The Midwest Summit on Leadership, Dixon IL

Thank You for joining us at the Midwest Summit on Leadership!

Here you will be able to find today's presentations, information on our breakout sessions, after-party information, and lunch options!

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We are excited to welcome you back to Dixon, Illinois, for another year of inspiring leadership at the Midwest Summit. Join us for a transformative experience as we explore innovative strategies and ignite new ideas to lead with purpose and impact.

The City of Dixon is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®
recertification activities.

This event provides 5.5 SHRM Credits.

For more information on SHRM, please email


7:30 am - Doors open to public

8:30 am - Welcome and Introduction

Alonzo Kelly Keynote


Danny Langloss Keynote

60min - Lunch

Ghida Neukrich Keynote


Tad Everett Keynote

4:30 pm - 7 pm - Afterparty


Strategic Leadership Partner & Executive Coach

Creating A Culture Where Everyone Feels They Belong

This holistic presentation is inclusive of the skill of Critical Thought and Crucial Conversation; Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High.  All participants will feel compelled to learn, invited to be courageous, and challenged to be humble as we explore the impact of our experiences on our ability to form truly authentic partnerships and relationships.  Through intentional dialogue focused on our sense of belonging, we are able to examine and challenge the plethora of personal and professional environments where we feel most and least likely that we belong.  Participants will be able to apply their unique personality, lived experience, and acquired knowledge to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in ways consistent with the unique Mission of organizations across all Departments, roles, and responsibilities.

Speakers Presentations

Leading in Crisis

Ghida Neukirch

City Manager 

Highland Park, IL

Lead Your Team

Dr. Tad Everett

Superintendent of Schools

Sterling Public Schools, CUSD #5

The Unstoppable Leader:

Danny Langloss

Host: Leadership Excellence Podcast

City Manager, Dixon, IL

Afterparty Networking Event Featuring Gina Venier

Location: Dixon Riverfront Tent and Pavilion

Complimentary Adult Beverages and Light H'orderves

Live Music from Nashville Singer-Songwriter Gina Venier

The Unstoppable Leader: Creating Veritable Influence Through the Secret Techniques of Hostage Negotiators and Criminal Interrogators

Hostage negotiators and criminal interrogators are masters at creating human connection, quickly building rapport, and generating influence with people in crisis. They are highly competent, demonstrate confidence through communication, and quickly uncover the roadmap to safety and the truth. Just like great leaders, hostage negotiators and criminal interrogators are masters at creating very high levels of influence.

In this keynote, LinkedIn “Top 40” Thought Leader, host of the Leadership Excellence Podcast, and Police Chief (Ret.) Danny Langloss teaches leaders how to implement these strategies through the story of a 22-hour homicide interrogation. There is only one requirement. Leaders may only use these strategies if they have the highest levels of genuine care and concern for their teams. If they do, they will become unstoppable.

Creating a Culture & Climate for Success

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been lots of data collected on why American companies are having a difficult time recruiting and retaining high quality employees. Based on this data, there has never been a more important time for leaders to understand what is causing companies to have such poor recruitment and retention rates. In this session, Dr. Everett will provide participants with his organization's four-step process that has helped him establish a professional culture and climate that not only makes people want to come to work on his team, but also makes them want to stay.

Emergency Preparedness in Action

Emergency Preparedness was put into action when a mass shooting took place in Highland Park on Independence Day. City Manager Ghida Neukirch will provide the City’s response to the horrific tragedy, the significant coordination that was necessary for weeks after the mass shooting, and continued resiliency efforts which are on-going.

On the morning of July 4, 2022 the City of Highland Park was gearing up to celebrate together Independence Day as a community for the first time in two years. A mass shooting took place at 10:14 AM, 14 minutes after the parade started. The gunman, positioned on top of a roof, fired over 70 shots from an assault style weapon into the crowd below. Seven people were killed, 48 others were wounded by bullets or shrapnel, and thousands are forever impacted. The City of Highland Park, working alongside federal, state, county and other local enforcement agencies and responded swiftly and effectively. While the community was searching for meaning, the professionals working behind the scenes, worked tirelessly to best serve the public which continues today. City Manager Ghida Neukirch will present information about the City’s emergency response to the horrific tragedy, along with the significant coordination and mutual aid efforts. Lake County Emergency Management Agency Manager Dan Eder will present information about the County’s role in the Highland Park Shooting response including highlights of the plethora of resources available to communities and the public.


Ghida Neukirch is a municipal leader with 30 years of experience in local government management. She is the first female City Manager for the City of Highland Park, IL responsible for the management of a $113 MM budget and 270 employees. Neukirch serves on a broad range of professional, civic, and philanthropic boards and committees. She is a Board Member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board, Board Member and Past-President of the Rotary Club of Highland Park/Highwood, and a founder and Executive Board Member of Community the Anti-Drug (CTAD). She is a Credentialed Manager by the International City/County Management Association and is a Past President of the Illinois City/County Management Association. In 2012, Neukirch began her employment with the City of Highland Park as the Deputy City Manager and was promoted to City Manager in 2014. Her prior professional work includes management positions at four other municipalities in the State of Illinois. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Psychology from DePaul University and a Masters of Public Administration with an emphasis in Urban Management from Northern Illinois University. She and her husband Scot Neukirch, have two children, Jaclyn & Zachary.

A dynamic Executive Coach, Professor, 3x Best Selling Author, and Radio Host, Dr. Alonzo Kelly has gained international and global attention as a premier consultant and strategist. Alonzo is recognized as one the nation’s leading experts on leadership development, strategic thinking, planning, and acting which results in individual and organizational goal achievement. He has appeared on America’s Premier Experts which airs on major networks across the country including ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Alonzo has served over 1,000 individuals through personal and professional development, delivered training to a plethora of Fortune 500 Companies, College and Universities, Foreign Countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Guam), nonprofit organizations, and is consistently retained to be the keynote speaker at large and small events across the country.
He holds a bachelor’s in Accounting, three master’s degrees (Public Administration, Human Resource & Labor Relations, Business Administration), an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business & Entrepreneurship, and is nearing completion of a PhD in Multidisciplinary Human Services.  He is also currently in the process of obtaining his Doctorate in Business Administration.
He currently serves as the National Board Representative for the Wisconsin State Board of Directors for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), the Fire and Police Commission for the City of Howard, and Board of Directors for Family Services of Brown County.  
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