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2023 Conference & Expo Speakers

Using a thorough, member-driven selection process, The 2023 IN-VALUE-ABLE Conference & Expo has chosen presenters from across the country specializing in leadership, employee benefits, health, and wellbeing to ensure all participants receive the tools and innovative ideas they need to transform their benefits program now and in the future.

Marcus Thygeson

Sam Hester

Keynote January 26 | 11am EST

Visual Storytelling Humanizes Healthcare

Sam Hester is an advocate for comics as a medium for serious storytelling, and a contributor to the graphic medicine movement. She writes and draws comics about real-life local stories in her hometown of Calgary, in the Treaty 7 region of Alberta, Canada. A longtime indie comics creator, Sam has collaborated with a wide range of organizations in Canada. She captures visual stories by drawing upon deep listening skills, a unique graphic style, a passion for community-building… and a lot of markers. Her 2021 TED Talk on how comics can create better health care has been viewed nearly two million times.

Using a growing movement within health care, graphic medicine, Sam introduces us to her mom Jocelyn and shows us the power of advocating for a patient’s experience through words and pictures. Graphic medicine literally draws attention to a patient’s needs and goals with pictures to foster better and more accessible caretaking. Sam shares how illustrating small details of her mother’s medical story as she struggled with mysterious symptoms alongside her Parkinson’s and dementia led to more empathy, understanding, communication and peace of mind.

Marcus Thygeson

Drew Mendelow

Keynote January 26 | 11am EST

Type 1 From Day 1

Drew Mendelow taught himself to code after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes because he wanted to develop a versatile tracking app without any ads or fees. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 2020 at age 13. After learning the basics of diabetes management, his healthcare team introduced him to a number of apps that could help him adjust to life with diabetes. Inspired to design an app that would more closely fit his needs, Drew built an app that eliminated the need for spreadsheets and mental math, which can be time-consuming and inconvenient for quick decision-making. The app T1D1, allows people to track blood glucose levels, insulin doses, and carbohydrates. The app has an insulin calculator and allows users to choose a different insulin-to-carb ratio for every meal.

Drew designed the app T1D1 (which stands for Type 1 from Day 1) with a specific goal in mind: to simplify diabetes management as early as possible since for many the learning curve for discovering how to dose insulin and count carbs can be overwhelming. To date, T1D1 has about 40,900 downloads in over 50 countries. People have described the app as a game-changer in their personal lives, from parents who report feeling more comfortable having their children go to sleepovers to school nurses who feel more prepared to help students with their diabetes management.

Marcus Thygeson

Dr. Sampson Davis

Keynote February 8 | 1pm EST

The Pact

Dr. Sampson Davis speaks adamantly about success and how education saved his life. The first necessary step is to seek out like-minded friends to form a pact. When pursuing a goal, it is vital to have a team approach. The pact approach is what saved Dr. Davis’ life, when he and his two friends made a promise to each other to become doctors. This oath pushed him beyond his conceivable limits. He never realized he could reach such heights but knowing he was going to be held accountable served as motivation. Simply, he didn’t want to disappoint his two friends. If we are able to form pacts across the country towards a common goal, then we can begin to achieve insurmountable success.

Sampson believes we all have the ability to shape other people’s lives. He explains the three D’s: Dedication, Determination and Discipline as a foundation for achieving goals. He has written about his journey in his New York Times best-selling books The Pact (2001), We Beat the Street (2005) and The Bond (2008). Sampson’s life story has been made into a documentary appropriately entitled The Pact, and is available on Netflix. His latest book, Living and Dying in Brick City, is an in-depth exploration of the health care crisis and medical issues facing communities. Today, Sampson practices medicine and travels the country sharing his story, speaking on education, health, community, motivation, perseverance and the pact.

Marcus Thygeson

Katie Goodman

Keynote February 8 | 2:20pm EST

Building Resiliency

Katie Goodman is an award-winning comedian, an executive life-coach and author. Katie literally wrote the book on using improv comedy to improve your life. Her show “Broad Comedy” plays Off Broadway and tours nationally. Her love for self-help and comedy lands her career somewhere in between Tina Fey and Deepak Chopra. Her work has been celebrated by Arianna Huffington, Leslie Stahl, Time Out New York, and her Pilates teacher in Brooklyn who says she is “getting better.” Besides her own book, Katie’s writing can be seen in O Magazine, and The Huffington Post.

Katie holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and was nominated for the MacArthur Genius Grant for her work in theater. She got beat out by the astrophysicist who discovered the multiphase liquid behavior of nuclei, but better luck next time. Katie’s work in comedy has amassed over 3 million online views. She can be seen on Showtime, TruTV, and more often than she would admit, in line getting a mocha latte with extra, extra whipped cream. With over 20 years of experience training and speaking, Katie has taught over 30,000 people how to use the tools of improv comedy in their lives to handle absolutely anything, and to be more creative, courageous, and confident. When she’s not at home in New York City, Katie can be found traveling the country for speaking events, comedy shows, “Creativity for Life” retreats, and live corporate workshops and trainings where she teaches participants how to thrive at handling anything that comes their way.

Marcus Thygeson

Connie Podesta

Keynote February 9 | 8:45am EST

Endless Possibilities. Endless Success.

Connie Podesta is a world-class keynote speaker who has moved audiences to make the shifts necessary to succeed at a higher level, find more joy and balance, decrease stress, and lead in their industries and lives. She captivates audiences with her firecracker personality, fascinating insights, incredible humor, and take-it-to-the-bank strategies. Connie helps visionary organizations defy conventional thinking and challenge the status quo so they can re-think “business as usual.”

Connie is a game-changing, idea-generating ball of fire whose rare blend of humor, substance, style and personality have made her one of the most memorable, in-demand speakers in the world today. 25 years. Two million people. 1000 organizations. Hall of Fame speaker. Award-winning author.  Seven books. Former Radio/TV personality. Human Relations Expert. Therapist for 30 years. Expert on the psychology of sales, leadership, change, accountability, and engagement. Plus (what we all could probably use now and then) … a Comedienne.

Marcus Thygeson

Sara Ross

Keynote February 9 | 11:25am EST

Activate Your Aliveness Factor

Sara Ross is an international keynote speaker, and founder and Chief Vitality Officer at BrainAmped—a leadership research firm. Her firm provides leadership research and training to help build vitality and transform how individuals and companies work to thrive. She and her company do this by using brain science-based strategies to teach people how to amplify their emotional intelligence, resilience, and well-being. Prior to founding BrainAMPED, she worked as the VP, and Head of Innovation for a company, which focused on leadership training.

Sara guides leaders in innovative ways to increase productivity by focusing on managing energy, stress, and emotional intelligence. Her innovative strategies have attracted a diverse clientele, including lawyers, bankers, surgeons, and engineers. Senior executives for nonprofits and government agencies call on her to transform how they react to stress. Sara responds with effective strategies for reducing stress and increasing vitality, which are based on neuroscience and brain-based research.

Marcus Thygeson

Heather Meade

Featured February 9 | 3:15pm EST

Healthcare Policy Update

Heather Meade is a principal at Washington Council Ernst & Young, where she advises policy makers, business leaders, trade associations and not-for-profit organizations on a broad range of health and tax- exempt issues. Working with health care payors, providers, manufactures and consumers, Heather provides Affordable Care Act, employee benefits and health policy counsel and strategic legislative and regulatory advice.. A former ERISA attorney, Congressional staffer and political campaign operative with over 15 years of experience, Heather brings strategic business, political and policy insights to clients.

Using legislative and regulatory strategies, coalition building, data and policy development, communications and bipartisan advocacy, Heather helps clients create change on Capitol Hill. She is a frequent public speaker on Congress and health policy issues and is a member of the bar of New York State and the District of Columbia.