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2023 Afternoon Keynote Panel

Celia Johnston Blue

Celia Johnston Blue, Massachusetts Women of color Coalition, Inc.President and CEO, Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC) Inc.

Celia Johnston Blue is a seasoned executive leader with over 25 years of leadership experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.  In 2015, Celia collaborated with 12 women of color from across Massachusetts and led the development and public launch of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC) Inc. In her current role as President and CEO, she is leading the organization to realize its vision and mission, while strongly advocating for the voices of women of color to be heard to address the inequities that are present in every aspect of our lives.

Prior to her current role at MAWOCC, Celia was the Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), a cabinet level position reporting to Governor McKee. Celia led DHS, a statewide agency with approximately 1000 employees in multiple divisions, with a budget of approximately $900M, providing benefits and services to nearly 300,000 or 1/3 of Rhode Island’s population. Prior to her roles in Rhode Island, Celia spent nine years in the transportation industry in Massachusetts and nationally gaining experience in multiple modes. First appointed as a commissioner for the former Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, she was later appointed as Deputy Registrar and Assistant Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and then promoted to the Registrar/CEO of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Celia is the first African American in Massachusetts’ history to serve as the Registrar for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Worcester State University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Anna Maria College and is currently enrolled in a PhD Leadership program at the University of Vermont. She has received awards for her leadership and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and was named in the Power 50, Class of 2021 by Worcester Business Journal. Blue serves on the boards of several civic, and community organizations in Central and Eastern Massachusetts.

Keynote Panel Moderator

Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley, Esq.

U.S. State Representative for Massachusetts 12th District

Brandy Fluker Oakley, Esq.

Brandy Fluker Oakley is wrapping up the first year of her second-term as State Representative of the 12th Suffolk District. She serves as the House Co-Chair of the Ellen Story Postpartum Commission, Vice-Chair of the Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion Committee, and is a member of The Judiciary Committee, the Transportation Committee, and the Revenue Committee. Brandy also serves on the Women’s Caucus executive board as Treasurer, and is an engaged member of the MA Black and Latino Legislative Caucus.

Upon graduating from Boston Latin School, she attended Syracuse University and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in both social work and public policy. Brandy, a member of the Baltimore Teachers Union, taught third grade earning her Master’s in Education at The Johns Hopkins University before attending law school at Emory University. She became a public defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the Boston Municipal and Chelsea District Courts. Brandy also has an extensive background in nonprofit leadership, corporate trainings, and best practices for management and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

She is the founder and president of Delighting in God Ministries (D.I.G.), principal at Butterfly Leadership, Inc., a faithful member of her church, member of the Dorchester YMCA, member of Junior League Boston, life member of the NAACP, a practicing attorney and member of both the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association & the Women’s Bar Association, and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Brandy is also the only child of Rev. Brenda A. Fluker, Esq. and is fiercely protective of her mom.

Natalie Rodriguez

Natalie RodriguezOwner & Chef, Nuestra

Natalie Rodriguez is a seasoned hospitality expert with an impressive 23-year career. Mastery in customer service, management, and creating exceptional guest experiences defining her path. Her entrepreneurial spirit fuels the exploration of new business ventures. A dynamic public speaker, they earned recognition as a 2022 WBJ 40 under 40 honoree, and 2022 DPR BIPOC Business/Community Leader,showcasing leadership and contributions. Beyond speaking, she excels as a travel agent, crafting dream vacations, and as a credit restoration agent, aiding financial literacy. Notably, her dedication to diversity and inclusion. Her journey amalgamates hospitality, entrepreneurship, and motivational impact, consistently infusing excellence and transformation into every venture.

Shakenna K. Williams, MBA, PhD

Shakenna K. Williams, MBA, PhDExecutive Director, Frank & Eileen™ Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, Babson College

Dr. Shakenna K. Williams is the Executive Director of the Frank & Eileen™ Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (F&E CWEL) and founder of the Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (BWEL) Program at Babson College. She also owns Kenna Business Solutions, and previously served as Deputy Academic Director and Lead Faculty Director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.

With her passion to propel women entrepreneurs to new levels of success and ensure resources are accessible, Dr. Williams has been appointed to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) and is the proud recipient of the Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Changemaker Award, and the African American Female Professor of the Year Award. She also authored the book Hooked: Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills Learned While Fishing with My Dad and The Mark (excerpt).

Dr. Williams received her doctorate from Capella University (dissertation, Talent Management and Retention in Small Family-Owned Businesses: A Multiple-Case Qualitative Study), her MBA from Oklahoma City University, and her B.S. (Finance; Investments) from Babson. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Links, Incorporated, and the Academy of Management. Dr. Williams cherishes being a foster mom and loves to travel, spend time with family, cook, and paint.

Susu Wong

Susu WongFounder and CEO, Tomo360

Susu is the  Founder and CEO of Tomo360, a Lowell-based marketing agency focusing on digital marketing. Their clientele includes businesses, nonprofits, higher ed, and government agencies. She and her team have developed many websites and created marketing strategies to meet their clients’ needs.

Susu's unique combination of marketing, business, and technical experience provides a well-rounded advantage for her clients.  See her career profile on LinkedIn. Before starting Tomo360 in 2012, Susu worked for various companies, from high-tech industries, healthcare, biotech, and higher education to startup companies.  She was an adjunct professor at the University of Lowell, a speaker, and an instructor for the Center of Women Enterprise.

In 2010, Susu co-founded Women Accelerators; a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge and Lowell that helps early-stage women develop their careers with educational, mentoring, and leadership training programs. 

She was a founding member and Director of the Board of the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  She is also a Board Member of OutBIO, the biotech industry’s largest LGBTQ professionals group. She is a Board Member of Girls Inc., Lowell, and a Trustee of the Lowell Cemetery.

Susu was born in Hong Kong and attended High School in Macau. She holds a Master of Science in Management from Lesley University and was certified by Northeastern University in digital marketing and website design from Georgetown University.