Keynote Speaker:

Erik Dominguez

Erik Dominguez is a communication and confidence expert with over 25 years of experience teaching thousands of individuals from all walks of life how to speak up for themselves.

As an immigrant who grew up between two cultures and mixed messages, his first-hand familiarity with communication fears fueled him to learn and share the mindsets and tools to be seen and heard. His team-oriented approach is centered around a philosophy that everyone has a unique story. He believes everyone can share their minds and hearts with confidence, power, and — yes — a LOT of fun!

Erik is also a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a Certified Virtual Presenter.

Eric Hultgren

Director of Brand Strategy and Social Media

MLive Media Group.

Humans connect through story and have since the beginning of time. Eric Hultgren is a driven market leader focusing on how human beings can connect pragmatically using technologies available right now and has been telling stories with a camera + weaponized since he was 8 years old.

Eric leverages that curiosity to create stories that captivate an audience and utilize the current language of the internet no matter what that is right now. Eric has worked in radio, television, print, and of course the web. Eric also taught mass media for a decade at the university level and is a frequent speaker at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. 

John D Payne


Backus Payne

John began his insurance career as a medical malpractice insurance agent with Meadowbrook Insurance Group / Star Insurance Co in 1995. He grew the medical malpractice insurance division to over $3M in annualized premium from 1995 to 2001.

In 2001, john left Meadowbrook and purchased the book of business to branch out and open his own independent malpractice insurance agency.

In 2004, John merged his agency with Backus & Associates to form Backus Payne & Associates. Since 2004, John has been a partner of Backus Payne & Associates and has assisted the agency in both growth and superior client services. Backus Payne has grown to one of the leading medical malpractice insurance agencies in Michigan representing and offering 10+ key specialized malpractice insurance carriers to their clients.

Melissa A. Thompson, M.Sc.

Director/Clinical Administrator
Department of Pediatrics & Wayne Pediatrics Inc.

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Melissa Thompson is an accomplished healthcare and financial services professional currently serving as Director and Clinical Administrator at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Wayne Pediatrics, Inc., in Detroit, MI. Her expertise has led to transformative changes, notably the successful launch of Wayne Pediatrics and the rebuilding of the Department of Pediatrics in 2020. Committed to promoting equity and inclusion, Melissa dedicates herself to enhancing all aspects of healthcare, from patient care to staff management. She emphasizes the importance of implementing inclusive practices, fostering trust, and strengthening the bond between healthcare facilities and the communities they serve by addressing social determinants of health.

Melissa's dedication to serving diverse populations is evident through her involvement in key committees like the WSU Children’s Health Collaborative and the Women & the Underrepresented in Medicine Faculty Development Committee. As a Black Faculty and Staff representative on the Provost Employee Engagement Advisory Council, she amplifies underrepresented voices in higher education and the medical field.

Her professional memberships in prestigious organizations, such as the American College of Healthcare Executives, National Association of Health Services Executives, and Michigan Medical Group Management Association, reflect her commitment to continuous growth and development. Melissa holds an impressive academic background with a Master's degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from Florida International University.

Heidi Reyst, PhD, CBIST


Sage Solutions Group

Dr. Reyst is a Social Psychologist by trade, bringing a unique set of skills to the human resource space. Her doctoral training and subsequent work history is grounded in a research based, data-driven approach to understanding the workplace. Dr. Reyst has a thirst for knowledge and approaches challenges with that research focused, data-driven mindset. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the field of brain injury rehabilitation as a manager, director and executive focused on clinical administration.

The rigorous training in research methodology and three decades of management, operations and executive level oversight brings a practical, strategic, and process oriented approach to the human capital management space. This experience also lends itself to Sage’s driving human resource philosophy where our tactical focus is on development of a stable base from which everything flows.
That base is Sage’s Stability Pyramid® made up of three areas of focus: People, Policy and Process. When processes are efficient, policies are clear and consistent and people are engaged, the base is strong. If there are deficiencies in any aspect of the pyramid, the stability of the base is altered, leading to innumerable issues in the workplace.

Whether an organization’s challenge is poor performance outcomes, a lack of employee engagement, ineffective employee training, unexplained turnover, or the like, she takes an analytical approach to identifying the contributing causes. She assists organization in defining their key performance indicators and then establishes ways to measure, enhance and report on them. Once those causes are identified, she develops training, programming or activities designed to achieve the best outcome possible.

Dr. Reyst also brings her love of neuroscience and social psychology to the HR space. This knowledge base informs her training. Examples include improving emotional intelligence, identifying how unconscious bias and our own identities contribute to issues in the workplace, and how leaders can be more effective in engaging and retaining employees.  

Susan Lutz, MPA, COE

Regional Director of Operations

Specialty Eye Institute

Susan Lutz is the Regional Director of Operations for Specialty Eye Institute based in Jackson, MI (a partner practice of Midwest Vision Partners).  Susan has worked in healthcare for over 25 years with the majority of those years in ophthalmology and optometric practice administration. Susan has a passion for leadership, education and training.  Since joining Specialty Eye Institute in 2021, Susan has been instrumental in implementing programs that include Training, Leadership Development, Lasik, Dry Eye Clinics, Facility improvement and Equipment procurement.

Susan has a Master of Public Administration – Healthcare Administration concentration degree from Western Michigan University.  She holds a Certified Ophthalmic Executive (COE) designation through the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators.  Susan has been a member of Michigan MGMA for almost 20 years and has served on the Board for many of those years.  She is a past-President of MiMGMA and was awarded Administrator of the Year in 2022.  Susan is a proud member of the Junior League of Lansing where she enjoys participating in community service projects that help improve the Lansing community.

Susan resides in DeWitt, MI with her partner, Jeffrey, their beloved Bulldog, Winston, and the cutest cats around -- Snuggles and Sorsha.  She loves sports (especially MSU -- Go Green!), comedy, traveling and spending time with family and friends.     

Julie A. Hardy, MSA, CRCE, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P

Director, Revenue Cycle

The Rybar Group, Inc.

With a focus in revenue cycle management including coding, billing, compliance, reimbursement and vendor management, Julie helps providers to enhance financial performance, resulting in improved reimbursement and increased physician compensation while maintaining compliant practices.  She has a special interest in process improvement, project management and operational optimization, regularly providing guidance as to best practices and methods that support processes leading to optimal revenue.

Julie graduated from Ferris State University in Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management and earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in healthcare administration. She maintains the Certified Revenue Cycle Executive (CRCE) credential from AAHAM, and multiple coding certifications from AHIMA.

Outside of her day job, she enjoys traveling and owns the SheHive, an online collective of amazing women who are seeking and creating more in their lives through education, empowerment and community.

Rep Amos O'Neal

Michigan State Representative

94th House District

State Rep. Amos O’Neal is serving his second term representing the 94th House District. The district encompasses Bridgeport Township, Buena Vista Charter Township, Carrollton Township, Saginaw City, Saginaw Township and Spaulding Township. A long-time activist for his community, he served on the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners for four years and also spent 13 years on the Saginaw City Council; he even served as Mayor Pro Tem.

O’Neal earned a degree in business administration from Northwood University after he graduated from Saginaw High School. He is also a proud graduate of the Leadership Development Institute at Saginaw Valley State University and the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. 

During his time in local government, O’Neal went above and beyond to serve on various boards and committees throughout Saginaw County, including as chair of the Saginaw County Commission’s Committee on Health and Human Services and member of the Michigan Works! Operations Board and the HIV/AIDS Task Force. He was recognized for his work with the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award from the Boy Scouts and the President’s Award from the Saginaw Chamber of Commerce.

As a legislator, O’Neal was named Tri-County Building Trades Labor Person of the Year in 2022 and Michigan Pipe Trades Legislator of the Year and awarded the 2022 fellowship for the 27th Annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development. In 2023, O’Neal was awarded the Michigan After School Partnership Legislative Champion Award and named the 2023 Ducks Unlimited Legislator of the Year.

As a legislator, O’Neal was awarded a 2022 fellowship position for the 27th Annual Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development. He was also named the 2023 Ducks Unlimited Legislator of the Year. O’Neal continues to work for criminal justice reform. As chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections, he continues to advocate for adequate funding for improved prison systems, well-trained corrections officers and beneficial prisoner support resources. 

O’Neal raised his three daughters in Saginaw with his late wife, Sherry, who was a public school teacher.

Debra O'Shea, FACMPE

President & Founder

Epoxy Healthcare

Debra O’Shea is the President and founder of Epoxy Healthcare, a medical practice consultancy firm. She is also the Executive Director of the Michigan MGMA and serves on the boards of the St. Louis MGMA and the Cape Girardeau Country Club.

Prior to founding Epoxy Healthcare, Debra ran one of the largest independently operated pediatric practices in the state of Illinois. During her seven-year tenure as Practice Executive and Chief Financial Officer, she led this practice through the transition of two Electronic Health Record Systems and instituted a multitude of operational, financial and process improvements. Debra also led the practice through an acquisition by Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in 2016 and was instrumental in the practice’s successful integration into the hospital’s administrative structure post-acquisition.

Preceding her career in healthcare, Debra specialized in financial transactions in the telecommunications space. She served as the Vice President of Finance and Director of Investor Relations for various publicly traded “dot-com” companies during the 1990s. She helped lead these companies through a number of financial transactions, including IPO’s, equity financings, credit facility deals, and unfortunately, some bankruptcies. She also held positions as both a buy-side and sell-side analyst with Chicago-based investment firms.
Debra’s strong financial and operational background combined with her executive leadership experience in the healthcare arena has given Debra a unique perspective on how to run a successful medical practice.

Debra has an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Boston College. Debra is a Fellow and Certified Medical Practice Executive of the American College of Medical Practice Executives.

Debra and her husband relocated to Cape Girardeau, Missouri in 2017, after living in Chicago for almost 30 years. Debra grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is still a die-hard Michigan Wolverine fan after all these years! As Executive Director of the Michigan MGMA, she enjoys having an excuse to make frequent trips to Michigan to host conferences and visit family.

Joyce Bruce, RN, MSN, JD, CPHRM, CHC

Vice-President, Risk Solutions

MedPro Group

Joyce leads our Midwest and Mideast consultant team and provides comprehensive services to healthcare systems, hospitals, healthcare practices and facilities. She has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry working in clinical practice, risk management hospital administration, law, and consulting.

Joyce’s extensive clinical leadership includes experience as director of nursing in tertiary and pediatric facilities. In these roles, she led the development of quality programs, delivery of care models, and clinical care paths, including creation of data collection systems. In addition to her healthcare background and expertise, Joyce’s legal experience includes insurance defense, criminal defense, and healthcare law.

In previous positions, Joyce provided risk management consulting services, program and policy development, educational services, accreditation and regulatory compliance surveys (including EMTALA and HIPAA).

Joyce is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Science degree in nursing administration. Joyce earned her Juris Doctorate from Indiana University-Indianapolis.

Joyce is a member of the Indiana Bar, Ohio Bar, American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, Health Care Compliance Association and the Ohio and Indiana Society for Healthcare Risk Management. She is a certified professional in healthcare risk management (CPHRM) and certified in healthcare compliance (CHC).

Rep Mark Tisdel

Michigan State Representative

55th House District

Rep Tisdel has over 30 years experience as a medical-liability insurance agent and ten years selling O.R. Supplies and cardiovascular implants. He is now in his second term in the Michigan House of Representatives after serving eight years on the Rochester Hills City Council.