Recruiting Source International
LA Communications, LLC
The Legacy Connection
Robert E. Bard is the president and CEO of LATINA Style Inc., a position he assumed in October 2001, after the untimely passing of his spouse and business partner, Anna Maria Arias, founder, editor & publisher of LATINA Style Magazine.
In his twelve years leading LATINA Style Mr. Bard has been able to expand on the influence of the company by creating the Anna Maria Arias Entrepreneurship Awards, a national recognition program for Latina entrepreneurs, further developing the four signature programs of the company; the LATINA Style Business Series, the most successful ongoing business development program for Latina business owners in the nation; the LATINA Style 50 Awards and Diversity Leaders Conference, reporting on the top 50 companies for Latinas to work for in the U.S.; the National LATINA Symposium recognizing Latina achievement in all areas and professions; and the Distinguished Military Service Awards, honoring outstanding Latinas for their military Service. In 2012 LATINA Style launched two additional programs: the LS Hero Program focusing in the reintegration and re-assimilation of military personnel leaving the service and entering corporate America or launching their own businesses and the College Beat Series a program dedicated to empower and inform Latinas in colleges and universities.
Mr. Bard is a graduate of the MALDEF Leadership Training Program and is actively involved in the endeavors of the Hispanic community. He serves on the Board of Directors of Parents Step Ahead, an organization created to enable parents to get involved in their children’s education, on the advisory boards of HITEC, one of the premiere organizations providing services to Hispanics in the technology field, the Women of Alpfa, a leading organization empowering Latinas in the accounting and financial field and is the acting Chairman of ANSO, the Association of Naval Service Officers. In May of 2011, Mr. Bard was recognized by the Chief of Naval Operations with the prestigious Admiral Farragut Hispanic Diversity Champion Award for his work to improve and promote diversity in the military community.
Mr. Bard is married to Ms. Lupita Colmenero, publisher of El Hispano News and Founder of Parents Step Ahead Foundation in Dallas. Mr. Bard is a graduate of the California State University at Northridge and completed postgraduate studies at the University of California in Los Angeles, leadership programs at the Tuck School of business, Harvard and Yale Business Schools. He is a native from Chile and is fluent in Spanish and French.
The Susan Bari Company
Gloria Bohan founded Omega World Travel (Omega) in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1972. Now Omega is a global company, headquartered in Fairfax, VA, with annual sales revenues in excess of $1 billion.The company serves every major area of business, government and leisure travel throughout the USand abroad. Omega also has its own Meetings and Incentives division.In 1997, Glorialaunched Cruise.com, one of the internet’s largest cruise sellers. Gloria also owns TravTech, a software development company dedicated to providing innovative solutions for Omega’s clients and the travel industry at large.
Ms. Bohan has been recognized many times over for her stellar business achievements, including an induction into the Washington, DC, Business Hall of Fame as a Hall of Fame Laureate; recognition as one of the 50 most influential people in Virginia by Virginia Business; and recipient of theExecutive Lifetime Achievement Award from the Executive Women's Forum.
On the leisure side, in 2015, Gloria christened Windstar Cruises Star Legend in Italy and serves as Godmother, a title she continues to enjoy.
A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York where she has served as a Trustee, Ms. Bohancurrently is as a board member on the World Affairs Council and the Fairfax County Education Foundation and is a member of The Zenith Group. Ms. Bohan, and her beloved late husband, Dan Bohan, who served as the Chief Operating Officer of Omega, established the Gloria and Dan Bohan Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship and its values.
Omega World Travel
Josée Brisebois is a personal brand expert and fashion stylist for women professionals, speakers, and entrepreneurs. Having founded "We Can Style" in 2009, Brisebois brings more than 20 years of experience to her passion for positioning experts and professionals as confident, go-to authorities who command higher rates, attract better opportunities, and make high-level business connections.
A graduate of McGill University, she developed her skills while working as a marketing and branding expert in the technology industry at the height of the dot com boom. Then, having studied with one of the first personal stylists in Montreal, she worked as a personal stylist for professionals, public speakers, TV personalities, and red carpet events. She continued refining her styling abilities as a television newscaster, host, and Hollywood actress, starring in a feature film. In appearing on ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS, she learned very quickly that the stage and the camera respond differently to specific cuts and colors. Today, this expertise allows her to guide her clients through a proven process of building a polished stage and camera-ready wardrobe that helps them stand out and differentiate themselves. In particular, she helps her clients convey their own personalities, so that people can easily relate to them and understand who they are. Brisebois uses a Feng Shui approach proven over 6000 years to support people in manifesting what they desire.
As Vice President of Operations for the Women Presidents' Organization and the Women Presidents' Educational Organization, Camille Burns oversees all functions of the headquarters office, including financial directives, human resources, marketing, technology and administration. She plays an active role in planning annual meetings and conferences and represents both organizations at events around the world.
Camille is an ardent supporter of women's economic development and is inspired to help foster women business owners through the WPO and WPEO. She is a member of the advisory board of Enterprising Women magazine, sits on the steering committee of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC), and is on the planning committee for Go for the Greens, a business development conference for women entrepreneurs.
Women Presidents’ Organization
Jennie McNeill Campbell, CMP, CMM, PMP, is CEO/President of Stewart Steelwood Investments, LLC dba “The Stewart Lodges”. She has also founded and owned other companies to include Jennie McNeill Enterprises, LLC (Meeting Planning Company) and Meet Your Market, LLC (An Innovative Marketing Company).
With over 30 years of professional marketing, public relations, event planning, project management and portfolio management experience supporting widely diversified industries and organizations, Campbell has over an illustrious career given back to multiple business organizations, personal causes and mentoring.
Campbell is a 2020 Enterprising Woman of the Year Champion, in addition to serving on the Advisory Board.
Her companies have been the recipient of Meeting Professionals International awards to include the Tomorrow’s Leader Award and the MPI President Award, the MS Leadership Award, Genuity’s Vice President’s Above and Beyond Award, YWCA Role Model of the Year, Leading Women in Business Award, Business Alabama Movers and Shakers and Strathmore’s Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award. Her company has been a Vistage International Lifetime Achievement Award Finalist, a Mobile Chamber of Commerce Small Business Finalist 2019 and The Business Council of Alabama Small Business of the Year Alabama State Finalist, to name a few.
She speaks at business organizations, civic organizations and leadership programs, on topics such as “The Perfect Storm: Dealing with Life’s Adversities and Always Coming out on Top!” and most recently recognized for her article and speaking presentation: “Changes, Challenges, Choices: What is your next Move?” concerning the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic published in the Enterprising Women Blog, The Connector, and several CEO Publications.
Campbell is a member and has served on numerous executive boards, boards and committees such as World Trade Center of New Orleans, Junior Achievement, Meeting Professional International, Project Management Institute, Better Business Bureau, Rotary: a member of Vistage, Chief Executive and Goldman Sachs 10KSB National Cohort 9 Program, among many others. She has recently served on the Eastern Shore Board and Executive Board, BCEDA Board and Executive Board, SBCOC Board and Executive Board, Mobile Chamber Board of Directors, Mobile Chamber Executive Board, Mobile Chamber Vice Chair of Membership, Mobile Chamber of Commerce Chamber Chase Chair 2019, and Mobile Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair of Small Business, Renasant Bank Alabama Board of Advisors, Quality Filters, Board of Advisors and the Gold Coast Angel Investors Board of Advisors.
She has written and been featured in over 100 articles in publications such as Meeting Professional, O (Oprah), Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Alabama, Mobile Bay, Baldwin Times, Biz New Orleans, and City Business Magazines.
A mother, grandmother, and self-proclaimed “high-maintenance wife,” Mary lives in Raleigh, NC.
CESI Debt Solutions
Cober, Johnson & Romneywww.cjrlegal.com
Label Logic, inc.
Carol Curran is the founder and CEO of Phoenix Data Corporation, a certified woman-owned business developing innovative technology solutions for planning and optimization, training and workforce development, document management and electronic records, and program management.
Phoenix Data Corporation was recognized as a Top 50 Women-Owned Business in Indiana and a 2014 Top Workplace, and for 2013, an Indiana Companies to Watch winner, a finalist in the 2013 TechPoint Mira Awards, and a Top Emerging Business in America by DiversityBusiness.com. Carol was honored with the Indianapolis Business Journal 2013 Women of Influence Award.
Carol serves as Board Secretary for the Indianapolis Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO – Indianapolis), Advisory Board Member for Enterprising Women magazine and Board Member for the Indiana Chamber.
Phoenix Data Corporation
Red Sky Blue Water LLCwww.rsbw.com
A proven industry leader and innovator, Michelle has been awarded many industry awards, achieving the 2018 Enterprising Women of the Year Award and sitting on the board.
Conference Event Management
Laurie DeJong is the founder and CEO of LDJ Productions, a multi-million-dollar event management, creative and production company based in New York City. A former Calvin Klein executive, Laurie brings over 25 years of event and business operations experience to oversee the vision, strategic direction, and structure of the company.
Laurie has quickly become sought after as a global business leader in a variety of fields including fashion, tech, beauty, media and corporate events. Clients of LDJ include L’Oréal, New York Times, WME/IMG, Google, Verizon, Rolls Royce and many more Fortune 500 companies. LDJ served as the producing agency for the management, design, production and operations of New York Fashion Week, the largest fashion event in the world. She successfully led the transition of Fashion Week in New York City from a tent to five separate locations.
Her passion for business is equally matched by her passion for helping others. For many years, Laurie has been a longtime mentor of woman and girls in developing nations throughout the world. Through these mentorships and global partnerships, Laurie soon realized the impact a small company can make in the world and founded The Paper Fig Foundation, LDJ’s charitable initiative. Through a variety of diverse programs, PFF empowers and supports sustainable community development projects and empowerment programs in East Africa. She has been involved with the formation and growth of Fashion Weeks in Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria and has recently opened a skills training institute in Kasese, a village in rural Southwest Uganda, which teaches young women skills in the fashion arena so that they can find jobs and support themselves and their families.
Laurie DeJong was selected “Enterprising Woman of the Year” by Enterprising Women Magazine. She has written several articles about growing a business and a foundation and has often speaks about “the importance of culture” and “small companies making big impact”. Under her leadership LDJ has held a spot on the Women Presidents Organization’s list of the “50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Businesses in North America” and Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing companies for multiple years.
Laurie DeJong currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Marist College, the Enterprising Women Advisory Board.
LDJ Productions Founder, The Paper Fig Foundation
Writing has always been an integral part of Harriet’s life. Her early books are Grammar – In Plain English, English the Easy Way, and Writing the Easy Way. Once retired, she coauthored Perfect Phrases for Motivating and Rewarding Employees, Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements, Teambuilding That Gets Results, and Executive Writing: American Style with her daughter, Linda Eve Diamond. Additionally, Harriet has written magazine and journal articles on a broad range of business and communication topics.
Author, writer, speaker
Women’s Business Development Centerwww.wbdc.org
Harvard Services Group is the only Diversity Certified Building Service Contractor based in the NY Tri-State area to be awarded Green Seal GS-42 and CIMS-Green Building certifications. Harvard Enterprise Risk Solutions providesInvestigative & Security Advisory Services, as well as Executive Protection.
In addition to being recognized as Enterprising Women of the Year, Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs & Business Owners in NJ and Best 50 Business Women in NJ, her company wasnamed a Top 500 Diversity Business in the US.
Nathalie is an Enterprising Women Advisory Board Member, a U.S. Building Service Contractor Association (BSCAI) Board Member, as well as a member of the XPrize Innovation Board. She is a member of Women’s President Organization (WPO), Executive Women of New Jersey, The Hygieia Network, the Building Owners& Managers Association (BOMA), ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, NJ Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), and the US Green Building Council (USGBC).Nathalie and her husband Stan contributeto multiple charities, includingStep Up Women’s Network, Big Brothers-Big Sisters and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Harvard Services Groupwww.harvardsg.com
National Association of Women Business Ownerswww.nawbo.org
Denise has served in numerous leadership and executive positions in IBM marketing and sales, globally, for 36+ years.
Denise serves on the Board of Directors of the Native American Chamber of Commerce, Women Presidents' Organization, Center for Women's Business Research, X Coalition, Enterprising Women Magazine, the International Planning Committee for the Global Summit of Women, and the advisory board of The S.O.L.V.E. Group, LLC.Denise earned her ScB degree in Mathematics and Economics from Brown University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Reenie Feingold, founder of StoreSMART, a global leader in visual management and office organization solutions, clearly practices what she preaches. Red, yellow and green magnetic emoticons visually call out the trafficking stages of ongoing projects at whiteboard work stations throughout StoreSMART’s highly efficient and visually organized 10,000 square foot sales service operation at 180 Metro Park in Rochester, New York.
“Our products are everywhere!” beams Reenie. From schools and hospitals—to homeless shelters—to the offices of Harley Davidson, Toyota, Dupont and Coca Cola—StoreSMART’s magnetic and adhesive vinyl products and colorful magnetic whiteboard accessories, have found their way into organizations across the globe.
StoreSMART’s road to success has at times been a bumpy one, necessitating resilience and creativity in the face of major challenges and unexpected detours.
The nearly 47-year business journey began in 1971, when Reenie and husband Stan, young students at RIT, launched a slide duplicating business, Visual Horizons. The company produced and published printed and multi-media products and developed training materials, instructional books, and visual aids for educational institutions, industry, and the government.
By the late 1980s, business was booming and a staff of 35 churned out over 55,000 slides per day for the likes of Xerox, Smithkline, The Smithsonian, and NASA. They even created presentation graphics and book illustrations for Frank Abagnale, the infamous check forger and impostor (later turned FBI consultant), whose life inspired the Academy-Award winning movie, “Catch Me If You Can.”
But by 2000, the slide duplication business came to a screeching halt, almost overnight, a victim of the digital age. “We serviced the best and the brightest”, says Reenie. “We ran a model lab. They came to us from all over, on private jets and in limos. And then it all just stopped. It’s a story of who moved my cheese.”
So, Visual Horizons turned its focus on slide and media storage accessories, including binders and plastic holders for CDs. They also converted slides to digital images, which gave them some time to strategize and regroup.
“I think of myself as a designer and inventor,” says Reenie, “and I thought about plastic materials and asked myself, how can we give them new purpose?”
With a leap of faith, and a significant financial investment, the Feingolds steered their business in a new direction and spun off StoreSMART, a division of Visual Horizons. Reenie focused her creative energies on inventing new products that would increase office efficiency.
One of StoreSMART’s first satisfied customers was Schott, a leading pharmaceutical firm, who purchased StoreSMART’s magnetic whiteboards and visual production products. “They told us that when they put our boards up they were able to save $1,000 a day,” says Reenie. From there, word of StoreSMART’s products and visual factory boards began to spread. “It’s a very sharing environment,” says Stan. “If one person has success with a product in their factories, they share it at lean production national meetings.”
Today, StoreSMART is a thriving business. They process orders from around the country for products for businesses, hospitals, schools and craft lovers. “We reach over 300,000 decision makers by email a week from every state, Canada, and around the globe,” says Reenie. “Lean visual management is our sweet spot,” says Reenie. “We continue to diversify our products and services for Lean, 5S, Six Sigma, corporate, and manufacturing markets.”
The company’s inroads into the health care industry is also a source of pride. Ten years ago, Reenie learned that as a standard practice, at-risk individuals were putting their medical histories into pill boxes and placing them the freezer in case an EMT had to come into the home to respond to a medical emergency.
“I said, ‘This is crazy!’ Who is going to look into the freezer during a medical crisis? ” So Reenie invented the Vial of Life, a magnetic pocket that can be applied on a fridge or any magnetic surface and contains all of the papers needed in an emergency in one easy-to-find spot. She also invented a peel and stick removable version for stainless steel refrigerators. “One fellow who had a seizure at work affixed the Vial of Life to his workbench and told us it saved his life,” says Reenie. “And our emergency pockets have been used by churches to place on the backpacks of homeless individuals, so that their health information, including blood type and medications, are available to health workers.”
An artist and crafts hobbyist, Reenie also spun off a second division, ScrapSMART, which creates products for scrapbook, rubberstamp, altered arts, sewing and craft markets. ScrapSMART boasts over 25,000 downloadable images on its website, ScrapSMART.com.
ScrapSMART has garnered some impressive national media attention. Reenie debuted one of her ScrapSMART products on QVC to an audience of over 85 million viewers and made guest appearances with several of ScrapSMART products on the PBS television series “America Sews.”
Giving back to the community is a hallmark of Reenie’s business model. She created a charity called CoordKnit, which has connected with Albion State Prison to help gather yarn donations for a knitting program for female inmates. CoordKnit also teaches knitting at the Lipson Cancer Center to patients undergoing treatment. Reenie is a part of the St. John’s Catholic Prayer Shawl Ministry. She donates excess inventory to Pencils and Paper, an organization that provides free school supplies to area schools.
The Feingolds take great pride in the fact that the majority of their products are made in Rochester and that StoreSMART is a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified woman-owned business.
The business road has been a long and sometimes hard one, but the Feingolds say it’s been personally satisfying to have turned their business around and created another successful niche in the marketplace.
“Our philosophy is simple,” says Reenie. “Be honest. Deliver on time. And listen closely to your customers and they’ll tell you what they want.”
Women Presidents’ Organizationwww.womenpresidentsorg.com
Celeste Ford, Board Chair and Founder of Stellar Solutions, Inc., a Malcolm Baldrige National Award-winning global aerospace and systems engineering services leader solving the most complex issues facing commercial and government clients today. A visionary in talent cultivation and retention, Ford has led Stellar Solutions to its 25th Anniversary year with a mission to deliver high-impact projects and satisfy customer needs by ensuring that the company’s highly trained experts are in their dream jobs.
Stellar Solutions provides key services in the multi-billion dollar marketplace for the development, delivery, and expansion of space exploration, communications and intricate technology connections across multiple frontiers. Of major significance are Ford’s efforts to develop and sustain a culture in which diverse perspectives and skills create a competitive advantage.
As an example, Stellar Solutions’ “Crossing Boundaries” program was an early model of intersectional problem solving that continues to empower each of its 200 employees to draw upon the expertise of peers across the organization and the industries they serve.
In addition to the Malcolm Baldrige Award, the nation’s highest honor for performance excellence and sustainability, and its affiliate California Award for Performance Excellence (CAPE), Stellar Solutions has been recognized for its growth and culture as a Fortune Great Place to Work (2014 – Present), a Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, and one of the Fastest Growing Companies of the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times.
Ford’s recognitions include Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, Fortune Small Business Magazine’s Best Bosses, and the Women in Aerospace Leadership Award.
Her early career included serving as a guidance and control engineer for COMSAT (Communications Satellite Corporation), and project manager with the Aerospace Corporation where her work on NASA’s Space Shuttle Program led to recognition as “Woman of the Year.”
She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves on the Board of Simpson Manufacturing and is a Trustee of the University of Notre Dame where she attained her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. She holds an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Stanford University.
Judy Fourie was also named as one of the top Women in Business in the Triangle in 2003 by the Triangle Business Journal and one of the Top Women of Western Wake in 2007 by Cary Magazine.
Anne B. Freedman, is an internationally recognized business communication and executive presentation consultant, corporate trainer, author and E-course developer. As founder and president of Speakout, Inc., a Miami-based company established in 1990, her mission in life is “to help prevent everyone from ever having to listen to or give another boring speech or presentation. And to keep the art of face-to-face communication alive and well!"
Anne works privately and in groups to help executives and community leaders create powerful messages, while reducing the frustration and anxiety of public speaking. Bilingual, in English and Spanish, she also conducts programs on team and leadership communication, networking skills, and developing elevator speeches. Clients include SAB Miller, Perry Ellis International, Kaufman Rossin CPAs, DHL, Western Union, Royal Caribbean, Florida International University, Banco do Brasil, and many other multinational and US corporations, nonprofits and business owners.
A University of Florida graduate and former journalist, Anne is the author of Public Speaking for the Genius, and Say It! Own It!, a 240-page illustrated Workbook. Her 14-video E-course, Speak Your Way to the Top, is due out early next year.
Active in the community, Anne currently serves on the President’s Assembly Steering Committee of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She is past president of Miami NAWBO, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the South Florida Progress Foundation. She serves on the Florida International Bankers Association’s Women’s Leadership Committee and is involved in other business and civic groups.
Speak Out Inc.
Joan Killian Gallagher is the founder and president of Warden Brooks New York. Since 1978, her visionary leadership in the field of custom designed corporate gifts established Warden Brooks as the preferred manufacturer of branded merchandise. Made in America, the distinctive line of canvas bags with woven ribbon trim includes totes, briefcases, and the, often imitated but never duplicated, original Wall Street banker bag.
In 1998, while successfully running Warden Brooks and raising her daughter, Joan followed one of her many dreams and began the restoration of the original cottages on the farm where her great grandfather, Laurence Killian, was born in 1833. Fifteen years, three cottages and a true labor of love later, The Killian Homeplace received the All Ireland Pride of Place Award. The 60-acre compound has been reimagined as a meeting place that fosters the educational and cultural exchange for students, relatives and friends from all over the world.
In 2017, Joan’s daughter, Caroline, joined the Warden Brooks team and has brought a new dimension of design and marketing innovation to the company. Joan is the proud recipient of the Enterprising Woman of the Year award and continues to enjoy being a long time member of the EW Advisory Board and the Women Presidents’ Organization.
WARDEN BROOKS New York
Nancy Garcia is an Entrepreneur with significant expertise in management, business development, and business administration. Ms. Garcia has served as the CEO and Co-Founder of Noble Machine, LLC for nearly two decades. Noble Machine provides manufacturing services through their engineering processes in the machining field for the fast-paced and highly demanding oil, petroleum, electrical, mining, and electronics industries. In 2010, Ms. Garcia founded Dynasty Management, Inc. which manages her real estate investments portfolio. Prior to becoming an Entrepreneur, she served as an Assistant Property Manager for high-rise class A office buildings consisting of over 500,000 square feet. She is a sought after global Speaker, reputable Award Winner, newly coined "Nancy the Riveter" iconic inspiration. Latinas in manufacturing is only 18% of the US demographics, imagine one that actually owns the company and its rarity.
She is a proven Latina success, who believes in developing and growing businesses with strong relationships, customers and earning loyalty from her team. Leading by example is key, holding herself and her team members to the highest level of ethics and determination. Her company’s proven multi million dollar success and revenue growth outpaces the national average. The legacy she is creating is for her family, her team and anybody she can impact. When asked what moves her, she said "Making a difference and not letting anyone stop me or others from our dreams." Amazing actions take amazing effort and perseverance.
Ms. Garcia holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management; and currently pursuing a Certificate of Accountancy from the University of Houston. She has been married for almost 30 years, and she has been business partners with her husband for nearly 20 of those years. The success she has she passionately shares with her proud husband Julio, who is a support activist on her brand amplification and growth. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her family, son and daughter, and enjoys traveling to new places. In conjunction, she is committed to continuous personal and professional growth, as demonstrated by her recent completion of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, and being an IC Genius Member. She is also a Mentee in the STEM Connector/MWM-Ei (Million Women Mentors) receiving a business woman Mentor for a year to help advise her. Awards: Hispanic Lifestyles '2019 Latinas of Influence," and recently “2019 Houston Female Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Noble Machine, LLC
Deborah Garry, CEO & President of BBG&G Advertising & Public Relations. She leads a full-service marketing communications team of designers, content and social media strategists, programmers, digital specialists, videographers, copywriters and other professionals to develop award-winning and effective integrated branding and marketing programs for clients in a broad range of industries. Garry founded BBG&G in 1997.
A Certified Account Planner and Marketing Automation Specialist, Garry contributes regularly to business journals and the agency blog, and leads seminars on marketing for businesses, students, and niche industries. She has been a guest educator at NYU and Mount Saint Mary College, and enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with the next generation of marketing leaders, as well as finding, hiring, and mentoring young women of talent.
She is a winner of the 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year Award.
BBG&G contributes to their community through various fundraisers and pro bono services, including Heroes Run, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and the Hudson Valley Foodbank, and has also spearheaded Brandathon, a daylong event in which the entire agency donates its branding and marketing services to an area not-for-profit.
Garry currently serves on the Orange County Citizen’s Foundation Placemaking Committee, the Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress Board and Strategic Planning Committee, and the Marketing Committee for Leadership Orange, as well as serving on Leadership Orange’s Board. She is a past recipient of the Hudson Valley Women in Business award. Garry is a member of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Orange County Partnership.
BBG&G Advertising & Public Relations
Dima is Middle-Eastern in her genes, American in her heart, and a global citizen in her spirit. She ignites the untapped potential in individuals across the globe, empowering them to shatter limitations and become courageous, purpose driven leaders. Her own journey is one of escaping confinement, crossing continents, and transforming her life’s purpose. Harnessing the power of her story, Dima is committed to inspiring individuals to attain personal and professional growth.
Through keynote speeches, workshops, and executive coaching, Dima shares her unique leadership transformation journey with one goal in mind: motivate and activate those around her to reimagine their potential and grow into leaders.
Dima draws from two decades of corporate experience leading global teams and developing future leaders worldwide. She has worked across the United States, Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa for several Fortune 100 companies including IBM, Merrill Lynch, and Intuit. She has honed a keen expertise in developing leaders to meet the demands of the global workforce.
Dima’s memoir Breaking Vases received Writer’s Digest 2018 Grand Prize Award, Best Indie Book Award, Readers’ Favorite Award, and National Indie Excellence Award.
In addition to her global empowerment work, Dima serves on numerous nonprofit boards. She has been recognized for her services with the 2014 President of the United States Bronze Volunteer Service Award, the 2014 Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Forty Under 40” Award, and the 2016 Louisiana State University “Esprit de Femme Award.” She has been featured in numerous publications for her professional and philanthropic work.
Design To Delivery Inc.
Sharon Hadary & Co.
Linda Hamilton is the founder of a CPA and business advisory firm that serves clients in the U.S. and across the globe. The firm works with businesses, nonprofit entities and high-net-worth individuals. She advises her clients on federal, state and local tax matters including payroll tax, worker classification issues, international tax issues, and state nexus issues. The firm also provides coaching, virtual and outsourced CFO and controller services.
Linda coaches businesses in a wide variety of industries on developing and monitoring key performance measures. With her guidance, business owners learn to focus on the details of their business in order to make important decisions on expansion, succession planning, and the impact of taxes on decisions. Using the latest cloud technology solutions, Linda guides clients in monitoring performance and spotting the vital signs that indicate whether the company is on track to meet goals or needs to consider course corrections.
Before striking out on her own more than 20 years ago, Linda served emerging businesses in the audit and tax practices of Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). She has been quoted in major publications including the Wall Street Journal and is a frequent speaker on a variety of topics, including tax planning, managing and growing a business, designing accounting systems tailored to fit a company’s unique needs, and unlocking the financial intelligence in business data. She has been a board member and past treasurer of the Financial Women’s Association (FWA) and belongs to the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), the AICPA, the NYSSCPA, and the NYSSCPA Partnership and LLC Tax Committee.
In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant, Linda holds certifications in many of today’s top cloud technology tools and accounting products. She is certified in QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, Xero, LivePlan, Bill.com, AccountEdge, FreshBooks, Mentor Plus and Corelytics Dashboards.
Linda A. Hamilton CPA LLC, New York, NY
A Better Answer Call Centers®
Edge Solutions and Consulting Inc.
Corinne Heijn is founder and president of UnitedSuccess. Corinne's formal education was the foundation on which she built her career, but it is her life experiences and travels to distant lands that have made a profound impact on her business acumen. Her studies included a Law Degree from the University of Leiden, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and MIT Sloan School of Management, along with several other corporate and management training and coaching programmes.
Corinne's corporate experience includes 4 years as a consultant designing and implementing financial information systems at Arthur Anderson Management Consultants in the early 1980s, and 9 years with KLM in senior management roles, including strategic development as part of the team who created the vision and strategy for KLM USA.
UnitedSuccess unites women business owners from different corners of the globe who are eager to grow and share common values. Transparency, integrity and trust are the backbone of this unique network. Credibility and reliability are explicit admission criteria.
Cynthia Hetherington, MLS, MSM, CFE, CII is Founder and President of Hetherington Group, a consulting, publishing, and training firm that leads in due diligence, corporate intelligence, and cyber investigations by keeping pace with the latest security threats and assessments. She has authored three books on how to conduct investigations and annually trains over 7,200 investigators, security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies on best practices.
For more than 25 years, Hetherington has led national and international investigations in corporate due diligence and fraud, personal asset recovery, and background checks. With a specialization in the financial, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries, her investigations have recovered millions of dollars in high profile corruption cases, assisting on the investigations of the top two Ponzi cases in United States history.
Her most recent clients include the U.S. Department Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC); U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); NY Mass Transit Authority, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and The Ministry of Justice of The Hague, Netherlands.
Hetherington is a faculty member at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In 2015, she founded the OSMOSIS Institute, which hosts the annual OSMOSIS Conference. Hundreds of investigators across the nation gain insights into Open Source Intelligence and receive training from the most recognized social media and open source experts in North America.
Among her many recognitions, Hetherington was a 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year New Jersey Award Finalist, a 2019 Enterprising Woman of the Year recipient, and a 2018 CybHER Warrior. She was named 2012 James Baker Speaker of the Year by the ACFE. In appreciation for her participation in the 29th Annual Briefing in 2014, the U.S. flag was flown over the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council.
After completing her cardiovascular training, she remained on staff briefly before going into private practice in Annapolis, Maryland. In 2006, she became the owner and managing partner of Chesapeake Cardiac Care which is now recognized as a full, coordinated adult cardiovascular practice that consistently surpasses customer expectations. The physicians and staff are dedicated to providing high quality cardiovascular care in an environment that is caring, warm and where patients always come first. Dr. Hutchinson believes that good health is the cornerstone of progress because without it our plans may not materialize. She is recognized as an outstanding clinician who is detail oriented, ensures that patients understand their medical condition, why they need certain tests and how the information would help in their care. She attracts patients from out of state and other countries.
Dr. Hutchinson has presented many papers and lectures nationally and internationally. She is a member of several medical associations which include the American College of Cardiology, Association of Black Cardiologists, American Society of Echocardiography, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the American Academy of sleep medicine. She finds time to interact with other female business owners by her involvement in Women Presidents Organization and she gives back to the community by her involvement in her church and volunteering her services at a clinic for individuals without insurance. She is a mentor to high school students considering a career in medicine and she allows residents considering cardiology as a specialty to spend time in her practice learning clinical cardiovascular medicine and the business aspect of medicine that is not taught in school.
Chesapeake Cardiac Care
Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations, a global translation and localization company that helps businesses communicate effectively in a variety of different languages. In 2017, Terra Translations received the Women Owned Business Enterprise Rising Star Award presented by Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to a burgeoning business with great promise. And in 2019, the firm was ranked as one of the Top 5 Translation Companies in Latin America by Common Sense Advisory.
She is a winner of the 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year Award.
Ilari holds a degree in Literary Translation and is certified by the American Translators Association. She has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry and is an expert in translation technology and managing translation projects.
Ilari is originally from Argentina and was raised in a small rural town in the province of Santa Fe. Daughter of two entrepreneurial parents, from an early age she expressed a passion for languages and cultures. She was enamored by the translation industry through the work of her mother, who holds a PhD in Modern Languages. Ilari credits her parents, especially her mother, for instilling a strong foundational work ethic and being ever-present mentors, thus cultivating her personal and professional acumen, perseverance, and success.
In 2009 Ilari relocated to Wisconsin. Upon her arrival to the States, she leaned heavily on professional associations and organizations to establish a network of support and a client base. These professional roots continue to encourage Ilari to give back and to help cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit in new business owners, especially women and girls. Ilari became a US-citizen in 2016.
Recruiting Source International
The Legal Edge LLC
JAK Creative Design
For nearly twenty-five years Karen Kerrigan’s leadership, advocacy and training work has helped foster U.S. entrepreneurship and global small business growth. She is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and is the group’s chief advocate for its members. Kerrigan regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress on the key issues impacting entrepreneurs and the economy, and has been appointed to numerous federal advisory boards including the National Women’s Business Council, the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialog, the U.S. Treasury’s Taxpayer Advisory Panel, and the National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements. Kerrigan regularly engages with the President’s cabinet and key advisors, and has spoken or led roundtables at several White House economic summits, scores of events hosted by the Small Business Administration, U.S. Treasury Department and other federal government agencies and departments. Kerrigan is a collaborative and well-respected individual within the advocacy community who has led numerous coalitions and initiatives with diverse partners and business organizations. She has written hundreds of Op-Eds and newspaper columns, and regularly appears on national television and talk radio programs.
She has been called America’s “entrepreneurial envoy” and “small business ambassador” for her extensive speaking, knowledge sharing and capacity-building work overseas. Kerrigan is a founding member of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, and regularly provides counsel to governments and business associations across the globe regarding entrepreneurial development, capacity building and policy formation and implementation. She has traveled to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Israel, Morocco, Nepal, the Palestinian territories, among many other nations on behalf of the U.S. State Department to work with business leaders, young entrepreneurs and government officials on reforms and programs to encourage entrepreneurship and small business growth. Kerrigan is a former board member and Chair of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), one of the core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy, which works to strengthen democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market oriented reforms.
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council/ Women Entrepreneurs Inc.
Merrilee Kick is the CEO/Founder of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, the only woman-owned Distillery/Winery in the United States, located in Carrollton, Texas. BuzzBallz/Southern Champion makes ready-to-drink cocktails called BuzzBallz, as well as spirits like rum, vodka, gin and bourbon, which are sold in 46 states and 7 countries in convenience stores, liquor stores, casinos, arenas and airlines. The company is family operated, and home to 100 employees in the Dallas area. The company sponsors educational scholarships as well as non-profits dedicated to helping fight human trafficking.
She is a winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Southwest 2018, EY's Winning Women Award 2016; Winner of the Enterprising Women's Award 2017, and Winner of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Woman’s University. Merrilee is involved as a Member of the Committee of 200, Women's President's Organization, Entrepreneurial Women's Organization/NAWBO, and WBENC (Women's Business Enterprise National Council). She frequently is asked to speak about innovation, marketing strategy, manufacturing, vertical integration, and international business.
She was a former CBS News Anchor, writer & "live" radio newscaster, non-profit executive, event producer, public speaker, and voice-over artist/actress. She was a former high school teacher of international business, entrepreneurship, business law, marketing, and business computer systems. Merrilee is married to Tim Kick, and has 2 children, Alex & Andrew Kick. All of them work in the family business.
Southern Champion / Buzzballz, LLC
Sung-Joo Kim was inaugurated as the President of the Korean Red Cross in Oct 2014. She is the Chairperson and Chief Visionary Officer of the Sungjoo Group (Korea) and MCM Holding AG (Germany).
She established Sungjoo Group in 1990 and launched premium fashion brands in Korea such as Gucci, Sonia Rikyel, and YSL as well as the products of the largest fashion distribution company based in the United Kingdom, Marks & Spencer. Since the group’s establishment, Kim has been able to develop the company into a recognized enterprise in the Korean fashion industry.
In 2005, the group acquired MCM, a premium leather goods brand born in Germany, and successfully entered into the global luxury brand sector. MCM products are currently being manufactured in both Korea and Italy, and are distributed to about 40 countries worldwide, thereby leading the globalization of the Korean fashion industry.
Sung-Joo Kim established the Sungjoo Foundation in 2009 under its social responsibility and business philosophy, 'Succeed to Serve,' which is also her personal motto. The foundation has actively returned 10% of its net profit back to society, and it has supported about 60 Korean and global nongovernment organizations (NGOs) every year. It has thus supported war victims from Kosovo, the Asia House (United Kingdom), the Victoria & Albert Museum (United Kingdom), and all kinds of cultural and charity endeavors. Sungjoo Group also actively supports women education, to encourage engagement in social and economic activities through the Global Summit of Women Network (GSWN).
Sungjoo Kim has progressively managed her business and global activities under her personal mission of training small and medium enterprises, as well as the youth and women so that they may actively participate in global activities. She has also developed her business to become a role model that portrays the beauty of capitalism through honest and transparent business management. Having drawn the world’s attention, she is now the first Korean woman who is an active member of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) of the Asia Pacific Economy Council since 2013.
Kopp Consulting, LLC
Margery Kraus, president and chief executive officer of APCO Worldwide, a global consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., specializes in public affairs, communication and business consulting for major multinationals.
Ms. Kraus founded APCO in 1984 and has transformed it from a company with one small Washington office to a multinational consulting firm in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In September 2004 Ms. Kraus led a management buy-out of her firm from Grey Global Group, making APCO one of the largest privately owned communication and public affairs firms in the world.
Throughout the years, her approach has been to fuse the best local experience with a global perspective, resulting in an international agency with a unique culture based on seamless teamwork. Ms. Kraus’ achievements have been recognized through a number of prestigious personal and corporate awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year ® in the Services category in Greater Washington (2006), Washington PR Woman of the Year (2006), Lifetime Achievement (PR News, 2005) and PR Professional of the Year (PR Week, 2005). In addition, APCO was named Large PR Firm of the Year (PR News, 2007), Agency of the Year (PR Week, 2006) and European Consultancy of the Year (Public Affairs News, 2005, 2006 and 2007).
Ms. Kraus specializes in providing strategic counsel on issue-based communication, crisis management, market entry and corporate reputation across diverse industry groups. The range of her experience is reflected in APCO’s industry practice groups, which include aviation and aerospace, education, energy, environment, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications and transportation. Ms. Kraus has also pioneered one of the industry’s earliest practices in corporate responsibility and the development of public/private partnerships.
Prior to starting APCO, Ms. Kraus assisted in the creation and development of the Close Up Foundation, a multi-million dollar educational foundation sponsored in part by the United States Congress. Ms. Kraus continues to be involved with the foundation by serving on its board of directors.
Lideranca Group, Inc.
Lineberger Construction Inc., was started in 1995 by Kim Lineberger. Ms. Lineberger graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University before going to work in her father’s construction firm and finally opening her own firm in 1995.
Lineberger Construction Inc. / Carolina Construction School
Quantum Leaps, Inc.
Gia Machlin is President & CEO of EcoPlum, Inc. A successful entrepreneur, she founded her company in 2007 with the goal of inspiring and motivating people to live a more sustainable lifestyle and practice conscious consumerism. As a for-profit company, EcoPlum has a strong social mission to help combat environmental issues and is committed to a triple-bottom line strategy focused on people, planet, and profit.
EcoPlum Business Gifts is the company’s primary service, offering branded marketing solutions with its Sustainable Swag® line of promotional products at ecoplum.com. EcoPlum curates best-in-class eco-friendly gift items and customizes them for clients with their logos, taglines, or messages. The company’s environmentally responsible business gifts and premium promotional items enhance its clients' marketing efforts with their own branded merchandise - a visible symbol of their values.
EcoPlum is a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and is a Green America “Gold” approved business. Machlin and EcoPlum have been featured on ForbesBooks Radio, Green is Good Radio, WOR Talk Radio, Crain’s New York, Inc. Magazine and many other business publications.
Prior to founding EcoPlum, Machlin was President of MMC 20/20 Systems, Inc. In 1998, she co-founded Plan Data Management, Inc. (PDM) growing it into a thriving software and data services provider servicing Fortune 500 companies. A public company acquired PDM in 2006. Machlin’s professional experience also includes management consulting at Deloitte & Touche, along with sales and marketing roles at Unisys and AT&T.
Machlin received an MBA with honors from Columbia Business School and a BS with honors from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Machlin is a longtime member of the Women Presidents’ Organization and a founding member of the Columbia Business School Alumni Club’s Sustainable Business Committee. She also serves as Board President of the Blue Card, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides cash assistance to needy Holocaust survivors. For the last 15 years, she has been an active volunteer in the New York City public schools.
Marilyn J. Magett is the CEO and Founder of CRS Financial Management Solutions, which provides virtual CFO services to established 7-figure companies. By creating financial order out of chaos, she helps business owners maximize profits, manage cash flow, attract funding, and increase their companies’ value. Outside of the office, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with family in the two places they call home, San Diego and Jamaica.
CRS Financial Management Solutions
Francine Manilow, President and Founder of Manilow Suites, was the first person in the United States to offer short-term corporate housing concentrating in the downtown Chicago area.
Manilow Suites is a long line of firsts for Francine. In 1968 she formed a company providing “stewardesses” to work trade shows on their days off. Those women you see in the supermarkets doing food tastings, Francine was the first to offer that service. She was the first to offer next day and than same day service for film developing in Chicago. Francine was the first to offer color photos on t-shirts through film processing labs throughout the United States. Along the way there was a stock photo company, Piles and Files of Photos and a video store. All through these endeavors she remained a flight attendant. until retiring in 2002 after 39 years with United Airlines.
There were so many road blocks along the way, but with enthusiasm, love of ideas to “make things better, and pure tenacity, Francine made it work. She created jobs, gave thousands of people throughout her 28 years at Manilow Suites, a wonderful and convenient place to stay, and opened the door for many other young ladies to pursue their dreams as well
Manilow Suites, Inc.
Andrea March has successfully reinvented herself several times as a woman business owner and leader. Co-founding the Women's Leadership Exchange®, she says, is the fulfillment of her destiny, the culmination of all her previous experience, in business and in life.
After selling real estate for some years, she and her husband Sy launched a jewelry import and distribution company, Andrea March Accessories. Andrea, who had always had a passion for jewelry, was the salesperson as well as the designer for this affordable line of costume jewelry! Andrea and Sy ran this multi-million dollar business together for 20 years. In 1995, however, the industry changed, and Sy decided to retire. In her 40s, ambitious and energetic, with her daughter, Kerri, already on her own, Andrea pondered what to do with the rest of her life.
Watching a business program on CNBC one day, she realized she had no idea what they were talking about. Like many others, Andrea says, “I did not understand investing, and was probably not the exception - there were undoubtedly millions of people like me, with money to invest and no understanding of how to make smart decisions.” Thus was born Investment Expo, the company Andrea March founded and ran for the next five years.
Under her guidance Investment Expo became the largest financial strategies trade show/seminar program in the Northeast and South Florida, attracting up to 14,000 attendees annually. Andrea propelled Investment Expo into a first-class seminar business -- one of the leading providers of financial information in the U.S., with 50 seminars conducted by top financial gurus.
Four years later -- in 2001 -- Andrea met Leslie Grossman, who had attended one of her two-day events. The two experienced women business owners shared a powerful commitment to women entrepreneurs like themselves. That commitment became Women's Leadership Exchange®. Andrea and Leslie won the Enterprising Women Advocacy Award in 2005.
Women’s Leadership Exchange
Angela Marshall, MD, FACP, is President and CEO of Comprehensive Women’s Health, Inc., a primary care practice for women with two thriving practiceslocated inthe Washington, DC metropolitan area. Dr. Marshall is a Board Certified Internist and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She began her career as an Electrical Engineer for the CIA after earning a degree from Georgia Tech. Although she enjoyed the field of engineering, she decided to combine her love for science and passion for helping people by pursuing a career in women’s health. Dr. Marshall has received numerous awards, including ‘Top Doctor’ designation from Washingtonian Magazine for two years, and was a 2015 Enterprising Women of the Year awardee. Dr. Marshall has appeared on several news programs including CNN, Fox5 News, and Let’s Talk Live as a contributing health expert. She enjoys encouraging young girls and women to pursue careers in entrepreneurship and STEM fields.
Comprehensive Women’s Health
Kris Martinez is owner and creative director of Martinez Creative Group, a digital marketing agency based in St. Charles, IL. MCG provides creative, branding, and integrated communications for a diverse range of clients on a national basis through print, mobile, digital, and video.
Kris has over 23 years experience creating award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns. Since 2004, Kris has built her business from a one-woman shop to a full service boutique agency serving clients in security, manufacturing, food, agriculture, and other industries. MCG's long-term success has been built on the relationships they've grown with their clients. Kris and her team aim to learn everything about their clients’ businesses in order to effectively communicate on their behalf. In 2018, Kris was honored as an Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine. The awards are an annual tribute to the world’s top women entrepreneurs. Award winners demonstrate that they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities. Kris was also a panelist for Crain’s Chicago Business in May, 2018 for the Small Business Week panel on entrepreneurship and fostering growth among women-led businesses.
MCG’s work has been recognized with several industry awards over the years. MCG received a 2018 Communitas award, which recognizes top businesses doing work to benefit their communities. MCG was also recognized with 2017 and 2018 SAMMY Awards for Stanley Security for Best Overall Marketing Campaign. The SAMMY Awards are the most highly regarded awards in the security industry. Kris is a member of several organizations, including: WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council), IABC (International Association of Business Communicators), PWCC (Professional Women’s Club of Chicago), NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association), NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), and the American Advertising Federation. MCG is a certified WBENC corporation.
Martinez Creative Group
MYCA's mission is imbedded in its name: Maximizing Your Company's Assets. Patti takes that literally by leveraging technology in three key asset categories: human talent/performance, material handling equipment, and process refinement.On the forefront of developing eLearning delivery and measurement techniques in a variety of market segments, the MYCA:Learning team, embodies the unique ability to both envision innovative approaches to training delivery and retention, as well as the skills for implementation. Using MYCA:Learning’s proprietary Learning Continuum process and learning management system, Patti’s team has created dozens of successful learning products. The ability to utilize technology effectively led to MYCA's Material Handling initiative managing all costs associated with Material Handling Equipment in efforts to truly optimize fleet operations. "We provide clarity and transparency to all material handling costs. On average we save our clients 10-40% just on accurate pricing and captured warranty claims alone."
Patti says that this division benefited greatly from being a WBENC certified business. Sonoco, was actively seeking a supplier in her field of expertise, and following a strong recommendation from Procter and Gamble, signed contracts with Patti's company on the spot. Patti has some sound advice on where companies should head, once WBENC certification is achieved. "I think too many newly certified WBENC companies stay in their local community too long. I think what they need to do very quickly is advance to the national level. Even if they aren't a national company or have national reach, they will be inspired and surrounded by women who are very successful, very motivating, very warm and generous, and they'll just learn so much."
Myca Multimedia & Training Solutions
Martha now serves as president/owner of Mayhood/Mertz Investments, Inc. She serves as CEO, managing a development and brokerage firm specializing in commercial and investment real estate holdings, which she has done from 1978 to present.
Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC
Patricia Miller is the mother of three amazing boys who often make her question whether she really does possess above-average negotiating skills. She is a servant leader, and the CEO of SpaceBound, Inc., a global supplier of technology products. The majority of her day is spent asking open-ended questions, and challenging great minds to come up with exceptional ideas and brilliant solutions. Miller believes, as a successful CEO, you must force yourself to stay out of the weeds and focus on strategic planning and building substantive relationships. Each month for over 15 years, she has supported our platoons heroically serving overseas, and the local children of the county's only homeless shelter. She sits as Chair of The Board of Influencers for the internationally acclaimed, World Leaders Group.
Winning countless awards on the local, state and national level, Miller selects The Governor's Award for Women's Excellence in Enterprise, the Case Western Reserve - Weatherhead 100 School of Management Award, the recipient of the Inc 500/5000, and the SBA - Economic Development Achievement award as a few that make her stand up and say, "Women Rock!".
Ms. Millman is a career advocate who has represented the interests of various corporate and industry groups. As one of the founders and current president of Springboard Enterprises, she built an organization that facilitates connections to sources of financial and human capital for women-led emerging-growth enterprises. Prior to Springboard, she served as Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council, a federal commission providing advice and counsel to the President and Congress on issues of importance to women business owners. During her tenure, the Council launched several public and private sector initiatives that increased, measurably, access to capital and market opportunities for women. Millman began her career working on Capitol Hill and spent twenty years representing corporate, trade association and government interests
Jayco MMI innovates, designs and manufactures human machine interfaces for aerospace, medical devices, security, communications, and industrial applications ranging from mobile devices to rack-mount systems. Established over 27 years Jayco has earned the loyalty of customers and employees. We are national and international with clients including Fortune 500 and other high technology companies.
STEM-Institute leverages experience from private sector, academia, government, and civil society to advise organizational leaders to influence change and create growth opportunities through insightful analysis and innovative strategic planning. We also focus on forging pathways to break the glass ceiling in the boardroom and mentor girls to advance in STEM fields.
Shaila serves on several boards, locally and nationally including the NAWBO National board. She is active on the International Task force, Public Policy Task Force and Tax regulations and Reform Council. She is also a serves on the Small Business Advisory Council for California Department of General Services. This SBAC is responsible for small and diverse business access to procurement in the State of California. She is proud to serve on The University of California Small and Diverse Business Advisory Council - UC SDBAC which oversees all nine UC campuses’ budget.
A global advocate for women empowerment, she is active across five continents having presented papers at UN level, seminars, and workshops on business, diversity and equality, women’s issues, reform, and economic advancement; topics that are at the forefront globally and domestically. At UN level, she participated actively at every CSW’s in New York since Beijing for 21 years, taking leadership roles including working on the MDGs. She has lead pioneering work on Internet and Human Rights including co-authoring Human Rights Charter and Internet. Whilst serving as a leader for multiple state and national-level organizations, she has been a passionate advocate for prominent issues effecting women business owners, and healthcare reform.
Shaila has received several Lifetime Achievement awards and recognitions for her humanitarian work and entrepreneurial accomplishments. She was listed among the Top 20 Women to Watch by OC Metro; SABAN awarded her Entrepreneur of the Year. ABAOC awarded her their Marco Polo Award: Entrepreneurship & Global Humanitarian work. NAWBO recognized her with Life time Entrepreneur award. Born in India, educated in London, and settled in California, Shaila is a true global citizen.
Her business career spanning over 30 years, Monika has dedicated her talents to transforming organizations and building the capacity of the individuals in them as a coach and consultant in the company she founded, MKM Management Consulting. As a coach, Monika is a trusted thinking partner, intervener holding space for entrepreneurs, nonprofit executives and corporate leaders assess their situations, expand their thinking, and explore options. She partners with them in creating integrated strategies to address the complexity of the challenges they face be they external or internal, personal or professional.
She credits The Gestalt Organizational Systems Development Center with supporting her own self-mastery and helping her to hone her talents and skills. In 2017, Monika was awarded the prestigious Gestalt OSD Center Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a certified Gestalt OSD Practitioner and serves on the faculty of the Gestalt OSD Center. Monika also serves as a senior coach and trainer for Move the Crowd and serves on the faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative, Cleveland & National programs. She has taught at several universities and is a regular presenter and trainer at regional and national conferences.
Monika’s publishing credits also include contributing author to Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders, regular columnist for the COSE Mind Your Business blog and newsletter and guest blogger with Move the Crowd. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Howard University and Columbia University, respectively, is a member of Leadership Cleveland, and involved with numerous community and civic organizations.
MKM Management Consulting
3DOM (Asia Pacific) Ltd.
Association of Women's Business Centers
The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women
CEO of Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., Founder & CEO of Xtreme Solutions, Inc., and Founder of ShoulderUp
Phyllis Newhouse is an entrepreneur, investor, retired military senior officer and mentor. She is CEO and Co-Founder of Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., Founder and CEO of Xtreme Solutions, Inc., and Founder of ShoulderUp.
Xtreme Solutions, Inc. (XSI) provides industry-leading, state-of-the-art information technology and cybersecurity services and solutions.
In 2020, she co-founded Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Athena closed a $250 million IPO in March 2021, making it the only SPAC listed on the NYSE with a Black female CEO.
In 2019 she founded ShoulderUp alongside Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, the first women-founded and led influencer fund providing access to a diverse portfolio of media, technology companies and sports entertainment.
In 2017 Newhouse became the first woman to win an Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur Of The Year® award in the technology category and in 2019 was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of fame. Newhouse now serves as a national judge for EY’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards. She was recognized as part of Inc.’s Mighty 25 in 2020 and was a 2019 Culture Creator Honoree for the finance category.
Newhouse was recently elected to Sabre’s board of directors and also serves as a board member for the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and on the board of Business Executives for National Security (BENS).
Newhouse has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc., Atlanta Business Journal, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, NBC News, Bloomberg and more. She received her degree from John F. Kennedy University and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit phyllisnewhouse.com.
LEM Products Inc. is a contract manufacturer specializing in industrial printing & converting of durable substrates making custom industrial identification products for applications in challenging environments! Above ground, below ground, in water and in space - our industrial strength labels, tags and signs are providing safety and branding information that lasts in challenging environments.
Since 1967 we have been manufacturing Industrial Safety Labels, Tags & Signs for the OEM, manufacturing, energy, utility, telecommunication, transportation, and industrial markets. We manufacture our products to exact engineering specifications and diligently focus on the unique inventory reduction programs and fulfillment requirements of each and every customer.
At LEM Products Inc. we focus on understanding the needs and challenges our customer faces so we can deliver valuable solutions that meet or exceed their exact requirements.
Nationwide and across industries we partner with supply chain companies to create successful, seamless response for industrial identification products which is used by Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. Our Company provides safety identification products to every major utility nationwide, as well as original equipment manufacturers globally. WBENC certified since 2003, business with LEM Products Inc. also qualifies for supplier diversity initiatives.
LEM Products, inc.
The Matthews House, LLC
Kathie is also active in community and industry activities as a volunteer, committee, and board member. Kathie donates monetarily and with her time but she also loves being hands-on. She visits the Ronald McDonald House, collects pajamas for critically ill children, and participates in fundraising projects of all kinds including biking 140 miles to raise money for Moveable Feast. "My dream is to have enough money so I can give to those in need. I plan to continue giving—not for recognition but because it helps me live happily."
Kathie often appears on business radio and gives workshops at business forums. She is an inspiring speaker with a talent for sharing experiences in ways that resonate with audiences and listeners. "I like helping people realize their goals are attainable. My background is such that people are amazed when they find I came from limited means, with parents that both died young. Helping others realize that they too can be successful and that they just need to take the necessary steps is extremely rewarding to me." In addition to finding tools for success in life, it is Kathie's passion to help others find answers to their issues with money, put their plan together, and coach them along the way to financial success.
The Okun Financial Group
Sheri Orlowitz is both a visionary and a practical entrepreneur. She founded Artemis Holdings Group LLC (Artemis) to bring together a team of creative professionals and advisors, some of whom she has worked with in the past, who have hands-on experience in dealing with all stages of the life cycle of a business. Sheri finds this experience to be essential to providing comprehensive advice on M&A, acquisitions, divestitures, restructuring and growth. Sheri
directs the strategy behind Artemis’ international private investment fund and travels extensively to Southern and Western Europe, using her wide network of international banks, funds, government officials, CEO’s, business owners and advisors to identify opportunities.
Founding Artemis is a natural progression of Sheri’s twenty-year history of successfully acquiring, running and divesting diverse companies, both domestically and internationally. During her career, Sheri raised well over $100 million, acquired or created a dozen companies from $6 million to $70 million and, importantly, was responsible for the companies and its employees, investors and the eventual successful divestitures.
Prior to Artemis, Sheri founded and operated Shan Industries LLC, an acquisition vehicle targeting manufacturing companies. Sheri financed and led Shan in identifying companies, raising capital, negotiating and conducting the associated due diligence. When Shan acquired two companies from Tyco International, Sheri operated them as the CEO and CFO, successfully prosecuting a company crippling environmental fraud by the seller and ultimately improving the EBITDA of the effected businesses by almost 320%. Shan exited through a sale to its minority partners, Prairie Capital, a mid-market private equity company
Artemis Holdings Group
United Parcel Service
Desirée Patno is owner of the industry leading, bi-coastal, woman-owned REO brokerage Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). Based in Southern California and also licensed in North Carolina, DPE has achieved over ten years of unparalleled service to major REO banks, financial institutions, and individual clients. Desirée’s extensive resume reflects the resources and knowledge necessary to effectively manage high volumes of pre-foreclosures, short sales, and foreclosures. Over the last ten years, leading publications such as Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times featured Desirée. In those same years, she won an excess of 150 industry awards, founded the first major women’s REO organization and this year alone authored five feature articles reaching an audience of nearly 90,000 readers.
At the helm of her own business, Desirée has mastered every aspect of the REO property management process from cradle to grave. Desirée’s expertise allows her to tailor each process to her client’s unique and individual needs allowing for performance timelines, cost effectiveness, and top net returns resulting in a satisfied client base.
Desirée’s dedication to the industry is not limited to her business; she is also active in many professional organizations, most notably the National Association of Women REO Brokerages (NAWRB), which Desirée founded in 2009. A pinnacle achievement of Desirée’s career, NAWRB embraces the women-business enterprise (WBE) designation, and is the first and only certifier of women owned businesses (WOB) in the Distressed Services Industry. The organization has established a non-profit Community Enhancement Program to restore public spaces in areas facing an acute foreclosure crisis.
Desirée presently resides in Irvine, CA with her husband of twenty years, Jay, and their four sons, Joshua, Nathaniel, Aristotle, and Odysseus. Desirée considers herself a fanatic NHL fan (Anaheim Ducks), is an avid lover of animals and designer attire, and counts the empowerment of women in business as one of her greatest passions in life.
National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses
Esther A. Poulsen is Founder and CEO of Raare Solutions LLC, an award-winning leader in CRM and Marketing Operations for the premium and luxury automotive industry. Poulsen and her Raare Team pioneered intelligent customer engagements based on the customer’s position and sentiment within a brand’s journey. Poulsen partners with clients and agencies to bring their brand engagements to life, meeting the letter and spirit of applicable law. This approach has secured her and her company a niche as a trusted CRM authority and execution expert in a male-dominated industry with firms thousands of times her size.
Clients entrust Raare with the most valuable customer data in the world, for brands such as BMW North America, Rolls Royce Motor Cars NA, Mini USA and Ferrari North America. Her client portfolio continues to expand with high profile clients in expedition travel, education, insurance, healthcare technology and non-profits. Raare Solutions is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise and Poulsen leverages the “power of women” through her membership in the Woman Presidents Organization (WPO) and her activities and support for WBENC and WPEO.
Poulsen has garnered awards as Enterprising Women of the Year (2020) and #25 on the WPO “Women 2 Watch” (2019). In 2019 Raare Solutions was named to MarTech Outlook’s Top Ten Marketing Automation Consulting Services. Raare is also recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in NJ and Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies for the last three years, and ranked a top 250 Small Business in New Jersey for 2020.
Prior to founding Raare, Poulsen’s three-decade career included roles in enterprise architecture, IT management, public relations and business analysis for multinational companies such as Lucent Technologies, Cummins Engine and Search Optics. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Temple University and is a graduate of the Babson College IT Leadership Development Program. Poulsen is active in community and business organizations and is an occasional columnist for local publications including the Lake Hopatcong News, NJ.
Jeanette Hernandez Prenger is the Founder, President, and CEO of ECCO Select, an award winning IT consulting and services firm based in Kansas City, and one of the top 500 Hispanic Businesses in the United States. ECCO has not one, but two offices located in downtown Kansas City, as well as a recent location added in DC.
Jeanette and ECCO are recipients of numerous awards for their achievements in business and generosity in the community. Jeanette’s most recent award, bestowed in February 2013 by Enterprising Women Magazine, named her as a 2013 Enterprising Woman of the Year. Other awards include the SBA Region VII Minority Small Business Champion of the Year and CEO of the Year from the Latinos in Information and Science Technology Association.
Jeanette serves for Governor Nixon as a commissioner on the Workforce Investment Board and serves for Mayor James’ Early Education Commission. She was appointed in 2002 by President Bush to serve on the SBA Regulatory Fairness Board and has worked on councils for Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Sam Graves.
Although her contributions outside of her business include serving on boards that advocate for business, the arts, and education, her passion is in helping children. She is the immediate past chair of Junior Achievement of Mid America and is an executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America Heartland Council. She is also on the board of the New York based Orphaned Starfish Foundation, which provides technology to orphanages in Spanish-speaking countries and Ethiopia.
Jeanette and her husband, Kevin, reside at Weatherby Lake. They have two sons, married to the beautiful mothers of their four grandchildren.
Fabi Preslar is president of SPARK Publications, an 18-year-old, Charlotte based graphic design and custom publishing firm specializing in print and interactive digital magazines, books, catalogs, and marketing materials . The firm was started as a home-based business and has moved, expanded, and restructured several times. Clients include enthusiasts and professionals who express their visions and knowledge through custom magazines, books, or promotional campaigns to increase their business revenues. SPARK Publications has won more than 100 industry awards in the past few years. In 2015, Fabi was named B2B Marketer of the Year by the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas. She’s received numerous other honors, including Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, Enterprising Woman of the Year by Enterprising Women Magazine, and the Stevie® Award for Best Entrepreneur with under 100 employees.
Pamela Prince-Eason is the President and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), she assumed the role in 2011. In 2014 Prince-Eason was appointed to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), a non-partisan federal advisory council who advises the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.
Prince-Eason’s professional career as both corporate executive and woman business owner has honed her expertise in supplier diversity, strategic leadership, management best practices and cost ownership processes. Prior to joining WBENC she held the position of Vice President of worldwide Procurement for Pfizer Inc. During her tenure at Pfizer she also held the role of Chair of the WBENC Board of Directors. In addition to her roles at Pfizer, she previously held various leadership positions at Texas Instruments, GSE Systems, Warner Lambert and as a co-owner of women-run RMR Associates.
Prince-Eason’s dedication to women’s business leadership is illustrated in her many professional and personal roles advancing women’s excellence and opportunity. In addition to WBENC, she has been a strong supporter of the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), WEConnect International, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). In addition Prince-Eason is on the advisory committees of several Corporations including the Ernst & Young Winning Women program, the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Walmart’s Women Owned Business Advisory Council, Shell Diversity & Inclusion Collaboration Partners, MGM Resorts International Diversity Advisory Board, as well as the Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 initiative.
Prince-Eason holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from East Tennessee State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with a Master of Administrative Science in International Business and Finance. In May 2008 she was among the first to receive ISM’s Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation, in 2010 was named a Power Women by NYMoves, and in 2012 she received the WBE Hall of Fame Executive Leadership award. She is interviewed often for her views on Diversity & Inclusion, Capacity Building of Small Businesses and is extremely passionate about women’s advancement in the United States.
Prince-Eason and her husband John have 3 children and 4 grandchildren and enjoy participating in family tennis, basketball and snowboarding.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
Theo Prodromitis is CEO of Spa Destinations and Out Front Brands. Through decades of visionary executive leadership as a CEO, lobbyist, successful Amazon entrepreneur and expert marketing strategist, she creates wildfire growth and profits for her own companies and hundreds of others. Theo’s expertise spans business development and intellectual property considerations to manufacturing and logistics, marketing and strategic communications. She is a sought-after spokesperson and fierce advocate for the interests of women in business and small business leaders nationwide.
As Founder and CEO of Out Front Brands, Prodromitis consults with companies from start-up ventures to Fortune 500s. She specializes in the areas of sustainability, white space analysis, public purpose partnerships, and fast-growth businesses. Together with Out Front Brands, her clients develop their unique brand DNA, align marketing communication in its service, discover opportunities for corporate evolution, and implement creative e-commerce for profit and growth.
As CEO of Spa Destination, Prodromitis led the company to rocketing growth as an early adopter of the emerging Amazon Marketplace platform and has been featured as an Amazon Storefront Women Owned Business. She was selected for the Amazon Women’s Entrepreneur Conference and spoke at Amazon’s BOOST Conference.
In 2018 Prodromitis became an Amazon Policy Advocate, a leadership role that allows her to advocate at the highest levels of government for national policies that support small business interests. In that capacity, she led a delegation of sellers at the Amazon Policy Advocate and Delegate meeting with seven leaders on the Congressional Small Business Committee. She was also nominated by Amazon and received the 2018 National Retail Federation’s “Champions of Retail” Award. As an honoree, Prodromitis lobbied Congressional leaders on behalf of the 42 million people who work in retail in the US, and she now serves on the NRF Small Business Retail Advisory Council.
She is a Founding Member of the Zuckerberg Institute, working with Randi Zuckerberg to democratize opportunity for International Entrepreneurs. She authored a chapter on “Launching a Product Successfully,” in Jack Canfield’s best-selling 2019 book, The Success Formula.
Prodromitis champions many philanthropic causes throughout Tampa Bay. She holds a Political Science degree from the University of South Florida.
DevMar Products was featured as one of nine most innovative companies in Essence magazine July/August 2019. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) selected Sharon as the 2019 WBE Star. She recently received the 100 Black Men/Women President’s Organization Women of Color Achievement Award and was honored with the Power Moves Award as Best Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018. Sharon was named one of the 100 Leading Women in 2018 by NashvilleBusiness.net. In 2018, Sharon received the MBE magazine’s WBEs Who Rocks Award. This award was created to provide special recognition for women business owners who exemplify passion, courage, and leadership in their pursuit of business success. In September 2017, DevMar was named the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South Tier 1 Supplier of the Year. In 2015, the Nashville Black
Chamber of Commerce named DevMar as Small Business of the Year. She is a graduate of the 2016 SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative for Entrepreneurs. DevMar was selected by WBEC South as the WBE Spotlight Company for the June 2014 monthly edition and a finalist in the 2014 Small Business Awards. In October 2013 Sharon was selected as a WBENC scholarship recipient and attended the Tuck Business School WBENC Executive program at IBM in Palisades, New York.
DevMar Products, LLC was selected as the 2012 recipient of the WIPP Business Leadership – “External Communications” award presented at the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP.org) Annual Leadership Meeting in Washington, D.C. In 2011-2012, the company was named one of the NEXT 50 Companies to Watch by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Entrepreneur Center. In addition, the Nashville Post and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce recognized DevMar as one of its “Green Heroes” during both the 2011 and 2012 award ceremonies. OfficeMax Office of Diversity and Inclusion featured DevMar during their customer profile in February 2013. Sharon was recognized as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s 2013 Women of Influence Award honorees. She was also featured in The People Issue section of the Nashville Scene for her contributions on sustainability for her line of specialty green products.
In 2012, Sharon launched DevMar Manufacturing, LLC to partner with larger manufacturers to formulate sustainable cleaning and sanitizing solutions to meet the sustainable goals of Fortune 100 and 500 companies. In 2016, DevMar Global Healthcare Solutions, LLC was formed and guided by Sharon’s ability to partner with Ni-Q, LLC to launch a commercially- sterile human donor milk for micro-preemie and premature infants in the NICU.
Sharon was selected to serve on the Enterprising Women magazine’s Advisory Council in 2018. She proudly serves on numerous boards such as the Second Harvest Food Bank and West End Home Foundation in Nashville, Ni-Q, LLC, Portland, Oregon, and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South in New Orleans, a Regional Partner of WBENC. DevMar Products has been featured in numerous media outlets including WE South, WE USA, Diversity Professional, CleanLink, Beyond Exclamation, Enterprising Women, Her Story of Success podcast, MBE Magazine, Tennessee Tribune, Black EOE Journal, Nashville Post and Business Williamson.
Sharon earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a focus on Green & Sustainable Enterprise Management from the University of Phoenix, graduating with honors. She also earned her Executive MBA from Tennessee State University, graduating with distinction and induction into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society in 2018. She and her husband DeMarco are proud parents of two adult sons, a granddaughter, and reside in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Dee M. Robinson, CEO and President of Robinson Hill, Inc., is an entrepreneurial leader who leverages strategic and analytical thinking to find innovative solutions that scale businesses. The common thread throughout her career is the ability to drive growth by integrating a deep understanding of customers, operations and untapped opportunities. She is lauded for creating value and leveraging talent as a strategic asset. Drawing on her varied experience in food and beverage, retail, consumer products, advertising and banking, she founded Robinson Hill in 1995, a concessions management firm specializing in retail and restaurants at airports and other non-traditional venues. She successfully turned concepts into sustainable revenues and led organization from zero to over 500 people. Robinson has scaled operations while forging successful joint ventures and partnerships that now encompass over 60 airport restaurants and retail stores. Brands and partnerships include notable companies such as Hudson Group, Ben & Jerry’s, Frontera Grill, and Potbelly Sandwich Works.
Robinson serves as a board director for Accel Entertainment, Wintrust Bank, N.A. and PGA REACH. She also served on the Illinois Gaming Board as a gaming industry regulator. She has been recognized as a HistoryMaker, Chicago United Business Leader of Color, Private Company Director Magazine’s Director to Watch, and WomenInc.’s 2019 Most Influential Corporate Director.
Robinson earned an M.B.A. at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business Building a High Performing Business Executive Education Program.
HELENA RODRIGUES has a Philosophy degree and a Masters in Marketing specialized in Key Accounts Strategy and Management. She worked for 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry, developing management, consulting and marketing skills, among others. In 2013, she founded Think Strategic, aiming to provide consulting services to different companies, ranging from financial to food industry areas: Edinteriores, Chefs Agency, FactorChave, Grupo Your, Merck, Abbott, ArtBooks and Herdade Vale da Rosa. Helena describes her work as helping people to build something of their own and demonstrating that it is possible to make money out of what you love to do. She is focused on helping SMEs on being sustainable.
All this accounts for her being invited to represent Women Presidents’ Organization in Portugal in 2016.
Helena has broadened her ability to reach results and her company AllBy has grown from 3 to 20 people in less than 2 years. The company has expanded business internationally, namely in Timor-Leste, strengthening its growth. Helena embraces her mission of leading businesses and entrepreneurship to change. This implies daring, risking and making it happen, her daily motto. Helena is Portugal Chapter Chair for WPO, she is United Success Ambassador for Portugal, she is a founding member of Women Win Win and actively participates in the development and empowerment of women entrepreneurs and business women. She has been awarded The Enterprising Women of The Year 2018 in the category “Up to $1 million annual revenue” in Florida, reflecting the core values and giving back every day to mentor and assist successful businesses.
A public relations expert for over 20 years, Lynthia Romney brings her distinctive brand of issues-based PR to positioning her clients for Leadership Visibility.
As president of RomneyCom, a full-service communications firm, Lynthia works with leading corporations and national nonprofits to help them develop and deliver their key messages powerfully to internal and external audiences. Over the years, she is proud to have served distinguished clients including Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Thomson Reuters, Guggenheim Partners, College Savings Foundation, and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Capturing her clients’ brand strength, Lynthia builds message platforms that resonate through multiple channels before their customers, prospects, employees and other audiences. These include media relations, speaking opportunities and executive communications.
Her media accomplishments include a Page One feature in The New York Times and two Page One Greater New York features in The Wall Street Journal. When 529 tax benefits were threatened, she helped defend the industry for the College Savings Foundation, with placements in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, NPR, and Fox Business. For WBENC she has placed hundreds of articles in outlets from Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Today.com and Marketplace to Cavuto and has conducted message and media training for over 300 CEOs.
Quoted in The Wall Street Journal for her advice on presentations, Lynthia prepares executives at all stages of the career continuum to showcase their personal and professional brands. For Thomson Reuters, she designed a C-level executive visibility program resulting in elite speaking opportunities and in by-lined articles. She has built Speakers Bureaus for firms such as Guggenheim Partners that led to C-level engagements at the World Economic Forum at Davos and The Wall Street Journal CEO Forum.
Lynthia’s years of experience span the worlds of journalism, public relations and financial services. During the three entrepreneurial years she spent in Warsaw, Poland, she built ground-breaking charitable programs for disadvantaged youth.
Lynthia holds a BA from Brown University. She served on the WBENC Board of Directors, and received the “Applause” Award at its National Conference and Business Fair in June 2011. She served for many years on the Board of the Financial Women’s Association, and contributes annually to the Forbes “In Good Company” series on women’s leadership. She has shared her expertise on Key Messaging with Reputation Communications and Women in the Boardroom.
National Women's Business Council
Charmane Hayman Sellers is an honorable Veteran of the United States Air Force and the CEO of API Design Build Group, LLC. API provides Design Build, Construction, Project and Construction Management services, which also includes Training Services: OSHA Safety, to both commercial and residential clients in both the public and private sectors. Projects: Texas A&M San Antonio Campus, Austin Community College, Huston Tillotson University, Austin Independent School District and the City of Austin. Furthermore, API is the only EPA Accredited Training Provider in Austin, and approximately 500 contractors in EPA Lead Safe Work Practices. Charmane has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration/Public Policy, with a focus on (1) Veterans Services and Housing, (2) Affordable and Senior Housing, (3) Education and Technology. She has 20+ years of experience as a community and public affairs professional and has used her skill-set to build relationships with leaders in the private, public and non-profit sectors. She has been successful in utilizing her strong communication, inter-personal and organizational skills in order to accomplish project objectives. She is also a second generation entrepreneur. She also participated in business development programs to grow her business: University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business SBDC Program, University of Texas HUB Mentor-Protégé Program and the J.E. Dunn Minority Business Development Program. She is also a nationally and internationally recognized researcher and published author.
VOLUNTEERISM AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
• Steering and Fundraising Committee Member, Keep Austin Affordable Campaign bond process to create more affordable housing for the citizens of Austin
• Board Member, Board of Directors at Green Doors, a local non-profit organization that provides affordable housing to individuals, families, Veterans of low-to-moderate income, primary focus to eliminate homelessness.
• Committee Member, Building Committee, Austin Habitat for Humanity, building new Restore
• Mentorship to youth and other business women and those aspiring to start a business
• Recent finalist in the prestigious awards for Profiles in Power – Women of Influence Finalist 2014, Austin Business Journal
• Woman Vetrepreneur of the Year 2014, nationwide completion of the National Association of Veteran Owned Businesses, the 1st time in the history of the organization of recognizing Women Veteran Owned businesses
• SMALL BUSINSS OF THE YEAR 2014 by the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce
• She also was a business pitch winner, April 2013, and Awardee of the Count Me In, Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp Business Accelerator Program sponsored by Capitol One.
API Design Build Group, LLC
Robyn G. Smalletz is President/CEO and Co-Owner of Gloria Duch in, Inc. a leading design and manufacturing firm of seasonal metal ornaments, jewelry and gifts. As President, she has led the business into a design focus, pioneering a trend forecasting program and incorporating the latest trends in fashion and home decor into new holiday ornaments, keepsakes and jewelry. Because of her work, she has been featured in Woman's Day, The New York Times, XM Satellite Radio, and QVC Home Shopping Network and ION TV.
The company's products are retailed at national and regional mass merchants as well as drug chains, home centers, catalog retailers, specialty stores, and e-commerce sites. Gloria Duchin, Inc. has over a 100 million copyrighted ornaments in circulation, and designs custom and licensed programs.
Under Robyn's direction, the product line expansion includes new jewelry collections created for the Smithsonian Museum Stores and several of the largest retailers' worldwide, ecommerce divisions. As a result, Robyn and her team were asked to co-design a custom necklace for Fatigues to Fabulous, a non- profit honoring female veterans. The design was modeled by many of the women at the Spring New York Fashion Week several years ago. The company has designed jewelry for numerous celebrities and worked with Ellen Degeneres in collaboration with Halo Pet Food Company on a licensed jewelry, pet tag and accessories program for the Adopt-a-Pet US Postal stamps.
In 2015, she was the recipient of the Business Women Industry Leadership Award in Technology and Manufacturing from the Providence Business News.
Prior to accepting the position at Gloria Duchin, Inc., Robyn held executive marketing positions in the financial service industry in New York City and the greater metropolitan area.
She has long been involved in the seasonal products industry having served as a board member of NOEL in New York City, a group of Christmas professionals collaborating to better serve the season market.
Robyn has also held numerous leadership positions on community boards throughout Rhode Island and remains actively engaged.
She is a member of the Women Presidents' Organization, Rhode Island Chapter and is a , graduate of the University of South Carolina and New York University.
Gloria Duchin, Inc. is a WBENC-certified, woman-owned company and all products are Made in the USA.
Maria de Lourdes Sobrino is Founder and CEO of Lulu’s Dessert® Corporation. Established in 1982, Lulu’s Dessert®, is ranked among the top 500 Hispanic Businesses in the United States. As Jim Hopkins from USA Today wrote she is “the queen of ready-to-eat gelatin and a force in the surging number of Hispanic entrepreneurs.”
Born and raised in Mexico City, Ms. Sobrino’s first business was in the tourism industry. She later expanded her business to a travel agency, which grew so rapidly that she decided to open an office in Los Angeles. In 1982, Ms. Sobrino had to close her Mexican travel business due to unstable economic conditions in Mexico; however, her entrepreneurial spirit grew stronger and she began to explore other passions and ideas.
Ms. Sobrino came up with the great idea of ready-to-eat gelatin when looking for the popular dessert while living in the U.S. A staple in her native Mexico, the concept was new to the U.S. and a novelty when she introduced it to American grocers in California. She recognized a need, filled it and revolutionized the food industry by creating the firstever ready-to-eat gelatin category, based on her own mother’s recipe. From the initial production of 300 cups of gelatin a day, Lulu’s Dessert® has overcome many challenges and obstacles to become a leading maker of ready-to-eat desserts.
In her capacity as a Public Speaker, she participated in a panel for Baruch College in New York for their conference, “A World of Opportunity, The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs”. She has also been invited by Verizon Wireless to speak in Miami, Florida and Irvine, California, and Microsoft Corporation, to share her story as a successful Hispanic woman entrepreneur. Ms. Sobrino’s leadership also gained her recognition and an invitation to be part of President George W. Bush’s, Economic Forum in Waco, Texas to represent “Small Businesses”.
Lulu's Dessert Inc.
Lisë Stewart is Principal-in-Charge of EisnerAmper’s Center for Family Business within the Private Business Services Practice. She has more than 25 years of experience in organizational development, strategic planning and training, and human performance management.
A popular and nationally recognized speaker, Lisë is well known for her advocacy and training for, privately held businesses. She offers case studies, humor and practical, no-nonsense advice to make her information accessible and realistic for clients and participants. Her training is in organizational psychology and small business, and she is the author of numerous articles on organizational and individual effectiveness, and business sustainability. Additionally, Lisë has been a keynote speaker on
topics pertaining to small business nationally and internationally for over 25 years.
Prior to joining the firm, Lisë was the Founder and President of Galliard International, the largest provider of transition services for small businesses in the country. In 2014, she founded the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute, a non-profit membership organization for those interested in supporting and saving family owned companies in their local communities.
Lisë holds certifications from various organizational development institutions, including the Gestalt Institute’s Certification in Professional Coaching and attainment of Professional Level Certification through the International Coach Federation. Lisë has been named to the NJBIZ list of “Best 50 Women in Business” for 2018, this award honors New Jersey’s influential women—across a wide array of business sectors—based on their professional success, community involvement and advocacy for women.
In addition, The Leading Women Entrepreneurs LLC has named Lisë a Top 25 Leading Women Intrapreneur.
Nicolina A. Stewart, CPA, PFS, CLU, ChFC founded Capital Management Advisors, Inc. (CMA) in 2002, CMA Solutions, Inc. in 2006, and CMA Accounting Solutions, PA in 2009. She serves and as President and CEO of all three companies. CMA and CMA Solutions are prominent investment and wealth management firms with offices in Sarasota, FL, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY and CMA Accounting Solutions, PA is a Certified Public Accounting firm.
Ms. Stewart graduated from the University of Evansville in 1985 with a BS degree in Accounting and has been a licensed CPA since 1991, first in Indiana and then transferred her license to Florida. Prior to owning her own Registered Investment Advisory firm, Nikki worked for Northwestern Mutual Life, New York Life and other private and public companies. Nikki has been selected in the “Who’s Who” among executive professionals, nominated twice as “Business Woman of the Year”, a finalist for “Business Executive of the Year” and nominated for “Business of the Year.” She holds life, health and variable annuity licenses in various states and a Series 7, 24 and 63 and is registered to do business in multiple states. She lives in Bradenton, FL with her husband, Kenneth, and their 4 Yorkshire Terriers (Sugar, Spice, Mimi and Champ), 3 Conures (Guido, Mimibird and Virgil) and an iguana (Iggie).
Capital Management Advisors, Inc.
Mickey is the co-founder and CFO for the New Eagle family of businesses. She brings a background in Finance, Human Resources and Marketing in both startups and corporate environments.
New Eagle is a global production supplier of electronics leveraging the Raptor platform.
She has been featured in various national publications including Wall Street Journal, Inc Magazine, CEO Nation, Women in Biz, Dynamic Business Women and the Product Startup Podcast.
Today her focus is on the people, process and products of New Eagle. She works with her team to provide a great place to work, innovative new products and excellent service to their global customer base, all with profitable financials.
In 2018 her company won the Crains Detroit Cool Places to Work Award.
Mickey graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with a B.S. in Economics and holds an MBA from the University of Dayton.
New Eagle Consulting LLC
Shelli Tench is the Founder and President of Shelten LLC, a Washington State-based digital marketing and brand awareness company. Born in Richmond, VA and raised in Chattanooga, TN., this mother of four decided to return to college as a non-traditional student in 2005. She attended Georgia Perimeter College, where she was inducted into the National Honor Society and was awarded a position on The National Dean’s List. After moving to North Carolina, she enrolled in NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences to finish her degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.
It was while studying abroad at Oxford University during 2009 that she began to realize the global reach of digital communication. When she returned to the USA, she began acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for this type of marketing. Her entrepreneurial efforts also began around this time as she supplemented her income by doing freelance social media marketing for small business owners with whom she was acquainted. She began to make a name for herself in the community and at NC State as a social media expert. Unbeknownst to her at the time, she had found her niche.
In the fall semester of her senior year, her part time freelance work evolved into her launching her own social media marketing firm. She founded SHELTEN in March 2012.
In October 2012, Shelli was named one of the “Top Movers & Shakers of the Triangle” by Business Leader Magazine and in June 2019 she won the NAWBO Greater Raleigh’s “Woman Business Owner of the Year” award. She sits on the advisory board of Enterprising Women Magazine and the Enterprising Women Foundation. She previously sat on the board of Athena of the Triangle, NAWBO Greater Raleigh, The HELP Foundation and Military Missions In Action. She is a keynote speaker and published author on topics related to digital PR and marketing best practices, and reputation management.
Shelten LLC offers services that include social media marketing campaigns, email marketing campaigns and blogging services, as well as live, digital event coverage and real-time social engagement streaming. Our clientele includes B2B and B2C organizations, as well as nonprofits and political campaigns. We write blogs, articles and white papers, and teach classes relating to the topics of digital communication and reputation management.
Elizabeth A. Vazquez is the President, CEO, and Co-Founder of WEConnect International, a corporate led non-profit that helps to empower women business owners to succeed in global markets. She is a world leader in women’s economic empowerment and global supplier diversity and inclusion.
Ms. Vazquez is the co-author of the book, Buying for Impact: How to Buy from Women and Change Our World. The book includes information on women business owners and ways to support and leverage their potential to create a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. As the CEO of WEConnect International, Ms. Vazquez is responsible for mission delivery. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women's business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, and then connects them with member buyers. The WEConnect International eNetwork supports and promotes women-owned businesses based in 100 countries, including local support in 22 countries—Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK.
Ms. Vazquez works with many corporate leaders, including WEConnect International members with over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power, such as: Accenture, Act-1 Group, Adient, AIG, American Express, Anthem, Apple, Avis Budget Group, Barclays, BMW, BNY Mellon, Boeing, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chevron, Coca-Cola Company, Cox Automotive, Cummins, Inc., Dell, Delta, Disney, Dun & Bradstreet, ECOLAB, EDF Energy, Enterprise Holdings, Estee Lauder Companies, ExxonMobil Corporation, EY, Glaxo Smith Kline, Goldman-Sachs, Google, Hilton, IBM, Ingersoll-Rand, Intel, Interpublic Group, ISS, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Knoll, KPMG, Marriott International, MasterCard, Merck, MetLife, Microsoft, Monsanto, Morgan Stanley, NatWest, Nokia, Pacific Gas and Electric, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Pinsent Masons, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Royal Bank of Scotland, SAP, Superior SDI Limited, Sodexo, TD Bank, TransCanada, Turkish Economy Bank, UPS, Verizon, Walmart, Walt Disney Company, Wells Fargo, Westpac Bank, Wyndham Worldwide and Yangfeng.
Ms. Vazquez is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Cornerstone Capital Group and Win-Win Strategies, and is a W20 Representative to advance G20 commitments and the B20 SME Development Taskforce. She also sits on the Walmart Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative’s International Advisory Council, the Procter & Gamble Supplier Diversity Advisory Council and the Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE Girls’ and Women’s Committee.
Ms. Vazquez was born in Mexico, has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University, and was honored by the Barrett Honors College as an Inspiring Alumni for making significant contributions in her career and community. She has a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University where she studied development economics and international negotiation as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She also completed graduate seminars at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government, the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, and Sookmyung Women’s University in South Korea.
The International Alliance of Women
Judith M. von Seldeneck is the Founder and Chair of the Diversified Search Group, one of the country’s top executive search firms. A pioneer in the search industry, she has been identifying and placing senior-level executive talent around the country for more than four decades.
A born-and-bred North Carolinian, she began her career as an executive assistant to then-Senator Walter F. Mondale in Washington, D.C. Her road into executive search commenced in the early 1970s when she bought into a small Philadelphia firm founded to find temp jobs for women. Buying out her partners in 1974, over the next several decades von Seldeneck built Diversified Search into one of the top executive search firms in the nation. In 2020, Forbes ranked Diversified fifth in its annual ranking of the nation’s top 200 top executive search firms.
During the course of her career, von Seldeneck has been recognized by the executive search industry as setting the standard for retained executive search and has been active on numerous public, private, and not-for-profit boards of directors. Some of these include Citizens Financial Group; Tasty Baking Company; Teleflex, Inc.; CoreStates Financial Group; Meridian Bancorp; and AAA MidAtlantic. She has also served as Chair for the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. She currently serves on the Comcast and NBC Universal Joint Diversity Council and is Chairperson of the Women’s Advisory Council. She was also a founder of the Forum of Executive Women, the largest association of women business leaders in the Philadelphia region.
Kathleen Quinn Votaw is the Founder and CEO of TalenTrust, a strategic recruiting and human capital consulting firm that has helped companies nationwide address immediate needs and drive long-term growth since 2003. She is the author of Solve the People Puzzle and a regularly published columnist and popular speaker on topics related to HR strategies and workplace culture.
Kathleen has overcome a multitude of personal and business challenges in becoming a strong leader who was able to exceed TalenTrust’s growth goals throughout the Great Recession and become one of less than 2% of women business owners to break the million-dollar mark. Along this journey, she has formed the core belief that people-centric, relationship-based workplaces are the key to attracting and retaining the talent to take businesses to the next level. Based on her knowledge and experience, she is a key disrupter in her industry, with a mission to help HR professionals attain the skills needed to provide strategic value to their companies.
She has helped more than 1,000 companies across multiple industries navigate uncertainty and continuous change to develop purpose-based, inclusive cultures; targeted recruitment strategies; and, most importantly, inspired employees who want to come to work each day.
From proactive hiring processes to human-centric leadership, Quinn Votaw’s practical insights and actionable recommendations have impacted diverse organizations, including: John Hancock, Kaiser Permanente, the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Renaissance Executive Forum, EO, the Association of Corporate Growth, and Vistage International.
Kathleen recently completed a Stanford Graduate School of Business program focused on strategy, innovation, and organizational design. She has received many awards, including the coveted Inc. 5000 two consecutive years. Finally, KQV was just honored as a 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year from Enterprising Women Magazine for her work with TalenTrust to fuel lasting change in companies across the nation.
Lucie Voves is the founder and president of Church Hill Classics, a specialty picture frame manufacturer located in Monroe, CT. The company creates diploma and award frames, as well as insignia desk accessories, for over 1,000 colleges and universities across the U.S. Church Hill Classics also provides custom framing services for corporations, hotels, professional associations, Greek fraternities and sororities, and the U.S. military.
Lucie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dartmouth College in 1986. She began her entrepreneurial career in college and, after selling the successful candid event photography company she started on campus, Lucie joined Procter and Gamble in Brand Management. Her first assignment was on the newly acquired Metamucil brand. In 1989, Lucie accepted a transfer to lead the Bain du Soleil product line at P&G’s Richardson-Vicks division in Shelton, CT, where she later managed the integration of the newly purchased Noxzema brand.
Lucie founded Church Hill Classics in 1991 as a home-based operation publishing artwork of college campuses. The business transitioned into licensed diploma frames, building a strong national customer base and online presence at www.diplomaframe.com. Today, the company employs 49 people from its 47,000 square feet facility purchased in 2007.
In 2006, Church Hill Classics was awarded the International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the North American Council of Better Business Bureaus. Lucie’s company won for the 11-99 employee category. In 2007, Lucie was honored by the National Association of Women Business Owners as one of three “Trailblazing Women” from across the U.S. She was also chosen by Enterprising Women magazine as a 2007 “Enterprising Woman of the Year,” and in 2008 she was named to the publication’s Advisory Board. In 2008, Lucie was the inaugural recipient of the Macricostas Family Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented by the Ancell School of Business in recognition of her role as a Connecticut business and community leader.
Lucie serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Connecticut Better Business Bureau. She also sits on the Advisory Board for the Ancell School of Business at Western Connecticut State University, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Union Savings Bank. Lucie lives in Ridgefield, CT with her husband Joe and their four children: Joseph, Jordan, Lindsay, and Jonathan.
Church Hill Classics
Joanna’s life took a different path when her eyes were opened to the horror of human trafficking. She got involved, and focused on reducing the exploitation of women and children through economic empowerment. She has travelled the world and seen the power of microfinance to restore hope and dignity, and move people from dependence on aid to self-sustainability. She has committed her life to helping women and their children flourish through inclusion in economic opportunities.
Joanna was a 2012 BRAVO award nominee from National Association of Women Business Owner and has received the 2009 Global Woman of Influence award at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council conference for her efforts to empower women and the 2009 Excellence in Innovation award from the World Vision International Microfinance Board for her leadership in developing an innovative online platform to fund loans for microentrepreneurErase Poverty
Candace Waterman President & CEO Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
With more than 15 years elevating and empowering women business owners, Candace Waterman is a passionate advocate for visionary strategy, particularly in the growth areas of diversity and inclusion, mindful leadership, and multigenerational talent management. She currently leads the nation’s largest non-partisan public policy organization for women and minority entrepreneurs, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).
As a nationally recognized and respected business thought leader, executive, and serial entrepreneur, whose 30-year industry expertise spans multiple disciplines, Candace regularly works with leaders in Congress, global corporations, and grassroots small business communities to build not only top-level programs, but also ground-up opportunities for women business owners.
She is a sought-after speaker at conferences and meetings as well as a special advisor to the Women20 (W20) Women Entrepreneurship Working Group of the G20 countries and a current member of the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC). Candace has also served as an advisor in critical media outlets, such as the Essence Entrepreneurial Advisory Council for Essence magazine.
Prior to leading WIPP, Candace was the Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s leading third-party certifier of Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) for commercial interests and Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) for government contracting. She remains on the organization’s leadership council and operates as a strategic partner for WBENC’s Women of Color program.
Candace holds an M.B.A., an M.C.A., and is a Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth Fellow. She resides in the Washington, D.C. area.
Women Impacting Public Policy
Sally began her career in sports PR and marketing in London, England. She founded the company in 1987 as one of the first dedicated event management companies in the UK, and opened offices in the USA in 2001.
As a founding figure and recognized leader in the event industry, her personal accolades include International Event Producer of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine, Lifetime Achievement Award from the UK International Special Events Society, Business Leader Magazine’s Top 50 Women Extraordinaire Award and Special Event Magazine’s Top 25 Greatest Industry Influencers of the past 25 years. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Steve Kemble Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to the special event industry.
Sally is a regular lecturer in event management globally, speaking at numerous conferences, including CASE, IMEX and The Special Event Show, and in several universities as a regular speaker, including the Duke Event Certification Course, NCSU, Perdue, UCLA and Oxford Brooks. She is a founding member and former president of the United Kingdom Chapter of the International Special Events Society, and past regional vice president for the Euro-Africa region. Sally sat on the Certification Committee for ISES and was the first member of the UK chapter to obtain the Certified Special Event Planner (CSEP) designation.
Sally sits on the advisory board of Special Event Magazine and the Event Industry Benevolent Society, The SEARCH Foundation. She is also a main board member of Roger Daltrey’s Teen Cancer America non-profit.
Sally resides in Cary, NC with husband Grant Berry, a professional PGA tour caddie. They have a combined collection of offspring: Charlie, Isobel, George, Rupert and Harry.
The Special Event Company
Bonnie Wong is the founder and President of Asian Women In Business (AWIB), a national non-profit organization for Asian women entrepreneurs and professionals. Under Ms. Wong’s leadership, AWIB is known as an innovative and proactive force in the community; and promotes leadership and business development in the Asian American community. Ms. Wong is frequently featured or quoted in the media, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsday, Crain’s, Working Mother Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, all the major networks, and numerous Asian media outlets.
Prior to her present position, Ms. Wong was a small business owner for over 10 years. Before joining the ranks of entrepreneurs, she held executive positions at various government agencies. Ms. Wong is a member of the Multicultural Audience Development Initiative of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; member of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of the City of NY (reppresenting Scott Stringer); member of the Diversity Advisory Board of Ogilvy & Mather; member of Mayor deBlasio's Advisory Council on MWBEs and member of NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's Advisory Council on Economic Growth. Formerly, she was part of the Deloitte and Touche Diversity Board; the Advisory Council of the NYC Small Business Services; the MWBE Committee of the NY Sports and Convention Center; and board member & co-founder of the Chinatown Partnership LDC. Her prior associations include: Transition Committee Member, John Liu (NYC Comptroller) and Michael Bloomberg (NYC Mayor); Commissioner, NYC Commission on the Status of Women; Vice Chair, National Women's Political Caucus; President, Asian Pacific Women's Political Caucus; Vice President, Manhattan Women's Political Caucus and more.
Among her awards: 1997 Award for Excellence from the Governor of NY; 2000 Commendation from the NYC Comptroller; 2001 “Business Leader of the Year” Award from the US Department of Commerce; 2002 community service award from the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly; 2006 leadership award from the Jamaica Business Resource Center; 2008 Outstanding Women Entrepreneur award from The National Minority Business Council; 2008 Community Service Award from OCA-NY, 2010 Community Service Award from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce; 2012 Outstanding Service to the Community Award from the NY Chinese Cultural Center; 2012 Award from the AT&T Employee Network; 2013 Commendation from the NYC Comptroller; 2014 Community Service Award from the National Minority Business Council; 2014 Honoree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Women’s History Month Celebration and more.
Asian Women in Business
Victoria Woods, Founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Advisor at ChappelWood Financial Services, Edmond, OK, is an internationally celebrated Investment Advisor to Millionaires and Aspiring Millionaires. Woods a.k.a. “The Financial Diva” is a highly sought-out keynote speaker and presenter with a popular radio show and book called “It’s All About The $Money, Honey!” on the iHeartMedia talk station, NewsRadio 1000 KTOK in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Woods was elected as a White House Conference Delegate for President Bill Clinton in 1995, and a member of the President’s Advisory Board. She has served since 2013 as a Governor-Appointed Commissioner for the Oklahoma Status of Women. She serves on the Executive Board and as Finance Chair as a member of the State of Oklahoma Finance Board.
The recipient of numerous awards and recognition's, Woods was named “Best of the Best” by the National Association of Women Business Owners; Business Women of the Year - Girl Scouts; Oklahoma City The Journal Record’s 50 Most Influential Women and Innovator of the Year (as visionary and founder of the 84-acre Financial District of Oklahoma), and was among 24 distinguished leaders from the United States and around the globe who were recognized at the 21st Annual Global Goddess Artemis Award ceremony at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.
Woods' passion for women's financial well-being has allowed her to pioneer an organization that helps women learn the strategies of investing and finance called Women for Financial Independence. In the Summer of 2020, Ms. Woods dedicated her 25+ years of entrepreneurial experience to write her second book, How to Outsell All the Boys, which has now been released as a successful email challenge available worldwide.
Woods can often be seen as an active financial contributor on Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, and local affiliates across the country including Success Today with Bachelor Bob and the Today Show.
Her philanthropic contributions include roles as 2011 Chair of the American Heart Association’s - Go Red For Women, and as a judge in the Mrs. International Pageant, Chair of Celebrating Women. She received the 2016 Community Inspiration Award for her passionate support for the emergency shelter and services provided by YWCA Oklahoma City for women and children victims of domestic violence. Woods also hosts her annual Derby Soiree event, raising funds for Allied Arts that supports approximately 40 local arts organizations.
Mei Xu is a Chinese American entrepreneur, woman business leader, and the Founder of two global lifestyle brands, Chesapeake Bay Candle, a wellness- inspired home fragrance company, and Blissliving Home, a culturally inspired home textiles company. Xu is also Founder & CEO of meixu.com, an online community and marketplace for women entrepreneurs.
Xu established Chesapeake Bay Candle in 1994, and grew it into a global manufacturer of home fragrance products sold through major U.S. retailers including Target, Kohl’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond; on Amazon.com; and enjoyed by millions of people around the world. In 2011, Xu added to her manufacturing facilities in China and Vietnam, and opened a US factory in Maryland, reshoring more than 100 jobs. In September 2017, Xu sold the company to Newell Brands, adding Chesapeake Bay Candle to the consumer product giant’s $14 billion portfolio of other iconic brands (Rubbermaid, Sharpie Markers, Elmer’s Glue) that have been household mainstays for generations.
Xu has an inspirational personal story and journey to entrepreneurship. Born in Hangzhou, China in 1967, Xu came of age during China’s transformation to a more open, market-oriented economy following Chairman Mao’s death. At age 12, Xu was selected to attend a language immersion boarding school set up by the Chinese Government to train diplomats for Foreign Service. She continued her education at Beijing Foreign Studies University, but her goal of entering the diplomatic corps was never realized, as she, like all college graduates of 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square Uprising, was sent for “re-education” to a work assignment in the countryside. After one year, in a bold and definite move, Xu quit to move to the U.S. to begin graduate school at the University of Maryland College Park. After completing her master’s degree, Xu moved to New York to work for a high-tech, medical company that exported equipment to China. Her “aha moment” happened as she was shopping one day in Bloomingdale’s and noticed the abundance of sophisticated, contemporary ready-to-wear apparel compared to the scarcity of modern, home decor offerings. Inspired, she returned to rejoin her then-husband in their home near the Chesapeake Bay, and began her candle-making venture, using Campbell’s soup cans as molds. Her lucky mistake was forgetting to add a key ingredient to create the “normal” satin wax candle finish, but this omission led to Xu’s breakthrough and signature design – a unique, mottled texture.
Xu’s entrepreneurial success story has been reported on by major news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NPR, the Baltimore Sun, CNBC, MSNBC, among others.
Xu is an engaging storyteller whose personal journey to entrepreneurship inspires others. She is frequently invited to speak at universities, including the Wharton Business School, the Robert S. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Tsinghua University in Beijing; by business groups, including Fortune’s Most Powerful Women and Horasis Global Visions Community; and government agencies, including the White House, where she was a panelist at the “Insourcing American Jobs” forum hosted by President Obama. Xu’s presentation topics and areas of expertise include: women’s global economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, Made in America/re-shoring initiatives, consumer lifestyle trends, the importance of a global education, and business development in China. Xu has also shared her story of entrepreneurial success with the host of the Ted Radio Hour and “How I Built This” Guy Raz: NPR
Xu’s business achievements have repeatedly been recognized by prominent organizations. She has been honored by, amongst others, Smart CEO with the Brava Award; the World Trade Center Institute with the Maryland International Business Leadership Award; the Asian American Chamber of Commerce with the Business Leader of the Year Award; the Asian Women in Business Organization with the Entrepreneurial Leadership Award; the Washington Business Journal with the Women Who Mean Business Award; the Maryland Daily Record with the Most Admired CEO Award; and the University of Maryland with the Philip Merrill College of Journalism Distinguished Alumnus Award. Xu was also inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame and named twice by Inc. Magazine as CEO of one of America’s Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies.
Xu plays an active role in community, philanthropic and civic organizations, serving on boards of both for-profit and non-profit organizations, including: Sandy Spring BanCorp Inc. (2012-2015); the University of Maryland, Baltimore Foundation; Meridian International; the World Affairs Council; the Halcyon Incubator Fund that invests in socially impactful ventures; and SoGal Ventures, the first female-led millennial venture capital fund investing in diverse entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Asia. Xu is a member of the Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators; the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows; and the U.S. China Business Council. She is a delegate to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit; a mentor with the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership; and a WEConnect Founding International Ambassador.
Xu and her family live in Bethesda, Maryland.
Mei Xu & Co. LLC
The quest to find a solution to a common problem standing in the way of business success is how Sandra Yancey’s entrepreneurial path took root to grow. Networking for business was her nemesis. In 2000, from a room above the garage of her Dallas, Texas suburban home -- with limited entrepreneurial experience -- Sandra boot-strapped her way to create one of the largest and most decorated business networking organizations in North America, eWomenNetwork.
Today, her company is a multi-million dollar enterprise with over 500,000 women connected through 118 chapters spread across North America. One of the key ingredients to eWomenNetwork’s 17 continuous years of success is its culture and face-to-face engagement. The company produces nearly 2,000 women’s business events each year and the #1Women’s Entrepreneur Conference and Business Expo of its kind in North America annually. eWomenNetwork is guided by nine core values, the first of which is “Giving first, sharing always and empowering the community to thrive in an environment of encouragement, kindness and empathy.”
Sandra is an award-winning entrepreneur and is recognized by the International Alliance for Women as one of the world’s 100 Top Difference Makers and by CNN as an American Hero. The eWomenNetwork Foundation she created has, to date, awarded cash grants to 108 non-profit organizations and scholarships to 161 emerging female leaders of tomorrow. Sandra is featured in ChickenSoup for theEntrepreneur’s Soul and is a #1 bestselling author of five books, including Relationship Networking: The Art of Turning Contacts into Connections and Succeeding in Spite of Everything, which rose to #1 in ten categories at Amazon. She is also featured in and producer of The GLOW Project—called “one of the most inspiring movies ever created for women,” by the Orlando Film Festival.
Sandra holds a Master’s of Science degree in Organizational Development from The American University, Washington D.C. and a two-year post-graduate certification in Organization and Systems Design from the prestigious Gestalt Institute. Sandra is married to her life and business partner, Kym, and together they are the proud parents of a daughter and son. Sandra is a femtor® (her word for mentor and is a registered trademark) to thousands who have been shown by example that they have unlimited possibilities to make a difference and succeed in spite of everything.
Quality Compliance & Managementwww.QCMConsulting.com
Enterprising Women is a partner in the new Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative.
The initiative supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentors — women and men — to increase the interest and confidence of young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.