WOW Forum Speakers

2020 Speakers Coming Soon!

Check back in Spring 2020 for the announcement of our speakers.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and our highest appreciation for the following speakers who made our 2017 conference such an amazing and memorable event:

Master of Ceremonies:

Brooke Goff

Brooke A. Goff, who owns and operates the only female-run, single-owned personal injury law firm in Connecticut, is also a keynote speaker this year. Brooke has been taking over male-dominated fields since she became the first girl to play on the boys’ football team at Hudson Falls High School in New York. 

As a prominent personal injury attorney in Hartford, Attorney Goff has never shied away from a challenge, regardless of who the opponent may be. Notably, Attorney Goff pursued sexual abuse cases against the Boy Scouts of America, which were covered by TIME and CNN. Attorney Brooke Goff also earned Super Lawyers® Rising Starsâ„  recognition in 2017, marking 2018 as her second consecutive year.

Brooke is the founder of the Hartford County Professional Women’s Group and was named one of Connecticut Magazine’s 40 Under 40 last year. She has her own radio show called “Ask Attorney Brooke Goff” every Tuesday at 9 AM on 104.1 WMRQ, where she answers listeners questions with Amy and Holden.

Keynote Speakers:

Susan Wheeler

Susan Wheeler is a world-class overcomer.
At age 34, she suffered debilitating injuries in a freak accident. Six years later, defying the odds, she ran for the first time in her life. To date, she has run more than 40 marathons, half-marathons, and ultra-marathons.

Susan is a certified mindset coach, speaker, and author of The Lemonade Diet. A health and wellness expert, Susan leads a worldwide eight-figure sales organization and has recently become the company's newest millionaire. She is most passionate about inspiring people to slay their excuses and reach their full potential.

Her resounding message? It's never too late to become the person you were meant to be.

Susan has four children, seven grandchildren, and two Jack Russell Terriers. She lives with her husband Mat (aka Red Suspenders) on their organic farm in Goshen, CT.

Rita Schiano

Rita Schiano is the founder of Live A Flourishing Life™ which offers strategic resilience-building personal and professional development programs that strengthen work relationships through team building, stress management, effective communication, and critical and creative thinking skills. As a former corporate vice-president and small business owner, Rita's leadership knowledge, strategies, and insights draw from both sides of the aisle.

Rita is the author of several books, including Live A Flourishing Life, a stress management and resilience-building process workbook; the critically-acclaimed, semi-autobiographical novel Painting The Invisible Man, and Sweet Bitter Love, as well as numerous articles for The Huffington Post / AOL Healthy Living, the Worcester Business Journal, and guest blogger for Psychology Today.

Rita is an adjunct professor at The American Women’s College of Bay Path University. She is a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association.

Valerie Gordon

Valerie Gordon is a 10-time Emmy award-winning television producer with more than two decades in media creating and overseeing feature stories for ESPN, HBO Sports, CBS and NBC News and the Olympic Games. She knows what makes a story meaningful and memorable and how to use the power of story for impact and influence.

As founder of Commander-in-She, LLC, a communications and career strategy firm, Valerie helps high-achieving women take command of the storytelling skills necessary to grow their careers and ascend the leadership ladder.

She offers keynote presentations, group workshops, team-building and individual coaching on such topics as career advocacy, negotiation, personal branding, communicating with confidence and pivoting to a next chapter. Partnering with corporations such as Pfizer, the NFL, Citibank, and New England Sports Network, Valerie helps bridge the talent gap, encouraging executives to lead with authenticity and empowering women to not only take a seat at the table, but to impact the agenda.

Valerie also currently serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Business, teaching career development for undergraduates, and has guest lectured programs at Columbia University and the University of Hartford.

Valerie’s television work has been seen on “The Early Show” (2004-2008), “Weekend TODAY” (2002-2003), and HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (1998-2002), among other assignments. She was a member of the Olympic Profiles unit for both the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta (NBC, 1996) and the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan (CBS,1998). From 2008-2016, Valerie served as Coordinating Producer of ESPN’s acclaimed Feature Unit, supervising hundreds of features for studio shows, live events and special projects including SC Featured for SportsCenter and My Wish, ESPN’s collaboration with Make-a-Wish, granting sports-themed wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

In addition to her 10 Sports Emmy awards, Valerie is a 3-time Edward R. Murrow award recipient and 5-time NY Festival award-winner for both TV and radio. She was honored with the Touchstone award for serving as a catalyst for other women in the telecommunications industry at WICT New England’s Evening of Excellence in 2015.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Valerie is currently completing an MS in Organizational Leadership at Quinnipiac University. Her first book “Fire Your Narrator: A Storyteller’s Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Life” is out this fall. She lives in Connecticut with her family and blogs about career and life at

Linda Belt

Linda Belt is a New Jersey native (a comedy routine in itself). She moved to CT in 1987 where she became a suburban pillar of the community attending PTO meetings and baseball games. Linda became very tired holding up that pillar and instead holds her own as a professional stand up comic. Her humor touches on the absurdities of modern life and explores marriage, sex, parenting and social mores, in other words: any subject she feels like discussing!

Linda has performed throughout the US and Canada and has been featured in a number of comedy festivals, including the Hogtown Comedy Festival (Toronto) the Detroit Comedy Festival, the Long Island Comedy Festival, The Women in Comedy Festival (Boston), Laugh Your Asheville Off, Asheville, NC and the Boston Comedy Festival. Her many venues have included: The Comedy Stop at the Tropicana (Atlantic City) Mohegan Sun with Tree House Comedy, Turning Stone Casino, Broadway Comedy Club (NYC) & The Laugh Factory (NYC) as part of the "Broads of Broadway" show, The Comedy Cove ( New Jersey), Yuk Yuks International: Toronto & Halifax, Brew Ha Ha Comedy Club at City Steam (Hartford), Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle (Detroit), Magooby's (Baltimore), Snickerz Comedy Club (Ft. Wayne, IN) Bonkerz Comedy Club (Various Locations), Comedy Zone (Various Locations), Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. As a full-time working comic, she can be found at various local & national venues, fundraisers, private and corporate events.

Linda was profiled in the Hartford Courant, The Chicago Tribune and The New Jersey Star Ledger. She has appeared on affiliates of NBC and ABC as well as PBS.

Afternoon Breakout Session Speakers:

Valerie Gordon

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Kelly McCarthy

Kelly McCarthy is an expert in understanding energetic frequencies and how they impact the world whether consciously or unconsciously. As a former restaurant owner and mother of two she was caught in the frantic energy of always trying to stay one step ahead struggling to juggle both personal and professional life with the need to slow down.

After a hospital stay the clinical world would call a breakdown, Kelly saw it as a breakthrough, learning from a variety of modalities the power of harnessing Universal Energy. As a spiritual leader in the holistic community, she was called to create her business, Beyond Words N Wisdom, sharing her knowledge through speaking, teaching, classes and energy sessions. With clarity and compassion, her clients learn to identify and use their energetic footprint to leave legacies that matter. Klarity is who she is. Beyond Words and Wisdom is what she does.

Cindy Donaldson

Cindy Donaldson is an action-oriented executive leader and entrepreneur with decades of experience helping companies and individuals reach their fullest potential.

At ease on stage, in a boardroom, and at a soup kitchen, Cindy wants you to embrace the goal of living your authentic self, at work and at play.

Tapping into her 30 years of experience in business operations, sales, and marketing, Cindy provides strategic insights that fuel professional growth and personal empowerment. She enables companies of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500, to reach transformative breakthroughs. Her vertical specialties include insurance, banking, and health care.

The founder and CEO of Red Barn Consulting, a professional services firm launched in 2014, Cindy has also grown a successful marketing network through the Isagenix brand, a wellbeing collective with a mission of evangelizing self-care through healthy living.

Rock solid in a crisis, with a constant bias toward action, Cindy is a dynamic public speaker whose active approach engages the audience — no boring PowerPoints, no cookie cutter scripts, no droning monologues.

With broad experience serving a variety of non-profits, Cindy currently focuses on giving back through the McCallum Foundation, a non-profit startup that takes an innovative approach to combating food and home insecurity by repurposing underutilized, functionally obsolete commercial and institutional spaces and converting them to vibrant communities.

Eternally optimistic, she inspires her clients to reframe challenges as opportunities through an expansive, structured creative process that leads to genuine personal insight.

On the personal side Cindy is a plant-based foodie, writer, runner, painter and adventurer who lives full time traveling in her 25 ft RV “Tillie” with her partner Dave.

Dawn Romaniello

Dawn Romaniello is the owner and operator of In Light of Dawn, located in the heart of Harwinton, CT. Dawn is a Certified Life Coach, Licensed Esthetician, Reiki Master, Reflexologist and Spiritual Growth Leader. As a holistic therapist, she helps clients navigate through difficulty with positive and spiritual teachings that promote healing with love and encouragement. Her wellness center offers an array of service supports to carry you through life's challenges such as; hopelessness, grief, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, fear and more. Experience the transformation while finding your treasure in your trial!

Susan Wheeler

See Above