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Women in Business Summit

Women in Business Summit logo

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Colusa Hall
California State University, Chico 

2020 Guest Speakers


Lauren Gruwell

Lauren Gruwell ('09) | Keynote, Apple

Lauren Gruwell graduated from Chico State in 2009 with her undergraduate degree in Psychology, and a minor in Marketing. A Bay Area native, Lauren returned to her roots to begin her career at one of the most iconic Silicon Valley companies, Apple Computer. 

After her first year at Apple, she decided to pursue a new opportunity to broaden her skillset and exposure as a sales executive for a recruiting company called Insight Global. Four years later, she boomerang’d back to Apple where she joined the Enterprise Sales team, and has since continued growing her career there for the past five years. 

Lauren most recently transitioned to a Business Development Manager for Apple Pay, managing a portfolio of Payments Technology Partners for North America. She is excited to share more about her journey, and connect with her fellow Wildcats and Women in Business. 


Lauren Kaufman  |  Apple Pay - Channel Partnerships  |  laurenk@apple.com

What’s your story? 

Everyone has a story to tell, and there’s power in getting really good at telling it. Look forward by looking back, connecting the dots in your life that got you to where you are today. Learn one woman’s story, and how to build your own, by leveraging your unique super powers, networks, and pure gut as you start your career journey. 

Stacey Axtell

Stacey Axtell | Financial Planning for Women

Stacey Axtell is a Financial Advisor, Vice President-Investments for Wells Fargo Advisors, committed to offering financial management to individuals, families, and businesses through long term client relationships, ongoing investment advice, and trust. Stacey’s passion is helping clients gain confidence in their financial future by attempting to make the seemingly complex simple and improving their current situation by partnering with them each step of the way.

Before joining Wells Fargo Advisors in 2015, Stacey was a Private Client Advisor for JPMorgan Securities. Stacey has over 12 years of experience in the finance industry, along with 10 years prior experience in insurance. Stacey grew up in the Silicon Valley under the mentorship of her father, in which he spent 36 years running the family business in insurance and financial services.

Stacey went on to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and moved to Chico in 2010. Stacey has a son and a daughter both in college and spends her free time with family, friends, hiking, participating in running events such as the Tough Mudder and 10k races. Stacey is a member of The National Exchange Club in Chico focusing on community service and youth programs.

Jenna Childers

Jenna Childers ('11) | Women in Business Panel

Jenna Childers (BA, Psychology, '11) is from Salinas, California. She attended Chico State in Winter 2007 and graduated in 2011 with her undergraduate degree in Psychology and a minor in Family Relations. She was employed by Crush in downtown Chico for five years and also taught indoor cycling at the WREC from the time it opened until graduation.

Jenna started working for Jackson Family Wines and their distributor Regal Wine Company in 2012. She began in the entry level outside sales position and was promoted to Restaurant Sales. She now recruits and educates the entry level sales team in California. Her role is to hire talent and retain talent for long career growth in the wine industry.

Jenna has a positive and outgoing personality that is beneficial for long-term relationships.

Sara Lautenbach

Sara Lautenbach | Salary Negotiation

Sara Lautenbach is here on behalf of AAUW, the American Association of University Women. AAUW is a national organization dedicated to empowering women including in the areas of education and equal pay. 

Sara has a bachelor of science degree in commerce and engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, and has worked at Hewlett-Packard, Sutter Health, and as an independent consultant. She has held technical, business, and HR roles. She has facilitated workshops for clients around the world on a variety of business and leadership development topics. She has also been a hiring manager and has held positions in compensation and recruiting/staffing functions and has successfully negotiated her own salary.


Emily Murphy

Emily Murphy ('09)

Emily Murphy is a 2009 Chico State Graduate. She majored in International Relations and Linguistics. Emily currently lives in Chicago and works for a Software Company called Dynamic Signal, which is based in San Francisco. She works as an Engagement Manager and has implemented some of the company's largest customers. In her spare time, she likes to try out the great food scene in Chicago, workout, and spend time with family and friends. 

Noelle Sadler

Noelle Sadler

Noelle Sadler is the VP of Marketing at Lulus, a fast-growing online women’s fashion retailer, where she oversees all aspects of marketing, creative and PR. She has over 15 years of experience in online and offline content development and production, strategy, PR, advertising, and digital marketing and outreach. 

Prior to Lulus, Noelle held various management positions at MAC Cosmetics in New York, including Vice President of Global Consumer Engagement, Executive Director of Global Consumer Marketing, and Director of Global New Media, where she developed the brand’s social media and content strategies, led video content production, and managed print, digital, and outdoor advertising worldwide.

Prior to MAC Cosmetics, Noelle held roles in account direction, content management, strategic planning, and business development at Havas Media in New York, Paris, and Barcelona.  Before that, she was a producer at Rockstar Games, where she led production on blockbuster video game titles including Grand Theft AutoMax PayneMidnight ClubRed Dead Revolver, and Manhunt.  Prior to Rockstar, she worked in international distribution and acquisition at GreeneStreet Films and Miramax Films in New York.

Noelle received an MBA from IESE Business School in Barcelona, and holds a BFA with Honors in Film & Television Production from New York University. She has lived and worked in New York, London, Paris, Barcelona, Bucharest, Boston, and San Diego. She and her husband have two children, and what little spare time she has is spent outdoors whenever possible – cycling, hiking, skiing, or playing soccer.

Jean Bjork

Jean Bjork

Jean Bjork’s initial foray into the trades was as a welder, where she worked tirelessly to prove herself an equal in both skill and aptitude in a male dominated industry. Striving for added success, Jean went on to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.  

In 1988, while raising a family, working full time and attending college, Bjork Construction Company was founded. Initially, Bjork Construction established itself as a premier custom home builder in Northern California. As the company has evolved, however, Bjork Construction has been recognized as a successful commercial builder to many Fortune 500 Companies.  

Jean is committed to the empowerment, education and promotion of all individuals to become the best they can be, regardless of race, gender, or age. Bjork Construction prides itself on the hiring and procuring of diverse suppliers, subcontractors and employees. In 2006, the company became a certified Women Owned Company. This commitment has ensured that Jean’s beliefs and values of equality in the construction industry would remain a critical component of her company’s culture.  

Of the current 9.1 percent of women involved in the construction industry today, Jean is a woman who continues to be recognized by her peers for her commitment to and contributions made towards diversity and equality in construction and the trades. Most recently, she has been the proud recipient of the AGC’s 2018 Diversity & Inclusion Award (Awarded to only two AGC members nationwide who “champion advancements in diversity and foster a culture of inclusion within their workforce…”), WBENC’s 2019 Star Award (Awarded to only a select group of nationally certified women’s business enterprises for their proven leadership to their communities), and continues to be recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Top 100 Women’s Owned Businesses of 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Jean’s advice to others?   

Be persistent. Pursue your passion. Know your worth, and don’t sell yourself or your product short. Lead with equality and inclusiveness. Strive to be the best, and always believe that you can improve