Conference Presenter Bios
Breakout Session 1
Khara Wolf - Khara Wolf Designs
Beyond the Checklist: How to Implement SEO and Optimize Your Website
Khara Wolf is passionate about helping small businesses map out and implement their marketing needs with conversion-based strategies. As the owner of Khara Wolf Design LLC, her services are backed by a decade of experience in marketing, UX (user-optimized) website design and development, SEO, print design, branding and messaging, copywriting, and analytic review. At the core of her business, she helps business owners identify what isn’t working and accelerate their growth by reverse-engineering their marketing goals for a better ROI. Visit https://kharawolfdesign.com for more information.
Jennifer Bassignani, SPHR - Essential Operations
HR Basics for Managers, Supervisors, and Leaders
Jennifer has spent over 20 years practicing Human Resources while working in tandem with business leaders and senior leadership building successful teams, introducing innovative ideas to bring out the best in employees, and laying the foundation for highly functioning HR departments. She specializes in supporting small business and non-profits to create and improve their current HR practices with a strong focus on keeping employees happy, engaged, and feeling valued. Jennifer is a supportive and empowering team player who believes that your human capital is your most valuable and unique asset.
Nancy Murphy - Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning
Pricing Essentials for Your Product/Service
Nancy is a forward-thinking business executive with a proven track record of creating industry trends and strategies that have impacted the expansion and profitability of global brands including BMW, Benetton, and the Olympics. Since 2003, she has worked with hundreds of small businesses to successfully launch products and services, expand markets, and increase profitability. She holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Jeff Hunsaker, VP, Head of Global SME Sales: Visa
Fireside Chat with Visa and Elizabeth Philbrick
In my current position with Visa, I am VP, Head of Global SME Sales for Authorize.net and Cybersource and responsible for the revenue across the Visa Acceptance Solutions business unit for small businesses. I lead a sales team who manage our key global SME merchants, banks, and acquirer partners, to identify trends and define critical initiatives for the growth and long-term success of their business and ours. My role prior to this role at Visa was VP, Head of NA Customer Success.
Prior to joining Visa, I have held senior executive positions in the following capacities:
President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Services Officer, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior VP of Sales for Private Equity backed and publicly traded companies such as Novell, Baan, The SCO Group and UK2Group.
I have spent 25+ years delivering and selling technological solutions to businesses, financial institutions and consumers. I have produced exceptional performance from my teams by working hard, smart and creating a winning culture while giving my teams the skills and tools to succeed.
I am a strong believer in community and have served as a Board Trustee for not-for-profit healthcare system and currently a board member for a scholar/leader/athlete youth foundation. Before my business career, I completed my BA degree in Finance and Business Administration from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University where I also played football for the Aggies and was a team captain. I am married with 5 children.
Jason Trudeau, VP, Senior Risk Management Analyst: Visa
Fireside Chat with Visa and Elizabeth Philbrick
Jason is a Senior Risk Management Analyst within Visa Cybersource, focused on emergent fraud trends, building new risk products which enable clients to robustly manage their fraud strategy, and supporting the broader goals of the Acquiring Solutions Organization. He has been with Visa for 10 years, during which time he has held various positions within fraud and risk.
A significant emphasis of his current role is running a team which utilizes a data-driven approach, coupled with machine learning, to monitor the Cybersource and Authorize.net portfolios for incidents of card testing. As significant incidents are identified, the team leverages existing capabilities to mitigate attacks on behalf of our clients.
Jason has a passion for mitigating fraud and diving deep into data to provide new insights for both our business and clients.
Breakout Session 2
Dr. Tom Miaskiewicz: Associate Professor of Marketing at Fort Lewis College
DIY Digital Marketing: Tools, Resources, and Advice for Small Businesses
Dr. Miaskiewicz is an associate professor of marketing in the School of Business Administration at Fort Lewis College. He joined the College in 2016. Prior to joining Fort Lewis, Miaskiewicz was a special appointment instructor in the Department of Marketing at Colorado State University and an assistant professor of marketing at the Nova School of Business & Economics in Lisbon, Portugal. He also worked in a variety of design and web development roles.
Dr. Miaskiewicz’s teaching experience includes search engine marketing, search engine optimization, digital marketing, marketing research and user-centered design, to name a few. Active professionally, Miaskiewicz has published in journals such as Design Studies and The Communications of the Association for Information Systems (CAIS). He also presented at conferences such as the International Product Development Management Conference, the European Marketing Association Conference, the Americas Conference on Information Systems, and the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI).
10 Fatal Mistakes That Small Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them
Rich started his career working for a Fortune 500 company in the northeast. He later became the COO for a Systems Integration firm and provided consulting services to large cap businesses. For more than 25 years he was associated with numerous colleges where he functioned as an adjunct faculty member teaching entrepreneurial classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
After moving to Colorado, Rich became associated with Fort Lewis College as an adjunct and the Southwest SBDC where he has been an advisor for more than 17 years.
Dave Curry and Sydney Dion are professional coaches certified by ICF
Business Leadership and Engagement
Dave Curry and Sydney Dion are professional development trainers and professional coaches certified by ICF. Their work with small businesses, government agencies, and school districts across the United States on leadership, engagement and workplace collaboration has changed the culture of many organizations.
Stacy Beaugh: Principal/Co-Owner, Strategic By Nature, Inc.
Design a Corporate Responsibility/Community Give-Back Program that Feels Good - Inside and Out!
Stacy Beaugh co-owns Strategic By Nature, Inc., a woman-owned company that provides expertise and support nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and community-based collaboratives that are striving for impact and effective outcomes for people, land, water and nature. In this role, Stacy consults to and trains organizations/businesses and individuals in strategic planning, facilitation, stakeholder assessment and engagement, collaborative design, conflict resolution, organizational development, executive/leadership coaching, and fundraising. Stacy has worked as an executive director, board member/chair (in both the private and nonprofit sectors), public administrator, volunteer, facilitator, trainer and consultant.
Breakout Session 3
Jamie Brandess: Colorado SBDC Tech Source
Maximizing Economic Potential: Opportunities for Your Business
Jamie Brandess is Program Director for the statewide Colorado SBDC TechSource: Commercialization program. She is the first contact for clients to tap into the resources of this program. She began her career in nonprofits by working at United Way. She then transitioned to economic development with the Boulder SBDC as Marketing and Events Director, and later as a consultant. She moved on to statewide programming for technology businesses after several years at the local center and is certified in helping applicants with SBIR grants. Additionally, she has worked on starting several businesses of her own. She holds a B.A. in International Political Economy from Colorado College.
Ryan Roe: Ascent Digital
Three Strategies for Setting a Cost-Effective Marketing Budget
Ryan Roe has 14 years of experience in marketing and sales, He’s a business development expert at Ascent Digital Agency. Some of his experience is in web development, direct marketing, and branding. His past history includes working with companies like Universal Technical Institute, Yellowstone Landscape, and Grand Canyon University.
Ben Frihauf: Farmers Insurance
What Do You Have to Lose - Insurance Strategies
Ben Frihauf is a Colorado Native and a Fort Lewis Alumni.
He makes his home in Durango, Colorado and is a proud father of 3 beautiful daughters and has been married to his amazing wife Cara for 30 years.
He has owned 3 successful businesses and is the current owner of Ben Frihauf Farmers Insurance and has 25 years of experience in the insurance and financial industry.
Mark Mastalski: Mastalski Coaching and Consulting
Coaching for a Change
Mark is an independent college success consultant and the owner of Mastalski Coaching & Consulting. With 22 years of higher education experience, Mark is excited to serve directly with college-bound students and families to help them discover the right path to and through college. Mark is also expert at facilitating team-building and leadership retreats for organizations of all sizes. Mark grew up in northern Wisconsin and received his degree in mechanical engineering and technical communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mark serves as a national facilitator for LeaderShape, a non-profit leadership organization headquartered in Champaign, IL and serves on the Shanta Foundation Board of Directors. Mark is a member of the 2018-19 class of Leadership La Plata and he and his wife, Crystal, enjoy exploring the Four Corners with their dog, Derby.
Suzanne Phare, PCC, SPHR: Real Ideal Coaching
Coaching for a Change
Suzanne has over twenty years’ experience in executive coaching and human resource management and currently owns Real Ideal Coaching. She is the former HR Director at Ska Brewing, and is currently active conducting Leadership Training and Executive Coaching in the Four Corners Area. Prior to relocating to Southwestern Colorado fourteen years ago, she managed Human Resources for an Emerson manufacturing facility in Boulder, CO. Earlier in her career Suzanne worked for companies such as Panasonic, NAES, and Atari. Suzanne grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington, where she holds a bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communications. Suzanne currently sits on the board of the Durango Network, and independent physicians network (think local!), and is the President of the Durango Area HR Managers.
Breakout Session 4
The Essential Steps to Build a Successful Marketing Strategy that Learns, Adapts, and Grows
Kevin is an award-winning, innovative and forward-thinking digital marketing expert with hands-on experience developing cutting-edge digital marketing programs for top brands like Amazon, Microsoft, BMW, and more. With his innovative approach and extensive knowledge of the marketing landscape, Kevin blends his expertise in technology, content creation, story telling, and strategic planning to delight customers world-wide.
Kevin lives in a tiny house in Durango, a father of twin boys, lover of the outdoors, and a passionate life-long learner. He graduated from FLC in 2004, received his masters of Communications from the University of Washington, and is currently in the Leadership La Plata program.
Matt Hoaglin: Oxford Financial Planners
Retirement Planning for Small Business Owners
Matt is an Investment Advisor Representative with Oxford Financial Planners and brings over 15 years of experience as a business owner. A Bachelor of Mathematics from Metropolitan State in Denver led him to teach math at Durango before meeting his wife Allison, a Bayfield native, and starting a life in Durango. Matt’s an outdoor enthusiast and has traveled the world fly fishing and checking many species off his list, with more to come.
Carlos Rocha: Program Insights LLC
Competitive Employee Acquisition Plan for Small Businesses
Carlos Rocha specializes in helping companies attract and hire top talent. He understands the current job market and continually researches for best recruitment strategies so that we can develop new, effective tactics. Carlos works closely with small businesses to design and implement solutions that meet their unique needs. Whether that’s through a group call, workshop or working one-on-one, Carlos is committed to delivering results that drive business success.
Elizabeth Calagias - Business Manager: Center for Innovation
Creating and Celebrating Customer Experience
Elizabeth is a Fort Lewis College alumna, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Marketing and Graphic Design. She is excited to put both skill sets to work as the Business Manager at the Center for Innovation in Durango, CO. In this role, she oversees a collaborative and engaging co-working space, facilitates and coordinates events, and hopes to inspire creativity in entrepreneurs to reach their potential. Elizabeth loves to learn and solve problems with a creative lens. Stop by the Center for Innovation to explore new ideas and expand your knowledge base.
Outside of her career, Elizabeth is the wife to another Skyhawk alumnus and mother to a three-year-old future Skyhawk. For fun, you can find Elizabeth dancing, camping, cooking, or designing something with her hands.
Elizabeth’s Strengths are: Positivity, Learner, Achiever, Relator, Strategic.