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Oklahoma State University

29th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference

Please check back for more information on the 30th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference in March 2021


29th Annual Women's Business Leadership Conference banner

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 | Hyatt Regency Hotel | Tulsa, Oklahoma

Learn more about moving toward your career goals, developing yourself and others, and enhancing your leadership skills from expert women leaders.

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Sponsorship opportunities are available. 

Sponsorship Information

Current Sponsors


8:30 a.m.


9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions


Dr. Alexis Smith Washington, Associate Professor of Management
Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Dr. Ken Eastman, Dean, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Mary Frates, President, Oklahoma International Women’s Forum, Oklahoma City, OK

9:15 a.m.

 Colette Herrick, Chief Executive Officer, Insight Shift, Salt Lake City, UT

10:00 a.m.


Ollie Christina Starr, Interior Designer, Philanthropist, Actor, member of Cherokee Nation, Claremore, OK

10:45 a.m.


11:00 a.m.

 Lisa Osborne Ross, President, Edelman, Washington, D.C.

11:45 a.m.


12:00 p.m.


Welcome: Lou C. Kerr, President and Chair, The Kerr Foundation, Inc., Chair, Oklahoma International Women’s Forum, Oklahoma City, OK

1:15 p.m.

Maribeth Kuzmeski, President, Red Zone Marketing and Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

2:00 p.m.

 Karyl Innis, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, The Innis Company, Dallas, TX

2:45 p.m.

Shannon Block, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Forward Foundation, Golden, CO

3:30 p.m


Dr. Alexis Smith Washington

Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK


Shannon Block

Shannon Block

President and Chief Executive Officer, World Forward Foundation, Golden, CO

Shannon Block is a human-centered, systems leader with more than 15 years of experience building award-winning teams in high-pressure environments, while managing a variety of complex issues. She has board experience governing companies over 1 billion in revenues, over 2 trillion in member revenue and over 3K employees. Block is a driven and accomplished chief executive championing system-wide excellence in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. She has CEO experience managing 900+ employees, 16 departments, 21 locations and cross-functional teams across 30 countries and serves 2.44 million customers annually. Block has Big 4 leadership experience at both PwC and Deloitte leading Innovation, M&A, and Data Management teams and has founder experience in managing success in a startup environment. Block is a Lean Six Sigma black belt that leverages a variety of change management tools to create actionable strategic plans, workforce alignment, and rapid growth across complex industries from health care to zoos. She is a global keynote speaker on strategy, innovation, and workforce development and has presented at conferences hosted by Bloomberg, CNBC, and YPO. She is seasoned in leading companies by developing and executing enterprise-wide strategic plans that deliver significant financial returns through mission-based programming, cultural transformation, teamwork, external stakeholder management, and marketplace differentiation.

Colette Herrick

Colette Herrick

Chief Executive Officer, Insight Shift, Salt Lake City, UT

Colette is the CEO of Insight Shift, a Utah-based firm since 2003. A uniquely experienced Executive Leadership Coach, Strategic Facilitator and Organizational Consultant, her clients have described her as “compassionately insightful.” She builds trust quickly, evoking courageous conversations through the art of skillful questions, mindful attention, and a thoughtful curiosity of each client’s unique experience and aspirations. From seasoned academic department chairs and physicians to educational leaders and corporate directors, she partners with clients’ guiding transformational learning through best practices, evidence-based methods, and a wealth of professional and practical knowledge. As a facilitator, she taps the collective intelligence of groups through an engaging, co-creative, and strengths-based approach. Her clients benefit from greater alignment, innovation, and the energy to move vision to action. Early in her career, she served as the Chief Cardiac Transplant Coordinator at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center, and was a pivotal contributor to the development and success of that world renowned transplant program. In 1990 she joined a biotech organ transplant division of Johnson & Johnson and managed a team in more than half the geographic United States. In that leadership role, she had front line responsibility for 18-20 million dollars of revenue per year.

Karyl Innis

Karyl Innis

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, The Innis Company, Dallas, TX

Karyl Innis knows why successful people succeed and when they don’t, how to help them. She is a career expert, the CEO and Founder of The Innis Company, which is a global career management consulting company and one of the most successful woman-owned businesses in the country. Every year thousands of people create strategies and take action to accelerate their careers fueled by Innis’ coaching, advice, speeches and workshops. Innis works with business executives to break through the “barriers” that prevent them from succeeding to the highest corporate levels. She creates breakthrough strategies for executives seeking to grow and transform their work lives. Innis is an advisor to executives around the world on issues of their own career success and the career development and management of their employees. As a “personal brand” expert, Innis uses business principles and brand management techniques to clarify clients’ marketplace appeal and enhance their personal careers. Innis’ deep knowledge of corporations and careers, coupled with her personal presence, places her in hundreds of venues: stages, boardrooms, convention halls, interview rooms, conference centers, training rooms, sound stages, radio stations, local and national television studios

Lisa Osborne Ross

Lisa Osborne Ross

President, Edelman, Washington, D.C.

Lisa Ross is the President of Edelman, Washington D.C Office. Edelman’s DC office is one of the firm’s global hubs and a center of excellence for integrated advocacy programming, reputation, issues and modern crisis management as well as home to integrated brand marketing for several leading companies. Ross, a D.C. native, joined Edelman from APCO Worldwide where she was the managing director of its Washington, D.C. office. Earlier, Ross had a 15-year career at Ogilvy, culminating in her role as head of public affairs. Earlier, she served in the first and second terms of the Clinton Administration, specializing in policy development and issues management. During this time, she was communications director for the U.S. Department of Labor’s effort to promote high-performance workplaces, deputy director of the bipartisan Federal Glass Ceiling Commission and chief of staff of the White House Office of Women’s Initiatives and Outreach.

 Ollie Christina Starr

Ollie Christina Starr

Interior Designer, Philanthropist, Actor, member of Cherokee Nation, Claremore, OK

It was 1941, the beginning of empowerment for women when Ollie Christina Starr, the sixth child in a family of 8 with one brother and six sisters was born. Native of Mayes County, Oklahoma raised by a Cattleman father and a Mother who taught at a local two-room schoolhouse. Starr learned early in life, boundaries are limitless; this has made her the “darling” of getting things done. While raising her family in Rogers County, Starr built a successful interior design company, which she operated for 25 years. Starr took a leap of faith and relocated to Atlanta, Georgia working as a house manager began an acting career. She then moved to Hollywood, Florida, and became a Starr, marrying Mr. Starr. Florida is where she became a landlord in a declining area. She took on the task of bringing the community together to reclaim the neighborhood. Starr was honored by the City of Fort Lauderdale, the State of Florida and several national organizations for her community leadership. After 10 years, Starr returned to Oklahoma to be near her family and the Cherokee community. Starr has a heart for service and is an asset to her tribal nation and her surrounding community. She continues to work tirelessly promoting care issues for older Cherokees, secure grant money to enable young women to pursue higher education and help improve living conditions in Cherokee senior facilities. In addition, she was instrumental in helping revitalize the Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club a century-old organization. Starr has a demonstrated ability to empathize with all people, overcoming obstacles, raising awareness, and promote unity in cross-cultural, multi-diverse settings to accomplish amazing tasks. Ollie received the 2014 Cherokee National Community Leadership Award, received a nomination for the 2015 Andrus Award for Community Service and was an honoree at the 2015 AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors.


Maribeth Kuzmeski

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Maribeth Kuzmeski, Ph.D. teaches an integrated marketing course at Oklahoma State. Outside of the classroom, Maribeth is a sought after female speaker, and rated a Top 25 C-Suite Speaker by Meetings & Conventions Magazine. She trains organizations on marketing, sales, and persuasive communications strategies. Her list of past audiences she has trained and consulted with include Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurialminded corporations, financial services firms, women’s organizations, and industry associations. Maribeth brings an evidence-based approach to her audiences enabling them to learn from what has been researched, is working elsewhere, and can be applied to their own businesses and lives. She also is the President of the business development firm, Red Zone Marketing. Maribeth has written 7 books including the bestseller The Connectors. She has also written a book with her daughter, The Engaging Child: Raising Children to Speak, Write, and Have Relationship Skills Beyond Technology. She is a media contributor appearing on NBC, FOX, USA Today, The New York Times, Fox, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. She also hosts a popular podcast featuring inspiring businesswomen, The Female Insight Zone. Maribeth also has her own charitable foundation supporting women in business, The Red Zone Leadership Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, an MBA from The George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University.





Bank of America






Mabrey Bank 
WPX Energy
Phillips 66 



Grant Thornton
The Kerr Foundation 


omrf logo

 kpmg logo

Dan Sulivant and Marilyn Mabrey Sulivant

osu foundation 




ConocoPhillips logo

 Habitat for Humanity

Mary F. Michaelis


Cancellation Policy:

If a participant would like to cancel her/his registration less than 5 days prior to the conference, you are welcome to send a substitute. All guarantees have been submitted to the hotel, so refunds are not attainable. A refund is available given notification no later than 6 days prior to the conference. If you are transferring your registration to a colleague, please contact the OSU Center for Executive and Professional Development at 405-744-5208 or

For additional information Contact:

Holly Bergbower, Program Coordinator, Center for Executive and Professional Development
Oklahoma State University, 294 Business Building
Stillwater, OK 74078-4011 USA
Telephone: 405-744-5208