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Speaker Topics and Bios

Track 1 - Elevate Your Person

Sinikka Waugh

Track 1 - People Focus

Time: 8:40-9:30 am

The BA’s Guide to Enabling Change and Empowering Changemakers

With just a handful of key concepts, BAs can enable change in an organization in a way that protects business interests, empowers people, and simplifies the process. Join us in this session to learn more.

Change appetites vary, and changes can be hard. But they don’t have to be. Equipped with a few simple concepts, BAs can help enable change in their organizations.
• Defining the terms makes it change simpler.
• A growth mindset helps with any change.
• A people-positive attitude helps with any stakeholder.
• Envisioning change as a journey helps set the stage for the messages we need when going through transition, and helps others hear what they need to hear, right when they need it most.
This engaging look at the processes many people go through around change and the messages that help them move forward will help you look at change a little differently, with the end goal of improving your own ability to help others through the transition process – regardless of the magnitude of the change or the change appetite of those facing it.
By attending this course, participants will:
• Encounter common symptoms of change and transition as well as indicators of change appetite – and what to do about them.
• Explore how your attitude and mindset can be leveraged to help the attitude and mindset of others.
• Gain a simple, easy-to-replicate model that offers both strategies and tactics to help bring those around you through change successfully.


Sinikka Waugh, president and founder of Your Clear Next Step, spends her days helping people have better workdays. Trainer, coach, business leader, and difference maker, Sinikka is known for consistently helping people improve their emotional intelligence and find innovative ways to solve problems and get things done at work.  Putting her 20+ year background in languages, literature, and project management to good use, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives and helped over 46,000 people have better workdays since 2008.  


Her clients value how her results-driven professionalism blends seamlessly with her down-to-earth, “try this now” approach and her relentless passion for helping others achieve even better. Her class participants describe her as energetic and engaging (even over Zoom!).  


Sinikka holds a BA from Central College, an MA from the University of Iowa, and is a certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute (PMI). Sinikka and her husband Spencer live in Indianola, Iowa with their daughters.   


The team at Your Clear Next Step lives the company’s core values of being intentionally reliably useful, approaching problems with creativity and the art of the possible, being positive people-people, and demonstrating humility alongside confidence as they deliver training and coaching to their clients in central Iowa and around the world. 


Saby Waraich

Track 1 - People Focus

Time: 9:40-10:30 am

Have you ever jumped from an airplane? Journey of delivering a complex project.
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Large-Scale Public-Sector Technology Projects are complex and challenging. Gain an insight into how public sector projects are different and what makes them so complex. Come and learn about an exciting turnaround of a public sector project that went on for almost a decade with multiple failures.

  • What were some of the key strategies used to make this project successful?

  • How can you use some of the learnings from this experience to manage your projects more effectively and deliver value to the customer?


Learn about the Digital Transformation journey in implementing a Permitting System for City of Portland.


Energetic … engaging … lively … enthusiastic … inspiring … words that are often used to describe Saby. A speaker with the uncanny ability to look at the normal and see something quite different. Saby shares his life stories and have a fun way to look at life as well as live life. You are guaranteed to learn a thing or two on your journey from his unique perspective. He is a Technology Leader, Angel Investor, Professor, Mentor, Coach, Project & Program Management Expert, Change Leader and Volunteer Leader with a diverse experience of over 20 years in both public and private sector. An internationally recognized speaker, trainer and coach, Saby has assisted multiple diverse clients in their business transformation through project successes, bolstering communications across various departments, and assisted customers in creating effective solutions to complex problems. Saby is currently working as Chief Information Officer at Clackamas Community College, and as an adjunct professor at Portland Community of College. He speaks 4 languages, enjoys working with people and brings enthusiasm, inspiration & leadership qualities.


Judy Alter

Track 1 - People Focus

Time: 10:40 - 11:30 am

Why Successful Leaders Need an Athletic Coach Mindset
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Successful leaders encourage collaboration, communication, and people skills. About 90% of leadership involves skills in how to handle people. Business teams following an athlete’s mindset are creative, collaborative, high-performing, and successful. Sports team members know that the team needs to come first. They set aside their own goals for the good of the group.

Excellent leaders develop all team members with the sports team mindset, giving them an advantage over other teams. The leaders share advice on how to get their team members to know anyone they interact with as a person. When that happens, trust and confidence drive the relationship. Stakeholders are more collaborative and cooperative, crucial to successful requirements elicitation. That is one thing that leads to successful projects and eliminates the cost of rework. The sports team mindset can be taught and utilized virtually or in person.

These techniques can be used in all interactions, whether between a leader and a teammate, between a stakeholder and a project team member, and can be used virtually and in person. I use several sports teams’ examples and explain why the BA needs to be a leader. The leader understands the need to be like an athletic coach.


Key Objectives:

• High-performing teams need to encourage collaboration, communication, and people skills

• Assist all team members in adopting an athlete’s mindset

• Help team members to understand why they need to be leaders

• Explain why the athlete’s mindset helps with managing stakeholders


udy Alter, CBAP, FLMI, ACS, PCS & HIA is a public speaker and coach. Mentor, trainer, and Senior Business Systems Analyst with 18 years of experience in Business Analysis. The last eight years were spent working with various Agile Frameworks. Judy retired from Corporate America in early 2020, concluding a more than 35-year career. Judy rebranded herself as "The Optimistic BA" and is known as charismatic, optimistic, humorous, and a successful leader. Her specialty is with handling people, but she also has command of business analysis hardcore skills.


Erica McKay

Track 1 - People Focus

Time: 1 - 1:50 pm

Cultivating Curiosity

Have you and your team ever spent time developing a product that you were excited about only to launch it to production and find out the customer doesn’t want to use it? How about spending hours and hours of painstaking discovery to ensure you build the "right" thing and after you ship it you hear, “It’s close but…”? Me too!

I will share of the some of the tools and experiences I have had in my product journey thus far that has taken teams from building something that our customers were unsatisfied with to our teams collaborating with customers, building a product they are excited to use and helping them feel engaged and creative with us.


Erica is a software delivery consultant with over a decade of experience in agile and digital transformations. Her domain expertise includes insurance, retail and manufacturing organizations. Erica's journey started as a COBOL developer in a traditional waterfall environment. She participated in an organization-wide agile transformation where she ultimately found her passion working directly with the
business and customers. Whether coaching or leading delivery, Erica enjoys fostering a learning mindset, helping lead others to do what makes sense, and keeping it simple


Heather Mylan-Mains

Track 1 - People Focus

Time: 2 - 2:50 pm

Master the Art of Feedback

Teams and companies need to master giving and receiving feedback for success. Some think feedback is given from manager to an employee behind closed doors. Some can’t stand feedback because it always makes him or her feel like he or she did something wrong. Heather is here to tell you that feedback is so much more. She will show you how to improve how you give and how you receive feedback. If feedback is given and received in the right way, you and your team can improve and accomplish anything! If you master giving and receiving feedback you will be sought after and be viewed as a trusted partner with your business stakeholders and team. Business analysis is an art and feedback is a tool that will help you create great things in your life and work!


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. 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® ,CSM and Prosci plus has survived many PhDs (pretty hard days)


Track 2 - Elevate Your Skills


Lean Coffee

Track 2 - Skills Focus

Time: 8:40 - 9:30 am


 Lean Coffee is a way to host structured meetings without creating an agenda beforehand. It starts with participants gathering and the first part of the meeting is devoted to participants creating the meeting agenda. From there, the conversation can begin.  BA hot topics chosen by the crowd and discussed by all the attendees. Fun and therapeutic!  Facilitated by Henry Baccam.


I have been part of technology teams in various roles of the software development life cycle including QA, BA, and Scrum Master experience in the last 13 years. I am currently a scrum master with over 12 years of technology experience in various roles of the software development life cycle. I am currently certified as an A-CSM, CBAP and ICP-ENT for agile coaching. My current role is a scrum master supporting several teams and coaching the enterprise while leading an agile transformation.


Joe Perzel

Track 2 - Skills Focus

Time 9:40 - 10:30 am

Project Stakeholders: Dealing with Sleeping Giants to Saboteurs
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All projects have their promoters and their detractors, people that can either make or break your project or your team. This presentation will give you practical advice on who you need to focus on, show you how to classify where each person sits on the “Interest, Attitude, and Power” axis of your Stakeholder chart and how to improve the attitude and interest of the power players in your world.


The major points to be covered include:

  • What is the Stakeholder Identification chart and how it will help you

  • Using personality profiling to help you understand what makes people “tick” and where to place them on the chart

  • Techniques and tools to help move people from “disinterested to involved” and “poor attitude to a champion”

  • The key tactics of “Include, Influence, Ignore, Isolate”

  • Adding advanced negotiation techniques for the most important stakeholder types


This presentation will cover the basics and then quickly move into advanced topics, using exercises and situational case studies to emphasize key points, to help you achieve the best win-win outcome for you, your team and your project.


Joe Perzel has been leading projects of all sizes and managing staffs since 1982 in both a corporate and vendor capacity.  He has a background in multiple industries such as healthcare, insurance, finance, government, manufacturing, non-profit and education.  Presently Joe is President of the Minnesota Chapter of IIBA, partner at JPerzel Inc. as well as Program Manager at Surescripts LLC.  Previously he has held leadership positions at Cargill, Thomson Reuters, MN Workers Compensation Bureau, International Multifoods and PMI Minnesota. 


Joe has been speaking since 2002 on topics ranging from leadership, management/strategy, negotiations/sales.  He has presented keynotes, chapter meetings and workshops internationally to multiple corporate, government and non-profit organizations, BBC (Building Business Capability) conference, International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) chapters, PMBA Conferences, PMI Global and Region 2, over 20 PMI chapters, local and global Society for Quality (ASQ), International Project Management Assoc. (IPMA) and the PMO Impact Summit.  

Paul B

Paul Beers and Joanna Springsteen

Track 2 - Skills Focus

Time: 10:40 - 11:30 am

Stop Spoon Feeding Your Developers

Today many organizations expect their Product Owners and/or Business Analysts on Agile teams to deliver requiremetns in a vacuum the way Business Analysts did back in Waterfall with the solution and requirements wrapped up in a neat bow and handed to the developers. The problem with this, is that our developers weren't involved in the solution or the most efficient way to build the final solution.


We need to make changes to the way we break down work and involve our developers and our QA early in the breakdown. We need to bring them the high level need and have them help us drive out a solution and the fastest and most efficient way to deliver those solutions with clear concise testing scenarios.


This presentation will include historical software development processes that created these historical roles and how to break free of this role prison we have created. We will cover the best practices in breaking down work with the team (story mapping), creating test scenarios ahead of time (behavior driven development), and ultimately getting out of the teams way to execute (how to trust but verify).


Paul has worked in IT for almost two decades in a multitude of roles. His obsession with product delivery started at his first real IT job and he has spent his career learning (and questioning) the different ways organizations deliver software. Paul is currently a Delivery Consultant at Source Allies. He spends his free time carting his kids to activities and chilling with his dogs.


JoAnna has worked in IT for over 19 years in many different roles. She discovered agile by volunteering in an Open Source project community and has helped implement those values at larger companies. JoAnna is currently a Delivery Lead and hates talking about herself in the third person. She is super into cats and otters.

Brenda Peshak

Track 2 - Skills Focus

Time: 1 - 1:50 pm

Definition of Done
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How do you know when you are done? You have this list of features and stories how far do you go? When do you quit?


Come learn about how to know when to stop and practice by building a house with a garden. This is a fun interactive presentation about how to know when you are done.


Brenda Peshak is a Product Owner, Mom and Wife. She enjoys swimming and watching her daughter swim. Her favorite activity to do is watercolor paint. She is a member of the Central Iowa IIBA Board, for Programs and Technology.

Brenda P

Kevin Sutherland

Track 2 - Skills Focus

Time: 2 - 2:50 pm

Be Agile...Without Doing Agile
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We will explore core fundamentals teams must learn in order to achieve agility. Fundamentals that students are not asked to demonstrate before receiving a scrum master certification. Fundamentals that are simple to describe, but take hard work, determination, and courage to implement.


Attendees will learn about techniques proven to successfully achieve agility, even in bureaucratic environments where agile isn't usually welcome.


I am an independent consultant focused on helping teams, leaders, and organizations deliver outcomes to users, customers, and citizens. I began my career in IT working for Accenture, completing large transformational system integration projects for State government customers. Through my independent practice, I've discovered a passion for creating collaborative environments, facilitating continual improvement, and delivering value...and constantly learning/growing throughout the process

Track 3 - Elevate Your Career


Kent McDonald

Track 3 - Career Focus

Time: 8:40 - 9:30 am

Moving from Business Analyst to Product Owner to Product Manager
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Are you a business analyst who wonders how you can use your business analysis capabilities to be competitive in the job market for the next 3 to 5 years?


As I first noted back in 2017, product owner and product manager roles offer a viable career path for business analysts, especially those who currently work on custom software development projects.


Come to this session to learn about the similarities and differences between business analysis, product owner, and product manager roles. Then discover how you can apply your business analysis experience to becoming a product owner or product manager. Along the way, you’ll hear about the lessons I and others have learned from moving from business analysis through product owner to product management roles. 


Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including retail, fintech, agriculture, financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just-in-time resources for product people at and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family's #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks. Kent is the author of How To Be An Agile Business Analyst and Beyond Requirements: Analysis with an Agile Mindset and co-author of Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility.

Scott Tillema

Track 3 - Career Focus

Time: 9:40 - 10:30 am

Life Changing Influence

“Life Changing Influence” inspires and educates professionals in techniques and tactics of high level negotiation, communication, and conflict resolution, presented by an FBI trained hostage negotiator.


Scott Tillema is a professional speaker, and partner at The Negotiations Collective, an international negotiations training firm where he provides coaching and training to clients from across the globe. Scott has over 20 years of law enforcement experience in the Chicago area and is an FBI trained hostage negotiator. He is a recognized leader in the field of negotiation and conflict resolution, and his visibility as a speaker and educator through TEDx and other venues has reached global status.

Educationally, Scott holds a master’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and has received negotiation training at Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and at IMD Business School. He passionately develops leaders by delivering the knowledge and skills they need to find confidence and success in their work


Henry Baccam

Track 2 - Skills Focus

Time: 10:40 - 11:30 am

Business Analysis - The Career Road Map

The evolution of business analysis professionals into expanding roles depends on a combination of digital skills, business acumen, and targeted knowledge to drive better business outcomes across all industries. With the adoption of agile in many organizations, the BA can have different responsibilities and can also evolve to other roles. This presentation takes a look at IIBA's BA Career Road Map and real world organizational examples of career paths leading into the BA role and also the BA role leading to new opportunities. Join this session to learn more about your potential roadmap or how to support others on their journey.


  • Typical BA paths

  • Non-typical BA paths

  • Your roadmap

  • Invest in you

  • Resources for gaining new skills

  • Your company, your manager, and your career aspirations

  • Preparing for uncertainty

  • Career sweet spot


I have been part of technology teams in various roles of the software development life cycle including QA, BA, and Scrum Master experience in the last 13 years. I am currently a scrum master with over 12 years of technology experience in various roles of the software development life cycle. I am currently certified as an A-CSM, CBAP and ICP-ENT for agile coaching. My current role is a scrum master supporting several teams and coaching the enterprise while leading an agile transformation.


Dustin Thostensen

Track 3 - Career Focus

Time: 1 - 1:50 pm

Influence Positively: Change how you try to change others

Consulting is not the art of telling people the answers. It is “the art of influencing them at their request.” – Jerry Weinberg


Do you want to be an influencer – a coach, consultant, Scrum Master, manager – because you believe you can help others with your expertise and wisdom?

Have you faced resistance when you share your ideas?

Are you frustrated?


Knowing the best way to use a technology or process isn't enough.

Your attempts to change others may fail if you are just telling people your answers.

Don't quit. Try something different. Try something better.


During this talk, you'll learn three secrets to lead change with positivity, honesty and empathy:

  • Clarify what you want to give and receive

  • Discover what they want and need

  • Learn techniques to plant the seeds of change


Dustin Thostenson is an independent consultant, leading Delta3Consulting. His personal mantra is 'Understand, Be Understood'. He has been a developer, mentor, trainer and agile coach for decades. His passion lies in helping people grow and teams deliver. He enjoys organizing and presenting at conference around the world. To keep it interesting he helps lead the Iowa .NET User Group and volunteers in Central Iowa. To keep it real he spends time with his wife and 4 kids. To keep it random he tweets @dustinson

Track 3 - Career Focus

Judy Alter

Time: 2 - 2:50 pm

Number One Priority in Successful Projects
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Businesses are making changes at an incredible pace, even five years ago. Many factors are involved in the
transitions, such as customer demands, technological advances, and rivalries. Business change is more complicated and demanding than in the past. The number one priority in any change project is the people factor. Customers have higher expectations than in the past. The other priority people are the employees, vendors, stakeholders, consultants, and others affected by the change. Preparing everyone is crucial to being a partner in the changes. Transparency is critical throughout the project. Employees of affected areas will feel threatened just hearing the word change or transformation in a project. The earlier that “how does this affect me?” can be answered, the smoother the adjustments will be for everyone. 


Key Objectives

• Encourage many different groups of people to embrace change

• Explain the "how does it affect me" early in the project

• Review the new opportunities for the people working in the affected areas

• Analyze what training people working in the affected areas will require

• Understand how to keep the people as the number one priority with the changes

• Explain what I learned in two large change projects as lessons learned


Judy Alter, CBAP, FLMI, ACS, PCS & HIA is a public speaker and coach. Mentor, trainer, and Senior Business Systems Analyst with 18 years of experience in Business Analysis. The last eight years were spent working with various Agile Frameworks. Judy retired from Corporate America in early 2020, concluding a more than 35-year career. Judy rebranded herself as "The Optimistic BA" and is known as charismatic, optimistic, humorous, and a successful leader. Her specialty is with handling people, but she also has command of business analysis hardcore skills.


  •  CEO/Owner of Judy Alter Speaker & Business Analysis Services LCL Present

  • IIBA Leader since 2012, where she has served in many roles

  • IIBA Global Chapter Council Chair September 2017 to December 2022

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