Women We Admire is pleased to announce the Top 50 Women Chief Executive Officers of 2024. One of the most important leadership functions in a company or organization is the Chief Executive Officer. As the highest ranking executive, the CEO is responsible for making major corporate decisions and guiding the strategic direction of the company. This role also sets the tone for the overall culture and values, while ensuring financial prosperity.

In Fortune 500 companies, only about 10% of CEOs are women, even though research shows women leaders improve collaboration and inspire employees to be more dedicated to a company’s mission. This year’s list of award recipients demonstrate the focus, drive, and commitment of today’s women CEOs.

We recognize Cindy Lin, the CEO and Co-Founder of Hey Good Social, a social impact data company working to revolutionize social good data for people, the planet, and profit. Lin brings her previous experience as a top science policy advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency, where she designed national standards, conducted cutting-edge research, and implemented protection and sustainability policies. 

We also honor Starlee Sykes, Chief Executive Officer in Archaea Energy of BP, where she worked her way up from asset manager all the way to CEO. Sykes has contributed to the worldwide goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible by leading a team of first-rate engineers and scientists to safely produce resilient, focused hydrocarbons. 

Finally, we extend congratulations to honoree Alexandra von Plato, CEO of Publicis Health, a worldwide leader in healthcare communications. One of the most respected leaders in the industry, she seamlessly navigates technologies and media to achieve success in the digital age.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of the Top 50 Women Chief Executive Officers of 2024.

1. Gail K. Boudreaux
President and Chief Executive Officer, Elevance Health

Gail Boudreaux serves as president and chief executive officer at Elevance Health, where she leads the company in improving the health of humanity, simplifying healthcare, and building trust with customers. 

Regarded for her ability to skillfully scale multi-billion-dollar businesses, Boudreaux leverages her more than three decades of healthcare industry experience to helm one of America’s largest health companies. Fortune and Forbes have repeatedly recognized Boudreaux on their annual lists of the Most Powerful Women in Business, with Modern Healthcare naming her one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.

Today, she oversees Elevance Health's nearly 100,000 associates, 118 million people served, and a growing portfolio of plans and subsidiaries that generated revenue of more than $137 billion in 2021. She serves on the board of directors for Elevance Health, Target Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and American Health Insurance Plans.

Boudreaux graduated with honors from Dartmouth College with majors in psychology and sociology, later serving on the school’s board of trustees. She received a master’s in business administration in finance and healthcare administration with distinction from Columbia Business School. She is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, a recipient of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Theodore Roosevelt Award and Silver Anniversary Award, and the Billie Jean King Leadership Award.

2. Leslie Davis
Chief Executive Officer, UPMC

Leslie Davis is President and CEO of UPMC. She has more than 30 years of healthcare experience, with particular emphasis on operations and developing businesses and services. 

Most recently, she was executive vice president of UPMC and president of the Health Services Division, which encompasses 40 hospitals and 4,900 employed physicians, 23 senior community facilities, a comprehensive array of clinical specialty service lines, and pre- and post-acute services that include senior living, rehabilitation, and home care.

Davis served as president of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital from 2004 to 2018, and starting in 2014, she also served as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Health Services Division. Davis graduated from Harvard University with an EdM in administration, planning, and social policy and from the University of South Florida with an undergraduate degree in Spanish and English education.

5. Ana Reyes
CEO and President, New Worlds Enterprise Inc.

Ana Reyes is the CEO and President of New Worlds Enterprise Inc. Reyes partners with globally distributed executives and teams to design innovative solutions to complex leadership and organization development challenges. She uniquely blends coaching, consulting, and executive education to support client strategy execution. 

For over two decades, she has created and supported cutting-edge global leadership and team development initiatives for large industry leaders in professional and financial services, aerospace, life sciences, higher and executive education, healthcare, telecom, and software. To serve clients, Reyes collaborates with independent practitioners, academics, other boutique firms, and internal corporate groups to bring expertise and leading-edge content or design to projects and programs. She measures success through client engagement and results. 

Reyes graduated from the University of Maryland with a PhD in Clinical and Community and Industrial and Organizational Psychology and from Boston College with an undergraduate degree in biology and psychology.

8. Miriam Chickering
Chief Executive Officer, NextGenU.org

Miriam Chickering stands at the forefront of global health and education as the CEO of NextGenU.org and the Founder of Nurses International. Her dedication to expanding access to quality healthcare education is evident through her leadership at NextGenU.org, which provides comprehensive learning materials to over 2,000 institutions with learners in every country. Furthermore, under her guidance, Nurses International has become a pivotal source of vital educational resources for nurses in more than 120 countries.

Chickering's influence extends to a variety of programs aimed at addressing critical health issues and educational needs. These include The Addiction Training for Health Professionals Program, which focuses on equipping healthcare professionals with the necessary skills to tackle substance use disorders. Additionally, Humanitarian U has trained over 30,000 humanitarians, while Public Health U has made significant strides in educating more than 150 Masters-Level Public Health students annually from 50 countries.

The STEPS project, under Chickering's direction, is a notable research initiative active in Benin, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This project has positively impacted the education of over 6,000 primary school students across four different school systems, providing them with enhanced STEM learning opportunities. Chickering’s approach to tackling complex global challenges in health and education is characterized by her strategic building of competent and responsive teams. These teams work collaboratively to empower leaders in healthcare and education, fostering an environment where health and education equity can thrive.

Chickering's visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to improving global health and education landscapes make her a distinguished figure in these sectors. Her work continues to break new ground, offering scalable and sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing communities worldwide. In her latest endeavors, Chickering is integrating AI technology into educational methods, focusing on its ethical and responsible use to enhance the effectiveness and accessibility of learning experiences. This forward-thinking approach ensures that AI is applied thoughtfully, augmenting her comprehensive global health and education efforts.

9. Shannon Buerk
Founder & CEO, engage2learn

Shannon Buerk is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of engage2learn, a leading provider of education intelligence for public schools through smart professional learning, job-embedded coaching and training, and related technology solutions since 2011. Educator turned entrepreneur, Buerk has emerged as a thought leader on educational leadership, organizational culture, and systems thinking.

Buerk began her career as a high school English teacher. She served as assistant superintendent at Coppell ISD, a premier public school system with a statewide reputation for educational excellence, from 2003 to 2007, before accepting a role as a senior strategist at Cambridge Strategic Services. She started her current role at engage2learn in 2010. 

Buerk recently published Connect the Dots: Utilizing Education Intelligence to Accelerate Growth, Retain Talent, and Optimize Outcomes. She received her undergraduate degree from Schreiner University and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University.

10. Kate Harris
President, CEO & Chair, Stanley Consultants, Inc.

Kate Harris, President, CEO, and Chair of Stanley Consultants, has 30 years of international experience in the construction, engineering, and consulting industry. She graduated with a First-Class Honors degree in the UK and has completed the Advanced Management and Intellectual Property programs at Harvard Business and Law Schools. She is a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors, a member of Women Corporate Directors, and accredited as a Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member.  In addition to serving as a trustee of the company’s retirement programs, and chair of the Stanley Consultants Charitable Foundation, Harris also serves on the American Council of Engineering Council’s Research Institute board. 

Harris was named the 2022 CEO of the Year by the Environmental Financial Consulting Group, in recognition of her outstanding leadership, steadfast focus on ethics and integrity, and consistently innovative and effective approach. She was also named to the 2023 Colorado Titan 100. Her leadership interests fully align with Stanley’s mission to leverage skills, capabilities, and rapidly changing technologies for the good of the company’s clients, communities, and members, promote the profession’s essential value to society, and inspire a generation to solve the world’s most challenging problems. 

An active advocate of client service, business innovation, and talent development, and one of the earliest AEC participants of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, Harris continues to mentor upcoming generations of leaders to further Stanley’s Purpose of Improving Lives Since 1913.

13. Renee Friedman
Chief Executive Officer, FASTSIGNS®

Renee Friedman is the driving force behind FASTSIGNS Orlando Central, where she combines almost four decades of industry expertise with a deep commitment to providing the best product solutions and customer experience. As CEO, Friedman has elevated the company to a leader in brand development and marketing, while her passion for ambitious community-focused projects like the AT&T Olympic Village signage in 1996 and the Orlando City Soccer signage in 2013 has solidified her status as a key player in Orlando's cultural landscape.

At the core of Friedman's leadership philosophy is a culture-focused and inclusive team environment. She champions diversity and fosters a workplace where every team member's growth is encouraged and supported. This approach has not only enriched the team's dynamics but has also driven innovation and enhanced customer engagement. Under her guidance, FASTSIGNS Orlando Central has become the Preferred Sign Vendor for top-tier institutions, such as UCF, Orange County Government, and Amazon, a testament to the company's ability to cultivate strong local partnerships that contribute to community development.

Friedman's contributions have been recognized with accolades, such as "Women Who Move the City" and a feature as one of the "Faces of Orlando" in both the Orlando Business Journal and Orlando Magazine, highlighting her entrepreneurial excellence and dedication to community betterment. Friedman's leadership at FASTSIGNS Orlando Central is not just about providing superior visual solutions; it's about building a legacy of inclusion, team empowerment, and active participation in the growth and vibrancy of the Orlando community.

16. Marta Tellado
President & CEO, Consumer Reports

Marta Tellado is President and Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Reports, an independent, nonprofit organization that works with consumers to foster truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. Since joining in 2014, she has led Consumer Reports, the largest consumer organization in the world, by uniting its rigorous research, consumer insights, journalism, and policy expertise to create a more fair, safe, and just marketplace informing purchase decisions, improving products and services, and driving regulatory and fair competitive practices. 

Prior to joining Consumer Reports, Tellado was VP for global communications at the Ford Foundation. In that role, she oversaw the foundation’s strategic communications on a range of issues in the US and around the world, including economic fairness, free and fair access to an open internet, and civil rights. Before that, she helped set up a new nonprofit, the Partnership for Public Service, serving as VP and founded and directed the first bipartisan domestic public policy forum at the Aspen Institute. She has worked extensively with policymakers in Washington, DC, and served as a senior advisor to US Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, the state where she was raised following her family’s journey from her birthplace of Havana, Cuba.

Tellado is the author of Buyer Aware: Harnessing Our Consumer Power for a Safe, Fair, and Transparent Marketplace, which chronicles the importance of consumer rights in creating an inclusive economy and strong democracy. Her expertise on the issues facing consumers today has been featured in leading publications and broadcasts, including CNN, Forbes, Marketplace Morning Report, New York Magazine’s Pivot Podcast, and USA Today. Tellado earned her PhD in Political Science from Yale and an undergraduate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She also currently serves on the boards of the Yale Corporation, Omidyar Network, International Consumer Research & Testing, Consumers International, and The Washington Center. She is based in New York City.

View the complete list of awardees

20. Erin Stucky
President & CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City

Erin Stucky is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). She leads the company with a lifelong dedication to healthcare, a deep commitment to the Kansas City region, and extensive expertise in business and health advocacy. As the leader of Kansas City’s largest health benefits provider with more than 1 million members, Stucky is committed to Blue KC’s mission of making healthcare more affordable and positioning Blue KC to respond to the ever-evolving healthcare environment.

A career veteran of Blue KC, Stucky has served in progressive executive leadership roles throughout the company. She has directed market innovation, health and wellness initiatives, sales and marketing, population health, payment innovations, and underwriting. A highly respected business leader in the region, Ingram’s Magazine named Stucky as a Women Executives-KC (WeKC) honoree. She has been named to the Ingram’s 250, a group of the most powerful and influential business leaders in Greater Kansas City, for the past three years.

Stucky is devoted to the Kansas City community and serves various professional and civic organizations. She currently serves as a board member for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Union Station Kansas City, The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, and the Police Foundation of Kansas City. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of MRIGlobal and serves on the Children’s Mercy Research Institute Advisory Council. She is an alumna of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions Leadership Program, a former member of the Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council, and a former board member for Friendship Inn. Stucky received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Missouri.

21. Denise Napier
President & CEO, Health Partners Plans

Denise Napier is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Jefferson Health Plans (JHP). She leads a $2 billion managed care organization with operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, focusing on Medicare Advantage plans, a CHIP plan, individual and family plans, and a nationally recognized Medicaid plan. Under Napier's leadership, the health plan puts members first, develops innovative programs to benefit communities, and creates tremendous business growth.

Napier has more than 25 years of results-driven leadership experience with Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial products. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, product development, mergers and acquisitions, operations, pharmacy, healthcare management, network management, regulatory compliance, expansions, and start-ups. Napier has served as CEO for multiple health plans, focusing on improving financial and growth outcomes to obtain profitability and transform lives. Prior to her current role, she served as the company’s senior vice president of healthcare management operations and, more recently, as executive vice president of clinical and provider management. Napier’s supportive leadership has enabled JHP to create groundbreaking partnerships with the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance and the Broad Street Ministry.

Napier received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Widener University and her Master of Health Administration from St. Joseph’s University. She is also a registered nurse in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She is a board member of the HealthShare Exchange, where she also serves as chair of the board. In addition, Napier is a board member of St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, for which she also serves as Treasurer.

22. Michelle Murray
Chief Executive Officer, Nexus Family Healing

Michelle Murray is the President and CEO of Nexus Family Healing, a national nonprofit mental health organization, serving thousands of children and families each year through community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and youth residential services.

Murray is a true advocate for family mental health, positioning Nexus Family Healing as one of the only full continua of care models in its area of operations. She has worked to build and implement many new programs in partnership with other leaders, including a family partnership initiative, trauma-informed practices, and innovative partnerships with those in healthcare, education, government, and communities to fill gaps in mental health services. Additionally, she focuses on organizational integration across Nexus service lines and the important work of fundraising to expand the organization’s capacity for growing community needs. Core to Murray’s leadership of the organization, and the message she shares with team members and clients, is her belief that no child, family, or individual is ever beyond hope, a message that is empowering for all who look to Nexus as a resource or a career.

Murray’s clinical and executive experience spans nearly 25 years. Before serving as CEO, she was Nexus’ VP of clinical services and chief clinical officer. Before joining Nexus, she led residential treatment programs for youth as the director of Adelphoi Village/Northern Tier Children’s Home. Additionally, she led programs in the areas of foster care, shelter/diagnostic assessment services, group homes, independent living services, and community-based psycho-sexual assessments. Murray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an approved clinical supervisor through the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. She received a Master’s degree and a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University.

24. Marietta Rodriguez
CEO & President, NeighborWorks America

Marietta Rodriguez is President and CEO of NeighborWorks America, a congressionally chartered nonprofit creating opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives, and strengthen their communities. 

In more than 20 years with NeighborWorks, Rodriguez has expanded its homeownership programs, increased capacity, improved technical assistance, and strengthened the infrastructure of NeighborWorks' network, which includes nearly 250 nonprofits across the country. The NonProfit Times recognized Rodriguez as one of the top working executives in the nonprofit sector on its 2023 NPT Power & Influence Top 50 list. 

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from Lake Forest College and is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government/NeighborWorks America Achieving Excellence Program.

25. Dominique Raccah
Publisher & CEO, Sourcebooks

Dominique Raccah is the entrepreneurial publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks, the company she founded from her home in 1987 as a source of financial information for bankers. From that small start, Raccah has directed a continuously growing entrepreneurial company that grew into a general trade house, which happily produces everything from bestsellers in adult and teen fiction, to number-one titles in children's books, baby names, and college guides, scores of New York Times bestsellers, and hundreds of national bestsellers. 

Today, Sourcebooks has over 250 employees, publishes over 600 new titles each year, and is proud to be the seventh-largest book publisher in America and the largest woman-owned book publisher in the country, along with the largest publisher in Chicago. Raccah has been widely recognized as a leader in innovation in book publishing, as well as in the field itself, being named Publishers Weekly Person of the Year in late 2016. In 2023, Raccah was honored with UJA's Publishing Titan Award. 

Previously, Raccah was a co-chair of the board of directors at Book Industry Study Group. Earlier in her career, she worked with Leo Burnett as an associate research director. Raccah earned an MS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago.

26. Deonne Christensen
President & Chief Executive Officer, Mazuma Credit Union

Deonne Christensen is the President and CEO of Mazuma Credit Union. She is driven by a desire to make a positive impact and to ensure that her organization, team, members, Kansas City community, and family are growing, thriving, happy, healthy, and able to contribute to a bigger purpose. 

Christensen has been in the credit union/banking industry for 30 years, the last 10 years with Mazuma, and embraces opportunities to elevate the culture, create meaningful experiences, immerse in the community, and ensure that all business objectives are tied to the Credit Union philosophy of “people helping people.” Christensen is known for her transformational leadership style and her focus on aligning teams, technology, and financial strategies to create the momentum that Mazuma has experienced. Her leadership style has also been described as “values-based, people-centered leadership,” always supportive, collaborative, and caring immensely about helping the team grow and succeed individually, as Mazuma grows and succeeds as a collective organization.  

Christensen attended the University of Nevada, Reno, is a graduate of the prestigious Credit Union National Association’s Management school, where she graduated with high honors and was inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame, and she is currently pursuing the Certified Chief Executive designation through the Credit Union Executive Society’s CEO Institute. She was named a Kansas City Business Journal Women Who Mean Business Honoree in 2020 and was a recipient of the Ingram’s Women Executive Award in 2021.

27. Jill Frey
President, Cummins Facility Services

Jill Frey, the President of Cummins Facility Services (CFS), has masterfully navigated the company's evolution from a modest 15-person team to a powerhouse with over 800 employees spread across the nation. A proud alumna of the University of Toledo, Frey seamlessly stepped into the leadership role at CFS, a company originally founded by her parents, she is proud to be certified as a Women's Business Enterprise by The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

In 2019, she made her visionary stride into the realm of technology with the inception of Facility Genius and FacilityInSites. This innovative venture melds technology with building management to heighten operational efficiency, introducing concepts, such as intelligent sensor technology and eco-friendly air purifiers to the market.

As the Chairwoman of The Facility Data Standard (FDS), Frey pioneers the path to secure, seamless data transfer and integration in the facilities industry. The FDS, crafted meticulously by industry experts, plays a crucial role in propelling the extensive and economic adoption of electronic information technology. It seeks to revolutionize the data exchange landscape, fostering efficiency and security in the facilities ecosystem. Powered by her commitment to technological advancement and operational efficiency, Frey's strategic leadership continues to steer her business ventures toward success. Her influence ripples beyond her enterprises, leaving a positive, lasting impact on the communities she serves.

View the complete list of awardees

28. Meredith Wilson
Founder & CEO, Emergent Risk International, LLC

Meredith Wilson is the Founder and CEO of Emergent Risk International, LLC, which empowers companies to understand and address the impact of geopolitical events on their business. The company specializes in addressing risks and opportunities in emerging markets, political, and security risk, and building strategic risk intelligence programs for multinational companies and organizations. 

Wilson serves as a political risk and intelligence advisor to executive management and government and has more than 20 years of experience in international environments, the energy sector, major corporations, and the US intelligence community. Before founding Emergent Risk International, Wilson worked at the Pentagon for the US Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2007 she moved to the private sector to build a strategic intelligence program at ConocoPhillips. Subsequently, she worked in regulatory affairs before moving on to Kosmos Energy to develop a political risk program. She served as a business intelligence advisor to the National Intelligence Officer for Science and Technology, and she provided briefings to executives and members of the USG and US military. 

She is a co-founder of the Private Sector Intelligence Council (PSIC), a member of the board of directors for the Association for International Risk and Intelligence Professionals (AIRIP), and an advisory board member for the Southeastern Analysts’ Roundtable. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a Master’s degree in History. She has lived and worked in Australia, the UK, Ireland, Vietnam, and Malaysia. She also has extensive experience working in the Middle East and Africa.

29. Pinar Ormeci
Chief Executive Officer, Timus Networks

Pinar Ormeci is an energetic business executive with over 20 years of experience within the technology sector. She has led teams in multinational corporations, including Qualcomm and Ericsson, with a focus on advancing the global adoption of wireless technologies, such as 4G/5G, as well as digital transformation enabling software and services. Her industry experience also extends heavily to partnerships and global sales and business development efforts within high-growth west-coast-based SaaS startups like Cequint, Hiya, and Lookout Life.

Throughout her career, Ormeci has consistently delivered significant revenue growth, penetrated new international markets, and fostered a culture of innovation and transformation. Currently, as the CEO of Timus, she is laser-focused on supporting its managed service provider partners in protecting their clients with a best-of-breed, cloud-native, zero-trust network security solution. Built on the latest cloud technologies and artificial intelligence, Timus enables organizations to securely connect all employees and devices and make applications simpler, faster, and more cost-effective.

Ormeci has a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and an undergraduate degree in the same field from Bogazici University, Istanbul Turkey, graduating summa cum laude. She is a published author of several IEEE papers on channel coding theory.

30. Elizabeth McClanahan
Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Tech Foundation

Elizabeth McClanahan serves as Chief Executive Officer of The Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc. (VTF). She leads the team that manages the university’s investments, including the endowment, the real estate portfolio, and the Corporate Research Center. 

Before joining VTF, McClanahan served as the president and dean at Appalachian School of Law, which is located in Buchanan County, Virginia, her home county. She has served as chair of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, vice-rector of her alma mater, the College of William and Mary, Williamson Fellow at William and Mary College of Law, Street Memorial Distinguished Visitor in Real Estate Law at Appalachian School of Law, El Paso Natural Gas Law Fellow at the University of Colorado School of Law, and on the faculty for the Summer Management Program at Wake Forest School of Business and Accountancy. 

McClanahan is an adjunct professor of finance at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business, where she teaches legal, financing, and ethical issues for entrepreneurs. After earning decades of legal experience across the public and private sectors, with significant work in the energy industry, McClanahan served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia and on the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Her legal career culminated with her appointment by the Virginia General Assembly to Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She is an active member of boards of directors, including the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carilion Clinic, and Delta Dental of Virginia. In the past, she has served on the boards of the North American Coalbed Methane Forum, the National Chamber Foundation Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Virginia Law Foundation, Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and Virginia 4-H Foundation.

31. Kiwoba Allaire
CEO & Founder, Girl STEM Stars

Kiwoba Allaire is an inspiring woman dedicated to helping young girls build successful futures in the tech industry. Allaire devotes her time to helping girls of color from under-tapped communities improve their lives by providing them with new experiences and mentors advancing them in STEM education. As CEO and Founder of Girl STEM Stars, her nonprofit is dedicated to providing the tools and space for exploration and innovation with STEM classes, visits with prominent community global leaders, and tech worksite visits. It also incorporates the arts and humanities to further support the STEAM focus and highlight its increasing importance in a global society. 

Allaire is also an incredibly inspiring motivational speaker and has customized speeches for every client. Her candor, passion, and luminosity light up the room and leave her audience moved and poised for action. Allaire serves from a place of fulfilling her calling, and that resonates with every word in her keynotes. Over the years, she has overcome major adversity in her own life, and today, she is a shining example of what is possible when corporate executives focus on giving to the communities they live and work in to improve the lives of others. She lives by the words “Let your Faith be bigger than your fear.” 

Allaire has been on local nonprofit boards of All Stars Helping Kids, United Way, the Sheriffs Activities League, and the 100 Black Women’s Coalition. Among her many accolades, Allaire was named among the top 50 Multicultural Leaders in Technology by the California Diversity Council, A Woman Worth Watching by Diversity Journal, and SF Biz Times Forever Influential Woman and was a recipient of the Sistahs Rock, Beyond the Limits Award. Allaire was voted San Francisco Business Times' Most Influential Woman and also Silicon Valley's Most Influential Women.

32. Wendy Holliday
Chief Executive Officer, PayTech Women

Wendy Holliday is a service-driven leader passionately committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As the CEO of PayTech Women, formerly known as Wnet, she ensures organizational profitability, while pioneering career programs addressing gender disparities. Her extensive executive leadership spans various roles, emphasizing strategic direction, member relations, and best-in-class operations. Her tenure at Kent State University as an adjunct professor reflects her dedication to nurturing the next generation with a focus on leadership, communications, and critical thinking.

Holliday is a high-touch leader, strategic guide, and staff team builder committed to efficiency, financial acumen, and inclusive leadership. An accomplished association professional, she brings more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, characterized by a strategic and data-driven approach. She has excelled in various roles, including serving as the executive director for Digital Enterprise Society (formerly PLM World), the VP for attendee acquisition and experience at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, and the VP for marketing and member services at the National Association of College Stores. Holliday has been instrumental in shaping marketing and sponsorship plans for major events like CAMEX (a TSNN top 150 show) and has led sponsorship activities at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, for Certified Angus Beef. Her expertise extends to data-driven change, volunteer engagement, and successful initiatives in membership marketing and acquisition.

Holliday is an ASAE Certified Association Executive (CAE) and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Kent State University.

33. Maureen Shea
Chief Executive Officer, Right Management – Florida/Caribbean

As CEO and Co-founder of Right Management – Florida/Caribbean Region, Florida’s first outplacement firm, Maureen Shea drives Right’s growth in diverse talent management and outplacement services for privately and publicly owned companies throughout Florida and the Caribbean Region. Previously, she served as the CFO.

As a strategic resource, Shea makes it her mission to “guide and inspire” her team and colleagues region-wide. Recognized for helping shape and support Florida’s HR profession, she is a past president of the Human Resource Association of Broward County and was inducted into its Hall of Fame. She, along with her husband, was honored in 2019 by the South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine Lifetime Achievement, Excellence in HR award.

Most recently, Shea was honored by Florida Trend as a 2023 Best Company to Work For for the 10th year and by The Commonwealth Institute with the Top Women Led Businesses award in Florida for the 7th year in a row. She was also recently inducted into the NSU Entrepreneur and Business Hall of Fame. She was honored by the South Florida Business Journal with the Woman Owned Business of the Year Award in 2022. Shea has been honored by United Way with the Magnolia Award and was presented with the Girl Scouts Lead the Way award honoring incredible and Inspirational Professional Women of Broward County. She was honored with the Enterprising Women of the Year Award, Leadership Broward’s Profiles In Leadership Award, and Florida Diversity Council’s Glass Ceiling Award, and she has received the South Florida Business Journal’s CFO of the Year award.

34. Roxane Ferguson
President & CEO, Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce

Roxane Ferguson is the President and CEO of the Oviedo Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has also served as the executive director for the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, marketing director for Diamond Technologies, director of sales in membership and marketing for the Delaware Better Business Bureau, and VP for Wachovia Bank, as well as as an adjunct professor at Longwood Gardens. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Wesley College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a summa cum laude graduate of Wilmington University with a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. 

With 30 years of marketing, technology, and management experience to her tenure, she has facilitated many changes for the organizations she has represented. She is the founder of both the Oviedo Winter Springs Chamber Foundation and the Middletown Area Chamber Foundation, which support education, scholarship, and entrepreneurship. She has been honored to have been recognized as the 2022 Delaware Mother of the Year, 2021 Governor’s Volunteer of the Year, 2020 Delaware Press Association Communicator of Achievement, and a 2018 Women in Business through Delaware Today.

Ferguson serves as a board member for Leadership Seminole and has served as a member for the Joint Military Affairs and Women’s Workforce Council committees, as the District Pathways to Service Radio Show Co-host for Rotary International, and as an Honorary Commander for the 436th Medical group at Dover Air Force Base. She is an active member of the Oviedo Rotary Club and a sports enthusiast who enjoys glamping with her family in their RV. She is a proud mom and resides in Oviedo, Florida, with her husband and two dogs.

View the complete list of awardees

35. Olivia Straine
Chief Executive Officer, STRAINE Dental Management

Olivia Straine is the CEO of STRAINE Dental Management, a leading dental service organization that provides practice owners with a comprehensive management system designed to help them achieve their goals. The team of experts have years of experience in the dental industry, and they leverage this knowledge to deliver best practices operating policies, and key performance indicators that enable their clients to grow their practices and enhance their patient care. Straine develops the concepts and writes the workbooks for the widely attended seminars and educational programs STRAINE offers.

Prior to joining STRAINE Dental Consulting in 1992, she was a top producer for the largest and most prestigious real estate firm in Sacramento County for more than 17 years. In a company of more than 300 real estate agents, she distinguished herself by earning membership into the company's Board of Governors and the Top Ten Percent. As a leader in the real estate community, Straine also earned recognition by serving on the Ethics Committee at the Sacramento Board of Realtors.

Straine has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from California State University-Sacramento and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaii. As a student at California State University, she won the prestigious six-month internship at KCRA TV in Sacramento where she mentored under Stan Atkinson, Sacramento's most respected and well-known evening anchor.

37. Tona Trondsen
CEO & Founder, Workplace Safety Screenings

Tona Trondsen serves as the Founder and CEO of Workplace Safety Screenings (WSS), a leading Consortium/Third-Party Administrator (C/TPAs) based in Houston, Texas. This woman-owned enterprise stands at the forefront of providing comprehensive background screening services, drug and alcohol testing, and occupational health. Acknowledging its unwavering commitment and continual expansion, Houston Business Journal has honored WSS as one of Houston's fastest-growing businesses for two consecutive years. 

Led by Trondsen, Workplace Safety Screenings recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Born in Norway to a ship captain and raised in Houston, Trondsen’s unique insight into the maritime industry has helped her to develop a community-oriented business that remains responsive to the needs of its partners, such as WSS’ early implementation of the International Seafarer Vaccination Program to administer more than 25,000 vaccinations for seafarers passing through the US Gulf Area.

Trondsen actively participates in philanthropic endeavors and generously volunteers her time to foster the growth of other businesses within her community. Her unwavering commitment to advancing collective welfare has made a lasting impact on the lives of numerous individuals, leaving behind an indelible imprint of great significance. Tronsden has an undergraduate degree in business management from Le Tourneau University and a Master’s degree in Intercultural Studies from Southeastern College, and she’s an alumnus of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program.

38. Deb Grant
President & CEO, Corporate Playbook

Deborah “Deb” Grant, a visionary leader, is an independent director at SoundThinking SSTI (NASDAQ), where she chairs the Human Capital & Compensation Committee, and at DJE Holdings (Edelman), one of the largest PR firms in the world. She is the Executive Vice-Chairwoman at CNEXT, a highly diverse global community for the advancement of high-impact leaders. Additionally, Deb is CEO of Corporate Playbook™, a firm with an impressive, global client list that provides senior executives with strategic direction to elevate leadership, inclusion, and culture. Deb is also the creator of Dining with Deb™, an innovative experience built by women, for women, celebrating women. Her work is informed by many years of success, as GE’s first black female corporate officer and President of the GE Foundation. She led global philanthropic efforts, deploying a $130MM budget to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges. 

Deb has received numerous accolades, including the 50 Most Powerful Women in Philanthropy from Inside Philanthropy, the Women of Excellence Legacy Award from the National Association for Female Executives, the Women of Power Award from the National Urban League, Keeper of the Dream Award, from the National Action Network and the NCAA’s Legacy in Leadership Award. She holds a BA from LSU, an MPA from Southern University, and an Honorary Doctor of Science from Clarkson University. She and her husband Cary, reside in New Orleans.

39. Annie Lee
Chief Executive Officer, Avyanna Technologies

Annie Lee is the dynamic CEO of Avyanna Technologies, a leading technology solutions company. With almost two decades of experience in the industry, Lee has solidified her reputation as a visionary leader and trailblazer. Her strategic mindset, exceptional leadership skills, and passion for innovation have propelled Avyanna Technologies to new heights. Under Lee's visionary leadership, Avyanna Technologies has flourished, delivering cutting-edge technology solutions to a diverse range of clients. Her ability to inspire and motivate her team, coupled with her strategic acumen, has propelled the company's growth and cemented its reputation as an industry leader. 

Lee's leadership philosophy is deeply rooted in empowering her team and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Her unwavering belief in the power of diversity and inclusion has led to the cultivation of a dynamic workforce that thrives on creativity and problem-solving. With Lee at the helm, Avyanna Technologies continues to push boundaries, creating innovative solutions that drive organizational success and make a positive impact in the world. 

Beyond her professional achievements, Lee's passion for her work and family has been a driving force behind Avyanna Technologies' success. As a devoted mother, she understands the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This understanding has shaped the company's culture, fostering an environment that supports its employees' personal well-being while encouraging professional growth. 

40. Cindy Lin
CEO and Co-Founder, Hey Good Social

Cindy Lin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Hey Social Good, a social impact data company working to revolutionize social good data for people, the planet, and profit. Hey Social Good is a social impact data analytics company that Assess-Guide-Verifies businesses and brands for their sustainable, giveback, and socially responsible practices. Hey Social Good offers the most credible sustainability and ESG data to help businesses reduce risk and capitalize on social good benefits with the best access to environmental and social data and insights. 

Lin is an environmental and data scientist, ecologist, and national expert on pollution’s negative impacts on water, habitat, and human health. She previously worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she designed national standards, conducted cutting-edge research, and implemented protection and sustainability policies to meet global and national environmental standards. She was the US regional expert on clean water, the US EPA's top science policy advisor on the US Climate Change National Work Group, and the US Embassy China Water Advisor. Lin's past research covered cutting-edge investigation and analytical insight into the impact of pollution on water, chemistry, air, and biological organisms. She is an avid ecologist, environmental scientist, and engineer. 

She received her doctorate in environmental science and engineering, a Master’s degree in Environmental Chemistry, and an undergraduate degree in biology, from UCLA. In 2022, Lin co-founded the San Diego Environmental Film Festival, where she works with artists and filmmakers to tell stories about their people and planet to inspire people to action.

41. Shirley Davis
Chief Executive Officer, SDS Global Enterprises

Shirley Davis is a sought-after global workforce expert and is President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, a strategic development solutions firm that specializes in human resources strategy,  talent management, leadership effectiveness, culture transformation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Davis has over twenty years of experience in a variety of senior executive leadership roles in Fortune 100 and 50 corporations, and in her last role, she served as VP of global diversity and inclusion and workforce strategies for the world’s largest human resources association, the Society for Human Resource Management. 

Davis’ work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, NBC’s Today Show, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, CNN.com, Fast Company, CEOWorld Magazine, Harvard Business Review, and many others. In May 2022, her story was featured on the front page of Oprah Daily. She was inducted into Inclusion Magazine’s Hall of Fame for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in November 2021, and in August 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee, she received The Golden Gavel Award, which is Toastmasters International’s highest and most prestigious award given to only one person each year. Additionally, she was nominated for the Forbes 2021 Women 50 Over 50 list and again in 2022.

Davis has worked in more than 30 countries on five continents and delivers more than 100 speeches a year to a wide range of industries, sectors, and sizes, including Fortune 10s-500s corporations, large membership associations and nonprofit organizations, and federal, state, and local government agencies. She continues to consult, coach, and train leaders at all levels, including corporate CEOs, C-suite executives, and board members. Davis holds an undergraduate degree in pre-law, a Master’s degree in Adult Education, a second Master’s degree in HR Management, and a PhD in Business and Organizational Leadership.

42. Tracy LaFlamme Ortega
Chief Executive Officer, Bell Group

Tracy LaFlamme Ortega is the CEO of Bell Group, a digital learning consultancy, specializing in learning innovation for professional development and education. Bell Group supports organizations that seek technology-driven solutions to positively disrupt learning outcomes, customer experience, sales, operations, and business results. 

Prior to Bell Group, Ortega founded Prepworks, a multi-award-winning, education technology company. Ortega served as president and CEO of Prepworks from 2007 until its acquisition in 2018. Following the acquisition of Prepworks by Asteria Education, Ortega joined the new company as chief product officer, where she developed and launched a suite of new digital, adaptive products aligned to state standards. In 2020, Ortega joined Bell Group full-time as CEO, and once again, she has attracted a team of experts who are dedicated to driving value for their clients and turning ideas into technology-enabled solutions. 

Ortega served on the National Board of Directors of ALPFA and the Association of Latino Professionals for America, the largest member-based organization in the United States dedicated to connecting Latino students and professionals for impact. She serves on the National Board of Junior Achievement USA and is also a member of Chief, WPO, Women's Presidents Organization, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council WBENC. Ortega graduated from Vanderbilt University.

View the complete list of awardees

43. Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
Chief Executive Officer, KET Solutions

Kimberly Ellison-Taylor is the Chief Executive Officer of KET Solutions. She grew up in the inner city of Baltimore and has proven that mentorship, coaching, and sponsorship do work. As a leader in both finance and technology, Ellison-Taylor has received many awards and recognitions and is one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting and one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting. She is also a sought-after speaker on several topics, including leadership, DE&I, transformation, and emerging technology. She is a past chairman of the American Institute of CPAs, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and the Maryland Association of CPAs. She is an independent corporate board director for US Bancorp, Mutual of Omaha, and Evercommerce. 

For almost 17 years, Ellison-Taylor served in global leadership roles for Oracle Corporation. She advised C-suite executives on cloud solutions that innovate and transform business. She is also an adjunct professor for Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College’s Chief Information Officer Certificate program, teaching emerging technologies and innovation. She is a member of the Heinz Dean’s Advisory Council. 

Ellison-Taylor is a community leader and volunteers in several roles, including as the 2022-2023 president of Beta Alpha Psi, the chair of the Maryland Association of CPAs Foundation, the chair of the American Institute of CPAs National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, the director of Professional Development for her local chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and as a trustee for Loyola University MD.

44. Phara McLachlan
Chief Executive Officer, Nahteava

Phara McLachlan is an accomplished executive, entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant.  She is the CEO and Founder of Nahteava, a consulting and advisory firm specializing in IT asset management, software asset management, strategy, and technology. Nahteava helps clients overcome challenges, uncover hidden opportunities, drive cost optimization, and transform operational excellence.  

McLachlan has 25 years of expertise and success in business transformation, technology transformation, strategy, and IT asset management across technology, startups, financial services/banking, healthcare, media and entertainment, retail, other private sector, public sector, and international markets industries. Prior to launching Nahteava, McLachlan spent 10 years serving as the CEO of Animus Solutions, an IT asset management and technology consulting firm, and responsible for managing the company, formulating, and executing long-term strategies, interacting with clients, employees, and other stakeholders, and led the ITAM practice. Prior to Animus, McLachlan consulted independently and for some of the Big 4 Consulting firms, assuming various consulting positions with a focus on IT asset management, strategy, and technology.

She is a frequent speaker and well-reputed contributor to leading management, technology, and news publications, such as The Wall Street Journal Technology, Black Enterprise Magazine, Architecture & Governance, BaseLine, ITAM Review, and InfoWorld, to name a few. She is also the published author of Pocket CIO: The Guide to Successful IT Asset Management. McLachlan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of South Florida, as well as various industry certifications.

47. Courtney Overton
Founder & CEO, Speech of Cake

Courtney Overton is a speech-language pathologist and literacy specialist. She is the Founder and CEO of Speech of Cake, Inc., a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that specializes in treating speech sound disorders and dyslexia. With a passion for shaping future clinicians, Overton also serves as a clinical fellowship mentor at Speech of Cake, a clinical supervisor at several universities, and a clinical professor at the University of Maryland. Overton continues to advocate for neurodivergent students and students of color by providing seminars, workshops, and keynotes on a national level through her organizations, DiverCity SLP and The SLP Guide to Dyslexia.

Overton recently earned her doctorate in literacy, culture, and language education at Indiana University with a minor in educational leadership and public policy. Previously, she earned a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Cornell University. Overton attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts to earn a Master's Degree in Speech-language Pathology, and she obtained an undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology, a minor in linguistics, and a Certificate in American Sign Language at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Overton is a member of For(bes) the Culture, National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing, American Speech-Language Hearing Association, International Literacy Association, International Dyslexia Association, Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation, Incorporated, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

48. Rebecca Consolvo
Founder & CEO, 9Box Consulting

An innovative people operations leader, Becky is currently the CEO and Founder of 9Box Consulting - a company focused on amplifying the employee experience for technology founders. Through her work, Becky works with early-stage companies to build foundational teams focused on market-changing products and services. From organizational design to leadership development, there is no avenue Becky won't tap into to make an impact within the industry. 

Prior to 9Box and her role as VP of People & Culture at Dapper Labs, Becky kickstarted her career in the federal space in Canada before pivoting to focus her attention on key operational components within various sized technology-driven companies. After leading a global contract team at Apple for almost four (4) years, Becky was recruited to lead the North American Delivery and Operations initiatives at Tesla during the Model 3 ramp. Challenged to create streamlined and effective teams that could ease customer concerns, Becky began developing extensive training and career pathing programs to help support her employees directly. Through this work, Becky moved to lead the Global Energy Training, Quality, and Development organization at Tesla - striving to create dynamic learning and development that would engage employees for long-term retention purposes. While at Tesla, Becky also led the North American field recruiting initiative, primarily focused on field operations and field management opportunities - bringing world-class employees to continue growing the Tesla team. 

After her time at Tesla, Becky utilized all she had learned through both Apple and Tesla to jump into the start-up world supporting both Seed and Series A  companies to help build out early-stage people operations units focused on hyper-growth and sustainability. This new endeavor, 9Box Consulting, allowed her the opportunity to assist these businesses in developing the foundations of programs focused on the employee experience that stand the test of time as companies mature and grow. Regardless of how strong an idea or how innovative a product is, retention can make or break a company’s success, and that was a concept Becky drove forward through 9Box. 

Wife to Brandon and mom to both Reagan (7) and Charles (4), Becky spends most of her time outside with her family exploring all DC has to offer. A proud member of Round and founding Administrator of Moms in Tech (Mints), Becky dedicates her free time to mentoring and supporting women kickstarting their careers in tech.

View the complete list of awardees