The Bridging the Gap Leadership Conference (formerly known as the Sisterhood Leadership Retreat) is for every woman–spanning generations, life stages, and leadership experience. We believe every woman is a potential leader, and we have designed this event for you!
You will gain fresh perspectives, resources, and connections with sister leaders from across Minnesota. Come individually or with your team!
- February 9-10
- Lake Geneva Christian Center (Alexandria, MN)
- Featuring Portia Allen
- Plus Multiple Workshops, the Lund Leadership Award Presentation, a Leadership Blooper Panel, Networking, Coffee, and More
- SUB Project Collection for the Single Moms Retreat
- Add-On Option: Professional Headshots
- NEW: Cozy “Up North” Outdoor Activities Available
- Guided moonlit walk, ice skating on Lake Geneva (bring your own skates), fireside s’mores
- Bingo & gourmet snacks indoors
Come Individually or With a Group
Become a Sponsor
Join Facebook Group
- 4:30 pm – Registration (Dining Hall)
- 4:30-6:30 pm – Add-On Headshot Appointments
- 5:00-6:30 pm – Dinner On-site (Optional Add-on Ticket) + Shopping
- 7:00 pm – Lund Leadership Award Announcement & Main Session 1
- 9:00-9:30 pm – Registration
- 9:00-11:00 pm – Sisterhood Social
- Bingo, Gourmet Snacks, Networking, + Shopping Indoors
- New This Year: Cozy “Up North” Outdoor Activities Available, Weather Permitting – Horse-Drawn Carriage to The Bridge Shop, Lakeside Bonfire/S’Mores/Hot Cocoa, Guided Moonlit Walk, + Ice Skating on Lake Geneva (Bring Your Own Skates), Outdoor Hot Tub/Indoor Pool
- 6:45 am – Coffee Available (Dining Hall)
- 7:00 am – Breakfast + Exhibitor Shopping + Lakeside Bonfire Devotion (With Coffee + Hot Cocoa)
- 7:30 am – Saturday Registration
- 7:45-8:15 am – Breakfast Buzz
- 8:30-9:30 am – Workshops 1
- 9:45-10:45 am – Workshops 2
- 11:00-12:30 pm – Main Session 2
- 12:30 pm – Lunch + Shopping at The Bridge Shop + Exhibitors
- 12:30-2:00 pm – Add-On Headshot Appointments
- 2:00 pm – BTG Missions Offering + Main Session 3
2024 Featured Guests
Portia Allen – Speaker
Portia Allen is a speaker, pastor, consultant, and writer. She is married to Clinton, and they have 3 energetic boys. Having worked in public education and now being in full time ministry, Portia is a bridge builder of people and is passionate about seeing the Body of Christ minister to all people.
Learn more about Portia at portiaallen.com.
Angie Goetz – BTG Director
Angie Goetz is the Director of Bridging the Gap, the women’s ministry of the MN District of the Assemblies of God. She is an ordained minister and works toward the long-held traditions of BTG by Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering women in their faith journey with Jesus.
Angie has been married for 27 years and has 2 sons ages 21 and 20 and a daughter who is 16. She lives in Austin, MN, and has a professional background of 25 years in low-income property management and various areas of community involvement including serving 11 years on her local school board. She prefers to start her day with a diet coke instead of coffee, loves meeting new friends, spending time with old ones, and a good brainstorming session. She sometimes snorts when she laughs and relaxes by watching sunsets from her front porch in pajama pants as often as she can.
Follow Angie on Instagram.
River of Life Worship
River of Life Worship is the worship team from River of Life Church in Cold Spring, MN.
See more @riveroflifemn on social media.
Lindsay May – Emcee
Lindsay May is the founder of The Truly Co., host of The Truly Co Podcast, and publisher of Truly magazine, a Christian print publication grounded in gospel truth, pairing stories of hope and encouragement with custom art and design. She is passionate about spirit-filled creativity, contextual biblical teaching, and leadership. Lindsay’s mission is to encourage others to step boldly into the kingdom assignments and dreams God has given them. She has a Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership and is also working towards a Master of Divinity from Pillar Seminary, where she is being trained in ancient Near East contexts, both for the Old and New Testament. Lindsay lives in Lakeville, Minnesota, and enjoys the little moments of life with her two kids, husband, and dogs. She loves speaking, photography, and finding adventure wherever she goes.
Kylie DeBoef – Emcee
Kylie DeBoef is a down-to-earth 24-year-old who finds her greatest joy in her faith, freelance graphic design work, and savoring a slice of key lime pie. Currently, she calls Minneapolis her home and thoroughly enjoys the winter weather as it is perfect for snowboarding.
Kylie is heavily involved in a variety of roles at Cedar Valley Church, such as youth leading, young adult ministry, photography, and on occasion, she offers her support to the University of Minnesota’s Chinese Chi-Alpha, NiHao Minnesota, in collaboration with local missionaries where she is trying her best to learn the Mandarin language.
When she’s not dedicating her time to these pursuits, you’ll find Kylie in the company of her friends, working out, dancing, or putting her graphic design skills to use at General Mills. She is passionate about business as mission (BAM) and hopes to one day travel the world and equip women to grow their own businesses.
Follow @kylie.deboef on Instagram.
Pamela Steinle – Special Feature Speaker
Pamela Steinle has been employed as a licensed attorney since 2011. In 2020, she opened Steinle Law PLLC, an estate planning and settlement law firm. Today, she balances her law life with a calling to encouraging others to live an authentic life that is broken for Jesus. Steinle Grace was started in 2023 to house Pam’s speaking organization, with the name coming from a fun application of Romans 6:14 (you are not under law but under grace). She and her husband, Justin, run a household of girls (ages 5, 9, and an adult relative with Down syndrome), are amateur foodies, and enjoy domestic travel.
Follow @steinlegrace on Instagram.
Check Back for 2024 Workshops
Portia Allen: Planting and Watering: Knowing Your Strengths and Making Room for Others
Join Portia for an overview of strengths of an individual and exploring the importance of making room for other strengths (i.e. talents in the teams you lead).
Portia Allen is a speaker, pastor, podcast host, and writer. She is married to Clinton, and they have 3 energetic boys. Portia is a bridge builder of people and works to help remove barriers impeding greatness so all can accomplish their very best.
Learn more about Portia at portiaallen.com.
Melissa Coleman: Become An Unoffendable Leader
Do you carry burdens you would like to leave behind? Do you ever wonder why you can’t get completely free from the hard emotions and painful memories of past events, even when you’ve done your best to forgive the offenders in your life? Do you find yourself carrying baggage from past wounds into new situations, or do you have triggers that set you off? Jesus paid a high price for us to experience complete freedom from oppression and live unburdened lives. Come learn how to live an unoffendable life – without having to grow thicker skin, and to utilize God’s powerful currency of Mercy to transact business in the heavenly courts. You will learn how to live at a level of freedom and authentic peace that most people only dream they could enjoy!
Melissa Coleman has been practicing law for 25 years, and currently serves as the Senior Principal and CEO of Coleman Law & Consulting, a Twin Cities based firm specializing in serving churches, faith-based organizations and small to mid-sized businesses. Coleman is recognized for her extensive work in advancing human rights in both domestic and international arenas, as well as for advocating for the rights of citizens to freely exercise their religious beliefs in their public and professional lives. Coleman and a small team of lawyers launched a nonprofit network of faith-based attorneys in her state, and she has served and continues to serve on numerous boards and advocacy teams. Coleman and her husband of 25 years have three adult and two teen kids. What Coleman loves most in life is helping people get free and stay free!
Pam Steinle: Failing with Purpose and Other Workplace Paradoxes
We love God with all our heart, soul and mind… but let’s face it, sometimes serving God in the workplace doesn’t feel good. In fact, sometimes it feels like we’re failing! Friend, you are not alone. This session starts off exposing the many ways Christ followers live in paradox in the workplace. Employee reviews, boundaries with clients, and being a profitable business are examples of areas where our Christian principles are in close tension with workplace obligations. The heart of the session is not me giving you “The Answer,” but to share a little bit of my journey in the hopes it provides a space for the Holy Spirit to renew and refresh you. My prayer is that you will leave this fast-paced and high-energy session encouraged, revived, and ready to lead your team with a fresh anointing!
In 2019, presenter Pam Steinle was confident God was leading her to start her own business. So she did. In 2021, Pam was confident God was telling her to make more space for ministry and family. So she did that, too. Today, she continues to live out this paradox (start your own firm, but work less?), albeit imperfectly, and has come to see that Christian women in the workplace need some REVIVAL—of identity, purpose, and of calling.
Learn more about Pam at steinlelawpllc.com.
Panel: Leading Well as an Introvert or Extrovert and Leading Others Who Are
Join Mykelti Blum, Melissa Oler, Peggy Vagle, and Portia Allen in a conversation about how to embrace your personality as a leader, why all gifts are needed, and how to lead confidently as you recognize and cheer on the strengths of others around you.
Rachelle Bernard: Networking - Finding the hidden gems in your community!
We are in a season of rebuilding, both in business and the church. So you long to reconnect with the community you live in? Would a few more committed volunteers be a game changer for the organization you work with? Let’s talk about how networking can help you find the hidden gems in your community. You don’t have to do it all! You just have to build relationships with the right people. Come find out what you can gain through networking in your community.
Rachelle Bernard is the Community Outreach Pastor at Rochester Assembly and a Police Chaplain with the Rochester Police Department. She truly believes that when we connect within our communities we can see lasting change in people’s lives. Rachelle has a hubby, three sons, and loves sharing a great charcuterie board with friends.
Dr. Edna Geddes: Keys to Improve Your Mood and Mental Health
Science confirms your quality of life depends on your mood. Our thoughts—real or imagined—influence feelings and shape behaviors. This session will provide practical keys to identify and break unhealthy mindsets by utilizing cognitive, behavioral, and spiritual strategies based upon biblical principles. There are things you can do improve your mood and quality life.
Dr. Edna is a wife, mother, grandmother, pastor’s wife, and is currently employed full-time at Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. as a mental health practitioner. She provides mental health services to diverse populations from various social economic statuses.
Tabatha Perry: Words to Live By - Design a Self-Contract that Provides Focus and Drive
An interactive workshop that dives into who God made you, and discover what gives you focus and drive. Walk away with a personalized self-contract that keeps you grounded when life feels chaotic.
Tabatha Perry is a strong, courageous, and bold woman of God, who is the ultimate go-to Life Coach for women who are wanting less chaos and more order in their life! With 15+ years of experience in the Criminal Justice System, moved 20+ times, has a Masters in Social Worker, girl-mom, wife, and Podcaster- she loves incorporating her unique background into personalized coaching for women so they step into their fullest God-given potential!
Learn more about Tabatha at tabathaperry.coach.
Shannon Velsor: Adaptive Resilience--How to Thrive During Hard Times
Adaptivity and resilience are two attributes every leader of the future will need in order to thrive during these times. Join Shannon Velsor as she talks about how to “strengthen” these muscles, reframe change, and discover the unique opportunities that exist when plans shift and change.
Shannon Velsor is married to the love of her life, John, and is a mom to two thrill-seeking boys, Aiden and Asher (appropriately nicknamed “Danger” and “Smasher”). She serves as the Executive Pastor in the church she and her husband planted in 2013. She also serves in marketing and communications for a local health and wellness company. She loves great coffee and reading and claims to be a Muay Thai fighter, mostly because she works out at a kickboxing gym for middle-aged moms.
Kari Staaland: Everyday Leadership as a Stay at Home Mom
As moms, we lead our families every single day. Many of us have numerous responsibilities outside the home that require our energy and focus. Is it possible to model hard work, a good attitude, and servant-leadership to our children as we juggle so much? Yes, with God’s help! How else will they learn it unless they see it modeled in us?
In this workshop we’ll discuss practical ways to model to our children a lifestyle of serving God with our leadership.
Kari Staaland is a wife and stay-at-home mom who is passionate about serving the local church, mentoring young women with practical wisdom, and developing them as leaders in their homes and beyond. She and her husband, Derek, attend City First Church in Rockford, IL, where they serve together as the Directors of Marriage Ministry. Kari volunteers at her kids’ school in many capacities, as well as serves at the church in the kids ministry, women’s ministry, and college ministry, and she and Derek have led a life group in their home for young married couples for 20+ years.
Kari and Derek met in 2nd grade and have been happily married since 1999. They have three really great kids, Regan (18), Lauren (16), and Caleb (13). Kari is a host of frequent get-togethers, as their home is the “party house.” She loves a lavender latte, shopping with her daughters, family movie nights, watching her kids play all the sports, and the annual family vacation to the beach.
Panel - Fighting Intimidation, Comparison, & Competition
Join Mykelti Blum, Julie Fisk, Kari Staaland, and Amber Gerstmann for a discussion on topics that can be common to everyone. Whether you find yourself feeling intimidated to start your business or next career opportunity, comparing your life to that of a successful friend, or experiencing unhealthy competition with someone in the workplace, we can all battle with how to find value in being uniquely us. If you are in the corporate workplace, ministry world, are a stay-at-home mom, or have women in your life who are, this session is for you!