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Author, sportscaster and actress to share their experiences at upcoming forum in Gresham.

FILE PHOTO - Tracey Conway and Ann SchatzAn upcoming Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce event provides an opportunity for community members to work with local business leaders and enjoy inspiring talks from national and local speakers.

The 2017 Business Leaders Summit will feature New York Times bestselling author Franz Wisner, Emmy-award winning actress Tracey Conway, sportscaster Ann Schatz and Green Zebra Grocery founder Lisa Sedlar.

"I am honored to be invited, and I'm looking forward to what will be two fun days in Oregon," Wisner said.

The event will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Pathway Church Auditorium, 3848 N.E. Division St., and 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at the East Hill Church Kids City Building, 701 N. Main Ave. Tickets are $35 per person for Oct. 11, $75 for Oct. 12, $100 for both dates, and $625 for a Corporate Table that seats eight. Tickets can be purchased at http://conta.cc/2xWnwGm.

Conway will speak on Wednesday, while Wisner, Shatz and Sedlar will headline the event on Thursday. Wisner also will give a short talk Wednesday night.

Speakers will focus on brand development, leadership and employee engagement and "entrepreneurial leaps of faith." Each speaker will provide a unique view on business while sharing personal stories.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Franz WisnerFranz Wisner

A former public relations executive, lobbyist and press secretary to California Gov. Pete Wilson, Wisner will discuss storytelling. His defining moment took him away from an office cubicle and into the world of brand storytelling, where he helps companies of all sizes successfully expand their business.

Wednesday night he will share his own stories, including being dumped at the altar and going on his honeymoon with his brother, which helped shape his first book, "Honeymoon with my Brother."

"Sometimes life gives you lemons, so I say make margaritas," he quipped. On Thursday he will focus on how business owners can use literary devices and practices to effectively share their own stories. Wisner will highlight companies that were able to convey their stories in both good and bad ways. The idea is to create connections with customers while straying away from some public relations strategies that can feel stale.

"If anyone has a good story and needs help telling it, come over and listen to my talk," he said. "Nobody roots for a brand, but they will pull for the story behind it. Storytelling is the most powerful form of communication we have."

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Tracey ConwayTracey Conway

Conway's defining moment is like no other. Dying on stage is the last thing you'd expect from an Emmy-award winning actress, but that is literally what happened when Conway dropped dead from sudden cardiac arrest while filming her sketch comedy television show.

Conway has turned her story into a series of lively and poignant presentations intended to touch and inspire the audience.

Ann Shatz

Shatz was the first female sportscaster in two major markets, and her imprint on broadcasting is almost as big as her personality. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Ann SchatzShe has provided live coverage for top competition and venues including the NBA Championships, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, the Boston Marathon, NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments and the U.S. Women's Open Golf Championship.

Weaving her personal experiences as a broadcaster with real life techniques and tools, Shatz intends to challenge attendees to look at leadership through a new lens.

Lisa Sedlar

Sedlar was secure, successful and happy in her role as CEO of New Seasons stores. The founding CEO of the grocery chain hired Sedlar as company president in 2005. At that time, there were close to 900 employees with revenues around $100 million. Sedlar helped expand the company to revenues of $300 million and about 2,400 staff members.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Lisa SedlarBut she decided to walk away and start a risky new venture of her own, Green Zebra Grocery.

"When you're doing something innovative, and things get tough, some people will inevitably lose faith in your vision," Sedlar said. "You have to learn to trust your gut, because you won't have tons of data to back you up. You just have to be super courageous and trust your vision when others start to question it."

Sedlar will share what lessons she has learned through her experiences of chasing a dream while pushing her new business forward.

The chamber's Business Leaders Summit is sponsored by The Boeing Company and Portland General Electric.

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