Smart Women Smart Money Advisory Council
Tamika Catchings is the General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Fever. Indiana’s “do-everything” forward completed 16 seasons in the WNBA, stepping away from her future-hall-of-fame-career following the 2016 season. Her naming as recipient of the very first ESPN Humanitarian Award in 2015 and a 14-year run of community service by her Catch The Stars Foundation are testament to her work off the court, however – more impactful than her MVP career on the court.
Since her playing retirement, she serves as director of player programs and franchise development with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, a post that keeps her engaged working with all three Pacers franchises: the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Ft. Wayne Mad Ants. She operates the cozy Tea’s Me Café on the north side of downtown Indianapolis, and continues her service as an ambassador with the NBA and WNBA. She serves on a developmental committee with USA Basketball. She also serves as an SEC ESPN Women’s Basketball Analyst.
In March 2016, Catchings released an autobiographical story, Catch A Star: Shining through Adversity to Become a Champion sharing her story of overcoming hearing loss, separation from family, high expectations and the pain of debilitating physical injuries. She reached for the stars with hard work, perseverance and her faith in God.
On the court, Catchings’ legacy is cemented as one of the greatest women ever to play the game. She retired as the league’s No. 2 scorer (7,380 points) and rebounder (3,316) of all-time, already its career leader in free throws (2,004) and steals (1,074). In postseason play, nobody appeared in as many WNBA Playoff games (68) as Catchings, or started as many (67). She retired as the WNBA postseason leader in points (1,141), rebounds (598), free throws (356), steals (152), double-doubles (27) and minutes played (2,310).
The first man or woman in recorded basketball history to record a quintuple-double (Duncanville High School in 1997), Catchings’ leadership, tenacity and all-around skills led the Indiana Fever to becoming one of the WNBA’s elite franchises. The Fever reached the playoffs 13 times in Catchings’ 15 active seasons, including a WNBA-record run of 12-in-a-row from 2005-16. The Fever reached the conference finals eight times, including five straight seasons. The Fever won a WNBA championship in 2012 and came within one game of two more championships in five-game WNBA Finals appearances in 2009 and 2015. Catchings played in every playoff game in Fever history through the time of her retirement.
Catchings also has 4 Olympic Gold medals. Her career included being on the U.S. Women's Basketball team in Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, and Rio in 2016.
Catchings was the WNBA’s only player ever to spend an entire career of 16 or more seasons with the same franchise.
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.
Smart Women Smart Money Conference Liaison and founding President of SFOF
As President of SFOF he is charged with leading the national organization and collaborating with like-minded state officials to promote fiscally responsible, free market principles to better impact state and federal financial policy. Kreifels is charged with ensuring that SFOF’s fiscal, operational, fundraising, marketing, and communication strategies are effectively implemented.
Kreifels spent five 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 which 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 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 25 years encouraging, advising and working along side 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.
Treasurer Ball is married to Taylor County, Kentucky native, Asa James Swan. The couple has one son, Levi, whose birth in 2018 made Treasurer Ball the first Kentucky constitutional officer to give birth while in office.
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
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 Conference Emcee
Idaho Breakout Session 3D - Building Your Brand
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 15 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.
Smart Women Smart Money Arkansas Conference Host
Dennis Milligan was elected to the Office of Treasurer of State in 2014, securing 56% of the vote. As Treasurer, he serves as the State’s banker and is responsible for an investment portfolio of approximately $3.5 billion.
Milligan previously served as Saline County Circuit Clerk from 2011-2015. He is a successful small business owner who started his company, Water Treatment Services (WTS), from scratch in 1985. WTS has expanded from central Arkansas to serving customers in 17 states. Milligan is also a real estate developer and home builder.
As Treasurer of State, Milligan has brought his innovative spirit and mindset to the office, and has not just accepted “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” In his first full fiscal year in office, he doubled the receipted earnings on the State’s investments from an average of $20 million to $48.9 million. He increased that to $57.5 million in fiscal 2017. Since taking office, Milligan has returned more than $154 million back to the State of Arkansas in investment receipts, making good on his pledge to make Arkansans’ tax dollars work harder for them.
Milligan also oversees the Arkansas 529 College Investing Plan, which has seen more than $244 million in growth in total assets since he took office. He also implemented a financial education program under the Arkansas 529 program that increases awareness and financial literacy among Arkansas students. The AR Finance AR Future program, which is free to schools, has impacted 19,200 students in 148 schools, and has brought more than 36,500 hours of financial education to Arkansas students.
Milligan is a lifelong Arkansan and graduated from McClellan High School in Little Rock in 1976. He is married to his junior high school sweetheart, Tina (Summers). They have one daughter and son-in-law, Tiffany and Chad Brown, and three grandchildren.
Kelly Mitchell was elected as the 55th Treasurer for the State of Indiana on November 4th, 2014. In this role, Treasurer Mitchell serves as the Chair of the Indiana Bond Bank, the Statewide E-911 Board, the Indiana Education Savings Authority, the ABLE Authority, and as the Sole Trustee of the State Police Pension Trust among a number of other positions. As the Chief Investment Officer for the State, she is responsible for the management of approximately five to seven billion dollars on a daily basis.
For seven years prior to becoming Treasurer, Kelly Mitchell worked in the Treasurer of State’s Office as the Director of TrustINdiana, Indiana’s local government investment pool.
Prior to joining the Indiana Treasurer of State’s Office, Kelly Mitchell was a County Commissioner for eight years in Cass County, Indiana. During her tenure as Commissioner, she served as President of the Board of Commissioners for five years and was named First-Term Commissioner of the Year by the Association of County Commissioners. Treasurer Mitchell also served on the State Board of the Association of County Commissioners for three years, and as a member of the County Government Senate Study Commission. As Commissioner, she served seven years on the Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation and as President of the Foundation for one year. She founded and co-chaired Cass County “Make a Difference Day”, managing hundreds of volunteers and dozens of projects every year.
Treasurer Mitchell holds a B.A. in Political Science from Valparaiso University and a M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI). In 2018, the Treasurer received an M.A. in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. She is an alumna of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series. During the summer of 2015, Treasurer Mitchell completed The Commandant’s National Security Seminar at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She has also been selected to participate in the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership. The Treasurer was awarded both the Sagamore of the Wabash by then-Governor Mike Pence and the 2016 Torchbearer Award by the Indiana Commission for Women. As Treasurer, she sits on both the Legislative Committee and the Financial Education Committee of the National Association of State Treasurer’s (NAST) as well as on the Executive Committee of the College Savings Plan Network (CSPN). Treasurer Mitchell is also a member of the State Financial Officers Foundation where she serves on the Executive Committee. Treasurer Mitchell resides in Indianapolis, with her husband Larry, and they have a blended family of four children and two grandchildren.
Smart Women Smart Money Nebraska Conference Host
John Murante was born February 6, 1982 in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a proud graduate of Skutt Catholic High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He married his wife, Melissa, on December 22, 2007, and they have one daughter, Talia. He is the former President of the iconic Big Fred’s Pizza in Omaha.
In 2012, Murante was elected to represent the Gretna-based 49th Legislative District in the Nebraska Unicameral. During his time in the Nebraska Legislature, he served as Chairman of the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee as well as Chairman of the Special Committee on Election Technology in 2016. He also sat on the Unicameral’s Transportation Committee.
As a State Senator, he served as the Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Elections and Redistricting Standing Committee, and on the advisory committee to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Treasurer Murante is a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, Gretna Optimists, and serves on the board of Partnership 4 Kids.
OJ is the President of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU). AIKCU advocates for higher education policies at the state and federal level that will lead to increased affordability and access to postsecondary opportunities for all Kentuckians at each of the 18 AIKCU member institutions. Prior to AIKCU, OJ was the Deputy Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where he worked on policy that streamlined government, made financial literacy a public high school requirement, and protected the property rights of Kentuckians.
OJ graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a minor in Political Science. At UofL, OJ was Student Body President and Chairman of the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents. After graduation, OJ joined Teach For America and taught middle school math in St. Louis.
OJ also has an MBA from Bellarmine University, where he is currently a PhD Candidate. As a published researcher, OJ has focused on college affordability and systems alignment between school districts, postsecondary institutions, and the business community. OJ is a Teach For America alum and is passionate about ending generational poverty through educational opportunity and economic mobility. OJ lives in Louisville, KY, where he serves on the education and workforce development committee for the local chamber of commerce. He lives with his wife Jamie, and their dog Ashe.
Veteran, Author, Speaker, Investment Banker,
Eternal Adventure Seeker
Major (Retired) Scotty Smiley became the first blind active-duty officer in military history following a face-to-face confrontation with a suicide car bomber in Iraq in 2005. After his injury, Scotty’s faith led him to forgive his attacker and inspired him to rebuild his life while continuing to serve his country in the U.S. Army.
A West Point graduate, he returned there to teach after he earned an MBA from Duke University. He was named the Army Times “Soldier of the Year" and won an ESPY award for “Best Outdoor Athlete.” He is the recipient of a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and the Army’s prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award. Following a position in the Gonzaga University ROTC Department, Scotty retired from the military in 2015.
Scotty wrote his book Hope Unseen about his journey through overcoming adversity and now travels the country sharing his message of perseverance, courage, and hope. Ever the adventurer, after the loss of his eyesight he has learned to surf, gone skydiving, climbed Mt. Denali, and became an Ironman. Scotty currently works as an investment banker and CEO of Bellator Asset Managment and is a regular guest on news networks such as NBC, CBS, and Fox. He is married to his high school sweetheart Tiffany. The couple lives in their hometown of Pasco, Washington with sons Grady, Graham, and Baylor.
Scotty Smiley is from Pasco, a small city in Washington State. After high school, he attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. After four years, he graduated and moved to Fort Benning, GA and attended Infantry Officer Basic Course and Ranger School. Soon after he moved to Fort Lewis, WA where he led a 45-man platoon.
In 2005, while leading his platoon in Mosul, Iraq, Scotty found himself in front of a suicide car bomber. After the man blew himself up, shrapnel blew through Scotty’s eyes leaving him blinded and temporarily paralyzed. A week later he woke up in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Though questioning his faith, Scotty made a decision to forgive and rebuild his life and continue to serve in the Army, becoming the first blind active-duty officer in military history.
The Army Times named Captain Smiley “Soldier of the Year" in 2007. In 2008, Scotty won the ESPY award for Best Outdoor Athlete. After receiving an MBA from Duke University, Scotty taught the core course in leadership at West Point and then commanded the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point’s Keller Army Medical Center. Scotty is a recipient of the Army’s prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award and holds an honorary PhD from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. In 2010, Scotty received a “Father of the Year” award in New York and in 2011 received the esteemed Christopher Award that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.
Since then, Scotty attended the Maneuver Captain Career Course in Fort Benning, GA, and then moved to Spokane, WA where he held a position with the Gonzaga University ROTC Department teaching and mentoring America’s future leaders.
After many years of service, Scotty retired from the military in 2015. Over his military career, Major (Retired) Smiley received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings and Combat Diver Qualification Badge.
He currently works as CEO of Bellator Asset Management, out of New York City, as an investment banker for corporations and banks around the world.
With a passion for using his story to build hope in this world, Scotty authored Hope Unseen in 2010 and now travels the country speaking and sharing his message of perseverance, courage and hope.
He is an avid adventurer and has completed the Coeur d’Alene Ironman. Scotty has climbed Mt. Rainer, has gone skydiving and surfing and is always looking for his next chance to try something new.
Scotty is married to his high school sweetheart, Tiffany. The couple lives in Pasco, WA and are the proud parents of Grady Douglas, Graham Elliott, and Baylor Scott.
Tiffany Smiley is currently CEO and Founder of Tiffany Smiley Consulting and President and Co-Founder of Hope Unseen, a highly successful public speaking firm. She has been featured on CBS News, CNN, C-SPAN, Dr. Phil, Fox News, The Katie Couric Show as well as in major publications such as People Magazine, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.
Prior to that, Ms. Smiley served as a triage nurse and in other health professional roles. She is a graduate of Whitworth University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Ms. Smiley has been a fierce advocate for American veterans, working with high-ranking politicians, lobbyists and the President to secure much-needed services. She runs her consultancy and other businesses from Pasco, WA, where she lives with her husband and three sons.
Tiffany Smiley is an author, motivational speaker, media personality and consultant who helps others discover and harness their unique “superpower” by fearlessly confronting and overcoming life’s challenges. Her specialized approach to tackling obstacles head-on has helped men and women across the world rise above the seemingly insurmountable to achieve their most ambitious goals, from entrepreneurs fiercely transforming their vision into reality to c-suite executives driven by global excellence.
Through her speaking to major corporations, non-profits and civic groups, Ms. Smiley’s inspirational, resilience-based teachings provide invaluable tools that break through the status quo and lead to extraordinary results in financial performance, organizational impact and employee well-being and productivity.
Recognizing the special challenges that women face in business, Ms. Smiley has also created the More Than Me conference tour, a live community forum for ambitious “women of vision” to make meaningful connections, share their life-altering stories, realize their true worth and learn how to similarly inspire their family, friends and community. These conferences feature an impressive lineup of accomplished women with real-world stories about achieving the impossible, as well as the opportunity to tap into experts in a variety of fields, including personal development, business coaching, entrepreneurship and financial acumen.
As outlined in all of her platforms, Ms. Smiley's results-driven methods are founded on:
To light a path for others, Ms. Smiley combines her education, training and personal experience as a triage nurse, start-up co-founder and victor in a David-and-Goliath battle against the US government into a powerful, practical guide for succeeding in spite of hardship of any kind — from dealing with life’s daily difficulties to office politics to the worst imaginable tragedy.
Dr. Asa James Swan mostly recently served as the first-ever Chief Leadership Officer (CLO) for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which was also the first in the nation. Asa was responsible for developing, executing, and leading a coordinated leadership training program for the Commonwealth. This program contained a variety of leadership-focused activities, including providing specialized leadership training for all areas of Kentucky state government; providing individualized leadership coaching for state government executive management; and making the most of all opportunities to promote 360º leadership growth among emerging leaders across Kentucky.
Asa previously served as the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Chief of Staff from 2015-2019 and Legislative Liaison from 2004-2007. Asa spent eight years as a history professor at Lindsey Wilson College. His career has also included service on the staffs of former Kentucky 2nd District U.S. Congressman Ron Lewis, for whom he was a legislative assistant, and the U.S. Senate Republican Conference, where he was Interim Deputy Director of Coalitions. Asa is a 1999 graduate of Huntington University in Indiana where he was a Rhodes Scholar nominee and candidate. He has Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Kentucky. Asa is married to Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball and father to their amazing son, Levi Adrian Swan. Asa is a proud native of Campbellsville, Kentucky.