Keynote Speakers


Dee Dee Raap

Dee Dee Raap is an author, motivational speaker and customer service expert with 25 years of experience working in media, travel, banking and marketing. Dee Dee founded JourneyWorks, a speaking and business consulting firm, in 1996, and since then, has spoken to audiences across America and in Canada on service, leadership, life balance and values. 

Dee Dee’s passion is helping people find and live the values that help them excel personally and professionally—what she calls “Making the Journey Great.” She is passionate about helping organizations create values-based cultures that build loyalty with customers and employees.  She is the author of JourneyWords: 52 Strategies to Achieve Great Service; Dear Mom: Remembering, Celebrating, Healing; Find Your Pink Flamingos; and her brand new Dear Mom Journal.  She blogs on service leadership and offers free ezines and ebooks via her web site,

Dee Dee is a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member of the National Speakers Association.  She has served on boards for non-profit organizations, including two libraries, a symphony, chamber, United Way and Special Olympics.  Her biggest accomplishment?  Being a mom and being called “Gumma” by the world’s two greatest grandkids.  She grew up on a farm in northeastern South Dakota and now lives in Sioux Falls.















Dr.Barbara Looney

Dr. Barbara Looney is an assistant professor at the BHSU School of Business, where she teaches Managerial Communications. She is also Program Coordinator for the MBA Program and co-advises the BHSU Enactus Team. Dr. Looney has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Florida, a Master’s in English from Rutgers University, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from BHSU. She also holds paralegal certification from the University of Maryland. Prior to her collegiate academic career, Dr. Looney worked in private industry as a Customer Service Representative for the Sheraton Hotel Corporation in Boston, as a Congressional staff assistant in Washington, D.C., as a corporate paralegal for law firms in Washington, D.C. and Charlotte, NC, and as the assistant manager of a bar supply company in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  For three years in Copenhagen, Denmark, she held leadership positions with both the American Women’s Club and International Women’s Group, for whom she organized events and projects that benefited women from around the globe. 



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Women's Business Conference

March 9, 2018

Best Western Ramkota Hotel

8:00 a.m. Registration/Business Showcase

9:00 a.m. Welcome & IntroductionsMichelle Kane, Director, SD CEO

9:05 a.m. Welcome to Aberdeen, Mayor of Aberdeen, Mike Levsen 

9:10 a.m. Welcome & Remarks, Dr. Tim Downs, President, Northern State University

9:15 a.m. Keynote:“Connections, Choices and Character | Three key strategies to make your Leadership Journey Great!” Dee Dee Raap Author - Speaker - Consultant

10:15 a.m. Break: Business Showcase

10:45 a.m. Women Empowering Women 

  •  Kae McNeil, US Bank Assistant Vice President, Relationship Manager - Moderator
  • Kristen Henderson, Midwest Ag and Veterinary Service/Dakota Vet Clinic, President and CEO
  • Ashley Erickson, Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center, CEO
  • Judy Stulken, Agtegra, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development

11:45 a.m. “Squalls and Gales: Weathering Change” Dr. Bobbi Looney, BHSU School of Business Assistant Professor, Management

12:30 p.m. Lunch/Business Showcase 

1:15 p.m. Entrepreneurial Spirit –Heather Beaner, Moderator  

  • Candace Briscoe – Profiling Beauty
  • Julie Fischbach – Mainstream Boutique
  • Emily Heintzman – Double Duty Movers and Storage
  • Dr. Rebecca Rich – Aberdeen Hearing and Tinnitus
  • Jennifer Deutsch – Next Generation Performance Center  

2:00 p.m. Break: Business Showcase

2:15 p.m. “Best Practices”, Dee Dee Raap

3:00 p.m. Closing /Door Prizes

Women Empowering Women Panel

Kae McNeil

Kae McNeil
US Bank 



Kae is graduate of South Dakota State University, a SCORE volunteer who mentors new and existing businesses and is on the Board of Directors for the SCORE branch in Aberdeen.  This SCORE branch began its formation in 2003 with interest from the local Chamber of Commerce, Development Corporation and Small Business Development Center. 

Kae has volunteer experience on community boards such as Aberdeen Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce, NSU Foundation,  Education Assistance Corporation, South Dakota Education Access Foundation and Avera St. Luke’s Home/Hospice to name a few.  Kae has previous job experience with SD Job Service, Mutual of Omaha-Claims Center and Avera St. Luke’s.  Since 2003 Kae works at US Bank as an Assistant Vice President in Business & Ag Banking

Judy Stulken

Judy Stulken

Judy Stulken is the SVP, Organizational and Member Development for Agtegra Cooperative. Judy has been with the cooperative since 2008 and previously worked at Student Loan Finance Corporation as the Assistant Vice President, Human Resources. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from Moorhead State University and Master of Science degree in business management from Black Hills State University. She is a certified senior professional in human resources and a SHRM senior certified professional.

Kristen Henderson

Kristen Henderson 
Midwest Ag and Veterinary Service / Dakota Vet Clinic

Kristen is co-owner and general manager of Midwest Ag & Veterinary Service and currently lives in Watertown with her husband, Brooks, and two young children. She holds master’s degrees in engineering and business. Prior to joining Midwest in 2016, Kristen worked in Research and Development for a Fortune 500 medical device company for nearly 10 years in various engineering and management roles, including an international assignment in Costa Rica. Since Kristen joined the management team at Midwest, the company has expanded from strictly animal health retail to offering veterinary services, integrating three clinics into its mix in less than two years. Outside of work, Kristen serves on the board of the Watertown Area Community Foundation, is a member of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee, the Watertown Kiwanis Club, Immaculate Conception Church, and enjoys golfing and playing viola with a local string quartet.

Ashley Erikson

Ashley Erickson
Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center

 Ashley became the Executive Director ofSanford Aberdeen, Aberdeen, SD in January 2015. Before joining Sanford, Ashley served as CEO at North Valley Health Center, Warren, MN since 2012, where she led the construction of a new, replacement facility. She has served in various administrative roles throughout her career in both non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Ashley received her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She received her Master’s Degree in Business Administration in addition to receiving a International Health Care Management certificate from the University of Colorado, Denver, CO. 

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Heather Beaner

Lieutenant Colonel Heather Beaner 
U.S. Air Force Lawyer and Farmer

Lieutenant Colonel Heather Beaner is a Reserve Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force and a farmer near Mellette in northeastern South Dakota.  After serving as a military attorney on active duty for 12 years, she transferred to the Reserves in 2011 and moved home to take over her father’s 2,300 acre farming operation.  While her husband has a full-time non-farm job in town, Heather manages the corn and soybean farm, conducts the input buying and grain marketing, does all the planting and harvesting, and tries to keep up with their 3-year-old son.  She is also an active volunteer, including serving on the board of directors at the regional domestic violence shelter, delegate for the local grain cooperative, American Legion and Auxiliary leadership, and her church worship coordinator.

Rebecca Rich

Dr. Rebecca Rich
Aberdeen Hearing & Tinnitus Center

Rebecca Rich, Doctor of Audiology/Speech Language Pathologist Rebecca Rich opened her audiology practice in 2005 after receiving her Master's degree in Audiology from the University of South Dakota. While running her practice, she furthered her education by receiving her Doctor of Audiology from Salus University in 2009. Dr Rich initially received her Master's degree in 2002 from the University of North Dakota in Speech-Language Pathology and worked for 3 years as a Speech Pathologist for a school district, rehab unit and Birth to 3 program prior to pursuing her Master's degree in Audiology.

Emily Heitman

Emily Heintman
Double Duty Portable Storage and Movers, Inc.

Emily Heintzman is the Founder and President of Double Duty Portable Storage and Movers, INC AKA Double Duty Movers and Portable Storage. She first fell in love with cargo containers as a child on a military Navel Ship during her fathers overseas tour in the military. She later noticed the growth of the container industry among the states and planted her own portable storage business on the virgin soil of Aberdeen, South Dakota. Seven years later, Double Duty is a company of marvelous feats through Emily’s leadership, gaining certifications, equipment for all the needs of its customers through the three branches Portable Storage Rentals, Moving services, Containers sales. In 2017, Emily accepted Enterprise Award through(AMSA) American Moving and Storage Association with her family and now Emily is featured as an Industry Leader in Dispatch, the National Portable Storage magazine. Starting as a simple way to support her family into something her children could one day inherit was always a dream for Emily, and a support she wishes to give to all families across the nation in need of a Pro-Moving team and a cargo container.

Julie Fischbach

Julie Fischbach
Mainstream Boutique of Aberdeen

Julie was born in Faulkton, SD, attended Faulkton Grade & High School, and graduated from Northern State University with a Business Management Degree. She is married to Greg Fischbach who has been a self-employed farmer since 1997. They have twin daughters, Keeley & Ashley Fischbach, who are juniors at Warner High School – where they currently live. Julie has been working since she was in the 6th grade. She worked in Corporate American for 20-some years in retail, banking, and pharmaceuticals. In 2014 Julie opened Mainstream Boutique of Aberdeen. Another location was opened in Sioux Falls East in 2015, then another in Brookings this last year. She is currently a fellow with the Dakota Resources (Dakota Rising) Program and is serving her 2nd term with the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce. Julie’s free time consists of her daughters’ sporting events, reading self-help / motivational books, and researching new ways to market business. She would love to be a small business coach someday.

Jennifer Deutsch

Jennifer Deutsch
Next Generation Performance Center

I started my love for gymnastics as a HS gymnast for Britton, SD from 1991-1996. After graduating HS I went to college at Southwest State University in Marshall, MN. I was the Marshall High School assistant gymnastics coach from 1996-2000. During this time I was fortunate to go on a trip July 1998 to Budapest, Hungary. There I attended gymnastics facilities and met Henrietta Onodi who was a 1992 Olympic Gold and Silver medalist on Vault and Floor for Hungary. This experience was once in a life time and started my drive to continue to be involved in the sport of gymnastics and operate my own gym some day. After graduating college with an Art Education degree I moved to Aberdeen, SD and became an Art teacher at Aberdeen Central High School where I taught for 12 years. I found out there was a youth program called the Aberdeen Gymnastics Association (AGA). I became the AGA Director in 2001. I soon found myself drawn back to the HS level gymnasts. I became an assistant coach for CHS in 2001 and took over for the Varsity gymnastics team in 2003. I chose to leave teaching in 2012 and coaching HS gymnastics in 2014 to pursue my dream to own a gymnastics facility. I continued to focus on the AGA youth program until August of 2015. I made the decision to leave the AGA to open the Next Generation Performance Center. NGPC provides gymnastics instruction to ages 3-12, Next Ninja boys class, open gyms for ages 18 months - 12, birthday parties and a safe, fun space for other groups to come explore! The current location in the Aberdeen Mall is a stepping stone for hopefully a larger facility that will provide competitive gymnastics, cheer and dance, along with many other fitness programs for Aberdeen and the surrounding area! My wonderful, supportive husband, Aaron, and I have two children who love to have fun in the Next Generation Performance Center!

Candace Briscoe

Candace Briscoe
Profiling Beauty

Candace Briscoe graduated from Northern State University with a BS in Biology, Chemistry and Computer Science. In 2004, She created Profiling Beauty that featured natural cosmetics and body care products. In 2006, She began formulating skin care for people considered hypersensitive and unable to take perfumes, contaminants, essential oils and preservatives. In 2010, in response to growing regulations with regard for formulating skin care, her laboratory was created in a building that now houses Profiling Beauty. In 2012, a store featuring products that meet the strictest guidelines in the industry was opened allowing local residents access to personal care products free of harmful chemicals like acrylates, Quaternium, Sodium Benzoate, Glycols, Parabens, Sulfates, Carbomer, PEG’s, Nickel contamination and much more. A room with no exterior walls presented a wonderful opportunity to provide Hot Yoga to Aberdeen, with Candace going through 200RYT training in Colorado at Core Power. Since that time she has trained with big names in Yoga like Baron Baptiste and Kiersten Mooeny for Athletes Yoga, Judith Lasseter and Bo Forbes for Restorative Yoga, Aadil Palkhivala and Darma Mittra for Pranayama Yoga, and Jane Austin for Prenatal Yoga. With additional training in courses in Tibetan Yoga, Anti-aging Yoga, Qi Gong Basics, Thai Massage, Kids Yoga, and Ayurvedic Basic Principles –she has tried to pull from many fields to offer the most for the customers and pass knowledge to an amazing set of Yoga instructors. The three businesses have melded together into a Health and Wellness center that focuses on natural based healing and self care with a deep respect for scientific method and principles.