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INSPIRE 2015-2016

Education professionals, supporters invited to a morning of insight and appreciation Aug. 19

Who:        The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo

What:       Free conference for educators and supporters of education across Kalamazoo County

When:      Wednesday, Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Where:    Miller Auditorium, Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI - Shortly before summer gives way to a new school year, educators and supporters of education in Kalamazoo County will gather for celebration and inspiration at a free conference featuring motivating speakers, professional development, music, and valuable giveaways, thanks to The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation

Now in its second year, the Inspire 2015-2016 conference takes place Wed., Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo. The event is open to anyone involved in education in Kalamazoo County: teachers, custodians, secretaries, tutors, the home-school community, volunteers and more.

Advertising expert Roy Spence will deliver the keynote address. Now co-founder & CEO of The Purpose Institute, Spence will share insights on reaching “higher ground,” that place where talents, passions and love exist. Additional speakers include: Detroit Soup founder Amy Kaherl, on the topic of not waiting to lead; and Nancy Stefanick, human resources manager for Stryker Instruments who will discuss personal strengths and their importance in our lives and work. Serving as masters of ceremonies will be Von Washington, Jr., executive director of community relations for The Kalamazoo Promise, and Amie McCaw, recently named as principal of Vicksburg Community Schools’ Sunset Elementary following several years as a Schoolcraft elementary principal.

The first 1,000 participants to register by Aug. 1 will receive $25 gift cards toward classroom supplies, and teachers may earn State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs). The first 500 registrants also will receive a free Gallup Strengths book, courtesy of Stryker Corp.

“Kalamazoo County’s educators are at the heart of the network we’re building to sustain students from cradle to career,” says The Learning Network’s director, Amy Slancik. “Their daily efforts make it possible for us to reach our full potential as a learning community, so it’s an honor to show our support and gratitude by offering the Inspire conference. We hope every guest leaves feeling rejuvenated and appreciated.” 

That was the case for O'Neal Ollie, Communities in Schools Success Coach at Kalamazoo's Loy Norrix High School. After the 2014 conference he told an interviewer, “I can’t wait to start school and take some of the energy that I got here today back to Loy Norrix. The speakers were so relevant, on-point, down to earth and very entertaining.”

Additional sponsors of Inspire 2015-2016 include Stryker Corp. and Consumers Credit Union

For more information, visit or Twitter @INSPIREkzoo. To register for Inspire, visit

About The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo

The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo brings community together to increase cradle-to-career educational success for everyone in Kalamazoo County. We track key education measures, facilitate action networks that drive educational readiness and adult learning, and rally resources and support for improved learning.

Inspire 2015-16 Speaker Information


Director of Detroit Soup, a monthly dinner funding micro-grants for creative projects in Detroit

In her own words: “I love Detroit. Detroit is unique as it is enormous. People here are passionate without large egos and are eager to problem solve with amazing and unique ideas. I started with SOUP in 2010 with some fiercely passionate ladies who were excited to try out an idea in a loft above a bakery. Never in my wildest imagination did I think it would grow to become a staple to the flow of the city. I studied theology and popular culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA after growing up and going to college in Michigan. I wanted to study connection and meaning in our everyday experiences and since departing in 2008 I have found the ability to do that here in Detroit. SOUP is a place for connecting with people who begin as strangers and become friends, a safe space to explore what matters to us as individuals and as a community, and a place to practice democracy. When I am not running SOUP I help curate events at the Jam Handy and DJ as Amy Dreamcatcher with the monthly Nothing Elegant!" 


Co-Founder & Chairman, GSD&M / Co-Founder & CEO, The Purpose Institute

Roy Spence is co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing communications and advertising company. He is also now co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose. Along with Haley Rushing, Roy co-authored the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose.” And, most recently he authored “The 10 Essential Hugs of life,” a collection of heartwarming reminders about the need for gratitude, love and goodness. 

Under Roy’s leadership, his agency has helped grow some of the world’s most successful brands like “Don’t Mess with Texas,” Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, DreamWorks, the PGA TOUR, BMW, the U.S. Air Force, L.L.Bean and the Clinton Foundation. Roy has been a trusted advisor to legendary leaders including Sam Walton and Southwest Airlines founder, Herb Kelleher. His counsel has also been sought by U.S. presidents and leaders in the State Department. Roy has received a lifetime achievement award from the Austin Advertising Federation and was named Adman of the Century by Texas Monthly magazine. He was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame in 2012.

Roy is also a Gallup Senior Adviser working with their teams on global strategy and on the mission and purpose of the most important companies and institutions in the world. He is Gallup’s expert on Purpose.  In addition, Roy is a marketing and communications advisor of the National Advisory Council for the Trust for the National Mall.

Roy’s passion is entrepreneurship. He deeply believes that entrepreneurship is the miracle of America. His mantra is “Don’t Do Mild” in work or life; follow your dreams, follow your passion, and follow your purpose.

Roy is a member of the board of directors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation and the recently formed Markle Initiative for America’s Economic Future in a Networked World initiative. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin. Roy and his wife Mary have three children, Courtney, Ashley and Shay.


Human Resources Manager for Stryker Instruments

Nancy Stefanick is a human resources manager for Stryker Instruments. She joined Stryker in 2007 as the training specialist for the Medical division, bringing five years of training and development experience from the retail and pharmaceutical industries, a bachelor’s degree in theatre and a master’s degree in human resource development, both from Western Michigan University.

In 2010, she joined the Stryker Instruments Learning and Development team and had accountability for the personal, professional, and leadership development programming for the division. Over the span of a decade long career in Learning and Development, Nancy has logged hundreds of hours in the classroom teaching a variety of courses including Influencing without Authority, Career Wellbeing and Understanding Generations in the Workforce.  

As a Human Resources Manager, Nancy supports, guides, coaches, mentors and helps reshape the employee/manger direction for the teams she supports.

Nancy is a Gallup-certified Strengths Performance Coach and has a passion for leadership development through an exploration of Strengths. In addition to Strengths, she has experience in coaching people through their DiSC and StandOut profiles. Nancy’s areas of competency expertise include Influencing without Authority, Effective Presentation Skills, Building Trusting Relationships, Career Wellbeing, Creative Brainstorming, Emotional Intelligence, Leading Change, Training Design (ADDIE model), Generational Understanding, Team Building/Team Blends and Work/Life Integration.

Nancy has extensive experience working with both non-exempt and exempt workforces, both internally and externally in the field. Taking care of people is what matters most to her. She is emotionally insightful and has a special way of gaining people’s trust by the way she listens and makes people feel heard and recognized. She teaches people new ways to look at themselves as both individuals and teams.

Nancy is an 18-year resident of Kalamazoo and has been active in the community as a volunteer and stage actress, performing in several community theatre venues around town. And while she has worked with leaders around the globe, the most important future leaders she and her husband Trevor hope to develop are their sons Jack, 4 and Will, 2.

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