Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Maryland for 2023. Maryland's economy is vibrant and diverse, bolstered by various sectors such as biotechnology, aerospace, and defense. The state has witnessed a rise in female entrepreneurs, executives, and policymakers who are breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings. This year’s awardees bring a fresh perspective, fostering creativity and inclusivity in decision-making processes. Their contributions have not only empowered women in the workforce but also enriched the economic landscape as a whole. 

Among this year’s awardees is Margi Kirst, Chief Revenue Officer of Operation Homefront, who oversees a development and marketing/public relations team that creates vibrant engagement and connections between generous donors and the military families supported by the organization. Awardee Tasha Austin, Principal at Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory Services, provides strategic direction to C-suite executives and management across the federal community to help them solve their agencies’ most complex and unique data challenges. Also awarded is Georgia Smith, Vice President at Fiserv, who brings a deep wealth of expertise in accounting, treasury, and payment processes and oversees payment transactions of $30 billion per day. 

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Maryland for 2023.

3. Tasha Austin
Principal, Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory Services

Tasha Austin is a Principal in Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory business and has more than 24 years of professional services experience involving commercial and federal financial statement audits, fraud, dispute analysis and investigations, AI, and advanced data analytics. She serves as the Director of Deloitte’s Artificial Intelligence Institute for Government where she focuses on amplifying Deloitte’s capabilities and services in key areas. She helps lead Deloitte’s AI and Data Analytics market offering, where she provides innovative insight-driven solutions to her clients to deliver financial management transformation. She provides strategic direction to C-suite executives and management across the federal community to help them solve their agencies’ most complex and unique data challenges. Tasha also helps organizations assess their readiness for and adoption of AI solutions. 

Tasha has co-authored several publications on the topics of AI and open data including, Fostering Diversity in STEM Learning and Careers with AI; Developing and Deploying Trustworthy AI in Government, Fluid Data Dynamics: Generating Greater Public Value from DataFuture of Open Data (Maximizing the Impact of the Open Government Data Act); and Data Act 2022, which provides an innovative approach to achieve an insights-driven organization while understanding and navigating cultural and technology challenges. Tasha has also served on several industry, academic, congressional stakeholders, and global leadership panels discussing critical topics in AI including AI & Equity, AI for Good, AI & Diverse Talent, Mitigating Bias in AI, Scaling AI, and Trustworthy AI. 

Tasha also serves as Deloitte’s National Leader for strategic engagement initiatives with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and NABA Inc. and works closely with Deloitte’s Executive Leadership to shape investments in the HBCU and NABA communities. She is an advocate for equitable education and supports the delivery of interactive and impactful STEM educational experiences for grade school students across diverse communities. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in mathematics from North Carolina Central University and obtained her MBA from Howard University. 

4. Patreece Butchee
Vice President, Design & Construction, Wells Fargo 

Patreece Butchee has more than 25 years of real estate experience and is currently a Regional VP of Design & Construction within the North/MidAtlantic Region at Wells Fargo. Her primary responsibility is overseeing the region's performance and delivery portfolio of projects of more than 2MMsf and $430MM in costs, as well as supporting the company’s current and future operational needs while cross-collaborating with internal partners and stakeholders to achieve meeting the Corporate portfolio goals and strategies.

Additionally, Patreece has an extensive legal background with experience that includes years spent as a paralegal specialist with a focus on real estate, civil and criminal law within the Mid-Atlantic region. She has recently acquired a professional certification through Cornell University that focuses on Women Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Her prior educational background was focused on criminal justice and project management, with specialized certifications within the same fields of study.

Patreece is also acting president and board member of Tanner Resource Community Center (TCRC), located on the Saint Paul United Methodist Church Campus in Oxon Hill, Maryland. TCRC is a nonprofit organization that focuses on food security, strategic partnerships, school community support, and youth volunteerism opportunities within the Prince Georges County sector. In addition, she is a member of the NAACP, Charles County Chapter, African American Womens Network and volunteers for other local area organizations and events.

5. Georgia Smith
Vice President, Fiserv

Georgia Smith is a talented and seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in financial services. She brings a deep wealth of expertise in accounting, treasury, and payment processes while also utilizing her experiences in strengthening control environments and establishing operational excellence practices.  In addition, Georgia has led cross-cultural initiatives to author policies detailing Best in Class controls within the settlement, accounting, and treasury functions across the globe.

Currently, Georgia is a Vice President at Fiserv leading the North America Settlement Controls & Solutions teams. She oversees payment transactions of $30 billion per day. In her role, she also performs governance over the global settlement processes engaging settlement personnel in all regions to discuss metric variations, issues, implementations, and deviations within the control environment. Georgia is also leading settlement integration efforts as part of the First Data/Fiserv acquisition. While leading the integration efforts for payment transactions between First Data and Fiserv, she is bringing significant change with new system designs for automation and process efficiencies.

Georgia is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Washington County. She donates time and effort in her community, mentoring youth and young adults as well as coordinating the collection of needed items for various non-profit agencies. She enjoys spending lots of quality time with her family and is a proud aunt and great-aunt to many nieces and nephews. She has a passion for travel and continually updates her bucket list with new adventures once she checks other adventures off her list. Georgia holds an MBA in business and an undergraduate degree in accounting from Frostburg State University. 

8. Cynthia Snooks-Key
Chief of Staff for the Office of Financial Management, US Department of the Interior

Cynthia Snooks-Key is the Chief of Staff for the Office of Financial Management (PFM). In her role, Cynthia plans and directs all administrative, financial, and operational activities for the deputy CFO and director of PFM. She organizes and prioritizes critical issues and required information to facilitate efficient decision-making to ensure the smooth operation of PFM. Snooks-Key brings 23 years of federal service in the areas of accounting, financial management, and budgeting. She also brings 15 years to include, state service, county service, and nonprofit organizations in areas of auditing, bookkeeping, and legal assistance. 

Snooks-Key arrived at PFM from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) where she served in the capacity of assistant to the associate CFO. Before joining OPM, she worked for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the New Jersey National Guard, serving over 21 years, retiring as a staff sergeant after having received the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. The span of her career has provided work experience in accounting, financial management, account reconciliations, reporting, analysis, implementing accountability measures, budgeting, and leadership of complex sensitive programs, she is judicious and organized. 

A native of Trenton, New Jersey, and current resident of Prince George’s County, Maryland, Snooks-Key holds an MBA with a concentration in accounting from the American Military University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She earned an undergraduate degree in paralegal studies and has certificates in accounting, personnel apprenticing, and administrative specialist. 

9. Susan Cvijanovich
VP of Research and Dispute Operations, Fiserv

Susan Cvijanovich leads with over 20 years of operational leadership experience in financial services and an extensive background in chargeback processing, the Research and Dispute Resolutions Organization of Fiserv. Fiserv enables money movement for thousands of financial institutions and millions of people and businesses - for a world that never powers down. As a Fiserv leader, she has responsibility for the oversight of multi-billion dollars in annual disputes inventory and is the application business owner of the robust Fiserv Acquiring Dispute System for North America.

Susan is a results-oriented, professional leader in the highly sophisticated payments industry.  She instills a sense of value, excellence, and personal growth in the associates within her organization. She is a sought-after key stakeholder on large multi-functional teams. She has proven expertise in operations, finance, logistics, relationship management, and strategic planning. Before joining the Disputes organization, she led the program management, reporting, analysis, and requirement engineering teams. Her experience also includes management positions in the call center, check processing, and network regulatory environments.

Susan has repeatedly proven her ability to work cross-functionally to motivate teams and effectively communicate purpose. As a key stakeholder on several transformational projects, she has demonstrated an indisputable track record for establishing and meeting goals. Susan has a passion for providing guidance, support, and direction for the personal growth of career-driven women through multiple mentoring relationships.

11. Margi Kirst
Chief Revenue Officer, Operation Homefront

Since 2015, Margi Kirst has served as Chief Revenue Officer of national military nonprofit Operation Homefront, overseeing a development and marketing/public relations team that creates vibrant engagement and connections between generous donors and the military families supported by the organization. Margi has 30 years of experience in marketing and communications for global private and nonprofit organizations. Her extensive background in economics compels her to use data to drive the marketing and fundraising efforts that ultimately support Operation Homefront’s mission to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive - not simply struggle to get by - in the communities they’ve worked so hard to protect. Currently, she is leading a $100 million comprehensive campaign which is tracking more than a year ahead of schedule to ensure that the organization can secure the futures of military families for years to come.

Margi previously served as vice president of marketing at the United Service Organizations (USO), and has also directed fundraising, marketing, and communications initiatives for the Autism Society of America, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Socimer International, and Price Waterhouse. Margi has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree from Trinity College in Washington, DC. She is an extremely proud military family member, as the wife of a former US Army officer, the daughter of dual-service US Navy parents, and the sister of two Army reservists.

12. Jennifer Disharoon
Chief Marketing Officer, GRF CPAs & Advisors

Jennifer Disharoon is the Chief Marketing Officer at GRF CPAs & Advisors in Bethesda, MD. Her nearly 30-year career has focused on leading the marketing departments at professional service firms including those in the A/E/C, legal, and accounting industries. As an accomplished MBA, she provides leadership for strategic marketing programs that employ the latest technology and innovative approaches to meet the firm’s goals and objectives. Jennifer works side-by-side with firm leaders to plan and execute marketing strategies that increase brand awareness, generate new business opportunities, support recruiting and retention, and reinforce the firm’s commitment to the accounting industry and the community.

In addition to her department leadership role, Jennifer is a founding committee member of Women on the Move, the formal women’s leadership initiative at GRF, and participates as a member of the GWSCPA Women’s Leadership Section Planning Committee. Outside of GRF, Jennifer mentors young women and men seeking roles in professional service marketing. She is the current secretary of Iona Senior Services in Washington, DC where she has served on the board in various roles since 2017. Previously, Jennifer was president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). When she isn’t working, Jennifer is pursuing her passion for international travel and enjoying time with her family and her rescue dogs.

Before joining GRF, Jennifer’s professional experience included geographic and industry marketing roles focused on the nonprofit, real estate, A/E/C, legal, technology, government contracting, and hospitality sectors across the United States. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and she holds an MBA from Pepperdine University. 

View the complete list of awardees.

13. Melissa Bissen
Vice President & Controller, Whitney Bailey Cox & Magnani

Melissa Bissen has been providing professional accounting services to Baltimore area businesses for over 27 years. She has served in accounting leadership positions at Allen & Shariff, Corporate Office Properties Trust, Laureate Education, Euler Hermes North America, and Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani. Bissen specializes in creating and leading large teams through periods of robust changes in technology, processes, and organizational structure while instituting a culture of collaboration and innovation.  

As Vice President at Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani, Bissen oversees all aspects of accounting, reporting, budgeting, forecasting, payroll (225+ employees), treasury, audits, taxes and licensing, operating and legal agreements for the group of 30 entities and act as their primary liaison with auditors, governmental agencies and banks. Previously, at their Americas Headquarters in Owings Mills, she served for 7 years as VP and treasurer for Euler Hermes, overseeing all aspects of accounting, treasury, and investments for Euler Hermes North America’s Finance Operations in the US & Canada, and consolidated reporting of the Americas region to additionally include Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, and Brazil to headquarters in Paris France. 

Bissen led a finance team of 28 and also previously served as the chief investment officer for the Americas Region. She was a member of the due diligence and integration teams for new opportunities and led treasury and banking relationships for the Americas region. Bissen is also a former co-chair and current Corporate Advisory Board member of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and was recently recognized for her outstanding volunteer leadership with the organization for the past 12 years. Bissen was a founder of the Women’s Group at Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani, “WBCM Strong” encouraging women to support and empower other women. She is also the president of the Relief Society for her church’s local operations, supporting members and connecting them to local and church resources as they face adversity.  

15. Heidi Marchand
Executive Director & Head of Global Regulatory Policy & Intelligence, Gilead

Heidi Marchand, Executive Director and Head of Global Regulatory Policy & Intelligence, leads Gilead’s newly established leadership position to develop and implement strategies to shape and influence regulatory policy in selected areas of interest in the external regulatory environment in line with Gilead’s mission to advance innovative therapeutics and improve patient care. 

Heidi joined Gilead Sciences in 2019 from the US FDA where she served as assistant commissioner, Office of Health and constituent affairs in the Office of the Commissioner. She represented the US FDA on high-profile and complex matters of new policies and programs that impact patients, patient advocacy, health professionals, consumers, state and federal organizations, and regulated industry on implementation and adoption of innovative health technologies. Heidi has a deep understanding of operations within the US FDA and developed complex strategic stakeholder interactions among FDA organizational centers including CDER, CBER, and CDRH. Achievements during her tenure at US FDA include supervision of an office of over 20 multi-disciplinary science and health professionals to evaluate stakeholders’ activities and respond to public health emerging and urgent issues across therapeutic areas.

Before joining the US FDA, Heidi was head of global regulatory policy and intelligence at both Amgen and Pfizer. In addition, she worked within regulatory affairs at Novartis and also served for 6 years at the FDA where she was executive secretary for the National Task Force on AIDS Drug Development, chartered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to advise on AIDS drug development barriers. Heidi holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia. 

16. Michelle Webb
Executive Director of Employee Experience, TEKsystems

Michelle Webb serves as the Executive Director of the Employee Experience Team for TEKsytems where she is responsible for designing, implementing, and supporting programs that positively impact every employee’s journey to create an exceptional experience that supports their ability to perform at the highest level. She started with TEKsystems in Colorado Springs in 1996 as a recruiter and has taken on many roles over her 27 years including the oversight of Recruiting and Consultant Programs for TEKsystems in North America for over a decade. She was asked to spearhead the inclusion and diversity efforts at TEKsystems in 2013 which led to the development of her newest role as the Executive Director of the Employee Experience team in 2017.

In 2017 Michelle received the Executive Impact Award from Linkage for her commitment to the advancement of women in the workplace. Her story has been featured on LeanIn.org for her courage to take on roles that are not proven and for leaning into her purpose of building connections through compassion and empowering others to do the same. Michelle contributed to Susan Brady’s book Mastering Your Inner Critic and authors her own blog www.Igot-this.com

Michelle has over 25 years in recruiting, learning, and development. As a talented speaker, facilitator, and performance coach she helps people achieve the best version of themselves to support desired outcomes in all facets of their lives. She has expertise in IT services, staffing, recruitment, negotiations, project management, leadership development, behavioral coaching, and DEI. Her ability to drive large-scale change through scalable solutions has been the key to driving change across TEKsystems within her space.

18. Michelle Bell
President & CEO, 1st Choice

Michelle Bell is a multifaceted individual who embodies the roles of a mother, entrepreneur, philanthropist, leader, and activist. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she has made a significant impact in her community and beyond. Currently serving as the President and CEO of 1st Choice, LLC, Michelle has been the driving force behind the company's growth since its founding in April 2000. Her exceptional leadership skills have catapulted 1st Choice to attain a prestigious position in the industry.

As a member of the State of Maryland Governor's Workforce Development Board, the Montgomery County Workforce Development Board, the National Council of Negro Women, Top Ladies of Distinction, Incorporated, and others, she passionately contributes her expertise to advance these causes. Additionally, at Kingdom Fellowship, AME Church in Calverton MD, Michelle serves in a leadership role providing faith-based service to the community. In 2005, she established Project H.O.P.E ("Helping Other People Eat") as a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide essential meals to individuals within local communities. She actively participates in the Women Presidents Educational Organization. 

Michelle is currently working towards a Master of Science degree from the University of Maryland University College, building upon her existing educational foundation with an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She actively engages in executive management programs at prestigious institutions such as Harvard Business School, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, and the University of Maryland. She has earned a certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Bell has received prestigious accolades such as being honored as a Top MBE in the country and receiving the esteemed Legends and Leaders award. Additionally, The Daily Record has acknowledged her as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women, among other notable awards.

22. Charis Gomez
Executive Producer & Host, Living Local DMV

Charis Gomez is the Executive Producer and Host of Living Local DMV. Helping to launch the show on DCW50, Charis has been committed to telling stories to inspire, educate and entertain viewers in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Originally from Atlanta, Charis has spent many years in D.C. as a journalist.

While in the nation’s capital, she produced for CNN’s Newsroom with Pamela Brown and MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily with Chuck Todd. Before joining NBC, Charis was a producer and correspondent for ABC7/WJLA’s Government Matters, a program focused on the business of government. During that time, she also occupied the anchor chair as a fill-in for the morning lifestyle show Let’s Talk Live. Charis began her career working at Atlanta’s award-winning WSB-TV and CBS Radio’s V-103 FM.

Charis graduated with an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University. She has documented various media trends in places throughout the world, including Turkey, Hungary, and Hong Kong. She produced a 360-degree video on Muslims’ Ramadan journey in Reykjavik, Iceland. While at Georgetown, Charis published work on the historical designation of Washington’s Kingman Park neighborhood. She is a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Charis can be found rooting for her hometown Falcons or Braves (sometimes the Hawks) and spending quality time with her husband as they await the arrival of their firstborn child this summer 2023.

23. Shaquayah McKenzie
Chief Executive Officer, Hutchinson & McKenzie Enterprises

Shaquayah McKenzie is CEO of Hutchinson and McKenzie Enterprises, a social ventures group named in honor of her late father and great-grandfather, and currently serves as the Major Gifts Officer at Arts for Learning Maryland. She formerly served as an A4L MD board member, the director of development & operations for Carmelo Anthony's Foundation Team Melo, career and college readiness director for the Baltimore Curriculum Project, and lead teacher at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.

The first of her parent's children to attend college, Shaquayah made history as a student leader and obtained an undergraduate degree in English and philosophy at The National Treasure, Morgan State University. She holds a master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a Teach for America Baltimore Alumnus, and affiliated with several progressive groups. For over a decade, she's worked as an advocate, consultant, educator, and sought-after voice empowering others to maximize impact between academic, private, public, and philanthropy sectors.

Shaquayah has been recognized by Black Girls Vote, Motor House, The Daily Record's Movers and Shakers, HBCUBUZZ’s 30 under 30, Chronicle of Higher Education, Black College Today, and honored with several other awards. As a speaker, she's been featured on CBS News, Fox News, BET, TV One, The Baltimore Sun, Black Star Network, The Final Call, and various conferences, events, and podcasts.

24. Michelle Taylor
President & CEO, BETAH Associates

Michelle Taylor is the President and CEO of BETAH Associates, Inc. (BETAH), an award-winning communications and professional services firm with a 35-year record of success in providing exceptional client experiences. Her vision and entrepreneurial resilience led to BETAH being recognized by Inc. magazine on its list of America's fastest-growing companies. GrowthLab ranks BETAH as one of the top 20 marketing communications companies in government contracting, based on FY2022 data for prime, unclassified contracts awarded across all federal agencies.

Taylor is a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program graduate and was recognized as a 2022 Enterprising Women of the Year award winner by Enterprising Women magazine. She has over 20 years of experience in communications and marketing, community engagement, and event coordination.  With a commitment to encouraging other business owners, Taylor is chair emerita and a board member of the Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce. She is a founding member of the BOW Collective, an organization that advocates for Black women entrepreneurs.  

Taylor’s dedication to economic and health equity and social justice within Montgomery County, MD, where BETAH is headquartered, led her to co-create the Montgomery County Black Collective. She also established the annual Wilhelmina Bell-Taylor Strive Scholarship for graduating high school seniors.  Given her commitment to service, Taylor is a board member of The Children's Inn at NIH and sits on the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center governing board. She is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. 

View the complete list of awardees.

25. Stefanie Weiland
Executive Vice President of Programs, American Leprosy Missions

Stefanie Weiland has a vision to help all people have access to quality health care. Leading ALM’s work to pioneer new systems and approaches to improve care for neglected people in the hardest places is her chief creative and mental occupation. Her heart is to restore dignity to people whose lives have been devastated by disease.

Stefanie has significant experience in international development and global health, progressing to leadership in several roles, working across Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Before ALM, Stefanie led LifeNet International, a social enterprise focused on improving the quality and sustainability of health care in Africa, managing a global team and scaling impact from 10 clinics in one country in Africa to 130 clinics in four countries. 

Stefanie is a lifelong learner. She received her undergraduate degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and master’s in development studies from The London School of Economics and in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Stefanie has also studied at the US Air Force Academy and received a certificate in development management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She speaks French, Japanese, and some Swahili. She currently lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and two small children, where she enjoys running along the Potomac River.

27. Likia Hawkins
Chief Executive Officer, Steel Point Solutions

Likia Hawkins, President and CEO of Steel Point Solutions, LLC (Steel Point), a business solutions provider specializing in digital transformation, possesses a wealth of business ownership, technology, analytics, policy, governance, and economic insight central to positioning her firm as a small business disrupter in the public sector space. She has used her experience as a government civilian, federal contractor, and entrepreneur to influence Steel Point’s business strategy with a keen focus on operational efficiency, economic stewardship, relationship management, and strategic partnering.

Hawkins is a servant leader and giving is indicative of her commitment to developing the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs. She has used her experience as a government civilian, federal contractor, and entrepreneur to influence Steel Point’s business strategy with a keen focus on operational efficiency, economic stewardship, relationship management, strategic teaming, and delivery excellence. Her leadership has led to her firm receiving several awards and recognitions from clients, sales totaling $37m, several industry certifications, and performance/customer satisfaction ratings of excellent where her firm was the prime contractor. Known for being an astute and prepared entrepreneur, Likia established a firm positioned for next-level growth. 

Likia also is committed to social responsibility and workforce development. She mentors other minority students by volunteering her time to serve on panels for pitch sessions, offering internships at Steel Point, and serving as a mentor to other minority women. This kind of give-back is indicative of her commitment to giving back and developing the next generation of professionals. She earned an undergraduate degree in computer information systems from Morgan State University, and her MBA with a specialization in technology management from the University of Phoenix. She is an alumnus of the Rutgers University School of Business Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development and of the EY Curated Entrepreneurial Access Network (EAN) 2021 inaugural cohort. 

28. Lisa Blackmore
Partner, Squire Lemkin + Company

Lisa Blackmore has worked on developing a tax practice that focuses on individual taxes, high-net-worth individuals, and professional service firms, especially law firms. An area of emphasis is tax planning with regard to high-net-worth individuals. All of these areas of the tax practice allow Lisa to work one-on-one with her clients, which is a very important aspect of her approach. Lisa focuses on exceptional service, which helps to build her client relationships.

Lisa started at Squire, Lemkin +Company, LLP in 2004 and was immediately attracted to the environment where all of the staff are recognized and appreciated. Upon first impression, the firm felt like a second family. Another factor that was very important to Lisa upon choosing SL+Co, LLP was the firm’s dedication to the core values of mutual respect, open honest communication, professional excellence, responsibility, and interdependence, all of which the firm continues to live by every day.  Effective June 1, 2023, Lisa helped to guide the transition of Squire, Lemkin + Company, LLP into Aprio, where she will be a Tax Partner in Aprio’s Rockville, MD office.

Lisa is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants. In addition to the professional associations, Lisa has been very active in the Frederick community. Lisa was the treasurer of Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County for many years and also served on the board of governors for the Frederick County Affordable Housing Trust. Lisa was awarded the 2017 MACPA Emerging Leader Women to Watch. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mount Saint Mary’s University, graduating with summa cum laude honors. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she also completed her MBA from Mount Saint Mary’s University and then passed her CPA exam shortly after.

29. Peg Anthony
Executive Vice President, A-G Associates

Peg Anthony is an organizational strategist, change management expert, executive coach, and facilitator. Her 40-year career offers a rich blend of experiences as a government services management consultant, line manager, and practice leader, a federal career employee and manager, and a college administrator and professor. Peg has been an innovator and change agent in every organization in which she has been employed and for every client she has served. That includes founding successful management consulting and applied social research practices in five separate firms, managing consulting engagements with dozens of Fortune 500 firms and US departments and agencies, leading award-winning management initiatives in the Environmental Protection Agency, and teaching at four prestigious universities including The University of Virginia, The George Washington University, Marquette University, and Indiana University.

The focus of Peg’s work has been organizational and service transformation. She founded, developed, and led organizational change and customer loyalty improvement practices at three consulting firms: A-G Associates Inc, Macro International Inc., and Kaset International. By delivering research-based strategic consulting, Peg and her teams have assisted and facilitated numerous client organizations in transforming themselves into agile, market-driven, customer-focused entities. She consults with senior executives in C-suites in private and public-sector organizations, including political appointees and senior career officials in major federal agencies, on all matters regarding strategic direction and organizational performance.  She has become a trusted advisor and a master facilitator, particularly accustomed to handling diverse points of view in public meetings and facilitating diverse and challenging groups including political and career executives, general military officers, community advocates, multi-culturally diverse groups, and medical professionals.  

Peg completed her doctorate at The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a focus on education administration and human resources development. She earned her master’s degree from Indiana University, focusing on higher education administration and organizational behavior. She has been a member of the Association for Talent Development, the Association for Strategic Planning, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the American Marketing Association.

31. Kris Hoellen
Executive Director, B&O Railroad Museum

Kris Hoellen, Executive Director of the B&O Railroad Museum, the Birthplace of American Railroading, is leading the museum as it prepares for the 200th anniversary of American Railroading in 2027. During Kris’s tenure since 2018, the museum, already a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and National Historic Landmark, has been designated as a National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Site, opened two new permanent exhibitions, launched a skilled-trades workforce development program, and has won the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Mayor’s Award for Community Impact twice, (2019 and 2021).

Kris has a transportation background having served with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences and at the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials as the inaugural director of the AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence.  Before the museum, Kris served as SVP and chief conservation officer at the National Aquarium and as senior vice president at The Conservation Fund, working with communities around the country on sustainable community economic development. She currently serves on the board of the Southwest Baltimore Partnership and the Greater Baltimore History Alliance as well as the Maryland Semiquincentennial Commission. She has a master’s degree in environmental science and policy from Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in history from Emory University.

32. Joyce Hunter
Executive Director, Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology

Joyce Hunter is a strategic-doer and a philanthropreneur. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the position of deputy chief information officer for policy and planning at the Department of Agriculture and was the acting chief information officer from March 2016 to July 2016. In addition to policy and technology planning, Hunter is the creator of the Open Data STEAM summer camp for underserved and underrepresented youth, which has completed its 8th year of operation. 

With over 30 years of experience in the information technology industry, Hunter demonstrates a strong ability to build and sustain relationships with public/private stakeholders, and develop and lead innovative projects and inter-agency initiatives. She was the CEO of Vulcan Enterprises before her federal appointment and is currently the Executive Director of the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), a nonprofit cyber security think tank, providing objective, nonpartisan research, advisory, and education to legislative, commercial, and public-sector cybersecurity stakeholders. 

Hunter earned an undergraduate degree from Villanova University and an MBA in marketing from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. She recently received her certificate as a Qualified Technical Expert (QTE), was named one of the Top 100 Women in Maryland, 2021 Leading for Impact Award Winner, and was named one of the Most Influential People in Security for 2020. Hunter is a peer reviewer for the Blockchain in Healthcare Today Journal and a contributor to the ACT/IAC Blockchain and AI Playbooks. She is also the senior advisor to the CEO of the National Information Technology Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT) and the chair of the CyberAg Advisory Board. Hunter is on the Dean’s Advisory Council for Villanova University, Bowie State University, many industry advisory boards, a chapter contributor to The Handbook of Federal Government Leadership and Administration: Transforming, Performing and Innovating in a Complex World, and the creator of the recently published ICIT publication titled Securing the Nation’s Critical Infrastructures: A Guide for the 2021 – 2025 Administration.

33. Laurie Sayles
President & CEO, Civility Management Solutions

Laurie Sayles is an author, change agent, thought leader, serial entrepreneur, and the President & CEO of Civility Management Solutions (CivilityMS), a professional consulting firm working within the Government and Commercial space. CivilityMS has received numerous awards since being established and listed on INC 5000 for the past three years, including being selected as 1 of 100 Minority Businesses in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia regions. They are a Certified Small Business Administration 8(a), Women-Owned, verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business located in Greenbelt, MD.

Laurie was selected as a Compassionate Business Leader due to her advocacy on behalf of Veterans business owners. She has served on Small Business Committee Hearings in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives and participated in many pilot programs for veterans and small business owners.

Laurie received her undergraduate degree in social science, a minor in strategic management and entrepreneurship, and a Business Project Management Certification from the University of Maryland University College. She serves as the chair of the Women Veterans Business Coalition, which fights for policy changes for Veteran Women-Owned Businesses. Laurie authored As My Leaders Go … So Do I, which has been the foundation for the Mind Merging Summit. Proceeds for the Summit support programming for survivors of domestic violence. Laurie’s recently launched nonprofit R3 (Recognize, Repair, and Repeat) is the umbrella organization for all of her philanthropic efforts, including Mind Merging Summit, in support of women, Veterans, and disadvantaged communities. 

View the complete list of awardees.

34. Angie Barnett
President & CEO, BBB of Greater Maryland

Angie Barnett, an experienced professional with 22 years of industry expertise, currently holds the position of President and CEO at BBB of Greater Maryland. As an organization dedicated to assisting consumers in identifying trustworthy businesses, brands, and charities, BBB operates not only in Greater Maryland but also collaborates with other BBB branches across the United States and Canada. In an era where buyers face an overwhelming array of choices and often lack access to reliable and impartial information, BBB has played a pivotal role for a century, enabling consumers to make informed purchasing decisions while adapting to the rapidly changing marketplace.

Before assuming her current role, Angie served as the vice president of membership at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Her career journey began in 2001, and she has since garnered valuable experience in various roles. She holds a master's degree in social work and sociology, in addition to an undergraduate degree, both of which were earned from Arkansas State University. Angie Barnett's educational achievements and broad expertise reflect her commitment to enhancing consumer experiences and fostering trust within the business community.

35. Katie Frohardt
Executive Director, Wild Earth Allies

With over three decades of experience, Katie Frohardt is a recognized nonprofit leader, field practitioner, and international conservationist. At the helm since 2003, and leading re-branding in 2016, Katie focuses on delivering the Wild Earth Allies mission to protect vital areas of our natural world for the benefit of wildlife, habitats, and people by inspiring collaborative action. Her grounded leadership style draws from years spent living in Rwanda as director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program and as program technical director for the African Wildlife Foundation. Her earlier career included grant-making with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, private-sector natural resource management consulting, and land use planning.

Katie enjoys serving as a board member for Mamoni Valley Preserve in Panama, as a member of the Charity Navigator Consultative Council of Nonprofit Leaders, and on the Advisory Circle of Daughters for Earth with partner One Earth. She previously held a decade-long affiliation with Rachel’s Network as an Environmental Leadership Liaison.

She holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she combined the study of landscape ecology with coursework at the Yale School of Management on applied economics and nonprofit management. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia with a major in environmental studies.

37. Ashlee Hoagland
Chief Operating Officer, Encore Tickets

Ashlee Hoagland embarked on her professional journey over ten years ago. Today, she serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Encore Tickets where she brings a unique approach to the company’s operations and business development. Founded in 1995, Encore Tickets stands as a family-owned enterprise catering to the fervent admirers of sports, concerts, and theater. With a wealth of experience spanning over 15 years, the establishment has successfully facilitated the sale of seats across numerous venues throughout the nation. Committed to delivering a superlative experience from inception to culmination, Encore Tickets boasts an exceptional team of highly knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Ashlee’s leadership and drive are paramount in developing and maintaining strategic partnerships and policies that promote Encore’s vision and growth. 

Additionally, Ashlee is one of the original committee members of the NATB’s Women’s Initiative and Leadership Council and continues to be a voice for women in the industry. Hoagland graduated from WVU Potomac State College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in the field of photojournalism.

38. Houri Tamizifar
President and CEO, Cynuria Consulting

Houri Tamizifar is the Founder and CEO of Cynuria Consulting, an award-winning consulting firm with a mission to unlock and accelerate organizational potential with transformative human capital and learning solutions across the federal government, nonprofit, and commercial sectors.

Prior to founding Cynuria Consulting in 2016, Houri worked for notable management consulting firms PwC and Booz Allen Hamilton, where she implemented one-of-a-kind learning solutions for her federal agency clients. She has also had a global impact on the K-12 and higher education industry both as a teacher and consultant and has been invited to speak to audiences of more than 500 in both English and Spanish. Her commitment to the community has also been unwavering throughout the years as she and her company have provided pro bono services to organizations such as Educators 4 Excellence, Black Engineer of the Year, and Women of Color Conference. Most recently, she accepted a position as an advisor for the Transformative Leadership Program at Shenandoah University.

As a wife and mother of two children, who were one of her biggest inspirations for starting Cynuria, she champions work-life balance. She can often be found spending quality time with family and friends or reading a good book. She also enjoys traveling with her family as a means of cultural engagement and exposure and remains connected to her Iranian heritage through great Persian food.

40. Colleen Turner
Associate Vice President & Senior Project Manager, Michael Baker International

Colleen Turner is a senior project manager with 20 years of experience in transportation planning and policy. She specializes in breaking down silos and illuminating linkages between traditional transportation planning, emerging technologies, and the environment. She currently serves as an Associate Vice President and Senior Project Manager for Michael Baker International.

Colleen returned to Michael Baker in February 2021 following her employment as the assistant director of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Office of Planning and Capital Programming (OPCP). During her tenure at MDOT, Colleen oversaw long-range environmental planning and the planning and deployment of innovative transportation technologies including zero-emission vehicles and connected and automated vehicles. She managed MDOT’s air quality and climate change mitigation programs and participated in national discussions related to the electrification of the transportation sector, sharing her expertise with the White House, the National Governor’s Association, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials.

Colleen is a member of the TRB Standing Committees Standing on Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation (AMS10) and Alternative Fuels and Technologies (AMS40). She is the former chair of the AASHTO Air Quality Climate Change and Energy subcommittee of the Committee on Environment and Sustainability.

41. Catherine Allen
Co-Founder & CEO, AO People Partners

Catherine Allen is passionately dedicated to helping leaders and organizations lean into the power of developing people to drive business success and meaningful social contributions. She brings over 25 years of experience working as an organizational and people skills development practitioner and executive coach. Her coaching practice focuses on helping executive leaders and teams Own + Model + Drive business and people development in their companies.

Catherine is known as a trusted and strategic thought partner who helps her clients to explore the heart of issues, what is possible, what is needed from their leadership, and what is holding them back. As AO’s CEO, her focus is on guiding her team to build the full suite of capabilities to help leaders re-imagine and create the culture, structure, systems, and incentives that make investing in conscious people development a more integrated and holistic way to foster the capabilities people and business need to grow and thrive today and tomorrow.

Catherine is co-author of a book with Ed Offterdinger titled, Conscious, Capable, and Ready to Contribute: How Employee Development Can Become the Highest Form of Social Contribution.

42. OluwaTosin Adegbola
Dean & Executive Director of the Clara I. Adams Honors College, Morgan State University

As a charismatic and impassioned academic leader with an eighteen-year progressive career, OluwaTosin Adegbola has achieved notable success in directing initiatives critical to realize academic excellence. One of her passions is developing and executing strategies and programs to help individuals and teams identify their strengths and tap their potential. A success champion within academia, she has expertly developed high-achieving, championship-level students, opening opportunities with prestigious scholar programs and the Fortune 500. Globally traveled, she has also lived in the UK, Nigeria, and The Gambia.

Dr. Adegbola currently serves as the first Dean and Executive Director for the Clara I. Adams Honors College at Morgan State University. Since 2003, she has progressed to positions of increasing scope and responsibility with the 150+-year-old public university. Initially serving as assistant professor and lecturer, she advanced to tenured associate professor. She has served as a special advisor to the president within Student Leadership and Scholar Development since 2017. In 2011 she was selected concurrently to serve as interim chair of the Department of Communication Studies during the department’s transition to a standalone school and in 2013, was appointed to the chair of the newly formed School of Global Journalism.

Adegbola's commitment to purpose-pursuits has seen her launch and manage several ventures including a well-received educational platform providing custom one-on-one consulting and workshops to all levels of professionals seeking enhanced workplace and career fulfillment. Her self-paced tools to help college students make key decisions through college have been used actively by thousands of students and she developed the "Discovering Your Student Identity," series where she delivers keynotes, and engages in masterclasses and workshops to challenge students to discover their voice. Adegbola sits on the boards of the Enoch Pratt Library and The AFRO Charities and continues to lend her time to work with entities that seek to prepare and fund especially students from minority-serving institutions, for career opportunities.

View the complete list of awardees.

43. Dr. Paula Anderson
President & CEO, PACE Consulting

Dr. Paula Anderson is a passionate leader and the President and CEO of PACE Consulting, an award-winning minority, and woman-owned certified Behavioral Health Counseling and Organizational Consulting firm. Dr. Anderson started PACE Consulting 16 years ago as a solo practitioner with the purpose of providing quality mental health services in the Washington, DC area. Since then, PACE has grown to a full team of talented professionals that provides counseling and organizational consulting services in the Washington DC area and nationally. These services are provided in schools, universities, corporations, non-profits, and government agencies. 

Dr. Anderson is an organizational psychologist, a licensed clinical professional counselor, a nationally certified counselor, and a board-approved clinical supervisor. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from The University of Virginia, her master’s degree in community counseling from George Washington University, and recently earned her PhD in business psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She loves learning about business and as a result, she was accepted and graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10kSB) Program and recently from the Inner City Capital Connections Small Business Program. 

As an Organizational Psychologist and Consultant, she provides services in the areas of workplace wellness, stress management, organizational culture, change management, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Anderson and her team also facilitate team retreats for small to mid-sized businesses and departments in large organizations looking to build team well-being and cohesion. She has been and is a featured speaker for several small business and women's conferences. Anderson volunteers as a Youth Leader in her church, serves on several nonprofit boards, and serves in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated in Maryland.

44. Amanda Karst
Partner, AO People Partners

Amanda Karst is an energetic, engaging leadership coach and business strategist who specializes in helping leaders synthesize their ideas into cohesive action plans, find a greater sense of clarity and direction to guide their decision-making, and navigate moments of transition and change. A skilled listener and big-picture thinker, Amanda’s work helps clients, and their companies get to the next level of growth.

With a background in complex IT project management, she takes an intentional, purposeful approach to helping leaders address their areas of leadership and challenge or limitation. As a senior practitioner in AO People Partners Leadership Development and People Strategies practices, Amanda excels at helping leaders create healthy, sustainable, and integrative opportunities for personal growth and professional development.

Amanda has also served as director of Conscious Capitalism DC (CCDC) and now sits on the board of directors, where she advises on operations of the Conscious Capitalism® movement, which is based on the philosophy that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity. Amanda believes that conscious businesses will help evolve our world so that people can flourish, leading lives infused with passion, purpose, love, and creativity.

45. Madhusmita Baruah
Associate Vice President of Government Relations, Save the Children US

Madhusmita Baruah has over two decades of experience in setting strategic direction, and vision and providing leadership on public policy, advocacy, and communications strategies around a variety of international humanitarian and development sectors and domestic and global health issues. She has vast experience in coalition and partnership building including mobilizing and leading civil society organizations on various issues including domestic and global HIV/AIDS, global maternal and child health, vaccines, and other international and domestic issues. Baruah currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Government Relations for Save the Children US.

Baruah has also effectively established and managed relations with high-level US government representatives such as USAID and CDC, corporations, UN agencies-UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNFPA, WHO, and other stakeholders such as the African Union and the World Bank. Smita also has extensive experience in developing and managing partnerships with foundations and other donors. She also brings experience in operations management including raising resources, developing, and managing budgets, developing, and managing staff, managing board relations, and contributing to an organization's multi-year strategies. Smita has represented organizations across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America in global policy meetings and other policy work.

46. Judi Olinger
Executive Director, Chesapeake Neighbors

Judi Olinger is the Executive Director of Chesapeake Neighbors, an Arc Central Chesapeake Region company. She is an innovative and progressive leader with over 30 years of experience in human services, housing development, property management, and operational oversight of a wide array of multi-million-dollar programs committed to supporting the needs of people with disabilities. She founded and served as president of iHomes, Inc., a development and management company for affordable housing.

Judi earned her undergraduate degree at Salisbury State University, Maryland. She is a graduate of Leadership Maryland Class of 2013 and Shore Leadership 2022. She received her license in Home Improvement Contracting from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission in 2014.

47. Audrey Chambers-Robinson
President & CEO, INOMAL Healthcare Concepts

Audrey "Becky" Chambers-Robinson, President and CEO of Inomal Healthcare Concepts and Zion 1st Trucking and Logistics, is at the height of a twenty-five-year career as a leader in healthcare and technology. With a diverse grounding in information technology, clinical healthcare, research, and business management, she has proven to be an effective executive and an astute business professional. She is, quite clearly, a change agent.

Often referred to as a visionary in her field, Chambers-Robinson encourages integrity and team dynamics. She is considered an authority in process improvement and is particularly passionate about the impact of mentorship and building camaraderie. She is dedicated to providing professionals with the tools to achieve operational excellence. She is widely recognized as a Healthcare Information Technology SME leader and has led teams in numerous clinical, technological, and business implementations. She honed her skills through decades of practical experience working within large and community-based healthcare facilities, physician practices, research, and biotech firms. She has also advised multiple C-Suite teams, enabling strategies to operate more efficiently, implement and optimize technology, and successfully meet patient safety goals. 

Chambers-Robinson is also committed to her community, constantly aware that she is considered by many to be a role model and can have a positive impact through service to others. She is deeply committed to her Ministry and devoted to her daughter and family. A clinically trained research scientist and biologist, she holds several degrees, including an MBA and Master of Health Services Administration, both from Stayer University in Washington, DC and an undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Bowie State University. She is currently completing her studies for a PhD in health care, with an emphasis on informatics.

48. Beth Rosenwald
Managing Director & Financial Advisor, RBC Wealth Management

Beth Rosenwald started her career in 1989 and over the years has assembled a dedicated team of seasoned professionals with outstanding credentials and years of specialized, hands-on experience. Her primary focus is on building lasting relationships centered on a thorough

understanding of each client’s needs, wants, and wishes - guiding them from being reactive and defensive to being proactive and visionary. She is passionate about helping individuals and families position their wealth more effectively and thoughtfully creating more time for their personal, professional, and philanthropic goals.

Raised in Long Island, New York, Beth received an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Maryland. She continues to serve our community as a member of the Women’s Leadership Council Tocqueville Society and as a board member of Women United of United Way of Central Maryland, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maryland, Baltimore Symphony

Endowment Trust, and Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. Beth is honored to have received numerous accolades, including being named to the Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors list in 2022, the Forbes Top Women in Wealth Advisors list in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 and the Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors list in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 and Advisor Hub's Advisors to Watch list in 2022. 

View the complete list of awardees.