These forums are sponsor supported discussions on relevant topics to the business community, featuring a panel of industry experts selected by the forum sponsors.
For more information about the Experts Forums, please contact Cindy Suffa at (208) 639-3517 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to access the archives of past Experts Forums reports.
Upcoming Experts Forums
Looking to buy a Business?
…Ready to sell your Business?
Join us for an Experts Forum Webinar Series and learn from a panel of professionals representing legal, finance, strategic planning, and business services to help you prepare for your next business transition.
Select a date for more information and to register for one discussion or the entire series. There is no cost to participate. Registration is required.
September 24th 10AM-11AM
Riding the wave to Online Education
During a time of change, resiliency and the unknown, we must expand our minds and evolve with the waves.
Join us on a discussion around bridging the skill gap for existing and prospective employees, tools and resources available with online education, traditional universities shifting to an online platform with curriculum, and the different ways companies can benefit from offering tuition reimbursement and multifaceted learning advancement programs within their organizations.
MODERATOR: Megan Dibb
MSML Strategic Partnerships Manager
Western Governors University
Inspired by the mission to improve lives and strengthen communities through the power of education, Megan Dibb joined Western Governors University in 2013. As a Strategic Partnerships Manager for Idaho and the Northwest Region, Megan works closely with employers and thought leaders to ensure the online, nonprofit university supplies accredited, relevant degree programs the modern workforce demands. In addition, she assists prospective students and guides them toward learning resources designed to grow their knowledge and skills – and open new doors of professional opportunity.
Prior to that role, Megan served as WGU’s Scholarships Strategy Manager. She led the development and execution of scholarship programs awarding nearly $16 million to more than 8,000 individuals – and removing critical barriers to student success.
Megan earned a Master of Science in Management and Leadership from WGU and a Bachelor of Science in Gender Studies from the University of Utah. She has served as a Board Member for Lutheran Social Services of Utah and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Mothers Without Borders.
PANELIST: Tonya M. Drake, Ph.D.
Regional Vice President, Northwest
Chancellor, WGU Washington
A leader in higher learning, Dr. Tonya Drake has dedicated her career to expanding access to high-quality, career-focused education. Named Chancellor of WGU Washington in 2018, she has guided the nonprofit, online university to new levels of success: WGU Washington now enrolls nearly 13,000 fulltime students, has granted more than 21,000 bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and has been awarded the 2018 Silver Award for Job Training by Seattle Business magazine.
To replicate the university’s positive impact and connect more individuals with in-demand learning opportunities, Drake became WGU’s Regional Vice President for the Northwest in September 2019. She holds that position in addition to her duties as Chancellor and oversees the university’s strategic direction in nine states: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Drake has a strong commitment to learning and student success. Her work is guided by the belief that higher learning transforms lives and deep convictions rooted in equity and inclusion. She has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, including most recently as the Vice President for College Relations and Advancement at Edmonds Community College. Drake has held leadership positions at Shoreline Community College, Maricopa Community College District, Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona State University, and the University of Washington.
Drake holds a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies and Master of Education from Arizona State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Business from University of Washington, and an associate degree from Lower Columbia College.
Drake earned the Certificate of Leader Development for National Security and Strategy from the National Security Seminar at the U.S. Army War College. She served as keynote speaker at the Global Leadership Summit in South Africa on the topic of “Deconstructing Race” and received the Outstanding Administrator Award from the Associated Students of Edmonds Community College. In 2019, she was named among Seattle Business magazine’s “Daring Women.”
PANELIST: Denise Aberle-Cannata
College of Western Idaho
Joining College of Western Idaho (CWI) in early 2019 as Provost, Denise Aberle-Cannata has been a leader in continuing to carry the College forward in transformative education, promoting campus diversity and inclusion, and using key technology and educational resources to encourage pioneering instructional methods. Committed to providing students with education and service at the highest quality level, Cannata believes CWI is and will continue to be the community college leader in delivering quality education and training in the state of Idaho. Serving more than 31,000 students, she has led forward-thinking campus initiatives at CWI on retention and student experience, expansion of business and industry partnerships for credit and non-credit programs, and new multi-learning modalities to support students’ needs in an ever-changing educational landscape.
Cannata holds a Master of Science in Education from University of North Dakota. Prior to CWI, Cannata served in several leadership roles at higher education institutions across Colorado, New Jersey, and North Dakota. Starting her higher ed work in the community college sector at Bismark State College, she was a pioneer in creating online courses and degrees for the institution. As the first institution to launch energy degrees online, Cannata’s work resulted in several partnerships between the College and the energy sector designed to help replenish the workforce and establish the National Energy Center of Excellence.
Working in higher education for more than 20 years, Cannata has helped drive student excellence, institutional sustainability, and distance education initiatives with programs to meet institutions’ short- and long-term strategic visions. Her work is characterized by data-driven decision making, strength-based leadership, and development of dynamic, higher education programs and services that align with an institution’s mission, vision, values, and goals.
PANELIST: Sumi Sankaran-Deal, MBA
Training Manager & Co-Chair
POWER Women’s Network
Sumi Sankaran-Deal is a seasoned human resources and training specialist with over 18 years of experience in leadership development, learning management systems development, strategic planning, and project management. She has managed the entire process for building learning programs including conducting needs assessments, designing and delivering content, to measuring effectiveness at the conclusion of the programs. Sumi has managed projects, some international, with teams and budgets of varying sizes, keeping multiple stakeholders informed on team progress in meeting strategic goals.
Christine has a passion for helping people find what fills their buckets. Working in the fields of education planning and savings for over twenty years she’s collaborated with educators, families, financial professionals and lawmakers to educate and successfully initiate and shape policy and progressive programs to do just that.
Her broad view of the unique strengths and challenges surrounding the education and savings systems has aided her work in curriculum writing, career software expansion, college, career and technical education development, 529 savings and public policy. Christine believes these efforts have positively impacted how families achieve their dreams of future education goals.
- 20-years in the education field, including 7-years in the education-financial services industry
- Bachelor of Science, Psychology and Human Resources, a minor in Human Resource Management from Boise State University
- Masters of Science, Instructional Performance and Technology from Boise State University.
Past Experts Forums
Aug. 20, 10am-11am
Mental Health Beyond the Curve
During the current pandemic — a time of isolation, disconnection and solitude — our daily lives are significantly changed as our movements are restricted in efforts to contain and slow down
the spread of the virus. Facing new realities of working from home, home-schooling children, temporary unemployment, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental, as well as our physical, health. This webinar will help provide strategies for staying productive in our personal and professional lives during this difficult time.