2024 Conference on Servant Leadership
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Conference Agenda

Wednesday, June 26 (preconference gathering)

5:00 p.m.            Gathering, Friendship, Conversations (including heavy hors d'oeuvres)

5:45 p.m.            Why I Love La Crosse  Neal Zygarlicke, CEO of La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce

6:00 p.m.            Celebrating Third Places  Rick Kyte, endowed professor, D.B. Reinhart Institute of Ethics in Leadership

6:30 p.m.            Break

6:45 p.m.            Project Pitch: “Third Places in Our Community”  Moguls: Jerry Jendusa, Rick Kyte, Nicole Van Ert

7:30 p.m.            Closing

Thursday, June 27

7:30 a.m.             Registration and continental breakfast

8:15 a.m.             Welcome and opening reflection   Viterbo University Distinguished Professor of Servant Leadership Tom Thibodeau

                                John McHugh, Kwik Trip  The Why of Servant Leadership

8:30 a.m.             Servant Leadership: Changing the WorldOne Leader at a Time   Jerry Jendusa, founder of BreakthrU Companies

9:15 a.m.             Q&A with Jerry and Nathan Jendusa

9:30 a.m.             Break

10:00 a.m.           Servant Leadership: The Power of Human Connection and Building a Brighter Future 
Walé Elegbede

10:45 a.m.           Fireside Chat: Walé Elegbede and RISE Participants (Reflect, Inspire, Strengthen, and Empower)
11:00 a.m.           Break

11:15 a.m.           The Challenges of Servant Leadership  Gwen Schroeder, Living Sent  & Pracademic Tom (practical exercises to take with you)

12:00 p.m.          Lunch   

1:15 p.m.             Servant Leadership and Well-Being  Bridget Berkland, Mayo Clinic

2:00 p.m.             Servant Leadership: Teaching with Courage (panel)

                                Sophia Woychik, Milwaukee Public Schools

                                Janice Gerlach, Veteran Guidance Counselor, Love and Logic

                                Dave Nelson, Westby Public Schools

3:00 p.m.            Break

3:20 p.m.             Servant Leadership: A Journey  Rick Trietley, president of Viterbo University

4:00 p.m.             Social gathering

Friday, June 28

7:30 a.m.             Gathering and continental breakfast

8:15 a.m.             Opening reflection  Ryan Crain, executive director of Ho-Chunk Nation Educational Programming

8:45 a.m.             Servant Leadership: Evidence-Based Research  Robert Liden

9:45 a.m.             Break

10:15 a.m.          Servant Leadership: Leading Change (panel)

                                  Libby Weber, The Weber Group

                                Clara Gelatt, National Decorated Products

                                Sarah Iverson, lay leader, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Madison)

11:15 a.m.           Servant Leadership: In Praise of Farmers  Shelly Mayer and Cassandra Strupp, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin

12:15 p.m.           Lunch

1:30 p.m.              Rachel Thompson Memorial Lecture: The Journey Never Ends  Madeline Gwinn and Radhika Dua

2:15 p.m.             Servant Leadership: A Vision of Peace  Fr. John La Suba, founder of Seeds of Wisdom

3:00 p.m.             Closing —  Tom Thibodeau and Rick Kyte


Speaker Bios

Clara Gelatt 

Clara graduated with a degree in International Affairs and French from CU Boulder and went on to earn a master’s degree in International Economic Development from American University. She began her career in economic development as a business manager for USAID-funded projects in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. She worked on project start-up and management for international aid projects focused on community-based economic development. Following the birth of her first child, she and her husband relocated from Washington DC to Denver, Colorado where Clara started her first business. In 2019 she returned to La Crosse Wisconsin to take on the role of her family’s business manager and bring her community development experience to her hometown. She oversees several of her family's investments including but not limited to the Rivoli Theater and their newest project the Rivoli Arts Building. In addition to her role with the Rivoli, she serves on the board of Trust Point Inc., TPI Holdings, and the family-owned business National Decorated Products. Her volunteer involvement in the community includes board positions at the YMCA and the La Crosse Community Foundation. She is also a proud parent of three kids ages 10-15.  

Libby Weber, '10

Libby is the CEO of The Weber Group and leads a holding and management company with 450 employees based in La Crosse, WI. The Weber Group promotes healthy living across multiple industries, including healthcare, hospitality, and real estate development. In addition to this role, she serves as the President of Idea Fund of La Crosse, a regional venture capital firm investing in early-stage companies.

Nathan Jendusa

Nathan is an ambitious, team-oriented sports business professional holding a bachelor's in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a master's in Business and Sports Administration from Ohio University. Over six years, he has honed skills in project coordination within small businesses and gained valuable sports experiences in marketing, management, strategy, and fundraising at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, the University of Wisconsin Madison, the University of Texas at Austin, and Ohio University. He currently co-leads Business Development at BLU. He utilizes translatable skills from sports to business ventures to help companies grow. Nathan has a passion for sports and helping others achieve their dreams.

Walé Elegbede

Walé is the Director of Strategy Management Services (SMS) at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where he oversees Portfolio Management and the Project Management Office in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) and leads efforts in the build-out and strategic execution of novel diagnostics testing and disruptive technologies. Walé is also President of the Rochester Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he is focused on ensuring social justice, equity, inclusion, diversity, and civil rights are achieved by advancing the strategic focus areas of Health Equity, Education, Economic Stability, Public Safety, Voting Rights, and Youth Engagement. 

Walé Elegbede also helped co-found the Mayo Clinic and NAACP RISE for Youth Program, serves on the advisory board of Mayo Clinic’s Children Press, and is board member of Fostering African-American Improvement in Total Health (FAITH). An interfaith leader, Elegbede is a member of the Rochester Muslim Community and founding member of the La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network (LISSN), a group established to empower people of all faiths or no faith to end anti-Muslim sentiment, Islamophobia, prejudice, and intolerance towards any group. He is happily married and the proud father of three children.
Shelly Mayer and Cassandra (Mayer) Strupp

Shelly has been married to husband Dwight for 36 years, who is not just her partner but also her best friend. Together, they farm near Slinger, Wisconsin, owning and operating Dwight's homefarm, which has been in the family for eight generations. Shelly and Dwight are proud grandparents to five grandchildren – Gabriel, Ada, Madilyn, Daxton, and Deagan.  Shelly and Dwight are alumni of UW Madison, graduating in the mid-1980s with bachelor's degrees. She began her career as an associate editor at Hoard’s Dairyman magazine before transitioning to a non-profit organization serving fellow dairy farmers. Shelly is currently in her 32nd year with Professional Dairy Producers®, where she serves on the board of directors and works as the group's executive director.

Shelly has three grown and accomplished children. Devin is married to Kayla and is the proud father of Daxton and Deagan. Cassandra is a dairy farmer and Program Manager at Professional Dairy Producers and married the neighbor boy, Alex Strupp.  Dylan, is a UW La Crosse graduate with a double major in biology and chemistry.  He works for Kwik Trip in La Crosse and will marry his love, Havala Snyder, in September.  In her free time, Shelly enjoys gardening, working outdoors, and everything related to cows and farming. Her family is her greatest joy, and she feels incredibly blessed to have five healthy and perfect grandchildren.  “God has blessed my life beyond measure.”

Cassandra (Mayer) Strupp is a seventh-generation dairy farmer and our daughter. She currently serves as the Program Manager at Professional Dairy Producers, directing over 200 days of educational programming annually. Cassandra is married to Alex Strupp, who farms with his father near Slinger and also works full-time as the manager of the village of Slinger Public Works Department. The couple has three beautiful children  Gabriel, 4, Ada, 3, and Madilyn, 6 months.
In addition to her work at Professional Dairy Producers, Cassandra manages the calves and heifers at Mayer Farm, overseeing the care of newborns to 6-month-old calves. She is also an accomplished seamstress, learning to sew in 4-H and honing her skills with her grandma Mayer. Cassandra still tailors dresses and other garments on occasion for friends and family. Additionally, she is an avid gardener.

Dave Nelson 

Dave has been an English educator for 29 years. Throughout his tenure in education,  Dave has developed and instructed a Holocaust literature unit in his College Preparatory,  AP Language and Composition, and Advanced World Literature courses,  providing students with valuable learning opportunities about the atrocities of the Holocaust through various forms of literature. He is a Teacher Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, a member of the Midwest Holocaust Education Consortium, and has presented numerous lessons and content at Viterbo University’s Annual Teaching the Holocaust Workshop. In his 25 years of teaching, supervising, and mentoring at Westby Area High School, he has also coached numerous sports, served on various committees, and continues to search for fresh and innovative methods in which to instruct all of his students. Dave’s wife Dawn is the elementary principal in the Cashton Area School District, and their son Noah is a student at Viterbo University majoring in Sports Management and minoring in English Writing. The Nelson’s have resided in Westby since 2002.

Bridget Berkland 

Bridget is an Assistant Professor of Healthcare Administration and manager of Employee Well-Being at Mayo Clinic. Bridget enjoys helping professionals invest in their well-being to achieve their optimal potential to serve and lead. Since joining Mayo Clinic in 2007, she develops and leads initiatives that provide evidence-based methods to reduce stress and enhance resilience and well-being. In addition, as a wellness coach certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners, Bridget helps professionals explore ways to improve their well-being and attain their goals.

Sarah Iverson 

Sarah is the Director and Spiritual Development at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Madison WI.
After graduating from Luther College in 2001 she taught in the Viroqua School District and begin part-time youth work at Immanuel Lutheran Church.  These opportunities conspired to awaken her interest in the ways we teach and spiritually develop our young people as well as how we create vital communities around. In 2006 she took the job as Director of Youth Ministries at Good Shepherd, a large Lutheran church with campuses in both Madison and Verona.  After developing programs and growing community for middle school and high school students for a decade, she received her Master’s in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University.  Around that time, the congregation decided there was a need for more intentional and fruitful spiritual growth within and among adults, so they created the position of Director of Spiritual Development for Iverson. In this position she began to experiment with opportunities and programs for adults using principles of servant leadership infused with the gospel.

Jerry Jendusa 

Jerry is very passionate about developing and growing people and businesses through the use of processes. He believes in activating the growth of others to accelerate what they do to impact their teams, businesses, and the World. After his successful exit from his basement start-up of 18 years (“the EMTEQ story”) in 2014, he has gone on to help support and develop other businesses. He is inspired by leadership and entrepreneurism and shares his journey over his 30+ year career to help others.  At BLU, Jerry has oversight of the BREAKTHRU Initiatives and is a jack-of-all-trades kind of person who gladly invests in, advises, and offers speaking engagements and key client support. He is passionate about business strategy, executive advisory services, growth planning and has a strong desire to scale leadership teams through BLU HABITS™, BLU MINDSET™, BLU TEAMS, and the BLU GROWTHPATH™ Operating System.

Jerry has been an advocate for entrepreneurship in the state of Wisconsin through his involvement with being:
a Mogul of Project Pitch It (Milwaukee’s version of Shark Tank) the co-chair for the Greater Milwaukee Committee
an ambassador for University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (his alma mater).

Robert Liden

Robert “Bob” Liden  (Ph.D., University of Cincinnati) is a Professor of Management at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), where he is also the coordinator for OB/HR Doctoral Programs. He has served as a visiting professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Université Toulouse 1, France, the Université Paris-Dauphine, France, and the University of Melbourne, Australia.  He is known for his research on servant leadership and the related topic, leader-member exchange, which involves the quality of relationships between leaders and followers. His 2008 article in the Leadership Quarterly (Liden, Wayne, Zhao, & Henderson), which introduced what has become the most frequently used servant leadership measure, was awarded the 2018 Leadership Quarterly Decennial Article Influence Award for the most influential paper published in Leadership Quarterly during 2008. He has over 100 publications, which have been cited over 75,000 times according to Google Scholar.

Dr. Jeff Thompson 

Dr. Thompson is the former CEO of Gundersen Health System, pediatrician, and author of Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People, Inspire Your Community. Gundersen was nationally recognized for higher quality, lower costs and dropping its greenhouse gases by 95%. Dr. Thompson spoke at the Paris climate talks and was honored by the Whitehouse as a champion for change. He has served as the board chair of Healthcare Without Harm. Dr. Thompson’s focus it to teach, mentor, and build our next generation of leaders.

Ryan John Crain, Sr.

Ryan John Crain, Sr., is an energetic, positive-energy-sharing leader who serves as the Executive Director of Education for the Ho-Chunk Nation. Ryan empowers his employees to find or create new resources that benefit students and to make decisions that are in the best interest of Ho-Chunk scholars. Ryan holds a B.S. in Business Management and recently graduated with a master's in Servant Leadership. He and his wife, Cassidee Crain, celebrated six years of marriage on June 22, 2024, and are the proud parents of two boys, Ryan John Crain II "RJ" (4 years old) and Cameron Anthony Allen Crain (2 years old). Ryan serves on numerous boards that provide educational and economic value to communities in the Driftless Region and beyond. Ryan enjoys family adventures to children's museums, zoos, waterparks, and hiking trails. He also plays in rec league sports and coaches youth sports.

Gwen Schroeder

Gwen is a part-time CPA, a full-time wife and empty nester mom, and a constant seeker of God's plan for her life.

Fr. John Lasuba

Father John Lasuba was born in Pukuka village in Yei River County, of South Sudan. From a young age, he felt drawn to the priesthood. Right after six grades, John joined St. Mary’s minor Seminary in Torit. It was during his time in the Seminary that he discovered his true calling to serve others as a priest. In 1987 Fr. John graduated with a diploma in philosophy from St. Paul National Major Seminary in Sudan.

In 1992 he graduated with Bachelor of Sacred Theology, Pontifical Urbanian University- Rome. Then in 1993 was ordained priest of the Archdiocese of Juba. Later in 1994 was appointed pastor St. Theresa Cathedral Kator - Juba. In 1997 Fr. John was forced to flee Juba due to the force Islamic program in Sudan where he left to serve the archdiocese of Juba in the liberated area of South Sudan. In 2004 Fr. John came to the USA and in 2005 joined the Co-cathedral church of St. John the Evangelist as parochial vicar. It was in 2009 that Fr. John joined Viterbo Servant Leadership program and a year later founded Seeds of Wisdom in South Sudan a Nonprofit organization as a case study.

Upon graduation from Viterbo in 2012, he continues working on Seeds of Wisdom to solicit funds and in 2016 completed a K- 8 grade school building and open St. John the Evangelist school in Pukuka- Yei. Hardly six months of opening the school, the war that started in 2013 reached Yei areas and the entire population of Yei of about 150,000 deserted the area and took refuge in Uganda. Today Seeds of Wisdom in South Sudan is educating 336 Students in the Refugee Camps and 70 in boarding schools.

Fr. John Lasuba received Viterbo University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016 and since 2017 has served as Pastor of the cluster churches of Christ the King- Byron, Holy Family- Kasson & St. John Baptist de le Salle - Dodge Center.