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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Founder and Chief Educator
As Founder and Chief Educator of Berdhaus, Lyndenise brings experience in business development, career coaching, creative strategy, digital marketing, and higher education. With a passion to help others realize their true potential, Lyndenise has created a space to share resources and tools for success. By launching Berdhaus, Lyndenise has given life to a dream she has had for many years; to become a catalyst of change within her community.
Lyndenise offers more than a decade of higher education experience in admissions, consulting, marketing, recruitment, and training. She has an in-depth knowledge of the college recruitment process and has presented on topics including Admissions 101, Diversity Recruitment and Digital Marketing in Higher Ed. As a proud alumna of NC State’s Poole College of Management, Lyndenise has served as a Pack Partners representative for South Florida for over 10Years; recruiting students and discussing college admissions and financial aid processes.
Chief Learning Innovation Officer
Phaedra Boinodiris is a member of IBM’s Academy of Technology where effectively she is an INTRA-preneur, kicking off internal startups that range from IBM’s first Serious Games and Advanced Simulation program to IBM’s first K-12 program- influencing curriculum in traditional and non-traditional learning spaces through entrepreneurship and social impact. She is keenly and wholeheartedly invested in Tech for Good and Ethics. Today, as a member of IBM’s Blockchain team, she is responsible for strategy and engagement.
Boinodiris happily mentors startups around the world as well as business school students at her alma-mater UNC-Chapel Hill where she is an active Adam’s Coach.
She is also the author of Serious Games for Business, published in 2014 by Megan-Kiffer press. Boinodiris’ earlier work in serious games are being used in over 1000 schools worldwide to teach students the fundamentals of business optimization. Boinodiris was honored by Women in Games International as one of the top 100 women in the games industry. Prior to working at IBM, she was a serial entrepreneur for 14 years where she co-founded WomenGamers.Com, a popular women’s gaming portal. There she subsequently started the first scholarship for women to pursue degrees in game design and development in the US.
Marketing Communications Manager
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
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.
Evelyn Johnson is an aspiring Global HR Professional, native of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and now a U.S. citizen. Evelyn graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a BBA, in General Management, magna cum laude, and a Minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. Evelyn also holds an MBA in Business, Government and Not-for-Profit Management from Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management.
Evelyn’s work experience in HR has been developed with institutions such as Salem Hospital, Medtronic Latin America, and Grifols Shared Services North America, Inc. Her career interests include Global HR, employment law, and organizational development. During her spare time, Evelyn volunteers with the Prospanica NC Chapter-in-Formation and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association of the Research Triangle Park chapter.
Evelyn is energized by lifelong learning and loves to learn about the pharmaceutical industry in NC and world cultures. Evelyn lives in Fuquay-Varina, NC, with her husband, Marc, and daughter, Kristen.
Cloud Management Engineer
Snigdha Kotta is a passionate advocate for Women in Technology. She uses her voice to encourage students and professionals to pursue a fulfilling career in STEM. Snigdha works at SAS, a global analytics software company. As a Cloud Management Engineer, she supports customers in moving and updating their public and private workloads to function solely within the Cloud.
In addition to her professional career, Snigdha is a proud supporter of Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. Having grown up in various parts of the world, she cherishes diversity in all aspects of life. Snigdha sits on the Steering Committee of the Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN), Young Professionals Network (YPN), and Triangle Women in STEM (TriWiSTEM). She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the Wake County Food Bank. She is a member of the SAS International Connection, an organization dedicated to fostering, supporting and promoting international inclusiveness at SAS. She attended the Grace Hopper Celebration this year, the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. Fueled by the passion and energy she felt at the conference, she continues to encourage and support diversity in the STEM field.
Snigdha has a double degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University. She is currently pursuing an MBA in Innovation Management at North Carolina State University.
Corporate Services Procurement Manager
Executive Practicum Advisor SCRC
Carol Kozar is an upbeat, engaging supply chain executive with a proven track record of achievement in effective global sourcing for federal and commercial clients. Over the past 20+ years, Carol has held executive leadership positions within the supply chain functions at IBM, RTI, and SAS and has been responsible for spend categories with over $2B in annual spend. She has extensive experience in leading high performing teams in cross-functional environments. Carol is energized by lifelong learning and giving back through coaching and mentoring future supply chain leaders.
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.
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.
Vice President, Supply Chain Operations Service Excellence and Analytics
Advance Auto Parts
Amy Rumford joined Advance Auto Parts in April 2018. As VP leading Supply Chain Operations Service Excellence and Analytics, Amy is responsible for supply chain integrated planning across Advance’s large distribution center network, supplier reliability and collaboration, service, and analytics functions.
Prior to Advance, Amy spent almost 3 years at Google as Director, Business Operations for Google Data Centers Hardware Operations, where she led programs, projects, and analytics for operations, hardware engineering, new product introduction, training, and technical writing. She was an active leader for Women in 24×7 Technology, and in developing and improving the Project Management community through sponsorship of internal and external training and benchmarking opportunities.
Prior to joining Google in 2015, Amy spent 10 years at Lenovo in progressive leadership roles in operations and program management. As Director of Business Transformation for Lenovo’s Enterprise business, Amy led the M&A post-merger integration phase for the acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business. Before that, she held roles including Operations Director for Global Fulfillment and Channel Operations team, Chief of Staff for Global Supply Chain Operations, Director of Global Indirect Procurement, and Director of Worldwide Global Accounts Customer Fulfillment. Amy was also Program Executive for Lenovo’s corporate-wide Organizational Efficiency project, working with employees and leaders across the company and resulting in a +7 point gain in employee engagement and satisfaction.
Early in her career, Amy worked with IBM in Research Triangle Park, NC, where she started as an Industrial Engineer working on cost optimization and workload planning, and then moved into Finance, Distribution Engineering, and program management for IBM’s outsourced distribution and manufacturing service operations. She led the America’s Fulfillment Technical and Business Operations team before moving to Lenovo.
Amy earned a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Penn State, and graduated from the North Carolina State University Poole College of Management’s Jenkins MBA program with a concentration in Finance. She has served as a mentor for MBA students and as past president of the NCSU Jenkins MBA Alumni Board of Advisors. Amy earned her Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt and Executive Belt while at Lenovo. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP), and is also active in the Carolina Chapters of 7×24 Exchange, WIMCO, and PMI. Amy is an advisory board member for the YMCA of the Triangle’s Camp Kanata, and is on the Business Advisory Council for Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business. She is a member of NC TECH, and is AAP’s executive liaison for the NC State Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.
Amy lives and works in Raleigh, NC and enjoys travel with her husband, Doug, and spending time with their two college-age daughters, Sara and Sophia.
Director, Global Materials Management & Scheduling
Melody is currently the Director of Global Materials Management and Scheduling for Biogen, where she oversees all strategic and tactical materials management activities in support of Global Manufacturing operations in North Carolina, Switzerland, and Denmark (including API, Drug Substance (DS), Drug Product (DP), AL&P, and Oligonucleotides). She is also responsible for warehouse operations including offsite warehouses and Biogen’s Global network storage strategy. Additionally, Melody oversees all finite site scheduling activities and serves as the Global Materials Management Business Process Owner with responsibility for End-to-End Global Materials Management business processes. She leads a cross-functional Raw Materials Leadership Team in driving continuous improvements and building material and inventory control capabilities across people, processes, and systems. Melody also manages initiatives to improve ERP systems, optimize inventory levels and material flow, and to create efficient WMS and MRP tools and processes.
Previously, Melody led materials planning and site scheduling activities for the three large molecule manufacturing factories that encompass the RTP DP site. In addition, she had oversight of materials planning and inventory control, Warehouse operations, and the Dispensary team. Melody ‘rejoined’ the RTP DS site after a 2.5 year stint at the RTP DP site. She served in a similar capacity at that site as the Associate Director for Manufacturing Support within the small molecule drug product operations.
Melody joined Biogen in 2005 as a Process Engineer in the Manufacturing Sciences group and later was promoted to a Supervisor position. During this time, she became an Extractables/Leachables SME for the RTP site and collaborated with colleagues across the network to create standardized processes for evaluating disposable technologies. She also supported the Tysabri bulk drug substance bioprocess container implementation. In 2008, Melody took on a role as the Manager of the newly formed Manufacturing Planning and Inventory Control group where she established an Inventory Control Management system. During her 4-year tenure in that role, she led all activities related to the development of the RTP Manufacturing Schedule, as well as raw material strategy and planning. Melody also supported the start-up of Biogen’s Hillerod, Denmark Manufacturing site’s Planning and Inventory Control team.
Prior to joining Biogen, Melody was a Senior Process Engineer at bioMerieux, where she was part of the Manufacturing Technologies team supporting validation, new product/process technical transfers, deviation investigations/ resolution, and process analytics. Previous to that, Melody was a Process Engineer at Phoenix Imperative, Inc. where she managed equipment, cleaning, and process validation for oral solid dosage pharmaceuticals. Melody has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from NCSU; she also earned her MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.