SPARK! Leadership Conference

Educating and encouraging the leader in each of us

This conference offers a fresh take on leadership development to bright, dynamic professionals from all industries across New York State and beyond. Our speakers are all top-notch professionals, and the slate of programming seeks to engage, encourage, and educate rising leaders, veteran leaders, and the leader in each of us! The 2017 SPARK! Leadership Conference will be held March 7 - 8, 2017 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. Registration closes February 24, 2017. Continue scrolling to learn about each of our breakout sessions and respective presenters.

Download the Registration Form CLICK HERE


Attendee Testimonials
2016 attendee Cathy Hendrickson from Image Packaging shares, "The SPARK! Leadership Conference was the most exceptional leadership conference I have attended in this area. The speakers were amazing and came to us with a variety of topics and passions. A nice touch to this conference was that we were together as a whole group for some speakers, for others, we were able to pick the speaker that fit us, that fit our businesses. The environment of the venue at the Harbor Hotel is comfortable and accommodating and the perfect setting for an event such as this.  If you haven’t signed up for the SPARK! Leadership Conference yet, I encourage you to do so today, you will be glad you did!"
2016 attendee Paul Sydlansky of Lake Road Advisors shares, "The 2016 SPARK Conference was beneficial to me on multiple fronts. First, it allowed me the opportunity to learn management and leadership techniques from some of our local business leaders.  Second, and more importantly, it provided the opportunity to connect and network with these same leaders in a more intimate setting than you find at most conferences."
2016 attendee Holly Baker of the Arc of Schuyler shares, "The SPARK Leadership Conference was an excellent professional development experience! The speakers were knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and engaging. The conference was also an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals in the area who I otherwise may not have met. I walked away with great information and advice that I’ve been able to apply in my work."


As always, feel free to give us a call with any questions: 607-535-4300.

distinguished speakers


Dick Radatz
Keynote: DREAM BIG!
Dick Radatz, Commissioner
North Woods League
Session Information:
My session will hopefully inspire the audience to believe that ideas can germinate, and bloom into something unimaginable.  I hope it will be interactive with Q & A following.
To learn more about Dick Radatz, please click here.
Dan Mori
Breakout Session 1A: Strength-Based Leadership
Dan Mori, President
Employment Solutions
Session Information:
Strength Based Leadership is the premise that people and organizations are better suited to grow and develop by focusing on enhancing their strengths rather than fixing their weaknesses.  This session will show you why and how organizations can realize they type of success that sets them apart from their competition by focusing on the strengths of their people.  Dan Mori will share tools and resources to help you identify the strengths of your organization, and teach you how to create a culture of growing the strengths of your people.  After attending this session, as a leader, you will be able to grow your people appropriately, ultimately growing your organization to be among the best in your industry. 
To learn more about Dan Mori, please click here.
Mike McDonald
Breakout Session 1B: A Conversation on Managing Change
Mike McDonald
Retired Quality Facilitator
Session Information:
This session provides a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level…What is ‘Change’ and how to more effectively manage it to completion will also be covered in the session. Types of changes will be discussed along with the reasons why people resist change.
To learn more about Mike McDonald, please click here.
Stephen Campbell
Lunch - Day 1: It's Not How Many Times You Fall Down...
Stephen Campbell, Wealth Advisor
The Eurillo Campbell Group

Session Information:

When you win in life no one asks how many games you lost along the way. People only care about the outcomes and results. Often times we don’t talk about defeat, setbacks or discouragements in life. It’s the same in business, yet building a business is not easy. Any one that has been in business for any length of time knows there are definitely a lot of losses along the way. And that’s ok! It means you’re human and just like the rest of us.
My business really began to grow when I started letting people in to my world and shared my frustrations, losses and concerns with them. People began to open up about their own struggles. It was and still is a beautiful thing!  There is something to being open, honest, raw and transparent with others. It’s actually very freeing. Many times in business we feel we must have it all together and look the part. Being open and honest made me realize I was not alone and was not the only one who was struggling. There is power in being relatable; there is power in being vulnerable. But you must be selective as to who you let in to see what’s behind the curtain.
To learn more about Stephen Campbell, please click here.
Alan Rae
It's Not How Many Times You Fall Down...
Alan Rae, Executive Director
Session Information:
Fear of failure cripples many would be entrepreneurs. We’ll explore the fail fast, fail small idea as well as ideas to bounce back if and when unforeseen circumstances take your venture down. This will be an interactive workshop via three successful business leaders!
To learn more about Alan Rae, please click here.
Dick Radatz
It's Not How Many Times You Fall Down...
Dick Radatz, Commissioner
Northwoods League
To learn more about Dick Radatz, please click here.
Chuck Crusha
Breakout Session 2A: Crucial Conversations
Chuck Crusha, Nurse Manager
Robert Packer Hospital
Session Information:
What is Conflict? How do we deal with conflict?  How conflict can be constructive. Conflict is a normal part of work life.  We will learn the tools to deal with conflict and resolve it. What is a crucial conversation?  How can we have a crucial conversation when the stakes are high and emotions run strong? We will learn about crucial conversations and the tools needed to manage and resolve them. In this session we will spend time learning about what conflict resolution and crucial conversations are.
To learn more about Chuck Crusha, please click here.
Randi Hewit
Breakout Session 2B: Philanthropy Means Loving People - Not Bargain Shopping
Randi Hewit, President
Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes
Session Information:
People spend a lot of time talking about efficiency, waste, and fraud in the charitable sector. But these issues are not only problematic in a tiny fraction of nonprofit organizations, they take the focus away from the much more important conversations we should be having about mission, effectiveness, and changing the world. In this session, we will learn about ways to align your philanthropic and professional interests, and how to spot the great charities in your own backyard. The best part? We will actually spend time BEING philanthropists as we make a $100 Community Foundation grant together before the session ends.
To learn more about Randi Hewit, please click here.
John Meier
Breakout Session 3A: Engage Randomness
John Meier, President
Meier Industry
Session Information:
Breakout opportunities generally don’t just happen.   Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.  By courting selective randomness, people, places and ideas collide to form new possibilities.  New acquisitions, new customers, new employees, or new systems fill the funnel of transformational change.  Dynamic markets and ever-changing circumstances fraught with obstacles and challenges require high energy, nimble maneuver and steady pace.    Is this your job or your lifestyle?
To learn more about John Meier, please click here.
Kathy Quinn
Breakout Session 3B: Dare to Be Different
Kathleen Quinn Matus, President
New Perspectives Coaching Studios
Session Information:
Great leaders dare to be different. The differentiator is you! Are you aware of your diverse perspectives and leadership style? Awareness of who and where we are versus where we want to be brings choice. This playful session uses the principles of art and design to sharpen awareness and leadership identity. Participants will work with symbols to create a visual metaphor of their leadership style. Metaphors prepare us for the reality of today and unknown possibility of tomorrow. Set aside your rational mind, engage in a process designed to wake you up and move you beyond habitual thinking patterns to birth the innovative leader you were born to be. Leave with a tangible visual artifact to motivate you on to the next step in your leadership brand!
To learn more about Kathleen Quinn Matus, please click here.
Robin Crow
BONUS SESSION: Evolve or Die
Robin Crow, Author - CEO - Entrepreneur
Robin Crow’s journey from struggling musician, to RCA recording artist, to best-selling author and accomplished entrepreneur is an American success story. As a business leader, he is the CEO of Dark Horse recording, a scenic four-studio complex he built from the ground up. Now in its 23rd year, Dark Horse Recording has attracted some of the most celebrated artists in the world, such as Taylor Swift, Neil Diamond, Tim McGraw, Jewel, Matchbox Twenty, Hunter Hayes and countless others.
In 2010, Crow founded Dark Horse Institute (DHI), an accredited, for-profit academy to teach Audio Engineering, Film Production and Music Business to young entrepreneurs. The programs have experienced explosive growth while offering dramatic solutions to the challenges faced by traditional schools. DHI accelerates the learning process in an affordable, experiential learning environment, and in the process is changing the way education is conducted. Their goal is to create the most compelling educational model
 of the 21st century.
As an author and speaker Robin has directly impacted the lives of millions with his best-selling books, CDs, audio programs, and public speaking engagements. He has given over 2,200 presentations to a wide range of corporate and business audiences. His best-selling books include Evolve or Die, Rock Solid Leadership, and Jump and the Net Will Appear. Robin divides his time living in both Tennessee and Colorado.
Judy Rowe
Breakout Session 4A: Making a Success of Succession Planning
Judy Rowe, Principal
Judith A. Rowe Consulting
Session Information:
In this interactive session participants will learn the elements of succession planning and some common "pitfalls" to avoid. Participants will leave with ideas to try in order to increase the likelihood that there will "success" as a result of great succession planning in their organizations!
To learn more about Judy Rowe, please click here.
Sue Silhan
Breakout Session 4B: Stress Free Leadership (Almost)
Sue Silhan, Co-Owner
Selah Yoga and Music
Session Information:
This will be an interactive discussion of multiple ways to reduce stress not only for yourself but for others in your workplace, home and community. We will share our stories of “stress” in a discussion format and then “practice” as many modalities that we can fit in. These will include (but not be limited to) the following: yoga, guided meditation, breath work, and truth telling. We will also be discussing the importance of proper nutrition, sleep habits, prioritization, and a cellphone/computer Sabbath.
To learn more about Sue Silhan, please click here.
Arel Moodie
Breakout Session 5A: The True Art of How Anyone Can Master Public Speaking
Arel Moodie, Owner
True Speaking Success
Session Information:
Public speaking is the most powerful tool to influence, persuade and make the greatest amount of impact in the shortest amount of time. Our most revered leaders have always been amazing orators. Anyone can be an amazing public speaker with the right system. This interactive session will break down EVERYTHING you need to become a magnetic speaker from now on, guaranteed.
For more information on Arel Moodie, please click here.
Dave Mansfield
Breakout Session 5B: Selling Your Brand
Dave Mansfield, Owner
Three Brothers Wineries & Estates
Session Information:
In this interactive session, we'll discuss why brand building is important, what sets your brand apart from the competition, and working your brand into today's marketplace. Having a heart and soul commitment to your brand.
For more information on Dave Mansfield, please click here.
Natasha Thompson
Breakout Session 6A: Storytelling for Fundraising
Natasha Thompson, President & CEO
Food Bank of the Southern Tier
Session Information:
In this interactive workshop you will learn about the importance of using your story to inspire others to support your cause and contribute in meaningful ways to your work. We will discuss different approaches to storytelling and how to tailor your message to the interests of your audience by using reflective listening. Come prepared with your own stories to share.
For more information on Natasha Thompson, please click here.
Jim Frame
Breakout Session 6B: Maximizing Your Team's Performance
James Frame, Superintendent
GST Boces
Session Information:
Andrew Carnegie said, "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." In this session, participants will actively discuss team building, recruitment, culture, and optimization of teams."
To learn more about James Frame, please click here.
Rebekah Carroll
Closing Session: Leading On Empty
Session Information:
As a leader, we have all experienced those days where we literally have nothing left to give. In this interactive session, Rebekah and Dan will share very personal stories of what happened when they we’re leading on empty and the lessons they learned through their experiences. Additionally, they will provide tried-and-true guidance and tips from all presenters at SPARK on what they do when their tank is empty. Be sure to stick around for this session!
To learn more about Rebekah Carroll, please click here.
Dan Mori
Leading on Empty
Dan Mori, President
Employment Solutions
Session Information:
As a leader, we have all experienced those days where we literally have nothing left to give. In this interactive session, Rebekah and Dan will share very personal stories of what happened when they we’re leading on empty and the lessons they learned through their experiences. Additionally, they will provide tried-and-true guidance and tips from all presenters at SPARK on what they do when their tank is empty. Be sure to stick around for this session!
For more information about Dan Mori, please click here.