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Speakers

Joe Hudson

Joe Hudson is a sought-after executive coach and facilitator working with some of the world’s most talented leaders and largest corporations. Fortune 100 companies, game-changing start-ups, and investment firms hire Joe to supercharge their teams. He has been invited to work in dozens of companies, including Apple, OpenAI, Automattic, Alphabet, and IBM. He also coaches a small group of executives by invitation only and has collaborated with Esther Perel, Bessel van de Kolk, Patty Wipfler, and Tiago Forte. 

Joe’s unique approach blends 25+ years of personal development and corporate experience into his work. He activates people, leaders, and teams to show up in their full power and creativity.  Joe is a leader at the intersection of business and personal development. He operates from an understanding of intrinsic goodness, and that transformation can be easier than most people think. 

Joe leads sold-out workshops that create positive transformations for businesses and people. His Groundbreaker Retreats have been studied and found to reduce participants’ negative self-talk and neurosis as well as improve their openness and flourishing over a sustained period of time. The most exciting of these effects is the reduction of neurosis measured by the OCEAN score, which was previously thought to be unchangeable (this was measured in a study done in collaboration with Harvard’s Ph.D. student Kathryn Devaney). Joe’s public offerings include the Connection Course and the Master Class which are unlike any other online courses. They are filled with experiments, group interaction, and experiential learning with interactive content created and refined over 20 years. 

Joe also co-hosts the podcast The Art of Accomplishment with Brett Kistler. They explore how connection to oneself and others will create the lives people want with enjoyment and ease. Their audience is 30 to 45-year-old cultural creatives, entrepreneurs, and executives. 


Linda Ruffenach

Linda Ruffenach is an entrepreneur committed to helping business owners achieve their maximum potential and protect their legacy. Her 20+ years of C-level experience with a startup enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. As the former CEO of a $100 million international enterprise, she has been through almost every stage a company can experience from fast growth, rapid decline, to complete transformation. 

In 2014, she founded two companies, Execuity Value Advisors and Whisky Chicks. Both companies embrace the idea that knowledge and experience breed confidence. Linda is a skilled facilitator and has developed a systematic approach for accelerating growth, increasing profits and optimizing the value of a business. More importantly, she knows how to turn strategy into results and deliver results. 

Recently recognized as an Enterprising Women of the Year by Business First, Linda is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor and the best selling author of  How to be a Bourbon Badass. She has appeared as an expert speaker for WBENC, IBBA, Women Presidents Organization, Goering Center for Family & Private Business ,WIFS Women in Insurance and Financial Services and the Exit Planning Institute. In addition to running multiple businesses, Linda is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville’s School of Business where she teaches Venture Finance and oversees the MBA Capstone program. 

From startup to exit, she will help you grow, scale, and navigate major transitions in your business. 


 

Business Portraits

Deborah Stallings

Deborah’s path to becoming a force for positive change in workplaces across North America is both inspiring and relatable. Her early experiences caring for her disabled mom and the challenges she faced as a single mom instilled in her courage and a deep resilience and commitment to empowering others. These personal trials laid the foundation for her to establish and lead HR Anew, a seven-figure, nationally certified minority woman-owned enterprise dedicated to transforming workplaces into inclusive environments where every business, leader, and team member thrives. With over two decades of expertise in diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, justice (DEIBJ), human resources (HR), and equal employment opportunity (EEO), Deborah’s mission is clear: to embed these essential principles into organizations to drive success and create workspaces where leaders and teams flourish. Her work spans from developing impactful workshops and programs that foster genuine connections and teamwork to strategic HR and EEO collaborations.

A notable example of her DEIBJ impact is her ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Department of Commerce, leading to more inclusive leadership discussions, stronger working relationships, mission accomplishment, and team productivity. Similarly, her contributions to the Women Presidents Organization and Women Elevating Women have empowered women leaders to leverage diversity as a cornerstone for success. Among her accolades, Deborah has been honored with the prestigious George Mason University HR Leadership and the U.S. Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion of the Year
awards, acknowledging her significant contributions to HR and diverse businesses. Her faith and academic background from Notre Dame of Maryland University, including a graduate degree in management and leadership, and her recognition as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SCP), reinforce her expertise in DEIBJ, HR, and EEO. As a Forbes Magazine HR Council writer and an upcoming author, Deborah continues to influence the future of inclusive workplaces. Deborah’s journey from personal adversity to professional victory underscores her message: “What actions can you take today to ensure diversity is not just a goal but a lived reality in your personal life and organization?”