Chief Confidence Officer, CEO & Co-founder of the American Confidence Institute, Alyssa Dver is the expert on the brain science and social secrets of confidence. In individual and group programs, Alyssa shares confidence-building tips, tools and techniques at MIT, Wharton, Harvard, IBM, Spotify, Wayfair, Pepsi, US Air Force, State Street, Liberty Mutual, Staples, Royal Bank of Canada plus many other companies, conferences, associations, and non-profits.
Amy is the Trails Section Chief for the Division of Outdoor Recreation at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In this role, Amy is Indiana’s State Trails Administrator and one of the Next Level Trails Program Directors. She currently serves on the Indiana Bicycle Trails Task Force and administers the Indiana Trails Advisory Board. The Trails Section that Amy oversees looks to improve and increase trail opportunities, including bike/pedestrian, natural surface, motorized, and water trails, for Hoosiers and visitors throughout the state. She has been with the Division of Outdoor Recreation for 5 years and with the DNR for 7 years. Although an Ohio native, Amy currently resides in Indianapolis with her family. She has received her Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and her Master’s from Ball State University. Amy is an avid runner and cyclist, including bike commuting to work and mountain bike racing.
Brett brings twenty-one years of supplier side experience both from the hotel side and the last 12 years as a
small business owner. Brett worked in government sales for both Millennium Hotels and Resorts out of
Boston and Kimpton Hotels out of Washington, DC. His firm, Hotel Lobbyists, was founded in April 2007.
He's also a fourteen year member of SGMP with five years on the local National Capital Board, three years
on the Gilmer Institute of Learning, and fresh off a four year term on the National Board of Directors. With
more time for himself now, Brett speaks at industry chapter and national events as well as CVB sponsored
educational days. He is married with a 5yr old son and 3yr old daughter.
Brian has been a part of the travel and tourism industry since 2003 and was the long-time Marketing Director at the Fargo Convention and Visitors Bureau where he pioneered several digital and social media promotional programs that included various forms of online content development, distribution, and promotion.
He’s a well-recognized speaker at state, regional and national conferences and is known for his entertaining presentation style that makes his talking points stick with attendees. He’s a great asset to the development of any DMO's marketing initiatives due to his vast experience working directly with convention & visitors bureaus, chambers, and other hospitality businesses, along with his vast knowledge of digital marketing.
Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Management at the Kelley School of Business where she teaches undergraduate business and MBA courses focused on leadership, negotiations, and cultural intelligence.
Charlotte’s academic insights are enhanced by her practical and senior leadership experience leading professional development initiatives and inclusive diversity programs at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), University of Iowa, Purdue University and Rockwell Collins.
Charlotte is also a highly sought-after consultant and speaker that works with organizations who want to foster and support a culture of inclusion and performance. Charlotte is known for her ability to “engage” and teach audiences how to effectively communicate and develop collaborative skills to enable individuals to build and sustain inclusive high-performing teams in all functional areas of an organization. She is also regular contributor to professional periodicals and has blogged for Fast Company and Ladders.
Charlotte holds a law degree from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, and M.Ed. and B.S degrees from Ohio University. Currently, she serves on the Indiana State Bar Association’s Board of Governor and has served on the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners since 2006.
Cindy Ladage is farmer’s wife, a presenter and an award winning journalist and columnist for Farm World. In 2018 and 2016 she won the American Women in Communications Clarion award and has been a bronze winner and finalist in the North American Travel Journalists Association. Cindy writes for antique tractor and collector publications and specializes in travel stories for several publications like Senior News &Times of Illinois and more. Cindy’s travel blog is Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl http://travelingadventuresofafarmgirl.com where she shares her travels on the back roads and byways. In her writing, Cindy shares her passion for preserving agriculture and promoting agri-tourism and rural areas.
Cindy is also an author of children’s books and adult fiction as well. Cindy lives on a farm in central Illinois and has three grown children and two grand children. Cindy is retired from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency where she worked with the Illinois Radon Program. You can also join her on twitter at https://twitter.com/cindyladage , Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cindyladage and facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TravelingAdventuresOfAFarmGirl.
Director of Concessions & Air Service, Indianapolis Airport Authority
Denise Miller, Executive Vice President
Denise has 40 years of experience and accomplishment in tourism marketing and research. She was the director of two convention and visitors bureaus in Indiana. She then served as the Indiana state travel director.
She joined SMARInsights and began conducting tourism research twenty-seven years ago. Her knowledge of the DMO side of the business provides the experience to analyze and present research findings in a way that is meaningful and helps drive policy and implementation.
As SMARInsights’ Executive Vice President, Denise serves as the project lead for most of our tourism projects. She works with state and local organizations that promote tourism development in the areas of target marketing, advertising effectiveness, and economic impact. She is also Past President of the Travel & Tourism Research Assn. International, and winner of their Distinguished Researcher award
Gary Varvel was born in Indianapolis in 1957, graduated from Danville High School in Danville, IN, studied at John Herron School of Art (IUPUI) and after college spent 16 years working as the chief artist for The Indianapolis News. In 1994 he joined The Indianapolis Star as its editorial cartoonist.
2015 Inducted into Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame
2012 National Headliners Award for editorial cartooning,
2011 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Cartooning
2010 National Cartoonists Society Reuben Award for Best Editorial Cartoonist Division
2010 Grambs Aronson Award for Cartooning with a Conscience for his Path to Hope series on Child poverty.
Fifteen-time first place winner of the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists' Award for Best Editorial Cartoon
Thirteen-time winner of the first place award for Best Editorial Cartoonist in the Hoosier State Press Association Contest
2006 H. Dean Evans Legacy Award for community service
Varvel’s work is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate in 125 newspapers. His cartoons have appeared on CNN, FoxNews and in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Post, USA Today, Washington Times, National Review and Sports Illustrated. His cartoons have also been reprinted in many college and high school text books.
Varvel is also a board member of House of Grace Films and co-writer, actor and producer of the films, THE BOARD (2009) and THE WAR WITHIN (2014).
Jamie Bennett is the executive director of ArtPlace America, a partnership among private foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions working to position arts and culture as a core sector of community planning and development, so that artists and arts organizations are regular collaborators in helping to build equitable, healthy, and sustainable futures.
To date, ArtPlace has invested over $100 million, which has gone to support 279 projects in communities of all sizes; six place-based organizations that have committed to permanently working in this cross-sector way; and deep investigations into the intersections of arts and culture with energy and the environment, housing, immigration, public health, public safety, and transportation.
Previously, Jamie was Chief of Staff and Director of Public Affairs at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he worked on the national rollouts of the "Our Town" grant program and of partnerships with the US Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.
Before the NEA, Jamie was Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, where he worked on partnerships with the NYC Departments for the Aging, of Education, and of Youth and Community Development.
Jamie has also provided strategic counsel at the Agnes Gund Foundation, served as chief of staff to the President of Columbia University, and worked in fundraising at The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Philharmonic, and Columbia College.
John Daters is Director of Digital Strategy at Ripple Effect, a local digital marketing and website development company located in Cleveland, Ohio, and an extension of Great Lakes Publishing. John began his career as a content manager on Colorado.com, the official tourism website for the state of Colorado. Since his travel and tourism origins, John has worked to improve the presence of MetroHealth, one of the largest hospitals in Northeast Ohio, and led the strategic rebuild of Cleveland Metroparks’ entire digital footprint from the ground up. Prior to Ripple Effect, John was Director of SEO for Fathom in Independence, Ohio. There, his clients included multinational corporations with digital presence across the globe, as well as local companies looking to expand their digital efforts in all business environments.
Leah Yoder is the face behind the travel & lifestyle blog, Yoder Toter Blog. Through her website and social media, Leah aims to encourage families to explore everything from their backyard to the other side of the world. It was her experience as a Rotary Exchange Student to Australia that birthed in her a deep love for travel and the connections which it creates.
Leah is passionate about sharing tips for traveling with kids, saving money on flights and accommodation, and telling the stories of lesser-known destinations. Before becoming a blogger and homeschooling mom, Leah spent 7 years working as a travel agent and agency manager.
Lisa Barham is a keynote speaker at Hospitality Industry Events, Internet prospecting Guru, expert in Lead Generation and business owner.
A native Texan, a business and marketing major from Lamar University, in Beaumont, Texas, she has been in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years.
She started her sales and marketing career while working for Metro Hotels. During the 10 years that she worked in the hotel industry, she worked primarily in the corporate office, developing and facilitating sales and marketing programs for 33 hotels.
It was 24 years ago when she founded her own company, Hotel Resources. Hotel Resources offers multi-faceted support for hotels sales and marketing. Services include: organizing telemarketing campaigns & sales blitzes, Internet competitive research, competitive market analysis and teaching internet prospecting.
The company’s clients include Marriott Hotels, Hilton, Kimpton Hotels, Best Western International, Choice Hotels and many management companies.
Lisa has been a guest on the Discovery Channel’s popular show, “Hotel Impossible” and continues to help them as a consultant.
Lisa and her family feel very blessed and donate many hours each year on Mission trips across the U.S. helping others in need.
Matthew Focht, Truly360
Manager of Communications, Indianapolis Airport Authority
- Indiana State Festivals Association
- Midwest Travel Network
- Great Lakes Publishing/Ohio Magazine
- Travel Indiana Magazine
- Midwest Living/Meredith Travel Marketing
- Group Tour Magazine
- AAA Living
- Indiana Connection
- Longwoods International
- AAA Living
- Bookkeeping Plus, Inc.
- Short Strategy Group, Inc.
- Sun Companies