Speaker Topics and Bios

Track 1 - People Focus

Dr. Teresa Peterson

Track 1 - People Focus

8:30 am - 9:25 am CT

Building Powerful Teams by Freeing the Elephants in the Room
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The strongest teams are those that have an elevated level of psychological safety and are highly adaptive. When teams are psychologically safe and adaptive, team members can be their whole authentic selves, they can ask questions, take risks, be able to fail, and disagree. There is a commitment to constant exploring, experimentation, and evolving on an individual level and as a team. Great teams do not happen by chance - they are built by choice.

But what if people aren’t able or don’t know how to engage in honest conversations that are candid, compassionate, and curious? Then the room fills with avoidance and elephants start to take up space. Now our teams are not only avoiding conflict, but connection as well. To overcome our avoidance of the problem, we need to understand how and why we are feeding the elephant. By taking a Curiosity First Approach, we increase ownership, have kind and candid conversations, and build more powerful partnerships.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify common avoidant behaviors and human factors that drive them
2. Examine when avoidance may be appropriate and necessary
3. Discover different “elephants” that can emerge 
4. Explore and apply the Curiosity First Model of Coaching


Dr. Teresa Peterson is the Director of Learning and Development for Sarah Noll Wilson, Inc. Teresa is passionate about applying best practices for learning to make development experiences meaningful, engaging, and accessible for all types of learners. In her role, Teresa co-creates powerful learning content and guides deep research. Teresa holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Northern Iowa and brings over twenty years of experience teaching, facilitating, and leading. She is trained in Immunity to Change Coaching and Certified in Appreciative Inquiry.  Clients love Teresa’s grounded energy, depth of thought, and ability to listen deeply.


Scott Helmers

Track 1 - People Focus

10:40 am - 11:35 am CT

Four things you need to know about your brain to communicate more effectively
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Working with people is often the most difficult part of our jobs. Securing stakeholder time and attention, making decisions, and obtaining buy-in are all harder than they should be. Is it because everyone (else) just does things wrong? Or could it be that if we understood more about how the brain works and the different ways that people think we could communicate more effectively? That’s the focus of this session: improving communication within teams and enhancing stakeholder communication through better understanding of the human brain. We will talk about the Whole Brain Model and learn more about the “toward” and “away” responses that guide nearly everything we do. In short, we will leverage neuroscience principles so we can all learn to communicate more effectively.


Scott Helmers is a Partner at the Harvard Computing Group, a software and consulting firm that assists clients with understanding and implementing business process solutions. He is a co-inventor of TaskMap (www.TaskMap.com), a Visio add-in that allows anyone to document, analyze, and improve their business processes. Scott has worked with clients in ten countries on projects involving process mapping and redesign, knowledge management, and technology training.


Scott has been named a Microsoft Valuable Professional (MVP) for Visio every year since 2008, one of only six people in the world to hold that distinction. He is a course author for LinkedIn Learning (bit.ly/LILearning-Author), a Senior Instructor with Netmind, and is the author of four books from Microsoft Press, including "Visio 2016 Step by Step."


Paula Bell

Track 1 - People Focus

12:45 pm - 1:40 pm CT

Micro-Inequities, The Power of Small
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Have you ever walked into an office to speak to someone and instead of giving eye contact they motion you in, but still continue working on that email? Or maybe, you walk into a conference room for a project meeting and you are repeatedly ignored when providing input?  These subtle small moments can lead to BIG moments in the future where members of the team feel they don't have a voice and don't add value.  This is the last feeling anyone should want anyone on a team feeling.  But, these subtle moments happen often.  In order to be successful on projects you need to collaborate and work with the project team, and though it's important to have the technical skills, and business acumen, to do the job, it is also important to understand how your words and behaviors impact those with whom you work. 

So let's take a moment to focus on how something so small can make the biggest impact, and let's make sure our impact is a positive one, instead of negative. 

In this interactive workshop participants will learn:

  • The difference between micro-inequities and micro-aggressions and their impact

  • Interact with different scenarios to understand the impact of micro-inequities

  • Tips and best practices on how to handle micro-inequities


Paula Bell is the CEO of Paula A Bell Consulting, LLC for 20 years.  She is a coach, consultant, speaker, and author with expertise in the areas of: business analysis, project management, leadership, diversity, equity & Inclusion, career development and self development.  Through her 5-tier consulting business model, Paula helps individuals find their passion, build their brand, and enhance their skill sets through consultations, coaching and customizable documentation to drive results.  Her desire is to inspire, motivate and encourage others, through a structured journey of self reflection and awareness as a catalyst for unlimited success.  Paula is a Certified Business Analyst, Certified Master Life Coach, Certified Life Purpose Coach, Certified Goal Success Coach, Certified Happiness Coach, Certified Career Development Coach, Certified Diversity & Inclusion Manager Coach, Licensed Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Administrator, and Forrester Customer Experience (CX) Champion.
Paula also possesses 21+ years of experience in corporate America in project roles to include business analyst, requirements manager, business initiatives manager, business process quality manager, technical writer, project manager, developer, test lead and implementation lead. Paula has experience in a variety of industries to include media, courts, manufacturing and financial. She has lead multiple highly-visible multi-million dollar technology and business projects to create solutions to transform businesses as either a consultant, senior business analyst or manager.   Currently she is the Director of Operations for Bridging the Gap. 
Paula is originally from Brooklyn, NY.  She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Management Information Systems from Oral Roberts, University located in Tulsa, OK.  Paula is currently married and resides in Iowa with her husband and teenage twins (boy/girl).  Paula is extremely active in her community as she is the Past President of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund which provides scholarships to minorities attending Iowa institutions, as well as, volunteers for many different community events.  Paula believe is mind, body and soul and to add to the health component,  she studies, and trains, martial arts and achieved her 3rd degree black belt designation in June of 2022.  She leverages martial arts concepts to bring forth personal and professional concepts, hence her brand of the BA Martial Artist, as well as, she is a Certified Xtreme Hip Hop™ Step Aerobics & Burn Instructor, and Certified Bounce DanceFit Group Fitness instructor.


Track 2 - Skills Focus

Mindy Bohannon

Track 2 - Skills Focus

9:35 am - 10:30 am CT

The Many Faces of Retrospectives
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I’ve been playing two roles on my project for over a year – part lead Agile Business Analyst and part Scrum Master. Oh, the techniques I’ve learned! The leadership and facilitation aspects of retros and other SM activities have led to my being a better and more caring leader and business analyst. During this session we’ll review the general goals of a Scrum Master, how it overlaps with being a BA, and four different types of retrospective activities.


*Responsibilities and overlap of a Scrum Master, Business Analysis, and Leadership

*Improvement retro

*Celebration retro

*Root cause analysis retro

*Retro covering many months or years of work

*Demo during the session of a retrospective


Mindy thrives as an Agile Business Analyst and CBAP. She relishes solving business problems, developing solutions that drive the business forward, and relating to others with humanity, trust, and collaboration during the process. Mindy has been a BA longer than she was a database developer; she is a part-time Scrum Master and has most recently worked on application modernization and data science projects. She has spoken on analyst and professional development topics at many local and national conferences over the years. Equally, she encourages others to share their knowledge as the President at her local IIBA DC chapter.


Hans Eckman

Track 2 - Skills Focus

10:40 am - 11:35 am CT

7 Agile and DevOps Insights I Wish I Knew Earlier
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In user surveys by VersionOne each year, over 80% of respondents claim faster delivery, better teamwork, and closer stakeholder alignment. However, in quantitative studies, Agile is no better than other delivery methodologies.


Wait, WHAT?!!! Why is that?

Companies are moving to DevOps, BusDevOps, DevSecOps, SalesBusDevSupportSecRinseRepeatOps (and the list goes on), but few teams can agree on what that means or how to do it. What are we missing?

In this session, we'll look at seven patterns and insights that will help you understand why these programs aren't achieving their full value and what needs to change to fully succeed.


• Understand the primary reasons why Agile and DevOps teams are struggling

• Learn the most important key to successful team delivery (Hint: It's not methodology.)

• Discover ways to help influence and transform your teams into highly productive ones.


Hans Eckman has proven you can turn mild ADD, OCD, dyslexia, and other personality disorders into a successful career. He shares his life simplification tips at conferences throughout the US and Canada and on his website EckmanGuides.com. Hans currently serves as a Principal Research Director with Info-Tech, the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 35,000 IT professionals.


Track 3 - Leadership Focus

Bruce Gay

Track 3 - Leadership Focus

9:35 am - 10:30 am CT

Introduction to Design Thinking Methods
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In today’s business environment, we need new tools and models to operate in a more flexible, discovery-driven world. Design Thinking has emerged as a successful methodology that teams use to approach problem-solving and delivery of innovative solutions that delight their customers. In this interactive session, participants will learn the benefits of incorporating Design Thinking methodologies on projects for increased customer alignment and business impact. This presentation provides participants with a high-level overview of Design Thinking methods and tools. The presenter will use case studies to show how to successfully integrate design methods into projects with lessons learned and unique outcomes.


Bruce Gay, PMP, helps individuals improve their business skills, become better leaders, and achieve professional greatness. For the past 15 years, Bruce managed product teams that incorporated UX Design and Design Thinking methodologies into their product development processes. In his current role, Bruce manages a group of project managers supporting a portfolio of product development and technology deployments for a large healthcare system.


Bruce lives in Pittsburgh, USA with his wife, two daughters, and his dogs. He is an active volunteer with the PMI Pittsburgh chapter and was Director of Corporate Sponsorship for several years. Bruce shares his experiences and ideas on twitter: @brucegay and www.astrevo.com