Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Austin for 2022. This year’s awardees are serving as prominent role models across key areas including education, technology, food production, healthcare, media, and more. For decades, women of Austin have fought for change and equality in the workplace. Barbara Jordan, lawyer, educator, and politician, was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate and the first African American Woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, smashing barriers of inequality along the way. Like so many women who came before them, this year’s awardees are surpassing conventional boundaries and making their mark in the industries they serve.
Among this year’s awardees is April Downing, Chief Financial Officer of Khoros, who is responsible for leading their global finance organization and supporting the company’s financial strength; Susan Moore, the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Government Affairs of Advanced Micro Devices, who is responsible for a global team that seamlessly integrates government affairs, corporate responsibility, and law into business strategy and operations; and Marquita Booker, the Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Equity of The University of Texas at Austin, who supports the mission of advancing a diverse, equitable, and supportive campus culture through a commitment to fulfilling equal opportunity laws and policies.
From varied professional backgrounds, these awardees work tirelessly to ensure their organizations function at the highest caliber. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Austin for 2022.
2. Monica Williams
Monica Williams began her professional career over 20 years ago. Today, she is the Senior Vice President of Digital Product, Operations and Content Distribution of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is a media and entertainment company that develops, produces, and markets entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. The company was formed through the combination of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment. NBCUniversal owns and operates over 20 different businesses across 30 countries including a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a premium ad-supported streaming service.
Williams first got her start in 2002 as an associate of the Operations Management Leadership Program at GE. She graduated from Drucker School of Management with an MBA in marketing and leadership and from the University of Michigan with an undergraduate degree in industrial operations engineering.
3. Marquita Booker
The University of Texas at Austin
Marquita Booker is the Associate Vice President for Inclusion and Equity of The University of Texas at Austin. She first joined the company in 2018. The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest public universities in the United States. Founded in 1883, the university has grown from a single building, eight teachers, two departments and 221 students to a 350-acre main campus with 21,000 faculty and staff, 16 colleges and schools and more than 50,000 students.
Previously, Booker was a director of equity, diversity, and inclusion at University of North Texas System and before that a senior EEO/ADA compliance officer at Broward County Public School. Earlier in her career she worked with Palm Beach County as a senior equity administrator. Booker earned an EdD in organizational leadership from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an undergraduate degree in political science and government from The University of South Carolina.
4. Susan Moore
Advanced Micro Devices
Susan Moore is the Corporate Vice President of Corporate Responsibility & Government Affairs and the AMD Foundation President of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). She first joined the company in 2007. For nearly 50 years, AMD has driven innovation in high-performance computing, graphics, and visualization technologies. Moore leads a global team that seamlessly integrates government affairs, corporate responsibility and law into business strategy, operations, customer experience and reputation.
Previously, Moore was a senior advisor and managing director at Public Strategies, and before that a diplomat at the United Nations General Assembly, US Department of State. Earlier in her career she worked with Small Craig Werkenthin PC as a lawyer. Moore earned a JD in law from Baylor University School of Law and an undergraduate degree in communications and political science from The University of Texas at Arlington.
7. Julie Searle
Norton Rose Fulbright
Julie Searle is a Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright. Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. They provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. They have more than 3500 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and CentralAsia. Searle has over 19 years of experience. She began her career in 2003.
Before joining Norton Rose Fulbright, Searle was a senior director of US ethics and compliance at Walmart and before that, an assistant US attorney at the Department of Justice. Earlier in her career she worked with Baker & Hostetler LLP as a litigation associate. Searle graduated from Duke University School of Law with a JD and from Claremont McKenna College with an undergraduate degree in government and economics.
8. Mary Ellen Cavitt
Texas State University
Mary Ellen Cavitt is the Associate Vice President for Academic Success, Dean of University College, and Professor of Music Education at Texas State University. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Cavitt started her career as a professional musician and music educator. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and served on the music education faculties at Michigan State, University of Arizona, and The University of Texas at San Antonio. Prior to her current position, Cavitt served as AVP for Academic Services, Interim AVP for Academic Affairs on the Round Rock Campus, and Interim VP for Student Affairs at Texas State. She currently leads the Executive Student Success Committee, General Education Council, University College, Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center, Academic Services, Hispanic Serving Institutions sponsored programs, and the Texas Success Initiative. This year she was excited to launch the new Innovation, Discovery, Exploration, and Analysis (IDEA) Center that will focus on undergraduate research.
Cavitt received her PhD in Music Education from The University of Texas and is a 2013 graduate of Harvard University’s Management Development Program for higher education leaders. She is an active music clinician, adjudicator, and author. She serves as a Conn-Selmer, Inc. Educational Clinician and her research has been presented at regional, national, and international conferences.
10. Molly Beth Malcolm
Austin Community College
Molly Beth Malcolm is a senior member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet and advises on a broad scope of complex issues impacting ACC and the communities it serves. She leads Campus Safety and Operations, with more than a dozen campuses and centers; ACC Police Department with 90 officers; Department of Community & Public Affairs; Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center; and International Programs. Malcolm represents the college and the Chancellor in the community, acting as a key point of contact to business leaders, government officials, international organizations, educational leaders, and the public. She advises the Chancellor on issues related to ACC’s partnerships in the community, including development, transportation, and economic partnerships. She also facilitates, in concert with the Chancellor, communication with the Board of Trustees. Since March 2020, Malcolm has led ACC’s COVID-19 response.
Malcolm has extensive political experience at the local, state, and national levels in elected and appointed positions, and she has coordinated various grassroots lobbying efforts at all levels of government. As an elected community college trustee, she was instrumental in founding the Community College Association of Texas Trustees. She is a life member of the Association of Community College Trustees. Malcolm earned her doctorate in education from The University of Texas at Austin. She is a Professor of Practice at The University of Texas Educational Leadership and Policy Doctoral Program. She serves as a Director on the Executive Committee of University Federal Credit Union.
12. April Downing
April Downing is the Chief Financial Officer of Khoros. She first joined the company in 2021. Khoros is a global leader in digital-first customer engagement software. It builds enterprise software for digital customer service, online brand communities, and social media management. Downing is a seasoned financial and operational executive with over 20 years of experience for publicly and privately held technology, services, and consumer companies. Having raised $0.5 billion in capital, completed more than 20 acquisitions, and opened offices in over a dozen countries, Downing appreciates the complexity that comes from growing companies.
Previously, Downing was a co-founder and chief operating officer at Supply Drop and before that a chief operating officer at Civitas Learning. Earlier in her career she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a manager. Downing holds a master's degree in professional accounting from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. She serves on the Foundation Board for Helping Hand Home for Children.
View the complete list of awardees.
13. Alice Paik
Alice Paik began her professional career over 23 years ago. Today, she is a Partner, a member of the Executive Team and serves as Chief Strategic Advisory Officer of Brown Advisory. Brown Advisory is an independent investment management and strategic advisory firm committed to delivering a combination of first-class performance, strategic advice, and the highest level of client service with offices in the US, Frankfurt, London, and Singapore. In this role, she works with clients as a strategic advisor, providing advice to families, family offices and institutions, while also serving as a thought leader in strategic advisory research, publications, and market development.
Prior to joining the firm, she worked as an advisor in the Wealth Management Group at Bernstein Global Wealth Management in Washington and in the private bank of J.P. Morgan. Paik graduated from St. John's University School of Law with a JD and from Dartmouth College with an undergraduate degree.
17. Ashley Womack
Ashley Womack is the Chief Financial Officer of Abrigo. Abrigo provides market-leading compliance, credit risk, and lending solutions to enable its customers to think bigger, allowing them to both manage risk and drive growth. Their mission to “Make Big Things Happen” underscores the company’s commitment to helping community financial institutions succeed against the ever-changing and increasing regulatory requirements, limited resources, increasing and new competition, evolving technologies, and changing customer expectations. Womack has over 21 years in the financial services industry. She began her career in 2001.
Before joining Abrigo, Womack was a CFO at Banker's Toolbox and before that, a senior director of private equity performance improvement at Alvarez & Marsal. Earlier in her career she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a consultant in business recovery services. Womack graduated from NYU Stern School of Business with an undergraduate degree in finance and marketing.
19. Courtney Ring
Courtney Ring began her professional career over 16 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President of Capture Management of Witt O'Brien's. Witt O’Brien’s is a global leader in crisis and emergency management with the depth of expertise to provide services through the disaster and crisis life cycle. Ring is a highly motivated and experienced certified emergency management (CEM) with more than 16 years of experience managing and maintaining client relationships, conducting sales and marketing initiatives related to the industry, as well as a project management for both small and large-scale projects. She has knowledge and expertise in the fields of all-hazards emergency management, disaster response, operations planning, public health preparedness, grant programs and management, and strategic planning for both public and private sector entities.
Ring first got her start in 2006 as a senior planning coordinator at Fort Bend County. From there, she went on to O'Brien's Response Management before eventually rising to become an account executive at Infinite Blue, her most recent position prior to joining Witt O'Brien's. Ring graduated from Texas Tech University with an MPA and an undergraduate degree in political science and chemistry.
20. Ana Rush
Del Valle Independent School District
Ana Rush currently serves as the Executive Director of Academics and Accountability for Del Valle ISD, where she leads the district in improving academic performance and closing academic gaps. During her four-year tenure, she has been instrumental in increasing student achievement and providing rigorous curriculum and instruction. Del Valle ISD’s mission is to create a bi-literate, culturally responsive enhanced academic foundation by providing a future-ready education with real-world opportunities. Most recently, Del Valle ISD and Tesla developed a partnership to create a workforce pipeline for students.
Rush has a PhD in curriculum and instruction from Texas Tech University. She has served in district leadership roles for seven years in diverse school systems in North and Central Texas. Rush started her career in the Rio Grande Valley where she developed a passion for teaching and learning. She is an advocate for quality education for all and has a proven track record in delivering quality curriculum and instruction, establishing data-centric teams, and increasing academic achievement. During the Texas 87th Legislative Session, she testified before congress and advocated for students across the state.
22. Tracy Letzerich
Tracy Letzerich began her professional career over 27 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President of People for Bungalow. Bungalow is rethinking the residential real estate market by providing renters with a more convenient, flexible, and communal living solution. Bungalows offer private bedrooms for renters with roommates they love in beautifully furnished homes across ten major cities. Each home comes furnished and includes wifi, utilities, housekeeping, and monthly community events for its members.
Letzerich first got her start in 1995 as a teaching assistant to the Dean of Statistics at
Carnegie Mellon University. From there, she went on to Accenture before eventually rising to become a director of people strategy at Hippo Insurance, her most recent position prior to joining Bungalow. Letzerich graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with an undergraduate degree in statistics and industrial management.
25. Angela Shaw
Angela Shaw is the Chief People Officer of JuiceLand. She first joined the company in 2021. JuiceLand creates raw, cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies from the most interesting and delicious fruits, vegetables, and ingredients around. Their shops are stocked daily with unique plant-based meals made in-house, step-by-step juice cleanses, and tonics aimed to enhance vitality. To them, nourishment comes in the form of good foods, a healthy environment, and a vibrant community. JuiceLanders form a lively crew that’s known for spinning, blending, pressing, and caressing juice out of a mind-boggling array of lovely produce.
Previously, Shaw was the vice president of human resources at Campus Advantage and before that an adjunct instructor at Austin Community College. Earlier in her career she worked with the State of Texas in various HR positions. Shaw earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and human resources from Capella University.
27. Lissi Riedel
Lissi Riedel is the Vice President of MOCA Systems. She first joined the company in 2020. MOCA is a full-service owner's representative and software development firm serving the design and construction industry. The firm supports its clients from offices across the US. Their niche in early project definition and alignment helps clients align their building projects for success by becoming engaged at the very beginning of each project and bringing together the project's qualitative and quantitative elements described in quality, scope, cost, and time. MOCA is a relationship focused consulting firm, providing leadership to clients with large, complex, politically challenging projects.
Riedel is a results-driven professional experienced in leading and supporting design and construction assignments from project conceptualization to delivery on a wide range of projects, with an emphasis on client identification and engagement, industry partnership, and collaboration. She has served in key roles, including construction management, design management, program management for public and private clients, business development, regional and strategic leadership in their delivery. Prior to joining MOCA, Riedel was a regional manager and program executive with McKissack & McKissack. Before that, she worked for the Texas Facilities Commission as a project manager. Riedel is a graduate of the Universidad Católica Santa María La Antigua with an undergraduate degree in interior design.
View the complete list of awardees.
29. Jessica Reeves
JL Reeves Strategies
Jessica Reeves is the Founder and CEO of JL Reeves Strategies. She founded the company in 2019. JL Reeves Strategies provides strategic and programmatic support to top-tier progressive and nonprofit organizations as well as private institutions. Their current and past clients include YWCA, Supermajority, Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, Blue Leadership Collaborative, Texas Future Project, Support Latino Biz, and others. In addition, Reeves is a Public Engagement Specialist with the US Small Business Administration.
Before her current roles, Reeves was a CCO at Voto Latino and before that an account executive at LatinWorks. Earlier in her career she worked with SapientNitro as an assistant account executive. Reeves is an experienced professional with a history of working in politics, marketing, and nonprofits. Reeves graduated from Georgetown University with an MA and from Boston College with an undergraduate degree in psychology and communications.
30. Terah Crews
Terah Crews is the Chief Executive Officer of ReUp Education. She first joined the company in 2021. ReUp is a tech-enabled solution designed to foster connections that guide, engage, empower, and connect with returning students to realize their college completion goals. At ReUp, they partner with universities to re-enroll students who have stopped out and support them throughout their return to school and graduation, ensuring successful student outcomes. They have helped over 400k+ students and recaptured over $44 million dollars in tuition for their partner universities.
Prior to joining ReUp, Crews was the VP of learning marketplace solutions with Guild Education and before that, the director of growth with Sixup PBC, Inc. She is an education and workforce leader and has designed, built, and led multiple new ventures and divisions. Crews graduated with an MEd from Harvard University, from Brown University with a MA and from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree in psychology and history.
32. Sandra Jensen
Sandra Jensen began her professional career 23 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Executive Officer of KELL Partners. KELL Partners is a consulting firm that specializes in nonprofit Salesforce implementations. Since its founding in 2009, they have helped over 1,500+ clients implement and train on the Salesforce platform. With services ranging from quickstart to custom implementations with complex data migrations, KELL Partners provides the expertise to setup and configure the Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, Education Cloud and Marketing Cloud, along with the hands-on training, guidance and consulting that is needed to ensure success.
Jensen first got her start in 1999 as a director at BroadBandNOW. From there, she went on to BMC Software, before eventually rising to become the VP of services at PeopleAdmin, Inc., her most recent position prior to joining KELL. In addition to her current roles, Jensen also participates in continuing executive education with a social philanthropy focus through the Harvard Kennedy School. In addition to serving on the board for Texas School for the Deaf, Jensen is a long-time supporter of the ASPCA and Goodwill Industries. Jensen graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in business management.
34. Jocelyn Getson
Jocelyn Getson is the Chief Growth Officer for Bindable, the InsurTech leader for alternative distribution solutions, enabling organizations across all industries to drive revenue and build brand loyalty through digital insurance offerings. Getson’s career has been inspired by her ability to identify, build, and implement new products, revenue channels, and customer solutions for risk-based programs. She is a passionate and driven executive who thrives in the roles of change agent, respected thought leader, and valued advisor. The clarity of her vision is grounded in her astute focus on market trends, which has enabled the organizations and partners she has worked with to develop business development and growth strategies built for long term success.
Prior to joining Bindable, Getson held various leadership positions in the InsurTech industry including VP of enterprise at Corvus Insurance and head of small business strategy at Slice Labs, where she led the company’s first ever digital subscription cyber insurance product with AXA XL. Earlier in her career, she served as VP of partnership strategy at Centricity, a leading provider of insured extended warranty service contracts and administration. There, she developed and oversaw top-tier partnerships, innovation, and go-to-market strategy growing the brand to become a leader in the space. Getson thoroughly enjoys drawing from her extensive experience and participating in speaking engagements at industry events including the NAIC Insurance Summit and Intelligent InsurTECH Europe, and in various publications, along with Bindable’s in-house podcast, UNBIND with Bindable. Getson earned an undergraduate degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Arizona.
35. Megan Fanale
Together with CEO, Bjorn Billhardt, Megan Fanale started Abilitie in 2014. As Chief Operating Officer, she touches every facet of Abilitie's business delivering award-winning learning and development programs, including the fully-virtual Invited MBA. Currently, her main responsibilities include creating and overseeing the company-wide systems for scaling and maintaining focus on the end client experience as that growth accelerates. In 2021 alone, Abilitie's multi-million dollar enterprise impacted over 18,000 participants at 75 companies for clients such as GE, Dell, and McKinsey.
Prior to joining Abilitie, Fanale led large-scale teams at Whirlpool Corporation and was awarded National Sales Manager of the Year in 2012. She is a part-time stylist, an avid consumer of development opportunities herself, and remains passionate about empowering individuals to be the best version of themselves. Fanale graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in public relations.
36. Kristina Kennedy
Kristina Kennedy is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Kickstand Communications. She co-founded the company in 2014. Kickstand Communications is a full-service agency that's rethinking digital communications for high-growth technology brands. With offices in Austin, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, and New York, they help today's most innovative companies scale and successfully exit. From brand messaging and PR to research and digital marketing, Kickstand supports the market leaders of today and the visionaries of tomorrow.
Previously, Kennedy was a VP of marketing at Abine Inc. and before that, a director of marketing at Gazelle. Earlier in her career she worked with RF|Binder Partners as a senior associate. Kennedy earned an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Notre Dame.
37. Jaleh Daie
A two-year Kafkaesque journey metamorphosed this daughter of Persia as she faced deportation--not of any of her doings in 1979. From a naïve student to global leader, she was driven by what she calls her “immigrant syndrome”. From deportation struggles to trailblazing, to serving Presidents; “only in America” she says. A Women in Technology International Hall of Famer, Jaleh Daie is a multifaceted thought leader whose career spans academia, business, philanthropy, and government. A noted biologist, Daie is an investor, keynoter, and board director, serving as boards director, chairman, secretary and treasurer and chair of charity galas.
Currently, Daie is a Partner at Aurora Equity and a Chair of AgFood Tech at the SV-based Band of Angels. Previously, she was head of STEM at David & Lucile Packard Foundation. She has served administrations of three Presidents, and as special assistant to Chief Scientist at NOAA. Daie started at Rutgers University and UW-Madison, where she was professor (made full professor in 6 years); senior science adviser to the President of the UW-System; Department Chair (1st woman in her field); founder/chief executive of a multidisciplinary academic center. Daie’s honors include: LSQ Ambassador (Australia), Biotech Distinguished Speaker (South Africa), Teksia Lifetime Achievement; US Congressional Citation, Honorary Naval Aviator, Hon. Life Girl Scouts, Honorary doctorate degree, among many others.
View the complete list of awardees.
38. Jo Ann Howard
Jo Ann Howard is the Founder and President of H2O Partners, Inc. H2O is an industry trusted corporation with expertise in pre and post disaster consulting. Its clients are the federal government, state government and local communities. H2O’s mission is to improve response, recovery, and mitigation from natural disasters with a tailored, flexible and cost-effective approach. The firm is a GSA certified Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and a Texas-certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB). H2O brings together an accomplished team of national experts who have provided leadership and technical support for many presidentially declared disasters. H2O Partners is headquartered in Austin, Texas with staff located across the country.
Howard is also the president of Jo Ann Howard & Associates and a former National Flood Insurance Program Administrator at FEMA. She is a frequent presenter at federal and state conferences on topics dealing with natural hazard and disaster topics, including flood insurance. She has received awards for her work with the ASFPM and as a Subject Matter Expert in the legal field for her contributions. Howard earned a JD from The University of Texas School of Law, an MS from Texas A&M and an undergraduate degree from Abilene Christian University. She is an active supporter of the Settlement Home for Girls and the Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas as well as local charities.
40. Wendy Howell
Executive Council Network
Wendy Howell is the Chief Executive Officer at Executive Council Network (ECN). ECN is an invite only executive council that provides opportunities for connections, community, executive elevation, and venture investments. They work collectively with their membership to create a positive business and social impact. Howell’s previous roles include Chief of Staff at Cisco and executive roles in M&A and Strategy at Symantec and VERITAS.
Howell is a connector, community builder “for good” and a passionate advocate for giving back. She is deeply involved in non-profit work as the Managing Director for Girls In Tech, Chair of STEM Scouts, Co-Chair 50/50 Women On Boards, a judge for TiE Young Entrepreneurs, and Founder’s Circle member at DivInc. She considers herself a “rebel with a cause” and is known for her dogged tenacity and creativity to support her passions! Nothing excites her more than creating positive social impact and helping to create the next generation of empowered female leaders.
41. Mickra Hamilton
Apeiron Center for Human Potential
Dr. Mickra Hamilton is CEO and Co-Founder of Apeiron Zoh Corporation, a Complex Systems, Precision Performance Ecosystem that Curates Limitless Expression. A Systems Designer and creative disruptor in the field of Precision Human Performance she informs a new paradigm of what is possible for human flourishing and purposeful evolution. Dr. Hamilton speaks internationally on consciousness, genomics/epigenetics, breathing science, conscious leadership and peak psychoneuro-physiological performance.
A decorated retired Colonel, Hamilton spent 30 years in the USAFR, as an Audiologist, Systems Strategist and Human Performance Subject Matter Expert. Dr. Hamilton leverages thirty years of experience in the field of psychoacoustics for research and development activities in Apeiron’s R & D Division. Current development focuses on 3-D soundscape/naturescape virtual reality programming and breath/heart/brain entrainment to restore systems equilibrium and create beneficial shifts in states of consciousness.
42. Denise Bodman
Prospect Real Estate
Denise Bodman began her professional career over 22 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President of Sales of Prospect Real Estate. Prospect Real Estate is a boutique real estate firm with over 40 years of experience in the Austin market. They have been responsible for the successful sales of over $226M in locally developed real estate including residential homes, single-family communities, and condominium developments. A Central Texas native, Bodman brings decades of real estate experience to her clients in the Austin area. She has experience in nearly all aspects of real estate, including residential sales, leasing, home renovations, negotiation, and business development. Her diverse skill set led to her position as a director of sales, marketing, and operations.
As a licensed realtor and supervisor in Texas since 2007, Bodman has a long list of accomplishments including selling out Austin 360 Condominiums as the fastest selling building in Austin, Texas - boasting 430 units and hundreds of millions in sales. Her ongoing sales records have put her in the Central Texas spotlight with recognitions such as: Platinum Top 50 Nominee and Award Winner four consecutive years, Top Downtown Austin Agent three consecutive years, Million Dollar Award Achiever multiple years, Top Agent Award Winner multiple years, and Austin Business Journal Nominee multiple years. Bodman is an active member of the Austin Board of Realtors, the National Board of Realtors. She also holds several certifications including Certified Negotiation Expert and Certified Luxury Market Specialist.
43. Searcy Morgan
Searcy Morgan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Matterlab. She founded the company in 2017. The Matterlab Group exists to reimagine entire systems around equity in education, because they believe incremental progress just is not enough. They are a team of educators, school leaders, and communications experts who came together out of a shared passion for impact-driven work and a desire to help nonprofits reach their potential.
Previously, Morgan was a VP of marketing and community engagement at IDEA Public Schools and before that a founding director of marketing and communications at Uncommon Schools. Earlier in her career she worked with Teach for America as a middle school ESL teacher. Morgan earned an MS in neuroscience from Columbia University in the City of New York and an undergraduate degree in English literature and Hispanic studies from Rice University.
44. Chelsie Lee
Chelsie Lee is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shipsi, a technology platform serving as a conduit between last-mile delivery networks and providing retailers with same-day, next-day and scheduled delivery. Shipsi was acquired by Auctane, a Thoma Bravo company, in 2021. Lee is a strategic retail and technology executive who specializes in global and domestic business strategy and execution. Her scope of expertise includes product innovation, sales and business development, go-to-market strategy, supply chain optimization, capital raising, marshaling the combined talent of a broad team of subject matter experts and executive leaders, buying/planning in corporate retail, and leading enterprise B2B sales teams in the retail technology sector.
Before founding Shipsi, Lee was a strategic account executive of enterprise at SPS Commerce and before that, a sales and event manager at WhirlyBall Twin Cities. Earlier in her career she worked with Saks Fifth Avenue as a merchandise consultant. Lee is a fierce advocate for identifying problems and leveraging high-impact growth strategies, as well as a frequent publisher of retail-focused thought leadership as seen in Nasdaq, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. She is a member of several founder centric communities, Techstars alumni and Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Nominee. Lee graduated from The University of Kansas with an undergraduate degree in public relations, communication, business, and sociology.
View the complete list of awardees.
45. Kristin Parker
Kristin Parker began her professional career over 22 years ago. Today, she is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Axxelus. Axxelus provides scalable relational sales solutions to companies in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Rather than relying on “brute force” tactics, their approach to medical sales creates stable, long-term relationships with prospects to generate repeat business and sales success.
Parker first got her start in 2000 as a pharmaceutical representative at Bayer Pharmaceuticals. From there, she went on to Ligand Pharmaceuticals as a senior pain specialist, her most recent position prior to joining Axxelus. Parker graduated from Texas A&M University with an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies.
46. Heather Walker
Lead with Levity
Heather Walker is the Creative Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lead with Levity. She founded the organization in 2019. At Lead with Levity, they serve small to moderate sized businesses and consultants who specialize in diversity, wellness, and talent management. They help their clients identify what is needed to be healthy, happy, and whole. Their team creates and administers off-the-shelf, customized, and white label employee feedback surveys, self-assessments and automated personalized reports, team identity surveys and multi-rater and 360 degree feedback assessments.
In addition to her roles with Lead with Levity, Walker is an adjunct assistant professor at Saint Louis University. She previously co-founded Community Policing Strategies and was the director of learning and development at Integral Care. Walker graduated from Saint Louis University where she earned a PhD and master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology, and from Texas Woman’s University with undergraduate degree in psychology.
47. Grace Reyes
The Investment Diversity Exchange
Grace Reyes is the Chief Executive Officer of The Investment Diversity Exchange (TIDE) which connects and engages movers and shakers to promote diversity and inclusion within the investment industry. She is also an Independent Board Director and part of the Audit Committee of Professional Diversity Network. As featured on Forbes, Entreprenuer, Thrive Global, Reyes is one of the most prominent voices in finance when it comes to promoting diversity and gender balance in the investment industry.
With over 15 years of work experience focused on the investment industry, Reyes has also devoted time to a non-profit organization advocating for Asian Americans. There, she formed domestic and global relationships that created a flourishing network. Prior to that, she was in the corporate and business development team at Switchfly, a travel tech firm, reporting to the Executive suite. She also established and honed relationships with prominent investors when she spearheaded the investor relations and fundraising efforts at The Reliant Group, a private equity firm where she also reported to the Executive Suite. Reyes founded and co-hosted goodtimesSF, San Francisco’s largest investment networking happy hour. She earned an undergraduate degree in economics with a computer specialization from UCLA and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
48. Stephanie Silver
Stephanie Silver is the President of VINE Collective. Having been a leader in sales, marketing, and brand experience for over 20 years, Silver founded VINE Collective in 2018. VINE is a leadership development, branding, and marketing agency, formed out of Silver's desire to do her part to improve the world we live in. The unique combination of leadership and sales development paired with branding and marketing, cultivates a collective thought process that fulfills a complete brand and customer experience that empowers meaningful changes and achieves real results. Silver is on a mission to enhance as many lives as possible through cultivating meaningful and memorable experiences.
Silver first got her start in 2000 as a director of sales and marketing at Shoreline Grill. From there, she went on to 20/20 Payroll Solutions, before eventually rising to become a VP at Envision Creative Group, her most recent position prior to founding VINE Collective. Silver uses her desire for human connection, authentic experiences, and profound growth to train, educate, and amplify leaders and businesses who live through their mission, vision, and passion. She can be heard chatting with other passionate business leaders on MVP Business Podcast. She’s driven to build relationships and help people grow, succeed, and connect. Silver graduated from Texas State University with an undergraduate degree in theater.
49. Micaela Brown
Blush & Whimsy
Micaela Brown is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Blush & Whimsy. She founded the company in 2016. Blush & Whimsy is a luxury cosmetics company that believes it can bring magic into everyday life. They create beautiful products straight from a fairy tale. Blush & Whimsy is a social enterprise. All of its products are proudly packaged and fulfilled by disabled veterans. Its products are proudly vegan, cruelty free, paraben free, and toxin free. They bring together the finest materials and stunning design to create something very special. They believe in quality, care and creating unique products that everyone can enjoy.
Previously, Brown was a founder and CEO at Target Market International, LLC and before that a founder and super starter at StartupABQ. Earlier in her career she worked with the Colorado Springs Committee for International Visitors as a member and program manager. In addition to her roles with Blush & Whimsy, Brown is an advisor at Technology Incubator. Brown earned an MA in government and politics, international law and diplomacy from St. John's University and an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs.
View the complete list of awardees.