Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top Women Leaders of DC for 2024. Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, is a vibrant, historic city that pulsates with political significance and cultural richness. Nestled along the banks of the Potomac River, this iconic metropolis is more than just the seat of government. Many innovative industries and dynamic companies thrive there, along with the professional women who lead them.

The recipients of this year’s honor have served many top companies and brands, including Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Cisco, Deloitte, and Tony Roma's, as well as working on behalf of leading mission-driven organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, The National Center for Children and Families, and Safe Kids Worldwide. 

This year’s honorees feature Cindy Southworth, a committed activist who spent her career fighting on behalf of victims of domestic violence. In 2020, after 18 years in leadership roles at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Southworth continued her mission as the Head of Women’s Safety at Meta, one of the most influential technology companies in the world. 

The seat of government is also a major hub for the legal market, and today, we honor several women in law, including Judy Smith, Founder and CEO of Smith & Company and a former federal prosecutor. Smith has counseled presidents and world leaders and advised some of the largest companies in the world, including Amazon, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google. Her ground-breaking career was even the inspiration for the political thriller Scandal. 

Another recipient, Sita Sonty, the CEO of Space Tango, previously served as the Head of Human Spaceflight Sales at SpaceX, where she executed the first private spaceflight sale, furthering the ambitious goal of making humans a multi-planetary species.

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

Nicole Cooper
Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer & EVP, United Way

Nicole Cooper serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at United Way Worldwide (UWW). UWW is leading the design and development of a strategic organizational framework to ensure the path forward is one of impact, relevance, and sustainability. In collaboration with the President and CEO, Cooper drives high-impact policy and strategies to advance critical multi-sector partnerships and the positioning of UWW in key domestic and international circles.

Before joining UWW, Cooper served as the senior VP of health equity strategic partnerships at UnitedHealth Group, the head of healthcare policy at Lyft, and the VP of corporate social responsibility at UnitedHealthcare. She was also an Obama Administration political appointee, supporting the US Department of Health and Human Services Affordable Care Act. 

Cooper holds a Bachelor's degree from Spelman College, a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan, and a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Health Policy from Harvard University. She has received many awards, including Business Insider’s DC Healthcare Power List and the National Minority Quality Forum’s 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health, and she’s a team member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Cindy Southworth
Head of Women’s Safety, Meta

Cindy Southworth, the Head of Women’s Safety at Meta, focuses on empowering women to connect online and combating issues, such as the non-consensual sharing of intimate images that disproportionately impact women. Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.

Prior to joining Meta, Southworth was the founder and director of the Safety Net Technology Project at the US National Network to End Domestic Violence. From there, she was promoted to VP of development and innovation and briefly served as the interim CEO. Her last role before joining Meta was as executive VP. Earlier in her career, Southworth worked for the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, the Abuse Women’s Advocacy Project, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is also a founding board member of the Global Network of Women’s Shelters. 

Southworth graduated from the University of New England with an MSW and from Penn State with an undergraduate degree in human development and family studies.

Mary Clark
Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Mary Clark is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), specializing in the retail and consumer products sector. PwC's purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. PwC operates as a network of firms in 152 countries with over 328,000 people and is among the leading professional services firms in the world. Clark serves in the role of Global Client Partner to a Fortune 500 company and focuses on delivering holistic transformation solutions to her clients’ executive management team and board of directors. Clark has over 20 years of experience providing services to global clients of the firm, including SEC registrants and foreign private issuers. She has spent her career based in the US, London, and Switzerland.

Clark has extensive experience leading PwC’s largest multinational engagements. She oversees teams across assurance, advisory, and tax services around the globe deploying quality, innovation, and consistency. Clark is known for strategically driving the solution while being willing to roll up her sleeves and execute to solve important problems. Through this approach, she has developed a deep network of global partners in over 60 countries. She is passionate about empowering her teams and developing young professionals, including women to recognize their full potential.

Clark earned an undergraduate degree in commerce from the University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Virginia, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Clark lives in Washington DC with her husband and two daughters.

Jessica Lightburn
Head of External Affairs and Advocacy Communications, Office of Government Affairs, Goldman Sachs

Jessica Lightburn is a Vice President in the Office of Government Affairs in the Executive Office at Goldman Sachs where she is responsible for the firm’s advocacy communications and external affairs in Washington, DC.  Much of her time is devoted to amplifying the work of One Million Black Women, the firm’s $10 billion commitment to narrow opportunity gaps in the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030, an initiative Lightburn helped launch and lead over the last 3 years advising on strategic partnerships and programming in the Sustainable Finance Group.  Prior to that role, Lightburn led strategy and innovation for global events and served as an advisor to the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Lightburn was the chief architect for the largest-ever convening of small business owners in America in 2018, led the launch of the firm’s small business advocacy program, and produced the first-of-its-kind Presidential Forum Series in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Earlier in her career, Lightburn served as the US chief of protocol at the Department of Defense for Secretary Robert M. Gates under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. During her tenure, Lightburn was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. She got her start working in the Social Office at the White House supporting President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

Lightburn received her undergraduate degree in communication studies from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. A 2023 Presidential Leadership Scholar, she was selected as one of 60 leaders from across the country to collaborate to make a difference in the world.

Ola Olude-Afolabi
President, Federally Employed Women

Dr. Olude-Afolabi is the AI Program Manager and Visionary to the DOC AI Center of Excellence in the Office of the CTO, an expert in artificial intelligence systems and emerging technologies including software and systems engineering applications. Her fifteen-year government career centers on leading, implementing, encouraging the adoption of innovative and emerging technologies into operational success, and oversight of AI use cases including developing policies, governance, program plans, and standards based on Executive Orders 13960, 14091, and the AI Bill of Rights.  Recently, as a Data Scientist at NTIS, Dr. Olude-Afolabi evaluated pioneering approaches and platforms in data innovations and artificial intelligence solutions that addressed Federal data priorities by advancing the use of data as a strategic asset to achieve mission outcomes and support evidence-based policies and previously, she worked as an AI Patent Examiner at USPTO for almost 10 years.

Before joining DOC, Dr. Olude-Afolabi has over ten years of combined experience in AI Systems, IT, Engineering Research, Systems and Software Engineering, Operations, Programming, Web Development and Quality administration including business, manufacturing, technical and research experiences with Corning Inc., State of Nebraska, State of New York, Northern Virginia Community College, Morgan State Univ. as Adjunct Professor, etc. just to mention a few.

Dr. Ola Olude-Afolabi is a Harvard Senior Executive Fellow, a Clifford D. Clark Diversity Fellow, and recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the National Association of Distinguished Professionals, certified as Executive Branch AI Lab Technology Fellow by Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars and awarded the OCIO Bronze Medal by DOC to mention a few.  She received her Ph.D. in 2010, MS in 2003 in Systems Science specializing in Artificial Intelligence Systems and Systems Engineering respectively from TJ Watson School of
Engineering & Applied Sciences, Binghamton University, NY, and her BS in 1998 studying Computer Science from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She is currently the President of Federally Employed Women – Women of Commerce Chapter.  

Stephany Foster
SVP & Head of Global Human Resources, QIAGEN

Stephany Foster is the Senior Vice President and Head of Global Human Resources of QIAGEN, the leading global provider of sample-to-insight solutions that enable customers to gain valuable molecular insights from samples containing the building blocks of life. Their sample technologies isolate and process DNA, RNA, and proteins from blood, tissue, and other materials. QIAGEN provides solutions to more than 500,000 customers around the world in molecular diagnostics (human healthcare) and life sciences (academia, pharma R&D, and industrial applications, primarily forensics). 

Foster joined QIAGEN in 2005 as VP, Head of Global Internal Audit, and was promoted to her current role as SVP. Before joining QIAGEN, she was a senior manager at Morgan Franklin Corporation. She started her career with PwC, which provides assurance, advisory, and tax services. Foster graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Master's degree and an undergraduate degree in accounting.

Kimberly Ford
SVP of Government Relations, Fiserv

Kimberly Ford is Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Fiserv. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s global policy strategy and overall political advocacy engagement and represents Fiserv’s political interests as the company’s registered lobbyist in Washington DC and Brussels.

Ford joined Fiserv from the US Faster Payments Council, where she was the first executive director of the organization. Prior to her FPC work, she spent 15 years at First Data, starting her career there as manager of public policy and rising to become SVP and head of global government affairs. During her tenure at First Data, she authored several policy measures that were enacted into law, oversaw the creation of the federal political action committee, and worked to cultivate a greater awareness of the critical role that payment technology providers play in global commerce.

Ford was a regional director for US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida before First Data, and she worked in lobbying and communications roles for several Florida-based business trade associations before that. She frequently covers payment issues as a featured speaker at industry and client conferences, and she has twice served as a subject matter expert witness to testify in front of the US Congress.

Ford currently serves on the board of directors for the Innovative Payments Association and the Faster Payments Council, sits on the strategic advisory board for the FinTech startup Identifee, and chairs the policy committee for the American Transaction Processors Coalition.

Aaisha Hamid
Assistant Vice President & DE&I Manager, Alliant Insurance Services

Aaisha Hamid is the Assistant Vice President and DE&I Manager for Alliant Insurance Services. She first joined the company in 2021. At Alliant Insurance, a top ten national brokerage firm where she leads the company's diversity strategy and initiatives and acts as a thought leader for the company. Hamid is a global diversity professional with over seven years of experience in some of the largest and most financially successful legal and financial services firms in the nation, in academic institutions, and on community boards.

Hamid’s former roles included global DE&I plan project manager and D&I senior coordinator, where she executed diversity efforts across 55 offices in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. Hamid has managed the development, facilitation, and metrics for over 200 programs. She has also supported 30 employee resource groups and led efforts to complete over 139 client diversity requests and 15 third-party market surveys, which consistently yield awards and high rankings for the firm. She is the author of two grant-funded books and has traveled locally, nationally, and internationally to speak about a wide range of topics, ranging from identity politics and issues impacting women in the workforce, to addressing culture and religion in contemporary society. 

Hamid graduated from the University of Louisville with a Master's degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has earned certificates from Cornell University, Yale, and the University of South Florida.

Sonia Galindo
EVP, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, KBR

Sonia Galindo serves as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for KBR, a multinational company that delivers science, technology, and engineering solutions to governments and companies around the world. Galindo joined KBR from FLIR Systems, Inc., also a multinational technology company with applications in government and defense in industrial and commercial markets, where she served as senior vice president, general counsel, secretary, and the chief ethics and compliance officer. Prior to FLIR, she served as general counsel and corporate secretary for Rosetta Stone Inc., an education technology software company. Galindo has also held roles of increasing responsibility in the public and private sector, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Blank Rome LLP, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., and McCormick & Company, Inc.

Galindo serves on three advisory boards – The Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership, whose mission is to positively shape and influence how corporations are governed; Diversity Lab, an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law; and lastly, the Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region Leadership Academy, a best-in-class leadership program specifically tailored to provide the next generation of in-house counsel leadership skills and tools.

Galindo earned a JD from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Hood College for Women. She is a first-generation, born and raised in Washington DC, which is still her favorite city and where she currently resides with her significant other and rescue dog.

Annette Best Blum
Vice President, Cisco

As a Vice President at Cisco, Annette Best Blum is a business leader with deep expertise in driving and accelerating transformation across various domains and functions. At Cisco, a US technology company best known for its networking products, Blum leads the GTM Acceleration team, where she collaborates with internal and external stakeholders to improve customer, partner, and seller experience and outcomes. 

Blum started her career at Cisco as a virtual account manager and partner account manager. From there, she was promoted to a managerial role in marketing, marketing operations, and strategic communications, where she and her team launched an interactive marketing portal for Cisco’s US Channel Partners. She then moved into a senior manager role on the partner programs strategy and initiatives team, where she collaborated to create TIP and OIP Express programs. Her team was responsible for the successful execution of those programs in the US. Her next role was director of sales strategy and planning. For the next few years, she led global virtual sales in the Americas and then led initiatives focused on accelerating emerging routes to market, strategic customer offers, and "as a service" initiatives from the strategic execution office. She was promoted to VP in the spring of 2023. 

Blum graduated from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School with an undergraduate degree in business administration.

Jenna Kirkpatrick Howard
SVP & Producer, Lockton Companies

In her role as Senior Vice President at Lockton, Jenna Kirkpatrick Howard works with organizations to identify, assess, and manage their financial, operational, and reputational risks. Howard understands the goals of her clients and leads the Lockton teams in risk management strategy, insurance program design, risk finance, employee benefits consulting, claims advocacy, and risk control. Within her firm, Howard is appointed to the Executive Committee for the Northeast Series of Lockton Companies. She provides strategic leadership within the business that serves over 1,000 clients and 600 associates, generating revenues close to $300M. She serves on three steering committees for Lockton - Women in Leadership, the DEI Council, and Lockton CARES, the community service arm of Lockton’s culture. Howard was the 2022 chair of the Elite Women Producer (EWP) group within Lockton. The mission of EWP is to create deeply connected and engaged producers committed to growth, accountability, recruiting talent, and modeling authentic leadership.

In addition to her role at Lockton, Howard co-founded the Women's Real Estate Investment Consortium (WREIC). The consortium shares real estate investment opportunities with each other, evaluates the acquisitions, and shares connections to bring more women into the investment side of commercial real estate. In creating this consortium, they leverage the expertise of members and learn from each other in order to effectively and wisely invest in real estate.

Howard co-authored a book for the American Bar Association titled Construction Insurance: A Guide for Attorneys and Other Professionals. In addition, she regularly hosts webinars on risk management topics and speaks at industry events, such as the ABA Construction Forum, Washington Business Journal, CREW Network, Community IT, Environmental Bankers Association, CRE Financing, and RIMS.

After a decade of membership in Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW DC) and four years on the board of directors, Howard stepped into the role of Board President in 2020. This organization’s mission is to advance women in commercial real estate through education, networking, professional development, and mentorship. During her time on the board of CREW DC, she played a pivotal role in the development of the current strategic plan and championed a key objective of that plan on fostering an inclusive environment.

Sita Sonty
Chief Executive Officer, Space Tango

Sita Sonty is the Chief Executive Officer of Space Tango. Sita manages the implementation of the corporate mission and vision.

Prior to joining Space Tango, Sonty led the space industry practice for the Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm. She also made history as the Head of Human Spaceflight Sales at SpaceX, where she executed the first private spaceflight sale on the Crew Dragon on a Lower Earth Orbit Free Flyer and to the International Space Station while guiding global market strategy for Starlink’s expansion. Before SpaceX, Sita was Vice President for International Business with the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), teeing up the spinout of Sierra Space, as well as Director for National Security and International Business Development at Raytheon. 

Before joining the space industry, Sita amassed over seventeen years of service as a career US diplomat. Sita led the International Security Advisory Board bringing A&D companies’ strategic recommendations to Secretary Kerry; she also served as Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs and Senior Advisor for Defense Sales to South and Central Asia. Her overseas posts include Croatia, Libya, Syria, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (2004), and Egypt.

Christine Broad
Senior Vice President, Edelman Smithfield

Christine Broad is a Senior Vice President at Edelman Smithfield, a financial communications boutique that specializes in the financial markets and strategic situations. Christine is an experienced communications professional with a background in corporate communications, financial services, and commercial real estate. She specializes in media relations and has serviced a broad range of public and private companies, where she works to develop and execute strategic communications plans that maximize client visibility and achieve critical business objectives. Leveraging her relationships with top-tier media, trade publications, and local business reporters, Broad drives media strategy across accounts and helps clients meet their earned media goals.

Prior to Edelman, Broad served as an account director at ICR, where she worked with clients in the financial services, investment management, and professional services space. She supported various thought leadership campaigns to position executives as industry leaders, generated significant media coverage in top-tier business outlets, and worked to protect brand reputation in crisis situations.

Previously, Broad worked on Capitol Hill for five years, where she served in the press offices of various members of Congress. She has experience running the press operations of political campaigns for both US House and US Senate seats. She attended Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where she graduated cum laude.

Mohaimina Haque
Interim Chief Executive Officer, Tony Roma's

Mohaimina Haque is the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Tony Roma's. Romacorp, Inc. is the parent company of Tony Roma’s, Tony Roma’s Legendary Grill®, and Tony Roma’s Bones & BurgersTM. With a commitment to culinary excellence, Romacorp boasts a rich history of providing exceptional dining experiences across the globe.

Haque is also the founder of The Law Office of Mohaimina Haque, PLLC. For the last few years, she’s served as the outside counsel to Romacorp, Inc., managing all legal matters for the global company, in addition to serving as a close, strategic advisor. Haque has both litigation and transactional skills in a wide range of areas, including business and franchise law. Haque’s clients have come from a variety of industries, including food and beverage, financial services, and luxury brands. For each client, she applies a unique combination of legal and strategic business acumen in order to support their overall business objectives and optimize shareholder value. She also teaches business and leadership skills to law students based on a curriculum that she created. In 2021, she was recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the Outstanding Women in the Washington DC, Metropolitan area. 

Haque obtained her JD degree cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law and earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgetown University.

Judy Smith
Founder & CEO, Smith & Company

For more than 25 years, Judy Smith has counseled presidents and world leaders through global crises, advised Fortune 50 CEOs through complex challenges, and helped manage the reputations of some of the world’s highest-profile individuals. She founded Smith & Company, a strategic advisory firm considered to be one of the top crisis firms in the world, that has offices in Washington DC, Los Angeles, New York, and London.  

In addition to her work as a communications advisor during high-profile moments, Smith is a long-time counselor to some of the world’s largest and most influential companies, such as Amazon, Facebook, Panera, Lowes, Sony, Kaiser, United Healthcare, and Walmart. She provides her clients with strategic advice on a variety of corporate communications issues, such as mergers and acquisitions, product recalls, intellectual property litigation, corporate positioning, diversity, and other corporate, investor, and public relations matters. 

A former federal prosecutor, Smith worked in the US Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, where she handled high-profile investigations. She also served as Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush, during which time she worked on a host of domestic and international issues.

As a result of her wide-ranging and ground-breaking career, Smith inspired the hit TV series Scandal and served as co-executive producer of the project. Smith’s advice and counsel have been valuable to corporate boardrooms, and she currently serves on the boards for Save the Children, Global Citizen, and Ariel Investments. 

Kristie Benson
SVP of Customer Service, Marketing, & Communications, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Kristie Benson is the Senior Vice President of Customer Service, Marketing, and Communications for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). A champion of communications and a connector of people, she is responsible for keeping employees informed, elevating the customer experience, creating content, crafting powerful stories, and gathering and sharing thoughtful insights that guide decision-making and developing marketing campaigns that inspire behavioral change. Prior to her current role, Benson served as the VP of communications and chief spokesperson, where she led all external communications, including media relations, content and strategic communications, digital innovation and communications, and special events. Through consistent and accurate public communication campaigns, her efforts increased public awareness and customer confidence in Metro’s service delivery capabilities.

Before joining WMATA, Benson served for several years as a director of communications for the High Museum of Art, and before that, as the director of PR and media relations for Southern Gas Company. Benson graduated from Winston-Salem State University with an undergraduate degree in communications and from American University with a Master's degree in Communications.

Tricia Brooks
VP of Government Affairs & Policy, Eisai US

Tricia Brooks is a dynamic public affairs strategist and thought leader with over 25 years of experience in advocacy, lobbying, policy development, and communications, leading to outcomes beneficial to both patients and the healthcare enterprise. She has a proven track record in cultivating alliances, advancing federal and state advocacy agendas, and developing, leading, and motivating high-performing teams. Her strengths include an ability to build consensus, clarify and articulate the business implications of public policy, and engage effectively with senior executives, Members of Congress and their staff, Executive branch officials, advocates, industry, and media.

As VP of Government Affairs and Policy, at Eisai US, Brooks guides, grows, and represents Eisai’s research-based, human health care mission in Washington DC and with policymakers. Acutely, Brooks and her team are working to bring a disease modifying therapy to people living with early Alzheimer’s disease through proactive solutions with the various stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.

As VP of External Affairs at Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), Brooks and her team focused on transforming the healthcare sector through legislative and regulatory proposals that fostered high-quality, affordable coverage and care to beneficiaries, while articulating the unique value proposition of provider-aligned, community health plans through various communication and advocacy channels.

During her tenure at Novo Nordisk, Brooks led a team of over 30 highly collaborative individuals to improve patient care and achieve business goals by optimizing credibility, reach, and impact. In close collaboration with the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, the team advanced a strategy to update the US Preventive Services Task Force diabetes screening guidelines, championed a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) demo to implement the Diabetes Prevention Program as a covered benefit under Medicare, and identified measures to drive optimal outcomes for diabetes with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Other key highlights of her career include building the Alliance Development team for BIO, integrating Michael J. Fox into national campaigns to increase Congressional support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and establishing the DC office for The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Courtney Peterson
Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Diversity Officer, Edison Electric Institute

Courtney Peterson is Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Chief Diversity Officer at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). EEI is the association that represents all of America's investor-owned electric companies. Peterson joined EEI in 2021, and in her current role, she provides executive leadership to EEI’s industry-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategy and practice area, while overseeing EEI’s 40-year-old business/supplier diversity program. She also drives engagement with EEI’s member company CHROs. Peterson leads EEI’s internal human resources and DE&I strategy and operations for its DC-based staff and internal facility operations. She also serves as Chief Administrative Officer for the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). 

Prior to joining EEI, Peterson served as Chief People and Culture Officer at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, and in various HR leadership roles for the Fannie Mae Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. She has earned senior-level human resources certifications from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the Human Resources Certification Institute. Peterson is on the board of directors of the SHRM Foundation and is on the faculty at Georgetown University in the School of Continuing Studies, teaching in the master's degree program in Human Resources Management.

Peterson is certified as a leadership/executive coach at the professional certified coach (PCC) level through the International Coaching Federation and a certified workplace mediator. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Leadership from Robert Morris University. She also holds an executive certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown University.

Peterson has been named one of the Most Influential Executives in Diversity & Inclusion by Savoy Magazine, as well as a Top 100 Diversity Officer™. She has also been named a Gamechanger: Introvert to Watch by HushLoudly Media Group. She is a member of the Top Ladies of Distinction as well as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She resides in Maryland with her daughters.

Christina Cary
Partner, Heidrick & Struggles

Christina Cary is a Partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Washington DC office and a member of the Human Resources Officers and Technology and Services practices. Her search work focuses on functional roles in human resources, including CHRO, CPO, divisional, and regional heads of HR, and centers of excellence leaders in talent management, talent acquisition, learning, and development, HR operations, total rewards, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Her industry expertise is predominantly focused on the technology and services sectors, including software/SaaS and cloud, consumer tech, fin-tech, information services, and professional services. She has experience working for companies at various stages of their life cycles, including PE/VC-backed, high-growth pre-IPO, and public, many of which are expanding globally.

Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Cary worked in the private wealth management business of JPMorgan Chase, providing customized solutions, including capital advisory, investment asset allocation, and trust and estate planning recommendations for individuals within the private equity, hedge fund, and trading spaces. She began pursuing her MBA during her early years at JPMorgan Chase.

Cary is a member of the Georgetown University Board of Governors and served as chair of the nominations committee for two years. She is a former president of Hoyas Unlimited, Georgetown’s annual fundraising arm for athletics that supports excellence across all the university’s 29 intercollegiate sports. Christina earned an MBA with concentrations in economics and managerial and organizational behavior from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University.

Laila Haider
Vice President, Charles River Associates

Laila Haider is an economist and a Vice President in the Competition Practice at Charles River Associates, Inc., a leading global consulting firm that offers economic, financial, and strategic expertise to major law firms, corporations, accounting firms, and governments around the world. She provides expert economic testimony and economic analysis in matters involving antitrust, labor and employment, and false advertising issues. She testifies in federal court and depositions and arbitrations, including in several high-profile antitrust class action matters. Her primary area of expertise is the application of microeconomics and statistics to litigation issues.

Haider is currently Co-chair of the Women.Connected Committee of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Law Section. The committee focuses on the recruitment, integration, contributions, and advancement of women in antitrust and consumer protection. She recently served as Co-chair of the Economics Committee of the Antitrust Law Section and was also Associate Editor of Antitrust Magazine. Haider has published articles and is frequently invited to speak on issues arising in litigation. She has a PhD in Economics from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in economics from Gettysburg College.

Nicole Gibson
Partner, Guidehouse

Nicole Gibson is a Partner at Guidehouse in the Defense and Security Segment based in Washington DC. Guidehouse is a leading global provider of consulting services to the public sector and commercial markets, with broad capabilities in management, technology, and risk consulting. By combining public and private sector expertise, the firm helps clients address their most complex challenges and navigate significant regulatory pressures focusing on transformational change, business resiliency, and technology-driven innovation.

Gibson has over 23 years of experience delivering management consulting services to the federal government, providing clients with expert insight and guidance as they seek to transform their organizations, increase transparency, better serve their customers, and increase operational effectiveness. Recognized for her unwavering commitment and passion for mentorship, diversity, and volunteering efforts, Gibson is known to break down barriers and help women – both inside and outside of Guidehouse – succeed. She is a founding female partner of the firm's Women's Inclusion Network, supporting the connection and development of female employees. Gibson graduated from George Mason University with an MPA and from William & Mary with an undergraduate degree in European studies and civilization.

Tina Beaty
Chief Marketing & Experience Officer, SHRM

As the Chief Marketing and Experience for SHRM, Tina Beaty is responsible for SHRM's global B2B and B2C marketing and audience experience ecosystem, including brand, events, web and digital transformation, content strategy, PR, growth and demand generation, social media, visual storytelling, product marketing, and foundation marketing. Beaty has launched products, shaped public opinion, introduced consumer awareness campaigns, and now works to shape the world of work, where employers and employees thrive. She changes the way people think, feel, and believe. Using an integrated omnichannel strategy and a full martech stack to drive audience-centric customization across channels, she leads her team to drive revenue and change global behaviors.

As a change agent, Beaty has ushered in an audience-centric model designing the marketing strategy for membership, products, and e-commerce solution sets while facilitating innovation in the martech stack and building out ABM capes. She was a main architect on the product development and go-to-market strategy for the SHRM Executive Network, targeting senior HR and business leaders and maximizing the human capital at the enterprise and mid-market level. Prior to SHRM, her leadership of an integrated communications campaign for the Indexed Annuities Leadership Council (IALC) helped change perceptions of fixed indexed annuities, leading to a 30% increase in industry sales. She led Welch’s mealtime research PR, shifting brand voice; counseled government clients, such as CFTC, in reaching a consumer audience through earned media; elevated business-focused NGOs, such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance; and placed executives, such as Carly Fiorina, on a national stage. Her storytelling has landed clients in The Washington Post, in Bloomberg, and on the TODAY Show, to name a few.

Additionally, Beaty is an advisory board member for Miami University's (OH) journalism and communication school and is a president emeritus for Washington Women in PR. Previously, she was named to PR News’ Top Women in PR. She is a mommy-ninja, with three kids, as well as a real-life ninja, holding a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Kristine Korva
Human Capital Business Leader, Government & Public Services, Deloitte Consulting

Kristine Korva leads the Government and Public Services (GPS) Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting which focuses on helping government agencies, higher education institutions, and nonprofit organizations thrive through their enduring source of competitive advantage – their people. She works with business and HR leaders to conceptualize, design, and execute major changes to create a more strategic, business-driven organization. Her experience traverses the human capital landscape, including strategy, operating model design, and transition, technology, workforce transition, change management, and business process outsourcing.

Prior to this, Korva served as the US Firm’s HR Strategy & Transformation leader, working closely with Deloitte’s Chief Talent Officer. She is passionate about the modernization of HR organizations – including Deloitte’s own HR – through the utilization of enhanced technology, refreshed operating models, and innovative strategies that transform the way HR functions and drive the optimal employee experience. Korva has served as the Intelligence Community Sub-Sector Leader, Lead Client Service Partner for the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), and Advisory Partner for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Office for the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Outside of these positions, Korva is one of the firm’s prominent LGBTQIA+ leaders and spends significant time identifying and coaching Deloitte’s next generation of leaders. She is passionate about investing in others and maintains an open-door policy for all – preferably over coffee and bagels. She is known for leading with authenticity, asking tough questions, and her sense of humor. 

Korva holds a Master's degree in Organizational Development and Strategic HR from Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in business administration from The Catholic University of America.

Tanisha Sanders
SVP of Corporate & Legislative Affairs, ITG Brands

Serving as the Senior Vice President of Corporate and Legislative Affairs for ITG Brands (ITG), Washington DC office, Tanisha Sanders is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and policies. In her role at ITG, Sanders proudly serves as a member of the US Leadership Team and leads all advocacy, outreach, and engagement on critical policy issues at the national level. A seasoned professional, Sanders has over 20 years of experience in government and corporate affairs, while also having represented major iconic brands across the globe.

Prior to joining ITG Brands, Sanders served as head of government affairs and communications for North America’s leading provider of integrated environmental solutions – Waste Management, Inc. While there, she served as co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Akin to this, Sanders’ career is also inclusive of advancing consumer product goods for the Kellogg Company, where she led and advanced policy priorities, both at the federal and state levels. A Detroit native, Tanisha’s passion for mentoring young women pursuing careers in government affairs is widespread. Driven by the African adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Sanders continues to advocate for sustainable development and change across various communities and spaces.

Tanisha holds an undergraduate degree in political science and pre-law from Michigan State University and a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University, and she is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, recognitions, and acknowledgments, including being honored by the Michigan Chronicle as one of its Woman of Excellence Award recipients. Additionally, she was identified as one of the nation's top women lobbyists by Professional Women in Advocacy. She was also humbled to receive the Young Alumni Award from her alma mater, Michigan State University, College of Social Science. This award is the college’s highest recognition given to a graduate who’s achieved a high level of professional accomplishment early in their career. Sanders enjoys travel, Motown classics, and spending time with her husband and their four children.

Jennifer M. Schlener
Chief of Staff, Association of American Medical Colleges

As Chief of Staff at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Jennifer M. Schlener supports and serves the president and CEO in leading the AAMC to advance the mission of the AAMC. As a member of the leadership team, she champions and supports the implementation of the AAMC’s strategic plan and organization-wide efforts. She recently led the execution of the merger of the Association of Academic Health Centers into the AAMC.

Serving as an advisor on governance matters, she is responsible for the work of the Governance, Nominating, and Leadership Development Committee of AAMC’s board of directors. She has spoken nationally on governance matters, including executive compensation, the imperative for board assessment, and continuous board improvement.

In her executive role, Schlener oversees the functioning of the office of the president, which includes the AAMC’s strategy and innovation development function and internal audit function. Her team supports the president and CEO, the work of the board of directors, the effective functioning of the executive leadership team, and the association’s presidential awards program. She drives and champions the alignment of culture, strategy, and leadership and facilitates and provides leadership to internal organizational development activities.

Schlener is a highly rated speaker nationally, an expert facilitator of strategic and organizational development retreats, and a certified trainer of Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability. Prior to joining the AAMC in 2007, she worked at Penn State University for seven years. She began her career as a development and alumni relations professional at her alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College. Schlener is the chair of the board of directors of Physicians for Peace; secretary of the board of directors of National Medical Fellowships and a member of Franklin & Marshall College’s Leadership Council, and she served as a past board member of the American Heart Association – Lancaster Division, Ephrata Performing Arts Center, and Hershey Area Playhouse.

Jennifer Joyce
Principal, EY

Jennifer Joyce is a Principal at EY, a global leader in assurance, consulting, strategy and transactions, and tax services. As a leader in EY’s forensic and integrity services practice, Joyce brings over 15 years of experience in the areas of Information Governance and eDiscovery consulting. She works with Fortune 500 companies to navigate the challenges related to information management, complex data privacy, and data protection requirements, as well as effective legal hold, preservation, and discovery response processes. Joyce also provides technology solutions and services to support companies during investigations, litigation, audits, and transactions and to resolve other business-critical issues. She is a frequent speaker and author on topics related to emerging technology, evolving regulations, and recent case law related to Information Governance and eDiscovery.

Joyce joined EY in 2008 as a senior associate and spent the last decade leading talent initiatives that provide coaching, mentorship, and development opportunities to her teams. She is a member of EY’s talent leadership team and has held various positions across EY’s professional women’s networks and DEI committees. Joyce is a graduate of Syracuse University.

Shaama Pandya
Vice President, Cornerstone Research

As Vice President of Cornerstone Research, Shaama Pandya leads teams in complex litigation and regulatory investigations related to securities, consumer finance, and valuation. She has more than a decade of experience managing large teams in expert discovery, motion practice, and mediation and settlement negotiations, as well as trials and arbitrations. Her work spans multiple industries, including technology, energy, pharmaceuticals, private equity and venture capital, and financial institutions. She has addressed a broad range of economic issues in her work, including market efficiency, loss causation, and damages.

Pandya has worked on matters in a variety of venues, including US federal and state courts, the Delaware Court of Chancery, and international jurisdictions, notably in Latin America and Europe. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and earned dual undergraduate degrees in economics and cultural anthropology from Duke University.

Nalanie Nath
Senior Vice President, Insight Partners

Nalanie Nath is a Senior Vice President at Insight Partners, a leading global venture capital and private equity firm. With over 500 current investments, Insight Partners strives to be the world’s best software investor. Nath leads operations for Insight's Onsite group, which consists of more than 120 value-creation experts working hand in hand with portfolio companies to meaningfully accelerate sustainable and profitable growth. After starting at Insight as a value creation expert herself advising CEOs, CROs, and CCOs, she now has the unique ability to bring her operations and portfolio advisory experiences together to design people, process, and technology-based solutions that increase productivity and day-to-day efficiency for Onsite.

Nath is also passionate about helping others break into software and technology. In 2021, she founded Insight JumpStart, a program for underrepresented groups to launch a career in tech. JumpStart connects portfolio companies to candidates from non-traditional career backgrounds to ultimately drive change in the software industry. Since its inception, the program has placed almost 100 JumpStart alums at portfolio companies and has led to more than $5.5M in wealth expansion for these individuals over two years.

Nath began her career in consulting and technology, always seeking to understand how to truly run effective businesses at scale. Prior to Insight, Nath led field operations at AppNexus, which was acquired by AT&T. Nath's expertise is focused on delivering solutions that evolve teams, as well as support the optimization of market and financial goals. She has experience working in and consulting for a variety of companies ranging from global institutions to startups.

Jessica Lawrence-Vaca
SVP of Policy & External Affairs, Array Technologies

Jessica Lawrence-Vaca is the Senior Vice President of Policy and External Affairs at Array Technologies, a global provider of utility-scale solar tracker technology. She is a senior government relations professional, strategist, and former Capitol Hill staffer with nearly two decades of experience in both the government and private sectors. She is widely respected across the solar industry as a leader and trade expert, where she helps to develop and execute advocacy and communications strategies; interfaces with high-level government officials; builds coalitions of industry partners and third-party validators; and supports policy efforts to grow solar markets.

Lawrence-Vaca has spent the last decade immersed in solar trade policy, beginning with managing a coalition of over 100 solar companies and lobbying for a US solar raw materials manufacturer during two rounds of AD/CVD duties on Chinese solar cells and modules. She then came to SOLV Energy (FKA Swinerton Renewable Energy), where she collaborated with SEIA to support and lead industry advocacy efforts against the Section 201 solar tariffs. As Chair of SEIA’s Trade Working Group, Lawrence-Vaca successfully led industry-wide efforts, including fundraising and executing a targeted ad campaign supported by industry partners, to curb an effort to initiate AD/CVD circumvention duties, as well as limit the impact of the Section 201 extension on solar cells and modules by helping lead an advocacy effort for a bifacial exclusion.

Prior to joining the solar industry, Lawrence-Vaca spent a decade focused on foreign policy and national security issues as a lobbyist and on Capitol Hill. She speaks regularly at conferences and events on the intersection between trade, manufacturing, supply chain, national security, and labor policy as it relates to job growth and combating climate change. 

Lawrence-Vaca holds a Master's degree in National Security Studies from The Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in political science and French from the University of Washington. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with her husband and four sons.

Jaime Orlando
SVP of Communications, Mission Technologies, a division of HII 

Jaime Orlando is the Senior Vice President of Communications for HII’s Mission Technologies division. She is responsible for the strategy and execution of all integrated marketing, communications, and engagement strategies.

Before joining HII, Orlando served as senior director of strategic communications for Peraton, where she led corporate media relations and internal communications and launched the company’s brand identity following its carve-out from Harris Corp.

She joined Harris in 2012 and served as the senior manager of the IT services business and later director of marketing and communications for its critical networks segment. Additionally, she served in a variety of communication and marketing roles with ManTech International, the US Department of State, and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Orlando earned Bachelor's degrees in Economics and Consumer Studies from Virginia Tech and a Master's degree in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University. She also served as Chair of the Potomac Officers Club’s marketing council and has received industry and peer recognition for successful advertising and employee engagement campaigns.

Jen Earyes
VP & Head of Investor Relations, Navient

Jen Earyes is the Vice President and Head of Investor Relations for Navient Corporation. Navient provides technology-enabled education finance and business processing solutions that simplify complex programs and help millions of people achieve success. Their customer-focused, data-driven services deliver exceptional results for clients in education, healthcare, and government. In her role, Earyes delivers results and sets realistic expectations for the company among current and potential owners and creditors. 

Prior to rejoining Team Navient in 2022, Earyes played a critical role in the strategy that ultimately led to the federal legislation to support financial contracts through the discontinuation of LIBOR. 

Earyes graduated from the Costello College of Business at George Mason University with an undergraduate degree in finance and financial management services. She is also a Certified Treasury Professional through the Association for Financial Professionals.

Amber Northern
SVP for Research, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Amber Northern is Senior Vice President for Research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where she supervises the Institute’s robust research portfolio and research staff. An authority on academic standards, career and technical education, and charter schools, Northern’s research and commentary have appeared in print media, including National Review, Fox News, Education Week, Kappan, Education Next, and The 74. She has appeared in various broadcast media and nationally syndicated radio, including Fox and Friends, C-SPAN, NPR, The Sam Sorbo Show, The Drew Mariani Show, and The Tony Katz Show. She routinely writes for the Institute’s Education Gadfly Weekly and hosts a research segment on the Education Gadfly Show podcast. 

Prior to joining Fordham, Northern taught at the University of Virginia, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and served as senior study director at Westat, where she led multiple research studies involving reading instruction, math and science partnerships, technology, and more. 

Northern holds a PhD in Education Policy and Evaluation from the University of Virginia, and a MS in secondary education from Old Dominion University. She started her career as a high school teacher.

Margery Kraus
Founder & Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide

Margery Kraus is the Founder and Executive Chairman of APCO Worldwide. APCO Worldwide is an independent, global communication, stakeholder engagement, and business strategy firm. Kraus transformed APCO into a multinational consulting firm in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She led a management buy-out of the firm in 2004, making APCO one of the largest privately owned communication consulting firms in the world. 

Kraus specializes in providing strategic counsel on issue-based communication, crisis management, market-entry, and corporate reputation across diverse industry sectors. She pioneered one of the industry’s earliest practices in corporate responsibility and the development of public/private partnerships.

Before founding APCO Worldwide, Kraus was a VP at Close Up Foundation. She graduated from American University with an MPA and from Knox College with an undergraduate degree.

Veleka R. Peeples-Dyer
Former Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, & Corporate Secretary, Opentrons Labworks, Inc.

Formerly the Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary, at Opentrons Labworks, Inc., Veleka R. Peeples-Dyer is an accomplished life sciences executive and corporate board member who has spent her career dedicated to the industry, advising pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and other companies on regulatory, legal, and global compliance matters, as a strategic business, legal, and compliance advisor. 

Peeples-Dyer has spent over seventeen years as senior legal and compliance counsel for publicly traded and private life sciences companies and six years as a senior partner in major law firms advising global clients on life sciences matters. Additionally, she served as the Chair of the North America Food and Drug Practice and Co-chair of the Global Regulatory Group for Baker McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms, based out of the Washington DC office, where she was ranked in Chambers USA for Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulation in 2021. Peeples-Dyer is on the advisory board of Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC), which is committed to promoting the career advancement of women of color attorneys and supporting global diversity in the legal profession. Peeples-Dyer is very passionate and intentional about mentoring the next generation of attorneys and participated in the inaugural class of attorney mentors with The Bridge Builders, Esq. She is a DC Founding Member of CHIEF, a private network of women in executive leadership focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders. 

She is on the advisory board for Syridex Bio, a life sciences firm dedicated to investing in therapies that address unmet needs of underserved communities, and a member of the Board of Directors for Replimune, an organization committed to eradicating cancer, and Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), a nonprofit organization created for local entrepreneurs seeking offices, laboratory facilities, and entrepreneurial support services.  

Peeples-Dyer has received several awards and recognition for her contributions as an enterprise leader, including being named 2022 Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America, Savoy Magazine; 2022 Most Influential Black Lawyers, Savoy Magazine; Healthcare, Who’s Who Legal Global Guide 2020 and 2021; Most Influential Women in Corporate America, Savoy Magazine 2019; Life Science Star, LMG Life Sciences 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021; Short-listed by LMG Life Sciences as FDA Regulatory Attorney of the Year: Pharmaceuticals in 2020 and 2021; and Most Influential Black Lawyers, Savoy Magazine 2018. Additionally, she serves as a core program speaker for the Graduate Certificate Program in Healthcare Corporate Compliance at The George Washington University College of Professional Studies, biannually.

Peeples-Dyer is a graduate of Hampton University and the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Rowena Kay Mascarenhas
Executive Director, TiE Boston

Rowena Kay Mascarenhas is a dynamic and accomplished executive, currently serving as the Executive Director of TiE Boston. She brings her visionary leadership and entrepreneurial mindset to lead signature programs, fundraising efforts, and strategic partnerships, thus demonstrating her commitment to fostering innovation and growth within the entrepreneurial community.

Rowena has effectively steered multiple teams in implementing successful programs, crafting strategic frameworks, and influencing policy. Her passion lies in connecting and convening individuals to address contemporary challenges. Notably, Rowena places special emphasis on advancing the intersection of business and social impact, while also championing growth opportunities for women-led businesses.

Drawing upon a rich and diverse professional background spanning over two decades, Rowena has excelled across corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors. Her cross-sectoral expertise extends to multicultural, local, and global environments. Her proficiency in leveraging communications, forging partnerships, and building relationships has been instrumental in triggering narrative and culture shifts. Prior to her current role, Rowena held key positions at the American India Foundation, Oxford University Press, and Crompton Greaves. 

Beyond her professional commitments, Rowena finds fulfillment in adventure traveling, volunteering on an urban farm and a nonprofit committed to reducing gender disparities and cherishing moments with her family and pets. Her multifaceted experiences and unwavering dedication underscore Rowena's influential role in shaping the landscape of entrepreneurship and social impact.

Amanda Arnold
VP for Government Affairs & Policy, Valneva

Amanda Arnold began her professional career over 17 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy at Valneva. Valneva is a specialty vaccine company focused on the development and commercialization of prophylactic vaccines for infectious diseases with significant unmet medical needs. The company has leveraged its expertise and capabilities both to successfully commercialize two vaccines and to rapidly advance a broad range of vaccine candidates into and through the clinic, including candidates against Lyme disease, the chikungunya virus, and COVID-19.

Arnold has honed her skills in Washington over the past 15 years, first as a policy staffer for the US Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and for the National Institutes of Health. Recently, she represented multiple universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Washington, with the goal of expanding American research, development, and manufacturing innovation. Arnold completed her undergraduate work at the University of Edinburgh and Arizona State University in political science and international relations. She holds a Master's degree in Science and Technology Policy from the University of Sussex in the UK.

Sarah Courtney
Chief Communications Officer, League of Women Voters

Sarah Courtney is the Chief Communications Officer of the League of Women Voters of the United States, where she leads a team of skilled communicators and marketing experts working to advance progress in democracy and elections. Since 2016, she has overseen the communications department at the League and is responsible for the organization’s digital presence, brand identity, media relations, and member communications. During her tenure at the League, she has played an integral role in modernizing and reshaping the organization’s brand and reputation. Under her leadership, the LWVUS communications team works to increase the League’s visibility and ensure the organization’s brand and leadership in the voting rights space are suited to the challenges facing democracy in the 21st century.

As a voting rights expert and communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in journalism and public relations, her leadership ensures a unified and consistent voice across the organization’s communications channels. Under her direction, the League has won multiple awards for website development and public service video production. Courtney started her career in journalism and was a television producer for multiple TV networks. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication from Fairfield University. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

Sandra Gasca
VP of Center for Systems Innovation, Annie E. Casey Foundation

As Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Center for Systems Innovation, Sandra Gasca oversees national and state reform efforts in three key areas: child welfare, young people transitioning into adulthood, and juvenile justice. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private national philanthropy that creates better futures for the nation’s children by strengthening families, building economic opportunities, and transforming neighborhoods into safer and healthier places to live, work, and grow.

Prior to assuming this role in 2018, Gasca served as the director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, which aims to equip young people leaving foster care with the relationships, resources, and opportunities needed to achieve well-being and success as they transition into adulthood. A former Children and Family Fellow, Gasca joined the Foundation in 2015. She previously worked at KVC Health Systems, a national leader in behavioral health care, child welfare, and community health and wellness. As the nonprofit’s executive vice president of practice and leadership integration, Gasca led efforts to transform child welfare systems with results-based decision-making and clinical best practices. 

Gasca is a graduate of the National Hispanic Leadership Institute and holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard University. She earned a Master's degree in Psychology from Emporia State University and a Bachelor's degree from Southwestern College in Kansas.

Kelli Burke
VP of Commercial Multifamily Finance, Mortgage Bankers Association

Kelli Burke is Vice President of Commercial Multifamily Finance (CMF) for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). In this management role, Burke develops and executes MBA’s CMF member engagement strategy across the various sectors within commercial real estate finance and serves as a staff expert on several business functions, including originations, underwriting, securitization, servicing, and asset management. Her responsibilities also include leading the planning and content development for MBA’s annual CREF Convention and Expo, and Servicing and Technology conference.

Burke has over two decades of experience in commercial real estate and hospitality. Before joining MBA, she held several hospitality management roles, including as sous chef, food event planner, and restaurateur for businesses in Dallas and San Diego. Prior to that, she worked for 11 years in expanding roles at Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, LLC, in Dallas, including as vice president of information systems, where she partnered closely with the commercial servicing business of the company. Burke also worked for seven years in commercial servicing at GMAC Commercial Mortgage, a predecessor company of Berkadia, in Atlanta.

Burke holds a Master of Applied Project Management from Villanova University, an undergraduate degree from the University of Phoenix in Dallas, and an associate degree in culinary arts from the Art Institute of California.

Autumn Leatham
SVP & Commercial Banking Group Team Leader, City First Broadway

Autumn Leatham is the Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Group Team Leader of  City First Broadway. City First Bank is a commercial community development bank, the largest Black-led Minority Depository Institution, and certified as B Corp with branches and headquarters in Los Angeles and Washington DC, channeling intentional capital to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and investing in multifamily affordable housing, nonprofits, and small business development.

As a former investment management professional for a Fortune 500 company and finance and operations manager for a large charter school network, Leatham has developed a high level of expertise in procuring and cultivating relationships. These experiences have led to executive development training in the financial services and education sector – most notably opportunities to develop innovative platforms and resources that improve investment education. 

With over 13 years of professional experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, Leatham has a diverse portfolio of relationships and a diverse way of thinking about business. She is always interested in collaborating with individuals and organizations with a strong philanthropic mission and a desire to innovate. 

Leatham has served in leadership roles in other well-known institutions, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. She graduated from Hampton University with an undergraduate degree in public relations and image management.

Heather Jenkins
Chief Executive Officer, The Literacy Lab

Heather Jenkins is the Chief Executive Officer of The Literacy Lab, a nonprofit organization providing children in Pre-K through third grade with daily, evidence-based literacy intervention in order to improve their overall academic success and increase their opportunities in life. Literacy Lab tutors serve full-time in high-need preschools and elementary schools in Washington DC; Richmond, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; and Kansas City, Missouri metro areas.

Prior to joining The Literacy Lab, Jenkins was the chief people and equity officer at uAspire, where she was responsible for ensuring that uAspire’s people, equity, and organizational culture work is done with a people-first mindset to drive retention, inclusivity, and sustainability. Jenkins has 21 years of experience working for equity and access in education, including teacher and administrator at the K-12 level, nonprofit leader, diversity and equity consultant for secondary and postsecondary institutions, public and private school college readiness education consultant, and a mentor to students of color and economically marginalized youth. 

She has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master's degree in Education, and a PhD in Sociology of Education. She is the proud mother of two young women, one is a third-grade teacher and one is in graduate school for mental health counseling.

Tiffany Atwell
SVP of Global Government Relations, Ecolab

Tiffany Atwell is the Senior Vice President of Global Government Relations at Ecolab (ECL), the global leader in water, hygiene, and infection prevention solutions and services. With annual sales of $13 billion and more than 47,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions, data-driven insights, and personalized service to advance food safety, maintain clean and safe environments, optimize water and energy use, and improve operational efficiencies and sustainability for customers in the food, healthcare, hospitality, and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world.

Atwell was the head of international government affairs for DuPont, which has been in existence for 211 years and now has over 63,000 employees globally, including 10,000 scientists. She is the former senior director for strategic programs and government affairs for Abbott where she managed a team whose goal was to develop public-private partnerships with key governments and to drive outreach strategies in emerging markets like Russia, India, and Brazil. Atwell started her career at Abbott as a director of global government affairs in November 2006 with responsibility for developing government outreach strategies for Russia, China, and India to promote market access for key products. 

Atwell graduated from North Carolina Central University with an MPA and from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with an undergraduate degree in political science and government.

Tracy Branding Pyle
Managing Director, Ankura

Tracy Branding Pyle is a Managing Director at Ankura, the world’s leading advisor on joint ventures and partnerships with over a decade of experience advising clients on JV transactions valued at over $700 billion. 

Pyle specializes in helping organizations navigate complex transactions, and, in particular, joint venture-related transactions. She works with a wide array of US and international companies across industries to help them structure, negotiate, approve, and launch joint ventures to set these ventures up for success. She additionally advises on the governance of individual joint ventures and portfolios of joint ventures to help companies minimize risk, increase efficiencies, and find value. Prior to joining Ankura, Pyle practiced law at Hogan Lovells, where she advised clients on joint ventures, public and private mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance matters.

Pyle serves on the Board of Good Shepherd Housing, a nonprofit that helps families become self-sufficient by providing affordable housing, budget training, and other support services. She graduated from Harvard Law School with a JD and from Vanderbilt University with an undergraduate degree. She’s currently based in Washington DC. 

Michelle Potter
Chief Operations Officer and Senior Managing Director, KCIC

Michelle Potter is the Chief Operations Officer and Senior Managing Director of KCIC, a consulting firm that helps companies manage their product liabilities. Her day-to-day role is to manage client relationships and lead projects to develop and implement claims processing procedures and systems, as well as to perform complex analyses of different types of claims and insurance. Within KCIC, Potter is tasked with helping the company grow through business development activities and internal initiatives. 

Potter is an authority on the current state of the asbestos litigation industry. She started her career as an associate director at Navigant Consulting Group, a leading global provider of consulting services to the public and commercial markets with broad capabilities in management, technology, and risk consulting. After a decade with Navigant, she landed her first role at KCIC as manager, working her way up to managing VP, senior manager, and vice president, before being promoted to her current role. Potter graduated from William & Mary with an undergraduate degree in economics. 

Torine Creppy
President, Safe Kids Worldwide

Torine Creppy is the President of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting kids from preventable injuries. For nearly 24 years, she has dedicated her career to making a meaningful difference in the lives of children and families, especially the most vulnerable and the historically marginalized. In her role, she works with partners, donors, legislators, and community leaders around the world to develop and implement strategic initiatives, create partnerships, and inspire behavior change to keep kids safe at home, on the road, and at play.

Under Creppy’s leadership, the Safe Kids Buckle Up® program has evolved into the most comprehensive child passenger safety program in the world, and the Safe Kids pedestrian safety program has reached more than 20 million children in 10 countries. Creppy is a passionate advocate on Capitol Hill and is dedicated to finding new ways to reach high-risk and underserved communities. She also focuses on emerging issues, such as child safety in automated vehicles.

In addition to her work at Safe Kids, Creppy is committed to other organizations that share her passion for helping children and families. She is on the YWCA National Capital Area board of directors, on St. John’s Community Services board of directors, involved with the National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association, on the board of directors advisory board of Hop Skip Drive, a Lifesavers board member, and on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO). She is also a member of the American Public Health Association, National Urban League, NAACP, the National Head Start Association, Junior League of Washington, and CHIEF, as well as a Lifetime member of Leadership Greater Washington and Co-Facilitator of Youth Leadership Greater Washington.

Creppy enjoys volunteering in direct outreach and advocacy for homelessness initiatives, reading autobiographies, running 5Ks for causes, youth mentoring, and spending time with her son.

Michele Jawando
Senior Vice President, Omidyar Network

As Omidyar Network’s first Senior Vice President of Programs, Michele Jawando oversees the organization's programmatic work focused on the three major, interconnected issues that are at the heart of an equitable and inclusive society: the economy, technology, and our need for a culture where everyone belongs.

Before joining Omidyar Network, Jawando was the head of US strategic engagement and public policy partnerships at Google. As an executive leader and senior member of Google’s public policy team, she was responsible for developing strategic relationships and partnerships with elected officials, think tanks, nonprofits, and thought leaders across the US. In that capacity, she helped to direct over $80 million in resources to issues related to elections, cybersecurity, gender equity, disability rights, and more.

Prior to Google, Jawando served as a VP at the Center for American Progress, a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers, such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, her work at CAP addressed 21st-century challenges, such as national security, climate, race and gender equity, economic growth and opportunity, civic participation, and health care.

Jawando has also served as general counsel and senior advisor to US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Foreign Relations Chair, Congressman Gregory Meeks, where she spearheaded bipartisan legislative achievements on behalf of each of the members, including passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, and the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, among others.

A regular commentator for international and US television, print, and radio, Jawando is an author, serial entrepreneur, and Afro-tech futurist who believes that we can create and build the future we desire across our differences. She received her JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a BA from Hampton University. She is the wife of the Honorable William Jawando, Esq. of Maryland, and the mother of four young children.

Karen Decker
Owner & President, International Center for Language Studies

Karen Decker is the Owner and President of the International Center for Language Studies (ICLS) in Washington DC. ICLS is an accredited institution that provides internships, language training, and testing services in English and over 85 foreign languages to a wide variety of clients, including the Defense Department, international organizations, academic institutions, and corporate entities. Decker’s journey began after earning a degree in English and education from Wheaton College when she served two years in Yemen as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English. She then moved to Washington DC, where she landed a position as an ESL teacher at ICLS. She rose through the company from teacher to Director of the Foreign Language Division. After the untimely passing of the founder in 1996, Decker was appointed president and later became the owner. Over the following twenty years, ICLS’ revenue increased by 1000% and its reputation grew as a leader in the language training community.

Decker has been an active member of the language training community. She has been VP for Advocacy on the Executive Board of English USA, Coordinator of the English Language Trainers and Administrators professional network of NAFSA, and President of the Association of Proprietary Language Schools. Decker also served a three-year term as a Commissioner for the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). She is currently the Chair of ASTM’s Subcommittee on Foreign Language Instruction, which she has led for over twenty years. Her subcommittee developed the very first ASTM standard for the Language Services Industry. Decker believes that language learning is a life-long commitment; her love of languages started in high school, where she studied French and Latin. In college, she continued with French and added Spanish, and in the Peace Corps, she received intensive training in Arabic.

Victoria Galeano
Director of Business Development, USA, REPOWERLAB LLC

Victoria Galeano is the Director of Business Development, USA, at REPOWERLAB LLC, an industry leader in green energy with over a decade of experience repowering End-of-Life wind energy farms across the globe. Galeano and her team e recoup the economic value of energy assets by retrofitting and repowering or by recycling and reselling their components while boosting client investment goals on environmental impact, circular, and ESG factors.

She previously served Acento as the Vice President of Sustainability and Innovation, leading the company’s transition to a low-carbon economy and aspiration to become a social equity leader in the real estate industry. In this role, Galeano was on the frontline of developing and implementing Acento’s impact strategy and innovative programs that focus on the most defining and urgent issues of the industry (and where Acento can deliver the greatest impact: social diversity, equity, and inclusion), infrastructure adaptation to climate change, energy security and independence, and investors’ ESG confidence. She set out to prove to investors that high investment yields align with high positive social and environmental returns.

With over 20 years of sustainable finance experience, Galeano has held a number of additional leadership positions. Prior to Acento, she co-founded PRISSMA and REPOWERLAB, two leading companies in the sustainable finance and renewable energy fields. She has helped clients globally with their sustainability strategy, project development, and capital raising needs and has developed several investment fund strategies, sustainable stock market indices, and impact financing vehicles for the mobilization of international capital towards the green and circular economy.

Galeano is a lifelong learner who studied environmental policy and sustainability at Columbia University, where she earned a Master of Public Administration. She also has an undergraduate degree in finance from the Externado de Colombia University, has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University on Green Finance, and has published articles on sustainability and responsible investing in Latin Trade and America Economia.

Nicole Mancini
Chief of Academics, Council of the Great City Schools

Nicole Mancini is Chief of Academics for the Council of the Great City Schools, where she assists urban districts in enhancing instructional systems to boost student achievement. Her work includes providing technical assistance, professional learning, and support to 78 of the nation’s largest urban districts. 

Before joining the Council, Mancini served as the Chief Academic Officer for Broward County Public Schools, the sixth largest district in the nation, providing strategic communication and support to school and district administrators, coaches, and teachers on effective teaching and learning practices. Her goal was to ensure instruction is integrated, and transitions are seamless between grades and school levels, so all students – from birth through adulthood – are successful and life-ready. Mancini excelled in creating systems to enhance instructional delivery and services, communication, and organizational accountability for improved student outcomes and efficiencies. Her past work was focused on continuing to shape the district’s instructional and leadership practices to fully reflect the science of reading, closing learning gaps, accelerating learning, comprehensive learner records, competency-based assessment and reporting, and generative artificial intelligence (AI) in pre-K-12 Education. In each of her district roles, student achievement was positively impacted.

Mancini continues working closely with external partners and universities to align supplemental resources to core instruction, where needed. While in Broward, she collaborated with colleagues on the district’s data lake, feeding student, teacher, and additional data into one source system for easy access and the ability to analyze performance, impact, trends, patterns, needs, gaps, deficiencies, and successes with products and services used for student achievement. 

Mancini continues her passion and work in the literacy, early childhood, and special education spaces by collaborating with national key leaders in those fields. She has been implementing practices grounded in the science of reading for over 20 years and firmly believes all students have the capacity to learn. Mancini is an Executive Committee Member for the Evidence Advocacy Center (EAC), an organization created to ensure all individuals who work with students and teachers are using evidence-based practices in the core content areas. She served as the VP of educational services for the Florida Speech and Hearing Association and an adjunct faculty member for Florida Atlantic University, teaching early childhood and clinical education courses. She enjoys enhancing adult learning in these fields to yield the best possible outcomes for all children across the nation. 

Mancini has a BA in psychology (cum laude), a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, and certification in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. She has a Doctorate in Education with a focus on Child and Youth Studies: Early Literacy and Reading from Nova Southeastern University. Mancini holds her Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and her Speech Language Pathologist Professional License from the State of Florida Department of Health. She maintains state certification in Speech-Language Impaired, PreK/Primary Education, Educational Leadership, and endorsements in Reading and ESOL.

Laurie Fenton Ambrose
Co-Founder, President & CEO, GO2 for Lung Cancer

Laurie Fenton Ambrose is a dynamic, innovative leader who has spent a lifetime in service following her passion for supporting those in need. She has dedicated more than 18 years to confronting lung cancer and transforming survivorship. As Co-Founder, President, and CEO of GO2 for Lung Cancer, Ambrose is responsible for setting and executing the organization’s overarching vision and mission and driving the creation and implementation of their core program areas, including patient information and support services, patient-centered academic and community-based research, health policy agenda, national awareness, and excellence in healthcare delivery.

Ambrose is GO2’s national spokesperson and primary liaison to community and government leaders, national media, collaborating agencies, healthcare professionals, and strategic alliances. Her strategic oversight of GO2 and these outside organizations has achieved national and international recognition for improving health policies and leading public awareness to shift the disease from one of stigma to one of hope.

Prior to GO2, Ambrose served as president and CEO of the Lung Cancer Alliance. Her work in nonprofits was preceded by nearly two decades in public policy, having served as chief of staff to US Department of Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Senator Jon Kyl. She also served 11 years in the House of Representatives, six years as chief of staff to Congressman Jim Kolbe, and five years as a legislative assistant to Congressman Amo Houghton and Edward Madigan.

Jessica Teal
Principal & Founder, Teal Media

Jessica Teal is the Principal and Founder of Teal Media, a full-service creative agency. Before founding Teal Media, she served as design manager for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, where she oversaw the brand and design and development of all web and print materials. Prior to the campaign, Teal worked for Blue State Digital, the National Gallery of Art, the Democratic National Committee, and the Office of the Clerk of the US House of Representatives. 

Teal has nearly 25 years of design and development experience and has led the creative strategy for major organizations, including the Brookings Institution, Center for American Progress, Amnesty International, the AFL-CIO, and more. Teal also served as a special consultant to the Obama White House as part of the US Digital Service, advising on digital strategy, user experience, and visual design. She has been featured in Forbes as part of the ongoing Self-Made Women series and has been a speaker at SXSW Interactive, NTEN, NOI, RootsCamp, and Netroots Nation. Teal was also a founding member of CHIEF, a private network built to drive more women into positions of power and keep them there.

Norma M. Krayem
VP & Chair of Cybersecurity, Privacy and Digital Innovation Practice Group, Van Scoyoc Associates

Norma M. Krayem, a recognized expert in the fields of cybersecurity, privacy, and tech issues, serves as Vice President and Chair of VSA’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Digital Innovation Practice Group. Krayem created one of the first-ever cybersecurity practices at a major international AmLaw 100 law firm in 2005 at a time when most practices only focused on data security or privacy. Since that time, she has held leadership roles running cybersecurity and privacy teams across three major law firms. She focuses on the intersection of trade, technology, homeland security, and cyber risk for clients in heavily regulated critical infrastructure sectors. She provides strategic advice to companies, addressing the nexus of the underlying business needs with global legislative, policy, and regulatory concerns. She has had a prestigious career in the Executive Branch, having served in senior roles at the US Departments of State, Commerce, and Transportation.

She helps public and private sector entities focus on the need to incorporate “privacy by design” and “security by design” throughout the enterprise and with applications, including the use of Big Data, machine learning/artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. She works with US and international regulators on global cybersecurity and privacy issues, including in bilateral and multilateral agreements spanning the G7, G20, EU, APEC, and other multinational organizations.

Krayem is active with international standards-making bodies and is sought out by US and international regulators and international organizations to discuss how to adapt current and create emerging regulatory structures for key cybersecurity issues. She is a published author and has been covered in publications around the globe, including CNN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Government, Bloomberg Law, Law360, Politico, The Hill, Thomson Reuters, Inside Cybersecurity, CSO Online, Government Executive, Cyberspace Lawyer, and more. She is a frequent speaker in Davos on cybersecurity issues, held during the World Economic Forum. She is also a member of the Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Cheryl Baldwin
VP of Sustainability Consulting, Marketing & Business Development, Pure Strategies

Cheryl Baldwin is a Vice President of Sustainability Consulting for Pure Strategies, where she partners with corporate clients to develop and execute sustainability strategies to improve performance across retail, food and agriculture, home and personal care, and cosmetics industries. She also leads the firm’s global market research to generate new insights to accelerate business transformation.

Baldwin’s recent projects include helping develop sustainability goals for TAZO, creating a sustainable packaging strategy and implementation tools for Walmart, and facilitating the development and implementation of a sustainable chemistry program for Ahold Delhaize USA.

Baldwin authored Pure Strategies’ market research reports, Connecting to the Farm, Reaching the New Corporate Frontier, Advancing on the Path to Product Sustainability, and other reports. She wrote the book, The 10 Principles of Food Industry Sustainability, and is the lead author and editor for two additional books on sustainability, Greening Food and Beverage Services and Sustainability in the Food Industry. She also holds US and international patents.

Before Pure Strategies, Baldwin led the life cycle research and sustainability standard program for the nonprofit ecolabel organization Green Seal. She also worked in research and development for Kraft Foods, Inc., where she was involved in all phases of R&D from novel ingredient development to global product commercialization. She holds a PhD and Master's degree from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, all in food science.

Astrid Schmidt-King
VP of Programs & Fellowships, World Trade Center Institute

Astrid Schmidt-King began her professional career over 20 years ago. Today, she serves as the Vice President of Programs and Fellowships of the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI). At WTCI, they empower globally-minded leaders with new ideas and valuable connections. Schmidt-King oversees the organization’s fellowships, signature events, series, global exchanges, and customized programs. She is also responsible for WTCI’s three professional development fellowships and global exchanges, focusing on addressing major international issues impacting business and society.

Schmidt-King first got her start in 2002 as a coordinator of the State Legislature Program at Families USA. From there, she went on to Greenberg Traurig, before eventually rising to consultant and senior advisor of International Programs at Vedu. In her most recent position prior to joining WTCI, she served as an Executive in Residence at the Sellinger School of Management and Business at Loyola University Maryland, where she was the director for the International Business Program and taught various international business and law courses. 

Schmidt-King graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law with a JD, from Freie Universität Berlin with an MA in international relations and global politics, and from New York University with an undergraduate degree in international relations.

Kalee Kreider
President, Ridgely Walsh

Kalee Kreider currently serves as the President of Ridgely Walsh. She advises major corporate, philanthropic, and nonprofit clients on issues of sustainability, climate change, and technology. She has decades of experience in public affairs and has advised some of the world’s most innovative thinkers, innovators, and companies, including Paul G. Allen, Christiana Figueres, Illumina, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Postcode Lotteries Group, the United Nations Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, and many others.

In addition to her work as a consultant, Kreider has served as chief media and public affairs officer for the National Geographic Society overseeing brand, marketing, communications, impact media, public events, and the museum. She worked for years as an environmental adviser and communications director for Vice President Al Gore. She helped in the research and marketing of three New York Times best-selling books, an Oscar Award-winning film, and a top-selling app for the iPhone. She assisted with the slideshow that served as the basis for An Inconvenient Truth and worked with Apple, Current TV, Generation Investment Management, and Kleiner Perkins.

Kreider has a varied career in public affairs, which includes managing the Washington Office of Fenton Communications and running programs for several non-governmental organizations. Kreider began her career in Washington DC as a Truman Scholar in 1992.

Dusanka Delovska-Trajkova
Chief Information Officer, Ingleside

Dusanka Delovska-Trajkova is the Chief Information Officer of Ingleside. She first joined the organization in 2012. Ingleside offers a system of three continuing care retirement communities, a foundation, home care, and development company. Delovska-Trajkova has been instrumental in helping build Ingleside into the successful community it is today. She was promoted to Chief Information Officer, where she brings her vision and energy to developing technologies that will be a part of the business and life strategies. Her focus is to help each community adapt to new organizational innovations and to develop and execute new business strategies.

Delovska-Trajkova has more than 25 years of experience in computer science and automation in a variety of environments, corporate, government, educational, and nonprofit in Macedonia and the US. Previously, Delovska-Trajkova worked in a chemical factory and the Department of Defense. She came to the United States in 2000 after the war in Kosovo and worked for the Council on Foundations. She returned to Macedonia in 2006 to accept a position as counselor to the president of Sts. Cyril, working to consolidate the IT system between 23 schools. After that, Delovska-Trajkova returned to America and began working at the Pew Research Center. 

Delovska-Trajkova attended Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Macedonia and graduated with an electrical engineering degree.

Meaghan McGrath
Global Head of Syndications, IFC

Meaghan McGrath is the Global Head of Syndications at IFC. Formerly, she was chief counsel for debt mobilization in IFC’s legal department, where she led the establishment of the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP) with the People’s Bank of China in 2013 and supported the creation of the MCPP Infrastructure initiative. Her current responsibilities include oversight of a global staff of 25 and an average mobilization of USD 7 billion a year.

In 2017, McGrath was shortlisted for the Financial Times Award of Most Innovative Counsel in North America. She and her team won the Financial Times Award that year for the MCPP Program. During her tenure at IFC, McGrath has been actively involved in structuring, negotiating, and documenting debt and equity investments in private sector projects in over 40 countries and has built expertise in infrastructure projects, as well as debt mobilization. She has been an appointed member of the D&I Council and currently serves on CFI’s Anti-Racism Task Force, the Corporation’s Pricing and Profitability, and the Ukraine Task Force.

Prior to joining IFC, McGrath practiced with the firm of Chadbourne & Parke, in New Delhi, New York, and Washington DC representing project developers, multilateral agencies, and commercial lenders in connection with international project financings. She spent two years in India, implementing and expanding a foreign office and representing independent developers in energy projects.

McGrath graduated cum laude from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1989 with an undergraduate degree in political science, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her JD from Georgetown University in 1992 with honors.

Annie Kennedy
Chief of Policy, Advocacy, & Patient Engagement, EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases

Annie Kennedy is the Chief of Policy, Advocacy, and Patient Engagement of EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to emboldening the rare disease patient community to advocate for impactful, science-driven legislation and policy that advances the equitable development of and access to lifesaving diagnoses, treatments, and cures.

A veteran leader in the rare disease patient focused drug development movement, Kennedy joined the EveryLife Foundation in 2018, where she’s led the Cost of Delayed Diagnosis: A Health Economic Study, the National Economic Burden of Rare Disease study, the development of the ICD Code Roadmap, and the community-driven Guide to Patient Involvement in Rare Disease Therapy Development. Kennedy previously held leadership roles at Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) where she led landmark legislative, regulatory, newborn screening, transitions, and access policy efforts. She is a sought-after advisor to patient-centered organizations and initiatives across the nonprofit and government sectors. Kennedy’s community roles have included service within non-profit and federal agencies dedicated to rare diseases including on the Board of Directors of Cure SMA, the National Health Council’s Valuation Group, the Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI) Patient Advisory Committee, the National Duchenne Newborn Screening Pilot Steering Committee for PPMD, the Institute for Gene Therapies (IGT) Patient Advocacy Advisory Council, as a member of the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council, and more. A strong believer in the power of collaboration, Kennedy works with a deep commitment to catalyzing force-multiplying endeavors that can change the landscape for individuals living with rare diseases.

Linda Mercado Greene
Owner, Board Chair & CEO, Anacostia Organics

Linda Mercado Greene is the Owner, Board Chair, and CEO of Anacostia Organics, the first medical cannabis dispensary located East of the River in Washington DC in Historic Anacostia, becoming one of the very few 100% Black woman-owned licensees in the USA. She is also the Founder and CEO of The Linda Greene Group, a public relations/public strategies firm. Considered a Washington insider, she has been very influential in shaping the cannabis industry, locally and nationally, and is a sought-after speaker for cannabis conferences and organizations.

Amongst the many boards she serves, Greene chairs the DC Cannabis Trade Association and serves on the board of the United States Cannabis Council, chairing the USCC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force (formerly the CTF DEI Task Force). She is the host of the only government-funded cannabis programming, Cannabis Conversations Podcast with Linda Mercado Greene. Greene has been featured in many articles, publications, and television interviews. She was listed in the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 Class of 2022 and Anacostia Organics was voted the #1 Dispensary in DC in 2022 by readers of the Washington City Paper. She served as a two-term mayoral appointee on the Historic Preservation Review Board, in addition to serving on numerous local and national boards. Greene has been a political and strategic consultant to Members of Congress, African Heads of State, and the publicist for national entertainers and athletes.

Jennifer Storipan
Senior Vice President, Lot Sixteen

Jennifer Storipan is currently a Senior Vice President at Lot Sixteen, a bipartisan Government Affairs and Communications firm. Jennifer joined Lot Sixteen in March 2021 as an accomplished policy expert and legal counsel with more than 20 years of experience working in both the public and private sector.

From June 2018 through December 2020, Jennifer worked for the Government of Puerto Rico. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) where she managed the agency and led the Government of Puerto Rico’s federal policy and advocacy efforts before the Executive and Legislative branches of the US Government. When appointed as Executive Director, Jennifer was the first non-Spanish speaker and the second non-native Puerto Rican to serve in this role. She held this position for 18 months and during that time, she developed and implemented legislative strategies that led to key federal victories for Puerto Rico, including increased emergency appropriations for Puerto Rico’s Nutritional Assistance Program, a historic funding level for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program of nearly $6 billion for two years, and equitable treatment for the island in COVID-19 supplementals.

Prior to joining PRFAA, Jennifer worked for Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) as her Legislative Director and Counsel. She has also worked on numerous electoral campaigns throughout her career. She began her career in the personal office of former Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD). Jennifer then moved over to the VA-HUD Subcommittee on Appropriations, where she spent two years on Committee staff. Before that, Jennifer was an associate with Lowenstein Sandler, LLP. She maintained an extensive pro bono portfolio, where she and the team successfully obtained asylum for an individual from Syria. She also served as the Lowenstein Fellow to Essex-Newark Legal Services, where she advocated on behalf of low-income clients in court and administrative proceedings. Jennifer is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Currently, Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors for Invest Puerto Rico, a non-profit investment organization created to promote Puerto Rico as a competitive investment jurisdiction to attract new business and investment to the island. She is also a member of the US Department of Energy’s Puerto Rico Energy System Recovery and Resilience Advisory Group, which helps inform the implementation of significant recovery and resilience investments in the island’s energy grid by the federal government. Jennifer was also recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the Center for Energy Education, a non-profit organization and center for renewable energy research, education, and workforce development.

Shrupti Shah
Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Shrupti Shah is a public policy and performance management specialist with more than 25 years of experience driving leading practices and innovation in the public and private sectors. As Managing Director of Deloitte, she is the leader of the Behavioral Insights Practice, which helps government agencies design, develop, and test innovative behavior change interventions. 

Shah’s expertise and advice on sector innovation have been sought by governments, the ILO, the World Bank Group, and the OECD. She has advised governments on developing outcome-oriented strategies and the monitoring and managing of performance in nine countries. Shah served as the lead official for the pioneering UK system for defining and measuring outcomes, which was commended by the OECD and World Bank as leading practice. For the European Commission, she oversaw $10 billion in EU program funding for projects in disadvantaged communities in England, Northern Ireland, and Sweden. 

She currently leads the team that is supporting the US Executive Office of the President in the development of the President's Management Agenda. She led the development of the inclusive economic development strategy for the District of Columbia which prioritized new and innovative efforts to address inequality in economic opportunity. Shah also led work for 100 Resilient Cities, supporting six mayors in developing tailored resilience strategies, including Amman, Ramallah, Thessaloniki, and Athens.

Shrupti holds degrees from the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and completed her executive education at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Elizabeth Caulder
President & Chief Strategist, PHOENIX Lifestyle Marketing Group

Elizabeth Kemp Caulder has enjoyed an extensive career in the field of brand marketing. Over the past two decades, she has served in executive leadership roles at prominent agencies, providing brand strategy and marketing expertise to Fortune 500 companies, lifestyle brands, government agencies, NGOs, and nonprofits. This diversity in experience has precipitated her unique aptitude for the design of effective campaign strategies. Caulder was honored to support the United Nations by leading the design of the strategic marketing and communications plan for the High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Responsible for establishing the brand positioning, visual representation, messaging strategy, and tactical implementation plan for the UN HLP, Caulder’s team was also instrumental in the compilation and delivery of the report to the Secretary General. She recently addressed heads of state and dignitaries from around the world during the annual gender equity conference held in Scotland.

Caulder is passionate about issues impacting women, particularly maternal mortality and premature birth. She serves on the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes as both the Vice-Chair of the Board and the Marketing and Outreach Chair. Caulder is committed to inspiring support for initiatives designed to eradicate systemic inequity. She also serves on the National Board of Directors for the nonprofit Vehicles for Change. Her commitment to community service is not new. She has been a member of the international civic organization, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated for 26 years and serves on the organization’s International Branding team. As the President of Phoenix Lifestyle Marketing Group, Caulder serves as a mentor and advisor to young professionals around the globe.

Judy Ayala
CEO and Founder, Nueducation

Judy Ayala is the CEO and Founder of Nueducation. Her entrepreneurial journey started at 10 years old when she would sell natural flavored iced water from the balcony of her parent’s home in Puerto Rico. She envisioned a quality product, where customers were so satisfied they would come back for more. Years later, and after several attempts, that vision evolved into having a company that solves customer’s most difficult IT challenges, creating a prosperous environment for all. That vision and the drive to make a difference has been the foundation for Nueducation.

With this foundation, her career spanned the fields of psychology, HR, sales and marketing, and technology. While at Blackboard working with the Colombian government in a program that provided online learning to millions of low-income Colombians, and with other higher education institutions across the globe, Ayala became acutely aware of the impact that education makes in people’s lives, not only economically but qualitatively. Later, she joined Laureate Education, a $4B Certified B Corporations® and the first Public Benefit Corporation publicly listed on any stock exchange in the world, as global director of students systems platforms. Drawing from her experience in educational software, one of her main accomplishments was to achieve the ambitious objective of rolling out an LMS system to a network of over 1 million students.

Committed to creating positive impacts through the use of technology, Ayala founded Nueducation in 2010, where she has worked incessantly to facilitate the digital transformation and optimization of her customer’s services. With the basis that all failures are due to insufficient knowledge and that all problems are soluble, she fosters an environment for her team to express the best of their professional and personal abilities. Ayala often reflects on her fortune of working with the best professionals in the tech industry, giving Nueducation the ability to empower and transform an organization's services and experiences. With over 14 years of career in international markets prior to founding Nueducation, Ayala considers herself a citizen of the world and enjoys and learns from people from every culture and race.

Katie Joyce
Managing Director - Economic and Valuation Services, KPMG US

Katie Joyce is currently leading KPMG’s Economic Services team’s healthcare analytics go-to-market strategy and portfolio. Her primary clients include Federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as select commercial healthcare organizations. For 20 years, Joyce has focused on supporting policies, programs, and initiatives that improve the lives and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. In particular, Joyce has been involved in leading projects related to infrastructure, jobs, income and food security, and reinvestment in America’s future since 2004, including the Green Jobs Act of 2008, where she led a multi-partner team in California, including utilities, in a new project to re-train electrical workers in advanced lighting controls. More recently, she led a project with Comcast to identify potential challenges for underserved populations participating in a DC-wide investment program for small businesses.

Joyce has worked across a variety of health and human services programs, including supporting the improvement of patient experience in veterans’ hospitals nationwide through the provision of data analytics, forecasting, and technical assistance/training. She has visited 43 states in support of instituting programs that reduce fraud, waste, and abuse among Federal grantees and recipients while reducing stigma. She led a multi-year effort to install technological systems that eradicated the need for students receiving free or reduced lunch to provide additional information at the point of service, thereby reducing stigma and increasing efficiency in program operations.

Most recently, Joyce has been co-leading social impact projects as part of KPMG’s larger Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) growing portfolio, including a project designed to measure the impact of pandemic-related financial and other assistance to small businesses. Joyce holds an MPA in policy analysis and evaluation from The George Washington University, an undergraduate degree in politics from the University of Virginia, and a Change Management Advanced Practitioner Certificate from Georgetown University. She is a proud parent of four children, ranging in age from elementary school to post-grad.

Sherri Sampson
Vice President & General Counsel, University of Maryland Global Campus

Sherri Sampson is the Vice President and General Counsel of the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). UMGC is the largest public university in the United States. This global university specializes in high-quality academic programs tailored to working adults. Sampson joined UMGC to lead a team of in-house attorneys in the Office of Legal Affairs, supporting a dynamic and innovative university environment. She was given the responsibility for establishing the new Institutional compliance and risk function to provide university-wide enterprise risk management and compliance oversight. Sampson leads the team in providing legal advice and recommendations on matters related to higher education, including student matters, human resources, real estate and procurement, state, military and global compliance, accreditation, state authorization, and Title IV, as well as key business transactions and venture opportunities.

Previously, Sampson was a chief human resources officer, general counsel, and secretary at the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and before that, she was an associate at Hogan & Hartson. Earlier in her career, she worked with Perkins Coie as an associate. Sampson earned a JD from the University of Washington School of Law and an undergraduate degree in comparative area studies from Duke University.

Jennifer Hicks
Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal Taxand

Jennifer Hicks is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal Taxand in the Federal Tax Practice located in Washington DC. With more than 15 years of experience, Hicks provides clients with a full range of tax services, including initial planning, implementation, and preparing federal and state tax returns. She focuses on federal tax compliance matters for private equity and closely held businesses across a wide range of industries, including real estate, professional services, manufacturing, and staffing businesses to name a few. She also has experience with planning and compliance matters for high-net-worth individuals.

At A&M, Hicks’ notable engagements include assisting clients with planning for and implementing complex partnership transactions, frequently teaming with the Global Transaction Tax group. Structuring work includes Up-C structure modeling, partnership freeze techniques, and various debt-leveraged buyouts. Additionally, Hicks brings experience with domestic and multinational corporate consolidated reporting matters and accounting for income taxes.

Amiee Aloi
Executive Director, Global Public Policy, Merck

Amiee Aloi is a leading international public policy and government affairs professional. In her current role as Executive Director of Global Public Policy at Merck, she leads the development and implementation of global policy strategies in support of Merck's non-communicable disease therapeutic areas.

Previously, she was the director of advocacy and government relations at Gates Ventures, the private office of Bill Gates, where she advanced government affairs activities in support of Mr. Gates’s Alzheimer's disease engagements. Prior to that, Aloi was deputy VP for international advocacy at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the leading industry association representing innovative global biopharmaceutical companies. In this capacity, Aloi was responsible for leading advocacy efforts that addressed the industry’s international trade priorities and activities in India across a range of policy issues, including intellectual property and innovation, market access and pricing, and clinical research. 

Prior to joining PhRMA, Aloi worked at Avalere Health, a leading healthcare advisory company, where she provided research and analysis on coverage, reimbursement, and policy issues facing biopharmaceutical and medical device companies. Aloi holds a Master's degree in Public Health from Yale University and a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences from Georgetown University. 

Elizabeth Lewis
Head of ESG, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners

Elizabeth Lewis is a Managing Director and the Head of ESG for Blackstone Infrastructure Partners. Lewis leads the integration of ESG into the BIP investment process to mitigate risk and create value for portfolio companies and BIP investors. She was promoted from her role as Managing Director and Deputy Head of ESG, supporting Blackstone's corporate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts, in 2023.

Prior to joining Blackstone, Lewis was at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector part of the World Bank Group, leading engagement with investors, NGOs, governments, and other stakeholders on climate change and diversity. Before joining IFC, Lewis was a partner and director of strategy and business development for Terra Alpha Investments. Prior to that, she established the World Resources Institute’s Sustainable Investing Program and served as WRI’s head of sustainable investing. Earlier in her career, Lewis was a principal at Global Environment Fund, a private equity fund focused on clean energy and sustainable forestry. She started her career at Booz Allen Hamilton, advising clients in their evaluation of alternative energy technologies and solutions.

Lewis holds an AB in environmental science and public policy from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She serves as chair of the board of trustees for The Nature Conservancy Maryland/DC. She also serves as a member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Board and the Harvard Alumni Association Schools and Scholarships Committee and is class chair of the John Harvard Society.

Kathy Clem
Executive Director, Allegis Global Solutions

Kathy Clem is an Executive Director with Allegis Global Solutions (AGS). AGS helps organizations around the world understand the most efficient and effective ways to get work done and secure the talent and resources to drive growth and success. They shape the future by designing and managing workforce solutions for over 35 years and across over 60 countries. From contingent and flexible workforce engagements to services procurement and employee recruiting, AGS universal workforce solutions cover the breadth of talent opportunities, so companies can leverage the total extended workforce as a strategic competitive advantage.

With 24 years of talent acquisition experience covering all aspects of human capital management solutions, Clem is consistently engaged in complex and strategic engagements, while helping major corporations transform the way they acquire talent. Working globally, Clem has led a wide range of large-scale organizational transformational projects and managed client SLA/KPIs and technology roadmaps, including enabling strategies to ensure on-time project delivery and cost savings. The scope of her current position includes client enablement, implementation of multiple products and services, supply chain management, market and business analytics, and technology operations. Known as a trusted advisor, people leader, client-centric, and enthusiastic professional, she has demonstrated exceptional leadership by driving for greater efficiencies. Clem’s knowledge, operational excellence, strategic agility, and change management also led to taking on a role leading AGS’ external inclusion and diversity strategy. She is a member of AGS’ Executive Inclusion Council and was named SIA’s 2021 Global Power 150 Women in Staffing.

Katey McCutcheon
Vice President, Firehouse Strategies

Katey McCutcheon is a Senior Vice President at Firehouse Strategies. Before Firehouse Strategies, she worked at a Washington, DC-based communications firm, specializing in communications for corporate, political, and advocacy clients. Prior to that, she began her career on Capitol Hill where she specialized in communications for Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and, most recently, US Senator Joe Manchin. For six years, she helped navigate Senator Manchin through his reelection in 2018, government shutdowns, three Supreme Court confirmations, and numerous policy proposals.

Katey is originally from Long Island, New York, and grew up in New York, California, and Texas. She graduated from West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in public relations and political science.

Michele Booth Cole
Executive Director, Safe Shores – The DC Children's Advocacy Center

When Michele Booth Cole became Executive Director of Safe Shores – The DC Children’s Advocacy Center in 2003, she was tasked with leading the charge to move the organization from a 3,400 square feet interim space with just one bathroom to a space, where the ideals of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) model could fully flourish. Today, Safe Shores serves more than 1,200 child victims of abuse and their families each year in a 40,000-square-foot renovated former elementary school building, where sunlight shines through tall windows, and vibrant kids’ artwork dapples the walls. There, the agencies that provide a joint response to child abuse in Washington DC are co-located to facilitate child abuse investigations. This child-friendly, victim-centered space, designed to inspire a sense of safety and hope, is where child victims of abuse are provided with compassionate, coordinated, holistic, trauma-informed services and where they may tell their story just one time, in one place to partner agencies through a skilled, specially trained child forensic interviewer.

Foundations, government, and media have recognized Cole for her nonprofit servant-leadership and exceptional work on the issue of child abuse. She is the recipient of the 2016 Public Safety Award from the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, a 2016 Women Who Mean Business award from the Washington Business Journal, the Meyer’s Foundation’s Julie L. Rogers Sabbatical Program grant in 2016, a 2013 EXCEL award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, a 2009 Washingtonian of the Year honor from WASHINGTONIAN magazine, a 2007 Exponent Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership from the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, and a 2007 Commissioner’s Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services.

Under Cole’s leadership, Safe Shores was selected as a recipient of a 2022 Tithe the Tithe Award from Alfred Street Baptist Church, a 2020 Nonprofit Village Impact Award, one of the region’s Best Places to Work by the Washington Business Journal in 2016, and has been selected for inclusion in the Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington DC five times since 2003. Cole has written thought-provoking opinion pieces published by The Washington Post, The Washington Informer, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. In July 2021, she was a featured guest on the podcast Fund the People. Additionally, Cole has given interviews to TV, radio, and print media, including The Kojo Nnamdi Show, The Daily Drum (WHUR-FM), NBC4 Washington, FOX 5 DC, WJLA, CNN, DC News Now, and an Emmy-award winning news segment by WUSA*9.

Prior to joining Safe Shores, Cole served as executive director with Teach for America-DC and Mentors, Inc. In addition to her undergraduate degree from Harvard-Radcliffe, Cole earned a JD from Georgetown University Law Center, a certificate from Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, and a coaching certificate from Co-Active Training Institute. She’s also completed Leadership Greater Washington and the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute. In addition to her work with Safe Shores, Cole is an executive coach to nonprofit servant leaders. Also, she volunteers with Generation Hope and serves as a member of Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House Association Alumni Board. Most importantly, Cole is the grateful, amazed, amused, and always learning mother of three wonderful daughters.

Jocelyn King
Chief Executive Officer, VirgilHR

Jocelyn King is the CEO and Founder of VirgilHR, a SaaS solution that empowers HR professionals to make smart, compliant employment and labor law decisions in real time. HR has been the passion and focus of her entire career as she’s supported high-growth technology start-ups and public companies throughout her tenure. She defines herself as a true

HR generalist and has touched on all aspects of HR in her more senior roles. King has strong expertise in creating and executing HR strategy, managing employee relations for multi-state and global organizations, developing a diverse and high-performing work culture, owning organization development and change management, and crafting the total reward, talent development, and talent acquisition strategies.

In addition to HR, what has also remained consistent in her career has been technology. King has worked for technology companies most of her career and, as an HR executive, has had the privilege of supporting executives and departments in all functions across the organizations. In her role as CEO of VirgilHR, she’s displayed proven success in building a venture-backed technology company from the ground up.

She has held previous roles as the vice president of people in North America for Ocado Group, as well as VP of people for Cybrary, a Series C startup. She’s spent the majority of her career working with a range of tech companies from Pre-Seed to Post-IPO.

King earned her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University. A Washington DC native, she lives in the metro area with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Laura Connor Smith
Partner, HKA

Laura Connor Smith, a Certified Valuation Analyst and a Certified Fraud Examiner, has over twenty years of experience providing accounting, valuation, and financial advisory services to companies and legal counsel on a variety of issues. She is a Partner at HKA, previously Credibility International. HKA is a financial and litigation consulting firm with decades of experience in accounting, financial, and valuation matters, including high-profile domestic and international disputes and forensic investigations. She was promoted from Managing Director in 2023.

Over the past two decades, Smith has served clients’ needs in a variety of areas, including damage assessments in disputes, valuations of corporations and intangible assets, and financial investigations related to money laundering and other fraud issues. She has experience in both domestic and international forums (ICC, UNCITRAL, ICSID, and others) with cases involving businesses in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Specifically, as a testifying expert witness, Smith has testified as a damages expert in both US courts and international arbitrations. Furthermore, she has experience in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, banking, and related financial industries, insurance, wholesale sales of home appliances, convenience stores, medical devices, software and other technology, transportation (rail, port operations, shipping), and natural resources (gold, iron, oil and gas).

Smith also serves on the American Heart Association’s Executive Leadership Team for the 33rd Lawyers Have Heart 10K, 5K, and Fun Walk and has been a team leader for the firm's Lawyers Have Heart event for over a decade. Prior to joining Credibility International, Smith worked on numerous valuation matters, which in large part dealt with intellectual property (patents, trademarks, trade secrets). In these cases, she assisted clients with the valuation of intellectual property portfolios and assessments of harm related to infringement and brand diminution in a variety of industries. Additionally, she conducted multiple royalty audits and banking investigations, including assessments of Bank Secrecy Act compliance and fund tracing investigations.

Cheryl Baldwin
VP of Sustainability Consulting & Marketing and Business Development, Pure Strategies 

Cheryl Baldwin is a Vice President of Sustainability Consulting for Pure Strategies, where she partners with corporate clients to develop and execute sustainability strategies to improve performance across retail, food and agriculture, home and personal care, and cosmetics industries. She also leads the firm’s global market research to generate new insights to accelerate business transformation.

Her recent projects include helping develop sustainability goals for TAZO, creating a sustainable packaging strategy and implementation tools for Walmart, and facilitating the development and implementation of a sustainable chemistry program for Ahold Delhaize USA.

Baldwin authored Pure Strategies’ market research reports, Connecting to the Farm, Reaching the New Corporate Frontier, Advancing on the Path to Product Sustainability, and other reports. She wrote the book, The 10 Principles of Food Industry Sustainability, and is the lead author/editor for two additional books on sustainability, Greening Food and Beverage Services and Sustainability in the Food Industry, and holds US and international patents.

Prior to Pure Strategies, Baldwin led the life cycle research and sustainability standard program for the nonprofit ecolabel organization Green Seal. She also worked in research and development for Kraft Foods, Inc., where she was involved in all phases of R&D from novel ingredient development to global product commercialization. She holds a PhD and Master's degree from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, all in food science.

Maura DeMouy
Assistant Dean for Experiential Education & Executive Director for RISE, Georgetown University Law Center

Maura DeMouy is the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education and Executive Director for RISE at Georgetown University Law Center. DeMouy oversees the administration of all non-clinical experiential courses, including externships, practicum courses, and simulations. She strategically develops the experiential curriculum in these areas and supports courses, faculty, and students throughout their journey. With a mission of empowering, she co-founded the RISE Program which was designed to serve incoming JD students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in law school and the legal profession, including but not limited to underrepresented racial, ethnic, geographic, socioeconomic, and first-generation college backgrounds.

Before joining Georgetown University Law Center, DeMouy was an assistant dean for student affairs and dean of students at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. Before that, she was an adjunct professor and law and leadership coordinator at the University of Maryland School of Law. Earlier in her career, she worked with the United States District Court for the District of Maryland as a law clerk for the Honorable Catherine C. Blake. DeMouy graduated from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law with a JD.

Rebecca Lammers
Director, Slalom Consulting

Rebecca Lammers is the Director of Slalom Consulting, a purpose-led, global business and technology consulting company. Several years ago, Lammers was unsatisfied with the type of work that she was doing, working in a contact center, and in general the direction her life was headed. She wanted to help build solutions that better enabled contact center agents to meet the demands of their high-pressure jobs. With no formal training in technology, Lammers was lucky enough to get a job as a Salesforce admin and completed a certification on the topics. She fell down the rabbit hole, realizing how widely applicable and customizable CRM platforms are – in particular Salesforce. She’s gone on to earn 14 certifications and has architected complex solutions for organizations across several industries, including healthcare, financial services, and nonprofits. She has experience architecting complex sales, service, community, and custom applications on the Salesforce platform with integrations to external systems, as well as optimizing performance for organizations with large data volumes. In her personal time, Lammers wanted to pay her success forward by volunteering to help others get certifications on the Salesforce platform and find their next career in tech. She co-founded the DFW Women in Technology community group and Texas Dreamin'. She is an ardent advocate for women in technology and increasing diversity in tech.

Ten years later, Lammers has now been inducted into the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame class of 2023 and is now lucky enough to support a brilliant team of Salesforce professionals at Slalom in the DMV area, where they have a reputation for building elegant, holistic solutions that scale with ever-changing people, process, and technology needs. Lammers is still looking for ways to pay her successes forward.

Missy Jenkins
VP of External Affairs, The Assistance Fund

Missy Jenkins is the Vice President of External Affairs at The Assistance Fund (TAF), an independent charitable patient assistance organization that helps patients and families facing high medical out-of-pocket costs by providing financial assistance for their copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and other health-related expenses.

Jenkins is a health policy expert and veteran of Capitol Hill, the private sector, and patient advocacy. In her current role, Missy leads TAF’s efforts in Washington DC, advocating for public policies that ensure access to clinical care, diagnostic testing, therapy, and treatment at a cost within reach. She previously served as the top health advisor to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and acted in lead lobbying positions at the US Chamber of Commerce, PhRMA, and PCMA. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Clemson University and has received a LinkedIn Learning Certificate of Completion for Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making.

Sheryl Brissett Chapman
Executive Director, The National Center for Children and Families

Sheryl Brissett Chapman is a passionate advocate and internationally recognized expert in child and family welfare. She has served as Executive Director of The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) for over three decades. Chapman publishes and presents on a wide range of topics, including juvenile justice, systems reform in child and family welfare, poverty and homelessness, childhood trauma, domestic violence, and cultural competency. Her most recent research and upcoming book, Black Male Youth on the Edge: The Art of Healing is focused on African American male adolescents removed from their families and placed in public child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Chapman’s work continues to garner recognition both internationally and locally. She facilitated the development of the first formal child protection system in the Pacific Basin and presented at the first national conference on child abuse in Israel. Chapman received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and served on the second Jerry M. Consent Decree Panel for the DC Superior Court, where her research led to programmatic redesign. Recently, Brown University conferred an honorary doctorate to her in recognition of her achievements as an advocate and nonprofit innovator. Brown also recognized her with the John Hope Award for Public Service. In addition, Chapman served as President of the Inman Page Black Alumni Association; she co-chaired Brown’s all-class Black Reunion, which drew over 700 participants in September 2018. She was recently appointed Commissioner for Maryland Governor’s Procurement Improvement Council (PIC), and she’s a member of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence’s Fatality Committee, a Board Director, Congressional Research Institute for Social Work Policy (CRISP), and a member of MCAC Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Tiffany Osborne
Director of National and Strategic Partnerships, Equus Workforce Solutions

Tiffany Osborne, Director of National and Strategic Partnerships at Equus Workforce Solutions, is an innovative, driven, and accomplished workforce development leader. She is adept in building collaborative partnerships and resolving complex workforce challenges throughout the nation.

For over a decade in workforce development, Osborne has served in a myriad of capacities and states promoting much needed training, education, programs, and career opportunities for the community. Her expertise includes leading diverse workforce and reentry initiatives, establishing strategic partnerships, and supporting businesses and nonprofits nationwide to establish tailored workforce solutions. She presents throughout the country bringing awareness to the importance of fostering partnerships, to create access to education and workforce/economic development opportunities, especially for communities with limited access.

Osborne is passionate about empowering others to find their power and works to help mitigate barriers and create access to resources for all. She authored, Unstoppable, A Story of Resilience, a raw, vulnerable story of faith, courage, authenticity, and healing of a force, published under the pseudonym Tiffany Lynn.

Osborne received her undergraduate degree in communication and social work from Northern Kentucky University and continues to sharpen her skills with an array of training in her field. She lives in the DMV with her daughter and can be found hiking, working out, traveling, exploring and trying new things with friends, and serving her community.

Luci Manning
Senior Director of Communications, Bipartisan Policy Center

Luci Manning is the Senior Director of Communications for the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), an organization that provides the direct support and policy insights members of Congress need to craft legislation that actually passes. She was promoted from Director of Media Relations in 2023, where she worked with BPC senior leadership on strategic planning and management and served as the main communications liaison for most BPC project teams and within designated projects.

Prior to joining BPC, Manning worked as the director of media relations for Proof Strategies, where she developed and implemented impactful communication strategies that built awareness, enhanced credibility, and enriched her clients’ reputations. For more than 15 years, she has worked for public relations agencies that specialized in national nonprofits, advocacy groups, associations, and foundations whose mission focused on a range of social justice issues, from education to health to sustainability. Her past clients include the Afterschool Alliance, Call2Recycle, Futures Without Violence, MomsRising, National Partnership for Women & Families, and the National Quality Forum. Her work on behalf of Call2Recycle’s Avoid the Spark campaign to educate consumers in California’s Bay Area about safe recycling practices was nominated for a Thoth Award in 2019.

Andréa Rodriguez
Director, Coalition of Urban Serving Universities

Andréa Rodriguez serves as Director of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU)/Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). A non-native English speaker and Latina, Rodriguez is the first person in her family to graduate high school and college. With 15 years of experience supporting higher education systems and communities, Rodriguez partners with private foundations and federal agencies, including the Department of Education, Lumina Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Leveraging her training in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and foundations in design thinking, Andréa supports organizations and higher education institutions to increase sustainable and scalable long-term capacity building.

In addition, Rodriguez provides support to the APLU-USU university member institutions to engage in national collaborations to increase the use of data and scientific evidence for university interventions and to scale student success and workforce solutions across the higher education network.

Although Rodriguez is an exceptionally accomplished young woman, given the challenges of being a first-generation high school and college student, she has excelled as a student, leader, and human being. Most poignantly, she is a sexual assault survivor. Rodriguez is powerful despite the obvious challenges of such personal violation on a university campus. She did more than turn lemons into lemonade. She flipped a victim story into a victor story by continuing successfully with her studies and career in higher education. Apart from focusing her time on her work, she leverages her story and experience to assist other survivors.

Besides her work at APLU/USU, Rodriguez serves part-time as the Principal Research Assistant with Gold Enterprises, LLC, co-leading DEI efforts, and supports DEI efforts with ADR Vantage. Her experience and knowledge allow her to lead multiple organizational and institutional projects with a particular emphasis on equity, access, and social justice. Rodriguez earned her undergraduate and Master's degrees from The College at Brockport, SUNY. She later pursued a Master of Education from George Washington University. She recently earned her Doctorate in Leadership and Management, focusing on Policy at Drexel University.

Rodriguez would consider the women in her life, her mother, Teresa Rocio Costavalo, and her partner’s mother, Suzana de Campos Abbott, significant marks to have been able to pave the way for her and other women in the future.

Letitia White
Partner, Innovative Federal Strategies

Letitia White is a Founding Partner of IFS. She served as a key staff member in both the House and Senate for 22 years. This experience has given her a unique and comprehensive understanding of the federal legislative process. As a result, she has long-standing relationships with a number of Members of Congress, their staff, and professional staff members on many Congressional Committees.

White began her career in Congress with the late Senator John Heinz (D-PA). For many years, she worked for Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), the former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Within Congressman Lewis’ office, White served in most of the functions typically found in a Congressional office. When Congressman Lewis served in a leadership position in the Republican Party in the early 1990s, White served as his senior policy advisor for the House Republican Conference. Since very few of the 435 Members of Congress attain House leadership positions, she was afforded a valuable and unique perspective on not only appropriations, but the entire legislative process. 

She has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in US Defense by Defense News and one of the 30 most powerful lobbyists in Washington by National Journal. White is a graduate of Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and attended Richmond University in London, England. 

Cheryl Bonacci
Director of Storytelling, Civil Rights Corps

Cheryl Bonacci is the Director of Storytelling for Civil Rights Corps (CRC). In collaboration with all CRC departments, Bonacci and the Storytelling team guide the organization’s narrative strategies and campaigns helping to amplify the human toll the criminal system takes on our communities.

During her 21 years in the field of criminal system reform in California, Bonacci served as a founding executive of The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, where she helped develop the organization’s core programs and operational infrastructure before leading its communications efforts. Her other notable positions include co-founder of creative acts, executive director of The Harold Robinson Foundation, director of communications for The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform and deputy director of Healing Dialogue and Action.

Her career journey includes direct service as a Catholic Chaplain, working with children being convicted as adults, program development, and implementation for people who have experienced incarceration and crafting narrative strategies on how we see and treat our most marginalized communities. With broad areas of expertise, she has the distinctive ability to facilitate action-driven dialogues across government and community forums, promoting mutual understanding and sustainable change. Elevating the voices of those most impacted by the criminal system and supporting the development of the next generation of change-makers continue to be her motivation.

Lauren Bianchi
Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Lauren Blair Bianchi has more than a decade of experience leading public affairs and advocacy efforts on and off Capitol Hill. Before joining the policy and advocacy communications team at JPMorgan Chase as Executive Director, Lauren led Communications and Public Affairs as the Consumer Bankers Association, a trade association in Washington representing the nation’s largest retail banks.

Previously, Lauren served in communications leadership roles for several Members of Congress, including as the Communications Director leading a team of eight for a high-profile U.S. Senator. In 2017, she was recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30 for her work as press secretary on the House Ways and Means Committee during the historic passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Lauren began her D.C. career at the American Enterprise Institute after serving as a Teach for America Corps Member in New Orleans. A New Jersey native and a graduate of Tulane University, Lauren now resides in the greater D.C. area with her husband, daughter, and goldendoodle.

Nancy Gutzler
Senior Managing Director, KCIC

Nancy Gutzler is a Senior Managing Director at KCIC, a Washington DC-based technology and consulting firm that provides financial, strategic, and operational services to help companies manage their product liabilities. She assists clients with insurance policy review, allocation of claims costs to insurance coverage, analysis of claims data, sampling of claims populations, and development of claims processing procedures and systems. She has particular expertise in assisting policyholders in settlement discussions concerning a variety of coverage issues, including the impact of alternative trigger and scope theories.  

Gutzler provides expert testimony in cases involving issues related to the implementation of settlement agreements between policyholders and their insurers, analysis of historic insurance policies, allocation of claims to insurance, proof of underlying exhaustion, and calculation of unpaid allocations and associated interest. 

Often invited to speak at industry conferences, Gutzler is a member of the American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, and a founding member of ABA’s Women in Insurance Network. She is recognized as a Global Elite Thought Leader by Who’s Who Legal as an Insurance and Reinsurance Expert Witness and by Lexology as the 2021 Client Choice Award winner for Insurance and Reinsurance. Gutzler earned her degree in finance from Michigan State University. 

Rachel Clark
Managing Director, Narrative Strategies DC

Rachel Gartner Clark is a Managing Director at Narrative Strategies, bringing more than a decade of healthcare public affairs communications experience representing third-party organizations and global biopharmaceutical companies. Clark’s prowess within the public affairs space is rooted in driving integrated campaigns from R&D through market launch and supporting data milestones, as well as regulatory decisions around the world. Clark’s deep policy expertise, paired with her vast command of the factors that motivate influential stakeholders within the Beltway, play a major role in ensuring her clients’ priorities and objectives are effectively met.

Prior to joining Narrative Strategies, Clark served as a senior group director at Real Chemistry, where she built and led the public affairs offering, spearheading its “Health Alliances” and stakeholder engagement function. In this role, Clark partnered with her clients to shape the policy conversation around generic drug market entry and successfully shaped Generic User Fee Amendments (GDUFA III) by helping to educate and influence the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as policymakers through third-party support. Clark also led a public affairs campaign aimed at addressing restrictive coverage policies for innovative treatments within the kidney space, mobilizing provider and patient voices. 

Clark earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics from the State University of New York at Albany.