2019 Conference Speakers | NAWBO
Featured Keynote

Sophia Amoruso, Monday Keynote


As the founder of Girlboss, Sophia is the creative visionary, entrepreneur, and industry disruptor who has forged an unprecedented path in building modern brands. Named by Forbes as “Fashion’s New Phenom” and featured on the cover of their June 2016 “Self-Made Women” issue, Sophia has gone from one of the most prominent figures in retail to a cultural thought leader. Sophia is the author of New York Times 18-week bestseller #GIRLBOSS, which sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide to date. In 2014, Sophia launched The Girlboss Foundation, which awards financial grants of $15,000 to women in industries of design, fashion, music and the arts to help them build and grow their small businesses

Tiffany Dufu, Tuesday Keynote

Catalyst-at-large, Author

Tiffany Dufu is a catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership and the author of Drop the Ball, a memoir and manifesto that shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go. According to foreword contributor Gloria Steinem, DROP THE BALL is “important, path-breaking, intimate and brave.  Named to Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women, Tiffany is Co-Founder and CEO of The Cru, was a launch team member to Lean In, and also served as Chief Leadership Officer to Levo, the fastest growing millennial professional network. Prior to that, Tiffany served as President of The White House Project.

Having raised nearly $20 million toward the cause of women and girls, she’s been featured in The New York Times, ESSENCE, O, The Oprah Magazine, and on NPR. She is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, a sought-after speaker on women’s leadership, and has presented at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, TEDWomen and MAKERS. Tiffany is a member of Women's Forum New York, Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and is a Lifetime Girl Scout. In addition to being a part of TARA, a sister group of the Belizean Grove focusing on the next generation of global leaders, she serves on the board of Girls Who Code and Simmons College. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Jean Chatzky, Annual Meeting Keynote

Financial Ambassador, AARP

Jean is the financial editor of NBC TODAY and AARP Financial Ambassador and host of the weekly podcast, HerMoney with Jean Chatzky. Jean is an award-winning personal finance journalist and best-selling author. Her latest book is Women with Money: The Judgment-Free Guide to Creating the Joyful, Less Stressed, Purposeful (and Yes, Rich) Life You Deserve

Manisha Singh

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State

Manisha was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary of State in 2017. She leads a team of more than 200 employees in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, which also serves as the home bureau for economic officers posted in embassies around the world. She is the first woman appointed to the role and is responsible for advancing American prosperity, entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide.

Angela Spears, Event Emcee

Angela Spears Communication, President

Angela is president of Angela Spears Communication, a marketing, public relations and community engagement company. She believes great storytelling is a crucial aspect in everyone’s life. She is utilizing her more than 20 years of broadcasting and public relations experience to focus on “The Power of Your Voice.” Angela volunteers with many organizations and is also passionate about organ donation awareness.


Jeanette Armbrust

Managing Director Skyline Greater LA

In 2001, Jeanette started up Skyline Exhibits of Central Ohio in Columbus, Ohio. After growing her company into an award-winning $7 million business, Jeanette sold the company and became the Managing Director of Skyline Greater LA. Jeanette serves as Chair on the NAWBO National Board in Washington, D.C.  She was also recently named as one of the 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year and the SBA Small Business Woman of the Year.

Kim Azzarelli

Author and co-founder, Seneca Women

Kim is a business, philanthropic and legal advisor focused on advancing women and girls. Together, with Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Kim is a co-founder of Seneca Women and co-author of the book, Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose.

Theresa Ashby

COO, Kaleidoscope Media Services

Theresa is a national business and success consultant, advisor, speaker and author who is passionate about driving businesses forward. She is the author of Better Implementation NOW! Eight Ways Great Strategies Fail & How To Fix Them. She is the COO of Kaleidoscope Media Services, CEO of Strategic Implementation Solutions and past president of NAWBO-Orange County.


Gail Becker

CEO and Founder, Caulipower

Gail’s career covers media, politics and business. But as a mom of two boys with celiac disease, she couldn’t find pizzas that were tasty, nutritious and gluten-free. So, she left her corporate job and launched CAULIPOWER, with a mission to reinvent our favorite foods one healthy meal hack at a time. In just two years, CAULIPOWER is the #8 best-selling frozen pizza brand in the United States.


Jill Calabrese Bain

Managing Director, Enterprise Payments Executive, Bank of America

Jill is a Managing Director within the Enterprise Payments organization at Bank of America where she partners closely with leaders and teams across the company to deliver best-in-class solutions. Jill joined Bank of America in 1992 and has been in the financial services industry for 27 years. She has worked closely with women small businesses over the years and currently serves on NAWBO’s National Advisory Council.

Kimble Bosworth

President & COO, On Promos Powered by Proforma

Kimble is the president and COO of On Promos Powered by Proforma, a full-service print and promotional agency providing brand management solutions. She has a long list of achievements, which include being named in Print Solutions Magazine’s Complex Self-Promotion category and being listed as #1 in Business Services Category, Entrepreneur in 2009. She is also an art collector, ballet dancer and chocoholic.

Nikki Bradley

Founder and CEO at Nichely, LLC

Nikki is a branding and target market strategist who specializes in guiding people to connect their purpose to their brand—whether personal or business—so that they can more authentically connect with, convert and serve their audience. She empowers and equips emerging entrepreneurs, professionals, business leaders and young people with real-world strategies to build purpose-driven brands. She does this through practical yet engaging teaching and coaching using best practices she’s learned from being in the trenches in Corporate America and as an entrepreneur juggling business ownership with motherhood.

Tinesha Cherry

Tinesha Cherry Speaks, CEO

When the world told Tinesha that she would be lazy and lack focus, she fought to break the chain of poverty, self-pity and doubt. She is founder of Project D.R.E.A.M. and She Strong International and the CEO of Tinesha Cherry Speaks. Tinesha has helped hundreds of women identify their personal vision and break the chain of self-doubt. Last year, she won NAWBO’s Warriors Award.


Reese Dorrepaal

SMB Community Engagement Coordinator, Facebook

Reese is an SMB community engagement coordinator on Facebook’s small business team in Menlo Park, CA. A daughter of a small business owner herself, Reese has seen firsthand the challenges of growing and expanding a small business, and is passionate about helping small businesses achieve success using Facebook’s tools and services. Reese graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering.


Sharon DeLay

Founder and president, GO-HR

Sharon is the founder, visionary and president of GO-HR, a dba of BoldlyGO Career and HR Management, LLC, which she founded in 2003. She and her team consult and manage HR strategy, compliance, recruiting, training, non-traditional benefits design and outplacement. GO-HR serves clients in eight states and their successes range up to include a business with more than $1 billion in revenue.

Elizabeth Foster

President, Maison Visionnaire

Elizabeth started her own business from her home and later sold her multi-million-dollar company in 2005. Using her business experience, she founded a successful business consulting company, providing business development support to fellow women entrepreneurs. After serving as president for the NAWBO- New York City chapter.

Katie Adams Farrell

Founder & CFO, Kerredyn Collaborative - Biz Dev for Social Impact

Katie is an entrepreneurial fundraising and nonprofit industry expert. Specializing in strategic planning, fund development, and database management, Katie has managed projects and helped nonprofits across Southern California raise hundreds of millions of dollars. She co-founded her company, Kerredyn Collaborative, with the mission to amplify social impact through strategic planning, innovative project design, marketing, and fundraising. Kerredyn provides a range of services to clients locally and globally, from web development to grant writing.

Marnie Forestieri

CEO and founder, Young Innovators Technologies

Marnie is an education entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, technology and education. She is CEO and founder of Young Innovators Technologies. Starting as a journalist for CNN Español, she transitioned as the VP of marketing of a telecommunications company and later became the CEO and co-founder of a childcare chain before her current role. She has also written and co-written books that promote an inquiry-based thinking model.

Queirra Fenderson

Founder & Head Coach, The Ambition Studio

Queirra is a professional speaker and certified business coach who helps female entrepreneurs reinvent their relationship to their ambition. She has inspired entrepreneurial audiences with her keynotes, TED-style talks and interactive workshops to embrace a new style of ambition. She holds the Professional Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from George Mason University and is the current Membership Chair for the NAWBO-Greater D.C. chapter.

Mercedes Garcia

Vice President, Global Community Relations, Mastercard

Mercedes is vice president global community relations at Mastercard. In this role, she is responsible for developing partnerships with consumers, small businesses and advocacy groups via the Master Your Card community empowerment program. She’s been recognized by many organizations and institutions, including winning the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s “Women Empowering and Embracing Women” award and the New York Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s “Annual Hispanic Women in Business” award

Shea Holbrook

Founder, Shea Racing

Shea’s strengths are not limited to her on-track abilities. Her high-energy, keen eye for value, calculated risks and business expertise have created even greater value in her professional racing career. Recognized by motorsport veterans and respected business leaders, she knows what it takes to build successful partnerships and businesses. Her work ethic was born from humble beginnings in Jacksonville, Florida, and boosted her ability to continue pursuing her passion.

Beth Hoving

Senior Vice President/Mid-Atlantic Region Executive, Bank of America

Beth is a senior vice president and mid-Atlantic region executive for small business at Bank of America.  She leads a team of small business banking managers covering the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and DC. Beth joined Bank of America in 1997 as a commercial banking credit analyst. She enjoys serving as a Bank of America ambassador and board member for the NAWBO-Charlotte chapter.

Karen Harrison

Senior Vice President, National SBA Executive Bank of America

Karen Harrison serves as Senior Vice President, National SBA Executive at Bank of America.  Her national team is responsible for delivering credit solutions to business owners across the United States, while also ensuring clients benefit from the full franchise value of Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.   As a Preferred Lender for the SBA, Bank of America is one of the leading SBA lenders in the nation, helping business clients secure the capital they need to meet their business priorities.

Vera Jones

President, Vera's VoiceWorks LLC

Vera is a motivational speaker, professional development coach, author, award-winning television and radio broadcaster and Syracuse University Hall-of-Fame scholar-athlete. She is most widely known for her veteran women’s basketball analysis and reporting for various networks over the past two decades. As president of Vera’s VoiceWorks, LLC, she passionately inspires and coaches others in various motivational and leadership training forums to “Play Through the Foul” of adversity.

Val Jones

Small Business Leader Texas Region, Wells Fargo

Val runs the small business customer segment strategy for Wells Fargo retail banking in Texas. As a 19-year banking veteran, Val has focused her time and energy on providing information, resources and tools to help small business owners feel empowered and knowledgeable about their finances. Jones also serves on the National Advisory Council for NAWBO.


Casey Kempton

SVP Digital Business Officer, North America Commercial Lines

Casey is responsible for the development, growth and profitability of the US Digital micro and small business segments at Chubb starting in June 2017. She has over 15 years of experience in insurance innovation, distribution, strategy, sales, underwriting, operations and technology in US Small Commercial and Personal Lines and International Operations, previously at ACE and The Hartford. She is an inventor with two patents in her name. Casey has a B.A, in Cognitive Anthropology and English from the University of Connecticut.

Kristin Keen

Co-founder, Rethreaded

Kristin lived and worked for five years in Kolkata, India, where she encountered the life-stealing effects of the area's sex trade on a daily basis. She co-founded a business, with Sarah Lance, that could offer these women a safe haven. Today, Sari Bari is a thriving business that employs more than 120 people in Kolkata, who create handmade blankets and other products from traditional fabrics.

Merrilee Kick

CEO and Founder, BuzzBallz/Southern Champion

Merrilee is the CEO/Founder of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, the only woman-owned Distillery/Winery in the United States, located in Carrollton, Texas. BuzzBallz/Southern Champion makes ready-to-drink cocktail brands, as well as premium spirits brands (rum, vodka, gin and bourbon), which are sold across the world. The company causes are educational scholarships, environmental issues and human trafficking. Merrilee is a proud NAWBO member and frequently speaks about innovation, marketing strategy and more.

Christine Lee

Director of Product, Presence and Commerce Group, GoDaddy

Christine is director of product in the presence & commerce group at GoDaddy, where she leads customer site experience for the websites and marketing product line. She is also a co-founder and board member of Women in Product. Many of her family members are entrepreneurs, so she grew up with first hand experiences of the highs and lows of managing a small business.

Connie Lindman

Member Intellectual Property Practice Group, Frost Brown Todd

Connie practices law in the intellectual property group at Frost Brown Todd LLC. She has extensive experience in the negotiation of software, SaaS and other technology agreements, domestic and international manufacturing and supply and distribution agreements. Connie was recently recognized by the Best Lawyers in America 2020 for her work in trademark and copyright law, and enjoys teaching courses on trademark and copyright as an adjunct professor.


Kayla Meares

Creator, Audibelle Clothing

Kayla Meares is a16 year old junior in High School who is the creator and part owner of Audibelle Clothing. Audibelle is a movement and community. She developed the brand to inspire and encourage young girls to achieve their goals and know that they should never be held back.  Kayla is a Co-Captain for crew with Evan’s rowing where her quad team came in 1st in districts and ranked 6th overall in the state of Florida. She is a member of the quill and school honorary society and NAWBO.  Kayla enjoys traveling with her mom, meeting women business owners to learn, and speaking with other teenpreneurs.

Lisa Crilley Mallis

Owner, Impactive Strategies

President of NAWBO-Cleveland and owner of Impactive Strategies, Lisa is recognized for providing practical solutions to everyday effectiveness and efficiency challenges. Using her 15 years in education, master’s degree and multiple coaching certifications, Lisa supports clients with customized tools so they can take strategic action instead of “being busy.” Lisa has received multiple awards for her volunteer service and leadership, which includes her creation of an annual full-day education event for women in business.

Maxine McBride

President, Clockwork Marketing

As president of Clockwork Marketing, Maxine has been providing effective public relations, media relations and community campaign services for leading companies and organizations throughout Florida for the last 25 years. Her dedication and visionary contributions set her apart as one of the most respected marketing and public relations CEOs in the region.


Teresa Meares

President, Audibelle Clothing

Teresa has 20 years of law enforcement experience and is the president of Audibelle Clothing. She is a past president of the Women’s Business Owners of North Florida, past chair of NAWBO National, past chair for the NAWBO Institute, the foundation supporting women’s education, and recently she received an appointment on the international steering committee for Les Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises.

Heather Neary

President, Auntie Anne's

Heather is president of Auntie Anne’s, the hand-baked pretzel company she joined in 2005. Prior to joining Auntie Anne’s, Heather held roles in marketing and as a managing editor for a business magazine. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Lancaster YMCA, the Board of Advisors for Penn State Harrisburg and the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Advisory Board.


Laura Neubauer

CEO, Kaleidoscope Media Services

Laura is a serial entrepreneur. Her expertise is in transportation and logistics, with a reputation for delivering an extraordinary client experience. Her business acumen, coupled with her grit and entrepreneurial spirit, quickly grew her previous company “Deliver It” into a multi-million- dollar company. Today, Laura is the CEO of Kaleidoscope Media Services and is a past president of NAWBO-Orange County and NAWBO-California.

Olalah Njenga

CEO, YellowWood Group

Olalah is the president of NAWBO-Greater Raleigh, an award-winning business owner, an accomplished strategist and an advocate for the small business economy. She is fellow of the NC Institute of Political Leadership and holds a governor-appointed seat as Commissioner of Small Business for NCWorks, which represents the workforce interests of 900,000 North Carolina business owners.



Donna Orender

CEO, Orender Unlimited

An innovator, trailblazer, game changer and highly respected business executive, Donna is CEO of Orender Unlimited. She’s been recognized as one of the top 10 most powerful women in sports and one of Newsweek’s 100 Most Influential People in Sports. She proudly served as the president of the Women’s National Basketball Association for six years, reenergizing the business and leaving the league well positioned for growth.

Carmen M. Payne

President, Champion Business Consulting

A business strategy execution specialist, Carmen brings to every opportunity her ‘can do’ attitude and passion for helping people achieve their potential. Carmen has been a trusted adviser to CEOs for 30 years in Corporate America and six years in her own business, Champion Business Consulting. One of her proudest achievements was developing the product and leading the team that grew a $1 million startup to $84 million in five years.

Suzanne Pease

Owner, Ampersand Graphics

Owner of Ampersand Graphics, a design firm specializing in brand management, Suzanne has also developed a designer line of wearable art. Her two passions attract attention for people and their businesses, making them look good in person and on paper. A 30-year NAWBO member, she has held numerous chapter and national board positions, including national president in 2003-2004. She now volunteers as a resource and coach for chapter presidents.

Wendy Lyn Phillips

Founder, Wendy Lyn Unlimited, Inc

Wendy Lyn has owned six businesses in the arts, beauty, sales, marketing and construction fields. She’s coached thousands of people on the value of having a compelling presence. With more than 30 years of experience, Wendy Lyn shares her business acumen for strategic development with leaders who want to be intentional about how they execute initiatives. Her company, Wendy Lyn Unlimited, provides coaching services for those who want to improve their brand identity.


Griselda Quezada-Chavez

Global Realtor and Importer/Exporter

Griselda nurtures relationships around the corner and around the globe. From her role as a realtor in the San Francisco/East Bay area, to supporting female business owners in Silicon Valley or globally through her leadership in NAWBO and importing and exporting goods around the world, Griselda brings integrity and a spirit of collaboration to everything she does.

Meg Rose

Vice President of Field Operations, Firehouse Subs

Meg is vice president of field operations for Firehouse Subs of America, LLC, where she oversees operations and compliance for a more than 1,150-unit, fast casual restaurant chain headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Meg’s accomplishments and passion for serving others earned her the 2011 Culture Award. In 2015, Meg was also named one of the “Women of Influence” by the Jacksonville Business Journal.

Taylor Richardson

Advocate, Astronaut StarBright

Taylor, also known as Astronaut StarBright, is an advocate, speaker and philanthropist with aspirations of becoming an astronaut. Visiting NASA Space Centers and participating in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Space Camp inspired her to get more girls interested in the STEM field. She’s been featured in two documentaries and has been featured in Time, Forbes, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Essence and more.


Elizabeth Sara

Chair National Women's Business Council

Elizabeth is the founder and president of Best Marketing, LLC, where she consults for more than 90 small businesses in the high-tech sector and serves as a chief business advisor to entrepreneurs in creating and executing go-to market strategies. She is an angel investor, a mentor to startup CEOs through many incubators and accelerators and a frequent author and conference speaker on topics related to entrepreneurship and business.

Kelly Smith

North Florida Regional Bank President, Wells Fargo

Kelly is the North Florida Region Bank President for Wells Fargo. A 15-year veteran of the company, Kelly has served in a number of positions during her career in the financial services industry. Prior to her current role, she served as region president. She currently serves

Monica Smiley

Editor and Publisher, Enterprising Women

Monica is the editor and publisher of Enterprising Women, a national and now global magazine she and her team launched in May 2000 to provide a strong voice for women entrepreneurs. Monica also serves as president of the Enterprising Women Foundation, a nonprofit she founded in 2010 to encourage philanthropy among women entrepreneurs. She received the 2017 National NAWBO Gillian Rudd Business Leadership Award.

Pamela Seagle

Global Manager, Women's Programs Bank of America

Pamela is the Global Manager for Women’s Programs at Bank of America. Most recently, she led the development and launch of the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, a collaboration between Bank of America and Cornell University, to deliver an online learning portal that provides women entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge and resources to build, manage and scale a successful business.

Cherie Tucker

Apps Sales Enablement Manager, Xerox Global Office

Cherie is the apps sales enablement manager for Xerox’s global office and solutions business group. Cherie helps partners discover the many ways in which Xerox multifunction printer apps can build their digital workplace, automate and transform their business. Before joining Xerox, she worked as a creative and digital marketing manager in the professional services industry.

Diane Thomas

President, Premier Sales, Inc.

Diane is President of Premier Sales, Inc., a 30-year-old business brokerage firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. Having successfully sold businesses, ranging in revenue from $1 million to $40 million in various industries, Diane’s expertise includes: Exit/Succession Strategies, Value Enhancement, Business Acquisition and Deal Structuring. Her success reflects her professional commitment to clients with a focus on creative solutions that mirror client objectives.

Valerie Vaughn

Owner, VLV LLC

Valerie is a past president of NAWBO-Kansas City and currently serves on the President’s Assembly Steering Committee. As the owner of VLV LLC, she works as an independent consultant with Apex Business Advisors, a firm that assists with business sales, mergers and acquisitions to guide the owners of privately held small businesses through the preparation, marketing and negotiation process of a confidential business sale.

Anna Welsh

CEO, littlebags.bigimpact

Anna is the founder and CEO of littlebags.bigimpact. Started in 2017 when she was 12 years old, littlebags.bigimpact is an accessory brand driven by a social and environmental impact mission. Anna has rescued more than 2,000 pounds of fabric from entering a landfill by using it to create littlebags. She is passionate about education and donates 15 percent of the proceeds from each bag to support childhood literacy in the U.S.

Debra Wilson

Director of Marketing, Diverse Customer Segment, UPS

Debra has been with UPS for 14 years and is currently the director of marketing for the Diverse Customer Segment. Before joining UPS, she worked for several family-owned businesses, and eventually started her own business and was a UPS vendor. Debra is a passionate leader dedicated to the ongoing development of individuals, teams and herself to achieve effective partnerships and business results.

Cathy Williams

e Business Diversity and Government Administration Manager, Ferguson Enterprises

Cathy is the business diversity and government administration manager for Ferguson Enterprises. She is responsible for the company-wide Supplier Diversity program and project management and compliance of federal, state and local government small business contracts. Under her leadership, Ferguson has received several awards for the company Supplier Diversity program. Cathy is also an advocate for the Virginia Peninsula and the Hampton Roads business and non-profit community. 

Lynn Weirich

President ,Business Financial Group

Lynn is president of Business Financial Group, a human resources consulting firm she co-founded in 1997. The team helps business owners manage their back-office issues related to their most important asset: their people. Lynn was a founding member of NAWBO-San Antonio and served as president and on the local board in a variety of positions. She was also named NAWBO Member of the Year in 2014.

Laura Yamanaka

President and Co-founder, teamCFO Inc.

Laura Yamanaka is President and co-founder of teamCFO Inc., a financial and accounting firm offering CFO/Controller services to businesses and nonprofits. teamCFO was founded to improve performance and support the growth of the private business community. Today, teamCFO has a dynamic group of professionals focusing on both growth issues and turnaround operations for its clients and offers a wide variety of operational accounting services to their clients including remote office support as well as onsite services.

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