Speakers 2015

Stacy Blake-Beard, PhD

Click for Bio →

Stacy Blake-Beard

Donna Brazile

Click for Bio →

Donna Brazile

Sheri Bronstein

Click for Bio →

Sheri Bronstein

Toni Cornelius

Click for Bio →

Toni Cornelius

Carey Fear

Click for Bio →

Carey Fear

Nailah Flake-Brown

Click for Bio →

Nailah Flake-Brown

Stew Friedman

Click for Bio →

Stew Friedman

Tiffany Hawkins

Click for Bio →

Tiffany Hawkins

Maria Hinojosa

Click for Bio →

Maria Hinojosa

Linda Houston

Click for Bio →

Linda Houston

Jane Hyun

Click for Bio →

Jane Hyun

Jill Rosenberg Jones

Click for Bio →

Jill Rosenberg Jones

Jacki Kelley

Click for Bio →

Jacki Kelley

Amy O’Brien

Click for Bio →

Amy O’Brien

Dr. Pamela Puryear, PhD

Click for Bio →

Dr. Pamela Puryear, PhD

Fredricka Whitfield

Click for Bio →

Fredricka Whitfield

Stacy Blake-Beard

Stacy Blake-Beard, PhD

Professor of Management
Simmons College School of Management

Stacy Blake-Beard is a Professor of Management at the Simmons College School of Management where she teaches organizational behavior. She is also Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Gender in Organizations at Simmons and Visiting Faculty at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India. Prior to joining Simmons, Dr. Blake-Beard was faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She has also worked in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble and in the corporate human resources department at Xerox. Dr. Blake-Beard holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park and an MA and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Blake-Beard’s research focuses on the challenges and opportunities offered by mentoring relationships, with a focus on how these relationships may be changing as a result of increasing workforce diversity. She is particularly interested in the issues women face as they develop mentoring relationships. She also studies the dynamics of formal mentoring programs in both corporate and educational settings. Dr. Blake-Beard has published research on gender, diversity, and mentoring in several publications including the Journal of Career Development, the Academy of Management Executive, the Psychology of Women Quarterly, Journal of Management Development, the Journal of Business Ethics, Human Resource Management Journal and The Diversity Factor. Dr. Blake-Beard is co-editor of a volume focused on women’s careers (Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers) and a forthcoming volume on mentoring (Mentoring and Diversity in a Global Context). She has received a 2010-2011 Fulbright Award to support her project, entitled “Systems of Sustenance and Support: Exploring the Impact of Mentoring on the Career Experiences of Indian Women,” in partnership with the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Change at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.

Dr. Blake-Beard’s most recent collaboration is with Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research on their Voice & Influence videos; her video on mentoring will be released Fall 2015. She is also starting a three year term as a Representative for the Board of Governors for the Academy of Management. Dr. Blake-Beard sits on the advisory board of a number of organizations, including MentorNet, Teen Voices, the Harvard Project on Tenure, and the Harvard Medical School Center for the Study of Diversity in Science. Dr. Blake-Beard has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Robert Toigo Foundation. She has given seminars for and consulted on a wide range of topics, including effectively leveraging diversity, implementing formal mentoring programs, gender and leadership, bystander awareness training, unconscious bias, managing visibility, career action planning and team-building. Organizations with which she has consulted include Infosys, EMC, Hewlett Packard, Jobs for the Future, The Partnership, IBM, Cisco, The Robert Toigo Foundation, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Swissotel, PepsiCo, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Linkage, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Boston Chamber of Commerce, The Conference Board, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Hospital, Boston University, Connecticut College, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, University of Texas, University of California, Harvard University, Boston Public School District, The PhD Project, The Compact for Faculty Diversity, New Leaders for New Schools and Working Mother Media.

Dr. Pamela Puryear, PhD

Dr. Pamela Puryear, PhD

SVP, Chief Talent Officer
Pfizer, Inc.

Pam is a business leader, thought leader, and Organization Development (OD) practice leader with over 25 years of experience including 10 years in the real estate investment advisory industry, 12 years as an external OD consultant, and six years leading OD practices in Fortune 100 companies. She has worked and consulted globally and across a number of different industry sectors including financial services, healthcare, professional services, consumer products, insurance, and education.

Pam is currently serving as Senior Vice President, Chief Talent Officer at Pfizer Inc. In this role, Pam is responsible for leading strategy and implementation of programs and services that impact nearly 100,000 employees globally in the areas of talent management, learning and development, employee engagement, organization culture, diversity and inclusion, and workforce analytics.

Pam's professional passion is performance excellence, and from her diverse professional experiences, she has developed a unique perspective on what creates and sustains excellence. She has worked with individuals, teams and organizations to excel by assessing needs, and offering solutions that impact performance and productivity. With and MBA and a PhD, she considers financial and human factors and how to manage both using sound organizational management thinking and focused business metrics.

In May, 2015 Pam was profiled in SHRM's HR Magazine. In 2014 she was profiled and appeared on the cover of the February issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine and was honored to be selected as an award winner in the Business Impact category for the 2014 Learning in Practice awards sponsored by Chief Learning Officer magazine. In 2012 she was the recipient of the 2012 Rising Star Award by HR Executive magazine. She has also been recognized by the Illinois Diversity Council as a Multicultural Leader in 2014 and as one of Illinois’ Most Powerful and Influential Women in 2015.  Pam is a frequent speaker at human capital conferences.  

Through LinkedIn and her personal website and blog, www.JoinDrPam.com, Pam seeks to develop a virtual community of practice to keep current on how individuals, teams and enterprises work, thrive and drive toward excellence.

Pam holds a PhD in Organizational Psychology, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Organizational Behavior from Yale University.

Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile

Democratic Political Strategist

Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, vice chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee and former interim National Chair of the Democratic National Committee as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.

Aside from working for the full recovery of her beloved New Orleans, Brazile’s passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. Since 2000, Brazile has lectured at over 125 colleges and universities across the country on such topics as “Inspiring Civility in American Politics,” Race Relations in the Age of Obama, Why Diversity Matters, Women in American Politics: Are We There Yet.

She first got involved at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing set was installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign.

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist for Ms. Magazine, and O, The Oprah Magazine, an on-air contributor to CNN, and ABC, where she regularly appears on ABC’s This Week. Her secret passion is acting; she has recently made two cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.

In August 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s firstever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women by Washingtonian magazine, Top 50 Women in America by Essence magazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement.

She is currently on the board of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Last, but never least, she is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. In the aftermath of the two catastrophic hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf region, Brazile was appointed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Board to work for the rebuilding of the state and to advocate for the Gulf recovery on the national stage. Brazile is the proud recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically Black, Catholic institution of higher education in the United States.

Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.

Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa

Journalist

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning trailblazer in news and investigative journalism. Her over 25-year history reporting on critical issues and focusing on the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad have won her the highest levels of recognition in journalism, including: four Emmys; the 2012 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism; the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged; the Studs Terkel Community Media Award; and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for “Child Brides: Stolen Lives,” among other awards.

In April 2010, Hinojosa took her mission of reporting on stories ignored or overlooked by mainstream media to another level by creating the Futuro Media Group, a multimedia nonprofit production company based in Harlem with the mission of giving voice to the social and civic justice issues facing a more diverse America. In addition to producing Latino USA, Futuro Media is also developing America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa, a series for public television to be distributed spring 2014.

America by the Numbers will be the first national programming dedicated to documenting and demystifying the dramatic demographic changes that are occurring in the U.S. and examining the new American mainstream – the growing numbers of Asians, Latinos, African Americans, mixed race, immigrants, women, youth and LGBTs who are increasingly determining the outcomes of elections and influencing arts, culture, and commerce. Futuro Media is also committed to training the next generation of journalists to become reporters, filmmakers, and multimedia producers, and using its media products to expand public space, staging civic engagement events to further democracy and enlarge the national conversation about policy and priorities.

Hinojosa has worked as an anchor and reporter for PBS’ Need To Know series and the talk show Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One from WGBH/La Plaza, as senior correspondent at Now on PBS and for NPR, and for eight years as CNN’s urban affairs correspondent. In October 2011, she was the first Latina to anchor a Frontline report, “Lost in Detention,” exploring abuse at immigrant detention facilities. Hinojosa has documented hundreds of important stories - from immigrant work camps in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to teen girl victims of on-the-job sexual harassment, to the poor in Alabama, and youth violence in urban communities.

She is currently the anchor and executive producer of NPR’s Peabody-Winning weekly program, Latino USA, celebrating its 20 year anniversary and considered the program of record for Latino news, culture and issues of critical importance to the Latino community and that impact the US population.

Hinojosa has a weekly syndicated column for King Features/Hearst and is author of two books including a motherhood memoir, Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son. She was born in Mexico City, raised in Chicago, and received her BA from Barnard College.

Throughout her career, she has helped define the conversation about our times and our society with one of the most authentic voices in broadcast. Her investigative journalism and presentations press for truth while giving voice to lives and stories that illuminate the world we live in.

Fredricka Whitfield

Fredricka Whitfield

News Anchor
CNN Newsroom

Fredricka Whitfield is an anchor for CNN/U.S. She is based in the network’s world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Whitfield anchors the weekend edition of CNN Newsroom.

Since joining CNN in 2002, she has reported from all over the world including the Persian Gulf region during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, London at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and Washington, D.C. during the 2009 presidential inauguration.

Prior to CNN, Whitfield was a correspondent for NBC News and served as an Atlanta-based correspondent for NBC Nightly News, TODAY and Dateline NBC. She covered stories such as the highly contested 2000 presidential race and the resulting ballot recount as well as the 1996 Olympics, the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta and the manhunt for bomber Eric Rudolph. Whitfield also reported on the 1999 refugee crisis in Macedonia during the Kosovo War.

Before her time at NBC, Whitfield was a reporter and anchor at WPLG-TV in Miami, an evening anchor for News Channel 8 in Washington, D.C., and a general assignment reporter at KTVT-TV in Dallas as well as at WTNH in New Haven, Conn. She began her professional career as a reporter and morning anchor for WCIV in Charleston, S.C.

In her nearly three decades long career, Whitfield has garnered multiple awards and honors for her broadcasting. In 2000 she earned an Emmy award nomination for long form storytelling. Her other notable awards include the 2002 Howard University School of Communications Alumna of the year, 2004 Alfred I. DuPont Award winning team for CNN’s coverage of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, 2005 George Peabody award for the network’s live coverage of Hurricane Katrina and aftermath, 2005 Ebony award for Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications, 2007 Emmy award for outstanding live coverage of a breaking news story long form, 2008 NAMD Communicator of the year, 2008 Howard University postgraduate achievement in the field of Journalism, and 2009 NYABJ long form feature. Whitfield was also a part of the network’s Peabody Award winning coverage of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill and the 2011 Arab Spring.

Whitfield earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Howard University.

Stew Friedman

Stew Friedman

Practice Professor of Management
Wharton

In 1984, Stew Friedman joined Wharton, where he is the Practice Professor of Management. In 1991, he founded both the Wharton Leadership Program and the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project. In 2001, he concluded a two-year assignment (while on academic leave) at Ford Motor, as the senior executive for leadership development. Stew’s most recent book is Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life (Harvard Business, 2014), a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

His Total Leadership program is used worldwide, including by the 135K students in his MOOC. The New York Times cited the “rock star adoration” he inspires in students. He was chosen by Working Mother as one of America’s 25 most influential men to have made things better for working parents, by Thinkers50 as one of the world’s top 50 business thinkers, and by HR Magazine as one of the Most Influential Thinkers 2014. The Families and Work Institute honored him with a Work Life Legacy Award.

Follow on LinkedIn and Twitter @StewFriedman and tune in to Stew’s show, Work and Life, on SiriusXM 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton, Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. (ET).

Jane Hyun

Jane Hyun

Global Leadership Strategist
President and Founder, Hyun & Associates

Jane Hyun is a global leadership strategist and executive coach to Fortune 500 companies and MBA programs. She helps companies grow their bottom line through the effective use of their human capital. The firm’s signature programs have received acclaim from organizations seeking to leverage their talent pool to win in today’s global marketplace. Previously, she has held a variety of executive management roles, including Vice President of HR/Talent Development at JPMorgan, and Director of Recruiting at Deloitte.

Jane’s expertise comes from 24 years of direct business experience in fast-paced, high-stakes environments. She has worked with sales teams, guided leadership through a merger integration and divestiture, developed internal diversity initiatives, led organizational change initiatives with new leadership, and designed several innovative programs for retaining top talent.

She has appeared on media outlets such as CNN, CNBC, National Public Radio, HBR Working Knowledge, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Fortune about leadership topics. A graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Economics/International Studies, she is an advisor to the Task Force for Talent Innovation and is a member of the American Heart Association Diversity Committee.

Her groundbreaking bestseller, Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling, opened up a critical dialogue about Asians and diversity in Corporate America. Her newest release, Flex: the New Playbook for Managing Across Differences, examines the art of switching leadership styles to more effectively leverage differences and drive innovation. She is passionate about helping individuals flourish in their workplaces and in their communities.

Jacki Kelley

Jacki Kelley

Chief Operating Officer
Bloomberg Media Group

Jacki 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, who joined Bloomberg L.P. in September 2014, 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.

Jacki has been honored time and again throughout her career for her extraordinary work. She was named a Matrix Award Honoree by New York Women in Communications; Advertising Woman of the Year by the Advertising Women of New York; and was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement. She was named one of Crain’s New York Business’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York in 2013, one Advertising Age’s 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising and was number one on Business Insider’s 30 Most Powerful Women in Advertising list.

In her role as CEO, IPG Mediabrands North America, Jacki oversaw and integrated tools, technologies and services for all clients based in North America and across the IPG Mediabrands agencies, including Universal McCann, Initiative and bpn, and was responsible for global clients headquartered in North America. Previously, she served as President, North America and Global CEO at Universal McCann, where she helped lead a transformation of the agency, including the introduction of a pay-for-performance model, that led to a major expansion in client base and revenue.

Jacki has also held various business roles at Yahoo!, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and USA TODAY. At Yahoo!, she served as Global Head of Strategy and Solutions, where she oversaw the integration of the search and display sales teams into an enhanced sales force. She integrated four sales forces into one while in the role of Executive Vice President, Media Sales at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, earning the honor of min’s “Sales Team of the Year.”

Jacki started her career at USA TODAY, where she rose from an intern to Senior Vice President of Advertising, overseeing advertising and marketing for all international and domestic editions of the newspaper. In the late 1980s, she was a part of the team that led USA TODAY’s hotel distribution, an innovative marketing strategy at the time that greatly increased the paper’s influence and advertising proposition.

Linda Houston

Linda Houston

MLWM Division Executive

Linda Houston is currently the New England Division Executive for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.  Linda oversees 1,500 Financial Advisors and Private Wealth Advisors across 11 wealth management markets with $175 billion in assets under management and $1.3billion revenue.

Prior to her current role, Linda was the Regional Managing Director for the New Jersey Region where she was responsible for the execution of the vision and mission of US Wealth Management across eight complexes.

Linda served as the Director/Managing Director for 5 different Merrill Lynch complexes including the Fifth Avenue office and the flagship World Financial Center complex in New York City. In 2008, Linda was named the National Marketing Director for US Wealth Management.

Linda joined Merrill Lynch in 1984 as a Client Associate and became a Financial Advisor in 1986. During her 12 year tenure, Linda became a member of the Circle of Excellence. Linda attended the Merrill Lynch Women’s Leadership Program at Harvard Business School and was selected as a participant in the Six Sigma Program.

In 2013 Linda was named the Chair of GWIM Diversity and Inclusion Council and serves on the Global Diversity and Inclusion Council for Bank of America. In 2014 Linda was named Women of Merit for the Girl Scouts of Connecticut.

Linda currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Zicklin Business School of Baruch College. Linda graduated from Southern Illinois University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.

Linda resides in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband Tom and their two children, Trent and Kristen.

Jill Rosenberg Jones

Jill Rosenberg Jones

(Toigo Alumna, Cornell Johnson 1994)
Managing Director
Goldman Sachs

Jill is the global co-head of Regulatory Operations. She serves as co-chair of the Operations Regulatory Reform Steering Group and as a member of the Operations Risk Council. Jill is also an advisor to the Operations Black Network Steering Committee and the Operations Women’s Network Steering Committee. Previously, she was the global head of Business Architecture & Project Delivery in Operations. Jill has also held roles as the global business unit head of Operations Technology Strategy and the global functional head of Margin Lending in Operations. Jill joined Goldman Sachs in 2007 as a vice president and was named managing director in 2011.

Prior to joining the firm, Jill worked at Morgan Stanley in the Operations and Firm Management divisions, where she held global strategy and project management roles. Before that, Jill was a management consultant working exclusively with financial services clients on long-term assignments in Melbourne, Hong Kong, London, New York and Atlanta.

Jill is the executor of the James Weldon Johnson literary estate and served on the Board of Teachers Network from 2003 to 2010.

Jill earned an AB in American History from Harvard University and an MBA from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Amy O’Brien

Amy O’Brien

Managing Director, Head of Responsible Investment
TIAA-CREF

Amy Muska O’Brien is Managing Director and the Head of Responsible Investment at TIAA-CREF. She provides overall strategic leadership to Asset Management and across the organization on the implementation of TIAA-CREF’s overall responsible investment commitments and key environmental, social and governance (ESG) approaches, including ESG-focused funds, ESG integration frameworks, and the firm’s impact investing portfolios.

Ms. O’Brien has worked on a wide range of ESG and impact investing initiatives across TIAA-CREF since 2005. She has 19 years of professional experience in the responsible investment field. Prior to joining TIAA-CREF in 2005, Ms. O’Brien served as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Pension Boards - United Church of Christ, where she developed and implemented socially responsible investment strategies including social screening policies, proxy voting guidelines and shareholder activism for the denomination’s pension fund and foundation. Previously, she was Research Manager at the Council on Economic Priorities, the non-profit research firm that pioneered the field of corporate social and environmental responsibility ratings for investors and consumers. Ms. O’Brien served as CEP’s representative to the inaugural Steering Committee of the Global Reporting Initiative, an international initiative charged with developing a standardized reporting format for corporate sustainability indicators.

Ms. O’Brien earned a B.S. in Biology from Boston College and an M.S. in Environmental Management and Policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. From 2006-2011 she served on the Board of Directors of the USSIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. In 2008, Ms. O’Brien joined the board of directors of The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute for Corporate Responsibility. In 2011 she was appointed to the Steering Committee of the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings. In 2012, Ms. O’Brien became a member of the Financial Women’s Association of New York. In 2014 she was named to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative’s Reporting and Assessment Steering Committee.

Sheri Bronstein

Sheri Bronstein

Global Human Resources Executive
Bank of America

Sheri Bronstein is the Global Human Resources Executive for Bank of America and a member of the company’s executive management team. In this role, Bronstein leads a global team of human resources professionals responsible for recruiting, leadership development, learning, compensation, benefits, diversity and inclusion, and employee relations for employees in more than 40 countries.

Bronstein joined Bank of America in 2000 and has held various roles supporting Global Markets, Global Investment Banking and the International regions. She served most recently as Global Human Resources Executive for Global Banking and Markets. Prior to joining Bank of America, Sheri worked at JP Morgan in a variety of human resources capacities.

Bronstein actively promotes the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion internally and externally, including serving as a member of the company’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council. In addition, Sheri spearheads domestic violence awareness initiatives for the company.

Sheri is based in New York City and holds an undergraduate degree from Colby College and an MBA from Cornell University. She is a member of the Governing Board of Directors of the Robert Toigo Foundation and was selected as a 2015 participant in Next Women 50, an executive development network for female leaders around the world.

Carey Fear

Carey Fear

Senior Managing Director Guggenheim Treasury Services, LLC

Ms. Fear is a Senior Managing Director and head of the Transaction Compliance Group at Guggenheim Treasury Services (Institutional Finance).  Ms. Fear is an attorney who is responsible for the documentation and execution of asset purchases by Treasury Services’ programs. Ms. Fear is a member of Guggenheim’s Human Capital Committee and Chair of Guggenheim’s Women’s Innovation and Inclusion Network. Prior to joining Treasury Services in 2001, Ms. Fear was an attorney at Schuyler, Roche & Crisham where she handled structured finance and corporate transactions. Ms. Fear received her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Toni Cornelius

Toni Cornelius

Managing Director
Inclusion and Workforce Strategy

Toni Cornelius is the managing director of inclusion and workforce strategy at Mesirow Financial. She is responsible for the development and implementation of strategies that support and enhance a diverse and inclusive environment at Mesirow Financial. Her focus includes organizational readiness, talent acquisition, retention, workforce management, business development and supplier diversity.

Formerly Mesirow Financial’s director of human resources, Toni joined Mesirow Financial in 2012 with over 20 years of experience in human resources and project management. She has also operated as an independent consultant, providing guidance in the areas of change management program development, executive career coaching, website and media relations management, as well as general human resources.

Toni holds her B.S. from Creighton University and her M.S. from Loyola University. She is a Myers Briggs Type Indicator qualified instructor and a certified coach for the Center for Creative Leadership, Executive Dimensions program.

Tiffany Hawkins

Tiffany Hawkins

Head of Private Investments (PI) and Business Development
Momentum Advisors

Tiffany Hawkins is the Head of Private Investments (PI) and Business Development for Momentum Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm with nearly $100 million dollars under management. She has over 12 years of expertise in the creation, market engagement and distribution of top brands and consumer businesses, globally.

The firm’s PI division is responsible for all investments that do not trade on exchanges, such as real estate, private equity and, most notably, franchising. Momentum Advisors has identified franchising as an emerging source of high-risk/high-reward investments for a very specific segment of its high net worth clients. Tiffany oversees the operations, infrastructure, and management of each franchise opportunity. Her investment universe includes everything from restaurants to non-food areas such as fitness gyms, dry cleaning, and wellness; which have proven consumer appeal and great ROI to the client. Tiffany focuses on investing in brands that have a unique value proposition and sustainable competitive advantage.

To-date, Momentum Advisors has led the development and acquisition of three multi-million dollar franchise units and is under contract to develop an additional 11 units in the next five years.

Tiffany Hawkins holds two Bachelors’ degree from Morgan State University specializing in Communication Studies and Statistical Research. She has also served on several boards driving awareness of the lack of diversity in high-profile strategic positions throughout the United States. Tiffany Hawkins is based out of the New York City office.

Nailah Flake-Brown

Nailah Flake-Brown

Managing Director
Morgan Stanley

Nailah Flake-Brown is a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley and Head of Coverage for the Commercial Real Estate Lending Group in the Fixed Income Division.

Nailah started her career as an analyst at Morgan Stanley in 2000 and has served in numerous roles within her group, specializing in principal real estate debt transactions ranging between $100 million to $2 billon in size. Nailah is regarded as one of the top producers on her team and in 2014 originated over $5 billion in transactions for her clients who include institutional owners of real estate such as REITs, private equity firms, hedge funds, and high net worth individuals.

Beyond Morgan Stanley, Nailah is the director and founder of InnerVisions Theater Arts Center, a non-for-profit organization that provides dance and fitness programs to students in South Jamaica Queens. She is also a Board Member of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.

Nailah received an undergraduate degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in Economics and a minor in Business Management and Organization.


Ready to raise your profile and promote your brand with strong leaders?
Become a Groundbreakers sponsor. Learn more.

 

Breakthrough Sponsor

TA Associates Logo