2010 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Ellen Alemany

Ellen AlemanyEllen Alemany is chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and RBS Americas. RBS Americas is the North and South American operations and subsidiaries of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc. She also is a member of RBS’s Executive Committee, the RBS Group’s nine-member executive leadership team. RBS Americas includes Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (operating as Citizens Bank, Charter One, RBS Card Services, RBS Asset Finance and RBS WorldPay, a U.S. merchant transaction-processing subsidiary); RBS Global Banking & Markets Americas (including RBS Greenwich Capital and RBS Sempra Commodities); Global Transaction Services Americas (including RBS’s Cash Management, Commercial Cards, Payment Services and Trade Services); and RBS Citizens Business Services (the company’s operations, technology and properties division). [Read More]

Kelly Corrigan

kelly_corriganKelly Corrigan is the author of “The Middle Place,” a memoir about that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap, which spent six months on The New York Times bestseller list. Her most recent book, “Lift,” is written in the form of a letter to her children and weaves together three true stories of adults willing to chance terrible loss in search of the joys of raising a family. An accomplished columnist, Corrigan’s writing has appeared in Glamour and Good Housekeeping. Previously a writer with the Bay Area News Group, she covered everyday matters from the power of an unequivocal apology to the contagious nature of weight gain, extramarital affairs and going green. She is now a contributor to O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. Corrigan has delighted audiences with her many appearances on “The Today Show” as well as in person, speaking with humor and compassion to groups at hospitals, corporations and non-profits. Additionally, her “Transcending” video, based on her original essay entitled “Transcending: Words on Women and Strength,” has been viewed by over five million people on YouTube. [Read More]

Jessica Herrin


Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO of Stella & Dot, is a serial entrepreneur and who previously co-founded, the world’s leading wedding site. She’s been recognized for her entrepreneurial accomplishments and her passion in such national outlets as Oprah, Inc. magazine (Stella & Dot was named one of the fastest growing private companies this year), Fortune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, InStyle, Glamour magazine and more. She earned a degree in Economics from Stanford University and attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Herrin lives in San Francisco Bay area with her family. She’s an avid runner and her other favorite hobby is whatever is top of the list for her two young daughters.

Mae Jemison


Dr. Mae C. Jemison is founder of the technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group, Inc. that integrates the critical impact of socio-cultural issues when designing and implementing technologies, such as their projects on using satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and solar dish Stirling engines for electricity generation in developing countries. Dr. Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut. She flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47 Spacelab J(apan) mission in September 1992. Jemison served as NASA’s first Science Mission Specialist performing experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness. Started after she left NASA, The Jemison Group also explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs and companies. [Read More]

Tory Johnson

Tory-Johnson2Tory Johnson is all about spark and hustle at work, dating back to high school in Miami Beach where she joined her all-male debate team-and became the first girl (with her partner) to win a state championship. She dropped out of Emerson College to work at ABC News and then jumped to NBC News, only to be fired unexpectedly a couple years later. The permanent scar from that experience inspired her to shift from employee to entrepreneur, and in 1999 she founded Women For Hire. Now in its 11th year, the company hosts high caliber diversity career expos and conferences for entrepreneurs across the country. As workplace contributor on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she is a favorite among viewers who appreciate her no-nonsense career advice. Her fifth book, “Fired To Hired,” follows “Will Work From Home: Earn Cash Without the Commute,” which was both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Sheryl WuDunn

wudunn_sheryl300Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, is a best-selling author, business executive and lecturer. Currently, she is a senior managing director at Mid-Market Securities, an investment banking boutique serving growth companies in the middle market, including companies founded and run by women. She is also president of TripleEdge, a social investing consultancy. WuDunn is co-author of “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” a New York Times best-selling book about the challenges facing women around the globe. It has been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Colbert Report” and many other network television shows. WuDunn also helped launch the Half the Sky multi-media effort to create a thoughtful, effective philanthropic strategy that includes an online social action campaign, a documentary series and a television special. [Read More]

Special Guest Speakers

Governor Edward G. Rendell


Edward G. Rendell, Pennsylvania’s 45th Governor, began a second term of office on January 16, 2007, following a landslide re-election victory. As Governor, Rendell serves as chief executive of the nation’s 6th most populous state and oversees a $28.3 billion budget. Governor Rendell’s unprecedented strategic investments have energized Pennsylvania’s economy, revitalized communities, improved education, protected the environment and expanded access to health care to all children and affordable prescription drugs for older adults. [Read More]

Judge Marjorie O. Rendell


Marjorie Osterlund Rendell became the 43rd First Lady of Pennsylvania when her husband, Governor Edward G. Rendell, was sworn in as Governor of Pennsylvania on January 21, 2003. Inducted as a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in March of 1994, Judge Rendell was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in November of 1997.  She is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, an inaugural member and Master of the Villanova University School of Law J. Willard O’Brien Inn of Court, an elected member of The American Law Institute, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Federal Judges Association, the American Judicature Society and the National Association of Women Judges[Read More]

Sally Wiggin


Sally Wiggin can be seen every weekday anchoring Channel 4 Action News at noon. She joined WTAE in 1980, and in January 1981 became co-anchor of the weekend news, a position she held until being named anchor on the weeknight newscasts in November 1986. In 1987, Wiggin won the United Press International Best Special Award for her role as reporter/narrator of The Budd Dwyer Special. The same year, she received recognition as anchor/reporter on the WTAE 4 Newscast, which was named as the “Best in the Northeast Region.” In the September issue of Pittsburgh Magazine, Wiggin was voted Best TV Personality in Pittsburgh.[Read More]

Diane Holder

diane_holderDiane Holder is the executive vice president of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, president of the UPMC Health Insurance Division and president and CEO of UPMC Health Plan. The UPMC is one of the nation’s leading integrated delivery systems and through its health plans and affiliates, provides health coverage and benefit management for over one million men, women and children in Pennsylvania. Holder has held a number of leadership positions in health care, including serving as CEO of UPMC’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and founding CEO of Community Care Behavioral Health Organization. Holder serves on local and national boards and was appointed by Governor Rendell as a co-chair for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Chronic Care Management, Reimbursement and Cost Reduction Commission. Holder is a faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Public Health. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree from Columbia University.

Panelists and Workshop Leaders

Deborah L. Acklin

deborah_acklinDeborah L. Acklin is president-elect and chief executive officer for the Emmy-Award-winning WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh. Acklin is cited as one of America’s pre-eminent women in broadcast media, having been recognized with countless awards and honors throughout her career. In September of 2007, Acklin received her second consecutive Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for Station Excellence, given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Formerly executive vice president and general manager of WQED, Acklin first served as executive producer for “The War That Made America,” a four-hour, high-definition (HD), internationally-released docu-drama for PBS that focused on the French and Indian War. Acklin returned to WQED in 2002 as senior vice president of production and technology/chief content officer after spending several years at the National Geographic Channel. As executive producer at WQED Pittsburgh from 1996-2000, Acklin developed blockbuster music specials for PBS which generated more than $45 million dollars for public television. She holds a B.A. from Duquesne University and attended Harvard Business School, where she completed the prestigious Advanced Management Program.

Jennifer Antkowiak

jennifer_antkowiakJennifer Antkowiak’s personal experiences fueled her passionate mission to help the world’s caregivers. As a wife, mother of five, stepmother of one and a caregiver to her late mother-in-law and father-in-law (both of whom died from cancer), she also knows how long-term illness can affect a family. Coming from a long career as an award-winning newscaster on Pittsburgh’s number one news station, KDKA-TV (CBS), Antkowiak started her own company to provide multimedia messages and tools that help people keep themselves and those they love happy and healthy. She is the author of “Take Care Tips”, which offers 101 easy, affordable ten minute self-care strategies, and “Caring Questions: Fun and Sensitive Conversation Starters for Caregivers” (St. Lynn’s Press). She currently serves as the morning anchor for KDKA-TV; is a caregiving coach and national speaker; writes caregiving articles for newspapers, web sites, blogs and magazines; is a frequent guest on radio and television shows and is developing national multimedia caregiving projects and products.

Heather Arnet

heather arnet Heather Arnet is CEO of Women and Girls Foundation (WGF). A regular op-ed contributor and on-air commentator to the media regarding women and girls and the economy, Arnet spearheads efforts to increase women’s leadership in Pennsylvania and female representation on public and corporate boards. Arnet and WGF received national and international media attention for their successful “Girlcott” of Abercrombie & Fitch appearing on NBC’s Today Show, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, as well as National Public Radio and BBC. Arnet was identified as one of Pittsburgh’s “Top 40 under 40” by Pittsburgh Magazine, “Top Twelve Noteworthy Business Leaders of 2006” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and received the Diamond Award for “Outstanding CEO Leadership” by the Pittsburgh Business Times, 2008. Arnet serves as a board member of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, is on the advisory boards of WQED Multimedia and The Forbes Funds and has served as an elected director of the Pittsburgh Public School Board and regional vice president of the Pennsylvania Women’s Campaign Fund.

Judy Belmont

judy_belmont_picJudy Belmont is a national speaker and corporate wellness trainer, a licensed psychotherapist, and the founder/president of Worksite Insights, which offers mental wellness services to the workplace. Belmont’s focus in working with small businesses to Fortune 500 companies is to help others increase their emotional balance and resilience. She is the author of “86 Tips & Tools for the Therapeutic Toolbox” and “103 Group Activities and Tips” designed to offer life skills coaching tips to mental health professionals and trainers. She is the co-author of an upcoming book and workbook due out in winter 2010, “The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life,” which is designed to help people get through the holes in their lives rather than get stuck in them! Belmont is a member of the National Speakers Assocaition and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an M.S. in clinical psychology from Hahnemann Medical College.

Joyce Bender

joyce_benderJoyce Bender is the CEO and founder of Bender Consulting Services, Inc., a firm that recruits and hires people with disabilities. Bender Consulting has been recognized with the Employer of the Year award from both the National Epilepsy Foundation and hireAbility. Bender has individually received a myriad of honors for her work, including the Bush Administration New Freedom Initiative Award, the Diamond Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, ACHIEVA’s Sattler Humanitarian Award, the Gertrude Labowitz Lifetime Achievement Award and the James F. Compton Humanitarian Award. After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 1985, Bender has resolved her life to helping others with disabilities. She serves as the chair of the national Epilepsy Foundation board and is an executive board member for countless organizations throughout Pennsylvania that advocate for people with disabilities, children and families and victims of violence; she is also the president and founder of the Pittsburgh Disability Employment Project for Freedom. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Geneva College.

Emily Bennington

Emily_BenningtonEmily Bennington is coauthor of “Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.” After her own bumpy transition from campus-to-career, Bennington found her calling working with businesses to create superb organizational and onboarding experiences for interns and entry-level hires. She applies these same “back-to-the-basics” skills as founder of Professional Studio 365, where she leads training programs and workshops for employers looking to get the most out of their young talent. A frequent speaker on the topic of career success, Bennington has been featured on CNN and ABC News, as well as quoted in publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, US News and World Report, Yahoo Jobs, and the Washington Post Express. She is also a regular contributor to and The Huffington Post. Bennington is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

Diane Boone

diane_booneDiane Boone is the regional director of the Greater Pennsylvania region for the Wells Fargo Private Bank, based in Pittsburgh. Boone oversees all wealth management functions for the region, including private banking, credit, investment management, trust and estate services, financial planning and brokerage services. She joined Wells Fargo in 2009. Prior to 2009, Boone worked in Jacksonville, Florida as executive vice president and regional manager of Private Wealth Management at SunTrust Bank for its North Florida region. Previously, she also served as executive vice president and regional manager of SunTrust Bank’s Southwest Florida region based in Sarasota, as well as held positions in its Atlanta, Georgia based headquarters. Boone recently joined the Board of Directors of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and was just named co-chair of the 2010 Host Committee for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women. Boone received a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Shannon Bristow

shannon_bristowShannon Bristow has 35 years of diverse nursing experience, including emergency trauma, critical care, infusion, clinical education, risk management and quality improvement. She has lectured for the American Association of Pharmacy Consultants in topics such as preparation for litigation, prevention of medication errors, quality improvement tools and preparing for a state and joint commission survey. Bristow has served as national director of quality and risk for a large institutional pharmacy provider and has served on the Quality Committee at the Veteran’s Hospital in Philadelphia where she received the Dough Boy award for bringing infusion therapy to veterans in long term care. She is currently the director of nursing and regulatory at Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia. Bristow has a master’s degree in management, a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma Healthcare, and is a certified risk manager.

Susan Catalano


Dr. Susan Catalano has over ten years of experience as a cell biologist in the drug discovery industry in the fields of neuroscience and oncology. While a scientist at Roche Palo Alto, she led neurophysiology and neuroimaging groups and an exploratory program in psychiatric disorders. Following this, Dr. Catalano joined Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and discovered the Aurora kinase inhibitor R763 currently in Phase II clinical trials. Dr. Catalano founded a successful consulting practice, Drug Discovery Imaging, and then served as director of Discovery Biology for Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Catalano founded Cognition Therapeutics Inc. to discover drugs to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and established Cognition’s laboratory operations in Pittsburgh. The company is currently advancing its candidate drugs towards the clinic. Dr. Catalano received her B.A. from Barnard College and Ph.D. from U.C. Irvine, and did postdoctoral training at U.C. Berkeley and Caltech in the field of neurobiology.

Tricia Cattrell

tricia_cattrellTricia Cattrell is a senior sales director for BNY Mellon Wealth Management. In this role, she is responsible for new business development in the Western Pennsylvania region and works with individuals and families to identify how BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s investment and wealth management capabilities can help them reach their overall financial goals. Cattrell has more than 20 years’ experience in the areas of investment management and wealth and estate planning. Prior to joining the firm, she was a senior portfolio manager with National City Wealth Management in Cleveland, Ohio. Before that, Cattrell was a portfolio manager and administrator with PNC Advisors in Pittsburgh. She is currently a member of the Estate Planning Council of Pittsburgh, the Women’s Executive Council, the Allegheny County Bar Association and volunteers with Neighborhood Academy and the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Cattrell received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Lu Ann Cahn

luann_cahnEight-time Emmy award-winning journalist Lu Ann Cahn joined NBC 10 News, Philadelphia in 1987. As a member of the NBC 10 Investigators, Cahn reports on fraud, scams and corruption. In 2005 Cahn won a National Emmy for her investigation “Dirty Little Secret.” Most recently, Cahn entered the blogosphere with, where she tackles a new “first” in her personal life and shares her experience. Her blog is featured on and on NBC 10 News. Cahn is most admired by her colleagues and viewers for her personal story of battling breast cancer at the age of 35. Her 1992 special report, “Breast Cancer: My Personal Story,” won her a national Clarion award and two Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmys. Cahn regularly speaks on behalf of area breast cancer support groups and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Cahn also co-authored the book “Simple Steps: 10 Weeks to Getting Control of Your Life,” which was published by New American Library in 2003 and featured on “The Today Show.” A Columbus, Ohio native, Cahn graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Georgia.

Katherine Center

katherine_centerKatherine Center is the author of three novels about love and family. She has written “The Bright Side of Disaster,” “Everyone Is Beautiful” and “Get Lucky,” and another publication is in the works. Her books and essays have appeared in Redbook, People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, Real Simple, the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle. Center has also been featured in the anthology “Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond.” Varsity Pictures has optioned Center’s first novel, and Library Journal just called her new novel, “Get Lucky,” “another thoroughly enjoyable girlish romp.” Kirkus Reviews likens “Everyone Is Beautiful” to the 1950’s motherhood classic “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies.”  BookPage named Katherine a new writer to watch and People magazine has called her first novel “cleverly told and uncommonly appealing.”

Irene Chang Britt

irene_changbritt_picIrene Chang Britt was appointed president, North America Foodservice, Campbell Soup Company in December 2008 and leads Campbell’s traditional foodservice and retail perimeter business across North America. Prior to joining Campbell in 2005, Britt spent eight years at Kraft and 12 years at Kimberly-Clark. Throughout her career, Britt has led five business transformations, including several turnarounds, and the transformative growth of Campbell’s sauces and beverages business, which delivered three consecutive years of significant top- and bottom-line growth under her leadership. Britt has been recognized by NJBiz as one of the Best 50 Women in Business, by Pink magazine as a Top 15 Innovator, and by Progressive Grocer as one of the “Top Women in Grocery.” Britt earned her B.A. from the University of Toronto and her M.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

Dina Clark

Dina Clark Dina Clark is the director for the Center for Race & Gender Equity at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh. The Center for Race & Gender Equity is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and programs that address individual and systemic racism and gender inequity, and directs the development and integration of the Association’s programs and initiatives around, gender, race and social justice. Prior to this position, Clark served as the first executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Diversity Initiative (WPDI). She also previously served as regional education project director for the Anti-Defamation League. In 2006 Clark was accepted as fellow with the Children’s Defense Fund and was named as one of Pittsburgh’s “40 under 40 leaders.” She is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. and was appointed to the Mayor’s Youth Commission for the City of Pittsburgh and to the WQED Multimedia Community Advisory Board. She was one of 50 recipients of the “Women of Excellence” award from the Pittsburgh Courier. In 2010, Clark joined the Citizens Advisory of Allegheny Regional Asset District and serves on the board of directors of Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Yvonne Cook

Yvonne CookYvonne Cook joined Highmark Inc., in March 2003 as president of the Highmark Foundation and vice president for Community Affairs.  In this position, Cook is responsible for the management and direction of the Foundation, with assets totaling $100 million and a distribution of $20 million annually.  Prior to joining Highmark, Cook served as the executive assistant to the Allegheny County Chief Executive James Roddey.  Her professional experience also includes working as a program officer with The Pittsburgh Foundation. For over 30 years, Cook has volunteered her time and expertise by serving on many boards and committees.  Cook’s corporate board experience includes joining the Board of Directors for Chester Engineers Inc., in 2009. Cook holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in public management from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Vera Cornish

vera-cornishVera Cornish is a trainer, facilitator, speaker and life coach. She is motivational, inspirational, thought-provoking and committed to sharing personal development strategies that create lifestyle solutions for women. In 1999 she launched Cornish & Associates Inc. Since that time she has facilitated presentations and provided strategic consultation and coaching services to meet the needs of corporations, government entities and non-profit organizations, including Mellon Bank, The Hershey Company, Highmark Blue Shield and the Milton Hershey School. Her newest venture is Work, Life, Balance: Real People-Real SolutionsTM. As the founder and publisher of the Urban Connection Of The Capitol Region, Cornish is committed to the changing demographics of Central Pennsylvania with the Urban Connection being the Good News platform.  Cornish is a graduate of Penn State with a B.S. in education of the exceptional child and College Misericordia with a M.S. in education, specializing in multi-cultural curriculum development.

Kate Dewey


Kate Dewey is a principal of McCrory & McDowell LLC and a member of the Executive Committee. She has more than 30 years of direct experience with a variety of nonprofit organizations, foundations, public agencies and corporations at the local, state and national level. Prior to joining McCrory & McDowell LLC, Dewey was the founding partner of Dewey & Kaye, Inc., which merged with McCrory & McDowell LLC in July 2004. She was also manager of community affairs for Mellon Bank Corporation and served as the founding executive director of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania. Dewey was a principal in Semerad Associates of Washington, D.C. She is the 2008 winner of the ATHENA Award in Pittsburgh. She currently serves as chair of the Mentoring Partnership, secretary of Human Services Center and director of Leadership Pittsburgh. Dewey has published a number of nationally recognized research reports and other publications throughout the years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Rider College and a master’s in social work from Rutgers University. She was certified in 1995 as a management trainer by the Avraham Y. Goldratt Institute, an international educational organization.

Jody Doherty

jody_dohertyJody Doherty is regional vice president of Community Investment for Comcast. She manages Comcast Foundation giving for the Keystone Region by identifying partnership opportunities that demonstrate commitment in the areas of digital literacy, youth leadership and development, as well as volunteerism. In 2009, $12 million was invested in the community through cash and in-kind contributions. Doherty also directs the regional efforts of Comcast Cares Day. Prior to joining Comcast, Doherty was vice president of public affairs for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and has also held leadership positions in Allegheny County government and with WTAE-TV. Honored with many notable awards, she recently was the recipient of the Association of Cable Communicators Beacon for Comcast’s successful United Way communications campaign and a PRSA Renaissance Award for Public Service for the launch of Fugitive Files On Demand. She has also garnered four UPI and AP honors. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Doherty serves on the Boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and Junior Achievement of Southwestern PA.

MP Dunleavey


MP Dunleavey is a contributing editor for MONEY Magazine and the editorial director of DailyWorth, a daily personal finance email for women. She is also the former “Cost of Living” columnist for the New York Times, and the creator of the award-winning “Women in Red” personal finance series on MSN Money. Dunleavey’s first book, “Money Can Buy Happiness,” won the 2007 Books for a Better Life Award for personal finance.

Dawn Dupre

dawn_dupreDawn Dupre is executive vice president of Citizens Financial Group Inc. and president of CCO Investment Services Corp., CFG’s full-service brokerage and investment advisor unit. She oversees the delivery of a full range of investment products and financial services to companies, not-for-profits, families and individual customers within CFG’s 12-state footprint. Dupre joined CFG in July of 2010, after serving as a territory sales director at PNC in Philadelphia. During her 17 years in the financial services industry, she also spent time at Merrill Lynch, where she was responsible for sales, recruiting and the financial advisor development. She is an active member of the Philadelphia community, where she resides with her family. Dupre is a graduate of Nicholls State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in finance. She is licensed in NASD Series 6, 7, 9, 10, 24, 63, 65 and 52, as well as life, health and variable annuities.

Melinda Emerson

Melinda_Emerson Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Emerson educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine recently named her one of the top 20 women for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog Emerson is the author of the bestseller “Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works” (Adams Media 2010). She is a Pittsburgh native and a graduate of Virginia Tech. @smallbizlady

Julie Evans

julie_evansJulie Evans began volunteering with Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) in 1995 and has been employed for the past 12 years as their program director of education and training. She manages the planning, implementation, coordination and evaluation of education services including; departmental goal setting and attainment, development of work plans, project assignment, work flow, budgeting, program/proposal development, delivery, implementation and evaluation of education services consistent with agency priorities and processes, contract requirements and community needs. Evans has presented at numerous local, state and national conferences, most recently at the 2009 National Sexual Assault Conference. Evans and the entire team at PAAR truly believe that we can combat sexual violence. Evans graduated with English undergraduate degree from John Carroll University and completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in community organizing.

Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom

FernstromMadelyn2_HiMadelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., CNS is a professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is also director of nutrition and weight management for the UPMC Health Plan, the founding director of the UPMC Weight Management Center and a board certified nutrition specialist. Dr. Fernstrom trained at Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Medical School. She joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1982. A nationally recognized expert in the field of nutrition, weight control and wellness, Dr. Fernstrom is an established media resource. She is the diet and nutrition editor for NBC’s “Today Show” and health editor-at-large for Dr. Fernstrom is the health editor for Pittsburgh Magazine and also serves on the national advisory board for Fitness Magazine. Her newest book is “The Real You Diet: Your Personal Program for Lasting Weight Loss” (Wiley). She also is the author of “The Runner’s Diet” (Rodale) and co-author of two other books.

Jason Fedash


Jason Fedash is a senior vice president at Citizens Bank/Charter One Bank responsible for Business Banking in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.  In this role, he has direct responsibility for sales and service to customers and companies within the small to medium business sector of the community. He has responsibility to live the credo and do everything he can to help make the community a better place. Prior to this assignment, Fedash was regional manager in Western Pennsylvania for Business Banking at Citizens Bank. In this role he was responsible for the sales and service of businesses in the Pittsburgh region. Fedash has also held various other positions at Citizens Bank, where he focused on growing small to medium size businesses and helping their communities prosper. Fedash began his financial services career at Morgan Stanley, where he was a financial advisor helping individuals achieve their retirement dreams. Fedash earned a B.S. in accounting from Washington and Jefferson College.

JoAnn Forrester

JoAnn Forrester

JoAnn R. Forrester is founder, president and owner of S I Business Associates, a business growth management firm established in 1975. Over 75,000 hours of experience in teaching, consulting, writing, human relations and business development classes, seminars and individual consultations have made her a prominent woman on the business scene in Western Pennsylvania. As a financial consultant and growth management specialist, Forrester has specialized in helping small businesses grow and prosper. In 1998 she co-developed the PRICE IT PERFECT™ cost management and cost analysis program for small business. In 2002, she co-founded Celebrate & Share, an organization dedicated to raising funds for women and children in need and to highlight the achievements of women in the Greater Pittsburgh area. In 2008 Forrester started the Empress of Biz Talkcast show–Re-Inventing Yourself in Rugged Times. In recognition of her achievement and advocacy of women and small business, Forrester was honored by the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA in their Tribute to Women in May 2010.

Lynne Garfinkel

Lynne Garfinkel

Lynne Garfinkel has extensive experience in community building, fundraising, volunteer engagement and organizational development. Garfinkel has served as the president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, a 1,500-member volunteer organization, sponsoring many non-sectarian community service programs and advocacy initiatives in the Pittsburgh community. Garfinkel has also held board of director, vice president and project chair positions in various community and civic organizations. She has received numerous local and national awards in recognition of her contributions to these community groups, most recently The Stark Young Leadership Award and The Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania Woman of Distinction Award. Garfinkel served as a Committeewoman for the 14th ward Democratic Committee and was a mayoral appointee to the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission. Garfinkel’s background includes a Master of Arts in organizational psychology and many years as a human resources consultant.

Susan Getgood

susan_getgoodSusan Getgood has been involved in online marketing since the early 90s and watched the web evolve from the first browsers to the interactive communities we participate in today. In fall 2010, she joined BlogHer Inc. as vice president of sales and marketing. Since 2004, she has been helping organizations integrate social media into their marketing strategies in order to meet their customers online, build their brands and drive revenue. Prior to founding her consulting practice, Getgood held a variety of senior corporate marketing and management roles. Her professional marketing blog where she writes about marketing strategy and social media is Marketing Roadmaps ( She also writes a personal blog and a family travel blog. Getgood was named a fellow of the Society for New Communications Research in 2008 and speaks regularly at social media conferences like BlogHer, Mom 2.0 and New Comm Forum. Getgood is also co-founder of the blog ethics and education initiative, Blog With Integrity ( and a contributing editor for BlogHer. Her first book, “Professional Blogging For Dummies (Wiley),” was published in July 2010.

Terri Glueck

Terri Glueck

Terri Glueck is the director of community development and communications for Innovation Works (IW), a non-profit organization investing in and mentoring startup technology companies in the Pittsburgh region. Joining the organization in its own startup phase, Glueck has helped build Innovation Works’ brand as one of the nation’s most active seed-stage investors and a global model for technology-based economic development. With 20 years of marketing and communications experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, Glueck shares her expertise with dozens of technology startups to help them develop their companies’ communications strategies and messages. Prior to joining IW, Glueck was the director of corporate communications for a startup life sciences company, TissueInformatics, Inc., and previously was vice president of strategic marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. Glueck’s efforts have resulted in coverage in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Entrepreneur, Inc., the Economist, CBS and NBC nightly news and many other business, news and trade media outlets. Glueck completed her undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University.

Autumn Adkins Graves

autumn_atkinsAutumn Adkins Graves serves Girard College as its sixteenth president. Graves comes to Girard College from Friends Seminary in Manhattan, where she was assistant principal. Prior to Friends Seminary, she was dean of the Upper School at Sidwell Friends, in Washington, DC. She began her career at the Mercersburg Academy, in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, as the director of special programs, later moving on to the Breck School. In the May 2010, O Magazine named Autumn Adkins Graves as a “Woman to Watch for this Decade” and in March, Philadelphia City Council recognized her as one of “The Next Generation of Leaders: Rising Stars.” She has also won the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education Commendation Award for Intergenerational Community Service Program. Graves received her bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communications in 1994 from the University of Virginia, later continuing her study of history at the graduate level at the University of Richmond. In 2000, Graves completed a master’s degree in education administration with a focus on private school leadership at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. She also holds a certificate in fundraising from New York University.

Vicki Gormley- Schoedel

vicki_gormleyVicki Gormley-Schoedel is an agency field executive in the Pittsburgh Agency Field Office of State Farm. She joined State Farm in 1988 as an ECHO coordinator in the Pittsburgh Training and Education Center (TEC).  In October 1989 she was appointed as a trainee agent. As a nine-year agent in Washington, Pa., Gormley-Schoedel earned the Bronze Tablet award and achieved Ambassador Travel five times.  In 1998, she joined the Leadership Team in the Pennsylvania Region as an agency field consultant.  She developed and piloted team training programs (Boot Camp, MASH, and Top Gun Schools) for Pennsylvania agency team members.  During the past two years, she has coached the Agency Development Program (ADP).  She was appointed an agency field executive in October 2006 and assigned to the Pittsburgh Agency Field Office in January 2007. Gormley-Schoedel graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of science degree in business administration-finance.

Allen Haines

allen_haines_picAllen Haines has spent the last 20 years as CEO of several mid-size companies and has won awards for promoting and developing women leaders. He has advised numerous corporate executives, politicians and celebrities on their presentation, image and communication skills, including top executives at Sony, IMG, The Walt Disney Company, NBC Enterprises and 20th Century Television. Haines has produced over 400 branding and marketing campaigns for every major Hollywood movie studio and television network. From “Star Wars” to “Everybody Loves Raymond,” he has been involved in positioning some of the most successful entertainment productions of all time. As a director, Haines’ experience spans movie teaser/trailers, TV shows, commercials, documentaries and corporate presentations. He is proud to have directed a myriad of Hollywood luminaries including Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford, Cameron Diaz and Eva Longoria. In the political arena, he has directed interviews with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Irene Hannan

Irene HannanIrene Horstmann Hannan is senior vice president of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, and has responsibility for managing the Bank’s commercial business with Not-for-Profit organizations, Health Care businesses and its Professionals Banking Group  in the Mid-Atlantic region.  Irene previously served as the director of Women’s Business Services for the General Bank of Wachovia. Irene started her banking career with First Union’s predecessor institution, CoreStates Financial Corp., following a varied professional career in public and private industry.  She is the former chief financial officer of the National Center for Urban Ethics Affairs in Washington, D.C. and vice president of Hannan Associates with offices in Washington and Philadelphia. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, its Executive Committee and chairs its Nominating Committee. She was a founding member of the American Heart Association Go Red for Women executive committee. A graduate of Trinity College, she also studied on the graduate level at Temple University and the University of Wisconsin. She also completed the Advanced Leadership Development Program at Babson College.

Terry Hazell

terry_hazel Terry Chase Hazell fell in love with technology entrepreneurship while she worked at a start-up biotech company at 15 and has been an advocate and coach for start-up technology companies ever since.  She founded two companies spinning out of the University of Maryland and led them through technology transfer, access to capital and mergers and acquisitions.  At the award-winning ACTiVATE program, she has coached women to start scalable ventures.  Today, she is an entrepreneur in residence at both Texas State University – where she leads a women and minority incubation program called TX$tart – and at Springboard Enterprises, where she coaches women on accessing capital.  She serves on several start-up company boards and advisory boards, is a member of the CenTex selection committee for the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, and is an entrepreneur columnist for the Austin Business Journal.  @TXStateOCIR &

Leigh Hurst

Leigh HurstLeigh Hurst is the president and founder of the Feel Your Boobies Foundation ( as well as president of Say Something Big. Feel Your Boobies is a non-profit breast cancer organization focused on using innovative and unexpected ways to remind young women to perform their monthly breast exams. She founded the organization in 2004 after her own breast cancer diagnosis at age 33. Through her company Something Big, Hurst offers her expertise and story through keynote speaking, consulting and social media workshops. She holds a B.S. in communications from Ithaca College and earned two master’s degrees (from Florida State and Northwestern University) in the areas of learning sciences and simulation technologies. Hurst has nearly 20 years of experience working as a business consultant for large companies in the areas of e-learning and media, and she has worked with small companies to create and launch their online product offerings.

Nikki Johnson-Huston

nikki_johnson-huston_picNikki Johnson-Huston, Esq. is a tax attorney in Philadelphia. Johnson-Huston is a frequent lecturer on how she overcame a life of poverty and homelessness to become an award-winning young attorney. She is the co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Women in the Profession Committee and started a mentoring program for students interested in the legal profession. She has won several awards, including the Craig M. Perry Community Service Award given by the Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and was named a 2009 “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by the Legal Intelligencer and one of the “10 People under 40 to Watch in 2010” by The Philadelphia Tribune. Johnson-Huston is also a host on the Comcast Channel 53 show, “A Life in the Law: Legal Leaders.” A 2004 graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law, she earned a J.D./M.B.A/ LL.M in taxation in four years.

Mary Beth Jenkins

mary_beth_jenkinsMary Beth Jenkins is the chief operating officer for the UPMC Health Plan and UPMC Work Partners. She is responsible for facilitating, directing, and coordinating operational activities across the UPMC Health Plan, UPMC for You, UPMC for Life and Work Partners. Additional responsibilities are to provide leadership, management and vision ensuring proper operational controls, procedures and systems are in place to effectively grow the organization and ensure financial strength, operating efficiency and viability. Jenkins joined the UPMC Health Plan in 1998.  Prior experience includes managing operations for a multi-faceted conference center and auditorium complex. She sits on several nonprofit boards of directors and is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives. Jenkins has an MBA from Duquesne University, a BA in Communication from Slippery Rock University and a Green Belt certification in Six Sigma Process Improvement.

Cheryl Lowitzer

Cheryl_LowitzerCheryl Ann Lowitzer is a productivity consultant and speaker who helps executives who may have fallen off the productivity wagon climb right back on, and those who’ve never been on it get on board. She’s made it her personal mission to increase the percentage of people who leave the office saying “I feel great! I had such a productive day today!” Lowitzer started her consulting practice in 2007 after a successful 23-year career with Mellon Financial Corporation, where she held a senior level position in process improvement for the eCommerce division while moonlighting as co-owner of a successful restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. She believes that at the end of the day, we must all tap into our OWN inner organizing guru to find the path that fits our individual working style.

Karen Marchi

karen_marchi Karen Marchi is health and wellness manager for Bayer Corporation, responsible for delivering wellness benefits to Bayer’s 15,000 U.S.-based employees. Her approach to wellness program development is holistic, incorporating family, financial and life balance solutions into the traditional healthcare based wellness approach. Prior to joining Bayer’s corporate team, Marchi was benefits manager for MEDRAD, Inc, a business of Bayer Medical Care. There she implemented a progressive, robust wellness program which exceeded benchmark expectations for participation and yielded measurable results in the initial three years. In recognition of the program’s success, Marchi was awarded MEDRAD’s 2009 President’s Award.  She is a regular public speaker on the topic of company-sponsored wellness programs including issues such as garnering executive support and driving employee engagement. In addition to corporate benefit management positions, Marchi has held human resource consulting roles with Mercer and Ernst & Young. She earned dual degrees in business and economics from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Sheila_MarceloSheila Lirio Marcelo is an entrepreneur and mother who, after enduring frequent struggles to find quality caregivers for her two boys, recognized a lack in resources available to help families address their care needs. From this, was born in 2006. The company has been featured in national news outlets such as NBC’s “The Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” “ABC News Now,” The Wall Street Journal, Parenting Magazine, Cookie magazine and BusinessWeek. In 2007, won the Stevie Award for “Best New Company of the Year.” Prior to founding, Marcelo served as an executive at Upromise and Marcelo also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ayala Foundation USA and the Achievement Network. In 2009, she was recognized as one of the “Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and was also awarded the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the New England region. Marcelo graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in economics and went on to pursue both a master’s in business administration and a J.D. from Harvard University.

Amy Millman

amy_millmanAmy Millman is a career advocate who has represented the interests of various corporate and industry groups. As one of the founders and current president of Springboard Enterprises, she built an organization that facilitates connections to sources of financial and human capital for women-led emerging-growth enterprises. Prior to Springboard, she served as executive director of the National Women’s Business Council, a federal commission providing advice and counsel to the President and Congress on issues of importance to women business owners. During her tenure, the Council launched several public and private sector initiatives that increased, measurably, access to capital and market opportunities for women. Millman began her career working on Capitol Hill and spent 20 years representing corporate, trade association and government interests, including the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Philip Morris Corporation (now Altria); the American Trucking Association and Congressional Quarterly, Inc.

Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis

michelle_Naccarati-ChapkisMichelle Naccarati-Chapkis is executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE). WHE educates and empowers women to act as ambassadors about environmental risks so they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families and advocate for change for a better tomorrow for all. In this role Naccarati-Chapkis leads the organization’s education and advocacy activities focusing on issues associated with food and consumer product safety, including sources of possible exposure to environmental toxins. For the past 18 years Naccarati-Chapkis has worked in the non-profit field. Most recently, she was director of land protection at Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, where she oversaw the conservation of over 49,000 acres of land (totaling over $60 million). Her experience includes working closely with communities; local, state and federal governments; non-profit organizations and corporations. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and completed post graduate work at Duquesne University’s School of Law.

Mary Anne Papale

maryanne_papale_picAs director of community affairs for Highmark, Inc., Mary Anne Papale directs the distribution of over $6 million in corporate grants and sponsorships each year in southwestern Pennsylvania, and supervises a staff of five. Additionally, she oversees the activities for Highmark’s corporate United Way campaign and the employee matching gifts program. Papale serves as a board member for several not-for-profit organizations and community groups, including: Pittsburgh Opera and the Women’s Center and Shelter. She also sits on an advisory committee of the Three Rivers Center for Independent Living, and is an active member of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania. She is a member of the Executive Women’s Council of Pittsburgh. Papale earned an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz School of Business.

Cheryl A. Parzych

cheryl_parzych_picCheryl A. Parzych is the executive vice president of Wealth Services for First Commonwealth Bank located in southwestern Pennsylvania. Her scope of responsibility comprises the fiduciary, investment advisory, retail investment, insurance and financial planning businesses of First Commonwealth. Parzych joined First Commonwealth late in 2010 from KeyBank, where she was the Cleveland-based director of Trust Services, chief fiduciary officer and a member of the Wealth Segment leadership team. She is a career-long Trust professional. Prior to joining Key, Parzych served as both chief fiduciary and chief administrative officer for Citizens Financial Group based in Providence, RI. Recently, she served as a trustee for the Women’s Community Foundation of Cuyahoga County, OH, and of Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. Parzych is a graduate of State University College of NY at Potsdam and holds a B.A in Psychology. She is also a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.

Mindy Posoff


Mindy M. Posoff is a senior financial services professional with expertise in strategy development and institutional sales and marketing. Currently Posoff is the vice president, executive committee of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, president of the board of Samuel S. Fels Fund and a trustee of Salus University, a position she was appointed to by Governor Rendell in 2007.  Posoff was the 2005 recipient of the “Wall Street Meets Main Street” Pioneer Award from Count Me In, a leading national not-for-profit provider of micro financing to women entrepreneurs. She has more than 20 years of experience with global financial services organizations. Posoff is the founding partner of Traversent Capital Partners, a consulting firm that focuses on strategic solutions for hedge fund and asset management companies.  Previously, she was a co-founder of NewMarket Capital Partners, an SEC registered investment management company focused on absolute return strategies. Prior to NewMarket, Posoff was a vice president at E*Trade, where she was a key leader in their asset gathering initiatives and a director at Credit Suisse First Boston, where she was an institutional sales manager of the structured product sales group. Posoff has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Beloit College.

Selena Rezvani

selena_rezvani_picSelena Rezvani is a recognized author, speaker and consultant on women and leadership. She is the founder and president of NextGenWomen, LLC, a consulting firm whose goal is to propel more women into leadership positions and to help companies position an inclusive workplace as a competitive advantage. Rezvani is also the author of the acclaimed career guidebook, “The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School” (Praeger, 2009). Her breadth of knowledge makes Rezvani a frequent resource for news media and an in-demand business speaker. She has been quoted, interviewed and profiled by CareerBuilder, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and NBC and ABC. Rezvani is a regular commentator on NPR’s nationally syndicated “The 51% Perspective” and writes a women and leadership column for The Washington Post. Rezvani received her B.S. and M.S.W. degrees from New York University, and has an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins, where she graduated first in her class.

Angela Foreshaw Rouse

Serving as associate state director of communications, Angela Foreshaw Rouse directs all external and internal communication efforts for AARP Pennsylvania. The association has 1.8 million members throughout the Commonwealth and has over 40 million members nationwide. For almost a decade, Foreshaw Rouse has successfully managed the communications office for AARP Pennsylvania, gaining national media exposure to AARP’s core issues of affordable healthcare and financial security for all ages. Her years of experience includes executive media relations positions with  ABC Television and Time Warner Inc. Foreshaw Rouse earned her M.S. in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in mass media and telecommunications from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Susie Shipley


Susie Shipley is an executive vice president at Citizens Bank responsible for the Global Trade Finance business in North America. In this role, she has direct responsibility for the business line’s product management, sales and trade advisory functions for traditional trade, trade finance and supply chain finance across the North American franchises of RBS, Citizens Financial Group and ABN Amro. Prior to this assignment, Shipley was managing director of international and domestic cash management at Citizens Bank. Shipley started her banking career at PNC Bank, where she held numerous leadership positions in Treasury Management, Foreign Exchange, and International Banking. In April, 2005 Shipley was selected as one of the 2005 “Best 50 Women in Business” in Pennsylvania.  In March 2006, she was honored as the “2006 Distinguished Alumna” of the Katz Graduate School, University of Pittsburgh. Shipley earned a B.S.  from the University of Notre Dame, a certificate in Spanish Studies from the Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, and an M.B.A. from the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.

Lora Shor

lora-shorLora Shor is a work/life consultant and speaker to global corporations, healthcare systems, universities, employee assistance programs, financial and legal institutions and the U.S. government. She is executive vice president of Worksite Insights and a licensed psychotherapist with a private practice in Pennsylvania. She has written and presented hundreds of workshops, webinars and seminars nationally and locally, to organizations including: Amerisource Bergen, Wachovia Bank, Vanguard, WAWA, UPenn, Swathmore College, Fox Chase, Aetna, Ceridian, Carebridge and Universal Healthcare. Shor has helped thousands of people understand, learn and implement resiliency skills and techniques for a happier, healthier life. She is a member of the National Speakers Organization, and actively uses her energy, enthusiasm and sense of humor to motivate and maximize personal potential, creativity and growth. These mindful life lessons have become part of “The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life” her upcoming book with co-author J. Belmont, designed to help all of us get through the “holes” in our life in a practical, playful and holistic way.

Barbara Schwarck

<Barbara SchwarckGlobal executive coach and president of Clear Intentions International (CII), Barbara Schwarck has coached hundreds of executives, leaders and entrepreneurs from around the globe to be truly exceptional through a unique methodology using Neuro Emotional Coaching™; executive coaching combined with neuroscience and its implications for change and leadership. She is also the author of “From Intuition to Entrepreneurship: A Women’s Guide to Following Her Dream”, a 10-step workbook to start one’s dream business. CII is a people development company offering executive coaching, leadership training and assessment services for professionals, public servants, global leaders and influencers who want to free themselves from emotional and behavioral patterns that prevent them from being truly exceptional. An impressive list signifies CII’s status as a preferred provider for employee development.  Clients include Bayer, Bombardier, EQT, Heinz, Reed Smith, Carnegie Mellon University, The Washington Post and

Sharon Simpson

sharon_simpsonSharon E. Simpson is the manager of PECO’s Energy Services Organization. She is responsible for directing the account management activities for PECO’s largest commercial, industrial and national accounts. She has worked in the corporate environment for more than 30 years. Before joining PECO, Simpson served as vice president of sales and operations for ESIS, Inc., a CIGNA subsidiary, providing sophisticated risk management services to Fortune 1000 companies. Simpson currently serves on the board of the Philadelphia-based Women’s Business Development Center. She is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers and serves as a mentor and advisor for the Cradle of Liberty’s learning for Life Explorer’s program. She earned her B.A. from Rutgers University’s Douglass College, and completed continuing education programs, provided through CIGNA University’s partnership with the Wharton Business School, in global development, strategic planning and marketing leadership.

Kathleen Stewart

kathleen_stewartKathleen Stewart is a trust and fiduciary specialist for the Pittsburgh region of the Wells Fargo Private Bank. Stewart brings over 12 years of experience in the financial services industry to Wells Fargo where she addresses the financial concerns of high net worth clients. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, she held financial and estate planning positions with Waldron Wealth Management, National City Bank, PNC Wealth Management and the Ayco Company, LP part of Goldman Sachs. Her clients include corporate executives, business owners, professionals and individuals who have inherited their wealth. Stewart makes presentations for both clients and her peers on planning topics such as estates and trusts, charitable, insurance and business succession planning. She is an active member of the Estate Planning Council Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Bar Association – Probate and Trust Law Section, and Women in the Law Division. Stewart earned her B.S. in business administration from Duquesne University and her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law.

Bonnie St. John

bonnie_stjohn_picBonnie St. John has circled the globe as a speaker, consultant and leadership instructor, and her initiatives have led decision makers to improve their skills and create breakthroughs in performance. Her clients include: FedEx, Pepsi, Pfizer, AT&T, Microsoft, UBS, American Express, Merrill Lynch, IBM, Disney and many more. St. John combines the lessons she has learned as an amputee (she had her right leg amputated at age five), an Olympic athlete (one silver and two bronze medals in the 1984 Paralympics), a Rhodes Scholar, a best-selling author, a White House official and a businesswoman into impactful presentations. She has been featured in: “The Today Show,” CNN, “CBS Morning News,” “NBC News” and The New York Times, as well as People, Essence, Success and Fast Company, to name just a few. She has published five books, and her most recent, “Live Your Joy,” was featured in “O,” the Oprah magazine. “NBC Nightly News” called St. John “One of the five most inspiring women in America.”

Shanna Tellerman

shanna_tellermanShanna Tellerman, founder and CEO of Wild Pockets, is singularly focused on breaking down barriers in the game industry from every angle. Wild Pockets is a free, crowd-sourced 3D game platform for the browser with an integrated community for game developers. Wild Pockets has already attracted well-known game developers building 3D, web-based games and generating thousands of shared game assets. Tellerman was hired by Carnegie Mellon University to investigate commercialization opportunities for the technology that would eventually become Wild Pockets. Previously, Tellerman worked for Electronic Arts on The Sims 2, a sequel to the best-selling PC game ever. She also researched and co-authored the paper titled “Emergent Stories in Massively Multiplayer Online Games: Using Improvisational Techniques to Design for Emotional Impact,” (ICEC, 2004). Tellerman is a frequent speaker at gaming conferences and a thought leader on women in technology. Tellerman earned her master’s degree in Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon.

Carmen Wong Ulrich


Carmen Wong Ulrich is an expert contributor to “The Dr. Oz Show” and Glamour magazine’s personal finance expert. She’s the former host of CNBC’s daily personal finance show, “On the Money” and can be seen regularly on “The Today Show,” MSNBC and “EXTRA.” You may have also seen her on “The View,”  “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” as well as CNN, HLN, “The Rachel Ray Show” and the “CBS Early Show.” You can catch Ulrich on dozens of radio shows nationwide including Oprah’s XM radio network, Wall Street Journal Radio and The Cooper Lawrence Show. She also writes for PARADE magazine and has been the financial advice columnist for LATINA magazine, ESSENCE, Men’s Health magazine and The author of the under-40 guide to personal finance, “Generation Debt: Take Control of Your Money,” Ulrich is the former special projects editor at MONEY magazine. Her new book, “The Real Cost of Living,” comes out in December. She has a master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College, a B.A. from Fairfield University and lives with her family in Brooklyn. Choices/dp/0399536442/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285179898&sr=1-2

Laura Vassamillet


Laura Vassamillet is a senior portfolio officer with BNY Mellon Wealth Management. In this role, she works directly with individuals and families to address their investment, estate planning, tax and wealth management needs. Vassamillet has more than 30 years of industry experience, having practiced law with Tucker Arensberg, P.C., a Pittsburgh-based law firm, and having served in various capacities with PNC Bank and National City Bank. Vassamillet is a member of the Allegheny County and Pennsylvania Bar Associations, the Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council and The Estate Planning Council of Pittsburgh. Additionally, Vassamillet serves as chair of the board of directors of Heritage Valley Health System, the community health system with hospitals located in Sewickley and Beaver, Pennsylvania. Vassamillet received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her law degree from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law.

Vanessa Veltre

Vanessa Veltre

Vanessa Veltre comes to SWSG from Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, where she worked in community organizing and development.  Prior to that, she worked as a music therapist educating at-risk youth at the Craig Academy School. Veltre has been awarded the honor of assisting Dr. Susan Hadley on a future published book exploring the effects of therapeutic effects of rap music on adolescents.  In particular, Veltre will explore the effects of hip-hop music on adolescent girls and feminism.  In addition, Veltre consults for Creative Therapies Enterprises as a music therapist, tutors at the East End Cooperative Ministries and is a “Big Sister” through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Slippery Rock University and a master’s degree in social work with a focus in community organizing and a certificate in human service management from the University of Pittsburgh.

JJ Virgin

jj_virginJJ Virgin is the premiere voice of scientific reason in the world of nutrition and wellness. She is one of the nation’s foremost celebrity nutrition experts, public speaker and media personality. Her 25 years in the health and fitness industry, the past 10 in holistic nutrition and functional medicine, have earned Virgin recognition as the go-to weight loss expert. Internationally recognized as the creator and leader of the breakthrough Weight Loss Resistance RevolutionTM programs, Virgin is responsible for turning the most challenging weight loss resistant cases into stunning successes. Virgin appeared for two years as the nutrition expert on the top-rated “Dr. Phil Show,” and made appearances on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover,” NBC’s iVillage Live, and the E! channel’s “Modern Girl’s Guide to Life.” Virgin’s upcoming book “Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy” came out in May and she is also the co-star of the TLC reality series, “Freaky Eaters.” Virgin is a member of Mensa, and has a multitude of educational degrees and programs to her credit, including a Ph.D. in holistic nutrition and a degree in exercise science, along with graduate coursework in six different graduate and doctoral programs.

Roba Whiteley

Roba_Whiteley_picRoba Whiteley is executive director of Together Rx Access®, a program that provides financial savings to individuals and families who are not eligible for Medicare or prescription drug coverage. Whiteley educates policymakers, key opinion leaders and consumers about the issue of being uninsured and its impact on the health and wealth of our nation and its people. Previously, Whiteley was executive director of Together Rx®, the nation’s most widely-enrolled private prescription savings program for lower-income Medicare beneficiaries, with nearly 1.5 million cardholders. Together Rx helped seniors save more than $1 billion on prescription medicines. As vice president of marketing and communications with the National Council on the Aging (NCOA), Whiteley enhanced the organization’s strategic partnerships, healthcare initiatives and health-focused media campaigns. Whiteley has dedicated her life’s work to ensuring that all people have access to the best in healthcare. Throughout her 25-year career, she has been a powerful health and patient advocate, serving as spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and The American Heart Association. She is a published author and pioneer in the behavioral management of obesity. Whiteley holds a master’s degree in nutrition science from Drexel University.

Sarah Welch

sarah_welchSarah Welch, who identifies herself as a “yo-yo organizer,” is a seasoned entrepreneur and marketing executive. Welch prides herself on having mastered the art of managing multiple career opportunities as well as her busy family—all so she can make ends meet and chase her dreams. Over the years she has learned that the secret to attaining all of her goals is to focus on maintaining momentum on all fronts of her life with the help of the “80/20 rule”. Prior to co-founding Buttoned Up, Welch was a New York advertising agency executive and entrepreneur. She studied what makes people tick at JWT, Ammirati Puris Lintas and M&C Saatchi and as an independent marketing consultant. Welch has worked with many brand marketers, including Kellogg, Unilever, MSN, General Motors, Gap and Bank of America. She has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.

Jennifer Woodward

jennifer_woodwardJennifer Woodward is the administrative director for research and academic affairs at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and assistant dean for faculty affairs in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Since she joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Surgery in 1998, her contributions to the field of organ transplantation have been recognized through her publications, presentations, grants and awards. Woodward was selected as a 2007-2008 fellow for the national Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. Although a full-time administrator, she continues to be engaged in a variety of transplant and immunology-related activities. In addition to her academic responsibilities, Woodward serves on the board of directors for Dress for Success Pittsburgh. A native of North Carolina, she earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Presbyterian College, a Master of Science in biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Mila Nguyen Yochum

Mila Nguyen Yochum

Mila Nguyen Yochum, has over nine years of non-profit management and experience in database management, programming, grant writing, board development, event management, strategic planning and organizational governance.  She has worked for Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and Northside Community Development Fund.  Nguyen has served on the board of Pittsburgh Cares and currently serves on the board of Venture Outdoors and as president of National Association of Asian American Professionals-Pittsburgh.  She is an active committee member of Carlow University Service Learning Office, Young Leaders Network and Young Nonprofit Professional Networks. Nguyen’s commitment in the community has led her to receive numerous awards, including the National Young Community Leader Recipient, National Alliance of Vietnamese American Agencies, Volunteer of the Year with Pittsburgh Cares, Pittsburgh’s 40 Under 40 and Volunteer Recognition from U.S. Freedom Corps. Nguyen graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in public administration.

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