Delaina Allen is CEO of the firm and in addition to the above memberships and community volunteer work, she founded Young Mothers Don’t Quit as a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing services to teen moms to help them maintain a positive outlook, obtain high school diplomas and college degrees, and ultimately become responsible citizens and mothers. Bianca and Delaina are co-chairs of the 2018 Houston Young Enterprising Women Mentoring Forum Program on behalf of the Enterprising Women Foundation. Recipient of the 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year Award.

Recruiting Source International

Leslie-Atkins From LinkedIn biographies to the ghostwriting of books, articles, and speeches, Leslie Atkins' writing and editing company, LA Communications, LLC, assists business owners and executives capture their ideas and knowledge on paper, screens, and at speaking engagements.

Leslie is an award-winning journalist, author, and ghostwriter with a keen knack for observation. She has worked as a television writer for Oprah Winfrey as well as a writer for The Washington Post and national magazines.

With her impressive talent for storytelling, Leslie also writes books with her own byline and has authored an intriguing app for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

LA Communications is a WBENC-certified Women's Business Enterprise and Leslie is an Enterprising Woman of the Year Award winner. She is also an eloquent and accomplished speaker.

LA Communications, LLC

Robin Bailey Winner Robin was born in Rochester, New York. Robin attended Highland School of Nursing for 1+ semesters then decided she would rather be married. While living in Potsdam, New York Robin served as president of the student wives. After graduation, we moved to the New England area while he attended graduate school at Northeastern University. After officers’ training in Augusta, Georgia, we moved to the Washington D.C. area to complete his active duty tour in the army.

After the army, we returned to the New England area with our four children. It was there that I decided it was time to go back to school if only part time. I knew I wanted to be in business but not sure in what area so the first course I took was accounting and I was hooked. After only a couple of basic courses, we moved to Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1990, Robin remarried and my husband worked in Tuscaloosa while I worked in Birmingham. We moved to Tuscaloosa in 1991 and I commuted to Southern Progress, 140 miles round trip. In 1997, the opportunity to buy the answering service arose. I loved my job and the people at Southern Progress but I did not feel a part of the Birmingham community anymore or a part of the Tuscaloosa community.  I purchased the company and became a part of the company and the community.

The Legacy Connection


robert bardRobert 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.

Latina Style

sbariheadshot Susan Phillips Bari is Senior Vice President, Paygevity, which provides prompt payment services to suppliers to America's government agencies and corporations.

Ms. Bari has spent her career promoting opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses. As the founding Executive Director of the S.B.A.-funded Washington Regional Training Center of the American Woman's Economic Development Corporation, she helped 2,000+ women start and grow businesses. Ms. Bari is President Emeritus of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and was its founding president in 1997.

The author of three books for entrepreneurs, she has been extensively featured in the business press as an expert on the growth of and challenges faced by women-owned businesses. Ms. Bari was appointed by President Reagan as chairman of the Council on Women's Business Enterprise and by President Clinton to a term as a member of the National Women's Business Council, and was subsequently reappointed by President Bush. She is a member of the board of the Women Presidents' Organization where she serves as Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee

The Susan Bari Company

elin bartonElin is the Founder and President of White Knight Productions, an award-winning team of videographers, animators and audio producers. White Knight is known for developing powerful communications that effectively connects business and individuals with decision-makers within their target markets. She works with a wide range of professionals in industries such as tech, energy, medicine, tourism, economic development, hospitality, retail, coaching and professional services, nonprofits and more.

Elin is also the co-founder of I.C. Genius, a digital advisory board platform that is designed to unite and support small businesses nationwide and to help them grow and prosper.

A graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and a leader in the entrepreneurial world, Elin is also a passionate community-builder. She is a podcaster, webinar host, online community moderator and writer who enjoys discussing topics of critical importance and interest to business owners.

When she’s not at work Elin enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and spending time with her family, friends and two adorable dogs.
Betsy_Final_1.pngBetsy Bassan is the founder, President, and CEO of Panagora Group, a woman-owned small business that provides integrated and novel solutions in international health and development. The main goal of this company is to develop innovative solutions that are tailored to developing country needs that maximize sustainability. She has held executive and leadership positions with a variety of organizations, such as, Chemonics International, Save the Children, and SID-Washington. In addition to these positions, she played a key role in founding the Coalition of International Development Companies (CIDC) and served on its executive committee while also serving on the board and executive committee of the USGLC. She is a senior planner and management specialist with more than 30 years of experience in design, implementation and evaluating international development projects that strengthens institutions and builds public-private partnerships. Bassan holds an M.A. from Columbia University, where she participated in a joint degree program on Planning in Developing Nations within the School of International Affairs and the Division of Urban Planning, as well as, a B.A. cum laude from St. John’s College and served on its board.

Panagora Group

lorin bellerLorin Beller is an Amazon best-selling author and now working on her 5th book. She is also an entrepreneur, strategist, coach, speaker, inspirer and most important, a single mom. Lorin, an entrepreneur since she was laid off from her first job 30 years ago, has owned a number of businesses, one of which she grew to a 3 million dollar firm, then sold it. Since 2001, Lorin has owned, Lorin Beller & Co. Lorin and her team have been working with Women Entrepreneurs almost exclusively the past 17 years in the area of Conscious Leadership. Lorin Beller & Co does this through Executive Coaching for the leader, our popular management team conscious leadership program, and our intimate Starfish retreats that are game changers for Women Leaders. In 2010, Lorin was honored to be the recipient of two prestigious Stevie awards: Women Supporting Women and Mentor of the Year. Lorin has served on NAWBO’s National Board and speaks at local NAWBO Chapters as often as she is able. Supporting Women Entrepreneurs to consciously create wild success is a passion for Lorin. Lorin feels honored to support women in both professional and personal growth to be the best they can be. For more on what Conscious Leadership is and more about Lorin Beller & Co. see:
Fran Biderman Gross is the Founder, CEO and Strategista of Advantages. After losing her first husband and business partner to cancer in 2001, Fran assumed the leadership of Advantages and grew it from a local printing business to an Inc. 500 national marketing and branding agency. With 20+ years of marketing expertise, Fran leads her clients on a journey of brand discovery that explores their core values, mission, vision and the personal "WHY" that propels them to excel every day. She then transforms the essence of their discovery into intensely creative branding, marketing and business campaigns. Fran has been a featured speaker at numerous events.






2016 Image

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, 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

Kristina red 1000p   Kristina Bouweiri is President and CEO of Reston Limousine, Washington DC’s premier chauffeured transportation provider and the 10th largest fleet operator nationwide. Starting with only five vehicles in 1990, Bouweiri diversified the business and grew it to a $25 million company today with more than 240 vehicles. As a woman in an industry traditionally dominated by male executives, Bouweiri has been committed to supporting women entrepreneurs over the years and is the founder of the monthly networking luncheon Sterling Women and co-founder of the annual Virginia Women’s Business Conference.

Active in the business and greater community, she sits on the boards or is a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Greater Washington, Inova Loudoun Hospital Foundation, GMU School of Business Dean’s Council, Loudoun Education Foundation, Loudoun CEO Cabinet, among others. Recognized for her business acumen regionally and nationally, Bouweiri is an international speaker on topics ranging from startup success strategies to the use of social media in growing your business. Her recent recognitions include Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 and Top Women-Owned Businesses in Washington DC, George Mason University School of Business Outstanding Leadership Award, DC Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year and International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Award.

Reston Limousine


b2ap3 amp Josee BriseboisJosée 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

Dominique CagleDominique “Nika” Cagle’s career as an entrepreneur began in her early twenties - by starting her Corporate Housing Company “Nika Corporate Housing.” The company was founded in 2003 as a start-up with just one furnished suite. Since then, Nika has successfully grown her temporary lodging company to a regional leader in the Corporate Housing industry and has an inventory of over 300 units. In addition, through her leadership, the company has enjoyed sustained growth, and has been profitable each year.   Nika Corporate Housing has been nominated as a semi finalist for the small business of the year in the City of Tampa.
Nika Corporate Housing is the premier Corporate Housing company in Florida, and a leader in the Southeast regional market. We provide “turnkey” short term, fully furnished units that are ready for move in, with all furniture, appliances, utilities, linens, and housewares included.  We offer one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom options to fit our guests’ needs.  We utilize condo’s, town homes, and apartments, so our suites are spacious with full size kitchens - and all units also are equipped with washers and dryers ensuite. Parking, Wi-Fi and utilities are also included.  Our units are located in premier locations that help our guests feel like they are “living like a local” during their stay.
            Dominique "Nika" Cagle is the majority share Owner/ President of Nika Corporate Housing.  We are a certified Woman Owned Business with the City of Tampa and are a member of the professional organizations “Corporate Housing Providers Association” (CHPA) and “Employee Relocation Council” (ERC), the Women’s President’s Organization (WPO), Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC).  
Nika provides daily leadership and guidance to her team of 20 employees.  Nika started the business almost 16+ years ago from the ground up and has had steady growth every year.  Nika enjoys the sales process and will frequently sit in on meetings and conferences with larger accounts for oversight and added passion to the process and assurance to the guest. Nika’s philosophy is “Exceed our guests’ expectations everyday”.
            Currently, Nika is also the co-owner of Casa Genesis which is a cloud based SAAS management suite for corporate housing companies to manage all aspects of their operations.
            Dominique is a Professional athlete the author of "Bounce Back After Baby”, an e-book on the Amazon platform.
            Dominique attended the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management or OPM program in unit #53 starting in May of 2017.  She also attended the University of Oklahoma for her undergraduate program and graduated with honors in 2000 and was awarded an interdisciplinary degree of Letters which consists of Philosophy, History, and English; with an emphasis in Classical Cultures.  She was also awarded a Minor in Spanish.  She attained this 4 year degree program in 3 years.  She also attended the Dartmouth Tuck Business School WEBENC Executive Growth Program  - Sponsored by IBM in September 2018.  She also attended the Dartmouth Tuck Business School/ WBENC IBM Program Strategic Growth 2019.  She also attended the Stanford Business School continuing education for Leadership Skills for Women in the Workplace.  She is also in the International Business Law Masters Program with the University of Oklahoma.
            Dominique is a happily married for 15 years to Scott Cagle, a retired US Air Force B-2A Stealth Bomber Test Pilot and decorated combat veteran, and she is the mother of Daxton (11), Levi (8), and Mia (6). She also is a stepmom to Elizabeth, and Jessica.  
            Dominique is a dog lover and has 2 Australian Shepherds.  In her free time Dominique enjoys Scuba Diving, Traveling, Tennis, Wine, Spinning, and Ju Jitsu classes. Dominique has a passion for fitness. She has been featured in several fitness magazines articles, covers, and calendars as an inspirational role model for a fit and balanced life.
            Dominique enjoys volunteering with the local “Ronald MacDonald House” and also supports the international children’s charity “Children International” where she has sponsored 7 disadvantaged children from 6 different impoverished countries for almost a decade.  She also supports Wounded Warrior’s Association, the Blinded Veteran’s Association, The Spring.

b2ap3 medium Jennie CampbellJennie 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.

Mary Cantando 3 Mary Cantando is an acclaimed author, speaker and consultant who focuses exclusively on helping women grow their businesses and their lives. As an entrepreneurial executive, Mary has founded, led and expanded multimillion-dollar businesses for the past 25 years. A recognized expert in helping entrepreneurial women, she’s written six books and hundreds of magazine articles and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Oprah Magazine and Fast Company Magazine, as well as hundreds of television and radio shows. Mary is the Founder and Growth Expert of The Woman’s Advantage® Forum, a structured program that helps women with small businesses grow them to the million-dollar level and beyond.

A mother, grandmother, and self-proclaimed “high-maintenance wife,” Mary lives in Raleigh, NC.

SusieCarder 31Profit coach, speaker and SC Consulting Founder Susie Carder has worked with thousands of businesses to help them create radical business strategies and achieve exponential growth. Susie started her own business trajectory with one salon and health spa that she took nationally, and then founded and sold three profitable companies, the last of which sold for eight figures to Cengage.

Carder became passionate about helping other business owners achieve growth and sustainability. As she led business after business to success, the true test of her talents came unexpectedly. A serious car accident threatened Carder’s life and instantly took her away from her business. As she took time off for surgery and healing, not only did her business stay afloat, but it also expanded tenfold. The systems she created enabled her staff to carry on without her. Her calling became crystal clear: Bring this level of freedom to others.

In her popular program, the Predictable Success Method™, Carder has guided companies to develop personalized operation systems in finance, sales, and marketing. An international speaker, Carder’s dynamic personality, sharp wit, and heart-warming stories are beautifully woven in with her decades of business knowledge to educate and compel audiences toward financial freedom.
Diane 4 High Res Dr. Diane Chen is the founder, president and CEO of Consumer Education Services Inc. At CESI, she is responsible for the Board of Directors and oversees all the operational functions.

Dr. Chen earned both her Master and Doctorate degrees in adult education from North Carolina State University. Prior to CESI, Dr. Chen was the president of New China Development Corporation. In that capacity, she worked as a consultant to facilitate trade and business missions between the U.S. and China.

Diane has been honored professionally as recipient of the Triangle Business Journal Women in Business Award and Enterprising Women of the Year award  2012 by Enterprising Women magazine. In addition, Diane was also featured as News & Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week” in 2012.

CESI Debt Solutions

Nicole CoberNicole Cober is principal managing partner for Cober, Johnson and Romney, a Washington D.C. firm providing consulting, legal and strategic services to nonprofit, private and public sector clients.  Earlier in her career, she spent eight years as owner and operator of a day spa and hair salon chain that served as a revitalization catalyst in a developing area in Washington D.C. Each year, she used her business for philanthropy by providing complementary services to Rachael’s Women Shelter.  She graduated from Howard University School of Law and served as a judicial law clerk for the Chief Judge of the DC Court of Appeals. Today, she is a regular contributor to Black Enterprise and Citibank’s Women and Co. as well as a legal consultant for the local news.  She is the author of CEO of My Soul, which chronicles her early days as an entrepreneur.  Nicole serves as a SCORE mentor and an instructor for the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program. She was a 2018 recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award

Cober, Johnson & Romney
Jennifer ComptonI am a public relations executive with over 15 years of experience advancing the products, services, and public image of industry leading companies. I began my career in government relations and have since counseled and developed successful branding, go-to-market, and media campaigns for a number of other industries, including: financial services, law, food and wine, retail and consumer goods, venture capital, private equity, mergers & acquisitions, high growth entrepreneurs and professional services.
My areas of expertise include: media relations and strategic communications, thought leadership programs, go-to-market branding strategies, campaign planning and execution, messaging development, event planning, social media, grassroots communications campaigns, advertising campaign planning and execution, media buying, B2B and B2C, media training CEO and C-level executives, reputation management
b2ap3 large WendyCoulterWendy Coulter, President of Hummingbird Creative Group in Cary, N.C., a full-service agency that builds businesses through better branding. This includes defining brand strategy, developing sustainable brand messaging and implementing marketing tactics through effective advertising, graphic design, sales enablement, public relations and online marketing services. Coulter enables businesses to more effectively communicate the positioning of their business, differentiate their brand and grow revenue.

Coulter opened the company in 1995, and since then she and the team at Hummingbird have won numerous design awards including Davey Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016, 2019; Marcom awards in 2014 and 2019; three Healthcare Advertising Awards in 2018; a MOMBA award in 2014; two Mature Media Awards in 2013, and an RBMA Quest Award in 2010, to mention only those in the last decade.

Coulter is a winner of the 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. She is a graduate of Leadership Cary in 2016-2017, and was named the NAWBO-Greater Raleigh Woman Business Owner of the year in 2015-2016, and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine in 2010, to name just a few. The company was also honored with the NAWBO-Greater Raleigh Corporate Sponsor of the Year Award in 2013-2014, among its most recent awards.

Coulter founded the NC Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2018 and serves as Chair. She currently serves as Past-President of NAWBO-Greater Raleigh, and she serves on the board as a past-president of North Carolina Executive Roundtable. She serves on Boards of the Defense Alliance of NC, Marbles Kids Museum, the Cary Chamber of Commerce and Second Saturday of Wake County.
KCripeKaren Cripe is a business owner, who has been closing multi million dollar deals and co-running Label Logic for over 20 years. She has a Bachelors of Science, with a concentration in Engineering Psychology and a Associates in Graphic Art and Design. She had been published twice in Packaging Digest, over her 33 years, in the industry. Her company has been named Flexographic Label company of the year for 7 years standing and her Company was named, Business of the year in 2013. Her company is 1 of 6 certified in US for producing RFID tags and labels. Karen lives in Union, Michigan.

Label Logic, inc.

carol small picCarol 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 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

SharonDavison headshot Sharon Davison, Ph.D. is the CEO and co-founder of Red Sky Blue Water (dba: Red Sky), an award-winning, multi-discipline professional services firm headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Red Sky’s breadth of consulting services includes marketing strategy, user experience, software development, and program management, which it offers to a wide range of companies in the information technology, online retail, gaming, and construction industries. Red Sky’s success in this arena is due in large part to Sharon’s passion for user-centered design, cutting-edge technologies, and her 18+ years of extensive experience in program management and marketing. Together with her team at Red Sky, Sharon cultivates close partnerships with clients to better understand and anticipate their requirements, collaboratively develop solutions that address those requirements, and consequently enable them to realize a higher return on investment. Sharon’s success in adeptly steering her company through the business challenges of the past eight years has won her various accolades – most notably Enterprising Woman of the Year and a finalist for the Nellie Cashman award. Red Sky has also been featured on Inc.’s top fastest growing companies in the United States and has been listed as one of the region’s fastest growing companies by the Washington Puget Sound Business Journal. Sharon obtained her doctorate in ergonomics/human factors with a specialty in human-computer interaction (HCI). Her initial research comparing 2-dimensional to 3-dimensional spaces shaped the direction of early consumer products at Microsoft. Apart from her role as Red Sky CEO, Sharon is an adjunct professor at Seattle University where she teaches HCI design and software development to Computer Science graduate students. After Hours: Sharon is also a fifty-ton U.S. Coast Guard Captain and enjoys sailing in Puget Sound. Her latest venture includes getting her motorcycle license and a Harley Davidson. She is still a Sunday driver.

Red Sky Blue Water LLC
DeClerck Michelle 2020 Michelle DeClerck, Certified Meeting Planner (CMP), founded Conference Event Management in 2003.  As the premier provider of unique, world-class event, conference, incentive travel and meeting experiences, including gifting experiences, Conference Event Management has experienced significant growth—primarily through referrals—since its inception.  

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



DeJong Laurie 2020Laurie 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


IMG 2466 2 2 Harriet Diamond retired in 2005 from Diamond Associates Muti-faceted Training and Development, a company she founded in 1985. She now occasionally writes for Enterprising Women, blogs about exciting Atlantic City happenings for,  serves on various community committees, and actively participates as a Garden State Film Festival board member. 

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

Emilia Dimenco Emilia DiMenco was named president and chief executive officer of the Women's Business Development Center ('WBDC') on August 1, 2013, a transition from co-founders, Hedy Ratner and Carol Dougal. Emilia joined the WBDC as chief operating officer in July 2010 after completing a 30-year career as an executive vice president of BMO Harris N.A. Emilia had P&L responsibility for 80% of her career and managed budgets in excess of $200 million with revenues multiples greater. Her responsibility included leadership and management for 600 commercial banking employees. Emilia served on the board of the WBDC for several years prior to accepting a position as acting chief operating office in July 2010, a position that became permanent in 2012. In that position, she was responsible for all aspects of non-profit leadership including program management, fundraising, succession planning, and strategic planning. Among her accomplishments, she launched two WBDC microloan programs with a pool of over $1.5 million in loans. Her initiative to automate all economic impact monitoring and reporting has lead to a significant increase in financial contributions. Emilia is well-known for her contributions to leading civic and professional organizations. She currently serves on the City of Chicago's Small Business Advisory Council, State of Illinois Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund Board, Enterprising Women Magazine's Advisory Board, among others. Emilia has also advised the Chicago Area Chapter of NAWBO on strategy and has served as an advisor to participants in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Chicago. Nationally, she is a leader in Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), helping the organization develop policies for access to capital for women-owned businesses. Emilia holds B.S. and M.B.A. degrees, both in finance, from DePaul University. She also studied international finance at Loyola University's Rome Center.

Women’s Business Development Center
Nathalie DoobinA Harvard Co-Owner, Nathalie spearheads Harvard’s company-wide strategy efforts. She is the Owner and CEO of Harvard Services Group (Janitorial Services) and Harvard Enterprise Risk Solutions (Strategic Consultative Security Services). Before becoming an entrepreneur, Nathalie spent her career building brands globally for Fortune 500 companies. She holds an Executive MBA and is a Private Detective.

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 Group
As an entrepreneur since the age of 12, Desiree Doubrox has been the founder/owner of several businesses, including the Marina Mermaid, A Models Media, Lookin Good Productions and Celebrity Auctions. She is currently the CEO of HomWork in California. An Empowered Woman has developed into an exclusive global networking community and resource center for women professionals and entrepreneurs. In 2011, she launched the Foundation of Empowered Women, a non-profit division and the Association of An Empowered Woman, with chapters throughout Southern California. In 2015, Desiree produced and published “Let’s Talk Success.” a digital magazine distributed in 11 countries with access to over one million viewers, featuring women who have achieved millionaire status as they share their stories, challenges, victories and secrets to success.

JenEarle Jen Earle has had the honor and delight of working with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) since 2008. Utilizing her institutional knowledge and consistent drive to advancing the mission of NAWBO, Jen has worked collaboratively with National Boards of Directors and past CEO's to help carry out the Board's vision for the organization and navigate NAWBO to where it is today.

She serves at the executive level, working with nonprofit boards, meeting and event strategy and planning, partner outreach and relationship building.

Jen also has extensive experience as a business owner: Within three years of graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in economics, at the age of 25, she became co-owner of a commercial music production company, Element Music Inc. As co-owner, Jen was responsible for all business and operational requirements to grow the company, including all financial aspects as well as sales and marketing. During her tenure, the business grew exponentially, rivaling the largest commercial music companies in the business and working with entities including BMW, Disney, Nintendo and Sprint. A decade later, to respond to her evolving family needs, Jen redefined career paths. She launched, Savvy Ops, a consulting group to provide virtual operational support to the non-profit business world reconnecting her with her passion.

Jen has made it her life's purpose to help others achieve their dreams. A philanthropist at heart, Jen co-founded a family-friendly series of workshops, Kid-Formation, as an outreach to parents like herself.

National Association of Women Business Owners
Badge Headshot V 040116 2 Denise Evans is Vice President, Market Development for the IBM Corporation. She leads an organization responsible for marketing to Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American owned businesses in North America as well as women owned, led and influenced businesses, globally.

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.

IBM Corporation

Feingold Reenie 2020Reenie 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 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.”




Marsha-firestone President and Founder Dr. Marsha Firestone is a recognized expert in entrepreneurship and President of the Women Presidents’ Organization. She previously served as a Vice President of Women Incorporated and the American Woman’s Economic Development Corporation (AWED, and National Executive Director of Women’s American ORT. As Executive Director of The Women’s Economic Summit, she led the development of a plan for accelerating growth of women’s businesses which was presented to Congress. She authored The Busy Woman’s Guide to Successful Self-Employment and has published research in various journals. She serves as a frequent guest speaker, and has received numerous awards including the outstanding alumnae of Newcomb College of Tulane University and the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame awards. She was also the recipient of the Committee of 200 Skills to Succeed Award and the WBENC Applause Award. She was an official U.S. representative to OECD in 2003 in Turkey, APEC Women’s Network in Vietnam in 2006 and to the National Women’s Business Council.

Women Presidents’ Organization

Celeste FordCeleste 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 pic 2Judy Fourie, President of The Fourie Group and founder of Fourie Insurance in Cary, NC, has been providing insurance strategies since 1980. When she took her first underwriter’s class, Judy knew she wanted to own her own agency. Today, she uses her insurance experience every day along with a strong commitment to customer service, guiding clients to the right insurance plans with a trust they can count on.

Judy has been recognized with such honors as: Governor’s Task Force for Healthy Carolinians, 2010 Enterprising Women Winner by Enterprising Women Magazine, 2007 Pinnacle Award by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Certified Senior Advisor, Accredited Member of the Better Business Bureau, and Business Leader Magazine’s Woman Extraordinaire 2011.

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.

Fourie Group


ediefraserheadshotfeb08 3 Edie Fraser is CEO of STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors (MWM), and a vice chair of Diversified Search, LLC. Edie has worked with more than 250 Fortune companies and associations. Edie has won 45 major awards for diversity and women’s leadership, STEM, entrepreneurship and communications. She is the recipient of the Mosaic Woman Award and Lifetime Achievement Award from Diversity Woman Magazine. She has been inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame and is a founding member of C200. Edie was on the cover of Women of Wealth Magazine for her philanthropy and mentoring. She is the first woman to serve as Chairman of the World Affairs Council of DC and served on the national board of SCORE. Edie has written or served as publisher of many books, papers and articles. Like, the CEO Magazine, The Diversity Primer and The Diversity Officer. Edie wrote a book, Do Your Giving While You’re Living, with co-author Robyn Spizman, and another on women’s entrepreneurship called Risk to Riches: Women’s Entrepreneurship in America. Women and diversity support are at the core of Edie’s work and values. 

Diversified Search
STEM Connector

Anne Freedman HeadshotAnne 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 GallagherJoan 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.




Garcia Nancy 2020Nancy 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 1JPEGDeborah 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

Ghawi Dima 2020Dima 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.


Molly-Gimmel Molly K. Gimmel is the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Design To Delivery Inc. D2DInc was founded in September 2001 as a consulting firm dedicated to helping small businesses win and manage government contracts. D2DInc helped its clients win hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts, and assisted over 400 companies in getting on the GSA Schedule. In 2009, D2DInc established its own federal practice and is now 100% focused on helping government agencies in navigating their procurement process. Molly serves as the Program Executive for D2DInc's contracts with the Navy, Air Force, and Department of Interior.

Molly is currently serving on the National Board of Directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and is a past president of the NAWBO Greater DC Chapter. She was named an Enterprising Woman of the Year in 2014 by Enterprising Women magazine. She is also a member of the Women in Defense, the National Defense Industrial Association, and the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).

Molly holds a Masters of Science in Contract & Acquisition Management from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from the College of William & Mary.

Design To Delivery Inc.

Sharon G. Hadary Sharon Hadary is a recognized thought-leader on women's leadership and entrepreneurship. Her new book, co-authored with Laura Henderson, How Women Lead: The 8 Essential Strategies Successful Women Know published by McGraw Hill, has just been released.

Sharon Hadary has been a corporate executive, a researcher, a consultant, a teacher, and an entrepreneur. When it comes to women's entrepreneurial and corporate leadership, she knows the people as well as the data.

As the former and founding executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, Dr. Sharon Hadary has been a leader in creating social change for women for over two decades. At the Center for Women's Business Research, the premier non-profit research institute devoted to studying women's entrepreneurship, she harnessed the transformational impact of data and altered forever the landscape for women business owners in access to capital, markets, expertise, and networks.

Today, as Principal of Sharon Hadary & Co, she is teaching, writing, and speaking nationally on the subject of women's leadership and is an adjunct professor in the doctor of management program at University of Maryland University College.

Her articles on women's business leadership have appeared in The Wall Street Journal (cover story for the Small Business Report), Enterprising Women Magazine, MBE Magazine and 270inc. She is widely quoted on women's leadership in the media, most recently in Inc. Magazine, Redbook, Bethesda Magazine, The Glass Ceiling website, as well as other national media..

She has received multiple awards for her work on behalf of women entrepreneurs.

Sharon Hadary & Co.

hall-lili Acclaim for groundbreaking design and advertising. Consistent growth rarely seen in its industry. Client loyalty based on immediate and resilient campaign successes. KNOCK, inc., has been achieving all this and much more since 2001, building a national reputation for its solid hand-in-hand delivery of strategy and branding. Founder Lili Hall was driven to find a perfect union of strategy, culture and design; within mere months, it was obvious that the marketplace was in dire need of an agency that understood and leveraged all three.

Much of KNOCK's work focuses on fostering brand loyalty through exceptional retail experiences, translating keen consumer insights into nuanced interactions between brands and their audiences—on the street and in-aisle, all the way through shelf, cart and click experiences. At KNOCK, every shopping moment is impeccably thought through; this attention to detail has translated into remarkable company growth, with a 28% increase in the last three years alone.

This steady growth can also be attributed to a remarkable concentration of talent under one roof, a client-partnership business model, and a two-steps-ahead attitude toward technology. In addition to serving national and international client partners, KNOCK offers the same world-class design plus sponsorship and pro bono services to nonprofits such as The Basilica Landmark, Women in the Boardroom, and Children's Theatre Company. The agency has also been honored with countless industry awards, including recognition from Ad Fed The Show, the One Show, the ADDY Awards, W3 Awards, Pentawards, AIGA, Communication Arts, HOW and Print.


Linda Hamilton

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,, AccountEdge, FreshBooks, Mentor Plus and Corelytics Dashboards.

Linda A. Hamilton CPA LLC, New York, NY

Hawkins Dee 2020Dee Hawking is President and CEO of A Better Answer Call Centers®. Her business insight and leadership capabilities have placed A Better Answer Call Centers® in an enviable position to be the only call center and answering service in North America to receive the Association of Tele-messaging Services’ (ATSI) highest and one-time-only award, the Miss Emily, for professionalism and courtesy. Dee has won several awards including the 2014 eWomen Network Femtor Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been published in industry magazines, trade magazines, and newsletters and A Better Answer is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise by WBENC. She is a previous recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award.

A Better Answer Call Centers®





Marti Hedge Hedge is president and founder of Edge Solutions and Consulting Inc., a leading provider of technology solutions and complex IT architecture design and installation for enterprise clients. Hedge started the company in 1999 after a tenured career at IBM in various sales and management roles. She directs a range of strategic initiatives to successfully leverage the company’s core competencies in sales, services and operational excellence to create customer value. Her extensive experience in the technology industry, combined with her collaborative leadership style, operational expertise and ability to adapt to changes in the business climate, has been the stimulus for Edge Solutions’ continued growth and success over the last 16 years.

An active member of the community, Hedge mentors high school and college-aged young women in charting their educational plans, providing guidance through the rigorous college enrollment process and providing financial assistance through Edge Solutions-sponsored scholarships to pursue their academic goals. Furthermore, Hedge serves as a life coach to at-risk young men and women, providing them with the guiding wisdom, spiritual insight and unrelenting passion to achieve their academic and professional aspirations.

Edge Solutions and Consulting Inc.


Corinne Heijn 011

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. 


Hetherington Cynthia 2020Cynthia 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.

Hetherington Group

SallyHughes003 Upon completion of a professional singing career in 1987, Hughes founded Caster Connection and has led the company as president and CEO throughout its history. She leads the business based upon the solid principle: “providing ergonomic caster and wheel solutions to decrease injuries in the workplace." Hughes serves on the board of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and is a member of theEntrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO). The company is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). She is on the board of The Wellington School, Women’s Leadership Network Advisory Council for Otterbein University, and the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, appointed by Attorney General Mike DeWine. She is a frequent speaker on the topic of women in business, including the 2008 National Woman Economic Development Outreach (WEDO) Broadcast Tour. She is a community volunteer with particular interest in children’s hospitals, The Wellington School, and maintains her interest in singing through active participation with her church. Hugheswas named the 2014 NAWBO Columbus Visionary Award Honoree, a 2014 Columbus Smart 50 Award Honoree, a 2015 Columbus Smart 50 Award Honoree, and a Progressive Entrepreneur Finalist by SBN Columbus

Caster Connection

Barbara Hutchinson optDr. Barbara Hutchinson is the president and managing partner of Chesapeake Cardiac Care, an adult cardiovascular practice that provides cutting edge medical care. She is passionate about caring for people with cardiovascular diseases which is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United Sates. She was born in Tobago, West Indies and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Her childhood curiosity about heart disease in her father’s family, led her to the United States to pursue a career in cardiovascular disease management. She completed a PhD in cardiovascular Pharmacology at Howard University before going on to the University of Maryland in Baltimore where she completed her medical degree, residency in Internal Medicine and cardiology fellowship. At the University of Maryland she was the first African American to hold the titles: medical school class president and the chief resident in internal medical.

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 IlariJPEGMarina 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.

Terra Translations

Bianca Jackson is COO of Recruiting Source International, a Katy, TX-based full-service workforce solutions firm offering executive search, staffing, IT and project management. The women and minority-owned certified enterprise has been in business for more than 15 years. Bianca and Delaina are members of the Katy Chamber of Commerce, the Black Chamber of Commerce, and several other organizations.  Both women give back to their community by hosting job fairs, working with organizations such as Between Jobs Ministry and local churches in order to bring job opportunities to local unemployed workers. Bianca started her career as a chemical engineer working for Occidental and Honeywell, and holds an MA in Theology. Recipient of the 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year Award.

Recruiting Source International

karen jenkinsKaren R. Jenkins is a motivational speaker, author, consultant, financial expert and adjunct professor. Her educational and inspirational messages are traveling the airways as a local financial consultant for NBC affiliate WIS-TV, a contributing writer for magazines and publications, in addition to making appearances on local radio stations. Karen is the author of Nobody Told Me! The Path to Financial Empowerment, an inspiring and transformational guide to building a solid and sound financial foundation.
She is the President and CEO of KRJ Consulting, Training and Development. From life strategist and financial literacy educator, to motivational speaker-Karen is reaching a multitude of people with her down-to-earth, practical approach to sharing her wisdom and wealth of knowledge.
Karen has employed innovative strategies to serve communities and individuals that want to improve their financial position. She empowers hundreds of people with her Empowerment platform through keynotes, seminars, workshops and conferences. Karen's message has provided a wealth of knowledge that caters to the needs of her diverse clientele that include: individuals, first-time homebuyers, youth, schools, colleges, churches, non-profit organizations, media, governmental agencies, corporate and small businesses.
While Karen comes with life experiences as a professional, a wife of 30 years, a mother of two, a community servant; equally as important, she has the education and training necessary to impart information to the public and countless people who depend on her expertise. She holds a B.S. degree in Business Management from the University of South Carolina and a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University. She also holds the Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) and Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) designations from the National Mortgage Banker's Association and is a Certified Housing Counselor.
A woman who knows how to connect with people from all walks of life and genuinely understands the dynamics of building relationships, Karen's non-judgmental attitude allows her to empower countless individuals.
marilynjohnson is the website to locate "The Global Ambassador" -- Marilyn D. Johnson -- who speaks with individuals, groups, organizations, and audiences, all over the globe. Johnson engages every attendee with her special understanding of leadership and empowerment. She does not lecture, she captivates, inspires and escorts her listener into a new comfort zone. Marilyn has a unique ability to connect with millennials, young professionals, middle managers, and C-suite executives in topics including Leadership Development, Empowerment Conversations, Cultural Diversity and Inclusion. Her eclectic network is her most valuable asset. believes that the most important aspect of business effectiveness is the ability to connect with others in leadership.



NinaKaufman-headshot Nina Kaufman is a small business champion—not your ordinary business attorney. She's on a mission to help small businesses make more money, more consistently ("scale") so they can maximize their options down the road.

Forbes Magazine calls Kaufman "One of the 25 Most Influential Women Tweeting about Entrepreneurship." The U.S. Small Business Administration named her their regional Women in Business Champion of the Year. In over 15 years in business, Kaufman has helped thousands of entrepreneurs generate hundreds of millions of dollars.

A trusted thought leader, Kaufman reaches over 2 million readers on Her many media and speaking credits include the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, the American Bar Association Journal, MSNBC's Your Business, and Fox′s Good Day NY.

The Legal Edge LLC



Jill KerriganJill A. Kerrigan is the founder, president, and owner of JAK Creative Design, a marketing and design agency based in the western suburbs of Chicago.With a BA in graphic design from Eastern Illinois University and years of agency experience, she founded JAK in 1995. Jill has put so much of herself into JAK: her entrepreneurial drive, her creative intensity, and her evolving vision of what makes JAK a great place to work and play. She strategically interweaves the skills and strengths of the whole team. She is confident that every client can benefit from the one-on-one relationship JAK offers. Jill is an energetic leader, and today her responsibilities include strategic planning, new business development, and maintaining major client relationships, as well as setting the overall creative direction. In 2013, Jill completed the intensive Tuck School of Business program with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. More recently, she honed her skills in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Jill is a member of NAWBO, the WBENC, and WEConnect International. JAK Creative Design is certified as a Women's Business Enterprise with the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the WBENC. For more than 20 years, JAK’s team of imaginative artists, clever copywriters, and always-ready-to- help account executives has partnered with nonprofits, startups, and Fortune 500 companies. The agency creates high-quality, high-impact work that builds brand equity and makes each client’s vision a brandmade reality.

JAK Creative Design

Karen KerriganFor 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

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 KimSung-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.

Sungjoo Group

Caryn Kopp - Winner 2 Caryn is the Chief Door Opener® at Kopp Consulting whose Door Opener® Service has helped thousands of business owners and sales people secure initial meetings with high level decision makers in almost every major Fortune 500 company including P&G, Pfizer, GE, Merck, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Kraft, Target, CBS and the list goes on and on.

During a period of time when gaining new customers has become almost impossible, Kopp Consulting helps clients fill their pipelines and achieve the growth their competitors only dream about.  Clients have experienced accelerated sales without adding headcount, suffering through mis-hires, or spending time they don’t have managing the process.   Kopp Consulting is the winner of the 2014 Sales Outsourcing Provider of the Year Award.

Kopp Consulting, LLC

kraus margery flMargery 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.

APCO Worldwide

Cathy Caserza LightCathy is a successful entrepreneur with experience working with global corporate clients across a wide range of markets and industries. Her passion for building businesses has led her to the launch of Liderança Group, Assessment Leaders, Leadership Balance, Be Well Perform Well, and Business Builders. She is a dynamic speaker with an engaging personality who has a genuine passion for helping business leaders achieve their goals.

Lideranca Group, Inc.






Kim Lineberger

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




Virginia Littlejohn Quantum Leaps’ CEO has been a trailblazing advocate for women’s entrepreneurship for several decades. In the 1980s, she was Vice President for Public Policy for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in the United States, and subsequently its National President. She was also one of the three primary architects of the Women’s Business Ownership Act – referred to as “the Big Bang of women’s entrepreneurship” in the US – which became law in 1988.

Ms. Littlejohn is a judge for the Women in Business Awards for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and for five years she served as Chair of the North American Jury for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. She has been inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame, and has won numerous awards, including the US Small Business Administration’s first Women in Business Advocate of the Year Award; NAWBO’s Susan Hager Legacy Award; the WBENC Applause Award; the Priyadarshini Award from the Federation of Indian Women Entrepreneurs (FIWE); and Lifetime Achievement Awards from The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) and the America-China Business Women’s Alliance.

In addition to her advocacy efforts, Ms. Littlejohn has served as CEO of the Global Enterprise Group and as Chairman of TradeBuilders, Inc., which created the world’s first virtual trade mission in 1998. She and her husband have two sons, one in Portugal and one in Vietnam, and a granddaughter in Vietnam, where they now live.

Quantum Leaps, Inc.

Gia MachlinGia 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 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.

Magett Marilyn 2020Marilyn 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



Runa Magnus 2014 The European Awarded Leadership & Personal Branding Strategist

A Life-time Entrepreneur, founder Connected-Women, co-founder BRANDit.  Runa is a founding and steering committee member at ATL Europe, The Association of Transformational Leaders in Europe and the vice-president at FKA – The Icelandic Association of Women Business Leaders.
Runa is a sought after international speaker, known for her fun and highly interactive seminars and workshops.
She is the author of the upcoming book BRANDING YOUR X-FACTOR, The Secret Sauce to Success for Speakers, Coaches and Consultants.

She is making her mark worldwide, supporting entrepreneurs to build their authentic brands so that they can make their magic with confidence and clarity.

Purba Majumder, President and Co-Founder of Cybervation, a high-growth technology solutions company in Dublin, Ohio. With offices in the U.S. and India, the company serves clients nationwide with enterprise software solutions, custom software/mobile app development, staffing and transcription services. Cybervation is deeply committed to empowering girls and women for STEM careers through community-focused efforts and its non-profit organization, CoolTechGirls, founded in 2013 as a joint initiative with the City of Dublin. CoolTechGirls aims to expose school-age girls to a variety of academic and career options through hands-on activities and showcasing women role models.

An accomplished software executive with over 22 years of experience in software development, consulting and program management, Majumder worked in corporate America for over 15 years, including as a vice president at JPMorgan Chase and as a senior software professional with Sterling Commerce (now IBM).

Majumder and Cybervation have earned numerous awards and recognition for its business and philanthropic contributions: 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award by the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council; 2016 Proclamation by the City of Dublin in Honor of National Entrepreneurship Week; the Smart 50 Award in 2016 and 2017, the Columbus Business First BizTech Minority Business Award in 2017; the Biztech Outstanding Woman in Technology Award in 2016; the Smart Business Progressive Organization award in 2016; the Philanthropic Leader Award by the Ohio Asian American Commerce Group in 2016, and the First Corporate Caring Award in 2015. Sunny 95 recognized her as one of its 20 Outstanding Women.

She is a member of the National Board of Directors for Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD). She received her Master’s from the University of Toledo. She is the mother of two daughters and resides with her family in Dublin, Ohio.

Francine isolatedFrancine 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.

Karen Maples is the founder and president of Myutiq, an innovation strategy consulting firm. Recognized as a thought leader and accomplished strategy expert, Maples established the company because of her passion to help companies build innovation capacity for long-term viability and growth. Maples is deeply dedicated to working on global issues impacting women’s leadership and entrepreneurship. She is a member of the Global Brain Trust of Quantum Leaps, an international network of leaders focused on advancing women’s entrepreneurship worldwide. Maples is a founder of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners and served two terms as President. She is a national founding partner of Women Impacting Public Policy and currently on its Executive Advisory Board. A previous recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award,  she holds a B.B.A. and M.B.A. from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her post-graduate studies include strategic planning and marketing strategy at Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Andrea MarchAndrea 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 MarshallAngela 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

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

Patricia masseyAn entrepreneur can be described as "a person who organizes and manages any business enterprise, with considerable initiative." Or you could just say "Patti Massey."

For 20 years Patti has turned innovative and creative ideas into successful business ventures. In fact, her business career really started with a lemonade stand at age eight. By 9, she was engaged in the manufacture and distribution of potholders.  Now she is President of the MYCA Group of companies, with activities as diverse as managing the repair and maintenance of fork-lift truck fleets, to providing on-line training curriculum to the City of  Los Angeles.  All bridged by Patti's ability to visualize effective use of technology.

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 MERTZMartha is the founder of ATHENA International. She envisioned and established an international non-profit organization dedicated to opening leadership opportunities for women through the ATHENA Award, ATHENA PowerLink, ATHENA World Cafe, Globalinks, ATHENA Young Professional Award, ALM Leadership Program. ATHENA was founded in 1982 and Martha served as president until 1999, with permanent membership status on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

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.
Athena International

MichelSusan-135528B Susan McGlory Michel is the founder and CEO of Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC, a full-service investment securities firm headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 2003, Glen Eagle Advisors maintains registered representatives in six states and manages more than $350 million in assets. Michel volunteers for numerous church, community and professional organizations and recently completed 10 years of board service to the Saint Paul School of Princeton. She is an active member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a premier organization for women presidents and CEOs of privately held, multi-million dollar companies working to improve business conditions for women entrepreneurs. In addition, Michel is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global nonprofit striving to educate, transform and inspire entrepreneurs through leadership-development programs, and more. Michel is a recipient of a 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Award.

Glen Eagle Advisors, LLC

kris millerKris Miller is the founder & CEO of Healthy Money Happy Life, a financial literacy and wellness company. She has helped over 6,000 families avoid financial disaster by strategically planning for their futures. Her clients dramatically improve management of their current finances and discover unique and imaginative ways to save, invest and plan for a happy life including retirement. None of her clients has ever lost a single penny on her watch. She works with a wide variety of businesses to create financial wellness programs for their employees, typically providing and ROI of $3 for every $1 invested. Kris is the author of the #1 bestselling book, “Ready for PREtirement: 3 Secrets for Safe Money and a Fabulous Future.” She is a highly sought-after speaker and trainer for small and large companies. When she’s not consulting with families and businesses, she mentors teenagers on how to prepare for a thriving future, both financially and spiritually. She does this through “Motivating the Teen Spirit,” an organization changing the lives of youths across the country. Kris is the owner of Trusts Unlimited and has been nominated for Woman of the Year and Best Customer Service by the Chamber of Commerce of Hemet, California. Her newest program, Create Income You Will Never Outlive, is offered online or through live workshops.

Legacy Shifters

patricia millerPatricia 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!".


SpaceBound, Inc.

Amy Millman photo 3Amy Millman serves as President and Board Member of Springboard Enterprises, Inc. Springboard is a national non-profit organization accelerating women's access to the equity markets. The organization produces programs that educate, showcase and support women entrepreneurs as they seek equity capital and grow their companies.  The Springboard Venture Capital Forum program has prepared and presented over 360 women-led companies to thousands of investors throughout the US.  Those companies raised $4 billion in equity, grants and strategic investments.

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

Springboard Enterprises

Judi-Sheppard-Missett Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett successfully transformed her passion for dance into a worldwide fitness sensation. Today after 45 successful years she is CEO, teaches classes, choreographs routines, travels extensively as a presenter, writes as a featured blogger for Huffington Post, and oversees corporate staff and 7,800 franchisees teaching 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries. Jazzercise was named the #1 Women Owned Business by San Diego Business Journal in 2012 and 2013 and ranked #42 overall on the Franchise 500 list and #7 on the Fastest-Growing Franchises list by Entrepreneur Magazine. With her Jazzercise instructors, Judi helped raise over $28 million for a wide range of charitable organizations. Honors include Lifetime Achievement Awards from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and induction into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame.

Jazzercise, Inc.

Shaila Rao Mistry

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.



Cindy Monroe Fall 2017Cindy Monroe launched Thirty-One Gifts in the basement of her home in Tennessee in 2003 with just two employees at her side. Today, the company is headquartered at New Albany, Ohio, where there are nearly 1,000 employees, and an independent sales Consultant force of more than 75,000 throughout the U.S. and in nine provinces in Canada.

The goal when starting Thirty-One was foremost to provide an opportunity for women to find financial freedom through owning their own businesses in direct selling. Cindy also wanted to provide affordable and fashionable products for busy women. She held the first party, recruited the first Consultant and helped develop the first products.

She named the company for Proverbs 31, a chapter of the Bible that celebrates women’s strengths. Like the Bible verses, Thirty-One also celebrates the virtuous woman and her many gifts and talents. Scores of independent sales Consultants find balance in their lives by running their own businesses while being home with children, making their own hours, and working as much or as little as they wish.

Thirty-One’s independent Consultants sell products at home parties and online. Thirty-One offers exclusive handbags and wallets, totes, accessories, home décor and organizational solutions, pillows, jewelry and more. Many Thirty-One products can be personalized, which allows Customers to create unique gifts and keepsakes.

The success of Cindy Monroe and Thirty-One has been honored and recognized on a local and national level, including:

  • UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame (2019)
  • Most Influential Women in Direct Selling (2017, 2014)
  • No. 1 Family-Owned Business in Central Ohio (2019)
  • Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) Riveter Award (2016)
  • Enterprising Women magazine Hall of Fame (2016)
  • No. 1 Woman-Owned Business in Central Ohio (2016)
  • 23rd Largest Direct-Selling Organization in North America & 38th in the World (2016)
  • Medical Mutual SHARE Award for Community Service (2016)
  • Forbes magazine “Self-Made Women to Watch” (2015)
  • Enterprising Women Hall of Fame (2015)
  • Salvation Army Need Knows No Season Award (2014)
  • Fastest-Growing Woman-Owned Company in the World (2014)
  • Enterprising Women of the Year Award (2014)
  • Corporate Caring Award (2014)
  • Regional Recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2011)

In 2012, Cindy founded a philanthropic initiative called Thirty-One Gives with a mission to empower girls and women and support families. To date, they have donated more than $100 million in products and cash to nonprofits that share the mission.

Cindy established the Cindy Monroe Vision and Values Scholarship in 2013, available to any high school girl in Hamilton County, TN, providing $12,400 to attend a college or university. The scholarship has been awarded six times.

Cindy serves on the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, DSA Executive Board, and Enterprising Women Board. She is a member of the Columbus II Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization, and the Young Presidents’ Organization – Columbus Chapter.

She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and is married with two children.
Monika Moss GransberryMonika Moss-Gransberry is an extraordinary visionary and the designer of Life Mapping, a manifestation practice, supporting people all over the world in mapping the life they have always dreamed of living.  Like many of us, she has been on her own journey to wholeness, during which she says in 1987 “the Life Mapping process was revealed to her.” In 1996, she began to share this process through workshops and seminars. In 2007, she authored the book, Life Mapping: A Journey of Self Discovery and Path Finding, in which she shares this process in a workbook style format so the reader can map their own life and begin the process of transforming their reality.  And in 2017, her newest book was published, The Technology of Doing Creating & Being.

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

Jacqueline Muller Jacqueline brings a unique coaching style based on unlocking your full potential. Her wide-ranging experiences around the world have brought together a message that is sure to change the life of anyone who encounters it.

Jacqueline’s high energy and passion for human development and growth has taken her all around the world. Her early career started with His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan's Industrial Promotion Services Ltd, in Geneva, Switzer- land. This also led her to working with the Aga Khan Founda- tion. Both were involved with projects in Africa and Pakistan. She then joined Swiss Multi National, Cosa Liebermann where she became Deputy General Manager, and was responsible for suppliers in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and many other coun- tries. Her diligence and expertise led Jacqueline to become the President and Partner of a new company Grove Industries Ltd; a successful garment buying agency and manufacturing company based in Hong Kong and supplying well known American, European and Australian brands & fashion retailers. With a turnover of US $50 million and a staff of 50 in Hong Kong, she was instrumental in creating strategic alliances that opened up new markets and created steady sales revenue.

3DOM (Asia Pacific) Ltd.

Bonnie Nawara is the Interim President and CEO of the Association of Women’s Business Centers. She is also the CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, a Women’s Business Center in Grand Rapids, MI. A former business owner, she is considered a leader in the local business community and was recognized as one of the Top Fifty Most Influential Women in West Michigan by Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2012 and 2013. Bonnie has had leadership positions with West Michigan Planned Giving of Women Entrepreneurs, Kent County Silent Observer, National Day of Philanthropy, Michigan Women’s Foundation, and Quota International. Additionally, she is a former mentor for United Way’s FACT Program where she mentored 3rd grade students in reading comprehension.

Association of Women's Business Centers

Terryneeseheadshotfeb08 2Serial entrepreneur Dr. Terry Neese, is a lifelong Oklahoman and has spent over thirty (30) years finding careers for men and women. She is the founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services (TNPS), National Grassroots Network, Women Impacting Public Policy and the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). Terry’s daughter, Kim Neese, is now the President/Owner of TNPS.

Under the umbrella of IEEW operates the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program which educates and empowers women entrepreneurs in developing countries to achieve their dream of financial independence, community involvement, and political activism. Since its creation in 2006, the program has trained nearly 600 women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda, who have in turn employed over 13,000 of their countrymen and women.

A member of the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, past national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services, Dr. Neese is known as a small business expert and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the “Power 30”—the most influential small businesspersons in Washington, D.C.  She has been featured throughout several media outlets including MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, SBTV, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times and The Washington Post.

Terry is an inductee into the National and Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fames. A successful businesswoman, Terry made history in 1990 when she became the first woman nominated by a major political party for the seat of Lt. Governor of Oklahoma. She was named an Outstanding Business Leader by the Northwood University Board of Trustees in 2006, and received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university in 2008. In 2013 she received the Enterprising Women Legacy Award, the National Women Business Owners Corporation Leadership Award, and the Journal Record’s “Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO.” In 2014, Dr. Neese was only the second woman to be honored with the Oklahoma Sister Cities Global Vision award.   Other notable accolades include NAWBO’s Lifetime Achievement Award.Terry has been appointed to numerous councils and positions with nominations by prominent leaders, such as Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women

Newhouse Phyllis 2020CEO 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


Rachel Nielsen 1Rachel Y. Nielsen, CMP, is a serial entrepreneur business woman whose personal philosophy of achieving results that matter permeates her life and her companies. As Founder & CEO of both Advanced Events, Inc. and Result Drivers, Inc., Nielsen helps her clients use design-thinking to achieve great business results.

“When everyone is focused on a result, rather than a process, barriers are broken down and clarity is achieved. Strategies become easily adopted and repeatable,” she says.

With experiences working in major Chicago sports stadiums with the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks, and consulting for Fortune 100 corporations like Exelon, McDonald’s and ComEd, Nielsen developed a disruptive, result-oriented process for conceptualizing and designing meetings and events that have a direct impact on business growth.

For Advanced Events, Nielsen and her team bring more to the table than traditional event planning. The Alignment Advantage process enables clients to define success early and build towards it at all phases of execution. She leads by creating a side-by-side environment of success that empowers her team and develops new leaders.

Similarly, for Result Drivers, Inc., Nielsen brings her “results matter” mentality to a consultative role in turning a client’s vision into a reality. As an expert in experiential marketing, change management, alignment advantage and organizational growth, she is versatile in her approach and her guidance.

Underlying her approach is the Beyond your Event methodology that has been featured in as a powerful minimum viable product. Huffington Post recognized her as a "disruptive innovator.” Nielsen is Co-Author of the popular ”Success Hackers: Conversations With Elite Performers Who Have Cracked The Entrepreneurial Code”.

Nielsen is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, IC Genius, and is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. She is also active in her community by serving on multiple boards of schools, sports organizations and Town Hall.

Maureen OConnorLEM 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.

Sheila OgleThe Matthews House, LLC











KathieOkun Passionate and results-oriented, Kathie Okun is president of The Okun Financial Group, a financial and investment* services firm in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Kathie excels at providing families, individuals and business owners with personalized financial decision-making, and then assists in implementing their financial goals. With 26 years' experience, Kathie has a wonderful track record of building rapport and becoming a valued partner in retirement, estate, insurance, and employee benefit planning. Multi-generational planning has become a norm with The Okun Financial Group and Kathie's practice. Kathie loves to teach her clients "how money works" and takes pride in working with parents as well as adult children in families that she helps.

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 Head Shot

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

Kris Oswold is a leader in global business process design and organizational transformation. As the director of supplier diversity, she brings a unique perspective to the role. In addition to being passionate about expanding opportunities for diverse suppliers to transact with UPS, Kris brings experience from across the UPS enterprise identifying where results fall short of desires and redesigning metrics, processes and systems to better achieve goals. Prior to her current role, Kris had responsibility to execute, and then to redesign, UPS processes across the globe, including all aspects of customer support, technical support, billing, payment processing, and collections. In addition to pioneering enterprise-level process design and ownership at UPS, Kris has opened and operated UPS offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa.

United Parcel Service

Neelima ParaskerNeelima Parasker has a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and Project Management Professional (PMP®) Certification. 
Neelima is the Owner, President and Chief Executive Officer of SnapIT Solutions™ LLC, an innovative technology trainings, services and solutions company with a mission to unleash our collective human potential to deliver innovative world-class technology trainings and solutions. SnapIT has capabilities in IT Managed Services, Data Analytics, IT Security, Cloud, DevOps and has the technical expertise in disruptive technologies such as AI, ML IoT and AR/VR. Neelima founded SnapIT Solutions in 2015 with a mission to Empower Communities and Create Opportunities in technology and engineering. 
Neelima is a Board Member of KansasWorks State Workforce Board, a review board and change agent empowered with the responsibility of making recommendations to the Governor and to state agencies to align workforce development with the state’s economic development needs. She additionally serves on the Community Development Advisory Council at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, is an official Tech Council member of Forbes and Board Member of the YMCA of Greater Kansas. Neelima also serves on the Board of Enterprising Women impacting nearly one million women entrepreneurs in 185 countries. She  was an inaugural Innovator in Residence with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. 
Neelima is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious National Award as ‘Enterprising Women of the Year’  in 2020, ‘Most Inspirational Women in Tech’ by Insights Success in 2019, Women’s Business Development Center ‘Rising Star Award’ 2019, Kansas City Business Journal for ‘Women Who Mean Business’ in 2018 and ‘Kansas City’s NextGen Leader Award’ in 2017, ‘Technology All Star’ National Award’ in STEM from Career Communications Group, Inc. and WOC Magazine for her contributions to STEM fields in 2015. SnapIT is also featured in Oprah, Entrepreneur and Fortune Magazine’s, April/May 2019.
Shina Face Book Picture.JPGShina Parker has over 30 years of experience in strategic business development, including 28 years in the real estate title business representing buyers, sellers, lenders, brokers, investors, credit unions, nonprofit organizations, realtors, builders and developers. With a team of knowledgeable attorneys and a seasoned staff, her firm specializes in commercial and residential settlements, refinancing (commercial & residential), short sale and foreclosure transactions, investors and hard money closings, acquisitions and air right closings, and bond-financed real estate transactions.

Desiree Headshot Cropped 2Desirée 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

KPavlik small Kathleen Pavlik (Kathy) is a Market Development Executive for IBM Corporation, Sales and Distribution.  She leads a team responsible for the strategy and marketing to Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Black and women owned businesses and IBM Suppliers in North America.  She also markets to women owned, led, and influenced businesses in select countries worldwide.

Prior to her current position, Kathy served as the Manager of co-marketing for Business Partners in the U.S. and Canada.  In this role she worked with IBM Business Partners to develop, fund and measure their IBM demand generation plans. Kathy has served in numerous global leadership positions in IBM marketing and sales for over 35 years. She was one of the first female direct sales representatives in IBM, earning 17 100% Clubs and 4 Golden Circles during her sales career.; Her experience is focused on personnel management, consultative sales, customer relationships, market management, operations and channel management.  She has a strong affinity for small and medium businesses with specific expertise in distribution and retail industries and particular focus on services sales and delivery.

Kathleen is a member of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the 800+ member North Carolina IBM Women’s Business Resource Group, and is the organization’s President for 2014. She is active in her community where she volunteers with Women in Technology, the Girl Scouts and Dress for Success.She is a mentor to many women in marketing and sales both inside and outside of IBM.

Kathleen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Iowa. She resides in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband, John.  They have three grown children, one of whom works for IBM in Armonk, NY. 



Silvia Pencak 2020 WBE Canada





Denise PollardDenise Pollard is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and the Founder/President and CEO of CLASS. Denise has been studying, researching, and applying the science of behavior analysis for over 25 years. While completing her undergraduate work, she was directly involved in applying the work that renown UCLA professor Dr. Ivar Lovaas published cementing the significant findings that ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), specifically Discrete Trail Training, has in its application with children who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Subsequently, Denise received her Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of the Pacific in 2000. At that time, University of the Pacific is one of only a very few brick- and- mortar graduate programs in the nation that offers a concentration in ABA with a 100% pass rate on the BCBA examination.
Denise's ability to connect with both children and families, impacted with autism, prompted her to form her own company, The Center for Learning and Autism Support Services (CLASS), Inc. in 2003. Since opening its doors, Denise has grown her company to employ hundreds of therapists, Clinical Directors, and Regional Directors and is considered to be among the leaders in the industry, as well as having national leadership recognition in autism insurance reform (SB946). Denise has been known to sponsor and underwrite a wide variety of autism non-profit organizations in an effort to give back to the community and help find a cure for autism. 
Denise stays very active in both national and international chapters of the Autism Society of America; The Association for Behavior Analysis; The Association for Professional Behavior Analysts; California Association for Behavior Analysis: Autism Speaks; and has been invited to serve as a collaborative member for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health at Stanford University.
Known for her expertise, Denise has been a featured expert on the Emmy award winning public affairs show Beyond the Headlines.
A panel of independent judges selected Denise Pollard as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in Northern California.  The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. This award is recognized as the most prestigious award in business, world-wide.
In 2017, The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) recognized Denise's corporation, CLASS, with an accreditation acknowledging the business as a behavioral service provider committed to continuous improvement in Applied Behavior Analysis service delivery. The Accreditation represents behavioral health providers committed to continuous peer review, measurement for outcome analysis and strives to excel in areas of clinical quality, staff satisfaction and qualifications, and consumer satisfaction. These areas are measured via a wide-ranging audit, including interviews with agency clinical leadership, a detailed staff qualification review, anonymous staff satisfaction survey, and anonymous consumer satisfaction survey.
In 2019 Denise was invited to serve as a member of the Female Founder Collective, which is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. Their mission is to enable and empower female owned and led businesses to positively impact our communities, both socially and economically. The community of the collective enables women to connect with other women in order to give vetted resources around capital, growing their business and operating more efficiently.

b2ap3 large ESTHER POULSENEsther 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 WinnerJeanette 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.

ECCO Select

fabi preslarFabi 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.

SPARK Publications

Pamela Prince EasonPamela 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

b2ap3 large Theo ProdromitisTheo 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.

Hedy RatnerHedy M. Ratner is founder and Co-President of the Women’s Business Development Center, the largest, oldest—20 years—and most comprehensive women’s business assistance center in the U.S.  The Women’s Business Development Center has initiated and helped develop women’s business programs in 14 sites in 6 states.  The Center provides counseling, training, financial, certification and procurement assistance for emerging and established women business owners.
An advocate and activist for women’s issues for more than 35 years, Hedy Ratner was appointed by President Clinton to the National Women’s Business Council; she helped to advocate for and create and was appointed by Illinois Governors Edgar and Ryan to the Illinois Women’s Business Ownership Council and the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois.  In 2002 she was appointed to the Illinois Development Finance Authority and was appointed by Illinois Governor Blagojevich to the Illinois Labor Advisory Board. In 2006 Governor Blagojevich appointed her to the Illinois Business Enterprise Council.  Hedy was appointed as Co-Chairperson of the Women’s Health Task Force by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and served on task forces on minority and women’s business enterprise issues for the city and state.  She is also a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau; National Council of Women’s Organizations; and a founding member of the Coalition For Equal Opportunity and the Alliance of Minority and Female Contractors Associations.
Her most recent 2006 honors were the Lifetime Achievement Award from Rainbow PUSH;  the Compass Award from the Women’s Leadership Exchange; in 2005 Ratner received the SBA Advocate Award;  the National Center for Women’s Business Research Leading by Example Award;  the Anti-Defamation League’s Women of Achievement Award. Other Honors include the SBA Women’s Business Advocate of the Year; the Governor’s Women Business Advocate of the Year; the National Association of Women Business Owners Public Policy Advocate of the Year, both locally and nationally;  the Bank of America Community Leader Award; National Organization of Women’s Bella Abzug Woman of Honor  Award;  among others.
Her educational background includes an M.Ed  from DePaul University; an M.S. from the University of Chicago; A. B. and M.Ed. from University of California. 
Sharon Reynolds President CEO DevMar Products
Founded on a dream and a mission, DevMar Products, LLC embodies environmental initiatives that will help sustain our planet for generations to come. In 2007, Sharon W. Reynolds, President/CEO, launched the company with an idea to distribute environmentally-friendly products including green cleaning solutions and office products. Her quest is to provide the highest level of knowledge, expertise, discretion, and integrity in the development of business opportunities for the company while sustaining the environment.

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 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 ( 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.

Jolene RischJolene Risch uses her 25 years of experience in Human Resources to lead a national recruiting firm that specializes in the identification and placement of exceptional talent for growing, dynamic and diverse teams. 
RISCH RESULTS, A certified Women Business Enterprise, recruits and places outstanding individuals into positions in accounting, finance, sales, marketing, human resources, and operations.  Recent clients include companies in construction, manufacturing, technology, service, healthcare, and non-profit, who frequently look to Risch Results to recruit for multiple positions.
A Graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Intensive Program and the Kellogg Non-Profit Board Member Institute, Jolene also serves her profession and her community on the Dream Team Professional Women’s Network (Founder and Immediate Past President), Executive Search Owners Association (membership chair) and Communities Foundation of Texas for Business. She is an active board member of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association, and currently mentors women and serves on the development committee of WINGS Dallas.  
Jolene also mentors two college students developing a platform matching students with small businesses to gain work experience in creative ways. 

dee robinsonDee 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.

Equipa helenaHELENA 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.

LynthiaRomney2016A 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, 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 brandsFor 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.

RomneyCom LLC 

Nina Roque currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council. Nina  served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, where her portfolio included apprenticeships and women in the workforce, among other policy initiatives. Prior to joining the Administration, she was the Director of Programs and External Affairs for the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that focuses on youth development and leadership, public service and corporate responsibility. Throughout her career in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Nina has dedicated herself to the advancement of the American workforce. Nina is a second-generation Cuban-American, who is passionate about mentoring youth leadership, empowering the American worker to succeed, and fostering an economy that allows women entrepreneurs to thrive.

National Women's Business Council

manishi sagar-ab Manishi Sagar is the President and CEO of the Kinderville Group, till recently Canada's largest private ISO certified childcare and education services provider. She has ranked 22nd among Canada's Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs and has been nominated three times to Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Manishi and her company were featured in a book called, "L'Entrepreneuriat féminin au Québec" published by the HEC University in Montreal.

Manishi has served on the Board of Directors of "Bharat Bhavan" (India House), "Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal" and "Enterprising Women" a U.S. based magazine for women entrepreneurs. She is also a Founding member of the Quebec India Business Council (QIBC) and the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) in Canada. Manishi and her husband Pradeep have established the "Kinderville Foundation", set up to further education for disadvantaged children.

Manishi and Pradeep now based in Dubai have co-founded Sagar & Sagar a general trading company focused on bringing Canadian and American brands to the Middle East. With two preschools already established in Dubai, Manishi is leading the Kinderville expansion in the UAE. 2014 saw her dream being realized with the opening of the first Kinderville preschool in India.

Kinderville Group

Charmane Sellers 2020 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.

• 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


Esther Silver ParkerEsther Silver-Parker, President and CEO of the SilverParker Group, a consultancy specializing in corporate responsibility and reputation, stakeholder relationship management, and leadership development, has made advocacy for social change on behalf of minorities and women a lifetime cause and professional calling.

Before opening her firm in 2010, Silver-Parker served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Walmart Stores, Inc., where she was charged with the strategic planning and execution of the company’s corporate responsibility, reputation, and relationship management among key national and international stakeholders. She also focused on issues that affect emerging markets and small businesses. Prior to this position, she served as Senior Vice President of Diversity Relations for Walmart and was responsible for the company’s diversity strategy. She was a leader in establishing Walmart’s office of diversity. She developed the company’s first diversity and inclusion strategy, grew supplier diversity procurement by $3 billion dollars, established a corporate external advisory council and developed Walmart’s first stakeholder summit. She is recognized for helping to transform Walmart’s reputation among key stakeholders.

Prior to joining Wal-Mart, Silver-Parker served 28 years in various public relations functions for AT&T, including Vice President of Corporate Affairs and President of the AT&T Foundation. She also directed AT&T’s National Constituency Relations and Issues Management Departments and led the company’s award-winning corporate social responsibility programs, including programs that grew the number of diverse people in such disciplines as engineering, business, arts, and small business. Silver-Parker led AT&T’s public relations field offices in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. She designed and implemented the plan to increase AT&T’s presence in local communities in the U.S. and developed the design for AT&T’s field public relations organization worldwide. She also developed AT&T’s first stakeholder relations organizations. She was the recipient of the Catherine Cleary Award, the highest leadership honor AT&T gives to an employee.

The Silver-Parker Group

Robyn Smalletz HeadshotRobyn 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.

LulusDesserts distritomexicoMaria 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.

Jodi Standke HeadshotJodi Standke is a trusted partner who advances organizations through its people while assisting people increase their effectiveness. Talon developed T.A.P. (Talent Alignment Process) which is a cohesive approach to talent selection, leadership development and retention in the digital age. Aligning one’s talent makes a difference in the world one person at a time.

Talon Performance Group is Minnesota based – providing Midwest values and cost-effective service to organizations and professionals nationally. Emerging companies to fortune 50 organizations – Talon has a track record of creative and innovative solutions.

Jodi is an elected Fellow of the prestigious College of Law Practice Management. She is a frequently sought author, keynote speaker and seminar presenter. Jodi was featured in Forbes Magazine as one of six outstanding Minnesota Women Business Owners. She was recognized by Finance and Commerce as one of 40 Minnesotans to Watch, and by the Twin Cities Business Journal as a Top Woman to Watch. Her bachelor’s degree is from Minnesota State University, Winona and a mini masters via the e-200 program. Jodi is certified in numerous coaching, assessment, personality and emotional intelligence programs. She has participated on several boards which include The National Association of Women Business Owner, MN Chapter, The National Association of Legal Search Consultants and The Minnesota Zoo.

In her “free” time, Jodi coaches a ½ marathon and marathon run group, teaches a yoga for runners’ class and teaches mindfulness meditation. She is an athlete participating in triathlons, running events and yoga. Her claim to fame is mastering the wall push up and she has a rocking canned beet recipe!

Stewart Lise 2020Lisë 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.

EisnerAmper LLP


Copy of Nikki Stewart 2 3Nicolina 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.

Swortzel Mary 2020 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

Joanne TabellijaJoanne is Director of Constituent Relations and Corporate Affairs at Walmart. She is responsible for building partnerships and strategies that enhance corporate reputation and stakeholder advocacy in the Asian American Pacific Islander markets and community, the Women’s segment, Mature/Aging segment, and People with Disabilities segment.  She seeks opportunities to create new innovative relationships and partnerships that will benefit society and align with the company’s focuses. Joanne brings her expertise in connecting her network of partners to each other, helping them fulfill their mission.   She holds seats on several Corporate Advisory Boards and has help Board Chair positions for several non-profits and not-for-profits, helping them to learn how to navigate corporations when they submit requests for support. She joined Walmart on 9/30/13. 

Prior to coming to Walmart, she worked for MillerCoors and Coors Brewing Company for almost 17 years, as their National Community Commerce and Partnerships Manager, directing and managing strategy on corporate and community partnerships for MillerCoors by strengthening the commercial impact of community investments in support of business objectives leveraging and creating  programs, partnerships and initiatives to increase brand relevance, safeguard the company’s license to operate, enhance company reputation and position MillerCoors as civic leaders.  Over the several years she was with MillerCoors, she served as director and manager of multicultural relations initiatives for the Asian, Women’s, Native American communities and market segments, the lead the company’s emergency disaster relief efforts, and directed the enterprise-wide Employee Volunteer Programs.


Shelli TenchShelli 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.

Shelten LLC


Elizabeth VazquezElizabeth 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.

WEConnect International

Cristina Vicini is President of The International Alliance for Women. She is an international senior executive and board member with innovative companies and charities in Europe and North America, with a special focus on International Business Strategy and Sustainable Development, Cross-Sector Digital Innovation and New Ventures, Global Diversity and Economic Empowerment, Ethics and CSR. On top of her business engagements, Cristina Vicini served as Chair of Boston University’s Advisory Board for MET’s International Programs (Brussels) and as Chairwoman of international non-profits. Committed for decades to women's economic empowerment, Cristina is an Entrepreneurship Mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation and a Board Mentor with the European Women on Boards Foundation. Cristina was honored with the “TIAW World of Difference Award 100” in May 2015.

The International Alliance of Women

b2ap3 large Jill VitielloJill Vitiello is Chief Executive Officer of Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO), a communications agency focused on the employee experience. VTLO’s nationwide team delivers high-value solutions and creative content with speed and accuracy to create inspired and productive workforces. As a trusted advisor to C-suite executives and their leadership teams, Vitiello provides confidential, innovative counsel based on years of experience working in complex corporate environments and relating to diverse populations.

Vitiello serves the industry and community in key leadership roles, including Director of the International Executive Board of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC); member of the Rutgers University Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council; member of the Women in Leadership Network Board of Vistage International; forum team representative for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and member of the Advisory Council of the Women of Color in Pharma (WOCIP).

Vitiello is the co-author of Breakthrough Results, and a contributor to VTLO’s blog. She is the creator and writer of the popular blog series, Wonder Women, which amplifies the achievements of remarkable businesswomen. She is a sought-after speaker on topics including the employee experience, corporate culture, change readiness, entrepreneurship, and executive and organizational communications.

She earned a Master of Arts degree in journalism from New York University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Rutgers University, and a certificate in women’s studies as an undergraduate. She completed The Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College-WBENC Strategic Growth Program. Vitiello has received numerous awards, including PRNews Top Women in PR Award; New York Business Journal Woman of Influence; Enterprising Women of the Year Award; IABC Communicator of the Year; and NJBIZ Best Fifty Women in Business. She is also a recipient of the IABC Gold Quill Award for speechwriting.

von Seldeneck Judee JPEGJudith 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.

b2ap3 large Kathleen Quinn Votaw 21Kathleen 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 2008 small 400x400Lucie 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 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 WasmuthJoanna’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 microentrepreneur

Erase Poverty

CandaceWaterman Headshot 0220Candace 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 WebbSally 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

Thomasina H. Williams, the Principal of Sankofa Legacy Advisors, is a Strategic Thought Partner, Consultant and Coach to Enterprising Families. She specializes in guiding clients to be as intentional in developing their family’s human capital as they are in growing their financial capital. Clients who work with Williams develop the capacity to have sensitive conversations and make difficult decisions, while navigating the complexities that come with combining family and finances.

Williams was the first in-house consultant hired by one of the nation’s largest private banks, assuming a key leadership role in developing its service offering to help ultra-high net worth clients navigate generational wealth transitions. She has also served as a family business consultant with a leading consulting firm. She has published articles, presented to international audiences and conducted trainings addressing issues of family business, family dynamics and legacy family planning.

She worked for more than 20 years as a lawyer, during which time she became
a partner in one of Florida’s large full-service law firms in a record three years, and then co-founded the first Black-owned law firm in Miami with a primarily corporate clientele. Williams was recognized as one of the Top 150 Lawyers in South Florida, and the Miami-Dade County Commission named a day in her honor to acknowledge her pro bono public interest legal work. Thereafter, she relocated to New York, where she served for six years as a program officer at the nation’s second largest philanthropic foundation and invested more than $42 million in grants to strengthen non-profits and
the non-profit sector.

Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Black Studies from Mount Holyoke College, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. She has three years of post-graduate training in family systems theory, and holds certificates in Advanced Family Business Advising and Family Wealth Advising from the Family Firm Institute. She is also a member of the Purposeful Planning Institute, the Galliard Family Business Advisor Institute, and The Florida Bar. 

bonnie2Bonnie 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 woodsVictoria 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.

Xu mei 2020Mei 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, 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; 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

Sandra YanceyThe 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.


Jessica Ye has been a real estate entrepreneur, developer and business leader for over 20 years.  Founding Keller Williams Realty Cambridge in 2006, Jessica has grown the brokerage firm to 100 agents with combined sales exceeding $500 million in 2018.  Her passion and vast industry knowledge has established her as a prominent advisor to domestic and international investors, developers and real estate professionals.  She has successfully led real estate trade missions to China, Korea and Taiwan.
Jessica is also the founder and CEO of Marquis International and Rivermore Development.  Located in Boston and New York, Marquis International is a premier real estate brokerage dedicated to helping clients live, invest and build wealth. Rivermore Development is a real estate development and investment company specializing in re-development of value-add properties, and co-living community developments.
Jessica is a respected authority in the Massachusetts real estate and business community.  She has served as a Board Member for Massachusetts Association of Realtors, Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).  She has been interviewed by the Boston Business Journal, Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.  She is a contributing speaker to many real estate conferences such as RISMedia Conference, national conferences for AREAA and National Association of Realtors.  
Throughout her career, Jessica has received numerous awards, most notably the 30 Under 30 Award by Realtor Magazine and the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award.  Jessica is a Harvard Business School alumna with a concentration in global leadership.
Tina YoungTina Y. Young started QCM with the goal of “Inspiring Excellence through Training”. QCM has served as a management and technical assistance supplier for the U.S. Small Business Administration. As a learning and development professional, Young is a highly-sought trainer/certified facilitator and strategic business leadership coach and she has held various executive and technical positions. Young is a member of the Project Management Institute, Association for Talent Development (formerly American Society of Training and Development), served on the Advisory Board of the Pharmaceutical Training Institute, served as Board Secretary on the Maryland State Board of Counselors and Professional Therapist and as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Maryland. She is a previous recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award.

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