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

2019 Conference Speakers

Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells


Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Miguel de Gracia


Root Candles

Danita Harris

Luncheon Emcee, Anchor,


Armond Budish

County Executive,

Cuyahoga County

Joe DiRocco

Regional President,

Northeast Ohio, Fifth Third Bank

Margie Flynn

Principal & Co-Founder

BrownFlynn, an ERM Company

Dr. June Lee

Co-Founder & Medical Director

Chicago Pain and Wellness Institute

Dr. Jennifer Savitski

Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology & Medical Director,


Billy Taylor

Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

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


Meaden & Moore - Management Development Group

Tonika Hammonds

Associate Director, Inclusiveness Recruiting Leader


Linda Hsu

Chief Operating Officer

Chico & Nunes, PC

Felicia Johnson

VP of Enterprise Digital Transformation

Perficient Digital

Kathy Lentner


Tiaki & Wise Old Tree

Christine Lobas

Founder and CEO


Denise Rucker-Burton

Program Administrator

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

Barb Singer


Executive Core

Kristi Stepp

Global Director, Talent Development.

General Motors

Ramona Hood

Vice President, Operations, Strategy and Planning

FedEx Custom Critical

Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells

Title: CEO,

Company Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is a regional entity providing sanitary and stormwater management services to Cleveland and 61 suburban communities in Northeast Ohio.

As CEO, Ms. Dreyfuss-Wells oversees the operation of one of the largest clean-water agencies in Ohio, a district that treats 90 billion gallons of water every year thanks to the work of more than 750 employees. She works closely with seven Trustees and nine directors to ensure efficient management of hundreds of miles of sewer and stream networks, a multi-billion-dollar 25-year Project Clean Lake program, and a regional wet-weather strategy for the health of Lake Erie and more than one million residents.

Before becoming CEO, Ms. Dreyfuss-Wells coordinated the District’s watershed management, including the Regional Stormwater Management Program and the application of stormwater control measures to reduce combined sewer overflows under the District’s Green Infrastructure Policy. She is past chair of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Stormwater Management Committee and the One Water Council of the US Water Alliance. She serves on the NACWA Board and chairs the District 1 Natural Resources Assistance Council for the Ohio Public Works Commission’s Clean Ohio Conservation Program. In 2012, Ms. Dreyfuss-Wells received the Stormwater Professional of the Year award from the Ohio Stormwater Association and the NACWA President’s Award.

Ms. Dreyfuss-Wells graduated summa cum laude from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She earned master’s degrees with honors in both Public Affairs and Environmental Science at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa. Before joining the District, she was Director of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.

Miguel de Gracia

Title: CEO,

Company Root Candles

As the CEO of Root Candles, Miguel de Gracia has implemented a strategic drive that has focused the company behind its most profitable operations, driving efficiencies and working capital improvements.

Miguel has over 20 years of experience improving shareholder value in the consumer products industry. Prior to joining Root Candles, Miguel was CEO of Worldwide Philips Consumer Electronics (Gibson Innovations), where he initiated the company turnaround, driving gross margins and operating profit gains. Previously, he worked at SC Johnson, where he held General Management positions in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean; consistently delivering profitable growth for the company, while demonstrating a bias for action, staff development and performance accountability. In his latest role at SC Johnson, he served as VP of Global Brand Equity, where he spearheaded strategic planning for global brands with maximum impact to New Product Development.

Miguel believes in the significance of executive leadership diversity. He has completed international executive programs at the Center of Creative Leadership in Davos, Switzerland and San Diego, CA. He has also fulfilled the Euro Executive Leadership Program at the University of Fontainebleau, in France.

Miguel holds an MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, NY and a BS in Business Administration from the Business Management College in Madrid, Spain.

Danita Harris

Title: Luncheon Emcee, Anchor,

Company WEWS-TV

Danita Harris, WEWS News5 anchorwoman and an Emmy-Award winning journalist, uses her profession as a main anchor to reach many people. She feels blessed to work in the broadcasting industry because it partners well with her commitment to community service. Danita’s latest initiative “It’s Your Time to S.H.I.N.E.” is a women’s group designed to help hurting women find the light within themselves. They meet monthly with hundreds in attendance. It was birthed out of Danita’s desire to be a vessel of hope to those who feel forgotten, rejected, abused, and unloved. Her goal is to provide a safe space where women can deal with their issues and get the practical tools they need to overcome personal challenges. In October 2018, she founded S.H.I.N.E. Girlz Mentoring Program, that is currently in schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. During the first year, over 100 4th-8th grade girls successfully completed the S.H.I.N.E. Girlz Mentoring Program. Danita is an ordained and licensed minister who was born in Chester, Pa. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in the 8th grade and lives as a woman who continuously seeks the face of God. Her favorite scripture is Luke 12:48 “For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” She currently attends Church on the North Coast in Wickliffe.

Danita challenges herself with ways she can help people in the community who are dealing with challenging issues. She organized a fundraiser to help homeless women and children, domestic violence victims and those who have experienced sexual violence. Danita was able to enlist the help of every local TV station and two major radio stations to increase the awareness of these issues. The event was a success and numerous monetary donations were made to organizations that are assisting women and children in their journey to find homes and overcome the trauma that has touched their lives. Danita has held several roles at WEWS. In 1998, she came to NewsChannel5 as part of the “Morning Exchange,” where she did live feature reports. After two years, Danita moved to WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., where she anchored the news on weekends and did entertainment reports during the week.

Danita’s love for the Cleveland area quickly brought her back to WEWS in September of 2000, when she stepped into the anchor position for “Good Morning Cleveland” and NewsChannel5 at noon. In 2004, Danita received an Emmy when Good Morning Cleveland won Best Morning Newscast. In 2010 she was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame and in 2017 she received 2 more Emmy’s for best evening newscast and a special on domestic violence. Harris reported a 4-part series on the foster care system and won the Journalist of the Year award from the Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio for her work to increase public awareness of child protection. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Chuck Heaton award from The Press Club of Cleveland. In 2019, she received three more Emmy Awards for Best Daytime Newscast, Best Evening Newscast and Breaking News: Caught in the Crossfire – The Shooting Death of 9- year-old Saniyah Nicholson.

Harris is extremely proud of serving as a guest host on ABC’s “The View,” and interviewing talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

After anchoring the morning show for six years, Harris was promoted to the evening anchor positions she holds today. One of Danita’s first broadcasting roles was at Black Entertainment Television, a national cable network located in Washington, D.C. While there, she worked behind the scenes as a producer in several areas; news, sports, music and entertainment.

Danita has a heart for people. She has won numerous awards for being a civic-minded individual whose passion for people is evident by all who meet her.

Danita is active in WEWS’s shadow program that allows high school students to spend the day with broadcast professionals. Danita understands the power of the media and does all she can to wield that power to support young people and push them to success.

In her spare time, she loves listening to jazz and gospel music.

One of Danita’s greatest blessings is her son Chase. He is an answered prayer and a testament of God’s faithfulness to her. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc., National Council of Negro Women, and Kaleidoscope Magazine’s 40/40 Club

Armond Budish

Title: County Executive,

Company Cuyahoga County

Armond Budish, a lifelong Clevelander, was recently re-elected for a second four-year term as Cuyahoga County Executive that will run through January 2022. During his first term, County Executive Budish oversaw the County’s first-ever strategic plan. His vision is to make Cuyahoga County a vibrant region where everyone thrives and all things are possible. The County leadership works on delivering health and human services across the county to those in need and also focuses on economic development. The economic development priority brings in new businesses and helps keep those we have so that there are good jobs available here.

Armond has been active in public service for nearly a quarter-century and an elected state lawmaker for the past eight years. He was elected as Speaker by his legislative peers to House Speaker, the highest position in the Ohio House where he always maintained focus on Cuyahoga County. He secured funds for the Innerbelt bridge and Opportunity Corridor and also led legislative efforts to enable the construction of the Global Health Center for Innovation, and the Jack Casino. Armond served as the Democratic Leader of the House for the 129th and 130th Ohio General Assemblies.

For 24 years, Armond wrote a consumers’ column, “You and the Law,” published by The Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch. For 14 years he hosted “Golden Opportunities,” a television program providing information, tips and advice for seniors and their families, which aired Sundays on WKYC Channel 3 Cleveland.

In 1993, he founded the law firm Budish, Solomon, Steiner, & Peck in Beachwood where he was a partner. He is a nationally recognized expert in Elder Law and the author of several books on the topic.

Armond obtained his Bachelor’s Degree with honors from Swarthmore College near Philadelphia and a Juris Doctor degree, Order of the Coif, from New York University Law School. He and his wife Amy live in Beachwood, Ohio.

Joe DiRocco

Title: Regional President,

Company Northeast Ohio, Fifth Third Bank

Joe DiRocco serves as regional president of Fifth Third Bank (Northeast Ohio), which has $3.4 billion in assets. He is responsible for growth and strategic alignment of our Commercial, Wealth & Asset Management and Consumer businesses to deliver distinctive value to our customers and community impact in the region.

Joe joined Fifth Third in 2017 from Citizens Bank, where he most recently served as president for Ohio. Before assuming that role in 2013, he held positions of increasing responsibility within the commercial banking sector for more than a decade. His broad experience includes middle market commercial lending as well as asset-backed lending. Earlier, from 1990 to 2001, Joe served in various positions, including vice president of finance, with the Hygenic Corp.


Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Akron.

Professional and Civic

Joe has been active in the community and serves on a number of boards, including Team NEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, the Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, and the University of Akron College of Business Administration Advancement Council.

Margie Flynn

Title: Principal & Co-Founder

Company BrownFlynn, an ERM Company

Margie shares her deeply ingrained passion for the community and belief in “doing well by doing good” as Senior Partner and Co-Founder of BrownFlynn, a leading corporate sustainability and governance consulting firm founded in January 1996. In March 2018, BrownFlynn became a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based global sustainability consulting firm ERM.   

As Senior Partner and Co-Founder of BrownFlynn, Margie builds strong relationships with clients and team members, serving as their trusted partner and colleague. She has been instrumental in shaping a variety of corporate responsibility and sustainability strategies for regional, national, and global corporations and organizations. Her strong commitment to ethical business practices and eye on global impact also make Margie a dynamic speaker and valued advisor for clients seeking to improve their business practices while catalyzing positive change throughout their organizations. She is a frequent speaker at numerous conferences, venues, and universities, and has written several articles on sustainability and entrepreneurship in local and national publications. Margie and her business partner, Barb Brown, also published a book, Uplifting Leaders* (*Who Happen To Be Women), to commemorate their firm’s 20th anniversary, all net proceeds from which are donated to the YWCA of Greater Cleveland to support the education of young women transitioning out of foster care.

Before co-founding BrownFlynn, Margie worked for 15 years in the financial services industry, serving in various corporate management and investor relations positions. Currently, she is actively involved in numerous local and national civic and business organizations, including the Society for Corporate Governance, the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Conscious Capitalism, the Cleveland Climate Action Fund Advisory Board, In Counsel with Women, and the GreenCityBlueLake Board of Advisors. She also serves on Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s Sustainability Council, is president of her 2004 Leadership Cleveland class, and serves as a lay Eucharistic Minister at Saint Paschal Baylon Church.

Dr. June Lee

Title: Co-Founder & Medical Director

Company Chicago Pain and Wellness Institute

The Co-Founder and Medical Director of Chicago Pain and Wellness Institute and Optimum Ketamine Center, Dr. Lee is a physician leader with over 20 years of experience promoting the ethical and patient-centered delivery of healthcare in innovative environments.

Board-certified in Anesthesiology, Dr. Lee started her career at a large private anesthesiology practice at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, a Trauma II facility located in the Chicago metropolitan area.  There, she became a partner and rose to become the Vice Chairperson and Chief Compliance Officer of the Department of Anesthesiology. She also was elected to serve as the Vice President of the hospital’s Medical Staff and was appointed to serve on the Medical Staff Credentials Committee.

In 2015, Dr. Lee left hospital-based medical practice and started her own private practice focusing on pain management.  She also pioneered an innovative ketamine treatment center for treatment-resistant depression.  In that regard, Dr. Lee has been the subject of numerous media reports regarding the growing use of ketamine to treat depression, and under her guidance both the ketamine and pain management practices have experienced significant growth.   

Dr. Lee completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, her M.D. at Rush University, and her residency training at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center.  She also has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

Public service has always been one of Dr. Lee’s core values. She was appointed by the Governor to serve as a Board Member of the Illinois State Board of Health and was a long-standing Board Member of Asian Human Services Health Clinic, a non-profit organization that focuses on delivering cost-effective medical and dental care to immigrant communities in Chicago.  Dr. Lee also has volunteered extensively in surgery-based medical humanitarian missions in Cali, Colombia. 

Dr. Lee is blessed to have a very close-knit family. She is married and has two wonderful children and two adorable dogs.  She is an avid runner and enjoys running marathons. 

Dr. Jennifer Savitski

Title: Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology & Medical Director,

Company PATH

Dr. Jennifer Savitski has been a member of the medical staff of Cleveland Clinic Akron General (CCAG) since 2001 after graduating from East Tennessee State University, Quillen College of Medicine. She is active in graduate medical education and hospital administration, having previously been the Program Director for the OB/GYN Residency and is currently the Chair of the Department of OB/GYN – the first woman to hold either of those positions in the hospital’s 100+ year history.

Dr. Savitski developed Akron General’s first Forensic Medical Program, called the PATH Center (Providing Access To Healing). The program was initially developed in 2015 as a response to the community need for forensic medical services related to sexual violence.  The PATH Center now serves all patients and caregivers of CCAG who have experienced any aspect of trauma related to victimization. From 2015-2018, the PATH Center cared for 1,049 patients. In 2019 alone, the Center is projected to care for well over 1,000 patients.

Dr. Savitski is a proud member of the Akron community and is active in issues related to maternal/infant health and gender equity and women in leadership.  She serves as a Co-Chair for the Services Action Team of Akron’s Full Term First Birthday Collaborative. She is also the President of the Women’s Network and on the Executive Committee of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.

Billy Taylor

Title: Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion

Company The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Billy Taylor is the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT), based in Akron, OH. In this role, he leads diversity and inclusion strategies across the 22 countries where Goodyear operates. Throughout his career with Goodyear, Billy has been a fierce advocate for equality and inclusion; he is passionate about building strong internal teams and productive community partnerships to create an environment where all 64,000 employees have an opportunity to contribute at their highest level, enabling the Company to harness the vast untapped business opportunity in an increasingly diverse marketplace.

Since joining Goodyear in 1989, Billy has progressed through a series of critical leadership positions. He has served in Executive Operations positions and the Plant Director capacity in several union and non-union production facilities and has led Goodyear’s largest and most complex tire-production sites. His teams have earned numerous internal and external awards and recognition.

Billy is a disciple of continuous improvement processes, a certified Six Sigma Black Belt business leader, and has been featured in numerous industry publications. He is an energetic speaker who embraces people-driven processes built on inclusion and cultural competence to drive leadership excellence. And he has been called upon by Association of the Manufacturing Excellence, Shingo (Nobel Prize of Operations), and The U.S. Army to serve a keynote speaker to help their teams learn how to drive and sustain positive results by embracing culture and enabling employee ownership.

Active in the community, Billy serves on the executive board of Saint Vincent-Saint Mary High School in Akron. He is also a member of the executive advisory board of the Utah State University Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Shingo Prize Institute and leads as Chairman of the Goodyear Good Government Fund Board. He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

He earned an MBA from Baker University, in Baldwin City, Kansas, and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Prairie View A&M University, in Prairie View, Texas. He and his wife Rachel have two children and live in the Akron area.

Notable Achievements and Recognition:

State of Oklahoma Governor’s Office and the Oklahoma Southeast Legislative Delegation – Citation of commendation for leadership and community service.

Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence – The world’s only Lean Manufacturing award program, awarded for leading the Goodyear plant in Lawton, Oklahoma, to excellence in Lean Manufacturing.

Freedom Fortress Coin – Rarely bestowed upon civilians, presented in recognition of strong leadership during the economic downturn by Lieutenant General David Valcourt, deputy commanding three-star general and chief of staff of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

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: Vice President and 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.