The Way Up

Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education

Keynote Speakers - 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

9:45-10:30 am  Opening Keynote Speaker:

Susan Kalsow
Learning and Development Manager
Fairmont, Minnesota

"Fierce Leadership"

Link to Keynote Presentation

Suzi Kalsow is the Learning and Development Manager at Bank
Midwest.  Previously she was Vice-President for Academic Affairs
at Mount Marty College, and prior to that was Associate
Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of
Education at Buena Vista University.  Dr. Kalsow came to Buena
Vista University from PK-12 where she began her career as a
middle school English teacher and coach.  After 17 years, she
went into her first administrative job as a curriculum director
and then to the Area Education Agency as a staff development
consultant.  It was at that time she completed her doctorate in
educational leadership and took the job a Buena Vista University
as a graduate professor in educational leadership. 

In 2009, Dr. Kalsow became a certified trainer for Fierce
Conversations and has spent the last 6 years working to infuse
the principles and concepts into university and banking life.
Under her leadership at Mount Marty College, 200 faculty and
staff were trained with the goal to teach all students within 4
years.  On September 10 of 2014, the entire freshmen class was
trained as step one.  Although she is not there to continue the
work, 5 certified trainers made up of faculty and staff are there
to carry on the vision.  At Bank Midwest, a program is in place
to offer the training to ALL bank employees by December 2015.
The goal is to take a good culture and make it a great culture of
direct and honest communication. 

In this key note presentation, Dr. Kalsow will share her
experiences as a leader and the principles and tools that guided
her journey to her current job outside of higher education.  You
will hear about lessons learned, often the hard way, and the
importance of courage, skill, and authenticity.


12:00-1:30 pm   Lunch

The Way Up Scholarship and Recognition Awards:

* Carol Rocklin Kay Memorial Scholarship
* Eunice A. Dell Memorial Scholarship
* Recognition Award

5:30 - 7:00pm   Evening Banquet with Dinner Speaker

Dinner Speaker

Laura Douglas
Provost, DMACC Campus
Des Moines, Iowa

"It Starts With You"

Laura Douglas has been Provost of Urban Campus of Des Moines Area
Community College since November 2005. The Urban Campus serves
the metropolitan area of Des Moines and is one of six campuses
that comprise the Des Moines Area Community College.  As Provost,
Dr. Douglas serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of the
campus and provides executive leadership for all aspects of the
campus operation.  Prior to becoming Provost of the Urban Campus,
Dr. Douglas served at community colleges in New York, Michigan
and North Carolina. Dr. Douglas' experience in higher education
includes teaching, student services leadership, international
education, research, planning and governance. In addition, she
has lived and worked in Thailand, Japan, and Kuala Lumpur,

A New England native, Dr. Douglas attended the University of
Southern Maine and holds an undergraduate degree in Social
Welfare. She holds a master's degree in International
Administration from the School for International Training in
Vermont and a master's and Ph.D. in education from the University
of Michigan's Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary
Education. Her professional and scholarly interests include
leadership, organizational behavior, diversity in higher
education, and community college governance.

During her keynote address, Dr Douglas will share examples of how
to get noticed and promoted and what you can do to demonstrate
commitment, trust, and excellence on the job.  This keynote will
focus on how you can use excellence to create your foundation for
career satisfaction and success.   Dr Douglas will also discuss
how to nurture and assist excellent employees advance in higher


Friday, November 6, 2015

11:30 - 1:15 pm Lunch

Closing Speaker:

Debra Derr
President, Mt Hood Community College
Gresham, Oregon

"The Little Engine That Could"              

Debbie Derr began her community college career as an adult
returning student more than 30 years ago.   Since then, she has
held various positions in community college education as a
professional support staff, faculty and administrator. She served
as a senior administrator in Oregon and Wisconsin before moving
to her first community college presidency at North Iowa Area
Community College in 2008.  In July 2013, Dr. Derr was honored to
become the 10th president of Mt. Hood Community College, located
in Gresham, Ore. She was proud to return to MHCC, where she
worked 15 years as an administrator, 1987 - 2002.  Dr. Derr holds
a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Linfield
College (Oregon), a Master of Science in counseling from Portland
State University (Oregon) and a Doctorate of Education in
community college leadership from Oregon State University

Dr. Derr has held numerous leadership positions both nationally
and on a statewide basis. She is currently on the board of
directors of the American Association of Community Colleges.  She
chairs the AACC Commission on Access, Diversity and Inclusion and
has served on the Commission on Marketing and Communications. She
is a member of the AACC Presidents' Academy Executive Council.
She is a member of American Association of Women in Community
Colleges (both at the national and local levels) and the
Association of University Women.  Debbie serves on a number of
boards in her region to include: All Hands Raised, Oregon Public
Broadcasting, The Gresham Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee
and the East Metro Economic Alliance. As a senior fellow at the
University of Wisconsin Madison, she lectured regularly on
technical and community college governance and leadership issues.

The breadth of Debbie's experience includes championing
continuous quality improvement efforts, strategic and enrollment
management planning, local and statewide diversity efforts,
workforce development initiatives, faculty innovation and
numerous strategies in support of academic preparedness and
student success.

During her keynote address, Dr Derr will talk about
motivation, confidence, and the ability to keep moving upward -
like the little engine that could.  Dr. Derr says -  If I can,
you can too!  Lead in higher education through confidence,
support, purpose and a passion for the work you do.



Back to 2015 Conference Materials