Workshops & Circles

Discover our workshops & conversation circles that are designed to enhance your ability to communicate, connect, and lead from a place of empowerment.


Sponsored by Junior League of Champaign Urbana

Storytelling for Leadership

Vicki Clark - Speaker, Coach, Mentor, and Consultant

Vicki Clark is an optimist. She loves people and shows up in the world as a learner and a servant leader. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Vicki has devoted the past 40 years of her career to building capacity of for profit and nonprofit organizations and individuals, inspiring community and business leaders to take action.

We know what we do, but how do we share our story in a way that inspires others and creates action? Join Vicki Clark as she shares the keys to authentic storytelling and how to find your voice when stepping into leadership.


Sponsored by Rector Real Estate Group

Session A

Storytelling for Marketing

Marie Hale - CEO of @revenue Sales & Marketing Expert

Marie Hale is the cofounder and visionary at @revenue, the innovative Chicago sales and marketing agency. Marie provides her clients with effective, innovative sales and marketing strategies that allow them to grow their business, empower their sales knowledge and utilize systems that allow them to automate or delegate accordingly so they can focus on their own clients and what they do best. She is also proud to say that she graduated from Jim Rosas’ Sales Results, Inc. program with a Black Belt in Sales. Marie was honored to accept the Midwest Women in Tech Leadership Award as well as the Expertise Award for Business Consulting in Chicago in 2019 and 2020.

Followers of Marie Hale instantly recognize her ability to explore marketing and sales from myriad creative and insightful angles - from embracing your social equity to developing powerhouse quality introductions to neuro-linguistic programming, so it should come as no surprise that she accepted our invitation to dig into and present “Storytelling for Marketing.”

Session B

Storytelling for Cultivating Joy

Heidi Esther - Storyteller and Joy Coach

If Mister Rogers and Captain Marvel had a baby, it would be Heidi Esther. She is a cookie-baking emotional intelligence powerhouse, veteran Momma, and Relationship Building Professional. While trying to take care of the world, she walked through a decade in life’s trenches. At the end, she discovered something more miraculous than dark chocolate! Her Joyfully Ever After. Now she's on a mission to help you create yours.

Would you like to have less guilt and regret? How about less worries over the future? What about feeling More Joyful about your current life? If you answered YASSSSSSS....

Then join Heidi Esther for a powerful and playful session that will give you the tools to unearth and replant the stories you tell yourself - from the past, present, and future - to be ones that bring you empowered Joy.


Sponsored by State Farm Agent Nicole Wellman

Session A

Storytelling for Financial Well Being

Susan Toalson McGinty - Chief of Development

Susan Toalson McGinty is the Chief Development Officer for the University of Illinois Community Credit Union (UICCU) and a financial coach. She is passionate about financial well-being for all and enthusiastic to bring financial wellness to the workplace and her community. She was also Executive Director for a business association, a teacher, and served in the United States Navy Reserves. She is all about building relationships, connecting fabulous people, and helping others realize their very best selves.

Why should you care about financial wellness? 78% of us are struggling with our finances, and it's affecting our mental health and our physical well-being. Understanding the psychology of spending and our relationships with money will bring awareness to behaviors that are either helping or hurting us.

Session B

Storytelling for Personal Growth

Nicole Wellman - State Farm Agent

Nicole is a multi-published author of inspirational fiction and non-fiction and an award-winning editor. She also spent many years in corporate marketing leadership before moving into her role as a State Farm agent. She has often been referred to as a “people collector” and loves drawing from her own experiences to walk folks through their toughest times. It's an honor to be married to her biggest cheerleader, Jim, and a mom/stepmom of ten including fifteen-year-old triplets!

Have people suggested that you’ve been through so much, you should write a book about your life? Or, flip side, do you feel like you have something to say but no idea where to start with what feels like a collection of average experiences? We’ll work together to craft the mundane, muddy, magnificent, and malignant stories of your life into evocative messages of hope — with some humor sprinkled in — that will be healing and empowering for you and for those who hear them.


Session A

Storytelling for DEI and Advocacy

Tanisha King - Chief Inclusion Officer

Dr. King (she/her) is an international speaker, educator, author and consultant who currently serves as a Chief inclusion officer. Her LLC, Dr. King Speaks, teaches organizations how to move from performative to transformative equity and belonging practices. Dr. King has had the privilege of working with renown organizations such as Deloitte, LLC, Kettering Health, Ohio Health and countless other organizations and universities.

Join Dr. King for a phenomenal lecture on how she uses her voice and story to impact the world of diversity, equity and inclusion. From a social work practitioner to medical college administrator, you will hear how she has transformed cultures and spaces to advocate for historically underserved groups. Finally, she will give practical tools, tips and strategies for you to put to use in both your personal and professional lives.

Session B

Storytelling for Accessibility and Neurodiversity

Taylor Clay - Accessibility Advisor at The She Said Project

Taylor is the Accessibility Advisor for The She Said Project and an advocate within a variety of spaces. She also was in the Cast of That's What She Said Champaign 2022.

This presentation will focus on how to tell stories that are disability and identity inclusive. There will be discussion of topics related to person first language vs identity first language, as well as the depiction and availability of stories that include characters with disabilities.


Sponsored by Two Roads Wellness Clinic

Session A

Storytelling for Health and Wellness

Adi Puckett - Certified Christian Life Coach

Adi's primary focus is on spirit, soul, body balance in the lives of women. While open about her faith, she is respectful of different perspectives and welcomes the opportunity to assist anyone in need of her direct and loving approach. Adi is also a published author and public speaker, willingly sharing her stories in the hopes of helping others find the courage to heal. Adi practices her craft at Two Roads Wellness Clinic of Mahomet, IL where she also designs graphics and partners in community outreach.

We are not always aware how our story can be affecting our health and well being. Adi will share how trauma affects the whole self and how to uncover signs one may need to seek help. She will discuss giving one's self permission to seek healing, advocating for the right healing for their unique design, and the different approaches, resources, and techniques that have huge benefits to the whole person.

Session B

Storytelling for Success

Kim Martin - Founder of I've Decided, INC. and Personal Development Coach

Kim has over 20 years of experience in her field and is certified in Nutrition, Exercise Kinesiology, and Behavior Management. She loves to teach, motivate, and inspire people to be better, and has been speaking to audiences for more than 15 years.

In September 2014 Kim “decided” to use the experience she has of operating her own franchise business, marketing skills, and ability to motivate others and began a startup business, I’ve Decided INC. I've Decided is a personal development membership company that is designed to help you achieve your goals and dreams whatever they may be.

What she is most proud of is her faith and family. Kim is married to Joe Martin, and together, as a blended family, they have 7 awesome children.

"I've Decided to Tell My Story!" Living a life decided is about knowing who you are and understanding the positive influence your journey can have on others. It's about sticking the stake in the ground and being determined that you are going to accomplish the purpose you were created for. Your personal testimony is what makes all the difference. When you're able to share your story and use your past experiences to help people along the way, success is inevitable. The more people you help achieve success, the more successful you will be.


Session A

Storytelling for the Soul:
Writing Your Memoir

Lauren Eckhardt - CEO & Founder of Burning Soul Collective, Award-winning and bestselling author, ghostwriter, and book coach

Lauren is an award-winning and best-selling author and CEO, ghostwriter, and book coach at Burning Soul Press. She’s an advocate for determined and passionate writers who listen to their soul’s calling and the number one cheerleader for our authors. Lauren is also the mama to two little guys who are her why that drives her every day.

Have you ever thought about sharing your life story in a book or memoir? Award winning and bestselling author, ghostwriter, and book coach Lauren Eckhardt will walk through it in this Memoir Writing Workshop. You'll leave the workshop understanding the basics of sharing your life story, including how to structure your book, what genre works best for YOUR story and purpose, and how to pull out meaningful stories from your life that best represent the core message of your book.

This intense training from the founder of Burning Soul Press will offer insight into why you should consider writing (and publishing!) your memoir. You will be inspired to stop thinking about it and start writing!

Choose an optional dinner session to enjoy these engaging themed conversations

Discover your Money Story - and Change Your World

Sharon Allen - Co-Founder and CEO of Sterling Wealth Management

Sponsored by Martin Hood

"Sharon Allen, CFP®, CTFA, is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sterling Wealth Management, a private wealth management firm. She is a coach and personal Chief Financial Officer for her client family, coordinating the investment and planning work done by her firm and the initiatives of her clients’ broad team of professionals. Sharon has a particular interest in the challenges facing women of wealth. She has collaborated on several national research projects on women and their advisors, co-authoring Caught in the Middle: How Does The Sandwich Generation Woman Not Get Squeezed? Her personal mission is to help people nurture their Total Wealth – wealth that is not just what they have, but who they are.

Sharon and her husband, Martin, are actively involved in the Champaign-Urbana community and are parents of two amazing college-age sons."

During this evening session, attendees will enjoy a private dinner while engaging in an intimate discussion surrounding your relationship with money. By facilitating small group discussions, Sharon will help you uncover your money "why" and how it relates to your choices, your challenges, and your values.

The Purpose Project -
Exploring Your Fit to Maximize Your Life

Char-Michelle McDowell - Author, Coach, and Speaker

Sponsored by Heartland CocaCola

Char-Michelle McDowell is a published Author, Certified Enrichment Coach, Organizational Consultant, and Empowerment Speaker. She is known to thrive in the purpose zone, overcoming fears of all the unknowns. This transformational leader is wired to encourage, empower, and enrich the lives of individuals, so they can live a fulfilling life, with a focused approached! She hosts and facilitates engaging workshops and creates curriculum programming in the domain of Personal Development and Leadership. Her motto is “Don’t live to exist. Lead to live!”

If life were a puzzle, do you know where you fit? It is time to discover what makes you come alive so you can live a fulfilling life, with confidence! Get ready to explore your true purpose, so you can be your authentic self and make an impact in the world.

"Storytelling for the Soul" Getting Your Memoir Published

Lauren Eckhardt - CEO & Founder of Burning Soul Collective, Award-winning and bestselling author, ghostwriter, and book coach

Sponsored by PJ Hoerr

Lauren is an award-winning and best-selling author and CEO, ghostwriter, and book coach at Burning Soul Press. She’s an advocate for determined and passionate writers who listen to their soul’s calling and the number one cheerleader for our authors. Lauren is also the mama to two little guys who are her why that drives her every day.

After you complete the "Storytelling for the Soul" Memoir Writing session, opt in to continue the conversation over dinner and hear more about the experience of publishing and promoting your first book!

Don't Miss Out

The Power of Storytelling Conference is an opportunity you simply can't afford to miss. Secure your ticket now and immerse yourself in a world of inspiration, learning, and connections. Join us for this transformative event, where you'll discover the strength of your own narrative, forge meaningful connections, and empower yourself to drive positive change both personally and professionally. Let the power of storytelling guide you on a journey of self-discovery and celebration of the incredible impact of women's voices.

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