On the Agenda | Thursday October 27, 2017

8:00 – 9:00

Registration & Networking Breakfast

8:50 – 8:55

Welcome: Get Ready to Break New Ground

8:55 – 9:00

In the Lead | Circle of Strength

Groundbreaker MC: Ali Wentworth
Actress, Author, Comedian & Producer

Proof that humor and a fresh perspective helps us view our work—and ourselves—differently, Toigo welcomes Ali Wentworth back to the stage as our Groundbreakers 2017 master of ceremonies. As our guide for the day, Ali weaves her own keen observations, warmth and a lot of levity into our leadership topics. Careers, community, family, failure and outrageous success, nothing is out of bounds for this actress, comedian, author, and producer.

9:00 – 9:45

In the Lead | Find Your Circle of Strength

The elegance, simplicity and strength of a circle is unparalleled—making it the perfect metaphor for our “In the Lead” TED-style discussions. Discover how others have forged their own circles of strength and how, when challenged, they’ve rebuilt and become even stronger. In the Lead is an opportunity to stretch our thinking, challenge our beliefs and dispel long-held myths about ourselves and others.

Ana Navarro
Republican Strategist & Political Commentator
CNN, CNN en Español, ABC News, Telemundo, The View

When Nicaraguan-American Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro denounced her political party and leader (then presidential nominee Donald Trump) for his actions and comments about women, she had a national audience. She then topped her brave breach of loyalty by voting for the leader of the opposing party (Clinton). Finding your courage and voice in face of mounting issues is a challenge each of us faces—albeit usually not before a national audience of millions. And the aftermath can be equally challenging. Listen in as Navarro shares her story and lessons learned.

Luvvie Ajayi
Activist & Author, I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual
Founder,; Founder, The Red Pump Project

Known as the Olivia Pope of social media for fixing eLives and inspiring students at her popular, frequently sold-out classes, Luvvie is an activist, blogger, brander, digital marketing and nonprofit communications pro. With her privilege exercise, she’ll help us understand the power we walk into rooms with, and how it can affect dynamics and relationships in a work environment. We’ll then learn how to use that power to speak the truth—regardless of the obstacles.

In the Lead | Third Speaker
Invitation is out—we’ll keep you posted once confirmed.

9:50 – 10:40

In the Lead Exchange | Audience Q&A

Moderated by Ali Wentworth

Past Groundbreakers attendees have described the “In the Lead” speaker exchange as the most inspiring gab session—ever. Listen in as Ali Wentworth chats with and challenges our morning guests to share more insights and inspiration.

10:45 – 11:15

Networking Break | “In the Lead” Meet & Greet

11:15 – 12:30

Negotiations Workshop Session

Tara MohrProfessor Jeanne Brett
DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Your state of mind matters when negotiating for what you want. Professor Jeanne Brett will lead us in a productive, interacive workshop on negotiations. Tapping a 25+ year track record teaching negotiations and arbitration techniques, Jeanne will show us how we can shift from being monetary-mindset negotiators to interest-driven negotiators. It’s a shift that will transform the way you think and interact at work, at home, and beyond. She’ll explore important areas of negotiations, including where women often stumble, how cultural influences factor into the mix and more. She’ll then arm us with the tools to teach those we work with how to put the interests mindset first and foremost.

12:30 – 2:00

Power Lunch | Keynote and Q&A

Sarah Robb O’Hagan
Author, Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat; and CEO, Flywheel Sports

Executive, activist and entrepreneur, Sarah Robb O’Hagan has been called everything from “Superwoman undercover” to the “Pied Piper of Potential.” A high-energy combination of disruptive business leader, fitness fanatic, and cheerleading mom, Sarah started a movement she calls Extreme Living. Provoked by the cultural shift that gave us kids with shelves of participation trophies, unfounded expectations in the workplace and tragically suppressed potential, she has created a manifesto for change. Her book, Extreme You provides the tools and support to discover their most exploitable traits, take big risks, deal with big failures and kick ass all the way to success. It is an inspiring and fiercely practical roadmap for Groundbreakers in the room and the teams and organizations they lead to get the most out of their own unique capabilities.

2:05 – 2:25

Networking Break

2:25 – 3:55

Claiming Your Power: 10 Coins

Susan Hodgkinson
Principal, The Personal Brand Company
Author, The Leader’s Edge: Using Personal Branding to Drive Performance and Profit

Where does it come from—the origins of power and gender around the world: men and women? Susan Hodgkinson is back—by popular demand. She’ll take us through an engaging exploration and exercises of power as a dynamic in roles and responsibilities at work. We’ll dive into power and ambition as a dynamic on your team: Who’s right? Who’s wrong? And we’ll look at when power is used to destabilize women. Through interactive exercises, the dynamic will become clear—and you’ll leave armed with 10 coins and a rich trove of techniques and skills for leading like a true Groundbreaker.

3:55 – 4:00

Closing Remarks

Nancy Sims
President, Toigo Foundation


Follow these Groundbreakers before they take the stage:

Ali Wentworth

Luvvie Atajayi
@iLuvVit and @Luvvie

Ana Navarro

Sarah Robb O’Hagan

Susan Hodgkinson

Tackling Tough Situations

It can start small—with an email or hallway conversation. Suddenly, the issue has mounted and you’re in the center of it. With 70%-plus employees ranking “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” as the top factor in job satisfaction, deftly navigating contentious situations, whether in a one-on-one meeting, a team setting or spontaneous interaction, is a must-have skill. Part art, part science – we’ll dive into key ways to get to the core of the differences (and difficulty) and engineer roadmaps for making your way forward. The best leaders are those who can turn difficult conversations into breakthroughs—learn how to move forward with confidence, clarity and conviction.

  • During this interactive, working session, you will:
  • Develop a solution to your own problem using our four-step Impromptu Format
  • Learn the six key physical skills to project confidence during any communication
  • Witness volunteers receiving positive personalized coaching to transform their own style while remaining solutions-oriented
  • Learn three tips to quickly diffuse negative energy
  • Ask questions and learn from real-life examples from a panel of experts

Breakthrough Ideas Fueled by Whole Brain Creativity

Whether your challenge is to create a new billion-dollar line of business, boost team performance or find a way to celebrate a long-term client relationship, getting to a breakthrough idea can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Brainstorming is often the default response; but too often, the results needed aren’t readily generated—or the ones that are fall well outside what’s doable.

Creativity requires whole-brain thinking: Right-brain imagination, artistry and intuition, plus left-brain logic and planning. We’ll experiment with some powerful ways to go from idea to answer—and map the process in between. For “left brain thinkers” these exercises provide a critical foundation and inspiration to fuel creative thinking. It starts by posing the right questions, then using different constructs to generate ideas that can be more fully developed—and eventually deployed.

Living—and Leading—with Intent

Imagine creating your life by design and not by chance. Developing both a sense of where you are and where you want to be are the first basic—though surprisingly challenging—first steps toward creating a plan to get there. Clarity of your intentions (both at work and at home/in your community) can have a positive and immediate impact on your interactions with colleagues and superiors, family members, friends and more. While it takes focus and perseverance, the process can be fun, too. Living with intent is about discovering what makes you happy—not what others want for you—and striving toward those values. We’ll explore ways to define who you are (building on our Groundbreakers 2015 session led by Professor Stewart Friedman) and what you want along with tips for overcoming obstacles big and small.

Breakthrough Brand

What makes you you? Add a career lens to the mix and the next question is: What makes you necessary—better yet, indispensible? Like iconic products, each of us has a brand—a set of attributes, experiences, accomplishments and shortcomings that when combined make each of us unique. Understanding what your brand is and how best to communicate it and leverage it is integral to your professional growth and advancement. In our Breakthrough Brand session, we’ll dissect what brand means on a professional, individual level and focus on defining yours. A series of prompts will help guide you along the brand path and will show you that personal branding is a necessary, proactive sport. Together, we’ll explore how to best leverage your unique strengths (just like a product’s unique selling proposition or USP) and become your best advocate. The outcome? New and valuable insights for those on the move to new opportunities as well as those looking to advance right where they are.

Brand Central Station

Now that you’ve defined your brand, Brand Central Station will feature vendors who offer a variety of services aimed at maintaining the best you: Fashion and Style / Health, Fitness, and Wellness / Community Service / Lifestyle

And the best part is that many of the vendors are women entrepreneurs or their products and services target women just like you. Join us for a fun and unique experience as we wind down the day.

Ready to raise your profile and promote your brand with strong leaders?
Become a Groundbreakers sponsor. Learn more.

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