Flourish Conference Agenda

Friday: 8:30am – 4:30pm
8:30a – 9:00a Registration and Breakfast
9:00a – 09:15 Opening Ceremony

Morning Keynote: Women in Leadership: The Aspiration vs. The Reality.

The Science of Flourishing: Exploring the Six Dimensions of Flourishing and the trends and insights regarding the impact of women in leadership.

9:45a – 11:45 Executive Fireside Chat: Intimate discussions in assigned small groups with the top executives and entrepreneurs in their industries. This is a unique element of the Flourish Conference Day.

11:45a – 12:00p Break

12:00p – 1:30p Luncheon Keynote and Flourish Awards Ceremony: Flourish Keynote Conversation: How Women Lead in Dynamic Environments. We also recognize the Flourish Executive of the Year and Flourish Entrepreneur of the Year.

1:30p – 3:00p The Art of Flourishing: Women will either join the Flourish Forward group for those who have participated in Flourish to design their 3-year plans, or first-time participants join together to understand the domains of flourishing.

Collaborative exercises. Career and Work-Life Assessments. Continuing through Flourish 100-Day Action Plans™ while working with Executive Coaches and Flourish Accountability Partners.

3:00 – 3:15 Break

3:15 – 4:30 The Mastery of Flourishing: Leveraging insights learned throughout the day for positive impact in the future. Participants strategize their top three (3) professional and personal priorities – and the impact these will have on their lives over next 100 days.

Participants will be scheduled to record a customized Flourish Letter-to-Self stating what they commit to accomplish in the next 100 days.

4:15 Closing Ceremony

4:30 – 6:00p VIP Champagne Toast: Featuring special guests, champagne and appetizers and a Flourish Spa Experience (makeovers, massages and mingling).

 

 

Flourish CLEVELAND Conference for Women in Leadership

Welcome to Flourish Cleveland!

We believe that when women flourish we change the world, by positively impacting our families, organizations and companies and our communities. We know that organizations where women are highly represented in senior management outperform their competitors by up to 26%.

We propose, however, that even at the highest levels of success, many women spend a large portion of their time, treasure and talent on external concerns. And very little on their own strategic self-development.

Our promise is to create safe and immersive environments for women to connect, engage and create their next level of self-defined strategic success in their careers, businesses and lives. We promise to provide every tool at our disposal to help them grow. Luxuriantly.

As was the case in previous years, we fully expect the Flourish Cleveland Conference for Women in Leadership to sell out within a few weeks of opening registration. The conference has been so successful in Cleveland (and across the U.S.) for the following reasons:

  • Each conference is focused on the region it serves. So the Flourish Cleveland Conference is focused on issues related to the advancement of women in the Midwest, and specifically across Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.
  • The Cleveland Conference highlights women who are either flourishing in Northeast Ohio, have ties to the region, or whose work directly impacts the women, workforce and world as seen through the lens of Northeast Ohio.
  • The Cleveland transformation renaissance is pervasive. In addition to winning the Republican National Convention and the obvious excitement about the Cavaliers and sports franchises, the downtown is growing with a brand new Global Innovation Center, a new convention center and several new hotels, restaurants and attractions.
  • Flourish Cleveland Awards (Entrepreneur of the Year and Executive of the Year) are honors designed to recognize an executive and an entrepreneur in the Cleveland area who is making tremendous contribution in her industry, her community and to the individuals she supports and those she serves.

The Facts about Women in Leadership

You are a leader who values the advancement of women. For your organization’s culture, its brand, and importantly, its bottom line. You’re in great company, recent research suggests that when examining the financial returns of companies with three or more women on the board, those companies outperform companies with homogenous (all-male) boards by 60 percent in return on invested capital, 84 percent in return on sales, and 60 percent in return on equity. These data indicate that women leaders are not just good for the organization’s brand, culture and bottom line but suggest that women in top leadership positions actually have a synergistic impact on profits (Carter, 2004).

Because we understand the need to attract, retain and engage women leaders, we have developed an immersive, inspirational and substantive one-day experience called Flourish Conference for Women in Leadership.  Flourish was developed specifically for high-achieving female senior leaders and executives as a resource for strategic career and life-planning at a time when every female senior leader is seeking “work-life balance.”

About Cleveland

Cleveland’s geographic location on the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie has been key to its growth. The Ohio and Erie Canal coupled with rail links helped establish the city as an important business center. Steel and many other manufactured goods emerged as leading industries.

The city diversified its economy in addition to its manufacturing sector. Cleveland is home to the corporate headquarters of many large companies such as Applied Industrial TechnologiesCliffs Natural ResourcesForest City EnterprisesNACCO IndustriesSherwin-Williams Company and KeyCorpNASA maintains a facility in Cleveland, the Glenn Research CenterJones Day, one of the largest law firms in the U.S, began in Cleveland.  Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs are also home to several private equity firms including The Riverside Company, Kirtland Capital Partners, Resilience Capital Partners and Primus Capital.

In 2007, Cleveland’s commercial real estate market experienced rebound with a record pace of purchases, with a housing vacancy of 10%.

The Cleveland Clinic is the city’s largest private employer with a workforce of over 37,000 as of 2008. It carries the distinction as being among America’s best hospitals with top ratings published in U.S. News & World Report. Cleveland’s healthcare sector also includes University Hospitals of Cleveland, a renowned center for cancer treatment, MetroHealth medical center, and the insurance company Medical Mutual of Ohio. Cleveland is also noted in the fields of biotechnology and fuel cell research, led by Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals of Cleveland. Cleveland is among the top recipients of investment for biotech start-ups and research. Case Western Reserve, the Clinic, and University Hospitals have recently announced plans to build a large biotechnology research center and incubator on the site of the former Mt. Sinai Medical Center, creating a research campus to stimulate biotech startup companies that can be spun off from research conducted in the city.

City leaders promoted growth of the technology sector in the first decade of the 21st century. Mayor Jane L. Campbell appointed a “tech czar” to recruit technology companies to the downtown office market, offering connections to the high-speed fiber networks that run underneath downtown streets in several “high-tech offices” focused on the Euclid Avenue area. Cleveland State University hired a technology transfer officer to cultivate technology transfers from CSU research to marketable ideas and companies in the Cleveland area, and appointed a vice president for economic development. Case Western Reserve University participated in technology initiatives such as the OneCommunity project, a high-speed fiber optic network linking the area’s research centers intended to stimulate growth. In mid-2005, Cleveland was named an Intel “Worldwide Digital Community” along with Corpus Christi, TexasPhiladelphiaPennsylvania, and Taipei. This added about $12 million for marketing to expand regional technology partnerships, created a city-wide Wi-Fi network, and developed a tech economy. In addition to this Intel initiative, in January 2006 a New York-based think tank, the Intelligent Community Forum, selected Cleveland as the sole American city among its seven finalists for the “Intelligent Community of the Year” award. The group announced that it nominated the city for its OneCommunity network with potential broadband applications. OneCommunity collaborated with Cisco Systems to deploy a wireless network starting in September 2006.

Source: Wikipedia.org

Previous Conference Speakers

Dr. Akram Boutros

President and Chief Executive Officer

MetroHealth System

Tricia Griffith

President and Chief Executive Officer

Progressive Insurance

Sara Shookman

Emmy Award Winning Journalist

WKYC3 TV

Edna Kane-Williams

Senior Vice President, Multicultural Leadership

AARP

Denise Carkhuff

Private Equity Partner

Jones Day

Theresa Harrison

Global Director Diversity & Inclusiveness Procurement Leader

EY

Virginia Addicott

President and Chief Executive Office

FedEx Custom Critical

Tyronne Stoudemire

Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion

Hyatt Hotels Corporation


2019 Co-Chairs

Michelle Anderson

Chief HR & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer

HR Services and Sustainability Solutions

Jan Conrad

Executive Director

Women's Network of Northeast Ohio

Lisa Foley

Executive

Meaden & Moore - Management Development Group

Tonika Hammonds

Associate Director, Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader

EY

Linda Hsu

Chief Operating Officer

Chico & Nunes, PC

Felicia Johnson

VP of Enterprise Digital Transformation

Perficient Digital

Kathy Lentner

Founder

Tiaki & Wise Old Tree

Christine Lobas

Founder and CEO

Studiothink

Nichole B. Marshall

Chief Diversity Officer

L Brands

Denise Rucker-Burton

Program Administrator

Community Office on Aging, Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services

Barb Singer

CEO

Executive Core

Kristi Stepp

Global Director, Talent Development.

General Motors

Ramona Hood

Vice President, Operations, Strategy and Planning

FedEx Custom Critical

Dr. Akram Boutros

Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Company MetroHealth System


In his four years as the President and CEO of MetroHealth, the public health system in Cleveland, Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, has galvanized political leaders, entrepreneurs and the public around supporting community-wide health care many had taken for granted.

With his unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality health care to everyone in Cuyahoga County, Akram Boutros has achieved what many thought was impossible. Under his leadership, The MetroHealth System went to market on its own credit in 2017 and sold $946 million in bonds to rebuild its hospital, revitalize its main campus and resurrect its West Side neighborhood.

That is just one piece of the unprecedented transformation of Cuyahoga County’s public health care system Dr. Boutros has piloted since he arrived at MetroHealth in 2013.

In the four years since, he has created an Integrated Delivery System that provides care at more than 20 community health centers, four emergency departments, four clinics in Discount Drug Mart stores, five MetroExpressCare locations and nine pharmacies. Those are in addition to MetroHealth’s main-campus hospital, which is home to the area’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, one of two adult and pediatric burn centers in the state and Ohio’s only Ebola Treatment Center.

Now a more than $1 billion operation, MetroHealth and its caregivers treat patients at more than 1.3 million visits a year.

In the past four years, The MetroHealth System has also created more than 1,200 additional jobs, sent doctors into a dozen Cleveland schools and constructed an $82 million addition to its Critical Care Pavilion. Annual operating revenues have grown from $783 million in 2012 to $1 billion in 2016. And last year, MetroHealth returned $226 million – 22 percent of its operating expenses – to Cuyahoga County in free care and community benefit programs. That is 2.5 times the national average.

An internist with a 25-year record of successful hospital leadership at academic medical centers, community hospitals and specialty hospitals, Dr. Boutros cultivates personal relationships throughout the hospital system and the community along with an atmosphere of personal excellence for everyone he works with.

A graduate of St. John’s University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, he has led organizations through strategic repositioning, operational redesign, clinical and physician integration and population-health and risk-contracting programs. He sees collaboration with other health systems, organizations and local residents as a key driver in fulfilling MetroHealth’s mission of leading the way to a healthier community.

His community service includes chairing the American Heart Association 2015 Cleveland  Heart Ball, the most successful in the city’s history.

Tricia Griffith

Title: President and Chief Executive Officer

Company Progressive Insurance


Tricia Griffith was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Progressive Insurance in July of 2016.  She is responsible for helping the company become consumers’ number one choice and destination for auto and other insurance.

Prior to being named CEO, Griffith served as Personal Lines Chief Operating Officer since April, 2015 overseeing the Company’s Personal Lines, Claims and Customer Relationship Management groups.

Tricia joined Progressive as a claims representative in 1988 and has served in many key leadership positions during her tenure.  She held several managerial positions in the Claims division before being named Chief Human Resource Officer in 2002.  In 2008, she returned to Claims as the group president, overseeing all claims functions. Prior to being named Personal Lines Chief Operating Officer, Tricia was President of Customer Operations, overseeing claims and the customer management group, which comprises the company’s contact center group (sales and delivery), as well as the customer experience, systems experience and workforce management groups.

Tricia has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business’ Advanced Management Program. In 2016 & 2017, she was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune Magazine.

Sara Shookman

Title: Emmy Award Winning Journalist

Company WKYC3 TV


Sara Shookman is an Emmy-award winning television journalist, glad to be working here at home in Northeast Ohio. Sara began co-anchoring WKYC’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts with Russ Mitchell in 2015. She joined the Channel 3 News team in 2012.

Sara has become one of Channel 3’s go-to storytellers, covering local, national and even international news. She is often assigned to the big story and has filed reports around the country for WKYC-TV’s parent company, TEGNA. The Olympics have been a favorite assignment for Sara. She has covered the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Sara sees the possible in Northeast Ohio, and gives time to dozens of organizations each year that do the same. She is a member of the Northern Ohio chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors for Towards Employment, which helps people with barriers to employment find and keep meaningful jobs. She’s also passionate about volunteering with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland and the SeriousFun Children’s Network’s Flying Horse Farms in Mt. Gilead.

Sara grew up in Akron. She is a proud graduate of Manchester High School and lover of the Portage Lakes. She is glad to be back at WKYC, where she first worked as an intern during her college years at Ohio University. She graduated summa cum laude from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. Prior to WKYC, Sara was reporting and filling in at the anchor desk at WVLT in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sara got her start in television at WOUB in Athens, Ohio.

Edna Kane-Williams

Title: Senior Vice President, Multicultural Leadership

Company AARP


Edna Kane-Williams has over twenty years’ experience in working senior management positions within both nonprofit and for profit organizations, with an emphasis on strategic planning, targeted marketing, community and media outreach, and program development. Her career has had a particular focus on the needs of older adults and multicultural communities.

In her current position as Senior Vice President of Multicultural Leadership at AARP, she is responsible for the development and execution of strategy relating to growing social impact and membership in multicultural communities, including Hispanic/Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander and African American/Black. She previously served as Vice President of Multicultural Markets and  Engagement for the African American Audience, and as Vice President of Strategy and Communications for the AARP Foundation.

Ms. Kane-Williams also served as Senior Vice President of Communications and Social Marketing at IQ Solutions Inc., where she was responsible for developing communications plans and strategies to better market to underserved African American and Hispanic communities. As a Senior Vice President at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide she worked on program design and implementation,
and developed targeted marketing for underserved populations.

Edna graduated from Yale University with a B.A. and received an M.A. from George Washington University. She is the recipient of a Coro Foundation Fellowship, and was also a Diversity Executive Leadership Program fellow for the American Society of Association Executives.

She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Legal Counsel
for the Elderly.

She has received numerous career awards, including the Spirit of Democracy Award from the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation (2015), the National Markets Award from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (2014), and the Marketing Executive of the Year Award (2015) from Target Market News.

Denise Carkhuff

Title: Private Equity Partner

Company Jones Day


Denise has spent the last twenty-two years (twelve of which as partner) at the global law firm, Jones Day, acting as the principal outside lawyer on a multitude of completed M&A and private
equity transactions. Her experience covers a wide range of matters in a variety of industries and deal structures. Denise has worked on all aspects of the full life cycle of a company, from
incorporation to liquidity event or dissolution. While the main focus of Denise’s practice has been the representation of private equity funds, she also has served in a general counsel function
for countless private companies.

After helping clients with their businesses for the last twenty-two years, she decided to start her own business, Adrenaline Monkey, a family adventure and performance training center dedicated to empowering guests of all ages, sizes and abilities through fun and physical challenges. Inspiring “Adventure For Life”, Adrenaline Monkey will feature ninja warrior style obstacle courses, parkour courses, an aerial ropes course, climbing walls and an arcade.

She sits on the board of Breakthrough Charter Schools, urban charter schools with the mission of giving every scholar a chance to go to college. For over a dozen years, Denise led Women In
Transactions, a networking group for women doing transactional work, which currently sits under the ACG umbrella. She co-leads RRAIN, a women’s group for the Cleveland Jones Day
women lawyers. She was selected to be a “Wise Woman” as part of Deloitte’s Wise Women leadership program. Denise is a member of the current Leadership Cleveland class.

Denise has been blessed with an amazing family. She lives in Concord, OH with her husband and entrepreneur, Dane Wujnovich, and her twin daughters, Eva and Gia. Eva and Gia were the original inspiration for Adrenaline Monkey. Her daughters also inspired her to write and publish a children’s book, Mama’s Heart Fits Two, which explores the sharing issues with which twins and other siblings struggle.

Theresa Harrison

Title: Global Director Diversity & Inclusiveness Procurement Leader

Company EY


Theresa Harrison is the Global Director Diversity & Inclusiveness Procurement Leader at EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. She is responsible for the management and oversight of the EY supplier diversity initiative.  In this role, which she has held since June of 2004, she is responsible for the design, development and implementation of diverse supplier policies, processes, and procedures.

A recognized leader in the industry, Harrison is a frequent public speaker and works to build awareness of the importance of supplier diversity both inside and outside of EY.

She serves as Chair of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Board of Directors.  She is an active Ambassador engaging prospective Corporate Members. Additionally, she has engineered significant improvements to the organization by developing its Recruitment Program and its Dashboard for success measurement.

Harrison serves on the Diversity Information Resources and AIDC Board of Directors.  She serves on the Supplier Diversity Advisory Board for NMSDC

Ms. Harrison obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from Emmanuel College and a Masters of Business Administration from Bentley University.

Awards:
·         2013 – Corporate Advocate WBE Hall of Fame
·         2013 – Advocate of the Year by the NY & NJ MSDC
·         2011 – William C. Alcorn Award from WBENC
·         2010 – Applause Award from WBENC
·         2008 – Advocate of the Year by NGLCC
·         2008 – The Network Journal’s Top 40 under 40
·         2008 – WE Magazine “100 Women Impacting Supplier Diversity
·         2006 – WE Magazine “100 Women Impacting Supplier Diversity

Virginia Addicott

Title: President and Chief Executive Office

Company FedEx Custom Critical


Virginia Addicott is president and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, a leading North American expedited freight carrier located in Green, Ohio. The company provides 24/7 service throughout the United States, Canada, and internationally, delivering hundreds of thousands of critical shipments each year. Expedited shipping services are available through the company’s Surface Expedite, Air Expedite and White Glove Services® divisions. The company also has a subsidiary — FedEx Truckload Brokerage to meet customers’ truckload shipping needs.

Addicott joined FedEx Custom Critical in 1986 and quickly worked her way up the ranks, holding director positions in various departments where she placed a strong focus on organizational culture, customer satisfaction, and developing people.

In each role, Addicott used technology to improve productivity. By streamlining processes, she has improved efficiency and enhanced communication capabilities to move the company forward.

Addicott has been recognized for her leadership both at work and in the community. In recent years she has been inducted into the Northeastern Ohio Business Hall of Fame (2013), received the Women of Power Award from the Akron Urban League (2013), and also received the Leadership Excellence Award from the National Diversity Council (2014). She has also been named to the Inside Business Power 100 list for the past four years (2011–2014) and the Crain’s Cleveland Business Power 150 (2014). In addition, FedEx Custom Critical has been recognized as one of Northeast Ohio’s top workplaces, receiving the NorthCoast 99 Award 13 times, and has also been selected to the Plain Dealer Top Workplaces list in 2013.

Addicott earned a Bachelor of Science degree (‘85) and an EMBA (‘95) from Kent State University. In 2013 she was appointed by Ohio Governor John Kasich to the Kent State Board of Trustees. She is past chair of The Boys and Girls Club of the Western Reserve and past chair of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on a number of other boards to benefit the Northeast Ohio community, including Akron Children’s Hospital and the Akron Community Foundation.

Tyronne Stoudemire

Title: Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion

Company Hyatt Hotels Corporation


Mr. Tyronne Stoudemire, Global Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Hyatt Worldwide, has more than 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, and human resource management. At Hyatt Worldwide, Mr. Stoudemire works with the senior leadership team to implement culture, talent, and marketplace strategies that leverage diversity to grow the business across the company’s portfolio of brands. As such, his team and internal corporate partners have implemented diversity-training initiatives including Diversity Business Resource Groups, mentoring programs for high potential women and people of color, a communications and public relations strategy to drive internal engagement and external brand recognition, and enhanced brand marketing effort to further focus on multicultural and LGBT audiences.

A globally recognized executive and highly sought-after speaker he routinely consults with Fortune 100 clients on diversity strategies, with particular insight around how organizational leaders can understand and harness the shifts evident in national and global demographic trends. Tyronne employs a unique talent that results in extraordinary benefits for individuals and organizations and has a proven ability to advance socially responsible corporate initiatives by fostering strategic relationships to promote international grassroots movements.

Michelle Anderson

Title: Chief HR & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer

Company HR Services and Sustainability Solutions


Michelle Anderson, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is an accomplished Human Resources professional of 25 years. Michelle earned her MBA from Baldwin Wallace University located in NE Ohio and holds the highest senior level certifications (e.g. SPHR and SHRM-SCP) in human resources management. She has also served as Past President of a SHRM affiliate– Society of Human Resources Management.

Her expertise & passion involves corporate social responsibility and working with small and mid-sized organizations in the areas of HR/organizational risk assessments, strategic talent acquisition, on & off-boarding, staff development, 360 degree performance appraisals, policy development, mediation and conflict resolution, benefit planning and design & wellness program development. She also has significant experiences in the areas of total rewards management, employee recognition/retention, employee engagement initiatives, strategic management retreats, and federal & state employment law.

Michelle is also very active with a number of civic organizations some of which include the Kent Area Chapter (OH) of The Links Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Board of Trustee Member of the Friends of the Cleveland Orchestra, Women’s Committee of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Circle of Red – Summit County.

Jan Conrad

Title: Executive Director

Company Women's Network of Northeast Ohio


Jan Conrad was named Executive Director of Women’s Network (WN) of Northeast Ohio in July of 2018 where she is charged with growing the organization’s reach through enhanced programming around leadership and professional development for women.  WN is the curator of a 2018 Gender Equity and Female Leadership Research Study on the state of women in leadership in Summit County and beyond.  The organization is positioned to convene community conversation and awareness around creating equitable workplaces in Summit County and northeast Ohio.

From 2015-2018, Ms. Conrad was Director of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) of Northern Ohio where she utilized her extensive experience in business startups and expansions to launch and grow the SBA funded organization. During the first three years of the WBC operation, Ms. Conrad coached and trained over 800 women resulting in 57 business startups and distribution of over 1.6 million in capital.

Ms. Conrad’s formal training includes a Business Management degree from Western Governors University and Certifications as a Growth Wheel Business Advisor through Growth Wheel International, Inc. and Certification as a Florida Workforce Professional through the Dynamic Works Institute.

Lisa Foley

Title: Executive

Company Meaden & Moore - Management Development Group


As the Executive of Management Development Group, a division of Meaden & Moore Lisa works with middle market companies to help them align their people with their best work. She works with leaders to execute their business strategies leveraging talent systems, assessments, analytics, training, and coaching that result in the growth of their team members and their businesses.

Lisa Foley’s blend of business acumen and leadership development expertise were honed during her 30-year career as a leader across many disciplines in the financial and professional services industries. She has focused on understanding business issues that impact their team performance. Her experience in both business strategy and talent strategy helps growing companies with aligning their strategies resulting in execution of growth plans and successful business performance.

Lisa earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University and a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tonika Hammonds

Title: Associate Director, Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader

Company EY


Tonika Hammonds is the Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader – focusing on experienced recruiting for EY’s Americas Inclusiveness Recruiting Center of Excellence.  Her primary responsibilities include providing strategic direction around attracting diverse experienced professionals to EY, as well as managing several national projects and conferences.  She is also responsible for developing and leading initiatives focused on positioning EY as an employer of choice.

Tonika began her career with EY in January 2011.  Prior to joining EY, she served as the Area Director for Ajilon Finance and Professional Staffing, leading teams in the Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan markets.  Tonika has more than 20 years of recruiting, business development and leadership experience within professional services and the financial services industry. 

Tonika has a B.A. in Business and Organization Communication/ Public Relations and an M.A. in Education from The University of Akron.  She has served as a board member for the Women’s Endowment Fund and is an alumna of Torchbearers.  Tonika is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the National Black MBA Association, and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.

Tonika resides in Akron, Ohio and is the mother of two children, Michael and Logan.

Linda Hsu

Title: Chief Operating Officer

Company Chico & Nunes, PC


Linda Hsu has worked in the legal field for the past 14 years.  She is a Certified Legal Manager (CLM) and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Chico & Nunes, P.C., a boutique law firm in Chicago specializing in aviation, government and regulatory issues, procurement, real estate and land use, MBE/WBE/DBE certifications, and strategic business counseling.

Prior to her time in the legal industry, Linda worked in campaign politics on the local, state, and national levels.  She has been involved in aldermanic, gubernatorial, mayoral, and U.S. Senate races in various roles.

Linda is a spiritual and life adventurer, and lived in Asia for several years before adopting Chicago as her hometown.

Felicia Johnson

Title: VP of Enterprise Digital Transformation

Company Perficient Digital


Felicia Johnson has over 22 years of experience in the Information Technology industry, where the last 15 have been spent in Enterprise Digital Strategy and Strategic Account Growth/Business Development. Her combination of experience in developing enterprise focused Omni-Channel Strategies and delivering digital innovation and transformation practices across IT, Marketing, Customer Experience, Product Development, Operations and Organizational Change Management for Fortune 500 and Global 2000 organizations aid in her ability to focus on growing revenue for companies of all industries.

Felicia has played many roles in her career such as Digital Executive Client Partner, VP of Project Management Office, Senior Director of Business Intelligence, Director of eCommerce Solutions and most recently EVP of Enterprise Digital Transformation Strategy. 

Felicia received her B.S in Computer Science and a M.S in Computer Science with a concentration in Software Engineering from Bowling Green State University.

Kathy Lentner

Title: Founder

Company Tiaki & Wise Old Tree


Kathy Lentner is an experienced consultant, coach, speaker, and facilitator with over 20 years of experience partnering with global and regional organizations to nurture healthy, creative cultures. 

She believes that a healthier approach to work is essential to resilience, growth, and wellness in work and in life and that organizations have the unique opportunity to more fully impact (and benefit from) the health and happiness of their employees. Through her companies, Tiaki and Wise Old Tree, she is on a mission to build better, stronger, healthier individuals, businesses, and communities.

Kathy earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Marietta College and a Master’s in Organizational Development from Case Western Reserve University. She received her Executive Coaching Certification from the Weatherhead School of Management and is a certified health coach. Kathy has shared her expertise as an adjunct faculty member, a guest lecturer, as a board member for the Marietta College Alumni Association and as a planning team member for the Flourish Conference for Women in Leadership, The Wellness 360 Conference and as President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Health & Wellness Network of Commerce.

Christine Lobas

Title: Founder and CEO

Company Studiothink


Christine Lobas is the CEO/Founder of Studiothink, a strategic brand marketing & communications company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.

A graduate of Cleveland State University and Ursuline College with more than 20 years of experience in traditional and interactive advertising, creative direction, writing and public relations, Christine establishes a unique and comprehensive approach to strategic and creative direction for Studiothink clients. Christine has garnered awards for writing and creative direction and, prior to opening her own strategic communications/design firm, served as lead publicist and local media contact for clients including Verizon Wireless, Chipotle Restaurants and Norwalk Furniture, and subsequently was vice president and creative director for a Cleveland-based full-service advertising agency.

Christine holds a certification in Gerontological studies in addition to her Marketing/Business degree and is a member of the American Advertising Federation, The American Marketing Association, The Legal Marketing Association, the Cleveland chapter of the Global Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and serves on the boards of the Epilepsy Association, the Benjamin Rose Institute, the Corporate Committee of Southwest General Hospital, and the Entrepreneurs Organization.

Nichole B. Marshall

Title: Chief Diversity Officer

Company L Brands


With a deep and abiding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Nichole Barnes Marshall has built a remarkable career in Diversity and Inclusion leadership.  Always seeking to empower others, Nichole has dedicated her time and talents to endeavors that enable people to take their lives to the next level.

Nichole is the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for L Brands, the world-reknowned retailer of iconic brands specializing in lingerie, personal care and beauty products, apparel and accessories. She leads the development and implementation of inclusion and diversity strategies for L Brands’ 88,000 associates worldwide. 

Nichole has a robust background with 20 years of expertise in Diversity and Inclusion leadership, Talent Acquisition and Community Relations.  Before joining L Brands, Nichole was Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Aon plc, where she established a framework of policy and practices that advanced Aon’s recognition as a top company for diversity and inclusion. She was also Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity for W.W. Grainger, Inc., where she led the successful execution of Grainger’s inclusion and diversity strategies in the areas of inclusive culture, education and workforce diversity.  She also previously worked for Aon in roles of Director of Community Affairs and Diversity Recruitment Manager, where she demonstrated leadership in engaging employees in the community and attracting the best and brightest diverse talent the marketplace had to offer.  She has also served in HR leadership roles at Tribune Company and IBM Global Services. 

Prior to moving to Ohio, Nichole has been actively engaged in the Chicago-area community and has played a leadership role in several important civic and professional organizations, including Leadership Greater Chicago, The Executives’ Club of Chicago, The Chicago Sinfonietta, The Museum of Science and Industry – Black Creativity Advisory Committee, The National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) and Chicago United.  An avid reader and public speaker, Nichole is also a commercial voice actor and a sought after speaker and facilitator for numerous conferences, symposia and events.

Nichole is a graduate of Western Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology.

Denise Rucker-Burton

Title: Program Administrator

Company Community Office on Aging, Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services


Denise Rucker-Burton is currently the Program Administrator for the Community Office on Aging within the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services, where her role is to lead the planning, advocacy, and strategic communications efforts of the agency. Denise is a proven leader and manager with over 20 years of experience in her field. She has held positions in the for-profit, public, academic and non-profit sectors, and specializes in operational efficiency, contract & grant compliance, strategic alliance and capacity building.  Denise answered the entrepreneurial call in 2005 and founded Integrity Health Solutions LLC, a training and development consulting firm that assists health care organizations with strategic planning, project management, training, and clinical systems integration.

Denise serves on several boards throughout Greater Cleveland, including EWAW/Women’s Business & Leadership Development Center, and Zonta Club of Cleveland Foundation, where she is the Immediate Past President. Denise is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Cleveland State University, with a specialization in Health Care Management; a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology degree from Bowling Green State University; and is a graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders, a program of Cleveland Leadership Center. 

Barb Singer

Title: CEO

Company Executive Core


Barbara Singer is founder, president, and CEO of Executive Core, and leads a group of 150 global professionals whose mission is to more quickly innovate professional development globally. Barbara is renowned for her work in the evidence-based study of predictors of executive success and executive coaching. She has authored numerous executive education programs, written two books, and numerous white papers and articles. She has dedicated her career to helping more women achieve the C-suite. She is serving on the board of the Executive MBA Council for her third term as corporate liaison to over 250 prestigious international business schools, and belongs to numerous professional associations. Barbara and Marshal Goldsmith were both given the first two Coaching Thought Leaders of Distinction awards by the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches. The award has been awarded twice since.

Kristi Stepp

Title: Global Director, Talent Development.

Company General Motors


Kristi Stepp is the Global Head of Talent Development for General Motors. She is responsible for the enterprisewide development of over 65,000 salaried employees including 12,000 global people leaders. Her work aligns key areas in the employee lifecycle, including onboarding, early career, mid-career, emerging leaders, people leaders and executive development.

Before joining General Motors, Ms. Stepp served in strategic human resource roles at several leading global organizations including Kelly Services, Pepsi-Cola and Volkswagen. Ms. Stepp has broad international and multicultural expertise. While at Kelly, she was based in Singapore and led all aspects of HR for the Asia-Pacific Region. She has over twenty-nine years of human resources experience in the fields of automotive, healthcare, food/beverage and workforce solutions. In addition, Ms. Stepp has authored thought leadership content on future trends in human resources, employee performance and the workplace.

Ms. Stepp holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan (Psychology), a master’s degree from Central Michigan University (Human Resources) and a master’s degree from Fielding Graduate University (Human and Organizational Development).

In addition to an extensive educational background, Ms. Stepp is a certified Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) through the HR Certification Institute, holds the Master Human Capital Strategist (MHCS) designation from the Human Capital Institute (HCI), and is a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) through the Society for Human Resource Management.

Ms. Stepp serves the community through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and is the school board vice president for the Cornerstone JeffersonDouglass Academy in Detroit, Michigan.

Ramona Hood

Title: Vice President, Operations, Strategy and Planning

Company FedEx Custom Critical


Ramona Hood is the Vice President of Operations, Strategy and Planning at FedEx Custom Critical. Throughout her career, she has been recognized for developing talent, achieving remarkable success in her own career path and driving business results with growth. As a result of Ramona’s thought leader abilities and visionary talents, Ramona progressed from being an entry-level employee in 1991 to her current officer position. In her current role, she is responsible for setting and achieving strategic goals through inspiration and innovation. She is an experienced leader, mentor, and coach who leverages her intellectual curiosity to bring the highest level of knowledge and capabilities to the people around her.

Ramona’s impact on the people around her and the business includes transformational efforts and results. This includes being a champion for advancement of technology in the transportation industry. She is currently the technology chair for the Transportation Intermediary Association (TIA) and embraces the adoption of technology in her industry. At FedEx Custom Critical, she leads the business transformation on business agility and Scaled Agile Framework to ensure customer value is delivered faster. She has made cultural changes in how the organization thinks about innovation while leveraging techniques to drive continuous improvements and new business opportunities.

Ramona’s growth of a wholly owned FedEx Custom Critical subsidiary is another noteworthy example of her leadership in bringing about transformational change. The division has grown in eight years from 20 employees to 130, generating returns of 6 to 8% a year. She has hired and coached a diversified group for this subsidiary with emphasis on resilience and grit.

The multi-generational team is comprised of both college students and professionals who are in transition, such as moving to a different stage of their careers. The culture Ramona has established is one of “work hard, play hard.” She cultivates diversity of thought and leads her teams’ efforts to give back to the community. For instance, her simultaneously competitive and collaborative team has done work for Blessings in a Backpack, which is an organization that packages food and snacks for kids in need. The team has also volunteered at the local Food Bank.

Ramona often talks to team members across the FedEx corporation about being intentional about their careers. She advises team members to take the initiative to actively seek support to grow in their careers and has modeled this while achieving her own goals. Her talent management coaching is both formal and informal, responding to those who reach out to her for guidance. Ramona’s coaching and mentoring has been a factor in FedEx Custom Critical being repeatedly recognized as a great place to work by NorthCoast 99.

Ramona has made many transformational and thought leader contributions outside of FedEx. She is a business advisor for Welty Building. She serves on both the Transportation Intermediary Association and Walsh University Boards of Directors. Additionally, Ramona is on the Summit County Education Initiative Board placing emphasis on cradle to grave education. She is part of the Cleveland State University Foundation where she focuses on programs for youth who have aged out of foster care support.

As a highly respected member of the Kent Area (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Ramona has co-chaired services to youth, focusing on areas which will have high impact. Similarly, her volunteer work with Jack and Jill of America Inc., Akron Chapter is evidence of Ramona’s commitment to improving the lives of children.

In 2016, she received the Crain’s Cleveland, Women of Note award; Smart Women, Honoree of the Progress Woman award; and Woman of Influence from the Women in Trucking Association. She was also honored by the Greater Akron Chamber with the “30 for the Future” award.

In 2010 and 2016, Ramona received the FedEx Five Star award, which is the highest recognition employees can receive at FedEx.

Additionally, in 2013, she was recognized by Sales & Marketing Executives International with a Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award. She also was awarded the Woman of Inspiration Award from Walsh University.

Ramona received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Walsh University and an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.