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RBGA LeadHership Seminar returns Sept. 15 with theme: Mind, Body, Spirit

Derlene Hertz

The RiverBend Growth Association’s annual LeadHership Seminar is fast approaching. The event will take place from 12 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Enjoy Church in Alton.

On tap to share exclusive insights on hot topics affecting women in leadership today are three dynamic speakers fulfilling the theme of Mind, Body, Spirit. They are Derlene Hirtz, Heather Garrigus, and Abigail (Abby) Kreitner-Thurman.

Derlene Hirtz believes we can create the life that we truly desire.  As a mindset coach and success trainer, she works with entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales professionals to overcome limitations and challenges so they can make an impact in the world they dream of and create the financial success they deserve.  Her talking points will include understanding your subconscious mind and the role it plays in personal and professional success and why we stay in our comfort zone instead of pursuing our dreams.

Hirtz says, “Choice is a powerful thing, suffering is optional.”

Heather Garrigus’s passion for yoga began in 2010. She became a certified yoga instructor and studio owner and now specializes in offering a warm and welcoming environment of Zen to the community with a variety of yoga classes for all body types and skill levels. Her studio, Heather’s Zen Den, strives to be the destination for Zen in the community. Her topics will include how to learn the practice of controlling your breath to achieve certain physical and mental benefits and the benefits of movement.

Heather Garrigus

Abby Thurman helps more than 100 people both in person and all over the country at her own business, ABS Workout Plans. She teaches her clients to focus on workout plans, personal training, nutrition, and a healthy approach to keep their health goals and stay on track, forever! She will talk about why movement is key to being happy and healthy in your lifestyle and what are the fundamentals comments to be successful in your fitness journey. Says Thurman, “Everyone that I can help and push to learn something in a new way is the reason I do what I do.”

Attendees will engage with each of these three dynamic speakers. They will also have ample opportunity to network with other leading women from throughout the region.

Crystal Officer will serve as this year’s emcee. Officer is currently the CEO of Beverly Farm Foundation located in Godfrey, Illinois.

Officer earned her master’s in public administration from Murray State University and has certificates from Harvard Business School Online in Business Strategy and Disruptive Strategy. She also holds a certificate in Corporate Communication from Cornell University, is certified in the Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0, and the 360 Multi-Rater Assessment through Mental Health Systems Inc.

Attendees do not need to be a member of the Growth Association to take advantage of this leadership development opportunity. Registration is now underway and filling up quickly.

Non-RBGA members can register for $40 per person, while RiverBend Growth Association members get a discounted rate of $30 per person.

Abby Thurman

An awards ceremony to honor a select slate of nominated professional women in the RiverBend area also takes place during the event. A winner of the 2023 RBGA LeadHership Inspire Award will be named. And one special recipient will receive the 2023 RBGA LeadHership Empowerment Award.

This year’s nominees are Kristen Burns, Lee Cox, Tammy Crider, May Ferriera, Lindsey Herron, Taylor Justice, Kim Keller, Crystal Officer, and Anne Tyree.

The title sponsor for the 2023 RBGA LeadHership Seminar is Karen Wilson, State Farm Insurance.

Other sponsorship opportunities for this unique part of the afternoon are still available. For more details, contact the RBGA office or visit online at

Local vendors will also be on hand throughout the LeadHership Seminar. They will share wares uniquely selected with the attendees’ needs and wants top of mind.

One other unique feature of the event is its wine pull. Attendees can select from a variety of donated wines and further help advance the mission of the RBGA.

Crystal Officer

As RBGA Member Engagement Director Stefanie Withers noted, “Sponsoring this annual seminar is a perfect opportunity to have your name in front of area businesswomen. Attending the event allows you to grow personally and professionally.”

At the end of this half-day Friday afternoon seminar, participants will leave the church site at 3303 Homer M. Adams Pkwy. in Alton, feeling empowered, inspired, and uplifted as they head into their weekend.

For more information or to register, visit online at or call (618) 467-2284.

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