Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women CEOs for 2023. The importance of women in executive roles cannot be overstated. Women bring diverse perspectives, unique leadership styles, and valuable insights to the corporate world. Female CEOs serve as powerful role models for aspiring women leaders, inspiring the next generation to pursue their ambitions and shatter glass ceilings. Research has shown that companies with greater gender diversity in top management tend to perform better, foster innovation, and enhance decision-making processes. Embracing women in CEO roles is not just about achieving gender equality, it brings economic and social benefits, leading to a more inclusive and progressive society.
Among this year’s awardees is Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, who is leading efforts to transform the company, aiming to double significant customer relationship events to 50 million and achieve $50 billion in annual revenue by fiscal 2025. Awardee Alexandra Plato, the CEO of Publicis Health, is a rare hybrid executive and agency pioneer who has deftly navigated new technologies and media to help clients achieve success since the early days of the digital revolution. Also awarded is trailblazing tech entrepreneur, Radha Basu, who serves as the CEO of iMerit Technology and is the visionary co-founder behind its sister foundation, Anudip Foundation. Together with her teams, they provide high-quality data across computer vision, natural language processing, and content services that power machine learning and artificial intelligence applications for large enterprises.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women CEOs for 2023.
1. Corie Barry
Chief Executive Officer, Best Buy
Corie Barry is CEO of Best Buy Co. Inc., the leading provider of consumer technology products and services, with approximately 100,000 employees in North America and $47 billion in annual revenue. She also serves on the company’s board of directors. Under Barry’s leadership, Best Buy is driving toward being one of the best places to work in America, doubling their significant customer relationship events to 50 million and growing annual revenue to $50 billion by fiscal 2025.
Prior to becoming CEO in 2019, Barry served in several other executive positions, playing a critical role in developing and executing the company’s Building the New Blue growth strategy and related transformation. Most recently, she was the company’s chief financial and strategic transformation officer, overseeing strategic transformation and growth, digital and technology, global finance, investor relations, enterprise risk and compliance, integration management, and Best Buy Health. Barry joined Best Buy in 1999 and has held a variety of financial and operational roles across the organization, both in the field and at the corporate office. She became CFO in 2016 and, prior to that, served as chief strategic growth officer. She has also served as senior vice president of domestic finance and interim president of Best Buy’s services organization.
Before joining Best Buy, Barry started her career as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche. A Minnesota native, she holds undergraduate degrees in accounting and management from the College of St. Benedict, where she now serves on the board of trustees. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for Domino’s Pizza.
4. Gail Boudreaux
President and CEO, Elevance Health
Gail Boudreaux serves as President and Chief Executive Officer at Elevance Health, where she leads the company in improving the health of humanity, simplifying healthcare, and building trust with customers. Today, she oversees Elevance Health's nearly 100,000 associates, 118 million people served, and a growing portfolio of plans and subsidiaries that generated revenue of more than $137 billion in 2021. She serves on the board of directors for Elevance Health, Target Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and American Health Insurance Plans.
Previously, Boudreaux was a CEO at UnitedHealthcare and before that an EVP for external operations and president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois at Health Care Service Corporation. Earlier in her career she worked with Aetna, a CVS Health Company as an SVP of group insurance.
Boudreaux graduated with honors from Dartmouth College with majors in psychology and sociology, later serving on the school’s board of trustees. She received a master’s in business administration in finance and healthcare administration with distinction from Columbia Business School. She is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, a recipient of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Theodore Roosevelt Award and Silver Anniversary Award, and the Billie Jean King Leadership Award.
8. Julie Schertell
President & Chief Executive Officer, Mativ
Julie Schertell is President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Mativ Holdings. Formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of Neenah, Inc., she held numerous positions within the company over a period of fourteen years, including the chief operating officer, segment president, and general manager of technical products and fine paper & packaging.
Julie began her career at Georgia-Pacific in 1992 as a financial analyst in the Consumer Products segment. While at Georgia-Pacific, she served in several roles over her sixteen-year career there, including vice president of sales and marketing strategy, vice president of supply chain, director of sales operations, and director of financial planning and analysis.
Julie graduated from Florida State University’s College of Business in 1991 with an undergraduate degree in accounting and received her master’s degree from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business in 1992. She serves on the board of the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics, is a member of CEOs for Action & Diversity, and previously served on the Paper & Packaging Check-Off Board and National Paper Trade Association Board.
12. Kate C. Harris
President, CEO & Chair, Stanley Consultants, Inc.
Kate Harris, President, CEO and Chair of Stanley Consultants, has 30 years of international experience in the construction, engineering, and consulting industry. She graduated with a First-Class Honors degree in the UK and has completed the Advanced Management and Intellectual Property programs at Harvard Business and Law Schools. She is a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors, a member of Women Corporate Directors, and accredited as a Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member. In addition to serving as a trustee of the company’s retirement programs, and chair of the Stanley Consultants Charitable Foundation, Kate also serves on the American Council of Engineering Council’s Research Institute board.
Kate was named the 2022 CEO of the Year by the Environmental Financial Consulting Group, in recognition of her outstanding leadership, steadfast focus on ethics and integrity, and consistently innovative and effective approach. She was also named to the 2023 Colorado Titan 100. Her leadership interests fully align with Stanley’s mission to leverage skills, capabilities, and rapidly changing technologies for the good of the company’s clients, communities, and members, promote the profession’s essential value to society, and inspire a generation to solve the world’s most challenging problems. An active advocate of client service, business innovation, and talent development, and one of the earliest AEC participants of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, Kate continues to mentor upcoming generations of leaders to further Stanley’s Purpose of Improving Lives Since 1913.
15. Natalie Wolfsen
Chief Executive Officer, AssetMark
Natalie Wolfsen is the Chief Executive Officer at AssetMark, a wealth tech platform that helps independent financial advisors serve their clients and build their businesses. Prior to being named CEO, she led the strategy and execution for AssetMark teams spanning digital channel development, corporate strategy, thought leadership, marketing, and product development.
Natalie has more than 20 years of leadership experience across six financial services organizations, where she directed teams who collectively brought to life more than 50 financial services products, platforms, and programs, including the design of one of the industry’s first-ever mobile trading platforms.
Before joining AssetMark, Natalie led marketing for New York-based asset manager First Eagle Investment Management and served as head of product management for Pershing. Prior, she spent 10 years at Charles Schwab and began her career at American Express. Natalie serves on the board of directors for the CFP Board and Wealthsimple. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.
19. Marta Tellado
President & CEO, Consumer Reports
Marta L. Tellado is President and Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Reports (CR), an independent, nonprofit organization that works with consumers to foster truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. Since joining in 2014, she has led Consumer Reports, the largest consumer organization in the world, by uniting its rigorous research, consumer insights, journalism, and policy expertise to create a more fair, safe, and just marketplace informing purchase decisions, improving products and services, and driving regulatory and fair competitive practices.
Prior to joining Consumer Reports, Marta was VP for global communications at the Ford Foundation. In that role, she oversaw the foundation’s strategic communications on a range of issues in the US and around the world, including economic fairness, free and fair access to an open internet, and civil rights. Prior to that, she helped stand up a new nonprofit, the Partnership for Public Service, serving as VP and founded and directed the first bipartisan domestic public policy forum at the Aspen Institute. She has worked extensively with policymakers in Washington, DC, and served as a senior advisor to US Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, the state where she was raised following her family’s journey from her birthplace of Havana, Cuba.
Marta is the author of Buyer Aware: Harnessing Our Consumer Power for a Safe, Fair, and Transparent Marketplace, which chronicles the importance of consumer rights in creating an inclusive economy and strong democracy. Her expertise on the issues facing consumers today has been featured in leading publications and broadcasts including CNN, Forbes, Marketplace Morning Report, New York Magazine’s Pivot Podcast, and USA Today. Marta earned her PhD in political science from Yale and an undergraduate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She also currently serves on the boards of the Yale Corporation, Omidyar Network, International Consumer Research & Testing, Consumers International, and The Washington Center. She is based in New York City.
25. Michelle K. Murray
President & CEO, Nexus Family Healing
Dr. Michelle K. Murray is the President and CEO of Nexus Family Healing, a national nonprofit mental health organization serving thousands of children and families each year through community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and youth residential services.
Murray is a true advocate for family mental health, positioning Nexus Family Healing as one of the only full continua of care models in its area of operations. She has worked to build and implement many new programs in partnership with other leaders, including a family partnership initiative, trauma-informed practices, and innovative partnerships with those in healthcare, education, government, and communities to fill gaps in mental health services. Additionally, she focuses on organizational integration across Nexus service lines, and the important work of fundraising to expand the organization’s capacity for growing community needs. Core to Dr. Murray’s leadership of the organization, and the message she shares with team members and clients, is her belief that no child, family, or individual is ever beyond hope, a message that is empowering for all who look to Nexus as a resource or a career.
Dr. Murray’s clinical and executive experience spans nearly 25 years. Before serving as CEO, she was Nexus’ VP of clinical services and chief clinical officer. Before joining Nexus, she led residential treatment programs for youth as the director of Adelphoi Village/Northern Tier Children’s Home. Additionally, she led programs in the areas of foster care, shelter/diagnostic assessment services, group homes, independent living services, and community-based psycho-sexual assessments.
Dr. Murray is a licensed marriage & family therapist and an approved clinical supervisor through the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy at Syracuse University.
View the complete list of awardees.
26. Megan Smith
Chief Executive Officer, Symbia Logistics
Megan Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of Symbia Logistics. As a privately held family business with over 150 years of combined experience, the Symbia Logistics team has provided facility-based supply chain support to a variety of industries including aerospace, chemical, dry grocery, health and beauty, industrial goods, kitting, and business-to-consumer fulfillment services.
Megan is a seasoned, third-party logistics executive who has made the business of buying and successfully, integrating strategic businesses a mission-critical part of her growth strategy. As an award-winning CEO and advocate for advancing women in the industry, she currently oversees a workforce of over 1,000 employees and a network of 22 warehouses across the US. Leadership, communication, and an eye on the future are keys to her success as a pioneer in the supply chain industry.
Smith graduated from Michigan State University - Eli Broad College of Business with a master’s degree in logistics, materials, and supply chain management and from the University of Denver - Daniels College of Business with an undergraduate degree in management, entrepreneurship, and logistics.
29. Jill Frey
President, Cummins Facility Services
Jill Frey, the President of Cummins Facility Services (CFS), has masterfully navigated the company's evolution from a modest 15-person team to a powerhouse with over 800 employees spread across the nation. A proud alumna of the University of Toledo, Jill seamlessly stepped into the leadership role at CFS, a company originally founded by her parents, she is proud to be certified as a Women's Business Enterprise by The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
In 2019, she made her visionary stride into the realm of technology with the inception of Facility Genius and FacilityInSites. This innovative venture melds technology with building management to heighten operational efficiency, introducing concepts such as intelligent sensor technology and eco-friendly air purifiers to the market.
As the Chairwoman of The Facility Data Standard (FDS), Jill pioneers the path to secure, seamless data transfer and integration in the facilities industry. The FDS, crafted meticulously by industry experts, plays a crucial role in propelling the extensive and economic adoption of electronic information technology. It seeks to revolutionize the data exchange landscape, fostering efficiency and security in the facilities ecosystem. Powered by her commitment to technological advancement and operational efficiency, Jill's strategic leadership continues to steer her business ventures toward success. As her influence ripples beyond her enterprises, leaving a positive, lasting impact on the communities she serves.
31. Meredith Wilson
Founder and CEO, Emergent Risk International, LLC
Meredith Wilson is the Founder and CEO of Emergent Risk International, LLC. ERI empowers companies to address the impact of global risk on their business through intelligence, staffing, consulting, training, and software as a service data and analytics. The company has more than 65 employees in Austin, Washington, DC, Greater Boston, San Francisco, London, Dublin, Singapore, Portugal, Switzerland, and Uruguay.
Wilson has over 20 years of experience in international environments, the energy sector, Fortune 500 corporations, and the US intelligence community. In the US government, she served as a defense intelligence officer in the Pentagon and overseas. In 2007, she moved to the energy sector, an early innovator of private sector intelligence analysis. At ConocoPhillips, she created the company’s first, dedicated geo-political and security-focused risk intelligence function building risk assessments for market entry into countries like Iraq and playing a key role in evacuations and market re-entry during the Arab Spring. Wilson went on to create a political risk department for Dallas-based Kosmos Energy where she developed and oversaw cross-functional new market entry risk assessments, before founding ERI in 2014. Since its founding, Wilson has overseen its growth as a self-funded company from less than $100,000 in annual revenue in 2014 to $5.9 million in 2022.
Wilson was a founding member of the Private Sector Intelligence Council and is a founding board member of the Association of International Risk and Intelligence Professionals. She previously served on the Business Intelligence Advisory Council for the National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology and on the advisory board for the Dallas Global Chamber. She speaks Indonesian and Malay and has lived and worked in England, Ireland, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Australia. Wilson is an alumnus of the University of Arizona, the University of Malaya (Malaysia), and Northwestern Kellogg School of Business. She is passionate about job creation, entrepreneurship, inclusion, and helping younger generations develop business and professional skills that will serve them throughout their lives. She currently lives near Boston with her two children, husband, and three four-legged co-workers.
32. Pinar Ormeci
Chief Executive Officer, Timus Networks
Pinar Ormeci is an energetic business executive with over 20 years of experience within the technology sector. She has led teams in multinational corporations, including Qualcomm and Ericsson, with a focus on advancing the global adoption of wireless technologies such as 4G/5G, as well as digital transformation enabling software and services. Her industry experience also extends heavily to partnerships and global sales & business development efforts within high-growth west-coast-based SaaS startups like Cequint (acquired by TNS), Hiya, and Lookout Life (acquired by F-Secure).
Throughout her career, Pinar has consistently delivered significant revenue growth, penetrated new international markets, and fostered a culture of innovation and transformation. Currently, as the CEO of Timus, she is laser-focused on supporting its Managed Service Provider (MSP) partners in protecting their clients with a best-of-breed, cloud-native, zero-trust network security solution. Built on the latest cloud technologies and artificial intelligence, Timus enables organizations to securely connect all employees and devices and make applications simpler, faster, and more cost-effective. They provide a scalable, centrally managed, and automated cloud platform with a much better user experience than legacy hardware-based solutions.
Pinar has a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and an undergraduate degree in the same field from Bogazici University, Istanbul Turkey, graduating summa cum laude. She is a published author of several IEEE papers on channel coding theory.
33. Elizabeth McClanahan
Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Tech Foundation
Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan serves as Chief Executive Officer of The Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. (VTF). She leads the team that manages the university’s investments, including the endowment, the real estate portfolio, and the Corporate Research Center.
Before joining VTF, Justice McClanahan served as the president and dean at Appalachian School of Law, which is located in Buchanan County, Virginia, her home county. She has served as chair of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, vice-rector of her alma mater, the College of William and Mary, Williamson Fellow at William and Mary College of Law, Street Memorial Distinguished Visitor in Real Estate Law at Appalachian School of Law, El Paso Natural Gas Law Fellow at the University of Colorado School of Law, and on the Faculty for the Summer Management Program at Wake Forest School of Business and Accountancy.
McClanahan is an adjunct professor of finance at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, where she teaches legal, financing, and ethical issues for entrepreneurs. After earning decades of legal experience across the public and private sectors, with significant work in the energy industry, Justice McClanahan served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia and on the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Her legal career culminated with her appointment by the Virginia General Assembly to Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She is an active member of boards of directors including the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carilion Clinic, and Delta Dental of Virginia. In the past, she has served on the boards of the North American Coalbed Methane Forum, the National Chamber Foundation Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Virginia Law Foundation, Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and Virginia 4-H Foundation.
36. Maureen Shea
CEO, Right Management - Florida/Caribbean
As CEO and Co-founder of Right Management – Florida/Caribbean Region, Florida’s first outplacement firm, Maureen Shea drives Right’s growth in diverse talent management and outplacement services for privately and publicly owned companies throughout Florida and the Caribbean Region. Previously, she served as Chief Financial Officer.
As a strategic resource, Maureen makes it her mission to “Guide and Inspire” her team and colleagues region wide. Recognized for helping shape and support Florida’s HR profession, she is a past president of the Human Resource Association of Broward County and was inducted into its Hall of Fame. She, along with her husband Tom, were honored in 2019 by the South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in HR award.
Most recently Maureen was honored by Florida Trend as a 2023 Best Company to Work For for the 10th year and by The Commonwealth Institute with the Top Women Led Businesses award in Florida for the 7th year in a row. She was also recently inducted into the NSU Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame. She was also honored by the South Florida Business Journal with the Woman Owned Business of the Year Award in 2022. Maureen has been honored by United Way with the Magnolia Award, was presented with the Girl Scouts Lead the Way award honoring incredible and Inspirational Professional Women of Broward County and was also honored with the Enterprising Women of the Year Award, Leadership Broward’s Profiles In Leadership Award, Florida Diversity Council’s Glass Ceiling Award, and has received South Florida Business Journal’s CFO of the Year award.
37. Olivia Straine
Chief Executive Officer, Straine Dental Management
Olivia Straine began her professional career 31 years ago. Today, she is the CEO of Straine Dental Management, a leading dental service organization (DSO) that provides practice owners with a comprehensive management system designed to help them achieve their goals. Their team of experts have years of experience in the dental industry, and they leverage this knowledge to deliver best practices operating policies and key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable their clients to grow their practices and enhance their patient care.
Prior to joining STRAINE Dental Consulting in 1992, Olivia was a top producer for the largest and most prestigious real estate firm in Sacramento County for more than 17 years. In a company of more than 300 real estate agents, Olivia distinguished herself by earning membership into the company's Board of Governors and Top Ten Percent. As a leader in the real estate community, Olivia also earned recognition by serving on the Ethics Committee at the Sacramento Board of Realtors. Straine graduated from the University of Hawaii with an undergraduate degree in psychology.
View the complete list of awardees.
38. Kayla Wagner
CEO, As You Are
Kayla Wagner is the CEO of As You Are, a world-class virtual clinic that dramatically increases access to telehealth evaluations for children suspected to have autism. Kayla, a clinician and researcher, has dedicated her career to creating healthcare solutions that remove barriers and deliberately increase early identification of childhood disorders by increasing access to high-quality care for all children, regardless of resources or socioeconomic status. During the pandemic, Kayla saw there was a huge need to reduce the average wait time for an autism diagnosis in the US and launched As You Are in August 2022. All children are welcome and every child’s individual abilities are recognized and valued as part of this diagnostic model.
Since launching As You Are, Kayla has grown the company to 34 states and counting. There are plans to expand services nationwide by the end of 2023. As You Are is the largest virtual autism clinic in the country and has been featured on the TODAY Show and mentioned by Becker’s Hospital Review as a telehealth company to know in 2023.
Kayla’s career originates from a research background in clinical psychology, where she conducted research investigating many areas of child psychopathology, including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. More specifically, Kayla’s published research has a translational focus, with her interests surrounding the early identification of autism, management of the comorbidity between autism and ADHD, and targets for intervention aimed at improving social outcomes for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. In her clinical work, she provided diagnostic and psychological counseling services focused on improving the functioning and well-being of children and adolescents with autism and other psychiatric disorders. She is driven to create a community where millions of children’s lives are improved by inclusive care. Kayla earned an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and psychology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Syracuse University.
39. Tona Trondsen
CEO & Founder, Workplace Safety Screenings
Tona Trondsen serves as the Founder and CEO of Workplace Safety Screenings (WSS), a leading Consortium/Third-Party Administrator (CTPA) based in Houston, Texas. This woman-owned enterprise stands at the forefront of providing comprehensive background screening services, drug & alcohol testing, and occupational health. Acknowledging its unwavering commitment and continual expansion, Houston Business Journal has honored WSS as one of Houston's fastest-growing businesses for two consecutive years. Just this year, Workplace Safety Screenings celebrated its ten-year anniversary.
Trondsen actively participates in philanthropic endeavors and generously volunteers her time to foster the growth of other businesses within her community. Her unwavering commitment to advancing collective welfare has made a lasting impact on the lives of numerous individuals, leaving behind an indelible imprint of great significance.
Tronsden has an undergraduate degree in business management from Le Tourneau University, a master’s degree in intercultural studies from Southeastern College, and is an alumnus of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program.
42. Cindy J Lin
CEO & Co-Founder, Hey Good Social
Dr. Cindy J Lin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Hey Social Good, a social impact data company working to revolutionize social good data for people, the planet, and profit. Hey Social Good is a social impact data analytics company that Assess-Guide-Verify businesses and brands for their sustainable, giveback, and socially responsible practices. Hey Social Good offers the most credible sustainability and ESG data to help businesses reduce risk and capitalize on social good benefits with the best access to environmental and social data and insights. Dr. Lin is an environmental and data scientist, ecologist, and national expert on pollution’s negative impacts on water, habitat, and human health.
Cindy previously worked at the US EPA, where she designed national standards, conducted cutting-edge research, and implemented protection and sustainability policies to meet global and national environmental standards. She was the US regional expert on clean water, US EPA's top science policy advisor on the US Climate Change National Work Group, and US Embassy China Water Advisor. Dr. Lin's past research covered cutting-edge investigation and analytical insight into the impact of pollution on water, chemistry, air, and biological organisms. She is an avid ecologist, environmental scientist, and engineer. She received her doctorate in environmental science and engineering, a master’s degree in environmental chemistry, and an undergraduate degree in biology, from UCLA. In 2022, Dr. Lin co-founded the San Diego Environmental Film Festival where she works with artists and filmmakers to tell stories about our people and planet to inspire people to action.
43. Dr. Shirley Davis
CEO, SDS Global Enterprises
Dr. Shirley Davis is a sought-after global workforce expert and is President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, a strategic development solutions firm that specializes in human resources strategy, talent management, leadership effectiveness, culture transformation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Davis has over twenty years of experience in a variety of senior executive leadership roles in Fortune 100 & 50 corporations and in her last role, served as VP of global diversity and inclusion and workforce strategies for the world’s largest human resources association, the Society for Human Resource Management. Davis’ work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, NBC’s Today Show, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, CNN.com, Fast Company, CEOWorld Magazine, Harvard Business Review, and many others. In May 2022, her story was featured on the front page of Oprah Daily. She was inducted into Inclusion Magazine’s Hall of Fame for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in November 2021, and in August 2022 in Nashville, TN she received The Golden Gavel Award which is Toastmasters International’s highest and most prestigious award given to only one person each year. Additionally, she was nominated for Forbes 2021 Women 50 Over 50 list and again in 2022.
Dr. Davis has worked in more than 30 countries on 5 continents and delivers more than 100 speeches a year to a wide range of industries, sectors, and sizes, including Fortune 10s-500s corporations, large membership associations and non-profit organizations, and federal, state, and local government agencies. She continues to consult, coach, and train leaders at all levels, including Corporate CEOs, C-Suite executives, and board of directors. She holds an undergraduate degree in pre-law, a master’s in adult education, a second master’s in HR management, and a PhD in business and organizational leadership.
Dr. Shirley Davis is the author of the Amazon bestseller Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Dummies and Living Beyond “What If?” Release the Limits and Realize Your Dreams. She’s also the author of Reinvent Yourself: Strategies for Achieving Success in Every Area of Your Life and The Seat: How to Get Invited to the Table When You're Over-Performing but Undervalued. Additionally, she is a popular author for seven LinkedIn Learning courses on Leadership and DEI.
44. Tracy LaFlamme Ortega
Chief Executive Officer, Bell Group
Tracy LaFlamme Ortega is the CEO of Bell Group, a digital learning consultancy, specializing in learning innovation for professional development and education. Bell Group supports organizations that seek technology-driven solutions to positively disrupt learning outcomes, customer experience, sales, operations, and business results.
Prior to Bell Group, Ortega founded Prepworks, a multi-award-winning, education technology company. Ortega served as president and CEO of Prepworks from 2007 until its acquisition in 2018. Following the acquisition of Prepworks by Asteria Education, Ortega joined the new company as chief product officer, where she developed and launched a suite of new digital, adaptive products aligned to state standards. In 2020, Ortega joined Bell Group full-time as CEO, and once again, she has attracted a team of experts who are dedicated to driving value for their clients and turning ideas into technology-enabled solutions.
Ortega served on the National Board of Directors of ALPFA, the Association of Latino Professionals for America, the largest member-based organization in the United States dedicated to connecting Latino students and professionals for impact. She serves on the National Board of Junior Achievement USA, and is also a member of Chief; WPO, Women's Presidents Organization; and WBENC, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Ortega graduated from Vanderbilt University.
45. Annie Lee
CEO, Avyanna Technologies
Annie Lee is the dynamic CEO of Avyanna Technologies, a leading technology solutions company. With almost two decades of experience in the industry, Annie has solidified her reputation as a visionary leader and trailblazer. Her strategic mindset, exceptional leadership skills, and passion for innovation have propelled Avyanna Technologies to new heights. Under Annie's visionary leadership, Avyanna Technologies has flourished, delivering cutting-edge technology solutions to a diverse range of clients. Her ability to inspire and motivate her team, coupled with her strategic acumen, has propelled the company's growth and cemented its reputation as an industry leader.
Annie's leadership philosophy is deeply rooted in empowering her team and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Her unwavering belief in the power of diversity and inclusion has led to the cultivation of a dynamic workforce that thrives on creativity and problem-solving. With Annie at the helm, Avyanna Technologies continues to push boundaries, creating innovative solutions that drive organizational success and make a positive impact in the world.
Beyond her professional achievements, Annie's passion for her work and family has been a driving force behind Avyanna Technologies' success. As a devoted mother, she understands the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This understanding has shaped the company's culture, fostering an environment that supports its employees' personal well-being while encouraging professional growth.
46. Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
Chief Executive Officer, KET Solutions
Kimberly Ellison-Taylor grew up in the inner city of Baltimore and has proven that mentorship, coaching, and sponsorship do work. As a leader in both finance and technology, Ellison-Taylor has received many awards and recognitions and is one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting and one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting. She is also a sought-after speaker on several topics including leadership, DE&I, transformation, and emerging technology. She is a past chairman of the American Institute of CPAs, past chairman of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and past chairman of the Maryland Association of CPAs. She is an independent corporate board director for US Bancorp, Mutual of Omaha, and Evercommerce.
For almost 17 years, Ellison-Taylor served in global leadership roles for Oracle Corporation. Kimberly advised C-Suite executives on cloud solutions that innovate and transform business. Ellison-Taylor is also an adjunct professor for Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College’s Chief Information Officer Certificate program teaching emerging technologies & innovation. She is a member of the Heinz Dean’s Advisory Council.
Kimberly is a community leader and volunteers in a number of roles including as the 2022-2023 president of Beta Alpha Psi, the chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs Foundation, the chair of the American Institute of CPAs National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, the director of Professional Development for her local chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and as a trustee for Loyola University MD.
View the complete list of awardees.
47. Kiwoba Allaire
CEO and Founder, GIRL STEM STARS
Kiwoba Allaire is an inspiring woman dedicated to helping young girls build successful futures in the tech industry. Allaire devotes her time to helping girls of color from under-tapped communities improve their lives by providing them with new experiences and mentors advancing them in STEM education. As CEO and Founder of Girl STEM Stars, her nonprofit is dedicated to providing the tools and space for exploration and innovation with STEM classes, visits with prominent community global leaders, and tech worksite visits. It also incorporates the arts and humanities to further support the STEAM focus and highlight its increasing importance in a global society.
Kiwoba is also an incredibly inspiring motivational speaker and has customized speeches for every client. Her candor, passion, and luminosity light up the room and leave her audience moved and poised for action. Allaire serves from a place of fulfilling her calling, and that resonates with every word in her keynotes.
Over the years, Allaire has overcome major adversity in her own life and today she is a shining example of what is possible when corporate executives focus on giving to the communities they live and work in to improve the lives of others. She lives by the words “Let your Faith be bigger than your fear”.
Kiwoba has been on local nonprofit boards of All Stars Helping Kids, United Way, the Sheriffs Activities League, and the 100 Black Women’s Coalition. Among her many accolades, Allaire was named among the top 50 Multicultural Leaders in Technology by the California Diversity Council, A Woman Worth Watching by Diversity Journal, recipient of the Sistahs Rock, Beyond the Limits Award, and SF Biz Times Forever Influential Woman. Allaire was voted San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Woman and also Silicon Valley Most Influential Women.
48. Courtney Overton
Founder & CEO, Speech of Cake
Courtney Overton is a speech-language pathologist and literacy specialist. She is the Founder & CEO of Speech of Cake, Inc., a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia that specializes in treating speech sound disorders and dyslexia. With a passion for shaping future clinicians, Overton also serves as a clinical fellowship mentor at Speech of Cake, a clinical supervisor at several universities, and a clinical professor at the University of Maryland. Overton continues to advocate for neurodivergent students and students of color by providing seminars, workshops, and keynotes on a national level through her organizations, DiverCity SLP and The SLP Guide to Dyslexia.
Overton recently earned her doctorate in literacy, culture, and language education at Indiana University with a minor in educational leadership and public policy. Last year, she earned a certificate in entrepreneurship from Cornell University. Overton attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts to earn a master's degree in speech-language pathology, and she obtained an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology, a minor in linguistics, and a certificate in American Sign Language at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Overton is a member of For(bes) the Culture, National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing, American Speech-Language Hearing Association, International Literacy Association, International Dyslexia Association, Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation, Incorporated, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
View the complete list of awardees.