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Aileeah Colgan, Country Recording Artist
Country recording artist Aileeah Colgan opened LIVE at the OSF Women’s Lifestyle Show.
Aileeah Colgan is a country recording artist from Peoria, Illinois. She is an entertainer and a storyteller with a lot to say. Her relatable and insightful music is a reflection of the person within – sassy, authentic, honest, sweet, and confident. Her lyrics reveal the beauty as well as the hard times of growing up in the south as the youngest of seven children.
Aileeah’s music is a celebration of the challenges found in life and love. Her influences include Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Johnny Cash, and Miranda Lambert. She released her self-titled EP album at the Apollo Theatre in Peoria, Illinois in 2015. She is in the process of recording a new country album due to release early 2017.
Jennifer Hopwood, Vice President Patient Care, Chief Nursing Officer
Jennifer Hopwood is responsible for planning, directing and evaluating the operations of the patient services division and ensuring the provision of proficient nursing care services.
Jennifer began her career in nursing as a registered nurse in the Intermediate Medical Surgical Care and Surgical Intensive Care Units at OSF Saint Francis. She has also served as a patient care manager, director and executive director in various departments at OSF. As executive director of Tele Health Services, she helped to develop the program’s strategy and recommended future TeleHealth services to be offered at OSF HealthCare.
Jennifer has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing Systems Administration. She is a recipient of the Peoria area 40 Leaders Under Forty Award, Central Illinois 25 Women in Leadership, a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, American College of Healthcare Executives, American Organization of Nurse Executives (ANCC), and Board Certified Nurse Executive, ANCC.
Karel Murray, CSP
Motivational Humorist, Communication/Leadership Strategist and Author Karel Murray’s extensive business experience in community leadership and her professional speaking background, combine for an incredible attendee experience. Karel opens and closes conferences nationally and internationally with a memorable energy and impactful insight about personal accountability and success. She is a Certified Speaking Professional, Past President of a national association and the author of three books. Attendees soon discover that they are learning how to be innovative and more open minded when it comes to problem solving, communication and leadership – laughing all the way.
Jennifer L. Hicks, APN, ACNS-BC
Jennifer Hicks graduated from nursing school in 1998. She started working as a nurse on the cardiac step down unit, but quickly transferred to cardiac intensive care unit where she worked as a charge and bedside nurse for 10 years.
In 2006, she went on to receive her Bachelors of Science and Nursing from the University of Phoenix. She then received her Masters of Science and Nursing degree in 2009 from the OSF College of Nursing.
Early in 2010, she became board-certified as an adult health clinical nurse specialist and began work as an advanced practice nurse for OSF urology. Jennifer currently has a thriving practice of women’s urology and pelvic pain patients. Outside of work, Jennifer has three children aged 15, 12 and 6 who keep her very busy.
Dr. Sarah Zallek, Medical Director of INI Sleep Center
Dr. Sarah Zallek, a Peoria native, spends her days working hard to help patients sleep better at night. As medical director of INI Sleep Center (part of the Illinois Neurological Institute at OSF HealthCare), Dr. Zallek has developed a program to provide state-of-the-art care to sleep patients. Her experience in research and mentoring has advanced her field and given her unique insights that she enjoys sharing with the women in her community.
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent
Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat is the Superintendent for Peoria District 150 schools. She earned both her bachelor and master’s degrees from Bradley University and later her doctorate from Illinois State University.
Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat has worn many educational hats: as middle school teacher to the Tri County Urban League; principal of Whittier Primary School; assistant principal of Roosevelt Magnet School; and principal of Manual Academy. She later went on to serve as the Transformation Officer for Springfield Public Schools, and then as the Danville Associate Superintendent before assuming her current role as Superintendent of Peoria Public Schools.
Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat has earned many awards for her intense efforts to move students forward. She was the leader in the state of Illinois out of 22 schools to show double digit gains in reading and math to help attain “Safe Harbor” status under the No Child Left Behind Act for Manual Academy. Also an experienced grant writer, she has obtained millions of dollars in school improvement funds for the districts she has served. Dr. Desmoulin-Kherat earned the U.S. Department of Education’s Exemplary Leadership Award and many other accolades.
Sister M. Mikela Meidl, FSGM, Executive Vice President of OSF Healthcare
Sister M. Mikela Meidl entered the community of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George (FSGM) in 1986, where she served on the Community’s Provincial Council for more than 10 years. The “M” in her name represents her taken name of Mary. In her own words, “The ‘M’ is a significant part of our name…we all take the name Mary, recognizing she is our perfect model for our consecrated life as the chosen disciple and mother of Jesus.”
In 1993, Sr. M. Mikela received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and later went on to receive her MBA with Healthcare Management from Regis University in 2009.
Before coming to Ministry Services Administration, Sr. M. Mikela held the position of CEO & President of Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton, Illinois.
Laurie Weaver, LMT, NCBTMB
Laurie Weaver has been parenting for almost 30 years. Much of Laurie’s career as a wife, mother, aunt, and grandmother has been done in the public eye. Her husband’s career in politics, and family’s visible commitment to community and philanthropy may have lead others to compromise their faith and values, but not Laurie.
Laurie’s steadfast commitment to her faith and family has allowed her to build priceless relationships with her busy husband (Sen. Chuck Weaver), their three self-sufficient adult children, one grandson, precious mother and father, and numerous nieces, nephew, sisters, brothers, in-laws, and “family of friends.” That sounds like a full time job but Laurie still finds time to practice oncology massage at the Hult Center in Peoria; teach culinary classes at the Knoxville Center for Students Success; manage commercial properties she and her husband own; garden, walk and cook for friends; and “date” her husband.
Laurie and Senator Weaver consider parenting to be the most important job they will ever do. Don’t miss Laurie Weavers quick tips for successful family relationships.
Barbara Toohill, PSY.D.
Dr. Barbara Toohill is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Illinois, holding a doctorate in psychology from Wheaton College. She is also part-owner of the Antioch Group, Inc., providing counseling and mental health services in Peoria.
Dr. Toohill has experience providing clinical services in a variety of settings, from schools and private practice to inpatient hospital settings, and currently focuses on individual counseling with adults and psychological assessment. She has a special interest in counseling women and couples related to infertility and natural family planning, and advanced training in psychopharmacology and the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
In her free time, Dr. Toohill volunteers at the South Side Mission and serves on the Board of the Peoria Women’s Care Center. She has been named a Top Doctor in Illinois by HealthTap and is a 2015 recipient of Peoria Magazine’s 40 Leaders Under 40 award.
Hrachya Nersesyan, MD, PhD
Dr. Hrachya Nersesyan specializes in caring for patients with headaches, craniofacial pain syndromes and non-surgical neck pain. He received his medical degree from Yerevan State Medical University (Armenia) and his PhD from Burdenko Neurosurgery Institute in Moscow, where he also completed his Neurosurgery residency training.
Dr. Nersesyan completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Yale University and a functional neurosurgery fellowship at UIC in Chicago, followed by residency in Neurology at UICOMP. He has been directing OSF’s Headache Program since 2010. He is board-certified in neurology and headache medicine.
Ashley L. Simper, MS, RD, LDN
Ashley has worked as the adult community and outpatient dietitian at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois since 2007. Her professional career consists of presenting the most credible, evidenced based nutrition information to the community through presentations, health fairs and media work. She represents OSF several times a month on the local news, where she cooks healthy recipes and sets the record straight on popular nutrition topics. In 2010, she received the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year award and her experience with the media has allowed Ashley to represent the Central Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a media spokesperson since 2013. In addition to her community work, Ashley works one on one with adult outpatients helping them make changes in their diet to better improve their health. Her specialties include weight loss, heart health, celiac disease and other GI conditions. She believes in the union of a sound nutritional plan and exercise as the core of a healthy lifestyle.
Joy Erlichman Miller, PhD, LCPC, MAC, CADC
Joy Erlichman Miller, PhD, is an internationally known licensed psychotherapist, professional trainer, and author. Dr. Miller is the founder and director of Joy Miller & Associates in Peoria, Illinois. She is an Illinois state licensed clinical professional counselor as well as a certified master addictions counselor. Additionally Dr. Miller has been a part-time instructor at Bradley University and was a faculty member at Walden University in the doctoral psychology program.
Dr. Miller is the author of seven published books, which include: Following the Yellow Brick Road: The Adult Child’s Personal Journey Through Oz; My Holding You Up Is Holding Me Back: Over-Responsibility and Shame; Celebrations for Your Inner Child; Addictive Relationships: Reclaiming Your Boundaries; and Love Carried Me Home: Women Surviving Auschwitz, which is an in-depth look at the struggle of 16 resilient women during the Holocaust. All proceeds from the work are donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her latest publications include Cancer: Here’s How YOU Can Help ME Cope and Survive and I Still See Her Haunting Eyes, the story of a hidden child during the Holocaust. Both of these books were published through BF Press, of which Dr. Miller is co-owner.
Amy Dotson, Peoria Police Officer
Officer Amy Dotson is a 10-year veteran of the Peoria Police Department and currently serves as their Public Information Officer. Prior to that, Officer Dotson was assigned to the Patrol Division where she served as a Field Training Officer.
Officer Dotson is responsible for responding to media inquiries, distributing press releases, coordinating press conferences, and serves as the department liaison between the police department and members of the news media.
In April of 2016, she was one of 38 invitees to sit on the rank and file forum of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing in Washing, D.C. A 2004 graduate of Illinois State University, Officer Dotson is a lifelong resident of Central Illinois and resides in the area with her family.
Jackie Bowers, Director of Senior World
The majority of Jackie Bower’s career has been spent caring for persons with dementia, as well as providing education for families and professional caregivers on assisting someone with dementia.
Jackie received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation Administration from Eastern Illinois University, then embarked upon a career in the senior healthcare field. She has held a variety of positions including recreation therapist, nursing home administrator and program director for the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Jackie is currently the manager for OSF Senior Worlds Adult Day Service Programs.
Jackie co-developed and implemented training manuals and guidelines for long term care facilities for the Illinois Department of Public Health and Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapters Consortium. She presented “Dementia Care Training” at numerous venues, including the Illinois Department on Aging’s Governor’s Conferences and Supervisor’s Conferences, Central Illinois on Aging Caregiver Conference, Central Illinois Multiple Sclerosis Society Annual Caregiver Conference and Illinois Health Care Association Annual Conference. As the IDOA/IADSA Educational Grant Chairperson, she facilitated the educational and training programs and presentations outlined within the grant, including the collaborative development and presentation of the Management Certificate Training for adult day services Directors and Manager. She serves on the Executive Board Member for IADSA, Advisory Committee Member for Molina Health Care, Senior Care Network, Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging and Caring Connection member.
Jim Scherer, President of Scherer Mazda of Peoria
As president of Scherer Mazda of Peoria, Jim knows a thing or two about cars. He also knows that women are in the driver’s seat of many household decisions, including the selection and care of that indispensable asset: the family vehicle. Jim’s educational talk informed and empowered us to make the best automotive decisions for our families.
Vickie Streitmatter, Empowered Financial Living
Vickie Streitmatter, founder of Empowered Financial Living, knows how it feels to have a large amount of debt and the stress that comes with that burden. 10 years ago, Vickie and her husband found themselves spending more than they were making, and they wanted out of the debt and out of the mess they were in.
So, they developed a plan, lived on a budget, sacrificed, paid off all of their debt and have continued to live debt-free, for almost eight years. Now, she uses the knowledge gained on that journey to guide others to pay attention, live on a budget, pay off debt and enjoy the freedom living with a plan and being debt-free provides.
Rayan Elkattah, MD
Dr. Rayan Elkattah is an OBGYN with subspecialty training in laparoscopic treatment of complex gynecologic problems. He’s also an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.
A graduate of the American University of Beirut, Dr. Elkattah completed his OBGYN residency in Tennessee. He also completed a 2-year fellowship in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga College of Medicine. He’s dedicated to enhancing women’s health by offering minimally invasive gynecologic surgical expertise and medical research advancement.