Cipriani South Street

New York, New York

11.7.19 Cipriani South Street | New York, NY


Toigo is thrilled Stacey Abrams—a bold, brave leader—will join us on stage as our Groundbreakers Spotlight speaker. She’ll share her journey as a political leader, nonprofit CEO, author, and serial entrepreneur, and inspire us all to find our voice, honor and capitalize on our strengths for the good of all.

Stay tuned for more as we’re busy curating our 2019 Groundbreakers line-up, including other nationally recognized leaders and thought leaders. As always, our goal is to inspire and inform senior leaders as you navigate ahead. We encourage Groundbreakers attendees to share key takeaways and materials with their teams.

For an idea of the day’s flow, check out our 2018 Program. Our full 2019 line up will be posted this spring.

Patti Solis Doyle

Patti Solis Doyle

Political Commentator, CNN
Groundbreakers 2018 Master of Ceremonies

Patti Solis Doyle is a nationally recognized political organizer, campaign strategist and CNN political commentator. She speaks regularly on the rise of women and minorities in politics, presidential campaigns and issues affecting Hispanic Americans.

She is president of Solis Strategies, a communications firm serving non-profits, NGOs and corporations. Solis Doyle also co-founded Vendor Assistance Program, LLC (VAP), a Chicago-based financial services firm. VAP helps state governments finance and accelerate payments to their vendors, so those vendors can fund their operations, manage their cash flow, recognize revenue earlier, expand their businesses and create more local jobs. VAP recently raised $340 million for its program with the state of Illinois.

Her work with VAP, governors and other state officials follows more than 20 years in politics, presidential campaigns and public service. She began her career working on Richard Daley’s campaign for mayor of Chicago and later worked at Chicago City Hall. In 1991, she was among the first to join then-Governor Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. She served as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton throughout that campaign and two terms in the White House. In 2000, Solis Doyle served as chief of staff to Clinton’s first Senate campaign. She later managed Senator Clinton’s political operations, PAC and 2006 re-election campaign. As campaign manager of Clinton’s presidential bid (from January 2007 through February 2008), Solis Doyle was the first Hispanic woman to lead a presidential campaign.

During the 2008 general election, Solis Doyle joined the Obama for America campaign as chief of staff for vice presidential operations. In this role, she built a national team of policy, communications, political and field operatives in advance of the nominee’s selection. She later managed day-to-day operations for vice presidential nominee Joe Biden. During the 2012 presidential election, Solis Doyle served as an advisor to the Obama-Biden campaign. In addition to her work with VAP, Solis Doyle works with Hispanic service organizations and student organizations across the United States.

Hispanic magazine honored Solis Doyle with the Latinas of Excellence Award for her accomplishments in the area of government, politics and civil leadership. She also received the "Siempre Inspiran Award" from Siempre Mujer magazine, honoring remarkable Latinas whose achievements and contributions to their communities are helping shape the future of Hispanic women in this country. Hispanic Business magazine named her one of America’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics.”

Solis Doyle received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Northwestern University. She currently resides in Washington, DC, with her husband and two children.

Moira Forbes

Moira Forbes

Executive Vice President, Forbes Media
President and Publisher, ForbesWoman

Moira Forbes is the Executive Vice President of Forbes Media where she is responsible for programming and branding Forbes events worldwide and driving new business initiatives across the company’s diverse media platforms. She is also the President and Publisher of ForbesWoman, a multi-media platform dedicated to successful women in business and leadership. She is currently the host of Success with Moira Forbes, a video series on the Forbes Video Network featuring candid, one-on-one interviews with today’s top leaders. Moira also regularly contributes to Forbes’ diverse global media platforms around the day’s most relevant leadership trends.

Launched by Forbes Media in 2008, ForbesWoman includes a robust website, known as “Women@Forbes,” a global digital community and a variety of content-rich live forums and events. Across these diverse media, content examines the unique experiences of professionally successful women, affirms their ambitions and achievements, and sets the agenda for purposeful discourse on the topics that matter most to them.

Forbes joined Forbes Media in 2001 in its London office, overseeing research and marketing for the Forbes’ European edition, in addition to developing business opportunities on behalf of all the company divisions. She came to the New York office and was named Associate Publisher of Forbes’ dedicated lifestyle magazine, ForbesLife, in February of 2004, and President and Publisher, ForbesWoman, in 2008. In 2010, Moira founded the Forbes Executive Women’s Board, an organization dedicated to harnessing the collective power of women in business to drive sustainable change. In 2013, Forbes hosted the first Forbes Women’s Summit in New York City. This annual gathering brings together 250 of the world’s female leaders to discuss and solve the world’s most intractable issues. Forbes also is a contributor to Forbes’ list of the 100 World’s Most Powerful Women.

Forbes graduated cum laude with a BA in Art History from Princeton University, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School program for Leadership Development. She is a mother of two young sons and lives in New York City.

Lucy Kalanithi

Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP

Internal Medicine Physician & Faculty Member, Stanford School of Medicine
Contributing Author, When Breath Becomes Air

Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP, is the widow of the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, for which she wrote the epilogue. An internal medicine physician and faculty member at the Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto, CA, she completed her medical degree at Yale, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society, her residency at the University of California-San Francisco, and a post-doctoral fellowship training in healthcare delivery innovation at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center.

At the cross-section of her career as a medical professional and her personal experience standing alongside her husband during his life, diagnosis, treatment, and death, Dr. Kalanithi has special interests in healthcare value, meaning in medicine, patient-centered care and, end-of-life care. She has appeared on PBS NewsHour, NPR Morning Edition, and Yahoo News with Katie Couric, and been interviewed for People, NPR, and The New York Times. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.

Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera

Maria Cristina “MC” González Noguera

Senior Vice President, Global Public Affairs, The Estée Lauder Companies

Maria Cristina “MC” González Noguera is Senior Vice President, Global Public Affairs, at The Esté́e Lauder Companies (ELC). Previously, MC served as Assistant to the President and the Director of Communications to First Lady Michelle Obama. From June 2013 – May 2015, MC was responsible for shaping long-term strategic planning and message development for the First Lady. During her tenure at the White House, MC led the team charged with developing and communicating the First Lady’s four key initiatives (Let’s Move, Joining Forces, Reach Higher and Let Girls Learn), while simultaneously overseeing her day-to-day communications.

After leaving the White House, she advised the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on strategic communications in support of its estimated $9 billion debt restructuring and operational transformation.

Prior to her time at the White House, MC was a Vice President at ELC, where she worked for more than eight years in increasingly senior roles in the Corporate Communications department. Before joining ELC, MC was a Managing Director at the Washington, D.C., strategic communications firm Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates, where she developed, implemented and managed communications and issue-oriented campaigns for a variety of clients.

MC was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and holds a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University. MC serves on the following boards: the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, Unidos US (formerly known as the National Council of La Raza – NCLR) and the Young Women’s Leadership Network. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin

Professor, African American Studies, Princeton University
Author, People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier

Ruha Benjamin is a professor of African American studies at Princeton University and author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier. She has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for over fifteen years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice in the U.S. and globally. Ruha is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the 2017 President's Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

Ruha received her PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley, completed postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Genetics and Society and Harvard University's Science, Technology, and Society Program, and has received grants and fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study, American Council for Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine among others.

Her work is published in numerous journals including Science, Technology, and Human Values; Policy & Society; Ethnicity & Health; and the Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Science and reported on in national and international news outlets including The Guardian, National Geographic, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Nature.

Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts

Political Commentator, ABC News and NPR

Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and NPR. In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting. In addition to her reporting, Roberts has written six New York Times bestsellers, most dealing with the roles of women in U.S. history.

In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by Universal U Click. The Roberts also wrote two books together: Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families, published in 2011 and From this Day Forward, an account of their now almost 50 year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto The New York Times bestseller list, following Roberts’s number one bestseller, We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, an account of American women’s roles and relationships over time. Roberts’s other books: Founding Mothers, published in 2004 and Ladies of Liberty in 2008, along with her recently published Capital Dames, about women and Washington in the Civil War—all also rated as New York Times bestsellers. Roberts’ latest release is a lavishly illustrated children’s book, Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation.

Roberts holds more than 25 honorary degrees, serves on the boards of several non-profit institutions and President Bush appointed her to his Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008 the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.

Sue Hodgkinson

Sue Hodgkinson

Principal, The Personal Brand Company

Susan Hodgkinson is a trailblazer in personal branding, and founded The Personal Brand Company in 1994. She is a leadership development expert, award-winning executive coach, and keynote speaker. Hodgkinson was the first practitioner in the US to combine 15 years of a corporate marketing and branding approach to developing leaders, and the first to build a leadership development model—“The 5 P’s of Leadership Brand®”—fusing the two disciplines.

Hodgkinson was the first practitioner in the US to create a leadership development model that incorporated the needs and issues of women and people of color into the mainstream framework, vs. creating a ‘separate’ framework for these talent pools.

She works with thousands of professionals in a diverse array of businesses who know they must strategically manage their own professional learning, leadership development and personal brand to succeed—for their company and themselves. She is the author of The Leader’s Edge: Using Personal Branding to Drive Performance and Profit. The book has sold more than 30,000 copies worldwide and received the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. The Leader’s Edge is now considered to be the defining textbook on personal branding for leaders in the US and abroad. Her second book, addressing a new vision for Inclusion for Women, will be published in 2019.

Hodgkinson is a recipient of India’s World HRD Congress Leadership Award, and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. Her work has most recently been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Indian Express, The Detroit Free Press, Essence Magazine, The Boston Globe, and other major electronic media and syndicated business columns. She holds her MBA from Simmons School of Management and is on the Executive Education faculty there, at Boston’s The Partnership, and at other business schools and Leadership Institutes.

Liz Kaplow

Liz Kaplow

Founder and CEO, Kaplow Communications

Liz Kaplow is a visionary entrepreneur, trusted advisor to the C-suite, and champion for communications practitioners across every industry.

Liz founded Kaplow Communications with the belief that brands can make meaningful connections with consumers through storytelling—an insight that guides the industry today.

She built Kaplow into a world-class communications company through hands-on leadership, devotion to clients and long-standing influencer relationships. Kaplow’s client list is a “who’s who” of top consumer brands, including Target, Fidelity, 23andMe and CVS/pharmacy.

Her leadership has attracted top professionals—thought leaders in their own right—to the agency. Together, they continue to help brands forge emotional connections in today’s social/digital world.

A passionate advocate for workplace diversity and inclusion, Liz devoted her tenure as New York Women in Communications President to the advancement of women at all career levels. Her commitment to investing in Kaplow employees’ growth has earned the agency a Top Places to Work award.

Liz serves on the Board of Directors of Cosmetic Executive Women and directs the agency’s work for its charitable foundation, Cancer and Careers. She is a trustee of the Public Relations Society of America Foundation, and leads Kaplow’s long-standing support for youth development organization Project Morry.

A graduate of Vassar College, Liz received a graduate degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She has been honored with New York Women in Communications’ Matrix Award and PR News’ Top Women in PR Award.

Liz lives in New York with husband Evan Jacobs and has two daughters, Juliana and Melanie.

Randi Liodice

Randi Liodice

Chief Strategy Officer, Kaplow Communications

Randi has established herself as a leading counselor for today’s top communications and marketing executives. In her nearly two-decade career, she has served as an advisor to senior level talent across beauty, consumer, finance and technology industries, helping to craft and deliver ownable and impactful narrative strategies.

At Kaplow, Randi has been instrumental in the development of several proprietary products aimed at strengthening relationships between brands and their most valuable audiences. These include the agency’s exclusive Digital Emotional Quotient™ (DEQ™) methodology and report, and Kaplow’s ONE sessions, a unique approach to unification among internal teams that inspires consensus and strengthens branding and messaging across organizations.

In addition to working with blue-chip clients such as Target, Microsoft, Shiseido, Laura Mercier, Fidelity, and others, she mentors staff throughout the agency on topics such as integrated strategy, presentation skills, digital communications, measurement and analytics, and more.

Prior to Kaplow, Randi served in management roles in the editorial and product space at IAC Applications, using her public relations expertise to help brand growing web properties and attract new users. She honed her communications skills working with some of the world’s most innovative companies, including Dove and The Campaign for Real Beauty, Weight Watchers, Ford Motor Company and a host of others.

Randi is also a board member of The Content Council and a sought-after speaker at conferences and corporate events. She is a proud graduate of The University of Rochester and has studied voice at The Eastman School of Music. She resides in Westchester County with her husband and two sons, Dylan and Tyler.

Yvonne Orji

Yvonne Orji

Actress & Comedienne

Nigerian born, Maryland raised actress and comedienne Yvonne Orji is a walking embodiment of the American dream. A child of immigrants, Yvonne was destined to become a doctor, until destiny had other plans. A devout Christian, Orji explains how a faithful encounter with God had her trading her stethoscope for stand-up comedy—something neither she, nor anyone in her family ever imagined her doing, let alone becoming successful in. Her comedy sets involve no swearing or blue humor, yet has landed her on main- stages like the 16,000-seater Barclays Center, performing opposite comedy heavyweights like Chris Rock. In a program that’s equal parts funny and inspirational, the 34-year-old explores how her faith provides her with discipline, focus and most importantly hope. Audiences will leave empowered by her example of living with purpose and not in fear.

Yvonne Orji is perhaps best known for her knockout performance as Issa Rae’s best friend Molly in the HBO comedy series, Insecure. The show follows the friendship of two modern-day black women and all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Before Insecure, Orji thought she’d become a doctor, in part to satisfy the desires of her immigrant parents. Instead she discovered comedy when she entered a beauty pageant as a favor to her brother. Unbeknownst to her, she was required to perform a talent—something she believed she lacked. With two weeks before the competition, she heard the voice of God say “Do comedy.” With a combination of fear and trust, she obeyed and discovered a hidden passion. So, in 2009 she moved to New York to pursue stand-up. Eventually, she landed a job in the writers room of the Martin Lawrence-produced sitcom, Love That Girl!, then eventually created the concept for a comedy series based on the plight many First-Gen kids face living the duality of life in America, aptly titled, FirstGen, which is currently being produced by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. Orji is extremely transparent in speaking about the many hardships faced on the road to success and the lessons learned along the way.

In 2018 she will be seen in Night School with Kevin Hart and Ti any Haddish, as well as the Sci-Fi feature, Spontaneous. Considering herself first and foremost a comedienne, Orji will also embark on a multi-city comedy tour. Audiences may also know Yvonne for her inspiring TED Talk, “The Wait is Sexy,” in which she discusses her virginity and decision to wait until marriage.

During her time between projects, Orji travels nationally and internationally for speaking and hosting engagements. She has been enlisted to host corporate, social & televised events, such as the BET Super Bowl Celebration of Gospel and the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.

Outside of her creative work, she is dedicated to her charitable e orts. In 2008 and 2009 she spent six months working in post-conflict Liberia, with Population Services International (PSI), an NGO that utilizes social marketing in the adoption of healthy behaviors. While in Liberia, she worked with a group of talented youth to help build a mentoring program as well as a weekly talk show that helped educate and prevent against the spread of teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. She currently lends her time and voice as a R(ED) Ambassador, and is vocal about the plights of Sickle Cell disease, a sickness that a ects members of her extended family.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Orji earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University.

Emanuela Scura

Emanuela Scura

Partner & Deputy Director of Global Credit Research, Lord Abbett

Emanuela Scura works with the Director of Global Credit Research to help manage the research analysts on this team. In this role, she provides guidance to the analysts and oversight of the rigorous process involved in identifying securities for all the taxable fixed-income portfolios managed by the firm. In addition, she is responsible for providing credit research coverage of the consumer sector. Ms. Scura also serves on the firm’s Partnerhip Committee.

Ms. Scura joined Lord Abbett in 2007 and was named Partner in 2016. Her prior experience includes serving as High Yield Analyst at Pax World Funds and Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young Financial Advisors LLP. She has worked in the financial services industry since 2003.

She earned a BA from Bocconi University and an MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Orly Avidan

Orly Avidan

Co-head, Global Markets Senior Relationship Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Orly Avidan is a Managing Director and co-head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Markets Senior Relationship Management (SRM), a group responsible for enhancing and driving relationships between the firm and key institutional investor clients. Orly covers some of the bank’s largest clients, hedge funds and asset managers.

Orly joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2010 as an Emerging Markets Credit Trader. She also served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Emerging Markets Credit business.

Previously, Orly spent seven years at Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs Asset Management trading Emerging Market equity and fixed income securities. She began her career in investment banking at Salomon Brothers.

Orly earned a BA in Communications and Mathematics from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Sharon Bazbaz

Sharon Bazbaz

Managing Director, Head of North America Corporate Lending, Morgan Stanley

Sharon Bazbaz is a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley and serves as Head of North America Corporate Lending based in New York City. She is responsible for the credit approval and transaction evaluation of the firm’s North America capital markets loan and derivatives origination. Ms. Bazbaz serves as the Deputy Credit Chair of the firm’s Capital Commitment Committee. Previously, she was Head of Technology, Media, and Telecom Credit and completed an assignment in London. She joined Morgan Stanley in 2010 from JPMorgan where she launched her career. She held various roles in Latin America Credit and completed a rotation in Equity Research. Ms. Bazbaz holds a B.A. in History from Brown University and attended the Horace Mann High School in New York City. She is a member of the Horace Mann Alumni Council.

Angela D. Harrell

Angela D. Harrell

SVP, Corporate Responsibility, Diversity & Inclusion and President, Voya Foundation

Angela D. Harrell is senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility and Diversity & Inclusion, and serves as President of Voya Foundation. Voya’s corporate responsibility (CR) strategy is based on its work across the enterprise in four pillars: Empowering Our Employees, Serving Our Clients, Investing in Communities and Protecting the Environment. The first three pillars align with Voya’s diversity and inclusion (D¯I) strategy. Harrell leads these efforts and the Foundation’s mission to help young people be financially resilient and to empower teachers to achieve excellence in the classroom.

Recognition of Voya’s environmental, social and governance performance includes membership in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North American family (2016 – 2017), recognition as a World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere Institute (2014 – 2018), No. 64 ranking of Fortune 500 companies on Newsweek’s Top Green Companies, listing on Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index and certification as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality by Human Rights Campaign, as well as a Great Place to Work® for Giving Back by Fortune.

Prior to joining Voya Financial, Harrell spent 12 years at The Coca-Cola Company, where she was involved with a broad range of activities including corporate responsibility, media relations, financial and sustainability reporting, internal and executive communications, digital/social media and community affairs. Her final position with Coca-Cola was as the global director of operations, Coca-Cola Ambassador. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Harrell worked as an executive recruiter and a business analyst.

Harrell earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in international affairs from Yale University. She serves on the board of the Citizens’ Committee for Children and as a member of the World 50.

Kathryn Sayko

Kathryn Sayko

Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, PGIM

Kathy Sayko leads PGIM’s inclusion and diversity efforts. She and her team develop strategic inclusion initiatives, collaborate with PGIM’s CEOs and Human Resource Leads on recruiting and retention efforts, work with internal and external advocacy and affinity organizations, and partner with leaders in the investment industry to accelerate an inclusive culture and diverse talent pool in the industry. Before assuming this role on September 12, 2018, she served as a Managing Director on the Prudential Client Management (PCM) team, where she maintained relationships with Senior Executives at Prudential’s largest clients and financial partners. Kathy established a pension de-risking dialogue with large corporate prospects, and managed Prudential’s enterprise-wide objectives with some of our largest financial partners.

Prior to joining Prudential in 2011, Kathy was with J.P. Morgan Chase for 17 years, most recently in their Diversified Investment Banking Coverage group. Here she delivered banking services to clients and was focused on strategic and capital-raising advice, including M&A, capital structure, shareholder and rating agency management, equities, convertibles, bonds, and loans. Prior to that, Kathy held leadership roles in J.P.’s Debt Capital Markets, Acquisition Finance, and Loan Capital Markets businesses.

Kathy holds an MBA in Finance from New York University, Stern School of Business, and a BBA in Computer Science from James Madison University. She holds FINRA Series 7, 24, and 63 licenses.

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