JULY 29-31 | RANCHO PALAS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
Senior Managing Director, Consumer Goods and Services
Keith Barringer is the industry managing director for consumer goods and services in North America for Accenture and the organization’s global client account lead for a large, international beverage client. During his career at Accenture, Barringer has worked with clients in a number of industries, focusing on consumer goods for the past 15 years. He also has 10 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in large-scale restructuring and implementing growth strategies. Barringer is involved with a number of philanthropic and civic causes, including the High Museum of Art, Dress for Success, Room to Read and Water for Life. He also is involved in his local community as a strong supporter of Atlanta area sports clubs. He is the sponsor of Accenture’s Last Mile partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a partnership targeted at improving the availability of life-saving medical supplies in Africa. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina and sponsors a student-led group at Georgia Tech that works with local small, minority-owned businesses.
As managing partner of Thanatopsis Consulting, Susan Bean focuses on effectively aligning talent with business strategy to enable business results for clients such as Cabela’s Outdoor Outfitters, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Winn-Dixie Stores and CSX Transportation. Bean brings a multicultural perspective to her work with organizations and the people who make them. She has lived on four continents and worked with leaders from around the world, and has developed a unique perspective on how to develop the individual, understanding their role within the organization, the team in which they function and the values by which they operate. Her work has spanned a broad spectrum of industries, including Fortune 500 corporations, family-owned businesses, government and non-profit organizations. She has coached business and government leaders from nations as diverse as Azerbaijan, Germany, Colombia and Benin. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, she completed undergraduate research in Latin America before spending two years in Japan working for the Toyama Provincial government. While living in Italy, she consulted for the state governor of Treviso and various cabinet ministers on cross-cultural business skills and international relations. After moving to the United States in 2001, Bean provided cross-cultural business skills training and multicultural team effectiveness to BMW Manufacturing. The following year she served as manager of executive development for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., where she worked with the executive leadership team to create development programs for the global officer population and partnered with incoming country presidents to orient them to the corporate culture and leadership values. In 2005, Bean joined the Soderquist Center, a values-based leadership development group, and worked with numerous companies, many of which were family-owned and growing beyond their founding values. Her professional experience is complemented by a master of science degree in human resource management and organizational development from the University of London, with a focus on international HR, expatriate selection and measurement.
Founder and CEO
The Center for Workforce Excellence
A renowned and respected authority on leadership development and diversity, Trudy Bourgeois is the founder and CEO of The Center for Workforce Excellence. Her company focuses on providing individuals and organizations with strategies and solutions to achieve their best performance and realize positive change. Bourgeois, designer of the 2014 NEW Executive Leaders Forum, left an 18-year corporate career after serving as vice president of national accounts at a Fortune 100 company, where she managed a $3 billion business unit. Once recognized by Dollars and Sense Magazine as one of the "Best and Brightest Women Leaders,” Bourgeois uses her expert management and interpersonal skills to help businesspeople understand what it takes to unleash talent in others. Her client list boasts Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, national associations and educational institutions, including Intel Corp., Kraft Foods Group Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kellogg Company, The Kroger Co. and the University of North Texas. Bourgeois is the author of two leadership books, Her Corner Office, A Guide to Help Women Find a Place and a Voice in Corporate America, and The Hybrid Leader: Blending the Best of Male and Female Leadership Styles. She writes for numerous trade publications and blogs for the Huffington Post and the Network of Executive Women. She is active in Special Olympics and served on the boards of the Network of Executive Women, National Association of Women Business Owners, the University of North Texas and Southwestern University. Bourgeois is a graduate of Loyola University.
The Braly Group
Angela Braly serves on the board of directors of Procter & Gamble and Lowe’s Companies Inc. From 2007 to 2012, Braly was chair, president and chief executive officer of WellPoint Inc. During her tenure, WellPoint achieved more than $60 billion in revenue and was the nation’s largest health insurer by membership at approximately 34 million or one in nine Americans. Braly’s entrepreneurial approach to a historically conventional business included a “customer-first” focus that improved customer service scores while significantly reducing administrative costs. This strategy also increased transparency to medical cost information to customers and led to a partnership with IBM to provide innovative solutions in healthcare. Braly has been named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare and one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare and has appeared as high as fourth on the list of most powerful women in both Forbes and Fortune. With her husband Doug Braly, she is providing “involved philanthropy” through the United Way of Central Indiana, several education initiatives and Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. In 2013 Braly founded The Braly Group, which serves as a platform for her consulting, speaking and philanthropic efforts. She received her juris doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law and her undergraduate degree in finance from Texas Tech University.
Founder and CEO
Tina Brown Live Media
Tina Brown, founder and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, is one of the world’s most high-profile magazine editors. From a young writer for Punch magazine and The Sunday Times, she quickly rose through the ranks of the magazine industry on both sides of the Atlantic to become editor-in-chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker; founder of Talk magazine; and editor-in-chief of Newsweek. Partnering with Barry Diller in 2008, Brown launched The Daily Beast, a news reporting website that quickly changed the way people consume news online. As Vanity Fair’s editor-in-chief, Brown pioneered celebrity journalism and increased its circulation from 250,000 to 1.2 million. Following her success at Vanity Fair, Brown went to the venerable literary magazine, The New Yorker, where she became the first woman to serve as editor. Later, Brown hosted the well-received “Topic A with Tina Brown” on CNBC. Her critically acclaimed biography, The Diana Chronicles spent several weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Tina Brown launched her new company, Tina Brown Live Media, to create live-conversation events such as the annual Women in the World Summit. Her prime focus now is to grow Women in The World nationally and internationally, and continue to convene extraordinary leaders such as Meryl Streep, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie and Christine Lagarde, as well as inspirational activists and political change-makers from all over the world to come and share their stories, and offer solutions to building a better life for women and girls..
Michele G. Buck
President, North America
The Hershey Company
As The Hershey Company’s president of North America, Michele G. Buck is responsible for leading the company’s U.S. and Canadian businesses, delivering more than $6 billion of revenue, approximately 90 percent of the company’s business. Prior to her current position, Buck served as senior vice president, global chief growth officer, where her primary focus was creating and driving a transformational growth agenda for the company. In this role, she was responsible for Hershey’s companywide strategy, insights, analytics and knowledge, disruptive innovation, research and development, commercial retail business, corporate social responsibility and communications. Previously, Buck was senior vice president, global chief marketing officer, responsible for building Hershey’s consumer-centric approach and driving world-class marketing and innovative growth platforms across the globe. Prior to joining Hershey in April 2005, she was an officer at Kraft Foods, where she held a number of senior positions during her 17-year career. She started her consumer products career at PepsiCo Inc.’s Frito-Lay division. Buck sits on the board of directors of NY Life, a Fortune 100 financial services company. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Shippensburg University and holds a master of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She serves as a benefit co-chair for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.
Albert P. Carey
Chief Executive Officer
PepsiCo Americas Beverages
Al Carey is chief executive officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, a unit of PepsiCo Inc. He oversees all aspects of PepsiCo’s beverage business across North, South and Central America. Carey joined PepsiCo in 1981 and has served in a variety of roles at the company, including chief operating officer of PepsiCo Beverages and Foods; president, PepsiCo Sales; and president and CEO of Frito-Lay North America. In this role, Carey was responsible for overseeing all of Frito-Lay North America, the company’s most profitable and largest North American business. Before joining PepsiCo Inc. in 1981, Carey worked at Procter & Gamble. He earned his bachelor of science degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland. Carey serves on the board of directors for The Home Depot, the corporate advisors board for LaRaza, the advisory council for the Food Industry Leadership program for Portland State University, the dean’s advisory council for the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and the board of trustees for the University of Maryland College Park Foundation.
Dahlia Castro-Smith is a managing partner for CSRH Consulting and the former senior vice president for human relations for Warner Bros. As a certified executive coach, she offers executive training, leadership development and organization effectiveness consulting to leaders across multiple disciplines, including marketing, sales and supply chain. Her consumer goods, finance and entertainment/media clients range from high-potential managers to seasoned senior executives, and she has a successful record of providing results-oriented leadership strategies. Castro-Smith has 25 years of experience working in media and entertainment and has helped launch emerging businesses domestically and globally, including the formation of a high-performance team in China. She has had roles in executive leadership, in-house project management and consulting. In her role as senior vice president for human relations for home entertainment and corporate projects at Warner Bros., she helped manage outsourcing initiatives, manage merger and acquisition projects and drive change across departmental and organizational boundaries.
Dahlia Castro-Smith replaces Debra Langford as a Case Study Learning Lab coach.
Senior Vice President, U.S. Account Development
Global Corporate Payments
Susan Chapman-Hughes was named senior vice president of U.S. account development, Global Corporate Payments (GCP) for American Express in November 2013. She is responsible for leading and managing GCP’s U.S. and multinational customers, representing $43 billion in annual charge volume. Her team partners with clients to deliver innovative payment programs. She previously led American Express’ Global Real Estate and Workplace Enablement group. Her responsibilities included leading real estate strategy and operations, workplace experience, and health and safety in support of the company’s more than 62,000 employees in 41 countries. She also led the creation of Bluework, an industry-leading, innovative workplace transformation initiative. In 2012, Bluework received the American Express Chairman’s Award for Innovation. Chapman-Hughes is the executive sponsor for American Express’ BlueEn Network, an employee resource group focused on flexible virtual workers. She has served on the leadership teams of the American Express Women’s Network and the World Monuments Fund Watch List Advisory Committee. In the past she has led various organizational business transformation and growth efforts in Fortune 500 companies, including Citigroup and Level 3 Communications. Chapman-Hughes is an active mentor to young people in her community. She serves on the boards of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Regional Plan Association of New York, Leadership Education and Development (LEAD), A Better Chance, Girls Inc. and the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Advisory Board. In 2013, Chapman-Hughes was named to the Grio 100 list by Grio.com/NBCUniversal and as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business" by Fast Company. She holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University, master of business administration degree in real estate and urban land economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree of regional planning from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Chief Executive Officer
Yes To Inc.
Joy Chen is the chief executive officer for Yes To Inc., maker of natural skincare products sold globally. She joined Yes To Inc. as CEO in 2009 and has transformed the company from a small, financially troubled company to the number-two brand in the natural personal care category. Under her leadership, Yes To Inc. has quadrupled revenue and increased its valuation five-fold. The company has been recognized as one of the "Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies" in the San Francisco Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times and has won more than 40 product awards during her tenure. Prior to Yes To Inc., Chen spent 16 years at The Clorox Company, serving in various roles of increasing responsibility, including vice president and general manager of the laundry business. She was responsible for the $1 billion business, including the company’s most valuable brand, Clorox, and managed a large multifunctional organization. She has been recognized for tackling complex business turnarounds and leading organizations through change. Her extensive community involvement has focused on her two passions: doing good for others and helping women realize their professional and personal goals. Along with extensive volunteer work, she sits on the board of two companies founded by women and Junior Achievement of Northern California. She was honored as The San Francisco Business Times’ 2012 Most Admired CEO Award and 2013 Most Influential Woman Leader. Chen received her bachelor’s degree from University of California-Berkeley and a master of business administration from Harvard University.
Cynthia Loy Darst
The Inspiration Point
A passionate pioneer in the coaching industry, Cynthia Loy Darst is a partner, with her husband David Darst, in their company The Inspiration Point. Darst works with people to move them past limitations and into action and fulfillment. She is a certified professional co-active coach and certified relationship coach, was one of the first to receive the designation of master certified coach from the International Coach Federation and was named among the "Top Ten Most Influential Coaches in the U.S.” As a founding course leader for both CTI and CRR Global, she delights in traveling the world training others in the skills of co-active coaching for individuals, partnerships and organizational systems. Leader development is her specialty. She was instrumental in the selection, training and development of leaders at CTI for many years and is a key player in leader development for CRR. Based in Los Angeles, Darst maintains a full roster of private clients, including corporate executives, entrepreneurs and entertainment executives at Boeing, American Express, Wells Fargo and Ernst & Young, among others. The Darsts work with individuals, teams, couples, partnerships and organizational systems. Darst was the life coach on Discovery Health’s "Star for a Day” and on the pilot of "Life’s Too Short” on the Discovery Channel. She is past president of the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO). Darst holds a master of fine arts degree.
Kendra M. Doyel
Vice President, Public Relations
Ralphs Grocery and Food 4 Less/Foods Co.
The Kroger Co.
Kendra Doyel is vice president of public relations for Ralphs Grocery and Food 4 Less/Food Co., part of The Kroger Co. She previously served as director of public relations for Fry’s Food Stores. She began her tenure at Kroger in 1998 as a pharmacist. Doyel serves on the executive committee of the Los Angeles Central City Association, the board of directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Los Angeles Summer Night Lights Advisory Board and is a member of the board of directors of the Discovery Science Center in Orange County and THINK Together, a nonprofit organization that seeks to build a financially sustainable, region-wide system of high-quality afterschool programs and other out-of-school-time learning programs. Doyel is co-chair of NEW Southern California. She has a strong passion for gang reduction in inner cities, working with Homeboy Industries to develop creative and sustainable ways to support programs that provide jobs and education. She has been recognized by Progressive Grocer as a “Top Women in Grocery Rising Star” and received the Power of One Award from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for her work in raising awareness for breast cancer and early detection.
Lawrence M. Drake II
President and CEO
LEADership, Education and Development (LEAD)
Lawrence M. Drake II is chief executive of LEADership, Education and Development, a global knowledge and experiential learning organization that enables youth of diverse backgrounds to convert high potential into high achievement and responsible leadership. Drake is a certified consultant and executive coach for Personnel Decisions International and HOPE 360 Inc., an investment adviser for AJIA Capital Holdings and senior partner at Sarus Partners LLC. He retired from The Coca-Cola Company in 2007 after over two decades of service, where he served as managing director and president and CEO of the $1 billion West Africa division of Coca-Cola Africa. Previously, he served in senior-level positions with The Executive Leadership Council, PepsiCo Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp. and Kraft Foods Inc. He helped bring several start-ups and mid-stage entrepreneurial companies to market, including Haven Media Group and Dolman Technologies. Drake serves or has served on the boards and executive committees of several non-profit organizations including The National Conference for Community and Justice, The California Science Center, Crystal Stairs Inc, LEAD (Leadership, Education and Development), Jarvis Christian College, The Executive Leadership Council, Vine & Oak Foundation North America and Nehemiah Project Ministries International. Drake began his undergraduate education at Fisk University studying classical vocals, before receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Georgia State University, a master of business administration degree from Rockhurst University and a master’s degree in psychology from Fielding Graduate University. He will complete his doctorate degree in psychology with an emphasis on media psychology this year at Fielding Graduate University.
Vicki L. Felker
Vice President of Pet Specialty
Customer Development Group
Nestlé Purina PetCare
Vicki Felker is vice president of the pet specialty, customer development group at Nestlé Purina PetCare. Previously, Felker served as managing director of the cat, litter and snacks category within Nestlé Purina’s market development organization, where she led the translation of brand equities into retail strategies that elevated the pet category with strategic retailers. During her 27-year career at Nestlé Purina, Felker has developed expertise in leading and managing organizational change and strategic planning and building a high-performance culture. Beginning in 2006, she served three terms as the president of Nestlé Purina’s Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF), which works to positively influence the organization’s culture and support the development of a diverse workforce to drive business results. The WLF delivered breakthrough results in enhanced customer engagement, leadership enrichment and mentoring, which supported the development of value-added leaders. She is a NEW Board member. Felker received her master of business administration degree from Washington University’s Olin School of Business in 2012.
Ann M. Fudge
Former Chairman and CEO
Young & Rubicam Brands
Ann Fudge is the former chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, a global network of preeminent companies across the full range of marketing communications. Young & Rubicam Brands includes Y&R (advertising), Burson-Marsteller (public relations/public affairs), Wunderman (direct and database marketing), Landor Associates (brand consulting and creative design), Sudler & Hennessey (strategic healthcare communications) and Cohn & Wolfe (public relations) and other firms. Prior to Young & Rubicam Brands, Fudge served as president of the beverages, desserts and Post division of Kraft Foods and was a member of the company’s management committee. Previously she spent nine years at General Mills, where she began as a marketing assistant and rose to marketing director. Fudge serves on the board of directors of General Electric, Novartis, Unilever and Infosys. She is a trustee of the Brookings Institution and serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Finance Committee of the Harvard University Corporation. She is chair of the U.S. Program Advisory Panel for the Gates Foundation. Fudge has served as vice chair of the Harvard Board of Overseers, on the boards of Catalyst and the New York Philharmonic and on the board of governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She has also served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Liz Claiborne, Allied Signal, Honeywell and Marriott International. In February 2010, President Obama appointed Fudge to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which issued its report “The Moment of Truth” in December 2010. She now serves on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board of the U.S. State Department. Fudge has received the Matrix Award for Advertising from New York Women in Communication and was a recipient of the New York Executive Council’s Ten Awards for leadership and innovation in business. She was also named one of Time magazine’s “Global Business Influentials.” Among her other honors are leadership awards from the Minneapolis and New York City YWCA, an Alumni Achievement Award from Harvard Business School, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Ebony magazine and a Legacy Award in Business from Black Enterprise magazine. She was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business” by Fortune. Fudge received her bachelor’s degree from Simmons College and her master of business administration degree from Harvard University.
President, Ralphs Grocery Company
The Kroger Co.
As president of Ralphs Grocery Company, Donna Giordano is responsible for 230 stores throughout Southern California, which employ more than 20,000 associates. Giordano joined King Soopers in 1972 while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She was named store manager at King Soopers in 1982 and later held director positions in several key areas, including advertising, bakery, general merchandise, grocery and pharmacy. In 1999, she was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing at King Soopers and advanced to president of Quality Food Centers (QFC) in Seattle in 2002. She was named to her current position in July 2011. To promote education and leadership in the food industry, Giordano has served as the education committee chair for the Western Association of Food Chains; she currently serves on the WAFC board of directors and is secretary of the WAFC executive committee. She served as co-chair of the NEW Executive Leadership Forum 2013. Giordano was elected to the board of directors of The Orange County Girl Scouts earlier this year. During her time in Seattle, she supported the YWCA Blue Ribbon Board and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Community Development Roundtable. She was named one of the “10 O.C. Women to Watch” by The O.C. Register Metro Magazine and has been honored for her exceptional leadership and community involvement by the Girl Scouts of Orange County at its Celebrate Leadership! Gala. Giordano is a recipient of the Progressive Grocer “Top Women in the Grocery” award and, in 2010, was named one of the Top 10 Most Powerful Women in Washington State. The University of Washington Women’s Center named her among the 100 women who have broken barriers in the state of Washington.
Corporate Vice Chairman (retired)
Janet Grove is past corporate vice chairman for Macy’s Inc. and past chairman and CEO of Macy’s Merchandising Group (MMG), which includes the conception, design and production of Macy’s private-brand products. Under the Macys and Bloomingdales banners, Macy’s operates more than 840 stores in 45 states, with more than 180,000 employees and annual sales of $25 billion. The company’s direct-to-consumer business includes Macys.com, Bloomingdales.com, Weddingchannel.com and Bloomingdalesweddingchannel.com. As corporate vice chairman of Macy’s, Grove had full profit-and-loss responsibility. As the chairman and CEO of MMG, she directed more than 2,500 employees in New York and 17 countries around the world. Grove joined Macy’s in 1996 and held executive roles in several retail categories, including accessories, shoes, jewelry, apparel, cosmetics and home products. In 2009, she oversaw the expansion of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores overseas. She is a member of Safeway Inc.’s audit committee and nominating committee and ClubCorp Inc.’s advisory board. She advises the CEO and senior management of Germany-based Karstadt Department Stores and is a board director of Aeropostale Inc. Grove was named 2011 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by California State University-East Bay. She was the recipient of the Intimate Apparel Square Club’s H.U.G. Award and The Humanitarian of the Year Award at the 3rd Annual International Housewares Charity Foundation gala. Grove has also been honored by Denver’s National Jewish Medical & Research Center, which established The Janet Grove Fund for Lung Disease & Lung Cancer; Girl Scouts Council of Greater New York and Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America. She is a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of The United Way. Grove earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from California State University-Hayward.
Consultant and Coach
Hill Enterprises Inc.
Previously a top-performing sales leader at Procter & Gamble, Jan Hill is an executive and leadership team coach, focusing on talent development, culture change, and emotional and gender intelligence. She is experienced in sales and marketing, the development of high-performing teams, courseware development, recruiting and selection, and performance. For more than 20 years, Hill has worked with leaders and teams who are already successful, but want to drive personal and team success to an even more significant level. As a strategic thinker, Hill is skilled at understanding the complex systemic, interpersonal, economic and cultural challenges that plague today's organizations. She is particularly adept at working with leadership teams who possess the desire and commitment to make a long-term "legacy" contribution to their organizations. She works with clients in the fields of consumer goods, technology, pharmaceuticals and engineering under various business conditions, including startups, mergers and acquisitions, entrepreneurial organizations and Fortune 100 companies. Hill has created and coached various leadership, team and high-potential development programs at Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, The Hershey Company, Intuit and Zynga. She is the co-author of Smart Women, Smart Moves and is writing a book about major life transitions. Hill graduated cum laude from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing and is a Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara Professional Certified Coach.
Betsy D. Holden
McKinsey & Co.
Betsy D. Holden is a senior advisor to McKinsey & Company, working with clients across industries on strategy, marketing, innovation and board effectiveness initiatives. Previously she served as co-CEO of Kraft Foods and CEO of Kraft Foods North America. At the time, Kraft Foods was the largest food company in North America and the second largest in the world. Holden has more than 30 years of experience in consumer goods with expertise in general management, strategy, marketing and innovation. Prior to her CEO role at Kraft, Betsy held the positions of president, global marketing and category development; executive vice president with responsibility for operations, IT, procurement, R&D and consumer insights and communications; president of the Kraft cheese division; president of the pizza division and multiple line brand management assignments. Holden graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and received a master’s degree in teaching from Northwestern University. She holds a master of management degree in marketing and finance from Northwestern’s J. L. Kellogg School of Management, where she was named valedictorian. Holden serves on the boards of Diageo PLC, Western Union, Catamaran Corp., Duke University’s Board of Trustees and the Kellogg School of Management Executive Committee and Global Advisory Board. She is a senior fellow of the Kellogg Innovation Network and president of the board of Off the Street Club. She also serves on the board of the Chicago High School for the Arts, the board of trustees of the Museum of Science and Industry and the board of trustees of Ravinia. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Chicago Network.
Susan J. Kropf
President and Chief Operating Officer (retired)
Prior to her retirement in January 2007, Susan Kropf served as president and chief operating officer of Avon Products, with full profit-and-loss responsibility for all of Avon's worldwide operations. She was named to Avon’s board of directors in January 1998. During her more than 30-year career at Avon, Kropf held key positions in marketing, product development and supply chain operations, in addition to her general management roles. Notably, she was a leading force in the company’s emerging market growth. Kropf serves on the boards of Coach Inc., The Kroger Co., MeadWestvaco Corp., The Sherwin-Williams Co. and The Wallace Foundation. She serves on various committees of these boards including audit, investment, and nominating and governance, as well as chairs several of their compensation committees. Kropf holds a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a master of business administration degree in finance from New York University.
Chief Executive Officer
The Langford Company
Debra Langford is a consummate senior media executive with expertise in development, production, executive search, inclusion and business diversity. Her experience includes high-profile positions in start-up, independent and global companies. Prior to launching The Langford Company, she served as vice president, inclusion and business diversity for NBCUniversal, responsible for setting and advancing the inclusion and business diversity strategy across the company. Previously she was vice president, strategic sourcing for Time Warner, where she specialized in identifying top-tier, diverse executives, internally and externally, for senior positions across all divisions of Time Warner on a global basis. Earlier in her career, she held senior positions at UrbanEntertainment.com, Essence Entertainment and Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment. She began her career in the entertainment industry as director of development with Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1986. Langford was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the USO Board of Governors in 2011. She also served as California Vice President of the National Association of Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and is a member of the advisory boards for the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). She is a co-founder of Colour TV and Colour Film, the organizations of top diverse creative executives in television and film. Langford was named to the Network Journal magazine’s 2008 Top 25 African-American Women in Business list and Black Enterprise magazine featured her as one of four top African-American women in corporate America in 2004.
Maria F. Lindenberg
Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer
Maria Lindenberg is vice president and chief procurement officer at Chevron Corporation, where she is responsible for leading enterprise-wide procurement and supply chain management with an annual spend in excess of $51 billion. Lindenberg has more than 30 years of broad supply chain management experience in the oil and gas industry. She joined Chevron in 2007, and was appointed chief procurement officer in January 2013. Lindenberg received her bachelor of commerce, honors degree from the University of Manitoba and holds an advanced certificate in supply chain management from Arizona State University. She serves on the Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies Research Executive Advisory Board; the executive advisory board of SCM World, the global institute for senior supply chain executives; and National Minority Supplier Development Council Board of Directors.
Ancella Bickley Livers
Center for Creative Leadership
As senior faculty for the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Ancella Bickley Livers works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to design and deliver leadership solutions. Over the past 18 years, she has worked with thousands of corporate leaders and fine-tuned her expertise on diversity issues, particularly those focusing on African Americans and women. Livers returned to CCL in 2011 after three years working for the Executive Leadership Council, where she served as the executive director of the Institute for Leadership Development and Research. Previously, she worked at CCL for 12 years, with roles including global director of open enrollment programs and global program manager of the Leadership Development Program. Livers also has served as an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at West Virginia University. She spent a decade as a newspaper journalist, gaining valuable experience as a Capitol Hill reporter for the Gannett News Service. Her other writing credits include co-author of Leading in Black and White: Working Across the Racial Divide and "Dear White Boss” in the Harvard Business Review. She is the author of "Coaching People of Color” in The CCL Handbook of Coaching: A Guide for the Leader Coach and "Black Women in Management,” published in the three-volume Gender, Race, & Ethnicity in the Workplace. She co-authored "Miasma: The Dynamics of Difference” in the casebook Leading Across Differences. In 2011, Livers was named one of the nation’s "Top 90 Women Mentor Leaders” by Women of Wealth magazine. She is a member of the Antioch University board of governors. Livers earned a bachelor of science degree in mass communications from Hampton Institute, a master of science in journalism from Northwestern University and a master of arts and a doctorate in history from Carnegie Mellon University.
Senior Vice President, Strategy Office
Chief of Staff and Interim Merchandising Support Services
Marissa Nelson leads the Ahold USA strategy office and supports the Ahold USA chief operating officer as chief of staff. In this role, Nelson has helped develop the company’s strategy and organized the company around the execution of strategic initiatives. She is also responsible for Ahold USA’s merchandising support services, leading improvements in systems and processes across all merchandising departments. Nelson has significant experience leading global and continental strategy development. She has supported Ahold’s global CEO in the creation and rollout of a new global strategy and two Ahold USA CEOs in the implementation of major change initiatives. Nelson joined Ahold USA in 2000. She has had multiple roles, all focused on making changes to the larger organization, including helping to establish a Not-for-Resale sourcing organization and leading cross-company systems and organizational projects. Previously, Nelson held senior management positions at Deloitte & Touche and worked at BlueCross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, focusing on change programs for her clients.
Excellent Adventures Training
Karen Pery takes a playful and daring approach to changing organizations from the inside out. An executive coach and experiential leadership development expert, she uses everything from surfing lessons and ballroom dancing to pottery classes to help her global clientele create innovative solutions, develop heightened awareness and expand their capacity for personal and professional growth. Karen has more than 15 years of leadership in the nonprofit sector, ranging from colleges and universities to nationally recognized social service agencies. The common thread she brings to her work is a passion for engaging individuals and groups to look at challenges critically and create new outcomes with bigger impact. Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and a master’s degree in counseling from Loyola Marymount University. She holds an ACC credential granted by the International Coach Federation and is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute’s coaching and leadership programs, having earned the designation of certified professional co-active coach in 2010. A community builder and leader, she is past president of the International Coach Federation in Los Angeles.
Navigator Sales and Marketing
In September 2012, Subriana Pierce left corporate America to become a managing partner for Navigator Sales and Marketing, whose mission is to help brands and individuals navigate the food industry. Pierce previously served as senior vice president, merchandising for Albertsons Southern California Division, where she was responsible for all sales, marketing and merchandising across 250 stores. Earlier in her career, Pierce spent more than 10 years in sales and marketing roles with Frito-Lay North America. In 2005, she received a U.S. patent for one of her shelving designs. She has numerous national career highlights, which include being recognized as one of the “Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders” by DiversityMBA, one of the “Top 25 Influential Black Women in Corporate America” by The Network Journal and a “Top Women in Grocery” by Progressive Grocer. She has been named a “Women in the Industry” honoree by the Food Industries Sales Managers Club of Los Angeles. She was recognized by her alma mater, Spelman College, as a Distinguished Alumnae in Business. Pierce serves on the food industries board for City of Hope. She is very active in the Network of Executive Women, leading sponsorships for NEW Southern California. She previously served as co-chair of NEW North Central Texas and was co-chair of the NEW CPG/Retail Diversity Forum in 2012. Along with an economics degree from Spelman College, she earned her master of business administration degree from University of Chicago.
Senior Vice President of Human Resources, North America
Sumeet Salwan leads human resources for Unilever in North America, a position he has held since 2012. He joined Unilever as a summer intern in 1992; his career began with Unilever in India, where he spent nearly 10 years. His last recent role there was leading human resources for the Unilever foods business in India. In 2003, Salwan moved to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as the human resources director for leadership supply. In this role, he also served as the executive assistant to the senior vice president of human resources, and later, executive assistant for the chief human resources officer. In 2006, Salwan moved to London as the vice president of human resources, leadership and organization development for Asia, Africa and Central Eastern Europe. During this period, he partnered with the category teams based in the region and continued this role in Singapore in 2009. The following year, Salwan served as vice president of human resources in Southeast Asia and Australasia. He holds a graduate degree in economics from the University of Delhi and a master of business administration degree in human resources from the Xaviers Labour Relations Institute, also in India.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
New Season Coaching & Consulting Group
Mitzi Short, an adjunct executive coach with the Center for Creative Leadership, is co-founder and managing partner of New Season Coaching & Consulting Group, a multifaceted management consulting and coaching firm specializing in executive leadership and personal coaching, organizational effectiveness, talent management, and diversity and inclusion strategy. A certified executive leadership and productivity coach, Short works with corporate and organization leaders and professionals to maximize their impact and influence in national and global organizations. She is passionate about helping individuals achieve optimal performance and sustainable growth, while leading and living balanced lives. Short has worked for PepsiCo Inc. and Procter & Gamble, where she held leadership roles in sales, marketing, operations and general management. She earned her master of business administration degree from the University of Oregon, bachelor of arts degree in economics from Davidson College and coaching credentials from the Center for Creative Leadership, the Coaching & Positive Psychology Institute and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Short has been a panelist and featured speaker at conferences, corporate and government events, and community programs. She chairs the Davidson College Trustee Admissions and Financial Aid Committee and is a member of The Executive Leadership Council, The Executives’ Club of Chicago, GolfTEC’s Advisory Board and the Chicago Executive Women’s Golf Association. Short is the co-author of Teeing Up For Success.
McKinsey & Co.
Virginia Simmons is a director at McKinsey & Co.’s Chicago office, where she also serves as the location manager. Since joining McKinsey & Co. in 1997, Simmons has worked primarily in retail across multiple subsectors, including grocery, apparel, housewares, health and beauty, DIY, electrical, telecommunications and financial services. She has worked extensively in Europe, Asia and North America. Simmons’ work covers a wide range of strategy, marketing and store operations areas. Most recently, she has supported a number of retailers’ commercial divisions on building their merchandising and procurement capabilities. Prior to joining McKinsey & Co., Simmons worked in the marketing team of PepsiCo Inc.’s international restaurants business and in the retail team at Shell. Simmons holds a master’s degree in engineering from Cambridge University England. She serves on the board of The Chicago Council of Global Affairs and Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Chief Marketing Officer
As chief marketing officer at K&N Engineering, Jesse Spungin is responsible for all marketing for the company. K&N, a privately held company in Riverside, Calif., is the market leader in washable reusable air filters. The company owns and markets the Spectre and AEM brands. Previously, Spungin spent 16 years with ConAgra Foods, most recently as vice president and general manager of the collaborative private brands business. His prior roles at ConAgra Foods included vice president and general manager of popcorn brands. He was responsible for managing and growing Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn, Act II Popcorn, Crunch ‘n Munch and other brands. One of his team’s major successes was the launch of Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl, which won numerous rewards and was among USA Today’s Top 10 Product Launches of 2011. He also served as ConAgra Foods vice president of shopper marketing and vice president of marketing. Before joining ConAgra Foods in 2000, he led the marketing efforts for other well-known national consumer brands, including Bazooka Bubble Gum, Ring Pops and Push Pops. Spungin holds an executive master of business administration degree from Pepperdine University and a bachelor of science degree from Fordham University. He serves on the nonprofit board of Youth Outreach Services.
Sue Stanek, PhD
Sue Stanek is a successful leadership development consultant, bringing 30-plus years of experience in sales, marketing and management. Among her clients are The McGraw-Hill Companies, Synovus, Société Générale, Piper Jaffray and Medtronic. Stanek also serves on the consulting staff of Menttium Corporation and as a professor for Concordia University. Previously, she was managing director of the learning systems division of BI Performance Services, where she was responsible for a 36-percent increase in revenue and increases in productivity and customer satisfaction. She also served as a product manager for Wilson Learning Centers and led the learning and development at two national healthcare organizations, Share Development Corporation and UnitedHealthcare Corporation, where she was responsible for 2,500 employees in 25 states. Stanek earned a doctorate degree in training and organization development from the University of Minnesota, where she served as an adjunct instructor. She holds a master’s degree in community and adult education from the College of St. Thomas and a bachelor of science degree in family social science from the University of Minnesota. Stanek has won numerous awards, including Consultant of the Year from The McGraw-Hill Companies. She is a contributing author of 50 Activities for Achieving Excellent Customer Service and The Princess Principle: Women Helping Women Discover Their Royal Spirit. Stanek is chairperson of Young Life, a nonprofit youth organization, and serves as a national alumnae leadership consultant for Delta Gamma sorority.
Network of Executive Women Secretary Regenia Stein is a principal at her newly formed practice, Ingenuity Consulting, which focuses on women’s executive leadership development and industry access. Stein previously served as vice president, industry development and communications for Kraft Foods Group Inc., a position she held until her retirement in September 2013. She served in a number of industry roles inside and outside of Kraft Foods, including vice president of national accounts, category management and e-commerce at Miller Brewing, where she was named one of the “25 Most Influential” by Consumer Goods Technology in 2004, Earlier in her career, she held sales, human resources and strategy positions at General Foods USA, where she began her career in 1984. Stein has served on the boards of the National Grocers Association and National Association of Chain Drug Stores and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council. In August 2008, Stein was named one of Progressive Grocer’s “Top Women in Grocery.” In 2013, she received the Network of Executive Women William J. Grize Award recognizing her efforts and commitment to the Network’s mission to attract, retain and advance women in the retail and consumer products industry through education, leadership and business development. Stein earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Phoenix.
President and CEO
Network of Executive Women
Joan Toth is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, the largest diversity organization serving the consumer products and retail industry. Toth, who was named executive director shortly after the association’s establishment in 2001, was appointed president and CEO in 2011. She is responsible for executing the Network’s mission of attracting, retaining and advancing women in this multitrillion-dollar business sector. She directs the Network’s staff, is responsible for its programs and services, and works closely with the Networkʼs Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Champions and Committee Chairs to develop and execute strategy. Toth has presided over the organization’s rapid growth. The Network has more than 8,500 members, nearly 100 national sponsors and 20 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Prior to joining the Network, Toth launched Go-To-Market Strategies, a retail industry consulting firm, and led print, event and web business development activities for the retail/food industry publications of Bill Communications. Toth previously served as vice president and publisher of Convenience Store News and group publisher of the retail and distribution publications of Macfadden Trade Communications. Toth has served on numerous industry boards and committees, including the Supplier Board of Directors of the National Association of Convenience Stores. In 2012, she was elected to the board of directors of Rock for Kids, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide music education to underserved children in Chicago public schools; she currently leads the fundraising committee.
Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing
As senior vice president, consumer marketing for Safeway Inc., Barbara Walker is responsible for integration and activation of all consumer-facing communication and is Safeway’s primary brand steward. She leads brand strategy and creates shopper-relevant communication solutions and integrated channel activation in broadcast TV and radio; mass print advertising; direct mail; PR/buzz marketing; and the digital ecosystem, including email, mobile, online, social media and search, working across internal teams and more than 10 agency partners. Walker received her bachelor’s degree in art history from University of California, Los Angeles and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing communications on both the client and agency side. She started her career at Safeway in regional advertising, gained agency experience at McCann-Erickson San Francisco, and then returned to Safeway to hold vice president positions in bank marketing, creative and production services, and loyalty marketing.