WU Speaker Series May 30, 2024

Women United Speaker Series: "Thriving Through Change," May 30th

Sponsored by Best Version of You and the Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce


Women United is known for its fabulous Speaker Series, and our upcoming event on Thursday, May 30th is no exception! Join us and delight in the wisdom of three esteemed motivational speakers and published authors at SOL, in beautiful downtown Willoughby, while indulging in a taco bar, fresh salad, chips, salsa, and a cash bar!

Discover insights on embracing life's changes, whether anticipated or unexpected from panelists Nancy Christie, Laura Gray, and Pam Kurt. Scroll down for information on each of these incredible women, including moderator Michele Johnson. Register Now!

  • Acquire practical guidance and actionable strategies to navigate life's transitions effectively.
  • Benefit from personal anecdotes and proven techniques, receiving valuable advice on adapting to change, overcoming challenges, and flourishing during transitions in various aspects of our lives, including personal, professional, parenting, and beyond.
  • Depart encouraged to experience and pursue change with renewed confidence and resilience.
  • Network among like-minded women also seeking inspiration and guidance for the opportunity to foster meaningful relationships and support systems.

Date: Thursday, May 30, 2024
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: SOL, located in Historic Downtown Willoughby at 38257 Glenn Ave

  • Taco Bar, Salad, Chips, and Salsa (Cash Bar)
  • Books and book signings by the authors following event


  • $30 / Women United & Emerging Leader Members
  • $35 / Guests

Special Request: For each of our Speaker Series, Women United adopts a nonprofit to support. The Family Resource Center of Wickliffe's Wickloset Program has been chosen for this event. The Wickloset is a student-led initiative dedicated to providing free items of need to Northeast Ohio community members who are struggling to stay afloat. It is our hope you will consider bringing any of the following items with you to donate, in regular or travel sizes: deodorant, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, floss, bar soap, laundry detergent pods. Anything you can contribute would be gratefully appreciated - completely optional of course!

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Meet our Panel of Published Authors and Motivational Speakers 

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Nancy Christie is the award-winning author of two novels: Reinventing Rita and Finding Fran. She has also published three short story collections: Mistletoe Magic and Other Holiday Tales, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and Peripheral Visions and Other Stories. As a professional writer she has published two books for writers: Rut-Busting Book for Authors and Rut-Busting Book for Writers. Her first book, The Gifts of Change, has inspired many readers. Christie teaches writing workshops at conferences, libraries, and schools, and is the host of the Living the Writing Life podcast and the founder of the annual “Midlife Moxie” Day and “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day. As a full-time professional writer, she is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). 

Laura Gray is the founder and executive director of IPride, a self-esteem and empowerment program for youth created in 2015. In addition to being a published author, living kidney donor, and fervent advocate for sexual assault victims, Laura is a proud mother of three sons and a dog named Alvin. She strives to live each day with a grateful heart and feels especially connected to herself and God when she is in nature. She has enjoyed diverse career experiences in sales, human resources, and marketing communications, and currently serves as director of development for the ALS Association.

Laura shares her work with IPride through her IPride YouTube Channel and her video series, IPride in 5: Peace In, Peace Out. She was a presenter at Youth Leadership Summits in 2018, 2020, and 2023, and was a panelist at Bowling Green State University’s conference, “Sexual Assault: The Conversation Continues” in 2020.

Laura is also an award-winning author. Her children’s book, “The Swing on the Silver Star in the Royal Purple Sky: Adventures of the Little Girl Seeking her Lost Inner Light,” was named one of the Top 15 Children’s Books by Cleveland Magazine in the Summer 2023. This book also received the Firebird Book International Award for Best Children’s Bedtime Story in Fall 2023. In addition, Laura was a featured author in “Mayhem to Miracles,” a Sacred Stories publication, in October 2021. Her featured story, “Seen and Heard: A series of photographs of men and women ending their silence with regards to sexual assault”, appeared in 2017. She has also published, “The Little Cloth Secret Keeper,” “Women for One: Truthtellers,” and three poems.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Bowling Green State University, and certification as a Professional Life Coach from the World Coach Institute. She is trained in Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness Teaching, and in the Science of Well-Being, and is a personal athletic trainer. 


Pamela Kurt is an attorney and certified professional life coach for women. She has a law practice specializing in family law and has held various volunteer leadership roles and board positions in northeast Ohio. Pam’s most current passion is her new business, Best Version of You (BVU), which provides professional coaching services for personal development and spiritual growth. The goal of BVU is to empower and elevate women to their optimal level and to help them be the best version of themselves. It is about collaboration rather than competition.  

Although Pam has drafted many documents as an attorney, her literary writing began with BVU and has become what she describes as “an amazing journey.” To date, she has co-authored 12 books and portions of a few series, including The Everyday Woman’s Guide and Becoming an Unstoppable Woman. Her latest book, The Path to the Best You, was released in February 2024. All of these books have hit bestseller marks for Women in Business, Self-Help, Personal Transformation and other nonfiction categories. Two more anthologies are scheduled for release this year and a solo work is scheduled for release in 2025. 

Pam has also been featured in various magazines including Enterprise World, The Fortune Leader, Tycoon Magazine, Exelon Magazine, Becoming an Unstoppable Woman (Special Edition), and Wealthy Women Entrepreneurs of Influence. She was also a contributing author for Brainz Magazine. 

Pam lives in Ohio with her husband and two black labs, and she enjoys spending time with her adult son and grandson. 


Speaker Series Moderated by Michele K. Johnson

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Our moderator, Michele K. Johnson is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional specializing in retirement and estate planning, investment advice, tax strategies and general financial support for clients. With over 15 years of industry experience, she proudly helps people of every means and every stage of life set and pursue their goals. Prior to founding her own financial planning business, she served as a financial advisor for three highly respected financial firms, where she honed her skills clarifying goals, assessing risks, and developing realistic, actionable plans. Michele received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The Ohio State University and her Certified Financial Planner™ professional certification from the CFP Board. She is actively engaged in her community as a board member for both the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce and Forbes House, a domestic violence shelter serving survivors from across Northeast Ohio. She is a past board chair for Women United, an affinity group of United Way of Lake County, where she continues to volunteer, and an alumnus of Leadership Lake County Class of 2019. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and lives with her son in Willoughby, Ohio. For more information about Michele and her firm, visit elevatedwealthsolution.com.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment adviser. Member FINRA/SIPC.


Speaker Series Generously Sponsored by:

Best Version of You Logo    WWLCCC Logo


In-Kind Sponsor:

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