News Detail


First Look: SCI Announces First Keynote Speaker for EntreCon® 2020

  • May 08, 2020
  • Rachael Gillette
Mardia Shands, EntreCon® 2020 Keynote Speaker Mardia Shands, EntreCon® 2020 Keynote Speaker

On November 18 and 19, Studer Community Institute will host its sixth annual EntreCon®, bringing a world-class business and leadership conference to downtown Pensacola with the 2020 theme of “Think Beyond.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have been affected in different ways. Some businesses have been hard hit, while others are thriving. EntreCon® 2020 will bring together people who spend every day grappling with the same tough problems that you do and who have the same challenges as you. We know that each year you look forward to EntreCon® filling your cup with energy, fueling you with motivation and providing you with skills to make you a better leader – and this year, that will be even more important.

In 2020, EntreCon® will bring new compelling and leading-edge content focusing on building sustainable organizations and helping people look at opportunities and challenges in new ways.

That being said, SCI is pleased to announce that Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellow and Venue Magazine 2019 Woman of Influence, Mardia Shands, will serve as one of the 2020 keynote speakers. SCI founder Quint Studer first saw Shands speak at a conference last year, and is confident she is the most qualified to provide our community insight on how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Shands serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for TriHeath, the fourth-largest employer in Greater Cincinnati, and brings with her extensive experience in workforce development, social impact, and diversity. In her work with The Aspen Institute and Working Metrics, combined with more than 20 years of human resources and workforce development experience across multiple industries including manufacturing, health care, construction, and IT, Shand will bring a unique perspective to EntreCon®. Her career has spanned from multinational global corporations to small not-for-profits across North America and Africa.

She has been recognized by the Cincinnati Business Courier as a 40 under 40 business leader and the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati as a Rising Star. Ms. Shands is the immediate past chair of the Workforce Investment Board of Butler, Warren, and Clermont counties where she was recognized as a regional expert on solving workforce development issues. She also serves on the board of directors for the YWCA of Dayton and Lifespan.

Shands previously led Partners for a Competitive Workforce, a cross-sector partnership in the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana (Greater Cincinnati) tri-state region focused on meeting employer demand by growing the skills of the current and future workforce. The organization trained nearly 13,000 people for jobs in high-growth career pathways and works with local school districts to strengthen the next generation of workers.

There is nothing to lose and a lot to gain by registering now for Northwest Florida's premier business and leadership conference. Registering for EntreCon® has been, and always will be, risk-free. Our primary goal is for people to safely enjoy the conference and gain valuable takeaways to help them grow leadership skills and sustain businesses. If for any reason an attendee is unsatisfied or something else (say, extended COVID-19 restrictions) should prevent attendance, we will provide a full refund – no questions asked. 

EntreCon® has pass options to fit every budget and schedule. The super early-bird ticket price has been extended to May 29, 2020  to help during the recovery from Covid-19. To learn more and register for EntreCon® 2020, visit For questions, please contact Chief Leadership Development Officer, Rachael Gillette.

The best investment you will ever make is in yourself. Join Studer Community Institute on Nov. 18 and 19 to embark on an epic journey: Thinking beyond what we ever thought possible for our businesses and jobs, allowing us to proactively stay ahead of the curve and prepare for the future. 

EntreCon® 2020

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