Sarah Dunsmore giving her keynote address in 2014.

2017 Speakers



Cropped photo of Felicia HoustonPoet Audre Lorde wrote, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Current President of the Professional Women’s Network, Felicia Houston truly believes in that statement; her passion is inspiring and empowering women to make self-care a priority. Through dynamic workshops and presentations, Felicia educates her audiences about mental health, wellness and the importance of work-life balance. Women flock to hear her most popular workshop called “Stress Less: For Women Only!”

Felicia also serves as a strong voice for young women in the Chicago southland. By example, Felicia provides direction and encouragement for these ladies to express their concerns, opinions and feelings about the issues that affect them the most.

With more than 20 years of experience in the mental health field, a BA in Psychology and a MA in Human Development Counseling from Bradley University in Peoria Illinois, Felicia is currently the Community Development Liaison for UChicago Medicine at Ingalls Hospital. She also believes in the value of volunteerism. Felicia is a member or several community and national organizations including Top Ladies of Distinction (TLOD), South Holland Business Association (SHBA), Southland Chamber of Commerce, and Women’s Innovation Network (WIN). Notably, Felicia is the founder of Anointed Wives Ministry (AWM), an organization that empowers, uplifts, encourages, & equips married and single women and men who desire a “Till Death Do Us Part Marriage.”

Follow Team No Excuses on Facebook & Twitter!



Become the Most Powerful U: Creating and Sustaining Powerful Relationships

Presenter: Gia Claire Kubik

Navigating relationships with our significant others, family members, colleagues and friends can be a daunting task at times. Sometimes we find ourselves in unhealthy situations that don’t serve our highest good. Join motivational speaker Gia Claire Kubik as she teaches you how create authentic relationships where you can be your true self. Gia will also address the art of our language in creating powerful relationships and knowing when to walk away from a toxic person.

Let’s Face It!

Presenter: Jocelyn Rials Reaves

Learn to do at-home facial treatments that are guaranteed to have your skin glowing on a budget. Jocelyn will share the latest and most cost-effective methods that will have you feeling like “Wonder Woman” with products from your own pantry!

Yes, I Know that Feeling; Creating You, Your Own Superhero

Presenter: Antonia Ruppert, Antonia Ruppert Fine Art

How do you maintain your inspiration when you, AKA Ms. Wonder Woman, gets tripped up by domestic violence, mental health issues, poverty, widowhood or brokenness? Using images and stories from 35 new paintings created about ordinary women, Antonia will share these women’s powerful stories of overcoming– including her own. Get insight to make your own life’s canvas beautiful and vibrant – create you, your own superhero.

Panel Discussion: Women in Leadership

Panelists: Sharon Johnson (National Council of Jewish Women- South Cook Section); Jacqueline Rivera (Clerk, Thornton Township); Dr. Lynette Stokes (Vice President, Academic Services, South Suburban College); Jennifer Stoner (J. Stoner Marketing)

Moderator: Nancy Burrows, South Suburban College

A famous quote says that leaders are made, not born. If this is the case, there is hope for all of us! Come hear from our panel of wonderful leaders about their journey to leadership—the challenges they faced to make them strong leaders, the opportunities they took advantage of, and the lessons they learned along the way. You will come away inspired by these excellent role models.



Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow! (Line Dancing)

Presenter: Dawn Avery, Dancin Deeva

She’s baaack!! Dawn the Dancin’ Deeva will have you up on your feet, line-dancing those calories away and having fun while doing it! No expertise required, just let the music lift you up. Be prepared to be energized!

Striving to Be Disease Free

Presenter: Dr. Kara Davis, Metro South Medical Center

A Superhero takes charge of her life, including her health. The reality is that some of the more common illnesses affecting women can be controlled–and sometimes entirely prevented–through following a lifestyle that promotes wellness. This workshop will focus on strategies to help participants optimize their health and combat disease.

Brilliant, Vibrant YOU!

Presenter: Erin Dubich, Erin Dubich Nutrition

You receive knowledge, guidance and advice from others but not everything applies to you. Not everything is relevant to your story, your body, your desires and your goals. You become the most vibrant version of you when you tap into your inner brilliance to make decisions. In this session, Erin will help you determine when, how, and what to eat; what exercise and nourishment is best for you and how to “listen to your body.” Finally, you’ll learn how to live in more alignment with your unique desires by prioritizing your life better.

Five Simple Self-Care Techniques

Presenter: Sabrina Schottenhamel, Be Touched Massage

As a massage therapist, Sabrina preaches the importance of self-care and stress relief. This session will teach you simple self-massage techniques, guide you through a relaxing meditation and other meditation options and teach you rejuvenating breathing techniques.


Seven Essential Components to Build Your Superhero Brand

Presenter: Kimberly Buchanan, The Buchanan Group

Often, professional women forget that they are building a professional brand in the workplace. Fortune-500 Communications Expert, Kimberly Buchanan, answers seven essential branding questions and guides participants through a self-study workbook to understand your superpowers and leverage them to create your professional brands. You will leave this presentation with a clear idea of what makes you a superhero, who needs your superpowers now, and how to reach them with a clear message.

SSC’s Non-Traditional & STEM Careers for Women

Presenters: Patrice Burton, SSC Dean of Student Services & Dr. Anna Helwig, SSC Dean of STEM

Are you interested in a non-traditional career such as welding, building construction, truck driving or a STEM career (science, technology, engineering and math)? In this session, you will learn about long-term and short-term career paths that pay well and are rewarding. Free classes, scholarships and financial assistance will be discussed also.

Estate Planning for Women

Presenter: Sonia D. Coleman, Attorney at Law

A superhero makes a commitment to understanding her finances and preparing for the future, no matter what age she is. In this informative session, Attorney Sonia Coleman will provide you tools to begin the process. She will review important elements of estate planning, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Sonia will also provide tips to avoid common mistakes made in financial planning.

Run Your Own Business, On Your Own Terms, On Your Own Time

Presenter: Bryn Reese, Founder, Bryn Reese Fine China

Are you exploring ways to boost your current income, make a career transition or create retirement income by owning your own business on your terms? Come learn about ins and outs and risks of different business strategies that will guide your path to starting your own business.

Dress for Success Fashion Show

Presenter: Rhonda Browne

Back by popular demand, join us for our second fashion show where you’ll see the latest fashion trends from local retailors! Many different styles will be showcased with emphasis on transforming and recycling articles of clothing, putting together outfits that get you noticed and connecting you with area retailors that offer competitive pricing and the latest styles.

Panel Discussion: Turning Passions Into Profits

Panelists: Cindy Doorn-Nylen (Docter’s Interior Plantscaping); Deborah Gary (Paint on Me, Inc.); Kyrin Hobson (Fine Arts); Gwendolyn Sterk (Sterk Family Law Group); Rachel O. Williams (Paige & Paxton)

Moderator: Blevian Moore, Executive Director, South Holland Business Association

Is it possible to turn your hobbies into a money-making venture? The ladies on this panel did just that and have experienced tremendous successes. Get the information you need to do the same during this powerhouse panel discussion!