2019 Speakers

Felice Belle

Felice Belle

Poet, Playwright, Podcaster

Felice Belle consumes and creates stories to make sense of the world and her place in it. As a poet and playwright, Felice has performed at The Apollo Theater, Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, TEDWomen, and TEDCity 2.0. She received a BKLYN Incubator grant to develop the documentary-style theater performance We Hold These Truths, and her young audiences play, Game On! premiered at the Kennedy Center, as part of the One Mic: Hip Hop Culture Worldwide festival. Her writing has been published in several journals and anthologies including Oral Tradition, SLAM, and Bum Rush the Page. Playwriting credits include Other Women, Tell the Truth Lying, and It Is Reasonable to Expect. In addition, Felice is the co-host of Brooklyn Public Library’s podcast, Borrowed, and an adjunct faculty member in the low-residency M.F.A. program at St. Francis College. She holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University, an M.A. in Individualized Study from NYU Gallatin, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Long Island University. She spends her free time solving fictional crimes.

Rob Brodo

Rob Brodo

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Advantexe

Rob is responsible for setting and executing the firm’s strategy and leading comprehensive engagements and consulting assignments for Advantexe clients in the areas of Business Acumen, Business Leadership, and Strategic Business Selling. Advantexe is a world leader in the design, development, and delivery of simulation-centric assessment and learning solutions and recently won the Brandon Hall Gold award for technology excellence.

Courtney Clark

Courtney Clark

Accelerated Resilience Expert & Author

Courtney Clark is the luckiest unlucky person in the world. After a series of major struggles beginning in her mid-20s, she has built two successful businesses and is the author of two books, including her most recent book The Successful Struggle: Powerful Techniques to Achieve Accelerated Resilience. She works with people who want to adapt faster and achieve more, and has spoken worldwide to organizations like Procter & Gamble, Dell, S&P, Humana, Cisco, and Cardinal Health.

Crystal Fernando

Crystal Fernando

Founder, WhatBox Innovation Partners

Crystal focuses on unleashing the creativity and capability that will deliver on ‘different’. Crystal is a global leader and change-maker with over twenty years of global experience in strategy activation, start-up growth, technology, innovation and service design. Crystal has coached leaders and teams in more than 20 countries with a focus of helping bring new ideas to market. Crystal artfully blends sharp strategy, deep empathy and informed design with whole-brained, empowered teams to fuel sustained growth. Crystal has worked enterprise-wide to develop plans for deep culture change as well as with individual leaders, teams and on specific high-stake initiatives to bolster success. She most often engages through custom facilitation, assessment diagnostics, coaching, or educational workshops. Crystal’s unique approach is featured in several books, including Whole Brain Business (Ned Herrmann), The Project Manager Who Smiled: The Value of Fun in Project Management (Peter Taylor), and Gamestorming - A Toolkit for Innovators, Rule- breakers, and Change-Makers (Dave Gray).

Betsy Folan

Betsy Folan

Senior Consultant, pro-voke

Formerly the Director of Organizational Development for Hannaford Supermarkets in the Northeast, Betsy fuels pro-voke’s engine for managing through transitions, team development, and talent planning. She’s an expert meeting designer/facilitator, working with groups of all sizes to move them forward to achieve their goals. She stretches peoples’ thinking, handling difficult conversations with candor and humanity, ultimately providing leaders with the clarity and direction they need to move forward. Betsy knows how to surface the “undiscussable” topics that can hinder peak performance with empathy and insight.

Carla Harris

Carla Harris

Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley

Carla Harris is a prominent global investment professional and business expert currently serving as Chair of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) with a mission to advance women business owners through the NWBC’s 4 pillars: Access to Capital, Access to Markets, Job Creation & Growth, and Data Collection. In addition to her role as Chair of the National Women’s Business Council, she also serves as the Vice Chairman of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley where she is responsible for increasing revenue generation and client connectivity across the Wealth Management, Investment Banking and Sales & Trading businesses. She was recently named to Fortune magazine’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” Essence magazine’s “50 Women Who Are Shaping the World,” and Black Enterprise magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” She earned her AB in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Sally Helgesen

Sally Helgesen

Women's Leadership Expert & Best-Selling Author

Sally Helgesen is a best-selling author, speaker and leadership coach, cited in Forbes as the world’s premier expert on women’s leadership. For the last thirty years, her mission has been to help women leaders around the world recognize, articulate and act on their greatest strengths. She also works with senior teams seeking to build more inclusive cultures. Sally’s most recent book, How Women Rise, co-authored with coaching legend Marshall Goldsmith, became the top-selling title in its field within a week of publication. It explores the specific habits most likely to get in women’s way as they seek advancement. And it offers powerful practices to help women realize their full potential. Sally’s previous books include The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership, hailed as a classic and continuously in print since 1990, and The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work, which explores how women’s strategic insights can strengthen their careers and their organizations. The Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations, published in 1995, was cited in The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books on leadership of all time and credited with bringing the language of inclusion into business.

Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis

CCO, The Hollis Company

Rachel Hollis is a #1 New York Times & #1 USA Today Bestselling Author, a top business podcaster and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers in the world. As a bestselling author and wildly successful lifestyle influencer she has built a global social media fanbase in the millions. Known as “the Tony Robbins for women” because of her motivational, high energy style and her unique ability to empower and embolden a female audience. She’s a proud working mama of four and big fan of the small town in Texas hill country that the Hollis family calls home.

Grace Killelea

Grace Killelea

CEO, The GKC Group, Author

After 35 years’ success in human resources and talent development, Grace retired from Comcast Cable Corporation, a Fortune 50 company in Philadelphia, to launch The GKC Group. She works with CEOs, executives, and professionals to transcend their perceived limitations and elevate their performance to achieve sustained business and personal success. Grace has been keenly focused on developing, supporting, mentoring, coaching, and connecting women. Grace believes that real power is generated when one’s passion and purpose meet, and she was instrumental in establishing some of the first programs designed for women in her organizations. She has created an outstanding network of women at every level, and in many industries, to support and promote women’s advancement and achievement. In addition to her leadership positions at Comcast, Grace’s corporate experience includes positions as Senior Vice President for Lifetime Television, Vice President for Prime Communications and Director of Human Resources for SBC Communications. She held progressively successful positions in the retail industry as well. Grace has received countless awards and accolades for her vision, commitment, and leadership. Her book "The Confidence Effect" was released in January 2016.

Wendy McManus

Wendy McManus

Leadership Coach and Founder, Connect 2 Potential

Wendy is on a mission to bring powerful conversations to the workplace. In her work with leaders and team, she is a fierce advocate for building trust and managing conflict productively. Wendy’s clients expand their skills and awareness to build more authentic relationships with their co-workers, leading to stronger business outcomes. Coaching is an exciting second act for Wendy; a follow-up to a successful marketing career that spanned three decades. Most recently, Wendy led the National Mango Board’s retail marketing and promotions team, capping a 17-year produce marketing career. Today, she’s a full-time leadership coach and loving it!

Jennifer Murphy

Jennifer Murphy

Award-winning writer & performer

Jennifer Murphy is an award-winning writer and performer. A recipient of the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award honoring excellence in multicultural literature, her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Mississippi Review, Joyful Noise, Words in Your Face, and Wrath-Bearing Tree, a publication established by combat veterans. Her nonfiction has appeared in Forbes, Forbes Traveler, Institutional Investor, and the New York Post, among other media outlets. In 2009 she co-wrote an episode of the French animated television series The Green Squad, produced by Gaumont/Alphanim Animation. As a performer, Jennifer has featured at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, TED, and The Nuyorican Poets Café, among other venues. Jennifer also maintains a parallel career as a private investigator, specializing in online investigations, crisis communications, and threat monitoring for high-consequence events. She moonlights as an E.M.T.

Manisha Thakor

Manisha Thakor

Founder, MoneyZen

Manisha Thakor, CFA, CFP®, is a nationally renowned financial literacy advocate for women. Her work has been featured in media outlets including: The Wall Street Journal, PBS, NPR, CNN, Women’s Health and Real Simple. Manisha sits on the board of The National Endowment for Financial Education, and is on faculty at The Omega Institute. She is also the co-author of two personal finance books for women, On My Own Two Feet and Get Financially Naked. Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Wellesley College.