Orange County Convention Center

IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Forum has been designed to focus on topics that are unique to women in the exhibitions and events industry. It is tailored for all women regardless of age, individual situation or current position held within their company. The Forum will provide knowledge and strategies for attendees to succeed in their current positions, as well as motivation and inspiration to take your career to the next level. The Forum will give you the tools and resources while balancing life along the way. The Forum is a half-day program beginning at 2:00 PM and ending at 4:30 PM.

While we can’t meet in person, this WLF Regional Half Day Forum will feature local female thought leaders along with immersive experiences giving you a taste of all that is Dallas!

Program Fees

IAEE Member & Non-member Special Rate $49 USD

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Register Here

Schedule of Events

Central Standard Time

Thursday, 24 September 2020

1:45 PM Virtual Attendees Log-In to Platform
2:00 PM – 2:10 PM Opening Event & Welcome
2:10 PM – 2:30 PM Mental Health, Self-Care & Mindfulness: Creating the Best YOU!

Veronica Torres, Hey Chica! by Healthy Latina Lifestyle

2:30 PM – 2:50 PM Building Personal Brand to Strengthen Your Impact and Relationships

Lisa Lavender, Flourish
2:50 PM – 3:00 PM BREAK– Music from Dallas’ Castro Band
3:00 PM – 3:20 PM Following Your Passion

Kelly Schulz, New Orleans & Company
3:25 PM – 4:00 PM Panel Discussion: Offline Leadership Talks

  • Moderator: Cathy Breden, CMP, CEM, CAE, IAEE
  • Cheryl Richards, VisitDallas
  • Kelly Schulz, New Orleans & Company
  • Erica Yaeger,  North Texas Food Bank
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Happy Hour with Chef Julian
How to Make a Great Margarita
Live Q&A with Presenters
Event Wrap-Up

Virtual Program Information

Mental Health, Self-Care & Mindfulness: Creating the Best YOU!

Presenter: Veronica Torres, Hey Chica! by Healthy Latina Lifestyle

With recent ‘shelter in place’ and ‘stay at home’ orders in place around the globe now, all of us are challenged to literally build resilience, from the inside. Mindfulness, setting one’s intention to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement, is one of the practices that can help you get through this exceedingly challenging time of stress and uncertainty. Join Veronica Torres as she discusses the importance of why we need to build emotional self-care skills, for when stress gets high, and emotions get strong and why it’s important to be aware of mental health for yourself and for others.

Building Personal Brand to Strengthen Your Impact and Relationships

Presenter: Lisa Lavender, Flourish

Personal brand is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room. Join Lisa Lavender, business and restaurant entrepreneur and sales and hospitality expert as she shares her personal story and discusses the importance of mindset, gaining confidence in yourself, sharing your story and building a personal brand that positively impacts business and the relationships you want to build. And to top it off, she may even share with you a few tips on staying healthy!

Following Your Passion

Presenter: Kelly Schulz, New Orleans & Company

Knowing and developing your why is important, whether it’s personal or professional. While there’s no one pathway for discovering your life’s purpose, there are many ways you can gain deeper insight into yourself, and a larger perspective on what it is that you truly believe in and that you have to offer to others, to your community and to your work. Even in difficult times, it’s important to have that focus, to keep moving forward and to strive for success. Join Kelly Schulz as she provides tips for following your passion, even in difficult times.

Panel Discussion: Offline Leadership Talks

Moderator: Cathy Breden, CMP, CEM, CAE, IAEE
Panelists: Cheryl Richards, VisitDallas; Kelly Schulz, New Orleans & Company; and Erica Yaeger,  North Texas Food Bank

For the past six months, the global pandemic and accompanying social and economic threats have disrupted our existence and our business in profound ways. Join our esteemed panel of local thought leaders as they share their stories and experiences in an open and sincere way. Hear how they have adapted, taken action, helped others and kept a positive mindset through it all.

Meet the Speakers


Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, CEM
Executive Vice President & COO, IAEE

In her role as EVP/COO of IAEE, Ms. Breden oversees marketing and communications, conventions and events, membership, education, and administration of the association.

In addition, she currently serves as CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) whose primary purpose is to promote the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering research-based knowledge tools.

She is a frequent presenter on the areas of exhibition industry trends and the power of exhibitions in face-to-face marketing. She is currently serving on the Events Industry Council’s Board of Directors, and she is adjunct faculty at Richland College.

Breden is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM). She is a graduate of Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


Cheryl Richards
Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Cheryl Richards serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) at VisitDallas. In this position, Richards’ duties include creating and implementing a strategic plan to elevate VisitDallas as a leader in diversity and inclusion at the local, national and international levels. Richards serves as the liaison to the Diversity & Inclusion Standing Committee, chaired by Maria Mendez, Account Executive, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

Richards, who has been with VisitDallas for 32 years spent 16 of those years in Public Relations and 9 years as vice president of strategic alliances where she was responsible for establishing the membership sales and service standard for VisitDallas, overseeing corporate partnerships, member-based publications and daily operations of the member sales and services department. She received the 2017 Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, 2015 Black Meetings & Tourism APEX Award for Distinguished Service, 2014 Fraser Net Corporate Professional of the Year Award, 2013 High Tea with High Heels Crystal Stiletto Award from the Atlanta based Trumpet Awards Foundation, which spotlights women who have made a mark and break barriers as a way of life.

Richards is a member of several business community/civic organizations including, Texas Diversity Council’s Greater Dallas Advisory Board, Downtown Dallas, Inc.  Board of Governors, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Disability IN, University of North Texas Alumni Association, National Association of Latino and Elected Officials,  University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism Board of Directors, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Richards is a graduate of the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Public Relations and a minor in Business Marketing.

Lisa Lavender

With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa “Moore No More” Lavender has seen all sides of the hospitality and service industry. After serving as the right hand for Celebrity Chef Stephan Pyles since 1994, Lisa partnered with Jackson and Tim Lavender, two prominent Dallas businessmen to create FLUENT, a world-class, luxury concierge service in the summer of 2012. She brought expertise and experience in special events, sales, marketing and operations to offer a total package and unmatched service to the Metroplex. This led to the one-of-a-kind entrepreneurial development Trinity Groves, retaining her to lead a new level of marketing efforts for over a dozen restaurant incubators that have changed the face of start-up business.

In February of 2018, Lisa signed on as Brand Ambassador for Oak & Eden, Handcrafted Whiskey. Her role included opening doors to new relationships in the hospitality industry and creating events through the launch of the new Texas brand of whiskey. Her new private event space in Trinity Groves, Flourish, opened the summer of 2020. It promises to deliver experiences like nothing else in the city of Dallas.

A consummate professional with an extraordinary flair for doing the seemingly impossible in the hospitality industry, Lisa creates experiences that have passion, creativity and always exceed expectations.

Lisa is a Dallas native and works tirelessly to promote the city, its people and its local culinary and hospitality community. Lisa’s words to live by are “It isn’t who you know. It’s who knows YOU”.


Kelly Schulz
Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
New Orleans & Company

Kelly Schulz is the Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Relations of New Orleans & Company. She spent the past six years in Memphis raising funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but felt compelled to return to her hometown of New Orleans and help restore tourism amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is her second time as an executive with New Orleans and Company, previously serving in the eight years following Hurricane Katrina. Under her leadership, the organization won 16 international awards of excellence for crisis management.

Schulz’s 22-year career in public relations began at Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm, continuing at Meeting Professionals International headquarters in Dallas as the Director of Communications.


Veronica Torres
Hey Chica!
by Healthy Latina Lifestyle

Veronica Torres Hazley is a Texas native girl from Austin with deep family roots in Texas and Mexico. The previous 16 years of her career were with VisitDallas, in several capacities. She worked with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Digital Marketing and Branding and most recently as the Director of Experience.

Her passion lies in community, health, wellness, and professional leadership, educating others on mindfulness in the workplace and customer service working with brands like, Smoothie King, Billingsley Co, American Leather, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, AT&T and the City of Dallas.

She has built a brand around health and wellness with her yoga studio, V12 Yoga Studio in Dallas. Her portfolio is built around corporate wellness activations for big brands in Dallas with interest in onsite self-care and fitness for employees.

Veronica is a graduate of Johnson and University with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. She also pursued her degree in Business Administration at the University of Texas at Dallas. She currently serves on the Mayors Grow South Advisory Council and XIX Society Advisory Board for the Dallas Women’s Foundation.

She created Hey Chica! Pop Up Leadership Experience. A movement for women looking to collaborate with their fellow community leaders, advocates, and influencers to curate their dream goals with passion and gusto!


Erica Yeager
Chief External Affairs Officer
North Texas Food Bank

Erica Yaeger is the Chief External Affairs Officer for the North Texas Food Bank. Prior to joining the Food Bank, she served as Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Relations at The University of Texas at Dallas, where she led the Naveen Jindal School of Management’s development and alumni relations team, and as Executive Director of Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco. Before joining the non-profit sector, Yaeger spent eight years in the telecom industry and was the founder, owner and publisher of Richardson Living magazine, a lifestyle publication designed to connect communities and inspire involvement.

As a community volunteer and advocate, Yaeger currently serves on the City of Richardson Civil Service Board, Junior League of Collin County Advisory Council and John Paul II High School Board of Trustees.  However, she is most excited about engaging the community in her current role to support the mission of the NTFB and to close the hunger gap in North Texas.

Yaeger earned a Bachelor of Communication from North Carolina State University and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from The University of Texas at Dallas. She lives in Richardson with her husband Dave and two children.


Thank You to Our Dallas Partners!

Emerald Partner


Pearl Partner


Ruby Partner


Host Partners

Event Information

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations, in whole or in part, must be made in writing and may be subject to a cancellation fee.  For a full refund, written cancellations must be received no later than 30 business days prior to the event.  Within 11-29 business days, all approved refunds are subject to a $75 administrative fee.  Cancellations will not be accepted within 10 business days of the event and event fees will not be refunded after the event begins. Send written cancellation requests to: