Jess Ekstrom is the founder of Headbands of Hope and Mic Drop Workshop, investor in women, 2x best selling author, Forbes Top Rated Speaker and new mom.
Her first brush with success was selling all of her toys on eBay when she was twelve. Since then, Jess and her companies have been featured on Today and Good Morning America and in Seventeen, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and People. More importantly, they’ve helped millions of women and girls around the world.
She’s the bestselling author of Chasing the Bright Side and Create Your Bright Ideas. Her hobbies include writing, hiking, board games with her husband, playing peekaboo with her baby, and searching for the best breakfast burrito in America.
Chad Greenway is a former NFL player who was born and raised in South Dakota. He grew up on a farm in Mt. Vernon, South Dakota, where he learned the values of hard work, resiliency, and perseverance. He was actively involved in leadership roles both on the family farm and in his community from an early age.
Greenway attended the University of Iowa on a football scholarship, where he excelled as a football player. He was named a 3-time All-Big Ten player and a 2-time All-American during his college career. He was also part of the leadership council for all four years of his college career, an honor voted on by his peers. He graduated with a degree in Communication Studies in December of 2005.
In the 2006 NFL Draft, Chad Greenway was selected as the 17th overall pick in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings. He went on to have a successful NFL career, playing 11 seasons with the Vikings. During his NFL career, he received numerous accolades, including All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections. He was also known for his leadership on the field, serving as a captain for the team for an extended period.
Greenway’s contributions extended beyond football as he was actively involved in charitable work. He was named the Vikings Man of the Year four times and received the NFLPA’s prestigious Byron “Whizzer” White award for his charitable contributions during his career.
After retiring from the NFL in 2017, Chad Greenway remained active in the Twin Cities. He became the President of his family’s Lead the Foundation, which supports families and kids across the upper Midwest and was launched in 2010. He also became a partner in two different companies, Gray Duck Spirits and Bankshot Solutions.
Chad Greenway resides in Wayzata, Minnesota, with his wife Jennifer and their four daughters. He continues to be active in various roles, including training, coaching, and being a father to his daughters.
Nick began his career at Holmes Murphy & Associates (HMA) in 2009 as a mere intern in Des Moines, IA. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from The University of Iowa, with a major in Business Management. Following his internship, Nick spent 14 years of dedicated work at HMA to become the highly regarded Risk Management professional he is today. In 2017, he helped lead a team who would go on to win the HMA University, shareholder competition to implement a new strategic initiative for the organization. This was the catalyst to secure him one of just 125 (at the time) of Shareholder positions within the company. He remains one of the youngest salespeople in the history of the company to become a shareholder.
It was during this time Nick began to explore the depth of self-awareness and its power in the workplace. The concept of organizational psychology and the place for the fundamental spirit of a culture in an organization. Nick quickly realized that his passion for attempting understand what made work and people tick every day, was a powerful tool to help motivate and drive others. With the goal to find fulfillment and pay it forward to those who are growing behind him. It was also during this time in which Nick discovered the speaking skillset and awareness of those who struggle with mental health challenges and found the power in vulnerable communications to allow others to open and identify what they may be experiencing daily.
Nick’s story has been manifested by the extreme focus, dedication, and pursuit of the ‘true north’ in the compass of life. He believes in not only identifying values one can connect to but living them out to practice in everyday life.
Nick and his wife, Rachel, reside in West Des Moines, IA with their daughter, Elle. When not taking on the Midwest to present education and service to his clients, he can be found spending time at his family’s beloved Lake Okoboji, golfing, or scheming his next trip to see an F1 race.
Rebecca began her career at Northwestern Mutual in 2017, joining her husband in running his practice in Chattanooga, TN. During her time as an Associate Financial Advisor, she has witnessed firsthand the struggles advisors and staff have in growing their practices. Being married to her advisor, she has a unique vantage point understanding the complexities of owning a business while also understanding the demands that staff must meet. In 2020, Rebecca chose to begin addressing head on some of the challenges advisors see in the day-to-day of running their businesses. She began with developing two training programs, Insurance and Investments, and later on began study groups for staff. In her three years providing these services, she has seen huge growth and development in the staff mindset, thereby launching the advisor’s business into its next stage. She thoroughly enjoys working alongside staff on their journey to personal and professional development, challenging them beyond their own beliefs and helping the advisor and staff work hand-in-hand.
When she is not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys. On the weekends, you will most likely find her watching little league baseball, reading, or hiking.
Kenneth Lock is a passionate leader and based in Milwaukee, WI. He is known for his dedication to coaching, with a focus on Leadership, Mindset, Change Management and DEI.
Throughout his career, Kenneth has always been passionate about diversity and inclusion. Growing up in Milwaukee, he witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by underrepresented communities. He knew from a young age that he wanted to make a difference and help others overcome adversity. As a result, he has made it a priority to work with diverse populations and help bridge gaps between different groups.
Kenneth serves as the Chaplain for the Milwaukee Bucks, where he provides life coaching, support and guidance for the team and players in their personal development.
In addition to his work as a career coach and diversity advocate, Kenneth is also a leader in his community. He serves as a pastor at a Evolve Church, where he works tirelessly to provide counseling and support to those in need. He is also a devoted father and mentor, guiding young people to reach their full potential and become leaders in their own right.
Through his work in coaching, counseling, and ministry, Kenneth has become a respected figure in Coaching and Leadership spaces. He is known for his unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion, and for his dedication to helping others achieve success in all aspects of their lives.
Adam Corpstein joined Northwestern Mutual in the Coralville office as a College Financial Representative in 2013. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2015 with a Business Management degree. Upon flipping, Adam was named as a new College Unit Director for Team Iowa. Since then, he has transitioned to a new role in our Network Office in Cedar Rapids as the Growth & Development Director. After a few years in Cedar Rapids he made his way back to Coralville to help grow the intern program and get back to where he began his career.
Throughout Adam’s internship he was named team captain of Team Iowa which has been ranked #1 for four straight years. Adam credits all of his success to the amazing mentors he has been around at Northwestern Mutual. A few of his career highlights are placing #4 and #3 in the entire company two years in a row and being recognized as the #1 intern in the entire Central Region. Adam is the second youngest of seven and his favorite thing to be in life is an Uncle to his eleven nieces and nephews.
Arica began her professional career in the male-dominated, medical device industry as an associate sales rep, cultivating relationships and earning the respect of those she served. She was promoted to senior sales rep a year and a half later and built and maintained a 2 million dollar territory by leveraging her uniqueness and focusing on working in her strength zone. Increasing sales in her region by thirty-three percent, she truly believes her sustained sales success was less about features and benefits and more about building trusted relationships and adding value to those she served.
A veritable force in selling, she started her career in direct sales. What began as a fun hobby rapidly morphed into a way of life. Her growth was meteoric. She broke an area record in her first month in business and was promoted into the top 2% of the company within six months. While her rapid sales success ignited a fire within her, it was developing people that most fueled her.
It was in pursuit of something she said she would never do that she found her love and passion for personal growth and the development of leaders. Along with her rapid rise through the leadership ranks came mastering skills that were outside of her comfort zone, including public speaking, and today she uses her gift to inspire and encourage to elevate others from the stage.
Arica has overcome personal and professional adversity. She credits God, her business coach and mentors with equipping her with the ability to overcome pain in life and in leadership and channeling it to become a first-rate version of herself who is passionate about using her pain to make an impact on others.
Arica attributes her professional successes in medical device sales, direct sales and coaching to prioritizing the right relationships, having a growth mindset, being passionate about developing people, and intentionally surrounding herself by people who shared her values and sharpened her perspective.
She is a sought-after speaker, consultant and coach. She and her son, Dawson, reside in North Liberty, Iowa. Outside of leading, coaching and speaking, Arica enjoys spending time with her family, watching her son play sports and gathering with friends. Her favorite activities include working out, golfing, skiing, hiking, reading, the hawkeyes, live music, and all things that involve an adventure!
“Kindness is loaning someone your strengths instead of reminding them of their weakness.” – Andy Stanley
Motivational Speaker / Business Coach / Financial Advisor
Callie Ford has built a successful career as a financial advisor and business owner. She has been recognized for her dynamic, “no quit” approach to life. She has overcome some major hurdles both professionally and personally coming out stronger on the other side. She is passionate about empowering and motivating other female professionals. Her message is clear, “You can have a couple of wins here and there throughout life or you can dominate in life – It’s your choice.” – Callie Ford
Her path to success began back in 2009 when she joined Northwestern Mutual as a college intern. She immediately shot to the top and was recognized as a Top 20 College Intern. Upon graduation, she moved to Memphis TN, and built her business in a brand-new market, then relocated twice again in less than 7 years. With each move, her production increased. She also branched into other ventures becoming a franchisee of several restaurants.
Her advancements and recognition include:
Was #2 for the Mike-Gish Award as a first-year advisor
Became MDRT Member in her first year and every year since
Achieved Lives Leader Summit in her second year
At age 25, youngest advisor to ever hit “Forum” for top-tier financial planning for clients
First 4 years she ranked in the top #2 amongst her peers for the company
Over the past 10 years, Callie has built a national practice primarily focused in the medical market and female business professionals. Her practice is unique in that all business is conducted over the phone and online. She can lend insights to other advisors who are looking to expand beyond their local markets.
Callie has grown and learned from her experiences and has translated this all into a story of motivation that she loves to share with others. She is now a highly sought speaker. Her passion is to inspire others to maximize their individual potential with efficiency, to be intentional in their pursuit of success and to overcome hard times that are inevitable in life. She also coaches individuals on how to increase their personal business production and how to break into target markets.
Due to her son’s diagnosis of Charge Syndrome, Callie has become passionate about charity work in the special needs community, and specifically with the CHARGE Foundation. She and her family enjoy traveling the world and discovering new experiences. Her son, who has defied all odds, keeps her motivated and on her toes! She feels blessed to have such a fulfilling career that offers the flexibility she needs to care for her son while still growing as a successful businesswoman.
Dale is a business and sales-performance coach who grew up in a small southeast Iowa town. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, with a major in physical education/coaching and a minor in business. He then attended Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned a Master’s of Biblical Studies (MABS) degree. For the last 10 years Dale has prioritized mentoring and coaching multiple young men in their spiritual walks and family commitments. As well, he has served as a church Elder for many years.
In his professional life, he has more than 25 years of experience in technical sales, sales management, and more recently as the National Sales Director for a construction supply company with a national footprint. His career experience includes teaching, coaching multiple sports, pastoring, speaking to business leaders across the Midwest, and leading national strategy campaigns. He has been responsible for over $140,000,000 in annual sales. Dale led in brand development and received the 2016 Brand Leader Award from his company.
Dale and Lori, his wife of 43 years, have lived in Texas, New York, and Iowa. They have two adult children and several grandchildren. He enjoys golf, time with family, and vacationing in his and Lori’s favorite spot in Michigan.
Devin Salinas was born and raised in California’s Mojave Desert and moved to McMinnville, Oregon to attend Linfield College where he studied Finance and Economics. He joined Northwestern Mutual’s internship program in 2009. During his time in the internship program, Devin was recognized as one of the top producing College Financial Representatives in the country and achieved Focus 30 level production. Following his internship, Devin became a full-time Financial Advisor and College Unit Director. His personal practice got off to a fast start qualifying for Pacesetter First 40 and Second 60 and being recognized for having one of the fastest growing practices in the Pacific Northwest. In 2012 Devin was recognized as the #5 CUD in the Northwestern Mutual system. He has been a perennial Lives Leader Summit qualifier and has been recognized as Top 50 Lives and New Clients writer in the Western Region, as well as Top 100 respectively in the country.
In June of 2017 Devin joined the Beer Financial Group as Managing Director of the Santa Monica office. In their first calendar year (2018) Devin and his District attracted 9 new Financial Advisors (8 of which were diverse candidates) and were recognized as the Category 7 Runner Up and Western Region leader while producing just over $2.1M of total premium. Devin also qualified for OARS Award and had his “Best Year Ever” in personal production, all while relaunching his personal practice in a cold market.
When he is not working with his clients or coaching advisors, Devin enjoys spending time with his fiancé, traveling the world, and training for various endurance events. In 2018 Devin qualified for and raced in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and was recognized as an “Ironman All World Athlete”, ranking him in the Top 1% of triathletes in the world. His greatest endurance achievement to date however, has been raising over $18,000 for “charity: water” by running an unsupported 30 miles for his 30th Birthday in 2018.
Jay is a Leadership Development, Organizational Effectiveness and Sales Performance coach that brings nearly 20 combined years of experience as a veteran of the US Armed Forces and Capital Equipment Sales to help grow the communication, effectiveness, and impact of leaders, professionals, and teams. Jay often jokes that “he got into coaching and consulting completely by accident,” the result of an “others focused” approach to doing business.
Jay and his wife Jenny are proud University of Iowa Hawkeyes, and call Bettendorf, IA home with their (4) children.
Jimmy Siegel is a top 2% financial advisor at one of the nation’s largest companies, Northwestern Mutual. He and his business partner have built a 7-figure, multi-person firm in Houston, Tx. Jimmy’s story is unique because it wasn’t that long ago that he was in a far different position. Jimmy often speaks of “the worst year of his life” (2015) as being the proverbial “bottom” that created the foundation on which everything else has been built. Jimmy married his college sweetheart, Leslie, and has two boys – Tripp and Jaxson. Jaxson has special needs and has become a significant part of Jimmy’s story. Jimmy’s mantra is #bettereveryday. Jax has taught him that the joy of life is not found by pursuing “a” moment, but by living in “the” moment. His heart for coaching has been inspired #bettereveryda
Josh began his career in a professional sales capacity with a manufacturing group following his time at Kansas State University. In 2018 he changed careers to become a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual and has never looked back. He loves the day to day problem solving, strategies and opportunities to collaborate with clients and colleagues. Josh is a top young advisor in the Kansas City area and is incredibly passionate about growth and learning. He is currently a field director and occasionally helps with development in the office.
Josh resides in Lees Summit Missouri with his wife Jenny and son Theodore. When he is not advising or coaching, Josh is playing slow pitch softball, enjoying time at the lake, hiking, camping, hunting, exercising, or spending time with his family.
Josh relishes challenge and believes most of business and life’s challenges can be solved if you can endure long enough to find the solution.
Kenyon, 48 and a Battle Creek, MI native, came to the University of Iowa in 1992. Kenyon was a four-year starter for the Iowa Men’s Basketball team. Kenyon was the first player in Iowa Men’s Basketball history to have over 1000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 steals.
Kenyon spent three years as an assistant men’s coach at Indian Hills Community College, five years as an assistant boys coach at Prairie and has been coaching girls/boys AAU basketball for more than 15 years. Currently, Kenyon is the girl’s head varsity coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie HS.
In addition to coaching, Kenyon is the Owner of Murray Legacy Management, Executive Director of the Murray Family Foundation, and host of “The Leave Your Legacy Podcast.” Kenyon and his wife Michelle have been married 23 years and are proud parents of Demetrius (27), Kris (22), Keegan (22) and McKenna (16). They reside in Cedar Rapids, IA.
Laura VandeBerg began her career with the University of Iowa as the Host of Hawkeye Sports in 2016. She was the first to hold the position, growing it from the ground up within the Iowa Athletics Department where she continues to serve as the only host. She continues to develop relationships with the Hawkeye coaches, student-athletes, and fans having hosted well over 400 events as an on-field and on-court host for Iowa football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball. She also emcees fan events across the state of Iowa, served as the host of a 2-hour live football gameday show throughout the 2020 football season, and conducts interviews with various U of I affiliates. Her experience in live settings is vast with the ability to constantly adapt to changing environments. Much of her work with the Hawkeyes has been fan-focused with an emphasis on engagement to offer an immersive and entertaining gameday experience. She has also volunteered her time to many prospective and current University of Iowa students to mentor and assist them in their pursuit of a career in journalism.
Although her love for sports was the driving factor behind studying broadcast journalism and pursuing her career, she has unearthed another love which lies in the result of honest and effective communication. She has built her professional and personal brand on striving to present authenticity and offer a genuine interest in every connection she makes. Much of Laura’s success has been built on saying YES to every opportunity and diving head first into whatever comes her way.
In an effort to expand her influence to professionals, the next generation of men and women, and everyone in between, she joined Montgomery Companies with the motivation to do more. She wants to break down the idea that success is not dependent on a strike of luck or being at the right place at the right time. Rather, true success stories are rooted in a strong foundation of values and beliefs and an individual’s focus on layers of preparation for when opportunity knocks. Laura strives to inspire and motivate young women, giving them the tools to exist and flourish as their true God-given identity, various roles and individual strengths. As a mother and aunt to multiple nieces and nephews, she finds the general mental state of young men and women troubling. One of her greatest goals in life is to bring light to young adults and teens, and to provide them with the tools to focus and flourish throughout high school and beyond.
Laura’s most important jobs in life are that of a wife, mother, and daughter. Her and her husband Matt and son Dax reside in Solon, Iowa where they spend their days enjoying the little things in life. She’s blessed to spend her days at home with Dax where routine and simplicity in her daily life bring her joy. Her favorite days are spent outside watching Dax explore, meals and conversation with Matt, and long walks with their dog Tuddie.
Michael Brownlow, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CLF, CASL, CAP, RICP, CLTC, is a highly regarded business coach and consultant who is passionate about helping individuals and teams grow into the best versions of themselves. As a former college athlete, Michael knows firsthand the work ethic, commitment, and growth mindset required to excel in a complex world. He is known by many for his strategic thinking, organizational leadership, data-driven decision-making, love for the fundamentals, and passion for others’ success.
In addition to being a respected coach & consultant, Michael has been a top advisor and leader in the financial services industry from an early age. He held nearly every leadership contract in the system, while also pioneering several roles for the Fortune 100 company.
Michael is a Minnesota native where he resides with his wife Abbie, and his two daughters, Ellie & Emma. When he is not advising, coaching, or consulting, Michael can be found avidly reading, playing golf, and making memories with his girls as he loves being a #girldad.
Mike O’Connell serves as the executive pastor at Love Church in Omaha, Nebraska. He is also an entrepreneur, speaker and leadership coach. Mike’s passion, energy and uplifting messages are impacting people around the world. In September of 2019 he and Todd Doxzon launched the Love Leadership podcast with a desire to help leaders around the globe.
Mike’s story has been marked by overcoming obstacles. After a near fatal football injury in 2004, he turned down multiple football scholarship offers to walk on at Iowa. One week after the decision he was denied admission because he wasn’t in the top 50% of his graduating class, even with a 3.3 GPA. While meeting with the provost regarding the situation, he was told statistics indicated he would fail out in his first semester if they granted him admission.
Knowing failure wasn’t an option, he made the bold decision to walk on at Iowa State. With all the odds against him, he survived three coaching changes and went on to earn a scholarship, become a team captain and earn all Big 12 academic honors.
After one season of professional football Mike decided to lay down his dream of playing in the NFL. He moved from Los Angeles, California to Omaha, Nebraska with no job or place to live. Mike went on to work for Stryker as a medical device representative for two and half years before leaving corporate America to pursue his calling as a pastor.
Mike lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his beautiful wife Jerica, and his three children Judah, Journey and Royce. When Mike is not leading, coaching or speaking he enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
Rachel James came from the automotive industry as a former mechanic and consultant to business owners. Serving leaders for nearly a decade to help with mindset, approach, and growth. A transition to the finance world a few years ago has fostered a unique approach to coaching from the blend of working with multiple Fortune 100 companies.
Along with coaching, Rachel runs a growing financial practice that has earned top rankings nationally and regionally. Rachel is inspired to serve others and many peers would describe her as being on the leading edge, always looking for continuous improvement.
Rachel and her husband Brandon live just north of Boston with their 7 year old son Landon. Outside of coaching and advising, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and riding her motorcycle.
Ryan Leak is an author, executive coach, and motivational speaker that gets to inspire over 50,000 people every single month. He trains over 15,000 leaders every year from Fortune 500 companies to professional sports teams. His viral Surprise Wedding story has been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, and other various media outlets.
He’s the author of the USA Today best-selling book, Chasing Failure: How Falling Short Sets You Up for Success. And his most recent book, Leveling Up: 12 Questions to Elevate Your Personal And Professional Development is a Wall Street Journal Best Seller. He’s married to Amanda and is also the assistant coach for his son’s basketball team.
Whitney began her career as a college intern with Northwestern Mutual while obtaining her BBA in Finance at the University of Miami. Upon graduation in 2008, Whitney became a full-time financial advisor helping professionals, business owners, and families across the country. During the 14 years Whitney has been with NM, she has achieved a long list of honors, including Forum 5x. Forum is an elite recognition achieved by only the top 4% advisors nationwide. Whitney started coaching in 2018, leading by example, sharing her passion and success in building a business, and helping others succeed. She has grown her business to an incredible level through dedication, hard work and consistency. Her team of three – Michelle, Danny, and Shelly – play a huge role in her day-to-day office operations and she is grateful to have such a smart and reliable team.
Matt Rewasiewicz is highly regarded speaker and coach who is passionate about leadership development and helping businesses grow. Matt has specialized in working with leaders for the last 11 years in building culture and growth mindset. In addition to speaking and coaching, Matt runs a financial practice and district office with a Fortune 100 company. Matt and his office have been ranked in the top quartile for the past five years nationally in production.
He is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Matt and his wife, Nicole currently live in Franklin, WI with their daughters Ava and Addison. Matt is a very proud girl Dad! He loves all Wisconsin sports, golf, and spending time at their cabin in Sister Bay, Door County, WI.