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WE SOUGHT AND FOUND...

...visionary innovators who, with proper support and open pathways, have exceptional potential to advance to the highest levels of leadership and make profound impact in addressing the world's challenges. Each class of Fellows is a diverse group of leaders inside major companies, founders of industry-changing startups, and heads of transformative private sector organizations⁠. Over the course of their JOURNEY year, these extraordinary women will work with our Champions and with one another to scale their leadership and impact.
2023-24 JOURNEY Fellows
2022-23 JOURNEY Fellows

The 25 Fellows in the 2022-23 class are U.S.-based leaders in the private sector, reflecting a diversity of race, ethnicity, industry, geography, and background.

OUR FELLOWS

The 25 Fellows in the 2023-24 class and the 24 Fellows in the 2022-23 class are U.S.-based leaders in the private sector, reflecting a diversity of race, ethnicity, industry, geography, and background.

Angela Jennings-Barkley

Head of Neighborhood and Community Lending
Bank of America

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AJ grew up in Maryland, graduated from Morgan State University (an HBCU), and started her career at General Motors before moving to banking at Citigroup and then Bank of America. Rising through 11 jobs over three decades, AJ now leads BofA’s work to provide equitable lending and capital to consumers and small businesses. She oversees the bank’s $15 billion program to increase homeownership, particularly among first-time homeowners and underserved communities, and helps lead BofA’s Black Executive Leadership Council.

Robyn Beavers

Co-Founder and CEO
Blueprint Power

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Robyn grew up outside Boston, graduated as a civil engineer, and helped build the world’s largest HQ solar panel installation at the time—at Google. She moved from Google to Vestas Wind Systems and then worked for inventor Dean Kamen before starting her own company. Robyn co-founded Blueprint Power to equip real estate owners to operate buildings with clean energy. She continues to lead Blueprint Power after selling the tech company to BP in 2021.

Carrol Chang

Senior Director and Global GM
Driver and Courier Operations, Uber

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The daughter of Korean immigrants, Carrol began her career working with North Korean refugees in China—where she was jailed for assisting them and then deported by the Chinese government. In 2008, Carrol joined the Obama campaign and later served in the Department of Homeland Security. Three years at McKinsey followed, and now at Uber, Carrol leads efforts to improve work for more than 5 million flexible workers around the world.

Muriel Clauson Closs

Co-Founder and CEO
Anthill

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Born in South Africa and raised in Alaska, Muriel navigated to the intersection of AI and the global workforce. Earning a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Georgia along the way, she is on a mission to enable the underserved. Muriel co-founded Anthill to connect the deskless workforce—frontline workers who often lack access to smartphones and computers—with employee resources on any kind of device and in over 100 languages.

Maria Colacurcio

CEO
Syndio

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Eradicating workplace inequities fuels Maria’s leadership. A first-generation college graduate, she raised $17.1 million in Series B funding for Syndio while she was eight months pregnant. Syndio is a SaaS company that empowers companies to optimize pay equity. Before joining Syndio as CEO in 2018, Maria spent four years at Starbucks and co-founded Smartsheet, a NYSE-listed company that is now valued at $6 billion.

Lule Demmissie

CEO
eToro USA

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Born in Ethiopia, Lule spent her early years as an immigrant in Greece, the UK, and Kenya before coming to the U.S. and working in a series of increasingly senior roles at J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade, and Ally. A risk taker with guardrails, as she calls herself, Lule now leads U.S. Operations of the social investing platform eToro USA with a perspective informed by her intersectional identities and experience.

Heather Fernandez

Co-Founder and CEO
Solv Health

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From the U.S. House of Representatives to John McCain’s presidential campaign to Morgan Stanley, Heather has scaled both business and politics. Starting at Trulia as employee No. 12, she rose to SVP & GM. In 2016, Heather co-founded Solv Health to shift power in the healthcare system to patients. Solv’s national network of providers enables healthcare access to 180 million Americans, offering same-day or next-day in-person and virtual care. Heather is also on the board of Atlassian.

Shanel Fields

Founder and CEO
MD Ally 911 Technologies

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Growing up on Long Island with a father who was a volunteer EMT, Shanel learned early on about the challenges of first responders. After graduating from Cornell, she worked at AT&T and Athenahealth, managing enterprise healthcare IT sales teams, before starting MD Ally to fix a critical and under-resourced piece of America’s healthcare infrastructure: 911. MD Ally connects non-emergency 911 callers to in-network virtual care, mental health, substance abuse and other community resources.

Rebecca Foster

CEO
VEIC

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Rebecca grew up in rural New York State, served in the Peace Corps in Russia, and set out on a mission to tackle one of the world’s toughest challenges: advancing clean energy. After 12 years at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), she is at the helm of the nonprofit, working with utilities, manufacturers, and distributors to design renewable energy programs for towns and cities—particularly underserved and vulnerable communities—across the U.S.

Harini Gokul

Chief Customer Officer
Entrust

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Harini grew up in India and came to the U.S. to get her Masters in marketing at Vanderbilt. Over two decades, she worked at IBM, then Microsoft in western Europe, and then Amazon Web Services (AWS). Harini recently joined Entrust, a leader in securing identities and payments and digital infrastructure, as Chief Customer Officer. She is an active startup advisor and also on the city council in her hometown of Medina, Washington.

Shayna Harris

Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Supply Change Capital

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Shayna has worked at the intersection of sustainability and innovation in food systems for the past two decades. A Fulbright Scholar who pioneered new approaches to supply chain management at consumer giant Mars and at venture-backed startups, Shayna moved on to co-found Supply Change Capital in 2020. The venture capital firm invests in early-stage food and agriculture tech with a focus on two forces transforming the way we secure what we eat: climate and culture. Shayna is also a contributing writer for Forbes.

Lenore Karafa

Partner
First In

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Lenore’s passion for national security and economic mobility fuels her leadership. After graduating from the Naval Academy and serving as an officer in the Marine Corps for seven years, she worked at Bank of America, SoFi, McChrystal Group, and Citadel. Now at venture firm First In, Lenore focuses on cybersecurity, AI, and data intelligence. She chairs the board of Bunker Labs, which helps veterans and their spouses build successful businesses.

Vanessa Luna

Former Co-Founder and Chief Program Officer
ImmSchools

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Vanessa immigrated to the U.S. from Lima, Peru, at age 10 and grew up undocumented in New York. The first in her family to graduate from college, she has dedicated her career to advancing equity in education. After teaching in Los Angeles and New York City via Teach for America, Vanessa started ImmSchools to provide undocumented students and their families access to safe and welcoming learning environments.

Ruthie D. Lyle

Principal Technical Patent Architect
Nvidia

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The first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in electrical engineering from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Ruthie is among the world’s top Black female patent holders with more than 200 issued patents and pending applications. She honed her skills in hardware and software design and IP/technical project management at IBM and then served as Strategic Innovation Director at USAA before moving to Nvidia in 2020.

Sheryl McKenzie

Chief Product Officer
Western Union

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Growing up in Jamaica, Sheryl knew the power of Western Union to change lives: Thanks to Western Union, her family received much needed remittances from her grandmother in the U.S. Sheryl spent 15 years at American Express and worked at Mastercard and Bread Financials before moving in 2022 to Western Union, where she builds and launches products that are accessible to people everywhere.

Melissa McKerracher

Head of Global Finance Strategy and FP&A
General Motors

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Growing up near Toronto, Melissa developed an early love of business. She spent 24 years at PepsiCo, where she rose from financial analyst to SVP of finance for North American Beverages, with a focus on strategic transformation. She joined General Motors in 2021 as CFO of the company’s EV, Digital and Innovation business. At GM, Melissa champions various diversity and inclusion and learning initiatives.

Liz Young McNally

Co-CEO
Schmidt Futures

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A Rhodes and Truman Scholar who started her career in the U.S. Army, Liz completed two year-long tours in Iraq, where she served on the senior staff of General David Petraeus, and served as a Military Police Commander. During her decade plus at McKinsey, she rose to a Partner and Global Leader at McKinsey Academy. Now at Schmidt Futures, Liz oversees a portfolio of programs addressing hard to solve problems in science, technology, and science.

Shannon Nash

CFO
Wing (a subsidiary of Alphabet)

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From KPMG tax accountant to senior attorney at Amgen to Executive Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, to returning to her accounting and finance roots as VP Finance Cumulus Media, Chief Accounting Officer and CFO at Reputation.com, Shannon eventually navigated a path to Alphabet, the holding company that owns Google and she runs the finance, operations, and partnerships teams at Wing, Alphabet’s drone delivery company. Shannon serves on the boards of NetScout Systems (NASDAQ: NTCT), Lazy Dog Restaurants, and Sofi Bank (a Sofi subsidiary). She’s also a filmmaker: Her award-winning Colored My Mind follows the stories of families with children with autism in the Black community Her latest film, OnBoard, delves into board diversity and is slated to be released in Summer 2023.

Leslie Pearce

SVP and Head of Client Operations
Fiserv

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A first-generation college grad with an electrical engineering degree from Northwestern, Leslie joined IBM as an intern and rose to global sales VP. She moved on to Comcast and First Data. Following Fiserv’s 2019 acquisition of First Data, Leslie co-heads operations for the combined companies Global Business Solutions Division. As executive sponsor of the company’s Black Leadership Council, she changed the name of the organization to SOAR.

Chevon Rariy

Chief Health Officer and SVP Digital Health
Oncology Care Partners

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A Harvard-educated physician, board certified in both internal medicine and endocrinology, Chevon worked across business (from digital health startups to Amazon to Takeda Digital Ventures), government, and academia——always focusing on improving patient outcomes and fixing healthcare inequities. Now at Oncology Care Partners, she leads the company's digital strategy and oversees its oncology delivery systems.

Kristina Saffran

Co-Founder and CEO
Equip Health

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After conquering her own health challenges, Kristina started Equip to improve care for people with eating disorders. Equip is the leading provider of virtual, evidence-based eating disorder treatments—providing therapists, dietitians, physicians, and peer & family mentors to support patients in their recovery. Kristina also founded Project HEAL, a non-profit that works to improve access to treatment for eating disorders.

Ling Shao

Founder and CEO
SpectrumAi

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A mother of four autistic sons, Ling started SpectrumAi to improve healthcare for families like hers. She began her career as a nurse in the U.S. Army and led a battalion aid station in an active combat zone in—an excellent training ground for pursuing her audacious goal: Ling sees Spectrum AI as a template to transform healthcare broadly.

Saskia Sorrosa

Founder and CEO
Fresh Bellies

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Born in Ecuador, Saskia came to the U.S. at age 17 and worked multiple jobs to graduate college in three years. She started in PR and headed the Medellin, Colombia, office of Burson-Marsteller before going to the NBA, where she rose to VP of Marketing. Saskia launched Fresh Bellies in 2016 with a mission to combat childhood obesity. Her vegan snacks are now in 4,500 stores including Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods.

Laurel Taylor

Founder, CEO, Chair
Candidly

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Laurel lived through the problem she’s working to solve: out of control student debt. After conquering her own financial stress and spending a decade in tech sales—including at Google where she catered to large customers—Laurel started Candidly to guide individuals and families through every step of the planning, borrowing, and repayment experience. Candidly is now the leading student debt and savings optimization platform.

Amber Trivedi

Founding Partner
3vedi Insights

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The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Amber graduated from Johns Hopkins and Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and began her career as a cancer researcher and genetic counselor. She worked at InformedDNA, which launched the first tele-genetic counseling services, for 13 years before joining Blue Note Therapeutics as COO in 2022. Blue Note provides access to psychosocial care for cancer patients.

Ivy Barney

SVP, Store Operations, East
Walmart

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Ivy began her career as a computer programmer with Accenture, designing and developing systems for Fortune 500 companies in telecom, media and entertainment. In 2010, she joined Walmart, where her leadership has extended beyond supply chain and operations to include introducing a Racial Equity Institute and, as Black ERG chair, playing a key role in shaping Walmart’s strategy in the wake of George Floyd’s 2021 murder. 

MELISSA BARRA

EVP, Chief Sales and Services Officer
Sleep Number

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Melissa is one of the most prominent Latina executives in corporate America. Her background spans financial services and retail in the U.S. and internationally, with roles at GE Capital, Citibank, Grupo Futuro, and Best Buy. Today she leads Sleep Number’s strategy as a wellness company that deploys technology such as biometrics to improve sleep and overall health. Melissa serves on the boards of Pentair and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. 

Shenna Bennett

Director, Global Logistics Operations
Dow

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After earning a degree in chemical engineering and an MBA, Shenna joined Dow, where she now drives sustainable practices to reduce CO2 emissions in the company’s supply chain. Over her 24-year career at Dow, she has held progressive leadership positions including Production Engineer, Six Sigma Improvement Black Belt, and External Manufacturing Sourcing Director. An active DEI champion, Shenna has opened the company’s global supplier base to provide greater opportunities to diverse business owners.

REGINA BORDA

Chief Development Officer
KFC Latin America and Caribbean

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Regina created Pizza Hut’s New Founders Program to give women and minority entrepreneurs access to the capital and connections they need to start businesses. She also co-wrote Pizza Hut’s strategy for equity, opportunity, and unity and led efforts to create new entry-level jobs. Originally from Switzerland and now based in Texas, Regina has lived and worked in dozens of countries and is fluent in six languages.

ADRIENNE BROWN

Group Vice President,
Corporate Business Development
Eli Lilly and Company

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In her two decades at Eli Lilly, Adrienne has tackled healthcare inequities by bringing to market many innovative treatments for major diseases. Before her 2023 promotion to oversee corporate development, she was Group Vice President of U.S. diabetes—an epidemic affecting more than 463 million people worldwide. Adrienne serves on the board of BioCrossroads. She has an MBA from Florida A&M University.

LISA DYSON

Founder and CEO
Air Protein

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Lisa holds a PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a mission-driven serial entrepreneur. Her current venture, Air Protein, uses half-century-old NASA technology to create meat from elements of the air. Lisa’s startup has been recognized as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer company. Previously she founded Kiverdi, an industrial biotech company that harnesses space age science to create planet-friendly commercial solutions and new products through carbon transformation.

KAREN FANG

Global Head, Sustainable Finance
Bank of America

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Karen drives Bank of America’s strategy to mobilize and deploy $1.5 trillion in sustainable finance capital for climate transition and social inclusive development by 2030. Karen sits on BofA’s management committee and ESG committee. She is a national board member of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the largest Community Development Financial Institutions in the U.S. Karen has been recognized on the Fortune 40 under 40 list and as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

EMMA FULLER

Founding Team Member
Fractal Ag

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Emma is a founding team member and leads data science at Fractal Ag, a fractional farmland investment platform. Before joining Fractal, Emma created a groundbreaking program that pays farmers to reduce their carbon emissions at Corteva Agriscience. The program has potential to scale to millions of acres of farmland. After receiving her BA in biology and environmental studies at the University of Chicago, she earned a PhD in ecology at Princeton, where she investigated the environmental impact of U.S. commercial fisheries. Now she’s dedicated to solving private-sector environmental problems at scale.

TONI Y. HICKEY

General Counsel
Cummins Filtration

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Fewer than 2 percent of intellectual property lawyers are African American, and Toni Hickey is one of them. As deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, she helped launch the Patents for Humanity Initiative to incentivize the development of technologies addressing humanitarian needs. At Cummins, Toni has led efforts on COVID-19 personal protection equipment, diversity, and global sustainability. She serves on the board of the Indianapolis Urban League.

Cherée Johnson

Former SVP and General Counsel
Dentsply Sirona, Inc.

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Cherée began her journey as a chemical engineer at 3M before pivoting to law school and a career as an intellectual property lawyer. A passion for clarifying complex challenges took her from Cargill to Kraft Heinz to McCormick to W.R. Grace before she moved to Dentsply Sirona in early 2022. Cherée is on the board of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Lindsay Jurist-Rosner

CEO
Wellthy

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Lindsay spent 28 years as the primary caregiver for her mother, who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. That experience led Lindsay to create a company to help people navigate the confusing caretaking landscape. Before starting Wellthy in 2014, Lindsay worked in advertising, technology, and media, as well as SVP of Marketing at New York-based startup Simulmedia, and in product and strategic marketing at Microsoft.

ELLI KAPLAN

CEO and Co-founder
Neurotrack

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Elli had one goal when she started Neurotrack: To change the way Alzheimer’s is diagnosed and treated. After losing two grandparents to the disease, she created a company that develops digital cognitive health solutions to enable people to assess, monitor, and strengthen brain health. Elli began her career in government, working at the White House and the State and Treasury Departments before moving to private equity and then the United Nations. She has an MBA from Harvard University and is on the Business School’s Healthcare Advisory Board.

CINDY KENT

Former Chief Operating Officer
Everly Health

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Cindy began her career at Eli Lilly and moved to Medtronic, where she turned an underperforming women’s health franchise into a $500 million business focused on treating women who have pelvic floor disorders. At 3M, Cindy created a “virtual startup” to accelerate the development of inhaler devices for asthma and COPD patients. She left Everly Health in mid-2023. Cindy is on the boards of Accolade and Vanderbilt University, her alma mater. She is a former director of Best Buy.

APRIL KOH

CEO and Founder
Spring Health

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April founded Spring Health, an AI-driven mental health services company after health struggles close to home—her own and those of friends—convinced her that the system was broken. Spring Health is valued at more than $2B, and April is the youngest woman to build a unicorn company. She has been recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 list, as one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. She is also a Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Fellow.

Elena Kvochko

Chief Trust Officer
SAP

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Elena has dedicated her career to making cyberspace safer—from starting as an IT specialist at the World Bank to building innovative cybersecurity partnerships at the World Economic Forum to fighting cybercrime and fraud at Barclays, Bank of America, and SAP. Elena holds more than 30 patents for inventions in her field. She is an adjunct professor at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, and she serves on the board of Refugees International.

Jaclyn McQuaid

President and Managing Director
General Motors Europe

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Jaclyn joined General Motors 20 years ago and sees herself as a model for women and girls to reach the highest levels in the male-dominated auto industry and other STEM fields. A mechanical engineer, she was Executive Chief Engineer of Full Size Trucks before GM promoted her to President and Managing Director of GM Europe in 2022. Now based in Zurich, Jaclyn speaks proudly of her Chaldean heritage and actively promotes women and diversity across GM.

Shally Pannikode

Chief Technology Officer,
Zelis

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Shally began her career in IT as a developer at Amerigroup. She rose to lead technology strategy and innovation there before moving to Anthem, WellStar Health System, Humana (where she was the first woman SVP & CIO), and Liberty Mutual. She joined Zelis, a healthcare fintech company, as CTO in 2023. Shally is passionate about advancing women in technology. She is also co-founder and Chairwoman of the Freedom Council, a coalition of businesses combating human trafficking.

CORBIN PETRO

Co-founder
Eleanor Health

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After gaining expertise in healthcare via stints at Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Bain, and Massachusetts Medicaid, where she was COO, Corbin decided she wanted to revamp the ways substance abuse treatment and mental healthcare are paid for and delivered, particularly for marginalized populations. Eleanor Health, which Corbin founded in 2019, applies technology, data, and compassionate teams to provide at-home and in-clinic care. Corbin serves on the boards of Eleanor and various organizations that support equity for women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Laura Weidman Powers

Operating Partner
Base10

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Laura co-founded Code 2040, a nonprofit focused on dismantling structural barriers to diverse and inclusive leadership in tech. She then worked on access to capital and DEI as a senior policy adviser in the Obama White House and was head of impact at social innovation fund Echoing Green. In 2021, Laura joined Base10 Partners, the first and only black-led VC firm to cross $1B in assets under management, as operating partner. Laura has taught social innovation at Stanford and at the American University of Rome.

YOLANDA SANDERS

Senior Vice President & General Counsel
Gap, Inc

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Yolanda began her career at the law firm Morrison & Foerster and moved to Gap as a contract attorney in 2003. She was General Counsel of Athleta—a Gap brand focused on “igniting the limitless potential of all women and girls”—and Gap Inc.’s Deputy General Counsel before being named SVP and General Counsel in early 2023. Yolanda also co-leads Gap’s Legal Diversity Committee. On a mission to make paths smoother for those behind her, she has developed initiatives to provide jobs for attorneys who tend to be overlooked in traditional recruiting.

ELISE SMITH

Co-founder and CEO
Praxis Labs

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After starting her career in education, Elise worked at IBM Watson and then in venture philanthropy. While pursuing her MBA/MA in Education at Stanford, she co-founded Praxis Labs to create immersive VR-enabled learning platforms to train employees to be empathetic and inclusive—and drive inclusion across the workplace.

SHELLY STONEMAN

SVP of Government Affairs
Lockheed Martin

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Shelly spent nearly 15 years in public service, working at the upper reaches of national security in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, White House, and Pentagon. In 2022, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin appointed Shelly to chair the high-level Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. At BAE Systems, she is leading efforts to diversify the board, in addition to running legislative and government affairs. Public service remains a passion for Shelly, who serves on the boards of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, Food for Others, and the USO National Capital Region. 

Martina Welkhoff

Founder and Fund Manager
Goldenrod Ventures

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Martina founded two tech startups in mobile gaming and virtual reality before moving into venture capital. At WXR Fund, which invests in early-stage women-led spatial computing (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/Artificial Intelligence) companies, she has backed 11 startups. Her goal is to use XR (Extended Reality) to build an ecosystem that supports and enables women-founded companies to access resources and build community. Martina serves on the boards of several startups and nonprofit advisory groups.

DENISE WOODARD

CEO and Founder
Partake Foods

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Denise spent her career in consumer packaged goods, including seven years with Coca-Cola, before launching a company inspired by her daughter’s struggles with food allergies. After starting Partake Foods in 2017 with her personal savings, Denise raised $7.5 million and is now on a fast-growth track, selling Partake’s allergen-free cookies and snacks in Walmart stores in 47 states as well as in other retailers, including 1,600 Target stores. Denise’s mission is to fight food insecurity and open doors for HBCU students to pursue careers in the food and beverage industries.


Photography: Heather Crowder
https://www.heathercrowder.com/
Instagram: @heathercrowder @lightbox209

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