Speaker – CEO – Audacious Defender
Jess Gendron is a leadership expert and culture strategist. As President & CEO of The Center for Leadership Excellence she has spent the last several years studying successful female leaders and workplace culture. As a female CEO, she encountered many barriers throughout her career and she felt alone in her experiences. She now helps women strengthen their leadership skills so they can shatter glass ceilings and actively advises businesses on how to create inclusive and equitable workplaces. Jess is the host of a podcast highlighting the journeys of female leaders called Ladies Leading and has authored two books on building relationships.
With over 15 years of experience working in leadership development and coaching, human resource consulting, business leadership, and higher education, Jess is a respected and sought out speaker and thought-leader for businesses, non-profits, women’s organizations, campus communities, and inter/national fraternal organizations. More than anything, she is passionate about working with girls and women across every age group, every type of organization, and at every level. Her day job allows her to work with professional women and connect with business leaders across industries to understand the challenges women. Yet, Jessica also remains passionate about working with young women and girls to build confidence, teach self-advocacy, and prepare them for what they will face in the “real world”.
In February 2021, Jess was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. She has openly shared her journey with cancer and her subsequent path developing her own gratitude practice. She’s passionate about helping leaders shift their mindset to be more positive and resilient.
Jess was named to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 in 2021. She is an award-winning instructional designer and in 2018 was honored for her contributions to the Fraternity and Sorority Community with the Jack L. Anson Award from the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors.
Jess is a wife, a mom, a dog-lover, and a boss. Her favorite place in the whole world is outdoors. She volunteers her time as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) with Kids Voice of Marion County and Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. She received a B.A. from Eastern Illinois University and a M.S. in Education from Indiana University – Bloomington.