Heartland Conference 2018

Heartland Conference, hosted by Essentially Women's parent company, VGM Group, Inc., is a member's-only conference known for its premier education and networking. Held in Essentially Women's hometown Waterloo, this is a great opportunity for mastectomy fitters and those wanting to become certified. CEUs are offered on a variety of sessions focused on women's health care.

Essentially Women members are invited to attend the entire conference if they are able, held June 19-21. 

Full Conference Agenda

BOC Exam Information

Heartland Conference Attendees will have the opportunity to sit for the BOC Certified Mastectomy Fitter (CMF) exam. Attendees will be able to sit for the exam at a $50 reduced rate! The exam will be held on Thursday, June 21 from 9:00 AM-11:15 AM. To register for the exam, create a "MyBOC account" (click on Apply for Certification) or log in to your existing account. Click Apply Now, select Mastectomy Fitter and choose Event Code JE18MFMCE.

You will need to submit your application and documentation to BOC before taking the exam. Eligibility requirements are successful completion of an entry-level education program through a fitter school or education provider and 120 hours (equivalent to three weeks of full-time work) experience.

Wednesday, June 20

Keynote: The Elite Leader, Jared Johnson
About Jared:

Passion. Purpose. People. These are not buzzwords for Jared Johnson; they are the lifeblood of his approach to leadership. Bringing these elements together successfully is what propels ordinary into extraordinary. That only happens when leadership team members share the vision and embrace the role each has in the process.

Elite leadership isn't a lofty ideal borne alone. It's a call to a standard of leading- and living- that relies on attitude, action and accountability. It comes when team members are energized, equipped and empowered to exceed expectations both professionally and personally, enriching their lives and the lives of the people they lead and the people they serve.

Johnson has a unique skill set enhanced by 12 years as an elected public official and derived from more than 17 years of experience as a healthcare executive, garnering successful outcomes through thought leadership, planning and execution to the management space. Driven by a continual focus on quality and growth, he has an outstanding ability to forge collaborative relationships with management teams, staff members, industry colleagues and community partners, both public and private.

At the age of 27, Johnson was elected to the Denison City Council where he served two terms. In 2012, he was elected the youngest mayor in Denison's history and was re-elected to a second term in 2015. He received the Community Leader Award of Excellence at the Denison Development Alliance's economic summit in 2018.

A dynamic public speaker who leads intentionally, Johnson walks the talk: "Be passionate about what you do. Get better every day. Never settle. Always include others- and empower them to be innovative thinkers."

Session Overview:

Motivating and practical, "The Elite Leader" is a high-energy presentation that captivates management team members and/or frontline staff, motivating them to strive toward their absolute best by connecting their mission with practical ways to empower an elite mindset throughout their own teams and even in their personal lives. Whether presented as a customizable keynote address or as a lunch-and-learn training session, it challenges attendees and inspires them to be passionate about their purpose as leaders who are capable of delivering elite results.

Custom Breast Prosthesis: What’s in it for you?, Nikki Giamarino, Business Development Manager, American Breast Care
About Nikki:

Nikki Giamarino is the Business Development Manager at ABC and is an ABC Certified Fitter with 19+ years in the medical and breast care industry, including instructing education courses. She holds a BS in Health Administration from Auburn University. Her personal experience, industry knowledge and caring personality are the perfect combination for an exceptional learning experience. In her spare time Nikki enjoys traveling and riding her motorcycle.

Session Overview:

Are you looking for a new revenue stream that doesn’t require you to increase your current inventory and also delivers a favorable profit margin? The addition of a custom breast prosthesis to your product offering is good for your patients, and good for your business. For patients, it’s another non-surgical post-surgery option. For the business, it can have a positive impact on the bottom line! Offering a custom breast prosthesis can be a win-win and American Brest Care can show you how.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover which of your customers can benefit from a custom breast prosthesis
  • Discover the features and benefits of a custom breast prosthesis
  • Dispel myths related to custom breast prosthesis billing
  • Receive information on different custom breast prosthesis options
  • Discover how to set your business apart from your competition
  • Obtain information on available tools to allow you to successfully market and sell custom breast prostheses
  • Determine the critical success factors required to successfully, market, sell, and bill custom breast prostheses 

Tapping into the Customer Experience for the Mastectomy Patient, Miriam Lieber, President, Lieber Consulting, LLC
About Miriam:

Miriam Lieber president of Lieber Consulting, LLC and is an independent consultant and trainer specializing in home care reimbursement and operations management. Her extensive experience with Medicare and other third party payers has brought her national recognition in the home care industry. With more than 25 years' experience in the home care field, Miriam is a featured author of many articles in the areas of operations management and leadership. She is also a nationally known speaker for many home care trade associations. In her consulting practice, Miriam's clientele includes home health care companies, managed care organizations, hospitals, wholesalers, pharmacists, and manufacturers. She is known to have practical approaches to complex reimbursement matters and assists her clients with the nuts and bolts of running a profitable business.

Session Overview:

This session will provide first-hand experience from a patient diagnosed with breast cancer who underwent mastectomy surgery with reconstruction. The scary truth is many mastectomy patients do not feel prepared for surgery and what they will need to help with the recovery process. This session will help position the women's health boutique as the local resource to help women regardless of their intended path after surgery.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize mastectomy fitters are excellent resources for reconstruction patients too
  • Identify how to develop relationships with breast surgeons, plastic surgeons, oncologists, and nurses
  • Identify how to listen and anticipate client concerns and needs in making recovery more comfortable
  • Identify product categories to help drive traffic to your location, rather than the internet!

Thursday, June 21

How to Choose the Appropriate Compression Garment, Erik Berens, VP of Sales, Medi USA
About Erik:

A compression therapy enthusiast for over 18 years with my career with medi-USA.  Extensive knowledge in the use of compression garments in the Venous Health, Lymphedema, and Wound Care clinical sectors. Has helped develop successful compression therapy businesses with numerous HME partners throughout the US market. Take an educational approach in building a long term relationship with patients, clinicians, and dealers through the use of quality products that provide positive outcomes.

I have a wife and three daughters based out of Seattle, WA.  Enjoy fly-fishing, golf, skiing, mountain biking, and hiking when a get a free moment.

Session Overview:

Learn the differences in compression garment materials and how they work for patients with Venous Health, Lymphedema, and Wound Care ailments.  Session will review Circular knit, Flat knit, and In-elastic alternatives and selecting the correct product for the condition. Hands on approach on how to measure and fit products to ensure high patient compliance. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss who needs compression, how does it work, and what are the – market, clinical needs, venous/ lymphatic systems
  • Explain the different compression for different patients – elastic vs. inelastic
  • Evaluate product selection and measuring
  • Discuss long-term patient success with compression therapy garments


New Solutions for Fitting the Breast Reconstruction Patient, Beth Erdy, Business Development Manager, TruLife
About Beth:

Beth Erdy, CFm, has spent her professional career in the medical industry working for the past 6 years for Trulife in the Breastcare and Orthotic and Prosthetic divisions.  Previously, she worked in the Oral Care field with Colgate Palmolive and with Johnson & Johnson where she also worked in the Diabetic Care division. In these positions, she has always had a focus on education and patient outcomes. Beth's passion lies in collaborating with others to ensure the forward progress of the Breastcare, Orthotic, and Prosthetic industries! Beth resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, Todd, and has three grown daughters.

Session Overview:

This course provides innovative options for fitting the breast cancer patient who is the most challenging for Certified Fitters due to the patient; a) undergoing Staged Breast Reconstruction, b) having a failed or aged Reconstructed Breast, c) having changed Breast Tissue due to Radiotherapy, or d) simply having a ‘hard-to-fit’ mastectomy or lumpectomy surgery site.  The course will also include techniques and ideas, using the most advanced technology, materials, and versatile products to achieve balance and symmetry for the hardest-to-fit patients.  The use of dynamic video, didactic learning, and creative Powerpoint will help to ensure participant retention of this course!

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate a patient's post-mastectomy or reconstructed chest wall to assess her needs and select the best possible option to restore her natural balance and symmetry
  • Propose effective solutions for patients who are undergoing Staged Breast Reconstruction, have a failed or aged Reconstruction, have tissue changes due to Radiation, or have a ‘hard-to-fit’ surgery site
  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of post-mastectomy resources available to ensure proper fit results
  • Recall the benefits, versatility, and importance of using 100% natural silicone in post-mastectomy products


Analyzing, no really analyzing your business for growth, Maria Markuson, Director of Business Development, VGM Retail
About Maria:

Maria Markusen is the Director of Development for VGM Retail and a thirteen year veteran #caretailer, speaker and healthcare retail thought leader.  Before joining VGM, Markusen was Co-Founder of Simply Shops and Chief Operating Officer of Simply Retail, hospital retail outsource partners.  A dynamic speaker and twenty year sales trainer in both healthcare retail and long-term care, Maria is a healthcare sales and product development visionary. Maria’s career is focused on capturing the attention of the healthcare consumer.  And training and teaching others to successfully anticipate, forecast and exploit industry shifts with innovative strategies and creative executions while delivering exceptional results to providers, partners and consumers. Earlier in her career, she also was national VP of Sales and COO of multiple national long-term care companies.

Maria’s speaking topics include:

  • General business topics such as developing business strategy, assessing markets and businesses, starting a new business, and managing businesses for long term success.  Maria also counsels other early stage entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs going through a significant market change or shift.
  • Healthcare retail and caretailing to include retail business assessments, developing retail within healthcare settings, designing and setting up new stores, retail operations, marketing, and advertising.
  • Sales leadership and results with topics such as market selling definitions, the uniqueness of selling in healthcare, sales technique, defining the healthcare consumer, driving traffic to healthcare retail stores, incremental selling, sales planning, service and service recovery.

Session Overview:

Vision.  More than likely you started your business with the vision of helping others in need.  But when was the last time you analyzed your existing retail business or even your core business to determine how you can help more people and grow your influence and bottom line?  This working session will give you the how, why, and templates to analyze your business to make real impactful changes to create a go to strategy for the long term.


  • Use a holistic but proven approach, the SWOT Analysis, to understand and dig into the details of your business
  • Uncover the right strategic opportunities to propel you to growth
  • Evaluate what not to do to be successful in your business growth
  • Discover how to create an implementation plan, building on your strengths, and maximizing your opportunities for success


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