2018 Sessions and Speakers

Can We Talk?
9:00 – 9:45 breakout sessions 

Generational Collaboration
Millenials, Gen-Xers and Boomers: What we can learn from each other. 

LindaLinda Chapin has served in many roles in the Central Florida community over the years. Elected to the county commission in the 1980s, Linda then served as the first elected mayor of Orange County from 1990-1998. After leaving office, she joined the University of Central Florida where she founded the Metropolitan Center for Regional Studies, which focuses on issues facing the region, primarily in areas of growth, the environment, and transportation. Today, she serves on a number of civic and community boards, and recently completed two terms as chairwoman of the Orlando Health board of directors. 

new head shot copyHelen Martinez is an attorney and entrepreneur who founded Black Elk Group, a commercial real estate development, investment and consulting firmaffiliated with the Ustler Group of Companies, in 2017. Prior to foundingHelen built SaaS-based company focused on the financial due diligence sector, which she sold to a public financial services firm in New York in late 2014. Helen also practiced law for nearly a decade in private practice and as in-house counsel She is active in her community and has served on many boards, including the advisory board for Athena International. Helen lives in Orlando with her husband, John, and their two children, Virginia and Tindal, ages 6 and 4.

KellyCohenKelly Cohen is a lobbyist, political strategist and fundraiser known for building partnerships between government and industry in Florida. Kelly is managing partner at the Orlando office of Florida-based government relations firm Southern Strategy Group. She has successfully spearheaded some of the region’s largest development projects, including the acquisition of an Orlando MLS team, the construction of the Orlando City Soccer Stadium, and the entrance of Wawa and Uber into the Orlando market. An active and dedicated member of her community, Kelly serves as a board member for a host of regional arts, tech, and nonprofit organizations and is a top advisor to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. She lives with her husband Scott, and their cat, Kitty, in downtown Orlando. 

Shelley LautenShelley W. Lauten is the CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, a position she has held since October 2017. The Commission is a tri-county organization whose mission is to eradicate homelessness across the region. Prior to the Commission, Shelley was a founding partner of the consulting firm triSect; served as president of myregion.org, a seven-county strategic planning initiative; and held senior executive positions at Walt Disney World and the Arnold Palmer Golf Management Company. A native Floridian, Shelley has been married to her husband for 34 years and has called Orlando home for most of those years. They have two grown children, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter.

Adrianna Sekula_1Adrianna Sekula is a government affairs and community relations professional at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, driving local public policy initiatives and community outreach. Adrianna’s previous experience includes legislative efforts to ensure funding and smart policy in the juvenile justice arena and locally in residential construction with the Homebuilder’s Association. She is the chair of the PACE Center for Girls in Orange County, on the board of the Florida Executive Women of Central Florida, and is active in Toastmasters, Tiger Bay of Central Florida and Leadership Orlando, in addition to many Disney-appointed chamber and association boards.

Making a Real Difference
A discussion of outputs vs. outcomes, philanthropic marketing, event sponsorships and more.

C Wick Small FormatCarol Wick, principal, Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, started her career working with at-risk children and quickly gained national attention for her ability to create and implement innovative and sustainable solutions to century-old problems. Over the years, she has developed a proven method that can be applied to any organization to help them grow, build their brand, and attract and retain investors. She has over 20 years of executive director experience and is the published author of several evidence-based studies on program effectiveness. Carol utilizes this wealth of experience to assist nonprofit organizations assess their capacity and take their organization to the next level. 

phyllisPhyllis Corkum is the Grants Manager for the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. Before joining the Foundation staff last year, she had served in leadership roles in both nonprofit and educational settings for nearly 30 years. She launched her career in the literacy field, directing a mobile adult education program initiated by the Pew Charitable Trusts in a small northern shipbuilding city. She moved into the roles of director of fund distribution and then fund development for the local United Way, where she also managed the county FEMA board and founded the Homeless Services Coalition. 

Leslie HartogLeslie Hartog is a social entrepreneur and philanthropist and CEO and co-founder of The Community Seal, a web-based membership network that connects nonprofits with businesses and people committed to giving back. She is also the co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a women’s collective giving circle, an initiative of Central Florida Foundation, and a member of the Women’s Collective Giving Network. With over 25 years of experience in operations and systems engineering and strategic and business planning with Walt Disney World, and as a consultant, Leslie has also been a consultant in business, operations and strategic planning for museums, parks and non-profit businesses for over 12 years. 

Negotiate, Negotiate
Sharpen your negotiation skills to advance your career goals.


Karen KeeneKaren Keene is the president of ATHENA Orlando Women’s Leadership, Inc., the umbrella organization of the Women’s Leadership Luncheon, ATHENA NextGen and the $1000,000 endowed scholarship at UCF. Karen co-founded ATHENA PowerLink Central Florida in 2005, a program dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs elevate business growth and profitability. She is the Florida representative on the ATHENA International board of directors. Additionally, Karen is director of marketing and business development at Dean Mead, a statewide corporate law firm. She has over 23 years of experience coaching professionals on client development, marketing, branding and strategic planning. She was awarded the Women’s Resource Center Summit Award in 2016.

Ann FairchildAnn Fairchild
is General Counsel for Siemens North America, with oversight responsibilities for legal operations of Siemens in the United States and Canada. Ann is an active business partner to regional executive management of Siemens, enhancing business strategy and policy through pragmatic legal advice and the development of a strong, diverse legal organization across North America. She is also the co-executive sponsor of the Women’s Information Network at Siemens, or WIN@Siemens, a national network committed to promoting the inclusion, awareness and understanding of issues and challenges facing women within the Siemens workforce. She has been with Siemens since 1999, holding various general counsel roles there.  

Kelly Lafferman is a dynamic, strategic and experienced marketing and brand leader who started her career as a sales and marketing representative at the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and then with other successful companies such as RDV Sports, CNL Financial Group and Tavistock Group. Kelly is currently principal of strategy and development for Findsome & Winmore. As a principal, she is responsible for managing the client services, marketing, brand and communications practice areas for the multi-million dollar agency and instrumental in their expansion and growth. She cares deeply about the community, serving for various boards, committees and volunteer organizations, and has earned various honors for her leadership and marketing experience.  

maureen-ambrose1-170x170 (1)Maureen L. Ambrose is the Gordon J. Barnett Professor of Business Ethics in the College of Business at the University of Central Florida. She received her PhD in 1986 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include organizational fairness, ethics and workplace deviance. Her work has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and Administrative Sciences Quarterly. She is Fellow of the Academy of Management and the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and is a member of the Society for Organizational Behavior, serving on its executive committee since 2007.  

Hot Topics 
10:00 – 10:45 breakout sessions

Myths & Truths Debunked
From having it all to the quest for perfection, no one has it all figured out.

Dana Bledsoe cropDana Nicholson Bledsoe, FACHE, MBA, serves as president of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City. She assumed leadership of the 100-bed academic medical center in August 2015 and is focused on building and expanding world-class programs at Nemours to provide the best possible care for the most-complex pediatric cases. Previously she served as president of Children’s and Women’s Hospital, part of the Sacred Heart Health System in Pensacola. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Loretto Heights College (now Regis University) in Denver, a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. 

Allison Walsh 2017Allison Walsh, JD, currently serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Advanced Recovery Systems, a national behavioral healthcare company dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse and mental health issues. In 2001, she founded Helping Other People Eat (H.O.P.E.), a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on the prevention and awareness of eating disorders. Additionally, she serves on the board for the National Eating Disorders Association and has personally shared her story of overcoming anorexia and bulimia with more than 100,000 people. She loves empowering young women and recently published “The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Post-Grad Success.” She resides in Windermere with her husband, Brian, and daughters, Madison and Brooklyn. 

Dr Yeilding Head Shot for Orange Appeal SBW5650Dr. Ruth Hill Yeilding is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and is medical director of YMD Eye & Face, her solo medical practice in Winter Park, FL.  Dr. Yeilding specializes in eyelid lift and facelift surgery, but also does Botox and filler injections and offers medical grade skincare. Dr Yeilding’ s extensive training includes a BS in biology and MD degrees, both Magna Cum Laude; Ophthalmology Residency at Vanderbilt;  and an intensive facial cosmetic surgery fellowship with renowned facial plastic surgeon John Fezza, MD, in Sarasota. Dr. Yeilding enjoys yoga, bicycling and water skiing, and spending time with her husband, Randy, (her practice manager), and young children, Rudy and Scarlett.

Amy PennockAmy Pennock,  owner of Pennock Consulting Group, works for companies across the country, including the nonprofit Shepherd’s Hope, providing outsourced chief financial officer services. Prior to forming her small business in 2011, Amy held senior financial management positions in healthcare and constructionAmy has devoted her free time to giving back and improving the Seminole County community, in which she lives, and serves on the board of Goodwill of Central Florida and the Seminole County Regional Chamber of CommerceDespite her busy schedule, she also volunteers with her children’s activities. With her husband, Timshe has three daughters, Madison and twins Savannah and Delaney. 

LynnLeDr. Lynn Le is a board-certified family medicine physician and medical acupuncturist She is the founder and medical director of Le Concierge MD, an integrative, boutique medical practice in downtown Orlando. She utilizes a holistic approach, combining Western medical science with Eastern medical art. Dr. Le earned her medical degree from the University of South Florida and completed her medical acupuncture training at the renowned Helms Medical Institute in Berkley, California. A mother of three, she is passionate about total patient health, focusing on disease prevention, providing emotional support and guiding lifestyle choices.

The Impact of Engaging
The rewards of getting involved with nonprofits from volunteering to serving on boards and beyond.

AE Cropped Head ShotAndrea Eliscu serves as president of Medical Marketing Inc., a healthcare marketing and public relations firm she co-founded in 1984. Throughout her career, Andrea has also authored four books, including the recently released It’s Personal: The Art of Building your Practice. With a passion for community, Andrea devotes her leadership, creativity and countless hours to several local organizations. She founded the Orlando Dragon Boat Club and the Dueling Dragons of Orlando (“cops and kids”) dragon boat team, and also serves on the board of the Orlando Ballet, OneBlood and the Orlando Rowing Club. 

Jessica KendrickJessica Hallgren Kendrick is the founder and managing partner of the Kendrick Law Group, a boutique law firm in Maitland, founded in January 2016 with the goals of delivering personalized legal service with top-notch representation. In 2017, she also launched Champion Title & Closing in an effort to deliver the concierge service to the real estate title industry. Outside of the office, Jess has two main focuses: her family (two amazing baby boys—3 and 8 months) and her Central Florida community. She enjoys supporting a number of Central Florida based charities with her primary focus on the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and North Florida as a board member and annual gala chairperson for the last two years.  

KayRawlinsKay Rawlins is the vice president of community relations for Orlando City Soccer Clubpresident of the Orlando City Foundation, and is also a founder and owner of the Club. Kay’s role includes speaking engagements on behalf of the Club, most of the community outreach, sending players to schools and youth groups to talk about exercise and healthy choices, and encouraging staff and fans to join community projects. She also heads up the Orlando City Foundation, is on the Community Leadership Council for the Howard Phillips Center, and is a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Cannonball Kids cancer, Central Florida Foundation and the Commission on Homelessness 

Diana LaRue Headshot Color1[1]Diana LaRue is CEO and owner of Appleton Creative, an award-winning and unique full-service agency that is at the core of innovative advertising and marketing. Diana has cultivated an agency that leverages its creative excellence and strong focus on branding into valuable results for clients. A community leader and supporter, Diana and her company have donated their many marketing talents over the years to help those in need develop and thrive. In addition, Diana serves on the ATHENAPowerLink Governing Body, and she is a founding member and currently serves on the board of directors for both Zebra Coalition and Victory Cup Initiative.  

Negotiate, Negotiate
Prepping for your next move – even if it’s your exit.


Karen Keene

Karen Keene




new head shot copyHelen Martinez




Shelley LautenShelley Lauten




DianaBolivarDiana Bolivar is the principal of Diana Bolivar & Associates. Diana’s experience is in proven and effective outcomes, offering value-added propositions and return on investment for the clients she serves. She is a community leader and connector, with a vast portfolio of contacts and established relationships in the independent, public and private sectors at the local, national and international levels, especially Latin American markets. She also has expertise in management and training, business development, fund development, strategic planning, relationships, public relations, public speaking, media buying, managing sales, marketing, operations and personnel. Diana is currently enrolled in Leadership Florida, and serves on multiple boards and committees, including Heart of Florida United Way. 

Take Action
11:00 – 11:45 breakout sessions

#MeToo: What You, Too, Should Know About your Rights in the Workplace
Join this important discussion regarding what every woman should know about workplace laws that impact our careers. The dialogue will address sexual harassment, equal pay and other timely issues.

Jill Schwartz, photo by Roberto GonzalezJill S. Schwartz is the managing partner of Jill S. Schwartz & Associates, P.A., an AV-rated Labor and Employment law firm. She has extensive experience representing both management and employees in all employment matters, including discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, wage and hour disputes, employment contracts, whistleblower and False Claims Act cases. In 2005, Jill became the first female attorney from Florida to be inducted into the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She is also a Florida Supreme Court certified civil mediator and arbitrator. Jill is a frequent panelist and lecturer on women’s issues in the workplace and has been quoted in The Orlando Business JournalSmart MoneyThe Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business and The Wall Street Journal. 

AndreaAndrea Coudriet Batchelor is a public relations consultant and former award-winning television news anchor and reporter. Andrea spent nearly 15 years at WESH News, before retiring at the age of 38, to be a stay-at-home mom for her three sons. She returned to the workforce in 2010, for a four-year stint as public relations manager at Neiman Marcus Orlando. Andrea then moved to part-time work in public relations consulting. She is married to Dick Batchelor, and is the proud mother of Richard, David and Matt. 

deloria_nelson_headshot-2014Deloria Nelson Streete is the Managing Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Charles Schwab & Company, where she leads inclusion efforts for the firm. Deloria is a published author who has worked professionally in human resources for more than 25 years with various Fortune 500 companies, including Walt Disney World. Deloria’s personal brand is positive energy, courage, authenticity and an uplifting spirit. Her commitment to diversity and inclusion stems from her personal mission statement which encapsulates helping people find and leverage their unique gifts. In her spare time, you will find her writing poetry, helping with resumes, or on the farm with her husband and 14-year-old son. 

Diversity & Inclusion
What it takes to succeed in male-dominated industries

Elisha Gonzalez Head Shot 2Elisha González Bonnewitz is an educator, connector and influencer in the Central Florida region. She has been recognized for her leadership, business acumen and her commitment to community. Elisha leads government and community relations for Duke Energy and serves as Duke Energy’s leader for local governments, civic partnerships, and is responsible for government relations, philanthropy, community engagement strategy and social responsibility. She most recently was director of community affairs for Valencia College and executive director of Valencia Promise/Orange County Take Stock in Children. Elisha serves in leadership roles for numerous organizations, including her recent gubernatorial appointment to CareerSource Florida State Board.  

Atkins-Bradley Vernice FINAL 2012 (3)Vernice Atkins-Bradley is the majority shareholder and the Licensed General Contractor of Votum Construction, a company she co-founded with Teska Dillard. In her role as president/CEO, she provides management oversight and directs all daily business operations. Her business development acumen has led her company to being a partner in the construction of several notable projects in Central Florida, such as Barry Law School – Legal Advocacy Center, Rock Springs Elementary School, Florida Citrus Bowl Rebuild (now Camping World Stadium), and most recently the Orlando Soccer Stadium and South Terminal Airport Expansion. Vernice is a passionate advocate for the advancement of women, minorities and small businesses, and serves her community by volunteering her time and talents.  

KelciaKelcia Mazana is a project engineer with over 15 years of experience in environmental engineering and environmental studies.  Her expertise includes master planning, strategic modeling, unidirectional flushing, design, pilot studies, report development and data management for a variety of municipal and government projects. Kelcia holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Environmental Engineering. Kelcia is currently an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), serving as Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion/DirectorShe is the proud mother of a witty 7-year-old daughter and looking forward to celebrating 14 years of marriage with her husband and confidant in August. 

Loosier Head ShotEva Loosier is a Distribution Engineering Manager for Duke Energy in the greater Orlando area.  She has been with Duke Energy for 12 years and has held several engineering roles prior to becoming the manager in 2017.  In her current role, she oversees 20 design personnel in four operations centers.  These employees are responsible for construction designs from the initial customer contact through construction completion in the field.  Eva has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.  She is also a certified Professional Engineer in the state of Florida.      

Jumping Off & Making the Leap
Thinking about starting your own business or switching careers? Get some sound advice. 

AC_0310edit-3in (1)Judi Awsumb, president, Awsumb Enterprises, a strategic solutions consulting company has over 30 years’ experience leading successful growth strategies for both the corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Her business acumen helps companies achieve maximum growth to attain short and long-range goals. Most recently through her company, she has worked with EarthLinked Technologies and is currently serving as division president of ETI, a company that provides renewable energy to commercial businesses. Throughout her career she has served on various boards and is currently serving on the ATHENA PowerLink governing board for seven years, chair of CVC Hospitality Advisory board, member of Florida Executive Women and serves as guest faculty for Rollins College CEO Business Accelerator Program.

SecilyWilsonSecily Wilson is a Telly Award winning broadcast journalist, media communications professional, Mrs. Florida International 1999, and founder of her own nonprofit WOW Legacy Group, Inc., which supports women in transition. For more than 20 years, Secily delivered hard-hitting, inspiring and entertaining reports in news, lifestyle, art and entertainmentOver the years Secily has interviewed notables like Oprah, Civil Rights icon Andrew Young, former NFL coach Tony Dungy, former CNN anchor Soladad O’Brien and many others. She is passionate about issues like stroke awareness and domestic violence. Secily is often found giving back to her community, spreading awareness and volunteering. Secily is the mother of two daughters, Chrissy, a USF graduate student, and Nicole, a senior at Montverde Academy.

doc_hardingDr. Deborah Harding pioneered and developed the Harding Medical Institute and its subsidiary Harding Anti-Aging Center. Her vision is to provide clients with innovative, proactive, preventive healthcare combined with the future benefits of anti-aging medicine. She is board certified in internal, sleep disorder and anti-aging medicine, and is certified by Cenegenics Medical Institute.

IMG_2489Debbie Farah is the award-winning CEO/founder of Bajalia International Group (BIG)a social enterprise of high-end jewelry, fashion accessories and home décor. She also founded BIG Change, a nonprofit providing entrepreneurship training and economic development to social change agents in developing countries. Debbie’s career began in the banking industry where she became the youngest vice president in the American Banking AssociationLater she moved into the advertising industry, where she held executive creative advertising and design roles for major retailers including Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Marshall Fields. Debbie is a frequent speaker, nationally and internationally, on women’s empowerment, social enterprise, sustainability, ethical fashion, entrepreneurship, job creation, poverty alleviation, transparency in the supply chain and sustainable fashion. 

Cathy SterbaCathy Sterba has been in the banking industry in Orlando since the mid 80’s, and has worked directly with small business owners for most of those years.  She has extensive experience on the lending side, and has served on the board of several nonprofits over the years, counseling them on general business and financial issues.  For six years, Cathy also worked on the leadership team of a small woman-owned business. Currently, Cathy is the strategic risk and operations officer for Seaside Bank, as well as holding the position of CRA officer for the bank.  She is married with two grown sons, and she and her husband of 35 years enjoy traveling, reading, and various types of sports activity in their free time. 













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