SPARK! Leadership Conference

presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 2018 SPARK! Leadership Conference presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield on March 6 and 7, 2018 at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel (16 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen).

This conference offers a fresh take on leadership development to bright, dynamic professionals from all industries across New York State and beyond. Conference 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! There will be three large-group sessions and 12 break-out sessions. Our keynote speakers are Clare and Jan van den Blink. A special bonus session featuring Arel Moodie, promises an evening of energy. Keep reading to learn more about all of our sessions and speakers.

Registration Details

Registration is open! There are conference rates including lodging, without lodging, and even a rate for college students.

CLICK HERE to view these details and many more on our registration form. The registration deadline is February 23, 2018.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The SPARK! Leadership Conference is the perfect opportunity to market your business to an impressive group of leaders from across New York State. Choose from a variety of sponsorship opportunities.

CLICK HERE for details on sponsorship opportunities.

THE Keynote

The 2018 Keynote will be presented by Clare and Jan van den Blink. We open the conference with this special keynote session. Details coming soon!

Bonus session

The Art of Likability will be presented by Arel Moodie, Founder and CEO of Arel Moodie International. The Art of Likability Bonus Session takes place on Tuesday, March 6 from 4:30pm to 8:00pm at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. The Bonus Session includes networking, a cash bar, and complimentary wine courtesy of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards at 4:30pm, dinner at 5:30pm, and the session itself at 6:30pm. The Bonus Session is sponsored by Three Rivers Development.

More on The Art of Likability: People don't quit jobs, typically, they quit bosses. A leader's job is to create a vision and atmosphere that fosters loyalty, productivity, and results. This presentation will help leaders increase productivity, decrease costs relate to turnover, and help increase profits.

► This Bonus Session is included in full conference registration. Those who are not attending the conference may register for the Bonus Session only, but advance registration is still required. The cost is $40 and details are included in the registration form. Please complete and return the registration form by February 23.

conference speakers


Jan and Clare van den Blink
Keynote Speakers: Jan and Clare van den Blink
Jan - President, Chairman, and CEO at the Hilliard Corporation / Clare - Senior Vice President and CIO at the Hilliard Corporation
The Hilliard Corporation

A description of the keynote session will be coming soon.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Jan van den Blink

CLICK HERE to learn more about Clare van den Blink

Arel Moodie
Bonus Session: The Art of Likability by Arel Moodie
Founder and CEO
Arel Moodie International

The Art of Likeability

We live in an increasingly complex society. In this decade, every positive or negative interaction with co-workers and bosses are magnified through social media. Likability has never been more crucial for success due to the transparency and the speed in which information can travel.

People don’t quit jobs typically, they quit bosses. A leader’s job is to create a vision and atmosphere that fosters loyalty, productivity and results.

This presentation will help leaders increase productivity, decrease costs related to turnover and help increase profits.

Leveraging the tools of likability will not change your authenticity or make you a people pleaser, it will make you are more well equipped leader ready to take on the ever evolving challenges of the current workplace.

Click here to learn more about Arel Moodie.

Dawn Burlew
Dawn Burlew
Director of Business Development
Corning Enterprises - Corning Incorporated

How Volunteerism (board, public office, etc.) Drives a Community

Details coming soon!

Click here to learn more about Dawn Burlew.

Steve Campbell
Stephen Campbell
Director of Community Engagement
S.E.E.D. Planning Group

Defining Decisions

Have you ever had to make a difficult decision? Are you currently trying to decide what to do with your life, career or situations that come up in the workplace or with your family? The choices we make every day, both in our professional and personal lives, has a tremendous impact on our futures. These decisions can impact the type of influence we will have not only today but for the rest of our lives. Doing the right thing comes at a price. Sometimes the decisions we have to make are not always profitable, popular or make sense on paper, but we know they are the right thing to do. So how can we determine what decision to make in every given situation? That’s what we’ll discuss. 

Click here to learn more about Stephen Campbell.

Rebekah Caroll
Rebekah Carroll
President and CEO
Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce

Meeting Management 101

Click here to learn more about Rebekah.

Jeanne Eschbach
Jeanne Eschbach
Executive Director of Workforce Education and Academic Pathways
Elmira College

Finding Your Passion Through Your Strengths

Prior to the session, participants will receive an assessment to complete prior to the conference.  During the session, participants will:

  • Discover their personal strengths;
  • Examine how their strengths fit within their chosen profession;
  • Learn how to leverage those strengths both in the workplace and in their personal lives;
  • Understand how their strengths fit into the quadrants of leadership; and
  • Practice working with others of different strength quadrants.

Click here to learn more about Jeanne Eschbach.

Dennis Fagan
Dennis Fagan
Schuyler County Legislature

From Chaos to Consensus

A "fireside-style" chat between the Chairman of the County Legislature and the County Administrator on leadership experience in guiding Schuyler County over the past 14 years.

Click here to learn more about Dennis Fagan.

Michele Johnson
Michele Johnson
YWCA of Elmira and the Twin Tiers

Creating Resiliency

Despite our best-laid plans, challenges arise that seem insurmountable. Customer interest wanes, services become outdated, funding dries up. Resilient people move forward, through, or around obstacles toward success. You’ve read about those people and perhaps seen them in action and wished you had that level of determination. In fact, we all have the ability to achieve our goals - we just need to tap into it!
Bring your current obstacle to this interactive workshop where you’ll learn to identify Roadbocks to Resiliency, to Restructure Your Path to Success, and to Create a Culture of Resiliency. At the end of the workshop be refocused and reenergized toward your goal with new ideas on how to achieve your successful outcome.

Click here to learn more about Michele Johnson.

Mike McDonald
Mike McDonald
Quality Improvement Facilitator
Retired, Corning Incorporated

Back to Civility

 As a society, incivility has become more prevalent. People often treat each other as objects and opportunities rather than as human beings worthy of dignity and respect. Differences in communication styles, educational background, culture, race, gender-even management styles-can create unnecessary friction within a community.

Recent trends have shown that civility is a disappearing trait. It takes self-awareness to recognize that we have personal power to control our actions and reactions to people and situations. Mike will share some activities, to encourage participation. He will also highlight some considerations for coping with incivility. He will share some insights into Emotional Intelligence and Communication Methods that can help to decrease the effect we have on each other.

Click here to learn more about Mike McDonald.

Dan Mori
Dan Mori
Employment Solutions

Conflict Management in Real Life

Details coming soon!

Click here to learn more about Dan Mori to learn more about Dan Mori.

Barry Nicholson
Barry Nicholson
Small Business Owner
UPS Store, Connors Mercantile, Yesterdays Boutique, Pure Design

How Volunteerism (board, public office, etc.) Drives a Community

Details coming soon!

Click here to learn more about Barry Nicholson.

Tim O'Hearn
Tim O'Hearn
County Administrator
Schuyler County

From Chaos to Consensus

A “fireside chat” between the County Administrator and Chairman of the Legislature providing insights and a sometimes-humorous take as they tell the story of their respective roles as leaders of Schuyler County government. Included in the discussion will be their perspective on items such as responding to challenges in county governance, conflict resolution, public perception, the art of collaboration, the role of the media in local governance, and leveraging assets to accomplish goals. This session will provide case studies and a behind the scenes look at managing a growing county in upstate New York. It is designed to be interactive and will provide strategies to effect change as well as lessons learned (what worked and what didn’t) from various initiatives introduced over the past fourteen years in Schuyler County. 

Click here to learn more about Tim O'Hearn.

Larry Parker
Larry Parker II
Education Specialist
CASA - Trinity of Chemung County

Dream Goals

This training will be a workshop based on the term "dream goals". Attendees will explore the following concepts:

  • The importance of setting goals
  • Professional Goals vs Dream Goals
  • What prevents us from enjoying our goals?
  • How to reset your motivation to truly enjoy your success
  • Why it’s important to celebrate your success

Click here to learn more about Larry Parker II.

Judy Rowe
Judith Rowe
Judith A. Rowe Consulting

Overview - The Four Agreements

In this session, participants will learn about Don Miguel Ruiz’s philosophy and book, “The Four Agreements” and how, if adopted and practiced, personal freedom and happiness can increase while
personal suffering can be reduced! Join this active session for an overview and ideas on how to best leverage these agreements beyond the session.

Click here to learn more about Judith Rowe.

Stamp Family
Bev Stamp, Liz Stamp, and Ben Stamp
Owners and Operators
Lakewood Vineyards

Keeping The Pieces Together in a Multi-Generational Family Business

This session will be an informal lunch discussion session with 3 members of the Stamp family of Lakewood Vineyards. Representing 3 generations of co-working success in a growing, multifaceted business, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of working with family and maintaining a cohesive multi-generational workforce. Some topics of discussion may include: technological knowledge gaps, communication style, incorporation of new methods and ideas, differing appetites for risk and reward, managing different levels of commitment, and how to build a consistent vision for the future of a family business. We hope the session will be very interactive, allowing our panel to explore the curiosities of the attendees with regards to our own formula for success. We hope attendees will come to appreciate the advantages and challenges of growing a family business.

Click here to learn more about the Stamp Family.

Connie Sullivan Blum
Connie Sullivan Blum
ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes

Community Development and the Arts: Making Our Community Proud, Sustainable and Engaged

This interactive workshop will examine how the arts are used in community development. Participants will be asked to think about the connections between local pride of place and increasing tourism and visitation. They will be asked to think about growing a work force, growing safe and vibrant neighborhoods, a growing local economy and the creative sector including artists and entrepreneurs.

Click here to learn more about Connie Sullivan Blum.

Peter Wallin
Peter Wallin
Wallin Insurance Agency

Leadership Traits for Long Term Success

Why do some leaders and business owners show sustained success with others struggle along the way?  What are some of the obstacles and challenges to long-lasting success and happiness?

Business Owner and Author Peter Wallin will share the SIX Vital Traits of an Effective Leader in this workshop. He has owned and operated his own business for 20 years.

This practical and comprehensive workshop will inspire you to focus on yourself first, then your business.

The Six Vital Traits:

  1. Learning the Three most important words of each day: Mind, Body & Spirit
  2. Speaking and Influencing
  3. Reading and Learning
  4. Forming Daily Habits
  5. Making it last and giving back
  6. Creating Systems for effective workflow

Peter lays out practical, real-world ways to adopt these traits into your personal and professional life.  You don’t want to miss this workshop.

Click here to learn more about Peter.

Anne Welliver Hartsing
Anne Welliver Hartsing
Welliver McGuire, Inc.

Leading Change; Maintaining Culture

Anthropology is defined as "the study of human societies and cultures and their development". Holding a bachelor's degree in Anthropology may seem an odd path to being the president of a construction company when in fact it is very fitting. In every organization there is a culture. Cultures inevitably change over time. Attendees can expect to gain a greater knowledge of how the leader helps creat ea company's culture and how to affect positive change while maintaining the identity of the organization.

Click here to learn more about Anne Welliver Hartsing.