clark County, Nevada. She also served as a federal criminal prosecutor for the United States Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. and was Chief of Staff to Governor Bob Miller.

She is a native Nevadan and graduate of the University of Nevada Reno and Gonzaga University Law School.
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2014 SPEAKERS

Valarie Sparks
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Valarie Sparks

The Power of Social Media:  
In this high-energy session, Valarie Sparks will leave you with mastering the “How To's” of LinkedIn for Personal and Professional Branding:

  • Create an optimized profile that truly answers 'Why Do You Matter?'
  • Control the amount of e-mail you receive from LinkedIn
  • Etiquette 101
  • Do's and Dont's of sending and receiving new connection request invitations
  • Stand-Out among the noise of 300 million members
  • Attract recruiters and appear higher in search with strategic keyword placement within profile
  • Ensure your organization is consistently and professionally branded
  • Continually engage your existing client and referral network to stay top-of-mind for new and repeat business
  • Learn how to utilize the site in reaching out to new potential customers and hiring managers
  • Stay current with when your professional network changes jobs or celebrates a birthday
  • Ensure LinkedIn does not take up too much time - learn to maximize and monitor time spent on the site
  • Ability to adjust privacy settings
  • Ability to ask questions to a leading independent LinkedIn trainer

After a successful 13-year career in corporate operations and sales management, Valarie Sparks has created a Social Sales Training company in which she trains a wide variety of professionals from entrepreneurs, job seekers, and sales professionals how to utilize LinkedIn as a marketing, job seeking, and business development tool. Valarie’s time is spent staying current on new LinkedIn trends and updated features.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Kara Valikai
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Kara Valikai

Women: The Next Emerging Economy
As a result of this workshop, participants will gain a deeper understanding of how companies are empowering women through three distinct areas: employees and corporate value chains, corporate philanthropy and community investment, and public policy and advocacy.

About Kara Valikai

Kara Valikai is the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center's Health and Wellness and Women’s Economic Empowerment Issue Networks. In this role, she supports global companies to modify, grow, and improve in their wellness and women’s economic opportunity through their corporate citizenship initiatives. She brings together a diverse set of leaders to discuss the most pressing health and wellness and women’s economic empowerment challenges through research, reporting, and forums. These resources empower companies to identify the best solutions, strategies, and partners and make real change.

Kara recently earned an MBA and MPA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Harvard Kennedy School, respectively. In these programs, she specialized in sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and international affairs. In addition to her studies, she worked for the Harvard Kennedy School CSR Initiative. She co-authored a report which illuminated ExxonMobil’s complex network of partners necessary to establish a $19B liquid natural gas project in Papua New Guinea. In addition she co-authored a report, which assessed the business case for The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 women’s economic empowerment initiative.

She previously worked for TechnoServe in Romania, Colombia, Chile, and Nicaragua. Kara also spent two years working for a microfinance rating agency, Planet Rating, in Peru where she led and executed financial risk and social ratings for microfinance institutions across Latin America. Prior to Planet Rating, she was a senior financial analyst for an asset management company, American Capital. She has also worked in public accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. Kara speaks Spanish fluently and holds a B.A. in Business-Economics from U.C. Santa Barbara.

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2014 SPEAKERS

Ondra Berry
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Ondra Berry

“Every human being is under construction and has unlimited potential.” This principle has inspired Ondra Berry to commit his life to inspire those within his sphere of influence to realize and actualize their hidden potential.  Ondra has been a champion of leadership, diversity, organizational change, and individual personal growth for over 25 years. He is committed to challenging the status quo in human potential and utilized his two decades of experience and studies in the topic of personal leadership and greatness to ignite a movement of unleashing the potential within, one person at a time, worldwide.   His goal is to get each person to understand their “Ayoba” the awesomeness and potential that we all have within.  He was the co-founder and partner of Guardian Quest, a company committed to unleashing the untapped potential of individuals and organizations through world-class training solutions. Known as a change agent in personal and organizational transformation, Ondra’s vast leadership and training experience spans public and private sectors.

His skills were refined in a celebrated 25-year career in the Reno Police Department, where he retired as the Assistant Chief of Police over-seeing the administrative division. He continues his public service to his state and country as a General in the Nevada Air National Guard and is assigned as the Assistant Adjutant General Air, for the State of Nevada.  In June of 2013, Ondra joined of the best companies in the world, the MGM Resorts International.  He serves as the Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion for corporate diversity and community engagement. Ondra invests his life energies and passions in the development and delivery of cutting edge training solutions in the topics of diversity, leadership and organizational change, and employee engagement.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nevada Reno and is a member of numerous non-profit and service organizations Through his innovative training and keynote addresses, Ondra Berry has spoken in all fifty states, territories, the District of Columbia, and several countries, and is on a quest to leave this world better than he found it!



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2014 SPEAKERS

Suzan Kereere
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Suzan Kereere

Suzan Kereere is Senior VP and General Manager, American Express.  In this role, she is responsible for managing relationships and strategy with merchants that have a national footprint in the U.S.  These merchants operate in such sectors as travel, retail, restaurant, lodging, entertainment, every day spend, and B2B.  Suzan and her team are tasked with finding innovative solutions to improve the merchant experience and drive growth.  The team is focused on expanding into new verticals, accessing new consumers through enhanced value propositions and leading digital innovation with key merchants.

Suzan Kereere is an innovative business leader with over 20 years of experience in managing profit and loss, leading global customer-facing teams, and leading her teams to success. Previously, Suzan led the Global Network Business as Senior Vice President and was critical in leading the way for American Express to become the payment network for commerce for Issuers and Acquirers.  With a team of over 500 employees in 21 markets, she was responsible for monetizing network assets and developing emerging technologies.  In this capacity, she was responsible for profit and loss ownership, achieving competitive parity, driving digital payments innovation and leveraging partnerships to create new business models. She also led the American Express decision to launch EMV in the U.S., keeping pace with the competition and creating a foundation for future innovation.  She was also the driving force behind several digital pilot launches including ISIS and contactless in transit.

Suzan holds board seats on multiple organizations in both a professional and personal capacity.  She is a board member of the National Retail Federation Foundation as well as the United States Travel Association.  She also serves on the board of the NY chapter of the Red Cross, Zawadi Africa Education Fund, and Dataposit - a new technology start up in Africa. She co-led the American Express European Diversity Council and Women’s Interest Networks and devotes much of her personal time to causes which further the education and advancement of women from developing countries.

She holds a BA in Economics from Tufts University, Massachusetts and currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.



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2014 SPEAKERS

Ondra Berry
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Wendy Davidson

Wendy Davidson joined Kellogg Company as president, U.S. Specialty Channels in October 2013. She is also a member of the company’s Global Leadership Team, the Kellogg North America Leadership Team, and the Global Snacks and Global Breakfast Operating Councils.

Most recently, Ms. Davidson was vice president, Custom Flavor Solutions, U.S. and Latin America, at McCormick & Company. Prior to that, she spent 16 years at Tyson Foods Inc., working in general management, sales and marketing roles. Among them, she served as senior vice president and general manager, National Accounts; group vice president, Food Service Group and senior vice president and general manager, McDonald’s Business Unit. Ms. Davidson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, where she is a member of the Board of Regents. She also serves on the Luther College Executive Committee and chairs the Outreach and Gifts Committee.

Currently, Ms. Davidson serves as the Vice Chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Board of Directors and is an Executive Committee member. Previously, Ms. Davidson served on the North West Arkansas chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Board of Directors, the Mother’s and Companies Cooperating (MACC) Initiative Board of Directors, and the New School Board of Directors. Ms. Davidson is an active volunteer, advocate and sponsor for the United Way. Ms. Davidson and her husband plan to relocate to the greater Chicago area. They have two children.



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PAST SPEAKERS

Gail Becker Debi Benedetti Bertice Berry Ellen Brown
Gail Becker Debi Benedetti BERTICE BERRY Ellen Brown
Christine Cashen Kathleen Ciaramello Dan Coughlin Lillian Coury
Christine Cashen Kathleen Ciaramello Dan Coughlin Lillian Coury
Carol Evans Ruth Hedges Phyllis James Cindy Kiser Murphey
Carol Evans Ruth Hedges Phyllis James Cindy Kiser-Murphey
Marilyn Sherman Maria Silva Angela Taylor Lu Torres
Marilyn Sherman Maria Silva Angela Taylor Lu Torres
Char Wenc Pamela S. Williamson Kathleen Wood
Char Wenc Pamela S. Williamson Kathleen Wood


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