Nov 13, 2019

Recap: 2019 Leadership Summit

From left: Katie Moline, Nathan Anderson, Krishna Pendyala, Dr. Jacqueline Stavros, Steve Zirkel, Sara Swisher

Have you ever wanted to talk to the Toledo Police Department chief about his toughest moment on the job? Have you ever questioned the effectiveness of the trial-and-error method of learning? Ever wanted to know whether a celebrity was actually telling the truth amid a scandal?

On Nov. 8 at the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel, more than 350 attendees got to hear about these topics and more from expert speakers during EPIC Toledo’s 12th annual Leadership Summit.

This year’s Summit focused on effective debate and communication, and speakers brought to the table their expertise in speaking with authenticity and courage, lessons from seasoned local professionals, and how asking questions in a thoughtful way can encourage your personal and professional relationships to flourish.

Krishna Pendyala addresses the Leadership Summit 2019 audience.

The morning began at 8 a.m., as attendees flooded the lobby of the Renaissance for networking and coffee before Krishna Pendyala took the stage at 9 a.m. Pendyala is founder and chief empowerment officer of ChoiceLadder Institute and co-founder and president of Mindful Nation Foundation. During his discussion, titled 2 Days at a Time: Being Consciously Effective, Pendyala shared with attendees about what it means to exercise conscious judgment. He coached the group on how to use values – illustrated by a glass, wood and rubber ball – to make good decisions.

At 10:25 a.m., attendees had to put those new decision making skills to action, choosing between two breakout sessions: Chief of Police George Kral’s Too Quick or Leadership Toledo Director of Leadership Development Bryce RobertsSpeaking with Integrity: Aligning Voice and Truth.

Roberts held a workshop, helping participants to look deeper inside their own minds to understand what it means to really tell the truth. Then, if participants discovered there was something holding them back from speaking freely, Roberts guided them through getting past those barriers, giving them the know-how to be more authentic, truthful and courageous when it came time to have a hard – but honest – conversation.

Just a few feet away, Summit attendees listened to Kral as he paralleled two of the toughest moments of his professional career. The first moment happened when he was a rookie in 1991, when he was met with the decision to shoot or be shot. Then, 27 years later as chief of police, he was faced with a similar moment. This time, things turned out quite differently, and Kral was forced to be in the middle of the action in the days, weeks and months that followed.

Traci Brown

Just after noon, Traci Brown charmed attendees with Body Language Confidential. Brown roused the audience, sharing insider tips as a body language expert on how to detect when others are lying. Then, she discussed how you can harness these lessons and use them as tools to get an easier “yes” in the future, whether you’re in a meeting with a client or talking to a superior, or even in a conversation with your child or partner.

From left: Steve Zirkel, Rhonda Sewell, Malena Caruso

At around 1:30 p.m., Rhonda Sewell, manager of external and government affairs at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, and Steve Zirkel, president of Blue Everest, sat down with moderator Malena Caruso, marketing coordinator for The Arts Commission, for a panel discussion. The topic? What Do You Wish the 30-year-old You Knew Then That You Know Now? From connecting with and utilizing mentors to traveling the world, the panelists shared years of experience with attendees.

Dr. Jacqueline Stavros

At 2:45 p.m., Dr. Jacqueline Stavros shared how asking questions could mean the difference between a successful connection and a failed one. Through Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement, Stavros discussed the true power of a conversation, and how positive framing and generative questions can fuel a fruitful conversation.

After an exciting day of thought provoking conversation, attendees headed up to happy hour at The Heights to enjoy cocktails, appetizers and reflect on what they’d learned throughout the day.

Thank you to our Silver Sponsors for your support:

The University of Toledo



Welltower Inc.

Markey’s Rental & Staging

Thank you to our Bronze Sponsors for your support:

The Andersons


Fifth Third Bank

Bowling Green State University

Rudolph Libbe Group

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority

Wilcox Financial

Wilcox Sports Management

Thank you to our Attendee Sponsors for your support:

Clark Schaefer Hackett

Lourdes University

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Huntington Bank

Leadership Toledo



Toledo Molding & Die, Inc.

Weber Clark

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