The Maine Women's Conference

2018 Breakout Sessions

2018 Breakout Session Speakers and Workshop Descriptions

We selected a group of amazing women from around New England to lead 12 distinct breakout sessions at The Maine Women’s Conference. The workshops were designed for participant engagement and attendees walked away with memorable takeaways to use RIGHT NOW in their lives. They left the breakout sessions with new ideas, inspiration, and connections to help keep their momentum going, even when they got back to their work spaces. 

Like A Boss: Two Maine CEOs Talk One-on-One About Women and Leadership (Panel Discussion)

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

Get a behind the scenes look at the career paths, the ups and downs of running a business and the realities of being a woman in charge from Portland Press Herald CEO and Publisher, Lisa DeSisto, and Betsy Beimann, CEO of Coastal Enterprises, Inc.  Lisa and Betsy will talk one-on-one and share insights about their paths to the top. 

You’ll hear stories about Betsy’s leadership experience including:  

  • What drives her to succeed
  • The places and people that got her to where she is
  • The best advice she ever received
  • How her principles guide her management style

Speaker Biographies:

Lisa DeSisto is the Chief Executive Officer for Maine Today Media which publishes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, and The Coastal Journal. In August 2017, Lisa assumed the same role for the Sun Media Group, and in April 2018, Lisa also took on leadership of the Biddeford Journal Tribune, Brunswick Times Record, Biddeford Courier, Scarborough Leader, Kennebunk Post and South Portland Sentry. Lisa sits on the board of the Maine Press Association, Associated Press, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. Lisa hosts a bi-monthly event called Like A Boss where she interviews other Maine CEOs and is a coveted speaker at many local events.

Betsy Beimann serves as Chief Executive Officer of CEI, overseeing strategy development, finance and external relations and working closely with CEI’s board and the boards of CEI’s subsidiaries. Prior to succeeding Ron Phillips as the organization’s second and first female CEO, Betsy led the Maine Food Cluster Project of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard University and advised businesses, nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in Maine and nationally. Betsy serves on the board, and is Treasurer, of the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation and regularly serves as a judge for national and state innovation and entrepreneurship competitions.

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Shaping Maine - Impacting Our Future and Creating New Leaders (Panel Discussion)

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

During this panel discussion, you will meet dedicated leaders who are laser-focused on preparing Maine’s youth to be the leaders of tomorrow. Hear inspiring stories from organizations that will fill you with hope and learn ways that you can make a difference in the lives of Maine’s youth. The panel will be poised and ready to answer questions and have frank conversations about the challenges kids face in society today, and provide advice about how we can move issues and dialogues forward.

Organizations Represented on the Panel:

  • Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute
  • Hardy Girls Healthy Women
  • Boys to Men

Speaker Biographies:

Christina McAnuff is the Executive Director of the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization with school partnerships in all 16 Maine counties. McAnuff has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, training, and program development. Today McAnuff combines her skills in building organizations and communication, with her passion for working with youth. She is responsible for the development and delivery of a three-year program to build the confidence, aspirations, and leadership skills of Maine girls. She is committed to creating a network of accomplished and caring Maine women that not only mentors and encourages the next generation of Maine leaders, but also one another.

As Executive Director, Matt Theodores brings leadership and nonprofit experience to Maine Boys to Men from a variety of business executive, nonprofit board, volunteer and consulting positions. Theodores oversees this nonprofit organization that supports the healthy development of boys as a means to ending gender based violence. Maine Boys to Men programming brings boys and men together with girls and women to challenge gender stereotypes, promote gender equity, and reduce male violence against girls and women.

Board of Directors member Grace Stone of Hardy Girls, Healthy Women serves on the Girls Advisory Board (GAB), a year-long leadership program made up of a group of high school girls from around the state. The GAB members plan, create, and facilitate the annual Girls Rock! conferences for hundreds of 4th-8th grade girls, in addition to serving as girl experts to Hardy Girls, Healthy Women. Grace, a junior at Waynflete School, is active in school and community projects and can speak to engaging youth in volunteer and leadership roles.

As Senior Vice President, Core Segment for Unum US, Andrea Gordon is responsible for profitable growth through the sale of new business as well as the lifecycle management of inforce business for customers with less than 2,000 employees - for both group and voluntary products.  She also has accountability for growth through digital partners. Andrea joined Unum in 1985 and has centered her career on Unum's commitment to be the leading provider of employee benefits products and services - helping protect millions of individuals and families from financial risk.  Andrea is a 1985 graduate of Bowdoin College and a member of the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute’s Corporate Leaders Network and an Advisor to Olympia’s leaders at Portland High School. She will be joining the United Way of Greater Portland Board of Directors in August of this year and will serve on the Thrive2027 council.

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10 Steps to Building Social Media Visibility with Abbie McGilvery

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

These days, marketing your business is so much more than just sending out emails and updating your website - it’s a social media experience! In this workshop, Social Media Strategist Abbie McGilvery of From The Nest will touch on 10 topics small business owners need to be aware of when planning their social media strategy and creating content. We will discuss how to use your social media channels more effectively to build visibility for your business, how to simplify and focus your social media marketing efforts, and which simple tools you can use to make your marketing efforts more manageable. It’s time to get the knowledge (and learn the magic tricks) you need to make your social media campaigns more successful and rewarding!

You Will Walk Away With:

  • A clear picture of where you currently are in creating your social media strategy

  • More knowledge about your target audience and what they want and need from you on social media channels

  • A map of your network partners and an understanding of how they can help you get more visibility on social media channels

  • A better understanding of what to prioritize and which steps to take next to build your social media visibility

Speaker Biography: Abbie McGilvery is a Social Media Strategist and owner of From The Nest, a social media company based in Portland, Maine. Abbie helps individuals and organizations get focused on their marketing goals, plan for growth, and figure out how to best use their authentic voice to match their products or services with their audiences’ needs and desires. Working one-on-one, she serves as an adviser, guide, and mentor for the people she works with. She enjoys speaking, bringing together groups of brave people, inspiring others to tell their stories out loud, and watching creative people SHINE!

Learn more about Abbie:

Quantum Confidence: Revolutionize Yourself for Success with Bambi Thompson

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

Mindset just isn’t enough. This workshop will show you the power of leveraging the human brain, energy-body, and attraction principles for peak living. Discover how to change your relationship with fear, insecurity, and doubt. Explore a variety of mind hacks and power moves that will activate, optimize, and magnetize you for a life of unlimited possibility. Learn the 6-step formula for unleashing your inner success guru while releasing your stress. Understand the critical key to instantly activate the confidence to say “yes” to bigger and better opportunities.

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You will walk away with:

  • An understanding of how the brain, your energy body, and your beliefs work with the Law of Attraction to make your success easier and more grace-filled.

  • An understanding of how to clear negative energy from your body.

  • An understanding of how to stop cortisol release and turn on serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.

  • Three powerful phrases that will change how you show up on you goal quest.

Speaker Biography: Bambi Thompson is a transformational speaker and brain coach for success acceleration and anxiety transformation. She’s the co-founder of the Corporate Unicorn’s Women’s Success Summit in Maine, co-author of Dare to Be Authentic, and the former producer and host of Power Me Up Radio on the Amazing Women of Power Network. Bambi combines her background as an Occupational Therapist with her knowledge of brain science, metaphysics, energy medicine, and the Law of Attraction to revolutionize her clients for success, to transcend limitation, optimize performance, and activate personal power.  Bambi’s dynamic and experiential presentation style will entertain, teach, inspire and transform you!  

Learn more about Bambi:

Building Pathways to Deeper Connection with Chelsea Canedy

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

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Major advances in the field of interpersonal Neuroscience over the past two decades have provided us with an understanding of human development that can revolutionize our relationships. Utilizing the triune brain model and basic meditation practices, in this session we will work to deepen our understanding ourselves and human behavior. This will in turn help us stay calm, regulate our emotions, and stay connected to the most reliable aspect of ourselves. From there, we will be able to effectively manage normal as well as extreme reactions within ourselves and in those we care for. By looking at cutting edge information about the developing brain we will gain a deeper understanding of why people, from infants to adults, behave the way they do, and how this knowledge can help us build stronger connections within our lives and communities. By using simple meditation practices, we will bring this knowledge to an experiential level.  

You will walk away with:

  • A new understanding of why people behave in the ways they do
  • Knowledge and skills to help those you care for regulate their own strong emotions
  • Insight about your own habitual patterns of reactivity
  • A simple meditation practice that will bring deeper awareness to your everyday life

Speaker Biography: Chelsea specializes in brain-based, attachment-focused caregiving, helping people understand how human brains grow and function in order to care for themselves and others in more effective, connected ways. She has been working with parents, families and providers in the non-profit sector for over nine years, and has been a teacher for over two decades. Chelsea is highly involved in meditation practice and instruction, teaching meditation methods with practical applications for the everyday lives. Chelsea has two children, a 7 year old daughter, and a 3 year old son, who give her ample opportunity to take her own advice!

Learn more about Chelsea:

Be an Active Bystander With Clara Porter

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

Identity-based harassment on the street and in other settings is on the rise for many people in our communities. The goal of this highly engaging breakout session is to give participants the awareness to recognize harassment in the early stages and the skills to intervene as an effective ally to those targeted for harassment or assault. Our focus is firmly on interventions that increase the safety of the person targeted rather than on confronting the harasser. Learn how to intervene directly, indirectly, and through distraction, and ways to de-escalate volatile situations. Participants will also explore resources and tools for recording and reporting harassment.

During this workshop, you will:

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  • Learn and practice tools for managing adrenaline in high stress situations.

  • Share and practice skills for intervening in heightened situations to avoid and interrupt escalation.

  • Discuss and practice ways to intervene directly, indirectly, and through use of distraction in situations in which they witness someone being targeted for harassment.

Speaker Biography: Clara Porter is the Founder/Director of Prevention. Action. Change. working to counter harassment, assault, and abuse through safety strategies, verbal and physical skills, increased confidence and awareness and the promotion of healing and growth. She has more than 20 years experience in violence prevention and response and is trained in both the Bring in the Bystander and Green Dot methods of Active Bystander training. Clara’s background includes extensive work in the sexual assault prevention and response both on college campuses and in the community. She lives in Portland with a house full of teenagers.

Learn more about Clara:

Pause and Engage Activities With Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom

Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom joins us this year to help keep us energized and engaged throughout our conference experience. At most conferences and training events, schedules are jam-packed and people are challenged to retain information and connect with new people meaningfully. Throughout the day, Elizabeth will create intentional breaks and lead us in short activities that will encourage reflection and meaningful connection with other participants.

Speaker Biography: Elizabeth founded BreakTogether to provide short term training solutions for long-term adoption of mindful practices in the workplace.  In less than 10 minutes a day, her programs focus on the power of unplugged moments to help individuals move from reactive to responsive and conscious activities to connect people for improved meetings. She designs customized experiences with conference and meeting planners based on themes, presentation topics, presenters, attendees, and space configuration.  

Previously, Elizabeth was VP of Employee Benefits and Wellness for TD Bank, US. She has over twenty years of experience in employee engagement, wellbeing program management, and leadership development.

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Learn more about Elizabeth:

(For Employers)

(For Meetings/Conferences)





Strong Brand, Strong Business With Emily Brackett

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

Most business owners have heard that a strong brand will help them with their business, but they are still confused about branding. Branding can feel vague, confusing and never ending. They may have heard someone say, “Your brand is much more than your logo.”  Come away from this presentation with an understanding of the key components of a brand and a plan to develop your brand in a way that feels authentic without breaking the bank. Gain a greater understanding of what branding is and why it’s so important to a successful business. You will explore the important elements of a successful brand including visual traits, messaging, customer service, reputation and more.  

During this workshop, you will:

  • Understand how and when to invest in your branding, and how to develop your branding in an efficient way.

  • Understand how to look at your competitors and identify a market position for your company.

  • Understand a step-by-step approach for developing a memorable and effective brand.

  • Learn the elements that go into a Unique Value Proposition and work on the framework of writing a Unique Value Proposition.

  • Learn how to develop a brand that attracts ideal customers and begin identifying the brand attributes that should represent your brand image.

Speaker Biography: Emily Brackett is President of Visible Logic, a Portland-based firm that offers brand strategy, design and marketing services. Using graphics and words, Visible Logic helps brands clarify and communicate their message. Their email marketing service, Mail on the Mark, helps small businesses deliver custom-branded, unique content to their customers and prospects by writing, creating and sending their e-newsletters. Most recently, she launched Branding Compass which is like the TurboTax of branding—a fast, interactive tool that gives small business owners a direction for their brand.

Learn more about Emily: / /

Mindfulness for Self and Social Impact with Gretchen Ki Steidle

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

The more leaders invest in their own wellbeing and self-awareness, the more capacity they have to understand others and create positive social impact with empathy, creativity and effectiveness. In this workshop you will experience tools for mindfulness and wellbeing, explore a new inner-driven leadership philosophy, and discover practical tools to create social change more effectively and with meaning. Participants will learn the science and applications of mindfulness not only to benefit the self, but as a radical new design methodology to address underlying social issues with solutions that embrace collaboration, compassion and creativity for long-term, sustainable transformation. These tools are critical, especially in today’s political climate, if we want to lead more effectively, foster collaboration and advance the wellbeing of all people.

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You will walk away with:

• Personal practices for self-awareness, balance and mindfulness.

• A system of inner-driven, inspired leadership skills.

• Tools for engaging stakeholders, and understanding and facilitating change in others with compassion.

• Building effective and collaborative solutions.

Speaker Biography: Gretchen Ki Steidle is the founder and President of Global Grassroots, an international organization that leads a social venture incubator and mindful-leadership program for women and girls in East Africa. She has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth and a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. She is author of the recently published: Leading from Within: Conscious Social Change and Mindfulness for Social Innovation, and lectures and teaches on mindfulness and social change worldwide.

Learn more about Gretchen: /

Step Up and Step Out: Rewiring Your Brain for Success with Jennifer Riggs and Deb Elbaum

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

In this interactive workshop, participants will consider their own stories and how to change them to support their goals and their futures. You will practice breaking old patterns and building new ways of thinking to support your professional growth. The workshop will draw on the power of our brains to change by creating new neural connections, also known as neuroplasticity. Learn how neuroplasticity works and why it’s critical to growth and change.

Through partner exercises and discussion, you will understand that the thoughts and stories that hold you back don't have to be fixed and can be changed by creating new neural connections. Tap into courage and experience the freedom of creating new stories about your strengths, accomplishments, and future possibilities. Develop an action plan to apply your learning to a professional goal or growth point.   

You will walk away with:

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  • Increased knowledge of your own stories and how to change them to support your professional growth.

  • Understanding of the brain and how to change it.

  • New knowledge and experiences, including: what it might be like to shed old, limiting beliefs; connecting and sharing with a partner; and playing with new ways of thinking to expand future possibilities.

  • A personalized, targeted action plan to help implement changes related to a targeted goal.

Speaker Biography: Deb Elbaum, MD, is a coach, author, and speaker who uses neuroscience to help leaders and professionals think effectively, and make decisions clearly and confidently. A speaker at the 2017 Bryant University Women’s Summit, Deb is the author of the chapter “Making Moments Count” in Coaching for Powerful Change (2016). Her degrees are from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.  

Jennifer Riggs

Speaker Biography: Jennifer Riggs, JD, is a certified neuroscience coach, speaker and former lawyer. She uses neuroscience and coaching methods to help heart-centered leaders with resilience and change in their careers and lives. She is the author of a blog on the neuroscience of change, stress and confidence. As a lawyer, Jennifer worked in the public interest sector as a litigator and a senior consultant to legal organizations across the country. Her degrees are from Tufts University and Loyola University School of Law. Jennifer is also a trained yoga teacher and a mindfulness practitioner.  

Learn more about Deb:

Learn more about Jen:


Grow & Leverage Your Network with Ease with Jodi Flynn

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

No one has ever achieved success on their own so we know success comes through relationships. But what actions do you take to bring this about? Who should you be building relationships with? How do you find them and initiate the relationship? How do you cultivate those relationships to get to the point where you can ask for assistance and get a “yes”? In this session you are going create a networking plan that feels good and will help you connect with the people who can forward you in your career, business or any goals you have set for yourself.

During this workshop, you will:

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  • Gain a feminine-minded perspective on networking that you can feel good about.

  • Identify the networking activities that are in alignment with you and feel natural.

  • Cultivate an approach to forming and developing relationships that create win-win opportunities.

  • Develop a follow-up system that will keep networking from becoming just another thing that wastes your time .

  • Create a networking plan that matches your goals and fits your schedule.

Speaker Biography: Jodi Flynn of Women Taking the Lead is a coach, podcaster, author, speaker and community leader for ambitious entrepreneurial women who want to go BIG. Jodi works with women who are already seen as successful but have not yet achieved the level of success they want to achieve. Jodi helps her clients see how extraordinary they are and lean into their natural abilities so they can stop working nights and weekends, and achieve their biggest goals with ease. She became an Amazon bestselling author with her book, Accomplished: How to Go from Dreaming to doing.

Learn more about Jodi:

Everything is Negotiable - Do it Skillfully! With Joy Kacik

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

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During this workshop, you will learn rules, skills and tips from an experienced negotiator that will boost your confidence and lead to better outcomes. Learn how to ask for what you want, effectively prepare and present your proposal, assess their needs in addition to your own, react with skills that will help cinch the deal and avoid the top five mistakes in negotiations.  A complimentary individual coaching session is included via phone post conference.

You will walk away with:

  • Increased confidence and assertiveness to ASK

  • Knowledge of where to begin and how to proceed

  • Knowledge of what reactions to expect and how to respond

  • Awareness of common mistakes and how to avoid them

Speaker Biography: As a partner in Kacik Consulting Services, LLC, Joy brings a rich background in negotiations, employment relations, organizational development, facilitation, strategic planning, and training.  Formerly, as a Region Field Director and 28-year negotiator for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, Joy negotiated hundreds of contracts. Her consulting is now focused on building strong teams within organizations, leadership development and coaching. As a certified professional coach, focusing on career and executive coaching, Joy helps clients realize the next step of their desired career path and helps executive clients to lead their organizations with strong people skills, a strategic vision and results-focused decisions.

Learn more about Joy:

Align and Engage Yourself First; Then Engage Your Team With Kris McCrea, PCC, ELI-MP

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

Engagement: People who are passionate about their work and feel a profound connection to their company. They continually explore new ways to move forward. Would you say this describes you and your team? If you said “no”, are you feeling exhausted, as if your gas tank is running on empty? Do you find yourself saying, “if only they would…then things would be better” about your team?  Are you constantly extinguishing fires everyday and struggling to move forward with your goals? If you said, “yes” to any of these, then this session is perfect for you! Come explore how to align and engage new energy within yourself and your team.  Learn how to transform your environment to create a place where you inspire and direct while still effectively managing tasks. Discover ways to ignite your mojo and shift to a feeling of being fully engaged and excited to be alive. 

During this workshop, you will:

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  • Identify how well you align with the mission where you work.

  • Develop clear goals for yourself and your team

  • Apply 2-3 new skills to transform how you communicate with yourself and your team.

Speaker Biography: Kris McCrea is the President at McCrea Coaching and a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. She works with businesses and organizations to help them redesign their work and how they engage their people. She is totally energized when her clients transform from a business of putting out fires everyday, to a thriving environment with leaders leading a highly engaged productive team. She also coaches private clients who want to build confidence and create meaningful change in their life. Kris is also on the Forbes Coaches Council. Be on the lookout for her articles and comments on

Learn more about Kris:

Buen Camino:  Finding Your Way - A Journey of Discovery Reflection and Action with Marsha Greenberg

Afternoon Session: 1:45pm - 2:45pm

Marsha Greenberg Camino de Santiago

Have you ever thought about what you will do next? What has gotten in the way of following through for your one precious life? Do you ever dream about a life filled with joy doing exactly what you want? Are you ready to take action? When we step away from our lives and take the time to reflect on our goals, our dreams, and our visions, we learn many lessons we may never have even thought of. Marsha Greenberg will be offering an interactive presentation sharing her journey, walking the 500 mile Camino de Santiago and the lessons she learned along the way.  

You will walk away with:  

  • Explore the lessons offered by the Camino de Santiago and how they apply to your everyday life
  • Learn what’s involved in taking the next step on your path
  • Learn ways to feel inspired, while challenging yourself to accomplish your visions and goal
  • Explore what makes you happy and brings joy into your life

Speaker Biography: Marsha Greenberg is currently living the life she wants as an enthusiastic entrepreneur and leadership consultant with over 30 years of experience. In the spring of 2017 Marsha walked 500 miles across northern Spain, completing the Camino de Santiago. The walk inspired her new business, “Buen Camino, Finding Your Way: A Journey of Discovery, Reflection and Action”  where she shares the lessons learned on the Camino and their application to everyday life. Her work inspires others to take the first step on their journey to get the life they want. When she isn’t travelling around the world, she lives on Peaks Island with her husband, Steve Schuit, and spends time with her wonderful grandchildren

Learn more about Marsha:

Born to Lead: The Authentic Story with Trishia Lichauco

Morning Session: 10:30am - 11:30am

Leadership is not exclusive to the workplace, but must begin with leading one’s own life. In this workshop you will discover authentic leadership through the use of personal story. We all have our own truths, and they must be spoken to achieve personal freedom and pride in our own history, background and roots. Trying to be someone else is extremely exhausting.  Each of us and the rest of the world are missing out when we do not act from our authentic selves. You will realize and develop the courage to tell a personal story to inspire and impact one’s and others’ leadership and gain tips and tools and actually start the writing journey of a personal story. 

During this workshop, you will:

• Ask the questions: What is the difference between a goal and a result?  Who am I when I am the leader I know myself to be?

• Start to unlock personal power and choice by understanding the potential impact of your own story on yourself and others.

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• Explore what may be holding you back from telling the truths of your story.

• Brave the process of accepting and telling your story.

Speaker Biography: Trishia S. Lichauco, PCC is a professional leadership development coach and speaker who is certified by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). She holds the professional certified coach designated by the International Coaching Federation and serves as the 2017-2019 New England Chapter President.  

Trishia’s professional background includes roles such as Chief of Staff to the president at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant to the President at Wheaton College. She has also held management positions at WGBH Educational Foundation and Simmons College. A stay-at-home mother for 19 years and away from her home country for 36 years, Trishia has vast experience in redefining herself. Her diverse professional portfolio and cultural background offers depth of perspective and rich insights to the value of her coaching programs. She is a practitioner of the MBTI Step I and II Instruments, Energy Leadership Index (ELI), and The Results System.

Learn more about Trishia: