Past Programs

“Informal Community Leadership”
November 15, 2017
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Panel:  Darlene Bratberg, Darlene Schroeder & Rachel Skretvedt
Are you JUST a volunteer?  Are you the person who is just there to help for the day?  Are you the person who thinks their time isn’t as valuable as others who have titles?

You couldn’t be more wrong!

Come hear from people who are great examples of being a leader in several different ways in our community.  People who we sit in meetings with, who we go to church with, who grocery shop just like we do, and those who also love those pancakes at Frieda’s Café.

“Women in Government — A Life of Service”
October 18, 2017
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Julie Asmus was a Specialist in the Army National Guard, a Police Officer for 33 years and now serves on the Willmar City Council.  As a pioneer in her profession and an active community volunteer, Julie will share her journey of taking life experiences and turning them into leadership opportunities.

“Your Starting Spot Does Not Define Your Future”
May 17, 2017
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Muna Abdulahi graduated from Willmar Sr High School in 2016 and is now a freshman studying political science at the University of MN.  Come hear about Muna’s journey from a shy girl in an English Language Learners class to a confident young woman empowered for leadership.

Muna was the first Somali student to be chosen for Willmar Sr High’s National Honor Society and she spent part of last summer as a page in Washington D.C. for United States Senator, Al Franken.  Muna has also placed highly in speech tournaments for her poetry interpretation and was honored by the American Association of University of Women.  Currently Muna is an Admissions Ambassador for the University of MN, serving on the University of MN Student Behavioral Senate Committee, is a tutor and a mentor to high school students with parents who haven’t gone to college in the Twin Cities public school system and is a UMN President’s Emerging Scholar.

“Seize Your Life:  How to Carpe Diem Every Day”
April 19, 2017
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Jasmine’s award-winning book, Seize Your Life:  How to Carpe Diem Every Day, “sparkles with enthusiasm and inspiration for life.  It’s a treasure chest of positive suggestions for seizing the power of each day of your life,” according to New York Times best-selling author Caroline Myss.  Her book is considered to be life changing!      Speaker:  Jasmine Brett Stringer, Principal of JB Stringer LLC and founder of lifestyle brand Carpe Diem with Jasmine

Perspectives on Women in Leadership
Presented by Marisa M. Mills
March 15, 2017
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Marisa M. Mills is the Owner/CEO of the Mills Automotive Group and was also a VP/Owner of Mills Fleet Farm until 2016.  She will share her insights from over two decades of experience at the helm of a regional company with direct ties here in Kandiyohi County.

Deep Water Start:  The Adventures of a Professional Wakeboarder, Author and Adventurer, While Living With Cancer
November 16, 2016
The Nancy Geiger Event Center at The Barn Theatre

Alexa Score is a professional wakeboarder, author, and public figure living with cancer.  She comes from humble roots in small town Spicer, Minnesota, and was diagnosed with a deadly form of Leukemia at age sixteen.  Despite slim odds, she overcame numerous obstacles and reached her goal of becoming a professional wakeboarder in 2011.   Speaker:   Alexa Score

Yoga Works for You:  Yoga in the Workplace
October 26, 2016
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

‘headstands everywhere’ offers yoga that is accessible to everyone — every body type, every level of experience, and every ability.  Candice will present utilizing three key areas of yoga:  breathing, movement, and meditation, to calm your mind and invigorate your body in times of stress and challenge in the office and at home.  Workplace appropriate methods.   Speaker:   Candice Clemens, headstands everywhere

Taking Challenges on Together
September 28, 2016
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Jill May states that she experienced a major personal transformation… body, mind and soul!  She was coached by one of the most elite trainers in the country.  One of the biggest hurdles to a healthy lifestyle is getting started and making the early mental changes needed for success.  Whether you watched the show or not, Jill’s story is insightful and inspiring!  Speaker:   Jill May, NBC STRONG Season 1 Winner

Women in Media – Telling the Community Story
May 25, 2016
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

The media industry is a fast paced, constantly evolving field that many of us take for granted.  Come hear what it’s like to work in this field from the voices and people who narrate the news and stories of our communities and maybe get some ideas of your own!  Speakers:   MaryElin Macht, Lakeland Broadcasting and Susan Lunneburg, West Central Tribune

#Thinking Jacob-My Search for Jacob Wetterling
March 30, 2016
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

On Sunday, October 22, 1989, life changed when Jacob Wetterling was abducted in St. Joseph, MN.  His disappearance and the twenty-six year search for him has evolved into an investigative passion for local blogger, Joy Baker.  Come hear how curiosity has changed not only Joy’s life, but the investigation into Jacob’s disappearance and the ultimate quest for answers to the question, “Where is Jacob?”   Speaker:  Joy Baker, Blogger ‘Joy the Curious’

October 10, 2015
WEAC Building, Willmar

Join us for an evening that celebrates the beauty, diversity and power of women in our community. We are featuring local talent and the award winning dance ensemble “Al Taw’am – The Twins”.

This is an open mind – closed wallet event. It is free and open to the public. This is not a fundraiser, it is a FUN raiser.

Come ready to share, laugh and be inspired through the arts of dance, song and storytelling. Performances will be followed by an artist reception and networking opportunity.

This event brought to you through a collaboration of Willmar area women’s leadership groups including: Business and Professional Women’s Association, Empower of United Way, League of Women Voters, Polka Dot Powerhouse, Willmar Area Women’s Fund of the Willmar Area Community Foundation, WeLEAD and the Newcomers Committee both Vision 2040 endorsed projects.  For Questions, contact Jessica 320-214-7972.

A Woman Who Served Her Country-the Betty Strohfus Story
September 30, 2015
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Betty Strohfus is a 95 year old WWII veteran and a trailblazing Women Air Service Pilot (WASP). She learned to fly and served our country during a time when women were discouraged from both military service and the pursuit of an unconventional career. Recently featured in a TV story by FOX-Twin Cities, Betty has a zest for life and quite a story to tell. WeLEAD will also collect cash donations to help the local Blue Star Mothers Chapter in shipping care packages to local units deploying this fall.  Speaker:  Betty Strohfus.

Life in the Hot Seat:  Women in Politics and Local Government
April 23, 2015
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Even in 2015, the number of women who serve in elected office is proportionally smaller than men.  Ever wonder why or what fuels the passions of the local women who lean into elected leadership roles?  Come hear first hand about being in elected leadership positions right here in our area.  Our speakers will share their personal stories on their journeys on how they got to where they are at today.  Speakers:  Mary Sawatzky, former Representative-MN House; Renee Nolting, NL-S School Board; and Audrey Nelson, Willmar City Council.

Financial Questions for Women
March 19, 2015
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Regardless of your life situation, we all have questions about money, credit, retirement and financial planning. Often, we are afraid to ask. Toni and Jeanne will help you assess where you’re at today and strategies and considerations for where you would like to be in the future. In addition, they will share their personal stories on their journeys and how they got to where they are today.  Speakers: Jeanne Ashburn, Financial Advisor-Edward Jones, and Toni Sing, Branch Manager-US Bank.

The Courage to JUMP
February 18, 2015
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

Betsy Bonnema is the owner of REDstar, a full service advertising agency that’s been around since 1990. A few years ago, she set her sights on a new business venture that would give her agency, her clients and our entire community a new way to connect with others, innovate and tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of our area. WORKUP is a 4,200 square foot coworking and meeting space opening in May of 2015 on the MinnWest Technology Campus.  As a woman, a mom and a business owner, Betsy will talk about how she has found the courage to take risks, lean on passion, defy the skeptics and jump in with both feet

Women Who Paved the Way: The Willmar 8 from Headlines to              37 Years Later
November 20, 2014
MN West Technology Campus
In 1977, the ‘Willmar 8’ made a courageous contribution to the women’s equal-pay movement when they conducted one of the first gender-discrimination strikes 25 years ago right here in our own Willmar, Minnesota. These eight women were regular employees who had the courage to stay on the picket lines for months, seeking equal pay and treatment. Learn more about their groundbreaking efforts for women’s rights via a public showing of the California NewsReel movie and from the Willmar 8 themselves.

Work/Life Balance – Is it a Myth?
Welcome to the Juggle: Motherhood, Multitasking, and Work-Life Balance
October 23, 2014
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

As parenting roles converge, women continue to grapple with the same work-versus-family conundrum that has confounded working moms for decades. Many are vocal about their needs, and eager to find ways to satisfy them, but the stigmas associated with working mothers remain. This isn’t solely a women’s issue – it’s a family issue, a cultural issue, an economic issue and a political issue. “Having it all” may be a myth, but our panelists will share their experiences and solutions toward having as much as you can.  Speakers: Dr. Mary Amon, Family Practice Medical Center; Heather Thompson, Firm Administrator, CDS; Jill James, Vivid Learning Systems, Safety Solutions Architect.

Breaking Barriers & Navigating Non-Traditional Roles
September 17, 2014
MN West Technology Campus Auditorium

The rise of women into society’s leadership roles, across sectors, ranks among the most profound social transformations of recent decades. As more women become leaders in the public and private sectors, they have the ability to empower other women to make positive changes.  This session examined the challenges women face as they rise through the ranks and discuss successful strategies for advancing to senior leadership positions.  The panelists also discussed how they leveraged their positions to influence women to better their lives and the lives of those around them.  Speakers: Kathryn ‘Kit’ Smith, Judge, retired; Pat Solheid, VP of Human Resources, Jennie-O Turkey Store; Charlene Stevens, Willmar City Administrator.