2014 Keynote Speaker

Sophia A. Nelson, Esq

Award Winning Author and Journalist

Sophia A. Nelson, Esq. is an American award winning author, award winning journalist and former White House Correspondent for Jet Magazine. She is a noted Television Personality and Huffington Post Healthy Living and Women Columnist. She writes for Newsweek Daily Beast/Women in the World and appears regularly on MSNBC as a contributor. She has appeared on numerous other networks such as the BBC, CNN, FOX, C-Span, NBC the Today Show, ABC Nightly News with Diane Sawyer, and more as a political & cultural expert, thought leader, and attorney, covering many topics of national and global interest.

Sophia is the author of the award winning 2011 Non-Fiction book, “Black Women Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama”. Sophia is a highly sought after motivational speaker and leadership trainer in the Fortune 500, industry and universities. She has contributed to USA Today, Essence Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Her 2nd book The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys to Unlock Your Life (Revell), is due out in stores worldwide October 2014.

2014 Featured Speakers

Grace L. Keenan, MD

Chief Executive Officer, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Board Certified in Integrative Holistic Medicine

Dr. Keenan is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nova Medical & Urgent Care Center, Inc. and the Garden of Eatin’, LLC Grab & Go Café.

A native of Canada, Dr. Keenan received her medical degree from Memorial University School of Medicine in 1985. Upon successful completion of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Thomas Hospital Center in Akron, OH, Dr. Keenan relocated to Loudoun County and began private practice in 1988. The previous sole proprietorship became Nova Medical Group in 1991; today it is the largest integrative primary care practice in Northern Virginia with locations in Ashburn, Sterling, Leesburg and Gainesville.

With a firm belief that proper diet and nutrition are at the helm of disease prevention and optimizing health, Dr. Keenan opened the Garden of Eatin’ Grab & Go Café in April 2014. It was designed to complement Nova’s suite of workplace wellness offerings and mission to promote optimal health. The café offers quick, flavorful, healthy lunch alternatives to Nova’s employees, patients, and the Loudoun County community. The catering services available help local employers to support and promote a culture of wellness within their workforce.

A visionary and business leader in Loudoun County, Dr. Keenan has been honored with a number of accolades including an “Enterprising Women of the Year” award by Enterprising Women magazine, a “Brava! Women in Business” award by SmartCEO magazine, a “Women Who Mean Business” award by the Washington Business Journal, and the inaugural “Stellar Woman of the Year” award at the Virginia Women’s Business Conference.

Dr. Keenan is actively involved with many local and national professional organizations. Within the local community, she serves on the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Loudoun County CEO Cabinet, and the Loudoun County Health Council. She’s an avid supporter of the Loudoun Free Clinic and is also a member of 100 Women Strong, the Washington Spa Alliance, a clinical preceptor for George Mason and Marymount Universities, and an affiliate faculty for George Mason University. On a national level, she serves on the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Leaders & Innovators Strategic Advisory Panel and the University of California Irvine Extension Advisory Committee for the Spa & Hospitality Management Certificate Program.

Other professional memberships include: the Medical Society of Northern Virginia, American Association of Medical Review Officers, Medical Society of Virginia, American Medical Association, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, International Spa Association (ISPA), and Vistage.

Jas Boothe

Founder, Final Salute, Inc.

Jas Boothe is a disabled Army Veteran, Cancer Survivor and Veteran Advocate who gave 13 years of service to this great nation.

Jas Founded Final Salute Inc. in November 2010 as part of her commitment to “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade”.

She deployed during the Operation Iraq Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns and her military career was dedicated to working with and advocating for Soldiers and their family members.

In 2005, she was a single parent in the Army Reserves living in New Orleans. That spring, she learned she would soon be deploying to Iraq. During her mobilization, Boothe’s life was torn apart by two significant events. In August she lost everything she owned due to Hurricane Katrina. She tried to shift her focus to her platoon that was counting on her for leadership in a combat zone. The very next month in September, she received a devastating diagnosis of an aggressive head, neck, and throat cancer, and was now unable to deploy.

Boothe’s options were limited and posed some very hard choices for her. Because of her illness, she had to discharge from the military. But she needed complex full-time medical care, employment, and a place to live with her young son. When searching for what assistance might be available, she was told there were no existing programs for women Veterans with children and that she should explore welfare and social services as an option, just like every other single mother with an illegitimate child. Jas then realized that America had forgotten about the women who have served, fought, bled and died along side their brothers. She found these options unacceptable for a woman who had honorably served her country. After extensive cancer treatment, including radiation therapy that left life-long side effects, at Brooke Army Medical Center, she was allowed to stay in the Reserves and immediately began looking for full-time employment and a place for her and her son to live.

In 2006, she relocated to Missouri with her aunt, where she subsequently accepted a job offer from the Army National Guard. Later in the year, she received an opportunity to return to full-time duty in Washington, DC. Boothe never forgot what she and her son had been through and was determined to ensure her fellow sister Veterans had a resource in their time of need. She also wanted to ensure they were treated with the dignity and respect earned they had earned under extremely severe circumstances.

Final Salute has assisted over 300 women Veterans and children in over 15 States and Territories. They now operate 3 transitional homes in Alexandria, VA, Martinsburg, WV and Columbus, OH.

Final Salute is currently the only non-profit in the DC Metro Area that uniquely houses and supports homeless women Veterans and their children.

Boothe holds dual MAs in Human Resource Management and Management and Leadership from Webster University.

Jas is the mother of two wonderful boys, Brandon (currently serving in the United States Air Force) and Jammel Jr. She is also the wife of former Marine Combat Veteran, Jammel R. Boothe Sr.

Here a few of the awards she has received for her leadership and community impact: 2014 Oprah Winfrey Standing Ovation, CNN Hero, 2014 Live with Kelly and Michael Unstoppable Mom, 2014 YWCA Woman of Distinction, 2014 First Lady of Virginia’s FLITE Award – Opportunity Hall of Fame Inductee, 2014 Influential Woman Of the Year – Virginia Lawyer’s Media, and 2013 Woman of the Year (non-profit/government) – Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Dr. Anne Brown

Capital Women’s Care

Dr. Brown has been practicing Ob/Gyn and living in Loudoun County VA since 1994, and her 5-woman practice is currently known as Capital Women’s Care. She attended college and medical school at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. She trained in her specialty at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a mother of two teenaged daughters that attend public schools in Ashburn, VA and she is married to an emergency room physician.

Dr. Brown has been actively involved in leadership activities at Inova Loudoun Hospital since her arrival, including 2 years as vice-chair and 4 years as the chairperson of her department, serving on the Medical Executive Committee. She currently serves as the Medical Director of the Women’s Health Service Line representing Loudoun Hospital for the Inova system. Dr. Brown has a strong sense of commitment to her patients and her community, and she considers it her role to approach the whole woman physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She considers it a privilege to help the women and families of Loudoun County be the healthiest they can be.

Liz Fletcher Brown

President, National Speakers Association Washington, D.C.

Liz Fletcher Brown is a thought leader in the field of personal transformation. Her background in professional dance taught her the elements of discipline necessary to be successful in the business world. Liz now works with organizations who want to create a resilient and productive workforce as well as one that finds balance in the midst of the chaotic environment many of us find ourselves in today.

Through her speaking, consulting, coaching and writing, Liz brings audiences the information they need in order to shine in a challenging economy. Her most recent award-winning book is Full Wattage! A Practical Guide to Living an Engaging and Purposeful Life Worth Celebrating.

Liz brings to all of her work an infectious enthusiasm and a unique combination of dance as a dramatic teaching metaphor, engaging stories and practical ideas to enhance participants’ working and personal lives.

As an active member of the National Speakers Association, and President of NSA Washington D.C., Liz stays on top of current trends and innovations in the industry.

Liz is a business owner, a certified counselor, and a credentialed coach. She said, “The world of dance taught me…

  • the importance of following your dreams
  • the value of persistence
  • personal discipline as the key to success
  • not to take rejection personally
  • the skill of working in a team
  • how to deal with prima donnas (literally)
  • and, most importantly, how to know when to take the stage as the star and when to be a supportive follower.”

When she was 21, Liz moved from Scotland to New York City, to a country where she knew no one, to follow her dream of being a professional dancer. This adventuring spirit continues to motivate her today.

Christine Chen

President and Founder, Global Professional Protocal (GPP)

Christine Chen is the President and Founder of Global Professional Protocol (GPP). She is a speaker, trainer, writer, and media expert. Providing professional development and organizational excellence is her passion. Professionally trained by The Protocol School of Washington, she has a clear understanding of the ever-changing rules of protocol in today’s society along with the importance of world class customer service. As a graduate from the Cappa Chell Finishing School, she brings expertise in the area of making the first impression that counts. With a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and as a certified practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessment, Christine brings out the importance of understanding the need for positive relationships between employees and clients as well as the need for team building within the organization.

Christine has written articles that have been published in various magazines nationwide including Personal Excellence: The Magazine of Personal Leadership. Currently, Christine writes a monthly column for the online magazine, Recipes for Good Living. She has been featured in various Family Magazines, The Gazette, and The Washington Times. She has also been featured on It’s Your Biz Radio with Susan Solovac, FOX 5 DC, CNN, and is currently a regular guest on News Channel 8 Let’s Talk Live. Working closely with an MTV producer, she produced a social skills video for teenagers, The Contest.

Christine’s passion for children and quality education led her to meeting the need for a school in her area. She co-founded Olney Adventist Preparatory School (OAPS) in 1997. Olney Adventist Preparatory School is a thriving school with over one hundred students. Christine’s passion for shaping tomorrow’s leaders is evidenced in her work at OAPS where she has volunteered her consulting services since 1997. Christine also served as School Board Chair from 2003-2011.

For additional information, to schedule a program, or to invite Christine to speak at an event, contact her at info@gpprotocol.com, 301-580-7780, or visit GPP website at www.gpprotocol.com.

Joda Coolidge

Founder, Live Life Happy Coaching

Is happiness a choice? Joda Coolidge believes it is. As a positive psychology coach, she helps people live with purpose according to their own personal definition of success. Integrating nearly 20 years of experience in marketing with her background in professional counseling and life and wellness coaching, Joda founded Live Life Happy Coaching to help others embrace their choices and actions to build rich, full lives marked by joy, engagement, and alignment.

Joda takes her clients on a journey of self-discovery, challenges them to identify barriers, and works collaboratively to build a realistic, achievable plan of action. She has a keen sense for helping clients identify what is out of balance: career, health, or relationships. With her extensive personal experience as a counselor, coach, social worker, marketing executive, and business owner, she is unusually qualified in this field. Applying life, wellness, and positive psychology coaching skills, clients develop an integrated, balanced plan that guides them in making choices that, when executed, bring the joy and satisfaction in life that every one of us truly deserves.

She has been passionate about well-being and wellness for over 30 years. Joda earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Individual/Family Studies and her Graduate degree in Counseling from the University of Delaware. She has also trained through the Martha Beck Institute, Gretchen Pisano of Sounding Board, Inc., Dr. Robert Biswar-Diener of Intentional Happiness, and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Joda also maintains an active public speaking and workshop schedule, offering topics such as “The Art of Allowing Joy,” “Discovering Yourself,” “Happy Mind Healthy Body,” and a series entitled Happiness Advantage. Groups and audiences have consistently rated Joda as an extremely effective speaker and group leader who makes an impact with kindness, warmth and humor.

In collaboration with Jen Dalton, CEO of BrandMirror, Joda and Jen are developing and launching the program “Your Brand For Life” after having the opportunity to do work at Georgetown University. Targeting millennials as well as professionals, this dynamic program is designed to integrate professional coaching and personal branding. Joda was also recently hired as the Director of Life Coaching at NAVA Health and Vitality Centers, headquartered in Columbia, MD.

Joda’s own personal happiest moments are spent having game night with her husband and four adult children, savoring a cup of oolong tea, feeling the joy of a long run, finding hidden gems when traveling, and listening to the stories of people’s lives.

Jen Dalton

CEO and Founder, BrandMirror

Jen Dalton, CEO and Founder of BrandMirror, has over 15 years of experience in strategy, marketing and coaching. In 2012, she made a gutsy move into the entrepreneurship space, launching her branding business and became a certified brand strategist. She enables individuals and companies to define their brand and differentiate themselves in authentic, credible, and relevant ways to their target audience and market. She is an international speaker and has coached hundreds of individuals and entrepreneurs about defining their brands and how to stand out. She believes you should define your brand, or others will do that for you. She has worked with organizations such as Capital One, Georgetown University, C-Lever, UXPA, and more.

She is an active member in the entrepreneur community in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Partnering with many organizations to develop their marketing strategy as well as working with individuals to help them both articulate their core values, mission, vision, and ultimately their brand. Jen is a member of Her Corner, a women’s entrepreneur network that started a few years ago and enjoys meeting monthly with her circle or entrepreneurs and providing (and receiving) coaching and support.

She is committed to giving back to the community through board service at Homestretch, where she leads the Strategic Planning Committee. Jen is focused on serving homeless families in the northern Virginia area through building sustainable business practices and creating innovative strategic partnerships.

Jen attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate, where she double-majored in Human Resource Management and International Management. She recently completed her Executive MBA at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in the spring of 2012.

Prior to Georgetown, Jen worked at Capital One for 10 years in operations, marketing, customer management, and more. She was an active member on the Environmental Council and received several Circle of Excellence Awards for her contributions individually and as a team member.

Jen is a Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, helping individuals define their authentic brand to achieve career and life success.

She is a mom to two boys, wife to a husband as introverted as she is extroverted, loves singing, dancing, and laughing.

Christina Daves

PR for Anyone®

Christina is a native Washingtonian and graduate of Virginia Tech. She received dual degrees in Political Science and German. She had accepted a position with a company in Germany when a family tragedy altered her course. She chose not go to Europe but stay in the area with her family.

Shortly thereafter, her entrepreneurial journey began when she started an event planning business with two friends. They would plan large-scale events for “twenty-somethings” in the D.C. area.

After getting married, she opted for a more conservative profession and went to work for a land development firm. After having her first child, she went out on her own again and started a niche firm that performed feasibility studies on data centers. Her main client was AOL.

When the data center market dried up, Christina and her best friend opened a boutique in a then blighted Haymarket, VA. The ladies knew the growth potential in the area and opened a store in an historic house. With Christina’s background in research, she wrote a demographic study on the area and convinced large national brands like Vera Bradley and Brighton to allow them to sell their products. After close to 10 years, she “retired” from Details.

The following summer, a freak accident left her with a broken foot and stuck wearing an awful medical boot. With nothing available on the market to make it fashionable, she founded CastMedic Designs that manufactures accessories to make the medical boot fun and fashionable. Her products have won national awards and have also been worn by celebrities.

Desperately needing brand awareness and product exposure, and not having any money to hire a publicist or pay for advertising, Christina taught herself everything she could about doing her own publicity. In less than one year she appeared in over 50 media outlets including the Steve Harvey Show, Doctor Oz, local affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and the CW, The Washington Post, and national magazines like All You and Parenting.

As a result of her PR success, she created PR for Anyone® to help other small business owners learn how to do what she did to have similar success. Christina is also the author of the bestselling book, PR for Anyone™ 100+ Affordable Ways to Easily Create Buzz for Your Business, which shares her personal PR experiences as well as easy to follow tips to help small businesses gain their own publicity.

Christina lives in Gainesville, VA with her husband of almost 20 years and her two teenage children. You will often find her on sports fields, hockey rinks, or volleyball courts around the area watching her kids play (her favorite thing to do).

Michelle R. Dawson, MBA, PhD

Founder and President, Catalyst Enterprises International

Founder and President of Catalyst Enterprises International, Dr. Michelle Dawson’s mission is to “help organizations and individuals turn potential into performance.” With over 15 years as an Organizational Strategist and Consultant, Michelle facilitates leadership and organizational development programs for entrepreneurs, corporations and nonprofit organizations in the United States, Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. Her understanding of multiple industries and appreciation of diverse work cultures has been a driving force in her ability to guide people and organizations to achieve measurable positive results.

Catalyst Success Institute, the entrepreneurial development division of Catalyst Enterprises, helps women leaders and entrepreneurs breakthrough self-sabotaging paradigms and make quantum leaps in their mission, marketing and money while staying true to their vision and values.

Michelle is also co-author of the book titled, “A VIEW FROM THE TOP: Exceptional Leadership Strategies for Women”. This book is for the woman who wants to unapologetically stand in the power of their femininity, share the brilliance and uniqueness of their talents with the world, and confidently charge what they are worth!

Kristen Ferrer

President, KTW Consulting, LLC

Kristen Ferrer has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, communications and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and has worked on projects in more than 20 countries. Her strategic marketing and communications expertise has driven growth for firms across many different industries and includes the use of digital, social and traditional media to promote activities and comprehensive reporting, connecting program development to companies’ strategic missions.

Based in Washington, DC, Ms. Ferrer is a marketing manager for BLR Holdings, Inc., as well as president of KTW Consulting, LLC. While at BLR Holdings, she created the company’s first CSR program while building a full-service, in-house marketing and creative services agency. Through this formalized CSR program she created a true competitive advantage by positioning BLR Holdings as a leader in employee retention in an industry that typically has high turnover rates and elevating CSR in the staffing industry. Ms. Ferrer is currently serving as the Chairperson of the American Staffing Association’s (ASA) Corporate Social Responsibility Committee for the second year in a row.

Ms. Ferrer recently launched KTW Consulting, a boutique consultancy focused on driving growth through strategic marketing, communications and CSR programs for small- and medium-sized companies. Her firm delivers measurable results tied to strategic goals and key performance indicators, with a focus on growth and revenue creation.

She holds a BSBA in Marketing from East Carolina University, and an MA in International Commerce and Public Policy from George Mason University. She currently teaches Social Media and Digital Marketing classes at General Assembly DC and Northern Virginia Community College.

Deborah Ginsburg

Founder and CEO, Strategia Design

Deborah Ginsburg is what many would call a serial entrepreneur. Her love of business and love for design has developed and manifested in many forms over the course of her career. In 1992, she started her first business, a magazine, called HINGE. HINGE was a magazine that focused on the creativity and contributions of Generation X. Her goal was to rename Generation X to the HINGE generation, bridging baby boomer and Generation Y. Her fascination with what motivates and shapes generations has been a passion for decades.

Today, Deborah is the founder and CEO of Strategia Design, a strategically focused marketing and design firm with a specialty in helping companies, of all sizes, brand and bring their products and services to market.

Deborah has worked with companies like HEB, Ahold USA, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Best Buy and many others to develop targeted branding programs and packages that connect with consumers, build equity and increase sales. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, a minor in Italian language, a graduate diploma in Corporate Graphics from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

Deborah has been a contributing writer to Private Label Magazine and StoreBrands online. She serves on the board of directors for the Private Label Manufacturing Association and Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence.

Deborah is reigniting her passion for generations by partnering with Anne Loehr and focusing her work on generational marketing. In today’s overly communicated and complex market, understanding why people feel connected to a brand and what motivates them to buy, will be the determining factor between success and failure of a company or product.

Dr. Laura Hills

President, Blue Pencil Institute

Dr. Laura Hills has accomplished many things over a distinguished 30-year career but defines herself first and foremost as an educator. She uses a variety of modalities to teach adult learners how to advance their careers, increase their skills, and find greater fulfillment in their work. Dr. Hills has educated thousands of career professionals through face-to-face instruction, seminars and workshops, one-on-one coaching and training, teleconferences, and the many learning products that she has developed, including her popular books, articles, and learning templates. As president of Blue Pencil Institute, she provides educational programs, learning products, and individual and group coaching to help career professionals excel. Her specialty areas include communication skills, human resources and team building, relationship and network building, leadership development, work/life balance, professional ethics, emotional intelligence, workplace etiquette, presentation and public speaking skills, professional image development, achieving excellence, professionalism, and visionary and legacy thinking.

Dr. Hills is the author of six successful books:

  • Do-It-Yourself Marketing for the Professional Practice (Prentice-Hall, 1986)
  • The Professional Practice Problem Solver (Prentice-Hall, 1991)
  • How to Recruit, Motivate, and Manage a Winning Staff: A Medical Practice How-To Guidebook (Greenbranch, 2004)
  • Lasting Female Educational Leadership: Leadership Legacies of Women Leaders (Springer, 2013)
  • Climbing Out of a Rut: Four Steps and 101 Secrets to Supercharging Your Career and Finding Greater Fulfillment and Reward in What You Do Every Day (Blue Pencil Publishing, 2013)
  • They’ll Eat Out of Your Hand If You Know What to Feed Them: The 30 Essential Communication Skills that Give Highly Successful Career Professionals Their Edge (Blue Pencil Publishing, 2014)

She has authored hundreds of journal articles and notably, has been a staff development columnist for The Journal of Practice Management since 1998. Dr. Hills has been a popular public speaker for professional associations and conferences and is well known for her lively and experiential seminars and workshops. She has significant teaching and educational leadership experience as a former college professor and academic administrator at Virginia International University where she taught both academic English and English as a Second Language and served as an academic department chair. Dr. Hills has also taught a variety of Workforce Development and Continuing Education courses for Northern Virginia Community College.

Dr. Hills has grounded all of her work in a rigorous academic foundation in learning theory, pedagogy, learning assessment, and curriculum design. She holds a Doctor of Arts in Higher Education from George Mason University where she focused her scholarly work on leadership studies. She is a distinguished scholar and was awarded the George Mason University Higher Education Outstanding Doctoral Student Award and Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Dr. Hills also earned a Master of Arts in English and graduate certificates in College Teaching and in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages from George Mason University. She completed her Bachelor of Arts cum laude at Rutgers University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and won the freshman prize for outstanding English language skills.

Dr. Hills is committed to community service and has been the pianist and music specialist at Fairfax Nursing Center and the Gardens at Fair Oaks in Fairfax, Virginia since January of 2001, where she conducts weekly music appreciation programs for seniors focusing on classic Broadway and jazz standards. She is an active Rotarian and served as the president of the Rotary Club of Fairfax, Virginia in 2012-2013. She has also served on the City of Fairfax Commission on the Arts since 2011. Dr. Hills lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband, Cornell Hills and is the mother of three adult daughters.

Gabrielle Jordan

Owner, Jewelz of Jordan

“When I reflect back on my life, I want it to be filled with big dreams, big actions and big accomplishments and that’s what I want for others,” says Gabrielle Jordan, the flourishing 14-year-old with a mature, yet youthful mix of brilliance, business-savvy and poise.

Gabrielle Jordan has made a great deal of accomplishments, yet she knows that those accomplishments are only the beginning of her quest to leave a global impact in business, motivational speaking and publishing. With a list of recognitions under her belt including, but not limited to, being the youngest member of the Great Black Speakers bureau as well as receiving the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Stiletto Women in Business and the McDonald’s 365Black Community Choice Youth Award, Gabrielle is creating tidal waves for her creativity and thought-provoking messages.

Gabrielle Jordan is the owner of Jewelz of Jordan, a booming jewelry business, which she started at the age of 9. Her modern jewelry is made of gemstones and precious metals, which create classic pieces and represent her desire to develop a sense of ageless beauty and elegance. Gabrielle’s jewelry is sold via her online boutique and at live events, where she receives tremendously positive feedback and leaves lasting impressions about her undeniable potential.

In addition to her jewelry line, Gabrielle has taken her experience in business and her passion for inspiring others to publish the nationally recognized and #1 Amazon Bestselling book, The Making of a Young Entrepreneur: A Kids Guide to Developing the Mind-Set for Success. The book has helped to build her platform as a sought-after speaker with accomplishments such as being a TEDx speaker and keynoting several ceremonies for organizations throughout the country. She has a growing list of national speaking engagements where she has delivered powerful messages and led meaningful workshops. Her “outside-of-the-box” thinking and hands-on approach to learning helps audiences of any age connect with her messages for pursuing their dreams and pushing aside their limitations.

Most of all, Gabrielle Jordan is a generous and service-oriented teenager who believes in lending a helping hand and heart to others. As a young philanthropist, she donates a portion of her profits from her book to her favorite charities. She also volunteers as a Youth Ambassador for the Tigerlily Foundation, where she supports the mission for breast health, education, wellness and empowerment for girls and women.

Gabrielle Jordan is quickly becoming a recognized name due to her features on several television and radio stations as well as news and online publications such as NPR, NBC, Fox News and ABC’s Good Morning Washington. Gabrielle is currently an 8th grade home school student and her career goals include, but are not limited to becoming a gemologist, international speaker, New York Times bestselling author and to continue her philanthropic endeavors.

In the end, Gabrielle Jordan is a teenager who still enjoys relaxing, hanging out with her family, studying her crafts and reading. Her accomplishments prove that she has what it takes to create a legacy for herself and leave a significant mark on the world and the people she meets along her path to greatness.

Guylaine Saint Juste

Virginia Market Executive | Business Banking | Speaker | Community Leader

Guylaine Saint Juste is the Business Banking Virginia Market Executive at Capital One Bank. She provides strategic oversight, cultivates a culture of purpose and significance, and creates a learning organization where a team of banking professionals provides good advice and expertise to clients in the emerging market. Her passion is to help her team, her clients, her community to scale, grow, thrive and prosper.

A thought leader with a keen sense of “perceptual acuity”, adept at creating a culture of intention and purpose where human capital grows, learns performs and contributes. A dynamic, enterprising and seasoned executive with broad-based management and leadership experience in retail and commercial banking, talent, operational and organizational strategy development, leadership and implementation of major business lines/units to improve performance and profitability, brand development to enhance value and competitive positioning.

Guy spearheads the development of a new start-up region. She oversees Small Business strategy for 95 branches, 650 employees, with a deposit base of $1.1B, and total loans of $650M, and leads all aspects of Business Banking including talent acquisition, financial performance, performance management, marketing, and sales.

She joined Capital One in January 2011 after 11 years at SunTrust. Guylaine counts over 20 years in the banking industry in various leadership roles. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from George Mason University and a Graduate Degree in Retail Banking Management from the University of Virginia.

Besides co-chairing the George Mason University School of Business, Women Symposium; serving on the board of Goodwill, the Community Business Partnership, and Adventure Theater, she chaired the board of Prince William Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and was co-founder and President of the Board of the Women’s Alliance for Financial Education (WAFE). Guy has been recognized as a Woman Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Magazine, received the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Corporate Citizen Award, and The President’s Award from the Fairfax Bar Association. She is a frequent speaker and presenter.

Guy was born and raised in Haiti and has lived in the Northern Virginia area for 27 years. She lives with her husband in Clifton.

Denise Kelly

Administrative Business Partner, Internet Evangelism Google Inc.

Denise currently serves as the Administrative Business Partner to the Internet Evangelism team at Google. The Internet Evangelism team, led by Vint Cerf – VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, is responsible for identifying new enabling technologies to support the development of advanced, Internet-based products and services from Google. In addition to her duties in Internet Evangelism, she is also a Google Apps administrative guru and change manager for the GCorps, a volunteer team that deploys Google Apps to nonprofit organizations. Denise holds a bachelors degree from Florida A&M University and an MBA from Tepper Business School, Carnegie Mellon University.

Grace L. Keenan, MD

Chief Executive Officer, Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Board Certified in Integrative Holistic Medicine

Dr. Keenan is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nova Medical & Urgent Care Center, Inc. and the Garden of Eatin’, LLC Grab & Go Café.

A native of Canada, Dr. Keenan received her medical degree from Memorial University School of Medicine in 1985. Upon successful completion of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at St. Thomas Hospital Center in Akron, OH, Dr. Keenan relocated to Loudoun County and began private practice in 1988. The previous sole proprietorship became Nova Medical Group in 1991; today it is the largest integrative primary care practice in Northern Virginia with locations in Ashburn, Sterling, Leesburg and Gainesville.

With a firm belief that proper diet and nutrition are at the helm of disease prevention and optimizing health, Dr. Keenan opened the Garden of Eatin’ Grab & Go Café in April 2014. It was designed to complement Nova’s suite of workplace wellness offerings and mission to promote optimal health. The café offers quick, flavorful, healthy lunch alternatives to Nova’s employees, patients, and the Loudoun County community. The catering services available help local employers to support and promote a culture of wellness within their workforce.

A visionary and business leader in Loudoun County, Dr. Keenan has been honored with a number of accolades including an “Enterprising Women of the Year” award by Enterprising Women magazine, a “Brava! Women in Business” award by SmartCEO magazine, a “Women Who Mean Business” award by the Washington Business Journal, and the inaugural “Stellar Woman of the Year” award at the Virginia Women’s Business Conference.

Dr. Keenan is actively involved with many local and national professional organizations. Within the local community, she serves on the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Loudoun County CEO Cabinet, and the Loudoun County Health Council. She’s an avid supporter of the Loudoun Free Clinic and is also a member of 100 Women Strong, the Washington Spa Alliance, a clinical preceptor for George Mason and Marymount Universities, and an affiliate faculty for George Mason University. On a national level, she serves on the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Leaders & Innovators Strategic Advisory Panel and the University of California Irvine Extension Advisory Committee for the Spa & Hospitality Management Certificate Program.

Other professional memberships include: the Medical Society of Northern Virginia, American Association of Medical Review Officers, Medical Society of Virginia, American Medical Association, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, International Spa Association (ISPA), and Vistage.

Rhoda Kreuzer

Professional Speaker, Author, Radio Talk Show Host, and Consultant

Rhoda Kreuzer is a professional speaker, author, radio talk show host, and consultant. With a passion for growth Rhoda created Partners In Action, Inc. in 1999 to revitalize the workplace. She has over 12 years of experience in Human Resources and leadership roles, and served as a national training director conducting workshops at the national, regional, and local level for over 15 years.

Rhoda Kreuzer co-hosts a business radio segment called “Good News & Success” on the local NPR Station. Her recent book “The Art of Natural Leadership” has been received internationally and is a must read on many leader’s list.

Rhoda was an Athena Award finalist in 2014, received the AWE Leadership Award in 2012, finalist for the Top Women Owned Business Award 2012 and awarded 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2008 for GR Business Journal, Volunteer of the Year Award in 2008 and 2010 for CEED, among others.

Anne Loehr

Co-founder, Safaris for the Soul

After graduating from Cornell University, Anne Loehr managed and eventually owned international, eco-friendly hotels and safari companies for over 13 years. Frustrated that she couldn’t find top-quality team development programs for her 500 Kenyan employees, Anne honed these skills herself by creating her own dynamic leadership and management development programs.

Since selling her hospitality businesses and becoming a certified executive coach, facilitator and management consultant, she has been working with diverse organizations such as Facebook, US Air Force, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, American Red Cross, Booz Allen Hamilton, John Hancock, Coca-Cola and MD Anderson Cancer Center to consistently help organizational teams improve their communications and deepen their working relationships. The impact? Creative collaboration, improved employee retention and increased sales.

Named the “Generational Guru” by The Washington Post, Anne’s work has been featured in Newsweek International, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Huffington Post, National Geographic Traveler, Washingtonian and CNN Money. A member of the prestigious National Speakers Association, Anne speaks regularly at national conferences and on the radio. She is also a faculty member of the American Management Association, teaching leadership courses around the country.

Anne co-founded Safaris for the Soul, international leadership retreats that help senior managers find their organizational values and purpose. Her first book, A Manager’s Guide to Coaching: Simple and Effective Ways to Get the Best Out of Your Employees was published by the American Management Association on 2008. Her 2nd book, Managing the Unmanageable: How to Motivate Even the Most Unruly Employee, was published by Career Press in 2011.

Karlyn Lothery

Author, Speaker, Trainer, “Fear Buster” Lothery & Associates

Karlyn Lothery formed Lothery & Associates after more than a decade of communications and diversity training experience. She began her professional career as a news reporter/anchor in Charleston, SC (WCSC) and Augusta, GA(WRDW).

After leaving television, she moved behind the camera to help executives, athletes, and other public figures become confident and poised spokespeople for their respective organizations. She has developed more than a dozen courses related to cross cultural communication, diversity media management and communication, strategic social media messaging, public speaking, interactive presentations, sales, and executive communication.

Prior to launching Lothery & Associates, her most recent position was serving as Chief Diversity Officer for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) where she created the office of Diversity, working to bring greater ethnic and gender diversity into the sport of tennis, on and off the court. She continues to deliver engaging business driven diversity workshops in companies across the country.

Lothery was an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Georgetown University from 2009-2011, was honored as one of The Network Journal’s 40 Under Forty Most Dynamic Professionals for 2009, one of the Top Minority Business Leaders by the Washington Business Journal in 2011, and RADICAL Entrepreneur of the year in 2013. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s National Capital Chapter.

Claire M. S. Meade

Vice President, Financial Planning Specialist, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

My clients are busy people – they don’t have the time, resources, or the perhaps just the interest in managing their own assets – I worry about their retirement so that they don’t have to.

My practice focuses on financial planning based investment management. I work with clients to develop personalized financial plans by helping them to set specific goals and objectives to plan for retirement, to make investment decisions, to save for college, and to manage their insurance needs.

In addition, I host a quarterly luncheon called Moms at Work: News You Need to Know. I have served on the boards of non-profits such as Let’s Help Kids, the elementary school’s PTA, and Bite Me Cancer as well as the board of the for-profit Success in the City. I have presented workshops for Northern Virginia Family Services Training Futures program, where I am also a member of their Planned Giving Advisory Council and their Women’s Leadership Group. Previously, I was a founding member of the ground-breaking group W.E. L.E.A.D (Women Engaged in Leadership, Education, and Action in Democracy).

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric and Communication Studies from the University of Virginia where I also earned a Masters of Education. WAHOOWA!

I married my college sweetheart and I am a life-long resident of Northern Virginia where I live with my husband, two sons and our dog, Savannah.

Paula Pierce, MS, PMP, BMC

CEO and Principal Transformation Strategist, Peridona

Paula Pierce is a recognized consultant, coach, facilitator, and speaker with over 20 years experience helping organizations solve their operational problems, change their performance trajectory and realize success on their terms. She is the CEO and principal transformation strategist at Peridona Strategies, a boutique-style consulting firm dedicated to promoting organizational success through conscious leadership and culture.

Ms. Pierce is passionate about helping organizations and individuals discover their true value and operate from a mindset of service and authenticity. She believes that true satisfaction and success come from using one’s talents to enhance the lives of others and that organizations have that same duty on a larger scale. She coined her company’s tagline—be brilliant—as a reminder that the solutions and answers to the problems of individuals, organizations and the world reside inside us, and that when we tap into our inner-brilliance we are best able to influence positive change.

Prior to establishing Peridona Strategies, Ms. Pierce was a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where she provided consultative services in talent strategy and culture optimization. Before that she spent ten years as an executive consultant at Robbins-Gioia. There she pioneered the establishment of client-facing human capital management and change management practices; developed the corporate consulting methods for business and talent strategy, change management and organizational transformation; and co-developed and co-facilitated a sought-after Facilitation Skills Workshop. Ms. Pierce is a graduate of RG’s esteemed leadership program and has served as a mentor to numerous colleagues.

Ms. Pierce holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communication from Purdue University and a Master of Science degree in Management from National-Louis University, where she graduated with honors. In 2007, NLU recognized her with the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award for excellence in community leadership, humanitarian service and career achievement. Ms. Pierce is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute and a Brain Management Consultant (BMC) by the International Brain Education Association. Ms. Pierce is licensed in the Prosci method of change management and trained in The Grove graphic facilitation method.

Ms. Pierce is a founding member of Conscious Capitalism DC where she serves as the membership chair, leads the book discussion special interest group for the Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network, and serves on the programming committee for the HR Leadership Forum.

Personally, she is a starter and referee for the Northern Virginia Swimming League and has served as a soccer coach and travel team manager. She also teaches adult classes in energy principles, meditation, and yoga.

Cyndy Porter

Cyndy Porter Style & Photography

Cyndy Porter began her career in the business world and worked her way up the corporate ladder to become a divisional vice president at AOL. She actually sold some of the first websites in existence, unaware that one day she’d have her own. But it was a driven 24/7 hour world and after 20 years, she needed a change.

The Internet boom enabled her to take an early retirement and gave her time to travel, recharge and pursue her lifelong love of photography. She spent several years studying to master the craft, achieved her CPP certification, and launched Cyndy Porter Creative Photography. What became clear to her was the way to take even better pictures was to help clients look their very best and not just through a camera lens. This led her to further her professional development and become an image consultant. In 2012, she combined her two passions into a new venture: Cyndy Porter Style and Photography.

It was through this journey that she identified he “true calling” – to make women feel better about themselves in any way she can: to make each client comfortable in her own skin, happier about the way she looks, and more self-confident in the way she presents herself to the world. While she keeps up to date on the fashion world, her focus is less on what’s in style than in a woman’s individual style. She strives to help each woman discover the essence of who she is and to enable her to make informed decisions about how to achieve the look she wants. Whether it’s through one of her style workshops, individual consultations or a photo session, she wants her clients image to reflect their unique personality, because a self-assured woman is a radiant one.

Cyndy believes all women are beautiful, and her goal is to bring their inner beauty out.

Lisa Geraci Rigoni

Professional Organizer and Owner, Leave it to Lisa-The Organizing Mentors

Lisa Geraci Rigoni is a professional organizer and owner of Leave it to Lisa-The Organizing Mentors. Lisa and her team help clients remove clutter from their garages, basements, closets and work spaces while providing them with guidance and encouragement to develop new habits. Working side by side, clients boost their calm, confidence and ultimately free up their available space as well as become more efficient.

Lisa’s primary mission is to help individuals, families and organizations improve their current situations. If required, she or a member of her team will identify and help resolve the chaos and self-destructive habits that lead to internal and external clutter. By addressing the issues that have brought clients to their present state of disorganization, clients develop clarity and freedom. Beyond decluttering space, Lisa and her team coach clients to implement best practices and inspire confidence to make positive choices that enrich their lives and set them free from the habits that have kept their minds and spaces cluttered. After working with them, clients are recharged from the acceptance and empathy they practice as they reclaim their physical and mental space. The non-judgmental manner Lisa and her team utilize is highly appreciated by those who engage her team for assistance.

The creation of Leave it to Lisa:

Lisa started her career as a professional dancer/singer/actress in high school. She performed throughout the US and Canada in various productions of Shakespeare, Annie and Sesame Street Live.

She continued to pursue a career in theater into her 20’s, but found she wasn’t being cast in her targeted roles. Always very fit, she supplemented her income by teaching water aerobics. This led to teaching fitness and strength training classes at various downtown Chicago gyms. Her participants loved her energy and enthusiasm so much that she was awarded Instructor of the Year in 1996 by the Lakeshore Athletic Clubs and people asked her to train them privately. She passed The National Academy of Sports Medicine examination and was certified in personal training. In order to best serve her clients, Lisa started her first company, Evermore Fit, and ran it from 1996-2009.

Lisa’s personal training clients came to her seeking assistance to get started, reach their health and lifestyle goals and ultimately change their lives. They found that taking control of their health and fitness benefited other aspects of their lives. The internal and external changes were positive and empowering.

In 2004, she moved to NOVA with her husband and 6 month old daughter. She began teaching and training at a few gyms but found being a new Mom the best job of all. She was teaching scheduled classes and happily enjoying play dates with friends. Often times she found herself offering to help clear out her friends’ cupboards, closets and even garages. After helping her friend clear out her garage by sorting and purging items so that she could finally park her in there after five years of living in the house, she suggested Lisa look into starting her own organizing business. Leave it to Lisa was born in 2009.

Lisa and her team support and mentor their clients as they work through their clutter which can be emotionally challenging for some people. They combine best practice tools and methods with a passion to create the right system for each client who may be limited by time and/or may not have the organizing gene. With patience, empathy and positive attitude, they educate and empower clients to make the tough choices needed to change their lives both externally and internally. Through various roles in her career Lisa has celebrated her true gifts: speaking, teaching, motivating, listening and assisting in diminishing the blocks, struggles and challenges from the lives of people she meets.

Leave it to Lisa-the Organizing Mentors

When Your Mess is Too Much, DeClutter and Get on With It

Tassey Russo

Level Up Solutions

Tassey Russo is a business strategist, coach and consultant with a one-word manifesto for her business and the people that she seeks to serve. That word? DETERMINATION. Do you remember being a child and dreaming about doing something and then, with almost single-minded determination, decided to ‘run with it’ and make it a reality? This is what Tassey seeks to instill in her clients – that belief that the dream is absolutely possible and the will to set upon making it happen.

With 25 years as a corporate technology executive and consultant with large companies (The Nasdaq Stock Market), non-profit organizations (American Association of Radiological Technologists), and federal agencies (Federal Aviation Administration), Tassey gained invaluable knowledge and experience in identifying, planning and implementing advanced technologies and systems for networking, communications and internet. More importantly, she understood how to assess situations and how new or advanced systems and processes would affect organizational structures and revenue generation.

In 2006, seeking to find more time to be with her family, it seemed like a ‘no-brainer’ to Tassey that she would take her experience and transition it to fit the needs of small businesses. She established Virtual Support Solutions in 2006 for the purpose of assisting other small business owners to strategically evaluate and execute their business functions for more automated and effective client interactions, marketing efforts and product or program launches.

In 2011, armed with a strong understanding of what entrepreneurs experienced in setting up new businesses or trying to make the jump to another level of success, Tassey decided to rebrand her company and add business coaching to her company services.

In this company, Level Up Solutions (www.levelupsolutions.com), Tassey continues to focus on business strategy but now does so with special attention to those entrepreneurs who are high-achieving and experience the euphoria of great ideas, products or services but are weighed down by the daunting realization of just what it takes to execute those ideas. Quite often, Tassey’s clients have lost their focus and determination to realize their dreams or goals and that’s where Tassey starts her work.

Using her unique step-by-step methodology, The Revenue Ladder (www.therevenueladder.com), Tassey guides her clients from discussions on foundational intentions and desires to plans for executing specific, proven approaches and actions based on practical, tactical business building strategies and systems. Tassey’s clients get determined and realize high-yield, sustainable outcomes related to increasing visibility and reach, lead generation and client conversion, resulting in the transformation of their dreams and ideas into purpose-driven, influential, and highly profitable businesses.

Tassey graduated with a degree in history from Colgate University, and is a Mentor in Colgate’s Thought Into Action Institute, an entrepreneurship program for current undergraduate students. Tassey has studied with several nationally known coaching mentors, including Suzanne Evans and Barb Wade. She is a member of several local networking groups, e.g. eWomenNetworking, Her Corner, and On Purpose Networking for Women, and is a member of the Small Business CEO Collaborative in Laurel, MD.

Tassey lives with her husband and three children in Darnestown, Maryland.

Zarif “Zoey” Sahin

Real Estate Broker at Keller Williams Realty and a Global Property Specialist

Zarif lived in Germany and Turkey throughout her teenage years. She came to the United States in 1989 and made it her home. Having lived in Germany, Turkey, and the USA helped her understand and respect diverse cultures, which enable her to connect with people very quickly.

Zarif is a Real Estate Broker at Keller Williams Realty and a Global Property Specialist. She started her Real Estate career in 2006 and moved her way up to a top producing Realtor, despite the recession. She serves clients locally, nationally and internationally. She started as a consultant for buyers and sellers, but quickly was faced with the market crash in late 2008. Instead of panicking, Zarif saw it as an opportunity and educated herself on the distressed market. She was able to turn the challenges into her specialty as a Certified Distressed Property Expert, and helped many homeowners avoid foreclosure. This helped Zarif not only find meaning in the work she does, but also stand out from the rest of the Realtors. Zarif has a vast amount of knowledge on real estate and therefore has become one of the sought after Realtors in the Northern Virginia area. Her hard work ethics and her attention to detail, in addition to her dedication to her clients ensures positive results.

Zarif has a tremendous ability to see the positive side of things in the most challenging of situations. She applied this skill to many areas of her life, both personally and professionally. She continues to improve herself in education, knowledge, and skills. Her social, analytical, and organizational skills help her to be successful, but her strong proficiency in negotiation is what ultimately gives her an advantage in her career.

In addition to Real Estate, Zarif now dedicates her time towards helping other women succeed and reach their goals in business. She currently serves on the board of advisors for the Virginia Women’s Business Conference, where she launched the Business Mentoring Program. She serves on the board of Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter, a non- profit organization that helps survivors of domestic violence. She serves on the Agent Leadership Council at the KW Dulles market center. Zarif also held speaking engagements, such as TEDx, Sterling Women, and Girl Rising, in hopes to Inspire, motivate and teach people to be fearless.

Zarif is an avid runner and ran numerous marathons. Running has taught Zarif discipline, dedication, courage, and determination. She is able to demonstrate the marathon principles in her business, and believes “If your mind is set, nothing can stop you!”

Angela Savitri

Freedom from Chronic Stress Program™

Angela Savitri, OTR/L helps women leaders be free of burnout and chronic stress. She combines principles of behavioral science, mindfulness, and embodiment in her 90-Day Freedom from Chronic Stress Program™ to produce calm, connection, and contentment in women leaders.

As a life-long high-achiever, the impact of Angela’s demanding career, perfectionism, and high expectations spiraled into a burnout and chronic stress health crisis – requiring two medical leaves of absence – before she was 30.

Through this humbling experience, Angela began a journey to find a sustainable way to be free of chronic stress while fulfilling her professional ambitions. She experienced a transformation and left her corporate career behind to help professional women fulfill their leadership potential without experiencing burnout and chronic stress.

Angela is an Integrative Health Coach certified through Duke Integrative Medicine, an Occupational Therapist, Kripalu Yoga Teacher, and Mindfulness Meditation teacher and student. Receive her free audio training, ‘3 Secrets to Self-Care Without Feeling Guilty’ at www.freedomfromchronicstress.com.

Alison Whitmire

Inspirational Speaker, Mindful Blogger, CEO Coach

Alison speaks to, writes for and coaches business leaders to connect with their sense of purpose and to express that purpose to make an impact in the world.
Alison’s work is based upon the belief that we all have a purpose and our deepest desire is to fully express that purpose. Alison has spoken dozens of business leaders and has coached more than 100 CEOs/business owners, helping them to connect with their purpose, clarify their focus, and forward their action.

Alison works at the intersection of purpose and strategy in life and business. She started out as a CPA, got her MBA from University of Chicago, practiced strategic planning and ran P&Ls for Fortune 500 companies. She holds two coaching certifications, with ~ 4,000 hours of coaching experience. She holds a 200 hr RYT yoga certificate and is a three time organizers and curator of TEDx conferences.