National experts to share insights at first leadership conference

contact: Stacey Markin
| WMU News
Photo of young professionals standing in a line.

DESIGNEDtoLEAD is a conference organized 'for students by students.'

KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University students seeking to hone their leadership skills, develop philosophies of leadership and identify ways to distinguish themselves as leaders within organizations will learn from a cross section of national experts this month at the inaugural DESIGNEDtoLEAD conference.

The complimentary, daylong conference set for Friday, Oct. 25, is sponsored by the Haworth College of Business as well as area businesses and will bring speakers from a variety of fields to Kalamazoo's Radisson Plaza Hotel to interact with WMU student leaders.

"This conference fulfills an important need for an intensive professional development opportunity in leadership for our students," says Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the Haworth College of Business. "It has been organized 'for students, by students' and is open to all WMU students. The presenters will cover a variety of leadership topics and are of the highest caliber."

Featured speakers

  • Bill Benjamin, chief executive officer and co-founder of the Institute for Health and Human Potential
  • Antonio Neves, business coach, award-winning journalist and entrepreneur of THINQACTION and The Ignition Lab
  • Nancy Owens, retired vice president of human resources for General Motors Corp.
  • Jen Randall, president and co-founder of Maestro
  • Tim Augustine, principal, business owner and corporate officer at Atwell-Group and author of "How Hard Are You Knocking?"
  • Bobby Hopewell, mayor of Kalamazoo and director of hospitality services at Borgess Medical Center
  • Lori Hales, senior vice president of sales at Pearson

"We organized this conference to help all WMU students develop their leadership abilities by learning from established leaders," says Daniel Jimenez, student co-founder of DESIGNEDtoLEAD. "We want every student from WMU who believes they have what it takes to be the future leaders in their careers and communities to experience the conference and benefit from the sessions as well as the networking that will be offered."

For more information, visit Direct questions to Cyntia Reeves at (269) 387-5069 or