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Inspirational keynote speakers.



Chris Lowney

Chair of the Board, CommonSpirit Health

Chris Lowney vice chairs the board of CommonSpirit Health, America’s largest nonprofit health system with $29 Billion in revenues and more than 150,000 employees. He is a one-time Jesuit seminarian and later served as a Managing Director of J.P. Morgan & Co on three continents. He is a popular keynote speaker who has lectured in more than two-dozen countries, on leadership, business ethics, decision-making and other topics.

He is the author of six books and has co-authored two more. The bestselling Heroic Leadership has been translated into eleven languages and was named to the recommended reading list of the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. His A Vanished World relates fascinating stories of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in medieval Spain: Chris was featured in the PBS-aired documentary, “Cities of Light,” which echoed many of that book’s key themes. His other works include Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, which has been called, “a book for the ages.” He won a 2018 Catholic Press Association award for Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church. His latest work is Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World), which won a 2018 Independent Press Award as a “Distinguished Favorite.” The book also won a Gold Medal in the 2019 Illumination Awards.

Chris regularly contributes to on leadership and leadership strategy (his columns can be found here); and he contributes to on spirituality and leadership (Find his Aleteia pieces here). His efforts in philanthropy and social entrepreneurship have included helping to launch an innovative collaboration to offer online university education in refugee camps in Africa and elsewhere; he also co-founded Contemplative Leaders in Action, an emerging leader formation program now active in a half-dozen cities; and he founded Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Future, which supports education and healthcare projects among severely impoverished, marginalized communities: to learn more, visit Chris also serves on the board of Commonwealth Magazine.


Ira Byock, M.D., FAAHPM

Founder/SVP for Strategic Innovation, Providence Institute for Human Caring

Dr. Byock is a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care for people at all ages and stages of life. Dr. Byock is active professor emeritus of medicine and community and family medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is a past president of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and served as director for Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care, a national grant program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He is the author of Dying Well (1997), The Four Things That Matter Most (2004), and The Best Care Possible (March 2012).


Carolyn Woo

Retired President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

In 1972, Carolyn Woo came from Hong Kong to Purdue University as a foreign student with only one year of funding.  With scholarships and fellowships, she was able to complete her Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. in Strategy by 1979. After two years in industry, Carolyn was recruited back to the Purdue faculty. Soon after promotion to full professor, she was drafted into administration, first as director of the Master’s programs in Business, and then as Associate Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Under her leadership, the Master’s program achieved top twenty ranking in BusinessWeek and she was cited as one of Top Forty Leaders Under Forty by Change Magazine. 

From 1997 to 2011, Carolyn served as dean of the Mendoza College at the University of Notre Dame and zeroed in on the quality of teaching, curricula innovations, placement of students and embedding ethics in all business disciplines. These resulted in #1 rankings for the undergraduate program from Bloomberg/BusinessWeek. She was elected the first female chair of AACSB International (accreditation association for business schools worldwide) and led the launch of the Principles for Responsible Management program with the United Nations. 

Carolyn then served Catholic Relief Services as CEO from 2012 to 2016. CRS undertakes humanitarian relief and sustainable development in over one hundred countries serving over a hundred million people each year. CRS designs and implements over a thousand programs annually to reduce poverty, diminish risk and foster prosperity. The areas include emergency relief, micro-finance, health systems, childhood development, education, agricultural productivity, empowerment of women, refugees resettlement, peace-building, capacity building of partners and beneficiaries, and impact assessment.  In 2013, Carolyn was recognized as one of 500 of the Most Powerful People on the Planet by Foreign Policy Magazine and one of thirty in the category of A Force for Good

Carolyn currently serves on the corporate boards of AON (UK), NiSource (IN), Arabesque (Germany) and on the International Advisory Group of Equinor (Norway). These enterprises cover global risk management, regulated utilities, AI-driven socially responsible investing, as well as fossil-based and clean energy.  Former corporate board service includes four public companies in community banking, pharmaceutical distribution, electronic retail, and automotive manufacturing. Nonprofit boards, past and present, have included universities, K12 education, large health system, faith-based media, and leadership development institute. Most recently, she and Leo Burke planned and implemented the Vatican Dialogues on Energy Transition which convened CEOs of energy and the world’s largest investment companies in conversation with each other and the Holy Father. Carolyn is recognized for her teaching, research, service, and leadership through different awards and over thirty honorary doctorates. 

Carolyn is married to Dr. David Bartkus and they have two sons Ryan and Justin Bartkus, both Notre Dame graduates. 


Maureen Bisognano

President Emerita and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Maureen Bisognano is a prominent authority on improving health care systems and advises leaders around the world. She previously served as Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s President and CEO from 2010 to 2015, and as Executive Vice President and COO from 1995 to 2010.  She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a research associate in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities.  She co-chairs the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care with Dr. Atul Gawande, and serves on the boards of the Commonwealth Fund, Indiana University Health, and Nursing Now. Maureen is also chair of the Well Being Trust National Advisory Council, a position she has held since its inception in 2017. 


Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM

President and CEO, Catholic Health Association of the United States

Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM, a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, is the 10th president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). She assumed the position in July 2019, succeeding Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, upon her retirement.

Sr. Mary leads CHA’s mission to support and advance the health ministry of the Catholic Church in the United States with its network of hospitals, long-term care facilities and community health centers that represent the largest group of nonprofit health providers in the nation. She oversees CHA operations at the association’s Washington, D.C. and St. Louis offices.

She also directs CHA’s national advocacy initiatives to protect life, promote the well-being of communities, address social determinants and disparities, develop new models of health delivery, protect Medicaid, Medicare and other vital safety net programs, and create a just health system that works for everyone, particularly poor and vulnerable persons. She has overall responsibility for administration and program development in areas of advocacy, mission, sponsorship, ethics, community benefit, leadership development, ministry formation, international outreach, and relationships with bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church.

Prior to her selection as president and CEO, Sr. Mary served as CHA’s vice president of sponsorship and mission services since 2016. In that capacity, she directed critical areas of sponsorship, mission, ethics, leadership development and ministry formation, including development of numerous educational programs, resources and collaborations with member health systems, universities, social service agencies and community groups. From 2009-2016, she served as senior director of sponsor services and initiated CHA’s Sponsor Formation Program for Catholic Health Care to prepare members of ministerial juridic persons to carry out their canonical responsibility as stewards of the health ministry of the Catholic Church. Her previous experience includes serving on the regional leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy, St. Louis and working in areas of health care, social service and education, including service in Belize, Central America, and Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies.

Sr. Mary received her master’s degree in business administration in health care from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s degree in social work from Saint Louis University. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Education. She is a member of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Joint Meeting with the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); a member on the Subcommittee on Health of the USCCB; serves as a participating observer on the board of Catholic Charities USA; and a board member of The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM

Mission Advisor

Patricia Talone is a Sister of Mercy of the Americas.  A theological ethicist, she is a consultant, lecturer and writer in the areas of mission, ethics and formation.  From 2001 to 2016, Sister Patricia served at the Catholic Health Association of the United States, first as Senior Director of Ethics, then as Vice President for Mission Services.

Having taught at every level from grade three through graduate school, Sister Patricia brings a broad educational background to her consulting services.  Additionally, she was director of vocations and temporary professed for the Sisters of Mercy from 1972 to 1983. She holds a PhD in theological ethics from Marquette University, an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Seminary, and a BA in Humanities from Gwynedd-Mercy College.  In 1996, she spent a semester as a visiting fellow at Georgetown University’s Kennedy School of Ethics. Her current board commitments include Board of Trustees at Georgian Court University, the Catholic Climate Covenant and St. Ignatius Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (board chair).  She served for many years on the Board of Directors for the National Catholic AIDS Network and Mid-America Transplant Services. Among her awards are the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from Gwynedd-Mercy College in 1994, and Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Scranton in 2005 and from Misericordia University in 2011. She has published extensively in theological and health care journals and periodicals.


Lindsay Sudeikis

Spiritual Director and Educator

Lindsay Sudeikis is an educator, community organizer, and facilitator. Her undergraduate degree is in Philosophy and her Master’s degree is in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Urban Education. For ten years, she worked in K-12 schools implementing curriculum and service learning that was rooted in ethics and advocacy. Her current emphasis on ancestral healing, spiritual counseling, and facilitating is an integration of her life’s work to date as a former catholic nun, an educator and coach, and as an animist who recognizes how profoundly interwoven, we all are. She’s committed to culturally healing and transformation one story, one heart at a time. 


Mary Anne Sladich-Lantz

Formation Consultant

Mary Anne Sladich-Lantz is a Formation Consultant for Providence St. Joseph Health. She has dedicated the majority of her career to ensuring that Providence leaders have all that they need to remain faithful to the Mission while responding to the signs of the time. Through her leadership, Providence has developed a ministry leadership formation program that is highly regarded and recognized throughout Catholic health care as best in class.  In her role, Mary Anne is responsible for leading, designing, and implementing a comprehensive formation program for all Providence leaders, governing board members, and caregivers.  Prior to assuming this role, she served for many years as Vice President, Mission Leadership at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, MT. Mary Anne has also worked with the Ministry Leadership Center in Sacramento, CA which provided ministry leadership formation for five Catholic health systems, including Providence and St. Joseph Health. 

Mary Anne is a native Montanan, born and raised in Anaconda, MT. She graduated from the (College of Great Falls) University of Providence with a BA in Sociology/Psychology. The University of Providence recently recognized Mary Anne with an Honorary Doctorate acknowledging a lifetime of dedication to Mission and formation.  After working for several years with developmentally disabled adults, Mary Anne pursued a Master’s degree in Theology and Personal Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union, Franciscan School of Theology, in Berkeley, CA. In addition, Mary Anne served as a member of the religious studies faculty at the (College of Great Falls) University of Providence. In her various roles within Providence, Mary Anne has worked with leaders, governing board members, providers, and all caregivers on personal, spiritual, and professional development in connecting the dots between personal mission and the organization’s Mission. In June of this year, Mary Anne was given the Sister Concilia Moran award by the Catholic Health Association for demonstrated creativity, leadership, and breakthrough thinking that advances the ministry.

Mary Anne and her husband Reggie enjoy the great outdoors and the big sky of Montana. Cross country skiing, hiking, golfing and gardening with great intensity are favorite activities. 


Sr. Donna Markham, OP

President and CEO, Catholic Charities USA

Sister Donna Markham, OP is currently President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, one of the largest nonprofit charitable organizations in the country.  Each year Catholic Charities provides over $5.1B in services to over 15 million people struggling with poverty in this country.  Prior to coming to CCUSA in June 2015, Sister Donna served as President of the Behavioral Health Institute for Mercy Health System, Cincinnati, Ohio.  In that capacity she was responsible for the transformation of the delivery of behavioral health services across the seven geographic regions of the health system.  In addition to being a licensed and board-certified clinical psychologist, she has been named a Fellow of the American Board of Professional Psychology and of the Academy of Clinical Psychology. For 10 years she led the Southdown Institute in Ontario, Canada, treating clergy and religious suffering from serious emotional illness. She has served as the Prioress General of the Adrian Dominican Congregation.

Sister Donna has dedicated the majority of her life as a Dominican sister and clinical psychologist to the ministry of personal and global healing, helping to foster both personal and organizational change. She is actively engaged in global peace initiatives and processes of reconciliation that have taken her throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  She writes extensively and speaks both nationally and internationally on the interface between spirituality, group processes and strategies for organizational transformation and reconciliation, especially as this affects persons who marginalized or dispossessed.

She is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates and for the past eight years has been named one of the Top 50 nonprofit leaders in the US by the NonProfit Times.


Mary Anne Graf

President and Founder, Health Care Innovations

Mary Anne Graf is known for her passion for improving health care; her ability to connect the disparate dots of clinical care, business development, finance, and marketing; and a sense of humor and perspective.

Over three decades, Mary Anne has assisted hospitals and health systems in the US and abroad to improve quality, brand, share and margin in the foundational services of women’s and children’s care—both services which require partnering with multiple other medical and surgical specialties.

Her work often involves change, and the ability to create successful change is dependent on forging alignment with all levels of staff and providers, underwritten by her expertise in generational dynamics—particularly relevant during these chaotic times. During organization change, mag helps hospitals, health systems and staff surface common denominators that attract and energize emerging leaders and partners, helping organizations reframe vision and mission for a sound, exciting future.

As a consultant, she has personally led over 900 projects in 48 states and 10 countries, allowing her to easily adapt to very different needs, cultures and communities. Hands-on experience—early on as a primary care practitioner and later as vice president of a multihospital system—informs everything she does.

Keeping overall health system strategy in the forefront, her combined clinical, organizational change, business development and marketing backgrounds enable her to connect divergent goals and tactics, with innovative programs that speak directly to payers, patients, and providers alike. Her personal clients include hospitals and health systems from every corner of health care—from small independent rural hospitals to multinational conglomerates and everything in between.

She studied clinical care, business and leadership at the Universities of Utah, Virginia, and Notre Dame, and at Northwestern, and has served as graduate level faculty at three universities. She has written two books, both published by HCPro, and speaks extensively. Mary Anne lives outside Charlotte, NC, with her husband, Paul, a recovering attorney, and assorted fur-eluting pets, which at various times included a gender-indeterminate tarantula and a 24-year-old one-eyed warrior diva cat. Paul and mag have two adult sons, both Millennials, and a Gen Z grandson. She is a news junkie and has been writing a weekly COVID update for over a year in the community where she lives and will be very happy when the need for that ends. Her personal interests include almost any type of music, swimming, reading, and anything Notre Dame, Irish or Japanese. With over seven million total lifetime airline miles, travel is also in the equation.

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