Conference on Servant Leadership
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Register Now!

Conference on Servant Leadership
June 29-30, 2023
La Crosse, WI

Serving People - Leading Change - Growing Possibilities

For the past 20 years, Viterbo University has held a Conference on Servant Leadership for individuals who aspire to be servant leaders in nonprofit organizations, small and large businesses, government, health care, ministry, and education. This year's conference recognizes the importance of Serving, Leading, and Growing both personally and professionally.  Join us for an engaging conference held at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts, located on the banks of the beautiful Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Thank you to our sponsors!

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Registration Information

 Standard Rate - $249.00
 Student Rate - $129.00

Hotel Accommodations
Rooms have been reserved at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse.  ($129 King, $149, 2 Queens)

  • Call the Hotel directly Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, at 608-784-6680 and ask for the Viterbo Conference on Servant Leadership group block.
  • Call our Central Reservations line 24 hours a day at 1-800-333-3333
  • Feel free to send or post the link below for guests to make online reservations directly in the group block:
  • Conference participants are free to begin making reservations at any time!

Group Discounts are available, please contact Nicole Van Ert at or call 608-796-3616 to inquire. 


RSVP Here - MASL Celebration

Conference Speakers

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Bobbie Gostout, M.D. | Vice President Emeritus Mayo Clinic | Gynecologic Oncologist

Bobbie Gostout, MD, is vice president emeritus of Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit, academic health system with a workforce of 70,000, earning $14 billion in annual revenue while caring for more than 1.2 million patients each year from all 50 states and more than 140 countries. Dr. Gostout also served as a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees and Board of Governors.

Prior to her retirement from Mayo Clinic in December 2020, she served as president of Mayo Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic’s community practice in the Midwest, including Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Dr. Gostout set the strategic vision for Mayo Clinic’s community medicine practice, including 18 regional hospitals and 68 regional clinics.

Dr. Gostout has authored 125 peer-reviewed journal articles and abstracts, and holds reviewer responsibilities for several prominent journals, advancing the science of gynecologic surgery and gynecologic oncology. She is a member of the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Board of Trustees.

Kent Keith, J.D., Ed.D | Author

Dr. Kent M. Keith was born in New York and raised in Nebraska, California, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Hawaii. He earned a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. from Oxford University in England, a Certificate in Japanese from Waseda University in Tokyo, a J.D. from the University of Hawaii, and an Ed.D. in higher education leadership from the University of Southern California. He is a Rhodes Scholar.

During his career, he has served as an attorney, state government official, high-tech park developer, YMCA executive, and president of two private universities— Chaminade University and Pacific Rim Christian University. In 2007 he moved to Indiana to serve as CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (USA), and in 2012 he moved to Singapore, where he served for three years as CEO of the Greenleaf Centre for Servant Leadership (Asia). Dr. Kent has given more than 1,200 speeches and workshops in the United States and thirteen countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Dr. Kent is the author of The Paradoxical Commandments, which he first published in 1968 in a book for student leaders. In 2002, his book, Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments, became a national bestseller in the United States and was translated into 17 languages. 

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Liz Filter, M.S. | President/CEO of VARC, Inc.

Liz Filter serves as the President and CEO of VARC, Inc., where she leads the organization in executing its mission of providing employment and other life skills opportunities for children and adults with varying abilities throughout Wisconsin. For over 20 years, Liz has dedicated her career to enhancing the lives of others and broadening opportunities for community inclusion. A passionate leader and advocate for strong communities, Liz currently serves on numerous boards and advisory committees including the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Development Board, Disability Services Provider Network, and Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, among several others.

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Col. Stephen Messenger | Garrison Commander at Fort McCoy

Col. Messenger began his career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, 3/505th Parachute Infantry. He served in Afghanistan in 2002 in the Kandahar and Gardez regions. After completing his branch detail, Col. Messenger became a Transportation Officer and was assigned as the Battalion Operations Officer, 82d Forward Support Battalion from 2003-2004 where he served in Fallujah, Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division.

Col. Messenger earned a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, a masters degree in Administration with a Leadership Focus from Central Michigan University, a masters degree in Military Arts and Science from the Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree from Liberty University in Strategic Leadership.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat Infantrymans Badge, Expert Infantrymans Badge, Army Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.

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Jonah Larson | Founder of Jonah's Hands

Jonah Larson is a 12-year-old crochet prodigy from La Crosse, Wisconsin. His infectious enthusiasm and commitment to giving back have earned him a worldwide following. His story has been featured in hundreds of articles including in the New York Times, The Times of London, Forbes, Oprah Magazine, People, and USA Today. He has appeared on the Today Show, Little Big Shots with Melissa McCarthy, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Drew Barrymore Show, and Pickler & Ben. At age 11, Jonah authored his first book called “Hello, Crochet Friends!”. His second book called “Giving Back Crochet” will be released in June 2020. Jonah is most proud of his philanthropic work and has funded his first Jonah’s Hands Library in Ethiopia in the rural village where he was born. He is currently raising money to build those same children a science lab.

Jonah speaks nationally about doing what makes you happy and the importance of inclusivity. He has won hundreds of awards for his crochet pieces and designs. Jonah often sells these items to raise money for his philanthropic work in his community. Jonah also started his own business called Jonah's Hands, LLC at age 11. On his website, he features tutorials teaching others to learn crochet. Jonah’s family consists of an older brother (Leif), a younger sister (Mercy), his mother (Jennifer), his father (Christopher), and his two dogs (Bella & Charlie).  Jonah’s most famous phrase is “Crochet Brings The World Together One Stitch At a Time”.

Dr. Jeff Thompson | CEO Emeritus, Gundersen Health Systems 

Dr. Jeff Thompson is the former CEO of Gundersen Health System, pediatrician, and author of Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People, Inspire Your Community. Under his leadership, Gundersen was nationally recognized for higher quality, lower costs, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 95%.

Thompson spoke at the Paris climate talks and was honored by the White House as a champion for change. He is currently the board chair of Healthcare Without Harm.

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Caitlin Wilson | Vice President of Communication and Inclusion at Marine Credit Union 

Caitlin Wilson is a mother, writer, and native of La Crosse, Wisconsin. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and her master’s degree in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University. She serves as vice president of communication and inclusion at Marine Credit Union, and is the author of Cultivating a Servant Heart: Stories & Insights from the Field (Fulcrum Publishing, October 2023), an exploration of servant leadership and the inward journey.


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Rick Kyte, Ph.D. | Endowed Professor of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership at Viterbo University 

Richard Kyte is Director of the D. B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership and Endowed Professor of Ethics at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin where he teaches a variety of courses dealing with ethical issues in business, health care, law, politics, and the environment. He has published and lectured widely on topics related to justice, forgiveness, virtue, and the meaning of life.

After growing up in Frazee, a small town in northwestern Minnesota, Richard attended Hamline University where he earned a B.A. in philosophy. He then went on to graduate school, obtaining a Ph.D. in philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University in 1994. Since then he has taught at several colleges and universities including Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee.
He is the author of several books and writes a regular column for the La Crosse Tribune titled "The Ethical Life."

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Mark Gruen, M.A. | Superintendent at Johnson Creek School District 

Mark Gruen credits his education master’s degree work at Viterbo with opening his eyes to new opportunities to make a difference in education beyond the classroom. After stints as an activities director and principal, Gruen has served as a district administrator, leading the Eleva-Strum School District and the Royall School District, where he was honored as Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administration (WASDA) in 2020 and Rural Administrator of the Year by the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) in 2021. Mark and his team led a total transformation of the Royall School District academically, financially, and structurally.  Mark brought in over $10 million worth of grants and donations to the Royall School District in 12 years - built the Fund Balance from$200,000 to $2 million while doing over $8 million in projects and putting $1.5 million into staff members HRA accounts. Early in 2022, he was chosen as the superintendent/business manager for the Johnson Creek School District.

Mark has a long history of involvement in civic and professional organizations, including serving 13 years on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Advisory Council, with the distinction of being the first member to be twice selected as president of the Advisory Council.  He volunteered more than 150 hours just in the Elroy flood relief efforts of 2018. Mark is proud of being part of a great family, which includes his wife, Sarah, and their five children, Darren, Emma, Bryce, Marah, and Bria.

John Siegel | La Crosse County Sheriff
Regina Siegel | Vice President of Organizational Development at Trust Point

John and Regina Siegel enjoy sharing personal stories, joys, and challenges of navigating 21st Century life as an interracially married couple while raising their family in the Midwest.  Regina is Vice President of Organizational Development at Trust Point; a career shift she made after serving more than 20 years as a teacher, school administrator, and adjunct professor.  John has been a law enforcement officer for nearly 30 years and is the newly elected Sheriff of La Crosse County.

The couple’s willingness to become emotionally vulnerable with others is deeply rooted in their belief that relationships can and will be strengthened & healed…one conversation at a time.  The duo recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and have three adult children; two of whom attend colleges (which according to Regina are much too far away)!  The Siegel family enjoys spending the precious moments they have together by traveling, cooking, laughing, singing (laughing at Dad’s singing!), attending athletic events, spending quiet time at their lake cabin, and volunteering throughout their local and global community. 

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Lori Jayne Carlson | Writer, Photographer, Sacred Activist 

Lori Jayne internationally published writer, photographer, and sacred activist; is a 2021 graduate of Viterbo University’s Master of Arts in Servant Leadership program and is a student in Viterbo’s ethical leadership doctoral program.

Lori Jayne is currently under contract with Marine Credit Union to interview and write the professional and personal stories of its employees for “The Heart of MCU,” an employee appreciation and retention initiative.

Through her work and research, Lori Jayne continually seeks opportunities to raise the consciousness of love … one story at a time.

Sponsorship Opportunities

We look forward to seeing you!