The Co Lab
Speakers & topics

Learn from those

who walk

the talk

What do all speakers at The Co. Lab have in common? They’ve done the work. In facing the challenges unique to small and medium business leaders, they’ve uncovered solutions that helped them turn their stories into successes. And they’re coming to The Co. Lab to share those exact solutions with you.

keynote speakers

CEO and Co-founder, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

Ari Weinzweig

Session Title

The Power of Visioning

Ari Weinzweig — CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of
Businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan — was named one of “The World’s 10 Top CEOs (They Lead in a Totally Unique Way)” by Inc. (magazine) in 2017. Ari is the author of a number of articles and books, including his most recent work, “A Taste of Zingerman’s Food Philosophy: Forty Years of Mindful Cooking and Eating,” which was published in April of 2023.

CEO, Canopy

Claire Lew

Session Title

Do More With Less

Claire Lew is the CEO of Canopy, a leadership upskilling platform that levels up managers quickly and effectively at scale. Claire is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at her alma mater, Northwestern University, and her writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, CNBC, Inc. and Fortune, among others. Claire’s mission in life is to help people become happier at work.

co-CEO and Founder, Biggby Coffee

Michael J. McFall

Session Title

Unlocking Your Inner Superhero to Get Epic S#!t Done!

Mike McFall is the co-founder and co-CEO of Biggby Coffee, one of the fastest-growing coffee franchises in the United States. Despite not having an MBA and being a workaholic, McFall has built his career through hard work and real-world experience. McFall is the author of “Grind” (2019) and “Grow” (2023), the first two books in a three-book series, which offer practical advice for entrepreneurs looking to turn their business concepts into successful ventures.

Owner and CEO, Scaling Up: A Gazelles Company

Verne Harnish

Session Title

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It and Why the Rest Don't

Verne Harnish is the founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), through which he has chaired a premiere CEO program held at MIT. He is also the founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 260 partners on six continents. In addition to being a bestselling and award-winning author, Verne is also a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Author, Every Family's Business

Dr. Tom Deans

Session Title

Protecting and Transitioning Family Business Wealth

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Tom Deans is regarded as the preeminent thought-leader on the subject of intergenerational wealth transfers. His first book, Every Family’s Business: 12 Common Sense Questions to Protect Your Wealth, remains the best-selling family business book of all-time. His books and speeches aren’t just about money and clever tax plans. They’re about giving people the confidence and inspiration to transition more than just assets to family and community.


Sessions will cover a variety of topics relevant to SMB leaders, focused primarily on the themes of growth, operations, leadership and culture and talent.


Whether it’s expanding your footprint, scaling your operations, hiring new talent, exploring acquisition or planning for succession, one thing is clear: Growth is essential for the longevity of your business.


The day-to-day might not always feel glamorous, but how your business operates is how your business succeeds.


Being a SMB leader comes with its own challenges and rewards. How you navigate those challenges and rewards can have a huge impact on your business.

Culture and Talent

From employee happiness and retention to the effectiveness of your operations, culture is at the center of it all.


Doug Adams

Vice President SBA Lending, Comerica Bank

Nick Adamy

President, Adamy Valuation

Robert Armbrister

President and CEO, SPARK Business Works

David Bean

IoT Strategist, Whirlpool

Ryan Blanck

Founder and CEO, Deviate

Matt Bower

Partner, Varnum

Lisa Carriveau

Senior Vice President, Mercantile Bank

Peter Ciaverilla

President, Sharon's Heating & Air Conditioning

Lisa Cooper


Jim Coyle

EOS Implementer Coach, EOS Worldwide

Joe Dyer

President, DISHER

Suzann Foerster

CEO, Suzann Foerster Leadership Coaching

Paxton Gray

CEO, 97th Floor

Justin Hatfield

President, HECO

Katie Heydenberk

Vice President Channel Sales and Category Management, HexArmor

Oliver Howell

Attorney, Howell Parfet Schau

Kate Hutson

Coach, The Conscious Leadership Group

Daniel Jefferies

Founder, NewMind Group

Tim Krone

Owner, Pedal Bicycle

Brenda Manley

Accountant, Manley and Associates

Justin Murray

President, SignComp, LLC

Phil Neal

Sr. Director of Zete Performance, Zimmer Biomet

Michael Palm

Partner, Charter Growth Capital Fund

Heather Ratliff, RN, MS

Health coach and nurse, The Wellness RN

Nelson Sanchez

CEO, RoMan Manufacturing Inc

Rick Slater

Co-CEO and president of Sales, Portland Products

Rick Snyder

Former Governor of Michigan; CEO and Co-Founder, SensCy

Mark Spaak

Sr. Manager of Security Solutions, vCIO, and vCISO, Rehmann

Thomas Stritzinger

West Michigan Regional President, Comerica Bank

Steve Swanson

President, Bootstrap West Michigan Holdings

Ryan Thomas

President & General Manager, Depatie Fluid Power Co.

Aaron VanderGalien