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Amy Newmark, Publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Opening Keynote


Amy Newmark is the bestselling author, editor-in-chief, and publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Since 2008, she has published more than 150 new books, most of them national bestsellers in the U.S. and Canada, more than doubling the number of Chicken Soup for the Soul titles in print today. She is also the author of Simply Happy, a crash course in Chicken Soup for the Soul advice and wisdom that is filled with easy-to-implement, practical tips for having a better life. Amy is credited with revitalizing the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, which has been a publishing industry phenomenon since the first book came out in 1993. By compiling inspirational and aspirational true stories curated from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences, Amy has kept the twenty-five-year-old Chicken Soup for the Soul brand fresh and relevant.

Amy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where she majored in Portuguese and minored in French. She then embarked on a three-decade career as a Wall Street analyst, a hedge fund manager, and a corporate executive in the technology field. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Her return to literary pursuits was inevitable, as her honors thesis in college involved traveling throughout Brazil’s impoverished northeast region, collecting stories from regular people. She is delighted to have come full circle in her writing career—from collecting stories “from the people” in Brazil as a twenty-year-old to, three decades later, collecting stories “from the people” for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

When Amy and her husband Bill, the CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul, are not working, they are visiting their four grown children and one grandchild.

Follow Amy on Twitter @amynewmark. Listen to her free daily podcast, The Chicken Soup for the Soul Podcast, at, or find it on iTunes, the Podcasts app on iPhone, or on your favorite podcast app on other devices.

Cecilia Lenk, PhD

Closing Keynote


Cecilia is an entrepreneur and angel investor with over 20 years of senior management experience in technology and healthcare. She is currently CEO of ValueSetters, a publicly traded, boutique advisory firm. Her team of entrepreneurs, angel investors, and industry specialists, work with companies at all stages to provide assistance with capital raising, strategy, and technology consulting.

Cecilia was formerly Vice President of Technology and Digital Design at Decision Resources Inc., where she oversaw the design and development of new digital products for biopharma clients and directed innovative new technology strategies for this global company. Prior to joining Decision Resources, Cecilia founded a technology firm that built a patented platform for online research. She has managed large-scale technology projects in collaboration with leading organizations, including National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Harvard University and served three terms as a Town Councilor in Watertown, MA. Cecilia has a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University and a BA from Johns Hopkins University. 

David Bayer, Business Mindset Expert

Mindset/Business Keynote


David Bayer is an author, speaker, entrepreneur and CEO of David Bayer Transformational Programs, a global coaching and training company focused on helping mission-driven entrepreneurs leverage their knowledge and expertise to create highly profitable businesses that impact individuals, businesses and the world. 

David’s book Mind Hack has been downloaded over 70,000 times in less than 18 months. David was named "A Leading Expert On Mindset And Business" by Inc. His event The Powerful Living Experience Live was named "A Top 3 Must Attend Personal Development Event For Entrepreneurs." Thousands of entrepreneurs have enrolled in David's Transformational Coaching Programs and have developed invincible mindsets and extraordinary businesses utilizing 

David's Mind Hack and Accelerator Methodologies.

Collette V. Smith, 1st African American Female NFL Coach


Collette V. Smith is an entrepreneur today specializing in motivational speaking engagements and has been invited to speak at major corporations and Ivy League Universities including Columbia to empower youth, girls and women to see their greatness and excellence. In prior years marketing Fortune 500 Companies including Swatch Watch, and Radiology Offices implementing paperless environments and has 18 years working in the NYC Real Estate Market specializing in New Developments. Collette is the Founder and President of Believe N You, Incorporated. A formers Women’s Professional Football Player, Coach and the Director of Marketing, PR, Promotions and Events for the New York Sharks in two Women’s Professional Football Leagues, the WFA and IWFL.  She didn’t start playing football until the age of 42. She is a true change agent and has dedicated her life to empower girls and women to know that any and everything we desire is possible if we believe in ourselves. Her gender specific loyalty is very important to her and she emphasizes the importance of building positive self-esteem through team sports to at-risk teens and women in low-income and underserved-communities. 

Collette is also the NFL’s 1st African American Female Coach in History by way of being the 1st Female Coach for the NY Jets in their Franchise History. 

She is an Ambassador for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Voss Foundation which facilitates access to clean water for women in Rural Africa. She is also an Official Wish Grantor with the Make A Wish Foundation and two-time recipient of the Best Mentor Award with Allan Houston’s Entrepreneurial Program for Urban Youth.

Lesley Jane Seymour, Media Entrepreneur

Founder of Covey Club


   Lesley Jane Seymour is a media entrepreneur and founder of CoveyClub a new club for life-long learners launched in February 2018 (Covey is a small flock of birds). CoveyClub allows women 40+ to bond over issues of interest and concern through virtual salons (Coffee & Conversation) or topics in the CoveyClub monthly magazine which is written and produced by the best journalists around the world. CoveyClub also offers a daily blog, weekly podcasts with women reinventing themselves (The CoveyCast) and a special list for high-level one-on-one networking (Lesley’s List).  

In January 2008, she was named Editor-In-Chief of More Magazine, the leading lifestyle magazine for women over forty with a readership of 1.5 million and Editor-in-Chief and Social Media director of In July of 2015, Seymour created history by having the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, guest edit an entire issue—leading to 8.5 billion media impressions worldwide. In 2008, Seymour led More to its first National Magazine Award nomination. In 2012, Seymour was named Executive Director of Meredith’s Beauty Center of Excellence; in 2009 she was named number four on the 2009 Most Powerful Fashion Editors List by Forbes magazine. 

Before taking over More, Seymour served as the Editor-in-Chief for Marie Claire magazine, Redbook magazine, and teen book YM. She was Beauty Director of Glamour, and senior editor at Vogue. She is the author of two books: On the Edge, 100 Years of Vogue and I Wish My Parents Understood. In 2013 she was named Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board for Duke Magazine and a Global Ambassador for Vital Voices. She is a trustee at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. 

Cathryn Marshall, Leading Presenter


As the CEO of Simple Fat Burn, Cathryn Marshall teaches people to get fit fast and make it last. As a motivational speaker, author and fitness educator, she teaches simple strategies that result in immediate change. She coaches clients via phone, text, webinars and e-mail.  Cathryn coaches professionals to acquire clients and to get immediate results. The Simple Fat Burn Certification includes business development, networking, marketing and social media skills for professionals. Cathryn is the author of Simple Fat Burn: Three Steps to being Fit & Lean, available on Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble. With 20 years of experience in the personal training industry, Cathryn offers custom designed fitness programs to create immediate change. Her specialization is creating strategies for motivation, behavior modification and fat loss. Cathryn sets the bar high for a standard of excellence in the personal training and nutrition education industries. 

Deborah Daniel, Leading Presenter


Deborah Daniel began her 25-year career as an entrepreneur soon after completing her MBA. During that time, she has purchased and scaled four smaller accounting firms into Charter Accounting, an Atlanta, Georgia firm that has a client base consisting of over 1,000 ongoing clients. Deborah and her husband, Edward, have worked together and with partners to own and sell several companies for total values in excess of $10 million dollars. In addition, Deborah’s extensive knowledge and ownership in real estate investments give her the hands-on experience needed to mentor clients in the areas of tax planning, investment planning, financial planning, and wealth creation habits and strategies. 

By helping clients figure out what numbers really matter in their business and showing them how to measure and evaluate key indicators Deborah helps her client achieve levels of success they previously did not think were possible.

Monica Shah, Leading Presenter



Monica Shah is a seven-figure business coach who helps entrepreneurs build businesses that support their ideal lifestyles. After receiving her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and working in marketing for L'Oreal Paris, Monica left corporate to start her first company – and then her second company,Revenue Breakthrough. Today, she takes her clients step by step through building, growing and expanding their businesses. She combines her business acumen with her intuition and healing abilities to help her clients get unstuck, eliminate self-sabotage and move through fear. She is also the author of Getting Rich: You're Doing It Backwards and Pause: 52 Questions that Lead to More Money and Time.

Kelly McNelis, Leading Presenter


Kelly McNelis is the founder of Women For One, a place where women from more than 50 countries share their powerful stories with the world. Over 500 Truthtellers, as Kelly calls them, have answered her call to action: Make life happen by sharing your messy brilliance. Their stories range from the devastating to the delightful, and everything in between. Kelly is a mom, wife, friend, mentor, incest survivor, businesswoman, and a firm believer that there’s no such thing as TMI. Formerly a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly now travels the world as a speaker, teacher, and workshop facilitator, empowering women to find their voices and discover their true power. She has interviewed global changemakers including the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Arianna Huffington, Regena “Mama Gena” Thomashauer, and Byron Katie, on the importance of cultivating our own inner wisdom and truthtelling voices. Kelly is a bestselling author whose first book, Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman, was released in Fall 2017 by Enrealment Press. Kelly’s work, husband, kids, and brilliantly messy life are based outside Seattle.

Janak Mehta, Leading Presenter



Janak Mehta is the founder of Clients Online ( the go to Facebook Advertising Agency for the top Experts, Influencers, Coaches and E-Commerce Businesses in various verticals. Janak and his team have created, managed, and scaled 5, 6 and 7-figure Facebook Ad campaigns with ROAs over 3000%. Successful Entrepreneurs hire Clients Online to help them build out their media buying strategy and create results-driven campaigns that generate leads, sales and scale. 

Janak has also spoken on stages alongside David Bayer, Bill Glazer, Rich German, James Malinchak, Matt Bacak, Anik Singal, Ray Edwards and many more. Many refer to Janak as the Facebook Advertising Ninja for Experts & Ecommerce entrepreneurs, helping them amplify their reach and create an even bigger impact into the world.

Janet Kraus, Leading Presenter


Janet Kraus is co-founder and CEO of Peach, a four-year-old lifestyle brand with a mission to help women “elevate their everyday” and thrive personally and professionally. For customers, Peach offers contemporary and comfortable apparel for gym, work and play; for its cadre of social-sales brand representatives across the U.S., an opportunity to start their own fashion business without the financial risk; for female-founded accessory brands, a platform to collaborate and share success.

Prior to her role at Peach, Janet co-founded and sold two companies in the high-end travel and leisure industry. She was a member of the Entrepreneurship Faculty at Harvard Business School from 2010 to 2014 and continued to be an Entrepreneur in Residence through 2017. Janet speaks nationally on a variety of topics including entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, building teams, happiness and life planning. Janet is also an angel investor and startup adviser. Janet received a BA from Yale University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and 11-year-old twin daughters.

VIP Leadership Development Instructors


Odette Peek, Speaking Coach

After building a seven-figure business, Odette Peek suffered a personal crisis that led to a breakdown and then a rebirth of a new mission to help entrepreneurs and leaders share their unique and powerful story with the world. Odette, a professional speaker, experienced business coach, and TEDx alumni, created the  “Speak from the Soul and Sell in Six Minutes or Less” program to help entrepreneurs build high-impact, lucrative, and purpose-driven businesses using the power of personal stories. Whether in a small-group setting or speaking to thousands, she customizes her presentation to your audience’s needs to ensure the most value and then delivers it with her “tell it like it is,” fun, and fast-paced presentation style. Interactive, informative, and educational exercises keep the audience engaged and entertained and then sends them out into the world inspired, motivated, and armed with an action plan.   


Aurea McGarry, Emmy Award-winning TV Host

Emmy Award Winning TV Show Host, Producer, Director, Author & Co – Author of 7 Self Help Books, Speaker, Emcee, Founder of Live Your Legacy Summit and A.M.PAurea McGarry Productions – A media training company for business owners & Non-Profits. A frequent TV Host for WATC TV “Atlanta Live.” A Cancer & Domestic Violence Sur-THRIVER and Walking Miracle!

Aurea has been featured on over 400 radio shows and dozens of TV shows across the country including; The 700 Club, Atlanta & Company, Atlanta Live, Fox Good Day Extra, NBC Daytime Tampa Bay, A PBS Special, Nite Line S.C, Good Morning Austin and many others with audiences in the millions.

As a sought-after speaker she travels the country inspiring people to live their best legacy and as a media coach she teaches business owners and Non-Profit Organizations how to become the “Go To” celebrity expert in their business.

Aurea has overcome many struggles in her life including the murder of her father, divorce, domestic violence, cancer and the removal of her vocal cord nerve and she wrote her autobiography about how to overcome them all, staying positive and successful, titled “I Won’t Survive, I’ll Thrive!” 


Katherine Morales, Marketing Consultant

Katherine L. Morales (Mason), APR, is an award-winning, senior communications professional. She is the founder and president of InFlection Point Communications, LLC, and serves as the chief consultant partnering with clients to discover their inflection point and create change for future growth. She specializes in brand positioning and messaging, issue and crisis management, strategic planning, speaker/media training, and media and influencer relations across a widely diverse portfolio.

Previously, Katherine worked at Jackson Spalding, a communications firm based in Midtown Atlanta, where she headed up the Franchise Team for Primrose Schools building executive visibility and brand awarenesscoast-to-coast for the growing franchise. While at the firm, she also led national campaigns for Chick-fil-A, including an award-winning effort to bring focus away from controversial headlines for the brand and back to premium food with a campaign to publicize Chick-fil-A’s new entrée salads in the spring of 2013.

Katherine also served as Director of Communications for Leadership DeKalb, a community-based leadership development program, in Decatur, Ga. While there, she successfully launched the nonprofit’s social media channels and founded the “Best Class Ever Award” that reinvigorated member engagement and led to 100 percent new member recruitment and an overall 205 percent increase in membership.