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Thrive Together Session Speakers

lori schneiderLORI SCHNEIDER

Lori Schneider is an international speaker, author, teacher, Everest and ‘Seven Summits’ mountaineer, adventurer, and global advocate for those living with neurological disorders and disabilities. In 2009, Lori became the first person with multiple sclerosis to summit Everest and scale the highest peak on each continent. Her story has been translated into more than 20 languages, giving hope and inspiration to people around the globe. Lori and her organization, Empowerment Through Adventure, inspire others to scale the mountains and obstacles we all face in our personal lives. Lori’s story is more than a climbing adventure. It is one woman’s journey of moving beyond a diagnosis of MS and later cancer and turning adversity into triumph. Lori shares her words to empower others to move beyond their own labels and preconceived limitations and live their dreams. Lori lived and taught in Steamboat Springs from 1980-2000, sparking her love of outdoors and nature. The strong sense of community and friendships in Routt County continues to sustain her to this day. Learn more >


melanie millsMELANIE MILLS
Force for Good, Business Strategist, Trusted Ally

For more than 22 years, organizations and executives have turned to her for results. And she has delivered. Melanie Mills has led the way in helping organizations exceed their goals. She has assisted leaders through the demands of change and uncertainty while diminishing fear and maintaining consistency. Melanie has accomplished this through a simple focus...the people. She is the unquestionable master at empowering people to reach their full potential. Melanie has touched millions in more than 14 countries through her live programs. Her past and present clients include both the Fortune 500 as well as mid-level companies. Her partial client list includes 3M Unitek, Starz-Encore, NASA, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, and American Express. Melanie began her career as a middle school educator learning that no matter how hard teachers tried, the students wanted to be free to choose, to grow, and to be their own person. We are all just kids in big bodies. After her time in education, Melanie jumped into the business world and has been focused on the transformation of people and organizations ever since. Through it all and at the heart of her work is the empowerment of you, the individual to show up as your best self emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.  Learn more >


Workshop Speakers


brenda abdillaBrenda Abdilla
Certified Executive & Career Coach

Brenda Abdilla is an executive and career coach and the author of Outsmarting Crazytown: A Business Novel About How Derailed Professionals Can Get Back on Track. (Indie Books, 2020) which hit the Amazon bestseller list for new releases in career. A respected and sought-after executive coach, she works with corporate leaders who want more effective strategies for team accountability and collaboration, and with professionals who are navigating a change in their high-level careers. More than 90% of Brenda’s coaching clients get promoted, land the role they desire, or address their core issues within 12 months of engaging Brenda. Brenda also serves as the professional facilitator for two Women Presidents Organization (WPO) groups in the greater Denver area and runs several Entourage Leadership groups for women in corporate roles. Learn More >


cynthia banksCynthia Banks
Director, New World Vistas, Faculty Director for Global Initiatives, University of Colorado Boulder

Cynthia Banks is a seasoned entrepreneur, facilitator, and passionate company leader raising her own global education organization for twenty-five years, and now helping others with skill building, strategy execution, and professional development. She is a professor at the Leeds College of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder and served the last four years as the Faculty Director for Global Initiatives. She currently teaches the Executive MBA Global Business course. In her career, she built and sold a multi-million-dollar venture, created a non-profit foundation to support underrepresented students, served on an Ed Tech start-up team, and is currently the strategy director for a global education leadership training organization. Cynthia is an active investor with the Rockies Venture Club WIN fund, an advisor for the BEN Entrepreneur network, and donates time to the Board of Directors for non-profits like Greenhouse Scholars (Boulder, CO). Honors include a finalist for the 2021 Fulbright Fellowship, election to the International Women’s Forum, winner of the 2009 Small Business of the Year by Colorado Women’s Chamber, and winner of the 2013 Top Three Minority/Women Owned Business by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Learn More >


alex mathisenAlex Mathisen
Nutrition Therapist Master, Wellness Coach, Mayo Clinic

Alex Mathisen is a nutrition therapist, food lover, yoga teacher, wellness coach, traveler, plant-based cook, mother, and nature lover. Originally from London, England, she has called Steamboat Springs, Colorado home for the last twenty years. She is excited to share her passion for nutrition, plant-based cooking, and health and wellness with you. Alex offers virtual and on-site nutrition and wellness coaching as well as cooking classes through her business, A Rainbow Day. Alex is a certified yoga teacher, Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach, and Nutrition Therapist Master. Learn More >


diane munteanDiane Muntean
Partner, Muntean Leadership Group

Diane Muntean is a nationally respected personal and organizational leadership consultant, and co-founder of the Muntean Leadership Group. She has made the capability development of individuals, teams, and organizations her life’s work. In 1991, Diane and her husband Steve founded the Muntean Leadership Group. Since then, Diane has focused her consulting, facilitating and executive coaching in the areas of personal leadership, organizational leadership, strategic planning, team development, culture transformation and executive coaching. Representative clients include Microsoft, Verizon, T-Mobile, Merck, DuPont, National City Bank, Vanguard, and Armstrong World Industries. In Steamboat, Diane has worked with several for profit and non-profit organizations, including Alpine Bank, YVEA, the Resort Group, Rex’s Family of Restaurants, Steamboat Springs Chamber, Steamboat Sotheby’s, Northwest Colorado Health, REPS, The Health Partnership, and LiftUp. Diane’s personal mission is to “help individuals create and live lives they passionately love.” Diane and Steve have three children and three grandchildren and live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Learn More >


Breakout Speakers


acey holmesAcey Holmes
Founder & CEO, BoredLess

Acey Holmes is a southerner by birth pulled to Colorado by the mountains. She spent much of her professional life helping children of all abilities communicate (mostly through play!). With a cliche pandemic pivot away from pediatrics to adults, she now focuses on bringing play to adults through consulting and facilitation all based on the neuroscience of play. Her engaging and fully interactive workshops cover topics such as “The Power of Play at Work”, “The Neuroscience of Play”, and “Personal Play Identities”. Her education and experience as an educator and speech-language pathologist make her a unique expert on communication and brain development with special application for organizational development and team dynamics. When she’s not convincing adults to play, you can find her on a bike, skis, or in hiking boots on the side of a mountain! Learn More >


tinesha rossTinesha Ross
Senior Manager - Product Operations, United Launch Alliance

Tinesha Ross, a native of Fairfield, Alabama is a Senior Manager of Production Operations at United Launch Alliance (ULA). Ross brings 24 years of aerospace industry experience to her position at ULA. Most Notably, Tinesha was instrumental in successfully launching the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover into space and onto the surface of the planet. A passionate community volunteer, Ross is a frequent guest speaker in schools across the country, advocating for kids to get excited about STEM careers and sharing her personal story about overcoming the odds during her rough childhood. The Girl Scouts of Colorado have honored Ross as a 2019 Woman of Distinction and as one of the 100 Distinguished Girl Scouts Alumnae of Colorado. The Denver Business Journal recognized her as a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2015, and she was honored by the Birmingham Chapter of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) as a “WOMEN of the Year, March 2022”. Learn More >


laura rustLaura Rust
Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach

Laura Rust is an entrepreneur, business visionary, yoga teacher, and leadership coach. She co-owns Out Here Yoga, BIG Power Yoga, and Live Alive Adventures and is a certified Lightyear Leadership Coach. She has 11 years of business ownership experience and holds an altMBA degree from Seth Godin. She has brought relentless positivity to the incredible challenges of business ownership, moving all of her companies successfully through the pandemic through innovation, adaptability, faith and making hard work more fun. She’s known by her teams of employees for being someone they can talk to about anything and get support. Her best work is yet to come, and she looks forward to connecting with the growth-minded women of Steamboat! Learn More >


meredith van nessMeredith Van Ness
Founder of Balanced+Well

Meredith Van Ness is a dedicated therapist and a trusted anxiety and confidence coach, specializing in empowering women on their journey to overcome stress, anxiety, and self-doubt while stepping into a life of self-confidence. With a profound passion for helping women break free from the cycle of self-doubt, Meredith is on a mission to guide them toward unleashing their true potential and living the fulfilling lives they deserve. As a seasoned speaker, masterclass facilitator, and therapist with over two decades of experience, she has empowered countless women by fostering self-awareness and nurturing self-esteem, ultimately creating personal empowerment. Outside of her professional pursuits, Meredith finds solace in exploring the great outdoors, embracing her love for yoga, and cherishing the joys of motherhood, raising three remarkable boys. Learn More >


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