Professional Development Day 2025 … coming in April next year. Check here for details coming later this year.

The Event

NEW! Professional Development Day Breakfast Food Drive – All Donations Benefitting the Campus Food Pantry. Click for details on what items are needed or for cash donation option.

Join PMI Western Idaho Chapter at Boise State University once again, as we present our 7th annual Professional Development Day event! This year, attendees can expect to #achieve with learning paths that align with PMI’s Talent Triangle® Power Skills, Business Acumen and Ways of Working and focus on project governance, cyber security, and professional development, including personal branding strategies for project professionals. Watch Keynote Speaker, Tonya Herb!

  • Earn up to 4 PDUs for PMI certifications or education contact hours to meet exam prerequisites.
  • Bonus! Earn an additional 1 PDU – submit a whitepaper on a project management topic of your choice.
  • Tickets sales start Friday, Dec 1st at 8AM, and end Tuesday at noon on Feb 27th

PMIWIC’s Professional Development Day is a rated “E” for everyone! Non-member guests, construction and engineering professionals, military, students, et al., are always welcome to attend!



  • Date: Friday, March 1, 2024
  • Time: 11:30am – 5:00pm
  • Place: Boise State University, Student Union Building


Tickets are non-refundable. But it may be possible to transfer your ticket if you contact PMIWIC by Monday, February 26th by 5PM. Contact the Communications Coordinator ( for further information.

Group Tickets

If your organization has multiple attendees whose tickets will be paid by a designated payer, you can download this worksheet to capture the information you will need to register multiple individuals more easily. Contact the Communications Coordinator ( for assistance as needed.

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The Sponsors

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The Schedule

11:45am-12:00Grab lunch at the buffet, and network with your tablemates!
12:00pm-12:15pmOpening Remarks, Drawings and More!
12:15pm-1:15pmKeynote Address: Tonya Herb
Lead from Where You Are
1:15pm-1:30pm15-Minute Break
Edward Vasko
AI 2024: Project Management in the Coming “AIpocalypse”
Breakout Session #1

Michelle Choate
Managing Dynamic Tensions in the Workplace

Deanna Brown
Leadership Reimagined: The Future Is Here
2:20pm-2:35pm15-Minute Break

Dr. Michelle Bennett
Develop an Enhanced Constructive Conflict Quotient (CCQ) as a Project Manager or Leader
Breakout Session #2

Leanne Downs and Amy Coleman
Jumpstarting Your PMO

Whitney Brielle Martin
PB for PMs: Why Personal Branding Matters for Project Managers & What You Can Do to Start Implementing It
3:25pm-3:40pm15-Minute Break
Wendy Fox
Design Thinking Strategies to Uplevel Your Next Project
Breakout Session #3

LaDonna Speiser and Liz Beem
Taking It to the Next Level – Project Governance

LeAnn Naillon and Sakena Lesmeister
Resilience Building: Strengthening Project Managers Against Burnout
4:30pm-4:35pm5-Minute Break
4:35pm-5:00pmClosing Remarks, Drawings and More!
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The Speakers

Tonya Herb

View Promotional Video

Keynote Speaker
Founder/CEO/Life and Leadership Development Coach, Entrepreneur at Outspoken w/Tonya

Lead from Where You Are

Welcome to an experience that transcends the ordinary—an electrifying journey where leadership isn’t confined to titles but becomes a dynamic force from any vantage point. Dive into the heart of the “Lead from Where You Are” philosophy, being yourself, gaining insights, spreading kindness, and purposeful engagement—unleashes the keys to leadership excellence. This is a call to action! You won’t just be inspired; you’ll be armed to lead from your where you are, equipped to conquer new leadership horizons. Get ready for an experience that doesn’t just speak to you—it empowers you to become the leader the world needs right now.

Key Takeaways

  • Inspiration and Motivation: Leadership from a fresh perspective.
  • Authentic Leadership Awareness: Foster self-awareness so you can show up as the leader you’re meant to be.
  • Practical Leadership Skills: Navigate complex situations, make informed decisions and achieve better results.
  • Transformation and Empowerment: Embrace your unique strengths and lead with confidence and impact.

Meet Tonya Herb, your go-to coach for life, leadership, and mindset makeovers! Former corporate pro turned entrepreneur, speaker, paddleboard enthusiast, and all-around juggler of life’s adventures. Tonya’s the real deal, armed with stories and strategies to help leaders and individuals zip from Point A to Point B with clarity, focus, and fantastic results. Get ready for a journey that’s not just about getting there but getting there with style and purpose!

Tonya believes that becoming a better leader begins with how you show up every single day. Her approach to coaching is to get to the heart of what makes you tick…that special something you aspire to do. Start now, ride past self-doubt, and leave those limiting beliefs behind. You’re right where you belong; success is within reach.

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Dr. Michelle Bennett, PhD

Clinical Associate Professor, Boise State University

Develop an Enhanced Constructive Conflict Quotient (CCQ) as a Project Manager or Leader

Constructive Conflict Quotient (CCQ) is associated with creating and recreating effective organizational culture. Purposeful enhancement of CCQ encourages open-minded discussions, cooperation, heightened performance, and overall stakeholder satisfaction. This session provides applied learning activities and suggestions to enhance participants’ understanding of their personal conflict style, awareness of the possible conflict management approaches of others, the importance of intentionality in observing potential conflict and working with stakeholders to constructively resolve conflict.

Attendees will understand their personal conflict management approach in professional context i.e. they will understand approach to enhance CCQ.

Dr. Michelle Bennett serves as faculty in the Interdisciplinary Professional Studies and Bachelor of Applied Science programs as well as an organizational ombudsperson at Boise State University. Bennett has 16 years of experience as a communication faculty and six years as a department chair. Her academic and professional training and teaching experiences are in conflict management, interpersonal communication, listening, emotional intelligence, interviewing, and public speaking. Prior to higher education, Bennett spent 20 years in professional communication and leadership roles in a variety of industries. She also volunteers as an interviewing and public speaking coach to youth.

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LaDonna Speiser, PMP, PMI-ACP and Liz Beem, MBA

Senior Director, Internal Operations and Business Systems and Chief Financial Officer, Healthwise Inc.

Taking It to the Next Level – Project Governance

Hear about one organization’s journey toward establishing enterprise project governance over the last 3+years, including what it is, why it matters, key components, critical success factors and how the organization learned to love it.

Key Takeaways

  • Why project governance matters to you as a project manager, your project sponsor and your organization.
  • Key components of project governance
  • The factors that support good project governance

LaDonna works for an amazing boss (Liz Beem) at Healthwise and brings more than 20 years of experience in project and program management in both the public and private sectors. She’s had the privilege of leading the Healthwise PMO since 2018 after joining Healthwise in 2016. Prior to joining Healthwise, LaDonna was a Principal Consultant with CSG Government Solutions, where she managed projects in Illinois (Land of Lincoln), Texas (Keep Austin Weird), Missouri (the Show Me State), and Oregon (Keep Portland Weird). Before that, as Idaho’s Health Information Technology Coordinator, she supported Idaho’s hospitals and providers in adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records. Immediately prior to that as the Executive Director of the Idaho Health Data Exchange, she led the implementation of the statewide health information exchange to support improving the quality and coordination of health care in Idaho. LaDonna holds an M.S. in Human Resources Management from Western Governor’s University and an M.S. in Instructional and Performance Technology from Boise State University. LaDonna, a Montana native, lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner, Monty, and her dog, Bashful, a Rottweiler Beagle. She love reading, bicycling, and paddle boarding.

Elizabeth (Liz) Beem brings more than 20 years of experience in finance, accounting, and business management in organizations of all sizes. She is responsible for leading Healthwise’s finance, accounting, business technology and project management functions. Liz is committed to helping Healthwise meet its mission of helping people make better health decisions and continuing to provide services that will help Healthwise thrive in the future. Prior to joining Healthwise, Liz spent 17 years at Hewlett-Packard, where she held several leadership roles in finance, business planning and analytics, and business operations. Before Hewlett-Packard, she was the assistant controller for Smith Sport Optics and an accounting auditor for Arthur Andersen. Liz holds an M.B.A. from Boise State University and has a B.A. in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame. Liz, an Idaho native, is married, with an amazing 12-year-old daughter and enjoys the great outdoors and volunteering for community organizations.

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Wendy Fox

Senior User Experience Designer, Simplot

Design Thinking Strategies to Uplevel Your Next Project

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving and innovation, and its significance for project managers continues to grow. Design thinking is both a methodology and a transformative mindset for elevating your projects. It equips you with a set of tools to develop user-centric problem-solving approaches, nurtures creativity and innovation within cross-functional teams, fosters collaboration and shared understanding, ultimately steering your projects towards successful outcomes that align seamlessly with customer needs and organizational objectives.

Attendees will:

  • gain a deeper understanding of what Design Thinking is
  • learn two practical ways to move teams toward clearer understanding
  • receive resources and tools for additional learning

Wendy is a self-described creative instigator and collaborative do-er. With a passion for helping cross-functional teams find shared understanding that moves projects forward – design thinking is at the core of her work. Having worked professionally in the valley at MPC Computers, Cradlepoint, Metageek, Creative Soapbox, Boise State, Healthwise, Sensei and now Simplot, she has strong lived-experience bringing teams together across a range of backgrounds to achieve results. She currently is the board president of Alley Repertory Theater based in Garden City, and has been a community radio DJ for 12 years at Radio Boise/KRBX.

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Leanne Downs, PMP and Amy Coleman, PMP, PMI-ACP

Senior Project Managers, Healthwise Inc.

Jumpstarting Your PMO

An organization’s journey to establishing a consistent and repeatable project management practice, led by the project management office and how the organization, previously resistant to these efforts, learned to embrace and celebrate it.

Attendees will learn about a practical approach for helping attendees develop and implement powerful tools for their respective PMOs.

Born and raised in Idaho, Leanne has been back in the Boise area since 1996. Leanne was in Medical Imaging for 16 years, before realizing she didn’t want to spend the next 25 years walking on cement floors while wearing 10 pounds of lead. That prompted a pivot to get a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, which opened the doors to business consulting & middle management, where she discovered the formal field of project management before becoming a certified project management professional in 2017. Leanne joined the Healthwise PMO in 2018 and completed her Association of Change Management Professionals – Certified Change Management Professional in 2022. In her current role, she has collaborated with an extraordinary group of women to identify processes and tools that have been successful for her team and organization. Leanne and her presenting partner, Amy Coleman, were instrumental in drafting and testing the tools currently in use in their PMO. Leanne is an advocate of “start slow to go fast” and finds reward in helping people thrive through change. Outside the office, she and her husband Dennis are the “Brady Bunch minus 2” quickly made up with spouses and are grandparents to three. Leanne, Dennis, and their faithful fur baby, Kita, are often found in the kitchen cooking, exploring wines and mixology when they’re not planning their next elusive trip.

Born and raised in Indiana, Amy has lived in Boise for more than 30 years. Prior to becoming a certified project manager in 2009, Amy was already herding cats in adjacent roles and realized the common denominator to most challenges was a lack of shared understanding and a plan to accomplish large objectives through focusing on small incremental steps. Ten years into her project management career, Amy earned her Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification. Most recently she has spent nearly 10 years as a Senior Project Manager at Healthwise, Incorporated. Her project management style blends techniques to meet the challenges of solving complex problems. At the office she can often be seen with her 10 lb office mate, Morris. Outside the office with her 2 kids and husband enjoying Boise’s fabulous mountain biking and hiking trails.

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Edward Vasko, CISSP

Director, Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity, Boise State University

AI 2024: Project Management in the Coming “AIpocalypse”

Last year, under the guise of a blockchain / crypto presentation, we examined the impact of ChatGPT and AI through some audience subterfuge. Using ChatGPT to write last year’s entire presentation, and then reading / showing the results to the audience yielded some interesting conversations for sure.

This year’s presentation will look back over the past (now) 16 months since ChatGPT stormed into our popular awareness, offer up some perspectives for project managers to consider, and engage in a forward leaning effort to help present risks and factors to be aware of as we accelerate towards the coming “AIpocalypse”.

Key Questions:

  • What are key impacts & risks that project managers need to realize can occur with AI?
  • How should you respond to internal calls for “AI! AI! Everything AI!” within your organization?

Edward Vasko, CISSP, is the Director of Boise State University’s Institute of Pervasive Cybersecurity. He is a cybersecurity leader and entrepreneur with over 30-years of experience in the cybersecurity industry. Prior to joining Boise State University, Edward established and was a Senior Vice President at Avertium, a leading national managed security and consulting provider. Before establishing Avertium, he was the co-Founder and CEO of Terra Verde, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to being acquired by growth equity in 2018, Terra Verde was one of the nation’s largest providers of cybersecurity advisory and managed security services, with over 2,000 active clients around the world.

Edward’s other passion is tackling the challenge of cyber workforce development. He has served on over 20 education advisory boards providing expertise around cybersecurity industry needs. He was appointed by Governor Little to the Idaho Cybersecurity Task Force.

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LeAnn Naillon and Sakena Lesmeister, PMP

Coach and Founder/Owner, Telos Coaching and IT Project Manager, Simplot

Resilience Building: Strengthening Project Managers Against Burnout

In the fast-paced world of project management, burnout is an ever-present risk. Project managers must prioritize their own well-being to effectively lead and succeed in their projects. This course, “Resilience Building: Strengthening Project Managers Against Burnout,” equips project managers with the necessary tools and strategies to thrive in high-pressure environments while maintaining their mental and emotional well-being

Key Takeaways:  

  • Define and identify signs of burnout Learn Gallup’s 5 Elements of Wellbeing
  • Participate in a self-assessment Tools and strategies to build personal resiliency

LeAnn Naillon is the founder of Telos Coaching and Consulting. She is an experienced leadership coach specializing in individual coaching, workshop facilitation, culture development, resource optimization, change management, and nonprofits. She holds a degree in Organizational Behavior and Business Management from George Fox University and has been a certified Clifton Strengths Coach since 2016. As a former President of Leadership Boise and recipient of recognition as one of Montana’s Top 20 Young Business Professionals Under 40, LeAnn brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her coaching practice. Through her coaching work, she has served as a civilian diplomat for the United States since 2014 connecting global minded leaders with integrity and working in various countries including China, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, and Azerbaijan. LeAnn is actively involved in volunteering locally for The Wassmuth Center and through her Rotary club. She also serves on the National Council on Independent Living International Sub-Committee.

Sakena Lesmeister is a seasoned project manager with expertise in project management, strategy, change management, and training. Presently, Sakena is an IT Project Manager at the J.R Simplot Company, with previous employment at Western States Equipment, Ada County Highway District, and Verizon. Sakena’s educational background includes an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Boise State University. Her professional credentials encompass a PMP and Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.Outside of her professional pursuits, Sakena is passionate about community involvement, having served as the past president of Boise Centennial Rotary, DEI Chair for Rotary District 5400, and current Membership Chair for Rotary District 5400. Additionally, she was a substitute in the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions as an Idaho State Representative, a Go Lead Idaho past board director, and Leadership Boise Alumni class of 2021-2023.

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Deanna Brown

Senior Advisor, K2OHSolutions

Leadership Reimagined: The Future Is Here

Leadership is not what it’s always been. The world has shifted and how we behave as leaders throughout every level in an organization commands new tactics, mindsets and behaviors. We’ll take a dive into the changes upon us and how everyone can embody a holistic leader heart and mind.

Key Takeaways

  • Better awareness of the changes we face and how to better navigate them.
  • Understanding why a holistic approach is the answer to evolved leadership, stronger teams and better humans at work and in life.

Deanna is an independent Senior Advisor with the boutique consulting firm, K2OHSolutions. With a background in foundational business growth, leadership development, strategic directioning and team building, Deanna focuses these skills in organizations with the first dedicated handful of professionals to highly profitable organizations serving and supporting thousands of team members. From the groundwork of needs and ideas to the nitty-gritty of the processes to move everyone forward, Deanna and her team are creating strategies and solutions, unifying teams and implementing the vision that drives it all.

She is also the founder and host of the leadership podcast, Pink Grapefruit. When not in the studio or in front of clients, Deanna can always be found soaking in nature with her revered black lab, Fisher, by her side.

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Whitney Brielle Martin

Marketing & Brand Expert + CEO PLZ ADD SALT

PB for PMs: Why Personal Branding Matters for Project Managers & What You Can Do to Start Implementing It

Personal Branding for Project Managers is a holistic component of professional development that fosters positive relationships, enhanced credibility, and opportunities for both career growth and project success. In this breakout session, we’ll focus on the ‘big three’ of Personal Branding and how you can start implementing these tools in your professional trajectory as a Project Manager.

The 3 Pillars of Personal Branding:

  • Authenticity & Connection
  • Compelling Storytelling
  • Clear Differentiation and Visual Consistency

Whitney Brielle is a visionary brand and marketing expert, writer, speaker, and the founder of agency, PLZ ADD SALT. Her experience and range in brand work is vast; big outdoor hospitality clients, competitive fashion launches, hallmark NFL teams, and a wealth of start-ups. Her client work can be seen in Fortune, Forbes, Vogue, GQ, Girls’ Life, Brides, Condé Nast Traveller, +

With a foundation in business and project management, Whitney brings cohesion to creativity and knows how to push ideas to actualization. This skill was honed by her in-depth understanding of nimble growth and iteration through six years of in-house experience with one of Fortune’s number-one-ranked start-ups in the nation.

Whitney also understands creative production and creatives. Her career bridge to agency was steeped in the pop culture and arts industries, providing an unparalleled perspective in trends, identity, and market strategy. She has written, worked, and produced with Rolling Loud, Flog Nawg, Art Bassel, New York Fashion Week, and continues to be a respected creative industry contributor.

Talent, expertise, and excellence are all drivers for Whitney—but she sees her biggest strengths as understanding the value of radical candor and perpetual learning. She holds a degree in Business Management and Organizational Leadership from George Fox University, a Project Management (minor) from George Fox University, a certification in Digital Marketing from Yale, and a certification in Analytics from Google.

Personally, she enjoys…Travel, ideation, music, hiking, curry, karaoke, and puns. Her professional mission is to help individuals and brands find creative + strategic solutions that let them focus on what they do best and win the day.

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Michelle Choate

President, MLChoate, Inc.

Managing Dynamic Tensions in the Workplace

Managing projects often means managing competing priorities. As influencers — not owners — of work and workstreams, managing this complexity means approaching these tensions not as problems to solve — these become instead complementary states to manage. Actively approaching our work thorough this mindset improves relationships and outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify polarities in your work
  • Use two tools to manage polarities differently and maximize your influence

Michelle Choate is a keynote speaker, leadership coach, executive team coach, and organization development consultant with 25 years of real-world experience in organizational culture, individual, and leadership and development. Michelle helps people in complex, volatile work environments master self-leadership to effectively take back their power and exercise their influence. Emotional Intelligence practices are the foundation of Michelle’s approach, to increase self-compassion and self-awareness and impact. Be Real. Be Well.

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