The UMass Lowell Women's Leadership Conference and Conversations Series are committed to providing focused, relevant and practical programming to help all of us lead in today's fast-changing work environment.
Topics both for the in-person conference and the virtual conversations sessions include:
Advancing your career
And so much more!
Why You Should Attend
The UMass Lowell Women's Leadership Conference features a full day dedicated to the power and potential of women. This in-person event offers informative programming, inspiring speakers and numerous networking opportunities.
Building on the success of our conference, the virtual Women's Leadership Conversations series brings together top experts for targeted sessions on important topics. Free to attend, these interactive conversations allow you to join from wherever you are.
Feedback from past participants tells the story:
I was very nervous to come here. It was my first conference, ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Everything was incredibly organized, and everyone was incredibly kind. I am glad that I came.
Love, love, love this conference.
Please keep doing it for as long as you can - I've found it helpful in so many ways at different years in my professional career.
Copyright 2023, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Ruth Agbaji is the CEO and Nerd-In-Chief of Code Wiz and has a passion for helping kids connect with their inner genius. Code Wiz offers kids a wide variety of technology to express their creativity through coding and robotics. Agbaji's love for coding started when she taught herself to code while still living in Nigeria. Loving these newly found "powers," she proceeded to get a master's degree in computer science from Tufts University and to work as a software engineer for tech giants like Microsoft and Kronos. Desiring to make a direct impact on the next generation and having a need for flexibility, in 2017, Agbaji quit her day job to open Code Wiz. Her vision was to have a center where kids of all abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds could come and learn about problem-solving through coding and pour their imagination into personalized projects. With her first center a success and 30 locations in various stages of development across the U.S., Agbaji is looking to grow Code Wiz into a household brand name in the enrichment education space.
Mercy Anampiu, MBA, CHW, has over 18 years of experience in the community health field. She is currently employed at Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) as the senior director of community engagement. She oversees community health, social determinants of health (SDOH) and language access strategies. Anampiu promotes health services for patients; supports professional development for staff and other health care specialists in the community; stimulates community engagement; and actively participates in health improvement initiatives. She consistently facilitates specialized trainings for medical interpreters, community health workers and other public health professionals. Anampiu is a community health worker, an advocate, educator, mentor, interpreter and "go to" person for many. She also volunteers on multiple area boards.
For the last 6 months, she has taken a consulting role with Utile Designs as a community organizer, to ensure that Lowell's Comprehensive Master Plan is inclusive and elevates the voice of the community.
Anampiu holds an MBA from Fitchburg University. Additionally, she has received additional training from various health care and nonprofit leadership entities as part of her postgraduate education to enhance her health care knowledge. Her passion is community organizing and working with marginalized populations to reduce disparities and promote overall well-being.
Rita Balian Allen
Rita Balian Allen is the president of Rita B. Allen Associates, an international career management firm specializing in executive coaching, leadership development, management training and career development. Allen has worked with leaders across all industries and disciplines to empower themselves to take charge of their careers and maximize their talent potential. She is a lecturer at Northeastern University, a sought-after speaker and the author of numerous articles, blogs and the book "Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself." She is a regular contributor for the Association for Talent Development, Chief Learning Officer, Huffington Post and other publications. Allen was voted one of the top 10 executive coaches by the Boston Women's Business Journal. She holds an M.S. in leadership and a B.S. in business administration and is an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach and Professional Certified Coach (PCC).
Nora L. Baston
Nora Baston is a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who has served as a member of the command staff for 16 years and holds the civil service rank of Lieutenant Detective. Superintendent Baston has advanced through the ranks and is currently the chief of the Bureau of Professional Development, as well as the fourth female appointed to the rank of Superintendent in the department's history. Among her many accomplishments, she is most proud of having been the commander of the Safe Street Teams Initiative, which under her leadership was recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2011 with the Community Policing Award and the Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award, along with graduating from the FBI National Academy in 2010. For over 18 years, Baston has continued to develop deep and meaningful relationships with the community by engaging with all the neighborhoods throughout the city of Boston. She is a product of the Boston Public Schools and graduated from the Boston Latin School. After receiving a basketball scholarship, she went on to complete both her bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. In 2019, Baston was awarded Alumna of the Year by UMass Lowell's Criminal Justice Department.
Kristen Brown currently serves as the head of global talent acquisition - engineering at Cisco, the worldwide leader in networking. She is responsible for leading the company's global efforts to identify, attract and hire engineering talent in support of Cisco's mission and award-winning culture. Before joining Cisco in 2022, Brown served as the vice president, global talent acquisition, for UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group). In more than 10 years with UKG, her team helped drive the company's exponential growth to 15,000 employees and $1.5 billion in revenue. Prior to UKG, Brown led talent acquisition for ULTA Beauty and Staples, both of which experienced significant headcount and revenue growth during her tenure. Brown holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from the School of Management at Simmons College.
Sue Collard is a seasoned marketing professional and leader in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI) space. Over the last 25-plus years, she has held senior management positions in DEI operations and strategy as well as in marketing and talent development. These roles span various industries within startups, Fortune 500 companies and ad agencies. Collard's combination of business and DEI experience allow her to bring business acumen, innovation and a people mindset when developing DEI strategies and programs supporting all to rise.
Collard's current role at UKG is focused on establishing DEI&B as a business imperative that will drive impactful business outcomes and align with the values of our global customers and partners. She is focused on driving operational excellence and leading strategic programs, including the buildout of the DEI&B operational framework and processes, foundational learning curriculum, sales enablement/customer engagement programs and ambassador program.
Before joining UKG, Collard led field marketing for the data storage startup, EqualLogic, before it was acquired by Dell Technologies in 2008. During her 16 years at Dell Technologies, she held various positions in marketing, talent, and diversity and inclusion. Collard works from her remote office just outside of Portland, Maine, when she is not travelling to UKG's global sites or conferences.
Collard holds a B.S. in marketing from Bentley University. She resides in Ocean Park, Maine, and is passionate about the environment, children in need, nutrition/fitness, travelling and helping others to grow and thrive as their authentic selves.
Natanja Craig Oquendo
Natanja Craig Oquendo has spent her career centering the voices of Black and Brown people. At a young age, she was inspired by activists defending her community from systemic injustice. However, after entering the sector and discovering that those most impacted by foundation investments were absent from the decision-making tables, she was determined to change philanthropy. She brings an unwavering passion for community solutions, her unique lived experience and over 20 years of nonprofit and philanthropic expertise to her work as executive director of the Boston Women's Fund. Under Craig Oquendo's leadership, in less than three years, the Boston Women's Fund tripled their grantmaking dollars and more than doubled their grantees. Previously, she held positions at The Boston Foundation, Fidelity Investments, The Partnership Inc., The Possible Project and the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. She is a board member at Philanthropy Massachusetts and serves on the advisory boards of Harvard Law Center and Everyday Boston. She is part of two fellowships: the UMass Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy and the Black Leadership Initiative.
She is a YW Boston 2023 Academy of Women Achievers honoree and has been named one of 2023's Most Influential Bostonians by Boston magazine. Craig Oquendo's greatest work is that of a mother and grandmother to her three daughters, two sons and granddaughter, all of whom she shares with husband, Jason.
Kerrie D'Entremont is an experienced executive director who has worked in the nonprofit, public health field for over 25 years. For the past decade, she has been the executive director for the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, a strategic coalition of community organizations that improves well-being of those living in the Greater Lowell region. D'Entremont serves on many boards and advisory committees. Skilled in public speaking, management, fundraising, health policy and advocacy, and program development, she has also published in research journals including "Plos One." She moved to Lowell from the Berkshires in the early 1990s to attend UMass Lowell, from which she earned a bachelor of applied science degree with a focus in community health. She has made Lowell her home ever since, and lives in Centralville with her husband, Tom, and their two sons Ian (15) and Evan (12), and their dog, Gogo.
Bhakti Deshmukh is a biotech engineer with an MBA in human resource management and is currently working as the director of Global Talent Development at Waters Corporation. Throughout her career she has worked and lived in various countries such as India, Italy, Germany and now the U.S., and has operated in many others. Deshmukh is passionate about helping leaders and organizations develop and cultivate a diverse and inclusive community of talents. Over the years, her work has specially revolved around early career leadership development, building high-performing team culture, cross-cultural integrations and creating programs that enable people to leverage the power of organizational networks.
Ellen Ellsworth is the director of growth and innovative services for MassMEP. She is responsible for growing the knowledge base of technology acceleration within the MEP organization, in addition to sharing best practices internally and with the nonprofit's client network. Ellsworth joined MassMEP as a program manager in 2021, working hand in hand with clients on continuous improvement. Prior to MassMEP, she worked at GE Aviation for 14 years in sites throughout the U.S., handling roles in program and project management, manufacturing engineering, materials and people leadership. She has a passion for continuous improvement, mentoring and coaching. Ellsworth has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from UMass Lowell and a master's degree in supply chain management from Penn State University.
Karoline Evans is an assistant professor of management in the Manning School of Business and a research associate in the Center for Women and Work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her research focuses on how social relationships, team dynamics and leadership affect work outcomes. She has also written on the role of gender in workplace advancement and on how employees can enact social change in their organizations. She has consulted for companies in manufacturing, energy and product development as part of her work. Before her academic career, she worked in R&D at Accenture Technology Labs, where she specialized in emerging mobile technologies and developing workplace innovation best practices.
Anna Furman is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique by the American Society for the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is a method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. In her post-graduate years, she is continuing her work at the Alexander Technique Training Center and collaborating with masters of the technique in the U.S. and Europe. As a member of the Center for Integrative Healing, she offers a psycho-physical approach to human health. Furman has been a competitive athlete, model, artist and actor. Over the past 20 years, she has participated in dozens of productions worldwide. As a lifelong learner, she understands that adopting a new skill can be both exciting and challenging. She is committed to supporting her clients at every step and has extensive experience working with all types of people to reach their highest potential, from actors and public speakers to athletes and office professionals.
Brigadier General Ginger Gaglio
Brigadier General Ginger Gaglio is the chief of staff and commander of the Massachusetts Air National Guard (ANG) and serves as the ANG assistant to Secretary of the Air Force Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Washington, D.C. Gen. Gaglio is the principal advisor to the adjutant general and land component commander in the execution of all National Guard Joint Staff programs. She ensures the preparation of the 9,000 airmen and soldiers of the commonwealth of Massachusetts for both federal and state emergency contingency operations along with the commonwealth's Joint Homeland Defense Program, which includes rapid reaction forces, counter drug operations, civil support teams, expeditionary medical teams and explosives ordnance disposal. Prior to her current assignment, she was the wing commander of the 102nd Intelligence Wing.
Adriana Giraldo, a Colombian immigrant, has served as student services and community engagement coordinator at the Frederick Abisi Adult Education Center, Lowell Public Schools, for more than 18 years. Giraldo left a corporate career to support newcomers in Lowell. Connecting students and community members with services in the community has been her priority, and she is always looking for ways to work and collaborate in community initiatives. Her vast knowledge of community organizations and her participation in different committees, boards and task forces have allowed her to efficiently match clients in need with services in the community. Giraldo was recognized as one of the "Mighty Mover Women" Honorees in 2022 by Dwelling House of Hope and one of the "Lowell 100" Honorees in 2019 by the International Institute of New England for her work on education and as a community leader.
Evana Gizzi is an artificial intelligence researcher and mission resilience lead at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Her work is focused on domain agnostic novelty resolution methods in intelligent agents, which she has applied to both the robotics and aerospace domain. She currently serves as principal investigator to the Space Autonomy and Resilience (SPAR) group at NASA GSFC, which investigates methods for fault mitigation in satellites using artificial intelligence methods. Gizzi also serves as the Mission Resilience lead for the Distributed Systems Mission (DSM) internal research and development project at GSFC, which is utilizing her team's fault mitigation methods in a constellation mission design concept. Gizzi resides in Massachusetts, where she is prioritizing the cultivation of AI-focused collaboration between NASA and the New England region. She earned both her undergraduate and master's degrees from UML in applied and computational mathematics.
Mary Beth Haut
As the managing director of enterprise wealth management at Enterprise Bank, Mary Beth Haut leads the team that delivers comprehensive wealth management, investment management, planning and fiduciary services to individual and institutional clients. She oversees the bank's relationship management, investment management, trust services, financial planning, risk management and strategy. With more than 30 years of wealth management experience, Haut has held leadership positions at Bank of America, Arcadia Trust, Camden National Bank and Citizens Bank. She lives with her family in Andover, Massachusetts, and is a board member of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley and an advisory council member of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, where she previously served on the board of directors.
Beth Humberd is an associate professor of management and management department chair in the UMass Lowell Manning School of Business. She is an expert on issues of worker identity, gender and diversity, relational dynamics in organizations and the changing nature of work. She is an associate professor and department chair in the management department of the Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell. Her scholarly research has been published in top academic journals such as Academy of Management Review, MIT Sloan Management Review and Harvard Business Review, and she has been featured in many popular press outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Fast Company, NPR Marketplace and NBC and ABC News. Humberd began her professional career in the consulting practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers and then worked in a variety of corporate finance roles at Boston Scientific Corp. She left industry to pursue academic interests, receiving her Ph.D. in organization studies from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College in 2014. She also holds an undergraduate degree from Babson College and an MBA from Bentley College.
Cvic Innocent's career is business development of innovations across the deep-tech, sustainability and DeFi sectors, and she draws upon her experience as an investor, serial entrepreneur and founder, researcher and startup advisor. Innocent sits on the board of directors for Erez Capital, is a partner in Build Ventures Africa, serves as the vice president of strategic initiatives & partnerships for a local Chamber of Commerce and donates time to efforts in accelerators, including the NH Tech Alliance, MassChallenge, MassFinTech Hub, gener8tor and Harvard Innovations (Hi). Before that, she completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Oxford and doctoral training at Cornell University and began her scientific career at NASA.
Felicia Jadczak is co-founder, co-CEO, and head of DEI programming at She+ Geeks Out. She has extensive experience related to leadership, innovation, women in the workforce, the multiracial experience and disability. Prior to co-founding SGO, she worked in the technology industry for over 10 years, providing strategic guidance and programming for ERGs, DEI councils and C-suite members. Jadczak received a B.A. in comparative literature from Haverford College, and an MBA and a master's in information systems, both from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. She also completed Georgetown University's certificate in strategic diversity and inclusion management. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and two cats.
With over 20 years of experience in human resources, facilitation and leadership development, Jessica Kaplan is a trusted advisor and executive coach to leaders, helping them propel organizational strategy by optimizing talent and leading authentically and intentionally. Before joining ClearRock, Kaplan was HR business partner to the chief operating officer at Tufts Medical Center and head of talent for Benchmark Senior Living and Bright Horizons Family Solutions. Kaplan has degrees from Tufts University, American University and the University of Maryland. She is an ICF professional coach and predictive index master trainer and is certified in the MBTI, Leadership Versatility Index, EQ-I, and StrengthsFinder assessments. As a grateful mother of twins, she enjoys spending time with them and her husband in her free time, dancing in the kitchen, speaking Spanish whenever possible and mentoring emerging mission-driven leaders.
Carolyn A. Kirk was selected by the executive committee of the Mass Tech Collaborative (Mass Tech) as the agency's executive director in February 2019. Mass Tech is a state economic development agency whose mission is to strengthen the tech and innovation economy across a variety of industries including advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, digital health and other emerging tech areas such as artificial intelligence, fintech, blue tech/marine tech and robotics.
Kirk previously served as the deputy secretary in the cabinet level secretariat of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, a role she held since January 2015. As second-in-command, Kirk was responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of the approximately 1,000-person, billion-dollar agency, including information technology, human resources, communications, finance and legal. In addition, she served in various leadership capacities, managed an economic development program portfolio, served alongside the lieutenant governor as vice chair of the Seaport Economic Council and tackled difficult assignments for the administration.
Prior to her roles in state government, in 2007, Kirk became the first woman popularly elected as mayor of Gloucester, going on to win three subsequent terms. With a strong-mayor form of government, Kirk was responsible for all aspects of executive management of Gloucester, including public safety, public works, public health, community and economic development, and she served as a member of the elected School Committee.
Not only did Kirk lead the city through public health, infrastructure and natural disaster emergencies, but she pulled the city through the unpredictable challenges of the Great Recession through strong and disciplined fiscal management. Kirk's economic development plan focused on diversifying the local economy, which has traditionally been focused on the commercial fishing industry, and emphasized community values and strengths that led to job creation and expansion of the commercial tax base. A key pillar of the city's economic plan was a focus on the blue economy.
Kirk's professional career spans more than 25 years and includes longtime experience as a management consultant, working with clients that included many of the Top 20 banks in the U.S., along with Fortune 500 companies.
She was raised in Clinton, New York, and moved to Massachusetts to attend college, graduating from Boston College.
Pam Kuong has been in banking for nearly four decades. She began her career in commercial banking at Bank of New England, which underwent five acquisitions during her time there. She moved to Bank of America until 2022, when she left to become a senior vice president and market director in the Middle Market North division of Santander Bank.
Kuong has been a volunteer swimming coach for 30 years. She is an avid golfer, winning numerous New England Senior Amateur titles and Massachusetts Player of the Year awards. She has also competed in over 30 USGA national championships.
A longtime member of the board of the ESSCO-MGH Breast Cancer Research Fund, Kuong is also on the Governance Committee for MassGolf. She earned a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from Babson College.
Laurie LaChapelle joined DCU-Digital Federal Credit Union in April 2011 and is currently the chief financial officer at the credit union. Prior to that, she spent 13 years at audit and tax consulting firms, auditing small businesses and financial institutions. As CFO at DCU, LaChapelle oversees accounting, capital planning, finance, procurement and support services as well as the credit union's two foundations, DCU for Kids and Axuda. Additionally, LaChapelle focuses on strategies for balance sheet management, capital growth and allocation, and enhancements to DCU's budgeting and projection processes. She earned a B.S. degree in business administration with a double concentration in accounting and finance at Merrimack College and is a CPA in Massachusetts.
Amanda Leahy grew up in Lowell and is a graduate of Lowell High School. She earned a B.A. from Boston College, an M.A.T. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Leahy taught English at Lowell High School for four years before transitioning to working in sustainable agriculture in 2017. Now an organic farmer, she manages a 350-member CSA at Clark Farm in Carlisle, Massachusetts.
Kim Meninger is a leadership coach, consultant and TEDx speaker focused on empowering professionals and organizations to reach new heights by making it easier to be human at work. She is particularly passionate about helping women to become more confident, visible and influential leaders. She believes that everyone deserves a seat at the table and that an authentic commitment to inclusion and psychological safety is the key to long-term corporate success. Meninger also hosts The Impostor Syndrome Files podcast and leads a weekly Leading Humans discussion forum, which is free and open to all. She has a B.A. in psychology and an MBA from Boston College and is an ICF professional certified coach with certifications in confidence, career, executive and leadership development coaching. Meninger also holds a certificate in executive leadership from Cornell University.
Kerianne Nelson, a Chelmsford, Massachusetts, native, is the founder and lead designer of Kerianne Nelson Flora, a private florist offering timeless and elegant floral installations with each client's personality reflected throughout the design. Nelson brings over 17 years of experience in the wedding and event industry, and her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty Weddings, Wedding Sparrow and Carats & Cake, among other notable credits. Through her design process, Nelson sources finest seasonally available blooms and partners directly with a variety of local flower farmers for thoughtful and sustainable design.
As the Executive Director of Project LEARN, LZ Nunn has leveraged over $13 million in funding for programs that prepare young people for college, career and civic life. Prior to joining Project LEARN, Nunn was the director of cultural affairs and special events for the city of Lowell and then worked with Boston Global Communications & Performance to provide management training in strategy, design thinking and women in leadership for global companies in Paris, London and Dubai. Passionate about civic leadership and building cultural vitality, Nunn is most energized when collaborating on programs that range from developing large-scale murals in Lowell to expanding access to early college and career pathways for young people. Nunn holds a B.A. from the University of Washington and an M.F.A. from Emerson College, and she completed a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard's Graduate School of Design in 2013.
Darcy Orellana is Middlesex Community College's executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion and of its Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation. She is an equity-minded administrator experienced in human resources, professional development and compliance; in student affairs, including multicultural and international student affairs; and in enrollment management, including admissions and financial aid. Orellana has participated in committees such as the MA DHE Statewide Equity Advisory Board and the MA DHE Steering Committee to develop the strategic plan for racial equity. She serves on local boards, with four years on her elected local school board, including as its chair. Her scholarship focuses on culturally engaging organizational cultures. Orellana has an Ed.D. in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an M.A. in community social psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a B.A. in education and French from Tufts University.
As a strategic DEI leader and human resources business partner, Ive Peña Gonzalez has 25-plus years of expertise successfully leading, developing and implementing DEI programs, talent acquisition solutions, employee engagement initiatives and talent management strategies across various industries. In her current role, Gonzalez is the senior vice president, diversity, equity and inclusion director at Eastern Bank. In this newly created role, she is responsible for leading and driving the execution of the company's DEI strategy, programming and initiatives, advancing the company's strategic goals to foster greater inclusion and equity across the organization. Gonzalez earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology with a minor in business administration from Merrimack College and holds a master of arts in management communication from Emerson College. She is an inclusive and collaborative leader who proudly demonstrates her commitment to her community by serving on several boards, including, LifeScene, La Vida Scholars, KIPP MA, the Center for Collaborative Leadership at UMass Boston, the Association of Latino Professionals for America Corporate Advisory Board and the MA Bankers Association DEI committee.
Kerry Pucillo is the director of corporate relations at UMass Lowell. She oversees corporate and industry philanthropic giving across the university as part of a holistic and interconnected engagement approach to external partnerships. She has over 25 years of experience working with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to local community establishments. At UML, Pucillo sits on several planning committees and collaborates with its schools, colleges, departments, and programs to ensure connectivity across corporate engagement efforts. She joined the university in 2015 and holds a B.S. from Framingham State University and an MBA from UMass Lowell. A native of Billerica, Masschusetts, Pucillo and her family currently reside in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Karyn has over 20 years of experience overseeing various fiscal, personnel, administrative and procurement services that support businesses in achieving superior performance and customer service. Karyn is currently the Executive Director of Business Operations for Facilities Management at UMass Lowell. She is a life-long learner and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Manning School of Business. She has served in varying elected and volunteer opportunities including: a 9-year member of the Tyngsborough Board of Selectmen; a 4-year member of the Tyngsborough School Committee, a 7-year member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board (current Chair), and a 4-year board member at Lowell Catholic High School (current Chair).
Monica Rommel is an engineer who has developed innovative composite solutions for the most advanced systems used to protect the United States. Rommel took a leap and, with her husband Rick, purchased Specialty Materials in 2019 after working 35 years in the aerospace industry. As owner and CEO, she is revitalizing and transforming a 50-year-old business. Specialty Materials won the Small Business Administration's 2020 Subcontractor of the Year award and was awarded a $2.3 million Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative Grant in 2021 to expand capacity and upgrade production equipment.
Prior to acquiring Specialty Materials, Rommel was an advanced product engineer with L3Harris. In this capacity, she planned, developed and executed technology development programs aimed at improving the performance of electro-optical imaging systems. Rommel was a founding member of a government-sponsored nanotechnology materials consortium and led a customer-sponsored research and development program for over 10 years on nanomaterials. She supported vital supply chain initiatives with the Space Industrial Base Working group to ensure the stable supply of high modulus fibers into the U.S.'s satellite industry. Rommel worked at Northrop Grumman from 1987 to 1999, developing affordable composites for fighter aircraft and supersonic aircraft.
Lisa Taylor-Montminy currently serves as community benefits manager for Tufts Medicine Lowell General Hospital. In this role, Taylor-Montminy works closely with community groups and organizations to ensure that the hospital is an active participant in the community, supporting programs and initiatives designed to positively impact the health and wellness of our community members. With over 30 years serving in the nonprofit sector, she has worked directly on issues centered on workforce development and community empowerment. Taylor-Montminy holds an M.A. in community psychology from UMass Lowell and is also an active real estate broker, licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She currently lives in the Merrimack Valley with her husband Michael and their two cats.
Hannah Tello, is a prevention scientist with nearly two decades of experience working in public health and health behavior psychology. She is currently the director of projects and evaluation for the Greater Lowell Health Alliance, a strategic coalition of community organizations that improves well-being of those living in the Greater Lowell region. She is the architect of several significant community assessments and strategic plans, including the Greater Lowell Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan. Her research on maternal-infant health has been featured internationally in London and Tokyo, as well as published in research journals including the “American Journal of Maternal-Child Nursing” and “Breastfeeding Medicine.” She also has a decade of instructional experience as a secondary educator and instructor of record. She is a longtime resident of Massachusetts, with a particular affinity for her current home in the Greater Lowell area.
Keri Thompson is a senior lecturer in communication studies at Emerson College and specializes in public speaking and professional communication skills. She has extensive public speaking experience and has taught, coached and lectured on the subject at various schools and organizations across the country. Her research specialties include nonverbal communication and presence, audience analysis, political communication, social media, rhetoric and language. She specializes in coaching and training business executives and political candidates. Thompson serves as a speech consultant for Babson College (working with coaching Babson students, staff, alums and executive MBA students) and a speech coach at Harvard Business School. For the past few years, she has been busy pioneering ways to use social media and digital storytelling as a means of public speaking in the classroom, business world and political arena. Thompson has graduate degrees from Pepperdine University and The University of Texas at Austin
Jean Yang is the president and CEO of Vinfen Corporation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving people with mental illnesses, intellectual and developmental disabilities and other life changes.
Yang has 20 years of business and policy experience in the health care industry spanning across payer, provider and government organizations in the New England region. Prior to Vinfen, she was the president of public plans at Point32Health, where she led the company's business segment serving Medicaid and other low-income populations. She also served as the executive director of the Boston Children's Hospital Integrated Care Organization, where she led the development of the hospital's inaugural Medicaid Accountable Care Organization. As a former public servant for the commonwealth, Yang led the complex effort to implement the Affordable Care Act in Massachusetts, as well as being a policy influencer through her service on the Health Policy Commission and Group Insurance Commission.
A native of China, Yang is a graduate of Peking University in Beijing and Harvard Business School. She received the Boston Chamber of Commerce's Pinnacle Award in 2017.