Ken Schmidt - Grand Assembly Keynote

One of the most in-demand speakers and communications consultants in America, Ken Schmidt has lived a life that most can only dream about. He has toured the world on two wheels, met with presidents and royalty, partied with movie and music legends, and appeared numerous times on network news. As the former director of communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, he played an active role in one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history – and got paid to ride motorcycles. He is widely known as one of the business world’s most outspoken and provocative thought leaders and has partnered with many of the world’s most successful brands. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he shares stories and insights on the road to building a fanatically vocal customer base, creating a passionately loyal corporate culture, and developing leaders who inspire and motivate.

Harley-Davidson. The longtime motorcycle enthusiast’s formal association with Harley-Davidson began in 1985. As a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, Schmidt was asked to work with the then-struggling Harley-Davidson to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, Harley-Davidson became one of the most visible and frequently reported-on companies in the world, while sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward. Schmidt became director of Harley-Davidson’s corporate and financial communications and served as its primary spokesperson to the media and the financial communities. He appeared numerous times on network news programs and was frequently called upon by business media to share his insights on non-traditional communications, customer attraction, and brand-building.

Life After Harley. Now, Schmidt is a frequent speaker to business groups and academic communities throughout the world. Few speakers generate more positive word-of-mouth and referrals. “I love to startle people by exposing them to proven ideas and concepts they’ve never imagined,” he said. Whether he’s talking about how to leverage basic needs to improve competitiveness, build an entirely new corporate culture, or reach out to new customers in completely untraditional ways, Schmidt never follows a predictable course. “Whether I’m talking about how perfectly average people can do extraordinary things or how to build an entirely new corporate culture, rekindle relationships with customers, or reach out to new ones in completely untraditional ways, I’m teaching people to throw conventional approaches out the window. I see opening hearts and minds as my life’s work.”

Today, Schmidt shares his expertise with many of America’s leading brands but happily states that he is “semi-retired,” which allows him to pursue his other passions. He calls working with the grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s founders to create 100 Years of Harley-Davidson, the best-selling motor sports book of all time, one of the greatest highs in his life. After all he has accomplished his philosophy of life and business hasn’t changed: “Never do what’s expected, make yourself as noticeably different as possible, and have a lot more fun than you’re supposed to.”

Meagan Johnson - Rise & Shine Keynote

Meagan is known as a "Generational Humorist" and has an outspoken, take-no-prisoners Gen X attitude and challenges her audiences to think differently and act decisively when dealing with multiple generations. Meagan graduated from Arizona State University Business School with a BS in Marketing. After working several years in a sales environment Meagan became discouraged to hear all the negative comments about Generation X. (Generation X is the 50 million people born between 1965 and 1980.) As a Gen Xer herself, she felt these comments were of course unfounded. She was further frustrated by the blinders her own managers seemed to have.

Meagan began to research everything from small to large corporations in order to find successful ways to work with the younger generation. From that ZAP THE GAP Solving the Multi-Generational Puzzle was born. Since 1997 Meagan Johnson has entertained and educated thousands of audience members. She has written a variety of articles about the multiple generations and has been interviewed for many publications and audio programs. She has been quoted in The Chicago Tribune, CNNMoney.com, US News & World Report and many other publications. She wrote the Generational chapter in the book Success is a Team Effort. Meagan and her Baby Boomer father, Larry Johnson are the authors of Generations, Inc - From Boomers to Linksters, Managing the Friction Between Generations at Work.

Nothing changes perceptions more than a passion for life, work and success. To complicate matters, each generation has a different perception of what motivates them. Meagan says, "Every generation gets a negative label when it enters the workforce. For example Baby Boomers were called trouble-making hippies when they first went to work. Once we take time to understand the motivations and mind-set of each generation, working with them, communicating with them and managing them becomes a more successful effort".

Gail Anderson

Gail Anderson received her undergraduate degree and law degree (cum laude) from the University of Illinois in 1985. Ms. Anderson represents developers, lenders, real estate brokers, title companies, and other businesses. She is a past chairperson of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar. Ms. Anderson has authored numerous articles in the Michigan Real Property Review and is a frequent lecturer on real property law matters for both the Real Property Law Section and the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.



Christopher Coté 

Christopher Coté is a software engineer with a passion for hardware. He is the Lead Lab Engineer for the National Association of Realtors®' R&D Lab, CRT Labs. Prior to joining NAR, Chris ran his own software development and consulting company. He was a lead engineer for the Obama 2012 campaign and has helped found and build several startups around the Chicago area.

Christopher has always found himself driven to create sustainable and efficient systems, whether thats for massive political campaigns, growing food or controlling and monitoring the built world. This experience has given him a unique insight into how technology and the built world coexist in society today and will continue to evolve into the future.

Thomas Cronkright 

Thomas W. Cronkright II is a founding member of Sun Title Agency and serves as its Chief Executive Officer.  He is a licensed title producer in multiple states. Tom is an attorney admitted to practice in the State of Michigan and holds a real estate broker’s license. His primary responsibilities include marketing, strategic planning, business development, and oversight of the company’s commercial property division.

Tom was previously an attorney in the business and corporate practice groups of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP and Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, P.L.C. In 2004, Tom formed Corporate Advisors PLC, a private law firm that specializes in legal and corporate strategy services for businesses and business owners. Tom received his B.A. degree in finance from Western Michigan University and his law degree from Wayne State University. 

 Tom is a member of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Michigan Land Title Association, National Association of Realtors®, Michigan Realtors®, American Bar Association, Michigan Bar Association, Grand Rapids Bar Association and the Downtown Development Authority and Brownfield Authority of the City of Rockford. 

Jim Gillespie

Jim Gillespie has over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate. He’s been a successful agent and manager, and he’s been President of three different commercial real estate companies, including the A.I.R. Commercial Real Estate Association, the predominant association for commercial real estate brokers in Southern California. In addition to his background in commercial real estate, he’s a Master Practitioner and Trainer in the fields of Hypnotherapy and Neurolinguistic Programming, and he holds a Ph.D. degree in the field of Clinical Hypnotherapy.

Jim has been published in, interviewed by, and/or written about in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Money Magazine, Realty Times, Broker Agent News, where he’s been recognized as being their Editorial Contributor of the Year, The California Real Estate Journal, First for Women Magazine, Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine, and the SIOR Professional Report. Since 1998 Jim has focused full-time on coaching and training commercial real estate agents, and the more than 400 articles he’s written within our industry have now been read by tens of thousands of commercial brokers.

Marki Lemons-Ryhal

With 25 years of marketing experience, Marki Lemons-Ryhal a fifth generation entrepreneur, third generation restaurateur and first generation infopreneur has established herself as an award winning social media speaker and course author. In a market where change is the only constant factor, Marki’s has used her dynamic, professional attitude and vast experience to become one of the top speakers in the country relying on content from one of the fifteen classes she has authored.

By consistently offering sound industry analysis and professional guidance, Marki’s expertise has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Agent Magazine, Forbes, Realtor® Magazine and has also been included on CBS News Chicago and CNBC. In 2010 Marki was named the Illinois Real Estate Educator of the Year. Marki began her career in education in 1993 and currently works as a speaker and coach, teaching social media and technology classes for the National Association of Realtors®, CHASE, Goldman Sachs 10k Small Businesses, REALOGY, and Chicago City Colleges. Marki resides in Bronzeville with her husband Stephen and their two sons Skyler and Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Chicago State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Saint Xavier University.

Greg McClelland

Greg McClelland acts as primary outside general counsel to the Michigan Realtors®, and as counsel for numerous local Realtor® Boards and Associations. He authors a regular article in the Michigan Realtors® and the Michigan Home Builders Association News and has acted as litigation counsel for associations, developers, general contractors, owners, and businesses in bankruptcy, state, and federal courts and has testified as an expert witness with respect to real estate and business practices and litigation. Mr. McClelland received his law degree magna cum laude from the University of Illinois in 1978 and served in the United States Marine Corp from 1969 to 1972.


Juanita McDowell

Juanita McDowell is a Motivational and Technology Speaker who delivers keynotes and programs to help individuals and organizations better communicate and improve efficiency using technology. Juanita's diverse background has uniquely prepared her to teach across many industries. As a speaker, she draws from her vast experiences as an Electrical Engineer, a Top Producing Loan Originator and a CEO. Today Juanita is the President of InMotion Consulting, a training firm in Atlanta, GA that delivers over 200 workshops each year to entrepreneurs and businesses in the US and Canada. Every year she is hired by Realtor® boards and associations across the country. In 2016 the Georgia Association of Realtors® named her their “Partner in Education” for the year. 

An avid writer and video blogger, her tech articles have been published in national magazines and her YouTube videos have received over a million views. She is a member of the National Speaker’s Association and a Technology partner for Habitat for Humanity. Juanita resides in Atlanta with her husband and three sons.

Maura Neill

Maura Neill is a second-generation Realtor® who combines her love for the industry with her passion for education. Before getting into the real estate business in 2001, Maura previously taught at The Florida State University and University of Phoenix. She is a solo agent with RE/MAX Around Atlanta, actively representing buyers and sellers on a day-to-day basis, and considers education – of both her clients and other real estate agents – an important part of her role as a Realtor®. Maura is a social media and technology devotee and an active real estate speaker and instructor on subjects such as real estate technology, building your business via social media, customer service and client retention. A lover of all things Atlanta, Maura lives in Johns Creek, Georgia, with her husband Ben, their Beagles Charlie, Maddie, and Jarvis, and a cat who wishes to remain anonymous.

Marcie Roggow

Licensed since l971, Marcie has worked in all facets of the real estate profession: broker-owner, developer, and educator. An active member of the Realtor® family, Marcie believes in giving back to the industry that gave her so much. Through NAR her concentration has been in the Political Affairs, License Law, Professional Standards and risk management committees. Today her training efforts concentrate on the same topics. Marcie’s quick wit and ability to convey difficult material in an understandable fashion is an asset to her audiences. Marcie has worked closely with Realtor® organizations and Real Estate Commissions alike to draft legislation that can be understood not only by the consumer, but also by the licensee. “Energetic, enthusiastic about her topic, precise in her delivery, captivating, and AWESOME” are some of the adjectives from student critiques to describe her presentations. Marcie’s commitment to real estate education is evidenced by her own designations.

But she doesn’t get the designations and move on. Marcie is an active official family member of the Council of Residential Specialist (CRS) and Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB). She is a Charter CRS (yes she’s very old); served in the capacity of President for 2 state CRS Chapters and was awarded the CRS of the Year from both of those Chapters. She was one of the first Regional VP for the CRS and has served on almost every committee for the CRS. Currently Marcie is the vice-chairman of the Professional Development Committee of the CRB. She has served on the Board of Directors of both of those organizations.

When NAR purchased the ABR designation, Marcie was already one of the national trainers and went on to train the trainers for REBAC and became a national trainer for REBAC. Marcie is a course writer who was responsible for many of the rewrites of the ABR and RLI coursework. Today she writes customized courses for her clients and has written elective courses for both the CRB and CRS. Her articles in the various real estate periodicals are not only fun, but also thought provoking, as are her webinars and blog posts.

Marcie defines her role as an “educator” as “being the person who can change the behavior of the student and can influence them to want to achieve the level of competency that is expected of a true real estate professional.” Raising the level of Professionalism is Marcie’s key objective for the participants and the providers.

Rosemarie Rossetti

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a powerful, internationally known speaker, author, consultant, and president of Rossetti Enterprises Inc. www.RosemarieSpeaks.com. She speaks to and consults with Realtors®, builders, remodelers, developers, architects, interior designers, occupational therapists, and consumers that want to create inspired and livable homes. Her presentations and consulting help people integrate universal design and green building features and products. Rossetti is the author of the Universal Design Toolkit.

Rossetti and her husband, Mark Leder, led the team that designed and built their home, the nationally-acclaimed Universal Design Living Laboratory, www.udll.com the demonstration home and garden in Columbus, Ohio. This is the top-rated universal design home in North America with three universal design certifications. The home earned a Silver LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. It received a Gold rating on the National Green Building Standard certification program from the National Association of Home Builders for the green building components.

Brian Westrin

Brian Westrin is Director of Public Policy & Legal Affairs for the Michigan Realtors®. He helps facilitate both the Public Policy Committee & Legal Action Committee. He regularly presents on legal and policy issues, often working directly with local associations on emerging concerns. Brian is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Michigan State University College of Law.





Sara Lipnitz - Moderator - Navigating the NAR

Pat Vredevoodgd Combs - Panelist - Navigating the NAR

Carol Griffith - Panelist - Navigating the NAR

Tracy Kasper - Panelist - Navigating the NAR

Kevin Sears - Panelist - Navigating the NAR

Brian Westrin - Moderator - Vacation Panel

Jay DeBruyn - Panelist - Vacation Panel

Tom Hemingway - Panelist - Vacation Panel

David Pierson - Panelist - Vacation Panel

Special Guests

Kevin Sears
2017 NAR Vice President

Tracy Kasper

2017 Realtor® Party Member Involvement Liaison

Steve LaRue
VC, RPAC Trustees Federal Disbursement Committee

Tom Berge, Jr.
NAR Director, Large Board (CA)

Bill Milliken

Brenda Lee Szlachta
WCR National Treasurer

Bob Fletcher
CEO, Ohio Association of Realtors®

Pete Kopf
President, Ohio Association of Realtors®

Tiffany Meyer
President-Elect, Ohio Association of Realtors®

Bill Martin
CEO, Florida Realtors®

Sherri Meadows
NAR Candidate, Florida Realtors®

Charlie Oppler
NAR Candidate, New Jersey Realtors®

Carol Griffith
NAR REALTOR® Party Disbursement Liaison



Lola Audu

Lola is a first generation American and a first generation Realtor®. Living, working, and visiting across three continents has provided a global perspective on life and business. In her 18+ years as a Realtor®, she has had the pleasure of providing professional guidance while facilitating hundreds of real estate transactions.

Lola is active with her local and state real estate boards. She has served as the President of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® in 2011 and President of the Women’s Council of Realtors®.