Daymond John

daymond john in des moinesDaymond John, NY Times best-selling author, world-renowned entrepreneur and Shark Tank co-star speak at the Central Iowa Business Conference on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport Conference Center. In addition to his role on Shark Tank, John is widely recognized for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur and branding expert following the success of his groundbreaking lifestyle brand, FUBU®. He was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship under the Obama Administration and is a two-time New York Times Best Selling Author, most recently for his book Rise and Grind.  John remains committed to helping aspiring entrepreneurs, which landed him the affectionate nickname of “The People’s Shark.”  In recognition of his impact in the entrepreneurial space, John has been bestowed the NAACP Entrepreneurs of the Year Award, the Congressional Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship and more.

Kerri Strug


Strug earned nationwide stardom for her heroic efforts at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. After injuring her ankle on her first vault attempt, Kerri needed to land her second and final vault to seal the victory over Russia for the team combined gymnastics gold medal. With millions of people watching, and two torn ligaments in her leg, Kerri successfully landed on one leg before collapsing to her hands and knees and making Olympic history as she was carried to receive her gold medal. Kerri worked for the United States Juvenile Justice Department and formerly worked at the White House in Student Correspondence.

Todd Sommerfeld

Todd Sommerfeld is the second-generation owner and Executive Chairman of Kreg Tool Company in Huxley.  He joined Kreg in 1999 after a brief stint in public accounting. Since that time Kreg has grown from 12 employees to over 250.  Sommerfeld has been involved with all aspects of growing and scaling an entrepreneurial business including the transition of both his father and himself from the role of CEO.  He is a certified executive coach who has become as passionate about human growth and development as he is about product and business development. Sommerfeld will be presenting on “The Power of Letting Go” speaking about his own experiences letting go of the day to day operations in 2012 after 13 years of running Kreg Tool.  His message is about becoming secure in your own identity as a leader so that you are able to activate the head, heart, and hands of your people. The benefits of doing so are moving your people from compliance to commitment. The business impact of doing this is undeniably large.  Learn about his story and how he found powerful personal and organizational growth through the process of letting go.


Cathy Belmont

  Cathy’s career as an organizational development professional spans over 20 years. She is skilled in facilitation, course and program development, blended learning, and talent management practices and programs. As Director of Training Operations, Cathy leads ATW’s team of facilitators and instructional designers. Cathy has a BA from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master’s degree in Training and Development from Drake University. She has been active in her professional organization (Association of Talent Development) and is a past president of the Central Iowa chapter.  Cathy sits on the Board of Directors for Susan G. Komen Greater Iowa. Cathy works to create growing, partnering relationships. She has successfully coached and mentored individuals, designed management and leadership development programs supporting company goals, created skill-based career paths for staff, and managed corporate performance management programs. She is dedicated to making a difference while contributing to enterprise-wide strategic and operational impact.

Gabriel Glynn

Gabriel Glynn is the Co-Founder and CEO of  MākuSafe™ and a serial entrepreneur. Gabriel’s startup journey began over a decade ago and in that time he has experienced several successful exits, his most recent being the selling of a software company in 2015. Gabriel co-founded MākuSafe™ in 2016. The company has developed a system for gathering environmental and human motion data in order to identify risk to workers in realtime. Gabriel was named 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year at the Iowa Small Business Awards, in 2016 he was awarded Alumni of the Year by Des Moines Area Community College, and was awarded the inaugural Uncommon Life Seal in 2018. He has served on many community and nonprofit boards including the Ankeny Young Professionals and was a Charter Member of the Greater Des Moines Rotary Club.

Lisa Gran

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel has served as One Iowa’s executive director since January 2017. He is also a respite provider through Lutheran Services in Iowa. He has over 10 years of nonprofit experience working with the LGBTQ community, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, Latinx community, and individuals with disabilities.Daniel has a Doctorate of Education in Leadership from Creighton University. His doctoral work includes a dissertation titled Resilient Leadership: A Case study about a gay man’s journey of coming out and running for public office. He holds an M.A. in health studies from the University of Alabama, a B.A. in liberal arts with sociology and psychology minors from Grand View University, and an A.A. from Iowa Central Community College.Daniel was named the 2018 Influencer of the Year at the Young Professionals Connection and Des Moines Register Young Professional of the Year Awards. In 2017, he completed the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Community Leadership Program. Daniel received one of the Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 awards in 2015 and in 2012, he received the Karen Packer Spirit of Collaboration Award at the Iowa Cancer Summit.

Omar Jordan

Omar has more than 15 years of experience in the loan origination business and has launched multiple successful fintechs in the lending space. Prior to founding LenderClose, Omar was Founder, CEO of National Loan Closings, a national signing service. Omar was a top producer at HSBC Finance where he was recognized on a regional and national level with multiple top flight and president’s awards. Omar enjoys family time with his wife and daughters, in addition to giving back to the community. Being an owner of a startup business based in DSM, Omar understands the process of getting things started. In his experience, it’s all about networking. During Omar’s journey of raising capital, he learned that almost anyone in the DSM region will meet with you. He found that conversations and coffee are not the tough part. It’s the process that can be the real struggle. Iowa has great opportunities that are exclusive to our state; you just have to do the work. During the creation of LenderClose, Omar was among other startup owners that are now friendly competition. They help keep each other accountable and constantly striving for growth.

Megan Milligan

Megan Milligan was born and raised in Edina, MN.  After college at Loyola Chicago and New York University, she took her first job at Guiding Light Soap Opera in NYC.  After time spent at PBS, Comedy Central and Miramax Films, Megan took a break to spend a year working for a small French NGO in South Sudan.  Sixteen years later and a move to Des Moines, Megan has settled in with her family and is enjoying this incredible community.  Prior to her role at The Iowa Center, Megan was the Vice President of Advancement, overseeing the Anawim Housing Foundation.  She also ran her own business: a strategic planning and fund development consulting firm, as well as owned a BBQ restaurant.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends as well as serving on various boards and committees over the years including Broadlawns Gathering in the Garden, Des Moines Playhouse Hollywood Halloween Gala, Alzheimer’s Association Board, Department of Cultural Affairs Gala, 100 + Women Who Care, and Salon 4700.

Emily Pontius

Emily is an experienced advisor and litigator for employers.

Emily defends employers against allegations of sex discrimination, age discrimination, race discrimination, FMLA and ADA violations, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and tortious interference.

To help employers maintain a productive workplace and avoid litigation, Emily partners with clients to provide supervisor and manager training, investigate internal discrimination complaints, provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, and navigate issues surrounding family and medical leave.

Emily also provides specialized advice and litigates on behalf of colleges and universities in disputes concerning faculty discipline, tenure and promotion, student conduct, and accommodation of students with disabilities. Prior to practicing law, Emily worked in higher education administration, supervising employees and gaining director-level experience in student judicial affairs and residence life. She draws on this experience when working with higher education clients.

Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson is owner and President of Focused Facilitation LLC.  Focused Facilitation LLC has offices in Iowa and Arkansas and they help businesses and organizations implement a Comprehensive Business Continuity and Succession Plan™ (BCSP) and the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) – also known as Traction. Alan is passionate about helping entrepreneurs, business owners, family businesses, and their leadership teams navigate through critical transitions like succession planning and growing and sustaining their businesses.  As a Certified Implementer of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS), Alan helps companies understand and communicate their vision, get traction in implementing their vision, build healthy leadership teams, and add value to their businesses.  For the past 8 years he has helped business owners and their family businesses build and implement Comprehensive Business Continuity and Succession Plans™ (BCSP) across the Midwest.  Over the last 30 years, Alan has worked for and advised mid-size to fortune 100 companies and also helped start and grow many businesses as an entrepreneur and in partnership with others. Throughout his career, he has worked with businesses in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, professional services, renewable fuels, technology, communications, automotive, distribution and food industries.  Alan earned a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University and Masters of Business Administration from Drake University.

Claudia Schabel

Claudia Schabel, President of Schabel Solutions, combines over a decade of experience as a Diversity and Inclusion practitioner and strategist with Fortune 100 and 500 companies with her multicultural background to offer coaching and consulting services in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to businesses, educational and not-for profit organizations. Schabel is a commissioner on the City of Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission and serves on the Iowa Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) State Council as the Director of Diversity. Schabel lived in Brazil and in Japan before relocating to Des Moines, Iowa, almost two decades ago. Schabel speaks Portuguese, English, conversational Spanish, and some Japanese. Schabel earned a BA degree in International Relations from Drake University.

Kendra Simmons

Kendra represents employers and businesses in many different industries at all stages of litigation and advises them outside of formal legal proceedings.

Kendra’s practice focuses on employment law and litigation, but her general business litigation background allows her to serve the wide-ranging legal needs of businesses and employers. In addition to advising employers on policies and employment decisions, she represents clients in state and federal court and in arbitration and other administrative proceedings. Before joining the firm, Kendra was an associate at Seigfreid Bingham, P.C. in Kansas City, where she practiced general business litigation and worked on matters involving transportation law, employment law and health care law, among other areas of law.


Emily Steele

Emily is a creative entrepreneur on a mission to help individuals + business owners create a bigger impact with their presence online and offline. You can currently find Emily working with local community builders (hummingbirds) at Brand Launch and the women of FemCity Des Moines in an effort to elevate all things DSM. When she isn’t diving into fun work projects, Emily can be found exploring the world with her husband Zach or hopping around different local coffee establishments.

Rob Taylor

Rob is the President of Taylor Management Systems.  His passion is helping business owners and leadership teams get what they want out of their company. He has 22 years of experience in manufacturing where he helped an entrepreneur create a leadership team to transition and grow his company from California to the Midwest and from distribution to advanced manufacturing. In 2014, Rob left to go into business to help business owners learn how to set and achieve their goals and grow their businesses. Rob also assisted with AccuGrain, LLC, an agricultural startup company in Mahaska County. AccuGrain was awarded American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2016 Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the year in the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Rob and his wife Rhonda live in Oskaloosa and are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. They have two grown sons, both married, and two adorable grandsons.

Lorri Wright

Lorri Wright is a licensed teacher, administrator, facilitator, and presenter. Over the course of the past 30 years she has designed and taught countless classes, workshop, and training sessions in a variety of industries. Lorri, alongside her husband, owns a dynamic training and consulting company known as The Buyosphere. Lorri uses her leadership experience and education to coach business owners, managers, and employees towards company exceptionalism. She has a true passion for helping others create a positive, productive, and highly accountable work culture. Lorri is a certified DiSC trainer with a passion for peace, love, and happiness in the work place and beyond!


EVENT SPEAKERS April 13, 2017