Thrive Speaker Bios

2019 Speaker Bios

Dina Nina Martinez

Dina Nina Martinez, who was called “…very funny.” by the Late Late Show’s James Corden, is a standup comedian and actor from LA who moved to the midwest for her career. Her signature blend of disarming sass and charm has been featured in comedy festivals, multiple world-class comedy venues and keynote for events including Wisconsin Women’s Entrepreneur Day, The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, LA’s The Comedy Store, Social Change Forum and Chicago’s Zanies Comedy Club. She is a Huff Post blogger and creator and executive producer of Lady Laughs Comedy Festival. She was named one of the “40 Hot Queer Women In Comedy” by and won Madison’s favorite Local Comedian as voted by the readers of the Isthmus. Though LA was cute and she’s certainly got fabulousness to spare, Martinez’s long term goals are to settle down and be a soccer mom.

Introduction by Summit Credit Union

Calyn Ostrowski

Calyn Ostrowski is Managing Vice President of Business Development & Financial Empowerment at Summit Credit Union. In this capacity, she leads teams responsible for providing award-winning financial education and financial wellness initiatives. Prior to joining Summit, she served as Executive Director of the World Council of Credit Union’s Foundation where she led the ideation, development and execution of sustainable development solutions and globally recognized programs.

Calyn is dedicated to building measurably better lives for vulnerable communities worldwide. During her tenure at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, named one of the Top 10 Think Tanks in the world, she worked with global policymakers, practitioners, donors, and researchers to generate innovative and transdisciplinary solutions to improve women’s health in developing countries.

She is an advocate and passionate about advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Calyn serves on several nonprofit boards including the University of Wisconsin Law School Economic Justice Institute, Badgerland Girl Scouts, and recently completed her term at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. She holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University and bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she dove for the Women’s Swimming and Diving team.

Ann Imig

Ann Imig founded the national live-reading series LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER on stage in 55 cities and counting, and edited the acclaimed anthology “LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now” (Putnam Books, 2015). She is an award-winning humorist and speaker who spends most of her time signing permission slips and sweeping up cat litter.

Tina Hallis

Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a speaker, author, and founder of The Positive Edge. She is certified in Positive Psychology through the WholeBeing Institute, an authorized partner for Everything Disc, and a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association.

Jen Rubin

Jen Rubin is a former New Yorker living in Madison, WI. An obsessive maker of mixed tapes and quite possibly the best challah baker in town, she has worked for social change throughout her career. Jen leads storytelling workshops around Madison, co-produces the Moth StorySlam in Madison, and teaches the occasional social policy class at the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work. She also works at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Mary Helen Conroy

Mary Helen Conroy, Chief Creative Officer of Life’s a Daring Adventure and I’m Not Done Yet is a bestselling author and inspirational speaker. Her life coaching signature program of Review, Retreat and ReInvent has assisted countless clients in recreating their lives. Her own reinventions include a career as a public library administrator, a sales executive for the publication Women in Higher Education and adjunct professor for Cardinal Stritch University in the areas of team and change management. She holds a Masters in Library Science and is ABD in the area of Adult Education. Join Mary Helen Conroy as she inspires you to (re)ignite your dreams and passions, and discover how to live a life of daring adventures.

Ann Garvin

Ann Garvin, Ph.D. is the USA Today Bestselling author of I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around, The Dog Year, and On Maggie’s Watch.  Ann is a professor of Health Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a professor of writing at Miami University in their Masters of Fine Arts program. She is the founder of the Tall Poppy Writers, a unique author-driven marketing cooperative in the U.S. that is exclusive to female authors who traditionally publish in a variety of genres. The TPW is the only marketing group of it’s kind and boasts Frances Ford Coppola Winery as a partner. She is a sought-after speaker on health, leadership and writing and has taught extensively across the country and internationally.

Betsy Koepke

Betsy Koepke is a Tony Robbins Trained Coach, Educational Psychologist, Speaker, Wife, Mother of 2, & Business Owner. Betsy shares secrets, strategies, and stories that empower women to live with passion and purpose while at the same time maintaining balance in all areas of life.

Melissa Blettner

Melissa is the co-founder and CEO of dream BIG academy. She knows that to be successful, you need to link arms with successful, motivated, passionate professionals. She launched a FemCity collective in Madison where women gather together to learn business strategies, cultivate relationships and support each other.

Melissa is an expert in Brand Operations, Strategy and Execution. Her career spans more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, 20 of those years with Great Wolf Resorts. During her time there, she created the culture, foundation and operating procedures for the company. She trained and onboarded thousands of employees and managers, teaching them the core values and service excellence expectations that deliver the award winning Great Wolf experience.

Her passion is helping others realize and grow into their full potential and she hopes that the lessons she learns and shares will help women step into their divine purpose!

Katrina Cravy

Katrina Cravy is an Emmy award-winning TV media veteran and author. As a former investigative reporter and TV host for FOX, NBC, and ABC affiliates, she’s now dedicated to helping people create and communicate a story that sells.

Amy Crowe

Amy Crowe is a Financial Education Specialist at Summit Credit Union where she started her career in marketing over 20 years ago and now leads its award-winning signature community financial education programs, Project Money and Project Teen Money. A personal finance expert, Amy spends her time writing, speaking, developing learning content, and educating about money. Her thoughts, ideas and advice have been featured on television, in print and online magazines, on podcasts, at conferences and on expo stages. Amy is passionate about illuminating the connection between mindset and money behavior, and empowering others to make breakthrough changes that result in financial transformation. This passion led her to being named a 2016 CU Rock Star by Credit Union Magazine, the publication of the Credit Union National Association.

Christie Gause-Bemis

Christie Gause-Bemis is CEO and co-founder of Hot Pink YOUniversity. She began Hot Pink in 2011 and worked her business into a fully thriving career. Leaving her job in 2018 required planning and strategies to build in supports and be successful. Christie and her family live in Madison, Wisconsin and she also operates her other business, Bemis Psychotherapy and Consulting in Fitchburg. Christie has been a psychotherapist in private practice for over 15 years. She is a graduate of UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. Co-author of two books, Ignite Your Life: Live Life with Passion, Purpose and Play and The Voyage: A Curriculum for At-Risk Youth. She enjoys the lake life, travel and playing with her family.

Krystle Marks

Krystle Marks is a Personal Stylist, Clothing Designer, and Founder of Lev Aparrel. Her focus in personal styling and design always comes back to helping women feel celebrated in each diverse shape they come in. Krystle is in the midst of a start-up clothing line that is the ultimate in women empowering women. Each piece is designed to flatter and celebrate the female form while each purchase creates job opportunities for at-risk women living in the slums of New Delhi.

Krystle has been featured on local news station NBC 15, The Mom’s Everyday Show, Brava Magazine exclusively for women, Madison Mom’s Blog, and is a regular speaker at American Family Insurance DreamBank.

Laura Gmeinder

Laura Gmeinder is a passion igniter. Those in-the- know would tell you she’s a top rated coach and national speaker.

Her story? She survived a quarter life crisis, made friends with her fear, left her corporate HR job (after 14 years) and set out to make an impact in the world. She is an InBusiness Magazine “40 Under 40”, honored for her business savvy and civic contributions and a BRAVA magazine 2018 Woman to Watch. She is a past president of the Junior League and a graduate of Leadership Greater Madison. Locally she provides business coaching for the MarketReady Public Market program and the Doyenne Group.

Laura holds a degree in adult education from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She has studied through the prestigious Coach Training Institute and the Wright Institute. Laura holds certifications in both life coaching and Human Resources.

Laura strives to live an interesting life; the above was accomplished in the spirit of “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Deborah Biddle

With a calm, level-headed approach, keen listening, insightful questioning, and a passion for individual and organizational belonging and thriving, Deborah Biddle influences individuals and teams to successfully rethink and redo the ways they engage with people and make decisions.

Deborah runs the diversity and inclusion consulting, coaching, and training firm, The People Company LLC. She works with organizations who want to leverage the power of change to heighten development and performance for their people. Deborah designs and delivers thought-provoking and challenging experiences that help people THINK better, DO better and BE better at what matters most.

Eugenia Podestá

Eugenia Podestá is a social entrepreneur and global connector with over 20 years of non-profit, international development and social impact experience. As Senior Director of Economic Empowerment & Entrepreneurship at Vital Voices Global Partnership (, an international women’s leadership NGO based in Washington DC, she is responsible for the VV GROW Fellowship, a highly competitive global one-year accelerator for women-owned SMEs. Eugenia is also an entrepreneur and co-founded Synergy Coworking ( in 2015. In addition, she serves as a coach and mentor, and is a dedicated enthusiast of local economic empowerment and leadership initiatives for women and communities of color in Madison, Wisconsin. Eugenia received her Bachelor’s, Master’s in Latin American Studies, and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also studied International Law and Development and worked on women-led tourism efforts at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima.

Shanna Wolf

Shanna is a freelance photographer with a background in advertising in communications, specializing in portrait, documentary and interior photography. Her photography aesthetic is modern with simplicity and balance. She loves the storytelling of still photography and being a contributor to publications with meaningful messages. Her personal work is focused on travel and wandering, using her camera as her sketchbook.

Summit Credit Union

Established in 1935, Summit Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative open to anyone. Summit holds $3.2 billion in assets and has more than 184,000 members and 629 employees across 37 locations throughout Southcentral and Southeastern Wisconsin. At Summit, we don’t sell products, we build relationships. We’re all about helping you turn wishing, waiting and wondering into planning, doing and experiencing. We can help you save more, pay off debt and reduce your stress.