Meeting/Event Information

Good to Great

January 11, 2018
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
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The Boat House at Confluence Park
679 West Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215

This Event is SOLD OUT!

However, you can still register and be added to the Wait List. You will be notified ASAP should a space become available.

Due to the sell-out, we will only be able to accommodate walk-ins on Thursday, January 11th if there are cancellations that day.

Attendees will rotate tables, spending time with 2 different business leaders as they present on specific topics geared towards helping entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level. Register now to receive your first choice of speakers.

About the Speakers:

Andrea Applegate, Applegate Talent

Great Bosses: How to Be One and How to Always Work for One

Andrea Applegate is a recognized expert in workforce & talent. Andrea refined her expertise in both workforce development and workforce policy during 12 years with the Columbus Chamber, and then later provided leadership to workforce-focused nonprofit agencies. Andrea launched Applegate Talent Strategies to work with businesses on talent-focused strategic planning to help them implement effective “people practices” to become Employers of Choice. Central to Andrea’s approach in working with businesses is that their workforce is their competitive advantage, and that an engaged workforce leads to improved productivity and increased profitability. 

Andrea is a lifelong resident of Columbus. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and an MBA from Franklin University. Andrea is president of the Jazz Arts Group’s board directors, she serves on the executive committee at SocialVentures, and she tutors 6th graders at a local elementary school. Andrea is a health and fitness enthusiast and, along with her husband, “LarryWalksFast,” she manages the German Village Walking Club. As a runner, Andrea aspires to complete a full or half marathon in all 50 states.

Merri Bame, BDB Communication

End of the Day Communication

Early in her career Merri taught theater, speech and communication for 16 years before learning of the number of barriers in her own communication. That revelation about her communication was uncomfortable, yet it led her to personal growth and a life-altering outcome – she started BDB (Breaking Down Barriers) Communication, knowing that all adults want to feel great at the end of the day, and how they communicate is the key.

In 2008, Merri moved to Columbus and began her work at the CBA, OSBA, the Ohio Supreme Court and other attorney professional organizations and firms because attorneys (like many other professionals) put such importance on communication. With her theatre background, training in communication and personal experiences, today Merri helps attorneys and other introverts speak with confidence, whether at the podium or in everyday life. A member of Kiwanis of Downtown Columbus, Merri is author of Confidence in 30 Days, and Light a Fire in Your Message. Merri coaches clients to break down barriers in their communication when they want to achieve clarity, connection and confidence in their activities so they, too, feel better at the end of the day.

Michele Cuthbert, Baker Creative

5 Ways to Be a Better Leader

Michele has 20+ years of experience working with leading brands including McDonalds, Ohio State University Hospital, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, Cooper Tires, NAPA, Liebert, Ohio Tourism and Visit Florida just to name a few. She and her team have created award-winning published work for a diverse group of clients all with unique communications challenges. Both local and national media has recognized Michele and Baker Creative including Crain’s New York BusinessHuffington Post, Fox News New York, Mashable and Fast Company. Her work has been published in “Big Book of Self Promotion” by Crescent Hill Books.

Baker Creative is Edge, WBENC, WBE certified, and Michele was a recipient of the 40 Under 40 award, given to the best and brightest entrepreneurs in Central Ohio.  She has also been recognized as one the leading female CEOs by Columbus CEO magazine. Prior to founding Baker Creative, Michele worked as an art director for several advertising agencies and large corporations where she developed marketing and advertising for a number of international companies. Michele believes strongly in giving back to the community that has been so generous to her through the years. This is reflected in her past work as an adjunct professor at leading Columbus area universities, including Columbus State Community College and CCAD, and her list of pro-bono work continues to grow. 

Stefanie Fox Jackson, The Canvas Salon

Retaining Millennials and Keeping your Sanity in the Process

Stefanie desires to live in a world where business owners and their teams are committed to creating higher results and cohesive environments where everyone can thrive. As a business owner she knows that high performing businesses have two things in common: Strong leaders and a clear strategy for growth. Stefanie’s work focuses on the development of both.

As a sought-after educator and leadership coach, she’s been spotlighted in Salon Today,, The Metropreneur, Columbus CEO, and Capital Style Magazine for her innovative ways to build connections between teams and their leadership. She spoke at Serious Business 2016 on Millennial Leadership and hosted a panel on millennial leadership for the Pro Beauty Association.

Stefanie knows what it takes to develop and retain a team of millennials and to get them creating results. She uses her own business as a testing ground for her theories and has had proven success.

Gretchen Gordon, Braveheart Sales Performance

Mistakes I Have Made and What I Learned

Gretchen is a self-proclaimed “sales nerd”, loving the art AND science of selling.  She is President of Braveheart Sales Performance which is dedicated to transforming sales teams.  She is a frequent speaker at conferences and events, and contributes sales articles to a variety of publications focused on effective sales leadership including Selling Power.  She is also a published author of a Top 50 ranked Sales Management Blog, and was recently recognized as a Top 50 Sales Influencer by Small Biz Tools.


Sharon Gordon, Urban Trendsetters

Monetize Me! How to Make What You Know Create Your Flow!

Become an Influencer, Master and Authority in your industry by teaching what you know!  Teaching others what you know can greatly supplement or replace your current income.  Creating a brand through Blogs, E-Books, Webinars, Podcasts, Videos and additional products and services can also be a low-cost effective rout of profiting from the ever-present demand for valuable information.  Currently thousands of micro-entrepreneurs are building empires simply by selling themselves through useful content and information. Knowledge truly is POWER!

Lauren Hunter and Manda Mason, The W Nail Bar

Sisters Sharing Success: A Q&A with the owners of The W Nail Bar

Raised in a family business, Manda and I knew we wanted to return to owning our own business someday. After years of working for other companies and making them successful, we decided it was our time. Both of us love the beauty industry. We realized that no one was doing nails the way we wanted. We base our entire business around two simple concepts: cleanliness & customer service. We opened our first shop in April 2015 and have been very blessed to be very successful. We are growing in exciting ways! We have partnered with DSW to open our nail salon inside of their DSW Polaris store. 

Meredith Liepelt, Rich Life Marketing

Boost Your Brand with Guest Appearances on Lifestyle TV Shows

If you sell your expertise in the form of coaching, consulting, or speaking, then being featured as a guest on lifestyle TV shows should be a major part of your publicity plan this year. Because who is featured on TV? Experts, of course. If you have ever seen someone on Good Day Columbus or other guest-driven TV shows and think, “I could do that,” then come to my table to learn how to position yourself as a great live guest for lifestyle TV shows in Columbus and anywhere in the United States.

Meredith loves working with high-performing entrepreneurs who want to tap into the power of the media to get in or stay in the spotlight. What pains her is seeing amazing entrepreneurs who want to become better-known in their niche stay stuck simply because they don’t know what to do first. Meredith’s coaching and consulting programs help even shy entrepreneurs to increase their personal profile, become far more visible to their audience, and learn to be their own best publicists. As a result of working with Meredith, clients become leading voices in their industries, dramatically boost their reputations, and enjoy the professional cache of being covered in the media.

Kristen Lepionka, author of the Roxane Weary mystery series

Pen to Paper: Unlocking your Inner Author

Kristen is the author of the Roxane Weary mystery series, starting with The Last Place You Look (Minotaur Books, 2017) and continuing with What You Want to See (May 2018). She’s also the owner and designer-in-chief of Katla Creative, where she leverages a decade of experience in marketing to help awesome little companies develop their visual brands and social media strategies. 


Lacey Picazo, ZoCo Design

Find Opportunity in Developing your Brand Strategy and Customer Journey

An award-winning and published creative, Lacey is the founder of ZoCo Design, a leading brand strategy and user experience design agency, which was also named a 2017 Best Place to Work by Business First. Through ZoCo, she has built a reputation in preparing brands for what’s next—identifying opportunities that incite transformation and growth for nonprofits and startups to Fortune top 50 clients. Lacey is an avid supporter of the creative and startup communities, and a member of the Business First 2016 Forty Under 40 class, as well as the Smart Business Smart 50 class of 2017. She is also a co-founder in the Lumos accelerator, which has now invested in two separate cohorts—fueling the growth of fifteen promising new startups.

Natasha Pongonis, Nativa

How to Use Rejection to Fuel Your Success

Natasha Pongonis is the Co-Owner of Nativa, a multicultural communications agency with offices in Columbus Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona; and is the CEO of OYE! Business Intelligence, a technology startup that provides big data analytics to Fortune 500 companies. Natasha is a business communications expert with extensive marketing experience, she has developed key digital strategies for many organizations and Governmental agencies through her understanding of cross-cultural communications. 

Early this year, Natasha was invited to participate in a roundtable at the White House to discuss priorities for Latina and female business owners in America. In 2016 Natasha was accepted into the prestigious Stanford Latino Entrepreneur Leaders Program to focus on strategic scalability and economic growth and received The Women in Business and Leadership Award by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, she was also named one of twelve women “Women Welding the Way 2016” by WELD receiving a recognition from the U.S. Congress.   

Mary Rauchenstein, Leadership Edge Solutions, LLC

Embracing Imbalance - Your Pathway to Sanity

Mary is the owner and Chief Encouragement Officer at Leadership Edge Solutions. Mary focuses on developing leadership skills in individuals and teams through her coaching, facilitation and speaking. Mary has more than 30 years’ experience in leadership positions spanning operations, marketing, training and human resources at brands such as Donatos, Mills James and Rax Restaurants. Her first book, Right of Passage, Surviving Shame and Battling Bullies of All Ages, is due to be published in early 2018.

Mary holds a Bachelor’s degree from Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania, which is located just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She obtained a master’s degree in Human Resource Development from The Ohio State University. In 2013, Mary was awarded the HR Executive of the Year for a mid-size organization from Columbus CEO Magazine. In 2015 Mary obtained her coaching certification through the John Maxwell brand. Mary is the current President of the Gahanna Business Networking International chapter, she is a member of the Gahanna Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Empowering Women Series committee.

Mary and her husband Paul are long-time residents of Gahanna, OH.

Danielle Walton, Adept Marketing

 Building a Business Based on the Belief that Your Customer’s Success is Your Success 

In her role as co-founder and chief operating officer, Danielle works with Adept Marketing’s team of digital experts to build and execute growth strategies for clients. She instills in the team that a client’s success is their success. By really understanding a client’s business, evaluating the marketplace and setting specific goals, she puts clients on a path to align digital marketing with profit growth. Since its founding in 2008, Adept has grown into one of the top 100 fastest growing digital agencies in the U.S. 

Danielle started her career as a management consultant at Deloitte, and then worked in marketing for Lifestyle Communities before starting Adept with co-founder Justin Spring. Danielle graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a minor in marketing.

Kimmi Wernli, Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Company

Working with Influencers to Promote Your Brand

Kimmi is the first female owner of one of the oldest natural food companies in America. When Kimmi assumed the reigns as the second generation owner of her family’s historic peanut butter business, she identified ways to take the Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Company into the 21st century by breaking into new markets, creating a clear brand and messaging and tapping into a savvy young audience via social media. Her family owned both the Krema Products Co. and Crazy Richard’s brands, and Wernli decided to merge Krema into the Crazy Richard’s brand. She worked tirelessly with her sales team, national grocery store distributors and the marketing team to ensure a smooth transition.

Kimmi established the “Healthy Kids Happy Future” project as a way to follow her passion for supporting families through ongoing charity work and contributions. In 2017, the Healthy Kids Happy Future project has donated over 350,000 servings of peanut butter to children and families in need with a goal to reach 1 million by 2020. Kimmi is an active member of NAWBO National and sits on the Board of Directors for the American Peanut Council. In 2017 Kimmi was awarded the Smart Women Award and Smart 50 Award by Smart Business Magazine in addition to which Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter Co became an official WBENC certified company and obtained the highly esteemed Benefit Corporation Certification (B-Corp).

Cancellation Policy:

Registrations must be paid in advance.

A late fee will be charged after 12:00 pm on the Monday preceding the Meeting.

Cancellations made after 5:00 pm on the Monday prior to the Meeting will not be refunded.

Special Notes:

Are you a new member or a first time guest? Stick around after the meeting to attend the Huddle, where you can learn more about the benefits of NAWBO Columbus and how you can get more involved! Huddle is from 1:15pm - 1:45pm and takes place in the same room as our luncheons.

Registrants agree to the NAWBO Columbus photography release unless they have otherwise notified the communications committee.

All special dietary and meal requests must be submitted with your registration by the registration deadline. We regret that we can not provide alternative meals or substitutions that are requested at the luncheon.

Please make your Speaker Selections when registering. All requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. 


$25.00 Member
$35.00 after 12:00 pm January 8

$25.00 Corporate Partner
$35.00 after 12:00 pm January 8

$35.00 Guest
$45.00 after 12:00 pm January 8

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