Fall Unconference Information - Women Veterans Alliance

Fall Unconference Information

Fall 2017 October 13 – 15



Tentative 3-day agenda - Subject to change

Friday, October 13th

10-9pm Registration/Info Desk Open Majestic Foyer


Exhibit Hall Majestic C&D
Breakout Session- Alpha Pebble Beach
Breakout Session- Bravo Hazelton
WVA Member Lounge Ferrero
7-9pm Mardi Gras Mix & Mingle Pavilion Tent

Saturday, October 14th

7-7pm Registration/Info Desk Majestic Foyer
7am Morning Walk Golf Shop
7-9am Continental Breakfast Majestic
9-11:30am Opening Session Majestic
11:30-1:00pm Lunch Majestic C&D
11:30-5pm Exhibit Hall Majestic C&D
1-5pm Breakout Session- Alpha Pebble Beach
Breakout Session- Bravo Hazelton
One on Ones:
Career, Financial, Business, VA Education Benefits
Pavilion Tent
Massage & Acupuncture Congressional
Clothing Boutique, Hair, MakeUp, and Nail Bar The Hot Spot
Equine Therapy
Golf Lessons
Industry Hills Expo Center
WVA Member Lounge Ferrero
7:00-11pm PJ Party and Private Special Movie Screening of "Blood Stripe" Majestic

Sunday, October 15th

8:00am Morning Walk Golf Shop
9:00am Worship Service Valencia
10:00-11:30am Brunch & Closing Speaker Colonial
12:00 Wine Tasting The Hot Spot
Painting Class - Mai Tais and Monet Facilitated by Founder Tammy Bruce The Hot Spot
Scavenger Hunt Meet in Lobby
12:00-2:00 California Women Veteran Leadership Council Meeting Spyglass

All Weekend:  Kids Retreat: Dunes  | Meditation Room: Valencia

Updates can be found on Facebook event page. Make sure to “Join” the event.”

MakeOvers That Matter

Nominations are open! She Deserves it! 3 lucky women veterans will receive a makeover from Makeovers That Matter during the Fall Women Veterans Alliance Unconference. To include: Cut, Style, make-up, and clothing. Nominee must be registered for the Unconference to be considered. Due by September 25th.

Speakers & Session Breakouts - Friday

Speakers and session breakouts subject to change without notice. First come first serve on session breakouts.

Rebecca T. Olejar

Topic: Calm & Cool Down Hot Buttons For Your Success!
Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: Embrace your power to choose healthy constructive behaviors when intense emotions get triggered. This 45 minute workshop will give you the basics for how to recognize what triggers your hottest hot button and how to calm and cool it down with a new positive approach. Learn how to get what you want in life with the power to choose.


Rebecca T. Olejar is an experienced Organization Development consultant with over 30 years working in the manufacturing, health care, and aerospace industries. She was an internal consultant for many years with Eastman Kodak Company, General Motors, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  Her areas of expertise include leadership and team development, work systems redesign, organizational change, and culture change.   As a coach,  she is passionate about helping people to step into their own power.

Rebecca holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a M. A. in Organizational Management & Development from the  Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.   In addition she is a graduate of the Professional Coach Certification Program at Duquesne University and holds the Professional Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation.

Kelly Orchard
Speaker, Author, Coach

Topic: 5 Simple Steps to Grow and Succeed in Business, Relationships … Life
Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45
Location: Pebble Beach

Description: You want to be successful. You want your dreams to come true! But are you working too hard? Do you feel like you continually stumble, lose your confidence, and fail to measure up because you’re trying to do too much? You’re asking questions like: “What am I doing wrong?” “How do I achieve happiness, success, fruitfulness?” There is more than a grain of truth to the age-old axiom, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” because the fruit is absolutely loaded with nutrients. For your life to be fruitful, it’s every bit as important to nourish your heart and souls as your body. How do you go about that? It’s as Simple as an Apple A Day. In this presentation Kelly shares five simple steps you must take to be cool, confident, healthy and successful.


Kelly Orchard, a Riveting Speaker and Author: Kelly has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. In addition to her psychotherapy and coaching practice, she has more than 30 years in the business of broadcasting. She knows how to cultivate and pursue a passion and purpose in life.

Kelly’s passion stems from a heart crisis that derailed her life and career, and her book Heart Lessons is part of her signature message. Her purpose is to promote perpetual personal and professional growth, from planting seeds to a fruitful harvest. Her surprisingly unique perspective to common problems produces results for her audiences and clients by helping them cultivate positive thinking, plant seeds of development, branch out, find fresh solutions, and grow through the seasons of life.

Gail Soffer
Founder, Mindful Warrior Project

Topic: Mindfulness Workshop for Women Veterans
Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: Neither new-age/spiritual/religious nor therapy versions, the mindfulness that the Mindful Warrior Project teaches is simple, pure, secular, basic, and absolutely respectful and supportive of the military experience.

No agility, prior experience, great focus, ability to relax upon command, or special clothing is required, and no one will be sitting cross-legged on the floor without back support. No chanting, no gongs, no incense, no meditation – just practicing how to pay attention in various ways and learning some empowering tools for keeping our wits about us, making wise choices vs defaulting to knee-jerk reactions, and cultivating our own inner resources.

There will be some presentation time but no Death by PowerPoint. This workshop is experiential so we’ll guide the group through a few different ways of practicing mindfulness and debrief the practices so everyone is clear on how to do them on their own at home


Gail Soffer is the Founder and Executive Director of the Mindful Warrior Project (MWP), a non-profit organization that guides veterans in an orientation to and simple, secular practices of mindfulness, to cultivate their inner strengths, support their own wellbeing, and participate in their own healing process, to Be Free, Be Well, and Be Whole in their daily lives.

Ms. Soffer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley/Santa Cruz and draws on her vast experience working with populations facing challenges as well as her personal decades-long practice of inner peace and wellness modalities to bring customized mindfulness tools and support systems to military-connected individuals and those who care about them.

Tina Kreitz

Topic: The Last Gift Box
Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: The workshop based on The Last Gift Box, A Present To Those Who Follow Me is designed for you to begin your journey preparing your gift.  Included is how to organize your papers, make clear your wishes for your death and the plans you want your family to follow after you die and how to talk to your family. Once done, you are free to live this life fully and with zest.


Tina  Kreitz earned her bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of San Francisco.  Following graduation she worked and traveled in Europe.

When she returned she started her life-long career working with at-risk youth, first with foster children in San Leandro, California. This led to co-founding and co-directing one of California’s first teen-parenting programs at Island High Continuation School in Alameda, California.

This award winning and progressive program included an on-site childcare center and helped teenage mothers and fathers learn parenting skills while staying on track to graduate from high school.


Kalen Arreola, Army Veteran
President & Founder, Kalen Marie Consulting

Topic: Getting the Most out of Social Media for Business
Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45
Location: Pebble Beach

Description: Kalen will teach industry secrets that most agencies never tell you about and that social media platforms do not advertise. There are so many hidden gems and little known strategies on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram-- you will be amazed at what you can do yourself for free or VERY LITTLE investment. You will be able to bring her tips home and execute on them immediately so you can grow your business.


Kalen was a Captain in the Army Reserve and a Public Affairs Officer from 2003 to 2013, serving in units across the United States. She served in Operation Iraqi Freedom V supporting the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and the 3rd Infantry Division. She has worked with embedded reporters from major news agencies, including NBC, Fox, NPR, CBN, ABC and CBS. She was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in 2008 for her work in Iraq and was a 2010 MacArthur Leadership Award nominee. Her leadership during OIF V also resulted in Army Commendation Medals for her entire print journalist team, after their weekly publication earned first place in the Keith L. Ware Journalism Awards for the Best Field Publication in the United States Army 2007.

Her previous civilian occupation was on the Corporate Communications team for PETCO where she assisted in the creation of PETCOs social media platforms. Kalen is active in the military nonprofit sector, serving on boards for Honoring Our Fallen, Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation, the Yellow Ribbon Registry Network, and the Women Veterans of Colorado. She is also a member of VFW Post 1, the Reserve Officers Association, Military Officers Association and the Association of the United States Army.

She studied Advertising and Design at the Art Institutes and holds a B.A. degree in Communications with concentrations in Print and Web Journalism. Completed Master’s Degree program in Business Administration.

Danielle Marshall, Air Force Veteran
Founder,  Styled to Profession

Topic: Importance of a professional presentation
Session Time: 4:00 - 4:45
Location: Pebble Beach

Description: “My passion is to assist others in understanding the importance of presenting themselves as professionals to the world.” Working with fellow Veterans to help them develop a personal, professional style while embracing their own individuality is very important. “I understand the struggle from Military Uniforms to the corporate world and want to help to remove that obstacle.”


Danielle Marshall, MBA is the founder of Styled to Profession, a wife and Mother of 2. She has a long standing record of teaching and training in various professions. For the past 12 years Danielle has worked in the fashion and retail industries, several of those creating and delivering industry training.  Danielle has fashioned a new career to continue to live her passion.

Karen Aguayo Bates, CPA, Navy Veteran
Speaker, Trainer, and Entrepreneur

Topic: The Five Factors of Your BulletProof Mindset!
Session Time: 4:00 - 4:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: From mommy wars to the glass ceiling, today’s highly demanding, overly competitive, and commodity driven environment puts more pressure on women in business and life than ever before!

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to discover the FIVE FACTORS that make you YOUnique and arm you with your personalized, bulletproof mindset!

YOU are YOUnique in your…

  • Nature - Learn why you think, act, and feel the way you do
  • Ingenuity - Understand how strengths contribute to your success (and your failures)
  • Qualifications – Aim your skills at any future endeavor
  • Understanding – Embrace your fixation on that quirky thing no one else gets
  • Experiences – Transform your hurts and hangups into your triumphs!


Karen Aguayo Bates: In 2004, Karen combined her military background with her financial expertise and founded Military Home Loans.  Her passion is to ensure Veterans never miss the opportunity to experience their American dream.

Karen is an independent coach, trainer and speaker on the John Maxwell Team and was featured on Yahoo Finance for earning and retaining $1 million as a female entrepreneur.

Speakers & Session Breakouts - Saturday

Speakers and session breakouts subject to change without notice. First come first serve on session breakouts.

Latonia Dixon, Army Veteran

Topic: Discover the Goddess Within
Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: Join Latonia Hummingbird on a sacred journey of Female Alchemy. Enjoy a guided meditation to embody the dynamic female creative energy and sacred geometry with flow and ease. We will also know and exemplify the power of our female chalice, name it , and stand in a column of wisdom, appreciation, and ease. You will also release overwhelm and know the radiant sun that you are and then sit in an affirmation circle of love.


Latonia 'Hummingbird' Dixon, R.N. M.A. M.F.A. Is a Woman Veteran, who spent 6 years active duty in the Army in the medical field. She is a graduate of Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Women Spirituality at California Institute of Integral Studies and a graduate of one of the mystery schools Mastering Alchemy. She has taught Women in History, Religion, and Health in The Humanities Department at Napa Valley College and has facilitated Goddess Workshops at CSU Chico and at her business, as well as Reiki, meditation, chakra clearing, astrology, poetry, and sacred geometry workshops. Hummingbird's classes are filled with joy, fun, and empowerment. Her mantra is: Think from the heart, live through the soul and enjoy the adventure.

Carla Thornton, MA, MSW, Air Force Veteran

Topic: Warriors Moms: Americas Single Parent Women Veterans
Session Time: 1:00 - 1:45
Location: Pebble Beach

Description: Carla will share characteristics that comprise today’s single parent women veteran. What the major challenges they will face during their transition between military service and civilian life. How we can plan in helping them succeed.


Carla currently serves as the Veteran’s Coordinator/Counselor at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, CA.  In this position, Carla works directly with veterans as they transition from the military to the academic environment. Prior to her current position, Carla served as the Associate Director of Development at the University of California, Riverside, where she focused on increasing philanthropic donations for the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

She retired from the United States Air Force. During her military service she served as sexual assault victim advocate and deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While on active duty she received her BA degree in Social Science from the University of Maryland University College and after joining the reserves earned a Masters in Management from the University of Redlands and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Carla is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California and intends to focus her research on veteran’s issues.

Active in her community: Appointed by Governor Brown in 2016 to serve on the California Department of Veterans Affairs Board. Board of Director for the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center and is the Vice-Chair Commissioner on the City of Moreno Valley’s Traffic Commission. She serves on the Athletics Board at  the University of California, Riverside and is proud to serve her alma mater, University of Southern California as a Council member for the Center for Innovation and Research for Veterans and Military Families.

Carla loves spending time playing golf with her 8 year old daughter, travelling and reading.


Dajon Ferrell, Army National Guard Veteran
Empowerment Coach - Military Veteran & MST Advocate

Topic: Anxiety Be Gone - Choosing Peace
Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: This life can feel so fragile. One minute you’re running errands and just going with the flow, then next thing you know, you’ve been flipped upside into paranoia, depression or anxiety. Human beings are more stressed and exhausted than we ever have been. It’s time for a change!  

Peace is within and can never be found outside of yourself. You are here for a purpose and this class will help guide you back to your infinite potential. Through exercises and discussion, you’ll learn how to create power from those old stories and pain points that are blocking your peace. You’ll leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go back out in the world being the change you wish to see!


Dajon Ferrell is a veteran who served for 13 years. After experiencing struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to military sexual trauma, she worked toward healing and found a path of choosing meditation over medication. Seeing a need for holistic healing modalities in the Veteran community, Dajon created Warrior Lighthouse, a non-profit that hosts retreats for female veterans to help restore and empower them using alternative healing modalities.

Dajon also serves as an resiliency and empowerment coach, helping people to turn their pain into power, so that they can create a healthy and purposeful life.

Dajon has taught for the Department of Veteran Affairs, while also speaking at conferences for entrepreneurs and veterans. Her voice has also been featured on the Huffington Post, along with being a published author in the ‘Invisible Thread’. Dajon also serves as the Community Manager for Bunker Labs Minneapolis, an incubator for veterans starting their own business and companies.

Her mission is to help veterans rise up in their communities, workplaces and families, so they can fully share their gifts and skills, making this country a better place!


Sheryl Shaffer, Army Veteran
Founder - Vets Helping Vets TV

Topic: Fireside Chat: Women Veterans in Film and Television
Session Time: 2:00 - 2:45
Location: Pebble Beach

Moderator: Sheryl 


Sheryl is a Vietnam era Army veteran and award winner who created and hosts “The Veterans Helping Veterans” (VHVtv) television series.  With 25 years of service helping veterans with job services, she retired from the California State Employment Development. She has been actively producing TV Shows and video content centered around veterans.


Jennifer Marshall
Jennifer Marshall
Navy Veteran
Lugdy Cueva
Army Veteran
Actress, Stunt Woman
Marina Viscún
Navy Veteran
Producer & CEO, Pingvin Productions
Suit Headshot 4_0
Levystein Lockett
Air Force

Bonnie Silver, U.S. Army Veteran
Speaker, Author

Topic: Embracing Your Shadow
Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: We all have parts of ourselves that we may not like or choose to ignore. We all have the light and dark within us, the strengths and weaknesses. This workshop will help you learn that your shadows are a part of your strengths. In this workshop you will learn that your perceived weaknesses can actually help you become more powerful. By embracing your shadows, you will gain new insights into yourself and can then achieve the highest levels of greatness.


Bonnie has an eclectic background and has traveled the world as a flight attendant, and then serving over 6 years in the U.S. Army. After earning her Master of Business Administration in 2003, Bonnie entered corporate America but everything changed in 2008. After being downsized from her sales position, Bonnie found herself making the choice to move into volunteering and being of service, with a variety of nonprofits including the support of Veterans in transition.

During the past few decades, Bonnie has invested in her education and both personal and spiritual development, knowing that learning is a life-long process. It is from this vantage point that Bonnie best serves her clients in helping them grow, expand, and succeed in their lives. A phrase that rolls effortlessly off Bonnie’s tongue is, “How may I best serve you?”

Martha Lozano, MPA, Army National Guard Veteran
Owner/Workforce Development Consultant

Topic: Veteran Transitioning Workforce
Session Time: 3:00 - 3:45
Location: Pebble Beach

Description: The Veteran Workshop Presentation session will provide veterans with a road map to transitioning military service to civilian employability. This includes obtaining referrals to meeting basic needs, understanding the changing market and workplace, emphasizing the importance of education, and obtaining career planning assistance.


Martha Lozano is a workforce development consultant with sixteen years in Workforce Development and Talent Acquisition. With twenty years of professional leadership experience in Organizational Leadership, management and analysis comprised of Civil Service and private sector organizational structures.  She understands the percentage of Veterans nationwide transitioning from active duty are at its’ highest levels in decades and they will need services in obtaining sustainable employment in the public and private sectors. She launched her consulting business, Employment Transitional Services (ETS), with a vision to provide sustainable employability and/or resources to Veterans which directly correlates with their MOS and or career choice.

Martha served as Human Resources Specialist in the California Army National Guard from August 2006-August 2014 and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in 2013. 2005 received Liberal Arts Degree in 2005 from Freson City College, 2007 Bachelor Degree in Organization Leadership from Fresno Pacific University and in December 2016, Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Capella University.

karen b

Karen Aguayo Bates, CPA, Navy Veteran
Speaker, Trainer, and Entrepreneur

Topic: Because Hard Work is Simply NOT Enough!
Session Time: 4:00 - 4:45
Location: Hazelton

Description: The traditional industry drivers of crushing the competition by working long hours, hustling for business, and “doing what it takes” to get the job done left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed!  I was never going to make it in that world and I knew it!

It took hitting rock bottom in 2006 to make me step back and take a good, honest look at who I was becoming.  And then deciding that as a woman in business, I would do it differently. Once I changed my mindset about my business, my money, and my time, what I learned dramatically changed what I believed about being successful.

Let me share with you the shift I made to embrace the feminine drivers of love, passion, and giving that will ensure both you and your career or business THRIVE!

This session is for women who want to earn money; whether you work for a company or are considering your own business and know there’s a better way to do business but just haven’t seen it modeled.   Women are different. Our businesses should be too!


Karen Aguayo Bates: In 2004, Karen combined her military background with her financial expertise and founded Military Home Loans.  Her passion is to ensure Veterans never miss the opportunity to experience their American dream.

Karen is an independent coach, trainer and speaker on the John Maxwell Team and was featured on Yahoo Finance for earning and retaining $1 million as a female entrepreneur.

Karen Flowers

Karen Flowers

Topic: Understanding your Veterans Benefits
Session Time: 4:00 - 4:45
Location: Pebble Beach



Karen Flowers is a Coach with the Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA), United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) who spends her time helping Veterans and family members gain access to VA benefits earned by their service in the military. After spending over two decades in the military, Karen knows first-hand the difficulty many Veterans face when trying to navigate the VA’s processes and procedures. She has committed to pulling back the curtain of mystery that has plagued the VA for many years by bring the VA to the Veteran. Providing easy access to experts, expanding outreach, and making the VA part of the community are just a few improvements she has made.

Karen has one daughter, Kelsey who will graduate from California State University, Sacramento in December 2017. Karen has a BS in Social Work and a Master’s in Business Administration.

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan”

President Lincoln

Health & Wellness

Equine Therapy provided by Horses for Veterans part of the VETERANS BENEFIT TEAM ROPING FOUNDATION

All registration fees are non-refundable.