KEYNOTES & PLENARY
Lauren Koenig, CEO & Founder, TWIP
Travel activist, company founder and TWIP CEO, Lauren A. Koenig grew up in the Midwest. Educated at Ball State University while holding a 4-year Presidential Scholarship, she left her hometown of Chicago at the invitation of the French Ministry of Education to teach English.
Lauren welcomed the challenge of working abroad; travel became a hallmark of her early and future stage development. Returning to Chicago, she worked for Anita Dee Yacht Charters before joining The International Kitchen, the leading provider of cooking school vacations covering Italy, France and Spain.
These travel related business experiences enabled Lauren to identify and create a unique, distinctive product offering: TWIP – Travel With Interesting People. TWIP is the only travel website that empowers global and domestic travelers to find each other based upon their individual personal desires or what the company coined, ‘Travanality.’
Lauren is an Alumni of the Women’s StartUp Lab Accelerator in San Francisco, CA; class of Spring 2015 and the 20/20 Startups Accelerator in NYC, class of Fall 2016.
Karen Mangia, VP Customer & Market Insights, Salesforce
A proud resident of Indiana, Karen received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ball State University. A self-described “recovering overachiever”, Karen has shared her advice and experiences that have been the key to her success with thousands through speaking engagements and most recently with her new book Success with Less: Releasing Obligations and Discovering Joy. Named to the “Top 40 Under 40” list by the Indianapolis Business Journal, she lives in a suburb of Indianapolis when she is not traveling and connecting with friends across the globe.
Megan McNames, Product Owner, Emplify
Megan McNames has a background in journalism, education, and full stack User Experience design including visual, interaction, and information design. In her role as a Product Owner at Emplify in Fishers, Indiana, she defines and drives the strategy, design and positioning of employee engagement services and products that enable businesses to adopt an employee-focused, participatory approach to engaging their work forces.
A devout worshiper of both human-centered design and Design Thinking, she previously taught at the Center for Emerging Media Design and Digital Media Minor programs at Ball State where she also was Assistant Director of the award-winning Digital Publishing Studio.
She is a graduate of Ball State’s master’s program in journalism and holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Cincinnati.
CJ Clingler, Compliance Analyst, Ontario Systems
CJ Clingler is the Compliance Analyst for the Ontario Systems Compliance Consulting Team. As part of her role, she provides analyses regarding compliance and compliance management issues specific to the debt collection industry. Last year, CJ collaborated with Ontario Systems’ Chief Compliance officer to conduct an industry-first study of the “Cost of Compliance” for debt collection agencies nationwide. She has also assisted with the development of a proprietary scoring algorithm used for consulting purposes and conducted research regarding methods of determining appropriate sample sizes for call audits. CJ earned her B.S. in Mathematical Economics from Ball State University in December 2014.
Melanie Howe, President, Addison Avenue Marketing
Melanie Howe wants to live in a world where small businesses thrive, women support each other to make their dreams become reality, craft beer flows like tap water and everyone loves Muncie, Indiana. As the owner of Addison Avenue Marketing located in downtown Muncie, she works daily to make (almost) all of those things happen – the logistics of changing tap water have proven a bit difficult.
Addison Avenue assists small businesses and entrepreneurs with strategy and content development. Melanie also teaches DIY Marketing workshops for teams and individuals. She is a 2004 graduate of Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Arts Management and a minor in Business Administration. After college Melanie managed international accounts as an account executive in the printing industry and lived in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Charlotte before returning to her hometown.
Melanie is passionate about her community and serves on the Executive Board of Directors for both the Muncie YMCA and Muncie’s Women in Business Unlimited. She’s a graduate of the Academy of Community Leadership, a 2015 M Magazine 20 under 40 honoree, and in 2016 she was nominated for the ATHENA Young Professional Award. When she’s not volunteering or running around presenting and working with clients, Melanie’s enjoying her other full time job as a mom to her daughter Addison.
David Pilkington, Director – Software Engineering, Ontario Systems
David Pilkington is a self-proclaimed math nerd. As the Senior Director of Technology at Ontario Systems, David is responsible for the development of people, products and programs within the Technology division. During his 17 years at Ontario Systems, he has served in many roles from Software Engineer to Product Manager of Business Intelligence. Each new opportunity at Ontario Systems has supported David in building his data analysis,analytics, and leadership skills. He has been a champion of analytics for the company and is currently working towards his Master of Science in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern University.
Becky Perez, Director – Diabetes IT, Eli Lilly and Company
Becky is an experienced leader, bringing business solutions to fruition within healthcare organizations. Employed by Eli Lilly and Company for 25 years, she is currently focused on enabling global product launches, while developing longer term IT strategies for the global Diabetes business unit. She has a track record of effective leadership and staff development, facilitation of alliances and business collaborations, and the ability to implement strategies through IT.
During the 12 years prior to joining Lilly, Becky worked for St. Vincent Health, the Lincoln National Group, and two small telecommunications firms – consistently making magic happen through the thoughtful application of technology. She has a B.S. degree from Bucknell University and a M.S. degree from CICS at Ball State University.
Suzanne Plesha – Director of Faculty Support and Assessment, Office of Entrepreneurial Learning at Ball State
Suzanne manages internal grant and faculty development programs, as well as campus-wide resource management and reporting for entrepreneurial and immersive learning activities. From 2007 to 2013, she was associate director for Ball State’s Center for Media Design engaged in digital media education and research, student business incubation and industry partnership. Suzanne received her bachelor’s degrees in Broadcast – Cinematic Arts and Political Science from Central Michigan University, and a Master of Communication Studies from Ball State.
Michelle Shaw, Independent IT Consultant, Luetschine Consulting
Michelle Shaw currently works as an Independent IT consultant at Luetschine Consulting, a boutique IT and financial services consulting firm. She is actively involved with Ball State as an adjunct faculty member for CICS, and she also participates in the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Communication, Information, and Media and is on the planning committee for Women Working for Technology.
Previously, Michelle was a full-time instructor in Ball State’s Department of Telecommunications with a focus in Sales & Promotion. Prior to Luetschine Consulting and Ball State, Michelle worked in senior global sales roles at AT&T and Orange Business Services. During her sales career, Michelle was honored with several awards, including multiple Gold Club, Leaders Council, and President’s Club awards.
Michelle received a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications, Sales & Promotion, from Ball State in 1999, and completed a Master of Science Degree at The Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State in 2000. Outside of work, Michelle is active in community service as a member of The Junior League in Indianapolis and she also serves on the board of her daughter’s school. Her primary focus in life is to be happy, and she spends as much time as possible with her husband and daughter.
Todd Finnell, Director – Product Development, ADESA
Todd Finnell is a native of Indianapolis, and the youngest of the five children born to his parents, Alfred, Jr. and Carole Finnell. He attended Ball State University on a full athletic scholarship, lettering four years as a member of the Fighting Cardinals Football Team. Following his graduation in 1990, with a BS in Computer Science, he went to work at Eli Lilly and Company. He established a 20-year career there by working in a variety of individual contributor and leadership roles, across various business areas, including supply chain, regulatory, clinical trials, IT Infrastructure, and HR. He left Lilly in 2010 as Director, HR IT, called to return to his high school alma mater, Bishop Chatard, to become the Director of IT there. While there, he spearheaded a technology transformation that resulted in achieving a one-to-one program, one computing device per student and faculty member.
Currently, Todd works in Product Development at ADESA, a leader in the automobile remarketing industry. Todd has served on the Board of Regents at Bishop Chatard High School, and as a board member and board president for the Catholic Youth Organization. In addition, he has coached football at various levels from grade school to college, including the inaugural 3 seasons of two-time NAIA National Champion, Marian University. He has also served in numerous leadership roles with the Indianapolis Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., currently serving as the Vice Polemarch and Advisor to the Delta Iota chapter at Ball State University. Todd has been married to his wife, Deandra, also a Ball State graduate, for 22 years. They have two daughters, Alexis and Brooke, and one grandson, Sawyer.
Amy King, Sr. UI/UX Designer & Developer, Allegient – A DMI Company
Amy King works on a team of passion-driven UXers at Allegient in Carmel. As the Sr. UI/UX Designer & Developer there, she works day-in and day-out to ensure she’s creating the best product possible, which, for her, starts with empathy and understanding her users.
She graduated from IU with her B.S. and M.S. in Media Arts & Science. She completed her thesis on user need identification and resolution where she developed the process for every basic customer buying journey: Need, Research, Collaborate, Decide. Her passions include delighting her users through interface design, studying user behavior, and hearty heuristic evaluations. She is ever-searching for the answer to “Why?”.
Rebecca Parker, Technology Coordinator, Muncie Public Library
Rebecca Parker is the Technology Coordinator for Muncie Public Library, overseeing the Connection Corner digital library branch and the Maker Loft makerspace. She is the co-creator of Digital Climbers, a challenge-based STEAM learning program in use at Muncie Public Library and in the process of being piloted by Carmel Clay Public Library in Carmel, IN. She is a graduate of Ball State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Executive Development for Public Service. She is a passionate, future-focused leader with a heart for community collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and experimentation.
Bryant Seaton, Global Business Analyst, Rolls-Royce North America
Bryant is originally from San Bernardino California. From a young age he discovered a love for music and a strong interest in science and technology which started his lifelong pursuit of learning and sharing knowledge. Those core interests in music, science, and technology led Bryant to Florida A&M University (FAMU) where he majored in Computer Information Systems with a focus in Computer Science. He also had the honor of being a member of the world famous Marching 100, marching band for two years.
His professional career started at Eli Lilly & Company where he worked for 14 years. In 2011, he left Lilly to enter a new industry as a Global Business Analyst in the Defense Organization at Rolls-Royce North America. For the past two years Bryant has been involved with forming the Black Employee Network (BEN) at Rolls-Royce. He was elected as the Outreach community chair the first year where he oversaw projects like the Rolls-Royce water drive for Flint, MI. He was elected as Vice President of BEN for 2017.
Bryant believes that one of the amazing parts of human interaction is when you share your knowledge with someone and you can see the light come on as they understand the new concept shared. One of his greatest joys is teaching. He taught as an associate professor in the school of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI for 6 years. To continue his love for teaching and couple with a desire to serve others, Bryant consistently volunteers most weekends from January to August to teach web development skills to minority middle and high school kids through BDPA, a national non-profit organization of IT Thought-leaders advancing careers in IT from the classroom to the boardroom.
Bryant is married to his beautiful wife Shondria Seaton for 14 years, who is also a Woman Working in IT. They have two beautiful children, a son Jayden (10) and daughter Jordyn (6). He enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.
Sarah Stefl, Creative Communications Manager, PayPal
Sarah Stefl is a Communications Manager at PayPal in Phoenix, AZ. She works closely with multiple technical programs to ensure the important messages and successes from each program are shared to the internal audiences. Sarah works to develop visual content and designs a strategy based around the programs overall goal and executes that plan accordingly.
Sarah was born and raised in Muncie, IN. She attended undergrad at Eastern Michigan University and graduated with her B.S. in Communications. Upon graduation, she decided to move back home to attend graduate school at Ball State University and coach as a GA for the swim and dive team. Originally signed up for the Sports Administration program, Sarah was quickly convinced to switch programs and signed up for the CICS program. Sarah graduated with her M.S. in Information and Communication Sciences and was offered a job with PayPal right out of the program. She currently lives in Phoenix with her husband, David, and their pug, Roxie.