Because Small Business is Big Business

Small Business Author

Michael Mitilier

Michael Mitilier is the founder of the Rule of Thumb for Business book series and small business author of A Guide to Small Business Basics and A Guide to Small Business Software Technology.  He is currently the Assistant Regional Director at Iowa Western Small Business Development Center.

As an entrepreneurial executive he has over 25 years experience leading, developing and managing growth. He spent 13 years building a training and development company before being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2004. He is a survivor on all levels! After that his life took him in a different direction. He decided to use his talents and lifelong results-oriented attitude to help nonprofits achieve their missions, and worked for Nonprofit Association of the Midlands as their Director of Member Services.

Always looking up and beyond, he founded and led the Small Business Association of the Midlands, where he became a certified Gallup Entrepreneur Acceleration System Guide. Currently Michael is a keynote speaker, trainer and is GrowthWheel Advisor.  Click here to see Michael’s complete resume 

Sonia KefferSonia Keffer has been developing and facilitating employee-training workshops for seventeen years. As Small Business Author of  A Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements one of her main focus of work is the internal motivation that is necessary for all of us to be truly successful. Being passionate about her work she enjoys bringing new ideas to all levels of employees and seeing the spark ignite in someone when they understand how to incorporate a new concept into their own personal or professional life. Her training sessions are high energy and interactive which allow for maximum participation and learning.

Sonia has been fortunate enough to work across the United States with such organizations as The county of Orange, California, the City and county of San Francisco, Stearns-Benton Workforce Center and On With Life. Here is Omaha Sonia has worked with such terrific organizations as Fashion Cleaners, Omaha Public Schools, Omaha Tri-county Workforce Development, Henningsen Foods, Inc., SOCAP, PVPL, the Nebraska Art Council, the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival and NAM. Among Sonia’s other passions are her involvement in community theatre including being involved all four years of the Great Plains Theatre Conference sponsored by Metropolitan Community College. This summer she both directed and acted in new works first presented at the conference at Omaha’s Shelterbelt Theater.

Dr. Beverly A. Browning Dr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been consulting in the areas of grant writing, contract bid responses, and organizational development for nearly four decades. She has assisted municipal clients and workshop participants throughout the United States in receiving grant awards of more than $350 million. Dr. Bev the author of 40 grants-related publications, including Grant Writing For Dummies™, Grant Writing for Educators, How to Become a Grant Writing Consultant, Faith-Based Grants: Aligning Your Church to Receive Abundance, Perfect Phrases for Writing Grant Proposals, Rule of Thumb: A Guide to Small Business Sustainability and Perfect Phrases for Fundraising (2012). She is an online expert-level instructor for and Dr. Browning is a current member of the Grant Professionals Association. She is the Vice President for Grants Professional Services at eCivis Inc.


Todd ConkrightTodd Conkright’s career has always centered on helping individuals and organizations identify and close the gap between what is and what ought to be. As the author of A Guide to Peak Performance Through People and  a human capital strategist, human performance analyst, instructional designer and learning facilitator he has helped organizations maximize their greatest asset: their people.

Before starting his consulting practice, Cornerstone Global Training & Performance Solutions, Todd was an internal consultant for companies of 200 to 25,000 employees, initiating and implementing creative solutions to challenging performance issues. An intuitive problem solver, Todd has been instrumental in reducing turnover, improving talent sourcing, increasing knowledge retention and optimizing the customer experience.
Todd earned a bachelor’s degree in HR Management from Grace University and a master’s in Organizational Development Consulting from Regent University. He is Past-President of the Omaha Organization Development Network board and an adjunct instructor of human resource management.

Todd can be reached at or 402-650-4921.
You can also follow him on Twitter: @GapMinding or LinkedIn:

Linda Fettig Linda Fettig is the founder of Omalinda Enterprises. She previously was the Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Development Commission and spent most of the past 30 years working with development issues pertinent to organizations, communities and small businesses.

Linda has been a speaker at the local, regional, state, multi-state, and national level on rural development issues. Her works on development have been published in trade journals and conference proceedings in addition to her books, “The ABCs of Development – It’s About Building Capacity” and “Rule of Thumb: A Guide to Small Business Growth”.

Linda has a Masters in Leadership Development from Bellevue University, a second Masters in Organizational Management with an emphasis in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship from Peru State College, a BA with a Community Development emphasis and a minor in Business Administration. Linda is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute. She is an adjunct professor for Bellevue University and enjoys teaching in the online environment.

Possibly more important than the classroom learning, Linda has spent the past 30 years helping organizations and communities learn how to build capacity. In Ms. Fettig’s book, “The ABCs of Development – It’s About Building Capacity”, Linda shares her passion for capacity building while the “Rule of Thumb: A Guide to Small Business Growth” indicates what can happen when a business has capacity, vision, and strategic implementation. Visit the Contact Linda insert for information on having Linda Fettig at public appearances and speaking engagements.

Rita RockerRita Rocker is a national inspirational and educational speaker, international published author, communications and image specialist, career consultant, and Mistress of Ceremonies with Transformation Academy, LLC. She is on the international Board of the global Professional Woman Network. She inspires individuals to excel while providing life-transforming and confidence-building skills for professional organizations, corporations, youth programs and college students, at leadership conferences and women’s retreats. Rita has appeared on national television and radio talk shows on self-esteem and communication. Participants become more accomplished communicators, gain greater confidence in business etiquette, project a dynamic professional  image, and experience a more successful  career. Rita’s professional background is in corporate training, human resources and non-technical project management.

On a personal note, Rita’s passion to transform lives comes from climbing out of her own deep pit of very low self-worth, physical/mental/emotional abuse, self-sabotaging behavior through fear of failure and rejection, emotional eating, and self-destructive relationships. She is very authentic and transparent while filling her audiences and readers with hope, help, humor and heart! Rita is a former Mrs. Nebraska and Mrs. America contestant.

She is the author of Hope at the End of Your Rope: Steps to Rebuild Your Life and Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success. She is a contributing author to The Professional Woman Volumes 1 & 2; Sink, Swim or Float: How to Survive the Trials of Life; The Unstoppable Woman’s Guide to Emotional Well Being; Woman Power: Strategies for Female Leadership; The Power of Transformation: Reinventing Your Life; Baby Boomers: Secrets for Life After 50; Tapping Your Inner Vision: Transforming Your Life, Shifting Your Mind; and The Self-Esteem Guide for Women: How to Build Confidence”, The Woman’s Book of Empowerment and Confidence (daily affirmations).  

Jill Slupe

Jill Slupe is the CEO of Verde Martin, Inc., a sales acceleration firm in Omaha and Chicago that uses a sales audit process to drive sales for its many clients. With Jill’s help, clients have successfully launched new markets and new products, expanded operations domestically and internationally, implemented strategic planning, reduced the cost of sales, and improved their bottom lines.

Jill is a business developer, teacher, and author. In her recent book, Rule of Thumb: A Guide to Sales Strategy, she leads the reader through the sales process and lays groundwork for a sound sales strategy. Strategic and tactical step-by-step exercises in the book push the reader to create business strategies to drive new revenue.

Jill’s career as a sales and business consultant can be traced back to solid operational experience working for the U.S. Air Force, where she converted 33 international and domestic operations to for-profit entities for Air Combat Command. Jill led a training center where operations managers at youth centers, golf courses, and officer’s clubs learned how to measure and increase sales and revenues.

Jill gained additional experience and expertise with more than 10 years of management in various senior roles at Yellow Book and PayPal. This included guiding mergers and acquisitions, and managing both inside and outside sales teams, Internet and new media marketing, product development, market expansion and talent management.

Jill supports the community with service on a number of governing boards, and is an active member of several business networking groups. She has received many awards for outstanding performance and small business support. She holds an MBA from Creighton University and maintains a personal global network in Asia and Europe to assist with business development.

Lisa TschaunerLisa Tschauner has a vast experience of strategizing with existing businesses as well as new business owners. Her education, a BA in Organizational Communication and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management & Entrepreneurship, have proven to be a great foundation that has enabled her to bring the traditional best practices to companies while giving a new perspective with leading edge techniques. She has managed teams of people and been an award-winning salesperson. Lisa has also owned several of her own companies, currently she owns Dynamic Concepts, a business consulting firm.

Her background is very diverse with work experience in many industries; energy, telecommunications, information technology, retail, marketing/advertising, media production, construction building and manufacturing. In addition to being the owner of Dynamic Concepts, Lisa is an Instructor of Entrepreneurship and Business at Central Community College and coordinated the Entrepreneurship Center at Central Community College. She has also taught for other area colleges/universities on an adjunct basis. She is a licensed real estate broker. She is a certified NxLevel EDGE Instructor for the University of Nebraska.

She is well versed in communication theory as well as applicable methods. She does several speaking events in the mid-west each year. She is the author of  A Guide to Customer Service and Business Relationships

She volunteers on local and state coalitions and boards. She is very active in her community and has lead several projects that have benefited business owners, non-profit organizations and education. Personally, Tschauner has lived in central and Western Nebraska as well as Denver, Colorado. She and her family enjoy traveling, art, riding motorcycles and restoring their old home.

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