We've had several speakers throughout the years since our start in 1982. These are our most recent speakers.
Laura Hogan, Wellness Coach at Vita Center for Women
Tried the latest diets with little to no success? Or only successful while eating a program's food but not able to keep weight off when eating on your own? Join us to hear Laura Hogan, Wellness Coach at VITA Center for Women, describe a different approach to weight loss using the Ideal Protein Program. Laura will teach you how to find the best macronutrients for your wellness goals and share the pros and cons of fad diets. People in the Ideal Protein Program have lost significant amounts of weight and successfully kept it off a year later. Join us to see if this program could work for you!
The Red Barn Kitchen is a casual, chef-driven American restaurant located in the Decatur Municipal
Airport. The seasonal cuisine is focused on responsibly sourced local ingredients highlighting the
agricultural products of Central Illinois and the culinary traditions of Midwestern farm families.
Dagan Stocks is the Chef, he has several years of experience working in kitchens all over the world. The Front of the House Manager is Alec Johnston, he is responsible for the restaurant guests have an
enjoyable experience dining in their location.
Speaker: Julie Lauper, Owner of Serenity Fields Farm
Have you ever thought about turning your passion into a business? Julie will walk us through how she turned her love of farm fresh food and connected living into a business. As she tells us about her journey we’ll learn about her motivation, some of her ups, and some of her downs. Today Serenity Fields is a place where everyone can unplug and reconnect with themselves and others (including animals, fresh food, and beautiful plants). You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn about this wonderful woman running a local business.
Failing Forward: A Female Business Owner's Failures in Pricing, Scaling and Prioritizing
And Why All Entrepreneurs Should Tell These Failures to Market their Business
Kelly Gignon, Founder Grit HQ
Kelly Gagnon a nonprofit, social media guru and owner of Grit HQ will share her business failures, her reasoning for partnering with nonprofits and how she and her team help nonprofits and small businesses with branding, web design, fundraising, content marketing and social media management.
Speaker: Laura Jahr, Director of the Staley Museum & Hieronymus Mueller Museum
Are you a history buff who wants to learn more about two of Decatur’s Founding Fathers and their legacy in our community? Or how about a good ole American Dream story? Either way, you are going to love listening to Laura’s stories about the Staley and Mueller families. Join us as we look back into Decatur’s history with a sense of wonder and appreciation!
Speaker: Zach Shields, Executive Director of Decatur Public Schools Foundation
For 22 years the Decatur Public Schools Foundation has provided funding for enrichment activities that inspire students, encourage teachers, and spark interests across every academic and artistic area. Over this span, individual donors and community partners have contributed more than $10 million to underwrite projects designed and implemented by teachers from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Programs such as Kids + Books = Success and Operation Calculus impact thousands of students each year. Establishment of the Dwayne O. Andreas Ag Academy in 2018 has introduced 200 participating students to the world of career and life opportunities afforded to young people growing up in the heartland of global agribusiness. After hearing Zach Shields’s presentation, you’ll leave knowing the next generation is going to do great things in Macon County.
Speakers: Mackenze Patterson and Kacy Harlan, Co-Founders of Simple Roots Meal Delivery
Are you ready to be inspired?! Join us as sisters & Co-Founders of Simple Roots Meal Delivery, Mackenze Patterson and Kacy Harlan, explain their health journey and why they decided to open Simple Roots. These two young ladies have a passion for health and want to share it with our community! So whether you’re looking for a quick dinner solution, want to be motivated on your health journey, or want to know what it takes to open and run a local business, you’ll leave ready to tackle your goals!
Speaker: Janet McConville, Life Coach, Path Less Traveled Coaching
Ready to make a real change in your life that lasts beyond mid-January? Join us to learn why taking small steps actually leads to sustainable change. As a Health and Life Coach, Janet McConville will teach us why a coach is so important in this area and how she can provide support and accountability to help you make lasting habit changes. Plus all attendees get a free life coaching session! Janet coaches individuals in health & wellness, career, relationships, personal and professional growth. You will finish the evening having learned 4 easy steps that don’t cost anything, help with digestion, provide weight loss, and increase energy… all without changing ANYTHING you eat. Let’s learn together how we can make small changes to truly change our lives!
Mark your calendars for this special evening! Join us at 5:30 pm for an appetizer of elephant garlic mousse with grilled breads. As always, the cash bar will be available while we mingle and celebrate.
We will start our meal with a spinach salad with pecans and mandarin oranges with rolls. Meal choices include roasted chicken with garlic cream sauce, cedar planked salmon with hollandaise sauce, or beef medallions with herbed espagnol. These entrees will be served with baked potatoes and grilled asparagus. A cobb salad with grilled chicken, avocados, roasted squash, toasted pecans, and a creamy corn & poblano dressing will also be available. Our meal will finish with chocolate cake. Since we are having a special meal, the cost is $25.
We need all RSVP's by Thursday, December 5th.
After our meal, we will enjoy a white elephant gift exchange that promises to leave us with great memories. For the white elephant gift exchange, please bring an item from your home you no longer want that has a value of $15 or less. It's time to turn your trash into someone else's treasure!
Speaker: Jessica Ashmore
There are a lot of clever ways criminals can rob you or someone you love of your entire life savings. Join us as Jessica Ashmore, DAWN member and Financial Consultant with Edward Jones, describes the most common types of scams and how to identify red flags. You will feel more confident and secure with your sensitive information once you've learned how to protect yourself.
Speaker: Aly Swengel
As the fall season kicks into high gear, we’re all starting to feel the effects of a full “To Do” list. Join us to understand the health implications of stress and how to discover and utilize self-care strategies that work and don’t just add another thing to that To Do list.
Speaker: Ramona Boarders
Join us as Decatur native, Ramona Boarders, shares her life journey and the lessons she has learned along the way. She started her career helping design the first computers in the 1940's and paved the way in non-traditional fields. Locally she has served on the Symphony Guild of Decatur for many years. She has also managed to travel to world, having visited 69 countries. I promise you'll leave this meeting feeling inspired to live your life to the fullest!
Speaker: Kim Fields, Co-Owner of 4 Papa Murphy’s Pizza Locations & Account Executive at Jones & Thomas Marketing
Do you ever feel like you’ve said yes to too many things? Are you struggling to juggle all of your work, family, and personal commitments? Join us as Kim Fields shares how she juggles two professional roles, her personal life, and community involvement. Kim is the Co-Owner of several Papa Murphy’s Pizza locations and an Account Executive at Jones & Thomas Marketing. She will share how she got into Papa Murphy’s and what tactics she’s used to grow her franchise business. She’ll also share how she managers to juggle both Papa Murphy’s and a full time job and why giving back to our community is so important amongst a busy life. If you are looking for some tips to juggle your responsibilities, inspiration from someone who does it all, or just a fun night with some fellow DAWN members, be sure to attend and invite a friend as we wrap up the DAWN season before summer.
Speaker: Jenny Garver, Volunteer Coordinator for Macon County Conservation District
Do you love a quiet hike in the woods or listening to the sounds of birds singing? We’re blessed to have so many places in Macon County to enjoy these pleasures, and not just at Rock Springs. Join us as Jenny Garver shares highlights of the Macon County Conservation District’s 50-year history and describes all that is offered in their 3,300 acres. Also find out how you can help preserve and protect these wild places. Over 275 volunteers keeping the District in tip-top shape by assisting with various activities throughout the year. One may be calling your name, so don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the Conservation District’s amazing resources and opportunities in your own backyard!
Speaker: Rocki Wilkerson, Executive Director, Workforce Investment Solutions
Have you or a loved one needed extra support while looking for a new job? Or are you having trouble finding the right individual to join your team? Workforce Investment Solutions can help! Join us as Rocki Wilkerson shares what services WIS provides job seekers and how they can help your company find the right team members. We will hear about the One-Stop Center which provides additional services to the public and wrap up by learning about partnerships between their Business Services Team and the Workforce Board – something your company might be interested in joining. Be sure to join us for this informative evening!
Speaker: Jerry Johnson, Executive Director, Decatur Area Arts Council
The Decatur Area Arts Council is celebrating the 50th year of its remarkable journey. Jerry Johnson, Executive Director, will guide us through the Arts Councils’ remarkable history and tell us about their wide variety of offerings including art galleries, classes, community events, etc. Lastly we will get to help plan for its future! Join us for this informative, memorable evening.
Speaker: Laquitta Ford, Director of Student Support Services/TriO Program
Join us to hear how Laquitta Ford, Director of the TRiO Program & Student
Services at Richland Community College, targets and assists students who are
first generation college attenders, those who meet federal low-income
guidelines, and/or those with disabilities. For all of these students,
college can be extra intimidating, so Laquitta and her team are there to
help smooth the way to success with the ultimate goal of seeing everyone
graduate. She will uncover the truth about some of the negative stereotypes
associated with TRiO participants, and in the end, reveal just a few of the
many success stories of TRiO participants and how you can help them achieve
their goals. You won't want to miss the opportunity to learn about this
Speaker: Therese Wyatt, Assistant Director of the International Dance Troupe BlackSheep BellyDance
Join us for this ancient, artistic dance form and let the music speak to you! Together we will learn from a Level 3 certified instructor while experiencing strength and balance. There will be a few mistakes, but we will start the new year off right – with friends and laughter! Be sure to dress comfortably and in layers so you can stay cool once we start moving! Got a friend who would enjoy sharing this experience? Be sure to invite them!
Speaker: Rochelle Irons, Director of Neighborhood Services, City of Decatur
Rochelle was a last minute fill in for us as our planned speaker of the night had a personal emergency. However, Rochelle did not disappoint. She talked about her role with the City of Decatur as the Director of the Neighborhood Services Program. She also talked a bit about her personal life and how it's important to celebrate you!
Speaker: Judy Gibbs RN,BSN, Nutrition Response Testing (NRT) Master Clinician.
Ladies, you don’t want to miss this program! Not only will you learn the differences between regular, over-the-counter supplements, and whole foods supplements, but you will also learn how practitioners are able to heal you from chronic conditions doctors may have said you “just have to live with” such as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, allergies, depression and more using NRT (Nutrition Response Testing). To wrap up Judy will briefly share how she recovered from heart surgery and had her pacemaker removed earlier this year as a result of NRT. If you or someone you love is struggling with a condition that has you discouraged, please attend this seminar. It could literally change your life.
Speaker: Tanya Andricks, CEO of Crossing Healthcare (the former CHIC Clinic)
Despite the fact that the United States spends more on healthcare than any other developed country, our life expectancy and other quality measures are much worse. How can this be? Join us as Tanya explains why and discusses new approaches that can improve the overall outlook of care. She will also share how she has implemented some of these new approaches with the medically underserved at Crossing Healthcare and the results she’s seeing. To learn more about Crossing Healthcare, visit www.crossinghealthcare.org.
Speaker: Lori Barrett
Join us to hear Lori Barrett share how the MBN has helped take her small business to the next level. The Micro Business Network was created to be a resource and partner to local small business owners and non-for-profit organizations. Through speakers, workshops, and round tables, the MBN discusses topics geared toward smaller organizations that want to think BIG. They know that small businesses cannot always attend all-day training sessions, so they have found ways to break these into smaller sessions that work better around busy schedules. Their mission is to help you work ON your business and still have time to work IN your business! Want to learn more about how the MBN can help your small business, non-for-profit, or organization grow? Join us! Also check us out at www.millikinmbn.com and on Facebook under “Micro Business Network – MBN”.
Speaker: shelith Hansbro, Warden Women Correction Center
Join us to hear Warden Shelith Hansbro talk about the real women of the center and what is being done to prepare them for re-entry into society"I don't believe it is our responsibility to punish these women when they get here. Their punishment is their sentence, which was handed down by the judge. Now it's time for us to provide resources so they can be better when they leave and go home.”
Speaker: Tony Caccomo
National Foodworks Services (NFS) is the new incubator kitchen in Decatur located in the former Brush College Grade School. NFS has partnered with ADM to help food entrepreneurs with everything from sourcing ingredients to shipping finished goods. Their “food incubator” allows small businesses to share processing equipment and production space to lower their start-up and production costs. They can also get connected with other food entrepreneurs, such as Tony Caccomo, who has already started up a successful small food business. Join us to hear Tony explain what National Foodworks Services does and how they hope to benefit the Decatur area for years to come.