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Lessons of Leadership 2019 Presenters


Debi Durham
Director, Iowa Economic Development Authority

Durham, Debi

Debi Durham is a longtime economic development professional and currently serves as the Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and head of the Iowa Finance Authority. Durham was appointed to the position by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in 2011 and has turned the economic development agency into a successful public-private partnership.

During her tenure at IEDA, she has helped land billion-dollar economic development projects for Iowa and works tirelessly on expanding trade and investment opportunities for the state. She prides herself on building coalitions, supporting new ventures and strengthening the state’s key industries.

Prior to joining IEDA, Durham served as president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.

Her several accolades include receiving the Technology Association of Iowa’s Legislative Advocacy Leader Award in 2017 and being recognized by the Des Moines Business Record as a “Woman of Influence” in 2016.

Durham holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing and Management from Missouri Southern State University.

Stuart Lee
President, Innovative Business Consultants

Lee, Stuart

Stuart Lee graduated from Briar Cliff in 1991 with a degree in Business Administration. He was a leading insurance producer for several companies before founding and running his own agency, Innovative Business Consultants, in 2005. Under Stuart’s leadership, Innovative Business Consultants quickly became one of the largest locally owned agencies and is recognized as a leader in innovation, offering programs designed to help companies reduce overall insurance costs by reducing claims. IBC currently provides insurance services to some of the largest and most respected businesses in Siouxland and around the world. Stuart is also a partner at Elite Staffing and owns a real estate holding company.

Stuart was captain of the Briar Cliff Men’s nationally ranked basketball team both his junior and senior years at BCU. He is proud to live in Sioux City with his wife and 2 children. In his spare time, he likes to golf and travel.

Kalynn Sortino
Business and Entrepreneur Support Coordinator, Downtown Partners

Sortino, Kalynn

Kalynn Sortino is the Business and Entrepreneur Support Coordinator at Downtown Partners where she works hard to attract and retain businesses to build a forever growing and successful Downtown Sioux City.

Besides working hard to attract businesses to our downtown, she also works with those existing to bring community engagement and excitement into downtown. In her spare time, Kalynn is president of Sioux City Growth Organization for 2019, the young professionals group in town where she has served on the board for the last year. Engaging the community and promoting Sioux City are two of her biggest passions.

Kalynn is a BCU alumni, graduating in 2015 with her Bachelors in Business Administration and Marketing and then again in 2017 with her Masters in Leadership Management.

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Event Details

DATE: February 5, 2019
TIME: 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: St. Francis Center, Briar Cliff University