WBLC Speakers 2019

The 2019 CWE Women Business Leaders Conference Team is proud to present this year’s speakers. Industry leaders and experts have volunteered their time to share content on subjects that matter to today’s entrepreneurs and business professionals.

Jennifer Cohen, Co-Founder, Seven Stones

Jennifer Cohen is cofounder of Seven Stones Leadership Group and an engaging speaker and author, well known for coaching world-class leaders from institutions including Harvard Business School and Simmons. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Psychology from the Antioch New England Graduate School and is certified as a Master Somatic Coach by The Strozzi Institute.

Dr. Susan Duffy, Executive Director, Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership

Dr. Susan Duffy is the Executive Director of the Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), a co-founder of the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab venture accelerator, and an inspired educator and advocate for gender equity as a driver of social and economic growth. Throughout her career Susan has recreated what is possible for the organizations she leads across diverse sectors including construction; food, nutrition and health; and education. Susan earned her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, was inducted into the prestigious Wilford White Fellows of the International Council for Small Business, and in 2019 received the Practitioner of the Year award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She has been recognized globally as an award winning entrepreneurial educator, is an investor and advisor to several early stage companies, and serves on the boards of the Tory Burch Foundation, the International Council for Small Business, and the University of Calgary Hunter Hub.

Kate Ferrara, Principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Kate is a Principal in the Risk and Financial Advisory practice of Deloitte & Touche LLP. She has over 22 years of risk management consulting experience. In her role at Deloitte, she is responsible for developing and leading multi-functional services at large, global consumer products and retail clients.

In additional to her numerous client responsibilities, Kate has been the New England Financial and Risk Advisory leader and responsible for marketplace development, eminence and developing a community of over 300 practitioners.

Kate was previously the Retail and Consumer Products Industry leader in New England and is still an active spokesperson for Deloitte on retail matters. She has been featured on NECN’s Business Program and also The Boston Globe and CNBC.

Kate received a Bachelors degree in Accounting from Stonehill College and Masters in Accounting Information Systems from Bentley University. She resides in Canton, Massachusetts with her husband Carmen and 3 children. Kate is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Catholic School Foundation Inner City Scholarship Fund and also a member of the President’s Advisory Counsel at Stonehill College.

Donna Latson Gittens, Founder & CEO, MORE Advertising

Donna Latson Gittens has succeeded in building MORE Advertising, The Agency of Change, into a boutique advertising agency with a unique mission, designing public awareness campaigns to influence attitudes and change behaviors on topics such as smoking, substance abuse, HIV prevention and diversity in the workplace among other critical causes.

Gittens launched the company following a ground-breaking, twenty-year career as a corporate executive at WCVB-TV (Boston’s ABC affiliate) an innovator in community programming.

She works with the Boston Red Sox and its Charitable Foundation to promote its community initiatives for the past 18 “seasons.” As a member of the Red Sox Marketing team, she recently helped develop the strategy for “Take the LEAD,” an innovative program embraced by ALL Boston professional sports teams to stand up to racism and hate speech. She received the 1st Annual Jackie Robinson Award for Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner from the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball.

Ms. Latson Gittens holds a BA from Park University, an MBA from Northeastern University, and an honorary doctorate degree from Elms College in Springfield MA.

And is the proud owner of four World Championship Rings for 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018.

Jill Lacey Griffin, Director of Workforce, Supplier, and Diversity Development, The Massachusetts Gaming Commission

Ms. Griffin leads the Commission’s efforts to maximize the economic development potential of the new expanded gaming industry. She works to ensure that both the workforce and supplier bases are fully inclusive of the diverse populations that make up the citizenry of Massachusetts. MassGaming expects the expanded gaming industry to generate upwards of 10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs, as well as tens of millions of dollars of business for companies supporting the industry. Ms. Griffin leads the Commission’s efforts to assure that these jobs and business contracts go principally to local individuals and companies, as envisioned by the expanded gaming legislation. Ms. Griffin oversees the promotion of diversity and programs to encourage all residents of the Commonwealth to benefit from the new jobs and business opportunities created through the expansion of gaming. Additionally Ms. Griffin is responsible for leading efforts to connect small business seeking business opportunities with casino and slots-parlor gaming licensees with services they may need to ensure success, develop partnerships with unions, employers, training entities and other workforce development partners and agencies across the state to recommend policy and engage in existing or new programs that address casino workplace safety and training.

Ms. Griffin has more than 20 years of experience in economic and workforce development and most recently served as Senior Director of Programs at The Boston Foundation where she led competitive grantmaking and special initiatives focused on education, workforce and economic development. In this role, Griffin served as Co-chair of SkillWorks a $20 million, multi-year initiative to improve workforce development across the state by bringing together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of helping low income individuals attain family supporting jobs and businesses find skilled workers with an emphasis on better connecting Massachusetts’s community colleges and other post-secondary institutions to the workforce development system. Ms. Griffin joined the Foundation from the Boston Redevelopment Authority where she served as Assistant Director of Economic Initiatives, responsible for the development and execution of key economic development initiatives related to the industrial and commercial, retail, creative and life sciences sectors. Ms. Griffin also played a leadership role in the Department of Neighborhood Development’s Main Streets program where she managed technical and financial resources for 15 neighborhood commercial districts administering contracts in excess of $2 million. Ms. Griffin began her career in management positions at City Year and Northeastern University’s Cooperative Education Program.

Ms. Griffin has also served on several boards throughout her professional career including presently Crop Circle Kitchen, the Massachusetts Service Alliance and previously MYTOWN (Multicultural Youth Tour of What’s Now) and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Community Action Committee. Ms. Griffin earned a Master’s of Science and a Bachelors of Arts both from the State University of New York College at Oswego, NY.

Liveda Clements Johnson, Founder and CEO, Diversifier

Liveda Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Diversifier, a consulting and technology firm helping enterprises build supplier diversity programs that drive supplier performance and growth to a new level. Liveda has a decade of supplier diversity experience across organizations including Biogen Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Gina LaRoche, Co-Founder, Seven Stones

Gina LaRoche is cofounder of Seven Stones Leadership Group and a leading organizational consultant, executive coach, speaker, author and artist. Gina is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders Program and a board member of Insight Meditation Society. She holds a BSBA from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Juliette Mayers, Founder and CEO, Inspiration Zone LLC

Juliette Mayers is Founder and CEO of Inspiration Zone LLC (IZL), a strategic consulting firm specializing in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), Brand Management and Thought Leadership. A former Blue Cross Blue Shield executive, Mayers advises Fortune 500 corporations, large non-profits and individual executives on how to create diverse, welcoming and inclusive work environments. In addition to her consulting practice, she motivates and inspires audiences through her keynotes and workshops on Inclusive Leadership, Unconscious Bias, Personal Branding and Strategic Networking.

Mayers’ board service includes her appointment by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, to the MassHire State Workforce Board; her appointment by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh to the Boston Women’s Workforce Council and she serves as a corporator on the board of Eastern Bank. Mayers previously served on the boards of The Boston Club, the U.S. Small Business (SBA) Federal Advisory Board and Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD).

A networking expert, her popular books, The Guide to Strategic Networking and A Black Woman’s Guide to Networking have received international acclaim. Mayers is the recipient of numerous awards including the Gwen Ifill Trailblazer Leadership Award, Women of Influence, The GK 100 Most Influential Leaders of Color Award, Women Worth Watching and Diversity Leadership Awards.

A native of Barbados, West Indies, Mayers is a graduate of Simmons University where she earned her MBA and Northeastern University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. She is the mother of two daughters and is married to her husband of 28 years, Darryl Mayers.

Katie McDonald, CEO and Founder, bnourished

Katie McDonald, had to learn the hard way. Depleted and sick from chronic overwork and the disease of busy-ness, Katie had to apply her knowledge of self-care, alternative health, and nutrition to transform her own life. As a Self-care Strategist, Katie now devotes herself to coaching others to make the thoughtful, deliberate choices it takes to become the people they want and deserve to be. An authoritative speaker and recognized thought leader, Katie offers 6-month one-on-one concierge coaching and engaging presentations to corporations and organizations. The majority of bnourished clients initially reach out because they feel off, overwhelmed, and exhausted in the hustle and bustle of daily obligations. The resulting stress often manifests in: excess weight; digestive issues; fatigue; asthma; anxiety and depression. Mostly there is an acknowledgment that they are living beneath their potential in health and well-being. They can no longer ‘get away with’ ignoring their bodies and minds. They are taking care of business and everyone else at the expense of taking care of themselves. They are ready to make lasting change. And they do. Featured in Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Dwell, Providence Journal and more, she has presented to Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute, Swarovski, CVS Health, Women President’s Organization as well as many more.

Angela Miele, Chief Credit Officer, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC)

For the past four years Angela has served as Chief Credit Officer for Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC). Prior to that, she spent her career as a commercial banker at large corporate banks including State Street Bank, where she completed her credit training, and TD Bank. Angela serves on the foundation board at Northern Essex Community College and has formerly served on the boards at Notre Dame Education Center and The Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council.

Beth Milkovits, Vice President, Private Wealth Management, Brown Brothers Harriman

Beth Milkovits is a Relationship Manager in the Private Banking group at Brown Brothers Harriman. Her work is focused on comprehensive wealth management. In her role, Beth oversees investment portfolios and coordinates with client’s tax, philanthropic and estate plans.

Beth is an ambassador to BBH's Center for Women and Wealth (CW&W), working to support and engage women as they create and manage wealth. The CW&W provides content, venues for discussion, and thought leadership and offers a network for women CEOs and entrepreneurs to share experiences and connect in a meaningful way.

Beth has 20 years of experience in the investment industry. She received a B.A. from Colby College, holds the Accredited Estate Planner designation and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner. She serves on the board of the Cambridge Community Foundation and is the co-founder of the Professional Advisors Council. In addition, Beth is an officer and member of the Boston Estate Planning Council and a member of the Financial Planning Association.

Susan Loconto Penta, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, MIDIOR

Susan is an engineer, entrepreneur, educator and consultant. As Co-Founder and Managing Partner at MIDIOR, Susan inspires innovative thinking, optimizes organization output and improves financial performance for clients. Susan is an Executive Professor, on the adjunct faculty, at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business where she teaches graduate courses in entrepreneurship and innovation. Susan is also an active trustee and supporter of non-profit organizations in the Boston area with a particular focus at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship and disadvantaged populations. Susan currently serves as a Director and immediate past Chairman of the Board for the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE), as Trustee and past Chairman of the Board for Schools for Children, as an active member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network Advisory Board and as a Program Committee member for The Possible Project. Susan is a founding member of WPI’s Women’s Impact Network (WIN), was a founding board member for WPI’s Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and has served on the Management Executive Council for WPI’s Foisie Business School and the Technology Advisors Network. Susan has been recognized for her professional and community contributions with numerous awards; she is also a frequent author/speaker on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship and product organizations. Susan holds a BSEE degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and an MBA from The CASS Business School in London, England. 

Tracy Pitcher, Senior Vice President, Greater Boston Region, Comcast

Tracy Pitcher is the Senior Vice President of Comcast Cable’s Greater Boston Region. Tracy oversees all of Comcast’s operations in the region, including customer service, technical operations and community investment. She is responsible for 1.9 million customers and 3400 employees in more than 300 communities in MA, NH and ME.

Louise Pordage, Director, Emerging Technology Risk

Louise is a seasoned cyber security executive with eighteen years’ experience within UK government and professional services. Louise spent fourteen years of her career in UK national law enforcement building and transforming national cyber capability and advising UK Ministers and Senior Law Enforcement officials on developing national and local cyber investigative capabilities. Since moving into professional services, Louise has worked with cyber security executives, across a number of industries, to help them mature their Technology and Cyber risk programs.

Louise is also the former head of KPMG’s International Information Integrity Institute (I-4) which is a senior, global and cross-sector cyber security membership group. I-4 collaborates with CISOs and their teams on the top information and cyber security challenges. I-4 provides privileged access and insights into the breadth of cyber security challenges and solutions from board engagement and strategy, cyber risk, to new technologies disrupting the cyber security marketplace. I-4 enabled Louise to work collaboratively and at scale with 50 large global CISOs. As part of her role as the Head of I-4 Louise also worked collaboratively with the incubator and accelerator community, venture capitalists and cyber security start-ups moving from stealth mode to progressing market penetration.

Linda Rossetti, Entrepreneur, Author, Coach and Thought-Leader on Women’s Transisitons

Linda Rossetti is a Harvard MBA, serial entrepreneur and expert on transition and its impact on individuals and organizations.

Linda is the author of Women & Transition, a 5-star rated Amazon top seller. Her work has been featured on NPR, NECN, CBS/WBZ, Money Magazine, The Boston Business Journal, and other outlets. For more information on her executive roles and for-profit and not-for-profit Board work, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindarossetti/.

Jackie Shoback, Executive Vice President , Chief Marketing Officer of Boston Private Financial Holdings

Jacqueline (Jackie) Shoback is a results-driven c-suite leader and entrepreneur with deep financial services and multi-channel consumer retail experience both in the US and internationally. She has a proven track record as an operating and divisional CEO, having led businesses ranging from $50 million to over $1 billion in revenue. She has both operating and board-level experience in driving scale & profitability, digitization of operations, digital channel growth, risk management, online marketing, and customer data analytics.

Jackie is currently Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Boston Private Financial Holdings (Nasdaq:BPFH), reporting to the CEO. She previously was CEO of Emerging Business and Client Experience. She has been at Boston Private since 2015 and is a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team.

Prior to Boston Private, she served as Senior Vice President & Head of Individual and Retail Marketing at TIAA-CREF where she built and scaled their wealth management and mass affluent offering. Earlier, she was Senior Vice President, Head of High Net Worth and Mass Affluent segments at Fidelity Investments. At Fidelity, she held various senior leadership positions in distribution, marketing and operations including Head of National Sales and Service.

Prior to Fidelity, Jackie was with Staples for 10 years, joining shortly after their IPO. She held a number of leadership and General Manager positions driving significant growth. As Head of Operations and Client Experience, she helped launch and build Staples’ online business - Staples.com - to $1 billion in revenue.

Jackie currently serves on the Board of Boston Private Bank and is an independent director on the Board of CUNA Mutual Group where she serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. She is an angel investor, a Mass Challenge judge, and has previously served on the board of advisors of several start-up companies including ByAllAccounts (acquired by Morningstar), KnownBuy, and CampusTech. She is also active as a director on non-profit boards.

Jackie was honored by being named to the Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 List in 2005. Her work on creating TIAA CREF’s Women’s Financial Engagement Program was recognized with a 2014 Clarion Award. She is also a member of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum and International Women’s Forum.

Jackie is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Business School.

Susan Terzakis, Terzakis & Associates

Susan-Anne Terzakis of Terzakis & Associates, Small Business Advisory, is fiercely committed to guiding Entrepreneurs on how to consistently attract their ideal client, place their marketing on autopilot, and take a no-excuses approach to creating a highly successful and meaningful business.

With over 25-years of experience working with amazing clients with similar worries and concerns, and guiding them to achieve remarkable success, her mission and commitment is to empowering entrepreneurs as promoters for creating positive change in our communities.

Her path became clear, at an early age, growing up in a small family owned business in historic Salem Massachusetts, as she learned first hand the ups & downs of entrepreneurship, and where she developed her deep seeded passion for being your own boss.

Susan-Anne, along with her husband and business partner Col. Andrew Terzakis, USAF, Retired, resides in Bedford, New Hampshire.

Stephanie Thompson, Founder and Owner, Warrior Runners

Stephanie Thompson is a disabled combat Navy veteran, who served a deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She transitioned into civilian life by completing a marathon in all 50 states and on 7 continents. As the founder and owner of Warrior Runners, Coach T trains individuals and teams to accomplish fitness goals as stepping stones to future success.

Natalia Urtubey, Director of Small Business, City of Boston

As Director of Small Business, Natalia’s extensive knowledge of Boston’s neighborhoods and the small business community compliment her experience in creating growth strategies and building partnerships across community stakeholders. Natalia leads a 14-person team focused on tracking and producing research on local and national trends to inform decision making about small business development tools, coordinates with local residents and existing businesses to ensure that there is a strategic and policy-driven approach to growth without displacement, and works with residents and other City officials to remove any barriers to do business in the City of Boston. Natalia manages and oversees the distribution of the more than $3 million in small business resources under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and the more than $3 million in investment in small business within and outside of the 20 Boston Main Streets Districts. She directs and implements Mayor Walsh’s 2016 Small Business Plan to provide coordinated service delivery and economic opportunity for Boston’s 40,000 small businesses.

Previously, Natalia served as the Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030, working to implement the first citywide plan. She was responsible for ensuring the first planning process in more than 50 years was representative of Boston residents’ vision and concerns. In this role, Natalia was instrumental in keeping the process visible and accessible to all Bostonians. She brought community leaders together and identified opportunities for collaboration. Natalia received her Master in Public Administration from Suffolk University in 2012. Natalia is a proud homeowner in Dorchester and serves on the board for several local nonprofits, including the Dorchester YMCA, Future Chefs, and Hyde Square Task Force.

Sarah Travers, CEO, Workbar

Longstanding coworking evangelist Sarah Travers brings significant industry experience to her role as CEO of Workbar. She joined Workbar in late 2017 from IWG (Regus), a global provider of flexible workspace solutions, where she spent 15 years in a series of ascending roles focused on growing the company's North American footprint. Sarah has the unique perspective of witnessing the industry's explosive growth as both a seasoned veteran of the world's largest shared office giant and as the CEO of Boston's original coworking space.

Diana Ubiñas, Program Manager, Foundation for Business Equity

In her role at the Foundation for Business Equity (FBE), Diana supports the operations to provide access to capital, expertise, and contracts to enrolled business owners. The FBE was created through funding by Eastern Bank to address structural barriers that prevent Black and Latino businesses from reaching their full potential.

Catherine Friend White, Managing Director, Golden Seeds.

Golden Seeds is a hybrid VC and angel investing company. She founded and was president of FinArc, LLC, a money management firm specializing in socially responsible investments. White serves on several boards. MBA from Babson College and a BA from Dickinson College.

Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham, President, Promoting Good, LLC

Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham is President of Promoting Good, LLC - a consulting firm that promotes transformational change with excellence, passion, and creativity. Promoting Good’s areas of focus include:empowering boards to lead, fostering inclusive environments, nurturing innovative solutions to social problems, revenue creation and diversification, and fostering relationships across shared passions. She applies best practices from the business and non profit worlds in her work with organizations of all sizes.

She is the chairwoman of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center. She is a corporator of and serves on the grant committee at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and is a corporator at WebsterFive. She served for six years on the board of the Worcester County Food Bank.

Valerie holds a BA from Boston College and a JD from Boston University School of Law. She was born in Mexico City.