Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Delaware for 2024. Despite its size, Delaware’s economy has a significant impact due to its strategic location and business-friendly policies. With over 66% of the Fortune 500 being Delaware entities, the state has countless professional women who are making an impact. This year's award recipients hold crucial positions within their organizations, leading transformative initiatives and nurturing innovation that is poised to have an enduring influence for years to come.

Among this year’s awardees is Kristin Bhavnani, Head of Global Strategic Brand Engagement for Jazz Pharmaceuticals, who oversees various corporate communication activities and also co-chairs the Jazz Association for Women Supporters to promote the advancement of women in the biotechnology industry. As the Vice President and Head of Clinical Operations-Oncology at Gilead Sciences, awardee Tracy Vanderslice is responsible for the strategic leadership of 250 individuals worldwide that aid in the operational execution of the end-to-end oncology portfolio for a variety of tumor types and hematologic malignancies.

Also awarded is Adriane Baker, EVP and Chief Compliance Officer at Arden Trust Company, who uses her two decades of industry experience to oversee nationwide compliance for the trust administration and has contributed significantly to the company's commitment to rigorous standards.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Delaware for 2024.

1. Barbara McCullough
Vice President, Compliance and Sustainability, Biopharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca

Barbara McCullough serves as the Vice President of Compliance and Sustainability at AstraZeneca. Leading the compliance program across the US and various global functions, she holds key roles within the US Leadership Team, the Global Ethics and Transparency Team, and the Safety, Health, and Environment Executive Committee. Barbara is also the co-leader of the US Compliance and Ethics Leadership Team and a dedicated Sustainability Ambassador.

Since joining AstraZeneca in 2005, Barbara has excelled at leading high-performing teams. Passionate about talent cultivation and sustainability, she transformed the assurance program for Latin America and the US in her recent role as Americas Assurance Lead. Barbara's impactful career also includes managing a speaker program strategy, overseeing audit activities, and forming the first AstraZeneca Healthcare Compliance Committee Review Board.

As a prominent figure in the industry, Barbara contributes to the Delaware Chamber of Commerce as a board member and actively engages in the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Working Group. She earned an undergraduate degree in business management from Wilmington University.

5. Royce Warrick
SVP, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, & Corporate Secretary, Solenis

Royce Warrick has fulfilled multiple roles at Solenis, including those of Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary. The Wilmington, Delaware-based company has been fortunate to have Royce as a leader for the past nine years, beginning in August 2014. One way she shows her dedication to creating a welcoming environment for all employees is by serving as a DE&I Champion.

Royce worked for The Dow Chemical Company from 2009 until 2014, serving as senior managing counsel and global commercial legal director. She earned an AB from Duke University, where she was a cheerleader and member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Royce earned her JD from Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law.

6. Kristin Bhavnani
Head of Global Corporate Communications, Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Kristin Bhavnani is the Head of Global Strategic Brand Engagement for Jazz Pharmaceuticals. In this role, she leads Global and US Corporate Communications activities, including corporate communications, media and public relations, executive visibility, corporate reputation, issues management, policy communications, and M&A communications. She is responsible for ensuring proactive management and coordination of PR/media activities and communications across the enterprise. Prior to this role, she was Head of Global Corporate Communications for Jazz and had responsibility for digital/social media, corporate sustainability, and corporate brand management in addition to media relations and PR efforts. Kristin is also the Co-Chair of the Jazz Association for Women Supporters, an employee-led affinity forum committed to promoting the advancement and impact of women globally in the innovative biotechnology industry.

Before joining Jazz, she served as the Head of Corporate Affairs for the US Diabetes franchise at AstraZeneca. In this role, she was responsible for leading the strategy, planning, and delivery of Corporate Affairs activities to advance AstraZeneca’s Diabetes portfolio. She led a team that focused on brand communications and advocacy, as well as managed efforts to shape the legislative and policy landscape to benefit people living with diabetes.

Kristin was with AstraZeneca for more than 11 years holding various leadership roles across Corporate Affairs. Before supporting the US Diabetes portfolio, she supported US Sales Leadership at AstraZeneca by developing communications strategies and tactics to drive employee engagement. She also held other roles within AstraZeneca’s Corporate Communications team supporting internal and external communications across various priorities including the AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program. Kristin also has experience more broadly in organizational communications and public relations through her previous work supporting healthcare and other industries for Burson-Marsteller, a global PR/communications agency (now BCW). During that time she led work with clients such as Rio Tinto, The McGraw-Hill Companies, DuPont, the United States Postal Service, and The Coca-Cola Company. 

She graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a degree in Sociology and English and also studied at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. Kristin was recently named to the Board of Directors of Delaware Greenways for 2024.

10. Tracy Vanderslice
Vice President & Head, Clinical Operations-Oncology, Gilead Sciences

Currently holding the position of Vice President and Head of Clinical Operations-Oncology at Gilead Sciences, Tracy Vanderslice is a well-known pharmaceutical executive. She is a results-oriented leader with more than 20 years of expertise in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, where she has worked on projects from start to finish and on a worldwide scale.

As of May 2022, Tracy has been working at Gilead Sciences, where she is now responsible for the strategic leadership of 250 individuals worldwide that aid in the operational execution of the end-to-end oncology portfolio for a variety of tumor types and hematologic malignancies. She promotes performance and delivery excellence through executive sponsorship of CRO relationships. Tracy's expertise includes novel trial design, molecular & companion diagnostics, decentralized trials, clinical trial diversity, and patient-centric techniques to speed drug delivery.

Tracy worked with GSK for 17 years before joining Gilead Sciences. From January 2018 to May 2022, she was the VP and Head of Pharma Global Clinical Operations & Delivery. She was in charge of a multinational team that was responsible for delivering a wide range of Phase I–IV clinical studies in many therapeutic areas. Tracy graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and from Thomas Jefferson University with a master's degree in pharmacology.

14. Phoebe Bryant
Assistant Vice President, Business Partner for Latin American Segment, W.R. Berkley

Phoebe A. Bryant, the Assistant Vice President for W.R. Berkley, is a highly accomplished Tech-Forward executive who combines business acumen with technology through her dynamic leadership style and effective communication abilities. Phoebe, who possesses more than 15 years of experience in the field of customer experience and technology, is highly motivated to revolutionize consumer interactions and drive strategic progress.

Berkley Corporation has appointed her as the Assistant Vice President and Business Partner for the Latin American Segment. For the past seven years, she has provided guidance and counsel to company executives in her capacity as a thought partner. Aligning enterprise initiatives with strategic objectives and advocating for business requirements in cross-functional endeavors are among her responsibilities. Before this, Phoebe served as the Segment Director for South America Operations.

Phoebe, who is committed to lifelong learning, is pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration at the Fox School of Business at Temple University, specializing in Business Administration, Management, and Operations. She earned a master’s degree from Drexel University. 

20. Amanda Bowie
Interim VP of Marketing, Communications, & Community Engagement, Bayhealth

Amanda Bowie, Interim Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and Community Engagement, is a visionary marketer experienced in strategies that engage patients and employees, and build vital relationships with community partners and the people they serve. A dynamic leader, she inspires and motivates a diverse team of professionals to produce innovative and nationally award-winning work that drives brand preference and helps patients quickly find the care they need.     

Before her current role, she was senior manager of marketing communications at Bayhealth, serving as second in command to the vice president of marketing and communications. She has also held communications and marketing-related roles at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, MD, and the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

To maximize Bayhealth’s efforts to help those in greatest need, Bowie expanded the Marketing Communications department in September 2023 to include Community Engagement. Using social determinants of health data and Bayhealth’s Community Health Needs Assessment, she is leading her team to develop new initiatives, partnering with local organizations, universities, and schools with missions similar to Bayhealth’s, including the Food Bank of Delaware, Delaware State University, Free Bikes for Kids Delaware, and others.

Bowie also supports several internal initiatives at Bayhealth, including Capacity Management, Care Access, Operational Excellence, Reducing Racial Disparities in Healthcare, and Social Determinants of Health. In addition, she directed Bayhealth’s branding refresh launch in October 2023, based on research in the community and among employees. The result is a new brand promise that conveys Bayhealth’s commitment to patients, staff, and all those living in Kent and Sussex counties.

Bowie received an undergraduate English at the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Management at Wilmington University. She is also certified in brand strategies by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her professional memberships include the Society of HealthCare Strategy & Market Development, Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management, and Administration. In addition, she is a member of SHSMD (the Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development) and MASHMD (the Mid-Atlantic Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development).  

As a volunteer in the community, Bowie has fundraised for various organizations, including the Alzheimer's Association (Memory Walk), Habitat for Humanity in Southern Maryland, and the American Heart Association (Southern Delaware Heart Walk). For several years she also served as a coach for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Southern Maryland. 

21. Michelle Burroughs
Senior Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, WSFS Bank

Michelle Burroughs, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been serving at WSFS Bank since October 2021 as Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. A Certified Professional Coach and a Cornell Certified Diversity Professional, Dr. Burroughs has extensive expertise spanning 20 years in areas such as strategic planning, risk management, operations, diversity, change management, and community engagement. 

Dr. Burroughs is well-known for her dedication to creating inclusive organizational cultures. As part of her strategy, she establishes attainable goals with specific deadlines for their completion. Efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace have her full attention. Among her many achievements, she stands out for being named a YMCA Black Achiever and for being honored with the Presidential and Vice President's Choice Awards at Delaware State University. Dr. Burroughs is a former board member and current VP of the National Black MBA Association, as well as the United Way (SCC) and the Maternal Child and Health Consortium. 

Dr. Burroughs received an EdD in Educational Leadership and Administration from Delaware State University. Along with her Six Sigma Greenbelt certification, she also earned the Diversity Professional credential from Cornell University.

View the complete list of awardees

25. Blythe Maynard
Chief Executive Officer, Recovery Centers of America

Blythe Maynard is the Chief Executive Officer of Recovery Centers of America. She has over a decade of experience in the field of addiction. She has been with RCA since 2017 starting as the Clinical Supervisor for a previous Outpatient RCA site in Wilmington, Delaware before coming over to Bracebridge Hall where she served as the Regional Quality Assurance Strategist for the facility as well as the other Maryland facility, RCA Capital Region. In January of 2022, Blythe became the Director of Admissions at Bracebridge Hall where she worked directly with the facility leadership team as well as our Mission Center to increase access to care for those in need.

Before joining RCA, Blythe was with Brandywine Counseling and Community Services where she was a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the Methadone Maintenance Program as well as a counselor for their adolescent program before moving into the Clinical Supervisor role of the adolescent program which served adolescents and their families statewide.

Blythe is an alumnus of Towson University where she received a bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies while also being a member of their Division 1 Field Hockey team. She is a graduate of the Middle Management Academy, where she received training from the National Counselor for Mental Wellbeing (formerly the National Council for Behavioral Health).

29. Lisa Scott
Chief Marketing Officer & Managing Director of Brand Experience, OneMagnify

Lisa Scott is the Chief Marketing Officer and Managing Director of Brand Experience of OneMagnify. With her deep B2B marketing expertise and 30+ years of agency and client experience, Lisa brings an infectious energy to everything she touches. An engaging brand and client advocate, she excels in developing strong and differentiated brand experiences.

Whether through working with customers externally or inspiring employees internally, Lisa has an impressive track record of helping clients positively impact their business. And she’s done it with a long list of global brands, from Miller Beer and AT&T to DuPont and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Prior to joining OneMagnify, Lisa held several senior brand marketing and communications roles on both the agency and client sides and was most recently the founder and managing director of Concordia Group, based in Wilmington, Delaware.

33. Adriane Baker
Chief Compliance Officer & Senior Vice President, Arden Trust Company

Adriane Baker is an EVP and Chief Compliance Officer at Arden Trust Company, based in Wilmington, Delaware. With over two decades of experience in the industry, she brings a wealth of knowledge to her role overseeing nationwide compliance for trust administration.

Adriane’s tenure with Arden Trust began in 2011 as a Trust Officer, wherein she cultivated a foundational understanding of the organization’s operations. Serving as Compliance and Operations Manager for several years paved the way for her seamless transition to Chief Compliance Officer in January 2019, where she continues to contribute significantly to the company’s compliance landscape and uphold its commitment to maintaining rigorous standards across its branches.

Before joining Arden Trust, Adriane spent time at Wachovia/Wells Fargo and MBNA/Bank of America where she focused on consumer lending and senior quality review for issued loans. She holds a B.S. in business management and an MBA in financial management from Goldey Beacom College, Wilmington, Delaware. Additionally, Adriane holds a Juris Doctor degree from Widener University Delaware Law School and completed the Essentials of Management Leadership Program at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

34. Laura Wisniewski
Chief of Staff, Delaware House of Representatives 

Laura Wisniewski is a dedicated public servant currently serving in the role of the Chief of Staff for the Delaware House of Representatives Majority Caucus. As chief of staff to the 26-member Delaware House Majority Caucus, she provides guidance and assistance to lawmakers to ensure that their legislative priorities are accomplished throughout the session.

Laura's journey in public service spans an impressive nine years, reflecting her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Delawareans. A proud alumna of the University of Delaware, she has consistently demonstrated her leadership skills in various roles within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. From her early days as the Community and Special Projects Director to her most recent position as the Deputy Chief of Staff.

During her tenure, Laura initiated and successfully implemented impactful community programs, notably the Basic Needs Closet. This initiative caters to 45 high-needs schools, ensuring that students have access to essential hygiene products, clothing, and food, fostering an environment conducive to academic success.

Her leadership extends beyond day-to-day operations, as Laura played a pivotal role in the Complete Count Commission in Delaware. Entrusted with a substantial budget of $1M, she spearheaded efforts to ensure every Delawarean was accurately counted in the crucial 2020 Census, emphasizing the importance of representation and resource allocation.

Laura's influence in Delaware extends beyond her professional roles. As the President of the Delaware Young Democrats, she has been a driving force behind engaging and empowering the next generation of leaders. Additionally, her involvement as the Executive Director for the Coordinated Campaign during the 2022 cycle for the Delaware Democratic Party underscores her commitment to advancing democratic values at both the local and state levels.

With a track record of dynamic leadership, innovative community programs, and a passion for civic engagement, Laura Wisniewski stands as a formidable advocate for the people of Delaware, embodying the values of public service and leadership. Her journey is a testament to the positive impact one individual can have on a community through dedication, vision, and tireless effort.

35. Cydney Teal
Chief Executive Officer, Delaware Health Equity Coalition

Dr. Cydney Teal is a physician with dual board certifications in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine. She attended the Medical College of VA for medical school and completed her residencies at the Ochsner Foundation in New Orleans LA. In addition, Dr. Teal completed her MBA at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After completing her residency, she came to Cecil County MD where she practiced for 11 years in private practice, after which she began a leadership track, becoming the first female and African American President of the Medical Staff and Chief Medical Officer at Union Hospital, a position she held for 7 years. She joined ChristianaCare Health System in 2019 as the Primary Care Service Line Leader and Chair of the Dept. of Family and Community Medicine and left that position at the end of 2021 to begin a new chapter in her career. Currently, Dr. Teal serves as Chief Medical Officer for Reciprocity Health, a health tech company, and is co-founder and CEO of Delaware Health Equity Coalition Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on addressing and eradicating healthcare disparities in marginalized communities.

37. Carece Rufe
Chief Trust Officer, JTC Trust Company Limited

Carece Rufe is the Chief Trust Officer of JTC Trust Company Limited. She joined JTC in 2022 following the acquisition of New York Private Trust Company in Delaware. Carece manages a team of trust officers and associates and is responsible for the administration of foreign and domestic personal trusts. She reviews the new business and unique assets to be held within the trusts.

Carece started her trust career in 2004. Prior to JTC, she was a fiduciary advisor and vice president managing a large book of high-net-worth clients. Throughout the years, she has worked with investment advisors and estate planning professionals from around the world. She has built long-term relationships with clients and advisors who know that they can rely on her to deliver outstanding service.

Carece earned an undergraduate degree in finance. In her spare time, she loves to cook and entertain her family. When time allows, she travels, takes her dog on adventures, and loves almost anything that has to do with being outside.

39. Sandra Bihary-Waltz
SVP of Regulatory Affairs, Medical Writing & Project Management, Premier Consulting

Sandi Bihary-Waltz is a senior-level executive and subject matter expert with extensive knowledge of the rare disease and hematology/oncology landscape. She has more than 30 years of experience coaching pharma, biotech, and CROs in effective global regulatory strategy development and implementation. She has also worked with BARDA as a subject matter expert for regulatory affairs and quality affairs, as well as the Department of Defense (Army). Sandi currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Medical Writing, and Project Management for Premier Consulting.

Sandi is a candidate for her Doctorate in Business Administration from Wilmington University and has a Master of Science in Nursing from Widener University. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Carlow University. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Carlow Laureate Award in recognition of outstanding professional achievement and academics as well as acts of community service. In 2019, Sandi was recognized as one of the Outstanding Women in Business in Delaware for her contribution to the pharmaceutical industry and community.

View the complete list of awardees

40. Barbara Higgins
Senior Partner and Executive Creative Director, TSRM Group

Barbara A. Higgins is a Senior Partner and Executive Creative Director for TSRM Group, a sales and marketing agency specializing in the technology sector. In that capacity, she leads a virtual team of creative professionals to develop and implement revenue-building sales and marketing programs for IT manufacturers (including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell Technologies, Microsoft, VMware, and Cisco), distributors, and solution providers throughout the US and Canada.

Prior to the launch of TSRM Group, Barbara was an independent marketing agency owner serving both B2B and B2C market segments. Her previous agency boasted capitalized billings of $18M with 45 employees on staff. Its tremendous growth combined with a strong commitment to charitable and philanthropic causes was recognized by the Atlanta Business Journal, naming it to its list of Fast Track Companies to Watch in the late 1990’s.

Barbara earned her BA and MS from Villanova University and was recognized with a Distinguished Graduate Medallion for her vision and leadership in human resource development and training. She has won countless awards for her creative work over the years on local, regional, and national levels, in addition to the prestigious International Gold Quill Award for video production/scriptwriting from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). 

More recently, Barbara was featured on the cover of Suburban Life Magazine as the top vote-geter for the publication Super Women of Southeast Pennsylvania, recognizing female business owners who successfully balance work and family and support others to do the same. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Barbara moved to Ocean View, DE in 2018 which she now proudly calls her home.

42. Kendra Johnston
Director of Client Service, MetLife

Kendra Johnston rejoined the MetLife Worldwide Benefits team as the Director of Client Service in April 2022. She is based in their global headquarters in Wilmington, DE. Kendra’s entire professional career has been in the expatriate health insurance industry, a niche and nuanced part of employer-sponsored group benefits. 

As the Director of Client Service, Kendra is responsible for a team of Account Managers and Client Service Consultants who maintain client relationships and are responsible for overall client satisfaction including resolving escalated service items. Kendra and her team partner with the Sales Account Executives to implement strategic account planning and to ensure proactive and comprehensive customer development.

Prior to this role, Kendra served as a Senior Client Manager at both Cigna Global Health Benefits and MetLife Worldwide Benefits. She has a proven track record of building and maintaining strong relationships with both clients and broker partners. She resides with her husband and two young children in Wilmington, Delaware. She enjoys travel, live music, and spending time with her family. Kendra is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a BA in English and communications and minors in journalism and Spanish.

43. Meagan Evans
Global R&D Director, Emerging Technologies, DuPont

Meagan is currently the Global R&D Director for the Emerging Technologies (ET) organization within the E&I segment at DuPont. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the ET investment strategy, project execution, and resource management. She also maintains strong partnerships with each E&I Technology Leader for a deep understanding of their technology roadmaps to ensure maximum return of value to customers and revenue to the business.  She has over 11 years of industry experience across R&D, Marketing, Program Management, Business Development, Strategy, and People Leadership at ExxonMobil Chemical and DuPont.

She started her career at ExxonMobil Chemical as a catalyst chemist designing and synthesizing highly-active polyethylene and propylene catalysts.  Additionally, she worked with the basic chemicals group to convert waste bi-products from steam cracking to specialty chemicals.  She then moved into business roles where she was responsible for generating and maintaining financial models for a major Gulf Coast expansion project; and then became the Global Metallocene Polyethylene Portfolio Manager where she reported monthly financial results to senior leaders and managed the stage-gate programs for product and application development.  In 2016, she joined DuPont where she took on progressively larger leadership roles such as; a New Technology Development Leader for Corian® Design, Americas Technical Services & Development Manager for Kalrez® and Vespel® and Technology Strategy and Innovation Manager for Industrial Solutions.   

Outside of work, Meagan is very active in raising her family and mentoring younger scientists.  She has been married for almost 20 years and is a mom to 8-year-old twins. Her and her husband established the Christopher M & Meagan E Evans Graduate Research Fellowship at the University of Rochester to support top chemistry graduate students.  She helped relaunch PhD Campus Recruitment at DuPont, actively mentors early career scientists at DuPont, and has been an active mentor in the Real Reader Program at the University of Rochester.  Additionally, she is a Sunday School Teacher at Calvary Chapel of Delaware County.

She holds a PhD in Organometallic Chemistry from the University of Rochester, BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology, and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago. Meagan has six granted US patents and nine technical publications in top-tier journals.

44. Margaret LaFashia
Director of Workforce Partnership Development, Nemours

Dr. Margaret LaFashia has over 20 years of experience as a domestic and international healthcare professional and clinical educator. Her focus for the last decade has been around pediatric care and the delivery of education to regional partner hospitals seeking new approaches to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood diseases. 

Most recently, Dr. LaFashia was appointed Director of Workforce Partnerships for Nemours Children’s Health. In this role, she is responsible for creating and executing the strategic plan for workforce development.  This plan includes the development, evaluation, and evolution of relevant and inclusive programs that connect early careerists with jobs and opportunities at Nemours Children's Health in the Delaware Valley, and in Central and North Florida. Through collaborations with internal and external partners, creates and executes programs for career engagement and mobility in the surrounding communities of Nemours Children’s Health in Delaware and Florida.

In 2021, Dr. LaFashia launched the Workforce Pipeline Development Program in partnership with a local technical community college and a Vocational Technical High School’s medical assistant (MA) program and nursing assistant (NA) program(s) to provide pediatric clinical training for MA & NA students. These schools serve racially and socio-economically diverse local students and the pipeline offers students exposure to pediatric healthcare experiences they would not otherwise have. A current MA at Nemours who completed the program believes, “The program was a great opportunity to start my career in a place that supports my growth and development.” Since launching, the program has expanded to now include seven partnerships and has helped to place over 60 students in the clinical environment. According to Dr. LaFashia, the program “is key to building a strong pediatric healthcare workforce while also creating pathways to quality jobs to bring more members of the community into Nemours.” 

Dr. LaFashia earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Indianapolis, her MBA from Temple University, and is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s nursing program.  Margaret has been nominated three times as one of Delaware’s Top Nurses and a fun fact is that she also helped train the Delaware National Guard during COVID-19 to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for the community. 

45. Lesley Aulick
Senior Director of Capital Management & Engineering Technology, The Chemours Company

Lesley Aulick began her professional journey as a chemical engineer at the University of Kentucky at DuPont in Parkersburg, West Virginia. After a few years, she became a Six Sigma Black Belt where she was a pioneer in leading projects at the customer. Lesley’s curiosity for how customers used the DuPont products she produced, steered her towards a variety of technical, sales, and marketing roles building her external perspective. In 2015, she joined Chemours as a spin-off from DuPont. Lesley has held roles in the Thermal & Specialized Solutions segment as Global Business Director and North American business Director. She also completed the Chemours Executive Development Program at The Wharton School to further her business knowledge.

In 2020, Lesley led the creation of a global sales function for the Advanced Performance Materials segment as Head of Global Sales. Most recently, Lesley has been leading the company’s large capital projects organization and has responsibility for the subject matter technology and engineering expertise of the company as Senior Director of Capital Management and Engineering Technology. Lesley’s diverse career has been driven by a keen curiosity, a willingness to learn, and a leaning into opportunities. Lesley has also served her community through being on the Board of Trustees at Wilmington Christian School, one of the first female Board members at Naamans Little League, and recently, supporting the relaunch of the Women in Business series at Archmere Academy. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband, Bradley, and two sons. She enjoys playing golf, UK basketball, the beach, watching her sons play sports, and spending time as a family.

47. Pia Stokes
Director of Grants Development and Management, Delaware State University

Pia Z. Stokes is currently the Director of Grants Development and Management at Delaware State University. She attended Morgan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications, then followed up with a Master of Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resource Management from Wilmington University. Pia recognizes the value of leadership, serving the community, and hard work holding various roles within her Sorority, organizations, and in her career. She is a Charter Member and Registered Parliamentarian with the Parliamentarians of New Castle County, DE, and is currently on the Board of Directors with the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. In 2016, Pia was awarded the Rising Star Award by the Delaware ACE Women’s Network (DAWN) and was selected as a Delaware Business Times to 40 under 40 honoree for 2022.

Beginning her higher education career with the University of Phoenix as an Enrollment Advisor, she helped grow the Wilmington, DE campus, ranking as one of the top in the nation. She then transitioned to Delaware State University, where she worked directly with schools and organizations in Delaware and around the US in creating, managing, and overseeing articulation agreements as well as managing, training, and developing the enrollment recruitment staff. In her tenure with Delaware State University, she has developed within her roles to help students navigate through the matriculation process to graduation. Her work with special student populations and partnerships with the University has allowed her to aid in creating the groundwork for the success of students to change the trajectory of their and their families' lives through access to education.

She has the gift of helping people understand what is needed to begin and complete their educational journey and find success in doing so. Pia is devoted to being effective in whatever she does and establishing her mark in the world by assisting identified learners in achieving “their” next level in their journey. Her life experiences have pushed her toward success and ensured she can help others to attain the same. She remains humble, positive, and supportive and always keeps the brightest smile. As an intentional problem-solver, she holds firm to her beliefs and lives by stout integrity.

48. Patricia West-Smith
Senior Director of Customer Engagement, Turnitin

Patti West-Smith leads the Customer Engagement team at Turnitin as the Senior Director of Customer Engagement. The Customer Engagement team encompasses Teaching and Learning Innovations, Customer Advocacy and Thought Leadership, Customer Success & Migrations, and Customer Onboarding. Before coming to Turnitin, Patti spent 19 years working in every capacity in school districts in the United States as a teacher, principal, curriculum supervisor, and many more roles, while also working on local, state, and national curriculum and assessment development projects. Patti also served as an adjunct professor at Salisbury University, where she taught in their teacher preparation program, and acted as an independent professional learning consultant for various school districts and other educational institutions. With her degrees and certifications in education, literacy, and leadership, she had just earned her certification as a superintendent in 2016, but the potential to impact exponentially more teachers and students with Turnitin unexpectedly changed her career path.

While working in the central office of a K-12 public school district, Patti built teacher capacity to deliver high-quality writing instruction and feedback through root cause analysis of data and other professional learning programs and worked with leadership teams to implement and support 1-to-1 computing initiatives in several schools. Since coming to Turnitin more than seven years ago, she has continued to work to create content, instructional and curricular resources, and professional learning opportunities to support educators around the world in the understanding of pedagogy and implementation of Turnitin’s products and services.

Most recently, Patti has appeared on several panels and at conferences around the world, speaking to topics such as effective remote learning, the importance of academic integrity in an evolving world, feedback practices that impact growth, the impact of AI generative tools on writing instruction/assessment, and more. In 2021, Patti and a team of veteran educators at Turnitin also worked with world-renowned educational researcher, Dr. John Hattie, to publish research on the impact of “Where to Next?” feedback. Patti is also in the process of writing her dissertation, the final step in the process to earn her doctorate in educational leadership.

49. Maria Gates
Director of Curio Science, Vaniam Group

Maria Gates serves as Director on the Curio Science team, joining the Vaniam Group in 2020 with over a decade of agency experience. As a leader within Curio Science, she guides an accomplished Account Management team and oversees interactive, expert-led scientific exchange programs. These programs are meticulously designed to offer healthcare professionals a unique opportunity for real-time insights into practice patterns, the latest clinical data, and the nuanced impact of these findings.

Maria's leadership is characterized by a commitment to fostering growth among team members. She encourages an environment that not only prioritizes individual professional development but also promotes cross-functional collaboration, cultivating an atmosphere where individuals can flourish, contribute, and collectively propel the team to industry excellence. Maria holds an undergraduate degree in music with a focus in vocal opera from the University of Rhode Island.

View the complete list of awardees