2019 Speakers

2019 Speakers

2019 SPEAKERS

speaker
Monica Robins
Senior Health Correspondent at WKYC Channel 3, lead singer in Whiskey Kings and new host of 'Naked Brunch' on oWOW radio

8:45-9:00 a.m. | Welcome and Emcee
Monica Robins is an Emmy award winning reporter well known as one of Northeast Ohio's most reliable sources for health news. She has earned the respect of the region's medical establishments including The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio for fair, accurate and unbiased reporting. Her stories are often broadcast nationally on NBC and Gannett/Tegna stations.

speaker
Nathalie Molina Niño
Investor, Author, Serial Entrepreneur

9:00-9:45 a.m. (Q&A from 9:45-10:00 a.m.) | MORNING KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Nathalie Molina Niño is the author of LEAPFROG, The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs (Penguin Random House, Tarcher Perigee) and an impact investor targeting high-growth businesses that benefit women and the planet. A confessed but recovering serial entrepreneur, Molina Niño launched her first tech startup at the age of twenty. She's the cofounder of Entrepreneurs@Athena at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies of Barnard College at Columbia University. Before that, she spent over a decade sharing her opinionated flavor of business advice and growth strategy with organizations like Disney, Microsoft, MTV, Mattel, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Just prior to launching her last venture, BRAVA Investments, Molina Niño led the launch of Nely Galán’s New York Times bestselling book and online education venture, Self-Made, and stepped in as CRO of PowerToFly, the fastest growing hiring platform for women in tech and beyond.

speaker
Denise Carkhuff
Partner, Jones Day
Founder, Adrenaline Monkey

10:00-10:45 a.m. | Are you a necessity or opportunity entrepreneur? Hear stories from five female entrepreneurs and we’ll let you (the audience) decide

Denise has spent the last twenty-three years (thirteen of which as partner) at the global law firm, Jones Day, acting as the principal outside lawyer on a multitude of M&A and private equity transactions. Her experience covers a wide range of matters in a variety of industries and deal structures. Denise has worked on all aspects of the full life cycle of a company, from incorporation to liquidity event or dissolution. While the main focus of Denise's practice has been the representation of private equity funds, she also has served in a general counsel function for countless private companies. After helping clients with their businesses for the last twenty-three years, she decided to invest in her own business, Adrenaline Monkey, a family adventure and training center dedicated to empowering guests of all ages, sizes and abilities through fun and physical challenges. She sits on the board of Breakthrough Charter Schools, urban charter schools with the mission of giving every scholar a chance to go to college. For over a dozen years, Denise led Women In Transactions, a networking group for women doing transactional work, which currently sits under the ACG umbrella. She co-leads RRAIN, a women’s group for the Cleveland Jones Day women lawyers. She is a member of In Counsel With Women. She was selected to be a “Wise Woman” as part of Deloitte’s Wise Women leadership program. Denise was a member of the 2018 Leadership Cleveland class.

speaker
Covesa K. Gragg
Entrepreneur/Event Planner/Speaker and Author
Owner, Covesa Kelly Events

10:00-10:45 a.m. | Are you a necessity or opportunity entrepreneur? Hear stories from five female entrepreneurs and we’ll let you (the audience) decide

Covesa started her career in event planning over ten years ago in the banking industry by leading and teaching home buyer instructional classes. The attendees in the class recognized her energy and passion which fueled her to become more hands on in planning the material, scheduling, and logistics for the classes. Covesa was able to use some of this training for her own wedding in 2007 which impressed her family and friends and started the ball rolling for her own event planning business. Covesa’s inviting nature and friendly personality, along with an ambitious attitude is what continues to set her apart from others in her field. These qualities along with her financial background in budgeting and attention to detail are making Covesa one of Northeast Ohio’s top picks for event planners. She is well known for utilizing her connections and experience to create top notch weddings which have stunning décor, and run from an organized timeline. Covesa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and believes in participating in continued education opportunities to further her experience and growth in the event planning industry. Covesa’s passion for helping others is evident in the level of customer service that she requires of herself and her team by going above and beyond for their clients.

speaker
Constance Hill-Johnson, MPA
Managing Director, Visiting Angels Senior Homecare

10:00-10:45 a.m. | Are you a necessity or opportunity entrepreneur? Hear stories from five female entrepreneurs and we’ll let you (the audience) decide

Constance Hill-Johnson is the Owner and Managing Director of Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services in Cleveland Ohio. Visiting Angels is an in-home service provider assisting the elderly and older adult to live as independently as possible by remaining safely in their own familiar home environment. Ms. Hill-Johnson started her business in 2002, and now in its 17th year, has successfully served hundreds of seniors throughout the greater Cleveland area and surrounding communities. Her professional background includes over 10-years of senior health care management experience in a variety of health care settings. She is regarded as a both a dynamic motivational leader and speaker who shares with audiences her entrepreneurial journey which began in her early 40’s, in addition to her recent journey as an adult caregiver to a mother with dementia.

speaker
Valerie Mayen
Founder, Yellow Cake Shop, Fashion Designer

10:00-10:45 a.m. | Are you a necessity or opportunity entrepreneur? Hear stories from five female entrepreneurs and we’ll let you (the audience) decide

Valerie is originally from Corpus Christi Texas, she found her way to Cleveland by attending The Cleveland Institute of Art. Little did she know this would be the foundation of her new fashion career and family. Valerie landed a spot to compete against 17 other highly skilled Fashion Designers on Lifetime’s Project Runway series, Season 8, finishing among the top 7. She was then invited back to compete in Project Runway Allstars Season 5 to much success. Valerie’s experience with Project Runway further sharpened her superior sewing skills and keen eye for detail. Yellowcake Shop was born in 2009 and shortly after, it’s sister Hullabaloo became one of Cleveland’s latest and most talked-about fashion events. Valerie is dedicated to providing high quality clothing to others without the major environmental impacts other fast fashion clothing often causes, while finding creative ways to build up the community in Cleveland that supports her.

speaker
Kate Volzer
Co-Founder & CEO of Wisr

10:00-10:45 a.m. | Are you a necessity or opportunity entrepreneur? Hear stories from five female entrepreneurs and we’ll let you (the audience) decide

Kate Volzer is the co-founder and CEO of Wisr which is a venture-backed software startup in the higher education technology space. As a former first-generation college student, Kate is extremely passionate about improving educational outcomes for college students across the country. Kate is active in the Cleveland entrepreneurial scene Chairing the JumpStart Young Professional Advisory Council and serving on the DigitalC Fund Advisory Board. When Kate’s not helping others with their startups, she’s probably doing yoga, spending time on Lake Erie, playing with her dog, or enjoying a good conversation over a glass of wine. Kate was a member of the varsity volleyball team at the University of Chicago where she received her BA and MBA. She was born and raised in Hartville, OH but now resides in Rocky River.

speaker
Sheila A. Mixon
Executive Director at Ohio River Valley Women's Business Council (ORV~WBC)

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION I: WBENC Certification: Looking for a way to promote your company to major corporations that are actively seeking to conduct business with a woman/women owned business(es)? Find out how during this session

Sheila A. Mixon is Senior Vice President of the Business Development & Entrepreneurship Department for the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio (ULGSO) where she provides vision, leadership, organizational governance and strategic direction for the department. The Department programs include the SBDC (Small Business Development Center), the Economic Empowerment Center (AABDP) and ORV~WBC (Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council), where she serves as its Executive Director. ORV~WBC is a certifying entity for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Ms. Mixon has 41 years in business development experience; the financial services industry and not-for-profit organizations. During her time with ULGSO she has garnered many awards and recognition for her work with small business owners.

speaker
Gabrielle Christman
Founder & CEO of Hunter International Recruiting

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION I: WBENC Certification: Looking for a way to promote your company to major corporations that are actively seeking to conduct business with a woman/women owned business(es)? Find out how during this session

Gabrielle Christman is Founder and CEO of Hunter International, a national STEM focused recruiting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. A certified WBE since 2008, Gabrielle represents ORV on WBENC Forum and is currently ORV Cleveland Forum Luncheon Co-Chair. Gabrielle has been recognized by ORV for her continued commitment to women’s access to opportunities within Hunter’s supply chain and within the community. Gabrielle’s passionate about increasing access to STEM role models for co-founder of SPARK Cleveland a non-profit focused on providing role models to girls in STEM.

speaker
Angela Morrow
LubriSource, Inc., President

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION I: WBENC Certification: Looking for a way to promote your company to major corporations that are actively seeking to conduct business with a woman/women owned business(es)? Find out how during this session

Angela Morrow is the President of LubriSource, Inc. With a passion for process improvement, Angela partners with leading suppliers and manufactures across multiple industries from steel, automotive, paper, aerospace and more to improve machinery reliability and up-time through automated lubrication systems. As recent graduate of the ORV-BDP / P&G program, Angela believes in sharing best practices and empowering others to reach dreams and goals. “One book I’d recommend is Rookie Smarts by Liz Wiseman. This book has help me to overcome doubts and to look at my skills and strengths through a difference lens.” Residing in Cincinnati, Angela enjoys family game night with her two daughters and sitting by the firepit with her husband.

speaker
Joe McClain
Director, Supplier Diversity for Eaton Corporation

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION I: WBENC Certification: Looking for a way to promote your company to major corporations that are actively seeking to conduct business with a woman/women owned business(es)? Find out how during this session

Pathricio (Joe) McClain is the director, supplier diversity for Eaton Corporation. Joe leads the supplier diversity initiative by working to develop minority, woman and veteran-owned business enterprises as well as small businesses, serving on local diversity purchasing committees, and integrating diversity efforts within Eaton’s business operations. Eaton’s award-winning supplier diversity program seeks to establish strategic relationships with diverse vendors that provide world-class service and products. Joe holds an Associate Degree in Industrial Engineering Technology from Gaston College in Dallas, NC and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC. McClain, a US Army Gulf War veteran, began his career at Eaton’s Kings Mountain operations plant in North Carolina, where he held numerous positions throughout the operations including positions as project coordinator, production team leader, lean manufacturing coordinator and production supervisor. His most recent assignment was manager of environmental, health and safety. He is also a 2017 LeadDiversity alum and serves on the board of directors for the Ohio Minority Supplier Diversity Council, Josiah’s House, Inc., and the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council.

speaker
Janet Kendall White
Founder & CEO Berkshire Group, Inc.

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION I: WBENC Certification: Looking for a way to promote your company to major corporations that are actively seeking to conduct business with a woman/women owned business(es)? Find out how during this session

Janet Kendall White is founder and President of Berkshire Group, Inc., a WOSB, WBENC certified Ohio based national consulting firm that provides a full range of organization development services including strategic planning, process and profit improvement; training and development; executive coaching, and facilitation. Over the past 25 years Berkshire Group has developed a framework for organization change and organic growth which they have successfully implemented in a broad range of settings including Manufacturing, Information Systems, Biotech, Human Resources, Financial Services and Health Care as well as various types of non-profit institutions.

speaker
Deborah Spake
Dean, College of Business Administration at Kent State University

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION II: Top 10 Strategies to Improve Revenue and Profitability – an Interactive Workshop
Deborah Spake, Ph.D. is Dean of the College of Business Administration at Kent State University. She previously served as associate dean and professor of marketing at the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell College of Business and on the faculties of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Western Michigan University, and as a visiting professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Worms, Germany. She currently serves as President of the MidAmerican Business Deans Association. Prior to an academic career, she worked as the Marketing Research Director of a publishing company and, later, for consulting firms specializing in marketing research and strategic planning.

speaker
Jennifer Carro
Director of Client Experience & Business Strategy

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION II: Top 10 Strategies to Improve Revenue and Profitability – an Interactive Workshop

Jennifer Carro is Director of Client Experience and Business Strategy with the business law firm, Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC. She has worked in a marketing and business development management capacity for more than 8 years. Prior to joining the legal industry, she supported nonprofit, tech-based and emerging-growth companies in their quests to innovate, develop customer-centric approaches to marketing and development, and formulate and launch strategic initiatives. Jennifer’s current role at Buckingham focuses on branding, client service and retention, business development and strategic planning and execution.

speaker
Tiffany Rankin, CPA
Shareholder, Maloney + Novotny

11:00-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION II: Top 10 Strategies to Improve Revenue and Profitability – an Interactive Workshop

Tiffany joined Maloney + Novotny (formerly Wolf, Rogers, and Dickey) in 2004. She was elected shareholder in 2019 and is focused in the firm’s tax practice area. Prior to joining M+N, Tiffany spent several years with a national accounting firm in their tax department. Tiffany has spent the majority of her career working in tax-related matters, including research and tax planning, pass-through entity taxation, sales and use tax, and tax controversy. She has serviced clients in the real estate, construction, manufacturing, professional service and entertainment fields, along with high net-worth individuals. In addition, she spends time dealing in sales and use tax matters for the firm’s clients. Tiffany has experience representing clients before IRS and state taxing authorities. In addition to servicing her clients, Tiffany has also represented tax-related topics to various organizations and groups. She believes that education is one of the keys to a successful business relationship, and is committed to this when servicing her clients, as well as working within the community. Tiffany graduated from The Ohio State University in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. She is a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs, current Treasurer of the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center, Past President and Treasurer of the Young Professionals Board of the Ronald McDonald House, and past board member of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio.

speaker
Anne Richie
Venture Partner,
Jumpstart, Inc.

11:00-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION III: The Entrepreneurs Effective Transition!

As a Venture Partner, Anne coaches JumpStart’s scale up clients on preparing and executing growth plans. She has an extensive background in finance and banking with the unique experience of working with distressed businesses. She is very resourceful and collaborative and approaches growth opportunities with tactical, creative, innovative strategies. Prior to JumpStart, Anne was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Restructuring Officer for a private equity-owned jet engine parts manufacturer. Previous to that she enjoyed a long career in banking, rising from Loan Officer with the Bank of Boston to senior positions with Citicorp, Wells Fargo and Keybank where she was responsible for managing portfolios of underperforming commercial loans. Anne holds a BA in Economics from Smith College and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

speaker
Michael Ella
Value Advisor, Key Private Bank

11:00 a.m.-11:45 p.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION III: The Entrepreneurs Effective Transition!

Michael Ella focuses on the business succession, mergers and acquisition and value creation needs of our clients. He has over 10 years experience in professional accounting and has worked with high net worth individuals, business owners, and corporate executives. Prior to joining Key, Mike worked for a Big 4 company as well as regional public accounting firms which has provided him with a wealth of international experience. A highly experienced professional, Michael starts by ensuring he has a clear picture of your personal and business situation, current needs, and objectives. Working closely with a team of Key Private Bank experts, he then helps develop personalized, comprehensive solutions to meet your goals. Michael Ella is a Director in Key’s National Family Wealth Consulting Group. The group is comprised of tax attorneys and CPAs who work with high net worth clients and business owners helping them with designing and implementing sophisticated wealth strategies. These strategies include tax planning, alternative risk management practices, philanthropy, asset protection, developing systems to maximize business value, education around the mergers and acquisition process and transition planning. Michael holds a BA in Accounting from Mercyhurst University. He is a CPA and CA and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Exit Planning Institute. He is an avid speaker and writer and has been a featured speaker at industry conferences, as well as published in numerous industry publications.

speaker
Dana G. Hastings
Luma Wealth Advisor

11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION III: The Entrepreneurs Effective Transition!

Dana Hastings joined the firm in 2018 and brings more than 34 years of wealth management experience to Luma Wealth Advisors. Dana is a dynamic and highly qualified financial planning and investment professional with extensive experience in working with high net worth individuals, executives, healthcare professionals and small business owners. Dana’s loyalty and passion for her work plays into the meaningful, long term relationships she holds with clients. Dana started her career at Gries Financial Services Inc, and most recently came from C2P Advisory Group where she was the Vice President, working in business development. Dana has a MBA from Baldwin Wallace College and a B.A. from Mount Union College. She earned her Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation and Masters of Science in Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. She also holds ChFC and RICP designations. Dana is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland, as well as the Financial Planning Association of North East Ohio. She is a Trustee of Fill This House, a faith-Based nonprofit organization. Dana is also part of the 100+ Women Who Care organization, Cleveland metro Chapter, donating to various charities in the Cleveland area. Dana lives in Bay Village and has three grown children. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, hiking, skiing and sailing.

speaker
Cheryl Strom
Regional Director, Origination, The Riverside Company

11:00 a.m.-11:45 p.m. | BREAK OUT SESSION III: The Entrepreneurs Effective Transition!

Nearly seven years at National City Bank including Director, Debt Capital Markets; prior experience in Investor Relations at Dix & Eaton, a communications strategy consulting firm. Cheryl’s dual job is that of ensuring the development of and extracurricular activity coordination of her two sons. She is an active board member of Promise Partners, a group of Weatherhead alumni who develop and support opportunities for members to start and own businesses; and an outside advisory board member for two Cleveland-based, founder-owned companies.

speaker
Shelley Pippin
Brewnuts, Co-Owner

12:15-1:15 p.m. | Lunch Presenter: Hear from some of the best dessert makers in NEO
Brewnuts is the lovechild of two Clevelanders - Shelley & John Pippin - who gave up their jobs working for "The Man" to pursue their three favorite things: donuts, beer and Cleveland. Long story short, one night Shelley bolted up in bed and asked John what he thought about the idea of making craft beer based donuts. After a long pause he said "I like that." The next day the twosome went out and bought a counter top fryer and got busy hatching their plan to make Cleveland's most unique and delicious donuts. From this exploration, Shelley & John created Brewnuts, the country's first Donut Bar serving craft-beer based donuts. Love donuts? Love beer? Love Cleveland? Put it all together and you’ve got Brewnuts.

speaker
Kelsey Smith
Owner, Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes

12:15-1:15 p.m. | Lunch presenter: Hear from some of the best dessert makers in NEO

For nearly 20 years, Kelsey has been baking and decorarating beautiful sweets, but it was in 2012 that Kelsey's love became more than a hobby. After receiving many orders from family and friends, she decided that Cleveland needed a beautiful sweets and party boutique that made treats as delicious as mom used to make, and as pretty as all the sweets she admired in Paris and London, as well as offered a full range of cute party supplies! Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes is the natural extension of her passion, and allows her to utilize her artistic abilities to make special occasions all the more memorable.

speaker
Loretta Paganini
Founder, Loretta Paganini School of Cooking, Inc

12:15-1:15 p.m. | Lunch Presenter: Hear from some of the best dessert makers in NEO

The American Culinary Chef Federation awarded Loretta the prestigious 2007 “Educator of the year award” and in 2016 “Lifetime Achievement Award”. In 2007 she won in New York State the first “Tri State Premier Chef Competition” representing the State of Ohio. In 2000 and 2007, the Cleveland Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners honored Loretta as one of the Top Ten Women Business Owners of Northeast Ohio. She is also featured on television commercials for Dean’s Supply Company and Miceli’s Cheese and in 2005 won “Best Tasting Commercial” by Scene magazine. Since 1989 Loretta Paganini has been offering several successful Gastronomic tours of the food and wine of Italy and bringing people from all over the USA for a once in a lifetime experience throughout different regions of Italy, the French Riviera and Croatia.

speaker
Claire Coder
Founder, Aunt Flow

1:15-2:00 p.m. | Claire Coder, Aunt Flow, Founder
Claire Coder is the founder and CEO of Aunt Flow. On a mission to ensure everyone has access to menstrual products, Aunt Flow stocks over 300 companies across the USA with their 100% organic cotton tampons and pads. Coder launched her first company at age 16, designed a bag for Vera Bradley that sold out in 24 hours, and has her own line of GIFs. The 22-year-old founder has been featured in TeenVogue, Forbes, and starred in TLC’s Girl Starter Season 1. When she is not jamming out to Macklemore, she is pretending like she knows how to run Google ads.

speaker
Patrice Blakemore
Director
Goldman Sachs /10,000 Small Businesses in partnership with
Cuyahoga Community College

2:00-3:00 p.m. | Intentional Networking Session

Patrice Blakemore is the interim business services director and a business advisor for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College. This $500 million national business development initiative is a practical business management education program that helps entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to grow their company. She is also president of Blakemore Coaching where she enables women to elevate their performance, maximize their opportunity and increase their productivity. In 2009, Patrice decided to use her experience as an attorney to create workshops and coaching programs for women in male-dominated professions. She assists participants in increasing their confidence and productivity through goal setting and execution.

speaker
Teresa Beasley
Chair of Public Law Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins LLC

3:15-4:15pm | Opportunity Zones and Investments for Female Entrepreneurs

Teresa is a member and chair of the firm's Public Law Practice Group. She is experienced in bond transactions and has served as bond, underwriter’s, borrower’s as well as placement agent counsel. She also has experience with joint economic development zones and joint economic development districts, project labor agreements and diversity plans. She has represented private institutions and local and county governmental agencies, including municipalities, port authorities, healthcare institutions and library systems on business, financing real estate matters, construction and government relations. Teresa counsels with respect to all real estate acquisitions, divestitures, leasing, financing and development. She has represented individuals, corporations, non-profits and governmental bodies with all aspects of real estate development including land assembly, planning, zoning, environmental and financing, including public-private partnerships. Teresa’s diverse real estate experience allows her to advise on all types of real estate transactions.

speaker
Jane Campbell
Mayor of Cleveland 2001-5

3:15-4:15pm | Opportunity Zones and Investments for Female Entrepreneurs

Jane Campbell, the first and to date only woman to serve as Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio is now the President and CEO of the US Capitol Historical Society, the congressionally chartered non-profit dedicated to sharing the stories of the work inside the US Capitol and the art and architecture of the US Capitol. She also serves as Senior Advisor at both Public Private Strategies and the International Economic Development Council, the country’s largest organization of economic development professionals. She advises communities and foundations on Opportunity Zone investment strategy. Campbell serves on the Board of the Lincoln Land Policy Institute, the Faith and Politics Institute, and the Association for Enterprise Opportunities. She is also on the Steering Committee for the National Democratic Institute’s effort to support women Mayors around the globe.

speaker
Yvette Ittu
President, Cleveland Development Advisors

3:15-4:15pm | Opportunity Zones and Investments for Female Entrepreneurs

Experienced Executive Vice President with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Budgeting, Business Planning, Government, and Entrepreneurship. Strong business development professional with a Doctor of Law (J.D.) focused in Public Law and Tax from Cleveland State University - Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

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