Rethinking Women's Leadership in Business

Contributors – The Future of Work, Healthcare, and Leadership

Elizabeth Birch


Elizabeth Birch is a Vice President at the global commercial real estate firm, CBRE, where she specializes in corporate, trade association, law firm and nonprofit tenants. She combines her extensive legal expertise (Chief Litigation and HR Counsel, Apple Computer, Inc. & General Counsel Claris Corporation) with her extensive management and advocacy expertise to deliver exceptional outcomes for each client. Elizabeth is particularly interest in organizational culture and the way in which concepts of diversity and equity can inform the optimal design of a workplace.

Elizabeth received one of the top civil rights awards from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights for her work in advancing LGBTQ equality. In 1995, she came to Washington DC to serve as President and CEO of the Human Rights Campaign. Birch and as her team saw the organization through a momentous decade of growth, visibility and helped to drive a cultural shift in the understanding of LGBTQ people. She introduced the HRC Corporate Equality Index and Workplace Project, both of which help usher in an era of workplace supportive policies for LGBTQ employees in every industry and in every corner of the country. While at HRC she helped established the organization’s award winning new HR Building. This showed her the power of intelligent real estate planning and the inspiration such a landmark can spark in pursuit of equality. She brings these lessons to her clients today.

Elizabeth is most energized when she is helping to drive systemic change to crack open opportunities and access for those traditionally left at the margins – and to drum out inequality wherever she sees it. Elizabeth majored in Oceanography and Political Science at the University of Hawai’I, received her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law . She has an Honorary PhD in Humanities for her civil and human rights work from the University of Hawai’i.

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Lynne Born

Strategic Advisor

Lynne Born is President of Wealth Architects, an independent wealth management firm located in Silicon Valley. We are a unique community of clients and team members who seek to redefine what wealth really means. We believe in understanding your personal values and defining what well-being means to you, your family and your business, and we help our clients (and our team members) bring this vision into reality.

As President, Lynne focuses on strategic planning, culture and growth strategies that drive the Firm forward. Lynne has extensive expertise in firm management for financial services, family office and the high-net-worth arena, specializing in business transformation and emerging technologies, succession planning, business development strategies and leadership and development for next generation leaders. Lynne was CEO and Partner with two nationally recognized, best-of-the-best high-net-worth financial firms in New York City and Silicon Valley, and led one of the largest Multi-Family Offices in the country serving high-net-worth business owners and multi-generational families.

Lynne was awarded Silicon Valley’s Woman of Influence Award and Women Who Make Their Mark; and has been a keynote speaker on leadership, diversity, artificial intelligence, technology, innovation, and women’s professional development. Lynne attended Northwestern University and achieved certification in Harvard Business School’s Leading Professional Services Firms.

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Dr. Deb Clary

Chief Encourager, Corp Director, Humana

Dr. Debra Clary is an executive with three decades of leadership experience with four F100 Companies; PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Brown-Forman and Humana.

Her broad based functional expertise spans from global operations & marketing, strategy development, human resources to corporate board and investor relations.

Her current Humana role includes responsibility for leadership, culture and organizational effectiveness for the office of the CEO.

Debra is also an author, international speaker, performer and an award winning film producer. She currently holds board positions with the Women Business Collaborative Advisory Council, Leadership Louisville Center, Women Influencing Louisville (founding member), and past positions with The Family Scholar House, Goodwill Industries, Spalding University Advisory Council, and American Heart Association.

Debra earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, a graduate degree from Central Michigan University and doctorate from The George Washington University.

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Donald Fan

Senior Director Global Office of Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Walmart Inc.

Donald Fan serves as senior director of the Global Office of Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Walmart Inc. In that role, Donald has been responsible for leading various functional areas at different times, including strategy development, marketing & communications, analytics, business insights, program design & implementation, and stakeholder relations. Prior to it, Donald worked in Walmart Information System Division with various technical and analytical roles. Donald provides thought leadership in the subject areas like digital transformation, diversity, equity, inclusion, innovation, workforce transformation through published articles, public speeches, and panel discussions at various venues. Donald was recognized with multiple accolades, including 2019 Top 15 Champions for Global Diversity.

Donald volunteers his time, resource, and leadership by serving on various boards, including board director of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP), Leadership Board of Diversity MBA Magazine, Advisory Board of LinkedIn, Business Intelligence Board of the Chief Learning Officer Magazine and others. Donald taught college in China before he came to the United States for graduate studies.

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Lorraine Hariton

CEO, Catalyst

Lorraine Hariton is CEO of Catalyst where she works with CEOs of some of the largest corporations to promote the advancement of women in the workplace. Previous to that she spent 25 years in various senior-level positions in Silicon Valley including CEO of two venture-backed start-ups before being appointed by President Obama to be Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the US Department of State (September 2009 – February 2014). More recently she is SVP for Global Partnerships for the New York Academy of Sciences where she has been instrumental in establishing the Global STEM Alliance. She currently serves on the board of Quotient Technologies (NYSE:QOUT). Previously she has served on numerous public, private, nonprofit and government boards of directors. She began her career at IBM in sales.

Ms. Hariton’s expertise includes technology (cloud computing, telecommunications, IoT, retail POS, music technology, speech recognition, and cybersecurity), entrepreneurship, enterprise sales and marketing, global board service, business, diversity, and inclusion, government affairs, STEM and digital transformation.

Ms. Hariton has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Stanford University. She has two grown children and resides in New York City. She loves to cycle, play tennis, enjoys the out of doors and international travel.

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Jane Oates

President, Working Nation

Jane Oates is the President of WorkingNation, a non-profit media entity that tells the stories of solutions bridging the education and workforce worlds.  Through film and live events WorkingNation raises awareness of the changing world of work and helps individuals, businesses and communities address those changes.  Before joining Working Nation, Oates worked at the Apollo Education Group, managing Corporate Social Responsibility and working on linking the universities with employers through thought leadership events.

Oates served as the Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training at the US Department of Labor (DOL) under Secretary Hilda Solis.  Managing a $14 billion budget, and a talented career staff of 1100, Oates oversaw the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs, guest worker visas, unemployment insurance and Job Corps.  She partnered with cities and states to strengthen local economies during the worst economic recession in recent decades.  She worked with industry leaders to create policies that would give immediate assistance but also create long term opportunities.  With her colleagues at the Department of Education she created the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College grant program with a one-time appropriation of $2 billion.

Oates became a national leader in education and workforce programs during her ten years with Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the US Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP). Oates served as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Council of Higher Education under Jon Corzine. Oates began her career as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools and later the Philadelphia Public Schools.  She went on to become the Director of Field Services at the Temple University Center for Research and Human Development, working with k-12 districts nationwide.

Oates sits on a number of non-profit boards, including NOCTI and NCCEP.

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Colleen Payne

Director of Operations, MCI Diagnostics

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Melissa Peak

Global Lead, Workforce Strategy, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Melissa Peak is a seasoned management executive with 20+ years of experience leading organizations to growth and customer success all while building an engaged workforce. 

Melissa, leveraging her transformational leadership style, has consistently built thriving teams that deliver unprecedented market penetration, customer satisfaction and revenue results. Currently, she is the Global Lead, Workforce Strategy for Amazon Web Services, Public Sector, Professional Services. 

Prior to AWS, career highlights include delivering double-digit, top-line revenue growth; placing a Fortune 500 company on the Federal GSA Schedule; ensuring 40% of direct reports promoted into expanded roles; creating and executing a strategic digital marketing campaign resulting in a 400% increase in social media engagement after one year.

Over her career, Melissa has engaged with hundreds of employers as a trusted advisor on key talent strategies. By delivering powerful results for these employers, Melissa has built strong relationships with a large network across North America, with International impact. 

As a first-generation college student, Melissa is a determined advocate for those who are taking a “road less traveled.” Whether it is hosting a conference, roundtable, one on one coaching or serving as a connector for the determined, yet un-equipped, Melissa has opened doors of opportunity for thousands of individuals. 

Melissa is proud to have been named a “2020 Top Woman to Watch” by Diversity Journal Magazine. She serves on the Board of the Women Business Collaborative and as an Advisory Board member for Working Nation. 

Melissa resides in Goshen, KY with her husband Michael and their five children. She has earned her Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan’s School of Business, an MBA from the John Sperling School of Business at University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Literature from Indiana Wesleyan University.

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Mim Senft

Founder, GW4W

Mim Senft is Co-Founder/CEO of Global Women 4 Wellbeing (GW4W), a nonprofit organization focused on empowering more healthy female leadership at all levels.  She is also CEO of Motivity Partnerships, Inc. a consulting firm that helps organizations create integrated, actionable and measurable engagement, health and gender/D&I strategy for their workforce.  She holds certifications in group benefits, worksite wellness and property casualty insurance. 

She has 25+ years of corporate experience in project management, benefits design, health and wellbeing program strategy and implementation, that includes a gender gap and diversity lens.  She had oversight of strategy under the Optum umbrella for the Goldman Sachs Wellness Program and has worked with more than 70 national and international clients.

Mim is a keynote speaker and facilitator for national conferences.  She has also led corporate events, workshops and think tanks using an evidenced-based approach in both the U.S. and Europe.  

She is a member of the National Wellness Institute and served on the Board of Directors; was a member of The Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness at Work Initiative, from 2015 to Feb. 2021; and co-chairs the OCCC Chamber of Commerce Wellness At Work Initiative.

Her home base is Blooming Grove, NY where she lives with her husband near Tomahawk Lake.

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Stacey Stewart

President and CEO, March of Dimes

Stacey is a globally-recognized leader and one of a few African-American women who have served as CEO of three national or global organizations. As a preeminent organizational and corporate leader, she has led large-scale, complex organizations in diverse sectors such as housing and mortgage finance, healthcare and community development.

Stacey D. Stewart joined March of Dimes as its fifth President and CEO on January 1, 2017. In this role, Stewart heads the organization leading the fight for the health of all moms and babies. She is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s strategy, vision and operations. Stewart came to March of Dimes from United Way Worldwide, where she served as U.S. President, leading national efforts in education, revenue growth, health and brand recognition.

A business veteran with an extensive background in finance, Stewart has also held a number of senior roles at Fannie Mae, Merrill Lynch, and Pryor, McClendon, Counts & Co. Stewart has a master’s of business administration in finance from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts in economics from Georgetown University. She also holds honorary degrees from Trinity University, Morgan State University, Texas Southern University, Lincoln University and Alabama A&M University. She currently serves on several boards nationally and in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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Kip Wright

President & CEO, Genuent

Kip Wright is President & CEO of Genuent. Wright is a staffing industry veteran instrumental in shifting the landscape of the human capital industry. Known as a passionate leader with an innate ability to drive both growth and organizational efficiencies, Wright is responsible for all facets of executive strategy and leadership for the Genuent organization.

In his 26-year career, Wright has served in numerous leadership roles with public and private staffing and workforce solution companies. As Senior Vice President of Manpower, North America, he successfully led Manpower’s $2 billion contingent staffing line of business for the United States and Canada. Wright also served as Senior Vice President of ManpowerGroup Solutions in North America, in which he joined through the acquisition of COMSYS / TAPFIN. While at COMSYS / TAPFIN he served in several executive roles including Senior Vice President of Managed Solutions, Chief Financial Officer and President of TAPFIN. 

Considered a leader in the field of human capital and workforce fulfillment, Wright is the recipient of numerous awards. He is a five-time recipient of Staffing Industry Analysts’ “Staffing 100” award, recognizing the most influential leaders in the staffing industry.

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Johanna (José) Zeilstra

CEO, Gender Fair

Johanna is an established business strategist and an accomplished leader for both start-ups and global corporations. Over the past two decades, she has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and JPMorgan Chase, and with over a dozen client corporations, including Delta Airlines, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Philips, Lucent, Disney, Bank of America, and Occidental Petroleum. Her career has led her to work in Canada, China, Indonesia, France, and The Netherlands. She acts as a coach to senior executives on boards and top teams and has a passion for supporting and advancing women leaders.

Johanna currently runs Gender Fair, a platform that uses data analytics to determine an organization’s progress towards diversity and inclusion. Prior to this, Johanna co-founded GiveBack, an innovative platform that makes it easy for companies to build authentic and impactful cause marketing, workplace giving and other social responsibility initiatives. GiveBack was launched on the Oprah Winfrey Show during her final season in 2011.

Johanna is originally from the Netherlands and educated in Canada where she earned an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Business Administration. She resides in Westchester, NY, where she runs the Women Entrepreneurs Network and serves on several boards, including the CEO Forum.

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