Nicole Bateman is the Executive Director of the Midwest Inland Port, the strategic development of Decatur through public-private partnerships as a distribution transportation center, capitalizing on Decatur’s central geography, its existing intermodal services from ADM, rail services from 3 Class I railroads, the potential of its quality airport infrastructure and its interstate access. Overseen by the EDC of Decatur-Macon County, this freight-driven effort is working to be Illinois’ designated downstate freight transportation hub with a focus on broad-based economic development throughout the central Illinois region to relieve rail and highway congestion in Chicago.
She also serves as the Community Marketing Manager for Limitless Decatur & Macon County. In this role she is responsible for executing the new marketing and branding campaign for the area, working with organizations, businesses, educational institutions and the community at large to help shift perceptions, enhance the quality of life, and recruit new residents and businesses to Decatur and Macon County.
Nicole’s professional experiences include marketing, sales, and management in the private and non-profit sectors, distribution, public relations and communications work. She is a graduate of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications and Education.
Julie Baker Dobski has served Central Illinois as a business person and philanthropist for almost 30 years. In 1988, she and her husband Bob, along with their four children, moved to Bloomington-Normal as the owners of several area McDonald’s restaurants. Julie quickly became vital to the community through her charitable works, her volunteerism, and her roles on many committees, boards, and organizations.
The Dobskis opened their first McDonald’s franchise in 1982 in Farmington, Missouri. They currently own the McDonald’s restaurants in Bloomington, Normal, McLean, and Gibson City. In 2004, Julie opened her first Little Jewels Learning Center and presently owns and operates three centers. She has given much of her time and resources within these two companies to support the community. As a result of her contributions to her community, she was honored with the McDonald’s People Award in 2006 and 2007, and the McDonald’s Ronald Award in 1987 and 2005.
Julie has served as president of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross event chair, Central Catholic High School Saints Alive chair, United Way chair, and Bloomington-Normal Sunrise Rotary president – which received club of the year under her leadership. She currently serves as Baby Fold chair, Illinois State University College of Business Advisory Board member, BN Advantage Leadership Council member, and is a trustee for the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where she and Bob have been members since they moved to Bloomington-Normal.
She began a local amateur theatre group called the One Nighters II, she has been involved in the Holiday Spectacular and the Nutcracker performances for many years, and she and her friends started serving meals once a month at the Salvation Army Safe Harbor.
Julie has received numerous honors locally including Large Business of the Year, Boy Scout Award, Athena Award, and Women of Distinction Award. She attributes her successes to her husband Bob; her children – Steven, Jimmy, Laura, and Erin; her grandchildren – Michael, Bryce, and Dean; and her many friends, family, and loyal staff.
Violet Maestas is originally from San Antonio, Texas and moved with her family in 1988 to Eloy, AZ. She graduated from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School in 1996 and graduated from Central Arizona College in 1998 with a Certificate in Medical Administration. She became a Health Information Manager with the Casa Grande Regional Medical Center. Wanting a career change Violet graduated from the Arizona Department of Correctional Officers Training Academy in 1999.
In 2002 she was hired by the Eloy Police Department as a Detention and Communications Officer. 2004 She graduated from the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy and became a Police Officer for the City of Eloy. Within 14yrs from being certified she has served in many roles for the department; Auto Theft Investigator, Community Officer, Professional Standards (Internal Affairs), Communications Supervisor, General Investigator, Training Coordinator, Terrorism Liaison Officer & Certified Intelligence Analysts. From 2006-20013 she coordinated multiple operations with the US Marshals and surrounding agencies which focused on wanted fugitives. She coordinated and ran the Homeland Security Operational grant, which heavily focused on human and drug smuggling interdiction in and around the City of Eloy.
During this time she received an Associates of Applied Science Degree in Administration of Justice from Central Arizona College and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social and Criminal Justice (with honors) from Ashford University. In 2013 she transitioned back to patrol and became a Field Training Officer and an Officer in Charge, assisting with supervising patrol when needed. Violet is affiliated with the Arizona Auto Theft Association, Latino Police Officers Association, and Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts. She graduated from the Valle Del Sol-Central Arizona College, Hispanic Leadership Institution in 2014.
January of this year Violet was promoted to the rank of Patrol Sergeant. Violet is still with the Eloy Police Department today and has gained overwhelming experience and knowledge about the City of Eloy, the community, and different ways of bringing support to and for the city. She was successful in creating and coordinating a charity run, “Tip-Over the Shelf 5K”, to the City of Eloy which benefits the Santa Cruz Valley Food Pantry and the Eloy Veterans Center Food Pantry. This year marks the 4th annual 5K.
This same effort has created an annual Hunger Awareness Field day, to the local Junior High and Elementary School.
She continues to commit herself to numerous community service projects which efforts help the homeless and the hungry.
Violet volunteers with the Eloy Veterans Center and is a part of the Catholic Daughters of America #2729. CAHRA (Santa Cruz Valley Food Pantry) board member, Eloy Police Department Honor Guard.
Violet continues to set goals which include helping and volunteering with many organizations within the community which have the same mission in mind. She credits the support from her friends, mentors, and especially her family.
Kiesha L. Cousar speaker, author, coach, counselor, consultant, strategist, and girls advocate is the CEO and founder of COUSAR Empowerment, a Personal Development Company whose priority is empowering individuals to be exceptional people. She is the founder, chief visionary, and trail blazer of WIN Within™ a philosophical framework that fosters a strong sense of self through awareness and identity development.
As a strong advocate for women she founded the Women WINNING Within™ Coaching Program where women learn to make BOLD Moves both personally and professionally to be their best selves. These women not only gain skills and techniques from Coach Cousar but also participate in the WIN Within ™ social network community comprised of influential, diverse women who are committed to doing the lifeWORK. She is also the founder of EmpowerHER! Every girl. Everywhere. ™, a girls movement and signature program designed to cultivate and empower girls to “Be Authentically You!”
Mrs. Cousar is known for her exuberant spirit, transformational messages, transparent nature, and relentless drive to help people maximize their greatest potential. She is an enthusiastic, authentic woman on fire for life, on a mission to educate, equip, and empower women & girls around the world to WIN Within™! She is the proud wife of Lawrence Gemelle Cousar and they are the delightful parents to three young children; Kennedy Kline, Karrington Kane, and Wellington Chase. Her greatest desire is for people to know themselves, fulfill their purpose, and live life intentionally!
Laura Ryan is currently Chief Executive Officer for Purdy Motor Group – USA (PMG – US). Purdy Motor Group is Costa Rica’s exclusive Distributor for Toyota, Lexus, Hino, Ford and VW with growing operations in the U.S. including three Texas-based franchised dealerships. The Toyota dealerships run under the Atkinson Toyota brand and are in Bryan, Madisonville and Dallas, Texas. In this role, Laura is responsible for strategically expanding, broadening and diversifying Purdy Motors’ operations in the United States. Before this position Laura was with Gulf States Toyota, Inc, a Private Distributor for Toyota Motor North America for 18 years; most recently as Vice President, Market Representation & Dealer Development. In her twenty-five plus years in the automotive industry she has held positions in all aspects of the of the business which have provided valuable knowledge, experience and exposure to the industry.
Laura believes in giving back to the community and has held public service roles representing the citizens of Texas for the past seven years. Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Abbott to serve on the Texas Transportation Commission (TxDOT) as one of five Commissioners. Prior to this, Governor Abbott appointed her to the TX Department of Motor Vehicle Board (TxDMV) representing the vehicle manufacturing/distribution industry. During her tenure on the TxDMV board she held positions of Chairman - projects & operations committee, Vice-Chairman and Chairman.
Laura attended Penn State University and believes strongly in continuous executive-level education programs that stretch her abilities. She has attended programs and courses such as: Gallup Organization, University of Texas – Organizational Leadership, and Columbia University. She is also an avid learner and a student of her business.
Laura is an enthusiastic and dedicated leader in all aspects of the automotive industry. She has a proven track record of excellence of performance in implementation, execution, business and strategic development, and improving the bottom line. She is respected for both her professional and personal integrity.
She is married, has two children, two dogs and lives in Cypress, TX.
Lisa A. Smittcamp was elected District Attorney in June 2014 with the overwhelming support of local law enforcement and the prosecutors and investigators in her office. She was sworn into office in January 2015. In 2017, she celebrated her 20th year as a criminal prosecutor.
Mrs. Smittcamp is the second female to be elected District Attorney in Fresno County. She is known at the Fresno County courthouse for her keen sense of justice and outstanding advocacy skills. She has successfully prosecuted some of the area’s most dangerous offenders – murders, rapists, domestic violence offenders and child molesters. She has also prosecuted many gang members and career criminals under California’s Three Strikes Law, resulting in life prison terms.
Because of the passion she has for bringing justice to victims, the DA is known throughout the County for being a strong advocate against violence against women and children and has been a leader in educating the community about the importance of awareness to prevent these crimes.
During her tenure as District Attorney, she brought new structure, increased productivity and renewed morale to the office. Under her leadership, the District Attorney’s Office was able to add staffing to assist the Court in beginning a Veteran’s Treatment Court to assist justice involved Veterans in their rehabilitation. She is so dedicated to this court; she assigned herself to be the courtroom prosecutor.
Many additional units have been added since 2015, including Major Fraud, Animal Cruelty, Post – Prop 47 drug court, a Violent Crime Unit, and a newly formed Truancy Unit to ensure children are attending school.
Additionally, DA Smittcamp developed the Public Integrity Unit and assigned a full time prosecutor and three full time DA Investigators to ensure that Fresno County is free from political corruption.
Continuing her mission to eliminate violence to women and children, Lisa joined forces with other law enforcement agencies to form the Fresno County Human Trafficking Task Force that meets monthly to discuss investigations and cases. She has dedicated two prosecutors and one DA Investigator to this unit, who not only prosecute these cases, but do outreach on education and awareness.
She is the Chairwoman of the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC), a member of the Fresno-Madera Police Chief’s Association, the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program Advisory Board, the Community Corrections Partnership Committee, and the Fresno County Local Justice Coordinating Committee.
Lisa also serves her community as a member of the Board of Directors of the Marjaree Mason Center, as a member of the Board of Trustees of San Joaquin College of Law, as the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of AMOR- Alliance for Medical Outreach and Relief that is planning a health and community center in Mendota, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Fresno.
Mrs. Smittcamp is married with two children and resides in Fresno County.
Mrs. Laura A. Nodolf is the District Attorney for Midland County, Texas. Laura grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from Schreiner University in 2000 and her Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech School of Law in 2003. While in law school, she found she had a passion for the pursuit of justice.
From law school, she joined the Midland County District Attorneys Office where she quickly established herself in the legal and law enforcement communities. She has tried over a hundred jury trial with substantial success. In addition to managing a complex and challenging docket, Laura maintained office management responsibilities and served as the First Assistant District Attorney for a period of 6 years. It was during this time that she represented Midland County in a collaborative project with Dallas, Tarrant and Travis Counties to develop a software package specifically for prosecutors. The application allows for District Attorney Offices to become paperless and offer discovery digitally to defense counsel. In addition to her legal work, she instructs for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, the Permian Basin Law Enforcement Academy, and other agencies.
Upon announcement that the sitting District Attorney would not seek re-election, Laura decided to run for the position. She was subsequently elected and was sworn in as District Attorney on January 1st, 2017. Since taking office, Laura has worked diligently to change the way that criminal justice is viewed in the community. It is her sincere desire that the criminal justice system be used as a tool to help those who are willing to accept responsibility for their crimes and desire rehabilitation and to incarcerate those who pose the greatest risk to our society. She has spent her time working with local agencies, community partners, and the commissioners to educate individuals and work towards her goal. As a result, Midland County has funded a Drug Court. She looks forward to continuing her work with partners in criminal justice to constantly evaluate the criminal justice system in Midland to ensure that we are truly seeking justice in all cases.
Additionally, Laura remains active with the law enforcement community. She recently participated in an online operation where thirty seven individuals were arrested for soliciting a child younger than 17 years of age for sex or agreeing to meet a thirteen year old for sex. This operation was the largest of its kind in West Texas. Outside of the operation, Laura continues to work with law enforcement on a daily basis through training and by offering legal assistance.
Gretchen Campbell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Grow, Encourage, Empower PLLC located in Cary, NC. Gretchen is originally from New Jersey but moved to NC in 2009. She earned her BA in Psychology from Kean University and a MA in Counseling from Fairleigh Dickinson University both in her home state and also where she began her professional career.
She has experience working with the child/adolescent population in a multitude of environments to include but not limited to residential treatment facilities, outpatient/inpatient care and the juvenile justice system.
She currently provides individual, group and family counseling at her private practice and has a passion for working with adolescent females dealing with depression, anxiety and social issues related to peer relationships, self esteem etc. She also has a unique niche for working with Mothers and Daughters through the difficult tween/teen yrs by assisting them in navigating the highs and lows.
Gretchen is passionate about helping girls navigate the hurdles of the adolescent years while encouraging them to be their best self and providing them with empowering tools to use now and in the future.
As a former school principal, Dr. CYNTHIA ZURCHIN provided the basis of this story by pioneering the creation of the first Whale Done School. Currently an assistant school superintendent, she is in demand as a speaker and trainer, inspiring staffs and audiences with her determination to transform schools through application of the science of positive recognition. JAMES BALLARD is a best-selling author and consultant. He has co-authored a number of books with Dr. Kenneth Blanchard as well as his own, designed and delivered prize-winning management seminars, and coached people to remove blocks to success in their life and work. THAD LACINEK was for many years head animal trainer at SeaWorld, where he and Chuck Tompkins transformed the method of training killer whales by focusing on what the whales did right. Now president of Precision Behavior, Inc. Thad consults with zoos and marine parks around the world, helping trainers focus on the power of positive attention.
THE WHALE DONE SCHOOL is the third in the Whale Done! series, focusing the proven power of positive attention on the process of educating children. Based on an actual school-turnaround story, the fable demonstrates how students' behavior and academic performance improves dramatically when teachers systematically employ the science of training killer whales - i.e. building trust, giving lots of attention to what their students do right, and redirecting wrong behavior to positive outcomes.
Adolescent and Teenage girls often face distractions via social media, boys, and peer drama. These distractions may seem like everyday norms but are variables that interfere with productivity and overall success. This workshop focuses on the importance of goal planning and provides each attendee with their own vision board to help provide direction and motivation.
Hosted by Damonie Johnson (14) and Laila Thomas (10), the authors of A Girl’s World Journal, attendees will engage in inspirational and motivational discussion regarding their goals, and the strengths and challenges they may encounter while in pursuit of their goals.