Past Speakers

Bios of past keynote speakers at the Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference.

The Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference has hosted a number of keynote speakers from a variety of companies, industries, and professional backgrounds. Some of our past keynote speakers include:

Rachel Pell

Vice President for Strategic Communications, Pennsylvania State University

Vice President for Strategic Communications Rachel Pell—a senior-level public relations professional with more than sixteen years of experience in healthcare marketing prior to her transition to higher education—leads the division’s public relations and marketing units, providing strategy and direction for internal and external communications that amplify and support presidential priorities and key University and Penn State Board of Trustees initiatives.

Rachel focuses significantly on creative storytelling and partnerships across paid, owned, shared, and earned media to help drive awareness and audience engagement among Penn Staters.

Since joining Penn State in 2016, she has launched a holistic media strategy and program focused on driving reputation and increasing visibility for the impactful, global-reaching research happening across the University’s twenty-four campus locations. She established Strategic Communications’ first proactive media team and expert database and combined media and science-writing expertise within the unit to increase engagement with top-tier local, regional, national, and international news outlets.

In 2021, Rachel’s team launched a new, best-in-class Penn State News website—which serves as the premier storytelling platform and official source of information about the University for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members—and accompanying analytics toolkit to drive long-term content strategy.

Under Rachel’s management, the University has codified a top-notch issues and crisis communications program that is agile and responsive to the ever-changing higher education landscape and range of potential issues facing an institution of Penn State’s scale and scope.

As a vital member of the University’s COVID-19 management team throughout the pandemic, Rachel and the team developed and implemented many critical initiatives. One proactive step was the development of the “Mask Up or Pack Up” campaign that united University and local community members in a singular call to action. The research-based community health campaign received top national and global PR awards, as well as recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a national model.

Before joining the Office of Strategic Communications, Rachel was a senior vice president and group manager at Ketchum, a leading PR agency in New York City, and she previously worked at Weber Shandwick, also in New York City. She led the development of strategic professional and consumer-focused programs for leading global pharmaceutical corporations and advocacy organizations, such as Pfizer, Takeda, Boehringer Ingelheim, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Parkinson’s Unity Walk.

Rachel’s honors include being named a recipient of Ketchum’s David Drobis Client Excellence Award, one of Ketchum’s highest honors that recognizes individuals globally for superior client service. She holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Penn State and attended the Center for European Studies at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Lindsay Peoples

Editor-in-Chief, The Cut
Former Editor-in-Chief, Teen Vogue

One of the nation’s rare Black female editors-in-chief and a 2020 Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, The Cut’s Lindsay Peoples shares an invaluable view of women’s empowerment, marketing to GenZ, elevating your brand in the era of Black Lives Matter, hiring for diversity, and running multi-million-dollar brands with an editorial mission to view everything through the lens of inclusivity. Peoples returned to The Cut, New York Magazine’s style and culture site in 2021, after two years as editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue. At Teen Vogue, she was the youngest editor-in-chief of a Condé Nast publication and one of the rare Black journalists in leadership roles at the company’s magazines. While there, she co-founded the Black in Fashion Council, which has enlisted the support of the Human Rights Campaign to provide benchmarking around corporate policies and practices that are pertinent to the inclusivity of Black employees. Under Peoples Wagner’s leadership, the Council established an Equality Index Score for companies across fashion and beauty brands and the media that covers them. Before Teen Vogue, Peoples spent five years as an editor at both The Cut and New York Magazine, roles she assumed following her time as the fashion market reporter at During this first tenure at The Cut, she won the 2017 ASME Next award, which honors outstanding achievement by magazine journalists under the age of 30. She also wrote the criticallyacclaimed “Everywhere and Nowhere: What it’s really like to be Black and work in fashion.” The piece featured more than 100 people of color’s insights and perspectives on diversity in fashion. In 2019, she was celebrated among Business of Fashion's BoF 500. She was also included on the 2020 “Root 100” list of the most influential African Americans. Earlier in her career, Peoples spent two years as a fashion market assistant at Teen Vogue, where she returned after a stint at O, The Oprah Magazine. She began her career in fashion at Teen Vogue as an assistant working in the fashion closet under the founding editor-inchief, Amy Astley. Peoples, who hails from Wisconsin, graduated from Buena Vista University with a bachelor's degree in art and journalism. Sharing her own personal and professional experiences, branding savvy and leadership expertise, Peoples Wagner provides honest, authentic advice that not only inspires, but gives audiences the insights and tools to take action.

Asia Grant

Asia Grant ‘17 BUS with Honors
Co-founder & creative director, Redoux, New York, NY

With a love for design, Grant began her professional career as a UX Researcher at IBM in 2017. She started her company in July 2019 with her co-founder Alejandro Cuevas (18’ IST) as a part time endeavor. The company’s mission is to recognize our collective experiences through scented products. In 2020, her company was chosen as one of 16 businesses out of nearly 10,000 applicants for the highly competitive Glossier Grant Initiative for Black-Owned Businesses. With the success and backing with the award, she left her corporate job in October 2020 to focus on building the business full time.

Driven by her interest in the swiftly changing beauty market and passion for an intellectual and scientific approach to scent and skincare, Grant has grown Redoux into a well-known brand featured by The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Vogue, W Magazine, ITG, and more. Asia has been featured in USA Today, GOOP,, and was selected by WWD as one of Six Young Founders Forging the Future of Beauty. Her products have won the Architectural Digest’s Cleverest Award in 2021 and 2022.

In 2018, Grant was elected as the youngest board member of Scholar Alumni Society Board for the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University, and subsequently was voted to be the organization’s chair of Alumni Engagement then President in 2019 and 2020 respectively. In addition, Grant was elected to the Penn State Alumni Association Board and served on the Executive Committee as the University’s College Society Representative alongside the CEO and President of the organization.

Kathryn Dougherty

Founder, Spritz Beverages Co.

Kathryn Dougherty '09 is the founder of Spritz Beverages Co, a beverage start-up that develops and markets a line of softly sparkling, boldly flavored, craft tea infusions. Recognizing a gap in the market for non-alcoholic drink alternatives, especially those that appeal to women and female athletes, Kathryn began experimenting with different flavor combinations. The 4 product flagship line, Spritz Tea, is now piloting in over 400 locations in Ohio, and available online at

Jessica Rusu

Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer, Financial Conduct Authority

Jessica Rusu '01 joined the FCA as Chief Data, Information and Intelligence Officer in June 2021.

As CDIIO, Jessica is leading the transformation of the FCA's ability to analyze and use the data, intelligence and information we receive to effectively oversee the 60,000 firms we regulate.  Jessica is building and evolving our relationship with big tech companies, fintechs, and the wider data science community.

Jessica was the Chief Data Officer of Chetwood Financial limited, a digital native, start-up bank, where she spearheaded the use of machine learning. Before moving into fintech, Jessica was Senior Director of Finance and Analytics at eBay in Europe where she built out their advanced analytics and customer insight function.

She previously worked in credit analytics at Ford Motor Company and Stress Testing at GE Capital. Jessica has a degree from Penn State University in Management Science and Information Systems and an MBA from University of Michigan.  More recently, she completed the Oxford Said Business School's Artificial Intelligence program.

Tara Schuster

Former VP of Talent and Development at Comedy Central, Best-Selling Author & Accomplished Entertainment Executive

Once best known as the Executive in Charge of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning show, Key & Peele, Tara Schuster turned her struggle with chronic anxiety and depression into a best-selling book and a mission to help others. Her humorous takes on taking charge of one’s mental health—always backed by empowering action steps—have won praise from readers ranging from Wharton professor Adam Grant to Academy Award-winner, Anjelica Huston and best-selling author, Glennon Doyle. InStyle, People MagazineCosmopolitanGoodreads, Buzz FeedGoop and many others have chosen her memoir as one of the best new books of 2020.

A veteran entertainment executive, Tara was behind such shows as the Emmy Award- winning @MidnightLights Out with David SpadeThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the launch of Key & Peele to viral superstardom. By the time she was in her late twenties, Tara had taken her place in the male-dominated world of comedy as Vice President of Talent and Development at Comedy Central. By all appearances, she had mastered being a grown-up. But beneath the veneer of success, she was a “chronically anxious, self-medicating mess” with a painful secret. No one knew that her “minimally parented” road to adulthood had been paved with depression, anxiety and shame. She finally realized that she’d hit rock bottom when she drunk-dialed her therapist.

Answering her own cry for help, Tara called upon the same talents she had used to launch hit television shows to begin a life-changing journey of self-healing and self-care. For five years, she researched how to both “be her own parent” and nurture her own wounded well- being—creating a 600-page Google Doc of her findings. She also developed a practice of simple, daily rituals that literally transformed her mind, body, relationships.

As an in-demand speaker, Tara has received invitations from the Fortune 100 and spoken to audiences ranging from Civic Nation to women’s and young professional groups. Bringing a winning combination of humor, vulnerability, and hard-won wisdom to the stage, she does more than inspire and motivate audiences to create lasting change in their lives. She provides easy-to-implement tools to take better care of one’s spirit, mental and physical health, and relationships—as both an individual and member of a workplace team.

Lori Lee

CEO – AT&T Latin America & Global Marketing Officer, AT&T Inc.

Lori Lee is responsible for AT&T Latin America, one of four distinct business units operating under AT&T Inc., and she serves as global marketing officer for AT&T Inc., a global leader in communications, media and entertainment, and technology.

As CEO – AT&T Latin America, Lori leads two businesses in the region; AT&T Mexico, which provides mobile services to more than 19 million consumers and businesses, and Vrio Corp., the holding company for DIRECTV and SKY Brazil, which provides digital entertainment services to more than 13 million subscribers throughout South America and the Caribbean.  In 2019, AT&T Latin America had revenues of nearly $7 billion.

As the corporation’s global marketing officer, Lori oversees corporate marketing for AT&T Inc., including advertising, corporate communications, events, and sponsorships worldwide.

Previously, Lori served as senior executive vice president – AT&T Home Solutions and was responsible for the company’s consumer wireline group. She has also held executive roles in finance, investor relations, customer service and corporate strategy.

Lori has been recognized on many executive leadership lists, including Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business and the National Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech.

Lori is on the Emerson board of directors and is an active board member of the American Film Institute, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and the PGA of America. She is also on the National Advisory Council for Washington University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an M.B.A.

Mary Beth Trypus

Chief Revenue Officer, Vera Bradley

Mary Beth Trypus ’87 is the Chief Revenue Officer of Vera Bradley in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She leads the iconic American bag and luggage design company’s full line stores, factory outlet stores and wholesale channel, which includes specialty retailers, key accounts and major department stores. Since joining Vera Bradley in 2016, Trypus has been instrumental in navigating the company through an ever-changing retail climate. During her tenure, she has led teams to open 12 new stores, realigned sales structure of the wholesale channel and integrated the Retail Brand Experience team into the sales organization to better align visual initiatives for revenue generation.

Trypus has more than 25 years of sales, planning and marketing experience across both the wholesale and retail sectors. With a relentless focus on the customer, she has expertise building brands and driving revenue in multiple categories and channels. Prior to joining Vera Bradley, Trypus served as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Bulova Corporation. Previous roles include Senior Vice President of Sales and Planning for Nine West Group; Vice President of Sales for Juicy Couture Apparel and Accessories; Director of Sales for Kenneth Cole and Laundry Accessories; and Apparel and Accessories Buyer for Kaufmann’s, a division of May Department Stores. She began her career as an Executive Trainee at May Company.

At Penn State, Trypus was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority and Golden Key National Honor Society. She graduated cum laude with a degree in Marketing. Trypus currently splits her time between Fort Wayne and Pittsburgh, where she was born and raised. She and her husband, Jeff, are the proud parents of two daughters – Taylor, a physician assistant, and Madi, a junior at Penn State studying Security and Risk Analysis.

Wanda Bryant Hope

Johnson & Johnson's Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Wanda Bryant Hope is an accomplished business executive with significant experience in general management, marketing, sales, commercial operations, and human resources. Wanda is currently the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Johnson & Johnson worldwide.  In this role, Wanda is responsible for globally advancing J&J’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) outcomes, strengthening D&I capabilities, improving reputation, and driving innovation and growth for future success.

During her career, Wanda has held a variety of leadership positions including Vice President, Sales & Marketing; Vice President, Commercial Analytics, Development & Operations; and Vice President, Global Performance & Development.

Wanda has been recognized for her ability to exceed business results, deliver innovative solutions to complex challenges, lead global change, and develop people for optimal results.  Wanda has received several awards including the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s Rising Star Award, the YWCA Tribute to Women in Industry Award, the Auburn Lives of Commitment Award and the National Sales Network Community Service award.  She also serves on the board of the State Theater (New Brunswick, NJ).

Wanda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University.  Wanda and her husband Bobby are the proud parents of their 11-year-old son, Tyler.

Maneet Chauhan

Executive Chef & Co-Owner, Chauhan Ale and Masala House

Chef Maneet Chauhan is the founding partner and president of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award for her role as a permanent judge on Food Network’s “Chopped,” and sits on the panel of judges for Food Network’s “Wedding Cake Championship”. She has also written her own cookbook, Flavors of My World. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Chauhan worked in some of the finest hotels in India before the start of her professional career in the States.

Heavily lauded by print and broadcast media in the United States and abroad, Chef Chauhan has been featured in publications such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, The Local Palate, Wine Enthusiast, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Post, Times of India, The Telegraph and more. Her television appearances include “The View” (ABC), “CBS This Morning’s The Dish” (CBS), “Designing Spaces” (Lifetime), “Iron Chef” and “Next Iron Chef” (Food Network).

Locally, Maneet was the 2016 Chair for March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction and selected to be featured as one of The Nashville Business Journal’s 40 under 40 list, as well as Nashville Lifestyles Women in Business, which honored local women who are at the top of their industry.

She has worked as executive chef in successful ventures such as Vermilion in Chicago, which received accolades from Chicago magazine, Esquire, Time Out and Wine Enthusiast under her leadership.

Chauhan is the founding partner of Morph Hospitality Group in Nashville, Tennessee, which includes restaurants Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tànsuǒ and The Mockingbird. She is also the co-owner of Mantra Artisan Ales in Franklin, Tennessee.

A native of India, Chef Chauhan chose Nashville for her first namesake restaurant after being contacted by developer Moni Advani to come down to Music City for a visit. It was during her first trip that she fell in love with the city and its people and decided to stay.

The Music City chef is a passionate advocate for the March of Dimes, and now lives in Franklin, Tenn., with her husband, Vivek and their daughter, Shagun and son, Karma.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo

President & CEO, Celebrity Cruises

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo is a dynamic business leader whose vision and strategy has propelled Celebrity Cruises to become the performance leader in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) portfolio. Her record-breaking results and industry firsts have earned her a reputation as a trailblazer in the complex maritime industry.

Appointed President and CEO in December 2014, Lutoff-Perlo leads the multi-billion-dollar brand with 13 ships sailing to 300+ global ports worldwide.

Lutoff-Perlo also leads Royal Caribbean Cruises’ (RCL) Global Marine Organization, ensuring that the corporation’s $30-billion fleet of 59 ships run safely, smoothly and efficiently across all RCL brands for 6 million guests per year. She is the first woman in the industry to do so.

Her vision to transform the industry by building game-changing ships continues with Celebrity Edge. To bring the vision to life, more than 500 designers were engaged to incorporate innovations of design and engineering that include many industry firsts.

Lisa’s commitment to opening up the world through travel has brought unprecedented recognition and awards to Celebrity Cruises for its impact on the industry, the environment and the destinations sailed.

An avid champion for diversity and inclusion, education, STEM and an advocate for young women, Lutoff-Perlo has challenged the conversation around cultural and gender equality in the maritime industry. She has ignited many initiatives to raise the percentage of female officers on the bridge and landside, including hiring the first female American captain, the first female African bridge officer, and the first female Ecuadorian captain.

Lutoff-Perlo has a guiding value of giving back and helping others to succeed. She lends her leadership to a number of philanthropic, business and women’s organizations as a board member and volunteer on a local, national and international level.

Under her leadership, Celebrity Cruises has partnered with a number of impactful organizations to make a difference in the world in the areas of girl’s education (Malala Fund and Global Girls Alliance), sustainability and environment (World Wildlife Fund), STEM (Columbia University, FIU, NSU and University of Miami), gender equality, service excellence (Forbes Travel Guide), and expanding the footprint of women in the maritime industry. 

Susan Schandel

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Susan Schandel serves as NASCAR's Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and leads its Finance, Strategic Development and Business Operations functions. In addition to managing accounting, tax, treasury and compliance, she collaborates with NASCAR’s other senior

executives on development and execution of strategic growth initiatives using an integrated business approach. Schandel was named to the Class of 2016 “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business” by Sports Business Journal, a prestigious honor that recognizes women who bring ideas, solutions and perspectives to the sports business.

In 2016, Schandel played a key role in the establishment of NASCAR’s landmark new charter system for its premier series. The historic agreement created a new business model for team owners, which enables them to build long-term enterprise value, and also improves long-term stability for the industry.

Prior to joining NASCAR in 2008, Schandel was employed by International Speedway Corporation (ISC), where she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Throughout her time at NASCAR and ISC, Schandel has played an integral role in the industry’s growth as a national sport, including the acquisition and development of tracks in major markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. In addition, she led the financial negotiations for the development of Kansas Speedway in partnership with the State of Kansas and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, which represents one of the largest public-private partnerships in motorsports history.

In 2012, Schandel led the financial negotiations of the landmark merger between Grand American Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series. The unification of these two series resulted in the formation of International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), America’s premier sports car racing sanctioning body in North America.

Prior to joining ISC, Schandel was employed by Ernst & Young where she served a variety of public and private clients, including motorsports and manufacturing.

A native of New York, Schandel earned a B.S. in Accounting with High Distinction from Penn State University. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Schandel serves as Treasurer of the Halifax Health Board of Commissioners as well as on its Audit and Finance Committee and Investment Committee. Schandel also serves on the Board of Directors for the NASCAR Foundation.

Allison Baver

Fashion Designer, Olympic Short Track Speed Skater & Spokeswoman

Allison Baver is a Fashion Designer, Olympic Short Track Speed Skater & Spokeswoman who made one of the biggest comebacks in sports history after breaking her leg and winning an Olympic Bronze Medal one year later at the 2010 Olympic Games. At that

time she founded the “Off the Ice Foundation”, a grassroots organization fighting childhood obesity and promoting the active lifestyle.

Her knack of performing for an audience started as a little girl when she was a dancer and has led to the athletic world stage along with print and television media. Allison has been a notable spokeswoman for many brands including PowerBar, Murad, CoverGirl, Pantene, Secret Clinical Sport, Hilton, Nike, Lululemon Athletica, AT&T and Budweiser - to name a few, and was one of the first female athletes to sign a contract with Wilhelmina Models NYC Sports.

Baver’s accolades include graduating from Penn State University in 2003 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing & Management. In 2007 she earned an MBA specializing in Marketing from New York Institute of Technology. She holds her ISSA CFT (International Sport Science Association Certified Fitness Trainer) and has received many awards for her academic, athletic, and philanthropic successes including the 2010 Penn State Homecoming Grand Marshall honor as well as the 2011 recipient of the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award. She has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Wilson High School Hall of Fame and is currently the Vice President of the Olympians and Paralympian's Association.

Now retired from competitive Olympic sports, Baver is staying in shape and focusing her work in fashion design and as a spokeswoman. She is set to launch “The Power Tote”, a luxury gym bag she personally designed along with an active fashion & accessories brand under the label Allison Baver in 2017.

Cathy Engelbert

Cheif Executive Officer of Deloitte

As CEO of Deloitte, Cathy Engelbert leads one of the largest professional services organizations in the United States and is responsible for nearly 80,000 professionals. Deloitte professionals provide audit, tax, consulting and advisory services, and serve over 80 percent of the Fortune 500, producing measurable and enduring impact on behalf of clients, people, communities, and society.

Since 1986, Cathy has had a distinguished career serving large and complex global clients. She previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of Deloitte & Touche LLP, where she led the U.S. audit practice. Cathy is currently a member of Deloitte’s Board of Directors.

Cathy has spoken to influential media including CBS, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, FOX Business Network, and Fortune about global business trends, professional services, and Deloitte’s growth strategy. Cathy also frequently discusses how to advance diversity and inclusion in corporate America with major news outlets.

Cathy is the chairman of the Center for Audit Quality Governing Board and is listed as one of Fortune’s 2016 and 2015 Most Powerful Women. In 2016, Cathy was also ranked on Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the 50 Highest Rated CEOs, and among Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York for 2015. Cathy is also recognized as one of Working Mother magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Moms of 2016 and Fast Company magazine’s Most Productive People of 2016. Cathy is a member of the board of directors of Catalyst, a member of the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable, the Business Roundtable, and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund Board.

Jacki Kelley

Chief Operating Officer of Media at Bloomberg

Jacki Kelley is Chief Operating Officer of Bloomberg Media Group, Bloomberg L.P.’s global multi-platform media organization that comprises web, mobile, television, digital video, radio, print magazines and live events platforms. Jacki leads the business operations of Bloomberg Media, with a focus on driving global revenue growth, brand strength and developing the company’s new media strategy under CEO Justin B. Smith. A dynamic leader with more than 20 years of experience, Jacki is widely credited with disrupting traditional business models to successfully meet client objectives across the publishing and advertising industries. She served as CEO for IPG Mediabrands North America and President of Global Clients, most recently dedicating all of her time to leading IPG’s successful bid for all of Microsoft’s creative and deployment work globally. Jacki helped lead a massive expansion of IPG’s global advertising network, which now buys $36 billion in media for clients, including ExxonMobil, Sony and BMW.

Cathy Clegg

Vice President, General Motors North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations

Cathy Clegg was appointed to the position of North America Manufacturing Vice President, effective July 1, 2014. She leads a team of more than 74,000 employees with responsibility for 55 facilities including assembly, stamping, powertrain and component operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Leadership of North America Labor Relations was added to her role on June 1, 2015. In this capacity, she is responsible for union-management partnerships, leading joint programs and negotiations, and other key matters involving union-represented workers. Cathy joined GM in 1983 as a manufacturing engineer at the Cadillac Motor Car Division’s Clark Street Plant. Cathy was recognized as one of the “100 Leading Women in the Auto Industry” by Automotive News in 2005, 2010 and 2015. She was also a recipient of the “2011 Detroit Free Press Automotive Leadership Award in Manufacturing and Labor Relations” and DBusiness Magazine’s “2015 Powered By Women Award.”

Megan Alexander

National News Correspondent, Host, Emcee and Actress

Megan Alexander is a national news correspondent, host, emcee, speaker and actress. She can be seen every evening as a correspondent on the longest-running, top rated syndicated national news magazine television show INSIDE EDITION. Alexander was recently tapped to be a Special Correspondent for CBS Television and joins the team at Thursday Night Football, covering the game and related stories for all CBS affiliates around the world during the 2014 season, kicking off Thursday Night Football in Baltimore on September 11, 2014. Alexander is an actress and her film credits include the roles in the movies Space Warriors, the drama Redeemed and the short film Love Equals. She also appears in country music artist Josh Turner’s music video What it Ain’t on CMT. She hosts the nationally televised Inspirational Country Music Awards each year from Nashville, TN. She emcees countless charity events around the country for organizations like Girls Quest, Girls Inc and HOBY. She began her television as a reporter for Tennessee Mornings on Fox 17 where she was a traffic and weather radio reporter for MetroNetworks. While in Nashville, she hosted a teen show for LifeWay Christian Resources entitled Fuel. She then went on to be a reporter/anchor for KENS5, the CBS station in San Antonio, TX, and co-hosted the morning show Great Day San Antonio before joining the INSIDE EDITION. She was also a frequent guest commentator on HLN’s Showbiz Tonight and the Wendy Williams Show.

Cheryl Johnson

Executive Vice President - Human Resources, Textron Inc.

Cheryl Johnson is executive vice president for Textron Inc. Johnson leads Textron’s worldwide human resources organization as its chief human resource officer. As a member of Textron’s Executive Leadership team she also leads several corporate functions including communications, community affairs, corporate real estate, and the company’s aviation fleet. She chairs the Benefits Committee and the Charitable Contributions Committee for the company. Johnson actively participates in several HR working groups including the HR Policy Association and the Personnel Roundtable — both comprised of the chief human resource officers representing the largest employers in the United States and globally. She has also served as a board member for The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, and currently serves on the board for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

Donna Kalajian Lagani

Senior Vice President, Publishing Director, and Chief of Revenue for U.S. Cosmopolitan

n 1995, Donna joined Hearst Corporation and is currently the senior vice president, publishing director, and chief revenue officer of the U.S. Cosmopolitan, Cosmo for Latina, and Seventeen. Prior to joining Cosmopolitan, Donna was vice president and publisher of Ladies’ Home Journal and was the first female publisher in the magazine’s 112 year history. Donna’s success resulted in Cosmopolitan recent #1 ranking on Adweek’s Hot List. She paved the way for the recent launch of Cosmopolitan for Latinas, bringing the total number of worldwide editions to fifty-two. In 2015, for Cosmopolitan’s fiftieth anniversary, Donna engineered taking over Times Square New York for New Year’s Eve.  Donna was elected to the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Achievement in 1995 and was recognized by Crain’s New York Business with a “40 Under 40” award in 1990. She is currently on the Board of the USO, Directors of Circle of Generosity and Fragrance Foundation.

Kim Dixon

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc.

Kim, a Smeal M.B.A. graduate, is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc. in Dallas, TX. She leads and oversees network operations, retail merchandising, sourcing, operations planning, and real estate for more than 1,800 global retail and 19 print production facilities. Kim began her career in sales and marketing with GTE (now Verizon) and held positions at Sprint Nextel before joining FedEx in June 2010.  She was recognized by the Dallas Business Journal in 2013 as one of the top women in business in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Kim serves on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas and on the council for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas.

Sandy Barbour

Director of Athletics for Penn State University

After serving ten years as director of athletics at the University of California, Sandy was named the Nittany Lions’ ninth director of athletics in July 2014. In this role, she directs Penn State’s 31 sport, broad-based program that supports approximately 850 student-athletes and an Intercollegiate Athletics staff of more than 300. Barbour’s career spans more than 30 years in intercollegiate athletic administration. She began as a field hockey assistant coach and lacrosse administrative assistant at the University of Massachusetts then served as assistant athletic director at Northwestern and was recruited to Tulane as an associate athletic director. Sandy was also the deputy director of athletics at Notre Dame.

Melissa Gonzalez

CEO and Founder of The Lionesque Group

Gonzalez, ’99 BS is CEO and Founder of The Lionesque Group, which provides pop-up retail consulting services to leading brands in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries. She began her career on Wall Street at Credit Suisse in Institutional Equity Sales, while juggling a dual TV career hosting BET's Latin Beat for three seasons. She has been awarded The Wall Street Journal’s Donor of the Day, one of the top 20 Most Inspiring People in New York City, and one of the Top 100 Young CEO's- via Our Time's White House Initiative. Gonzalez is proud to have been a founding member of Women in Business and is a lifetime supporter of its initiatives.

Kelly Watson

Managing Partner for KPMG LLP

Kelly is a managing partner for KPMG LLP, leading a team of more than 800 partners and professionals who serve the state’s largest global companies and mid-market clients. Kelly has twenty years of global auditing and advisory services experience serving the pharmaceutical, bio technology, and industrial product industries. She is the global lead partner on a number of priority accounts and serves as an account executive on two Securities and Exchange Commission audit clients. Her international experience includes more than two years based in the Prague office of KPMG Czech Republic where she served on several global accounts; helping establish and develop the Central and Eastern European practice training program. Kelly previously served on KPMG’s Legal, Risk and Compliance committee and was elected to the Accounting, Finance and Operations committee on the KPMG board of directors in October 2013. Kelly is the co-chair of KPMG’s Women’s Advisory Board and a member of its National Diversity Advisory Board. She initiated KPMG’s involvement in the United Nations Millennium Village Program and is actively involved in KPMG’s Family for Literacy/First Book program. Kelly has been recognized by the Executive Women of New Jersey as an influential policy maker and by New Jersey Business magazine as a top managing partner, and was named the first female managing partner in New Jersey 2009 at KPMG LLP.
Kelly received a B.S. in Public Accounting and Finance from Fordham University and is a certified public accountant
in NY and NJ. She is involved with the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants steering committee of managing partners, the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Kelly is married and has two children.

Beth Brooke

Global Vice Chair - Public Policy at EY

Brooke is Global Vice Chair - Public Policy at EY and is a member of the firm’s Global Executive Board. She has public policy responsibility for the firm’s operations in 150 countries. In addition, she has global responsibility for the firm’s Diversity and Inclusiveness efforts. Brooke has been named six times to the list of Forbes "World's 100 Most Powerful Women", and was named 2009 Woman of the Year by Concern Worldwide. During the Clinton Administration, she worked for two years in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she was responsible for all tax policy matters related to insurance and managed care.

Bob Moritz

U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC

Moritz currently serves as PwC’s U.S. Chairman and Senior partner, after being re-elected by the US partners to serve a second four-year term which began on July 1, 2013.  He is also a member of PwC’s global leadership team, serving alongside the Global Chairman as well as the senior partners from the global network’s four largest territories. Moritz has held various leadership positions during his tenure with the firm including leading the Assurance practice as well as serving as the managing partner for the New York region.  He started with the firm in 1985 and was admitted to the partnership in 1995.  Specializing in financial services, Moritz served some of the firm’s largest clients in banking and capital markets and went on to lead that practice both in New York and for the US firm.

Coquese Washington

Head Coach, Penn State Lady Lion Basketball

Washington was introduced as the fifth head coach of the Penn State Women's Basketball Program in April of 2007, and she is the first female African-American head coach in Penn State history. She returned the Lady Lions to Big Ten prominence in 2012 as she guided Penn State to a 26-7 record, the Big Ten regular-season title, and the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen. For her efforts in rebuilding the Penn State Program, Washington was honored as the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year. The epitome of a student-athlete, Washington was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, graduating a full year ahead of schedule with a bachelor's degree in history. She went on to attain "Double Domer" status by earning her Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame Law School.

Russ Rose

Head Coach, Penn State Women's Volleyball

Rose has been the Penn State women's volleyball head coach for more than 32 seasons. He entered the 2011 season as the NCAA leader in career winning percentage, having won more than 86 percent of the matches he coached. He is just the third active Division I head coach to reach 1,000 career wins. In 2007, Rose was inducted into the America Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and was also named the AVCA I National Coach of the Year, the AVCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year, and the Big Ten Coach of the Year by both the coaches and the media. He garnered all three awards again in 2008, while leading his team to their third NCAA title.

Farnoosh Torabi

Personal Finance Expert, Author, and Speaker

Torabi is a frequent financial contributor to the Today Show and host of the most popular financial series on the web, Financially Fit, which airs weekly on Yahoo!Finance. Her work and advice has been featured in Real Simple, Glamour, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. She is the author of two books: You're So Money: Live Rich Even When You're Not and Psych Yourself Rich: Get the Mindset & Discipline You Need to Build Your Financial Life.

Lizabeth Zlatkus

Insurance and Leadership Consultant
Retired Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, The Hartford

Zlatkus recently retired from her 28-year tenure at The Hartford Financial Services Group, where she held leadership positions such as chief risk officer, chief financial officer, and co-president of Hartford Life Insurance Companies.

Zlatkus has been widely recognized for her professional achievements in the insurance industry, as one of the top 100 women executives by Business Insurance magazine, and as a ‘Woman Worth Watching’ in the Profiles Diversity Journal. Drawing on her broad experience leading complex international organizations, Zlatkus currently provides consulting services on risk, insurance, and leadership issues.

Zlatkus holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Smeal, and she currently serves as Chair of the Smeal College Board of Visitors.

Joan Amble

EVP and Corporate Comptroller at American Express

Amble is executive vice president and corporate comptroller for American Express Company, where she is responsible for all controllership finance functions across three major divisions. She has also worked as chief operation officer and financial officer for Capital Markets, a service business within GE Capital Services, Inc.

Sue Paterno

Community Leader and Philanthropist

Since 1991, Paterno has been a member of the Pennsylvania Special Olympics where she chairs the outreach committee. She was honorary chair of the United Way and served as co-chair for its "Day of Caring." In 1996, she was honored as the Renaissance Women of the Year. She is the lead benefactor for the Frank and Sylvia Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. Along with her husband, she served as co-chair of the Campaign for the Library, raising more than $14 million for the renovation of the Pattee Library and the construction of the Paterno Library.

Michelle Austin

Founder and Owner of Fluidity Fitness

Austin, '89 is founder and owner of Fluidity Fitness. She has been quoted in leading fitness and fashion magazines as well as medical journals including Elle, Fit, Fitness, Maire Claire, Muscle and Fitness, and Self. She has also served as the Fitness Advisor of the Weil Medical College of Cornell University. She is certified by the American Council on Exercise. Austin has been interviewed by Donny Deutsche on the "Big Idea." A trained dancer, certified fitness instructors, and former VH1 VJ, Austin has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years.