Maher Grannis Bios

WBC 2017 Sponsor Logos


Akela Spa


BHSU School of Business

Black Hills Advocate

Black Hills Energy ASPIRE

Black Hills Federal Credit Union

Black Hills Lifestyle Magazine

Black Hills Pioneer

Cambria Hotel & Suites/MainStay Suites

Coreen Lerwick State Farm Insurance

Cool Concepts Travel

Dakota Business Center

Dot Marketing and Design LLC

Edward Jones

First Interstate Bank

Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons

Great Western Bank

HealthSource of Spearfish

Honey & Lace

Jorgensen Realty

Ketel Thorstenson

Kristina Barker Photography



Lorie Eichert, Empowerment Coach



Pioneer Bank and Trust

Project Solutions Inc. / SDDOT DBE

Regional Health

Riddle's Jewlery


SDSU Extension Community Vitality

Shaviq Studio & Gallery

Small Business Administration

The HomeSlice Group


Vigilant Business Solutions

OctFlyer_Sponors copy

Thank you to Akela Spa and The Lodge at Deadwood for providing our grand prizes!

Akela Spa Grand Prize ($125 Value)

30-minute Signature Powerlift Facial, 30-minute Mindful Pedicure, and 1 hour in the Akela garden

The Lodge at Deadwood Grand Prize ($290 Value)

Deluxe Accommodations and a gift basket with a shirt from The Lodge gift shop, wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and chubby chipmunk chocolates.

8th Annual Women's Business Conference

October 13, 2017

The Lodge in Deadwood

7:30-8:30        Registration   

8:30                Welcome & Introductions: Helen Merriman, Director, SD CEO

8:45-10:15      “Intentionally Shaping Your Reputation” Cindy Maher and Carol Grannis, Leading Edge Coaching and Development

 10:15-10:45    Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors

10:45-11:30     Entrepreneurial Spirit Facilitator: Tara Wilcox, Director of Engagement & Events, Black Hill Works

11:30-11:50     Celebration of 2017 Women in Leadership Graduates

11:50-12:25     Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors 

12:25-1:15       Lunch/Networking

 1:15-1:45        Think BIG

                        Sandy Burns, Project Solutions, 2017 graduate Goldman Sachs 10K

 1:45-2:15        Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors

 2:15-3:45        Receiving Feedback with Grace

                        Cindy Maher and Carol Grannis, Leading Edge Coaching and Development

 4:05                Closing /Door Prizes

Social Immediately following conference  

Hosted by the 2017 Women in Leadership Graduates

7th Annual Women's Business Conference

October 21, 2016

The Lodge at Deadwood

Keynote Speaker

Maria Higgins


People Development Expert, Maria Higgins

has been inspiring and empowering audiences, nationally and internationally, through her practical and entertaining presentations that focus on personal and professional development for decades.

Maria initially spent over a decade in unfulfilled administrative support jobs because of her paralyzing fear, but Maria knew there was more purpose for her life. She confronted her fears, re-wrote the script for her life and began her journey of developing people in 1997 as an IT Technical Trainer with the American Cancer Society. She never thought she would have a career standing in front of people because of her shyness but she pressed forward and soon received her Certified Technical Trainer certification in 2001 and began a progressive career as a corporate trainer. Maria traveled all over the United States and Canada for Coca-Cola to implement software training and change management activities. She has developed all levels of people from truck drivers to executive leaders. Her focus was not only on software applications but communication skills, effective coaching for leaders, customer service, presentation skills and team building for large and small corporations.

In 2007, Maria decided to use her skills and experience as a corporate trainer to form Clear Steps Group, Inc.. Through her company, she develops training programs, seminars, and self-help products to continue to develop people. She has also partnered with National Seminars Training and Prosell, Inc. to facilitate professional training programs for their programs.

Maria is also an authorized partner for Everything DiSC which focuses on identifying the strengths and opportunities of personality types in the workplace.  Maria’s years of training and development, interaction with a diversity of people, conflict management, and sheer passion to see people perform to their best has made her a valuable asset to many organizations.

Maria is also a professional speaker and can be found giving inspirational and motivational presentations to large and small audiences. She has been a keynote speaker and breakout session speaker for major annual conferences. Her presentations were so well-received that she has been asked back on several occasions.

She also presents workshops and presentations from her book, “Grab Fear By the Neck”, where she takes her audience on the journey of confronting and managing life-paralyzing fears – a journey she has personally mastered.

Maria continues to dedicate her life to providing programs and products to develop people. Her ultimate vision is to open a retreat center in the Caribbean to offer a place for people to come for a total development experience along with relaxation and renewal.

7th Annual Women’s Business Conference

October 21, 2016

The Lodge in Deadwood

8:00 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 Welcome & Introductions (Helen Merriman, Director, SD CEO)
9:10-10:25 “Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace” (Maria Higgins, Clear Steps Group, Inc.)
10:25-11:00 Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors 
11:00-11:45 Entrepreneurial Spirit! (Facilitator: Dr. Helen Usera, President, Aspiring Business Consulting)
11:45-12:05 Celebration of 2016 Women in Leadership Graduates 
12:05-12:25 Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors 
12:25-1:15 Lunch/Networking 
1:15-1:25 Energy Renewal
1:25-2:40 “The Transitional Train” (Maria Higgins, Clear Steps Group, Inc.) 
2:40-3:00 Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors 
3:00-3:45 Closing Speaker (Dr. Helen Usera, President of Aspiring Business Consulting)
3:45 Closing/Door Prizes
Social Immediately following conference until 5:00 pm (Hosted by the 2016 Women in Leadership Graduates)

Closing Speaker

Dr. Helen Usera the owner and president of Aspiring Business Consulting, a consulting company focused on leadership development and organizational development. She is a certified John Maxwell Team coach and mentor and is also certified with Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Helen received a Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education from Pittsburg State University; a Master’s of Science, Special Education from Pittsburg State University; and a Doctorate of Education, Educational Administration from the University of Kansas. She currently serves on the boards of Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Black Hills Leadership Development, Buffalo Gals and Summers Nights. She was selected to serve as a civic leader for the Air Force Global Strike Command.

WBC 2016 Sponsor Logos (9.15.16)

2016 Exhibitor Showcase

Akela Spa
AV Productions
BHSU School of Business
Black Hills Energy
Black Hills Lifestyle Magazine
Black Hills Travel
Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort and SpringHills Suites
Casey Peterson & Associates Ltd.
Clear Steps Group, Inc.
Dakota Business Center
Faux Creations
First Interstate Bank
GenPro Energy Solutions
Gold Dust Hotel & Casino
Great Western Bank
HealthSource Chiropractic of Spearfish
Ketel Thorstenson, LLC.
Lorie Eichert, Empowerment Coach
Lucy's Nearly New Shoppe
LuLa Roe
Main Street Square
Mary Kay
Northwestern Mutual
Pioneer Bank and Trust
Prioricare Staffing Solutions
Project Solutions
Regional Health
Shaviq Studio & Gallery
Shawn Trupe, Ind. Director, Thirty-One Gifts
Skin Solutions Studio
Small Business Innovation Research
State Farm Insurance
TDG Communications
Visitor Publishing
Workforce Diversity Network

Thank you to Akela Spa and The Lodge at Deadwood for providing our grand prizes!

Akela Spa Grand Prize ($125 Value)

30 minute Signature Powerlift Facial, 30 minute Mindful Pedicure, and 1 hour in the Akela garden

The Lodge at Deadwood Grand Prize ($290 Value)

Deluxe Accommodations and a gift basket with a shirt from The Lodge gift shop, wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and chubby chipmunk chocolates.

Thank you for attending the 6th Annual "SD CEO Women's Business Conference"!

WBC 2015 Flyer

Thank you for attending the 5th Annual "SD CEO Women's Business Conference"!

Thank you for attending the 4th Annual "SD CEO Women's Business Conference"!

Women's Business Conference 2013

Thank you for attending the 3rd Annual "SD CEO Women's Business Conference"!

High Heels to High Places Flyer 2012

Thank you for attending the SD CEO Women's Business Conference!

Quote on the flyer: From high heels to high places. It features an image of one high heel with a suitcase behind it. Rough start to these conferences if you ask me.

Thank you for attending the 2nd Annual "SD CEO Women's Business Conference"!

Highlights from 2011's 'From High Heels to High Places'

Meet Our Entrepreneurial Speakers


Cadey Reisner

 Cadey Reisner 

Cadey Reisner Weddings

 Cadey Reisner is a wife, mom, entrepreneur and girl boss. She has successfully owned and operated Cadey Reisner Weddings for over 10 years, photographing over 30 weddings a year. Cadey has also received the “Best of Weddings” award by The Knot Magazine four years in a row and her work has been nationally published. Cadey advocates for girl bosses alike and is the keeper of all things real and authentic.

Shannon Riter Osborn

Shannon Riter Osborn 

RO Investigation and Research

 Shannon Riter Osborn is a dedicated advocate in our legal system. After 15 years with the Division of Criminal Investigation, she founded RO Investigation and Research, LLC and conducts criminal defense investigations for state and federal defendants. She furthers her commitment through serving monthly as a board member of the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles. Shannon finds tremendous purpose through passionately assisting in her clients’ defense, devoting time for meetings with inmates and pardon applicants, and supporting other women entrepreneurs and leaders. 

JuliaAnna Stern JuliAnna Stern 

Still Massage & Yoga Studio

 JuliAnna Stern is a hands-on, passionate entrepreneur. She has run her own massage therapy business in the small community of Webster, SD for  nearly eight years. This busy mom added the title of yoga instructor in April of 2018 and redesigned her space into Webster’s first yoga studio,  which is thriving, having yoga students ranging from four years old to 85 years old. JuliAnna has a heart to help her clients feel better both physically and emotionally. She has always envisioned great things for her community including female entrepreneurship, special retail events and pushing to offer bigger, better amenities for a smaller community. JuliAnna received the 2018 Aberdeen American News Enterprising Women in  Business award this year. 

Tyneal Thorp

 Tyneal Thorp

 All In One Event CenterAll In One Salon

Tyneal Thorp is a ‘one of a kind’ type of gal! Her optimistic visions of the future, nourish her entrepreneurial spirit, as she endlessly, gives each week her ‘all.’ She owns “All In One ‘Salon & Spa’” for 12 years now and is an active cosmetologist and massage therapist. Four years ago, she established “All In One ‘Event Center’” and enjoys providing this venue in the Black Hills along with catering services. Rest assured, this will not be all she does in the near future. There’s many more ideas and dreams to pursue for this hard-working enthusiast!

Emily Wheeler Emily Wheeler

 Wheeler Event Management

 Emily Wheeler started Wheeler Event Management, which produces the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon events, Run Crazy Horse Events, and the Black Hills Back 40 Mountain Bike Race in 2009.  The events bring approximately 4500 participants to the Black Hills annually.  Emily has been able to mix her passion for distance running,  volunteerism, trail advocacy, and entrepreneurial spirit into her perfect career. 


Tara Wilcox Tara Wilcox

Black Hills Works  

 Tara Wilcox has a passion for non-profit leadership and community collaboration.  With this motivation, she aims to help people discover their purpose, develop rapport, and feel empowered to act in ways that move themselves and our community forward.  She has served Black Hills Works for over 20 years and is currently the Director of Engagement & Events.  She is a graduate of Black Hills State University, National Leadership Institute, Leadership Rapid City, and SDCEO Women in Leadership.  Her other affiliations include the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Black Hills Area Council Cub Scouts, Our Camp Inc., and Toastmasters International.   


WBC 2018 Sponsor Logos-Recovered



  • Akela Spa
  • BankWest
  • BHSU School of Business
  • Black Hills Energy
  • Black Stone Lodge
  • Booth Society Inc.
  • EASW
  • Edward Jones
  • First Interstate Bank 
  • GenPro Energy Solutions
  • Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons
  • Green Oven Bakery & Crepe Cafe
  • HealthSource Chiropractic
  • HighMark Credit Union 
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Joyfully Bloomed Boutique
  • Ketel Thorstenson
  • Kristina Baker Photography
  • Kitchen & Bath Showcase
  • Lenores
  • Living Beyond Breast Cancer
  • Lorie Eichert Empowerment Studios
  • LuLaRoe
  • National Mutual Benefit
  • Norwex
  • Organo Gold
  • Paparazzi Accessories
  • Pioneer Bank and Trust
  • Project Solutions/ SDDOT
  • Riddle's Jewerly
  • Rose Group International
  • Rushmore Mall
  • Shaviq Design
  • Scheels
  • SDSU Extension Community Vitality
  • Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce
  • The OWN
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Ventana

Exhibitor Information:

  • Set-up - Thursday, October 18th from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM OR Friday, October 19 th from 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
  • Event Time: Doors open at 8:00 AM. The event is from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM.
  • Exhibitor tables are 6’ with linens and skirting.
  • Cost: $200 (booth with one event registration) or $320 (booth with two event registrations)


9th Annual Women's Business Conference Friday, 

October 19, 2018 

The Lodge at Deadwood

The 9th Annual Women’s Business Conference will be held at The Lodge at Deadwood on Friday, October 19, 2018.

This conference is a way to bring together women from across the state for a day filled with professional development and networking opportunities. The focus of the 2018 Women’s Business Conference is leading from the inside out. This conference will empower you, regardless of your role within your organization, to lead from where you are.

SD CEO believes successful individuals create successful businesses. Whether you are a frontline employee, a CEO or a business owner, this event will provide inspiration and fresh ideas to propel you and your company to the next level.

9TH Annual Women’s Business Conference

October 19, 2018

The Lodge in Deadwood


8:00-9:00      Registration - Business Showcase Opens

9:00              Welcome & Introductions: Michelle Kane, Director, SD CEO

9:15-10:45    “Taking Action:How to be your own Superhero” - Krystal Covington, Social Enterprise Expert & TEDx Presenter

10:45-11:15  Break: Sponsored by Rose Group International   Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors

11:15-12:00  Entrepreneurial Spirit – South Dakota Success Stories   

Facilitator: Tara Wilcox, Director of Engagement & Events, Black Hills Works Foundation

Speakers: Shannon Riter Osborn, RO Investigation and Research, LLC

   Emily Wheeler, Wheeler Event Management

JuliAnna Stern, Still Massage Therapy & Yoga Studio

Cadey Reisner, Cadey Reisner Weddings

Tyneal Thorp, All In One Salon; All In One Event Center

12:00-12:30  Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors –Lunch Set up

12:30-1:05    Lunch/Networking

1:05-1:25      2018 Women In Leadership: Focus on the Future

1:25-2:10      “The Self-Care Secret to a Creative and Productive Life”-Krystal Covington, Social Enterprise Expert & TEDx Presenter

2:10-2:30      Break: Business Showcase/Visit Exhibitors Gather Winners

2:30-3:00      A Conversation between Renegades about Re inventing, Rebranding and Re dreaming Panel -Amy Jo Martin, New York Times Best Selling Author,” Renegades Write the Rules” and Podcaster, “Why Not Now?” and Emily Costopoulos, Emily Costopoulos Photography & Design and Podcaster, “Stand To Serve”

3:00-3:45   "Empowerment in the Workplace: Actively Celebrating our Success”- Krystal Covington, Social Enterprise Expert & TEDx Presenter

3:45             Closing /Door Prizes


Social Immediately following conference


Grand Prize ($490 value)

2018 Women’s Business Conference

Akela Spa ($200 value)

30 minute Signature Power Lift Mini Facial

30 minute Mindful Pedicure

Haircut with Style

2 full day passes to the Akela Garden


The Lodge at Deadwood ($290 value)

Deluxe accommodations and a gift basket with a shirt from The Lodge gift shop, a bottle of wine, and Chubby Chipmunk Chocolates


 Get ready to power up and take action with keynote speaker, Krystal Covington, Social   Enterprise Expert & TEDx Presenter as she weaves in stories, tips and strategies to be more influential and powerful in moments that matter in the workplace and life.

 Krystal's topics include:


 The key to success in any moment is taking action even when it’s hard. Discover why  overcoming discomfort and taking action are the real keys to success and tactics for being  more influential and powerful in the moments that matter.


 We often praise others for being “movers and shakers,” constantly pounding the pavement  to forward their goals, but science is finding that the true movement makers are often those who know the value of slowing down, creating moments of clarity, and caring for their own well-being and health. Learn to become more creative and productive in work and life by prioritizing self-care and  personal wellness.


 Women are often trained to be modest and to celebrate team accomplishments over personal wins. Learning to self-promote without sounding like we’re shamelessly bragging is a skill  that can lead to financial growth and  new business opportunities. Celebrating our success also inspires other women to follow in our footsteps and create new accomplishments in their own path as well.


 Krystal Covington is the CEO and Founder of Women of Denver, a social enterprise membership organization with over 1,000 members hosting over 50 events per year. She creates spaces for women to increase their business acumen, sharpen their leadership skills  and connect with other high-achieving women.


WBC 2019 Sponsors