Business Summit Workshop: Leaders Connect - A Real Conversation about Why We Struggle and What Gets in Our Way

Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Time: 8-10 a.m.
Location: Town Clock Business Center, Dubuque
Fee: $149 regular

Concerns over brain health and increasing problems of toxic leadership are emerging following the global pandemic, and as a result we need a candid discussion about the skills leaders need to address these challenges, establish solid connections and build authentic, meaningful connections with our teams. Communication and the language we use as leaders can have a powerful and positive impact. Using the right words can authentically connect, build trust and empower others in a meaningful way. When we use the wrong words, the result is often disconnection and isolation that threatens the trust we’ve spent so much time and energy to build. It’s time to get smart on what drives disconnection and, more importantly, develop the skills to encourage sincere, genuine connections.

Attend the high-energy, interactive in-person Business Summit Workshop that will:

  • Stimulate thought-provoking conversations about inspiring your team
  • Provide new insights on developing your leadership skills
  • Demonstrate how to connect with purpose and engage with your workforce
  • Explore the experiences and perspectives of business professionals facing the same challenges
  • Provide tools and best practices to innovate leadership strategies

Keynote Speaker

Business Summit Workshop 2021 keynote Dede Halfhill

DeDe Halfhill, Col., United States Air Force (retired)

Described by Dr. Brené Brown as one of her “leadership heroes and a total badass” in the New York Times’ bestseller Dare to Lead, U.S. Air Force retired Colonel, DeDe Halfhill, brings her real-world perspective on leadership based on her 25-year accomplished career.

During her time with the Air Force, DeDe became a trusted advisor to some of our highest-ranking military leaders, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. Deployed twice during the IRAQ War, DeDe has had first-hand experience as a leader and advisor when dealing with the most difficult circumstances, often when lives were at risk, and when there were no easy answers. She understands leadership, not just from studying it, but by actually living it.

DeDe realized that despite cultural norms taught and embraced by the military, traditional leadership models lacked the skills to navigate the often-overlooked area of emotions, like empathy and shame. This outdated approach prevented leaders from having difficult conversations that promoted organizational connection, versus severing it. Whether it’s wholehearted discussions regarding mental health, racial injustice or gender inequality, DeDe believes these painful topics can be more effectively addressed by stepping into the arena of vulnerability, which is the path to true courage.

DeDe became a certified “Dare to Lead” facilitator in 2019, and is also a Senior Executive Coach certified through Georgetown University’s Executive Leadership Coaching Program.

Leadership Panel

Wee headshot, BizSummit 21, Leadership PanelLiang Chee Wee, Ph.D., President, Northeast Iowa Community College
Wee arrived in the USA on July 4, 1983 after serving in the Singapore Armed Forces.  He received his education at the University of Arizona, Tucson.  He has been an educator for over 30 years, first serving the University of Arizona, then Luther College, and now as president of Northeast Iowa Community College.

Wee straddles two cultures, sometimes successfully and other times not.  He grew up in a rural village in Singapore.  The Wee family history started in China and spans over 1,000 years with 41 generations recorded.  A lesson he learned very early in life from his elders, and continuously reinforced over the years, was the importance of the collective and common good.  As he progresses in life, Wee has a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of his elders’ teaching.  Their teaching has impacted his personal and professional journey.

Kay Takes headshot, BizSummit 21, Leadership PanelKay Takes, President of the Eastern Iowa Region, MercyOne
Kay Takes assumed the role of president of the eastern Iowa region of MercyOne, including MercyOne in Clinton, Dubuque and the three rural hospitals in Dyersville, Elkader and Guttenberg, in July 2018.  Prior to this appointment, Kay was the president of MercyOne Medical Centers in Dubuque and Dyersville, Iowa, since October 2015.  Kay is an executive with 30 years of progressive leadership experience across a variety of health care settings. She joined MercyOne – Dubuque in 1998 and became the vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer in 2000. Takes has led numerous strategic initiatives and has a proven track record in meeting the highest standards of organizational excellence through shared leadership.

Takes has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Arts degree in nursing administration, both from the University of Iowa.  She is board certified in healthcare management as a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives; and has a certificate in Global Leadership in Healthcare from the University of Michigan School of Business.  Before coming to Dubuque, Takes served as Director of Clinic Operations for the Iowa Physicians Clinic in Des Moines, and in progressive leadership roles over nine years at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids.

Takes has presented at numerous national conferences and has received several awards and honors, including a Women of Achievement Award in 2013 from the Women's Leadership Network of Dubuque; and the Nurse Executive of the Year Award in October 2008 from the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders.

Jordan Fullan headshot, BizSummit 21, Leadership PanelJordan Fullan, Vice President of Human resources, HODGE
Jordan graduated from Wartburg College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Fitness Management. Jordan holds a Strategic HR Business Partner Certification and is a Recruiter Academy Certified Recruiter (RACR).

Jordan started her career with Hodge in Human Resources serving as Benefits Administrator and Wellness Coordinator. After a brief stint in this position, she was promoted to Project Manager, where she spearheaded projects spanning multiple cross-functional departments. In Jordan’s current role as Vice President of Human Resources, she focuses on recruitment, employee engagement, performance management, and working closely with each Hodge business unit to support operational goals and objectives.  

In addition to her educational background, she serves on multiple boards and committees throughout the community in a variety of leadership roles. Currently, she serves on the March of Dimes Board of Directors and has previously served on the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation’s Future Leadership Team, the Dubuque on the Move Committee, and the Run4Troops Board.

Joe Hearn headshot, BizSummit 2021 Leadership PanelJoe Hearn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dupaco
Joe Hearn joined Dupaco in 1986 as director of marketing, later promoted to executive vice president. In that role, he oversaw all elements of the credit union’s branding, marketing, and public relations initiatives until 2008, when he transitioned to chief operating officer. He was named president and chief executive officer in 2012.Hearn’s state and national credit union leadership roles include serving on the board of directors of the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES), in which he is also a past chair, and serving as on the board of directors and as past chair of the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL). Additionally, he is a past member of the board of directors of Affiliates Management Company (AMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ICUL that oversees operations of ICUL’s operating companies.

He is also a past member of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) State Credit Union Subcommittee, CUNA Plan to Win Task Force, and was inducted into the CUNA Marketing Council Hall of Fame in 2010. He is also a former board member and chair of the Iowa Credit Union Foundation and was an American Advertising Federation 9th District Silver Medal Award recipient in 2000.

Locally, Hearn serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, the Steeple Square Board of Directors and is involved with Resurrection Parish and Holy Family. He also serves on the board of the Dupaco R.W. Hoefer Foundation.

Hearn holds the Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation from CUES having completed CEO Institute conducted at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hearn is a proud alumnus of Loras College, having earned undergraduate degrees in marketing and management. He also earned his MBA from the University of Dubuque.



Business Summit Innovator Radio Dubuque KATFM Business Summit Innovator Radio Dubuque KDTH Business Summit Innovator Radio Dubuque KGRR Business Summit Innovator Radio Dubuque WVRE


CIRAS logo


Hodge Company logo TH Media logo


Greater Dubuque Development Corp. logo