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:

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.

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.

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.