By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

About 100 area career women Saturday took advantage of the 14th annual Central Texas Women's Leadership Conference of the Central Texas Area Council of the American Business Women's Association, highlighted by a luncheon presentation by Waco life coach Donna Stauber titled "You Don't Have to Control the Chaos to Find Peace Within."

The conference consisted of a continental breakfast and morning welcome by council chairperson Tina Ackles of Killeen and others followed by two morning breakout sessions. Together with one afternoon breakout, the sessions offered choices between 10 presentations including "The Spirit of Adventure in Your Business" by Lisa Bargsley, "How to Talk to Men" by Dana Minney, "What's Next? Thinking Outside the Box of Your Job Title" by Sue Cullen, "Feng Shui Your Brain, Your Space and Your Succe$$" by Nancy Wesson, "Be a Social (Media) Butterfly" by Caryn Brown, "Eat in Peace: Making Sense of Organic Food" by Charlotte Skiles, "Recharge Your Diva Power with Yoga" by Abby Lentz, "How to Start with Trust" by Richard Kitterman and "Small Business Marketing Basics" and "Doing Business Online," both by Marcus Carr.

The event included tables for about 50 vendors, many of them small local stores and part-time artists and artisans, with jewelry, health and beauty products, original paintings, clothing and cloth goods, and even dolls.

Special guests at the event were Cecilia Owen, 2008-09 ABWA District II vice president, and twin sisters Tina Gandy of the Leading Women Express Network and Lina Lawson, 2007-08 ABWA national president.

Stauber, a certified life coach and health education specialist with a Ph.D., outlined her talk with a Powerpoint presentation.

She said she "fell in love" with ABWA after finding it four years ago because it provides "very, very quality girl time."

She challenged the women in the audience to recognize their intrinsic worth and said women are the wave of the future when they change from "miss" to "ma'am" as they age if they take power.

She said, "In this society, when you get organized, it all changes." She said that because everything moves so rapidly in what society has become, most women only give 10 to 20 percent of their capacity at work, "25 percent if you're doing something you really like." She advised learning to "focus on the immediate," reducing irrelevant concerns, which can enable about a 50 percent concentration level. "No one can do much better than that," she said.

She said, "Several times a day, I'll stop and say to myself, 'Donna, focus!' Even a half-lit light bulb is way ahead of the norm."

She said that young women typically want to "be skinny, have gobs of cash and have an enlightened spouse and family. That last one simply never occurs." She said studies show that only 2 percent of women consider themselves beautiful ordinarily, but when they're doing something spiritually fulfilling, the rate goes up to 62 percent.

She said, "If you put a frog in hot water, it will jump out, but if you put it in cool water and gradually heat it, the frog will stay there until it boils. You think, 'There's no way I'd ever live like that,' but most of us are living like that. Frogs know how to take lily-pad time. You have to have an outlet, or the personality traits you exhibit when you're stressed become your personality.

"If you focus on a flaw, it becomes your reality, but if you focus on the fabulous, it comes to the top." Her literature reveals an openly Christian orientation, and she advocated dwelling on the hymn "Amazing Grace."

She said, "In spite of our money-grubbing, email-addicted ways, we are truly amazing." She said that instead of mourning the loss of sexuality in aging, women should cultivate inward beauty – "the capacity to get chill bumps at a beautiful sunrise" – and prepare to lead the world.

The Central Texas Area Council includes the Bell chapter of Temple and Belton, the Chisholm Trail chapter of Salado, the Double R Charter chapter of Round Rock, the Red Poppy chapter of Georgetown and the Dynamic, Globe and Heart of Texas chapters, all of Killeen.

Sponsors for Saturday's event included MetLife, Spectrum Printing, American Bank of Texas, Mary Kay, First National Bank Texas, John McLaren Chevrolet, Perry Office Plus, Lott Vernon & Co., and Tina Ackles.

Ackles, who had been on government contract work in Iraq for two months recently, thanked other council board members including Robin Wheeler, Bonnie Hunt, Marie Jackson and vice chairperson Sandie Keinitz for closing the gap in preparing for the conference.

Contact Don Bolding at or (254) 501-7557.

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