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WCCE Annual Conference & Retreat

Leadership: It Starts With You! Embrace your authentic purpose to passionately lead with innovative vision. The WCCE Annual Conference & Retreat provides an opportunity for local chamber executives from across Wisconsin to learn how to be a more effective community leader by developing professional skills and, ultimately, growing the local chamber. This year’s professional development conference will focus on YOU! We’ll take time to talk about how meaning matters – people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. The three-day event will provide the right tools to help you prioritize what’s important and be an authentic leader. Large and small group discussions will include conversations on your chamber’s responsibilities, membership, workforce, education, advocacy, events and more.
Sep 26 - 28, 2023


The Abbey Resort
269 Fontana Blvd, Lake Geneva

Event Agenda

2023 Program

Presented by:

Dale Wilsher

Featured Speaker

Dale Wilsher is a professional development expert, executive leadership coach, CPLC, PCC,
CCSP, motivational speaker, and DISC personality trainer who knows the secret to employee
engagement, client attraction, and business motivation lies in mastering your meaning. As
the owner of Your Authentic Personality, she helps professionals and entrepreneurs make the
highest and best use of who they are, find and create deeply meaningful work, tap into their
unique purpose, and become all they are meant to be.

Program subject to change

Session Sponsored By


Tuesday, September 26

Theme for the Day: Focusing on You

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Boot Camp for New(er) Chamber Executives (includes lunch)


12:00 PM

Conference Registration


Welcome and Introductions


60 Ideas in 60 Minutes: Best Practices Sharing

Share your chamber’s best practice, idea or strategy to help inspire others and learn from each other


Fireside Chat

Hear from Stephanie about her career story, lessons learned about leadership, and the opportunities and challenges she’s faced in the chamber and tourism industry

Kurt Bauer

Kurt Bauer

President & CEO, WMC

Stephanie Klett

Stephanie Klett

President & CEO, VISIT Lake Geneva


Opening Keynote: Meaning Matters: Define your Purpose

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it!

Dale Wilsher




Group Reception and Dinner Boat Cruise on Lake Geneva


Adjourn for the Day


Wednesday, September 27

Theme for the Day: Building Your Toolkit


Business at Breakfast


Welcome and Introductions


Keynote: Management vs. Leadership

Understanding the key difference and what you should know

Rusty Schieber

Vice President of Operations Support, Brakebush Brothers, Inc.


Keynote: Lessons Learned about Building Relationships & Funding Your Mission

Wade Goodsell

COO, WMC; Executive Director, WMC Foundation


Like-size Chamber Discussions


Workforce Panel Presentation on Youth Apprenticeships, Fast Forward Grants, Career Pathways & Project-based and Experiential Learning

Rachel Ver Velde

Rachel Ver Velde


Senior Director of Workforce, Education & Employment Policy, WMC

Jim Bender

Bender Consulting, Lincoln Academy Public Charter School

Beth Kaminski

Regional Career Pathways State Director, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

John Keckhaver

Youth Apprenticeship Section Chief, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Nicholas Kelly

President, School Choice Wisconsin




Breakout Sessions

1. How to Build & Grow a Government Affairs Program

John Kirchner

Vice President of Midwest Region, US CHamber of Commerce

Amanda Payne

Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Waukesha County Business Alliance

Joe Venhuizen

Vice President of Membership, Envision Greater Fond du Lac

2. Small Chambers Rule

Russ Korpela

Executive Director, River Falls Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

3. Tips for Effective Membership Management

Wade Goodsell

COO, WMC; Executive Director, WMC Foundation


Repeat Breakout Sessions


Free Time & Personal Consultations with Dale Wilsher


Group Reception and Dinner Downtown Lake Geneva


Adjourn for the Day


Thursday, September 28

Theme for the Day: Making It Happen


Business at Breakfast


Welcome and Introductions


Executive Leadership Panel

Lessons learned about business and leadership, industry opportunities and challenges, and employee and community engagement

Kurt Bauer

Kurt Bauer


President & CEO, WMC

Dr. Ryohei Tsuji

President & COO, Kikkoman Foods, Inc.

Kelly Norton

Senior Director of Culture & Communication, Grande Cheese Co.

Tim Oswald

Chief Human Resources Officer, Fairbanks Morse Defense


Keynote: Leading with Creativity for Programming & Events

Stephanie Klett

Stephanie Klett

President & CEO, VISIT Lake Geneva


Fireside Chat

State & Local Chamber Partnerships Strengthen the Business Community’s Voice

Wade Goodsell


COO, WMC; Executive Director, WMC Foundation

Kurt Bauer

Kurt Bauer

President & CEO, WMC


Keynote: How to Keep the Urgent from Hijacking What’s Important

Dale Wilsher


Conference Takeaways





A room block has been reserved at The Abbey Resort for Tuesday and Wednesday nights for our group. The special room rate is $129 per night, plus tax. A resort services fee of $15 will be added to your reservation per night. Room upgrades for the pool view or harbor view are available for additional fee, and suites may be requested based on availability. Please reference “Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives” when you call (800) 709-1323 before August 28th to reserve your room. To learn more about the hotel, visit


Please contact Wade Goodsell or Susan Nyffenegger for more information on sponsorships available and how you can help support this event, (608) 258-3400.

Conference Sponsor

Presenting Sponsor

Registration Sponsor

Susan Nyffenegger

For Questions

Please contact Susan Nyffenegger with questions or input, (608) 258-3400.