Due to the national public health emergency surrounding COVID-19, Inspire will not take place in 2020. KABA looks forward to bringing you a high-caliber leadership experience for you and your teams in 2021.


Thanks to all who attended Inspire 2019! It was a great day filled with inspiration and connection. We hope you enjoyed your experience and feel energized to take action on all that you learned.  See photos from the event on the KABA facebook page: KABAConnectHere


Inspire is a premier one-day leadership development experience located centrally in the Chicago- Milwaukee corridor, featuring high-caliber national and regional speakers, career advancing connections & unique experiences designed to elevate your personal and professional leadership journey. Attendees walk away energized to lead their companies and their community.
Below is a look at Inspire 2019…





Charles Duhigg is the bestselling author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, which explores the science of habit formation in our lives, companies and societies. His newest book Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business (2016) is a fascinating exploration of the science of productivity, and why, in today’s world, managing how you think—rather than what you think—can transform your life. 

Duhigg’s presentations are both descriptive and prescriptive, and speak to a wide range of groups from the fields of science, medicine, business and education.

Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine. A former writer for The New York Times business section as well, he has authored or contributed to multiple series, including “The Reckoning” (2008), which studied the causes and outcomes of the financial crisis, and “The iEconomy”, which examined the global economy through the lens of Apple, and which won the 2013 Pulitzer prize in explanatory journalism.

In addition to his reporting, Duhigg is a regular contributor to television and radio, including the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Frontline, Dr. Oz and various programs on CNBC and NPR. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Yale College. Read more about Charles at


Sam Walker is The Wall Street Journal’s leadership columnist and the author of The Captain Class, which was named one of the best business books of 2017 by CNBC, Amazon, The New York Times, Strategy + Business, and Sports Illustrated.

Walker joined The Journal in 1998 as a sportswriter and sports columnist. In 2009, he became the founding editor of the paper’s prizewinning daily sports coverage. He later served as the Journal’s deputy page-one editor.

In addition to writing his column, Walker is a frequent keynote speaker, sharing his insights on teambuilding and corporate coaching for companies, military units, and professional, collegiate and Olympic sports teams, including the NFL’s Chicago Bears. Read more about Sam at


Jess is the founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, a company she started as a junior in college in 2012. For every headband sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer. The company has been featured on the TODAY Show, Vanity Fair, Seventeen, Good Morning America and more. But more importantly, they’ve donated over 350,000 headbands to every children’s hospital in the United States and 15 countries. Jess is also a professional speaker and the founder of Mic Drop Workshop, an online course with the mission of empowering more women to share their message as a speaker. Jess focuses on increasing workplace engagement and employee empowerment through meaningful work and establishing a healthy relationship with failure. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and standard poodle, Ollie.


You might associate The Second City brand with launching the careers of famous comedians, but did you know that for more than two decades, The Second City has also taught thousands of corporate clients how to apply tools of improvisation to common business challenges? Don’t miss your chance to get in on the dialogue with The Second City Works – designed custom for Inspire 2019. Three top-tier facilitators will deliver this interactive keynote and crash course in using improv as a tool to become a more compelling leader through collaboration, innovation and agility.  Read more about Second City Works here.


After spending three years in prison and overcoming reentry to the workforce himself, Sharmain Harris now works to support as many men as he can to overcome barriers to success in Southeastern Wisconsin. He now shares his story of transformation, redemption and change to inspire other men coming out of prison to help them transition from correction to career.

In his professional role, he serves organizations and businesses in developing effective strategies to engage, equip, and employ men that come from adverse backgrounds and have barriers to success. Sharmain received the “Positive Impact Award” by the NAACP, and was given the “Excellence in Community Action award” by former Governor Scott Walker for his efforts.  Read more about Sharmain here.

Aleta Norris is an expert leadership coach and trainer with more than 25 years of experience developing leaders. She is also a highly sought-after speaker for annual meetings, keynote engagements, panel discussions and networking groups.

In 1996, along with Nancy Lewis, Aleta co-founded Impact Consulting Group LLC, a broad-services organizational development consulting firm. In 2002, Aleta and Nancy co-founded the Living As A Leader® division, focusing on the effectiveness of leaders at all levels of an organization. Living As A Leader serves dozens of organizations in the Midwest and throughout the country.


Tri My Best encourages physical fitness and fun activity for all ability levels. It is a ‘swim/bike/run’ event for children (5 & up) and young adults with developmental disabilities including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, global delays, etc. Discover how children with ALL abilities are given opportunities to realize their full potential through this inspiring triathlon.



Betsy Ade & the Well-Known Strangers have been entertaining Midwest audiences with their cello infused, alternative pop/rock sound since October 2015. Members Joe Adamek (acoustic guitar), Betsy Ade (lead vocals, guitar), Brittany Lumley (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Cameron Fair (cello), and John Kulas (bass guitar) have released several EP’s (Found, 2015 and Path Away, 2018) and a full length album (Aligned, 2016).  Betsy Ade was a contestant on NBC’s The Voice in spring 2019, where she competed on several teams and had an incredible experience learning from some of the best in the music business, including John Legend, Kelly Clarkson & Adam Levine.

Thank you to our Inspire 2019 sponsors!



Interested in sponsorship?  Contact Brooke Infusino at 262.925.3464.

KABA is excited to bring Inspire to Kenosha, WI, for the seventh year! What began as an event with approximately 75 people in a small lecture hall at Carthage College has evolved into a highly produced leadership experience with more than 550 energized professionals engaging with our speakers at each other in the auditorium at Journey Church. The goal of Inspire was to empower attendees to make real connections, learn new and motivating content, and hear uplifting stories the local community – and ultimately help develop better leaders and community members.

And did you know? Proceeds from Inspire directly benefit the KABA Education Foundation! The Foundation, formed in 1996, to develop educational initiatives in collaboration with local Kenosha schools. The Foundation aims to increase graduation and educational attainment rates, improve the overall quality of education and foster the best school system in the state. Some of the initiatives of the Foundation include an elementary school mentoring program, annual scholarship awards for local students attending local schools, and support for various other educational initiatives such as Building our Future and the Gateway Promise Program. Read more about the foundation here.

Previous speakers include:
  • Victoria Arlen, US Gold Medalist, ESPN on-air personality and Jockey spokesmodel
  • Greg McKeown, inernational best-selling author
  • Moran Cerf, Neuroscientist, Northwestern university
  • Jon Gordon, leadership expert and best-selling author
  • Rick LaBerge, Chief Operations Officer, Haribo North America
  • Hannah Brencher, Author, TED Speaker & Social Activist
  • Christine Specht, CEO, Cousins Subs
  • Kurt Penn, CEO, Good Foods Group
  • Chris VanEtten, U.S. Marine vet, double amputee and Jockey spokesmodel
  • Ben Brenton, Chief Innovation Officer, Snap-on Inc.
  • Richard Sheridan, author of Joy, Inc.
  • Jeff Shinaberger, author of More or Less

1. Gain access to world-class speakers.

Learn from some of the most sought-after leadership and inspirational speakers on the market today, including best-selling authors Charles Duhigg and Sam Walker, along with entrepreneur Jess Ekstrom, and top tier talent from The Second City! And, you’ll hear other local stories that will remind you why talent in our community is second to none. As an added bonus, leadership expert Aleta Norris will navigate you through the day – helping you to take action on the things you learn at Inspire long after the conference ends.

2. It’s a great value, right in your own backyard.

This is your chance to attend a full-day leadership conference, with plenty of entertainment and event swag — at a fraction of the cost of similar conferences. Plus – you won’t need to spend the extra cash on hotels or airfare!! Register by September 13 to access the early bird rate. Nonprofit, educator, and student discounts are also available.

3. Engage your workforce in a meaningful way.

When you commit to building your capacity and your team’s capacity to lead, you’ll start to see real ROI. A stronger, more inspired & engaged workforce will ultimately work harder to fulfill the mission of the organization they work for – and the community in which they live.

4. Make connections with leaders & influencers.

Inspire has grown into KABA’s largest annual event, attracting close to 600 people in the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor. In addition to stellar leadership content, you’ll build relationships with a broad network of talented entrepreneurs, subject-matter experts, young professionals, experienced industry leaders, educators, and others.

5. Ignite your passion & purpose.

Inspire is the perfect chance to take pause from the daily grind to focus on yourself, your team, and the steps you can take to elevate your personal and professional life. Plus, it’s a fun day.

On Leadership

The Inspire On Leadership quarterly columns are designed to share thoughts on leadership from local business and community leaders and features a regular column from leadership expert Aleta Norris of Living as a Leader.

Spring 2020

Leaders! Shift from DOING to LEADING
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Positivity x Progress x People
By Andrew Gavin, Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside

Fall 2019

Small nuggets, big difference
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

It takes a village to have a successful career
By Jamie Hogan, President of Specialized Accounting Services LLC

Summer 2019

Tips for First Time Managers
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

True LEADERS must be SERVANTS first!
By Tamarra Coleman, Executive Director of the Shalom Center of Interfaith Network of Kenosha County, Inc.

Spring 2019

Time for extreme self care
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Work hard. Treat people the right way. Be accountable. Lead by example.
Jake McGhee is the Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha

Fall 2018

Responsibility Requires Confidence
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

The ROI that Beats the Stock Market 
By Lynn Debilzen, Manager, Birth to 8, Building our Future

Summer 2018

Leadership is Everywhere
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Something Entirely my Own
Kimberly Warner, Owner, Authentique Gifts in Downtown Kenosha

Spring 2018

This is what it’s come to?
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

One step to increased employee retention
By Jonathan Reynolds, CEO at Titus Talent & Certified Partner at The Predictive Index

Summer 2017

Leading Change
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

A passion for lifelong learning
By Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis, Superintendent of the Kenosha Unified School District

Spring 2017

Understand Yourself and Others
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Fall 2016

Accidental Leadership
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

The ROI of community involvement
By Jayne Herring, Director of Marketing & Communications, Gateway Technical College

Summer 2016

Set Employees Up For Success
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Leaders: Bring your passion
By Annette Stitch, Quality Assurance Manager, Fair Oaks Farms & President, YLink

Spring 2016

Ask Them How They’re Doing
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Learning vs. Mistakes
By Jean Moran, recently retired CEO of LMI Packaging Solutions & Executive Director at Building Our Future

Winter 2016

Missed Opportunities of Leaders
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

The Importance of Having a Vision
By Michael Pollocoff, recently retired Village Administrator, Village of Pleasant Prairie

Fall 2015

Leadership and Positive Feedback
By Aleta Norris, Principal, Living as a Leader

Learning from Leaders in our Community
By Todd Battle, President, Kenosha Area Business Alliance

Recommended Resources

Below is a list of books, videos and other resources that will take you further along on your leadership journey and expose you to innovative community concepts taking place throughout the country.  Some of these inspirational leaders have spoken at a past Inspire events.