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Meet Our Breakout Speakers

Our speakers are experts in their fields who have designed timely and engaging presentations for the EBWC—find out more about who they are. 

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Dr. Gayle Carson
Spunky Old Broad


Dr. Gayle Carson is known as the "Queen of Reinvention" and is in her 7th reinvention herself. Selected as a "2007 Legend of the Speaking Profession" she hosts a dozen radio shows a month and is the founder of the sobradionetwork.com She is the only woman in the world who has a doctorate, a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CMC (Certified Management Consultant) and an FIMC (Fellow to the Institute of Management Consultants). The author of 5 books, she is a winner of the Best Seller Quill Award and was inducted into the National Academy of Best Selling Authors

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Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Sales Presentation Trainer, Keynote Speaker, Executive Speech Coach

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, is a presentation skills authority. For over 25 years she has helped executives, sales teams, and engineers perfect presentations that drive results. Patricia is a Hall of Fame award-winning speaker, sales presentation skills trainer, in-demand executive speech coach, and online training expert. Meetings and Conventions magazine named her “one of the 10 most electrifying speakers in North America.” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance wrote that the sixth best way to invest in you is to learn presentation skills from Patricia Fripp. The 3,500 member National Speakers Association elected Patricia as their first female president. She is now virtually everywhere with her interactive, web-based training at www.FrippVT.com. A few of the clients who have benefitted from Patricia’s wisdom are Genentech, Concur, Cisco, Visa, Microsoft, Nutanix, and the American Payroll Association.


Michelle Perry Higgins
Principal & Financial Planner 
California Financial Advisors

Michelle Perry Higgins is a Financial Planner and Principal of California Financial Advisors in San Ramon, California, a Financial Times Top 300 firm with over $1 billion AUM. Since 1996, she has built a thriving practice advising Fortune 500 company executives and young professionals alike, and now manages over $200 million AUM. She specializes in wealth management and promotes financial literacy throughout the retirement planning process. 

Her work has been recognized numerous times over the last 20 years. Among her many achievements, Ms. Higgins was named most recently to Investopedia’s Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors list in 2017. Previously, WealthManagement.com ranked her on their Top 25 Women-Owned RIAs list in 2012, 2014, and 2015, on the Top 50 Women-Owned RIAs in 2013, as well as the “Top 40 Under 40.” She has appeared on CNBC, CBS, and Fox, and has been quoted in Oprah.com, Forbes, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and many more publications. Ms. Higgins is a regular contributor on The Wall Street Journal Expert Panel. She is a frequent public speaker on retirement planning, investments, wealth management, college education funding, estate planning, and insurance. In addition, she has published three Amazon Best Sellers: The Everything Binder: Financial, Estate and Personal Affairs OrganizerStocks, Bonds & Soccer Moms: 7 Steps to a Balanced Life; and College Poor No More! 100 $avings Tips for College Students (100% of her profits from the sale of this book are donated to scholarships). 

Ms. Higgins graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a concentration in Business Administration and Economics. She currently serves on her alma mater’s Board of Regents as it is her passion and her privilege to give back to the community by mentoring young talent and helping to raise scholarship funds. Ms. Higgins and her husband reside in the East Bay, and enjoy spending time with their two daughters and two dogs.

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LaTasha Renée
Founder and CEO
P2P Transformation Center

LaTasha Renée, Founder and CEO of Push Ups 2 Pin Ups (aka P2P Transformation Center), has been involved with health and fitness for 26 years. She spent 13 of those years traveling while changing people’s lives as a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach for people in places such as Hawaii, Hollywood, Long Beach, New Jersey, varies places throughout Northern California — even Cairo, Egypt! 

After years of working for Gold’s Gym corporate, she now shares her enthusiasm for helping others with a team of P2P dedicated coaches and customer service Team Members who find pride in servicing a community of thousands. While Gold's Gym took her far from her hometown of Walnut Creek, California, she is now a single mother of two teenagers and is excited to be back in the East Bay bringing her experience and passion for overall well being to her P2P Transformation Centers.

LaTasha decided she wanted to help more than she could on her own and began P2P Transformation Center and has 4 locations; Concord, Brentwood, Fairfield and Pleasanton while a team of almost 100. LaTasha and her team are dedicated to serving their members through encouragement, guidance and instruction; helping them attain their fitness goals through P2P's group HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions and Nutrition Coaching. She and her team are passionate about helping their community find comfort in their own skin by encouraging them to define what that place of comfort is for each individual member, telling them "YOU define YOU!" 

P2P was created to help its clients experience a mental, physical and emotional transformation in a fun-filled environment!! The center allows them to feel good about taking time for themselves, build more confidence, become inspired, get encouraged, find camaraderie — all while gaining support on their fitness journeys.

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Dr. Brenda Wade
Modern Love Training

Dr. Brenda Wade reaches millions as the relationship expert on The Dr. Oz Show, host of Modern Love Radio, a sought-after keynote speaker, trainer, and the best-selling author of four books on love. She developed the Power Coaching program to train coaches in the unique integrative method of transformation which is her signature.

Dr. Oz describes her as “one of the most renowned psychologists in America”. She created the Modern Love Training programs, igniting transformation with her unique blend of Psychology, Science and Spirituality.

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Valerie Barone
City Manager
City of Concord

Valerie Barone has served as the City Manager for the City of Concord, CA (pop 129,000) since February of 2012. Concord is a full service City with over 400 full-time, regular employees. Valerie has experience in the public and private sector. Prior to her role as City Manager in Concord, she served as the Assistant City Manager in Concord, the Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Walnut Creek, and as Community & Recreation Services Director for the City of Milpitas. She also worked as a land use and environmental planner for the Company of Eric J. Toll, a Nevada Company, and served in the Peace Corps as a Community Development Specialist on Panay Island in the Philippines. She holds a B.S. degree in Natural Resources Planning from HumboldtStateUniversity and an MBA from Cal State Sacramento. She is on the Boards of the City Managers' Department of the League of California Cities and Women Leading Government, an affiliate organization to the International City and County Managers' Association.

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Christina Seelye
Co-founder and CEO 
Maximum Games LLC

Christina Seelye serves as CEO of Maximum Games, a boutique video game publishing company she cofounded in 2009. Specializing in bringing original and inventive games to the mainstream, Maximum Games publishes console and PC titles in a wide range of categories from action and sports to simulation, racing, first-person shooters and more. The company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America, making both the Inc. 5000 and San Francisco Business Times’ Fast 100 lists for the past three years in a row. Additionally, Maximum Games is listed as one of the Top 15 Video Game Publishers in the world by NPD. Prior to founding Maximum Games, Christina led Avanquest Publishing USA as CEO and President, growing the international software company’s revenues from $8 million to $65 million. She is the recipient of four American Business Awards and graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in Fine Arts.

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Allison Tabor
Coppia Advisory

As a successful CEO of her Executive Coaching and Consulting business, Allison helps entrepreneurs, executives and their teams in the areas of Leadership, Interpersonal Communication and Strategic Planning. Seamlessly integrating and complimenting her Coaching and Consulting, Allison also facilitates for the International Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) www.womenpresidentsorg.com, leading two peer advisory groups of Bay Area multi-million dollar entrepreneurial women presidents and CEO’s. Additionally, she is a group leader for ProVisors, a community of professionals who serve their clients as trusted advisors. Prior to her executive coaching business, Allison owned and led a successful structural engineering company with her husband for 23 years. She is certified as a DISC Consultant, One Page Business Plan® Specialist and Professional Coach. With a love of business and behavioral science, Allison is a Master Connector who seeks to understand and help people. She has made a difference with hundreds of executives and their teams in various industries including: professional services, manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality and others, many of which are family owned.

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Jane Willemsen
EVP & President of Hospital Operations 
John Muir Health

Jane oversees the operations of John Muir Health’s two acute care medical centers located in Walnut Creek (554-licensed beds) and Concord (245-licensed beds), and a third facility for Behavioral Health services (73-licensed beds) also located in Concord, serving Contra Costa and Solano counties. Combined, the three facilities have net revenues of $1.3 billion, 3,686 FTEs, and 32,620 discharges. Her responsibilities also include overseeing strategic service lines, medical staff relations, and accountability for completion of major expansion projects at all three facilities. 

In addition to these responsibilities, Jane serves as Governing Board Co-Chair of the highly successful Children’s Specialty Services Partnership, a joint venture with Stanford Children’s Health/Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. She also serves as a member of the John Muir Health Executive Operations Council, which makes key decisions and sets the strategic direction for the health system. In addition, she recently oversaw the $300M implementation and rollout of the Epic© electronic medical records system throughout John Muir Health. 

Before assuming her new position, Jane served as President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Walnut Creek Medical Center for 10 years. Under her leadership, the medical center achieved numerous quality recognitions, including being named as one of America’s and the region’s top hospitals by U.S. News and World Report with a nationally ranked service(s) for 11 consecutive years. The medical center was also named by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals from 2014-2017 and achieved the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence (top 5% nationally for clinical excellence) for seven consecutive years. The Walnut Creek Medical Center also achieved Magnet® recognition status for excellence in nursing services and quality nursing care in 2008 and re-designation in 2013. 

Prior to joining John Muir Health in 2006 as President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Walnut Creek Medical Center, Ms. Willemsen served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California. She also worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago as Vice President of Nursing and Allied Health and Assistant Director of Nursing. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.