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2023 Sanibel Symposium Keynote Speakers

Jesse Torrence 
Topic Abstract – Coaching for Life

There is no “I”, only we. Together, we discover who you are, what you really want, and how to get out of your own way so that you can live your greatest life – a life of purpose, abundance, joy, creativity, wisdom, and freedom. Come with any topic and I coach you – the whole person. Your life is connected by one thread. If we pull on any part, we’ll get where you need to go.

About Jesse

Jesse Torrence

Jesse is a Leadership, Life, and Career Coach for people seeking to understand themselves and unfold their full potential. He received his coaching training from the Co-Active Training Institute, one of the first and most respected professional coaching schools in the world, that helped create and shape the field of coaching over 30 years. Earlier in Jesse’s career, he launched and led a variety of social impact organizations focused on topics ranging from HIV prevention, to citizen diplomacy, to tech entrepreneurship, and to mindfulness education. Jesse, worked for the Obama Campaign and the World Bank, and helped launch an anti-racism and decolonization initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School. For most of his adult life, he has studied a variety of contemplative practices, spiritual traditions, and therapeutic modalities. Jesse is a grateful recipient of a heart transplant and he currently lives with his wife and two kids in the Chicago suburbs where he enjoys family time outside, Salsa dancing in the kitchen, reading philosophy, writing poetry, watching sci-fi, and re-learning piano after 20 years. 


Mildred Janzen
Topic Abstract – Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin, Mildred Schindler Janzen’s Memoir

Her memoir, “Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin: One Woman’s Remarkable Escape from Nazi Germany” was published in November 2020 by Sunbury Press. The book has won many awards, including Janzen being personally awarded the National Medal of Honor by The Daughters of the American Revolution i(DAR) n September of 2021, the highest and most prestigious award given by the DAR to US-born citizens who have shown extraordinary qualities of leadership, patriotism, trustworthiness and service.  A second medal, Women in American History, was awarded to Janzen from DAR in June 2022.

About Mildred

Mildred Schindler Janzen

Born in Kansas to German parents, Fritz and Anna Schindler, Mildred returned to Germany as an infant with her parents after they were called back to take over the family farm in Radach. Their normal farm family life came to an abrupt halt when WWII came knocking at their door, setting in motion a chain of events that would drive them from their home, separate them from each other, and test their survival as refugees in their own land. After the miraculous survival of her American birth certificate, Mildred remained thankful for opportunities afforded her including work in a hospital diet kitchen, attendance in high school where she learned English along with required subjects, and employment at Lorraine State Bank. During her high school years, she met and married farmer, Leon Janzen, and had four children: Karen, Kenton, Susan, and Galen. Mildred and Leon retired in 2005 and were married 66 years; sadly, Leon passed away in 2019. Mildred is an active senior, enjoying activities at her long-time church—First Baptist Church in nearby Lorraine—and also gardening, exercising, and thanking community friends with home-baked goods. Her book’s award accolades include:

  • 2020 Sunbury Press SUNNY Award
  • 2021 MS Library Association Non-fiction Author Award 
  • 2021 Mildred Schindler Janzen – National DAR Medal of Honor Award
  • 2021 American Book Fest – Best Book Award Finalist: Autobiographies & Memoirs
  • 2021 Sunbury Press SUNNY Award
  • 2022 Illumination Book Award Silver Medal: Biography/Memoir-Inspiration
  • 2022 International Book Award:  Autobiography/memoir
  • 2022 Mildred Schindler Janzen – National DAR Women in American History Medal