Speaker Bios

Keynote Session Speakers

Dr. Erika Michalski - Keynote Speaker

Strategically Authentic – CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer)

Dr. Erika Michalski has a robust history of providing enthusiastic keynotes and engaging workshops dedicated to empowering participants and cultivating new ideas about professional development.


On February 29, 2020, after years of consulting in various capacities, Dr. Michalski founded Strategically Authentic, a consulting company dedicated to helping people leverage who they are to get where they want to be. She proudly serves as the company's CEO, embracing her roots as a competitive cheerleader and collegiate cheerleading coach to the benefit of everyone she encounters. Erika is known by clients and colleagues as the one who believes even the most ambitious goals are possible as long as there is a nimble plan rooted in authenticity ... and she is ready to celebrate successes of every size along the way to achieving them!

Debbie Schroeder-Saulnier - Keynote Speaker

Excel Leadership Solutions  – Founder, CEO 

Committed to excellence and integrity, standing in solidarity against racism and injustice, Deborah is a problem solving, results-driven executive with 25+ years of combined global and domestic leadership and advisory/consulting expertise. She is a demonstrated inspirational leader who has partnered with boards, top C-suite executives, teams, and organizations to drive strategic focus and execution, change leadership, team alignment, organizational transformation, and individual growth.  Deborah has been Head of Strategy for UniGroup; Partner with The Clarion Group; Senior Vice President – Global Solutions and Managing Principle for Right Management; Global Director – Organization Development for Ingersoll Rand; and Senior Consultant for Boeing.   Deborah’s book: The Power of Paradox: Harness the Energy of Competing Ideas to Uncover Radically Innovative Solutions, brings a counterintuitive approach to solving problems to help individuals and organizations face chronic challenges with confidence and uncover unexpected and infinitely better solutions.  The Power of Paradox will challenge you to think more critically than you normally do … which will ultimately improve your business. (Jim Kavanaugh, CEO, World Wide Technology, Inc. - WWT)  The best strategic insights don’t always come through linear thinking. Deborah Schroeder-Saulnier makes a great contribution with The Power of Paradox. (Greig Woodring, retired Chief Executive Officer and President, Reinsurance Group of America, Inc.)

Breakout Session Speakers

Julio Govreau

LaunchCode – Vice President of People Operations

Julio Govreau is a bilingual USMC veteran, who is a professional with over 30 years of diverse work experience in operations, management, and Human Resources. He has contributed to various roles at different levels of responsibility in multiple industries.

Currently, he is the Vice President of People Operations at LaunchCode, where he is responsible for overall HR strategy for the organization, located in Saint Louis, MO.  In his spare time, Julio enjoys volunteering for several non-profit organizations, mentoring college students, veterans, and fellow professionals. He also volunteers with the Saint Louis Chapter of Association of Talent Development, as the immediate Past President.  He earned his Bachelor of Business Management from Concordia University and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University.

Barry Engelhardt

Store Supply Warehouse – Human Resource Leader

Barry Engelhardt worked in Operations & Client Relationship Management for 10+ years prior to transitioning to Human Resources. He currently runs the Human Resources Department for Store Supply Warehouse. He has earned his SCP certification through SHRM & his HR Analytics certification through Cornell University.  He also volunteers as the Program Director for Heroic Forces Boots to Books Program where he has partnered with authors such as Simon Sinek, Brene Brown & Jocko Willink to get life changing literature into the hands of thousands of transitioning veterans.  He obtained his bachelor’s & MBA from SIU-Carbondale and retired from the Army National Guard after twenty years in combat operations. During his military tenure, he has visited four continents and helped plan & execute over 100 combat missions, earning the Combat Infantry Badge for heroic participation in ground combat.

Nate Rowlan

Scott Credit Union – Training and Development Manager

Nate Rowlan is a passionate, creative, and results-driven learning & development leader with 10+ years experience in designing engaging learning experiences, shaping organizational culture, developing leaders, and leveraging L&D know-how to increase customer success.

Liz Haberberger

Dale Carnegie – President Dale Carnegie Missouri

Liz’s enthusiasm and passion aren’t easily matched. Her number one rule in life is to have fun. If it’s not fun, she’s not doing it. She is at her best in front of a group or working to solve a complex business challenge.  Liz joined Dale Carnegie St. Louis in 2015 and purchased the St. Louis four years later. In 2021, she took expanded the territory to Kansas City. She now consults with clients in a variety of industries and sizes from Fortune 500 companies to local family-owned business. She brings a unique perspective to clients, always thinks out of the box, and doesn’t settle for average. Whether she is consulting on business needs, in front of a room facilitating an experience, or at home with her husband and two kids, you will find a big smile on her face and can feel the energy she brings to any room or organization.  Liz has worked with clients like T-Mobile, Nestle Purina, Bunge, Keeley Companies, McCown Gordon, Boeing, Hunter Engineering, Alberici Constructors, GFI Digital, and many more.

Eric Currie

Dream Higher Productions - CRO (Chief Resistance Officer)

The question “why do people choose not to change” is what has fueled Eric’s passion for understanding why others, and even himself, choose the status quo over the possibility of something better.  With a professional background in Change Management, and a designation of certified Change Practitioner, Eric’s own personal journey through change has taught him that managing personal resistance and observing the world around you makes lasting change.  Eric focuses on helping leaders manage change resistance so they can take their teams from "no way" to "okay" to achieve results and empowers individuals to look inward to navigate change.  To date, more than 1,300 individuals and teams have benefited from his inspiring programs and training that make change easier.

Christine Kostic

Christine has a long career in training, leadership development, and as a leader herself. She started her career as an Assistant Store Manager for Walmart and spent the next 15+ years working her way up to Store Manager, Regional Trainer, and eventually as the Director of Field Training for the Sam’s Club US Division.  Christine spent the next 8 years as a store manager for Giant Eagle, a supermarket chain based in Pittsburgh, PA. She worked in Leadership Development at the Lowe’s corporate office in Mooresville, NC, and then at the Centene Corporation in St. Louis, MO. In December 2021 she took on a new role as the AVP of Learning & Development at Enterprise Bank & Trust. Christine enjoys developing people and helping them achieve success.  Christine earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of ATD on both the local and national levels, and currently serves as the President-Elect for the St. Louis chapter.

Dr. Joe Totherow

Edward Jones – Talent Leader

Dr. Totherow has been in the learning and development arena for more than 25 years, as a teacher, a learning designer, technologist and strategic consultant, and a leader. Dr. Totherow began his career as a philosophy professor before making the transition to corporate learning in 2000. The bulk of his corporate learning career has been spent at the Federal Reserve bank of St. Louis and Edward Jones. Dr. Totherow has a passion for innovative learning solutions, systems and strategies that bring deep learner engagement that create powerful performance improvement results that drive business outcome.  

Thomas Frase

Edward Jones – Scrum Master

Thomas is an experienced leader with over 20 years of process improvement and change management experience at Edward Jones, UniGroup, Ingersoll Rand and GKN Aerospace. Thomas obtained his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Missouri State University and his Master of Business Administration from Webster University. Thomas is a ASQ Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and is a Master Black Belt. In addition, Thomas is a certified Scrum Master.

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