Women Leadership Summit 2013 Speaker Bios

Women in Advertising: Leading in the Advertising Age

Daina MiddletonCEO, Performics

An expert in the digital marketing space and marketing professional with more than 20 years in the industry, Daina Middleton is the global CEO of Performics, one of the largest search and performance media agencies delivering performance marketing solutions and quantum business results for a list of blue chip clients by applying innovation and solving complex challenges.

Before moving to the agency side of the industry, Daina spent 16 years working at Hewlett-Packard in key marketing positions. She was involved early in exploring the marketing impact of the then unknown phenomenon called the “Internet.” At the time of her departure she was the director of advertising for HP’s $28 billion global Imaging and Printing Group, managing both digital and traditional mediums.She is a regular industry speaker with appearances at Conversational Marketing Summit, ad:tech, WOMMA, VideoNuze, and iMedia, to name a few. She was also named as one of Mobile Marketer’s 2011 Mobile Women to Watch.

Suzanne Hader - Head of Digital Strategy, SelectNY

Suzanne recently joined SelectNY as Head of Digital Strategy, but she’s been making things on the internet since 1994. Recent projects have included leading business and creative strategy for Vogue.com, developing Gant’s US E-commerce site, and relaunching Calvin Klein’s CKOne brand through a predominantly digital campaign in 45 countries, that also included mobile, UGC and live events. Her 15+ year career has included positions from Estée Lauder to Code and Theory – with a five year stint running her own consulting firm – working with brands like Samsung, Clinique, Gilt Groupe, Citibank, Unique Homes and Bottega Veneta.

Leslie Deamer, Senior Vice President & Executive Interactive Producer, Publicis Kaplan Thaler

An expert in the digital space with more than 15 years in the industry, Leslie Deamer recently joined Publicis Kaplan Thaler, an integrated advertising agency under Publicis Groupe that serves blue chip clients including L’Oreal, Citibank, Aflac, Proctor & Gamble and Pfizer. Currently, she is focused on managing operations and driving execution for L’Oreal, Cartier and Hilton.

Prior to PKT, Leslie was a Vice President/Group Director at Digitas responsible for shaping and leading digital execution. She was with Digitas for 4 years, during which time she led delivery for Kraft Foods, Panasonic and American Express where she implemented the critically acclaimed and highly awarded “Small Business Saturday” campaign. Committed to corporate citizenship, she participated in Digitas New York’s Women’s Network and helped drive the revamping of the Mentor program there. She is a current member of AWNY and is a recognized thought leader in web usability having been published in PC Magazine.

Prior to joining Digitas in 2009, Leslie worked at Organic, leading the development of a new online banking strategy for Bank of America, and at Sapient Interactive working with clients such as UBS, Bank of New York and Equinox. She has always been an entrepreneur at heart and joined several digital start-ups including Viant an Internet services company that went public in 1999.

Before moving to the agency side of the industry, Leslie spent 20 years working in digital consulting services and financial services IT always at the intersection of business and technology.


Jaclyn Ciamillo - Global Partnership Director, Hyper Island
Based out of New York City, Jaclyn Ciamillo has been a Global Partnership Director on Hyper Island’s Business Development team since May 2011. Prior to joining Hyper Island, she solidified her knowledge in Executive and Professional development while working for two global training companies. Jaclyn has consulted for well-known brands, professionals, and small businesses. She has actively and enthusiastically explored the world of digital for several years in an effort to understand the bridge between technology and human connection.


Hazel Swayne - Creative Director, GlobalWorks

Hazel Swayne is the Creative Director of GlobalWorks, a global digital agency focused on understanding users’ behavior and culture to tailor solutions for brands in the U.S. and all over the world. She has led various teams in the development of tailored solutions for national and global brands such as Procter & Gamble; Global division, Optimum, Kendall-Jackson, US Bank, Fairway Market and Pro Mujer.

She designed and implemented a culture within the agency focused on learning, failure, prototyping and perpetual growth. Through internal initiatives and by applying digital techniques from her Hyper Island Masters.

She has created and designed 14 internal initiatives and manages the agency’s social media and blog content.

Women in Finance: Empowered with Purpose


Jen Groover - Host of PBS special “Empowered”, CEO, Groover Media
Jen Groover has been tagged by SUCCESS Magazine as a “One-Woman Brand”, a “Creativity and Innovation Guru”, and a leading “Serial Entrepreneur” by Entrepreneur Magazine. Jen Groover’s name has quickly become synonymous with innovation, entrepreneurship and evolution. She has gone from guest hosting television spots, to inking deals with some of the industry’s biggest heavyweights. Jen recently made history at the New York Stock Exchange, as member of the first all-female group to ring the opening bell, representing women’s leadership and economic independence. Her influence and leadership has aligned her with amazing brands, such as USANA Health Sciences, Avon, Verizon and SkyMall, for which she acts as a spokeswoman.

She has recently launched her “Empowered by Jen Groover” brand, which includes her one-hour PBS special and forthcoming book, and comprises a variety of consumer products that encompass her quotes and inspire people to live life with passion and purpose.

Geri Stengel – President, Ventureneer, Forbes contributing writer

Geri Stengel is the founder of Ventureneer, which connects values-driven small businesses—socially responsible businesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits—with the knowledge needed to make the world a better place while thriving as businesses.

As a women business owner, Kauffman FastTrac GrowthVenture facilitator, former adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, and past board member of the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Business Women Owners, she has put together resource which pulls together in one place information that helps women entrepreneurs power up their business.

Jennifer Cole – Managing Director, BNY Mellon

Jennifer Cole, Managing Director and founding member of BNY Mellon’s Strategic Growth Initiatives group, is responsible for leading a disciplined innovation process to identify and develop new, game-changing businesses on an on-going basis. New businesses generated include the Company’s recently launched Global Collateral Services. She also initiated the Company’s Big Data efforts by orchestrating cross business investment and drove the recommendation of a new Big Data organizational structure. This program includes a Decision Science & Analytics lab that will increase performance for clients and shareholders across BNY Mellon’s portfolio of businesses. Jennifer has also been a catalyst for applying social media and ecommerce to meet the needs of B2B financial service. In addition, she led efforts to validate and obtain funding for the development of a cloud-based data aggregation and open architecture platform for institutional financial market participants.

Jennifer joined BNY Mellon in 2006 as Director of Business Intelligence for Broker-Dealer Services. She led a team of Operations, Client Service, Product Management and Technology to develop and implement several Business Intelligence programs that spanned multiple divisions. Jennifer was an active member of the Federal Reserve Tri-Party Reform Taskforce implementing solutions that aid in the transparency of collateral management for stakeholders throughout the industry.

Edith O’Donnell – CEO, Lyons Mortgage Services, Inc.

Edith is the CEO and one of the Founders of Lyons Mortgage Services, a full service mortgage banker serving New York, New Jersey and Connecticut since 1997.

Edith’s rise to CEO is even more significant because mortgage services is very much a male-dominated industry. “There aren’t too many women running mortgage companies, much less owning them,” she says. “I get a great satisfaction knowing that I have helped people buy the houses of their dreams.”

Edith was also elected to two 5 year terms on the Glen Cove School Board, serving as President for the last 2 years of her term. She was also a member of the Board of the NYS Association of Small City School Districts.

Prior to working in the Mortgage Industry, Edith was a college level instructor of English. She is also very active in her church including serving as Steering Committee Member for the new church building as well as Youth Group Advisor and Parish Council Member.

Edith continues her commitment to Education and the community.

Breaking into the Boardroom: Women on Boards


Susan Engel - Board of Directors, Wells Fargo and SuperValu
Susan Engel served as chairwoman and chief executive officer of Lenox Group Inc., the successor to Department 56, Inc. (Lenox Group) headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota from November 1996 until she retired in 2007. Lenox Group is a leading designer and marketer of tabletop, giftware and collectibles. Susan Engel joined the company as President and Chief Operating Officer in September of 1994, one year after the company’s initial public offering. She was elected to the Board of Directors in February 1996 and was named CEO that same year.

Susan Engel earned her undergraduate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 1968, and her Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1976. She is a member of the board of directors for Wells Fargo & Company, SUPERVALU INC., Minnesota Women’s Campaign Fund, and Board of Overseers at the Carlson School of Management. She also is on the Board of Advisors for the Minneapolis League of Women Voters.

Kathie De Chirico – COO & Executive VP, Brand Strategy Business Development, Robin Baron Design Group

Kathie continues to build upon her prior business and organizational experience by leading the launch of a second-tier design and decorative lifestyle business for Robin Baron Design Group. In her position as COO & Executive VP of Brand Strategy/Business Development she oversees all marketing and operations teams-including marketing, strategic retail and social media relationships as well as licensing and digital partnerships for brand building. Kathie’s value to any organization is based on accelerating strategic execution.

Kathie lead the launches of WSJstore and WSJtravel in her first 3 months of developing business extensions for The Wall Street Journal. With a strong ability to execute she head the WSJwine partnership and managed all 3 of the sub-brands.Based upon the strong combination of retail merchandising, strategic product and brand marketing strategies, this position utilized all of her key strengths to build the WSJ brand.

De Chirico’s entrance in to the retail industry began early in her career as one of Federated ‘s key buyers for children’s apparel.

At Basic Elements as President/COO, she successfully oversaw all of the supporting divisions and functions of the company- including global production, international finance, global sales and marketing.

She was named a Stevie Finalist in two categories-Mentor of the Year, and Women Helping Women Stevie Awards for Women in Business.



Donna Hamlin – CEO,  Intrabond Capital U.S., Inc

CEO and Board Member of Intrabond Capital U.S., Inc., an international board services corporation, providing board evaluations, research, education and board development programs, and access to qualified global board directors and candidates with its global board registry, Board Bona Fide.

Board Chair, Hamlin Harkins, Ltd. — Assists clients in development and evolution of their corporate performance. Looking for clients who want fresh solutions to business challenges and need to make meaningful, high-impact improvements. Worked in more than 30 countries across a wide array of industries in strategic planning, performance improvement, human resource strategies, merger and acquisition change management, and executive leadership design and delivery.


Sheila Ronning – CEO, Women in the Boardroom

Sheila has built a strong track record over the years. Before founding Women in the Boardroom, she garnered more than 10 years of strategic marketing, sales management, and operations leadership experience with companies that range from Fortune 500 leaders to visionary start-ups.

Sheila’s leadership development expertise has been featured in Wall Street Journal, ForbesWoman, Star Tribune, The Pioneer Press, and Chicago Sun-Times. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named Sheila in their prestigious “40 Under Forty” list for her entrepreneurial dynamism and reputation as a networking maven. Most recently, Sheila won the Enterprising Women of the Year Award from Enterprising Women magazine.

Hope Taitz – Managing Partner, ELY Advisors

Hope Schefler Taitz is currently the Managing Partner of ELY Advisors. After graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania majoring in economics and concentrating in marketing, Ms. Taitz began her investment banking career first as a mergers and acquisitions analyst and then as an associate at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Ms. Taitz continued as a Vice President at The Argosy Group (now part of CIBC) and a Managing Director at Crystal Asset Management before founding her own money management firm, Catalyst Partners. Now acting as a consultant focused on the analyzing and investing in retail/consumer industries, Ms. Taitz sits on the board of Apollo Residential Mortgage, Inc., Athene Holding Ltd., Athene Annuity and life Assurance Company, Athene Life Re Ltd., Presidential Life Insurance Company, and Diamond International Resorts, Inc. She is a founding executive member of Youth Renewal Fund and a current executive board member of Pencils of Promise as well as Girls Who Code. Ms. Taitz also sits on the board of the Future Project and acts as the Co-Chair of the Westchester division of the Penn Alumni Interview Program for the University of Pennsylvania.


Sally Helgesen - Author, Top 15 leadership experts in the world

Sally Helgesen, an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and consultant, is ranked by Leadership Gurus as number 15 in its survey of the world’s most influential leadership experts and cited as one of the top 35 authorities in the field by Leadership Excellence magazine.

Sally is the author of six books, most recently The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work. Her best-selling The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, hailed as “the classic work” on women’s leadership styles, was translated into 12 languages and has been continuously in print for 22 years. The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations was cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership of all time.

Sally develops and delivers leadership programs to corporations, partnership firms, universities and associations around the world. Clients have included Microsoft, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential Financial, Pfizer, Textron, Hewlett Packard, The World Bank, The United Way, The West Point Military Academy, The Office of Public Management UK; The Global Forum on Women, Society and the Economy, Paris; Roschier LLP Helsinki; and ING Amsterdam. She has consulted with UNDP on building more inclusive country offices in Africa and Asia, led seminars at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Smith College, and been visiting scholar at Northwestern University and the Lauriston Institute in Melbourne AU.

Women Science Leaders: Innovation in the Lab


Rita King - Executive Vice President, Science House

Rita J. King founded Dancing Ink Productions toward a new global economy in the Imagination Age. In this capacity she is thrilled to serve as the Executive Vice President for Business Development at Science House

Rita has served as Innovator-in-Residence at IBM’s Analytics Virtual Center, a former Senior Fellow at The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York City and a current Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress in Washington DC. Her essays, various writings and works of art have been commissioned, published and exhibited globally.

Rita is a frequent international speaker on the subject of productive creative collaboration and the cultural and economic implications of the Imagination Age. Her work has been featured in or on The New York Times, the Village Voice, FOX News, The O’Reilly Factor, Geraldo at Large, Press TV, TIME, CNN, NPR, The Guardian, BBC, Boing Boing, Wired, New World Notes, “MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams,” VentureBeat and strategy+business, among others.

Sandra Upson – Managing Editor, Scientific American Mind

Sandra Upson assigns, edits and writes articles for Scientific American Mind. Previously, she was an editor at IEEE Spectrum, for which she traveled the globe in search of the world’s most interesting engineers. She has two master’s degrees from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in symbolic systems, a multidisciplinary major that combines computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology. Before becoming a journalist, Upson worked for Bosch’s research division, developing a conversational dialogue system for cars.


Denise Barbut, M.D., M.R.C.P. - Founder & Chairman, Neurologic Enterprises, Inc.

Dr. Denise Barbut trained as an internist and subsequently as a neurologist in Great Britain and the USA. She became Professor of Neurology at Weill-Cornell Medical Center and ran the Neurovascular division and the stroke research program. Dr. Barbut is sole author or lead author on close to 300 issued or pending patents, mostly relating to methods for neuroprotection, the treatment of pain and of hypertension. She is the lead or senior author on close to 100 articles. Dr. Barbut has founded 9 medtech and biotech companies to date. She has raised over $100M, mostly from VC and strategic partnerships and also from private trust funds. She has been the Chairman and CEO of most of these companies.


Dr. Heather Berlin - Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Dr. Heather Berlin is a cognitive neuroscientist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She explores the complex interactions of the human brain and mind with the goal of contributing to improved treatment and prevention of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders. She is also interested in the neural basis of consciousness and dynamic unconscious processes. Berlin is a Visiting Scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Vassar College, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)/University of Zurich, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Berlin is passionate about public outreach and science communication. She is a presenter on the Discovery Channel and has appeared on the History Channel, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, and StarTalk Radio. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and Master of Public Health from Harvard University.


Katrina Firlik, MD - Chief Medical Officer, Co-Founder, HealthPrize Technologies

Dr. Katrina Firlik is the chief medical officer and co-founder of HealthPrize Technologies, a digital health company that provides an innovative approach to addressing the problem of medication non-adherence with an online and mobile-based program that leverages gaming dynamics and behavioral economics. Prior to founding HealthPrize, Katrina was a neurosurgeon in private practice at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, and on the clinical faculty at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to her scientific publications, Katrina is the author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside, published by Random House and reviewed by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and O Magazine. She has appeared on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC as a commentator on a variety of medical issues. She is also an inventor of a brain stimulation device designed to enhance recovery after stroke. Katrina completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University with a major in cultural anthropology. She attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University, and did her neurosurgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh, one of the largest neurosurgery centers in the country, where she was the first woman accepted to the program. Katrina also completed a specialty fellowship in epilepsy surgery at Yale University.


Technology Innovators & Leaders: Change in the Digital Landscape


Rachel Payne - CEO, FEM Inc.

Rachel Payne is CEO of FEM Inc. Prior to starting FEM Inc., Rachel was Principal, Global Strategic Alliances, at Google, where she worked with the executive team and with senior executives across product areas to develop strategy and engagement models for Google’s most important partners globally.

Rachel is an entrepreneur at heart and has been on the founding or early teams of several successful ventures in Silicon Valley including Hotwire and Billpoint. In 2005, Rachel co-founded inDplay - a media company providing cross-platform distribution for independent, professionally-produced content – and served on the Board of Directors until 2007. She was on the Global Steering Committee of Women @ Google from its inception, where she focused on career development and networking opportunities for women inside the company and in the broader community, including the G(20) Summit “Girls’(20) Program” that ensured girls’ representation at the global forum. She is a CGI Women and Technology featured speaker; a TEDx Women host and speaker; and was the organizer for TED Global Tanzania, directing Google’s programming and sponsorship participation.



Soraya Darabi - Co-Founder, ZADY, Foodspotting
Soraya Darabi is the co-founder of Zady.com, a shopping platform and lifestyle destination for the next generation of consumers who care about the origins of the items they purchase. ZADY is amongst the first online retailers to seamlessly integrate commerce, rich media content and social media to provide customers with a dynamic shopping experience.
Having begun her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, Soraya became recognized as a thought leader with her finger on the pulse of today’s ever-changing digital landscape. While at The Times, she positioned the global news leader on networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, partnered with startups large and small, and established award winning campaigns. Renowned Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credits Darabi as being “the only reason why he has [millions] of followers on Twitter.”
Following her tenure at the Times, Soraya served as Product Lead for drop.io, an online collaboration service (acquired by Facebook). She then went on to co-found the application Foodspotting, named by Apple and Wired Magazine as an “App of the Year”. 

Soraya was featured on the cover of Fast Company Magazine’s “Most Creative People in Business” issue, and on the cover of Brandweek’s “Digital” issue. She has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” and included in AdAge’s “25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter.”

Maz Kessler - Founder, Catapult

Maz Kessler is Catapult’s Founder. After working as a songwriter/producer in New York’s downtown music scene at the center of the digital music revolution, she then worked in the tech sector for 10 years, pioneering social and voice interfaces for Microsoft, BMW, Schwab, and more. In 2002 Maz brought her creative and design experience to citizen-led change. She co-founded Keep a Child Alive, an HIV/AIDS foundation, then joined Advocacy International, as its Creative Director. Since 2007 Maz has worked with Women Deliver. She created Catapult to help meet the need for increased funding, citizen engagement, and coalition-building across a strong, multi-generational girls and women’s movement.



Zoe Barry – CEO, ZappRx

Zoe Barry is the Founder and CEO of ZappRx. Formerly of Athena Health, Zoe is a Fellow in the Boston Startup Leadership Program. Zoe began her career originating and executing high-return strategic investments at hedge fund Dawson Capital in New York. She graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2007 and currently mentors undergraduates in the Columbia College Women in Business Society.



Kathy Leake - CEO, Founder, LocalResponse

Kathy is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of LocalResponse, a company that helps marketers respond to real-time consumer intent. Prior to joining LocalResponse, Kathy was a Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Media6Degrees, a Social Targeting company. Kathy came to Media6 with 20 years of advertising experience having worked at multiple Omnicom and WPP agencies such as DDB Needham, Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA/Chiat Day, Agency.com and Red Sky Interactive. At these agencies Kathy held executive, business development and media positions.

Kathy is passionate about creating new methods of ad targeting and has been published in numerous articles for industry leading publications including Ad Age, Ad Week, eMarketer, CMO.com, MediaPost, Business Insider, Tech Crunch, GigaOM, Mobile Marketer, Venture Beat and Internet Retailer. Kathy was named Mobile Marketer’s Mobile Women to Watch in 2013 and 21 Most Powerful Women in Mobile by Business Insider 2012. Listed on Forbes as Top 11 Women Who Started Amazing Companies and both of her start-ups are listed in Forbes America’s Most Promising Companies 2013.

Women Fashion Leaders: Progressing Forward in the Industry

Cindy Joseph – Writer, Supermodel, Entrepreneur

Cindy Joseph, make up artist turned super model, is the CEO and creator of the first pro-age cosmetic line, Boom! by Cindy Joseph, as well as spearheading the Pro-Age Revolution movement, creating more public awareness in regard to agism and how it impacts each individual as we move forward in our lives.


Liz Bacelar- Founder, Decoded FashionLiz Bacelar created Decoded Fashion in 2011 with the goal to promote collaborations between Tech founders and decision-makers in Fashion, Beauty and Retail. Decoded Fashion is today the top platform for Fashion & Emerging Technologies in the world and its events are produced with top industry partners in including CFDA, British Fashion Council, Condé Nast and Pitti Imagine.

Aliza Licht – SVP, Global Communications, Donna Karan International

Aliza Licht is the SVP of Global Communications for Donna Karan International and has been working there for over 13 years. Aliza has always kept a low profile at DKNY, and made her first public appearance in 2009 as DKNY PR Girl at Teen Vogue’s Fashion University as part of the Fashion in the Digital Age panel.


Heather Marie – Founder & CEOc 72Lux, Inc.

Heather Marie is the founder and CEO of 72Lux, Inc., a software technology company enabling a shoppable layer across digital content, and a cloud-based platform enabling mass product distribution for merchants and brands to tens of millions of consumers. She was the recipient of 2013 L’Oreal Women in Digital Next Generation Award.


Abrima Erwiah – Former Worldwide Social Media Director, Bottega Veneta, Co-Founder, Director, Studio One Eighty Nine; Fashion Rising

Abrima Erwiah has more than 15 years fashion and luxury experience. She is a former global marketing and communications executive for Bottega Veneta, a luxury-goods company under Gucci Group/PPR Group where she stayed for nearly a decade. She has additionally held positions for Hermes/John Lobb, Bureau Betak and Cesare Paciotti. In 2012, she was appointed a Marketing & Communications Executive Mentor by the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights, to an organization based in Uganda called AFRIpads that makes affordable, washable sanitary napkins to help curb school absenteeism for girls skipping school when they have their period mostly in rural areas.

She is currently working on developing a social enterprise called Studio One Eighty Nine that she co-founded with actress and activist, Rosario Dawson, which is focused on achieving social impact as it relates to education, economic/employment opportunities, and empowerment. With the mission of using fashion as an agent for social change, Studio One Eighty Nine seeks to provide a platform to help promote and curate African and African-inspired content through various projects such as media and cultural events and projects. Abrima holds a bachelor’s business degree from NYU Stern School of Business and is working on a master’s of arts degree from NYU Gallatin specializing in the Economic and Social implications of luxury goods in Africa. Abrima has been a guest professor at NYU and most recently at Alliance Francaise in Kampala for International Women’s Day and at the University of Ghana for a UN workshop on Domestic Violence. Abrima was born and raised in NY, attended the Lycee Francais, speaks English, French and Italian. She currently lives between US and Ghana and has additionally lived in Italy and Uganda.


Ambassador Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona - Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

Ambassador Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona served as the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka until his appointment as Permanent Representative to the United Na-tions in New York. Prior to his appointment he served as the Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) established by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Dr. Kohona was a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assem-bly in 2006 to 2011. He is the Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israe-li Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Territories Occupied since 1967. He has been invited to be an Honorary Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. During his tenure as the Secretary- General of the Government Peace Secretariat (2006), he participated in several rounds of peace negotiations with the LTTE in Geneva and led the delegation to talks in Oslo.

During his tenure as the Secretary-General of the Government Peace Secretariat (2006), he participated in several rounds of peace negotiations with the LTTE in Geneva and led the delegation to talks in Oslo. From 1995-2006 he served as the Chief of the Treaty Section, Department of Legal Affairs of the UN. As Chief of the Treaty Section he was a recipient of the UN21 Pin.

Letitia James - NYC Public Advocate Candidate 2013

Council Member Letitia “Tish” James was born in Brooklyn, and has remained a Brooklyn resident throughout her life.

As Counsel and Chief of Staff to state assembly members, she saw up close that government could be made to work in the public’s interest. In this capacity, James worked on a law that gave grandparents rights in family court, and negotiated a bill that allocated money for reconstruction of the Franklin Avenue Shuttle and Atlantic Terminal Station. She also negotiated legislation pertaining to childcare, health care, and the protection of transit workers. In Albany, she worked with the Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caucus, as well as other progressive Democrats.

During her law career, James served as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society and represented countless young individuals in the criminal justice system. In the administration of former NYS Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, she was appointed the first Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office. In that position, she resolved hundreds of consumer complaints and investigated predatory lenders who prey on first-time homebuyers. She assisted the Civil Rights Bureau in their investigation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and cracked down on firms engaged in deceptive business practices including violations of human rights, environmental laws, and immigration scams.

As a member of the New York City Council, James introduced the Safe Housing Act, which became City law in 2007. This ground-breaking bill ensured that thousands of families in rental buildings receive prompt and full repairs to their apartments. This bill represented a $50 million investment in housing code reform and is a major victory for all New Yorkers living in substandard buildings.

Women Leaders in Healthcare: Changing Times

Dr. Summer Knight, MD - Founder, DSK Companies

She is a founding board member of StartUp America PA. Dr. Knight is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Springboard Enterprises, a Venture Capital platform for high-growth Women entrepreneurs collectively having raised over $5 billion in equity financing. She is the originator of the CXXO.co project, an expert panel of CEO’s and powerful entrepreneurs who facilitate the rapid growth of scalable businesses. Knight is an Advisory Board member of Belle Capital Venture Fund and Founding Board member of StartUp PA.Dr. Knight served as the former Chief Medical Officer of the State of Florida and influenced Medicaid policy, health care facility regulations and stakeholder interactions. From this experience, she founded IntegriCor, LLC, transforming the Medicaid marketplace by rewarding providers for improving health care quality and increasing stakeholder communication while eliminating fraud. This marketplace shift became the leading platform for long-term care integration in several states and managed care markets. She founded the State Government Physician Leadership Council and was appointed by the Governor to several Health and Wellness Committees and Boards.



Milena Adamian - Founder, Life Science Angel Network, Partner, Milestone Venture Partners

Dr. Adamian brings unique perspective of a clinician and academic researcher with genuine passion for breakthrough technologies enriched by industry knowledge, Wall Street, and venture capital experience. Milena spent last 20 years on various side of the medical device development. Her career included professional appointments at Interventional Cardiology department of Lenox Hill Hospital (NYC) and Columbus Hospital (Milan, Italy), Medical Director at Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSC), Equity analyst (Medical Devices and Supplies) at Lehman Brothers and Managing Director, Life Sciences, Easton Capital.

In her current role of a Founder and Executive director of Life Sciences Angel Network, Dr. Adamian is focused on the early stage investing and entrepreneurial activities in medical devices and healthcare information technology and education of entrepreneurs and investors. Milena is actively involved in incubators across the US (BluePrint, RockHealth, HealthBox, BioAccelerate) and continues to be part of Life Science Angels (Palo Alto, CA) and HealthTech Capital (Palo Alto, CA). She serves on Board of Directors of a number of privately held companies. Dr. Adamian is an author and a co-author of a number of scientific peer-reviewed papers and a frequent speaker at professional conferences. Dr. Adamian is a member of the American College of Cardiology. She holds a MSc degree in Biostatistics and Clinical Research Methods from Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and MD and PhD degrees in Clinical Cardiology from Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

Michelle Snyder – Executive in Residence, InterWest Venture Partners

Michelle Snyder joined the InterWest team in 2011, focusing on the intersection of healthcare and technology. She is particularly passionate about the transformative role mobile, social and data analytics can play in the healthcare industry. She also serves as a mentor and advisor to incubator programs and early stage companies in the healthcare IT space.

Prior to joining InterWest Partners, Michelle was an early member of the senior executive team at Epocrates where she led subscriber acquisition and monetization activities. Michelle has also worked for a variety of health policy and strategy consulting firms including The Wilkerson Group, The Lewin Group and the Georgetown Center for Health Policy Studies.

Lynne Kelly, MD – Vice President, World Wide Medical Affairs, Becton Dickinson

Lynne Kelley, MD, FACS, is the World Wide Vice President, Medical Affairs for Medical Surgical Systems at Becton Dickinson. Dr. Kelley is a board certified general and vascular surgeon having received her medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and completed her Residency in General Surgery at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. During her training she was awarded an NIH sponsored basic science research grant at Harvard Medical School. She completed a Fellowship in Vascular Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and was awarded the Marco Polo Fellowship providing advance training in Endovascular Surgery at the University Paris Hospital, Henri Mondor.
Dr. Kelley was an assistant professor of vascular surgery and radiology at Yale University. In 2005 she joined Boston Scientific where she was the medical director for the peripheral interventions and vascular surgery business as well as neuro-interventions. Dr. Kelley joined Kimberly Clark 2008 as Vice President Medical Director for the healthcare business and later assumed responsibility for the medical, professional and consumer divisions of the entire company for clinical strategy and monitoring, trial design and execution, clinical education, global coordination of professional and government relationships, reimbursement and due diligence as well as being part of the leadership for the company. In January 2011 Dr. Kelley joined Becton Dickinson as the World Wide Vice President of Medical Affairs Medical Surgical Systems. She leads a global team of medical professionals in a wide variety of activities including innovation, due diligence, clinical trials, safety evaluations, product development and key opinion leader management. Lynne is also an integral member of the business team determining strategy and execution for both organic and inorganic growth opportunities. Lynne also serves on the board of directors for BDRx a generic pharmacutical company.

Efsevia Albanis, MD – Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Efsevia (Effie) Albanis is a Gastroenterologist and Transplant Hepatologist who trained as a clinician-scientist at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. In addition to treating end-stage liver disease patients in an academic practice, she performed translational research assessing novel liver antifibrotic therapies. In 2006, Dr. Albanis left academic practice to join the Medical Affairs team at Novartis Pharmaceuticals working on telbivudine, a hepatitis B treatment. In 2008, Dr. Albanis joined Pharmasset, a clinical stage biotechnology company, as a Medical Director working on the team that developed sofosbuvir, a novel treatment for chronic hepatitis C infection, which has revolutionized the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection. Recently, Dr. Albanis has been an independent consultant professional advising biotechnology companies on Clinical Development and Medical Affairs issues.

Dr. Albanis retains her academic appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital where she continues to teach in the medical school, is an author and co-author of many scientific peer-reviewed papers and is a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. She holds an M.D. degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Social Innovators and Policy Initiatives: Leading the World in Global Change

Amy Siskind - Co-Founder, President, The New Agenda

Amy Siskind is a national spokesperson, writer and expert on helping women and girls advance and succeed. A highly successful Wall Street executive, she’s Co-founder and President of The New Agenda, a national organization working on issues including economic independence and advancement, gender representation and bias, sexual assault and domestic violence. Some of her television and radio appearances include: CNN, Fox News, CNBC, PBS, TheStreet.com, NPRand Marketplace Radio. A frequent source for national press, Siskind has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, POLITICO,U.S. News & World Report, RealClearPolitics, the Boston Globe and The Hill.

She’s a regular featured contributor at The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. Amy speaks on college campuses and to young women about economic empowerment, and delivers inspiration keynotes and speeches to professional women on how to succeed. She serves on Cornell University’s highly prestigious President’s Council of Cornell Women and Cornell University Council.

Susan Arnot Heaney - Former Executive Director, Corporate Responsibility, Avon Products, Inc.

Susan Arnot Heaney is a Senior Corporate Responsibility Executive with strong record of developing and leading global strategic policies, programs and partnerships that bridge for-profit and non-profit sectors.  Underpinning Heaney’s work is a deep commitment to “doing well by doing good” and advancing the “triple bottom line” of profit, people and planet.  She has a particular passion for women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability.

Heaney is currently a Corporate Responsibility Consultant and a Fellow at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship in the US.   She spent nearly 16 years with Avon Products, Inc., a global marketer of beauty and related products, ending her tenure in 2013 as Executive Director of Corporate Responsibility.

Heaney also spent many years with the Avon Foundation for Women, where she played a leadership role in global programs addressing the issues of breast cancer, violence against women and women’s economic empowerment.

While at Avon, Heaney developed the company’s Corporate Responsibility practice. She created the award-winning Hello Green Tomorrow program, the company’s first environmental effort, which included environmental business practices, grassroots mobilization and fundraising in more than 50 countries. In 2012 Heaney was a finalist for the PR People “Corporate Social Responsibility Leader of the Year” in the US.

Lisa Morales-Hellebo - Advisor, Springboard

Lisa Morales-Hellebo is a seasoned Creative Director and e-commerce strategist with more than 16 years experience helping B2C companies from start-ups to F500 maximize their conversions via multi-channel brand strategy, development, and extension. Lisa has set her sights on redefining the future of open commerce via her patent pending technology start-up — Shopsy.

Gloria Feldt - Co-Founder, President, Take the Lead

Gloria Feldt is a nationally renowned inspirational keynote speaker, activist, and author on women, power, and leadership. She has accomplished visionary goals throughout her career, including her nine-year role as President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She currently teaches “Women, Power and Leadership” at Arizona State University and is the best-selling author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. A public speaker, educator and national leader with a passion for advancing women’s equality, Gloria was named to Vanity Fair’s  “Top 200 Women, Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers.”

Nell Merlino - Founder and President, Count Me In

Nell Merlino is Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million $ enterprises. She is author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want it Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work.”

Throughout her career, Nell Merlino has been inspiring millions of people to take action. She is the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which moved more than 71 million Americans to participate in a day dedicated to giving girls the opportunity to dream bigger about their future.

Through Count Me In, Nell is now inspiring women entrepreneurs to dream big and achieve even more. She is leading a global movement to empower women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to a million dollars and beyond by providing tools, resources, and a supportive community of their peers. Count Me In’s Make Mine a Million $ Business program reaches women entrepreneurs in communities around the country through events and on-line community. This movement will not only add millions of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity, but take women to new levels of independence, empowering them to act as economic leaders. Nell is also the founder and President of Strategy Communication Action, Ltd. (SCA) in New York City, a firm specializing in the creation of public education campaigns that motivate people to act. She is a member of the U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP), and appointed a Pathways Envoy by the U.S. State Department to promote women’s business growth through South and North America.


Women Investors: Angels & Venture Capital

Jeanne Sullivan - Managing Partner, Starvest Partners
Jeanne M. Sullivan has been investing in and growing tech companies for many years. She is a founding General Partner of StarVest Partners. StarVest is a New York-based venture capital firm with approximately $400 million under management and invests in technology-enabled business services companies. Jeanne has over 23 years of venture capital experience and has spent 30 years in the technology sector encompassing both extensive operating and investing experience with technology companies. Ms. Sullivan has extensive experience creating “go to market” plans for early and expansion stage companies. Her expertise also includes strategy, a keen understanding of the technology landscape and industry trends. Prior to her venture experience, Jeanne gained her operating experience with AT&T and Bell Labs while serving in product and industry marketing roles.

Ms. Sullivan is a sought-after industry speaker on the subject of “how to get the wallets out of investors’ pocket.” Jeanne serves on the board of the New York Venture Capital Association and serves as a member of the Astia Global Board of Trustees, an organization that empowers women entrepreneurs. If you attend a woman’s event, you will usually find Jeanne present – connecting and supporting women entrepreneurs. Forbes recently cited Sullivan as “one of the women VCs changing the world – grooming the next generation of female entrepreneurs”. Follow: @Gianna212

Adam Quinton - CEO, Lucas Point Ventures & Board Member, Astia

Adam Quinton is an active investor in and advisor to early stage companies, sits on a number of for and not for profit Boards and is Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.

He has over 25 years of investing and management experience most recently at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he was Managing Director and head of Global Macro Research. He was a top ranked sell side investment analyst in the UK, Asia and the US.

Adam is a board member at Thrive Metrics, the Center for Talent Innovation and International House, New York. In addition he serves on the Advisory Board of leading Board and executive search firm RSR Partners.

He is a member of the 2020 Women on Boards New York Steering Committee. A member of the Astia East Coast Advisory Board he is also a Mentor for the Women Innovate Mobile accelerator program.


Inessa Obenhuber - Partner, Angel Investor, Seraph Group

Inessa is a partner at the Seraph Group, a growing global investment Micro VC Fund (Super Angel fund) and an Angel Investor at Astia Angels, a seed and early stage investment group with focus in companies with gender balanced teams.
Inessa co-founded Kiventures, a company that assists U.S. and Russian companies with establishing operations and outsourcing of technology development of products in emerging markets. Previously, she served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Razoom, a VC funded start-up company developing intelligent network virtualization appliances for British Telecom.

Inessa is also an Angel investor and has invested in over 26 companies. In addition to her advisory role with Intrabond Capital (board level strategy consulting and management firm), her advisory work includes: Astia (a global not-for- profit for women entrepreneurs); Watermark (non-profit community of executive women); Percipo (Artificial Intelligence software for consumers and enterprise applications), Socxs (‘Rally Network™’ for Nonprofits, a sophisticated social exchange platform).

Jalak Jobanputra - Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures

Jalak is a venture capitalist with 20 years in digital media, enterprise software, communications, broadband infrastructure, healthcare IT, edtech, mobile & Internet in NYC, Silicon Valley, Boston, India, Africa, Europe.
Jalak spearheaded the formation of NYCSeed in 2008, seed fund for early stage startups in NYC. Served on its Investment Committee and Venture Advisory Board. Portfolio includes Enterproid, Seatgeek, Magnetic, Ticketfly. She is also the selection committee, mentor and speaker for 2010 Seedstart, NYC’s first accelator bootcamp.

Shai Goldman – Partner, 500 Startups

Shai Goldman is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups, a global seed stage VC firm. Shai runs the NYC office, makes investments and assists in portfolio management. Previously, Shai worked at Silicon Valley Bank for ten years, both in the Bay Area and NYC, working closely with the startup and venture community. Shai attended Santa Clara University.

Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite, MD, PhD – Princess of Iraq, Executive Director, Royal Academy of Science International Trust

HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen Bint El-Sharif Mohammed Bin Bin El-Sharif Hussein El-Hashemite’s origin combines history, religion, politics and education: she is a direct descendent of the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed (S), and the grandaughter of King Faisal I of Iraq.

Princess Nisreen was born in 1969 in the State of Kuwait where she received her primary education. Following in the steps of her ancestors and vowing to preserve the traditions of her family; not only Princess Dr. Nisreen dedicated herself to serving mankind, but also is an internationally recognized researcher and awards achiever in the fields of arts, literature, humanitarian affairs, and science.

Princess Nisreen is qualified in science and medicine, with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, Master of Science, Medical Doctorate and a PhD in Human Genetics, and works closely with renowned scientists and International Organizations on poplarization of Science and transfer of technology to Arab States and Third World Countries.

HRH Princess Basmah Bint Saud - Princess of Saudi Arabia

Born in Riyadh to the Saudi Royal family, Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Basmah is the daughter of King Saud, and the granddaughter of King Abdel Aziz, the founder of the modern state of Saudi Arabia in 1932.

HRH Princess Basmah is a keen and gifted writer, columnist, and humanitarian advocate with excellent insight into the Arab world and its interaction with the international community in its social, political, and religious dimensions. She devotes a lot of her time and energies to raising awareness and creating understanding about pressing social issues in Saudi Arabia, the wider Middle East, and the world.

HRH, a conservative reformist, is still considered a bold and articulate writer with an insightful pen, who is not afraid to ruffle feathers with her well observed but balanced criticism in pursuit of justice, human rights, and individual freedom for people in the Arab world and beyond. These characteristics stand out all the more given her position not only as a woman from a conservative society, but also as a member of the Saudi royal family. She is an advocate for women’s rights and is sensitive to the cultural constraints in which women’s lives are limited.

This has made her a sought-after speaker at conferences and seminars, such as New York, Doha, Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, and both the Oxford and Cambridge Unions and UCLA. She appears frequently on channels including the BBC television and radio, al Jazeera, al Arabiya, and France 24, both as commentator and as a feature subject. HRH’s brave and often outspoken journalism in newspapers across the Middle East, such as Al-Medina Weekly, Al-Hayat, Al-Ahram, and Sayidaty, and British magazine and media outlets within the United States.

Princess Basmah is CEO of Inseed Holdings, the company through which she manages her various work interests, including Princess Basmah Bint Al Saud Government / Corporate political and Risk Consultancy, which supports and motivates people using a wide range of communications techniques; Global United Lanterns (UGL), her humanitarian organization which works to solve humanity’s gravest problems; and Global United Research Centre (GURA), a research arm of UGL.

HRH is a patron of Saudi art and artists. She also owns a successful chain of restaurants in Saudi Arabia, showcasing her unique entrepreneurship skills that combine the creativity and distinction of top-quality restaurants.

Princess Basmah is the chairman of the board of Invireo Company for environmental solutions and international Saudi Life Echo Centre. She is the CEO and founder of Basmah Comprehensive Centre for Women’s Security Training. Her Royal Highness is also a member for WAGE Global Advisory Committee, which promotes women’s leadership in designing and advancing the green economy. The WAGE campaign was born out of out of one overarching reality: the scarcity of women players in bodies that govern and shape our economy, specifically in approaching global solutions to climate change.

The Leadership Imperative; Keys to Optimizing Your Brand’s Touch Point for Women

Angela Leaney - Executive Vice President, Harlem Globetrotters

Angela Leaney has been an Executive Vice President of Brand Marketing of Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. since February 1, 2011. Ms. Leaney served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Newsweek Inc. for two-plus years. Ms. Leaney served 8 years at MTV Networks, where she served as Senior Vice President Creative Director for Nickelodeon Jr. and in brand communications, marketing to preschool, teen and parent demographics, NOGGIN and ParentsConnect. From 1990 to 1996, Ms. Leaney served at AMV.BBDO advertising agency in London, as an Account Executive. In 1996, she joined Ogilvy & Mather in London as an account planner and then in 1999, she moved to the agency’s office in Los Angeles as a Partner and head of Account Planning and Research. She moved to New York to work with NOGGIN and was soon named Vice President of Consumer Marketing. In 2000, she began to oversee the branding and promotional creative on NOGGIN and The N. Prior to joining Nickelodeon, she was the lead creative advertising strategist, research analyst, and brand positioning strategist at Oglivy and Mather in Los Angeles.


Laura Hinds - Founder, Women Luxury Guild

Laura Hinds is the Chairman of the Women’s Luxury Guild and President of her elite marketing and public relations firm, Platinum Envisions. The Women’s Luxury Guild is an international organization that brings together women from around the world in elite and high-level positions within the luxury sector. The Women’s Luxury Guild initiates its mission in an engaging way and seeks to unify, share, educate, mentor, honor, empower and actively promote collaborations and partnerships for women within the luxury market. This guild is like no other luxury organization, it is the very first of its kind.Laura is a luxury marketing  genius who understands how to effectively execute brand marketing strategies that will enhance, build and transform luxury products and services.  A note of recognition, Laura was recently named a “Woman to Watch in 2013” by Luxury Daily. Her services reach global clients in high-end lifestyle services, events and products from fashion & beauty to travel, hospitality and real estate.



Linda Boff - Executive Director, Global Brand Marketing, GE

As Executive Director, Global Digital Marketing, Boff is responsible for setting GE’s digital marketing, content and commercial strategy, including all GE websites, search, mobile, and social efforts.   Additionally, Boff leads experiential marketing, user experience, and sponsorship for GE.  Previously, Boff was Chief Marketing Officer of iVillage Properties, part of the NBC Universal, where she was responsible for setting the company’s marketing vision and strategy and overseeing the development of the iVillage brand.   Before that, Boff was Director of Employee Marketing for GE, responsible for internal communications and driving key initiatives to GE’s 300,000 employees. Boff joined GE in early 2004 with 18 years of experience in marketing, advertising, public relations and communications.  Prior to joining GE, she was Director of Marketing and Communications for Citigroup’s Women and Company division.  Earlier roles include Director of Marketing, American Museum of Natural History and Vice President at Porter Novelli, a global public relations agency.Boff was named B2B Magazine’s top digital marketer of 2011.  She is a frequent speaker at digital and social media industry events.  Boff earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science and Psychology from Union College in Schenectady, NY. She lives in Irvington, NY with her husband and two children.



Sharon Wood - President, Stone Creek Marketing

Sharon Wood is the President of Stone Creek Marketing, a consultancy. She has held Founder and senior management positions at start-up ventures, working with leading companies across entertainment, sports, console games, apps, media and consumer packaged goods, driving innovative strategies that consistently out-perform goals and achieve results. 

Sharon has 15 years in entertainment marketing, creating entertainment marketing platforms for major brands such as Burger King, Miller Brewing Company, Sears, Nabisco, Pepsi Cola, Frito Lay, MTV and Seventeen Magazine. She was awarded Platinum Album for breakthrough music marketing campaign and worked on the creation of Major League Baseball’s first youth program, Pitch Hit & Run, sponsored by Burger King. She has led entertainment marketing strategy and execution for Nabisco cookies & crackers, executing fully integrated campaigns. 

Sharon has 18 years in digital games and entertainment. She launched Grand Theft Auto and was the first to use a series of television specials to launch an unbranded game, as well as the first to use a fan site as official video game consumer site.

Sharon studied women psychologically and behaviorally to found an app company that created apps exclusively for girls and women. Her Karizmac Luminous™ app was a Top 50 and 100 app in more than 35 countries, empowering women everywhere to be confident about their opinions.

Eliza Esquivel - Vice President, Global Brand Strategy, Mondelēz International

Eliza Esquivel, VP Global Brand Strategy at Mondelēz International, is responsible for nurturing the $36 billion start-ups portfolio of high growth global brands (eg Oreo and Cadbury among others). She leads an international team of strategists who provide brand strategy and creative development support to Mondelēz brands as well as thought leadership to the global organization. Eliza is a progressive thinker with a balance of classical planning, creative and integrated strategic skills accumulated across a range of global brands including Coke, Nike, McDonald’s, Philips, Accenture and Skittles.

Prior to joining Mondelēz International, Eliza was Head of Planning at TBWA/CHIAT/DAY NEW YORK, where she led the planning and digital strategy department. Since 2012 she has been an ongoing judge for TED Ads’ Worth Spreading and in that capacity has generated an annual social media conversation with industry leaders around brand bravery.

Eliza’s career also includes a post as Planning Director at W+K Amsterdam as well as planning positions at JWT New York and DDB. She holds an MA in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

Women in Media: Celebrating Positive Change for Women


Elisa Camahort Page - Co-Founder and COO, BlogHer.com

A blogging pioneer and marketing executive with 17 years of experience in Silicon Valley, Elisa Camahort Page leads all events, marketing and public relations for BlogHer while working as COO to ensure that all company operations deliver on our vision. Elisa was at the vanguard of professional and business blogging. Among the seven blogs she writes are business-oriented blogs with an e-commerce element, such as Hip and Zen. Elisa opened her own high-tech marketing consultancy, Worker Bees, after a successful career as a marketing executive in the cable broadband sector, managing multiple product lines, senior product management staff, and multi-million dollar budgets. Her most recent position was Senior Director of Product Marketing at Terayon Communication Systems, where she was nominated for an SCTE (Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers) Women in Technology Award. In addition to her many personal blogs, Elisa is widely read as BlogHer’s conference leader and reality television editor.



Claudia Chan - Founder of SHE Summit, Former CEO of Shecky’s

Claudia Chan is a media entrepreneur and motivational women’s lifestyle expert who has dedicated 12 years to entertaining and empowering women. 

Her newest venture is ClaudiaChan.com, a for-purpose media brand and voice that interviews & celebrates over 150 women leaders, visionaries and change makers of the 21st century.

Claudia founded S.H.E. Summit Week in June 2012, NYC’s first “women’s week” of 40+ events and experiences designed to celebrate women’s achievements while inspiring them in all personal and professional lifestyle areas. 

A passionate advocate for the advancement of women, Claudia has been featured as a women’s lifestyle expert, interviewer and entrepreneur in local and national media outlets such as Bloomberg TV, Fox Good Day, CBS Morning Show, NBC Today, LX NY and more. Claudia has also been featured in numerous business publications including The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Crains, The World Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as websites such as GothamGal.com, Forbes.com, WomenEntrepreneur.com, The Daily Muse, and The Glass Hammer.



Kristin Savilia - Executive Vice President, Sales, XO Group

Kristin Savilia is the Executive Vice President of Local Enterprise, and joined XO Group in July 2005. From September 1999 to June 2005, Savilia was Executive Director of Bridal and Gift Registry at Linens ’n Things, Inc. Prior to that, she was a Regional Bridal Director and a buyer for Macy’s beginning in 1991. Savilia received a BA in History from Dartmouth College.



Sharon Feder - Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Ray

Sharon Feder is the Chief Digital Officer for Rachel Ray and the former COO for Mashable. She played a key role in building the company’s editorial and community departments, as well as human resources and company culture. As COO, Sharon oversaw business operations and continued to manage community and build culture within the company. She was actively involved in shaping Mashable’s client-supported custom content offering, a program she helped pioneer at Mashable early in her career.

Previously Sharon was publisher, during which the company experienced its fastest growth to date and built its own ad sales operations. She held the positions of managing editor and features editor at Mashable. In 2009 She co-founded and later sold MySocialDog, a hyper-local social network for dog owners. Before joining Mashable, Sharon held positions in advertising and public relations. 

Melinda Arons - Manager, Strategic Partner Development, TV and Film, Facebook

Melinda Arons is a manager of Strategic Partner Development at Facebook, focusing on television and film integration. Prior to joining Facebook this past June she was a Senior Producer and the Chief Political Producer for ABC News’ Nightline. She began her career at ABC in 2001 immediately after the 9/11 attacks as a segment producer at Good Morning America, where she covered breaking news, entertainment, human interest stories, the Iraq war and the 2004 Democratic primary. In June of 2004 she moved to Washington, DC as a producer for Nightline, working directly for Ted Koppel. In 2006 she returned to New York to re-launch Nightline with anchors Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran and Martin Bashir and helped lead the program from third to first place in its time slot. In this capacity she became responsible for all political coverage, most notably overseeing Nightline’s award-winning coverage of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, election nights and inaugurations. Arons is a multiple Emmy nominee for Nightline’s foreign coverage including the crisis in Egypt and the fall of Quadaffi, and a recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of Superstorm Sandy. Prior to ABC she worked at Fox News Channel and CNN. Arons graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Tina Lifford - The Circle, CEO, Waking Up Fabulous

With more than 15 years as a working Hollywood actress, Tina Lifford is recognizable around the industry to say the least. She currently stars as Renee Trussell on NBC’s hit series, Parenthood, and also as Evelyn Lancaster in the VH1 hit Single Ladies. Over her career Tina has achieved a number of notable accomplishments, among them: becoming the first black female series lead (since Diahann Carroll) in the critically acclaimed half-hour series South Central on Fox. Tina portrayed the iconic Winnie Mandela opposite Hollywood legends Sydney Poitier and Michael Caine in the Showtime biopic Mandela and de Klerk, as well as Mama Haze in The Temptations Story, which went on to become one of the highest grossing made-for-television movies in history. Tina has starred in more than 90 television shows and films opposite industry legends such as Clint Eastwood, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Jennifer Garner, Danny Glover and Steve Martin just to name a few. Notable television credits include: CSI, Cold Case, In Plain Sight, Criminal Minds, Nip/Tuck and Heroes. Working in an industry that chews talent up and spits them out isn’t easy; Tina’s journey of being more than a flash in the pan is full of humor, and both inspirational and instructive. 


Joan Firestone – Executive Director, The Moth

Joan D. Firestone is a well-known facilitator with years of experience in leadership positions in government, the private and non-profit sectors, most recently as Executive Director of The Moth. She served as Assistant Director of the New York State Council on the Arts under KittyCarlisle Hart; Director of Economic Development and Cultural Advisor to the NYC Comptroller, Alan G. Hevesi; A devoted advocate of the arts and arts education, Firestone served as Special Advisor for the Arts to the NYC Chancellor, Harold Levy. An independent producer, she served as Chairman of the Board of the Cherry Lane Theatre; Co-President of the League of Professional Theatre and currently serves on the Boards of The Dramatists Guild Fund and The Moth.

Amanda Steinberg - Founder, CEO, DailyWorth.com

Amanda Steinberg is the founder of DailyWorth, an online community of women who talk money. DailyWorth helps women earn more, save more and spend smarter. Steinberg is a thought-leader on the topic of women and money, working to advance women’s financial confidence and wealth. DailyWorth, which publishes three editions aimed at women and entrepreneurs, will reach a million subscribers by the end of 2013. Since its launch in 2009, Steinberg and DailyWorth have been featured in the New York Times, TIME, Forbes, Parenting, Cosmopolitan and on NY1, CNN, FOX, ABC and NBC news. Amanda is a graduate of Columbia University.


Liz Sarachek-Blacker - Chief Revenue Officer, Terra USA

Liz is an engaging, consultative sales leader in the Digital and Multi-Cultural space, a frequent speaker (NY Advertising Week, AHAA, IAB, AAF, Latinvision, ad:Tech, Horowitz), a member of AWNY’s Exec Comm, Founding Board Member of The IAB’s Hispanic committee.

Prior to Terra, she was Publisher, Vista Magazine & SVP, Digital/Mobile Sales at impreMedia (leading US Hisp News Org) where she built multi-platform revenue streams via digital, mobile, print, and video. She created their first national digital sales dept working with the national and local print teams resulting in over 500 nat’l & local digital advertisers across impre.com and its properties.

Prior to impreMedia, Liz advised two leading organizations; J&J’s BabyCenter and The Brookings Institution.

Prior to advising, she was CMO of One Economy (OE), a multi-national non-profit overseeing marketing, PR, grassroots, 30+ web properties & strategic alliances with companies e.g. NBC Telemundo, Allstate Foundation & The Pew Internet & Am Life Project. Under her tenure, OE won its 1st Webby Award for its bi-lingual Katrina Help Center & commenced high-level projects with Co-chairs President Barack Obama (then Senator) and Senator John McCain.

In 2004, Liz was named an Ad Age “Woman to Watch”, the only woman from the online space & the only woman representing the multicultural advertising market.


Tiffany Dufu - Chief Leadership Officer, Levo League

Recognized national expert on women’s and Gen Y leadership. In 2012, named by Fast Company in their League of Extraordinary Women a was named one of 19 “women who are leading the way” in the Huffington Post amongst luminaries such as Sheryl Sandberg and Hillary Clinton. Honored by Mattel in 2011 as one of their 10 Women to Watch. Having raised nearly $20 million toward the cause of women and girls, has been featured in The Seattle Times, The New York Times, on NPR and Bloomberg, and is a frequent speaker on women’s leadership and nonprofit fundraising. Most recently presented at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit and TEDxWomen.

Shelly Porges - National Finance Co-Chair, Ready for Hilary

K. Shelly Porges is a global strategy and marketing advisor for entrepreneurship, partnerships and business development for a number of non-profit and for-profit organizations.  She serves as the National Finance Co-Chair for the Ready for Hillary PAC, as well as the President of the North American Jury for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, and currently serves on a number of growth company boards.

She is the former Senior Advisor, Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) at the U.S. State Department where she launched GEP 2.0, increasing GEP’s reach from a handful of countries to almost 150, institutionalizing entrepreneurship as part of Secretary Clinton’s Economic Statecraft policy initiative.  Prior to joining GEP, she launched the State Department’s Global Women’s Business Initiative working through multi-lateral relationships to promote women’s entrepreneurship worldwide.Before joining the State Department, she had a distinguished career in the private sector and is a recognized marketing and strategy expert having launched products, brands and companies, as well as raised funds for a range of non-profit and political organizations.


Radhika Mehta-Sharan - Vice President, Merrill Lynch

Radhika joined Merrill Lynch in 2000. She specializes in designing investment management and retirement planning strategies to help physicians, small business owners, senior corporate executives and other professionals pursue their financial goals. Radhika focuses on creating customized strategies of wealth preservation and wealth transfer for high-net-wealth families. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) and Certified Financial Manager (CFM) designations. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Delhi University in India and an M.B.A. At the New York Institute of Technology, New York City. Radhika is an active member of the New York Institute of Technology Alumni Board, The Nature Conservancy’s Young Professionals Group and The Young Women’s Leadership Schools.


Jodi Kahn - President, iVillage
Jodi Kahn, recent President of iVillage, Inc. is a media executive.  Jodi has delivered revenue growth for strategic business units at NBC Universal, Time Warner, Sony, and Readers Digest Association.  In all of the companies — she has accelerated strategy, leveraged technology, and consistently exceeded business development targets through comprehensive organic expansion and focused M&A.   Additionally, she has made significant contributions across non-profit sector.

From 2006 to 2008, Jodi was President, Global Digital Media for Readers Digest Association. Jodi’s career with Time Inc. spanned 14 years from 1991 to 2006 and included multiple advancements. As VP, Business Strategy, Time Inc. Interactive from 2000 to 2003 Jodi played a lead role in the merger with AOL. She integrated technologies, ad platforms; created content sharing and deep marketing relationships; and ultimately — merged 20+ Time Inc. web properties into the AOL infrastructure.

Alexandra Akira - CEO, Next Level Productions

Alexandra Akira is a philanthropist and prior owner of Cushman & Wakefield. She is also an Executive Producer of live Music and Entertainment Events, and is the CEO of Next Level Productions. She is currently in development for a multi-city music tour, focused on sustainable and renewable energy, food and agriculture, while raising awareness on the importance of maintaining our clean water system on a global basis. Prior, she was a real estate executive and consultant for various fashion, financial, art, cultural, government and historic preservation agencies, and provided strategic planning and project management services. Her vast client base and knowledge enabled her to be in a specialized class of entrepreneurial ventures, while identifying, maximizing and maintaining growth of globally recognized corporations. Alexandra is the Executive Director for The Citizens for Water Foundation. She is also a member of REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York), the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers), Prior Board Member Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Board Member ICSCS (Institute for Culture in the Service of Community Sustainability) Arts Advisors to the Select Committee, and is affiliated with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Cooper Union, and is consulting for the American and New York Sustainable Business Council.

Pattie Simone - Founder, WomenCentric

Pattie Simone is the founder of WomenCentric & marketing-advantage.net. She is a transmedia storyteller, a sales & engagement strategist, an author, and a budding filmmaker.

Pattie is a serial entrepreneur, a credentialed journalist, a workshop presenter, video news & advice segment producer, consultative sales pro, and a dot-connecting marketer. She has a zest for learning and a passion for authentic engagement and service-centric endeavors. She is working on my first transmedia book/project: the ultimate guide to powerful communications. In addition to filming and doing social media work for clients, Pattie is producing a documentary about the contributions and challenges of women entrepreneurs around the world.

Pattie has spoken and written about a range of entrepreneurial and tech topics, including web marketing, branding, innovation, videos and networking. She is a credentialed journalist with 1000+ bylines and videos, and has interviewed and learned from the best tech and other leaders, including Dennis Crowley, CEO of foursquare, Laura Fitton, Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, Rachel Ray and Tony Hsieh, CEO of zappos.com. Her insight and tips have been featured in Entrepreneur Media, MORE magazine, e-junkie, MSNBC, KOMU, ABC and FOX 5 TV.

Carrie Farrell - Head of Talent, Google Ventures

Carrie Farrell joined Google Ventures in 2012, after more than 10 years at Google’s Partnerships and Global People Operations groups. She oversaw partnerships for Google.org, and also led a regional team to develop new staffing processes for Google. Carrie has led staffing and HR teams for Google in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. She has been instrumental in hiring Google’s key technologists, identifying and participating in acquisition targets, and opening new Google engineering offices globally.Carrie has spent more than 15 years working in the technology sector. She began her career at SRI International, working in project management for the robotics team.Carrie received her bachelor’s degree in political science and urban planning from Cal Poly. She sits on the board of Equality California and also volunteers in her local community.

Carol Koh Evans - Chief Operating Officer, The Knot
Carol Koh Evans is the Chief Operating Officer of XO Group Inc., formerly The Knot Inc. Prior to joining The Knot, Evans was General Manager for Massive Incorporated, a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation and leading network for video game advertising.
 Evans spent five years with Microsoft in Corporate Development, Corporate Strategy, and MSN M&A where she primarily supported Microsoft’s consumer initiatives, including the Online Services and Entertainment and Devices divisions. In addition, she worked as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers in New York and Hong Kong and Robertson Stephens in San Francisco and participated in General Electric’s Financial Management Program. Evans received her MBA from Columbia Business School and her BS in Business Administration from the Walter Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Lauren Book - Founder & CEO, Lauren’s Kids, Author

Lauren Book, founder of Lauren’s Kids, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse for six years at the hands of her nanny. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education, Lauren has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and heal survivors by starting Lauren’s Kids. Lauren’s Kids encourages victims to “shine a light in dark places” and “shed the shame.”Lauren’s Kids is based in South Florida and educates adults and children about sexual abuse topics through in-school curriculum, a 24-hour Crisis Hotline and speaking engagements around the country.Lauren’s Kids holds an annual, statewide “Walk in My Shoes” event, which brings together survivors and advocates on a walk across Florida to raise awareness and promote supportive legislation. Lauren’s Kids also holds annual fundraisers such as the Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino Golf Tournament and VIP dinner that raise funds for the organization. Eric Reid and Tony Fiorentino are the TV broadcast voices of the Miami Heat.Lauren is a PEOPLE Magazine All Star Among Us and published author. She is also a teacher and educator in South Florida.

Matti Navellou – Women’s Equality and Family Planning Campaign Manager, Global Poverty Project

Matti Navellou is the Women’s Equality and Family Planning Campaign Manager for The Global Poverty Project. A specialist in launching new campaigns and brands, Matti has worked as a strategy consultant and campaigner for several different NGOs and companies, including Virgin Atlantic Airlines and the Order of Malta, across Burkina Faso, Australia, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, France, the UK and the US. A French and British national, she is natively bilingual and holds a Master of Arts from the University of Cambridge. Matti’s expertise lies in coalition building across sectors and grassroots advocacy with a focus on increasing public and political support for development issues.

Cassandra Freeman - Actor, Activist, Genuine Know-how Training and Communications

Cassandra Freeman is a performing artist, teacher, and consultant who works in diverse worlds — acting in Hollywood, volunteering in Africa and the US, and teaching and facilitating for universities and corporations. As a facilitator and trainer, Cassandra Freeman helps individuals and organizations transform how they communicate by channeling their own creativity and strengths. Ms. Freeman is the founder of the Kassandra Arts Project – a non-profit organization that seeks to empower disadvantaged children by helping them to unlock their creativity. KAP’s most recent programs focus on working with young people in Rwanda. Ms. Freeman is also an established Hollywood star and stage actress. On the big screen, Freeman came to international recognition with roles in Chris Rock’s “I Think I Love My Wife” and Spike Lee’s “Inside Man,” where she starred alongside Denzel Washington. She has appeared in many TV shows and currently can be seen in the VH1 scripted hit series “Single Ladies,” produced by Queen Latifah.

In her work as a consultant, Cassandra teaches communications skills, team-building, collaboration, diversity training, and more. She is an alumnus of Florida Sate University, received her Masters of Fine Arts from New York University, and currently teaches at Fordham University at Lincoln Center.


Carole Hyatt - Founder, The Leadership Forum

Carole Hyatt has been addressing career subjects in her best-selling books, lecture tours, and television appearances for the past 35 years. She is an acknowledged leader in the work field. Her books have helped millions of people throughout the world effectively identify and accomplish their goals. Her works have been reviewed as seminal and she is frequently quoted in the media.

Carole’s Leadership Forum seminars are attended worldwide by top executive women from diverse fields who are interested in assessing and advancing their careers. Her workshop attendees have benefited from the support and skill she provides though an analysis of their needs and examination of alternative means of meeting them.

Carole is a member of the board of directors and advisory of numerous organizations and start-up corporations. She has served on the International Women’s Forum where she was Vice President in charge of Global Development. She served on the Women’s Leadership Board of the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and the Avon Women of Enterprise Board. She has also served of the faculties of The New School for Social Research, Hunter Graduate School, New York University and The Woman’s School, and lectures in colleges and universities worldwide.

Reshma Saujani - Former Candidate for New York City Public Advocate, Founder, Girls Who Code

Reshma Saujani is the former Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and the founder of Girls Who Code.As a public servant, Reshma harnessed the power of her office to promote civic engagement and government accountability. She spearheaded public projects aimed at spurring citywide job and economic growth, engaging immigrant communities, supporting small businesses, improving education, creating public empowerment, and using technology to vastly improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers. In June 2012, Reshma founded Girls Who Code, a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to educate, inspire and equip underserved girls ages 13-18 with the skills and resources necessary to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The organization launched with investments from Twitter, General Electric, eBay, and Google. Reshma is also the author of a new book on female leadership entitled Women Who Don’t Wait in Line which will be released by Amazon Publishing in 2013.In 2010, Reshma became the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress. She campaigned in New York’s 14th Congressional District as a passionate Democrat and community organizer. As the daughter of refugees who fled the violence of Idi Amin’s Uganda for the freedom of the United States, she has a personal interest in ensuring a political voice and economic opportunity for all Americans. Reshma earned a B.A. from the University of Illinois, an M.P.P. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Ambassador Dr. Josephine Ojiambo - Former Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Kenya Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York
Dr. Josephine Ojiambo is the new Chief of the Executive Board and External Relations Branch in the Information and External Relations Division (IERD) at UNFPA.

Before this assignment, Dr. Ojiambo was immediate Former Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative at the Kenya Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, where she notably engaged with a range of committees at the UN General Assembly on themes including international peace and security, development and humanitarian aid. At the United Nations, she provided inputs to processes related to MDGs, the Commission on Population and Development, South South collaboration, the review conference on the elimination of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, Arms Trade Treaty and development, and Global Governance among others. She has engaged quite extensively with other UN agencies, notably UNFPA and UN Women, in some of these processes.

Prior to representing Kenya at the United Nations, Dr. Ojiambo managed a Public Health Consultancy in Kenya. She has worked in the private sector and with non-governmental organizations advocating for multi-sector interventions to promote equity in social development, particularly for women, for the youth and for vulnerable people. Additionally, she has worked for the Ministry of Health, for the Ministry of Planning and National Development and for other Government departments in Kenya.

Dr. Ojiambo has been an active member of a number of organizations, such as the Women’s Democracy Network, the Medical Women International Association, and the Pan African Women’s Organization.

She holds a Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Public Health and Community Medicine, a degree in Medicine and Surgery and several certified skills, including one in diplomacy.


Ambassador Simona-Mirela Miculescu - Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations

Simona Mirela Miculescu was appointed Ambassador of Romania to the United Nations on June 5, 2008. Miculescu was the Director of the Department for Communication and Public Diplomacy within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to her current position. During her 18 years of diplomatic career, she served twice as Spokesperson for the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Senior Media Advisor to the Minister (1993 and 1999), Director of the Press Department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1994), Press Secretary of the Romanian Embassy in Washington D.C. (1994-1998), and as Senior Public Information Officer at the Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Kosovo (1999-2000). Between 2000 and 2004, she served as Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of Romania, becoming the first woman in the Romanian diplomatic history to be granted the rank of Ambassador.

Between 2006 and 2007, as part of Bearing Point, she acted as Senior Advisor for Public Outreach to the Government of Iraq.