Flourish Conference Agenda

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

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

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

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

11:45a – 12:00p Break

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

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

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

3:00 – 3:15 Break

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

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

4:15 Closing Ceremony

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



Flourish WASHINGTON, DC Conference for Women in Leadership

Welcome to Flourish Washington, DC!

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

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

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

As in previous years, we fully expect the Flourish Washington, DC Conference for Women in Leadership to sell out within a few weeks of opening registration.

The conference has been so successful across the U.S. for the following reasons:

  • Each conference is focused on the region it serves. So the Flourish Washington, DC Conference is focused on issues related to the advancement of women in the nation’s capital, and specifically across the DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland area.
  • The Washington, DC Conference highlights women who are either flourishing in DC, have ties to the DMV, or whose work directly impacts the women, workforce and world as seen through the lens of the DMV woman.
  • Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of women-owned businesses according to a study by Nerdwallet.com. It is also home to organizations that serve as resources for women in business, such as the Washington, DC Women’s Business Center, which provides training to women entrepreneurs to support their businesses, and the National Women’s Business Council, an advisory council that serves as a voice for female entrepreneurs to the federal government.
  • Flourish Washington, DC Awards (Entrepreneur of the Year and Executive of the Year) are honors designed to recognize an executive and an entrepreneur in the DMV who is making tremendous contribution in her industry, her community and to the individuals she supports and those she serves.

The Facts about Women in Leadership

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

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

About Washington, DC

Washington has a growing, diversified economy with an increasing percentage of professional and business service jobs. The gross state product of the District in 2010 was $103.3 billion, which would rank it No. 34 compared to the 50 U.S. states. The gross product of the Washington Metropolitan Area was $425 billion in 2010, making it the fourth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States. As of June 2011, the Washington Metropolitan Area had an unemployment rate of 6.2%; the second-lowest rate among the 49 largest metro areas in the nation. The District of Columbia itself had an unemployment rate of 9.8% during the same time period.

In 2012, the federal government accounted for about 29% of the jobs in Washington, D.C. This is thought to immunize Washington to national economic downturns because the federal government continues operations even during recessions. Many organizations such as law firms, independent contractors (both defense and civilian), non-profit organizations, lobbying firms, trade unions, industry trade groups, and professional associations have their headquarters in or near D.C. to be close to the federal government.

Tourism is Washington’s second largest industry. Approximately 18.9 million visitors contributed an estimated $4.8 billion to the local economy in 2012. The District also hosts nearly 200 foreign embassies and international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Pan American Health Organization. In 2008, the foreign diplomatic corps in Washington employed about 10,000 people and contributed an estimated $400 million annually to the local economy.

The District has growing industries not directly related to government, especially in the areas of education, finance, public policy, and scientific research. Georgetown UniversityGeorge Washington UniversityWashington Hospital CenterChildren’s National Medical Center and Howard University are the top five non-government-related employers in the city as of 2009. According to statistics compiled in 2011, four of the largest 500 companies in the country were headquartered in the District.

Source: Wikipedia 

2016 Conference Speakers

Angela Maria Arboleda

Vice President of Government and Community Affairs


Joni J. Johnson, MD


Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning, Inc.

Jason L. Groves, Esq.

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Medifast, Inc.

Kimberly Tignor

Director of Public Policy

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Mary Ann Gómez Orta

President and CEO

Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute

Penny Parayo

Vice President of Beverage and Slot Operations

Maryland Live! Casino.

Rosie Allen-Herring

United Way of the National Capital Area

Tawana M. Bhagwat

Coty Inc.

Dr. Yashima White AziLove

Vice President, Corporate Communication Officer/CEO

Radio One, Inc./Magnate, LLC

2019 Co-Chairs

Cynthia Anderson

Project Manager

Varian Medical Systems

Carmen Ortiz-McGhee

Senior Vice President

Aon plc

Kimberly Y. Robinson


Funk & Bolton, P.A.

Dr. Lydia J. Carlis

Chief Eyemagination Officer

Eyemagination Enterprises, LLC

Lynn M. Selby

Executive Director of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board (GWIB)

O'Malley-Brown Administration

Tasha “TC” Cooper


Upward Action, LLC

Michele Jackson

Change Management Lead

General Dynamics IT

Brenda Brown Hunter


Brenda Brown Hunter Consulting, LLC.

Rita Goodroe


Rita Goodroe Coaching, LLC

Dr. Terré Holmes

Chief Visionary Ocficer


Gail Johnson

Talent Development Senior Executive


Martha Lloyd


Strategic Pathways, Inc.

Nyree Wright

Executive Vice President of Reputation Management

Porter Novelli

Angela Maria Arboleda

Title: Vice President of Government and Community Affairs

Company Herbalife

Angela Maria Arboleda serves as Herbalife’s Vice President of Government and Community Affairs. In this capacity she works on a variety of corporate issues and serves as the federal government relations lobbyist to the Legislative and Executive branches. Angela executes Herbalife’s legislative priorities on Capitol Hill bringing value to the company’s overall profitability. Angela is responsible for managing Herbalife’s external relations and building strategic partnerships with communities in order to advance healthy, active life-styles, balanced nutrition, and financial empowerment. Angela is based in Herbalife’s Washington, D.C. office.
Angela joined Herbalife after a 15-year career in public service. Most recently she served as Senior Policy Advisor for Latino and Asian-American Affairs for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). In that capacity she oversaw policy and political strategy impacting the Latino and Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the U.S. She also served as the Senate liaison to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus working directly with the Members of Congress.
Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Angela worked at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) – the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. – as Director of Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Policy. In 2004, she authored a book entitled Lost Opportunities: The Reality of Latinos in the U.S. Criminal Justice System. At NCLR, she was a spokesperson to both mainstream and Spanish-language media.
Angela also worked for the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation and the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) where she developed national organizing campaigns on behalf of women and workers.
Angela is a graduate of the Elliot School of International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Joni J. Johnson, MD

Title: Founder

Company Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning, Inc.

Email: drjoni@pp4al.com

Phone: 540-628-4145

Joni J. Johnson, MD is the Founder of Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning, Inc. and CogSolid Athletics, LLC.  A product of the United States Military Academy and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Johnson has spent her 18 year career caring for military families.  The past 9 years have been dedicated exclusively to helping individuals reach their fullest potential.  Through her multi-disciplinary clinic and athletic program, Dr. Johnson hopes to forever change the way we diagnose, treat, and encourage individuals with ADHD, Autism, Learning Differences and Mood Disorders.

Jason L. Groves, Esq.

Title: Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Company Medifast, Inc.

Email: Jason.Groves@ChooseMedifast.com

Phone: 410-707-9645

Jason L. Groves, Esq. is Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Medifast, Inc. (NYSE: MED). Jason has served as General Counsel since 2011 (and from 2009 to 2015, he also served as a member of the Medifast board.) Previously, Jason spent ten years with Verizon.  For most of those years, he was the Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs for Verizon Maryland responsible for legislative policy and community affairs.  Jason has a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude, in Hospitality Management from Bethune-Cookman University, and a Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law.  He is a member of the New Jersey and District of Columbia bars as well as several bar associations.  Jason is an Army veteran and entered active duty as a direct commissioned Judge Advocate in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG), where he also had the distinction of prosecuting criminal cases in the District Court of Maryland as a Special Assistant United States Attorney.  He currently serves as a board member for several companies and organizations, including the Center Club of Baltimore, Anne Arundel Medical Center, chair of the Cottage Insurance Company, the advisory board for Hofmann Brands, the advisory board for BB&T Bank in Annapolis and several of the subsidiary boards for Medifast.  Jason is married and resides in Maryland with his wife and two sons.

Kimberly Tignor

Title: Director of Public Policy

Company The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Kimberly Tignor is the Public Policy Director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ms. Tignor manages a portfolio that includes education, voting rights, employment discrimination, fair housing, affirmative action, criminal justice, and immigration. In addition, she manages the Judicial Diversity Program of the Lawyers’ Committee.
Ms. Tignor has spent her career immersed in the most pressing of legal issues surrounding underprivileged persons and advancing the causes of equality and social justice. She is particularly well-versed in working across multicultural issues and topics of key interest to people of color. Her impressive legal experience spans from directing policy at the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national network of African American legal professionals, to coordinating state and national level pipeline and advocacy efforts for Presidential judicial nominees at the VENG Group, the leading government affairs firm consulting group representing Presidential nominees to the federal judiciary. During her time with the Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic, Ms. Tignor studied the impact of laws on adolescents and advocated for a higher quality of rehabilitation services within the justice system.
Ms. Tignor Chairs the National Bar Association Judicial Evaluations Committee and is an active member of the organization’s Civil Rights Law and Legislative Affairs Sections. In her local community, she is a board member of the DC Ward 4 Democrats, a member of the Potomac (VA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the DC Lawyers for Youth. Ms. Tignor has been a guest speaker for numerous panels including C-Span’s After Words, the American Bar Association Commission of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the profession, and the Washington Bar Association. Ms. Tignor was recently recognized by On Being a Lawyer of Color as one of the country’s top lawyers under the age of 40.
Kimberly Tignor is a proud Washington DC native. She received her JD from Georgetown University, and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Information Technology from the College of William and Mary.

Mary Ann Gómez Orta

Title: President and CEO

Company Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute

Email: mgomezorta@chli.org

Phone: 202-347-8280

Mary Ann Gomez joined the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) in 2011. Prior to joining CHLI, she was the Executive Director of the National Association of Hispanic Publications. She is a former corporate marketing manager with Coors Brewing Company and McDonald’s Corporation. She managed multi-million advertising and marketing campaigns, collaborated with advertising and public relations firms as well as multi-lingual broadcast, print and outdoor media to executive local, regional and national promotions. She represented the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) as a National Alliance Development Consultant and managed business development and multi-cultural projects for small and mid-size public relations agencies and also national ones, such as Fleishman-Hillard.
She has taught business, marketing and public speaking at the University of Phoenix and Heald College. She has also conducted workshops for small business owners on marketing, public speaking tips for women, networking and Hispanic marketing.
Mary Ann was recently asked to serve as the co-chair of the New America Alliance Latina Caucus Washington DC chapter. She has served on the board member of the University of the Pacific’s Alumni Association, Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Astronaut Jose M. Hernandez Reaching for the Stars Foundation; and served as President of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project. Mary Ann earned a B.A. in Communications at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California and an M.B.A. at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California.
Gomez strongly believes that diverse points of view create exponentially better results for all and it is with that passion and commitment she prepares and promotes Hispanic college students to be global leaders at CHLI.
Gomez is extremely proud of her parents. Her father is from Michoacán, Mexico and her mother is from Brownsville, Texas. They raised five children while working in the fields of California’s Central Valley and encouraged and watched as all five earned undergraduate degrees and two went on to obtain masters degrees.

Penny Parayo

Title: Vice President of Beverage and Slot Operations

Company Maryland Live! Casino.

In her role as Vice President of Slot Operations, Penny Parayo oversees all day-to-day aspects of the Beverage, Slot Operation and Technical Services departments to ensure the delivery of a world-class gaming and entertainment experience at Maryland Live! Casino.

Ms. Parayo brings more than 20 years of slot operations and casino management experience to Maryland Live! Casino, with a proven track record of opening and expanding new properties, driving revenue growth, developing operational plans to create consumer loyalty, and continuously increasing employee satisfaction and retention.

Prior to joining Maryland Live! Casino, Ms. Parayo held executive positions in the casino gaming industry, including Senior Director of Gaming Strategy for Rocket Gaming in Chicago; Vice President of Gaming Operations for Horseshoe Hammond in Indiana; and Vice President of Eastern Division Slots for Harrah’s Entertainment. In all of these leadership roles, Ms. Parayo was in charge of overseeing the purchase, management operations and maintenance of gaming equipment, as well as providing an outstanding customer service experience.

Additionally, Ms. Parayo has served in leadership roles as Assistant Vice President of Slot Operations at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and as Assistant Director of the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, where she managed slot operations with a staff of more than 225 employees.

Ms. Parayo holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She currently resides in Anne Arundel County, MD.

Tawana M. Bhagwat


Company Coty Inc.

Email: Tawana_Bhagwat@cotyinc.com

Phone: 513-235-0468

A champion for organizational excellence, Tawana Bhagwat is accredited with foresting the growth and development of many of the company’s most successful Vice Presidents and General Managers. As a Global Human Resource Leader she served as the Senior Strategic Coach for C-Suite executives, advising on a variety of managerial decisions such as diversity and inclusion, organizational design, culture and strategic planning. Tawana is responsible for the organization operations for the Cosmetics Brand Franchise supporting ~1,000 employees in North America, Canada, Porta Rico, and Europe. Her relentless emphasis on the correlation between diversity and organizational success has led to a significant increase in multicultural recruitment, training, and retention.
Over the course of her 20 year career she has created training institutes for managers of others to learn how to successfully empower and lead their organizations. Launched mentoring/sponsorship programs for minority talent and pioneered the development of new organization that evaluate trends, innovation, and consumer behavior, which she received an HR Inspiration InTouch Award. Several years later, she created a Beauty Think Tank forum that transformed the conventional way of how her organization did work and eliminated “sacred cows” in order to increase productivity and drive waste out the systems, which she received another HR Inspiration InTouch Award, among many others.

To say that Tawana has made invaluable contributions as a professional is an understatement and does not capture the whole women. She is just as fierce a leader in her community and dedicated supporter of women empowerment. She is the Development Chair of Associated Black Charities Board and United Way Partnership Board which both non-profit organizations focus on giving individuals and families a second chance to flourish in life. Her atrium has launched the careers of many senior management professionals, her civic leadership and commitment to humanity through empowering the lives of young women across the country is a testament to her love and dedication to making this world a better place.

Dr. Yashima White AziLove

Title: Vice President, Corporate Communication Officer/CEO

Company Radio One, Inc./Magnate, LLC

Dr. Yashima White AziLove is the Vice President, Corporate Communication Officer for Radio One, Inc. and the CEO of Magnate, LLC, a personal and professional communication development firm providing coaching, training and consulting services to professional women and faith-leaders.

Dr. Yashima embodies the term, “multi-faceted.” She is a print and television journalist turned award-winning brand communication strategist that has a proven track record of leadership and communication excellence in the insurance, healthcare, financial services, media and entertainment industries. Having worked at Fortune 50 companies and managed budgets in excess of $2.5 billion, her diversified background and robust marketing communication skill set catapulted her to a Chief Marketing Officer position by the age of 32 and she built Magnate, a $1 million personal and professional development firm by the age of 35. She’s been blazing trails ever since.
Dr. Yashima empowers professional women, corporations and faith organizations on the significance of branding and communications for leadership optimization in business and life. Having built a client roster of reputable Fortune 100 companies, Dr. Yashima is also a sought after, internationally traveled speaker, challenging audiences in the areas of effective communications, leadership, personal development and self-love. Using her life story of turbulence to triumphant through sickness, a challenged marriage and depression, Dr. Yashima inspires audiences to elevate what they say, to elevate what they see.
Currently the spokesperson and Vice President, Corporate Communications Officer for the Radio One family of companies encompassing a cable network (TV One), radio syndication (Reach Media), digital (Interactive One), integrated brand content agency and studio (One Solution) and a debit/loyalty card (One VIP Card), Dr. Yashima utilizes her multifaceted skill set and robust experience to leverage the largest African-American owned and targeted multi-media conglomerate in the United States of America. She’s been named by Radio Ink on the 2016 list of Most Influential Women in Radio.
Dr. Yashima is a University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business graduate and holds a Doctorate of Divinity in Leadership and Organizational Development; in addition two certifications in meeting management and professional coaching. She’s also an emerging author with her freshman book, Unauthorized scheduled for release Spring 2017. She’s happily married to Emmanuel AziLove and the proud mother of one son, Malachi.

Cynthia Anderson

Title: Project Manager

Company Varian Medical Systems

HOMETOWN: Washington D.C. – currently resides in Potomac, MD
PROFESSION: Chef/Owner, Intimate Sentiments, Motivational Speaker, Foodie!

MOTTO: “Cook with love” COMPANY SLOGAN: “Tasting is Believing” .
Author: “The Art of Cooking for One” To be released September 2016.
Celebrity Chef Cynthia Anderson spent 10 years perfecting her culinary arts craft. Her dream was realized in 2005 when she became Owner/Personal Chef of Intimate Sentiments. Her signature dishes include Maine Lobster Macaroni & Cheese with White Truffle Oil.

Customer clientele consists of professional athletes, noted politicians, nationally known entertainers, moms, single parents and senior citizens throughout the DMV area. Cynthia’s passion spans beyond just cooking. She’s also believes in the importance of education. In addition to being chef extraordinaire, Cynthia dedicates her time to imparting her clients with knowledge around the need for healthy eating habits as a daily part of our lives. She uses cooking as a tool in particular to empower her elderly and health impaired clients by providing cooking classes focused healthy meal preparation in 30 minutes or less. Cynthia is currently an Ambassador for The American Heart Association. She continues to give back to her community by providing inner city youth with healthy cooking classes several times a year. Board Affiliations: CURRENT; American Heart Association, Member; The SMV Foundation, Treasurer. Past Board Member : Men Against Breast Cancer, Scotland Community Foundation and The DC Athletic Association. Community And Civil Affiliations: Member: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and The Links Incorporated. Education: Bachelor of Science, Morgan State University; Masters of Information Technology, Virginia Tech University; Project Management and Strategic Planning Master Certificates, Georgetown University.

Carmen Ortiz-McGhee

Title: Senior Vice President

Company Aon plc

Carmen Ortiz-McGhee is Senior Vice President and Head of Sales for Aon in the DC, MD and VA region. In this role she is responsible for driving growth across all product lines throughout the region. Carmen is also a member of Aon’s Diversity & Inclusion Board. In 2014, she was selected as one of Business Insurance Magazine’s Top 25 Women to Watch.

Prior to her current role, Carmen served as Executive Vice President of Sales for Aon Cornerstone Innovative Solutions. Aon Cornerstone was tasked with sourcing and vetting MWDBE firms, building strategic alliances and go-to-market strategies with them to meet the increasing demand by Aon’s clients for subcontracting with those firms. Prior to joining Aon, she was the Vice President of Business & Investment Development for a boutique real estate private equity firm with $1 billion in AUM.

Previously, Carmen was President of The Marathon Club (TMC), an organization established to accelerate relationships among the best and brightest business minds in the U.S. to create enhanced wealth creation and deal flow for ethnically diverse professionals. Carmen led programs both in the US and abroad. Prior to leading TMC, Carmen created value for a number of non-profit organizations. In her various roles at these organizations, Carmen led corporate fundraising strategies; membership recruitment efforts, raising the diversity and number of participants; content development, innovating unique approaches and managing the logistical implementation of the annual meetings, trade shows & conferences.

Carmen currently serves as Chair of the Board of New America Alliance, Inc. and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the National Education Association Foundation. She is also a Co-Chair of Flourish DC. Carmen is licensed in Life & Health and Property & Casualty insurance brokerage and lives in Virginia with her husband and their three children.

Kimberly Y. Robinson

Title: Member

Company Funk & Bolton, P.A.

Email: krobinson@fblaw.com

Phone: 410-375-2523

Kimberly Y. Robinson is a member of Funk & Bolton, P.A, resident in the firm’s Baltimore office. Ms. Robinson leads the firm’s Government Relations Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Insurance Regulation Practice Group.

Ms. Robinson currently represents a variety of insurer and business interests before the Maryland General Assembly and serves as the Executive Director of the League of Life and Health Insurers of Maryland.

Prior to joining Funk & Bolton, P.A., Ms. Robinson was employed by the Maryland Insurance Administration from 2001 until 2008, most recently serving as the Director of Government Relations. As the Director of Government Relations, she was involved in policy development, drafted legislation and regulations, authored legislative reports and represented the Administration on all insurance related legislation (life, health, property, and casualty) before the Maryland General Assembly. She also served as the Insurance Commissioner’s liaison between the Governor’s Legislative Office, members of the Maryland General Assembly, the Maryland Congressional delegation, and local governments. Ms. Robinson previously served as Staff Attorney to the Life and Health section and Staff Attorney to the Commissioner’s Office of the Administration, handling regulatory matters before assuming legislative responsibilities.

Ms. Robinson played a key role in the development and drafting of the Administration’s legislation beginning in 2003 and worked on such key issues as the creation of the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, regulation of viatical settlement providers and brokers, the regulation of pharmacy benefit managers, requirements for the licensing of insurance producers, and reforms regarding the availability of property insurance in the coastal areas of the state. In addition, she served as a member of the State Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers, the Health Disparities Work Group and on the Diabetes Coalition, and staffed various legislative task forces including the Task Force on Access to Mental Health Services, the Commissioner’s Auto Insurance Task Force to Study Rates in Urban Areas and the Task Force on the Availability and Affordability of Property Insurance in Coastal Areas.

Ms. Robinson serves on the Board of Directors for the Baltimore Washington Chamber of Commerce, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and has recently concluded 10 years of service on the Board of Directors of the Metro Delta Education Programs, Inc., operating a Head Start Program in Baltimore City. In 2012, she was named one of the Daily Record’s Top 100 Women in Maryland and, in 2010, she was named one of the Daily Record’s Leading Women, recognizing the accomplishments of 40 Maryland Women Under 40.

Ms. Robinson is a member of the Maryland Government Relations Association, the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys of Maryland, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Incorporated.

Dr. Lydia J. Carlis

Title: Chief Eyemagination Officer

Company Eyemagination Enterprises, LLC

Email: lydia@eyemaginationimaging.com

Phone: 202.297.8235

Lydia Kearney Carlis, PhD is the founder and Chief Eyemagination Officer of Eyemagination Enterprises, LLC, based in Washington, DC. Eyemagination Enterprises exists to increase quality educational programs for children around the globe who are most at risk when schools fail them (www.eyemagined.com), and to help prove what’s possible through education and excellence using visual brand management (www.eyemaginationimaging.com). As an educational consultant and researcher, Lydia works with sites, schools, districts, nonprofits and foundations to ensure educational excellence for high risk, high need children. As a photographer, Lydia is passionate about capturing the beauty and strength of women executives, creatives, and entrepreneurial leaders. Her portrait and narrative profiles inspire professionals and students alike to expand their definitions of success and dream big about what they can become and accomplish in their lives.

Lynn M. Selby

Title: Executive Director of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board (GWIB)

Company O'Malley-Brown Administration

Email: lmselby@outlook.com

Phone: 443.842.0594

Ms. Reed-Selby is a 20-year professional with both private and public sector policy and government relations experience at the national, state and local levels. She is currently a Gubernatorial Appointee, serving the O’Malley-Brown Administration as Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board (GWIB) since January 2011. She also served as GWIB Deputy Director for three years.

As GWIB Executive Director, Ms. Reed-Selby oversees the daily operations and management of the 45+ member Board and staff. Her responsibilities include budget development and management; identifying and recruiting corporate board members; strategic planning; analyzing labor market data, policy, and federal and state legislation; preparing and delivering legislative briefings; testifying before the Maryland General Assembly; and building and maintaining relationships with State agency partners, members of the Maryland General Assembly and Congressional Delegation. She also led the GWIB’s launch and promotion of Skills2Compete (S2C) Maryland, in partnership with Discovery Communications and Montgomery College; the Governor’s signature campaign aimed at encouraging Marylanders to pursue at least two years of post-secondary education.

Prior to joining the GWIB, Ms. Reed-Selby served for seven years as Senior Director of Business Partnerships for LRG, Inc., During her tenure, she was staffed as an “Executive on Loan” to the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s Business Relations Group.

She currently serves on the Leadership Council of the National Skills Coalition, Wilberforce University Alumnae and Others Special Taskforce on Accreditation, and is a past Board Member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP).

In her personal life, Ms. Reed-Selby is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and a member of the Baltimore (MD) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated. She is a graduate of the Links Scott Hawkins Leadership Institute (SHLI) Cohort IV. Lynn and her husband Roland reside in Baltimore.

Tasha “TC” Cooper

Title: President

Company Upward Action, LLC

Tasha “TC” Cooper, Esq. is an intellectual property attorney, Amazon #1 new release author for multiple books, founder of the FaithFocusFlow™ training portal for Christian business leaders, and founder of UpwardAction® – a social media marketing training company. She has been recognized as a leader in social marketing, self-publishing and building influential brands online. Her social media communities collectively exceed 60,000 followers who tune in for her expert, actionable advice. You can learn about her work at www.UpwardAction.com and www.FaithFocusFlow.com.

TC has been engaged to provide training for entities that include the White House Fellows Program (Obama Administration), Council on Foreign Relations, DC Bar Association, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Wall Street Project Economic Summit, Hampton University, Rutgers University Business School, New Jersey Small Business Development Centers – as well as individual attorneys and consultants.

She has contributed to publications that include Black Enterprise Magazine, Speakers Magazine, California Bar Journal, Washington Lawyer Magazine and others. Her bible-based business books and resources are used in Bible study groups for entrepreneurs and faith-based non-profit organizations around the country.

TC began her professional life as a private equity attorney in an international law firm, following which she served as associate general counsel for a publicly traded luxury watch manufacturer, and following as associate general counsel in a regulatory agency of the federal government.

She is a graduate of Columbia Law School (NY), where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and Hampton University (VA), where she graduated from the Honors College program.

Michele Jackson

Title: Change Management Lead

Company General Dynamics IT

As Change Management Lead for General Dynamics IT, Michele directs the communications and organizational change efforts of a multi-year $20MM ECM@NIH project to implement an enterprise-wide content management system impacting more than 4000 federal workers and contractors across the National Institutes of Health. Her immutable and unique strengths to envision a preferred future state, quickly ascertain and deconstruct root challenges and roadblocks, and then articulate clearly a viable path forward toward solution, resolution, and improvement has increased a wide swath of stakeholders, leaders, and users’ process adoption and engagement and course-corrected communication gaps that has kept the project advancing toward success.

Prior to joining General Dynamics Michele founded and is CEO of Zephyr Group, a strategic management consulting company focused on organizational development, strategy, and change management. With a focus on people, proficiencies, and profits Michele’s insights have helped to deliver a full suite of change management and organizational development initiatives that improve programs, projects, and products within government, industry, and non-profit organizations.

As Chief Operations Officer and Program Director for a multimedia software development firm, Michele directed change management programs within NASA’s Office of Education, notably, a $1.5 million budget for the development of the Student Online Research Journal and the One Stop Shopping Initiative web-based platforms for NASA’s Office of Education. Between 2014-2016 Michele served as a Senior Adviser for NASA’s Office of Education Strategic Working Group to develop a 5-year strategic plan to realign the Office of Education’s intra-Agency technology and communication platforms.

Michele’s early career includes more than 20 years in banking and financial services. As a Vice President with Key Bank, NA, Michele led risk audits and enterprise-wide process improvement initiatives for disaster recovery and communications strategy. As a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley spanning 10 years, Michele managed more than $60MM in client assets advising municipalities, non-profit organizations, and individuals. At that time in Cleveland, Michele was among the fewer than twelve women of color serving as Series 7 licensed financial advisors within a major wall street brokerage firm.

Recently, Michele has developed and launched a new patent pending product, PrettiFeet Perfect Fit. She is presently working to expand the new SKU for product placement in US retailers.

Brenda Brown Hunter

Title: President/CEO

Company Brenda Brown Hunter Consulting, LLC.

Email: Brenda@bbhconsultingllc.com

Phone: 865-207-2689

Brenda Hunter earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Alabama State University and a professional MBA at the University of Tennessee. Hunter has more than 24 years of experience in the accounting/audit fields. She is a Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified Government Financial Manager, Six Sigma Black Belt Champion, and a Behavior-Based Safety Observer.

Hunter’s professional career began in 1983 as an auditor/investigator with the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). She has had the opportunity to be challenged in various different positons. Specifically, a fraud examiner/auditor with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), auditor with the State of Tennessee, assistant controller with the Bechtel Jacobs Company, Director of Internal Audit/Ethics with Bechtel/SAIC, Manager of the Administrative Services department with B&W Y-12, and Internal Audit division manager with B&W Y-12.

Hunter competed and was selected to serve in Washington, D.C. as the National Nuclear Security Administration Headquarters liaison where she coordinated information regarding nuclear operations to NNSA, Department of Defense officials, and the U.S. Congress. She then served as Science Advisor in NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs, where she assisted in directing the Stockpile Stewardship Program.

Currently, Hunter serves as the U.S./U.K. Plants liaison at NNSA Headquarters. In this capacity, she advises the Defense Programs Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Management on issues related to nuclear weapons manufacturing and provides technical oversight of multiple international technical exchanges within the nuclear weapons program.

Hunter also serves on the Board of Directors for the Knoxville Opera, Historical Tennessee Theatre, Men of Tomorrow, and Club LeConte. She is a past president of the Oak Ridge Reservation National Management Association and is a former board member of the Girl Scouts of America (Tanasi Council). In 2008, she received the YWCA Tribute to Women in Business and Government Award. In 2011, Hunter participated in a Women’s Leadership China Delegation.

Rita Goodroe

Title: Owner

Company Rita Goodroe Coaching, LLC

Rita Goodroe is an international speaker, author, business mentor and strategist to women entrepreneurs, helping them take bold actions to realize BIG results in business so they make more money in less time in a way that is fun and aligned with their values! Rita’s clients love how she uses humor to break tough topics down into practical, easily implementable, actions and have coined the phrase “Rita made me DO it!” to celebrate their many successes.

Prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur, Rita worked for 13 years as a business attorney. Thanks to a revelation that sent her on 35 dates in 35 days, Rita left her life as an attorney and became a dating coach. She surpassed her attorney salary within months and was asked to tour as an expert panelist, speaker and to serve as an expert for The Washington Post. She found that the majority of people approaching her weren’t asking for dating advice but wanted to know how she had been able to grow a successful business so quickly.

In 2015, Rita created the global community, “Women’s Business Garden,” providing education and community events to women entrepreneurs making it easier for them to start and grow businesses. In June 2016, Women’s Business Garden was selected as a change-making community by the United State of Women Summit convened by The Obama White House.

Having built two successful businesses of her own, and helping her clients to do the same, Rita believes that the fastest path to success is by helping others succeed and is dedicated to fighting for women’s equal access to opportunities in all areas of entrepreneurship.

Dr. Terré Holmes

Title: Chief Visionary Ocficer

Company EnvisionU

A serial- prenuer with a heart and passion for business and personal development, Dr. Terré is the Chief Visionary Officer at EnvisionU, helping entrepreneurs create lives they love and businesses that leave legacies, while offering live and virtual courses and events focused on leadership, marketing, and business strategy.

As a result of her work, in 2014 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for her 20 years of service in the fields of business, education, the arts, and publishing.

A former classroom teacher and college professor, she speaks and teaches on leadership, resiliency, and business development and has authored more than 6 books, including her global project Persist, Inspiring Stories About Winning in the Game of Life When Losing Isn’t an Option, to be released in 2019.

When she’s not collaborating with other brands, speaking, or writing, you can find her in the kitchen whipping up something adventurous.

Gail Johnson

Title: Talent Development Senior Executive

Company AT&T

Gail Johnson is a veteran Human Resources Executive. Throughout her tenure at AT&T, she has played an instrumental role in human capital management positions building strategic partnerships, creating and executing leadership development programs, and hiring top talent across the organization including C-Suite positions.
Currently, she is responsible for the enterprise-wide Talent Development Programs including the Mentoring programs for the company. Prior to this role, Gail led AT&T’s Summer Intern Program, Leadership Development Programs and strategic talent development partnerships including HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities), minority-serving institutions, women’s organizations, and diverse stakeholders. Her ability to effectively respond to global growth, market changes, and economic challenges has made her a treasured resource and propelled her more than 30-year steadfast career.
Gail is passionate about connecting talent with the right career opportunities and the community with corporate America, serving on various non-profit and professional boards. She is a lifetime member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and currently a Board Member for the National Black MBA Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and an Executive Education Certification from Harvard University.
She is a highly sought-after speaker for various panels on topics related to diversity and inclusion, innovation, workforce planning, generational mentoring, and minority recruitment and retention.

Martha Lloyd

Title: Owner

Company Strategic Pathways, Inc.

SUMMARY: As a visionary and strategist, Ms. Lloyd has lead or contributed to strategic plans, new business development, capture plans as well as robust go-to-market approaches to industry specific markets. Ms. Lloyd has over two (2) decades of developing a strong track record closing large, multifaceted government and commercial contracts. She has worked with a varied customer base, senior level management and complex business operations and holds an active Top Secret clearance.


• Prominent role in varying progressive positions leading the strategic business development life cycle and directing resources.

• Impact player with proven success in winning new business and creating organic growth.

  • • Expertise in execution of forward thinking initiatives to accomplish multi-dimensional business objectives including strategic partnering.
  • • Skilled in business intelligence, market research and analyses, proposal management and operation of a Corporate Information Center.
  • • Actively identifies, articulates and implements winning strategies oriented toward capturing specific business opportunities. Managing this process has provided a bridge between long range strategic planning and contract performance.
  • • Managing Director for Arcadia Group International, www.arcadiagroupintl.com/leadership.php.


StratPaths, Inc. – President & CEO

L3 Communications – Vice President, Department of Defense Business Development

Cisco Systems – Global Service Manager (United States, Europe, Middle East and Africa)

Unisys Federal – Business Development Director

Computer Sciences Corporation – Business Development Specialist


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Life Member, 2018

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), 2017 – present

Odyssey Media, 2017 – present

Japanese Society of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (JSIE), 2016 – present

Women in Technology (WIT), 2010 – present

Laurel Grove School Association Board, 2009 – 2015

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), 2007 – present

National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), 2007 – present

Senior Professional Women’s Association (SPWA), Pentagon, 2007 – 2010


Bachelors of Science, University of Maryland in Business Administration

Executive MBA, University of Maryland

Nyree Wright

Title: Executive Vice President of Reputation Management

Company Porter Novelli

Nyree Wright is a role model who is as dedicated to her community as she is to her career. She is a natural born leader, committed to the role of excellence and diversity in the marketing and communications industry. Her “each one, reach one” attitude is her signature.
Nyree is a top Washington, DC public relations counselor who played a critical role helping to manage communications during the bankruptcy and recovery of General Motors beginning in 2009. Additionally, she served on National Grid’s crisis communications leadership team and was onsite during Hurricane Sandy – the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. Most recently, Nyree was one of the key counselors helping Firestone Liberia communicate its efforts in combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa – the largest and deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. In all, Nyree has a proven track record in crisis communications and for developing successful campaigns across various industries that include consumer, automotive, education, financial services, energy and telecommunications.

Nyree currently is an Executive Vice President of Reputation Management at Porter Novelli. Previously, Nyree was Senior Vice President at MSLGROUP in Washington, DC. MSLGROUP acquired her previous firm, The McGinn Group/TMG Strategies, a well- known consulting firm, in April 2007. Prior to joining MSL Washington, DC in 2011, Nyree ascended through the ranks of The McGinn Group/TMG Strategies to Vice President, where, for five years, she managed the General Motors Communications assignment, the firm’s largest and most important account. Her work on the GM business came at a particularly critical time, as the automaker teetered on the cusp of bankruptcy. The McGinn Group/TMG Strategies played an essential role in the process, directly counseling GM’s executive leadership and serving as a critical hub for all communications during the pre- and post-bankruptcy phases. Nyree personally handled the day-to-day management and operations of “The Arlington Project,” which was created by GM’s most senior leadership. Additionally, Nyree took on key roles in the agency’s crisis and corporate reputation accounts, including Purdue Pharma and Howard University, where she served as a principle lead to Howard’s Office of the President during their Academic Renewal
Nyree joined The McGinn Group in 2001 after working at Prudential Financial (1997-1999) and Ogilvy PR (1999-2001). Nyree began her career at The Rosen Group in New York, where she secured a position with the agency after interning with them through her Rutgers University PRSA chapter during her undergraduate studies.

Nyree is a seasoned communications advisor who brings to Porter Novelli a strong foundation of corporate reputation, strategic counseling and public relations/marketing experience. Her knowledge provided her the skill-set and management acumen that contributed to a 2001 Public Relations Society of America Big Apple Award for her PR & Marketing Communications work while working in Ogilvy PR’s New York office. This award was not only a first for her, but also represented the program/campaign of the first- ever introduction of tax e-filing services. Her client (H.D. Vest Financial Services) set the stage for a multi- billion dollar industry and later became acquired by Wells Fargo. During this time, she also attended Seton Hall University where she earned her MA in Corporate & Public Communications – a challenging goal, since she was managing one of the largest accounts in her office.
Nyree has received top industry awards, including the National Press Club’s coveted Vivian Award for years 2013, 2014 and 2017. The Vivian Awards were established by former NPC president Vivian Vahlberg in 1982 to honor outstanding service to the Club. Nyree earned this recognition through hard work for one of the most important associations in the DC marketplace. As a member of the NPC’s Speakers Committee in 2013, she successfully pitched, managed and orchestrated sold-out luncheons for notable speakers, including Ben Jealous (NAACP President & CEO), Bob Johnson (Black Entertainment Television/BET Founder) and Gloria Steinem (the feminist activist) on the eve of her receiving the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Since 2011, Nyree has also served as the co-chair of the National Press Club 5K Committee, responsible for the organization, execution and promotion of the annual 5K Run to help raise funds for the National Press Club Journalism Institute. The over $200,000 she helped raise during her tenure has allowed the Journalism Institute to help working journalists improve their skills with ongoing training and programming. It also funded scholarships for future journalists that promote diversity within the journalism profession. For her efforts, Nyree has been a regular presence on the dais for some of the NPC’s most prominent speakers, most recently in December when General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made his last major speech before his retirement.
Nyree was named to Washington Life Magazine’s “The Young & the Guest List 2014”, which “honors the 300+ under 40 geniuses, visionaries, crusaders & innovators shaping Washington’s future.” She was also featured in Capitol Communicator’s “Up Close & Personal Profiles” (March 2015).
Most recently in October 2018, Nyree was featured in Diverse Voices: Profiles in Leadership, a book designed to help communications leaders and professionals better understand the challenges faced by minorities in the communications profession.
The book features interviews with more than 40 multicultural corporate and PR agency leaders. These executives, many of whom have risen to the highest levels of the communications profession, share candid anecdotes detailing successes and challenges that they face during their career, as well as tips and lessons for those entering the field. The book was developed by the PRSA Foundation and the Museum of Public Relations, with all proceeds going to the Foundation, an independent, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion within the communications profession.

Nyree’s leadership in PR/Communications is undisputed. She is a charter and former board member of ColorComm, an organization for women of color in communications; a trained Focus Group Moderator of the Research in Values & Attitudes Institute (RIVA); a former member of the National Press Club (NPC), one of the most prestigious media/communications organizations in the world; a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA); and in 2016, became a trustee of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Foundation.
However, the essence of her leadership is shown through her 2009-2012 presidency of the Capital Press Club (CPC), the oldest African-American communications association in the nation. CPC – founded in 1944 as an African-American alternative to the NPC which, at that time, did not accept black members – exists to unite communications professionals of color through professional development, networking, new business opportunities/entrepreneurship, and issues advocacy.

Nyree shines in and out of the office as a committed volunteer and humanitarian. Her commitments include:
Adjunct Professor, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
Viva Women of Color/Public Groupe BRG: Charter/Board Member, DC-Metro Chapter
The Humane Society of the United States: Fundraiser
Heritage Hill of Alexandria Townhouses Association: Board Member (former)
Leadership/Role Model: Nyree’s leadership is evident in all she does. Within the agency (and industry), junior team members seek her out for guidance and counsel. With her peers, she is revered as an accomplished colleague. With her clients, she is a trusted and strategic advisor on all fronts.
Commitment to Her Trade: While Nyree has remained dedicated to the PR/Communications industry, she by no means remains complacent in her achievements thus far nor rests on her previous laurels. She continually looks for opportunities to grow professionally while mentoring those around her.
Dedication: Nyree leaves no stone unturned when it comes to servicing her clients, agency and fellow (wo)men. She constantly seeks to achieve the best in all she does, both personally and professionally. She believes that she’s been given gifts/blessings with a purposed vision to share them.