Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of New Hampshire for 2023. The state motto, ‘Live Free or Die’ symbolizes a legacy of individualism and independence. With its primary being the first in the nation, New Hampshire holds a vital position in US presidential elections, drawing considerable political attention. This early primary provides a platform for business leaders to interact with policymakers and actively contribute to discussions on economic and business matters. Women in New Hampshire, as in many other places, have been making strides in leadership positions, contributing to the economic and social development of the state. These accomplished women highlighted this year are leading notable companies headquartered in New Hampshire including Timberland, Planet Fitness, and Sig Sauer, to name a few.

As the Chief Medical Officer of The Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation, Dr. Mary P. McGowan is among one of the awardees this year, dedicated to addressing familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). As an author of numerous articles and five books, she brings a profound understanding and commitment to the FH community. Another recipient, Nita Patel, is the President of IEEE Computer Society, the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence. Additionally, Heidi Solomon-Orlick, Founder and CEO of GirlzWhoSell, recently received the Global People’s Choice Award for sales leadership excellence from HireQuotient, showcased on Nasdaq. 

We commend these individuals for their commitment to the organizations they serve. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of New Hampshire for 2023.

1. Mary McLaughlin
Senior Vice President - Healthcare Finance/Northern New England and Upstate NY, TD Bank

As a Senior Vice President, financial services professional, and entrepreneur, Mary W. McLaughlin has been an effective team leader in the areas of commercial lending, tax-exempt bond financing, private banking, cash management, investment banking, and international banking. Mary is currently Senior Vice President and Team Leader for TD Bank, managing healthcare lending/tax-exempt bond financing activities for the Northern New England/Upstate New York region. Prior to joining TD Bank and its predecessor, Bank of New Hampshire in 1992, Mary worked for New Dartmouth Bank as vice president of commercial lending. 

Throughout her career, Mary has used her considerable entrepreneurial talents to establish new programs within existing banks. While at Dartmouth Bank, she developed a Corporate Services/Automated Investment program. She was chiefly responsible for the initial design and implementation of Indian Head’s Private Banking Department. In 1986 Mary established a full-service commercial lending department for Peterborough Savings Bank and in 1984 co-founded Jefferson, Currier & Co., Inc., an investment banking firm established to assist businesses with corporate financial planning and access to capital.

Since 1983 Mary has served numerous non-profit organizations throughout New Hampshire.  She serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the NH Institute of Furniture Making; Director of the NH Health and Educational Facilities Authority; the Capital Regional Development Council and a Council Member of the NH State Council on the Arts. Also, she is an Advisory Board Member of the NH Small Business Development Center at UNH and is a Trustee of the Havenwood-Heritage Heights Trust Fund Board. In 1983, Mary co-founded the New Hampshire International Trade Association, a non-profit organization devoted to helping businesses identify international trade opportunities.

Mary graduated from Vermont College in Montpelier, VT, and later attended the “Advanced Commercial Lending and Credit Analysis School” at the Bank Management Institute and the School of Management, at State University of New York at Buffalo.

3. Maura McEnroe
Chief Information Officer, Employer and Individual, UnitedHealth Group

Maura McEnroe is the Chief Information Officer for UnitedHealthcare Technology Employer and Individual Business. In this role, Maura leads a team of 4000+ technologists and is responsible for capital planning, technology strategy, and innovation for all commercial businesses including group business, third-party administration (TPA), specialty benefits, individual, student, and global insurance. Maura has spent much of her career being asked to solve big problems in program delivery and integrating acquired entities. She joined UHG in 2008, holding positions in quality management and software engineering, as well as Ancillary and Individual (A&I) CIO.  Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Maura worked for Telcordia, an Ericsson company, in the role of Product and Project Manager.

Maura is passionate about mentoring future women leaders. In 2022 she helped create InspiHER, a leadership conference for women in Optum Technology, and continued as Executive Sponsor in 2023. She is an active member of the Optum Technology Diversity and Inclusion board. In 2015 she was nominated by UHG to participate in the Menttium mentoring program, and now has given back as a mentor for the past 4 years.    

Maura earned a certificate in Women in Leadership through eCornell, her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, and her associate’s degree from Union County College. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and boating, and is currently learning how to wake surf.

6. Amy Vetrano-Palmer
Chief Financial Officer, Omni-Lite Industries California Inc.

Amy Vetrano-Palmer is the Chief Financial Officer of Omni-Lite Industries California Inc. Omni-Lite Industries is based in Calgary, Alberta with manufacturing and engineering operations in Cerritos, California, and Nashua, New Hampshire. Established in 1992, the company’s first commercial product was an ultra-lightweight ceramic composite track spike for running shoes. Since then, Omni-Lite has run fast and far as a company, evolving into a trusted manufacturer of high-performance metal alloy and composite components and fastener systems for the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries Vetrano-Palmer has 21 years of experience. She began her career in 2002.

Amy Vetrano-Palmer became CFO in May of 2022 when Carl Leaders retired. Amy is a seasoned financial professional who has worked in various capacities and has an extensive background in helping companies grow organically and through acquisition. Ms. Vetrano-Palmer was most recently Corporate Controller at Resonetics, a private equity-owned company controlled by two firms GTCR and Carlyle. Amy spent 4 years at Resonetics and developed and led the operational finance and reporting functions, was a member of the leadership team, and was deeply involved in Resonetic’s enterprise transformation through the completion and integration of eight add-on acquisitions, which expanded its capabilities to serve its medical device customer base. Prior to Resonetics, Amy held a variety of Controller and Senior Management positions within the manufacturing industry.

Before joining Omni-Lite Industries California Inc., Vetrano-Palmer was a controller at Resonetics and before that a brewery controller at Anheuser-Busch. Earlier in her career she worked with Fidelity Investments as a business analyst and tax compliance analyst. Vetrano-Palmer graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with an MS in accounting and finance, and an MBA in business, and from Franklin Pierce University with an undergraduate degree in mass communications.

9. Kelly Boston
Head of Global Portfolio Management Office SGIE, Lonza Biologics, Inc.

Kelly Boston began her professional career 24 years ago. Today, she is the Head of the Global Portfolio Management Office SGIE at Lonza Biologics, Inc., a preferred global partner to the pharmaceutical, biotech, and nutrition markets. It focuses on enabling treatments that prevent illness and support healthier lifestyles. It optimizes scientific innovation and manufacturing technology to enable customers to serve patients and consumers. 

Kelly has a very good analytical approach to any task that she works on. She has excellent financial acumen in a wide range of areas including cost accounting, analysis and reporting, capital requests, and audit/regulatory issues. She has an excellent understanding of systems and is adept at taking a systems approach to her work. She is a recognized subject matter expert on the SAP ERP platform. She has a keen strategic sense, a great ability to simplify complex information to its essence, and a great sense of humor as well.

Boston first got her start in 1999 as a general ledger supervisor at Fisher Scientific International, Inc. Boston graduated from Southern University of New Hampshire with an MBA and an undergraduate degree in accounting. In addition, Kelly served as one of the featured speakers at a 2018 Women United fundraiser. A genuine and powerful leader, inspiring the audience and helping the event to raise important funds for the community. Kelly truly embodies and is the epitome of a driven, passionate woman who is impacting her community through volunteerism and philanthropy.

10. Nadja Fromm Francis
General Manager, Just Spices USA, The Kraft Heinz Company

Born and raised in Germany, Nadja is a senior marketing executive with 20 years of experience in consumer-packed goods. She worked for advertising agencies, Fortune 100 brands, and her own consultancy where she helped co-found multiple Startups. Living in the US for the past six years she developed a unique perspective on European and American consumer preferences and what it takes to build global brands.

Obsessed with evidence-based and consumer-centric marketing, Nadja is most passionate about leveraging consumer data across digital and performance marketing channels to create seamless omnichannel brand experiences. 

As the General Manager for Just Spices, she is combining her experience to lead the US market launch of the #1 DTC spice brand in Europe. The brand empowers consumers to make every meal as tasty as possible through the simple use of spices. 

Before joining The Kraft Heinz Company, Francis was a director of retail marketing at Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc. and before that a founder and owner at Fromm Consulting. Earlier in her career she worked with Medienpresent GmbH as a graphic designer. Francis graduated from the Academy for Communication, Marketing, and Media (Bremen, GER) with an undergraduate degree in marketing communications.

12. Jennifer Simmons
President, Corporate Stores, Planet Fitness

Jennifer Simmons joined Planet Fitness in 2013 as a business analyst, later joining the executive leadership team as senior vice president of business strategy and analytics, and in 2022 was named Division President of Corporate Stores. In her role as Division President, of Corporate Clubs, Simmons is responsible for leading the company's Corporate Club portfolio – including driving overall performance, leading and developing the team, and identifying strategic growth and expansion opportunities of the brand's corporate store fleet, which consists of more than 200 locations across 14 states and Canada. Throughout her tenure with Planet Fitness, Simmons built the business strategy and analytics functions from the ground up, leveraging data, analytics, and insights to develop and drive Planet Fitness’ overarching corporate strategy, propel the business forward, and reinforce the brand’s industry leadership position. As a result, she has played an instrumental role in the major strategic decisions made by the company. 

Prior to joining Planet Fitness, Simmons worked in finance and business planning roles for Timberland, PepsiCo, and Fisher Scientific International. Simmons has an MBA in finance from the University of New Hampshire and holds dual undergraduate degrees in economics and sociology from Indiana University.

13. Holly Johnson
Chief of Staff and Business Operations Director, Juniper Networks

Holly Johnson began her professional career 31 years ago. Today, she is the Chief of Staff and Business Operations Director of Juniper Networks. Juniper Networks is leading the revolution in networking, making it one of the most exciting technology companies in Silicon Valley today. Since being founded by Pradeep Sindhu, Dennis Ferguson, and Bjorn Liencres nearly 20 years ago, Juniper’s sole mission has been to create innovative products and solutions that meet the growing demands of the connected world.

Holly is a senior-level business leader with operations, program management, sales, marketing, and engineering expertise. She is highly skilled at global change management and accustomed to working closely with executives/leadership teams to translate strategic vision into operational excellence. Her specialty is leading large teams through change in a collaborative environment to achieve globally consistent processes, tools, measures/metrics while meeting budgetary objectives. She has a proven track record of being able to balance strategic thinking and attention to execution detail.

Johnson first got her start in 1992 as a senior program manager and production planner at Teradyne. From there, she went on to SCI Systems, before eventually rising to Avici Systems Inc. as senior manager of business operations, her most recent position prior to joining Juniper Networks. Johnson graduated from Questrom School of Business, Boston University with an MBA, and the University of New Hampshire with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.

View the complete list of awardees

15. Nita Patel
President, IEEE Computer Society, IEEE

Nita Patel began her professional career 28 years ago. Today, she is the President of the IEEE Computer Society, the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted "voice" for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.

​​Previously, Nita was senior director of the Engineering Lead Design Center of Farmington at Otis, leading a critical part of the global engineering development, providing a wide range of new product capabilities in connected, smart, IoT-based platforms. She was previously with L3Harris where she was senior director of engineering, and led multi-disciplinary, embedded-software design teams in innovative research and new product development, for which she was recognized for significant technical contributions as 2014 L3 Engineer of the Year and 2011 New Hampshire Engineer of the Year.

Nita is a Director of the IEEE Foundation and is active with multiple Computer Society committees, the IEEE Industry Engagement Committee, several IEEE WIE Committees, and the IEEE New Hampshire executive committee. Nita has served as first vice president of the computer society, served a three-year term on the Computer Society Board of Governors, founded and led the first five years of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC), served as Women in Engineering International Chair for which she received the 2014 Larry K Wilson Transnational Award for distinguished contributions to IEEE global activities, served on the Eta Kappa Nu Board of Governors and was IEEE-USA VP of Communications & Public Awareness.

Outside of IEEE, Nita is an active leader within Toastmasters International and the United States Chess Federation. Nita received her MS in computer engineering, a BS in electrical engineering, and a BS in mathematics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

18. Nichole Raftopoulos
CEO, Nvest Financial LLC

As president, CEO, and founder of Nvest Financial Group, Nichole has been recognized for her achievements in the financial services industry for more than two decades. Since 2003, she has built a dynamic advisory business that just keeps growing. Nichole Raftopoulos began her professional career 28 years ago. She began her career in the financial services industry in 1995, having previously worked as an advisor with two large brokerage firms before founding Nvest in 2003. As a Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner, Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Designee, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ and a Master Planner in Advanced Studies℠, Nichole works closely with Nvest's clients regarding all aspects of their personal financial life by taking a sincere and holistic approach. This approach helps educate clients through all steps of the planning process thereby allowing a person to make informed decisions.

Nvest Financial practices traditional financial planning where its process considers and analyzes your entire financial situation. Its job is to fully understand clients’ complete financial picture, for only then can it adequately manage assets. Its goal is to serve as a "family office"​ for clients. Its success is measured by the relationships it establishes with each of its clients while practicing the highest standards of compliance with the rules that govern its industry.

Raftopoulos began in 1995 as a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch. From there, she went on to Edward Jones. Raftopoulos graduated from the College for Financial Planning with an MS in financial planning and from the University of Southern Maine - School of Business with an undergraduate degree in economics.

23. Jennifer McAdams
CMO, Xactly Corp.

Jennifer McAdams is Xactly’s Chief Marketing Officer. Xactly has helped thousands of companies and millions of sellers around the world beat their revenue targets. Using Xactly's solutions, leaders look past the current quarter to create revenue streams for long-term growth. The Xactly Intelligent Revenue Platform marries artificial intelligence and 17 years of proprietary data in easy-to-use applications. Sentiment, process, and trend analysis come together to form accurate machine forecasts. She is an accomplished leader with the ability to work across organizations to design and deliver measurable marketing campaigns. She also has a proven ability to oversee all elements of marketing strategy and execution. 

Throughout her career, McAdams has a strong record of driving integrated programs to support sales growth and business objectives at organizations like Cisco, SAP, Progress, Ixia, and Kaseya. McAdams holds an MBA from Suffolk University Sawyer Business School and attended undergrad at Northeastern University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time on her pumpkin farm with her husband, three children, two cats, one golden retriever, and eight chickens. 

24. Kristina Goumas
Vice President, Sales, SAP National Security Services

As National Vice President of Sales at SAP NS2, Kristina Goumas is responsible for a leading line of business, supporting customers with a national security focus. SAP National Security Services, Inc. (SAP NS2®) is an independent US subsidiary of SAP®, one of the world’s leading producers of software for the management of business processes, developing solutions that facilitate effective data processing and information flow across organizations. SAP NS2 enables the secure adoption of US-based SAP cloud solutions with an enhanced deployment model that allows our customers to adhere to regulatory compliance requirements and protect their mission-critical workloads. With our secure cloud solutions, SAP NS2 powers SAP’s intelligent enterprise for highly regulated customers.

Kristina’s background and expertise include 25 years in the public sector technology space,  leading government agencies and corporations through strategic software maintenance acquisitions. She has maintained year-over-year revenue growth, enabling her team to be recognized for surpassing revenue goals for the last 20 years. Her expertise includes leading successful and strategic account management for defense, intelligence, and civilian government agency customers.  

Kristina is passionate about ensuring gender equality. She is the co-founder of SAP NS2 Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and serves as co-chair. WIN was established in 2019 with the mission of advancing women at NS2 through professional development, mentorship programs, and women in leadership speaker series. Kristina has moderated compelling conversations for the WIN speaker series with inspirational thought leaders, including best-selling author Glennon Doyle, award-winning journalist and producer Lisa Ling, philanthropist and CEO of FEED, Lauren Bush Lauren, and F/A-18 Fighter Pilot “Jet Girl” Caroline Johnson. 

Kristina serves as a board member of the National Philoptochos Society and sits on the board of directors at HAVEN, the largest violence prevention and support services agency in New Hampshire. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where she majored in business administration at the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics (formally Whittemore School of Business & Economics). 

26. Alicia Macleod
Vice President of Business Development, Vida Health

Alicia MacLeod is currently part of the business development team of Vida Health, one of the industry leaders in cardiometabolic and obesity management programs. She is responsible for growth in the health plan, health system, and Pharmacy Benefit Management healthcare sector. 

An accomplished sales executive and leader, Alicia has spent close to 20 years working for and with organizations in the healthcare industry. Her strong and varied background includes experience in consumer and member engagement, population health, government programs, Telehealth and virtual care, program start-up and implementation, and managed care. Vida Health is a comprehensive cardiometabolic management company that aims to provide comprehensive chronic condition management by addressing co-occurring physical and mental health.  

Macleod first got her start in 2005 as an account manager at UnitedHealth Group. From there, she went on to WebMD Health Services, before eventually rising to AVP, strategic member engagement solutions at Change Healthcare, her most recent position prior to joining Vida Health.

Alicia spends her time outside of work as a board member and racing for State 9 Racing, a multi-discipline sponsored cycling racing team that promotes the sport of bike racing in New England.

28. Diane Richmond
Vice President of Commercial Sales & Ecosystem, Turbonomic, an IBM company

With an undeniable passion for technology and a proven track record of achievement, Diane Richmond stands as an accomplished sales and channel executive. With over 15 years of experience in sales, she currently holds a leadership position as Ecosystem Automation Sales Leader at IBM where her focus revolves around delivering cutting-edge product-led growth solutions.

Diane's impressive career includes leadership roles at distinguished organizations such as Turbonomic, Gartner, Oracle, and EMC before joining IBM. Throughout her tenure, she has consistently showcased herself as a creative leader who excels at building strong teams through inspiration, mentoring, and coaching.

Diane is committed to supporting people in their efforts to follow their passions and advance in their careers. She has taken proactive steps to make this vision a reality, including founding local chapters of Women's Employee Resource Groups, assuming leadership positions, and serving on DEI boards. Her belief in the power of strong networks and mutual support is exemplified by her tireless efforts to cultivate a diverse and empowered community of women.

With her unwavering dedication to driving success and innovation within the technology industry, Diane continues to leave her mark on the field of sales, channel, and business development.

31. Sarah Downey
Operating Partner, Accomplice VC

Sarah A. Downey is an Operating Partner at Accomplice (a venture capital fund) and a General Partner at Yubari (an angel fund). She first joined the company in 2015 as director of community. Her 50+ investments focus on frontier tech and consumer digital health. Sarah co-founded Rev Boston, an award and event honoring 20 of the top female VPs and directors in Boston tech, and Blueprint, a soon-to-be-launched consumer mobile app focused on the Enneagram personality model. Previously, she was director of marketing at Ovia Health and manager of content and communications at Abine. 

Sarah received her JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Hamilton College. Sarah has been published in over 250 publications, including The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. She was a board member of the nonprofit InnerCity Weightlifting and volunteers with TINT, a nonprofit that gives $25k grants and coaching to high-potential but under-resourced individuals. Sarah is a video gamer, weight lifter, and fan of sci-fi and free speech. She is also an angel investor, founder, coach, and early-stage VC, as well as a former lawyer. 

View the complete list of awardees

34. Heidi Solomon-Orlick 
Founder and CEO, GirlzWhoSell

Heidi Solomon-Orlick is an award-winning Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry veteran with over three decades of global sales and executive leadership experience. She is the Founder and CEO of GirlzWhoSell, an organization committed to democratizing professional sales and building the largest pipeline of diverse, early-stage female sales talent. She released the highly acclaimed, award-winning book “Heels to Deals: How Women Are Dominating in Business-to-Business Sales” and has been recognized by several organizations for being a gender equity champion. Solomon-Orlick is a frequent keynote speaker on servant selling and the power of pivotal moments. She is a 4X Stevie Award Winner, was listed in the Top 100 Women Magazine, was included in UserGems 27 Gems in Sales, is featured on the cover and in Top Sales Magazine, and was listed in the Top 100 Women in Sales published by Demandbase in both 2022 and 2023. In 2023, Solomon-Orlick was recognized by HireQuotient and her peers, winning the Global People’s Choice Award for excellence in sales leadership where she was featured on the Nasdaq.

In addition to her role as Founder and CEO of GirlzWhoSell, Solomon-Orlick serves as the Chief Growth Officer for The DORS Group (Powered by Keller Williams), a New Hampshire-based real estate company. Solomon-Orlick graduated from California State University, Northridge with an undergraduate degree in journalism and speech communications. Her interests include supporting and mentoring women, travel, self-care, activism, active aging advocate, and advocacy for women's rights.

38. Sarah Kenda
Partner, Financial Strategies Retirement Partners

Sarah Kenda joined Financial Strategies Retirement Partners in April 2018 as a Partner and financial advisor. She has spent over 20 years in the financial services industry. Financial Strategies Retirement Partners, an independent investment management firm specializing in 401k plans and retirement income planning. Its team of 18 professionals works with over 150 retirement plans and more than 300 families.

Prior to joining FSRP, she worked for several investment management companies. Most recently, she was a senior regional vice president at Salient Partners which specializes in liquid alternatives and hard asset investing. She began her financial services career at Federated Investors as a marketing manager. Kenda works with both individual wealth management clients and corporate retirement plans. Her passion is understanding people and their relationship with money. She is best known for her high energy and enthusiasm. 

Kenda is a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative with Commonwealth Financial Network® and holds the FINRA Series 7, 66, and 24 securities registrations. She earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) certification in 2018.

Kenda graduated summa cum laude with an undergraduate degree in communications from Bentley College. 

41. Laura Thibault
Chief Financial Officer & Director of Special Events, Civix Strategy Group

Laura Thibault is the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Special Events at Civix Strategy Group. She first joined the company in 2015 as chief of staff. Civix Strategy Group is a full-service consulting firm with offices located in Concord, New Hampshire, and Washington, DC. It helps clients build and run high-impact campaigns and initiatives to make the world a better place. Its clients include foundations, advocacy groups, not-for-profit organizations, and labor unions. A native of New Hampshire and graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Thibault’s background includes nearly two decades of nonprofit management, grassroots organizing, and advocacy in the state, with a focus on women’s rights. Previous positions include executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire and assistant director of the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire.

Thibault is a graduate of Leadership New Hampshire 2012 and is actively involved in her local community. She has served on several nonprofit committees and boards including her current role on the ACLU of New Hampshire’s Reproductive Rights Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of the Kingston Community Library. Additional volunteer leadership roles include past service on the Board of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, one of the founding parents of the Mountain Village Charter School in Plymouth, NH, and founder of Support SAU17, a parent group advocating for greater community support for public education in the Sanborn Regional School District. Thibault lives with her family in Kingston, New Hampshire.

42. Majka Burhardt
Founder and Executive Director, Legado, Inc.

Majka Burhardt is the Founder and Executive Director of Legado. Legado, Inc., a global nonprofit that works alongside indigenous peoples and local communities in places important for biodiversity to ensure they have the tools, resources, and partnerships they need to create and lead solutions that benefit both their communities and landscapes—an outcome we call Thriving Futures. The ultimate goal is to build a sustainable, locally-led system for collaborative problem-solving that fosters adaptability and resilience in communities for meeting current and future challenges, such as those brought on by climate change. Burhardt has spent two-plus decades leading social entrepreneurship ventures across Africa, Europe, South and North America. She is also a professional climber which is why, in 2010, she was sent a photo of a granite rock face in northern Mozambique. Burhardt’s curiosity about what was behind and beyond that rock face ultimately led to a May 2014 expedition with an international team of biologists, climbers, conservation workers, and filmmakers who collaborated in an exploration of Mozambique’s second-highest peak, Mount Namuli. The expedition spent a month using rock climbing to access previously unexplored habitats and conducting cliffside scientific research while working with Namuli’s community members to understand their conservation priorities for their mountain ecosystem.

The 2014 expedition launched Legado and an enduring partnership with Namuli community members to support their priorities for their people and mountain ecosystem. It also was the start of a joint program on Namuli with the Mozambican conservation organization, LUPA.

Building off the partnerships forged with local communities and LUPA, today Legado is an international nonprofit that works alongside indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in places important for biodiversity to ensure they have the tools, resources, and partnerships they need to design and implement solutions of their choosing that benefit both their communities and landscapes—an outcome they call Thriving Futures. Legado works to build a locally-led system for sustained collective action that fosters adaptability and resilience for meeting current and future challenges—such as those brought on by climate change. Their work revolves around legacy as an activator for individual and collective change.

Majka is the author of More, Vertical Ethiopia and Coffee Story: Ethiopia, and executive producer of films Waypoint Namibia and Namuli. Her articles have been published throughout the world and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, Outside Magazine, NPR, and many other media outlets. Her films have been official selections of over 100 international film festivals and across the US on PBS. Majka is an American Mountain Guides Association Rock Guide, Ice Instructor, and also a former two-term member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Concurrent with her role as Legado’s Executive Director, Majka is a professional climber and ambassador with top outdoor company Patagonia. She is a Mulago Foundation Henry Arnhold Fellow for her work in conservation entrepreneurship and an EPIC Emerging Artist Award nominee for her work in film. Majka is an elected official on the School Board in Jackson, New Hampshire, and volunteers with the Mountain Rescue Service Climbing Team. She graduated from Princeton University cum laude and received a MFA in creative writing from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.

43. Tara Wellington
Senior Director of Product Management, BILL

Tara Wellington is the Senior Director of Product Management at BILL, which supports small and medium-sized businesses with simplified, digitized, and automated back-office financial processes. 

​​She is a passionate, collaborative, and curious product leader with 10 years of experience leading and developing product teams. She is dedicated to delivering continuous customer and business value by building, organizing, and leading strategic product initiatives. Tara has a deep passion for solving complex problems for customers – especially in the small business tech world where she has spent the majority of her product career. Her product decisions are guided by a toolkit of experimentation, customer feedback, metric progress, and strategic market trends.

She is especially known for her passion for the customer, as well as the art of storytelling, to gain buy-in, build alignment, as well as to secure investments for future growth. She is highly experienced in delivering customer-facing experiences that drive engagement, NPS, and long-term customer value. She also is deeply involved in building teams of inclusion, where ideas and customer value can come from anywhere.

She holds an MBA from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond.

44. Jennifer DeFrancisco
Director of Human Resources Strategic Programs, SIG SAUER, Inc.

Jennifer DeFrancisco is a Director of Human Resources-Strategic Programs at SIG SAUER. SIG SAUER, Inc. is a leading provider and manufacturer of firearms, electro-optics, ammunition, airguns, suppressors, remote-controlled weapons stations, and training. For over 250 years, SIG SAUER has evolved and thrived by blending American ingenuity, German engineering, and Swiss precision. Today, SIG SAUER is the brand of choice amongst the US Military, the global defense community, law enforcement, competitive shooters, hunters, and responsible citizens.

DeFrancisco has worked in the manufacturing and engineering industries for over 15 years, gaining experience in all areas of human resources. She is passionate about driving key programs that align with company culture to provide employees with opportunities to have a sense of community and drive career growth which leads to increased engagement and business results. Most recently, she serves as a trusted HR leader partnering with SIG Leadership Teams, providing best practices, and collaborative direction on Human Resources Programs that have a significant impact on company culture. 

As director, she is responsible for the management and implementation of key strategic programs that enhance the employee experience at SIG.  She attended Rivier University where she graduated with an MBA and undergraduate in business administration. 

45. Amy McCarron
Clinical Education and Research Liaison Director, Northeast, scPharmaceuticals

Amy McCarron is the Clinical Education and Research Liaison Director, at Northeast of scPharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products. Through its proprietary platform, they are designed to enable the subcutaneous administration of therapies previously limited to intravenous (IV) delivery— to transform infused therapies, advance patient care, and reduce healthcare costs. SCPharmaceuticals has an approved product and the company motto is to turn patient care inside out. More patients treated at home when possible. McCarron has 33 years of experience. She began her career in 1990.

She is a doctorate-prepared nurse practitioner with over 30 years of healthcare experience as an inpatient nurse and a practitioner in private practice, as well as an academic lecturer teaching graduate nurses at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell and undergraduate nursing at Arizona State University. She is a nurse and teacher by nature, and loves to work with people to develop their strengths and work on self-development. 

McCarron is a Clinical Associate professor for pre-licensure nursing students in didactic courses including Advanced Pharmacology, Applied Research, Nursing Fundamentals, and Professional Attributes of Nursing. She is also a clinical Assistant Professor for pre-licensure nursing students and has taught didactic, clinical, and simulation courses. She was a former instructor at UMASS Lowell in the graduate nursing program and a former instructor at ASUbin the undergraduate nursing.

Before joining scPharmaceuticals, McCarron was a clinical faculty associate at Arizona State University and before that a medical science liaison oncology at Genentech. Earlier in her career she worked with Beverly Hospital as a finance accountant. McCarron graduated from Simmons University with a DNP in nursing, and from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with an MS in nursing.

View the complete list of awardees

46. Dr. Samantha Bureau
Director of International Programs, Concussion Legacy Foundation

Dr. Samantha Bureau is a Canadian neuroscientist residing in the United States. Dr. Bureau is a neurodegenerative disease expert, known predominantly for her work investigating brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. During her doctoral training, she specialized in the cellular and molecular medicine of neurodegenerative diseases, investigating therapeutic targets to alter disease progression. Throughout her academic and athletic career, Dr. Bureau has had a special interest in brain injuries and has published and edited journal articles, white papers, and books related to concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Throughout her career in academia and industry, she has educated a broad audience including coaches, parents, government stakeholders, and athletes of all ages. Dr. Bureau also has vast experience working with and educating military personnel, previously presenting at NATO exercises, and to the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Legion, and various governments and government stakeholders.

Prior to joining the Concussion Legacy Foundation, Dr. Bureau worked at top-tier academic research institutions including the Boston University CTE Center and the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute. She currently serves as the Director of International Programs at CLF where she oversees the foundation’s programs, international operations, and ongoing research initiatives and collaborations.

Dr. Bureau is a former dual-sport NCAA athlete in ice hockey and outdoor track and field. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Carleton University and MBAs from Cornell University and Queen's University.

47. Beth Jalbert
Director of Compliance, Dayforward

Beth Jalbert is the Director of Compliance at Dayforward. Dayforward’s mission is to bring financial security to every family in America. It’s an important mission: in today’s uncertain times, more and more children are growing up without financial security. More often than not, financial hardship is the result of an unforeseen event, like a medical illness or death in the family. That’s why it is starting with life insurance—something nearly all families need but until now, was too hard to properly buy. 

Jalbert has over 22 years in the Insurance Industry. Highly motivated, results-oriented professional with excellent organizational skills as well as the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. She has a proven record of reducing costs while increasing productivity and efficiency. She is highly proficient at evaluating existing operations and implementing strategies, processes, and technologies that enhance organizational effectiveness, as well as developing and motivating teams focused on quality control and compliance. She holds strong interpersonal and communication abilities along with an ability to adapt quickly to changing environments. Her expertise is in Regulatory Compliance, Risk Management, Process Improvement, Compliance Advisory, Regulatory Requirement Research, Compliance Monitoring, Securities, Privacy, and all things Life Insurance and Annuities.

Before joining Dayforward, Jalbert was a senior compliance consultant at Delaware Life Insurance Company and before that a compliance specialist of the life and annuity compliance legal department at Lincoln Financial Group.  

48. Ryanne Pelletier 
Senior Director of Administration, Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association

At the Aircraft Mechanic Fraternal Association, Ryanne Pelletier is responsible for the organization's day-to-day operations. For the past 20 years at AMFA, Ryanne has helped the labor union safeguard continuity amid leadership changes, trained new employees, oversaw the administration of elections, ensured compliance with government regulations, and streamlined data management. Ryanne’s attention to detail is exemplary. 

While in college, Ryanne interned for Governor Jeanne Shaheen in the Department of Citizen Affairs, earning high praise for her ability to work efficiently, responsibly, and with little direct supervision. Upon graduation, Ryanne went on to work for McCormick Advisory Group, a service contractor working for AMFA. She quickly acquired expertise in compliance with the policy and procedures associated with the election of union officials and also played an integral role in a major software transition of AMFA’s membership database. After a merger eliminated her position at the McCormick Advisory Group, AMFA chose to hire her to work directly for them. 

Ryanne earned her degree in Rhetorical Communications from the University of New Hampshire in 2003. She also earned a minor in Political Science. Ryanne was recently recognized for her 20 years of service to AMFA. She has received numerous accolades, including the New Hampshire State Young Careerist Award from the New Hampshire Business and Professional Women and the Virginia Allen Young Careerist Award issued by Franklin Business & Professional Women. In her free time, Ryanne volunteers as a basketball coach and Booster Parent in her community and also enjoys playing golf.

49. Mary King
President, Conway Management Company

Mary King began her professional career 48 years ago. Today, she is the President of Conway Management Company. For more than 25 years Conway Management Company has been a global leader in helping organizations make improvements throughout their business in quality and productivity through the study, change, and improvement of work. A unique combination of proven methodology and talented, expert consultants and coaches enables Conway Management Company to provide broad-based solutions to organizations across all industry lines.

King first got her start in 1975 as a registered nurse at Boston VA Hospital. From there, she went on to New England. King graduated from UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics with an MBA in business management and accounting, and from the University of Vermont with an undergraduate degree in professional nursing. In addition to St. Christopher Academy, Mary Jane serves on the Finance Committee at St. Patrick’s Church, the Board of Directors at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua, and the Corporation of Rivier University.

View the complete list of awardees