37th Annual Connecting Leaders Conference

June 16-18, 2022

Keynote Speakers


Christopher L. Williston, VI

Christopher L. Williston, IV is the president and chief executive officer of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT), the largest state association dedicated exclusively to community bank advocacy. In his current role, Williston has responsibility for the association, as well as its subsidiaries that include the IBAT Education Foundation and IBAT Financial Services.

In addition to his job responsibilities at IBAT, Williston has been recognized for his service to the association industry. He is a past chairman of the Texas Society of Association Executives, an organization that honored him with its Young Professional Leadership Award and Chairman’s Award. He has been recognized with the Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives. Williston is a graduate of Texas Christian University (TCU) and Brite Divinity School at TCU. He and his wife, Michelle, live in Cedar Park and have six children.

Jill Castilla

Jill Castilla leads Citizens Bank of Edmond as its President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chairwoman of its bank holding company. Castilla joined Citizens Bank of Edmond in 2009, transforming the struggling institution into one of the most innovative community banks in the nation. Most recently, Castilla partnered with Mark Cuban and Teslar to create the award-winning PPP.BANK website to support small businesses during the COVID pandemic, and she filed a patent for the creation of a full-service electronic banking facility. Her entrepreneurial spirit spills over into her community engagement as the founder of “Heard on Hurd,” a monthly street festival that revitalized downtown Edmond and generated $30 million local economic impact, and as the creator of Vault 405, the first co-working space in downtown Edmond. 

In 2020, Castilla received several industry awards, including being named as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker.

Mikaila Ulmer

Mikaila Ulmer is founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade. When she was just four years old, Mikaila was stung by two bees in the same week. Her parents encouraged her to do some research on the bees rather than being upset with them. Upon discovering the important role that bees play in our ecosystem, Mikaila was determined to help them. Using her Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed honey lemonade recipe, Mikaila launched her business from her home in Austin, Texas in 2009. Landing a deal with Daymond John on the show Shark Tank was just the beginning of Me & the Bees’ many business successes. Today, the award-winning lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of H-E-B, Whole Foods Market, Earth Fare, The Fresh Market and Kroger. In 2018, Mikaila launched her Healthy Hive Foundation where 10% of the net profits from the sale of her lemonade goes to saving our honey bees.  

Now at the age of 16, Mikaila has shared her story with Good Morning America, NBC News, ABC 20/20, The Real, Forbes and TIME among others, and has been invited to speak on social entrepreneurship at prestigious gatherings including the White House and the United State of Women Summit, where she introduced President Barack Obama. Her book, Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid was released in 2020 and can be found wherever books are sold. 


All conference events will take place in the Vineyard Tower, Level 2

Wednesday, June 16  
3:00-5:00 p.m. Conference Registration 
Thursday, June 17
8:00-9:00 a.m.
8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Conference Registration
10:00-11:30 a.m.  Opening General Session
11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Networking Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

Management and Leadership Track
Chiseling a Leader
Brian Townley - International Speaker & Leadership Consultant

Operations Track
The Future of Banking: Technology, Trends and Traps
Jonathan Galeano, COO - First Liberty National Bank

Lending Track
Regulatory Hot Topics (panel) 
Commissioner Charles Cooper
Chet Fenimore, Partner -Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford
Moderated by Christy Bussey, Dir Growth & Dev - IBAT

2:15-3:15 p.m.
Breakout Sessions    

Management and Leadership Track
Ripple Effect: Leading from the Core
Brian Townley - International Speaker & Leadership Consultant

Operations Track
Market Update and Balance Sheet Strategy
Matt Harris, SVP - The Banker Group

Lending Track
PPP Update on the Accounting and Legal Fronts
Sandy Brown, Partner - Alston & Bird LLP
Miranda Repsher, Senior Manager - BKD

3:15-6:00 p.m. Free for Family Afternoon
6:30-7:30 p.m. Hospitality Suite (sponsored by BCC) + Kids' Camp
7:30-9:00 p.m. Family Movie Night with Kid Friendly Meal
Friday, June 18  
7:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Conference Registration
7:30-9:30 a.m. Buffet Breakfast
7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions

Management and Leadership Track
How to Build a Winning and Lasting Culture
Will Welch, CEO - CalTech

Operations Track
Payments Update
Shawn Dillon, President - FiTech Payments

Lending Track
Spilled Milk: Lessons Learned (part 1)
Christy Bussey, Kelly Goulart, Karen Neely - IBAT

8:45-10:00 a.m. General Session: Jill Castilla
10:00-10:30 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45-11:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions

Management and Leadership Track
Conflict is Inevitable: From HR to PR
Jackie Rolow, SPHR, EVP & Chief HR Office - SHAZAM

Operations Track
What Small Business Want from Their Bank (And Why You Should Care)
Julie Courtney, President - IBAT Services

Lending Track
Spilled Milk: Lessons Learned (part 2)
Christy Bussey, Kelly Goulart, Karen Neely - IBAT

12:00-1:30 p.m. General Session & Lunch: Mikaila Ulmer
2:00-5:30 p.m. Free for Family Afternoon (pool hospitality suite and/or activities)
5:30-6:30 p.m. Hospitality Suite (sponsored by JMFA)
6:30-10:00 p.m. Friday Family Fun Night (Cory Morrow)      
Saturday, June 19  
8:00 a.m. Grab-and-Go Breakfast