Our Speakers

Rita Sweatt, MTWR Keynote Speaker

Kendra Smiley

Kendra Smiley

Kendra was born and raised in central Illinois, just 30 minutes from where she currently lives. The daughter of a local dentist and youngest of three children, this over-achieving “baby” of the family graduated with highest honors from the University of Illinois. She went on to earn her Master of Science degree from the University of North Dakota, graduating again with highest honors. 

Kendra brought her energy and enthusiasm to educating children. As she began her career as a teacher, she quickly engaged with parents and students to provide an outstanding learning experience. In addition to her classroom duties, she was the girls’ basketball coach. 

Kendra married John over 35 years ago. Together, they have raised three sons. Kendra brought new meaning to “stay-at-home mom”. Her work as a mother, entrepreneur, church and community leader did not go unnoticed. In 2001, she was selected as the Illinois Mother of the Year. 

As a speaker and author, Kendra draws from her mosaic background as an educator, wife, mother, and entrepreneur. Professionally honing her skills as a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Kendra capably connects to diverse audiences. Today, Kendra reaches women as a speaker, host of the daily radio program Live Life Intentionally, TV program, or via her blog. 

Whimsical. Witty. Wise. Intentional.  This is Kendra Smiley.

Dr. Michael Benson

Dr. Michael Benson

Dr. Michael Benson

Mike is a graduate of Southern Nazarene University and Nazarene Theological Seminary.  He holds the Doctor of Ministry and Spiritual Formation degree from Asbury Theological Seminary.  Mike has served in staff ministry, the senior pastorate, as well as evangelism.  Currently, his ministerial efforts focus on the biker culture.  In addition to serving as the National Evangelist for The Priesthood Motorcycle Ministry, he also co-pastors Salvage Yard Biker Church in Bourbonnais, IL.  The church mission is simple; "Love God.  Love People.  Do Stuff."  He and his wife, Gwen, have three grown children.  Benson has one published work, "Disciplines for the Inner Life," which he co-authored with his father, the late Bob Benson, former President of the Benson Company.  We welcome Dr. Benson for his third engagement at Middle Tennessee Women's Retreat.