Wonder Woman in Business, Renee Branson

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Renee Branson


Combining 20 years in education, counseling and non-profit management, Renee Branson's passion and purpose is helping individuals, teams, and organizations cultivate resilience. After years of working with survivors of trauma and the caregivers who help heal them, she became enthralled with what it is that allowed people to not only survive, but thrive through their greatest crisis. The answer is resilience. The more valuable lesson is that resilience can be taught, strengthened, and cultivated.

As a Certified Resilience Coach (CReC), Renee provides clients with immediately usable tools to increase resilience, well-being, and optimism in the workplace. She works with lawyers, legal marketers, business professionals, non-profit leaders, and others to help them understand and incorporate resilience in their own professional lives and in the teams they lead."

Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360.COM

Administer the PR6™ resilience assessments, presentations, and workshops on the six domains of resilience for professionals and business organizations. These include law firms, practice groups, non-profits, and business teams within an organization. This allows leaders to address organizational strengths and weaknesses and to implement growth plans through coaching, consultation, and the Driven™ app-based tools.

Common Use Case Scenarios:
-On-boarding new associates
-Newly formed teams/divisions
-Management training programs
-Organizational restructuring, mergers, large-scale organizational change
-Crisis recovery
-Underperforming/dysfunctional teams

Photos in Renee’s Words…

Photo 1:

Branson Beach Photo: The entire Branson tribe. We don't all get together in one place very often, so this was pretty special. 

Photo 2:

Buckeyes: I am a born and bred Buckeye. I grew up in Ohio and graduated from Ohio State. Fall would not be complete without at least one trip to the Horseshoe to see my Buckeyes play football. This photo is of me, Tim and the boys along with my brother and his family. 

Photo 3:

With Tim Corcoran at COLPM: This is proof we can still get fancy. :) 

Photo 4:

Parent's Weekend: While my oldest didn't choose OSU for school, we love to spend Parent's Weekend with him and his fraternity. 

Photo 5:

Sydney Opera House: I have always been passionate about travel. The only place tied with Sydney as my favorite place is Barcelona. I took a week long solo trip there and the experience was life-changing. There are so many places still left on my bucket list! 

Photo 6:

Tough Mudder: I talk about grit being a domain of resilience. I've done 5 Tough Mudders, 2 marathons, and over 20 half marathons. I learned grit from the physical limits that I've pushed. 

Renee Branson

Connect with Renee:

Website: https://reneebranson.blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/resilience.bounty/?tn-str=k*F

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/reneebransonmancc/

Email: rb@reneebranson.blog

Phone: 434.326.6620

Wonder Woman in Business, Kim Stuart

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Kim Stuart

CEO of Key Group

Kim Stuart, Founder and CEO of Key Group, is a strategic advisor for professional services firms, non-profit organizations and business executives. She has more than 20 years of experience in constructing and advancing business development initiatives and marketing strategies.

Kim also serves as Senior Advisor and Faculty Member for Ackert Inc., the company behind the award-winning business development training platforms. Kim has personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with lawyers at both the senior associate and partner level. Kim led the development and implementation of the Managing Partner Institute a comprehensive professional development program that provide the insights, management principles, and framework essential for effective law firm leaders. 

A passionate advocate for cultivating and supporting the advancement of women and diverse leaders, Kim co-founded the Diversity in Leadership Forum, formerly the Women Leaders Forum, a leadership and management development program and peer-group network of female and diverse legal leaders. The Forum brings managing partners and other law firm leaders together to address and overcome management challenges, leverage market dynamics, and target key business opportunities. She also develops formal women’s initiatives focused on professional, business and client development,

community and culture and executive branding. Her programs garner multiple industry awards and lead to new and enhanced client relationships as well as internal professional development and talent retention.

Kim and her kiddos enjoyed a recent summer getaway in New YorK, walking the Brooklyn Bridge and visiting Lady Liberty.



Website: Key-Grp.com

Wonder Woman in Business, Alycia Sutor

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Alycia Sutor

Managing Director, Growth Play

Alycia Sutor leads the Professional Services team and has more than twenty years’ experience helping lawyers and executives accelerate sales performance and revenue growth. She is particularly passionate about helping individuals create greater impact in how they lead, work, and sell by unlocking strengths and research-based insights to power individual, team and organizational growth. 

Prior to her current role, Alycia oversaw the business development and marketing functions at Goldberg Kohn and McDermott Will & Emery. Alycia is also passionate about elevating the profession of law through various volunteer leadership roles, including with the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), currently serving as the co-chair of the Talent Development Committee. She also served as LMA’s President of the International Board of Directors, as well as the Board President for the Midwest Region and has served on the advisory board of the Legal Sales and Service Organization. Alycia is a frequent speaker on business development topics, which includes guest teaching appearances at Chicago-Kent School of Law. 

Clients often remark that working with Alycia feels like they have been to the gym, the spa and the therapist all at the same time. 

Alycia received her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her BA from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Alycia chairs the board of the Inclusive Collective, a campus ministry group at UIC. She resides in Oak Park, IL and, when not with clients, can often be found on the sidelines of a sports game for one of her two teenagers. She’s an avid bookworm and it’s always worth asking about her current favorite read. 

Link to a video from the 2010 LMA Annual Conference…the message is relevant for those of in the legal space.

Alycia Sutor

Connect with Alycia

LinkedIn: in/alyciasutor

Phone: 708.369.5408

Email: asutor@growthplay.com

Growth Play Locations

Chicago (Headquarters)
121 W. Wacker Drive
Suite 1750
Chicago, IL 60601

3123 Research Blvd.
Dayton, OH 45420

Wonder Woman in Business, Wendy Merrill

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Wendy Merrill

CEO, StrategyHorse Consulting Group

Wendy Merrill has had a successful business development career spanning over 23 years. Her strategic and methodical approach to cultivating and leveraging relationships has allowed her to construct a rich network of resourceful professionals and help others to do the same. 

Never a fan of traditional selling or outdated management techniques, Wendy decided early on to approach her career with an eye on the impact she wanted to have with her clients, colleagues and community. Her positioning as a Center of Impact led to great success with her personal and professional relationships. 

Wendy is a vocal advocate for creative problem solving, and has worked with both organizations and early to mid-career professionals to engineer strategic growth through an innovative approach to professional development. She is a passionate advocate for Rising Leaders that define success by the impact they want to have in the workplace, community and beyond, and regularly mentors executives, professionals and entrepreneurs who are dedicated to being impactful leaders.

Prior to forming StrategyHorse, Wendy spent 18 years in the financial services space, 12 of which were in her family’s business. She rose up from a sales position to eventually taking the reins from her father as CEO. Inspired by professional lessons learned as both a survivor of and adviser to a multi-generational workforce, Wendy’s practice incorporates common sense, humor and absolute honesty to prepare Rising Leaders to steward their organizations into the future. She also has a knack for igniting an entrepreneurial spirit in people – she’s helped over 50 clients (and counting) to successfully start their own businesses, professional services practices and non-profit organizations!

Wendy lives near Baltimore, Maryland, and has always been an admirer of horses. She enjoys cooking, Italian travel (she’s a fierce Italophile) and being silly with her husband and three children. An avid writer, she published her first book, Path to Impact: The Rising Leader’s Guide to Growing Smart in 2019 and her articles have been featured in national and international publications. Wendy has also enjoyed speaking to audiences that have included global associations, non-profits and local small/mid-size businesses.

Wendy serves as on the Board of Directors for I am MENtality, a Baltimore-based organization that provides personal and professional development support to young men in the city, and also enjoys a position on the Advisory Board for the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Industrial and Organizational Psychology Masters Program. She is a proud winner of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s “Bridging the Gap” award for supporting and empowering women and minorities in business.


Wendy Merrill

Connect with Wendy:

Helping Rising Leaders To Be More Impactful

Website: www.strategyhorse.com 

Phone: 410.746.8212

Check out her book!

About the Book:

Impact is driven by the consistent delivery of value. For those of us who aspire to generate a positive impact in our personal and professional lives, our biggest obstacle is often ourselves.

Most of us have been conditioned to fulfill others’ expectations of us and are woefully disconnected from our own motivations. This disconnect sabotages our dreams, goals and ability to be impactful.

Path to Impact: The Rising Leader’s Guide to Growing Smart delivers a progressive approach to helping Rising Leaders productively invest in themselves and in those around them.

Wonder Woman in Business, Susan Kostal


Susan Kostal

Stet Consulting

About Susan:

Editor, writer, and business development strategist with over 25 years experience on the beat and in the C-Suite. Expertise includes legal industry trends, public relations and marketing, and pithy commentary on the state of affairs in law and tech. Based in San Francisco, with work published in San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Attorney, The ABA Journal, Forbes ASAP, California Lawyer, and the Daily Journal. My monthly column on Attorney at Work is Content Under Pressure; with additional content on JD Supra. Private clients range from individual professionals to domestic and international law firms with 2 - 1,000+ employees. Susan also provides limited pro bono counsel and marketing consulting to women returning to the practice of law.

I asked Susan to name three things that potential clients misunderstand about her services and to set the record straight:

1. Some clients are convinced that no one can write about their practice area as astutely as they can. That may be true if we are talking about a law review article, but it’s generally never true when we’re talking about content designed for clients. They are people, and busy ones at that, and want information is the most useful, digestible form. A professional writer studies that, studies your “content competition,” and delivers content that sets you apart. No successful (read: busy) lawyer has the time to do that. And given their utilization goals, it’s not a good use of their time and financial resources to do so. It’s almost always more efficient and affordable to hire that out.           

2. “I have plenty of work. I don’t need to write.” These days, everyone is a legal publisher, and if you don’t have a body of work, even a modest one, you look suspect, disengaged and less desirable. Clients want to see you interact with their issues, and the best way to show you are engaged is through content—writing about what means the most to them, in a way they find meaningful, on their own time and their own terms. So while speaking engagements are terrific, and nothing beats one-to-one interaction, it’s not always possible. Content works for you while you sleep. It works for you while you are on vacation or in trial. Your firm’s social media and BD teams will have something they can work with to promote you. It’s amazing in an RFP, where you can show, not tell, that you have already been obsessing about your client’s issue long before it arrived on their desk.      

3. “Writers aren’t really ‘value-adds.’ They are just scribes.” If that were true, the market for talented writers would look very different. The market for average writers continues to find its lowest common denominator. But a writer with whom you have a longterm relationship studies your field, and reads the news and professional publications with you in the back of their mind. They bookmark articles with important ideas, and tag conversations you should be a part of. A talented content strategist and ghostwriter reserves a portion of their brain for you. And when they take in the world of ideas, they filter it based on your needs. Then, they bring that intellectual capital back to you in the form of suggested post topics, context, currency and a keen understanding of the marketplace of ideas and where you fit in that.       

Susan’s webinars & presentations include the following:

  • June 13, 2019, LMA Bay Area Chapter, "Data-Driven or EQ: What's Best for your Content"

  • Feb. 2018, LMA Tech West panel, "By the Numbers: Using Data Analytics to Build Smarter Content Strategies"

  • Dec. 2017, LMA Webinar, "The Clout of Content and the Power of PR"

  • Sept. 2017, Association of Intellectual Property Firms (AIPF), "Social Media & Personal Branding Essentials"

  • Sept. 2017, LMA SF Chapter, "Create and Convey Content That Clients Count On"

  • March 2017, LMA National Conference, "Breakthroughs in PR, Content & Communications"

  • July 2016, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Pathways Conference, "Leveraging Social Media Platforms to Get Noticed, Published, and Get the Next Job Opportunity"

  • May 2016, LMA Webinar, "Creative Juices: Overcoming Obstacles in Getting the Content You Want"

  • Oct. 2015, Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel (SVAGC) All Hands Meeting, Keynote Q&A with David Anderman

Susan Kostal

Contact Susan:

Twitter: @skostal

Website: www.susankostal.com

Susan’s monthly newsletter: http://bit.ly/2rdBIJa

Wonder Woman in Business, Laura Putnam

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Laura Putnam

Laura Putnam, author of Workplace Wellness That Works (WILEY, 2015), is CEO and founder of Motion Infusion

Laura PutnamMA, author of the #1 Amazon Hot New Release in HR & Personnel Management Workplace Wellness That Works (WILEY, 2015), is CEO and founder of Motion Infusion, a leading well-being and learning provider. Her work has been covered by MSNBC, The New York Times, US News & World Report, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and NPR. She is a former urban public high school teacher, L&D professional, public policy advocate, international community organizer, dancer, gymnast and now a movement-builder in the world of health and well-being. With a mission to get people and organizations “in motion,” Laura is a frequent keynote speaker and has worked with a range of organizations from Fortune 500s to government agencies to academic institutes and nonprofits. She teaches at Stanford University, is the recipient of the American Heart Association's "2020 Impact" award as well as the National Wellness Institute’s “Circle of Leadership” award. A graduate of Brown University and Stanford University, Laura lives in San Francisco with her fiancé. She can be reached at laura@motioninfusion.com

“Workplace Wellness that Works”

Packed with the latest research and brimming with ideas based on real-world case studies and stories, Workplace Wellness That Works takes a fresh approach to workplace wellness. Learn how you can shift the conversation from implementing yet another program to starting a movement. In 10 steps, Laura outlines tangible ways that you can make a difference in your employees’ health and happiness, and how you can promote an overall culture of well-being.


Laura Putnam

Every industry could use some wellness…

Frankly, we're all feeling a little stressed out and in need of well-being at work. That's why we've reached out to leaders, managers and professionals across the technology, financial services, education, heath care, manufacturing, government, nonprofit and energy sectors. Here are some of the clients we've worked with.


Contact Laura:

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/laura-putnam-b3b2555

Website: motioninfusion.com (Company Website)

Phone: 4153105505 (Work)

Email: laura@motioninfusion.com

Twitter: MotionInfusion