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Speakers

The Conference The Schedule Schedule (PDF) The Speakers Explore San Antonio

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Veronica Edwards

Veronica Edwards

Veronica Edwards

Veronica Edwards

“So You’re Smart….But How About moving Ahead”
Saturday, November 9, 10:30 am General Session

Veronica Edwards will talk about trends in employment and how to plan for, and implement, behaviors and work habits that will get you noticed and promoted! Both advisors and students can learn from her expertise in career management.

Ms. Edwards is the inspirational force behind InGenesis, one of the fastest growing, largest and most successful HR solutions and staffing firms in the nation.    It serves 200 client facilities in 40 states with over 1600 professionals in hundreds of unique specialties for commercial and government clients.   InGenesis is one of the 10 largest healthcare organizations in the US.

HispanicBusiness magazine named Ms. Edwards to its list of the 50 most influential Hispanic business leaders in the country and recognized InGenesis as one of the top 10 businesses in the US (http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2011/8/22/ingenesis_grows_swiftly.htm).  Ms. Edwards has also been honored as the top Latina businesswoman by the USHCC and one of the top 10 female CEOs by Inc. Magazine.   Ms. Edwards has in fact kept her company on the Inc. 500/5000 list for five consecutive years.

Ms. Edwards credits success as a business leader as shaped by her MBA from the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW).    She is pursuing a DBA from UIW where she also serves on the UIW Board of Trustees.   She is trustee of the Texas Women’s Forum and the World Affairs Council.

She lists the American Diabetes Association as close to her heart, stemming from the loss of her brother to diabetes in 2011. Each year she supports a scholarship established in her brother’s name at UIW.

To learn more about Ms. Edwards, go to http://texasceomagazine.com/tag/veronica-edwards/.

Patrick Chaffin

Patrick Chaffin

Patrick Chaffin

Patrick Chaffin

Planning for Success
Saturday, November 9, at 11:45 am, General Session

A 1997 graduate of Lipscomb University, Patrick Chaffin has been identified the Nashville Business Journal as one of the “Top Forty under 40” business leaders who are making a difference in the community.    Patrick has also been honored as an outstanding alumnus of Lipscomb, and is part of the college’s alumni board.

Chaffin is Senior Vice President of Asset Management at Ryman Hospitality Properties with responsibility for monitoring and analyzing the operating results for the Company’s hotel and convention center assets which generate total revenue exceeding $900 million.  His experience includes financial leadership responsibilities as President of Investor Relations and Strategic Planning at Gaylord Entertainment and Executive Director of Finance & Strategic Planning at ResortQuest.   His MBA was earned at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

To learn more, read an interview with Patrick from the Nashville Business Journal of 2010. 

What would you tell other younger business leaders to do to find success? The most important step in finding success is to first define what success is for you. My definition of success has evolved significantly from when I first graduated from college — due in no small part to the birth of my children and my own maturing process, both professionally and spiritually. I have come to define success more by the journey rather than the final destination.

What has been the single biggest career motivator for you? Professionally, I am internally motivated by two forces: a strong desire to put forth my best effort each and every day and a hunger to keep learning and growing along the way.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing? The biggest challenge I am currently facing is the constant struggle to maintain balance in my life. I am at the point in my life as a parent, a husband and a professional, where I am constantly pulled in opposite directions. Time has become a precious commodity to me as I struggle to not be overwhelmed by a constant state of “busyness.”

What does Nashville need to help retain and attract top young talent? Nashville has done a good job to date of growing large enough to attract new business investment while still maintaining a sense of community characteristic of a small city. Additionally, Nashville is well balanced in its offerings -— it has a vibrant nightlife, a number of family-friendly offerings, etc. — making it an ideal place to transition from a single adult to a parent raising a young family. To continue attracting and retaining young talent, the city needs to continue to nurture this balance.

What has been your biggest professional mistake and how did you overcome it? My biggest professional mistake thus far was an attitude that revealed an inner weakness within me. I have too often failed to trust the people that I have been tasked to lead. As a result, I robbed them of an opportunity to develop and mature, and I overburdened myself with responsibility. To overcome this tendency, I have consciously forced myself to hand more responsibility over to my team and tried more diligently to embrace my role in assisting them as they learn, develop and mature.

In three words or less, how would others describe you? Youthful. Meticulous. Well-rounded.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done in your life? Deciding to leave General Motors in 2004 after nine years of employment. I was leaving a place filled with good, solid people who were willing to invest in my future. I ultimately decided it was the wrong future for my family and therefore the career opportunities were irrelevant. I took a risk and left to join Gaylord. I have never regretted my decision and feel fortunate to have found a company like Gaylord that seeks and hires the same type of quality people with which I had become accustomed to working with while at GM.

Name something specific you’d like to accomplish before you retire? Upon my retirement, I hope that it can be said that I invested in the company by investing in the lives of the people with which I worked. I am not there yet.

William Donius

William Donius

William Donius

William Donius

Author of  The Thought Revolution:  How to Unlock Your Inner Genius
Saturday, November 9,  at 7 pm, Centennial Banquet

In The Thought Revolution, William Donius challenges us to find innovative solutions in the right side of the brain to overcome getting “stuck” with ingrained patterns and behaviors.   Inspired by Daniel Pink’s books, including A Whole New Mind, Donius asks the follow up question:   How, do we actually tap into the right hemisphere of the brain?

Donius used his business savvy to interview hundreds of business leaders to discover paths to the creative and intuitive right hemisphere of the brain.   Writing with your non-dominant hand is one path overcoming the obstacles we face and even the lies we may be telling ourselves.

Donius earned a BA from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and studied at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.    He spent nearly twenty years in the corporate world at the Pulaski Bank in St. Louis, Missouri, leading the Bank through an initial public offering in 1998 and staying on for an additional twelve years as the Chairman and CEO.   Donius also served on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

Marc Smith

Marc Smith

Marc Smith

Marc  Smith

Presentation:  The Ethical Leader
Opening session, Friday. November 8, at 1:30 pm

With over 30 years of information technology experience, including chief information officer with three firms, Marc Smith is a recognized expert in linking business plans with information technology strategies.  He has extensive experience in business start-ups, turn-arounds, and megaproject management.   As the Chief Technology Strategist for AT & T, his primary responsibility is to help clients align strategic business plans with sound, cost-effective technology solutions. He has also held positions with companies as diverse as Pabst Brewing, Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse, Clear Channel Communications and the United States Automobile Association.

Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology.   He is a seven-times published author including the articles “Stop Runaway Projects Before They Get Started” and “Know When to Outsource Information Services.”    Across his career, he has combined best practices in consulting with down-to-earth experiences of a practitioner.