Ann Dunwoody is the former commanding general of one of the Army's largest commands, the U.S. Army Materiel Command. She is the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve a four-star officer rank, and U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called her "quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever had." She led many divisions at home and abroad and commanded at every level. She also supported the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since WWII. The author of A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General, Ann shares what nearly four decades in the military taught her about effective leadership, revealing the core principles that guided her to her historic appointment.
She led the transformation of the Army's logistics organizations. She was responsible for research and development, installation and contingency contracting, foreign military sales, supply chain management and more. She also oversaw all of the depots that supported supply, maintenance, manufacturing and ammunitions. AMC had more than 69,000 employees and presence in all 50 states and 145 countries, and Ann managed a budget of $60 billion and was responsible for oversight of approximately $70 billion in service contracts. She also led the Army's global supply chain in support of Iraq and Afghanistan and contingency operations in Haiti, Pakistan and Japan.
Among Ann's many accomplishments came several career and military firsts. In addition to becoming the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve the rank of four-star general, she was the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1992, and she became Fort Bragg's first female general officer in 2000. She was also the first woman to command the Combined Arms Support Command. In 2005, she became the Army's top-ranking female when she received the promotion to lieutenant general (three stars) and became the Army's deputy chief of staff, G-4 (logistics). She received her fourth star in 2008.
Amy Courter served as the national commander and CEO of the all-volunteer Civil Air Patrol, a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and the civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, from 2007-2011. Her primary duty was to lead 61,000-plus volunteers in fulfillment of the organization's three congressionally chartered missions: emergency services, cadet programs and aerospace education, as well as CAP's increasing role in America's homeland security.
As CAP's commander, Amy served as a major general (2-star), the highest-ranking CAP officer and the first female to have attained that distinction in CAP's 69-year history. Amy was also a member of the CAP board of governors. She was elected national commander in 2008. During that fiscal year, CAP received its first unqualified audit after integrating more than 1,500 units' financial transactions into a common system. Under Amy's leadership, the scholarship funding increased more than 50 percent. Amy previously had served as commander of CAP's Michigan Wing from 1999 to 2002.
Outside the military, Amy has a rich business background that includes 20 years of leadership at Valassis, a $2.3 billion public marketing services corporation, first as a manager, and last as vice president of information technology. She presently serves as chief operating officer for Dynamic Computer Corporation. Amy has served on numerous for-profit and not-for-profit boards. She was elected president of the International Air Cadet Exchange Association's governing board in 2012, and also shares her expertise through instruction and executive coaching with Inforum Center for Leadership's Next4Vets program. Amy is national president of Women In Defense, a National Security Organization and an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association.
Louise Phipps Senft founded the Baltimore Mediation Center 21 years ago and has built her firm's success around the belief that people in conflict can work out their differences when given a quality dialogue process and a neutral mediator who believes in their capacity to make informed decisions. Louise has been voted "Baltimore's Best Mediator" by Baltimore magazine, three times named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women and a Top 100 Minority Business Owner in 2009 and 2014. Louise and her team have mediated more than 5,000 family, divorce, workplace and business disputes worldwide.
With her husband, Bill Senft, she co-authored Being Relational: The Seven Ways to Quality Interaction & Lasting Change. As a longtime law professor, mediator, lawyer, entrepreneur, and mother of five children, Louise has a unique perspective on the ways people manage and experience conflict. She is the founder of the nonprofit ORANS, which develops leaders to transform stressful interactions. Since 1998, Louise has been an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. As a faculty member of the Harvard Law School's program on Negotiation Insight Initiative, she taught conflict transformation theory and self-awareness practices and has joined Helen Palmer teaching the Enneagram. She has also been on the faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Louise is an elected associate of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and is a nationally Certified Transformative Mediator™. She is one of the founding members of Mediators Beyond Borders™, a nonprofit offering conflict resolution aid and training.
Teri Griege is a cancer survivor, ironman and inspirational speaker. Despite having stage IV colon cancer, Teri competed in the Ironman World Championships and the World Championship Half Iron Man, and she has run in all six World Marathon Majors. Teri is recognized as a leading expert on resilience and she has been invited to share her message with Roche, Express Scripts, the Today show, NBC and ESPN. She has also received glowing reviews from multiple-Emmy Awards winner Joe Buck and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman.
Through her inspirational story, Teri has developed all-purpose tools for battling adversity that are extremely impactful. Her tactics are simple, easily implemented and incredibly powerful. She is the founder and CEO of the Powered by Hope Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing hope, strength, peace and education to cancer patients. According to Teri: "When you hear the words 'You have cancer,' you have just entered the greatest race of your life." Her foundation is predicated on H-O-P-E, which stands for "How Ordinary People Endure."
Nancy Allen is the president and CEO of the Women's Business Development Council of Florida, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to certify, connect and champion women in business. Nancy's affiliation to the council started in 1994, and she became the president and CEO in 1999. The WBDC is the Florida regional partner of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which certifies that businesses are owned, operated, managed and independently controlled by women. The certification opens the door for national contracts as well networking opportunities with powerful and successful women business owners. Over the years, Nancy has been recognized for her work on behalf of women in business through numerous prestigious awards, including: South Florida District 2011 Women in Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration; one of South Florida's 100 most accomplished Caribbean Americans in 2016 by ICABA; World Women Leadership Achievement Award from the World Women Leadership Congress in 2014; an Association Marketing Award from WECAI in 2014; and the 2016 Distinguished Alumna award presented by the Education Fund in recognition of professional achievements of graduates of Dade County Public Schools. She is a member of the Go for the Greens Board of Directors. Nancy was born in Haiti and raised in South Florida. She is bi-lingual in English and French and is fluent in Spanish and Creole.
Ana Bello is the director of marketing and business development for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. Since joining the organization in 2014, she has been instrumental in promoting the economic development of the Hispanic business community in Central Florida. Ana serves as a main point of contact for the HCCMO members, and she is responsible for reporting to the president and overseeing member retention efforts, leads groups, supplier diversity programs and event budgets. Ana previously worked as director of marketing and promotions for Radio Cadena Comercial, Entravision Communications and CBSRadio. She currently serves on the Economic Summit Committee for Orange County and is part of the Hispanic Task Force for Seminole County Public Schools. In her free time, she serves as a mentor for high-risk youths through Community Base Care of Central Florida. Recently, Ana led the HCCMO marketing team in being recognized as 100 Most Social Media Friendliest Chambers of Commerce by OnlineMBApage.com, and the 2015 Communications Award by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals. Ana holds an MBA in organizational leadership. She is a 10-year military veteran who served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation machinist mate for T-56 turboprop engines and as a canvassing recruiter.
Debbie L. Berry works with Lockheed Martin Training and Logistics Solutions as a senior staff analyst in the business development organization and as business development manager of the Innovation Demonstration Center. She has supported both domestic and international opportunities for the company as a systems engineer, project engineer and program manager. Debbie has 31 years of experience in the simulation and training industry spanning product design through delivery of fixed and rotary wing simulators, tank gunnery trainers, battle management training devices, instrumented training range systems and reconnaissance systems. As customer engagement liaison, she is responsible for management of capabilities demonstrations, business development and strategies. Debbie is a founding member of the Central Florida Chapter of Women In Defense and served as the inaugural chapter president. She served as president for the Central Florida Chapter of National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and for the Association of the U.S. Army Sunshine Chapter. Debbie currently serves as a WID CFL Advisor, CFL NDIA Director, and Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation board member. She was conference chair emeritus for I/ITSEC 2001 and ITEC 2009, and she is a charter member of the Modeling and Simulation Professional Certification Commission (CMSP) and an alumnus of Leadership Orlando (Class 78). She serves on the I/ITSEC Council of Chairs, the I/ITSEC STEM Committee and the ITEC Conference Committee. Her credentials include lifetime memberships in NDIA, WID, Navy League of the United States, and the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA). In recognition of her distinguished service, Debbie is the second recipient of the prestigious NDIA Silver Medal. She has been awarded the AUSA Sunshine Chapter Royal of the Flamingo medallion and is the inaugural recipient of the CFL WID Debbie L. Berry Legacy Award. Debbie is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee.
Missie Berteotti played for 14 years in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and now speaks across the country to leaders in corporations and associations about communicating effectively on and off the golf course. She coaches women from all over the United States to take on golf as another tool in their efforts to advance their business careers. At the underlying core of all of her coaching is the focus on the fundamental principles of her Mental Mastery Program™ outlined in her book The Mental Mastery Program - From the Classroom to the Course to Life. On the LPGA Tour, Missie earned more than $1 million, won the Ping Welch's Classic in 1993 and placed in the top 10 on numerous occasions. Her career-best round of 65 came in the third round of the 1991 Women's Kemper Open in Hawaii. Missie works as a teaching professional at Rolling Hills Country Club in McMurray, Pa. As a golf instructor, she continues to improve her skills by attending seminars and being a member of many professional associations. Missie has studied yoga and has been an instructor; has worked at nationally known golf schools; received her national certification in therapeutic massage; received her certification as a Titleist Performance Institute golf fitness Instructor; was certified by Rick Jensen to coach Mental Skills; and is one of the few national certified golf coaches.
Patricia Birmingham is vice president of marketing for WBENC, responsible for marketing, communications, public relations and branding. She brings to the organization a breadth of business and branding expertise that enables WBENC to communicate strategically and cultivate partnerships with its diverse constituents in increasingly interactive ways. Pat previously worked for 14 years at Pfizer, where her contributions spanned the design and delivery of business and marketing and sales solutions in the realms of global procurement, supplier diversity and IT. As director of marketing and sales procurement at Pfizer, she developed and implemented a supplier diversity program focused on marketing and sales to diverse suppliers, enhancing second-tier supplier opportunities. Prior to this position, she was director of business process and technology at Pfizer, where she led a team of procurement colleagues in enhancing, deploying and harmonizing business processes and solutions. Pat previously served as an award-winning global account manager at AT&T. She also is a veteran of the United States Army, where she was a drill instructor and a recruiter. She is a member of the Go for the Greens Board of Directors and the Executive Steering Committee.
Ashley Brundage is an inclusion consultant for PNC Bank and a PNC certified Women's Business Advocate. Hired into her current position as a male-to-female transgender person, she self-identified during the interview process. She was appointed into her position as a vice president with the department of Diversity and Inclusion after beginning her career as a part-time teller, then working almost five years as a financial sales consultant. Ashley is very active within the LGBT community. Since transitioning in 2010, she has worked tirelessly to promote awareness and acceptance of gender identity. She is president of the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and holds board or advisory positions with the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Balance Tampa Bay, and Equality Florida. She is also involved with events including the Equality Florida Gala for St. Petersburg, Florida, the Equality Florida Tampa Gala, and The Tampa Bay LGBT Diamond Awards. Ashley was awarded a commendation from the City of Tampa in December 2015 for her community engagement and outreach. She was named One of Tampa Bay's Community Leaders Under 35 in the LGBT community. Ashley's other recognitions include: the 2015 PNC Performance Award; 2014 and 2015 PNC Bank Circle of Excellence Award; 2014, 2015, and 2016 PNC Market All Star Award; The University of South Florida 2014 Community Pride Award; and 2015 St. Pete Pride Grand Marshal. She was named one of 14 Most Remarkable People of 2014 by Watermark magazine and was nominated for The Trans 100.
As executive vice president and COO of the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), Camille oversees all functions of the headquarters office, including financial directives, human resources, marketing, technology and administration. She plays an active role in planning educational programs, annual meetings and conferences. Since joining the WPO in 2000, she has worked with Founder and President Marsha Firestone and the board of directors to help steer the significant growth trajectory of the organization. Camille is an ardent supporter of women's economic development. She represents the WPO and the women's business community as a speaker at events around the world. She is a member of the advisory council of Enterprising Women magazine, sits on the steering committee of the International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC), and is on the Executive Steering Committee for Go for the Greens. She also sits on the board of directors for LilySarahGrace, a nonprofit organization that brings arts education to underfunded elementary schools.
Susanna Carson is an entrepreneur building her personal and corporate legacy through the business of sustainable/compostable packaging. She is the founder and CEO of BSI Biodegradable Solutions, a compostable packaging distribution company, and more recently Besics Packaging Corporation, a compostable retail products company. She has more than 22 years of education and work experience in environmental issues and business development. Susanna serves as co-chair of the Product and Packaging Working Group of the National Zero Waste Council; is a topic expert for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition; and is a founding member of Women for Nature, supporting environmental conservation and education programs. One of her more personally satisfying roles is as a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee, where she serves as sustainability chair.
Tim Center is an attorney and statewide leader focused on building better communities. He is the CEO of the Capital Area Community Action Agency, a $9 million nonprofit that helps people who have the will to move out of poverty positively change their lives. He also serves as the executive director of Sustainable Florida, which promotes sustainable practices in Florida that protect natural resources, strengthen the economy and improve quality of life. He also heads up Centerfield Strategy, a consulting firm. A fourth-generation Floridian, Tim received the 2014 Hero of Service Award from City Year and is a graduate of Leadership Florida and Leadership Tallahassee. He is a founding member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee and a member of the Go for the Greens Board of Directors, where he is chair of the governance committee.
Cindy Chace is the director of sales for the government sector at UPS, where she has worked for 30 years. She is active in the corporation's Congressional awareness program, working with elected officials who have included Robert Wexler, Ted Deutch and Clay Shaw, all of South Florida. Cindy represents UPS on the Corporate Board of Advisors for the Cuban American National Council and served on the President's Advisory Council at Radford University, her alma mater. She actively participates in activities with minority and women's business organizations, including The International Alliance for Women, which recognized her as a Leader in Global Development in 2012, and the National Association of Women Business Owners, which recognized her work in presenting UPS with the 2008-09 National Chapter Corporate Partner of the Year Award. In 2014, Cindy was recognized with the Corporate Advocate Award for the WBE Hall of Fame. She is co-founder and chair of the Go for the Greens Foundation Inc. and serves as chair of the annual Go for the Greens conference.
Lieutenant Hillary Chace is a U.S. Navy physician serving as the performance assessment and improvement coordinator and senior physician supervisor for the Medical Readiness Division of the Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. She previously served as the ship's medical officer and medical department head aboard the USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52). Hillary received her doctorate degree in osteopathic medicine from the Lincoln Memorial University, DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Harrogate, Tenn. Upon commissioning as a naval officer, she completed her internship in internal medicine at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. She has been selected as a subject matter expert for a variety of Navy medicine forums supporting excellence in Navy medicine aboard Pacific Fleet ships. She has been the first author/principal investigator and/or presenter on several research projects for NMCSD and was awarded first place at the Tri-Service American College of Physicians Research Competition in Bethesda, Md., in 2012. She is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association and the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. Her military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. She is active in her community as a mentor with the Junior League of San Diego. Hillary was recently selected for promotion to lieutenant commander and expects to enter residency in internal medicine in the summer of 2017.
Connie Charles, founder and CEO of Strategic Solutions International Inc., has specialized in helping organizations worldwide meet their objectives through improvement of the way they motivate, manage and educate their people. Her company creates learning and development processes that integrate the insights from behavioral data into educational or coaching processes. SSI's client base has included Aramark, PNC Bank, DuPont, Lockheed Martin, Visa, J.P. Morgan, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, First Data Corp, Boeing, Accenture, L3 Communications, Schlumberger, Hewlett Packard and State Farm Insurance. Her web-based collaboration tool, imapMyTeam®, helps teams build foundational relationships, and her imapMyGolf tool was founded on the belief that the principles that help a person play a better round of golf also apply to business improvement. She is the author of business book The Magic of the Method and co-author of the upcoming Back On Course: Drive Business Performance Through Golf. In 2013, Connie was named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by her local Chamber of Commerce. Connie holds a master's degree in education from Bethel in St. Paul, Minn.
CeCe DeCamp is a vice president in the Global Business Services unit of IBM. CeCe is a sales and integration executive with current focus on the integration of major health data-related acquisitions by IBM for its Watson Health unit. She is a proven leader with more than 30 years of experience in business development, strategy development and public sector and healthcare sales. Complementing her new mergers and acquisitions (M&A) role, she is an expert in complex, strategic captures for services, software and hardware sales. CeCe is known in the government and healthcare markets for her effectiveness in developing, fostering and sustaining customer and partner relationships. As a successful sales leader at IBM, she builds and motivates teams to perform and mentors future sales leaders. A 2015 IBM Sales Eminence 5-Year All-Star awardee, she once again achieved the company's 100 Percent Sales Club status in 2016, marking six consecutive years of recognition. CeCe added golf to her sales kit early in her career and supports many charities playing golf with her partners and clients.
Ellen Embrey is CEO of Stratitia Inc, a management consulting firm that supports clients in healthcare, national security and information technology solutions markets. Ellen has extensive executive and program leadership experience in the executive branch of the federal government, primarily in the health, national security and biodefense sectors. For more than eight years, she shaped critical healthcare and readiness policies and programs within the U.S. Department of Defense's Military Health System, a $47 billion-per-year defense program employing more than 200,000 health professionals serving more than 9.6 million service members, retirees and their families around the globe. She served as Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs); Director, TRICARE Management Activity; and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Health Protection and Readiness). Ellen orchestrated significant improvements in programs affecting deployment and combat casualty medicine, health promotion and preventive medicine, medical readiness, and global public health emergency response preparedness. Ellen also served as a key policy advisor and senior executive for more than 19 years, shaping policies and programs affecting the readiness of the National Guard and Reserve Components to support the Military Department's national security mission, as well as to enhance U.S. and international disaster response preparedness. She served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs), as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Assistance to Civil Authorities), and in a variety of senior-level policy, budget, program management and systems analysis positions. She is the recipient of many honors, including two Secretary of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Awards and two Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Awards.
Simone Fernandes is a boutique coordinator for Dress for Success, which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Simone is a recent graduate of the Winter Park Tech Interior Design Program. She graduated at the top of her class, receiving Student of the Quarter recognition for all of the Orange County district's technical schools. She has maintained leadership roles throughout her community such as president of the Student Advisory Board for Winter Park Tech, vice president of membership for Toastmaster International, chapter lead for SkillsUSA, retail chair for Dress for Success, and volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity. In the past two years, she contributed her efforts to professionally style and dress more than 1,000 underprivileged women in her community. Simone's life Goal is to help people of all races and walks of life reach the ability to live to their fullest Potential of Success.
Allison Flatley is the Chief Strategy Officer at Corporate Fitness Works and brings more than 30 years of experience in executive management, fitness and consulting experience to the wellness and fitness industry. Allison holds a master's degree in exercise and health studies from Miami University. She is vice chair and nomination committee chair of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association Board of Directors. She also serves on the Club Solutions Advisory Board; on the Industry Advisory Council for American Public University; on the board of directors for Girls on the Run Northern Virginia; and as a board member for the McLean Youth Volleyball Association. Allison also serves as a professional mentor and educator. As a member of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity Business and Industry Sector Planning Committee, Allison helped to develop the CEO Pledge. From 2003 to 2010, she also held a leadership role on the board of the Mid-Atlantic Club Management Association. In June 2008, she was awarded The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Community Leadership Award.
Benita Fortner is director of supplier diversity for Raytheon Company. She assumed the position in September 2000 after serving as the company's socioeconomic program manager. Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), with 2015 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. Benita formerly served as the corporate liaison officer and manager of socioeconomic programs for Hughes Electronics Corporation, where she held numerous management positions over a 28-eight year career. In her previous position as procurement manager at Hughes Aircraft Company, she was instrumental in significantly increasing the number of corporate agreements awarded to small, minority and women-owned suppliers, implementing supplier customer feedback sessions and second-tier alliances. Benita is the immediate past chair of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and co-chairs the TRIAD aerospace and defense industry group focused on government and small business issues. She is chair of the advisory board for the Tuck Minority Business Executive Programs and currently serves on numerous boards, including National Minority Supplier Development Council, Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, the Business Consortium Fund, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. For her work with women-owned and minority-owned suppliers, Benita has been inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame from the American Institute of Diversity and Commerce and was recognized with a Clarion Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
Beth Gitlin is the executive director of weVENTURE, powered by Florida Institute of Technology, a regional economic development initiative focused on accelerating sustainable business growth for womenpreneurs. She oversees a network of centers throughout Central Florida (including Melbourne and Rockledge) whose main goal is to ignite the economic power of women through entrepreneurship. weVENTURE was recognized by the SBA in 2014 and 2015 as a Regional WBC Center of Excellence. Beth was awarded the 2014 Small Business Advocate of the Year for Florida and the 2014 Space Coast Business Leader of the Year for Business Development. She formerly was president and owner of Global Passages, an international trade consulting company. Additionally, she has 20-plus years of experience in the retailing, manufacturing and global sourcing of consumer packaged goods working as VP for General Foam Plastics Corporation and in various merchandising and international positions with Walmart. She also served for four years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Beth serves on the executive board of the National Association of Women's Business Centers. Locally, she serves on the boards for the East Coast Zoological Society and Lead Brevard.
Beth founded the Heart and Soul dragon boat paddling team for breast cancer survivors and supporters in 2013 in Melbourne, Florida, in order to promote health, wellness and getting fit for life after cancer. She earned an MBA at Chaminade University of Honolulu, an MA in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, and an MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Florida Tech. Beth is currently working on her dissertation researching entrepreneurial mentoring programs as a PhD Candidate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She serves as a Fellow for the Institute for Cross Cultural Management at Florida Tech. Beth is a member of the Go for the Greens Board of Directors.
Deborah Grossman joined TD Bank in October 2013 as vice president and manager of Procurement Corporate Responsibility, Program and Change and is based in New Jersey. She collaborates with businesses and colleagues to develop and implement activities and strategies for TD's North American supplier diversity program. Before joining TD, Deborah owned and operated a consulting company, where she concentrated her services on business development and strategy for small and midsize diverse businesses and facilitated introductions and business partnerships with Fortune 500 companies. She has worked in the field of supplier diversity for more than 15 years and is considered a subject matter expert in this area. Deborah received an MBA from Villanova University. Over the past six years, she has raised more than $12,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as a participant in the annual MS 150 City to Shore ride.
Dana Hill is the manager of procurement programs for BlueCross BlueShield of Florida. Within 18 months after he started in 2010, the organization increased its overall spend with diverse suppliers from less than 1 percent to more than 5 percent, and in 2013 hit 117 percent of its diversity supplier goal. Dana formerly served as director of MBE development for the St. Louis Minority Business Council, director of procurement analysis for Peabody Energy, manager at Xerox, purchasing manager at American Airlines, and buyer at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work in supplier diversity, including the Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award in 2012 from the Minority Business Development Agency, Buyer of the Year in 2012 from the Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, and Business Corporate Champion in 2013 from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Retu Jalhan is the director of business development at The RMP Group, where she is responsible for the detailed financial analysis and valuation of acquisition opportunities, preparation of legal and marketing documents, and assistance with due diligence items. In addition to buy-side activities, she has been charged with the development of an offshore fund and oversees all fund administration items such as transaction support and limited partner reporting. Retu previously worked in the banking, investments and insurance sectors. She served as group account manager for the Cooperators Insurance Company, where she managed a portfolio of group insurance clients valued at more than $160 million in premiums. In her spare time, Retu teaches yoga and volunteers with organizations including the Indian-American Chamber of Commerce and the Kesri youth organization. She is the founder of the We Are Your Sisters (WAYS) Yogathon aimed at raising funds for rape and trafficking survivors. Retu is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee.
Karen Keene is the director of marketing and business development at Dean Mead, a corporate law firm headquartered in Orlando with five offices statewide. She is an exemplary leader in the organization, where she advises the attorneys on regional growth strategies and niche practices. She has 23 years of experience in marketing, branding, strategic planning and business development coaching. Prior to joining Dean Mead, she led regional practice development strategy for Foley & Lardner's East Coast offices. Karen is the president of ATHENA Orlando Women's Leadership Inc., which produces the Women's Leadership Luncheon and the ATHENA NextGen leadership series. Proceeds are gifted toward a $100,000 endowed scholarship that was established to benefit female students at the University of Central Florida. She also launched ATHENA PowerLink in 2005, a program dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs in Central Florida achieve success, growth and profitability. She currently serves on the board of directors for ATHENA International. Karen has been active with the Legal Marketing Association for more than 13 years, having served as the chair of the Orlando chapter twice and as a member of the Southeast board for three years. Additionally, she is a member of the Metro Orlando EDC Investor Relations Committee and the American Heart Association's Go Red executive leadership team. She received a bachelor's in organizational communications in 1993 from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.
Louise Léger served as Consul General of Canada in Miami between 2009 and 2016. She joined the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce as a Trade Commissioner in 1981. Her career at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has included postings to Colombia, Switzerland and Israel. In 1995, she was appointed ambassador to Panama, and in 2001 ambassador to Costa Rica, with concurrent accreditation to Nicaragua and Honduras. In Ottawa, Louise previously held the positions of deputy director of the Eastern Europe Commercial Relations Division as well as executive director and deputy director general at the Summit of the Americas Bureau. She has twice served as director general of Trade Commissioner Service, leading the Operations Bureau as well as the Client Services Bureau. Louise is now back at headquarters in Ottawa and is leading the Canadian delegation at Go for the Greens 2016 on behalf of the new Consul General in Miami, Susan Harper.
Lori Lemmon is an integrated customer communications manager for UPS. As a passionate advocate for the company's customers over the last 23 years, she applies her expertise in marketing and communications to manage communications with customers during crisis events. Lori also oversees a team responsible for communications about UPS services and technology products and directs UPS's sponsorship of organizations for women business leaders including Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Past roles at UPS include recruiting MBAs for marketing and leading UPS's 2007 Centennial celebration. She holds a master's in telecommunications from Indiana University and an MBA from the College of William & Mary.
Renee Lewis is the CEO of Pensare Group, a management consulting firm focused on customer experience and employee engagement to help inspired leaders maximize value in merger and acquisition transactions or growth strategies. She is also developing a new cloud-based offering for the healthcare industry highlighting innovations for both cybersecurity and interoperability. Renee has been directly involved in more than 10 early stage startups. Noteworthy career highlights include selling a drug safety company to Cerner; working as chief technology officer and vice president of engineering for KnowledgePlanet (now Mzinga) developing eLearning innovations along the way; and developing and deploying one of the first automated health and welfare systems, which sold for more than $500 millon under the name of citi-street. Renee co-founded and operated the nonprofit Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For seven years, she taught its flagship program, called ACTiVATE, to help develop women entrepreneurs to build highly successful technology-based businesses. She won the 2011 AT&T Innovator of the year award for the success of ACTiVATE with about 150 companies evolving in Maryland, Virginia, Texas and Michigan. In 2014 she received the NAWBO Greater DC Woman of Distinction award. Renee has traveled to South Africa to help local women recognize personal and community growth through entrepreneurship as well as supported the Business Women Network of the Middle East North Africa region to establish an organization to support cross commerce for women-owned businesses throughout the region. She's a private investor in several women-owned businesses supporting advanced technologies, as well as a member of the Mountain Maryland Angel Investment Group designed to draw in much-needed economic development for Garrett County through entrepreneurship.
Dr. Ken Lindeman has focused on building the Academic Sustainability Program at Florida Institute of Technology since 2010. The curriculum includes rigorous interdisciplinary education and student senior projects that emphasize applied management experience on and off campus. In 2017, F.I.T. will exceed 100 graduates of the sustainability major and minor programs. Ken has worked since the 1980s on another passion: the sustainable management of coastal lands and fisheries affected by human disturbances including climate change. This work requires interdisciplinary combinations of biological, physical and social sciences. Geographic foci include: a) the Southeast U.S. and b) the northwest Caribbean and Mesoamerica, with work in Spanish in multiple Latin American countries. He has had more than 70 conservation research articles from his work published in 20 different science and policy journals. Ken has also co-authored three books published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, Duke University Press and Sigma Press.
Sonia Lopez is the president and CEO of CNC, formerly the Cuban American National Council, a national nonprofit with offices in Miami, Union City, N.J., and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1972, the CNC is engaged in research and policy analysis, and it provides programs and services in leadership development, education, employment and foreclosure prevention, and economic wealth-building. CNC serves 5,000 individuals yearly and has a professional staff of 60 individuals. Sonia previously served as executive vice president of CNC and has more than 25 years of experience in corporate management, contract development and contract compliance. She worked as Southeast regional director for Mobility Services International and as senior operations manager at Ryder Move Management. Sonia received the Floridana 2010 Award from the Cuban Women's Club. She has been a member of the Diversity, Equity and Excellence Advisory Committee and of the Attendance-Boundary Committee of Miami Dade County Public Schools. She serves of the boards of The Community Action Agency Board of Miami Dade County and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility. She is currently sitting on the Advisory Board of Ana G. Mendez University; and The Early Learning Coalition's Early Head Start Policy Council. She has served as a proposal reviewer for The Children's Trust and is a founding board member as president and board chair of The Guarione M. Diaz Alpha Charter of Excellence charter school.
Betty Martinez Lowery is manager of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney World. She and her team of relationship managers develop strategic community outreach and contribution strategies that will make the greatest impact in the community through financial, product and resource contributions. Before joining the community relations team, Betty was manager of minority business development at Walt Disney World. Betty proactively provided leadership in establishing key partnerships with minority organizations and developed meaningful, long-lasting and key partnerships within the Hispanic/Latino, Native American and women markets. She has more than 35 years of experience in education and human and public relations, with an emphasis on cross-cultural communication. Before joining the Disney team, Betty worked as a consultant, specializing in diversity and inclusion training, organizational development and human resource/relations consulting. Her prior experience included 10 years as the executive director of the Greater Orlando Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). While in this role, Betty received the President's Award for the Pursuit of Excellence, the first such recognition ever presented to an NCCJ executive director. Betty previously served as an administrator for 10 years with Orange County Public Schools. In 2005, Betty was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to serve on the advisory board for the state of Florida's Early Learning Coalition. She was reappointed to a four-year term by Governor Charlie Crist and again by Governor Rick Scott, and she currently serves as vice chair.
Ana Maria Quintero Lowry is president and CEO of A&P International, a consulting and training corporation providing cross-cultural business solutions for entrepreneurs and corporate America, and the author of the book Cross-Cultural: A New
Thirst for Diversity Engagement. For 28 years, she has created and built programs and trainings delivered nationally and internationally. As a consultant and executive trainer, Ana Maria leads a multi-ethnic team that provides professional advice to corporations developing their diversity supplier procurement programs. In addition, Ana Maria serves as a catalyst and business coach to minority business enterprises seeking multimillion-dollar contracts. Some of her clients include Mitsubishi Powers of America, Universal Studios, Wyndham Worldwide, Florida Hospital Medical Group, Lynx, and government institutions such as Orange County Public Schools and Turnpike Enterprises. Ana Maria is a certified trainer for Jeffrey Gitomer Trainone (NC) and Situational Leadership (CA) and a consultant in human behavior with an emphasis in Cross-Cultural Diversity. She received her juris doctorate and master's degree in international trade in 1981 from The Pontifical Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia. Among her awards and recognitions, Ana Maria was recognized as "A Woman Who Mean Business - A Woman to Watch" by the Orlando Business Journal in 2014.
Beatriz "Betty" Manetta is president and CEO of Argent Associates Inc. and Asociar LLC. Argent evolved from its supply chain roots into a technology and software development firm with a national footprint and main offices in Edison, N.J., and Plano, Texas. Asociar is a global firm delivering complete end-to-end supply chain optimization of virtualized network technologies and is based in Plano, Texas, with manufacturing facilities in Richardson, Texas. Betty spent more than 20 years in corporate America, primarily in the telecommunications industry, before leaving to launch Argent Associates in 1998. She held national and international assignments in technical support, sales, human resources and quality management and control. Betty is a champion of ethnic minority-owned, women-owned and small business enterprises. She championed small business in President George W. Bush's Export Council. She advised on international trade matters and their impact on small, women and minority businesses and chaired the subcommittee of Technology and Innovation. Betty continues to help direct the national MWBE conversation and policies through her board memberships in the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Women's Business Council Southwest. She encourages young women to pursue entrepreneurism in technology and supports these efforts through her board seats in Tech Titans, TIA, and Seton Hall University Board of Regents. She has received numerous awards locally and nationally for her leadership and commitment to excellence. Betty holds a master's degree in international studies from Seton Hall University.
Heatherjean MacNeil is the global director and co-founder of Babson College's WIN Lab, where she is focused on accelerating women entrepreneurs and building a gender-balanced, entrepreneurial ecosystem. The first of its kind, the WIN Lab, which stands for Women Innovating Now, is an eight-month accelerator program that supports women founders to launch and scale high-impact ventures. Now in its fourth year, it was created by the Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson and has been designated as one of the top two specialty programs for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Heatherjean is a serial entrepreneur herself and founded a women's ethical fashion company, Proxy Apparel. As CEO, she built global partnerships with women cooperatives to produce fashion-forward, sustainable apparel and accessories sold to the U.S. market. As a business consultant, Heatherjean has worked extensively with for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations to develop leadership training programs, launch business development initiatives, and design experiential market efforts. She is pursuing a PhD in business strategy and gender at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass.
Sam McClure serves as senior vice president at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Sam oversees the Affiliate Relations, External Affairs, and Supplier Diversity departments and is a member of the NGLCC executive leadership team. In 2014, Sam led NGLCCís legislative campaign to pass the historic California Assembly Bill 1678, the first law of its kind in the nation, which added certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) to the supplier diversity program of the California Public Utilities Commission. In 2015, she lead the team that achieved the first statewide Executive Order to add not only LGBTBEs, but also disability-owned and veteran-owned business enterprises (DOBEs & VBEs) to the small business development opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is a leading voice on organizational development strategies and LGBT business inclusion. Samís work was recently published in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Civil Rights: A Public Policy Agenda for Uniting a Divided America, an edited volume detailing the remaining battles in the movement for LGBT equality. Driven by entrepreneurial spirit and an appetite for community and economic development, she is a passionate advocate for the LGBT Community and a champion of business equality.
Sue McMurdy is co-founder of the Business Golf Academy, which conducts events focused on women's leadership, business golf, and best practices in golf and golf fitness. She played golf as a child and has competed at state and national levels as an amateur, qualifying for USGA Championships over a 40-year span. She held many leadership roles in golf, including president of the Pennsylvania State Women's Golf Association and chair of the Executive Women's Council for the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont. Additionally, Sue has more than 30 years of experience in banking and technology. She formerly served as president and CEO of a large IT services organization and as an executive officer and chief information officer of a financial services corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Sue helped develop a team of technology professionals; established corporate culture, policies and procedures; and led strategic technology and cross-functional business initiatives. As CIO, she oversaw IT systems, multiple data centers, network infrastructure, information security, vendor management, operations and facilities for more than 100 locations. She also facilitated strategic planning for the entire corporation, aligning technology with corporate strategy. Sue currently serves as an executive advisor for Endeavor Management, a strategic advisory firm headquartered in Houston, Texas. She speaks and advises organizations on information technology governance, organizational change and creating a peak performance environment. Sue was recognized as a Top Woman in Business by the Pittsburgh Business Times in 2009 and CIO of the Year for Large Corporations by the Pittsburgh Technology Council in 2011. She was inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and was selected as 2015 Distinguished Alumni, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she also serves on the foundation board of directors.
Beth Merrick has been a cast member with the Walt Disney Company for 23 years, including 14 as a recruiter with the Parks and Resorts division. Her story began with her opportunity to work as a tour guide at the Magic Kingdom after college. This was very exciting because her father also worked as a Disney cast member on the opening team of Epcot. Her career has included time in theme park guest relations and resorts concierge, as well as management roles in parks and resorts and workforce management. Some highlights Beth is most proud of include: writing and creating the orientation program for the Magic Kingdom cast members, "Once Upon a Time is Now"; opening team for the first "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party"; part of the events team for the "Remember the Magic" 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Magic Kingdom; many company and local volunteer events; and being the recipient of the Recruiter of the Year Award for the National Hispanic Corporate Achievers. Beth currently supports recruitment for the sales and marketing and new vacation operations segments.
Karen Millsap became a widow at age 29 when her husband was tragically murdered while teaching a CrossFit class. After losing most of her support network and experiencing a domino effect of other losses, Karen recognized the overall lack of assistance in our society for grieving people. This realization ignited her desire to launch The Grief Consultant, a company that offers leadership development workshops and strategic reinforcement programs targeting emotional awareness. Grief is ever present across the nation and around the world, from the death of loved ones, to life-altering illnesses, divorce, even job loss. In addition to the workshops offered through her company, Karen speaks at various conferences and hosts community events to teach people how to put compassion into action - and why it's important not to stand idle in the face of each other's struggles. She has designed practical tools that fortify unity and uplift humanity. Karen has been featured on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," "Good Morning Washington" and various other news outlets. She has also been featured by SHRM magazine and is a regular contributor to the international online magazine Richtopia.
Lynne Morgan is a volunteer with Women of Color Golf, which encourages and promotes minorities and women of color from all generations to learn the benefits of golf and participate in recreational golf activities, provide organized golf clinics, educational webinars, social activities and networking opportunities by using technology and social media for engagement. She also volunteers with the Executive Women's Golf Association. Lynne is retired from sales and marketing, and she spends her time educating women in playing the game of golf for business networking and personal fulfillment. She also is a member of the Rotary Club and has held several leadership positions within the organization.
Josie Mousseau joined Global Affairs Canada in 2003 after working in other government departments and the private sector. She leads a team committed to addressing the specific needs of women business owners and coordinating programs that support and engage women in international trade. Josie is widely recognized as a strong advocate in promoting business women in international trade and played an instrumental role in bringing together partner departments, representatives of women's business organizations and corporations from across Canada to establish certification for businesswomen in Canada. Under her leadership, the initiatives taken by her division sparked numerous business success stories. She has received numerous awards for her work, including an Excellence in Service Award by the Government of Canada, a 2015 World of Difference 100 Award from The International Alliance for Women, a Leadership in International Trade award from the Toronto Chapter of Organization of Women in International Trade, and the 2014 WEConnect International Supplier Diversity Champion of the Year Award. She was also recognized in the Profiles in Diversity Journal Women Worth Watching. Josie is a founding board member of the Ottawa Chapter of the OWIT and is an active volunteer in her community.
Sunny Nastase is president of global enterprise sales accounts in the healthcare industry. She joined UPS in 2000 as vice president of strategic alliances, working toward new business models and strategies to exploit the emerging e-commerce market. Known for vision and boldness, Sunny was tapped to join UPS's first healthcare strategy team in 2005, which thrust the company into the healthcare industry. She recently returned as president of that thriving healthcare business unit. In the interim, she headed up healthcare marketing, a new model for UPS that sought to organize and approach its customers by their own industry. From there, she managed all marketing segments by industry - a model that has since been adopted by all of UPS globally. Over the next decade, Sunny held various positions of increasing responsibility, from sustainability to strategy to human capital. Sunny has been a visible, vocal and deeply engaged advocate for women and minorities in the workplace and society. She was a founding member of UPS's Women's Leadership Development group, and remains an active participant. Sunny's commitment and participation is strongly seen in support of her support of young professional women. She organized and still supports a formal and highly effective mentoring program that has changed life and career trajectory for hundreds of women. She has a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Sheri Orlowitz is an entrepreneur, lawyer, strategic counselor, financier and philanthropist. Over 20 years, she has raised $100 million from various sources. She has operated companies ranging in size from 35 to 700 employees and developed and implemented strategic plans to acquire, grow, expand internationally and exit 10 businesses over a 17-year period. She has worked for the United States in many capacities, most recently as a U.S. delegate to Greece and Portugal, and now works with international companies from those countries to access the U.S. market. Sheri brings these practiced skills and deep networks to Artemis Holdings Group, which she founded in 2014 after selling Shan Industries, a manufacturing holding company with several divisions that she acquired from Tyco International. Previously, she led investors to acquire, held ownership interests in, and operated DBI/Magnetic Data Technologies, a $70 million international manufacturing concern, and Datatape, a $55 million highly classified manufacturer and government contractor with offices throughout the U.S. and Europe. As a member of numerous boards, in 2007 Sheri was invited to join Women Corporate Directors, a global membership organization and community of corporate directors. Top business publications and organizations have recognized Sheri and her companies as embracing creativity, trust, ethics, opportunity and growth. Sheri has been the recipient of numerous awards, including selection as one of 50 Influential Entrepreneurs in Business. Shan Industries was named by the Women Presidents' Organization as the Outstanding Women Business Enterprise of the Year and recognized as one of the Inc. 5000. Sheri has been quoted or featured in publications including Barrons, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Investor's Business Daily. She was recently profiled in the first edition of A Cup of Cappuccino, a collection of entrepreneurs' stories. She counts as her greatest entrepreneurial achievement the founding of the Orlowitz-Lee Children's Advocacy Center, which co-locates all the agencies and services that are needed by families of and children who have suffered sexual abuse. Since its founding, the center has helped more than 14,000 families.
Jessica Outer is the marketing leader for IBM's Federal Global Business Services sector. She is responsible for creating and implementing marketing strategies and advertising campaigns, and for managing the IBM brand at industry conferences throughout the U.S. Her clients include agencies in the federal healthcare, civilian, homeland security, Department of Defense and intel industries. Jessica is also the co-owner of VINTAGE Wine Concierge, which brings unique customized wine experiences to clients and their guests. Prior to her roles at IBM, she held positions at Fannie Mae, Jameson Broadcast, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She previously owned and operated a small business where she provided development and fundraising services to small and midsize nonprofits. She holds a master's degree in event management and sports marketing from George Washington University.
Richard Powell is co-founder and senior managing director of AP Capital Partners and APC Holdings. APCP's portfolio companies have grown to generate annual revenues in excess of $2 billion and employ more than 10,000 people around the globe. One company in particular grew from $70 million in revenue upon acquisition in 2004 to $1.4 billion in 2010, making it the fastest-growing billion-dollar minority business enterprise in U.S. history. Prior to forming APCP in 2003, Richard worked in the emerging markets group at Bear Stearns, where his key strengths were raising capital, selling to large corporations, board-level management and e-business strategies. Richard also serves as chairman of The RMP Group and oversees the strategic vision of the firm's diverse social and philanthropic interests. He is the chairman of the Nexus Caribbean Forum, which connects wealth holders, impact investment groups and nonprofits to solve some of the Caribbean's most pressing problems. Additionally, he is a founding board member of ACG Orlando and a member of the Harvard Club of Central Florida, the Andover Alumni Association and Young Presidents Organization. He was named one of the "40 under 40" leaders in mergers and acquisitions by M&A Advisor, and has been featured in a number of business news and media outlets including CNBC, Inc magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Patti Rizzo, a former collegiate All-American at the University of Miami and a 20-year veteran on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, is starting her seventh year as head coach of the University of Miami women's golf team. Patti helped lead her team last season to the postseason NCAA National Championship, Miami's first appearance since 1992. Patti was Rookie of the Year in 1982 and won four LPGA tournaments along with the Sun City Million Dollar Challenge (1989) and the Mazda Team Championship in Puerto Rico. In 1991, she surpassed the million-dollar mark in earnings. Her top ranking on the LPGA was ninth in the world in 1989. Patti also competed on the Japanese LPGA tour and the LPGA European tour. She won nine times on the Japanese tour, and in 1992 while taking a hiatus from the LPGA she became Japan's top player and money winner. She has been exposed to the golfing world her entire life, has traveled to more than 20 countries, and has lived in Tokyo and Monte Carlo. Because of golf, she has had the opportunity to network with all types of people. She sees golfing as an effective networking tool for making profitable and successful business deals.
Aaron Rontal has been with Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS) for nearly 10 years. Incorporated in 1994 as a certified minority business enterprise and headquartered in McLean, Va., DISYS is one of the largest IT staffing firms in the United States. In his roles as a managing director and senior account executive, he was the first - and still only one of three - employee to receive the DISYS Founder's Award. He is also a steadfast member of the DISYS President's Club, a group of elite account executives, recruiters and other team members who drive substantial business within DISYS and provide excellence for their clients. Aaron has built various training programs and has been part of the development of internal process improvements that have helped the company gain substantial efficiencies.
Leslie Saunders is president of Leslie Saunders Insurance Agency, a full-service benefits firm with more than 25 years of experience in helping businesses navigate the changing healthcare environment and offer affordable benefits to employees, and a member of Simplifi Benefits. LSI tailors plans to meet clients' needs and helps companies eliminate waste and reduce healthcare costs. Services include group insurance, employee benefits support services, third-party administration, eligibility audits, compliance training and administration, actuarial review, employee purchase programs, concierge services, employee wellness, and travel and pet insurance. LSI is the only woman-owned WBE/DBE insurance agency certified in all 50 states and nationally by WBENC. An advocate for WBE/DBE businesses, Leslie served as a presidential appointee to the National Women's Business Council, a bipartisan organization that advises the U.S. president, Congress, and the Small Business Administration. Recently the firm became a Cornerstone Agency partner with Aon to work on a national basis with Aon's corporate and government clients. Leslie began her insurance career with Met Life and Aetna before starting her firm in 1988.
Billie Bryant Schultz is CEO of CESCO Inc., an award-winning expert printing equipment and software solution provider focused on managed document services and sales of copiers, smart multifunctional devices, scanners, plotters, 3D printers and supplies. Since joining the company, Billie has transitioned CESCO from a coin and office equipment service company to one that has extensive experience and knowledge cultivated through partnerships with leading printing equipment manufacturers and software providers, all for the benefit of sustainability and cost reduction in document printing. Those partnerships include Xerox, Lexmark, HP Ricoh, Dell, Epson, Brother and Y Soft SafeQ Software. Billie served on the formation boards of the Women's Business Council Southwest and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, where she served for 10 years. She was the first chair of the Leadership Forum and a chair of the certification committee and task force, and she currently serves on the program committee and is a Leadership Forum chair emeritus. Billie continues to serve on the WBCS board of directors, in addition to the board of directors of the American Institute for Diversity and Commerce's Women's Business Enterprise Hall of Fame and the Go for the Greens Foundation Board of Directors. For her advocacy for women, minorities and small businesses, she has won numerous awards, including the WBENC Applause, WBE Hall of Fame, WBENC Star vendor, WBE WBCS award of the year, TXU/CESCO Star Vendor, EFH CESCO/Xerox Partnership award, Enterprising Woman of the Year.
Diane Sears is founder and president of DiVerse Media, which assists clients with marketing strategy projects, including nonfiction books, white papers, research reports, speeches, event planning, media relations, messaging, online marketing and social media. The company has helped people become published authors of more than 80 books on topics including business, entrepreneurship, human resources, self-improvement, history, science, sports and health. A career journalist, Diane is the author of the books Tapping Your Inner Entrepreneur: Making the Move from Employee to Business Owner and Inside AP: A Guide to Today's Accounts Payable Profession, as well as thousands of magazine and newspaper articles for Florida Trend, the Orlando Sentinel and other publications. She previously served as editor-in-chief of Venture Woman and Financial Ops magazines. Diane is a founding director of the Go for the Greens Foundation and serves as co-founder and co-chair of the annual Go for the Greens conference. She serves as the Orlando Chapter chair of Women Presidents' Organization and the Central Florida regional director for the Women's Business Development Council of Florida, which certifies companies as women-owned for the Women's Business Enterprise National Council. She previously served as the national Economic Development Forum chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners, as well as president of the NAWBO Orlando Chapter and a co-founder and director of the NAWBO Orlando Foundation. For her work in mentoring women, NAWBO twice named her National Member of the Year (2006 and 2009), The International Alliance for Women gave her a World of Difference 100 Award (2015), and she was inducted into the WBE Hall of Fame (2015). Diane was a co-founder and chair of The Beacon Awards: Celebrating Diversity in Greater Orlando's Workforce, currently serves as a founding member of the governing body for the Athena PowerLink program in Central Florida, and has volunteered with several other organizations for businesses, women and minorities.
Romaine Seguin, president of UPS Americas Region, is responsible for all UPS package and cargo operations in Canada and more than 50 countries and territories across Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally, she has oversight of the UPS Supply Chain Solutions operations throughout Latin America, Miami and the Caribbean. Romaine began her career with UPS in the Missouri district in 1983 as a part-time hub supervisor. She held a variety of operational and management roles in Missouri and was later promoted to hub manager. In 1989, Romaine accepted a five-year assignment in Europe as part of the integration team with F&A and operations, and lived in both the UK and France. In 1994, Romaine returned to the U.S. as controller for the air district, based in Louisville, Kentucky. From 1996 to 1999, she returned to operations as the ramp and hub division manager in Louisville. In 1999, Romaine relocated to Detroit, Michigan, as the operations division manager. In 2001, Romaine was promoted to managing director of the Gulf South district and in 2004, was named managing director of the Minnesota district. In October 2007, Romaine moved to Milan, Italy, as the managing director of UPS South Europe and was shortly promoted (March 2008) to chief operating officer for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, based in Brussels, Belgium. In September 2010, Romaine was promoted to her current position as president of the UPS Americas Region based in Miami, Florida. She is a frequent speaker at community and business events and has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work in the international business community. She sits on several boards, including the Florida International University (FIU) School of Business Dean's Council, the board of trustees of William Woods University, the World Trade Center Miami's board of directors, the United Way of Miami-Dade board and the Conferencia Latinoamericana de Compañ&iaccute;as Express board - Latin America Conference of Express Companies. Romaine holds an MBA from Webster University in St. Louis. She is a member of the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee.
Dein Spriggs is president of the Florida Amateur Driving Club, an organization of licensed harness racing drivers who compete on a professional level and donate 100 percent of their race earnings to charity. The organization began partnering with the Go for the Greens Foundation in 2013 to provide an annual donation to help a woman business owner who has survived breast cancer. As a racer, Dein has in excess of 400 wins. When he is not on the horse track, Dein is a real estate consultant.
John Stephenson's journey with Disney began in the 1980s in what was then known as The Magic Kingdom College Program. His travels with the Walt Disney Company have led him to all 12 Disney theme parks around the world. John has also worked in the company's headquarters in Burbank, Calif., with Disney Consumer Products. In the early 1990s, he was part of the opening management team of Mickey's Kitchen, the first Disney restaurant ever opened outside of a Disney theme park. In 1992, John left Disney to pursue a career with the Starbucks Corporation. He was the first recruiter to be hired outside of the corporate office of Seattle, Wash. John recruited for all levels of the organization, including IT, management, sales, marketing and coffee roasters. After 13 years, he returned to Disney. The highlight of his career came in 2005, when he was selected as the recruiter to launch the Disney College Program at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., introducing the Disney College Program to Southern California students who were not aware of it. In 2006 he was awarded the highest honor a cast member can receive: the Spirit of Disneyland award. After the successful launch of the program at Disneyland, he rejoined the cast at Walt Disney World in Florida as a college program recruiter. He has recruited for Disney professional internships since 2013, starting with technology positions and now for sales, service and events.
As CEO, Pam Swensen is the "face" of the Executive Women's Golf Association, an international golf community for women. The EWGA has a national chapter footprint in more than 100 major cities across the United States along with international chapters in Bermuda, Canada and Italy. This "locally connected, nationally respected" association enables current and aspiring business and professional women to learn, connect and play. Pam oversees the coast-to-coast administration and operations of EWGA, which provides affordable, organized, convenient golf, a network with real follow-through, business and success insights from accomplished executives, travel and equipment offerings, golf discounts, a series of national competitive events, and a variety of local and national benefits. EWGA members contribute more than $63 million in golf spending annually to the U.S. economy. With this "power of the purse" influence, Ms. Swensen represents the EWGA on several industry committees to "grow the game" and advocates for issues that will make the women's golf experience more welcoming, including working with golf courses to roll out the green carpet to welcome women.
Shue-Jane Thompson is a partner with the Cyber and Biometrics Service Line for the IBM Public Sector, Global Business Services. She oversees cyber security and biometrics-related technology innovation, solutions and service delivery for clients in the U.S. Department of Defense, Intel, and federal, state and local governments. Shue-Jane leads a few hundred seasoned security professionals who provide advanced cyber capabilities as mission enablement for the nation's top agencies. She has 30-plus years of commercial, government and international technology and business management experience, including winning and managing many large-scale domestic and international IT, cyber and mission-relevant programs. She was an honoree for the PriSM® Distinguished Professional for the IT Service Management Forum and for the IEEE Distinguished Visitor Program for 2005-2010. Shue-Jane is a former ISO U.S. Delegate for ISO 20000-1 and former chief editor for ISO 20000-11 Technical Report. Se was also an awardee for the 2013 Executive of the Year from the Asian-American Engineer of the Year Program; the 2009 Paul C.T. Liu Distinguished Alumni Award from Hawaii Pacific University; the 2006 Most Outstanding Business Developer Award from Northrop Grumman; and the 2004 Most Innovative Knowledge Management Implementation from eGov. Shue-Jane has two master of science degrees, a doctoral degree in business management, an a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences.
With more than 40 years of experience as a corporate sourcing professional and supplier diversity manager, most recently with Walt Disney World and The Walt Disney Company, Matt Thursam has directed his energies to assisting small and diverse businesses. He currently serves as a founding board member of the Go for the Greens Foundation and the Go for the Greens women's business conference; a member of the ATHENA PowerLink of Orlando governing body; a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando's Supplier Diversity Committee; a judge for the annual National Association of Women Business Owners Orlando Chapter Business Plan competition; and the Technical Assistant Committee of the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund. He also serves on the advisory boards for two women-owned businesses and the Kissimmee/UCF Business Incubator. Matt previously served as Central Florida director for the Women's Business Development Council of Florida, which certifies companies as woman-owned for the Women's Business Enterprise National Council.
Margaret (Peg) Weir is president of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW). With over 30 years of executive leadership experience in the public and private sectors, both domestic and international, Peg has found great success using her results-oriented leadership style in the arenas of global business development, strategic planning, operations, finance, risk management and program management. Established in 1980, The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) is a global organization dedicated to the economic empowerment and advancement of women around the world. TIAW hosts an annual Global Forum and World of Difference Awards gala. The awards recognize a Lifetime Achievement award recipient for sustained work for economic empowerment for women, as well as women and men with the World of Difference 100 award for their work. Nearly 600 women and men from six continents have been recognized with the prestigious World of Difference 100 award. In support of its mission, TIAW has programs in microcredit, entrepreneurship and leadership. The Micro Credit program has established 120 village banks in 25 countries. The Entrepreneurship program has partnered with the Cherie Blair Foundation's mentoring program. TIAW participates in the Global Board Ready Women Initiative (GBRW), which includes a database for listing board-qualified women from around the world.
Melinda West is the founding partner and president of The Hiring Company, a national sales recruiting company that creates lasting, significant financial impact for its clients through project management, sales training and cutting-edge recruiting strategies. Since 2000, The Hiring Company has helped recruit, train and place top professionals nationwide. After launching a successful career in junior golf and receiving several national and provincial championships, West moved to Miami from her hometown of Ottawa, Canada, to play college golf on a full athletic scholarship at Florida International University. In 1994, West was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and less than 10 percent chance to survive. Putting her professional golf aspirations aside, she was driven to succeed in what would be the biggest "championship" of her life - to live. Healthy and living life to the fullest today, West continues her winning motto of "No mountain too high to climb." West has served on the NAWBO Fort Lauderdale/Broward board of directors for years and was president in 2008-09. She has sat on many nonprofits boards and serves on the Go for the Greens Executive Steering Committee as the chair of the golf committee.
Patti Winstanley is president of the Aztec family of companies, all certified woman-owned businesses. With locations in Tucson, Arizona, and Austin and Waco, Texas, and an additional sales office in Dallas, Texas, Aztec has 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Aztec specializes in screen-printed and embroidered apparel including uniforms, promotional products, wide-format print, chenille for banners, signs, buttons, auditorium logos and jackets, sublimation, employee incentives, fulfillment and design. Patti serves as vice chair for small business for the Greater Austin Chamber and is co-chair of the AISD Reagan Early College High School community advisory committee. She is on the board of directors for the Women's Business Council Southwest, and won Regional Advocate of the Year in 2010, the Women Working Together and the Lilly Knox Investing in Growth Award in 2011. Patti also represents WBCS as an advocate on the WBENC Forum, where she is the vice chair for the government committee, and served as chair of the 2015 WBENC National Conference and Business Fair host committee. She is a member WBEC-West, where she was nominated for WBE Advocate of the Year in 2012, and serves as Forum Chair for Tucson. Patti also serves on the board of the Go for the Greens Foundation. She was named an Enterprising Woman for 2013 by Enterprising Women magazine, and as a member of the Women Presidents' Organization she served on the steering committee for WPO's 2013 annual conference. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi, is a graduate of the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, and attended the Initiative for a Competitive City Harvard Executive Program from 2009-13.
Jay Feaster is the Vice President of Community Hockey Development for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He returned to Tampa in July 2014 after spending four years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, first as Assistant General Manager and then as General Manager of the Calgary Flames Hockey Club. In his new position, Jay is tasked with growing participation in the game at all levels and increasing awareness for the game generally, and the team specifically, in the community. This is Jayís second stint with the Lightning. He served as Assistant General Manager from 1998-2002, and as General Manager from 2002-2008. Jay guided the Lightning to back-to-back Southeast Division titles (2002-03 and 2003-04), and he was GM in 2004 when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup. He was recognized as The Sporting News Executive of the Year by a vote of his peers that year.
Prior to joining the Lightning, Jay served as Vice President of the Sports & Entertainment Group for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, and also as General Manager and then President of the Hershey Bears Hockey Club of the American Hockey League (AHL). He led the Bears to the Calder Cup Championship in 1997 and was named the AHLís Executive of the Year. He also was GM of Hersheypark Arena and Hersheypark Stadium, leading both venues to record revenue and attendance figures during his tenure. He earned a law degree at The Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC., and is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Diana LaTour is the managing partner of LaTour & Associates, an international consulting firm focused on innovative business development, and the operating partner for LFE Capital in Minneapolis, Minn. She has extensive experience in the successful formation and development of new enterprises, the repositioning of under-performing organizations, development of effective and winning management teams, and creation of global market strategies. Her career has focused on the high tech, healthcare and consumer industries. Diana previously served as president and CEO of World Telehealth Corporation, an online healthcare company serving the G77 countries; CEO of ContourPak International, a cold therapy healthcare products company (acquired by Futuro); founder, CEO and president of Theranetics Inc., a physical therapy media products company (acquired by Kaiser Permanente); Founder and CEO of RedCreek Communications, an industry leader in network security systems (acquired by SonicWall (SNWL); president and CEO of Cross Access Corporation, an industry leader in data access and data warehousing software technology, (acquired by IBM); vice president and general manager, Data Communications Group, AST Research; international consultant and partner of Latco International, an international business consulting organization (residing overseas); and founder and vice president of Tra-Tech, a training and educational company (acquired by McGraw-Hill). Diana currently serves as the board chair of Earthrise Space Inc., PN Medical Inc., and Zuke Music Inc.; a board member of Karman Space Inc.; and a board observer for TAO Connect Inc. She also serves on community boards at the Crummer Business School Entrepreneurial Program at Rollins College; the Regional Joint Partnership Capital Task Force for Orlando Inc., BizLife and Factur. Formerly, Diana served as the board chair for Futori International Ltd. and a board member of World Telehealth Corporation, Contour Pak International Inc., Palm Tree Software Inc., Contempo Health Inc., Theranetics Inc., International Nutrition Consultants Inc., RedCreek Communications Inc., and Cross Access Corporation. She was a founder, executive director and board member of The Enterprise Network, a non-profit organization in Silicon Valley focused on improving the success rate of new ventures. In addition, she served as a member of the IBM board of advisors for Silicon Valley. Diana holds masterís degrees in mathematics and behavioral psychology from University of Southern California and is a graduate of the Advanced Management School at Harvard University.
Cindy Stover is the North Florida market president for TD Bank, Americaís Most Convenient Bankģ. As market president, she has leadership responsibilities over the Jacksonville, Gainesville, Daytona Beach and Ocala areas of Florida. Cindy is responsible for the successful operational management of commercial banking while providing leadership and guidance for TD Bankís North Florida overall strategic and market performance. Cindy is a career banker with more than 31 years in the industry. Having led Mercantile Bank, now TD Bank, for more than 15 years, Cindy previously spent 18 years with Barnett Bank/Bank of America, in the Jacksonville area, where she assumed many leadership roles, including commercial bank team leader and small business and professional executive manager. Throughout her career, Cindy has received numerous awards for outstanding performance, as well as various volunteer awards, including Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Award and Jacksonville Business Journal Women of Influence Award. A community advocate and volunteer, Cindy currently serves as a member of the Jacksonville Civic Council, president-elect of Goodwill of North Florida, a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, and a member of the board of trustees for the Jacksonville chamber of commerce. Previously, Cindy served as treasurer for the chamber and has served, through the years, as a cabinet member for the United Way of Northeast Florida. Cindy is also a past member of the WJCT board of trustees, the Better Jacksonville Plan Financial Advisory Committee, JCCI Forward, and Leadership Jacksonville, and she served as past president and board member for Ronald McDonald House.