Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Los Angeles for 2023. With one of the most dynamic economies in the world, Los Angeles has a world-leading creative atmosphere and an undeniable strength in human capital. This year’s awardees are building legacies and changing the trajectory of the city’s major industries. They are promoters of continuous improvement and growth, empowering future leaders to realize their full potential.
Among this year’s awardees is Jula Inrig, Chief Medical Officer of Travere Therapeutics, who has 15+ years of expertise in medical oversight and oversees the company’s functions in clinical development, clinical operations, as well as drug safety/pharmacovigilance. Awardee Ramona Agrela, Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice Chancellor at the University of California Irvine, has impacted human resources at UCI through key initiatives including a transformative, client centric HR model. Also awarded is Rochelle Holguin Cappello, Senior Vice President of Creative Music Strategy at Paramount, who collaborates with studio executives, talent and production partners to ideate, develop and execute the editorial music vision of select MTV Entertainment Studios, BET and Showtime series and marketing campaigns.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Los Angeles for 2023.
1. Tricia Schumann
Chief Investment Officer, HCA Healthcare
Tricia Schumann has been engaged in the management and ownership of hyper-growth technology businesses over the past 30 years with an emphasis on healthcare in the past 10 years. She was previously CEO and co-founder at PitchHealth, a marketplace of emerging and best practices healthcare services and solutions for large purchasers, employers, and payers. Earlier she held leadership and executive positions as CEO and co-founder of Arches Health Plan, chief marketing and communications officer at Health Revenue Assurance, regional manager at Visionary Mobile, president at Assistive Technology, partner at Boss Manufacturing, and founder & CEO at Cobalt Communications.
She serves on for-profit and nonprofit boards including AAA Fair Credit Foundation, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center (Steward Health System), Junior Achievement, and Orriant. She serves as an advisor on the role of employers in healthcare innovation for Stanford MedicineX and mentors early-stage company healthcare and fintech entrepreneurs through accelerator/incubator programs. Schumann is a graduate of Harvard Business School and has passions for golf, pilates/yoga, cycling, skiing and travel.
2. Shaneka McDonald
SVP of Human Resources - North America, DBS Bank
Shaneka McDonald has 23 years of expertise in HR and is a results-focused leader that drives business outcomes to help companies harness the full power of their most valuable assets - their employees. She is dedicated to creating robust corporate cultures that promote continuous business growth, which empowers and motivates employees to realize their full potential. She’s supported senior teams with strategic planning initiatives to scale the business.
Shaneka started her career at Washington Mutual Bank in the Customer Contact Center. After selection into the bank’s prestigious Leadership, Education and Development management training program she found her passion interning in the HR department. A decade ago, she worked for the (FDIC) to ensure compliance at bank receiverships while winding down the operations of the former bank. Shaneka spent a few years at a nonprofit, Child Care Resource
Center (CCRC) one of the largest resource and referral agencies and Head Start programs in CA. She is a highly motivated professional with extensive experience improving HR functions, providing effective change management, and serving as a strategic partner with executive leadership when scaling the business. She delivers strong program facilitation skills and a demonstrated track record in policy and procedure development, with a positive effect on employee engagement and culture.
Present day she is a Senior Vice President, Human Resources at DBS Bank, working with all levels of employees throughout the organization. Her greatest accomplishment has been her focus on establishing a diverse culture where she and her colleagues are building a legacy through volunteerism to impact the communities they serve.
Shaneka holds an undergraduate degree in political science and an MBA with a concentration in human resource management. She is currently certified as a Senior Professional Human Resources through the Society of Human Resource Management.
3. Ramona Agrela
Chief Human Resources Officer & Vice Chancellor, University of California, Irvine
Ramona Agrela serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice Chancellor for the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She is the senior university official responsible for all human resources administration and operations, and has extensive, award-winning experience across multiple HR disciplines. With a passion for helping organizational leaders achieve their strategic goals through progressive talent management strategies, Ramona truly believes that HR’s role is to empower people success through a culture of innovation, learning, and service.
Agrela has transformed human resources at UCI through key initiatives including a transformative, client centric HR model that equally serves three distinct UCI business units – campus, College of Health Sciences, and UCI Health. Part of the success of the model is the Partnership for Strategy and Innovation center of excellence, where best-in-class leaders within their respective fields of information systems, workforce relations, total rewards, talent acquisition, talent development, performance excellence, communications, engagement, and more, lead high performing teams to develop and deliver game changing programs to UCI’s 12,000 staff members. To support these efforts, Ms. Agrela launched the Employee Experience Center, where any UCI employee can get answers with a single email, phone call or visit to the self-service portal. In three years, the Employee Experience Center has handled over 107,000 cases, freeing up subject matter experts and human resources business partners for more strategic-focused, in-depth client support. Ever-evolving, UCI’s innovative HR programs deliver on the promise to empower people success.
Ms. Agrela holds an undergraduate degree in economics and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, Fullerton. She is a SHRM certified senior professional, a WorldatWork certified compensation professional, and a Human Capital Institute Strategic HR Business Partner. She is a frequent speaker and presenter at human resources and higher education conferences across the nation.
5. Jula Inrig
Chief Medical Officer, Travere
Jula Inrig, MD, joined Travere Therapeutics in January 2022 as the company’s Chief Medical Officer. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s medical functions, clinical development, clinical operations, as well as drug safety/pharmacovigilance. She brings to Travere more than 15 years of expertise in medical oversight, drug development, clinical trial planning and execution as well as global regulatory engagement.
Prior to joining Travere, Dr. Inrig served as global head of the Renal Center of Excellence at IQVIA. While at IQVIA, she was instrumental in the design, execution and strategy of clinical trials leading to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) approvals in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and diabetic kidney disease. She was also responsible for the execution of more than 45 clinical trials across 50 countries, enrolling over 25,000 patients, including pivotal phase 3 trials in FSGS, IgAN and lupus nephritis. In addition to her roles at IQVIA, Dr. Inrig served as an inaugural member of the board for the Kidney Health Initiative, a public-private partnership with the FDA, founded with the goal of improving the development of therapies for patients with kidney disease. Dr. Inrig has also served in advisory roles for national societies and their guidelines including the American Society of Nephrology, the National Kidney Foundation, and the American Heart Association.
Dr. Inrig has been recognized by PharmaVOICE magazine as one of the 100 Most Inspiring People in the life sciences industry and by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as a Luminary award winner. She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine and serves on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine, and as an adjunct in the Department of Medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Inrig received her MD from Loma Linda University and completed her internal medicine residency, her nephrology fellowship and obtained a Master of Health Science at Duke University. Dr. Inrig holds an undergraduate degree from California State University, Sacramento.
9. NoRhett Walls
Vice President, National Commercial Services, Stewart Title
NoRhett Walls serves as Vice President for National Commercial Services at Stewart Title Company. NoRhett works closely with builders, developers, principals and brokers nationwide offering exceptional client care throughout the title process. She is heavily involved with CREW- Commercial Real Estate Woman Network. She was the CREW Inland Empire past president 2020/2021 and the past president for the CREW IE Foundation 2020/2021 and has served on the board for 10 years.
NoRhett has worked in the title industry since 1999. Her professional history within the real estate industry has provided her with a truly comprehensive understanding of the business as a whole. She launched a career in the lending field as a loan officer loan processor while still in college, and eventually transitioned into escrow. Though her early years were spent working with residential real estate clients, NoRhett consistently displayed a distinct ability to connect on a corporate level with brokers and principals. She enjoys the challenges associated with commercial transactions.
NoRhett’s approach is simple and straightforward: “I get the job done,” she states. “That has allowed me to consistently build a successful business. When I tell my clients I’ll take care of something, I do it.” Her intelligence and effective communication are only part of the professional puzzle; it is NoRhett’s uncanny ability to connect with others on their terms that allows her to navigate the most challenging transactions and situations and achieve successful outcomes. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for the jobs others are doing,” she reveals. “Because I have had the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of individuals, I am better able to understand how I can help to make a transaction successful.”
In 2009 NoRhett fulfilled a life dream of opening a thoroughbred farm, specializing in the retirement and lay-up for racehorses. “Horses have always been a HUGE part of my life, they offer fulfillment and enjoyment you can't get any place else.” Away from work NoRhett and her husband Jerry Breed and train thoroughbreds with barns at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Los Alamitos racetracks.
12. Kristin Gutierrez
Vice President of Sales, United Language Group (ULG)
Kristin Gutierrez is a recognized expert in sales leadership development for more than 18 years as an author, speaker, and coach. She has worked internationally within Fortune 500 companies as a leader in the localization industry, serving on nonprofits, and she won a Stevie Award in 2023 on Thought Leadership for her Outcomes Based Framework to Drive Complex Sales.
Throughout her career, Kristin has demonstrated a keen ability to lead through ambiguity, restructure sales teams while driving innovation and nurturing long-term relationships with clients. She has a proven track record of success in developing and implementing sales strategies. In addition, she has a passion for mentoring and developing her team members, which has resulted in a high retention rate and driving revenue growth.
Kristin holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame and resides in Southern California with her husband and two small kids, Gibson, and Jack.
13. Elaine Harwood
SVP & Head of the Accounting Practice, Cornerstone Research
Elaine Harwood is a Senior Vice President at Cornerstone Research, based in the Los Angeles office. She also heads the firm’s accounting practice. Dr. Harwood is an expert on financial accounting, financial reporting, and auditing. She consults with clients and works with experts on securities litigation, complex enforcement matters brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and corporate investigations.
Dr. Harwood has served for more than twenty years as a consultant and expert on a wide range of liability and damages issues. She has also consulted on prominent securities class actions. Her experience includes analysis of loss causation and damages in disclosure cases for clients in a wide range of industries, including financial institutions, consumer products, communications, technology, and energy.
Dr. Harwood has co-authored a variety of articles and publications, and speaks widely to legal and trade audiences on trends and new developments in litigation and regulatory enforcement, financial accounting and reporting, and auditing. She is a member of the advisory council of the University of Southern California’s SEC and Financial Reporting Institute. Who’s Who Legal has recognized Dr. Harwood as a thought leader and a global leader among forensic accountants in the legal investigations space.
Before joining Cornerstone Research, Dr. Harwood was a professor at Boston College. She is a certified public accountant (CPA) and is certified in financial forensics (CFF) by the AICPA. She holds a PhD in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, from the University of Southern California.
View the complete list of awardees.
14. Christina Chanpong Stieg
Senior Financial Advisor & VP, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Christina Chanpong Stieg is Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. She is dedicated to providing clients with the finest individually tailored approach to investing and risk management. Since joining Merrill in 2004, Christina assists a select group of affluent clients in investment management, tax minimization strategies, retirement planning, estate planning strategies, wealth preservation/transfer strategies and business investment management including Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans. Drawing on her experience and Merrill's global resources, Christina develops customized strategies to address the complex needs of clients with substantial wealth based upon their risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs and overall investment goals. Her goal is to be an essential resource to assist clients in achieving their long-range financial goals and managing all facets of their financial life.
Christina is a qualified Senior Portfolio Advisor who can help clients pursue their objectives by managing on a discretionary basis, custom investment strategies, selecting from a wide range of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management model portfolios and third-party investment strategies.
Christina graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA degree in communication and MBA through USC's Marshall School of Business. Her financial industry licenses and registrations include: FINRA Series 7, Series 66 Registrations, California Life Insurance license. She has received the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor™, CRPC™ designation through The College for Financial Planning Institutes Corp. and the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor®, CPFA® designation through the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA), which is part of the American Retirement Association.
Christina resides in Altadena, CA with her husband and two children. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, skiing, hiking, cooking and giving back to the local community.
15. Felicia Newbern
Senior Vice President, BNT Title Company Of California
In 2014, Felicia Newbern joined Boston National Title. She quickly became one of our most effective sales and relationship managers, earning promotions and an increasingly prominent role in the firm’s day-to-day management and growth strategy. Today, Felicia is the go-to relationship manager for an impressive list of clients located from coast-to-coast and a critical contributor to national business development efforts. Her most valued strengths and skills include engaging with clients, listening to their needs and challenges, ensuring a smooth onboarding process, and supporting the operations teams that work on her clients’ orders. Outside of Boston National Title, Felicia is an active real estate investor, flipping numerous houses. She is an LP and advisor to Rice Park Capital (RPC Ventures) for early-stage investments in real estate technology businesses, and she is also business partners with Barry Habib in Rock Of Ages.
Outside of work, Ms. Newbern is an active volunteer. She hosts house builds in Mexico with Baja Bound and supports an orphanage of 150 kids in the Congo DRC. She serves as a founder and president of Enduring Love Foundation,VP of development for CIM, treasurer of Baja Educational Initiative, director of sponsorship for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals® Montebello Southeast LA, and a foster parent with Safe Families for Children.
16. Alli Guglielmino
Vice President of Growth, Gamefam
Alli Guglielmino is the Vice President of Growth at Gamefam, a leading metaverse game developer and publisher that creates connected experiences with the largest gaming communities and well-known brands. In her leadership role, Alli directs marketing for all large-scale partnerships and events. She also oversees influencer programs, licensing, web design, merchandising, and leads social media campaigns across the platform partners - Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft.
Alli joined Gamefam in early 2022, and has been involved with multiple high-profile and ground-breaking activations including the premiere of “Sonic Prime” in Sonic Speed Simulator, which served as the first time Netflix premiered new content worldwide through off-platform means. She had a fundamental role in organizing the 2023 Saweetie Super Bowl Concert Presented by Intuit, which took place in Warner Music Group’s Rhythm City on Roblox. The first-of-its-kind concert and music-themed social roleplay experience for Super Bowl LVII included Super NFL Tycoon. Alli also directly managed the Twilight Daycare toyline, which brought the characters from Gamefam’s popular Roblox experience into real life.
Alli came to Gamefam with an already impressive background, working as VP of client services at Fullscreen and as VP of strategic partnerships at Food52. At Fullscreen, Alli spearheaded the growth of several major accounts generating $30M+ in annual revenue, partnered with global brands to solve complex marketing challenges, and built and executed audience-first 360 marketing campaigns and product launches. She designed a ‘first’ for the Walt Disney Company with the opportunity to lead Mickey’s 60th birthday activation, where the iconic character engaged with fans one-on-one on social media for the first and only time. She also authored Mickey Mouse’s Instagram strategy, which hit 1M followers in less than a year and was presented to Disney’s CEO Bob Iger. Alli’s role at Food52 involved working with different partners to create unique partnerships to introduce new consumers to the company’s brand in the food and home space. There, she worked on partnerships with notable brands including Target, Fab Fit Fun, M.M. LaFleur, and others.
Alli, 38, lives in Venice, California with her husband, son, and two french bulldogs. She supports the local community as a board member of Coeur D’Alene Elementary, executing large scale community and fundraising events and coaching her son’s little league baseball team. As busy as she is, Alli always makes time for a leisurely bike to the beach with her family.
17. Miki Jordan
CEO, Wayfinder Family Services
Miki Jordan is the CEO of Wayfinder Family Services and a member of the organization’s board of directors. Jordan joined Wayfinder in 2006, becoming only the third president – and the first woman – since the organization’s founding in 1953. She is known for her visionary leadership, innovation and unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable children, youth, adults and families. Under her leadership, Wayfinder has built upon its legacy of excellence by expanding the depth and reach of its programs and services, growing from a budget of $10.5 million to more than $48 million, serving the entire state of California.
Prior to joining Wayfinder, Jordan was president and CEO of Para Los Niños for 14 years. She transformed the agency from a grassroots organization to one of Los Angeles’ most well-respected social service organizations. In 2022, Jordan joined the board of trustees for UCLA Health’s Luskin Orthopaedic Institute for Children. She was chair of the board of directors of VisionServe Alliance from 2013 to 2016 and currently chairs its governance committee. Previously, Jordan was on the board of directors of the Child Welfare League of America, California Alliance for Child and Family Services and the Association of Community Human Service Agencies. She has also served on more than 25 national and international committees, including the Child Welfare League of America and the CEO Council of Social Current.
Jordan has received several leadership awards, including Outstanding Professional from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Non-Profit CEO of the Year from the Los Angeles Business Journal, and the Best of LA Women’s Business Award, presented by the Los Angeles Lakers and Comerica Bank. She was the first recipient of the Community Leadership Achiever Award, presented by the Association of Multi-Cultural Concerns, an affiliate of the California Council of the Blind. In 2016, she received the Excellence in Leadership Award from VisionServe Alliance, which honors a leader who makes outstanding contributions to the development and provision of services, influences policy and mentors future leaders. In 2021, Jordan was named the Mayor’s Nonprofit Honoree by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes for her advocacy for the dignity and rights of foster youth and people with disabilities. In 2022, Jordan and Wayfinder’s senior leadership team won the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Nonprofit Team of the Year.
Jordan has deep philanthropic roots in Los Angeles and service to others is, quite literally, a family affair. Her father, Fred Jordan, founded Fred Jordan Mission in 1944 and ran the Skid Row-based organization with her mother, Willie, until he passed away in 1988. In addition to working with the homeless in Los Angeles, the couple opened schools, orphanages and clinics in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Africa and Mexico. Jordan holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas and a master’s in organizational development from Chapman University. Jordan completed a postgraduate program through the College of Executive Coaching and is a certified professional coach.
18. Patrice Lafayette
Vice President of Sales, Roanoke Insurance Group
Patrice Lafayette began her career at Roanoke Insurance Group in 2007 in the Western Division Bond department and has held various positions, including managing both the west coast bond team and west coast sales team, until becoming Vice President, Sales in early 2021. She has over 20 years of insurance and financial services experience with the last 16 years focused on the international trade community. Patrice is responsible for a large book of business that includes high-profile clients and brings invaluable expertise in cultivating and managing client relations and helping to determine where coverage gaps may exist and how to address them.
Known for her insurance and international trade experience, Patrice is a well-respected advisor on risk management of insurance and bonds for the international trade community. She frequently speaks at various local and national transportation association conferences, as well as conducts training workshops to help keep clients and the industry at large informed on the various changes taking place in logistics and transportation and the solutions available to respond to these changes.
Prior to joining Roanoke, Patrice worked for Underhill Insurance Agency in Woodland Hills, CA, gaining knowledge and expertise in Business and Personal lines Insurance as well as Life and Health Insurance. Underhill Insurance is a family-owned business that has been in operations for almost 70 years.
Patrice is a licensed insurance broker in both Property and Casualty and Life and Health in 12 states, and a graduate of California State University, Northridge where she earned an undergraduate degree in finance. She serves on the board of directors for the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) and is also an active participant in numerous other West Coast trade associations. She is a past board member of Women in International Trade Orange County.
19. Sherri Francois
Chief Impact Officer, SOLA IMPACT
Sherri Francois serves as the chief executive steering SoLa Impact’s social impact strategy, operations and development. She leads the execution to improve the lives of South Los Angeles residents by providing access to educational and economic opportunities. In 2017, she established SoLa’s nonprofit affiliate, The SoLa I CAN Foundation, where she serves as Executive Director. Sherri spearheaded the launch of CORE, the COVID retraining and recovery scholarship fund which resulted in the awarding of a $1M grant from the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. She led her team in raising over $500,000 to provide internet connectivity to 2000 needy families.
Additionally, Sherri developed LA’s first state-of-the-art Technology and Entrepreneurship Center to train and inspire the next generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs. She was selected as the first Los Angeles Rams playmaker award recipient for her leadership in inspiring change in Los Angeles. Sherri is a USC Brittingham Lab Senior Fellow and serves on the board of directors for the Dream Street Foundation. Sherri graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with an undergraduate degree in sociology.
20. Grace Teng
Chief Media Officer, Zambezi
Grace Teng represents a new movement to re-bundle media services within creative agencies. Formerly a senior digital director at Team One (Saatchi & Saatchi), Grace joined Zambezi in 2018 as an executive director of media and analytics, contributing communications, media planning and buying, and analytics to the expanding toolkit of this leading female-owned independent agency. Today, she serves as Chief Media Officer.
At Zambezi, Grace applies media thinking across all creative, strategic and production disciplines. Her focus is on how brand messages are delivered to consumers or B2B, helping creatives and strategists see their work through an outcome-based lens by layering on a digital-first POV that provides a unique approach and integrates media and digital practices with creative and strategy.
Grace’s prolific career and expertise in media, digital marketing and analytics has spanned key positions at leading agencies including Team One, Mindshare, MECi Interactive, Deutsch LA, and BBDO. She has worked with top brands such as Goldman Sachs, Lexus, Ritz Carlton, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, KFC, Starbucks, Kraft, Sony Entertainment, Sprint and Disney. Her eclectic resume includes political marketing in Washington, DC and tech startup experience in New York City, as well as consulting for venture capital firm Cerberus Capital Management.
Grace has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown, Syracuse and Howard University, where she has addressed a range of topics from the rise of digital marketing to working in startups to the differences between political and consumer advertising. She was also honored at Campaign US’s inaugural Female Frontier Awards in the Making Moves in Media category.
View the complete list of awardees.
21. Emma King
Chief People Officer, Envoy
As a people and culture executive, Emma King describes her charge in terms of “finding ways to maximize the human contribution.” Currently the Chief People Officer for Envoy, Emma comes to California by way of the United Kingdom where she began her career with the eponymous retail chain, Tesco. Her experience in building innovative talent strategy and supporting programs all while driving towards the greater business goals have entrenched Emma as a valued leader and business partner across organizations big and small.
An accredited organizational ACC + CPCC coach, Emma is known for her ability to relate to all levels of professionals, from the boardroom to the break room. Her use of cutting-edge approaches to build People and Culture Departments, and foster culture in general, has helped to capture the attention of top-talent from around the world, creating pools of talent that have been measurably shown to raise the bar. Emma is also a mother to two young children and a regular volunteer for local causes close to her heart.
22. Kris Fair
Chief Marketing Officer, Employer Healthcare Direct
Kris is the Chief Marketing Officer of Employer Healthcare Direct (EDH), where she is leading the team to drive disruption in the healthcare benefits industry. Their mission is to transform access to excellent care in surgery and oncology. Kris was previously at Generate Lifesciences, a CooperSurgical Company where she led the marketing team supporting brands in regenerative and reproductive health services. Kris has a hybrid of brand/creative and digital marketing experience, previously holding positions at eBay and Experian. She believes in driving a culture of performance and cultivating a supportive team environment.
Kris is a New Zealand native, which explains her love for Otago Pinot Noir. When not in Dallas, she is in Venice Beach, CA with her husband, two boys and rescue Staffy, Wren.
24. Charlene Dimas-Peinado
President & CEO, Wellnest
Charlene Dimas-Peinado, President and CEO of Wellnest, leads one of the oldest nationally recognized trauma informed behavioral health organizations in Los Angeles. She combines the big-picture perspective of a visionary, hands-on executive, and the insights of an experienced licensed psychotherapist in her quest to help children, young adults and families lead emotionally healthy lives.
Dimas-Peinado calls upon 30 years of experience in behavioral health and nonprofit organizations. She is the first Latina president & CEO of Wellnest since its founding in 1924 and provides overall leadership and strategic direction as it approaches one hundred years of community service. She has broadened the organization’s financial health with her expertise in public and private contracts to expand best-in-class, compassionate, trauma informed care. As Wellnest’s fiduciary leader, and translator of its mission and vision, she ensures the organization is financially, politically, and operationally strong, as it provides best-in-class behavioral health and housing services while addressing the changing needs of its communities.
Dimas-Peinado has expertise in obtaining and providing direct oversight to multi-million-dollar contracts with a specialty in nonprofit governance, audit and compliance, and regulatory matters. Additionally, she has spearheaded multiple fundraising and capital campaigns, which have raised millions of dollars, forged new partnerships, and leveraged the impact of donations from donors to provide critically needed services in underserved communities.
Dimas-Peinado holds a master’s degree in leadership from University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in social work from California State University, Long Beach.
25. Theresa Myrill
Vice President and Social Media Director, Hero Collective
Theresa Myrill is Hero Collective’s Vice President of Social Media. As a graduate of New York University, Theresa has spent her professional career tailoring marketing strategies that bring brand stories to consumers. She has expertise in digital marketing, brand-building, storytelling, and experiential marketing. As an expert marketer, she works to understand brand KPIs and bottom lines to create bespoke strategies that are able to engage new and existing consumers. She is skilled with providing measurable results that businesses utilize to grow and recently has been featured in many publications including AftroTech, Essence, and Adweek regarding her work with Hero Media and their recent launch of their new women's social network, Goodfeed. Her client roster includes Shell, Google, Lenovo, Planet Fitness & Intuit.
26. Lagen Nash
Chief Revenue Officer, Misfits Gaming Group
Business builder and revenue driver, Lagen Nash, ignites potential and inspires high performance. Currently serving as Chief Revenue Officer at Misfits Gaming Group, a gaming and entertainment company, she develops and leads a global team that defines brands and partnership opportunities that leverage the power and unstoppable force of gaming and esports, a billion-dollar emerging industry.
Lagen began her career in 2009 at FOX Sports in the Regional Sports Networks business. She was quickly promoted to sales roles across the FOX organization including the FOX Collegiate Properties, a new business entity she helped build from the ground up. This led to another startup at FOX-- The Global Solutions team. Here she worked across multiple sectors partnering with CMOs of iconic brands like SoFi, American Airlines, and HP to arrive at out-of-the-box solutions that leverage the power and global appeal of FOX properties across the 21st Century FOX portfolio.
All of Lagen’s experience has led to this moment at Misfits Gaming Group where she is flourishing in the fast-paced, rapid growth, and excitement of gaming and esports. This revolutionary industry is fueling Lagen’s passion for growing and building tech-based entertainment and sports businesses, where Misfits Gaming Group lives at the intersection.
27. Raina Penchansky
Co-Founder & CEO, Digital Brand Architects
Raina Penchansky is the Co-Founder and CEO of Digital Brand Architects, the leading influencer management company, where she leads the company’s overall business strategy and operations. Penchansky was one of the first business leaders to identify the rise of new media voices and the significant opportunity behind managing them as individual talent. Since DBA’s founding in 2010, Penchansky has heightened DBA into a digital talent management powerhouse that has fostered the evolution of creators into household names. She has continued to leverage her expertise in brand-building and strategy to drive DBA’s growth and propel the creator economy forward.
Prior to DBA, Penchansky led global communications for Coach, where she completely revitalized the company’s image and played an instrumental role in growing it into a multi-billion-dollar brand. Penchansky originally began her career building large-scale premiers and awards campaigns for feature films, before moving into launching products for global brands like Juicy Couture and Jimmy Choo. She has also held posts at Edelman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
Penchansky is also a co-founder of I am a voter., a nonpartisan organization dedicated to creating a cultural shift around voting and civic engagement. She has been featured by Fortune, Business of Fashion, Daily Front Row, Deadline, E!, Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, People, Refinery29, TechCrunch, USA Today and more. In 2016, Penchansky was named one of Variety’s 80 Women of Power. A Miami native, Penchansky is currently based in Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and daughter.
28. Storme Whitby-Grubb
Chief Creative Officer, Red Bull Records
With a career spanning twenty years in artist management and creative production, Storme Whitby-Grubb has developed creative campaigns for clients including Interscope Records, Atlantic Records, Capitol Records, and various A-list artists. An alum of The British Council’s Creative Entrepreneur program, Whitby-Grubb previously was the founder and managing director of a London/Los Angeles-based live production company, artist management company, and a Los Angeles-based boutique creative agency. She now serves as the Chief Creative Officer at Red Bull Records in Los Angeles.
View the complete list of awardees.
30. Xiomara Peña
Vice President of Outreach & Engagement, Small Business Majority
Xiomara Peña is responsible for organizational visibility by leading Small Business Majority’s Outreach and Engagement departments. Working with other senior executives of Small Business Majority, Xiomara plans, develops and drives initiatives for the organization towards building a more inclusive and equitable economy that directly benefits entrepreneurs in underserved communities. Alongside the organization’s small business engagement team, she works collaboratively on strengthening relationships with policymakers, small business owners, and organizations across the country to amplify the equity lens in all areas of work. Xiomara has extensive experience supporting small businesses, particularly those run by people of color, women, and immigrants.
Xiomara currently serves on the Advisory Council for Support Latino Business, Steering Committee for Policy Entrepreneurs Awards Program led by Common Future and she is a co-chair for Small Business Majority's DEI Council. She was one of 10 leaders selected as a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2019 under the Entrepreneurship & Small Business category. In 2019, Xiomara served on Governor Newsom’s Paid Family Leave Task Force. She's also fluent in Spanish.
31. Lindsey Peterson
VP of Merchandising, VIOLET GREY
Lindsey Peterson is currently the Vice President of Merchandising at VIOLET GREY where she oversees supply chain planning and merchandise buying. VIOLET GREY is a Los Angeles based specialty beauty retailer which offers a highly curated selection of luxury beauty. Peterson's expertise in retail strategy and partnership building, as well as her niche knowledge of the untapped stars of the beauty industry helped solidify VIOLET GREY as a leader in the luxury market. In addition to being an expert contributor on panels, podcasts, and articles, Peterson has received several awards including USA Today's 2020 Top Online Beauty Store and Beauty Independent's 2020 Online Retailer of the Year.
Peterson has excelled through her decade-long retail career working for luxury retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, where she assisted in the launch of Indie Beauty's Apothecary offering. Once settled at VIOLET GREY she developed a passion for brand education and incubation and was on the team to exclusively bring brands like Augustinus Bader, Nécessaire, and Westman-Atelier to the retail market. Prior to her current position, she spent 3 years as a founding team member and the head of beauty & wellness at Verishop, a social-commerce platform based in Los Angeles, CA before returning back to VIOLET GREY in October 2021. In January 2022, VIOLET GREY was acquired by global luxury retail platform, Farfetch. Peterson was an integral part of the leadership team throughout the acquisition process and brought both her beauty knowledge and financial acumen to the multi-billion-dollar site, helping them establish themselves as a premium destination for beauty.
32. Charlene Solomon
President & Co-Founder, RW3 CultureWizard
Charlene Solomon is President and Co-Founder of RW3 CultureWizard. She oversees all content and product development and operations, including their client service and the in-house tech team. Throughout her career, she has focused on global workforce issues, with a specialty in diversity and inclusion, and doing business across differences and distances. A pioneer in online communities, she is also involved with new e-Learning technologies and ways to communicate inclusively in virtual environments.
An award-winning author who has written eight books, including Managing Across Cultures: The Seven Keys to Doing Business with a Global Mindset (McGraw-Hill 2009, co-authored with Michael Schell), she was an editor at both business and consumer magazines and has written hundreds of magazine and journal articles. She was a contributing editor for Workforce and Global Workforce magazines. Charlene has been a lecturer at UCLA and has years of experience as an instructional designer in instructor-led, virtual and online learning programs.
In addition to her work at UCLA, she worked with The Conference Board (on the aging workforce) and with Catalyst (a women’s think tank) on women in global business. She is a frequent speaker on global business, human resources, work-and-family issues, at such conferences as SHRM, Mercer, National Foreign Trade Council, Deloitte, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She was a commentator for Marketplace on American Public Radio, has been featured on radio and television news and feature programs and was the chairperson for the Southern California Committee for the humanitarian organization, CARE.
She lived and worked in Japan for two years during which time she studied Japanese language and culture, and also developed curriculum for Japanese adults.
33. Renee Fraser
CEO, Fraser Communications
Renee Fraser runs a successful, full-service advertising and marketing firm in Los Angeles. One of the largest independent agencies and one of the fastest growing women-owned companies in LA, Fraser Communications is known for smart strategic thinking, insightful branding, research, successful social media, traditional media and website content creation. She is also on KABC radio 790 AM every Saturday at 5:30 PM hosting The Deciders, a half hour show featuring business leaders discussing the tough decisions that made them successful.
Named Digital Agency of the Year by ThinkLA, Fraser is known for leading integrated digital programs as well as content development. Clients work with senior level talent who bring a strong commitment to results. Focused on growing the clients' businesses and brands, not their ad budgets, Fraser digs deep to find new ways to reach influencers and build clients' brands. Smart research-based plans determine key touch-points including social channels, internal communications, public relations campaigns and advertising. Her well known work includes advertising for Toyota, Whole Foods, First 5 California, Flex Your Power, Saint John's Health Center and Cedars-Sinai, The Southern California Gas Company, BeWaterWise, East West Bank, Market Smith, UCLA and LMU.
Additionally, Fraser is a leading advocate for women leaders with nine years as an adjunct professor at USC. She is a popular speaker on the subjects of women, leadership, social marketing and how neuroscience informs marketing.
34. Melissa Hocking
Chief Operating Officer, Evolution Mechanical
“Leaders are a rare and precious resource, demanding identification and a proven path to achieve results.” Melissa Mendoza-Hocking lives by this simple statement and dedicates her career to recognizing and developing future leaders. She is focused on developing a culture where women are an equal influence in any industry to benefit the workforce and customers.
Melissa joined efforts as the COO at Evolution Mechanical, a leader in the commercial heating, air, and refrigeration space, where she brought her talents and expertise from the home improvement industry. At Lowe’s, a Fortune 50 company, she generated a record-breaking $3 billion in yearly specialty sales in 164 Lowe’s stores.
Melissa spent 17 years at Cintas Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, where she identified and recruited hundreds of sales professionals. She created proven processes that simplified the sales cycle and optimized clientele transactions. She taught an entrepreneur course at the University of Southern California that focused on sales market strategy structured on closing more deals. During her early days at the Ritz-Carlton, she was competitively chosen for their National Youth Mentoring Leadership Program that brought awareness to a world-class customer service experience through the Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards.
Melissa works with several local and national nonprofit organizations such as Working Wardrobes, Make-A-Wish Foundation and CANDO, to name a few. She is a member of the advisory board at the University of California, Riverside for Leadership. She is on the board of directors at TKB, voted the number one restaurateur in America. Melissa achieved her undergraduate degree at the University of California at Davis, where she competed in track and cross country. Her vision is to leave a legacy of successful leaders who create consistency, business stability and innovation in their communities.
35. Keisha Senter
SVP of Culture & Impact, Monkeypaw Productions
Keisha Senter is a globally recognized executive known for delivering game-changing impact at the intersections of entertainment, politics, philanthropy and fashion. For over two decades, Keisha’s transformational leadership and commitment to culture and social change has resulted in award-winning campaigns, productions and partnerships that have been recognized in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, Rolling Stone, GQ Magazine, Essence Magazine and others.
Keisha is the Senior Vice President of Culture and Impact at Monkeypaw Productions where she produces mission-driven campaigns, content, and brand partnerships that unpack the themes addressed in the company’s storytelling. The impact campaign for Nia Dicosta’s CANDYMAN highlighted pathways to celebrate the resiliency and creativity of Black culture by producing “The Impact of Black Horror'' roundtable conversation and supporting Black visual artists on HBCU campuses across the country. For Jordan Peele’s NOPE, Monkeypaw focused on the power of Black creativity by launching an award-winning streetwear capsule collection in collaboration with fashion designer, Jide Osifeso and award-winning actor, Daniel Kaluuya. The campaign received a Clio Award for Outstanding Theatrical Consumer Products marketing.
Keisha partnered with Meta and Universal Pictures to reach fans in the metaverse by launching the Horizon Worlds “NOPE'' VR experience in conjunction with the release of the film. Built by Black women engineers, the Monkeypaw Horizon World expanded to include films US and GET OUT. In partnership with the Museum of Tolerance and Amazon Prime, her team produced the podcast CHUTZPAH: The True Stories of Resistance as companion content to David Wille’s HUNTERS series to elevate the real heroes who fought back during the Holocaust. Keisha founded the firm, The Solution Senter, whose clients included global fashion brands such as Gucci and Artizia and Social Capital Markets.
Previously, Keisha served as the VP of the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation where she led the Careers in Entertainment Initiative designed to introduce the next generation of diverse entertainment professionals to career opportunities. During her tenure at The Rockefeller Foundation as associate director to the president, Keisha produced, INSIGHT DIALOGUES, a live-event and digital-content series focused on sparking conversations at the intersection of philanthropy and entertainment. Keisha started her career in politics at The Clinton Foundation, The Center for American Progress and in the Office of Senator Charles E. Schumer. She received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and a master’s degree in international relations from Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland. She has been recognized as a distinguished Presidential Leadership Scholar. She was awarded Florida A&M University’s 40 Alumni Under 40 Award, 125 Outstanding Alumni Award and New York Chapter of Distinguished Alumni Award, as well as American Express’ award for Social Sector Emerging Leadership.
36. Cathleen Caruso
Chief Executive Officer, Labor Law Center
Cathleen Caruso is a dynamic leader with a 20-year track record of delivering exceptional business results and advancing organizational culture in a variety of high-growth environments with P&L responsibilities of $360MM. She is an entrepreneurial leader and strategic thinker who fosters a collaborative, agile team environment.
Caruso’s areas of expertise include acquisition management, private equity, CPG industry, retail industry, B2B/D2C e-commerce, consumer products, durable products, people leadership, operations, brand building and brand portfolio management, growth strategy, innovation/product pipeline development, consumer insight, category insight, integrated marketing including social media, influencer marketing, digital advertising, and traditional media.
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37. Rebecca Nunez
Founder and CEO, The MRN Agency
Rebecca Nunez is the Founder and CEO of The MRN Agency, an award-winning, international, woman and minority-owned full-service marketing agency that ideates and executes for the largest brands on the globe. Specializing in US Hispanic and LATAM brand strategy, sponsorship negotiations, experiential marketing and live/virtual event activations, Nunez differentiates her work by being anchored by her philosophy of “replacing random acts of marketing through data-driven decision making”.
With a range of tech and telecom clients, Nunez has overcome the 92% fail rate for female founders of color within one year, with no outside funding. She has opened offices locally (USA) and internationally (Mexico City) and has hired a full-time staff as colorful and diverse as the clients she serves. Prior to founding her own agency, Nunez served as an executive at WME Experiential, AxiCom/WPP, Wasserman, and CAA, representing a vast portfolio of Fortune 100 and 500 companies.
38. Shelly Cofini
Chief Business Development Officer, BidMyListing
Shelly Cofini is a seasoned veteran focused on business strategy and developing go-to-market paths for disruptive technology and sales. She currently serves as the Chief Business Development Officer of BidMyListing. She is considered by her colleagues to be high energy, collaborative, and honest. She is also known for enrolling people, being persuasive, and raises the bar for new standards in business development and profitability, while co-creating a culture that is congruent with the vision/mission. She has in-depth experience visualizing, developing and delivering strategies for new market initiatives and global channel development.
Shelly is a technology enthusiast, intuitive coach, strategist, and occasional speaker. She actively consults with emerging technology companies by providing go-to-market strategies, acquisition, merger and exit strategies. She has conducted over 1000 workshops and keynotes.
Shelly graduated from California Polytechnic State University earning an undergraduate degree in organization development, and from the University of Santa Monica earning a master’s degree in spiritual psychology. Her mission is to help people succeed and inspire others to do so. Her intention and delight is to serve people with great discipline, love and grace (sometimes even under fire).
39. Joanie Kraut
CEO, Women in Games International
Joanie Kraut is the CEO of Women in Games International (WIGI), a nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate free-to-access resources that advance economic equality and diversity in the global video game, tabletop, and esports industries. Joanie also serves as a board member and advisor for Techbridge Girls, ESI Clutch, Qweerty Gamers, Mobile Growth Association, and California State University.
For over fifteen years, Joanie has operated in the tech and gaming space within different verticals throughout her career. Her expertise resides in business development, financial strategy, and DEI initiatives. She is a skilled collaborator and a results-driven advocate dedicated to eliminating barriers and increasing access and opportunities for all.
42. Nicole Rodrigues
Founder & CEO, NRPR Group
Nicole Rodrigues is a powerhouse narrative strategist, Founder and CEO of NRPR Group. She's been recognized globally for her work as a communications and marketing pro. Her extensive knowledge in building strategic roadmaps for bridging gaps between tech and various industries makes her extremely valuable to her team and clients. She has over 22 years of experience in public relations, crisis communications, social media and digital marketing. Clients that have benefited from her counsel and skill include Heal, SteadyMD, droppTV, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Dialpad, Dolby, Yahoo!, MobiTV, Sony Playstation, Plantronics, Hulu, YouTube, M-GO, LA Comic Con, Demand Media (now Leaf Group), InfiniteWorld, Covid Clinic, and other dominant companies.
Nicole is committed to mentoring junior staff, bringing efficiency to agency programs, and developing strategic PR and marketing communications plans that help future-forward clients reach their business goals through maximum exposure. Prior to opening her firm, she led multi-practice digital teams at Bender/Helper Impact, Miller PR, Demand Media, and Voce Communications. Her career also includes managing an international PR team at MobiTV - one of the pioneer solutions for digital & mobile entertainment delivery in the US. She also had a 3+ year stint with the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders, managing player development campaigns and publicity projects for the team.
Additionally, Nicole takes great pride in being a former NFL cheerleader, having spent several years cheering for the famed Oakland Raiders. Today, she continues to cheer on her “new team” at NRPR and graduated from San Jose State University with an undergraduate degree in public relations. She earned her MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management. While attending business school, Nicole was an admissions rep on class council and graduated in the top 15% of her class. She earned her MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship, which she chose purposely to ensure she was learning more skills to help her clients manage the ups and downs of starting, growing and scaling their businesses.
43. Rosemary Gonzales
Vice President of Quality, Bexson Biomedical
Rosemary Gonzales is Bexson’s Vice President of Quality, and leads the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of the company’s Quality Management System. She has over 20 years of life science industry experience in drug-device combination product development. She has guided quality and compliance strategies across the product lifecycle of several successful programs. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from Pepperdine University and has served on various technical committees.
She was previously the executive director of final product technologies at Amgen, accountable for creating and leading a team to provide quality oversight and technical expertise from early development throughout the lifecycle of combination products. Prior to Amgen, she served as VP of regulatory and compliance at SHL Medical where she provided strategic leadership to advance the regulatory and compliance framework for the global organization in Sweden.
44. Corey Spiegel
Founder, Light House
Corey Spiegel, Founder of the women's networking organization, Light House, is one of the most sought-after moderators on women's empowerment and wellness. Spiegel was a senior advertising executive who spent two decades working for big companies like Warner Bros, Ellen, Playboy and Extra. She created Light House - a diverse and global community of women who are having personal conversations that are transparent, refreshing, and real, with the vision of creating a “Board of Directors for your personal life.” Light House creates a confidential and judgment-free space for engaging dialogue that not only allows women to hear and learn from others but also to renew their own sense of appreciation, empowerment and passion for life.
Balancing marriage, career, motherhood, and life was not easy for Spiegel. She craved a place to get real with other women facing similar challenges in life, someplace she could gain perspective and guidance on a shared experience and hopefully find community in the process. Spiegel reported to a board of directors professionally and had a vast community of women around her, but that level of support was missing in her personal life. She wanted experienced, unbiased advisors who were willing to provide honest counsel, mentorship, and wisdom about life. As her idea grew, she met many talented and wise women who joined her on this journey. Today, Light House curates classes, events, and luxury retreats (both in person and virtually) for the countless women in the world who seek camaraderie, community, and meaningful conversation. Spiegel’s work has been recognized by national media from The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, NBC News, and Luxury Travel Magazine to name a few.
45. Sylvia Avendano
VP of Project Development & Operations, American Safety Group
Sylvia Avendano is a results-driven professional who began her career over 30 years ago. In 2020, she joined American Safety Group, a regional acclaimed environmental, health and safety consulting firm as the Vice President of Project Development and Operations. She is focused on growing ASG and continuing to bring value to her clients as safety experts with a proactive approach to Safety and a Zero Incident Culture. She is a high-energy, focused leader who moves easily from vision and strategy to implementation, critical thinking, planning, organizing and execution. This includes the development and execution of strategic planning initiatives and standard operating procedures, while working closely with the management team to implement and deliver strategic plans, driving business development initiatives and building industry relationships, while advancing growth across all markets and services, establishing market presence and visibility.
Before ASG, her career has included VP of business development for Owen Group A/E/CM (Bureau Veritas), VP of business development at HMC Architects, statewide energy & utilities analyst on Capital Outlay Programs for California State University Chancellor’s Office CPDC, and Owner of Avendano Consulting. She brings a proven ability to develop strategic alliances and build lasting c-level relationships. She is highly experienced in developing business plans, marketing campaigns, operational procedures, budgets, technical proposal writing and interview coaching. With more than 30 years in the A/E/C space, she uses her creativity, expertise, and finesse to ensure her team exceeds client expectations. Raised in Southern California, she attended the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California where she also met her husband of 35 years.
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46. Meghann Butcher
Co-Founder, CEO & President, RepSpark Systems
Meghann Butcher is the CEO, President and Co-Founder of RepSpark Systems, the leading B2B SaaS ecommerce platform connecting brands and retailers in one unified place. With a proven track history of leadership in the technology and software industry, Meghann has shared her expertise through leading industry associations and partners including the PGA Show, AGM, NAUMD, Outdoor Industry Associations, GS1 Summit, and more. She also serves as an official member of Forbes Business Council sharing her knowledge on Leadership, Strategy, B2B, Software as a Service (SaaS), and eCommerce.
Meghann graduated from Vanderbilt University with an undergraduate degree in psychology and communications.
47. Ariel Fan
Founder and CEO, GreenWealth Energy
Ariel Fan is the Founder and CEO of GreenWealth Energy, a leading developer of EV charging for commercial, multifamily, and fleet buildings across California. Fan founded the company in 2016 after being awarded Southern California Edison’s Energy Efficiency Award for capturing the most public funding for green building upgrades among 15 million electric utility customers. GreenWealth Energy has been certified as the first woman minority-owned energy company in the State of California, working with companies such as the Walt Disney Company, the City of Los Angeles, Southern California Gas Company, and national real estate companies to transition to a zero-emissions future. Fan currently serves on two boards, Environmental Entrepreneurs and United States Green Building Council Los Angeles.
48. Nicole Mixdorf
Founder & Chief Wellness Officer, Balance by Nature
Nicole Mixdorf is a #1 international bestselling author, keynote speaker, and the Founder and Chief Wellness Officer of Balance by Nature. She was awarded as a Top 100 Healthcare Leader in the World 2020-2021, Most Influential Woman in Corporate Wellness Services USA 2020-2023, Top 10 Successful Business Leader Revamping the Future 2021, and as a Top Thought Leader of Our Generation 2023.
Nicole is a prolific speaker, master teacher, and healer, delivering over 30 masterclasses on inspirational personal development topics. Her passion, wisdom, and enthusiasm draws her audiences in to uncover deep truths about themselves so they can live their best lives. Her unique brilliance lies in her ability to instantly put people at ease and uplift the energy of everyone around her. She is passionate about teaching busy professionals how to create balance in their lives so they can thrive.
View the complete list of awardees.