2024 Conference Keynotes

Lisa Cruz | Michelle Curran | Kate Carter

Backstage Event Keynote

Lisa Cruz


(R)evolution: Change begins with you. You hold the power, next step is for you to unleash it.

It’s never too late to change. Join Cruz as she recounts her journey of challenging herself to be a better mother, wife, daughter, and community member. During a time of chaos, Cruz decided change begins with her and began a journey of self-reflection, community organizing, better listening, sharing more of her authentic self and demonstrating vulnerability. Her story will inspire you to see the world with fresh eyes and to take action.

Key Takeaways

How to be the change you want to see.

How to be intentional about your life and action.

How to seek deeper understanding of those around you.

Meet  Lisa Cruz

Speaker | Executive Director, Multicultural Coalition, Inc. & Owner and CEO, Red Shoes, Inc.

Not one to shy away from challenges, Cruz started Red Shoes Inc. during the Great Recession in 2008. Today, the women-led agency provides communications and marketing support to clients across the country. When the pandemic struck, Cruz was pulled in another direction and was ready to serve as a community organizer. Cruz helped found the Multicultural Coalition which provides urgent needs assistance and systems change work throughout the three-county region. Located in Menasha, Wis, the non-profit (501c3) serves many of our most marginalized and vulnerable populations while seeking ways to do better for all.

Morning Keynote Speaker

Michelle Curran


Flying Through Fear: How Vulnerability Fuels Success

In today’s world, we are constantly under pressure to hire the right people, create a cohesive team, and perform at a high level… to do more with less. However, true success hinges on each team member’s ability to be bold and expand their comfort zone.

As leaders, we can continuously reinforce this with our teams. Yet, sometimes, seeing this struggle from a new perspective is just what an audience needs as the catalyst for change. Recognizing that even those who may seem unflappable have overcome the same doubts and the same obstacles suddenly makes success seem within reach. In this 45-minute keynote, Michelle, also known as Mace, takes her audience on a surprising and compelling journey through her career as a Fighter Pilot, culminating in her role as the Lead Solo Pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds. Most will struggle with self-doubt and imposter syndrome at some point.

Mace battled these obstacles while attempting to find her identity in a high-performance, type-A culture. Her evolution from struggling with a crippling fear of failure to flying inverted only inches from other aircrafts at 500 mph will inspire audiences to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Drawing on over a decade in high-performance aviation and her own transformation, Mace teaches audiences what they are capable of when they let go of fear, lean into vulnerability, and make bold choices. Are you ready to take flight and overcome your fears?

Key Takeaways

Challenge their mindset to rethink how they view their comfort zone.

Learn to use vulnerability as a superpower to guide them toward their goals.

Realize the normalcy of imposter syndrome and identify how to combat it.

Recognize how to step into their boldness and let go of fears that are holding them back.

Understand the role vulnerability as a leader plays in creating a culture of  trust.

Meet  Michelle Curran

Speaker | Air Force Thunderbird pilot & combat veteran

Michelle, also known as MACE, led an impressive career as a Fighter Pilot during her 13 years in the United States Air Force. From 2019–2021, she flew as the only female pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds and performed for millions across the country and internationally. Upon joining this high performing team, she rapidly discovered the best part was not the flying, but the opportunity to inspire others. Michelle was only the 2nd woman to fly as the Lead Solo in the Thunderbird demonstration since the team’s creation in 1953. She realized this put her in a unique position to empower others.

In early 2022, MACE left active duty to found Upside Down Dreams. She traveled the country speaking to organizations on lessons of grit, perseverance, determination, and teamwork. Through keynotes, courses and workshops, she empowers individuals to shift their mindset to see their true potential.

"I find this mission greatly rewarding and love being apart of those lightbulb moments when someone starts to believe, ‘I can do this.’ During this time I also wrote a book, “Upside Down Dreams’. It’s a picture book for kids with big dreams looking for a real-world heroine. I love inspiring others, both young and old to chase their dreams and achieve their true potential."

Afternoon Keynote Speaker

Kate Carter


Gentle is the New Strong: How Self-Compassion is Key to Building the Lives We Desire

No pain, plenty of gain! What if there was an easier way to go after your dreams? How would your life change if you could live and work from a place of self-compassion that organically energized you?  Sound too good to be true? It’s not!

In this talk, we’ll explore how self-acceptance and self-compassion are key to building lives we love and how embodying these practices changes us at a profound level. We’ll also examine what gets in the way of embracing a life rooted in self-compassion, both personally and professionally. Finally, we'll delve into a transformative tool designed to empower us to realize our dreams with greater ease, compassion, and self-love.

Key Takeaways

How self-compassion is key to growing in a sustainable and energizing way and how practicing and embodying this energy changes our lives on a profound level.

An understanding of what gets in the way when we want to live and work from a place of self-compassion.

practical tool that will help participants learn how to move through the symptoms of emotional fear and intentionally take scary steps with self-understanding & self-compassion.

Putting it into Practice — moving towards that goal/desire from a place of self-love rather than judgement or inner harshness.

Meet  Kate Carter


Kate Carter is an international speaker, trainer, and educator, with 30 years of experience as a teacher, mentor, crisis worker & coach. She is a Certified Fearless Living Coach & Trainer. Recognized for her ability to develop the skills of self-leadership in individuals and teams, Kate enhances self-awareness and personal strengths through her coaching and workshops. Her expertise is empowering women to build confidence, risk taking skills, and resilience from a place of self-love and self-compassion.

Join us!

October 1 & 2, 2024 | Green Bay, WI