About the 2019 Women's Leadership Conference
What is the 2019 Women's Leadership Conference?
The Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) is an annual one-day event recognizing the contribution of phenomenal women leaders and their affect on regional business growth as well as inspiring all attendees to better and more effective leadership. The 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference will focus on ‘The Power of Perseverance’ and will feature sessions on ‘Finding Peace During the Storm,’ ‘Determining when Patience is a Virtue and When it is Not’ and ‘Igniting and Sustaining Purpose and Passion.’
Some of the most highly regarded female ‘movers and shakers’ in DC, Maryland, and Virginia are on the lineup including two inspirational keynote speakers. Rayna DuBose, motivational speaker and Marriotts Ridge High School Coach, and Sheela Murthy, Founder of Murthy Law Firm, will be the keynote speakers for the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference.
2019 WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE AGENDA
7:30am - 8:00am -- Registration & Breakfast | Visit Exhibit Hall
8:00am - 8:15am -- Welcome & Opening Remarks
8:15am - 9:00am -- Morning Keynote: Rayna DuBose, Motivational Speaker and Marriotts Ridge High School Coach
9:00am - 9:15am -- Break | Visit Exhibit Hall
9:15am - 10:30am -- Finding Peace During the Storm
Towanda R. Livingston, Senior Director, Philadelphia’s Office of Economic Opportunity
Denise Shelton & Shawna Nance, Community Bridge Incorporated
Sharon Brackett, President/CEO, Tiresias Technologies
10:30am - 10:45am -- Break I Visit Exhibit Hall
10:45am - 12:00pm -- Determining When Patience is a Virtue and When it is Not
Funlayo Alabi, Co-Founder, Shea Radiance
Chief Lisa Myers, Chief of Police, Howard County Police Department
12:00pm - 1:15pm -- Lunch | Small Group Discussion
1:15pm - 2:30pm -- Igniting and Sustaining Purpose and Passion
Suzanne Delica, Owner, Columbia Clothes Mentor
MaryBeth Hyland, Founder, SparkVision
Cailey Locklair Tolle, President, Maryland Retailers Association
2:30pm - 2:45pm -- Break | Visit Exhibit Hall
2:45pm - 3:30pm -- Afternoon Keynote: Sheela Murthy, Founder, Murthy Law Firm
3:30pm - 4:00pm -- Closing Remarks
2019 KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Rayna DuBose was on a full-ride basketball scholarship at Virginia Tech and playing in her first season when a viral meningitis infection put her into a 97-day coma. She woke up a quadruple amputee. The illness, its outcome and DuBose’s response - she finished her degree at Virginia Tech, stayed involved with the team, and maintained the positive spirit she was known for - launched a career as an international motivational speaker. Today you’ll find the 34-year-old sticking close to her childhood home of Howard County, where she’s the junior varsity coach for boys’ basketball and assistant coach for varsity football at Marriotts Ridge High School. “I was made for this,” she says. “My passion and my love are the kids and sports, and letting sports guide you through life on a positive note.” DuBose, who lives in Gwynn Oak, still speaks locally, where her messages center around leadership and following dreams, mimicking what her athletes often hear on the court. “If you are mentally strong, you can really conquer anything,” she says. “It means you don’t get defeated in the world very easily. You’re resilient.”
Founder and president of the Murthy Law Firm, Sheela Murthy completed her Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Harvard Law School, and has been admitted to practice as an attorney in New York, Maryland, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Located in Baltimore County, Maryland, her firm of approximately 100 professionals concentrates in the area of U.S. immigration law. Murthy practiced with major law firms in New York and Baltimore before launching her own firm in 1994, then known as the Law Office of Sheela Murthy. Murthy often travels to meet with senior officials of U.S. consulates abroad, as well as the different USCIS service centers in the U.S., to discuss policies and procedures. This enables the Murthy Law Firm to better serve and advocate for its clients. She is fluent in French and Hindi. She presents papers and speaks on complex immigration law issues before the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and other national and international organizations, including the International Bar Association in London and the Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg. She is a past member of the Board of Trustees (2002-2009) and, for a number of years, co-chaired the American Immigration Council (AIC)’s Annual Immigrant Achievement Awards, which selects, recognizes, and honors outstanding immigrants who have made notable contributions to American life. A regularly featured writer, sharing information with her colleagues on consular matters and other immigration law topics, Murthy is often called upon by television network affiliates and newspapers to discuss immigration law, she is also featured in many international publications for her worldwide practice, for her leadership in the business community, and for her philanthropic work. She and her firm have been awarded the AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. This is the highest rating for lawyers and represents a measure of esteem for which attorneys strive.
2019 Session Speakers & Moderators
Towanda R. Livingston, Senior Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia
Towanda R. Livingston is a successful and award-winning Diversity and Inclusion Executive. She has been essential in developing, implementing and institutionalizing various diversity initiatives that range from communication, workforce, workplace to supplier/business and community outreach. She possesses over 25 years of solid hands-on advocacy, diversity and inclusion, economic development, strategic, business, business, business/professional coaching, marketing, sales and customer service experience which has successfully grown and sustained diversity and inclusion programs. The breadth and depth of her experience with advocacy, strategic planning and implementation of sustainable economic development, business development, diversity, inclusion and equity programs has been extremely valuable to her stakeholders and those lucky enough to procure her services.
As of July 2018, Towanda is the Senior Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia. She serves as the primary Leader in implementing and overseeing inclusion-related programs that are guided by the City of Philadelphia’s legislative mandates and requirements. Formerly the Director of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s (WSSC) Office of Supplier Diversity & Inclusion (OSDI), Towanda was an Executive at WSSC from 2006 to 2017. Towanda has won numerous awards and accolades over her career; and has volunteered numerous hours to community-based organizations that are dedicated to women and children.
Sharon Breckett is a serial entrepreneur, technologist, President/CEO of Tiresias Technologies, and a Principal and Co-Founder of Whetstone Point. She has helped start five companies in the last twenty years. In 2016, she was named one of Maryland’s Top Women in Tech by the Maryland Department of Commerce. In 2010, she was selected by Washington SmartCEO Magazine as one of Washington’s Smart100 CEOs for 2010, and then again, after transition, in 2011. In 2018, she was elected to the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee, becoming the first trans person in Maryland to be elected to any office.
Along with others, she led the fight for trans rights in Maryland leading to the passage of protections for trans people in 2014 and was subsequently selected as “Activist of the Year” by Baltimore Pride. She is a board member of the Point Foundation, a national LGBTQ scholarship organization and a board member of OutServe-SLDN which is currently suing the Trump administration to allow open trans military service. She periodically writes a column for Baltimore OUTloud called “Rational T-hought”, focusing on trans rights and issues.
She is also a former board member and remains an advisor of MoringaCommunity.org, an NGO charity that has built an education program and school in Ghana, West Africa. In her copious spare time she works with youth groups with technical interests such as 3D printing, Scouting, coding, rocketry, and FIRST robotics.
Denise Shelton is CEO and sole owner of Community Bridge Inc., a Washington D.C. based facility management company established in January 2002. Prior to founding the certified, woman-owned company, Denise Shelton served as D.C. Department of Corrections warden where she led the Electronic Monitoring Program. In this role, she facilitated various Work Programs and led over 300 inmates who performed various landscape services. Her passion for assisting returning citizens led to a business venture that would bridge ex-offenders with their communities in a positive manner.
Denise Shelton has been actively engaged for over fourteen (14) years in growing woman owned business opportunities and advocating for the woman owned business community as a whole. Community Bridge Inc. is a second-generation woman operated enterprise as the current President, and named successor of the business, is Denise Shelton’s daughter, Shawn Nance. In addition, the company has historically provided opportunities for women to hold executive leadership positions where their talents and skills have had direct impact on the advancement of the organization.
Denise Shelton is active legislatively in support of initiatives and petitions that advocate for equality for the Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) community. Denise Shelton has been recognized for her success, having been the recipient of the Minority Business Enterprise Award in 2010 and 2013 and the Women in Business Champion of the Year presented by the DC Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
Shawna Nance, President, Community Bridge Inc.
Shawn Nance is the President of Community Bridge Inc. (CBI), a full facilities management company, established and headquartered in Washington, DC since 2002. She oversees the management of the corporation, its employees, vendors and consultants. In addition, she provides leadership to the firm, develops overall company direction, manages the implementation of business strategies, and oversees senior operations staff.
Prior to her current position, Shawn Nance served as a special education instructor in the education industry where she was known for diligence and commitment to service. Her leadership and experience have influenced tremendous growth for Community Bridge Inc., and has enhanced company operations in numerous aspects.
Shawn Nance holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from Hampton University, and a Master Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix.
I am a trailblazer who fought my way to the top of the accounting food chain at a time when the industry was dominated by men who had no interest letting a woman have her slice of their pie. I became a Certified Public Accountant, was an all-star employee, then started my own business and killed it at that too. When my youngest daughter was just 10 months old, I grew my business from one employee bringing in about $200,000 each year to a 40-employee empire with an annual revenue of more than $4 million – something less than three percent of women entrepreneurs in the US and Canada can claim.
One on my mantras is, “numbers tell a story and they never lie.” I teach my clients to understand what the numbers in their businesses are really saying to help address red flags before they become black holes that drain essential resources from the business (and the owner).
My track-record speaks for itself. After nearly 30 years of work, I have already helped launch and grow hundreds of small businesses while training entrepreneurs to be leaders in their industries. But hitting the seven-figure mark forced me to look at my life and take inventory of the things I placed above my family, my health and myself.
For me, the light bulb blazed after playing hooky with my now college bound daughters – on a Monday. In all the fun, my girls told me that was the first time I had ever ditched work on a weekday just to be with them. That’s when I realized I needed to make a change. I went on a mission to have it all and, you guessed it, I managed to accomplish that too. I knew there had to be a way to remain a powerful business leader while still making time for my husband and my daughters, taking more vacations and spending precious moments with my aging mother. That’s when I uncovered the methods that created the balance between booming business and the priorities in my personal life.
Now, through my work at Anavo Transformation Solutions, I teach business owners who know they have a greater purpose and are ready to dig themselves out of the minutia of the day-to-day distractions and take back their lives. I demonstrate how to turn a business into an engine that can work without constant supervision so that entrepreneurs can feed themselves spiritually instead of draining their passion at the expense of the people and things they love.
I am the proud recipient of many accolades including the Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award, the Maryland Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Award, Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, SmartCEO Magazine’s Smart CPA Award, and the BRAVA! Top Women CEO Award.
Anna Fleeman Elhini, together with Sami Elhini, founded Creatrix® in 2006. Creatrix is an identity management company specializing in systems integration and software engineering with expertise in biometrics, vetting, credentialing, and case management. Creatrix provides clients big business capability with small business agility and is well-respected for its breadth of experience, skilled talent base and responsive management style. Creatrix provides IT services for a wide-range of customers such as the Federal government, Lockheed Martin, Leidos, Accenture, AOL, Sun Microsystems, Advanced Optical Solutions, Yotta Innovation, GSE Systems. Further, Creatrix recently debuted two new product lines: Biometrix™, a software suite consisting of enterprise, embedded, mobile, and cloud middleware, and the XONE™ Earhart, a revolutionary hand-held, wireless, fingerprint capture device.
Anna is responsible for all of Creatrix's corporate operations, business development, and marketing, leveraging her nearly 20 years of experience in operations, project and contract management, survey research, and statistics. She has served as a Chief Research Methodologist and Vice President at large research firms and published over 30 papers/presentations.
Anna holds a Master’s degree in Measurement and Quantitative Methods and is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of Emory University. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences, local networking groups, and technology chapters and is often tapped to help others better their presentation skills and marketing messages. She is a member of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors, GovConnects Advisory Board, Engagement Chair of the Women in Technology (WiT) of Central Maryland, a Howard Tech Council Ambassador, and an Emory University Applicant Interviewer for the Baltimore/DC area.
MaryBeth, a millennial entrepreneur, engagement expert and soon-to-be-author, has built her world around crafting culture around core values. She helps multi-generational organizations build stronger communities to create environments where people thrive-ultimately empowering team members, to own their role in crafting culture every day. Her groundbreaking “High Achieving Millennial Research Project” gave voice to those who were defying the negative stereotypes of their generation, providing insights for organizations to attract, retain and engage young professional talent. In addition to partnering with organizations who are invested in their culture, MaryBeth delivers gut-punching, actionable keynotes and workshops to teams and audiences across the country.
Cailey Locklair Tolle is the President of the Maryland Retailers Association, Maryland Chain Drug Store Association, Maryland Food Industry Council and Tri State Jewelers Association and has worked in Maryland State politics for the past 12 years. She attended the University of Delaware where she received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and Towson University where she received her Master of Science degree in integrated homeland security management with a focus on security policy. She also holds a Certificate of Security Assessment and Management from Towson University. Previously, she worked at the Baltimore Jewish Council as their Deputy Executive Director overseeing both operations and government relations and for Speaker Michael Busch at the Maryland House of Delegates. Cailey is a member of the State’s Unemployment Insurance Legislative Oversight Committee, serves as a board member of the Justice Reinvestment Commission Oversight Board, is Treasurer/Secretary of the Council of State Retailer Associations, sits on the board of Goodwill of the Chesapeake, serves as the Financial Advisor to the Phi Theta Chapter at Towson University and sits on the Executive Directors Council to the Maryland Tourism Development Board. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with animal organizations, playing softball for the Department of Legislative Services and is a proud “sponsor” of Naval Academy midshipman. She resides in Annapolis, MD.
Project Management | Product Development & Innovation | Lean Six Sigma | Strategic Communications | Supply Chain Management | Marketing | Engineering
A dynamic engineering & business professional with loads of energy looking for opportunities to shine in any capacity, role or function. Six years in corporate, having worn five different hats, I am the Millennial professional: cross-trained and multi-talented, helping businesses do more with less.
I have dedicated my 20+ year career to creating and implementing proposal processes and methodologies that efficiently and effectively generate well-written, compliant, and winning proposals. I have won my clients contracts with various Federal agencies including multiple opportunities with the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, GSA, Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, Treasury Dept, HUD and the State Department. In addition, I have successfully guided my clients through the long, complex and often frustrating SBA 8a application and certification process.
I keenly understand the work involved and relationship between capture planning and the business development process. My capture planning expertise was honed by winning work for companies of all sizes united by one goal — identifying and winning work that generated the best ROI on their Business Development/Proposal Management dollar.
My proven Proposal Management Improvement Methodologies include staff training, process re-engineering/optimization, technology upgrades, and on-going professional development. I successfully guided two Proposal Departments through preparing for and maintaining their ISO certification.
Kelly Mitchell, founder and principal of impactHR, LLC, is a human resources professional with more than 20 years of experience providing expertise and services to an array of fast-growth organizations. She brings to each client her ability to listen, assess and develop customized solutions for effective employment management and workplace strategies, enabling her clients to focus on the financial growth of their business.
Kelly’s certified skills and experience include assessment of the HR infrastructure and the establishment or enhancement of the HR function. She also is an expert in the implementation of best practices in the areas of recruitment/staffing, employee retention, compensation, benefits and employee relations; development and implementation of HR information management systems; creation of effective performance management strategies; and development and facilitation of various organizational development programs.
Kelly is qualified to administer the DiSC Assessment Tool, Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strong Interest InventoryTM, Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-BehaviorTM (FIRO-B) and the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI). She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Towson State University and a M.S. in Human Resources Management from Widener University.
Dina Bell Nance, Owner and Chief Learning Officer of Training by Design, Incorporated believes that by Empowering and Educating Your Staff for Excellence on a regular basis, you will create a powerful work environment that will outlast the competition. The culture will also focus on collaboration, motivation and team building at all levels. Ms. Nance graduated from the University of MD, Baltimore County with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and has taken numerous classes toward a Masters Degree in the Marketing field at University of Maryland, University College. She has also completed training courses on developing training presentations with Langevin Learning Center and technology training sessions with Oracle over the years.
For over 16 years, Training by Design, Inc. has provided Executive Business Seminars, Customized Technology Training, Professional Development Training, Project Management Training Services, ISD Curriculum Design and Keynote Speaking engagements to the Public and Private sectors. Our Value Proposition Statement is centered around creating strategic, collaborative and creative classroom environments that ensure topics are not just learned but experienced! As the key principal for TBDI, Ms. Nance also had the awesome opportunity of providing Project Mgmt and Training Support to the FDIC for 6 ½ years prior to the start of her business. She also brings over 30 years of Project Management and Training experience to the classroom. Her training team also brings a wealth of experience in the areas of training, education and research as well as customer service to each project.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, The USDA Graduate School (U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Social Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration), Enlightened, LLC (U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Courts, CSOSA, PSA, MPD, USAO and ATF), CAMRIS International (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), Total Learning Solutions (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), Johns Hopkins Hospital, Procter and Gamble - Cover Girl Cosmetics, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery County Parks.
Indira Sharma concentrates her practice on commercial litigation in state and federal courts with an emphasis on real estate litigation and contract disputes. She also represents clients in a broad range of other litigation disputes involving class actions, commercial leases, estates, environmental issues and non-compete agreements.
Within Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Indira is the co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and a driving force behind the firm's diversity and inclusion initiatives. She has organized several internal diversity retreats for the firm; coordinated the firm's sponsorship of and participation in numerous diversity conferences, events and programs throughout its geographic footprint; and spoken on diversity topics. She also served on the steering committee that formed the firm's Women's Development Initiative and, as a founding member, organized the first networking event for the firm's female attorneys and female clients.
While in law school, Indira interned at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where she assisted the administrative law judges of the EEOC with preparing for hearings and drafting opinions for employment discrimination cases. She is also the author of "Comment: The Evolving, Yet Still Inadequate, Protections Afforded Battered Immigrant Women," published in Volume 5 of the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class.
In addition to her Maryland state and D.C. bar admissions, Indira is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
Jeanne Martin, President/CEO, JMar Enterprises, LLC
A proven leader with a track record for execution & building sustainable ecosystems of people, processes & tools, Jeanne Martin is President of JMar Enterprises; founded to address the growing gap for pipeline, particularly women, in STEM-related fields. JMar provides an opportunity for business & education to come together, through diversity & STEM-related consulting services, to develop their future employees.
With 30 years in technology, Jeanne has amassed a wealth of cross-functional experiences at the local, national, & global levels, enabling JMAR to create sustainable relationships that empower young women to pursue STEM careers, while providing local businesses with a larger, better-skilled talent pool to address their workforce development and business requirements. Through these relationships, young women benefit from real world applications that STEM careers afford, increasing the number of women in STEM-related fields, filling a critical gap in the labor pool.