Two days of personal development, relaxation and laughter planned for area women
Can you teach yourself to be happy? What are the keys to starting your own business? Are there foods that will lengthen your lifespan? I’ve never paid attention to football—can I learn about it now?
Those are some of the many topics tackled in this year’s Beyond Rubies women’s conference at Kirkwood Community College. For the 29th year, Kirkwood and a network of area experts will share ideas in a fun, fast-paced two day program, March 19-20. Four keynote speakers will set the tone of building better lives while enjoying the journey, while more than 100 workshops and breakout sessions will span the spectrum of subjects of interest to Iowa women.
The conference will be held in Iowa Hall on the main Kirkwood campus, with small-group and classroom sessions in adjoining halls. Keynote speaker presentations are set for Ballantyne Auditorium.
Keynote speakers for the 2009 Beyond Rubies program include:
• Julia Theisen, addressing “Seven Habits for Happiness.” Theisen is a graduate of King’s College, London, UK. She began her career in England in nursing and conducted many workshops for British health care professionals before moving to Dubuque, Iowa with her husband in 2002. Theisen now operates Body & Soul Wellness Center and Spa in Dubuque, a comprehensive wellness center. She says happiness has true physical benefits. “Happiness makes you healthier. It increases psychological resilience, lifts your mood, promotes optimism and increases longevity,” Theisen adds. Her presentation will kick off Beyond Rubies the morning of March 19.
• “Personal Leadership Skills—Not Magic, Just Practice” is the topic of Mary Kramer’s keynote presentation at 12:45 p.m. March 19. Kramer is a graduate of Iowa City High School and holds baccalaureate and graduate degrees from the University of Iowa. A former teacher and school administrator, Kramer worked in human resources for Younkers, Inc. and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield for more than two decades. Kramer served in the Iowa Senate for 13 years, representing Clive and West Des Moines. From 2003 to 2006 she and her husband served as U.S. ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean before retiring to Iowa and resuming active volunteer roles in their community. Kramer’s Beyond Rubies discussion will focus on the practical aspects of leadership, “skills that can be learned and do not require charisma or even authority. Anyone who is willing to adopt and practice these leadership skills will find they serve well in any setting.”
• The Friday, March 20 Beyond Rubies day begins with Jim Jelinske’s “You Can’t Be Serious!” presentation. For nearly a quarter century Jelinske has been a counselor with families of at-risk children and a sought-after speaker and trainer in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. He holds two degrees in social work and business management and runs his own business, Creative Education Services. He is a recognized authority on preventing school bullying and has conducted school assembly programs on the topic throughout the nation. Jelinske believes “the sense of humor is the most important human resource we have.”
• The 2009 Beyond Rubies keynote events wrap up on a musical note with acclaimed singer Lynne Rothrock. The singer/actress is a graduate of Luther College and Western Michigan University and has performed in music and theater productions and as a solo artist in venues throughout the U.S. An active arts educator, Rothrock has served on the voice faculty of Austin Peay University and Western Michigan, in addition to various teaching roles in Minneapolis, Seattle and Nashville. She now teaches music at Kirkwood in addition to many performances in eastern Iowa, notably three sold-out “Divapalooza” show for Theatre Cedar Rapids. She and her husband, Iowa Hall of Fame guitarist Ron DeWitte are also regular performers for Liars Theatre and SPT Theatre.
More than 100 workshops and educational sessions round out Kirkwood’s Beyond Rubies line-up. A key element of this year’s conference is emphasis on business skills and personal development. Some of the career-oriented topics include: “Developing Your Indispensable Personal Brand,” “Develop Your Career Calling Card,” and “What’s Romulan? Cross-Cultural Communication and Understanding.”
Other topics will include stress reduction, arts, money management, parenting/grandparenting skills, and spiritual exploration. Several sessions include hands-on demonstrations of exercise and relaxation techniques.
An added relaxing feature for conference attendees will be on-site massage therapy treatments. The 10-15 minute sessions will be offered by appointment from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both conference days, conducted in part by students of the Capri College Massage therapy program.
Registration for the 2009 Beyond Rubies conference is $95 for Thursday and Friday sessions, or $75 for either one-day registration. Prices include on-site lunch. “Early Bird” registration rates are $79 and $59 until February 13. Participants may register online, by mail or by phone: (319) 398-1022, or toll-free, (800) 332-8833. Complete information and registration is available at the Kirkwood Web site: