Around Kirkwood

Beyond Rubies Conference Set for March 18-19

By March 6, 2008January 21st, 2019No Comments

Two-day program is 28th annual gathering for personal growth and professional improvement

This March, many hundreds of women will converge on Kirkwood Community College to share stories, learn new skills and get a fresh outlook on life. The 28th annual Beyond Rubies Conference is set for Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19 in Cedar Rapids.

“Creating Possibilities” is the theme of this year’s conference. As in past years, the two days of programs will feature keynote speakers from a variety of backgrounds. The conference days also include more than 100 workshops and seminars on topics ranging from careers, diversity, leadership, health, financial and parenting tips to spiritual growth and stronger personal relationships.

Kirkwood Conference Coordinator, Janet Slimak said the selection of subjects and presenters “is especially strong and compelling” this March.

“Every year I am impressed and gratified at the enthusiasm and wisdom that comes together for this program,” Slimak added. “We have about 110 sessions scheduled over the two days, plus our terrific keynote speakers. There are more workshops than ever and we have a larger emphasis on professional and career development in the seminars. We have women coming to Kirkwood from all over Iowa and even out of the state to take part. It’s a great thing to see in action!”
The keynote speakers for this year’s Beyond Rubies conference include:

• University of Iowa President Dr. Sally Mason. Her opening keynote talk, “From Ruby Slippers to Heaven” will track her journey from childhood in Kansas through leadership posts including Purdue University before becoming the newest president in Iowa City. She will talk about what she has learned on her life journey, and interests from minority leadership development through entrepreneurship and nanotechnology.

• Brenda Clark Hamilton will serve up her “Your Best Self—Freshly Brewed!” in another keynote presentation. She is the founder of Fresh Coffee Professional Growth Programs and is a sought-after presenter at workshops and conferences nationwide. She is an author and educator in western Iowa and a veteran of hundreds of presentations. She will encourage the Beyond Rubies audience to “listen to the inner voice of truth and follow that voice to your fullest potential” in career, relationships and personal aspirations.

• Iowa State Representative Helen Miller will share her keynote presentation at 8:45 AM on Wednesday, March 19th. Miller has over 25 years of leadership experience in various capacities including volunteer mediator, legislative bill drafter, librarian, attorney and board member of various organizations. She is currently in her third term in the Iowa Statehouse representing District 49 in the Fort Dodge area. She is assistant majority leader during this session and also serves on the Agriculture and Economic Growth committees, among others. Miller is especially known for her promotion of economic development through the arts, bringing the “Artful Dodger” to the Statehouse rotunda since 2003. Miller holds degrees from Howard University and Georgetown University of Washington, DC, plus Our Lady of the Lake University in Texas. Her “What Did You Say?” presentation will explore that “constant messages we get from people around us” and how to discover the meanings within these messages.

• The final Beyond Rubies presentation will take an educational and entertaining turn as Tom Milligan presents “Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel.” In this one-man show, Milligan will chat with the audience in the character of Grant Wood, from across a backyard fence or in the artist’s studio at Five Turner Alley in years-ago Cedar Rapids. Milligan is an award-winning actor with 35 years of experience across the Midwest. His credits include ten years in the cast of Charlie’s Showplace, the first dinner theater in Iowa. He has also appeared on Iowa Public Television and is a current cast member of the Old Creamery Theater in Amana, Iowa.

To request a brochure for Beyond Rubies, please call 319-398-5529. Registrations may be made for either one-day session or both days. Each day’s registration includes lunch.

More information on the 2008 Beyond Rubies women’s conference is available from the Kirkwood Continuing Education office, (319) 398-5529, or on the Kirkwood Web site: