Women Trailblazers and Entrepreneurs Conference
Thursday, October 27, 2022 | 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wausau and Zoom
Business and Leadership, Conferences and Training, See Wausau Offerings

Women Trailblazers and Entrepreneurs Conference Header Image 
(Mural: Trailblazer by artist Jessie Fritsch, conference guest speaker.)

Thursday, October 27, 2022
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Hybrid offering (Wausau or Zoom)


From Big Ideas to Big Impact: Moving Your Adventures Forward

Our one-day conference on October 27, 2022, showcases and develops women trailblazers, founders, and entrepreneurs from every sector including professionals, artists, volunteers, students, and parents. The keynote and four breakout sessions will help women move their adventures forward by providing tools and examples of women leading their big ideas to become big impacts.

You can participate in the in-person conference at the UW-Stevens Point at Wausau campus or via Zoom. Sessions will also be recorded and made available to all registrants for later viewing. A value-added bonus!

Who should attend:

  • You are energized about trailblazing, starting new stuff, or thriving as a founder.
  • You are inspired by or supportive of female trailblazers.
  • You tend towards curiosity, innovation, impact, and taking actions.
  • You are a professional, artist, volunteer, student, parent, fill in the blank ______. 


  • Keynote speaker
  • Interactive skill-building exercise
  • 4 breakout sessions
  • Exhibitors


Liz Nilsen Head Shot Photo

Introducing Liz Nilsen!
Liz Nilsen of the Agile Strategy Lab and co-author of the award-winning 2019 book, Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership. Nilsen regularly teaches innovation and collaboration to many university, business and community groups.  Nilsen will share how trailblazers and entrepreneurs can move into action after launching a new venture or when confronted with obstacles along the way.  Nilsen's presentation will include interactive skill-building exercises and stories of inspirational women creating impact across the country.


  • Regular - $99/person
  • Non-profit - $79/person
  • UWSP faculty/staff - $79/person
  • UWSP student - $39/person

  • Regular, non-profit, UWSP faculty/staff - $79
  • UWSP student - $39

Register Now

In-person attendees will receive keynote speaker, Liz Nilsen's book, Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership. A $20 value for FREE, courtesy of our book sponsors. 

Thrivent Financial Logo   Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce  Samuels Group

Agenda and Sessions

 9-9:15 a.m. | Welcome

We're going to kick off the morning with an engergizing welcome from Lyna Matesi, Director of the MBA Program at UW-Stevens Point. 

 9:15-11:15 a.m. | Keynote Presentation

Strategic Doing: Beyond the Big Idea

Speaker: Liz Nilsen | Agile Strategy Lab 
Moderator: Lyna Matesi | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point MBA Program

Learn how to move into action after launching a new venture or when confronted with obstacles along the way. Hear stories of inspirational women making impact around the country. 

Thank you UW-Stevens Point MBA Program for being our Platinum Trailblazing Sponsor! Interested in learning more? Attend their informational sessions

UW-Stevens Point MBA Program Logo

 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. | Exhibitors

Please check back for updates!

 12:15-1 p.m. | Lunch/Conversation/Networking

A delicious lunch will be provided by local female small business owner, Janice Watson of Taste of Jamaica, located on the UW-Stevens Point at Wausau campus.

While enjoying your lunch, get to know the ladies at your table and make lasting connections. We'll help with conversation starters!

 1:15-2:30 p.m. | Session 1

Action Session A1: Ideas and Passions—Founding a Distillery and a Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Speaker: Maria Harris | Fiesta Point and Kimm Weber | President and Owner, Timekeeper Distillery/Executive Director, MCDEVCO, Inc
Moderator: Amy Plier | Wausau Container Corp

In this session we will focus on the power founding. The two women speakers in this session have described themselves as becoming obsessed with ideas or a vision that they have been compelled to bring to life.

Thank you to Church Mutual for being a Session Sponsor! Supporting trailblazers and entrepreneurs of all sizes. 

Church Mutual Logo

Impact Session A2: Works of the Heart—When Community is Your Passion

Speakers: Maysee Herr | Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce and Mang Xiong | Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Association, Inc (WUCMAA)
Moderator: Dr. Ozalle Toms | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau

“For our many historically underserved and underinvested communities, there is a saying In Hmong: “Txhob ua sab dleb,” which means, “Don’t let your heart be distant.” In this session we will focus on our hearts and our communities. 

Thank you to Prevail Bank for being a Session Sponsor! Supporting trailblazers and entrepreneurs of all sizes. 
Prevail Bank Logo


 2:45-4 p.m. | Session 2

Action Session B1: The Art of Action—When Artistry Becomes Business

Speakers: Jessie Fritsch | Buzz in Art Studios and Cheryl Wolken | Wausau Mama LLC & Cloudy Books Press LLC
Moderator: Lyna Matesi | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point MBA Program

In this session we will focus the places where art, leadership, and business intersect. 

Thank you to The Garden for being a Session Sponsor! Supporting trailblazers and entrepreneurs of all sizes. 

The Garden Logo 

Impact Session B2: Senior Leaders in Action—Trailblazing in the Non-Profit Sector

Speakers: Ellen Voie | President/CEO and Founder of Women In Trucking Association and Tara Draeger | Aspirus Health
Moderator: Mara Prausa | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Continuing Education

In this session we will focus on experiences as a senior leader in the non-profit sector. 

Thank you to TDS for being a Sessino Sponsor! Supporting trailblazers and entrepreneurs of all sizes. 

TDS Bronze Sponsor

 4:15-4:30 p.m. | Closing Remarks

Please check back for updates!


Get to know our fantastic lineup of women trailblazers and entrepreneurs. 

 Tara Draeger | Aspirus Health

Tara Draeger profile photoTara Draeger
System Director of Community Health | Aspirus Health

Tara Draeger currently serves as the System Director of Community Health Improvement for Aspirus Health. In this role, she is responsible for the vision and leadership of the Community Health team across the system, including regulatory practices related to IRS/990 reporting for 9 hospital communities. She is responsible for developing and leading programs that aim to improve patient and community health outcomes. She has been instrumental in working to align clinical and community health efforts to meet the needs of patients and community members.

Tara earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Promotion/Wellness from UW-Stevens Point in 2000. She also holds her Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification. She spent the first part of her career at Aspirus Health as a Wellness Coordinator and Health Coach at many Wisconsin businesses. 

She is active in the community and currently serves in leadership roles on numerous Boards, including Marathon County Board of Health (Vice Chair), AOD Partnership Board (Chair), LIFE Steering Committee (Chair), Healthy Marathon County Alliance (Chair), and Rise Up Board (Co-Founder and Vice President). She was also recognized as a Women of Vision Honoree in 2022. 

Website | LinkedIn

 Jessie Fritsch | Trailblazer Mural

Jessie Fritsch photo of her painting muralJessie Fritsch
Artist | Trailblazer Murals

My drive is to make art, teach workshops, protect the pollinators, and help support a vibrant art community in Central WI.

Website | Facebook 

 Maria Harris | Fiesta Point

Maria Harris headshot photoMaria Harris
Lead Organizer | Fiesta Point
Multicultural Resource Center Coordinator | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

My name is Maria Harris and I have the pleasure of serving as the Multicultural Resource Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. As a first-generation latina and a Stevens Point resident for over 11 years, I am passionate about highlighting, supporting, and connecting our underrepresented communities to high level opportunities.

WebsiteFacebook | LinkedIn 

 Maysee Herr | Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce

Maysee Herr profile photoMaysee Herr, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer | Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC)

Dr. Maysee Herr is Chief Executive Officer of Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. Prior to her current role, she served as a consultant for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations/corporations. Furthermore, she taught in UW-Stevens Point's School of Education for nearly 10 years. Dr. Herr's passion for working with businesses stems from her background of being the daughter of a Hmong entrepreneur. 

 Ellen Voie | Women In Trucking Association

Ellen Voie Profile PhotoEllen Voi 
President/CEO and Founder | Women In Trucking Association 

As founder of the Women In Trucking Association in March of 2007, Voie currently serves as the nonprofit organization’s President/CEO. The Women In Trucking Association was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, to remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members.

Website | Facebook | LinkedIn 

 Kimm Weber | Timekeeper Distillery and MCDEVCO, Inc.

Kimm Weber profile photoKimm Weber 
President and Owner | Timekeeper Distillery
Executive Director | MCDEVCO, Inc.

Kimm and her husband Dan Weber started Timekeeper Distillery in 2017. The idea originated on a napkin and has since grown to be a multi-faceted organization with a local and state-wide presence. Kimm has a passion for community and entrepreneur development which supported her transition to lead the MCDEVCO, Inc. organization in late 2021.


 Cheryl Wolken | Wausau Mama LLC and Cloudy Books Press LLC

Cheryl Wolken profile photoCheryl Wolken
Author and Website Owner | Wausau Mama LLC and Cloudy Books Press LLC

Cheryl Wolken is a local author and website owner. In 2018, Cheryl created WausauMama.com from the ground-up and filled it with all of the information she wished had been available when she moved to the area with her family in 2013. In 2021, after realizing there was not a children's book about the Wausau area, Cheryl wrote and designed "The ABCs of Wausau," which has become a local bestseller.

Website | Facebook | LinkedIn

 Mang Xiong | Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, Inc.

Mang Xiong profile photoMang Xiong
Executive Director | Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, Inc. (WUCMAA)

Mang Xiong was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and is the third oldest of 11 children. She has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector starting from a very young age. She is currently the first female executive director of WUCMAA, a statewide coalition that supports and advocates for AAPI nonprofits and businesses in Wisconsin leading the largest and youngest team in WUCMAA's history.

Website | Facebook | LinkedIn


Get to know our moderators who will be leading the sessions with our presenters. They are trailblazers in their own rights too!

 Lyna Matesi | UW - Stevens Point MBA Program

Lyna Matesi - MBA ProgramLyna Matesi, Ph.D.
MBA Director and Assistant Professor of Management | UW-Stevens Point MBA Program

Lyna Matesi is a change leader, facilitator and educator. Her passion is helping organizations, teams, and individuals maximize success. She has worked as an internal and external consultant coordinating large-scale change initiatives, implementing leadership development systems, and overseeing a wide range of domestic and international projects. Lyna directs an MBA program and teach management and leadership for the School of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Additionally, as an On Call Facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership, she helps leaders and organizations create the three outcomes of effective leadership: direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC). Previously, Lyna served in change management, leadership development, and curriculum development roles at U.S. Cellular and business planning, communication technology, and project management roles at Motorola. Lyna earned her B.A. from Judson University (management and leadership), an M.A. from Antioch University (change leadership, organizational renewal) and a Ph.D. from Gonzaga University (leadership studies).

 Amy Plier | Wausau Container

Amy PlierAmy Plier
Co-Owner | Wausau Containers 

Amy Plier is an entrepreneur and co-owner of Wausau Container, a folding carton manufacturer. Plier holds a BS in Business Administration from UW-Stevens Point. Active in her community, she serves on the boards of St. Vincent de Paul and the UW Wausau Campus Foundation.

 Mara Prausa | UW - Stevens Point Continuing Education

Mara Prausa profile photoMara Prausa
Program Manager | UW - Stevens Point Continuing Education

Mara Prausa is an active collaborative pianist, music educator and arts advocate in Central Wisconsin. A product of the UW school system, she received a bachelor’s degree in Music (Piano) from UW-Stevens Point and a Master’s of Music in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching from UW-Milwaukee. Prior to her appointment as a Program Manager in Continuing Education, Mara served as Executive Director for the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and was an educator in many different facets of music: Music Appreciation and Class Piano at UW-Stevens Point, private piano and composition at the Wausau Conservatory of Music, World Music at Globe University, and general music at John Muir and Horace Mann Middle Schools. She is passionate about life-long learning, leadership development and change management.

 Ozalle Toms | UW - Stevens Point at Wausau

Dr Orzalle Toms Ozalle Toms, Ph.D.
Campus Executive Director | UW - Stevens Point at Wausau                                                                                                                          

Dr. Ozalle Toms has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She conducts training on Microaggressions, Civil Discourse, White Privilege, and Reducing Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process. She also provides training to K-12 personnel and school districts on supporting at-risk youth and creating inclusive environments.

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This conference is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors in the community. Thank you!

Platinum Trailblazing Sponsor

UW-Stevens Point MBA Program Logo

Bronze Sponsors

Prevail Bank Logo   TDS Bronze Sponsor    Church Mutual    The Garden Logo

Book Sponsors

Thrivent Financial Logo   Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce  Samuels Group

Here's your chance to get in front of a large group of women professionals to build your brand recognition, connections, referral network, or sales. Don't miss this opportunity to be a sponsor. For more information or be a sponsor/exhibitor, contact the event coordinator at mprausa@uwsp.edu.

Conference Coordinated By:

The event is brought to you in partnership between the UWSP School of Business and Economics, UWSP MBA Program, Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, UWSP Continuing Education, and the Small Business Development Center at UWSP.

UWSP School of Business and Economics   UW-Stevens Point MBA Program Logo   Thompson Center Logo  Continuing Education Logo   Small Business Development Center

Cancellation Policy

Registration cancellations or substitution requests must be made in writing to uwspceweb@uwsp.edu. Cancellations made by October 17, 2022 will incur a $35 cancellation fee. No refunds after October 17, 2022No refunds for no-shows. 

Contact Information

For program information or assistance with registration, please contact our Continuing Educating office at 715-346-3838.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
Please contact Continuing Education at 715-346-3838 or uwspceweb@uwsp.edu.