Keynote and featured speakers for the 2002 Connections conference

Brian Biro
April 9, 2002
  • Opening Keynote Speaker - Megacenter - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Beyond Success

Brian Biro is, above all, a team builder. He is one of the nations foremost catalysts for transforming a getting by mentality to an infectious eager spirit a critical ingredient both at home and in your career. The author of the internationally acclaimed Beyond Success: The 15 Secrets of A Winning Life! and The Joyful Spirit: How To Become The Happiest Person You Know!, Brian was rated #1 from over 40 National Certified Speakers at both the March 1997 and October 1997 Inc. Magazine International Conferences. In the last year Brian has been featured on Good Morning America, CNNs Business Unusual, and the Fox News Network. At the heart of his dynamic presentations is an irrepressible belief in people. Participants consistently give him their highest praise because of the fun, surprise and heart he delivers in every presentation.

Greg Schwem
April 10, 2002
  • Closing Keynote Speaker - Main Ballroom - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Comedy With a Byte

If youre looking to laugh at todays educational world, look no further than the stand-up comedy and humorous motivational speaking of Greg Schwem. Dubbed Comedy with a Byte by the Chicago Tribune, Greg has brought his wholesome, energetic brand of comedy to functions from coast to coast. Greg laces his routines with hilarious stories that people can relate to. Laugh along with Greg and his views on technical support lines, monotonous business meetings, meaningless PowerPoint presentations, e-commerce, cell phone addiction and that annoying guy in every building who just cant stop sending e-mail! By the end of Gregs show, youll see how efficient tools are actually rendering us inefficient. More importantly, you will leave feeling motivated and willing to chuckle when technology rears its ugly head in the school!

Laura Cornille-Cannady
April 10, 2002
  • Salon IV - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Go Ahead, Have a Good Laugh!
  • Salon IV - 8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. - Real Heroes Don't

Laura Cornille-Cannady is president of Learning Alliances Company, a training and consulting company located in Decatur, Illinois. Laura has a Master of Science in Education from Illinois State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Quincy College. She has certifications from Kepner-Tregoe and Organizational Dynamics, Inc. Laura has also been selected as a Top Ten National Presenter and is an alumnus of the 1997 Leadership Illinois Class. She is also an active member at both the regional and the national levels of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Kathy Pennell
April 9, 2002
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Creative and Innovative Ways to Solve Problems and Make Decisions
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Listening Skills

Kathy Pennell is a respected speaker, trainer and consultant who has given hundreds of presentations across the county. She is president of Kathy Pennell & Associates, a training and consulting firm dedicated to making training simple, practical and meaningful. Kathy holds an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Southern Illinois University and is an adjunct professor in the School of Business & Management at Webster University in St. Louis, MO.

Greg Risberg
April 10, 2002
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - That Goes Without Saying
  • New Orleans Ballroom - 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. - How To Stay Energized in a Draining World!

Greg Risberg is a social worker and educator from Elmhurst, Illinois. Greg earned his Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois and is the author of Touch: A Personal Workbook. Prior to developing his consulting practice, Greg was a lecturer at Northwestern University and at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. Gregs presentations have been heard by 1,500 organizations nationally, and touched more than 500,000 people in the U.S., Canada, England and Australia.

Mari Pat Varga
April 9, 2002
  • Salon IV - 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. - Say YesFive Tools for Idea Generation and Problem-Solving
  • Salon IV - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Power Talk

Mari Pat makes every learning experience interesting, challenging and fun; helping individuals learn to communicate powerfully! She is the author of the book and software program, The Presenters Journal: A Tool for Making Presentations Memorable, and the book and video, Great Openings and Closings: How to Launch and Land your Presentations with Punch, Power and Pizzazz. A successful entrepreneur, in business since 1985, Mari Pat is a faculty member of both DePaul University and Columbia College. She is also a member of the National Speakers Association and a former board member of NSA-IL. As Managing Director of Varga & Associates, Inc., she has presented her Creative Communication programs to corporations, small businesses and business associations throughout the United States and internationally.