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VIA Sessions - Speakers & Sessions

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2017 VIA Sessions: Keynote Speakers

A distinctive group of keynote speakers will give presentations at VIA Sessions - The Business of Aging.

Lori Bitter

What Is the State of Your Business?

Lori Bitter

Speaker Bio:

A sought-after speaker, Lori Bitter has presented research, trends and analysis about mature consumers and the longevity marketplace to more than 200 conferences and events in the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. She founded The Business of Aging, a firm that provides consulting, research and development for companies working to engage with older consumers.

Lori Bitter was recently named one of Next Avenue’s Top 50 Influencers in Aging for 2017! Lori has more than 30 years of advertising, public relations and strategic planning experience. She is the contributor to five books on aging consumers, and is a leader in research on topics relevant to the senior and boomer population.

Lori has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, on CNBC, Forbes magazine and named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s "100 to Watch List."

Lori Bitter is also the author of The Grandparent Economy: How Baby Boomers are Bridging the Generation Gap, a book that synthesizes research from over 1,000 boomer grandparents to chart new trends in spending, engagement and (grand)child-rearing.

Session Description:

Creating and running a business is demanding. Knowing yourself, your strengths, and your passion is important, but understanding how to stay motivated is critical. The business of aging is a special mission-driven focus, with many variables beyond our control. Staying the course and defining success can be tricky. Let's set some guideposts for what success means and how we can get there.

As leaders we must tap into own passions, our customers' needs, and a greater sense of service to the community and world to create businesses. As entrepreneurs, free of a corporate structure, we also have to provide our own motivation, inspiration, creativity and organization. And in the business of aging, we are dealing with complex emotions, situations and an ecosystem beyond our control. It is daunting!How do you know if you're on track? What is success for you? How do you stop getting in your own way? What should you give up? How will you grow? Take the pulse of your business and find the clarity you need to succeed.

G. Richard Ambrosius

Embracing Ageless Marketing:
A New Paradigm for a Changing Market

G. Richard “Dick” Ambrosius

Speaker Bio:

Ambrosius has been an entrepreneur, marketing strategist and advocate for positive aging, ageless marketing and exceptional customer service for over 40 years. He brings this passion and vision to every client he serves by providing marketing strategies, educational and motivational workshops, and entertaining stories.

He is the founder and principal at Positive Aging and Phoenix Associates. His previous positions include VP of Outreach and Business Development for the start-up brain fitness company NeoCORTA, two national senior living development and management companies, Founder and CEO of Phoenix Systems Inc., Executive Director of the Iowa Lakes Area Agency on Aging, and business and marketing professor.

Session Description:

For decades, businesses have been both victims of and contributed to aging stereotypes. Sales, marketing and advertising methods honed on the youth markets of yesterday have become outdated and no longer produce an acceptable return on investment. If you are tired of getting a smaller and smaller return on your advertising and marketing dollars, you will want to experience the art of ageless marketing and communications. You will come away with a new understanding of the future potential of the aging marketplace and be motivated to join a movement dedicated to reversing decades of ageism and negative stereotyping while growing your business.

Attendees will learn:

  • •The driving forces dictating the need for new sales and marketing paradigms.

  • •How to capture the attention and interest of age 50 plus adults using values-based, ageless marketing techniques.

  • •Understand why new tools will help your message penetrate the mind’s screening process using conditional positioning and inclusionary terminology.

  • •Examples of companies that get it right; and share media messages that are reaching across generations and connecting with the values of 50+ consumers.

2017 VIA Sessions: World Café

The World Café is a series of roundtable conversations that promotes professional development and relationship building through open dialogue.

World Cafe

World Café
Longevity Economy & Dynamic Businesses

Using seven design principles and a simple method, the World Café is a powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter, offering an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today’s world. Based on the understanding that conversation is the core process that drives personal, business and organizational life, the World Café is more than a method, a process or technique – it is a way of thinking and being together sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership.

Kari Henley

Facilitated by Kari Henley

Kari Henley is the founder of Age Without Borders. Kari is a social entrepreneur and an "aging enthusiast," with decades of experience in startups, virtual content development, international tele-seminars, writing, professional speaking and facilitating for corporate and private clients, as well as private consulting to bring out the best in thought leaders. Kari has a masters degree in psychology, masters coursework in organizational leadership, and is passionate about serving on the leading edge of revolutionizing our global perspectives on ending ageism and maximizing longevity.

A contributor to the Huffington Post since 2006, Kari has written extensively in areas of thought leadership and personal development. Several pieces were republished in professional periodicals, and she has appeared on local TV, Dateline NBC, PBS "This Emotional Life," and was featured in an Amazon #1 bestselling anthology.

2017 VIA Sessions: Business Think Tank

Interact with business coaches and subject matter experts as you explore and analyze your businesses through the lens of our changing age demographic.

Business Think Tank

Think Tank & Group Coaching

Join us as we breakdown industry silos and evolve the conversation on aging by forming multidisciplinary groups of VIA Session attendees to tackle some of the biggest issues businesses face. Get expert advice on your toughest challenges from a diverse cast of business coaches. This session will be highly participatory and engaging.

Participants will be encouraged to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies needed for decision making, problem solving and imagination that are most valued in today’s successful aging enterprises.

Attendees will:

  • •Review their own businesses

  • •Identify areas for improvement

  • •Develop specific objectives and incorporate new opportunities.

2017 VIA Sessions: VIA Talks

VIA Talks are short 15 minute lightning talks on topics related to the business of aging.

Joyce Feustel

Use LinkedIn to Attract More Clients and Referral Partners

Joyce Feustel

In this interactive presentation, Joyce will help you make your LinkedIn profile stand out from your competition. She will give you valuable tips for making your profile more visually appealing by taking advantage of the media sections of your summary, job positions and education sections. An author of over 130 articles on LinkedIn, she will show you how to publish articles on LinkedIn that provide information of value to your connections and help enhance your professional credibility. In addition, she will demonstrate ways to effectively use the search features of LinkedIn to strategically grow your LinkedIn connections. Then she’ll give you tips for easy and productive ways to communicate with your connections.

Joyce Feustel offers social media tutoring and training to help people, especially those age 45 and up, to be more effective and productive in their use of social media. She founded Boomers’ Social Media Tutor in 2010 and went full-time with the business in 2013 after a 17-year career as a sales professional. In 2017 she issued the 2nd edition of her e-book “9 Ways to Stand Out on LinkedIn,” and she also created a 3-part webinar series entitled “Maximize Your LinkedIn Experience.” Her 20 years of experience as a member of Toastmasters contributes her engaging style of speaking and presenting. Being a Baby Boomer herself, she has an affinity with her clients who deeply appreciate her patient, positive, and enthusiastic approach to tutoring.

Lori DuBois

The Biggest Brand Mistake and How to Fix It

Lori Dubois

When you think of a brand, you may automatically think of what their logo looks like, but is this really why you do business with them? While a logo is one visual representation of a company, your logo does not equal your brand. Your brand is much bigger, it is the entire story that explains what you do, who you do it for, why you do it, how you want to be regarded and why it should matter.

A brand has five components, and most businesses prioritize them in the WRONG ORDER! Learn how your brand can be more meaningful and effective when you build it around the foundation of customer experience and values. Too many companies, especially new businesses, worry excessively about what their logo looks like, and whether or not their tagline or slogan is clever and memorable.

If you want a brand that stands out from the competition, build it based on the right priorities. If you think you own your brand, find out why you don’t and find out who really controls it.

Lori Dubois helps small businesses communicate their unique position in the marketplace to the right people. Every business has a unique story to tell, and she excels at developing the right content to attract an organization’s ideal clients. Lori’s 25+ years of advertising and marketing, combined with a master’s degree focusing on research and knowledge management, led her to open Marketing Troubadour in 2008, a firm that is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and small businesses owners. Her left-brain, right-brain balance gives her an approach that is creative and analytical, critical for strategic marketing planning and effective implementation.

Lori DuBois

Managing the Older Worker

Renee Rosenberg, MA, LMHC

The concept of retirement is outdated. By 2020 one in every four workers will be over 55. Many Baby Boomers will want to continue working past 65, many until 70+ because they have to or because they choose to, their key motivators: money and the desire to stay active.

With the continued growth of the current brain drain phenomena of skilled knowledgeable workers employers will need to attract, motivate, manage and retain the older experienced employee. The catch 22 however is the plethora of stereotypes that exist. The job seeker over 50 feels age is a barrier in obtaining and keeping viable employment while the employer, blinded by the stereotype of the older worker not having up to date skills, fails to see the potential of older and younger employees sharing knowledge and working together to contribute to the growth of the company. Job seekers over 50 and employers both need to examine and change their assumptions and beliefs about the myths concerning older workers. Many employers have inadequate preparation on how to align individual needs and generational differences. Employers need to embrace the reality of a graying workforce. In this presentation Renee will introduce job search strategies to assist the over 50 job seeker to overcome the myths and then discuss, how the employer can create productive intergenerational teams where the four generations: Millennial, Generation X, Boomers, and Veterans work together to build a successful competitive workforce.

Renee is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Clinical Career Counselor, Executive Coach, Author, and Speaker. She trained Japanese executives in Tokyo and New York and has presented internationally: Amsterdam, Paris, Munich. She is the Author of Achieving the Good Life After 50: Tools and Resources for Making it Happen, a contributor to: Work Smarts: Be a Winner On-the-Job, Report from the Front Lines, and Live Smart After 50! Renee has been interviewed on media including:ABC Eyewitness News, MSNBC, NY1, Italian TV and quoted in print and online:,, Washington Post, Chicago Times, LA Times, US News and World Report, Women’s World, and The She has also been a contributing columnist to: Job Hunt Online and Five O'Clock Club News. Renee’s practical career counseling approach has helped hundreds to identify their calling and achieve career satisfaction.

Erik Listou

Creating Interprofessional Teams for Living In Place


Seniors want to continue living in their homes for as long as possible. However, most homes, over 95%, are not safe! Interprofessional teams are vital to creating home environments that are accessible, comfortable and safe, especially for seniors. Learn from the internationally recognized co-founder of the Living In Place Institute the dynamics of interprofessional teams to help all of your clients continue to live in place or move to a suitable home environment free from common hazards.

Helping our clients to retain their independence and maintain their dignity by living at home is our collective goal. Creating an interprofessional network of experts in design, construction, medical and non-medical care, real estate and many other fields is the only answer to solving our nation’s dilemma in safe housing for everyone.

Erik Listou, co-founder of the Living In Place Institute, is committed to helping all people live in homes that are accessible, comfortable and safe. His $100M+ career spans 50 years in both commercial and residential construction and renovation. Erik has been recognized through seven national certifications and numerous project and leadership awards. He is Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) #43 and has practiced and taught CAPS, Universal Design and many business courses. Now, as Co-Founder of the Living In Place Institute, he brings his knowledge, passion and energy to the forefront of industry and consumer awareness through interprofessional teaming and advanced education and national certification.

Andrea Gallagher

Is Your Business Senior Friendly?

Andrea Gallagher

As a business owner or leader within your community, you are constantly looking for new ways to both reach (and impress) your customers. Often it pays to step back, take a broad look at your business, and determine who else you could be reaching – and how. As professionals within the fields of aging, we know seniors represent an often-untapped market. Seniors are social and tend to share positive consumer experiences with friends and family. They’re typically loyal to brands and businesses, but also willing to try new products and services that strive to make their lives easier and more enjoyable. This presentation explores marketing strategy, as well as ways to tweak the customer experience for seniors, to help promote your business more efficiently to the senior population.

Andrea Gallagher is President of the CA based nonprofit Senior Concerns and creator of The Cards I’ve Been Dealt™. Andrea is a member and past president of Life Planning Network. She served as Life Transitions Chair of the International Conference on Positive Aging. She is an editor and a chapter contributor to LIVE SMART AFTER 50! An Experts’ Guide to Life Planning for Uncertain Times and the author of the newspaper column The Other Side of Fifty. Andrea is a national speaker on topics related to life planning, positive aging and Boomer transitions.

Wendi Burkhardt

Modern Day Aging & Technology

Wendi Burkhardt

Financial security is a growing issue for aging Americans, particularly for those who are underprepared for retirement and living on fixed budgets. To enhance their incomes and social lives, a growing number of over-50 adults are participating in the sharing economy. The concept is that by using platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, they can leverage their existing assets – a car or spare bedroom, for example – to generate extra income.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers reports the sharing economy will be worth more than $300 billion within a decade, and aging adults are the fastest-growing segment of participants – 25% of Americans 55 and older are providers in the sharing economy compared to 7% of all Americans. In addition to income, it can afford them purpose and independence. This session reveals areas of the sharing economy that are ripe for growth and outlines the benefits that it can afford your clients, from reducing their expenses to help them pad their retirement savings, to provide additional options for transportation, housing, groceries and bill sharing.

Learning lessons include:

  • •Review of the emerging macro trends in the sharing economy – from job creation to aging in place to cost-cutting – and how they may impact your clients.

  • •Ways to provide value to your clients who are interested in participating in the sharing economy either as providers or consumers.

  • •Tips for incorporating the sharing economy into your business, such as building out case studies and participating in referral programs.

As CEO of Silvernest, Wendi is responsible for driving the company’s overall direction and strategic growth, as well as overseeing day-to-day operations. She boasts more than 25 years of technology experience working with venture startups, emerging technology companies, rapid-growth tech firms and Fortune 500 corporations. Her history also includes working with Home Instead, a $1B in-home, senior care corporation as a key client. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, as well as a mentor and coach to social ventures. Wendi holds a degree in International Trade & Finance from Louisiana State University and has completed an executive education program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Karen Sands

Getting Paid What You Are Worth

Karen Sands

Leading GeroFuturistSM, Amazon #1 best-selling author, firecracker speaker, game changer, and thought leader on the longevity economy, 40+ market, the business of aging, and ageless aging. A “visionary with wrinkles,” Karen is a bold advocate for the new story of our age. As a consultant, strategist, trainer and Certified Master Coach, she guides and mentors leaders and their organizations toward the triple bottom line, supporting them as they find and anchor their niche in the 21st century global business of aging climate while evolving their role for a New Age.

Learn more at her website:

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