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Idaho State Treasurer & Conference Host
Julie Ellsworth was elected Idaho’s 24th State Treasurer in 2018 and took office in January, 2019. Treasurer Ellsworth has a long history of public service which includes serving in the Idaho House of Representatives for twelve years.
Some of Julie’s legislative endeavors included drafting model legislation to allow individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance across state borders and passing legislation cracking down on Medicaid fraud, which resulted in the state recouping millions of dollars. She also worked to maintain the state’s high bond rating by meeting with Wall Street rating firms to answer questions about Idaho’s financial status and public policies.
As a Legislator, Julie worked closely with former State Treasurers Lydia Justice Edwards and Ron Crane as she served on the germane oversight committees. It was during this time that she became interested in the operations of the Treasurer’s Office.
Since taking office in January, Treasurer Ellsworth has taken a very hands-on approach. Whether it is with the day to day operations of the office, the Boards on which she serves or in responding to constituents, Treasurer Ellsworth is committed to ensuring the office is efficient, transparent and focused on customer service.
Treasurer Ellsworth is honored to have the opportunity to serve her fellow Idahoans and is grateful for the trust they have placed in her.
In addition to her legislative service, she has functioned as a Civil Mediator/Facilitator and Business Consultant. She was a Foundation Grant Evaluator and Judge as well as a teacher in Idaho’s public schools.
Julie Ellsworth grew up in Idaho and has worked to promote a pro-family environment for the state. She and her husband have three children and two grandchildren.
Smart Women Smart Money Advisory Council
National Co-Chair & Conference Founder
Ron G. Crane was born in Nampa, Idaho. He is a graduate of Nampa Christian High School and later graduated from college with an Associate’s Degree. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio Christian University in 2008. He served as a member in the Idaho National Guard from 1971 — 1977, receiving recognition as Idaho’s Soldier of the Year in 1975.
Ron served as Idaho's State Treasurer for 20 years becoming one of the nation's longest serving State Treasurers. As state treasurer Mr. Crane was responsible for management of both the state and local government investment pools with a daily balance in excess of $3.2 billion dollars. He directed receipt of all state monies, the accounting and disbursement of public funds, and invested general account and pooled agency cash in various fixed income securities to produce significant new non-tax revenue for the State of Idaho. He has overseen issuance of instruments of state debt and paid all warrants issued by the State Controller’s Office. He also directed the investments of the Idaho Millennium Fund and the Idaho Millennium Permanent Endowment Fund.
The Treasurer also served as the unclaimed property administrator for the State of Idaho. He was president of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) in 2011.
As Treasurer, Mr. Crane was a member of the State Board of Canvassers, administrator of the Local Government Investment Pool , custodian of Idaho Endowment Funds, custodian of Worker’s Compensation security deposits made by insurance companies, administrator of the Underground Storage Tank Upgrade Assistance Account, and was an ex-officio advisor to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. He was chairman of the College Savings Plan advisory board, Chairman of the Idaho Bond Bank Authority and Chairman of the Idaho Credit Rating Enhancement Committee . He received a national award from the US Small Business Administration for innovative programs that provide capital to Idaho small businesses by founding the Prime Rate Loan Program know as ” Idaho Prime “.
Prior to his election as Treasurer in 1998, Mr. Crane served 16 years in the Idaho House of Representatives. While there, he chaired the House State Affairs Committee for 4 years and the Business Committee for 7 years. He also served as co-chairman of the Interim Committee on Electrical Restructuring. During his public service, he received the Guardian of Small Business Award from NFIB and the Legislative Champion of the Family Award.
Mr. Crane started his own successful business, Crane Alarm Service, in 1979. Today, Crane Alarm is one of the oldest and largest alarm companies in Idaho. He is a member of the Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho Chambers of Commerce, was a founding member of the Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, and served on the board of trustees for Nampa Christian Schools.
Mr. Crane has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1969. They have six children, four girls and two boys, and nine grandchildren. The Cranes reside in Nampa, Idaho.
As President of SFOF, DEREK KREIFELS is charged with leading the national organization and collaborating with state officials to promote fiscally responsible, free-market principles to better impact state and federal fiscal policy. Kreifels is charged with ensuring that SFOF’s fiscal, operational, fundraising, marketing, and communication strategies are effectively implemented.
Kreifels spent six years as Assistant State Treasurer of Kansas. As Assistant State Treasurer he also served as chief of staff - an agency head and deputy to a statewide elected official. He managed all aspects of the Treasurer’s office including scheduling, policy development, legislative, budgeting, and personnel.
Kreifels was accountable for an office that processed over $21B annually which is comprised of 42 employees with an annual budget of over $3.5M. He worked with the State Treasurer to create new programs and modernize existing ones to reach out to a diverse set of Kansans with a wide variety of financial education initiatives. He was responsible for identifying innovative ways to help return unclaimed property to Kansans.
Kreifels played an integral role in working with the Kansas 529 Learning Quest program and program manager to develop an annual marketing plan which includes television, radio, newsprint, collateral material, and other borderless marketing initiatives.
Kreifels continuously sought out ways to increase the use of technology in the office to reduce costs. He directed Emergency Preparedness Operations planning and training for the agency with exposure to FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Kansas Department of Emergency Management.
Kreifels has spent the last 30 years encouraging, advising, and working alongside various federal, state, and local leaders. Before working for the public sector, Kreifels spent several years in banking.
He attended Kansas State University, received his undergraduate degree from Wichita State University, and his Masters from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. He lends his leadership to several boards and non-profits. He and his wife Melanie recently traveled to a remote part of Ghana, Africa, on a mission trip to attend the grand opening of a school. He and Melanie live in the Kansas City area.
MELANIE KREIFELS oversees the entire editorial process of Smart Women Smart Money Magazine. She beautifully orchestrates a positive message of hope to women across the U.S. by organizing a talented team of contributing writers, photographers, and designers. Subscriptions to SWSM Magazine (see: www.swsmmagazine.com) are absolutely free and provide a wide variety of information and stories to help women embrace their ability to achieve financial freedom.
She brings an additional perspective to the Smart Women Smart Money community, as she is also a licensed clinical professional counselor.
Melanie also serves as Director of Operations for SFOF, SWSM's parent organization where she works at many of the administrative 'behind-the-scenes' activities. She also helps coordinate all of SFOF's national meetings.
Melanie received her bachelor's degree from the University of Central Missouri, and her Master's in Counseling at Mid-America Nazarene University. She lives in the Kansas City metro area with her husband Derek.
CAROLYN HOLLY comes to the Smart Women Smart Money team from the Treasure Valley of Idaho after being involved with Smart Women Smart Money as its conference emcee for the past 21 years. Holly currently serves as Vice President of Idaho Business for Education. In her role, she is an instrumental part of developing meaningful relationships with business leaders to create a highly educated and skilled workforce.
Carolyn enjoyed a 33 year career at KTVB Channel 7 television in Boise, where she became one of Idaho's most experienced and best known television personalities.
Carolyn has acted as an important representative and volunteer for many Treasurer Valley organizations including Smart Women Smart Money, Boise Public Schools Foundation, Idaho Youth Sports Commission, the Saint Alphonsus Foundation, FUNDSY, the Boise Police Chiefs Citizen Advisory panel and the President of the FACES Foundation.
Sylvie Légère is laser-focused on developing innovative solutions that unite people for the common good and advance the next generation of change makers. An entrepreneur and nonprofit founder, Sylvie’s passion for women’s empowerment and inclusion was motivated by her own experiences stepping out of her comfort zone to seize opportunities.
Sylvie has more than 20 years of experience working in roles in technology, process, and change management at Fortune 500 companies in the United States and Canada including Accenture, JP Morgan Chase, and TD Ameritrade. An avid cyclist, she was the co-owner of the Higher Gear Bike Shops in Chicago’s North Shore (which she later sold) and co-founded Foov Fitness, an app that uses immersive technology to help people with intellectual disabilities stay physically active.
Dee Dee Bass Wilbon brings 10 years of experience in corporate America to her role as a principal at Bass Public Affairs and over 15 years as a professional communicator. The accolades and recognition that Dee Dee received is evidence of her success in corporate America. Her outstanding performance earned her the coveted Young Achievers Award at MBNA once the largest issuer of credit cards in the world.
Because of Dee Dee's commitment to corporate responsibility, she received the MBNA Community Service Award for her leadership in developing and executing a company-wide mentoring program. The program allowed MBNA to forge long-term mentor relationships with public schools throughout Delaware.
Dee Dee has worked as a media consultant for community organizations, business leaders, entertainers and elected officials. In this role she has served as spokeswoman and ghostwriter helping to manage both the owned and earned media relations for a diverse set of communities. National and international media outlets have called on her for her acute political insights.
Dee Dee is a graduate of Fisk University.
Her community involvement includes having served on the Board of Read Aloud Delaware. Dee Dee is a member of the Prince George's County Maryland Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. She is a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Dee Dee and her husband Brian Wilbon live in southern Maryland with their children.
To learn more about Dee Dee see: https://www.basspublicaffairs.com/team-deedee
Michelle Murray is a local business owner and community-minded individual who is passionate about life, but more importantly, people. For over 25 years, Michelle has donated her energy to promoting community outreach to benefit children, teens, and young adults.
Over the years Michelle has specialized in bringing together other local leaders to promote fun events that raise critical funding for youth-driven programs such as the Idaho Youth Ranch, where Michelle has been honored to Chair events for the past four years. Other mentionable organizations such as the Girl Scouts and the Idaho chapter of Special Olympics have also benefited from Michelle‘s fundraising teams.
Michelle and her husband of 15 years, Tyler Murray, are partners in Advanced ATM which specializes in commercial and retail ATM services throughout the Pacific Northwest. Michelle’s latest business venture was to purchase a rundown gas station and refurbish to what is now a respectable Chevron branded store in Boise. As with her other community projects, Michelle brought together the right people and has created a successful business!
Michelle and her husband are empty-nesters who raised three college aged daughters Madison, Allison, and Hailey. Just this past year Michelle and family were blessed with their first grandchild “Millie Lou” who is healthy and happy!
In her free time, Michelle enjoys working on crafts such as card making, knitting, and other pastimes which are fun to do by the warmth of a fire. Michelle and her husband have been fortunate to buy a second home on the Oregon coast where they spend time enjoying the beach and beautiful scenery.
Shaunna Coit is an entrepreneur and mother of 2 boys. She is a Christian woman who decided to follow her heart and her creative passions to embark on a journey of business ownership that she never imagined in her younger years as a Sheriff's Deputy. She owns and operates Redeemed Decor in Twin Falls, Idaho. Her shop is in an amazing Historic Warehouse that is filled with warmth and character. She sells rustic furniture, trendy decor, handmade items, and gifts. Her business grew by leaps and bounds when she decided to incorporate a DIY workshop where people in the community could come in and create their own home decor.
Shaunna gives back to her community by donating auction items to local events and by offering a service to help schools, churches, and other organizations offer Craft Night fundraisers. Redeemed Decor also rallies the community together to collect a new pair of shoes for every child in the local Homeless Shelter at Christmas. The shoes are delivered by Local Law Enforcement officers to help the children develop a positive relationship with the Law Enforcement community.
Shaunna and her husband of 15 years, Charles Coit, live on a small ranch in Filer, Idaho and recently began raising Highland Cattle. Their sons, Thomas and Carter are 14 and 11 years old. In their free time, the family enjoys camping, hunting, and fishing activities in the gorgeous mountain areas of Southern Idaho.
Owner and Founder of The Organizer Chicks, Amber Taggard is a Professional Organizer, time-management coach, and public speaker. She holds an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health, and is passionate about using her counseling psychology background to help people improve their mental and emotional health by creating peaceful and productive physical spaces. Professional highlights for her include being a contributor to Forbes, giving a TED Talk, and being a Better Business Bureau “Torch Award for Ethics” winner. Amber and her husband Justen have four children and two rescue pups, and they love living in Northwest Arkansas.