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SmartHER Money Conference

October 17, 2022 @ 8:30 am 1:30 pm


SmartHER Money Conference

This Event Starts In:
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Free event & lunch with expert panelists and keynote speaker Manisha Thakor, founder of MoneyZen, and a nationally renowned speaker and financial literacy advocate for women.

Join us for the first-ever SmartHER Money conference! It’s a fact- and fun-filled five-hour event designed to boost your money smarts, improve your financial wellness and secure your financial future. 

Once you own your finances, you own your life and your retirement.

Topics will include planning, budgeting, saving, investing, preparing for retirement and so much more. 

How important is a “rainy day” fund? How do I get out of debt? What are the best investments for me? How much money do I need to retire? Will my retirement dollars last?  Get your money questions answered. Hear stories about SmartHER Iowa women. Prepare to feel empowered and informed and ready to improve your relationship with money!

All genders welcome to attend.

Planning & Earning

Budgets, earning power, side hustles — learn steps you can take now to create financial wellness.

Saving & Retiring

Understanding investments and saving for retirement can create stress. Education gives you confidence.

Women & Money

Money stuff is different for women than for men. Boost your wisdom and confidence around money.

Manisha Thakor, CFA, CFP®
Founder, MoneyZen.com

Keynote Speaker Spotlight

Meet Manisha Thakor

Our keynote speaker learned early in life that “a man is not a plan,” a gift from her loving parents — along with financial literacy. She believes that learning the language of personal finance is so important for women, along with clear, positive goals.

Manisha certainly has the financial chops to share money wisdom with women. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business school, has authored two critically acclaimed books and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Real Simple and many more media outlets. 

Manisha is a down-to-earth, caring and approachable woman who has a larger vision and passion to help women joyfully claim their financial power. Because with financial power comes personal power.

Read her bio >

Manisha is founder of MoneyZen.com, a financial education consultancy and content hub. A 25-year veteran of the financial services industry, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and her MBA from Harvard Business School. An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha has authored two critically acclaimed personal finance books for young women in their 20s and 30s: “On My Own Two Feet” and “Get Financially Naked.” She also serves on the board of The National Foundation for Financial Education and is on faculty at the Omega Institute’s Women’s Leadership Center. Manisha’s work has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, CNBC, The Today Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Women’s Health and Real Simple. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she revels in both the quirky artisanal coffee scene and the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

“When women increase their financial knowledge, a whole new world of choices, voices and opportunities open up to them. The act of adding financial well-being to your overall definition of well-being is one of the best investments you can make in yourself, your community and the world at large.”

Event Panelists

Rebecca Guinn
Rebecca Guinn
Factory Manager, John Deere
Read Bio >

Rebecca Guinn joined Deere and Company in 1992 and held several positions in the U.S. and Germany before being named the first female Factory Manager in the 100-plus-year history of John Deere Waterloo Works.
One of the largest employers in the Cedar Valley and one of the most important locations for Deere and Company, John Deere Waterloo Works’ 5,300 employees build the largest horsepower tractors for customers around the world.

Becky believes in the value of leadership that lifts up the communities where Deere & Company employees live and work. She engages with local community leadership around economic and talent development and volunteerism, as a member of the State of Iowa Environmental Production Commission and as a board member for Grow Cedar Valley and Waterloo Development Commission.

Having established a reputation for identifying and developing talent, Becky leads Diversity & Inclusion Councils and is a Leadership Sponsor for Society of Women Engineers and Executive Sponsor for Women in Operations.

“Know what your current role is worth and what it takes to get to the next level in your career. If you are confident about your abilities and work ethic, it is much easier to ask for a raise or a promotion.”

Doug Ommen (Iowa Insurance Commissioner)
Doug Ommen
Iowa Insurance Commissioner
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Doug obtained his law degree in 1985 from the Saint Louis University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in both Iowa and Missouri. He has a strong and varied public service background. Ommen’s dedication and desire to serve the public began in seeking justice for victims of fraud in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, where as an assistant attorney general and then as chief counsel, he led the fight to protect consumers over the course of three decades. Ommen also served in the Missouri Department of Insurance during 2005 – 2008, and as Missouri’s Insurance Director was instrumental for several key regulatory reforms. Ommen served as Deputy Insurance Commissioner at the Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services from August 2013 to December 2016. He was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad as Insurance Commissioner in January 2017.

Stephanie Seekins
Stephanie Seekins
Attorney, Compliance Specialist
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Stephanie graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and went on to earn her Juris Doctor from University of St. Thomas School of Law. A newly licensed attorney in Minnesota, she is awaiting word that the Iowa Bar has also granted her a license. Stephanie divides her time between her compliance specialist role at The Emily Program, an of-counsel role at The Biker Lawyers, PC, and volunteering in her community. Driven to do work that empowers women and her BIPOC community members, for the past three years she has served as the volunteer governance and compliance director at Project DIVA International. Stephanie believes that financial literacy is key to personal change and growth, a lesson she’s applied both to her own life and to her extensive involvement helping others in the areas of equality and civil rights.

“I would advise women to throw out any piece of financial advice that doesn’t serve them — and find an advisor who understands your goals. As a millennial, the financial advice and strategies that worked for my parents don’t work for me. We’re living in a different financial environment, and we don’t have time to waste on budgets that aren’t made for us or advisors who don’t see us as equals.”

LeKeisha Veasely
LeKeisha Veasley
Community Inclusion Strategist
Veridian Credit Union
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LeKeisha’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Wartburg College and a master’s degree in public policy from University of Northern Iowa. She works as community inclusion strategist Veridian Credit Union. Previously, LeKeisha worked for Threshold Community Action Agency. She is a nationally certified Results-Oriented Management Accountability (ROMA) trainer and a Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) for demonstrating mastery in 21st century leadership, management and addressing the causes of poverty. She also possesses multiple professional certifications in homeownership and housing finance. LeKeisha is the vice president for Iowa Habitat for Humanity, a board member for Iowa Able Foundation and has served on the advisory council for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. LeKeisha was selected for the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) 2021 Iowa Innovation Group and Veridian‘s Emerging Leaders Group in 2020.

“Financial literacy is critical for Iowa women to gain financial empowerment and sustain a healthy financial well-being. It is also a crucial tool to help break down socioeconomic barriers, create generational wealth and assist future generations to have successful financial futures.”

Amy Wienands
Business Owner
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Amy was born and raised in Waterloo and has grown to love this community. After graduating from West High School, Amy graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City with a degree in psychology. Her first job out of college was at Chicago’s Cook County Jail teaching employability skills to inmates. During commutes to work she read a book her dad gave her called The Magic of Thinking Big, after which she made the decision to move back to Waterloo and seek out an opportunity to make a mark on her community. Selling homes sounded like a rewarding experience. She hit the ground running spending almost every night knocking on doors. Over the past few years, Amy has started and grown her own business — Amy Wienands Real Estate. She is a huge proponent of marketing and branding and truly believes in “Obsessively Working for You!” Amy is proud of her upbringing and feels blessed to raise her children in the very same community.

ReShonda Young
ReShonda Young
Founder, Popcorn Heaven
Business Owner, Community Advocate
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Born and raised in Waterloo, IA, ReShonda went on to graduate with a BA from Wartburg College. She is the founder of Popcorn Heaven, a gourmet popcorn chain that first opened in Waterloo and now has licensed locations across the U.S. ReShonda is in the process of forming a financial institution named Bank of Jabez. Its mission is to provide a full suite of financial products, services and resources to attract and serve all people, with a special focus on reaching unbanked and underbanked populations to help close racial and gender wealth gaps. ReShonda is an active voice in advocating for pay equity for women and many other issues that benefit working families and was honored in April 2015 as a White House Working Families Champion of Change. She is a founding member of the Iowa Main Street Alliance and serves on multiple arts and community development boards.

“One piece of advice I would offer to women to increase their financial well-being is to not be afraid to negotiate their pay and ask for what they feel like their time is worth. We know there is a gender pay gap. It’s up to us to help close it.”

We’re pleased to announce that Manisha Thakor will also join both panels to answer any questions you may have from her keynote address.

Joanne Kuster

SmartHER Money Conference Emcee

Joanne Kuster
The Money Godmother

Read Bio >

Joanne spends her time helping women learn to earn and gain confidence as entrepreneurs and investors who can build wealth and leave legacies.

A longtime investor and entrepreneur herself, Joanne trains teachers and creates financial content, products and programs for organizations. She launched her first educational products at 26 and is author of several games and books, including the award-winning “Stock Market Pie: Grandma Helps Emily Make a Million.” She continues to lead others to build money management skills and developed the Federal Reserve’s Money Smart Week™ program in Iowa.

Joanne has served on several boards and foundations, received awards for community leadership, and been recognized as a Home-Based Business Advocate of the Year for SBA. A first-generation college grad, mom of three and grandmother of six, Joanne understands how building financial skills at any age paves your path to success. Find her stories at RootandBloomForever.com and MoneyGodmotherBlog.com.

“It’s not one — or even two — big decisions that set you up for financial success. Rather, it’s the many small choices you are making every day. Choosing is an option … choose wisely.”

Bien VenU Event Center

7400 Hudson Rd.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613 United States
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8:30 am – 1:30 pm

Bien VenU Event Center

7400 Hudson Rd.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613 United States
+ Google Map
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Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services
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