Sept. 9-10 • Milwaukee, WI

Lead FWD

Preliminary Schedule


Sept. 8

Check back often for updates!
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 

Registration & LEAD FWD Summit Help Desk


Sept. 9

7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Registration & LEAD FWD Summit Help Desk

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Welcome & Keynote: Dare to Dream

Speaker: Connor Emeny

On Feb. 21, 2024, the Canadian athlete conquered Antarctica, becoming the first person in the world to complete an Iron-distance triathlon on all seven continents. Already the youngest person to complete an Ironman triathlon on six continents, Connor’s odyssey began not as a quest for personal glory, but as a testament to the boundless potential within every individual.

From South Africa to Spain, Tennessee to New Zealand, Connor has written his own page in the history books, standing at the forefront of human achievement as a beacon of tenacity, leadership, and unwavering determination. Through his remarkable feats, he seeks to inspire others to unlock their innate abilities and embrace the extraordinary within themselves. His message resonates with audiences worldwide, urging them to cultivate a mindset of resilience in both their personal and professional lives.

Central to Connor’s philosophy is the belief in the transformative power of teamwork. He understands that true greatness is not achieved in isolation, but rather through collaboration and support. As a speaker in the realm of motivation and empowerment, Connor imparts invaluable lessons drawn from his journey, illustrating the profound impact of camaraderie and shared purpose in overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges.

In a vast landscape of bold, inspiring speakers, Connor Emeny stands apart as a trailblazer, possessing the unique distinction of being the first to accomplish what many deemed impossible. His story serves as a tale of hope, reminding us all that with the right mindset and the right team surrounding us, we can transcend our limitations and unleash our own superpowers to achieve greatness.

  • Learn to identify the key principles of personal achievement to tap the potential within yourself.
  • Analyze the role of teamwork in achieving success.
  • Reflect on strategies for overcoming challenges, fostering resilience, and leveraging teamwork to achieve your goals.
9:10 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Peer to Peer Discussions

Striving to be a successful leader can be a huge challenge but also inspiring and fulfilling. Accept the challenges head-on by sharing your insights with your fellow community bankers and leave with new, squeaky-clean ideas! During this peer-to-peer small group discussion, you will parse leadership topics including problem solving, innovation, employee engagement, and how to effectively communicate and share information.

10:10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Plenary: What I Learned About Banking While Waterskiing

Speakers: Tom Hershberger, Kyle Hershberger

Discover how your organization’s development mirrors recreational activities. Join a light-hearted and fun look at banking using the analogy of waterskiing to present the importance of teamwork, skills development, continuous improvement, preparing for the future, supporting employees within your organization, and creating opportunities to have fun at work. Shared values and goals have a significant impact on cultures and company success. This presentation will connect company practices with development activities people experience when pursuing success centered on something they enjoy doing.

  • Recognize how collaborative efforts and enhancing individual skills contribute to the success of an organization.
  • Learn the significance of constantly seeking improvement and being proactive in preparing for future challenges.
  • Acknowledge the impact of creating a workplace that supports employees and integrates fun.
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Networking Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.


1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Unlock Your Knowledge with Industry Experts

3:10 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.

Keynote: Seize Your Life: Unlock Life and Work Life Harmony

Speaker: Jasmine Brett Stringer

“Seize Your Life: Unlock Life and Work Life Harmony" is a compelling program designed to address the complexities of managing personal fulfillment and professional obligations in today's demanding world. Jasmine Brett Stringer will guide you through the intricacies of navigating both life and work stressors, advocating for a harmonious integration that enhances overall well-being. This program gives you the tools to manage and thrive amidst the challenges of modern professional environments, ensuring an integrated approach to career and personal life.

Audiences will be inspired to:

  • Develop a balanced perspective that values well-being as the foundation for professional success and personal happiness.
  • Employ practical strategies for maintaining harmony between work commitments and life passions, enhancing overall satisfaction and effectiveness.
  • Reignite their enthusiasm for their careers by aligning their work with their personal values and goals.
  • Foster a sustainable approach to achieving professional objectives without compromising personal health and relationships.
3:55 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Group Activity

Unlock the Box

In this thrilling group activity, embark on a treasure hunt and gather clues to unlock a treasure box brimming with puzzles and trivia questions. The ultimate goal? To win a fabulous prize! This adventure is crafted to foster teamwork, enhance problem-solving skills, and, most importantly, ensure everyone has a blast!

4:40 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.

Cocktail Reception


Sept. 10

7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Registration & LEAD FWD Summit Help Desk

7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.

Eye Openers

8:30 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.

Welcome & Keynote: Purposeful Hustle Leadership

Speaker: Deanna Singh

Join Deanna Singh, the dynamic author of Purposeful Hustle, as she leads you on a transformative journey to harness your talents, skills, and resources for maximum impact in both your career and personal life. Discover how to unravel both real and perceived challenges, amplify your leadership prowess, and acquire the essential techniques to not just survive, but thrive. With a strong focus on core leadership competencies such as purpose, initiative, curiosity, resilience, and courage, this program is tailor-made for ambitious leaders eager to elevate their abilities and enhance their toolkit for lasting success.


  • Why a purpose statement is so important and how to make one.
  • What to do when you are not sure how to start something.
  • How to create a learning plan that will propel you forward.
  • Learn techniques on how to handle failure.
  • Develop the skills you need for when you are afraid.
10:20 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.

Peer to Peer Discussions

Employee retention, the impact of digitalization on banking operations, non-interest income generation, compliance…do these things keep you up at night? Gather in a collaborative exchange of ideas and experiences during this peer-to-peer small group discussion and get a better night's sleep!

11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Plenary: Got Fraud?

Speaker: Michele Barlow

Payments fraud remains an ever-present challenge, evolving from traditional check scams to sophisticated schemes like authorized push payments. But what's the solution for banks facing this ongoing threat? Dive into this crucial issue to uncover the intricate tactics used by fraudsters. Discover powerful strategies to swiftly identify suspicious transactions and equip yourself with actionable tips and cutting-edge tools to prevent fraud before it happens.

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes both Check and Authorized Push Payments Fraud transactions. Learn to recognize each and what industry factors have continued to the rise in each.
  • Identify the risks associated with each and the impact they can have on customers and your bank.
  • Learn prevention strategies and best practices for mitigating the monetary and reputational impacts.
  • Understand the legal framework and regulations and how they have recently changed.
12:10 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch & Activity

1:15 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.

Plenary: Unlocking Leadership Potential Through Engagement

Speaker: Aaron Stetter

Join Aaron Stetter, ICBA's EVP of Affiliate and Volunteer Relations, for an inspiring discussion on unlocking your leadership potential through active engagement with ICBA and your state association. Learn firsthand about the impact of industry advocacy and professional volunteerism. Gain insights into how meaningful engagement can sharpen your leadership skills and accelerate your journey towards achieving both personal and professional success. Don't miss this opportunity to learn how you can fulfill your professional goals through industry advocacy.

  • Understand the importance of community bank advocacy efforts.
  • Learn how leadership evolves through engagement.
  • Gain peer perspectives on advocacy activities.
2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

3:15 p.m. – 4:10 p.m.

Keynote: C.I.A.: Elevating Emotional Intelligence

Speaker: Katie McCleary and Jennifer Edwards

Sometimes collaborating with people can feel like being in a murky swamp. There is a proverb that says, “Words build worlds,” because the meaning that we each assign to words impact our relationships. Emotional intelligence is a key skill to cultivate, especially in our fast-paced, diverse world.

Emotions often color our interactions and drive what’s possible between people. Join communication experts, Jennifer Edwards and Katie McCleary, as they demonstrate how to cultivate emotional intelligence and use it to gain clarity, foster great relationships, and create winning collaborations with practical and immediately useable tools that will allow you to foster connection with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Edwards and McCleary, seasoned entrepreneurs and leaders, walk the talk and have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, ComputerWorld, Apple News, and many more. Building upon their differences and unique strengths, they prove not only why emotional intelligence matters but also how to get at the heart of true partnership.

With engaging props, stories, and activities grounded in neuroscience, Edwards and McCleary captivate audiences and help them find the sweet spot in their teamwork and relationships. Audiences will activate into their behavior and collaboration the three words that radically impact how we access emotional intelligence to be in optimal performance:

  • CONCRETE: Are the emotions that are present concrete—are they heavy because of the very real weight of our lives?
  • INFLATED: Are the feelings that are present inflated and need processing to deflate them?
  • ASSUMPTION: Are we making false assumptions and creating negative stories for no reason?
4:20 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Final Activity & Closing Remarks

Decode the Puzzle

On day two's group activity, you will embark on an exciting challenge where you’ll receive puzzle pieces that when put together reveal a hidden message through visual illusions. These pieces will be earned by completing a variety of activities throughout the day—some straightforward, others demanding strong communication and teamwork. The first team to decode the message and answer the trivia question correctly will emerge victorious!