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Beth Hilbing

Co-CEO C-Sweet & Sr. Program Manager and Principal IT Business Partner, Boeing

Beth Hilbing is an accomplished Sr Executive with over 25 years + in management spanning Aerospace, Financial Institutions, Media and Entertainment, and Insurance companies. i.e., Northrop Grumman, Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union, Met Life, AOL/Time Warner, and currently The Boeing Company. An Executive that has managed staffing levels of 500+, budgets of 120 million dollars, and IT Software Contract Negotiations in multiple multimillion dollar awards. Senior level experience in global program management, merger and acquisitions, data center management, cyber security technology and IT strategic planning. Over Ten years of experience in corporate and non-profit boards,  and Co-CEO for C-Sweet a National Executive Women’s Networking Organization with over a network of over 10,000 executives and offers over fifty programs a year with chapters in major cities nationwide. Received multiple awards for Women’s Executive Leadership, Small Company CEO, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. MBA with an emphasis in Finance and Business.

Dianne Gubin

Co-CEO, C-Sweet; Principal, Capital InVentures LLC; President, Amplify Professional Services, Inc.

Dianne's highest passion is her work as Co-Founder and Co-CEO of C-Sweet, the premier national networking association for female executives across industries. 

As an Investment Banker and Principal for Capital InVentures, Dianne works with CEOs seeking $5 to $100 mm+ in debt and/or equity financing.   She expedites deal flow, reviews business plans, and raises capital.  Dianne supports a portfolio companies in several ways including serving on the Board, becoming part of the management team, sourcing key executives,  introducing clients and investors, and prepping CEOs for investor meetings.

Dianne’s background includes over 20 years in B2B sales and account management.   She’s owned two technical staffing agencies working across industries with Fortune 1000, middle-market and fast-growth companies.

Concurrently, she is President of Amplify Professional Services Inc, an executive search and consulting agency including senior executive placement, staffing and consulting services across industry sectors, particularly in Information Technology. 

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Dianne holds active FINRA Series 79, 7 and 63  licenses.  She lives in Los Angeles with her family and two very big Great Danes.

LA Executive Sponsors & Committee

Barbara Oberman

President & CEO, Barbara C. Oberman Insurance Services, Inc.

Barbara Oberman is an expert in the insurance industry who possesses the licensing and experience needed to offer the best possible service to small business owners and their employees.      She enjoys building new relationships with clients and always makes sure to provide them with the best health and life insurance to meet their budget and employee’s lifestyle.   

    Her mission is to build customized insurance solutions tailored to each client's specific needs.  Barbara provides advice on a multitude of employee benefit products and services and is certified annually to sell Medicare Advantage insurance and prescription drug plans.  

    A few of the areas where she holds insurance licenses/certifications are in:

  • Health and Life insurance
  • Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans 
  • Property & Casualty insurance

Barbara wears two complementary hats, Barbara C. Oberman Insurance Services, Inc., an employee benefits and insurance agency, and Senior Living Solutions, a residential care placement agency locating housing and home care for seniors.  

Barbara found her calling when she founded Barbara C. Oberman Insurance Services, a boutique insurance agency offering health insurance, commercial and HR products to small employers.    She is passionate about helping employers succeed in attracting and retaining great employees.   The services and products she offers provide incentives to accomplish these goals.  Barbara advises employees and business owners turning 65 whether to stay on their group plan or enroll on Medicare based on a cost benefit analysis.  Through Senior Living Solutions, she helps families and working caregivers find residential care or home care for their loved ones. As a working caregiver herself for many years she experienced the pressures of the working caregiver and thought that if employers were able to offer these services to their working caregiver employees it would increase productivity, reduce sick time, and ease stress on the employee, resulting in a win-win for the employer and employee.   

Carolyn A. Sims, M.S.

Senior Manager, Community and Climate Equity, Southern California Edison

Carolyn Sims is the Senior Manager for Community and Climate Equity in the Customer Program & Services division at Southern California Edison (SCE). In this role, Carolyn is responsible for leading both internal and external engagements with SCE’s community partners focused on equity and access. Through this work she has championed sponsorships for community organizations and she educates underserved communities on SCE’s programs and services that benefit their communities focused on their lived experiences.

Carolyn is a passionate advocate for women empowerment and leadership, earning a reputation as a master connector for having helped make connections for hundreds of women based on their personal needs or professional interests.

Carolyn currently serves on the board of directors for the Bloom Again Foundation, which assists women with rapid response grants to help bridge the gap in their living expenses when they experience a medical situation. She is also on the committee of C-Sweet, a professional women’s networking group that fosters executive-level relationships among women for business development, collaboration, and expanded career paths. 

Carolyn was previously the president of the company’s African American Business Resource Group (BRG), Networkers, and the Women’s Roundtable. Currently services as an Advisor for Networkers BRG and is very engaged in high performing organizations, culture and work enviornment through the development and implementation of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging transformation.

She is also a 2018 recipient of the J.K. Horton Humanitarian Award, a distinction given to employees of SCE for exemplary acts of citizenship or service under emergency conditions. Carolyn earned a Master of Science in Human Resources and a Bachelor of Science in Human

Relations and Business from Amberton University. She is a mom to three adult daughters, and is happily married to her husband for over 30 years.  


OneDegreeofConnections Groups on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

Georgia Zachary

Executive Care and Advocacy, AT&T Services, Inc.

Georgia is a dynamic thought leader, with 24 years' experience at AT&T and 18 years in Real Estate. Georgia a recipient of the 2012-2020 Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She is the prior President of Women of AT&T (2009-2016), a 501ce non-profit Employee Resource Group within AT&T. Georgia is an advocate for helping women and children in the community. Believing in the value of helping others through her leadership and business expertise, Georgia has spent time supporting several organizations such as March of Dimes, United Way, City of Hope, Ronald McDonald House, St. Anne’s, UC Santa Barbara, Los Angeles Community College District, and a host of others. Georgia is on the Board of Governors for The California Science Center/Exposition Park and the Board of Governors for City Club Los Angeles, she is the Chair of the Board for YMCA’s Weingart Wellness and Aquatic Center. Also, on the Advisory Board for Women in Leadership at UC Santa Barbara. Georgia realized that people is her passion and in 2020, she launched Good Vibes Women’s Business Roundtable where she can share valuable resources, her network, and business expertise to support small women business owners. Georgia is a pillar in the community gracing the cover of Women Lead Magazine and in the Huffington Post in 2016. Georgia enjoys volunteering by giving her time and talents wherever they can help or assist others.

Georgia received her AA in Social and Behavioral Science from Harbor College her Bachelor of Science in Business and her Master of Arts in Management from the University of Redlands. Georgia graduated with her Masters in Human Resources and Project Management from Keller Graduate School. Georgia is also passionate about mentoring. Actively working with mentees.

Georgia is a member of Faithful Central Bible Church, she loves golf, Zumba, yoga, swimming, watching basketball and traveling.

Georgia’s favorite quote: “Other people will always have opinions about what you do. But at the end of the day, it’s what you choose for yourself that matters. BE the CEO of your OWN LIFE!”- Working Women 

Iris Hosea

Co-Founder, Festively

Iris Hosea is the co-founder of Festively. Festively is a custom gifts and celebration marketplace to find and book trendy and unique elements for any celebration, including balloons, custom cakes, cookies, catering, rentals and more.

As the co-founder of Festively, she is passionate about bridging the digital divide for women and minority-owned small businesses in the events and celebration industry. With Festively, small businesses get to showcase their products or services on a custom website that provides them with real time sales data, saves time with automated transactions and provides an additional sales channel for increased revenue.

Iris has more than 15 years of experience in event planning for fortune 500 corporations. She has planned community events, media events and celebrations both big and small for Southern California Edison, American Airlines, Harley Davidson and more. In addition to co-founding Festively, she serves chief of staff to the vice president of Southern California Edison’s energy procurement and management department.

Iris is the former co-founder of Sankofa Excursions, a travel agency that conducted tours to West Africa. With her company, she adopted a children’s orphanage in Ghana providing them with much needed toiletries, school supplies and books throughout the year.

Iris has a bachelor's degree in communications from Cal State Dominguez Hills. She was in the midst of her MBA program at the University of La Verne, then took a break for some real-world experience to become the co-founder of Festively. She loves to volunteer and has served as a trainer for the American Red Cross, volunteered with Great Beginnings for Black Babies, LA Food Bank and the Social Justice Learning Institute.

Iris is a loving wife and proud mother of two boys. In between working a corporate job, running a business, and raising her boys, you will find her exploring new recipes while dancing and singing in the kitchen and on the golfing in support of various charity tournaments. 

Lois Ungar

CFO, SBL Venture Capital, LLC

Lois has over 25 years financial and operational experience in entertainment, consumer products and start-ups including Disney, DreamWorks, and Universal Studios. A Senior Financial and Operating Executive with a broad range of experience in public and private companies, Lois has extensive experience in strategic, planning; financing; M&A; increasing efficiencies; negotiations; operational management; and building strong teams. Her specialties include holding P&L responsibility, raising capital, strategic planning, operational leadership, M&A, negotiations budgeting and forecasting and building infrastructure.

Melinda Chelliah

President & Founder, Tailored for Growth

Melinda Chelliah is a dynamic executive and accomplished strategic leader that combines a keen customer centric mentality with financial and governance accountability.  She brings a deep understanding of finance, operations, technology, legal/risk management, human resources and the profitability levers that impact a company’s overall brand and customer experience.     For over 25 years, she has a demonstrated track record of leading diverse teams to deliver committed results for all stakeholders, including team, investors, customers and partners in E Commerce, CPG, Marketplace, SaaS, Technology, Professional Services and Entertainment industries.  

Melinda Chelliah serves as the Board Director/Audit Chair of Wag! the premier pet marketplace (PET), and CEO of Tailored for Growth, Inc, emerging growth fractional CFO firm.  She has co-founded a B2B Professional Services Firm that IPO’d as RECN (Resources Connection, Inc.) and operated as CFO and Head of Operations for Target’s (TGT) beauty E-Commerce subsidiary (Dermstore), and as CFO for a diversified international SaaS technology firm (Beyond Blue Holdings). She actively maintains a trusted network of respected thought leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors. 

Michelle Landrum

GBDS, CE - Employeed Benefits Consultant

Meet Michelle Landrum, an accomplished insurance brokerage professional with over 15 years of experience. After starting her career in Georgia, Michelle relocated to California in 2017 and has since been providing expert guidance and innovative strategies to elevate her clients' employee benefits programs. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Human Resources from Troy University, and is a licensed life/health agent, Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, and Group Benefits Disability Specialist. Michelle is also actively involved in her community, serving as the President of the Los Angeles CEBS Board and the Engagement Chair of the PIHRA Pasadena Board. Her passions extend beyond her work and include transforming healthcare, space travel, and supporting charitable causes such as foster youth, children with disabilities, and animal rights.

Susan Tweedy

Partner, Director of Consulting Services CGI 

A business minded and service oriented Executive who passionately leads disruptors, problem solvers, and technologists through vision and connection. By fostering a “can do” attitude and encouraging new and innovative ways of solving complex problems I motivate teams to exceed expectations, accelerate deadlines and increase customer satisfaction.

NY Executive Committee

Maria Malavenda

Managing Partner, KOL Ventures 

Maria Malavenda, Managing Director of KOL Ventures, is a tech and healthcare executive with 15+ years proven success in strategy, transformation, operating and investing roles. Her successes can be attributed to a keen focus on building, growing and scaling new ventures, managing P&L and capital investments, and unlocking areas of transformational growth. Maria has a proven track record of success in management roles (C-level, SVP, and GM roles), building and leading outstanding teams towards success, and creating, launching and scaling core businesses, net new businesses, and growth initiatives for both early-stage and large growth-stage organizations.

She loves to build great things with smart people.

Monique Di Salvo, PMP Accenture

Known as a multi-industry Client Partner (luxury fashion/beauty/spirits, CPG, pharmaceutical, media, and technology), I have earned a reputation for account turnarounds, process improvements, and P&L gains. Whether magnifying account penetration, budgets, and client results, I specialize in driving online advertising, email marketing, social media, web marketing, ad-serving, mobile applications, and content management, software implementation, business intelligence, and data/analytics platform development solutions. 

I leverage a client-focused, transparent, and collaborative approach to communications and stakeholder relationship management that enables me to position +50% account growth.

I am a PMP certified Global Delivery Partner with a specialization in project management and client engagement overseeing relationships, project managers, technical and creative teams

Ruth Jin

Partner & Leader of the Private Investment Funds practice, Moses & Singer LLP

Ruth is an exceptional corporate and securities law attorney with 19 years of experience delivering high-quality and business-focused legal solutions to businesses of all sizes and strategies. Her work encompasses a variety of matters, including fund formation, regulatory compliance, exit strategies, private and public securities offerings, forming a SPAC, and guiding portfolio companies for their initial public offerings. 

In addition, Ruth has extensive experience advising businesses through all stages of growth from start-up and capital raising right through to initial public offering and their ongoing securities law compliance and periodic reporting Ruth is fluent in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and has rich experiences in cross-border transactions.

​​Ruth has been recognized as a Top-Rated Lawyer and a Legal Leader by ALM on New York Magazine and New York Law Journal since 2020. She is a board member of various non-profit organizations, including the China Institute. 

Sandy Pelland

CEO and Founder, MomLifeTV 

Sandy Pelland is the CEO and founder of MomLifeTV – a Webby Award nominated digital media site. With a primary focus on video, MomLifeTV presents informative lifestyle entertainment to support a new generation of women on their amazing journey through motherhood. 

Previously, an award-winning Creative Director in advertising and media, Sandy worked on global brands at such agencies as Grey/MediaCom, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Bozell Global Healthcare – overseeing creative and brand expression across all touchpoints and channels.

Sandy is a member of The Producers Guild of America and is an associate member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). 

Sandy Pelland


Sandy Pelland is the CEO and founder of MomLifeTV – a Webby Award nominated digital media site. With a primary focus on video, MomLifeTV presents informative lifestyle entertainment to support a new generation of women on their amazing journey through motherhood. 

Previously, an award-winning Creative Director in advertising and media, Sandy worked on global brands at such agencies as Grey/MediaCom, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Bozell Global Healthcare – overseeing creative and brand expression across all touchpoints and channels.

Sandy is a member of The Producers Guild of America and is an associate member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). 

Midwest Executive Committee

Beth Schultz

Vice President of Research and Principal Analyst

Beth Schultz is Vice President of Research and Principal Analyst at Metrigy, where she conducts primary research and analysis to provide metrics-based guidance for IT, customer experience, and business decision makers. Additionally, Beth manages the firm’s multimedia thought leadership content.

Prior to joining Metrigy, Beth was with Informa Tech, where for seven years she served as program co-chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading independent conference and exhibition for the unified communications and customer experience industries, and editor in chief of the companion No Jitter media site. While with Informa Tech, Beth also oversaw the development, launch, and management of WorkSpace Connect, a multidisciplinary media site providing thought leadership for IT, HR, and facilities/real estate managers responsible for creating collaborative, connected workplaces.

Beth has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and lives in Chicago.

Jennifer Pfaff

Principal at Capgemini

Jen Pfaff is a Principal with Capgemini in the Client Services Division of the Chicago Region. She is a Senior IT leader with expertise managing global teams acquired over twenty years working with some of the world’s largest corporations. Jen refined her management experience in the automotive industry where she was responsible for large-scale delivery teams at Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler. More recently she served as the Director of Payment Strategy and Global Support at Domino’s.

Jen has a BSBA from the University of Arizona and a MBA from Oakland University in addition to several industry certifications. Jennifer served on the Board of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology for 13+ years. Her commercial Industry Strengths are in: Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail, Automotive, Engineering, Consulting, and Education/Data Science.

Jen lives in Michigan, is married with two sons in their early twenties and enjoys trail running with her two Dobermans.

Jill Maybaum Hart

Strategic Relationship Manager

During her career, JILL MAYBAUM has promoted financial literacy and educated many individuals on maximizing their outcomes while planning for a successful retirement. Her expertise, accrued through corporate roles of increasing responsibility, encompasses business development, strategic planning, key account management, brand management, content marketing, loyalty marketing, and public speaking. Having conducted extensive qualitative research on the changing landscape of retirement relationship management, she expands her focus to the employee benefits opportunity, to which she will bring fresh thinking and her uniquely consultative approach.

Lori Danner

Senior Director & Leader of the KPMG International Business Support organization for Global Audit

Lori currently serves as Senior Director, and the leader of the KPMG International Business Support organization for Global Audit. In this role, Lori is responsible for a team of Audit professionals located in countries all over the world, serving as the link between the Global Audit organization and the global member firm stakeholders responsible for local business support and operational efforts. 

With more than 34 years of experience in Information Technology, and 23 of those years with KPMG, Lori has established herself as a seasoned professional with significant domestic and international experience in the technology and business support area. Her key contributions include developing and executing strategy as well as solving problems, implementing innovative approaches to business issues, and establishing information strategies to better manage, integrate, share, and present information to her customers. 

Lori believes strongly in mentoring, and during her tenure with KPMG has been recognized with the KPMG Chicago Metro local mentoring award for her tremendous work in successfully helping others to develop their skills and build their careers. She is also a member of the Chicago Chapter of KNOW (KPMG Network of Women).

Robin Gareiss

CEO and Principal Analyst, Metrigy

Robin Gareiss is CEO and Principal Analyst at Metrigy, where she oversees research product development, conducts primary research, and advises leading enterprises, vendors, and carriers.

For 25+ years, Ms. Gareiss has advised hundreds of senior IT executives, ranging in size from Fortune 100 to Fortune 1000, developing technology strategies and analyzing how they can transform their businesses. She has developed industry-leading, interactive cost models for some of the world’s largest enterprises and vendors.

Ms. Gareiss leads Metrigy’s Digital Transformation and Digital Customer Experience research. She also is a widely recognized expert in the communications field, with specialty areas of contact center, AI-enabled customer engagement, customer success analytics, and UCC. She is a sought-after speaker at conferences and trade shows, presenting at events such as Enterprise Connect, ICMI, IDG’s FutureIT, Interop, Mobile Business Expo, and CeBit. She also writes a blog for No Jitter.

Additional entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding and overseeing marketing and business development for The OnBoard Group, a water-purification and general contracting business in Illinois. She also served as president and treasurer of Living Hope Lutheran Church, led youth mission trips, and ran successful fundraisers for children’s cancer research. She serves on the University of Illinois College of Media Advisory Council, as well.

Before starting Metrigy, Ms. Gareiss was President and Co-Founder of Nemertes Research. Prior to that, she shaped technology and business coverage as Senior News Editor of InformationWeek, a leading business-technology publication. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois.

Tara Liceaga

Vice President, Equity Investment Oversight at Nuveen

Tara is a key liaison with Nuveen’s US and non-US equity managers across the market capitalization spectrum.  Her responsibilities include manager research for internal investment teams, assessing their investment process and performance.  She is also responsible for due diligence on new product development and implementation, and serves as an asset class expert, researching and analyzing market themes and their impact on Nuveen’s equity strategies.

Prior to joining Nuveen, Tara was on the Institutional Client Service team at BMO Global Asset Management.  She also spent eight years with Institutional Capital focusing on client service, consultant relations and business development for the firm’s US and non-US large cap value equity strategies. Tara began working in the financial services industry in 2007.

Tara earned an MBA in Finance from Loyola University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from DePaul University. 

Vita Merlotti

President and Chief Transformation Officer, Avalon LLC 

Vita Merlotti brings 30+ years experience in the advertising, marketing, media & technology industry to her role with Avalon LLC. For the past thirty years she has been a ‘go-to-executive’ for a number of CEOs, CFOs and COOs to ensure the viability and ongoing health of their organizations. Vita is one of the few executive advisors with a proven track record across the full spectrum of business, operations & technology transformation solutions, with significant experience in growth & distressed situations. Vita is also a Certified Advisory Board Chair, having recently completed her certification with the Advisory Board Centre.

Prior to creating Avalon LLC, Vita was the Director of Business Transformation for The Interpublic Group of Companies, a $7.0+billion marketing, media, entertainment and communication multi-national. Vita has delivered measurable results as an employee, and as a consultant, across a diverse set of responsibilities – Director of Business Transformation, Global CIO, Director of Operations, Chief of Staff, Program and Account Director.

Vita is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Wayne State University with additional discipline studies at Northwood Institute. She is a member of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, The Power of 100 Women, Midwest Co-Chair for C-Sweet, on the board of Cook For YOUR Life, and a Certified Facilitator for the Kauffman Foundation FastTrac Tech Venture series. Beyond her individual mentorship and advisory work, the Avalon LLC team is committed to the health, growth and sustainability of the communities that they live and work in. As part of their efforts to support growth, a vibrant future and long-range success, the team proudly supports advisory, coaching and mentor services for a variety of community and entrepreneurial organizations, including the Michigan Women’s Foundation and the University of Michigan Entrepreneurial Panel.

Greater Washington D.C. Executive Committee

Bonnie Green

Green Consulting: Customized Compliance Services

Ms. Bonnie Green is an established leader in the areas of ethics, compliance, human rights, and privacy with proven experience at an executive level in the public and private international sectors.

Bonnie founded Green Consulting LLC to provide customized ethics, compliance, human rights, and privacy services on an ad hoc basis and to serve as an in-house advisor on a temporary, ad interim, part-time or other basis. For more information on her expertise and services, access: 

In the public sector, Bonnie served as the Chief Ethics Officer and Division Director of the Ethics Office for the World Food Programme (WFP), a program of the United Nations (UN) and a 2020 Nobel Prize Laureate, headquartered in Rome, Italy. She reported directly to the Executive Director and was an advisory member of the senior management executive committee. She led and managed the Ethics Office from end-to-end. While with WFP, Bonnie also developed knowledge, skills, and experience to combat various forms of human rights abuses including sexual exploitation and abuse: attempted and committed acts of sexual misconduct by humanitarian and development actors against those most vulnerable. Bonnie led innovative and impactful projects in WFP; and, in the greater UN system and international community, she played a leading role in several initiatives.

Bonnie also has extensive work experience in the private sector. She established and led the standalone Office of Ethics, Compliance and Privacy for Sodexo, Inc., resulting in Sodexo recognized in successive years as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere during her tenure. She also spearheaded the development and implementation of the privacy and data protection infrastructure, led the privacy incident assessment team, and developed critical privacy and data protection policies and practices. Bonnie was part of senior level management at Sodexo and a member of the executive team of the Law Department, reporting directly to the General Counsel.

As in-house counsel at Sodexo, Bonnie advised on the full range of legal matters, collaborating with colleagues in business and functional areas and developing intimate knowledge of operational and financial matters. Bonnie also worked as an attorney at a law firm where she advised clients on real estate matters and for Marriott International, Inc. where she worked side-by-side with business developers, operators, and functional areas on international hotel transactions, operations/business matters, and corporate infrastructure and governance.

Bonnie received her J.D. from the American University College of Law, her M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University School of International Studies, and her B.A. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She speaks at ethics, compliance, and privacy conferences. Bonnie is an active member of multiple professional and networking organizations. Bonnie was most recently published in the May Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) Compliance & Ethics Professional (CEP) Magazine: Examining the Ethics and Compliance Role

Caroll Thomas

President, Charles in Charge LLC

Ms. Carroll Thomas is a recognized expert in partnership development and organizational change management with more than 35 years public/private sector experience. A former small business owner, she served in C-Suite level positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce as acting associate director for innovation and industry services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and as director of the $300 million public/private Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership as well as for the Small Business Administration as the Associate Director for the national Small Business Development Center program.

Ms. Thomas is currently the president of Charles in Charge LLC business consultancy.  She also serves on the boards of the Information Technology Innovation Foundation- the top innovation think tank world-wide; MxD- the only digital manufacturing institute focused on manufacturing digitization; Scale for Climate Tech- advisory board to support climate technology entrepreneurs in second stage investment product development; Federal Laboratory Consortium- representing over 300 federal laboratories engaging in technology transfer; and the State Department Federal Credit Union a $2.5 billion global credit union with nearly 100,000 members. Ms. Thomas recently joined the International Economic Development Council’s Committee on Racism and Economic Development is a graduate and member of Leadership Greater Washington, C-Sweet, Fashion Group International.  Ms. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University in Design and a Master of Business Administration from John Hopkins Carey School of Business in International Business.

Jessica McClain

Chief Financial Officer Chief Financial Officer -Girl Scouts Nation's Capital

Reports directly to the CEO and serves as a member of the senior leadership team with strategic responsibility for finance and accounting, risk management, property, product program, retail merchandise, and business operations. Provides staff support to the Council Treasurer, Governance & Audit Committee, Investment Committee, and Board of Directors. Responsible for an annual operating budget of 18M and manages over 20 employees.

Linda Fowler

President, and Founder, Regionerate LLC

Regionerate LLC is a woman-owned consulting firm based in Bethesda, Maryland.

The president, Linda Fowler, specializes in high-impact consulting with civic

leadership groups, federal, state, and local governments, federal laboratories,

economic development organizations, universities, community colleges, and

industry to activate and support transformative regional partnerships.  Focusing on

manufacturing competitiveness, entrepreneurship support, and innovation strategy,

Linda has guided and facilitated regional prosperity and revitalization efforts in

emblematic U.S. cities, including North Chicago, IL; Flint, MI; Detroit, MI; Cleveland,

OH; and Toledo, OH. Linda has consulted with the Governor of Colorado on

Advanced Industries Strategies and, more recently, with the Commonwealth of

Virginia and Southern New Jersey on their Unmanned Vehicle Systems Cluster and

Smart Airports and Aviation Cluster, respectively.

Linda was a Senior Technology and Business Advisor to the Manufacturing

Extension Partnership program at the National Institute of Standards and

Technology (NIST-MEP) for 13 years. NIST-MEP is a Department of Commerce

program focused on strengthening the competitiveness of small and mid-sized

manufacturers. She led an external team for the U.S. Economic Development

Administration to facilitate a community investment strategy in Central Florida that

focused on the transition of the Space Shuttle Program. Currently, Linda works with

federal agencies, including Commerce, Energy, and NASA, to support national

technology deployment, technology scouting, manufacturing community

partnerships, economic recovery, and small business assistance. For the past ten

years, Linda has supported NASA in designing and implementing Strategic Regional

Innovation Partnerships that leverage the agency’s expertise, technologies, and

facilities. Pilot sites include regions across nine states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio,

Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, New York, Virginia, and Maryland.  

Regionerate has supported publicly funded and private sector entrepreneurship

support organizations, including Second Muse ClimateTech Accelerator in Western

NY, Russell Innovation and Entrepreneurial Center in Atlanta, TechTown in Detroit,

Memphis Bioworks and EPICenter in Memphis, and two Small Business Technology

Development Centers in Southern California. Clients work with Linda to expand

technology commercialization, access to capital, technical assistance, and related

economic development programs. Additionally, Linda has successfully applied for

funding to support new accelerator programs at the Black Chamber of Commerce

and Founder’s First in San Diego, Ohio, Aerospace Institute in Cleveland, OH, the

National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, VA, and the Atlantic City Economic

Development Alliance. Regionerate supports national funders and local foundations

that fund inclusive economic development agendas, including translating federal

technologies and expertise to meet the needs of small companies, underserved

communities, and historically excluded populations. Linda is currently the lead

external advisor to Living Cities' “Undoing Racism” Year of Reckoning Cohort,

promoting homeownership and Business Starts and Growth for BIPOC communities.

Tara Giunta

 Partner at Paul Hastings LLP  -DMV Executive Committee

Tara is a recognized risk, strategy and compliance expert and advisor to boards and executive management teams in global companies, advising key stakeholders on corporate governance and enterprise risk management. Tara is Co-Chair of Paul Hastings’ ESG Risk, Strategy and Compliance practice. Further, during its unprecedented period of growth (2017-2022), Tara was Vice Chair of Paul Hastings’ Investigations and White Collar Defense practice, one of the firm’s largest and leading growth areas with responsibility for over 100 lawyers around the globe.

Charlotte, N.C. Executive Committee

Jessica Meilike

Director at Sterling Capital Management -Charlotte NC Executive Committee

Highly skilled, result-oriented Finance professional with over several years of experience including several years of managerial and supervisory experience. Recognized for the ability to identify, analyze, improve and implement process enhancements in challenging work environments. A proven track record in delivering projects on time and within budget that increase profitability. Experience with financial statements and variance analyses (SEC Reporting).

LaKeeshia Fox

Associate Director of Strategy - Living Cities

LaKeeshia is the Associate Director of Strategy for Living Cities. She brings her depth of experience working in local, state, and federal government, and non-profit and advocacy organizations to create policies and programs that provide access to opportunities for marginalized communities.

Prior to joining Living Cities, LaKeeshia was appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser as the Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) in Washington, DC, where she oversaw legislative affairs for the District’s education and workforce agencies.

Prior to the DME, LaKeeshia was a Legislative Representative with AARP’s Government Affairs Federal and State Financial Security and Consumer Affairs teams, where she served as an issue expert primarily in the areas of housing and livable communities. She also previously worked as Policy Counsel at Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) and was a Presidential Management Fellow and Program Analyst at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she helped draft and implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.

LaKeeshia previously served as Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors for Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop co-leading the racial equity strategic plan and was appointed by Mayor Bowser as a Commissioner on the Housing Production Trust Fund Advisory Board for the DC Department of Housing and Community Development.

LaKeeshia earned her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central University and is a licensed attorney in the State of Maryland. She is passionate about building relationships, especially through food, and helping communities provide opportunities for residents to thrive in life.

Sharonica Smedley

Signature Events Director, AdMedia

Sharonica is a marketing and experiential event professional with over 15 years of industry experience. Currently based in Charlotte, NC,  Sharonica's developed a reputation for creating memorable events and successful marketing campaigns that exceed client expectations all across the world.

When she's not working, Sharonica enjoys listening to music, traveling to new places, and spending time with her loved ones. Her love of music has even led her to incorporate musical elements into many of her event planning projects, creating unforgettable experiences for attendees.

Sharonica is excited to join the C-Sweet Charlotte committee; looking forward to collaborating with like-minded individuals,  growing the chapter’s membership and  learning from fellow committee members. 

Tara Schultz

Founder, Principal Consultant – Solvewise, LLC

Tara is one of our Chairs for the C-Sweet Charlotte Chapter.

Tara is the founder of Solvewise Consulting, a Strategic Business and Technology partner which specializes in helping companies achieve maximum return on investment for technology spend.  Ensuring new projects are set up for success by driving clarification and alignment of business, financial and technical objectives as well as offering recommendations for the “right” resources and tools in order to achieve success.  Known as a “Master Problem Solver”, Tara has a passion for root cause analysis, clarity and course correction with a proven track record turning around in-flight projects that are behind or not producing the anticipated business value.  Solvewise offers implementation oversight services and supplemental technical resources as needed.

A proven leader with over 20 years of Portfolio, Budget and Project Management experience in both infrastructure and software development projects, Strategy/Roadmap planning, RFP development, Vendor scoring/Selection and Audit prep services.  Equally savvy in both business and technical processes and best practices, she drives continuous process improvement and has proven extremely successful in finding common ground, setting clear expectations and reinforcing positive culture/behaviors.  She finds creative ways to motivate teams to work together to achieve successful outcomes.  

Tara has worked in various Information Technology roles throughout her career, including Software Developer, Business Analyst, Tester, Project Manager, Product Manager and before starting Solvewise, held Director/VP level positions with Syngenta Crop Protection, Advance Auto Parts, Remington, GE, Data Management, and MegaCorp, Logistics.  

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Francis Marion University, completed internship at IBM and has often experienced being the only “female” in the room.  Tara is Six Sigma certified and has co-led leadership/mentorship programs such as the John Maxwell Leadership Series at Advance Auto and taught IOT (Internet of Things) at the Annual GE Hitachi - Girls in Technology Summit designed to help middle school age girls learn more around the possibilities of pursuing a career in tech.  She is passionate around helping others grow and succeed both personally and professionally.

Tara currently lives in Wilmington, NC with her family.  

San Francisco Executive Committee

Kim Kaselionis

Chief Operating Officer, O'Donnell Financial

A dynamic, results-driven executive with 25 years’ experience in the U.S. financial/banking industry and M&A market with strong track record of building high performing organizations in turnaround and high-paced environment, Kim Kaselionis currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer / Chief Compliance Officer at O’Donnell Financial Group, Inc.

Entrusted by senior leaders to direct multifunctional teams, while managing financial resources and synchronizing program activities across various business units, Kim has a sterling reputation as an innovative problem solver; team builder; stakeholder advocate; and trusted advisor on a broad range of programs, policies, operations, and best practices. 

She has received numerous awards for her leadership role including Francisco Business Times, One of the Most Influential Women in FinTech, Blossom Wealth Management, Pioneer of the Year, Marin Women’s Hall of Fame – Finance & Profession, Top 150 Most Influential Women in the Bay Area, San Francisco Business Times and Most Admired CEO, Small Business Category.

Las Vegas Executive Committee

Leslie Slay 

President/CEO - Just Medicare Advisors

Leslie brings over 25+ years of health insurance experience to clients. She is passionate around various funding/financing methods as well as education. Millions of dollars are spent on insurance each year in the individual and employer markets. Educating people on how to effectively use the programs and benefits, makes it all come together for her.

Her career as an employee benefits consultant, helping to develop and maintain programs for very large companies, has filled her most recent past. She also has experience as an underwriter, carrier sales representative, and has had many impressive leadership roles in top West Coast firms. Leslie’s current passion – besides her husband – is to develop and lead a Medicare advisory and education company. Her extensive knowledge and background in health insurance and its intricacies lends itself this complicated market as well.

Leslie has a bachelor’s degree in organizational development from the University of San Francisco and is a designated Professional in Human Resources (PHR). She lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband and two sheepadoodles. They are the proud parents of 4 adult boys which keeps them still very busy. Travel, French wine and Fun are mostly what is on the agenda outside of their family and work.

When Female Leaders Collaborate, We All Win!

When Female Leaders Collaborate, We All Win!

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