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Photo by Steve Johnson

From inspirational stories of triumph to practical approaches to advancing your career, the stories shared by the featured speakers at Elevate will create a meaningful experience for all attendees.


The Power of Range: The Secret to Success in Any Domain

New York Times best-selling author and science writer David Epstein has made it his mission to uncover the keys to achieving high performance in any domain, and to debunk popular myths along the way. Epstein will distill his research in a powerful keynote session on the secret to getting ahead: in most fields—especially those that are complex, unpredictable, and difficult to automate—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel.



This is your time!

Amy Downs began her career as a teller 32 years ago working for Federal Employee Credit Union located in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

In 1995, she was one of the last survivors to be pulled from the rubble following the Oklahoma City bombing in which 18 of her 33 co-workers at the credit union were killed. 

Embracing her second chance at life, Amy launched a campaign of self-improvement and empowerment, losing 200 pounds and adopting a new active lifestyle which ultimately led to her becoming an Ironman Triathlete.

Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and a master’s degree in business administration from Southern Nazarene University.  Amy still works for the same credit union which also survived the bombing, now called Allegiance Credit Union, serving as the president and CEO.


The Sink Philosophy

Everyone loves progress. Everyone loves to achieve successful outcomes in whatever they do. There is a powerful philosophy of life that truly has to power to create radical transformation through one small change. Based on a true story that happened to Walter at an airport bathroom sink many years ago, the Sink philosophy was born. When we live out of the mindset of leaving everything "a little better than we found it" then time will do its remarkable work of rewarding us with long sought after gains. The Sink philosophy has the power to radically transform any business or any individual's life if it is put into consistent practice.



Using your story to grow your business

Brad Bishop is a marketing consultant and speaker based in Oklahoma City. As a StoryBrand Guide, he helps companies implement the StoryBrand framework into all facets of their business. Brad's helped businesses of all sizes improve their messaging and, in turn, their bottom line.



Access to Funding

As a Venture Advisor, Stacey works with i2E portfolio and client companies to position them on the high growth trajectory by leveraging her experience as an entrepreneur and educator. Stacey is also responsible for managing i2E’s Business Accelerator in Tulsa. Stacey came to i2E from Oklahoma State University and the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla in Puebla, Mexico where she was International Liaison and U.S. Program Coordinator. In that position, Stacey was responsible for expansion of the internationally recognized dual degree programs and coordinating student and faculty immersion programs in both the US and Mexico.

Prior to her position with UPAEP, Stacey also served as a Manager of Programs and Outreach for the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University where she was exposed to a variety of lifestyle and technology start-ups as she consulted with and organized events for student entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and veteran entrepreneurs.

Stacey was co-founder and CEO of PristineCal, a start-up dedicated to producing ultra-pure calcium powder. In this role she pitched her company to venture capitalists both nationally and internationally and lead the management team from idea to exit. Stacey serves as the instructor of the Business Development Academy for Hispanics at Autry Technology Center in Enid.

Stacey has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University, a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Management from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Relations with a minor in Spanish from Oklahoma State University. She is fluent in Spanish and is active in numerous community organizations. She enjoys traveling anywhere, but Mexico will always be at the top of her list.


First Impressions

Hilarie Blaney has been a commercial banker in Oklahoma City for over 41 years.  She is a Senior Vice President at BancFirst in downtown OKC.  Hilarie holds a B.S. in Management and Finance as well as an MBA in Finance from Oklahoma City University.  Her awards include the Paragon award from Leadership OKC, Pi Beta Phi Crest Award and Sustainer of the Year from the Junior League of Oklahoma City.  She is a graduate of Leadership OKC, Leadership Oklahoma, has served on many boards, helping create Impact Oklahoma, Inc. and currently serves on the board of Ballet Oklahoma. Hilarie also holds graduate certifications in Corporate Etiquette, International Protocol, Business Image and United States Protocol from the world-renowned Protocol School of Washington, in Washington, D.C., the only certified school in the nation.  She has trained professionals in Oklahoma and Washington for over 14 years as well as consulted in governmental and civic events, including guest speakers such as Mrs. Laura Bush. 



Personal Branding 101

Adam has jumped the fence multiple times between news and professional communications. He has worked for universities, websites, large corporations and a nationally recognized marketing communication agency. He served as the as managing editor of Oklahoma’s largest business publication and is now a senior advisor at Candor.

He has extensive experience in the energy sector, and has planned and executed communications strategies for organizations ranging from nonprofits to $30 billion corporations.

Adam relishes digging into legal and government documents to look for central ideas and interpret jargon. This passion has made him Candor’s go-to resource for understanding and navigating complex issues to develop key messaging points and strategies.


Workforce Development: Creating Great Employees

Strategist, consensus builder, problem solver and advocate for no-nonsense effectiveness, Shelley Cadamy has built, turned around, or transformed organizations and programs for 25 years.

Shelley spent her early career with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce building the state’s first Business Intelligence Program, including the state’s first Industry Clusters, which were utilized to drive recruitment of companies to Oklahoma.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she directed one of the US’s first knowledge-based business recruiting and retention efforts for the Edmond Economic Development Authority. There she assisted start-ups and existing small businesses with strategy development, traditional and non-traditional financing, and general handholding. She also staffed two angel investor groups whose investments spanned multiple industries.

Shelley continued her work with entrepreneurs by leading the Business & Entrepreneurial Services program at Francis Tuttle Technology Center for eight years. She was an early adopter of social media for business and led Social Media 101 classes for more than 1000 people in the mid-2000s.

For the last six years Shelley led Workforce Tulsa as it’s Executive Director. Shelley was the fourth Executive Director in six years and turned around the struggling organization via intentional board development, consensus building and collaboration with hundreds of partners, rebuilding processes and structures, relocating the organization’s largest office to improve customer service, rebuilding the staff, ensuring state and federal compliance, and building a positive presence in the community via media relations. She also worked collaboratively with chambers and statewide-organizations to create business-friendly policy and legislation, including criminal justice reform, and launched the organization’s first legislative agenda.

Shelley earned a BA in Art History, Cum Laude, followed by a Masters in Regional & City Planning, with an Economic Development emphasis, both from the University of Oklahoma.

Shelley has graduated from Leadership Tulsa, Leadership Oklahoma City, and multiple other leadership programs. She has received multiple awards for her business and community involvement, including YWCA Tulsa’s Woman of the Year and the Journal Record’s “50 Women Making a Difference.”




Networking 101







Financial Bootcamp for Emerging Leaders

A serial entrepreneur, strategist, advisor, connector, mindfulness coach and expert in building companies and high-performance teams.  Sherry has owned, founded and built companies in professional services, real estate, retail, wholesale, technology and financial services. With executive-level experience in finance, operations, technology, strategic planning and general management, Sherry has served in management for clients in multiple industries.

Sherry was a co-founder and the Audit, Accounting & Consulting Partner for Jones & Dale, CPA’s.  She was responsible for business development, strategic planning, management of the firm and the audit and consulting division.  Sherry also provided direct auditing and consulting service delivery to a wide range of clients while specializing in high growth entrepreneurial companies.

Sherry co-founded a wholesale meat and frozen food distributorship in April 1991 (Express Meat Company).  She was responsible for all operations and day-to-day management and growth of the company.  Under her leadership the company grew to distribution in a 5-state region, 60+ employees and annual revenues in excess of $70 million. Sherry negotiated a successful sale of the company to Cargill in late 2004.  After the sale of Express Meat Company, Sherry founded Strategix Consulting Group in October 2004.  Her firm provided strategic planning, executive team building, executive coaching, financial stewardship, succession planning and exit planning for high growth entrepreneurial companies.
 From 2009 to 2015, Sherry stepped into interim management for one of her consulting clients that was experiencing explosive growth.  She took the role of Chief Operating Officer and her responsibilities included managing the day-to-day operations, organizational oversight on all human resource issues, subcontractor management, corporate budget compliance, financial management, banking, insurance, strategic planning, contract negotiations, due diligence site, and software development planning.  She was instrumental in the management of a large government contract and in the launch of a technology company subsidiary.

Sherry is a Certified Public Accountant with a BA in Accounting and Economics.  She started her career with two international accounting firms, Coopers & Lybrand and Arthur Andersen.



The Four Areas of Leadership: How Great Leaders Spend Their Time

A jack of all trades, strategist and expert problem solver. Danielle has owned several businesses, served on the executive team of a multi-national corporation and headed a non-profit.

She can work at both a macro and micro level to quickly gain clarity of an organization’s opportunities and accurately identify potential obstacles.

Danielle spent the early part of her career focused on business-to-business marketing and public relations. After working for several companies, she founded an award-winning strategic communications consulting firm. Her insatiable curiosity coupled with a dislike of routine resulted in her working with clients ranging from startups to the federal government.

In 2008 she agreed to lead the technology marketing team for Teleflora, a former consulting client. Danielle was quickly promoted at the online flower retailer and in 2011 was named Vice President of Administration. A member of the executive team, she led the company’s human resources functions, technology marketing and key enterprise-wide operations projects.

Prior to joining Mettise, Danielle lead the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition as the nonprofit’s executive director for several years. Under her leadership, the organization expanded its advocacy work at the Capitol while also gaining financial stability and program growth.

A trusted advisor, Danielle has worked at every level of an organization. She has extensive experience managing cross-functional, enterprise-wide initiatives including quality programs, leadership development and succession planning efforts, compensation programs and product launches.

Danielle is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and has her Accreditation in Public Relations. She earned her B.S. in Public Relations from Syracuse University and her M.B.A. from Oklahoma City University.




Vote for Prom King or Queen: Get Crowned on Page 1 Google Ranking 


Corporate Cares: Are you building a Purpose-Driven community impact?

Stacy Eads is one of Oklahoma’s 50 Women Making a Difference. As a Most Admired CEO in her home state of Oklahoma, she is now empowering other CEOs nationwide to embrace their leadership potential. As an impactful business coach, Mrs. Eads actively facilitates annual planning retreats to propel $1 million - $100 million dollar companies toward rapidly scalable growth. Just a few of her affiliations over her career include the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors and Torch Ethics Award recipient. Stacy Eads has also served as a TEDx OKC Speaker Coach and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. With strategy sessions and training speeches booked more than 70% last year alone, her consulting talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events. You can learn more about her expertise at or connect with her on LinkedIn at




Networking for introverts

Gunnar is the principal of WSI Summit, a digital marketing agency. While he spends most of his time helping B2B companies develop and implement business growth strategies using the Internet, he carves out time to educate others.  Gunnar is often asked to lead public, corporate and individual training sessions on using Linkedin for personal, professional and business growth. 

Before launching WSI Summit in 2012, Gunnar’s career included 25 years in leadership roles in financial services.  Gunnar moved to Oklahoma City in 2003 as the VP of Operations for The Hartford where he was responsible for 700 licensed insurance agents.  Between 2003 and 2011 his division was named a top 5 Best Place to Work in Oklahoma three times, earned JD Power Certification six times and twice was named the ICMI Global Contact Center of the Year. 

Gunnar helped launch One Million Cups OKC and Oklahoma Professional Sales Association.  He is a Leadership Edmond alumni and has served on various boards including the Greater OKC Chamber Board of Advisors. 



Faces of Change: Understanding and Managing Generations in the Workplace

Danielle Hoeltzel has been in the training and organizational development field for more than 10 years, with a special focus on leadership development, coaching, group facilitation, and presentation skills. Before coming to Express Employment Professionals International Headquarters in 2015, she worked at Chesapeake Energy and served as a human resources analyst.

With experience as a change manager through initiatives in medium and large organizations, Hoeltzel earned her Professional in Human Resources certification from the HR Certification Institute, and is a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional, and has a master’s degree in organizational leadership from the University of Oklahoma.

Hoeltzel’s previous speaking engagements include the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, Junior League of Oklahoma City, the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Community College, Boeing, and the Oklahoma Human Resources State Conference and Expo, among others.

An active member of her community, Hoeltzel has served as a board member for the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. She is also active in the Association for Talent Development, Leadership Oklahoma City, Oklahoma State University Employee Advisory Board, as well as a business mentor for the University of Central Oklahoma. Hoeltzel also served as a United Way Community Investment Volunteer and developed employment courses for the Education and Employment Ministries.




Positioning your company to be irresistible







The Tightrope of Confrontation: Successfully Navigating Conflict in the Workplace

Gene Hopper is known for her ability to bring executive teams together and get results.  An experienced entrepreneur, strategist, and advisor on high-performance organizations, Gene gets to the core of complex issues and finds the path forward - ensuring her clients get a real-world plan and financial metrics to accomplish their goals and coach to hold them accountable. 

Gene specializes in the challenges of growth, turnarounds and preparing companies for sale or merger. Accomplished as an entrepreneur and executive, CEO’s trust her as their “business therapist” who not only advises on specific challenges but has the unique ability to mentor and build their capacity lead.

Gene’s experience is broad. As an entrepreneur, she launched four companies (two venture-funded), secured a patent and commercialized diagnostic and technology products nationally.   As an executive, Gene has held C-suite positions in operations, marketing and IT, giving her depth and breadth in leadership and process. Organizationally, Gene has succeeded in a diversity of environments including corporate (Apple Computer, Inc.) health care (Harvard Medical School’s Joslin Diabetes Center) and state government (OU Health Science Center.)

Gene’s skills as a valued advisor are continually honed through helping more than a hundred companies develop and execute growth strategies.   This experience results in Mettise’s unique planning process that focusses on execution and “whole system” work to leverage the talents and alignment of the entire employee base as opposed to just the CEO or leadership team.

Resulting from her passion for connection and creating community, Gene founded the Posse™ and the Tribe™ CEO advisory network.  As the largest locally based peer-advisory network, men and women from all backgrounds have found a trusted network of authentic, talented and inspiring leaders who have their back.




Making Data Driven Decisions




Keeping Your Cool

As President and CEO, Scott Meacham leads i2E’s efforts to create knowledge-based jobs in Oklahoma through the development of and investment in high growth companies. Scott comes to i2E from the Crowe & Dunlevy law firm, which he joined in January 2011 as a shareholder and director. He served as chairman of the banking and financial institutions practice group. Prior to that, he served as the 17th State Treasurer of Oklahoma, an office he held from June 2005 until January 2011. In addition to his duties as State Treasurer, Scott served on the governor’s cabinet as Secretary for Finance and Revenue from January 2003 until January 2011. In this capacity, he was the governor’s primary financial and budget advisor and served as the governor’s chief negotiator on budget, legislative, tribal and other matters.

Scott formerly served as Chief Executive Officer, General Counsel and Lending Supervisor of First National Bank & Trust of Elk City. Under his leadership, the bank more than doubled in size and saw its profits increase by more than 150 percent. He assumed executive leadership of the bank in 1991 and served as the bank’s general counsel since 1989. He continues to be associated with the bank as a member and secretary of the board of directors and a member of the loan, investment and executive committees.

Scott is a certified financial planner, has also practiced law in Clinton, Oklahoma, as a partner in the Meacham & Meacham law firm where his practice focused on banking, oil & gas, real estate, estate planning and commercial litigation. He practiced in the same areas in Elk City, Oklahoma, as a sole practitioner. His experience includes serving as counsel for several financial institutions; handling collections, transactions and corporate matters for financial institutions; representing both debtors and creditors in bankruptcy; and successfully handling district court litigation as well as appellate matters in areas of commercial law and oil and gas. A fifth generation Oklahoman and a graduate of Chickasha High School, Scott holds a Bachelor’s degree in finance, a Masters of Business Administration and a law degree, all from the University of Oklahoma.



Help! I've Been Promoted: Essential Skills for New Supervisors

Steve Puckett, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, is known as an HR expert who provides tools, resources, and quality solutions for managers and employees, bringing more than 30 years of experience to every speaking engagement. Currently, he is the Director of Corporate Human Resources at Express Employment Professionals where he provides up-to-the-minute consultation on ever-changing employment rules.

An Oklahoma native, Puckett earned an associate’s degree from Connors State College in Warner, OK, and a bachelor’s degree in science from Oklahoma State University.

Prior to joining Express in 2011, he began his HR career while working at Oklahoma City metro banks, including Liberty National Bank, Bank One (now Chase Bank), and Local Oklahoma Bank (now IBC Bank). Puckett also spent six years handling employee relations and benefits for Oklahoma Publishing Company, publisher of the largest newspaper in Oklahoma.

Puckett is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and holds the designations of Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). He has been selected as an approved recertification status provider for SHRM and HR Certification Institute (HRCI) events. Puckett is a member of the Oklahoma City Human Resources Society and is on the Executive Board of the Oklahoma City Metro Employer Council, where he has served as chairman and vice chairman.


How to Build Trust with Prospects and Clients

Dot joined Fields & Futures in 2013 as the organization was approaching its second field project at Webster Middle School. With a 30-year background in marketing and sponsorship sales, she has helped the organization grow its funding base through both a traditional nonprofit approach as well as more marketing-driven opportunity for those companies or organizations seeking involvement through custom sponsorship and/or programming opportunities.


Prior to joining Fields & Futures, Dot was VP/Marketing for Griffin Communications and served three years at marketing manager at The Oklahoman in the early 2000s. She made her move to Oklahoma City in 2002 from Dallas where she was Director of Sales Promotion for The Dallas Morning News, followed by several years traveling the country as a sales trainer and consultant for media sales organizations. 


In 2011, Dot launched Brand Talkers, a niche sales and marketing firm. As founder and president of Brand Talkers, she is contracted by Fields & Futures to oversee marketing and development ... a role she says has changed her life for the better in more ways than she can count!



Dot Rhyne joined Fields & Futures in 2013 as the organization was approaching its second field project at Webster Middle School. With a 30-year background in marketing and sponsorship sales, she has helped the organization grow its funding base.


Prior to joining Fields & Futures, Dot was vice president of marketing for Griffin Communications and served three years at marketing manager at The Oklahoman.


In 2011, Dot launched Brand Talkers, a niche sales and marketing firm. As founder and president of Brand Talkers, she is contracted by Fields & Futures to oversee marketing and development ... a role she says has changed her life for the better in more ways than she can count!



The value of inclusiveness in strategic financial planning



Business Ethics

Shannon is the Founder Emeritus of the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium (“OK Ethics”), a non-profit, grassroots professional organization established in 2003 that is dedicated to promoting integrity at work.  Her full-time position is as an Executive Partner with Magellan Executive Partners, a premier team of CEO’s and executives with real-world experience who help foster leaders worth following.

With nearly 150 company members, OK Ethics has become a flourishing organization dedicated to the promotion of high ethical standards in business. Monthly events in OKC and Tulsa have featured prominent local speakers as well as national leaders. These  include Chuck Colson, Stephen M. R. Covey, Worldcom’s whistleblower Cynthia Cooper and countless CEOs. For sixteen years, Shannon provided leadership to an enthusiastic team of approximately 70 dedicated volunteers who serve faithfully every month.

Shannon also established a sister organization, the OK Ethics Foundation (now known as the Student Education and Ethics Development Foundation or S.E.E.D).  Designed specifically to reach out to students, this group sponsors annual student ethics bowls for high school and university students.

Prior to establishing OK Ethics, Shannon served as a Human Resources executive for hospitality and energy entities as well as an international publishing company in Tulsa.  She held progressively responsible leadership roles with the Tulsa Area Human Resources Association and was later honored by that organization with both a President’s and an Excellence Award.   She moved back to Oklahoma City to care for her aging parents, who taught her the values of honesty and generosity of service.  Today, she continues her work with OK Ethics in honor of their memory.   

A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Shannon achieved her Masters in Leadership and Management from Oklahoma City University.  She has written about 200 monthly business ethics columns for The Journal Record and others.  She has also served as an adjunct professor for graduate students in the area of bioethics and business ethics.


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