Diversity & Inclusion Executive
Bank of America
Lauren Hood is Diversity & Inclusion Executive at Bank of America. In this role, she manages the processes and functions for the Global Diversity and Inclusion organization, leading global strategies, programs and initiatives that actively support Bank of America’s diverse and inclusive workplace. Responsibilities include conference planning, strategic partner management, recognition and
metrics. Lauren manages the Investing in Women Leadership Council, comprised of senior executives across the company who act as advisors and champions of our efforts to advance women’s success. The Council also provides strategic oversight to the bank’s enterprise and line of business women’s networks, which engage over 30,000 employees around the globe.
Lauren joined Bank of America in 1989 as a Management Associate in College Park, Maryland. Prior to her current role, she was Strategic Assistance Executive with responsibility for planning, managing and coordinating all activities related to Bank of America’s strategic partnership with China Construction Bank, the second largest bank in the People’s Republic of China.
Lauren’s early career included assignments as a Banking Center Manager, Learning Manager, Management Associate Program Manager and Performance Consultant. She has also served in several roles supporting the Bank of America culture and customer experience.
Lauren is Six Sigma certified and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English with cum laude honors at Duke University. She lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons.
She Suite Panelists
Lindsey Harrison Barber is an award-winning, well-versed millennial businesswoman, social media marketing strategist and speaker with a uniquely fresh point of view on quickly climbing the ranks of the corporate ladder in a fortune 500 company in addition to building a thriving digital marketing agency in today’s climate. A Poole College of Management graduate with years of experience in PR, Marketing and Social/Digital Media, Lindsey has been awarded Cary Magazine’s 2018 Movers & Shakers award along with 24 other highly publicized individuals in addition to Raleigh Business and Professional Women’s Organization’s achievement award in recognition of the role model Lindsey has become for working women of all ages in RTP and beyond.
With ties to local PR agencies French West Vaughan and then Capstrat, now Ketchum, Lindsey can speak specifically to the working climate as a young, female professional in the Triangle. In addition, she can also provide insight into to her role as a part of the leadership team at Hess Corporation’s Retail Division headquartered in New York City (NYSE: HES), when she worked closely with global management consultancy, Bain & Co., where her ideas helped shape the company’s Stock Market IPO. It was in this role that Lindsey found herself sitting in NYC board meetings, participating in strategic lunches with CEOs and executive teams and consulting with some of the world’s most recognized brands such as PepsiCo, Starbucks, Red Bull, Coca Cola, Nestle and Wrigley to name a few.
Beyond her corporate career, Lindsey founded nationally recognized SocialCents Media in 2014 where she now leads a team of people who successfully strategize, build and manage multiple, multi-million dollar social and digital brand presences; and find ways to monetize the social space in almost all business industries and sectors – B2B, healthcare, politics, real estate, tech and retail. Her work has resulted in newfound profit centers for her clients, campaign work with retail giants and keynote speaking engagements across the nation including Las Vegas, San Antonio, Hilton Head and NYC. Whether speaking to her growth as a female businesswoman and entrepreneur, building and growing a successful marketing agency or social and digital media tactics for businesses, Lindsey will bring an energetic and insightful wealth of knowledge that will leave you feeling ready to conquer your goals.
North Carolina State Auditor
Beth Wood is a Certified Public Accountant in her third term as North Carolina’s elected State Auditor. She is a long-time public servant with nearly 25 years of auditing experience, having worked in the Auditor’s Office for nearly 10 years before her election in 2008 and also in the State Treasurer’s Office.
Before that, she worked for several companies in the private sector. She is the first woman to be elected as State Auditor in North Carolina.
Through her work as State Auditor, Beth has helped strengthen and improve state government. Audit teams across the state watch every area of state government for potential savings and smart use of taxpayer dollars. The office has focused particularly on healthcare spending and contracting practices that favored vendors at the expense of taxpayers. As a result, audits published by OSA during her tenure have identified millions of dollars of potential savings.
Additionally, the office is following up on prior audits, evaluating the use of best practices by state agencies, and working to attract and retain highly skilled auditors.
Crystal Dempsey, CFP®
As a financial advisor, I believe it’s important to invest my time to understand what you’re working toward before you invest your money. Working closely with you, your CPA, attorney and other professionals, I can help determine the most appropriate financial strategy for you and your family. Partnering together, we will work to help you achieve what is most important to you over your lifetime.
My career with Edward Jones began in 2012, after receiving my master’s degree from North Carolina State University. Most recently, I was named a Certified Financial Planner™ after completing extensive coursework in the areas of investment planning, retirement planning, income tax planning, insurance planning, and business retirement planning.
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. awards CFP® certification to individuals who meet the board’s requirements for professionalism in financial services. To gain certification, a financial advisor must pass the CFP® Certification Examination and the CFP Board’s Fitness Standards for Candidates and Registrants, agree to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and comply with the Financial Planning Practice Standards.
Giving back to the community is an important aspect of my career. I volunteer hours with community organizations that assist underprivileged children. Most recently, I serve on the YMCA capital campaign board, Backpack Buddies community support group, and Garner’s Mid-Day Rotary Club. In 2014, I was named Rotarian of the Year for my community after chairing the annual fundraiser for a number of years .
Relationships are key, and in my view, offer the accountability our clients need to achieve their financial goals. My branch team’s personalized service is aligned to help us better understand and meet our clients’ unique goals and needs. Please contact us today to schedule a time we can discuss your financial goals and create a plan to help you achieve them!
Owner and Managing Partner
Cindy founded Thinc Strategy to help business leaders and their management teams increase their corporate value. She has owned five businesses including selling three of her own businesses. She has also guided over 140 clients in the past 20 years grow their value with many selling for a higher premium. Cindy has worked for a variety of clients, both domestic and international organizations, ranging in size from sophisticated startups to over $375 million in sales. She specializes in leadership management for growing exceptional teams from the CEO on down and has worked with both privately held and public corporations. She understands what it takes to start, manage, grow, lead and transition businesses successfully. Cindy is a seasoned speaker and facilitator with various organizations on the topics of leadership, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, finance and management development. Beyond the office, Cindy enjoys catching up on her reading, as well as hiking and traveling with her husband Chris and her son, Jackson.
Sharon served as the CEO and Marketing Director of Frill Clothing. The inspiration for Frill emerged from Sharon being forced by her sorority to buy expensive and unflattering clothing for sorority recruitment. Sharon and her business partner were challenged to fix this problem! In 2013, one of Frill’s pictures became viral on social media when viral was not as loose of a term, and it was truly organic. This resulted in Frill dressing sororities and bridesmaids all across the world.
Sharon is a proud graduate of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University with a degree in Fashion and Textile Management: Brand Management and Marketing. As a junior at N.C. State, she formed Frill with an Appalachian State student with only $250 (and Sharon had only $350 in her bank account!). They grew it into a six-figure company as college students before year two of business and defied all of the business odds they tell you in college about not breaking even until year five.
They sold their 5-year old company in 2016, and she’s had many jobs in various industries since ranging from Real Estate Development to TV production. Sharon is a #girlboss and is a millennial with many “side hustles.” She now has a business doing photography, mentoring other start-up companies, building e-commerce websites, coordinates weddings, and is a traveling motivational speaker for ForCollegeForLife. She works full time as a Marketing Program and Marketing Communications Manager for the Fortune 500 technology company, Cisco, and also hires college graduates, Military Veterans, the disabled and candidates trying to return to the workforce. After visiting Google, Facebook, and Instagram’s headquarters, Sharon knew a career in technology was her dream. Sheryl Sandberg and Elon Musk are her idols, and her goal is to be a Sheryl Sandberg at Cisco one day and to be an ethnic woman leader in the field of technology while somehow changing the world.
Sharon’s company, Frill, aired on Shark Tank Season 6 in March 2015. She also was on the spin-off show of Shark Tank, Beyond the Tank, in April 2016. She is proud to have represented Chi Omega, Raleigh, N.C. State, the College of Textiles, and her family. She has also appeared in Forbes, ABC World News Tonight, Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and more.
Dr. Sarah Glova
Founder and President, Reify Media
Dr. Sarah Glova is the founder of the award-winning digital media firm Reify Media. Her journey as an entrepreneur began when she started freelancing in 2009, which led her to officially launch Reify Media in 2012. After that, her company grew to over half a million in revenue after only three years. Sarah, who was 26 when she started Reify, continues to be the sole owner of the self-funded company, which has grown to seven employees, a team of contractors, and clients across the country. Her team has worked with major university, corporate, and nonprofit clients, creating websites, eLearning, compliance training, video, and more cutting-edge digital resources. Sarah has a PhD in Instructional Technology, and she’s a published author who’s spoken internationally about active learning trends, instructional design, and technology in education. Sarah also supports women- and entrepreneur-focused organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO); she was the youngest President to lead NAWBO Greater Raleigh in the chapter’s 40-year history when she served from 2017-2018.
Sarah speaks to student and business groups across the country about entrepreneurship, women in business, and diversity and inclusion. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and their young son, and she’s a self-proclaimed book nerd, podcast addict, fairweather jogger, and coffee addict.
Poyner Spruill LLP
An attorney specializing in complex civil litigation, Cheslie Kryst loves to learn and develop her diverse range of interests. In addition to practicing full-time as an attorney, Cheslie runs a blog—White Collar Glam—that provides workwear fashion inspiration and resources for women.
Cheslie is a graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law and Graduate School of Business, where she earned both a Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Business Administration degree. While at Wake Forest, she competed on the AAJ Trial Team that won the 2017 AAJ National Championship, which marked the first time Wake Forest won the competition.
Before attending Wake Forest, Cheslie graduated from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina, cum laude, and with honors. She was a Division I athlete, competing on the track and field team for the Gamecocks and landing top ten in the record books in the triple jump.
For her senior thesis at South Carolina, Cheslie conducted research on body image and clothing design. She used her research and a $1,500 grant from the Honors College to design and construct a line of evening gowns for women with varying body types.
Never one to sit still for long, Cheslie’s interests outside of the classroom always kept her busy. She competed in pageants, placing first runner-up to Miss North Carolina 2015 and winning a preliminary swimsuit award. In 2016, she won the “Rock the Runway” design competition, a fundraiser sponsored by Goodwill. Cheslie designed and constructed a line of eveningwear out of clothes purchased from Goodwill. She also made a ball gown out of newspaper for the
In her free time Cheslie enjoys playing piano, hiking, running 5Ks with her mom and walking in fashion shows. She has five siblings and credits her success to her loving and supportive family and her ability to learn from failure.
CyberSecurity Sales Specialist in GVS/CS for the Commercial East Team
Reginald Liger (Lee-jay) is a CyberSecurity Sales Specialist in GVS/CS for the Commercial East team at Cisco. He is responsible for driving & enriching SMB security sales in the NYC Uptown, Downtown, and Atlantic Shore Territories. Reggy has been recognized by Cisco as a STEM volunteer award winner and by Citizen Schools as a national teacher award winner. He is Haitian-American and Co-Founder of Foundation of the World, a non-profit focused on developing young people through education with programs in Florida, New York, and Haiti. He graduated from Chaminade Madonna College Preparatory with honors He holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. He has a passion for inspiring people, whether through words or a smile.
Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion
Pacific Western Bank
Dee McDougal is Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion at Pacific Western Bank, a leading national provider of commercial banking services to startups, small and medium-sized businesses, and their investors. A passionate, achievement-driven leader with over 15 years of experience across banking, financial services and real estate industries, Dee leads Pacific Western Bank’s corporate diversity and inclusion strategy, focusing on creating innovative, sustainable plans and programs that promote diversity and inclusion.
She is also co-founder of Black Wall Street, a Durham-based nonprofit focused on increasing access to capital for minority entrepreneurs growing scalable businesses. Her volunteer roles and efforts also include serving as a board member for the Empower Dance Foundation and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, classroom advisor with Junior Achievement of Eastern North and pro-bono communications counsel to the CEO/Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties.
Crop Protection Product Design and Process R&D Leader
Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™
Roberta Ressler is the Crop Protection Product Design and Process R&D Leader for Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™. In this role, she leads research and development teams who design, develop, and launch crop protection products. Roberta’s career with The Dow Chemical Company spans 29 years, and over that time, she has worked in the Pharmaceuticals business, in the NatureWorks bio-based polymer joint venture, and, for the last 15 years, with Dow AgroSciences.
In 2015, Roberta was named one of Indianapolis Business Journal’s Women of Influence.
Roberta is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Roberta holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.
Sr. Director Supply Planning & Logistics
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
Suzanne is currently the Sr. Director of Supply Planning & Logistics for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a subsidiary of Reynolds American. In her current role, she has enterprise-wide responsibility for material, production and distribution planning, and plant scheduling. She also has oversight for the 3PL relationship, including finished goods warehousing, transportation and network management; direct material and inbound finished goods transportation; and miscellaneous and international leaf shipments.
Since joining R.J. Reynolds in 1985, Suzanne has held a variety of roles, including Information Resources supporting manufacturing processes; Operations Strategy & Planning; Procurement; Supply Chain System/Process Support; and Internal Audit.
Suzanne has a BS in Mathematical Sciences from Appalachian State University and a MS in Engineering from NC State University.