The LEAD Summit is the first conference for young professionals in Central Texas.

The LEAD Summit was created to provide critical development for young professional leaders in our community.

The LEAD Summit (Learn|Explore|Act|Develop) is a one-day conference for young professionals hosted by the Austin Young Chamber. Combining both learning and action, the Summit strengthens the pipeline of leaders in Central Texas through education, connection and engagement.

2019 Sessions and Speakers

LEAD Summit Emcee

  • Koy McDermott - Millennial Leadership Consultant

    KoyMcDermottKoy McDermott is the Millennial Leadership Consultant helping Fortune 500 companies attract, motivate and retain millennials in a multi-generational workplace. Koy helps companies discover increased efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction by teaching leaders and their teams how to bridge the communication gap across generational differences and cultural divides.

    After years of traveling weekly to present workshops on leadership and sales strategies for hundreds of F500 companies like Johnson and Johnson, Oracle, and ExxonMobil, Koy found that helping businesses grow was a worthy investment, but helping PEOPLE GROW is where his contributions create the greatest impact.

    By combining his education in management and sales with strong training skills and a charismatic speaking style, Koy inspires his clients and audiences to take action toward their desired results.

Opening Panel

  • Living Your Values - Rowling Hall Auditorium 1.400

    As we continue to blur the lines between work and life, how can we bring our true selves into the workplace? Let’s learn from this panel of Austin Young Chamber Advisory Board Members and distinguished Austin leaders on how they put their whole selves into all aspects of their lives and the role their values have played in their success at work, home, and in the community.

    Patricia Hayes | Principal/Owner | PVH Consulting Group, LLC
    Heather McKissick | SVP, Community Impact | University Federal Credit Union
    Earl Maxwell | CEO | St. David’s Foundation

    Moderator: Koy McDermott | Millennial Leadership Consultant

Morning Breakouts

  • ChangeMaker: Beyond Disruption - Rowling Hall Rm. 5.402

    Millennials have been dubbed the generation that wants to change everything. Let’s go beyond being labeled the disruptors and hear from panelists who are creating impact and innovation by being their authentic selves. Gain valuable insights on how you can create change today in your industry or workplace.

    Sujata Ajmera | Member | Clark Hill Strasburger
    Adelfino Palacios | Supply Demand Manager
    Hayley Wakefield | Founder | The Refinery

    Moderator: Frances Jordan, Esq. | Engagement and Communications Manager | Bazaarvoice | Young Women’s Alliance President

  • Why Leadership Matters - Rowling Hall Rm. 4.314

    We’ve heard the term all our lives. We seem to “know” it when we see it. We all seem to think it’s important. This thing we call “leadership” is vast, amorphous, slippery, and desperately important. As we look from me to we, from self to team, from community outward, let’s explore some elements of leadership and learn a little bit more about ourselves.

    Presenter: Dr. Tom Sechrest | Director of the Master of Science in Leadership & Change Program | St. Edward’s University

    About Tom
    TomSechrestDr. Tom Sechrest has had a long career in leadership development as an entrepreneur, in the public sector, in the private sector, in the nonprofit sector, and in higher education. He currently is a professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, where he is Director of the Master of Science in Leadership & Change Program.

  • The More You Know - Rowling Hall Rm. 5.408

    PSAs of the past taught us the importance of buckling up and how we can prevent forest fires- but what can we do now to improve our lives and the lives of our Central Texas neighbors? Hear from local leaders on top community issues and why shaping change in these areas should be important to you. Topics include affordability, diversity, and transportation.

    Affordability: Greg Anderson | Director of Community Affairs | Austin Habitat for Humanity
    Transportation: Caitlin D’Alton, AICP | Senior Planner | Capital Metro
    Diversity/Inclusion: Jenny Hawkins | Director, Diversity | Seton Healthcare Family

    Moderator: Alex Villa | COO | American Red Cross | AYC Board Member

  • Leading From Your Values - Rowling Hall Rm. 4.402

    “What is it that I value most and am I living my life in a way that brings those values to life?” This is a question that exceptional leaders ask themselves regularly, sometimes even daily. When was the last time you reflected on the “why” behind the choices you make and the way you show up every day? This session will offer you the opportunity to step back and assess how well you are living in alignment with your personal values. You’ll also learn how to better connect with others through shared values. Come ready to learn about yourself and leave better equipped to lead others.

    Presenter: Julie Smith | Director of Learning & Engagement | Leadership Austin

    About Julie
    Julie Smith is the Director of Learning and Engagement at Leadership Austin, a non-profit leadership development organization that increases and improves civic engagement. In this role, Julie creates experiences that bring people together to transform how they see and interact with the world around them. Leadership Austin’s programs guide participants through exploring complex community issues, deepening the essential leadership skills that are needed to address those issues and building meaningful relationships with other leaders who will challenge each other’s views while finding shared values and working toward the common good. Prior to joining the Leadership Austin Team in July of 2012, Julie served as the Development Manager at Austin Habitat for Humanity. She began her service with Austin Habitat as an AmeriCorps VISTA in 2007. During her time at Austin Habitat, Julie raised more than $3 million and engaged nearly 3500 volunteers in the fight to eradicate poverty housing in Austin, Texas. Julie has a Master of Education from Vanderbilt University focused in leadership and organizational development. She has been a foster parent since September 2017 and serves as the past chair of the Austin Young Chamber Foundation.

  • Stop Networking…Start Connecting - Rowling Hall Rm. 5.420

    Do you have a love/hate relationship with networking like I do? Perhaps it’s time we started thinking of it differently. With a full day of networking ahead of you, join me for some practical tips so that you can make the most of your networking during LEAD Summit 2019 and after. This is not the same old “you should network more” discussion. If you have you ever felt like networking was a waste of time or wondered what the next step was after making a connection, this session will help you know just what to do. I don’t want you to waste another minute networking just to count the number of new business cards you collected. There’s a better way.

    I hope you’ll stop in. There will be options for everyone – both the introvert and the extrovert. I’d love to get to know you.


    What to Expect:

    • Learn how to connect like a Pro
    • We’ll explore ways to move the conversation beyond small talk.
    • Discover practical ways to sustain new contacts and relationships



    • You’ll leave ready to connect over today’s lunch.
    • Ready for meeting a mentor this afternoon
    • Convinced that future networking will be different and never be a waste of time again


    Presenter: Stacy McCracken | Director | Baylor Executive MBA Program Austin

    About Stacy
    TomSechrestStacy McCracken is the Director of the Baylor Executive MBA Program in Austin. She is also an executive coach and the founder of a business consulting and personal growth company called Impact and Lead.

    Stacy has spent more than 20 years making connections and building a professional network around the world. Since 1992, Stacy has served people working in a variety of industries including non-profits, high-tech, automotive, manufacturing, and higher education. Her inquisitive nature, love of people, and listening skills allow her to rapidly build trust with people. Stacy advises out of genuine concern, inspires possibility, and brings a calm presence to even the most stressful situations. Stacy truly believes – one person and one action can make a REAL difference.

    Stacy loves adventure especially if it involves travel or scuba diving. Her fall weekends are filled with cheering for her favorite football teams. She is an avid reader – you’ll likely to find several books on her nightstand or on her Kindle. Some of her favorite authors include Daniel Silva, Brad Thor, and Brené Brown. Stacy holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Auburn University.

Afternoon Breakouts

  • Maximizing Mentor Relationships - Rowling Hall Rm. 5.420

    Do you have a burning question that you’ve always wanted to ask? Need some advice on how to make that next career jump? Looking to connect with someone you always wanted some face time with? Find your answers at this session designed to give background on what a mentor/mentee relationship looks like and tips for how to build one of your own. After a short introduction, you will have the opportunity to spend 5-10 minutes with session mentors ready to guide you on your career journey.

    Kendall Antonelli | President | Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
    Jeremiah Bentley | Vice President, Marketing & Customer Engagement | Texas Mutual Insurance Company
    Jaden Felix | Senior MBA Recruiting and Admissions Officer | McCombs School of Business
    Kristie Gonzales | President & General Manager | KVUE-TV
    Alice McMillan | Director of Strategic Initiatives | Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
    Jonny Rodgers | Partner Agent | DEN Property Group
    Geronimo Rodriguez | Chief Advocacy Officer | Seton Healthcare Family
    Mandi Thomas | Director of Strategic Partnerships | Downtown Austin Alliance
    Delfo Trombetta | Partner | New Waterloo
    Madge Vásquez | CEO | Mission Capital

    Rachel Brownlow Lund | Owner, Millennial Leadership + Empowerment Coach | Me2Lead

  • Building Skills Growing Careers Panel - Rowling Hall Rm. 4.314

    Multi-passionate, multi-talented, multiple-hats. There’s numerous ways to say you have multiple skills. But how do we leverage our different experiences in the workplace? Hear real examples from our panelists on the techniques they used to build skills in various facets of their lives to advance their careers. Leave with a better understanding of the ways you add value and how to communicate that value to earn your next promotion.

    Ruben Cantu | Director of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship | The University of Texas at Austin
    Nachele Groomes | Director of Human Resources | Omni Houston Westside Hotel
    Emmy Hill | Head of Retail Deposit Products Department | University Federal Credit Union

    Moderator: Tricia Tumlinson | Global Real Estate Advisor | Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty

  • Building A More Functional Democracy... By Becoming A Leader Within It - Rowling Hall Rm. 5.408

    These days, it seems like everyone is upset with the state of our political system. People of all stripes are anxious about the future of our country, economy, education, justice system, healthcare, environment, immigration, defense, war, Hollywood, the NFL, mainstream media, Facebook, Netflix, the internet… So basically everything. We’re stressed about everything.

    Then where do we go from here?

    Let’s start by changing the conversation and focusing on what’s happening in our own backyards. Right here in Austin, you have the opportunity to create change and influence policy on economic development, equity, gender rights, climate change, affordability, traffic, the live music industry, police community relations, gentrification, homelessness, tacos, barbeque… So basically everything. You have the opportunity to change everything.

    But how? That’s what we’ll be going over in this workshop session. We’ll teach you the basics of how Austin’s local government system works, explain why it’s so important for young people to get involved, and give you concrete steps you can take to become the leaders of today.

    Presenters: Amy Stansbury & Hal Wuertz | Co-Founders | A Functional Democracy

    About Amy

    AmyStansburyAmy Stansbury is the co-founder of A Functional Democracy, a nonpartisan organization that teaches millennials in Austin how to get involved in local government and make a difference in their community. She is also the co-author of “A Beginner’s Guide To Local Government,” an activity book/zine that harnesses the power of art and comedy to teach the basics of Austin’s local government system. She is also a local journalist and a member of the Austin Young Chamber.


  • Stop Thinking About What Others are Thinking About You - Rowling Hall Rm. 5.402

    Be honest – how much time do you spend thinking about what other people are thinking about you? How ridiculous does that last sentence sound? Ridiculous as it is, everyone (even the most effective and self-aware leaders) falls prey to the distracting time-suck that is our obsession with what others think about us. Let’s figure out a way to get this weird human quirk under control – how about it?


    Look forward to an interactive discussion covering:

    • The psychology behind our obsession with the thoughts of others
    • Why our fears about almost everything are irrational
    • What we’re really looking for when we worry about what others think
    • How to navigate work and life with more clarity and confidence moving forward


    You’ll walk away with a written reflection we’ll craft together containing:

    • The new beliefs and mindsets you’ll adopt about the power of what others think
    • A clear and compelling vision for what that new perspective will look like in your life
    • Specific actions you can implement the day after this session to gain more internal freedom


    Presenter: Reagan Pugh | Founding Partner | Assemble

    About Reagan
    ReaganPughReagan Pugh is concerned – very concerned – about what you think about him. Which is why he created this workshop to help young professionals free themselves from the silly internal blocks preventing all of us from doing our best and most fulfilling work. He’s pumped to return to the AYC LEAD Summit this year after his 2018 presentation, “Does Our Best Work Have to Kill Us?”

    Reagan delivers workshops and keynote speeches on personal effectiveness and leadership development around the country under the banner of Assemble, the consultancy he co-founded in 2016. Before Assemble he guided initiatives on storytelling, culture, and leadership development at companies like Nike, Pepsico, Western Digital, and Kimberly Clark as Chief Storyteller with the innovation consulting firm, Kalypso. Reagan has designed leadership courses for Texas State University, Trinity University, and Angelo State University, and as a Teach for America corps member on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota taught high school English and launched a theater program. In the program’s inaugural year he led the school to win the state one-act play competition for the first time in school history. Reagan is invested in the work of the Epilepsy Foundation, occasionally performs improv around Austin, and probably knows more about Batman than you do.

  • Comprehensive Calendar - Rowling Hall Rm. 4.402

    Built around the ‘big rocks, little rocks’ philosophy, Blue Sky Partner’s Comprehensive Calendar workshop is designed to help leaders create a calendar system that works for them, not against them. One that provides a solid, reasonable, structural base to ensure they are acting on their most important long-term priorities and commitments, while still providing the flexibility they need to respond to day-to-day responsibilities. The presentation will walk through the basics for how leaders can put together their own Comprehensive Calendar.

    Presenters: Nathan Ryan & Tim Seaton, Blue Sky Partners

    About Nathan & Tim
    NathanRyanNathan Ryan is an entrepreneur, business leader, and organizer. For more than a decade, his work has been influential in the creative and consulting services industry, where his experience includes collaboration with and founding of startup organizations like Omaze and Genee, as well as multinational enterprises like Verizon and The Walt Disney Company.

    Today, Nathan’s work is all about helping people and communities build better habits. As co-founder and CEO of a new consultancy called Blue Sky Partners, he is focused on helping leaders and their businesses put systems in place so they can scale. As co-founder of Good Politics, he is focused on connecting disengaged voters with politicians who will put public service over politics. He also serves as president of Friends of Austin Neighborhoods, sits on the board of advisors for Life & Thyme, Doing W.I.T., and on the fundraising and events committee for Texas Civil Rights Project. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Amanda, and dogs, Max and Rory.

    TimSeatonTim Seaton is a co-founder and COO of Blue Sky Partners, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas, that’s focused on helping leaders and their companies build better habits. He has spent the better part of a decade working passionately with companies and on projects related to technology, design and online marketing. Having previously managed Operations at Toi, he oversaw relationships for such clients as Verizon Digital Media Services and Red Bull. He is currently working on a degree in psychology and volunteers with local organizations like Bluebonnet and Integral Care. Tim has been said to work faster than just about anyone, and he’s passionate about helping individuals and their organizations improve their productivity.

Closing Keynote

  • Thom Singer - Cooperative Significance: Being an Influential Leader at Work (and Beyond) - Rowling Hall Auditorium 1.400

    Most people want to feel significant: at home, at work, in their community, etc…. But you cannot feel significant alone. You need others. A person can fake success, but they cannot fake significance. Showing others their importance and significance is key if you desire the same in return. Too often in our busy world we get overly focused on our own “Stuff”, and that keeps us from recognizing what is going on with the people around us in our daily lives. Discovering what is important and interesting to other people is more important now than ever before. This keynote is designed to educate and inspire anyone to make people a priority while learning to maximize influence and effectiveness.

    About Thom
    ThomSingerThere is a gap between potential and results. Thom Singer helps individuals and companies find their way across.

    Building influence and unlocking potential requires plans, purpose, and people. Thom has become obsessed with helping people take the leap across the gap that exists between potential and results. Thom’s presentations educate, challenge, and inspire while encouraging practical actions through relatable content and engaging stories.

    The answer to your problem may not be what you think. You don’t need more training – you need results. Thom Singer has 20 years of practical business experience and his interactive style provides your audience with high-energy and content-rich presentations that will immediately change how they focus on success.

    Thom has interviewed over 300 CEOs, entrepreneurs, business leaders, solopreneurs, and others on his popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast (named on INC.com as one of 8 business podcasts to listen to in 2018). Through these in-depth conversations he learned that there is no single thing that holds people back from achieving more, nor is there one solution to reaching the top levels of success. It is unique for each person.

    Thom has had an eclectic career in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies, Law Firms, and small companies. He has written 12 books and when he was 21-years-old he was a five day returning champion on the $25,000 Pyramid game show.

    Thom and his wife, Sara, make their home in Austin, Texas and are the parents of two highly-spirited daughters.

Thank You to Our 2019 Sponsors

Thank You to Our 2019 Chamber Partners

Thank You to Our 2019 Community Partners

ChangeMaker Awards

The ChangeMaker Awards is an opportunity to recognize and pay tribute to those who are doing extraordinary things to make our community a better place. ChangeMakers are thought-leaders and do-ers who create innovative solutions to community or industry challenges. They identify the need for change, and through their inspiring efforts, proactively and successfully make that change happen.

Congratulations to the 2019 ChangeMakers!

Meet the 2019 ChangeMaker Finalists!

The ChangeMaker Awards is an opportunity to recognize and pay tribute to those who are doing extraordinary things to make our community a better place. ChangeMakers are thought-leaders and do-ers who create innovative solutions to community or industry challenges. They identify the need for change, and through their inspiring efforts, proactively and successfully make that change happen. Meet the 2019 ChangeMaker Finalists here.

Congratulations to the 2019 ChangeMakers!

Click on their name below to learn more.

  • Lewis Conway Jr.

    Founder | Equally Yoked Marketing


    Lewis Conway Jr., is a serial entrepreneur, with almost two decades of experience in the broadcast and music industry, real-life, in-the-trenches experience as a sought after speaker and lecturer, author of three books, mentor and criminal justice organizer, his strategic vision is radically different.

    Lewis has built a cachet of servant-leadership through several campaigns in municipal and state political theaters. On July 23, 2018, Conway filed to become the first formerly incarcerated person in Texas to have their name on an electoral ballot. On November 6, 2018, he garnered 11% of vote, ultimately losing his first bid for political office.

    Prior to his political, leadership and entrepreneurial efforts, Lewis Conway Jr. spent 2,095 days in Texas prisons and 4,012 days on parole for Voluntary Manslaughter.

    Thank you to Erik Carlson and ATX Video Marketing!

  • Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

    Owner | Lincoln-Goldfinch Law


    Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch is the owner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law, with offices in Austin and Waco. She was the recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. Her project served the asylum-seeking families detained at the Hutto Detention Center. After her fellowship and during the federal hiatus from family detention, Kate opened a boutique immigration practice, where she offers family-based immigration and removal defense, including humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA.

    Kate serves as the pro bono liaison for the American Immigration Lawyers Association TX, OK, and NM chapter and serves on the boards of Casa Marianella and the Civil Rights and Immigration Section of the Austin Bar Association. She regularly mentors and trains attorneys in an effort to encourage pro bono work outside of the immigration bar, including hosting a monthly pro bono trip to the Karnes Family Detention Center. She was active in working to reunite separated families during the Zero Tolerance policy implemented by the Trump Administration during the summer of 2018 and she has appeared on news outlets such as the BBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, and National Public Radio as an immigration expert.

    Her most important accomplishment of all is her family: her daughters Nora and Winslow, and her husband Josh.

    Thank you to Erik Carlson and ATX Video Marketing!

  • Karen Ranus

    Executive Director | NAMI Austin


    After 30 years as a volunteer-run organization, Karen Ranus became NAMI Austin’s first Executive Director in 2014. During Karen’s four-year tenure of dynamic leadership and commitment to program growth, NAMI Austin has increased the number of persons participating in its programs by more than 3000%, grown its staff from 2 to 7 and more than doubled its budget. Her passion for NAMI Austin’s mission and work stems from her own family’s mental health journey, having almost lost a daughter to suicide in 2011. Encountering families like her own through NAMI, she recognized the powerful role of no-cost education and support programming for families and individuals living with mental illness as well as the schools, places of worship, workplaces and communities where they live, work, play and learn.

    Her vision of changing the mental health conversation is reflected in the most recent and successful programming she developed which focuses on providing people with the information and simple tools they need to have positive and proactive conversations about mental health at home, school, work and in faith communities. In addition, her commitment to developing partnerships with law enforcement has ensured officers in Austin Police Department and Travis County Sheriff are receiving mental health training rooted in a deeper level of empathy, compassion and understanding for persons in mental health crisis.

    Karen holds invited positions on the Board of the Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council, the Travis County Behavioral Health & Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, the University of Texas Center for Youth Mental Health Advisory Committee, the Austin State Hospital System Redesign Steering Committee and the Psychiatric Stakeholder’s Group. Most recently, she was appointed to serve as a co-chair of the Austin Police Department’s Mental Health Stakeholder’s Group. She has been featured as a guest columnist on mental health issues in the Austin American-Statesman, Austin MD Magazine and The Daily Texan and is a frequent speaker in the community on mental health topics. Because she firmly believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful ways our community can overcome the stigma and shame associated with mental illness, she often shares her own family’s journey and inspires others to do the same. Karen’s deepest commitment is to changing the mental health conversation and create the potential for people impacted by mental illness to feel empowered and confident in getting the help and support they need to live healthy and productive lives.

    Thank you to Erik Carlson and ATX Video Marketing!

Past ChangeMaker Award Recipients

Click on their name below to learn more.

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