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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.


Drew Morahan

Track 1 - People Focus

9:35 am - 10:30 am CT

From Adversary to advocate: The art of managing difficult SME's
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There is no sweeter victory than leaving a workshop having won over that stake holder that fought you on every requirement, every mock up, every process step...

It doesn't happen by accident, it takes patience, technique, and most if all creativity!

Learn everything you need to tackle that most dreaded scenario - The nightmare SME!


Drew Morahan is the BA, QA and Change Practice lead for the largest independent cloud solutions consultancy in the UK and Ireland, Codec. He is a leadership team member, Snr. principal Business Analyst, Change manager, active member of the IIBA, blogger and survivor of more than his fair share of nightmare SME's.


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 (, 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 (, 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.


Dorice Horenstein

Track 1 - People Focus

1:50 pm - 2:45 pm CT

Magnify the Power of Your T.E.A.M.
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T.E.A.M. Together Everyone’s Attributes are Magnified. Each one of us is the sum of our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. If “thoughts are the language of the mind and emotions are the language of the Heart” as Dr. Joe Dispenza describes, what are the ways you can shift your thoughts to consistently convey positive emotions, translating into behavior that creates a wholehearted heart, and a empowered T.E.A.M.? Are we capable of converting our emotions from present pain to future benefit? And can we learn from others around us to achieve healthy collaboration and positive relationships? Yes, we can! Join us to learn the tools behind Positive Intelligence to transform your team to a cohesive and enhanced team!


After serving as an officer in the Israeli army and many fulfilling years in the education field, Dorice transitioned to make the world her platform. Her award-winning bestselling book Moments of the Heart: Four Relationships Everyone Should Have to Live Wholeheartedly was published in 2020, providing Dorice with the opportunity to use her knowledge and expertise to speak on international stages, both virtually and in person.


Educating and training is Dorice’s super-power. She defines T.E.A.M. as Together Everyone’s Attributes (are) Magnified. Through the expertise obtained via her International Coaching Federation and Positive Intelligence certifications, Dorice coaches and motivates leaders and teams to identify their strengths and improve effectiveness. She promotes healthy and positive relationships that reduces stress and helps clients achieve higher retention as well as a positive atmosphere in the workplace (and at home!). When giving keynotes, Dorice invigorates audiences using stories of challenges sprinkled with tips of positivity to gain awareness. When coaching, leaders are moved to take actions that bring their potential into reality. When delivering training and workshops, Dorice enhances teams’ effectiveness and promotes healthy and positive relationships by using a 4-step approach, Awareness, Mental fitness, Effectiveness, and Resilience. Dorice is a member of National Speaker Association, a fellow member of IOC, at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School affiliate.


Track 2 - Skills Focus

Jim Sammons

Track 2 - Skills Focus

8:30 am - 9:25 am CT

Finding Value for the Agile Minded BA
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In this session we will talk about the big V in Scrum – Value and how Business Analysts can help their leaders, teams and customers achieve more of their goals by changing how we talk about value.   


The word Value gets mentioned constantly in agile publications, articles and in classes.  It seems so simple…yet is such a struggle for most organizations.  I hope to provide a few answers to questions like “What *is* value?”  “How do I find it?” and maybe even “When I *think* I know what is valuable, what do I do next?  How can I validate the value to my customers?” 


More than likely I will generate more questions, but I hope to help you think and talk about value differently.


During this session we will cover:


  • The difference between Priority, Size and Order in relation to work

  • Some simple models and tips for prioritizing work

  • Briefly discuss what "negative value" is

  • The effect of feedback loops on Value

  • Do we worry too much about Value?


I'll also do my best to give some advice on what to do when value isn't well understood and we just need to "get it done".


Jim has been called an Enterprise Agile Coach, Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Trainer and a whole host of other titles over the last 25 years in tech.  If Jim could be called anything, it would be an “Agile Maverick”, a nod to his favorite movie Top Gun.


Jim is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) with and also holds a variety of certifications in Kanban, SAFe, LeSS and other practices (there are probably even some expired Microsoft and VMware certs to be found somewhere in his basement, next to the action figures and copious amounts of books). A self-described “Agile Hippy”, he loves helping people, teams and organizations of all sizes take a more humanistic approach to work in the spirit of getting more valuable work done.


His interests run the gamut, but he has a particular passion for boardgaming, coffee and making things from wood and metal with his 3D printer, lathe and CNC.  He also picked up the jigsaw puzzle hobby during the early days of COVID and there is normally a puzzle (and sometimes two) in progress somewhere within easy reach.

Jim Sammon

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 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.


Pamela Paterson

Track 2 - Skills Focus

12:45 pm - 1:40 pm CT

Creating Requirements in a Remote World: Overcoming Barriers and Finding Success
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As business analysts, we are known for being experts at identifying and managing business requirements. But how should our most notable skills be adapted as the world around us is going through constant change? The remote BA cannot depend upon “hallway” networking and face-to-face interpersonal skills. A completely remote or hybrid environment can block the flow of communication with our stakeholders. There is a need for the BA to have a sense of personal agility, whether their workplace culture is agile or not. And although always important, requirements traceability is now more important than ever. Amid business disruption, the BA needs to track requirements changes using the best practices and tools at their disposal. So, how can a BA, whether remote or not, continue to deliver the value expected in requirements creation and maintenance amid this constant change? Join us and learn the answers.

Learning Objectives:
• How to overcome remote communication blockers
• How to manage stakeholders in a remote environment
• How to incorporate personal agility into requirements elicitation and management


Pamela Paterson, BJ, MS, CBAP, LSSGB, is an international best-selling author and a senior IT business analyst consultant, having worked with +50 organizations including Red Cross, KPMG, PwC, Hewlett-Packard, and the federal government. She is an award-winning speaker, has presented to thousands of business analysts at conferences and IIBA chapters in the U.S, Europe, Canada, and Asia, and has written six books, two of them international best-sellers, including Creating Requirements for Software Projects: A Business Analyst’s Guide to Requirements Management. Previously, Pamela taught project management at a Toronto college, and has a stealth bio in communications, information design, engineering, and chemistry. She can be reached at


Mark Grove

Track 2 - Skills Focus

1:50 pm - 2:45 pm CT

Getting to Ready: Unhiding Work with a Backlog Refinement Board
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Is your team losing its way during backlog refinement? Does refinement contain “hidden” work difficult to account for? Is a Definition of Ready weakly applied? Do you even have one?

Borrowing lessons from the Kanban method, we look how to visualize a team’s backlog refinement process using a backlog refinement board. Benefits include improved understanding of work items, an “unhiding” of work, and an appreciation for “where” refinement work resides. We’ll examine how to identify the team’s refinement steps, how to turn those steps into a visual board, discuss whether a refinement board should follow the same cadence as the sprint board, and explore team interactions with the board. We’ll conclude with some real-world examples.

This session is for anyone searching for a better way to consistently meet its Definition of Ready. Product Owners, business analysts, team members, and leaders will benefit from the ideas and perspectives from this session resulting in concrete practices that can be taken back to the office the very next day!


Mark Grove is an Agile Coach and Managing Consultant with Excella in Arlington, VA. He has over 24 years in the IT profession with the last ten years focusing on coaching individuals and teams while leveraging practices from both the Kanban method and Scrum framework. His coaching and mentoring focus on understanding the flow of work, system optimization, value delivery, and team dynamics. He has developed and delivered numerous interactive training sessions to the general-public and for private engagements, and has spoken at several agile conferences and meetups. Mark is a Kanban University Accredited Kanban Trainer (AKT) and Kanban Coach, and a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM, CSP-PO).


Track 3 - Leadership Focus

David Mantica

Track 3 - Leadership Focus

8:30 am - 9:25 am CT

Adaptive Leadership and the BA
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Leadership is no longer about having a positional powerbase. You must start thinking in terms of self-leadership and utilizing the referent powerbase, aka making leadership into a verb not a noun. This program will dig into the details of what Adaptive Leadership is and how to build the skills to utilize its techniques.


Adaptive Leadership was developed out of Harvard University specifically around how human psychology, evolutionary biology, and behavioral economics impact leadership in the fast of fast-paced and ever-present change.

An Adaptive leader must change their approach to problem solving, testing, communicating, and executing. They must understand the implications of their work on the overall system and must constantly filter their work based on the value of the outcome it produces.

These skills are critical for the future of Business Analysis especially as the BA is being increasing asked to support the development of the “future state” and be the trusted advisor to ensure the value of that “future state” is properly defined.


• The critical elements of defining value

• Systems thinking and dealing with adaptive challenges over technical issues

• The mind set required for adaptive leaders

• The work approach and critical concepts

• Bridging adaptive leadership to your analysis work


David Mantica is the VP and General Manager for SoftEd US. Fueled by his passion for developing empowered knowledge workers through training and coaching, he helps companies develop their teams with the critical skills to stay effective in the face of VUCA.


Drawing from his experience having successfully built his B2B training firm (growing it to $13M in seven years), David speaks on the impact of technology on leadership and management, helping organizations cope with the ever-changing demands and complexities of modern business.


With over 30 years of experience and more than 700 speaking engagements, he has inspired better work practices in marketing, product management, project management, software development, executive management, and other key areas of technology and business operations.


David resides in Raleigh-Durham, NC, where he provides consulting to business owners. Driven by his love for helping people grow while maintaining their mental health, he also mentors several rising executive leaders, providing pro bono career coaching services that utilize his Career Insurance methodology.


  • 20 years of executive management

  • 13 years of business owner experience

  • Over 200 presentations to over 7,000 people in last 5 years

  • Over 50 podcasts in last two years

  • 4 advisory board and 2 fiduciary board in last 10 years

  • Expertise includes:

    • Adaptive Leadership

    • All Agile methods

    • Business Agility

    • Career Support and Guidance

    • Business operations

    • Product Management


Heather Mylan-Mains

Track 3 - Leadership Focus

12:45 pm - 1:40 pm CT

How Analysis Is Involved In Strategic Work
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Did you know that business analysis is used in every area of an organization? Although

commonly used to define needs and recommend solutions on projects, it is also used

on an organizational level to define strategy. In this breakout session learn more about

how strategy starts. We will apply some analysis techniques that help organizations

shape and define how capabilities are applied to reach the goals and objectives of the


In this session, come learn how to use some of the techniques found in the BABOK

Guide to define and articulate corporate strategy.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn why analysis is strategic

  • Look at how analysis techniques will lead to strategy development.

  • Business analysis techniques in action – where and how were these applied?


Heather  is from Des Moines, Iowa. She is a stimulus for change as a mom,  consultant, business analysis instructor, and a longtime volunteer for IIBA®,  currently on the Board of Directors as Vice Chair.  For the past 20  + years, she has collaborated with a variety of project teams to create better  business outcomes. She is a fierce advocate for business analysis and loves to  share her passion through speaking, teaching, and mentoring.  She believes business analysis is a thinking  profession and applies to everything and everyone! Heather loves to put  together puzzles and figure out how the pieces fit together. She also loves to  travel and wants to visit everywhere in the world. She has an MBA from Drake  University, a BA in Accounting from Grand View College, is a CBAP® and CSM and  has survived many PhDs (pretty hard days). Heather blogs at

Bruce Gay

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

Ryland Leyton

Track 3 - Leadership Focus

1:50 pm - 2:45 pm CT

The Consultative Mindset

Demonstrating a consultative mindset is a defining characteristic of every senior level BA, and a should-do at any level of practice. Experienced BA managers and leaders look for it every time they interview or consider a promotion. At the same time, it remains one of those things that is hard to define, but we all know it when we see it!


This session will talk about what it looks like to embrace, develop, and recognize this in yourself and those you coach or supervise.



  • Understand the collection of attitudes, skills, and abilities that make up a consultative mindset.

  • Be able to recognize a consultative mindset when you see it.

  • Be able to grow and develop the consultative mindset in yourself and others.


Ryland Leyton, CBAP, PMP, CSM, SA4, is an avid Agile advocate & coach, business analyst, author, speaker, and educator. He has worked in the technology sector since 1998, starting off with database and web programming, gradually moving through project management and finding his passion in the BA and Agile fields. He has been a core team member of the IIBA Extension to the BABOK and the IIBA Agile Analysis Certification. Ryland has written popular books on BA Agility and career topics. He can be reached at

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