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Women's Initiative Fellowship Mentors

2015 Mentors

Ann-Robin Anthony
Deputy Director, Women’s Democracy Network, IRI

Ann-Robin Anthony recently joined IRI as Deputy Director of WDN. Prior to joining the IRI team, Anthony served in multiple capacities encouraging voter participation, civic involvement, and candidate recruitment of women in U.S. politics at the national and state level. She served on the Bush-Cheney ‘04 and McCain-Palin ‘08 presidential campaigns, managing women’s outreach and coalition building activities nationally. During these elections as well as during the 2005-2006 election cycle when she directed women’s political outreach at the Republican National Committee, her primary goal was to engage, educate, and motivate women voters to become active participants in the political process. In 2004, Anthony additionally served on the 55th Presidential Inaugural Committee as part of the team responsible for guests of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney at Inaugural events.

In 2009, Anthony moved to California to join one of the most watched races of the 2010 elections. She served as traveling Chief of Staff to California gubernatorial candidate and former President and CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman, overseeing daily operations on the campaign trail and serving as a confidential advisor to the candidate. Anthony took on a new role in 2011, combining her work in the political realm with philanthropic outreach as the Executive Director of the Whitman-Harsh Foundation. At the foundation, she developed a comprehensive social impact strategy around K-12 education reform both in California and nationally, as well as advised the foundation’s most prominent grantee, Teach For America, on the cultivation, engagement, and stewardship of lead donors. Anthony managed annual giving of the $100 million family foundation with an eye towards not only providing financial support to results-driven non-profit organizations but also strategically using political, corporate, and government partnerships to bring visibility and significant additional assistance to the work of grantees.

An undergraduate of Duke University majoring in Economics, Anthony also studied non-profit management at Stanford University.

Dawn Schock

Dawn Schock is an attorney and international rule of law development consultant. Ms. Schock has successfully represented financial institutions and transportation companies in the California state and federal courts for over 25 years. She is also a commercial arbitrator and mediator.

A recognized leader in her profession, Ms. Schock rose through the ranks to partnership in her first law firm, managed her own practice for many years, and recently launched the S/K Appellate Group with another woman shareholder. She has served on the boards of governors of four local, state, and national bar associations and is a past president of the California Women Lawyers association.

Since 2008, Ms. Schock has combined her law practice with an international development consultancy. She has supported justice sector reform projects in the Balkans, the former Soviet republics, and countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region. She has enjoyed the privilege of working closely with local and international judges, lawyers, and law professors as they strive to build legal infrastructures that better protect basic rights and support economic development. Her engagements have broadly included managing programs in Armenia, establishing clinical classes at Jordanian law schools, and assessing reform needs in Nigeria, Bosnia, and Bahrain. In 2013, her team supported a women judges’ and lawyers’ association in Tunisia as they successfully lobbied for gender equality under the newly adopted constitution.

Denise Davis
Founder, Davis Kaufman PLLC

Denise Davis is a native Texan with over 18 years of experience working with members of the Texas Legislature. She has extensive experience in drafting complex legislation, administrative rules, legal memoranda and briefs for clients in both the public and private sectors.

Before founding Davis Kaufman PLLC with Lisa Kaufman in 2012, Ms. Davis served for over two years as Chief of Staff to Speaker Joe R. Straus. Prior to her tenure as Chief of Staff, Ms. Davis served several sessions as House Parliamentarian and Special Counsel to the Texas House of Representatives, where she advised the Speaker and House members on ethics and on legal and parliamentary matters. Her public service also includes work as General Counsel to Lt. Governor William “Bill” Ratliff, Director and Counsel to the Texas Judicial Council under then-Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, General Counsel to the Senate Jurisprudence Committee under Senator Rodney Ellis, Legislative Counsel for the Texas Legislative Council, and Assistant Public Information/Press Officer for Lt. Governor William P. Hobby.

In addition to her many years in public service, Ms. Davis has also worked in private practice, serving as Special Counsel to the corporate department of Baker Botts LLP, an international law firm, where she provided public policy law and governmental relations services to corporate clients.

Ms. Davis received her Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. While at the Law School, Ms. Davis served as Notes Editor for the American Journal of Criminal Law.

Dr. Elizabeth Nabel
President, Brigham and Women's Health Care

Betsy Nabel has served as President of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A cardiologist and distinguished biomedical researcher, Nabel is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Nabel brings a unique perspective to health care based on her experience as a physician, research scientist, academic medicine leader, and wellness advocate. At BWH, she led development of a comprehensive strategic plan that defines a new model of medicine focused on innovation and discovery in care redesign; in research through multiple life sciences collaborations; and in personalized therapies and translational medicine.

Nabel has a long record of advocacy for health and broadening access to care. As Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 2005-2009, Nabel leveraged the $3 billion research portfolio to establish pioneering scientific programs in genomics, stem cells, and translational research. One of Nabel’s signature advocacy efforts was the Red Dress Heart Truth campaign, which raises heart awareness in women through innovative partnerships. Throughout her career, Nabel has been a champion for global health. At the NHLBI, she established Centers of Excellence in developing countries to combat cardiovascular and lung diseases. At BWH she helped create a national teaching hospital in Haiti and is advancing training for clinicians in under-resourced countries.

An accomplished physician-scientist, Nabel’s work on the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases has produced 17 patents and more than 250 scientific publications. Her colleagues have elected her to the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received many honors, including six honorary doctorates. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Nabel attended Weill Cornell Medical College and completed her internal medicine and cardiology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She and her husband Gary, who is the Chief Scientific Officer for Sanofi, have three children, all of whom are pursuing careers in medicine.

Jenifer Sarver
Founder, Sarver Strategies

Jenifer Sarver has more than 15 years of experience in media relations, crisis communications, speechwriting, coalition building, and media and presentation skills training. Her career has spanned the corporate, nonprofit and political worlds, helping clients develop messages that will resonate with their core audiences and create strategies for effectively delivering those messages through the appropriate channels.

In launching Sarver Strategies in 2014, Jenifer focused her skills on training and storytelling, helping clients develop a narrative that effectively conveys their core values, and then preparing them to effectively deliver that message. Jenifer has extensive experience in media and presentation skills training, having conducted workshop and one-on-one trainings for a wide range of public figures including CEOs, foreign leaders, local and state political candidates and office holders, and nonprofit leaders.

Jenifer spent nearly six years as Chief of Staff to Ambassador Karen Hughes, the worldwide vice chair of Burson-Marsteller, where she was also a Senior Director in the Public Affairs & Crisis Practice, and General Manager of the Austin office. Previously, Jenifer was the Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Bush Administration. She also served as the Director of The Archer Center, The University of Texas System campus in Washington, D.C., and was a Senior Advisor to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Jenifer worked in public relations at Cunningham Communications and Public Strategies, representing high tech and communications clients, and began her professional career in political campaigns, working as a Finance Director, and later as a Deputy Campaign Manager on two separate congressional races during the 1996 election cycle.

The Honorable Judith C. Chirlin
Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge

Judge Judith C. Chirlin (Ret’d), was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1985; she retired in 2009. As of November 2011, she became Executive Director of the Western Justice Center (“WJC”) in Pasadena, California. WJC is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a more civil, peaceful society where differences are valued. It designs and implements creative programs that change the way people think about and respond to differences and conflict.

Over the years, Judge Chirlin has been involved in numerous efforts to improve the legal system and the administration of justice in California, throughout the nation and around the world. She is a past Chair of the Board of the American Judicature Society, a national organization dedicated to improving the justice system. She has held numerous positions in the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, California Women Lawyers, National Association of Women Judges and the International Association of Women Judges.

She also served as Vice Chair of the California Gender Bias Task Force, as a member of a Blue Ribbon Panel Investigating the Problems of Women in Prison, and as a member of a commission evaluating the administration of justice in California, all by virtue of appointment by Chief Justices of California. She is a member of the Board of the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (“ROLI”.) She is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the CEELI Institute in Prague, the Czech Republic. Judge Chirlin has traveled extensively, consulting on court reform and teaching programs for foreign judges, lawyers, police officers and other legal professionals in more than 20 countries. Since 2003 to the present, she has worked with various groups from Iraq, including both male and female judges and women who lead civil society organizations that address the problems of women in Iraq.

She is a graduate of The George Washington University (BA in Political Science), Rutgers University (MA in Politics from the Eagleton Institute of Politics) and the University of Southern California Law School (J.D.).

Kellie Kreiser
Executive Director, Thunderbird for Good at Thunderbird School of Global Management

Kellie Kreiser founded and oversees Thunderbird School of Global Management’s social impact business education programs for base-of-the-pyramid learners. “Thunderbird for Good” leverages the school’s expertise in international business to provide learning experiences for non-traditional students who utilize business and management skills to fight poverty, secure peace and improve living conditions in their communities.

Ms. Kreiser has been responsible for the design, fund-raising, and implementation of business training programs that have taught over 107,000 women across 29 countries. She has built partnerships with organizations, such as Freeport McMoRan Inc. (DreamBuilder), Goldman Sachs (10,000 Women), and the Inter-American Development Bank (Strengthening Women Entrepreneurs in Peru). A member of the Clinton Global Initiative, Ms. Kreiser’s work has supported multiple CGI commitments, predominantly helping women entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses.

Kimberly Davis
Founder and Director, OnStage Leadership

Kimberly’s life on the stage has taken many forms, forging a circuitous path that has given her more than 25 years of experience in front of groups and audiences of all sizes. Her rich career includes work as a professional actress; leading cross-cultural workshops throughout Japan; designing and leading global “Customer Experience Programs” in the US, UK, France, Germany, and Hong Kong; and facilitating employee engagement/leadership development workshops for a multitude of Fortune 500’s throughout the US.

In March 2009, Kimberly blended her expertise in theatre and leadership development and launched “OnStage Leadership”, which has received rave reviews and made an impact on leaders across the country in organizations including: GE, Centocor Ortho Biotech, TGI Fridays, Essilor, Experian, Hills Pet Nutrition, Return Path, Fahrenheit 212, Redscout, The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and many, many others.

In addition to leading OnStage Leadership, Kimberly also has the privilege of being external faculty for SMU’s Cox School of Business’ Executive Education, teaching Authentic Influence for their Certificate of Leadership Program and Executive Presence for the Corporate Executive Development program (CEDP), (in partnership with the National Hispanic Corporate Council). She is also honored to teach Authentic Influence and Influence without Power for the Bush Institute’s Women’s Fellowship program, empowering future female leaders in the Middle East. Whether she’s speaking to small business owners, Fortune 500 leaders, or leaders of the future, Kimberly is committed to connecting people to the best of who they are; challenging her audiences to consider what they need to do, on a personal level, to authentically and powerfully bring their best selves to work and life for real results.

Lisa Matthews
Founder, Jonathan’s Place

In 1991, Dallas-native Lisa Matthews formed Kid Net Foundation and Jonathan’s Place, named after the first baby she took in as a foster parent. Today, Jonathan’s Place provides a safe, loving home and specialized services to children who have been victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect. After serving as President and CEO for 21 years, Matthews became Founder & Strategic Advisor for Jonathan’s Place in 2011.

Today, Matthews resides in Panama to fulfill a lifelong dream of working with underprivileged children in a developing country. She provides volunteer guidance and board service to Panamanian orphanages, while continuing to support Jonathan’s Place from her office in Panama.

Matthews opened Jonathan’s Place as a long-term care facility before guiding the agency to its current state of operating four programs: (1) Emergency Shelter, (2) Foster Care & Adoption, (3) Girls Residential Treatment, and (4) National Safe Place affiliate for Dallas County. Currently, she works closely with Jonathan’s Place leadership in program development, fund development, donor relations, and strategic planning.

Jonathan’s Place grew from one location initially serving 13 children at any given time to a 39-acre campus that includes three different residential cottages.

Obi Felten
Director, Head of getting moonshots ready for contact with the real world, Google[x]

Obi helps the scientists and engineers at Google[x] get projects like self-driving cars, Project Loon and smart contact lenses from the lab into the real world. Previously she was Director of Consumer Marketing for Google in Europe, Middle East and Africa, which sounds like the easiest job in the world until you consider that Google launches hundreds of things a quarter in a region of 120+ countries as diverse as Germany, Russia, Egypt and Kenya. In her spare time Obi is a startup mentor and angel investor, focusing on women tech entrepreneurs. She set up Campus London, a Google-funded working/networking/training space for tech entrepreneurs. Before Google, Obi launched the ecommerce business of a UK retailer, worked as a strategy consultant and led eToys.com's (unsuccessful) expansion to Germany during the first dotcom era. Obi grew up in Berlin, went to Oxford University, and lives in San Francisco with her husband (a beekeeper), young son (a pirate) and baby daughter (too early to tell but high hopes that she'll be a rocket scientist).

Rachael Monroe
Vice President of Sales and New Business, BBN Networks

Rachael is an example of American entrepreneurship. She is the daughter of a rancher and small business owner, Father and Mother, respectively. With passion for mentoring, diversity, and the inherited desire to work, she has never been known to only have one job. She currently owns a few small businesses and splits her time between NYC and OKC.

As Vice President of Sales & New Business at the BBN networks, she is tasked with building relationships with the most prominent executives in New York City’s business to business digital media industry and aligning their clients’ messaging with the appropriate audiences. Other outlets for creativity and mentorship are her home building business, where she serves as co-owner and design coordinator, and her home décor and gift shop where she employees young women as they begin their career journey.

Holding a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership she has always been focused on helping other succeed. Recently she has volunteered, or served on the boards of LifeChurch.tv, Habitat for Humanity, Kiwanis International, United Way, Phi Omega Sigma, and Shawnee Community Foundation. She also has been published on chic-ceo.com and refwriter.com blogs.

Sandra Duhé
Associate Professor, Director of public relations, and Chair of the Division of Communication Studies, Southern Methodist University

Sandra Duhé is associate professor, director of public relations, and chair of the Division of Communication Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Duhé began her career as a financial analyst and transitioned into public affairs management for three multinational oil and gas companies. She has extensive experience in crisis response, risk communication, merger communication, global media relations, community outreach, and brand management. Being keenly aware of how multiple factors influence the public relations process, she earned graduate degrees in public relations, applied economics, and political economy while in industry and served as a corporate spokesperson for ExxonMobil before transitioning to academia in 2004. She is currently an Executive MBA candidate in the SMU Cox School of Business.

Dr. Duhé combines a love of teaching and learning to explore, expand, and promote the contributions of public relations to business, society, and those who need a voice. Her research and commentary focus on the role of public relations in capitalism, democracy, and society and have appeared in top scholarly and professional venues internationally. Her book, New Media and Public Relations, now in its second edition, is considered a leading text in the field.

In 2014, Dr. Duhé was inducted into the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows and the Arthur W. Page Society for her achievements in corporate public relations practice and public relations education. Each honor is considered a pinnacle in one’s career.

Shirin Taber
Founder and Director, Persian Women's Leadership Network

Shirin Taber comes from a multicultural background and is the author of Muslims Next Door (Zondervan/Harper Collins). With an Iranian Muslim father and an American Catholic mother, she has lived in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Currently, she is directing the Persian Women’s Leadership Network, which equips and empowers females to impact the Farsi-speaking world. With a background in media and cross-cultural training, Shirin assists multiple organizations in faith-based initiatives. The Los Angeles Times, Detroit Free Press and Fox News have featured her writing and work among Muslims. Previously, Shirin served with Cru, the JESUS Film Project, the Visual Story Network, the Strategic Resource Group and the Christian Broadcasting Network. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and is fluent in English, French and Farsi.

Whitney Marion Klenzendorf
Founding Staff Member and Program Manager, Taking Care of Texas

Whitney is the founding staff member and program manager at Taking Care of Texas, an environmental conservation initiative founded by former First Lady Laura Bush. In her role, Whitney has helped develop the mission, vision, and strategy, launch key initiatives, and raise seed money.

Prior to joining Taking Care of Texas, Whitney was a legislative aide to Congresswoman Kay Granger in Washington, DC, where she handled agriculture and conservation issues. Whitney coordinates the Texas Brigades Wildlife Intensive Leadership Development program, a training course for emerging leaders in conservation. She holds a B.S. in Renewable Natural Resources and minor in Business Administration from Texas A&M University. As a student, Whitney traveled to Africa to study the social and economic aspects of ecotourism and conservation.

Whitney lives in Austin, Texas where she is active in a number of charities including the Junior League of Austin. A 6th generation Texan, Whitney comes from farming and ranching family and is an avid outdoorswoman.

2014 Mentors

Kathy Bailey
Managing Shareholder, Bailey Law

Throughout Kathy Bailey’s career, she has brought an entrepreneurial drive, community spirit, and global perspective to her work as a business leader and attorney. 

Currently, she is Managing Shareholder of Bailey Law, a firm she founded in 1998, and an adjunct professor at George Mason University Law School.

Her primary practice areas include civil litigation, employment law, general business law and counseling, commercial real estate, and environmental matters. Peers have recognized Ms. Bailey with the Martindale Hubbell AV® rating and a listing in Washington DC Super Lawyers® magazine as one of DC Metro Area top lawyers for for Civil Litigation Defense. She is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

Prior to founding Bailey Law Group, Ms. Bailey represented a wide range of companies and trade associations at the law firm of Chadbourne & Parke and represented the chemical manufacturing industry and the automobile manufacturing industry in the legal departments of their respective trade associations. She was a key industry participant in the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. For almost ten years, Ms. Bailey was an environmental planner focusing on regional air quality issues in Houston, Texas and Washington DC.

Ms. Bailey is a board member of the Tunisian-American Young Professionals, a member of the Leadership Greater Washington class of 2010, the President of the 2008 Class of Fellows of the Wharton School of Business, and a graduate of the FBI Citizens’ Academy Program. She is US Director for the Wharton Club of Africa. She has served on the Boards of Directors of Miriam’s Kitchen, Young Playwrights Theatre, and the International Fund for China’s Environment.

Gretchen Birkle
Regional Director for Africa, International Republican Institute

Gretchen Birkle currently serves as Regional Director for Africa at the International Republican Institute (IRI), where she is responsible for developing and managing programs in transitioning African countries. Programs focus on elections and support to issue-based political parties and civil society organizations, and a regional governance program in sub-Saharan African that strengthens linkages between elected officials and citizens.

Birkle has extensive experience managing democracy and governance programs in closed societies and developing countries around the world. During her tenure at IRI, she launched programming for IRI's Women's Democracy Network (WDN), conducted IRI's first in-country programs in Belarus and opened IRI's first offices in Central Asia. Birkle was Resident Country Director of IRI' s electoral participation project in Kabul, Afghanistan.

From 2004-2006, Birkle was Senior Coordinator at the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where she represented the bureau testifying before Congress and provided strategic direction for programming and human rights reporting. Birkle's public service includes her position from 2007-2010 as a board of director representative to the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Birkle was previously a legislative assistant on foreign affairs and defense appropriations to Senator Arlen Specter and worked at the public affairs firm Ogilvy, Adams and Rinehart and at Export Today magazine, where she wrote on business opportunities in Russia.

Birkle has worked and traveled extensively in Central Europe, and throughout the Middle East and Africa. She has observed elections in Africa, Asia, Eurasia and the Middle East. She graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (MA) and the Pennsylvania State University (BA).

Eileen Campbell
Senior Director of Advocacy at International Justice Mission

Eileen Campbell serves as Senior Director of Advocacy at International Justice Mission, a global human rights organization that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. In this capacity, Eileen oversees IJM’s U.S. advocacy campaigns and advises IJM field offices on advocacy program design. Eileen joined International Justice Mission in July 2008, after completing a Masters in Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Prior to that, she managed the Health Action AIDS campaign, a joint initiative of Physicians for Human Rights and Partners in Health, which mobilized health professionals in support of a comprehensive U.S. response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. At Physicians for Human Rights, Eileen also served as Grassroots Coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines, a coalition of organizations working to persuade the U.S. government to ban antipersonnel landmines and help mine victims. She is a graduate of the University of Rochester.

Angela Conway
Director of the Middle East & North Africa Division, Rule of Law Initiative, American Bar Association

Angela Conway is the Director of the Middle East & North Africa Division, Rule of Law Initiative at the American Bar Association.  In this role, she provides strategic leadership and manages a rule of law development program, which works throughout the MENA region. An attorney and international development executive, Ms. Conway has worked on rule of law and legal development for over 20 years in 27 countries. 

She founded the MENA Division in 2003, and under her leadership, the initiative has worked in 16 countries of the region. She is an expert on legal development in the Middle East and North Africa and on rule of law reform.  Her areas of focus include judicial system development, women and the law, legal education reform, human rights, access to justice, anti-corruption, civil society strengthening, civic education, commercial law development, legal transitions in post conflict settings, and institution building. 

Previously Ms. Conway worked with the ABA Central and Eastern Europe Law Initiative, serving as the program director for the ABA’s legal development programs in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, and prior to that as Director of Legal Research.

She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas, and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and of the Kansas Bar.

Holly Gordon
Co-founder and CEO, Girl Rising

Holly Gordon is Executive Director of Girl Rising: Educate Girls, Change the World, a global movement for girls’ education. As Executive Director, Holly sets strategy and leads the campaign. She is also an Executive Producer for the film of same name, at the center of the movement, Girl Rising. Holly was selected by Fast Company as a member of the League of Extraordinary Women in 2012 and named by Newsweek/Daily Beast as one of 125 Women of Impact in 2012.

Forbes Magazine named the Girl Rising movement the #1 Most Dynamic Social Initiative of 2012. Prior to launching the campaign, Holly Gordon was Director of Content for the Tribeca Film Festival. She came to Tribeca from ABC News, where she worked for 12 years as a producer and booker for the major news broadcasts. While at ABC News, Holly was selected for special coverage teams on high-profile stories, including President Clinton’s impeachment, the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the shootings at Columbine, and the Albanian refugee crisis in Kosovo. She was an integral part of ABC’s breaking-news coverage during the weeks following the September 11th attacks. For three years, as Editorial Producer for the ABC news magazine unit, Holly managed the team responsible for identifying and booking national and international, competitive, long-form stories. Holly graduated from Brown University, with a B.A. in International Relations.

Terrell Halaska
Founding Partner, HCM Strategists

An expert at strategy development and relationship building, Terrell leads the firm’s support of several education clients and provides strategic guidance to HCM’s health team.

A graduate of the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Terrell began to focus on policy during her master’s studies at the Monterey Institution of International Studies. She put her education to work on Capitol Hill as a press secretary to Rep. Scott Klug and on the state level as the media manager for the National Governor’s Association and director of the state of Wisconsin’s Washington, D.C. office. 

After the confirmation of former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Terrell joined his senior management team as deputy chief of staff. She oversaw policy development on a number of issues within the department – including stem cell research and international and domestic HIV/AIDS initiatives – and built a reputation as a consensus builder willing to consider fresh ideas to address vexing bioethical and health policy problems. 

Terrell soon moved from HHS to the White House, where she advised the President, domestic policy advisor and other senior staff as special assistant to the President for domestic policy. In that role, she developed and advanced Administration policies on family and children’s issues – including early childhood education, welfare reform, housing, and homelessness. In 2005, she was confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of education for legislation and congressional affairs, serving as the department’s top negotiator with Congress on several key initiatives. 

Terrell credits her work on the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief for demonstrating to her the power and effectiveness of innovative policies when stakeholders commit to advancing change. In helping senior Administration officials develop HIV/AIDS policies, Terrell witnessed an open-mindedness to creative solutions and an unwavering commitment to the overarching principle of helping others. The result was increased HIV testing, counseling and treatment that has averted deaths and improved the quality of lives for individuals with HIV/AIDS around the world. 

These experiences underlie Terrell’s work at HCM, where she remains grounded in the belief that sound policy can catalyze change and prides herself on the firm’s continued focus on improving people’s lives. Terrell currently serves as President of the Board of the Aged Women’s Home of Georgetown and lives in Washington, D.C. 

Lindi Harvey

Lindi L. Harvey has served as a business executive and consultant in private sector, government, nonprofit and NGOs developing comprehensive strategies, policies and programs; alliance and partnership management; and effective communication outreach efforts.  She has held several senior-level positions in the federal government on behalf of the Office of Global Women’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. National Park Service for the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Women’s Business Council for the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

Lindi’s responsibilities at State Department included managing and conducting diplomatic initiatives, public diplomacy outreach and training programs on entrepreneurship and leadership skills directed to widen women’s economic, educational, civil society and community engagement opportunities.  Lindi most recently directed the world’s largest non-profit workplace-giving program achieving a record-breaking contribution total distributed to over 4,000 local, national and international charitable organizations; and, launched a national initiative focused on breast cancer causes and preventative measures on behalf of an NGO designed to examine scientific evidence in various contributors to breast cancer incidence, build stakeholder coalitions and improve public knowledge of agreed-to risk factors. 

Her private-sector career includes serving as Senior Vice President/Managing Director for the Geneva Capital Strategies Division of Citigroup, where she specialized in mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, business growth and product expansion strategies addressing marketplace conditions for privately held entrepreneurial companies. Lindi is a committed volunteer focusing on women and youth leadership development, health care, public policy advocacy, and civic engagement.

Kathryn Hubbard
Co-Founder, Bridges of Understanding

Kathryn Hubbard is a cofounder of the Bridges of Understanding Foundation, a non-profit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to fostering better understanding between the United States and the Arab world.  The focus of Bridges of Understanding is to support projects, specifically in the areas of education, youth and culture, which create mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the Arab world.

Kathy serves on the Board of Trustees of DePauw University and chaired the Nominations and Trusteeship Committee.  She also serves on the Board of the Choice Charitable Trust, a foundation which provides scholarships for low income students to attend private schools.  Kathy serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Federation for Children, an organization that promotes school choice and better educational opportunities for all children.   In 2006, she was appointed by President George Bush to the J. William Fulbright Board.

In addition to her work in non-profits and in business, Kathy has a long history of political involvement at all levels of government and in political campaigns.  Her political activities have included fundraising and political work for numerous state and national political leaders.

Kathy graduated with a B.A. degree from DePauw University in 1974.  She attended the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland from 1972-1973.  Kathy is married to Allan B. Hubbard and they reside in Indianapolis, Indiana and have three children:  Will (28), Katie (26), and Sara (26).

Rita Kirk
Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, Professor, Southern Methodist University

Rita Kirk, Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, holds the rank of Professor at Southern Methodist University.  She is an Althshuler Distinguished Professor and a Meadows Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Professor Kirk’s research focuses on campaign communication concentrating on emergent technologies, the development of public arguments, and a phenomenon that cannot be ignored in current discourse: hate speech. Kirk’s books include: Political Empiricism:  Communications Strategies in State and Regional Elections, which won the “Best Book in Applied Communication” from the National Communication Association; Hate Speech, a book analyzing implications for hate discourse in public communication, with coeditor David Slayden, which was awarded the Outstanding Book on the subject of Human Rights in North America and the James Madison Prize for work on free speech; and Solo Acts: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World. Kirk has over 30 book chapters and articles in scholarly publications and is a frequent commentator in the media. Since 2007, Kirk and research partner Dan Schill have served as dial test analysts for CNN covering debates, candidate speeches, and the President’s annual State of the Union address.  CNN received the esteemed Peabody Award in 2008 for their "unparalleled coverage of an historic election process." The award committee specifically hailed CNN's use of "state-of-the-art technology." Our team is proud to share in that accomplishment.

Dr. Kirk works with domestic and international public and private sector organizations to offer counsel on strategic communication campaigns, market analysis, and stakeholder engagement.  Her business clients have included companies such as CNL Properties, Baylor Health Care Systems, The Marketing Arm (a division of OmniCom), J.M. Huber, TU Electric, and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.  She has served as public affairs counsel on projects for Edelman Public Relations, Bustin & Company, and Hill & Knowlton.  Early in her career, Kirk served as the primary strategist for numerous political campaigns ranging from U.S. Congress to U.S. District Court Judge. 

Jan Langbein
Chief Executive Officer, Genesis Women’s Shelter

For more than 20 years, Jan Edgar Langbein has been an activist in efforts to end violence against women. From 1991-2013, she served as Executive Director of Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support in Dallas. Currently, as CEO of Shelter Ministries of Dallas (parent organization to Genesis and Dallas homeless shelter Austin Street Center), Ms. Langbein oversees both agencies’ internal and external operations as well as funding and community education.

She conducts training, keynote, and workshop programs for numerous local, state, and national conferences, social and civic organizations, and corporations. Ms. Langbein gives expert testimony in court cases and trains law enforcement and prosecutorial professionals to enhance their efforts to end violence against women. In partnership with the Dallas Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ms. Langbein co-founded the annual International Conference on Crimes Against Women with advanced practices of investigation and prosecution bringing together law enforcement, advocates, prosecutors, and forensic health professionals.

Under Ms. Langbein’s leadership, Genesis has grown from a seven-room emergency shelter to a full-service response for victims of domestic violence. Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support provides a continuum of care which includes expanded shelter services, transitional housing, day care, an on-site school, access to civil legal representation, jobs readiness programming, ESL education, advocacy, and counseling at their residential and nonresidential facilities. Genesis is unique as one of the few victim services programs in the country that accomplishes sustainability without government funding. Since its inception, Genesis has not only developed services of excellence but also innovative programs and funding sources. In particular, the nationally recognized Genesis Benefit Thrift Store significantly supports the agency with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the organization’s programming. The organization and success of this model program has been shared statewide to other NGOs.

In 2009, Ms. Langbein concluded a Presidential Appointment as Senior Policy Advisor to the Director of the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). As Senior Policy Advisor, Ms. Langbein served as chief strategist of OVW. On behalf of the Director, she guided and evaluated program and administrative processes and worked to implement standards and protocols for internal and external operations. She supported the ongoing efforts within OVW for policy issues regarding the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act.

Her extensive professional affiliations include board, advisory, and committee positions with the Texas Council on Family Violence, Family Violence Prevention Council, Dallas County Family Violence Task Force, Family Violence Coalition, the Dallas Mayor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence, Greater Dallas Injury Prevention Center, and the North Texas Food Bank. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her leadership and community service including the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, Mosaic Family Services Champion of Human Rights Award, the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award, Maura Award, Woman of Distinction Award, Women’s Advocacy Award, Southern Methodist University’s Profiles in Leadership Award, George Washington Honoree Medal, Peacemakers’ Dallas Peace Patron Award, and the Dallas Bar Association Liberty Bell Award.

Marie-Anne Neimat
Former Vice President of Development for Embedded Databases, Oracle

Marie-Anne Neimat was the former Vice President of Development for Oracle's Embedded Databases which includes Oracle NoSQL Database, Oracle Berkeley Database and Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database. Prior to Oracle, she was the co-founder, Vice President of Engineering, and Board Member of TimesTen Inc., which was acquired by Oracle in 2005. Before TimesTen, she worked at HP Labs and managed several research projects including an object-oriented database (IRIS, which later became the OpenODB product), an extensible database, and an in-1emory database.

Marie-Anne was awarded her PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and has a BSC in Mathematics from Stanford University. She holds several patents, is a popular technical conference presenter, and the author of many publications in refereed conferences and journals.

Neena Newberry
Founder, Newberry Executive Solutions

Neena Newberry launched Newberry Executive Solutions in 2008 to focus on her passion for developing strong leaders, especially women. She left a more than 16- year consulting and human resources career, and a role leading performance management and career planning for 34,000 employees on Deloitte’s U.S. HR Executive Team – not knowing the economy would tank just three months later, teaching her lessons that would benefit her clients.

Grounded in practical business experience, Neena develops leaders through Purpose, Presence & Power. The result: rave reviews about her company’s products and services from Fortune 500 clients such as AT&T, Marriott, PepsiCo, Shell, and Sysco, and organizations like the United Way and the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Not to mention Neena’s chapter in the MBA Women’s Guide to Success, the book Show Up. Step Up. Step Out. — written up by Southwest Airlines President Emeritus Colleen Barrett — and a proven program called WOW! Women On the Way to Peak Performance Program. Newberry’s credentials include more than 20 years of advising and coaching business leaders, an MBA, a Professional in Human Resources Certification, and a Professional Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation.

Through volunteer work with Collaborative for Children in Houston and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD), Newberry has been a long-term champion of education reform. Her other endeavors include an adjunct professorship in executive education at the SMU Cox School of Business; vice president of the board of the National Association of Women MBAs; global and local leadership roles with the International Coach Federation; chair of the UMWD Advocacy Committee; and author of leadership articles for her alma mater, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Neena has designed a life that allows her to spend quality time with her family while pursuing her passion. She just broke in her first glove learning to play baseball with her son, who keeps her grounded and energized. Neena’s sense of adventure takes her outdoors, most recently hiking 50 miles over five days at the Grand Canyon.

Diane Paddison
Chief Strategy Officer, Cassidy Turley

Ms. Paddison currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Cassidy Turley, one of the five largest real estate services companies in the US.  She has founded a not-for-profit serving Professional Christian Women, 4word,www.4wordwomen.org, of which Zondervan, a division of Harper Collins, has published her book in 2011, Work, Love, Pray

Ms. Paddison has served on the Global Executive teams of two Fortune 500 companies and COO of Trammell Crow Company and ProLogis.

Ms. Paddison retired as the COO from ProLogis (NYSE: PLD), the world’s largest industrial REIT, February of 2009. Prior to ProLogis, she had over a twenty year career in outsourcing corporate and institutional real estate services with Trammell Crow Company (NYSE:TCC) and CB Richard Ellis (NYSE: CBG). At TCC, she was the COO, Global Services and a member of the ten person executive team.  TCC sold to CBG where she became the President, Global Corporate Services, Client Accounts and served on the fourteen member Global Executive Board. The executive team took Trammell Crow Company from a share price of $14.03 per share on March 31st of 2004 to a purchase by CB Richard Ellis, closing at $49 per share on 12/20/06 valuing the company at $2.2B, a fourfold return.

Leza M. Sarrouf

As a young social worker,  Leza’s  commitment to “giving back” for the many blessings  received,  led her overseas to volunteer with children and adolescents displaced and psychologically impacted by the war in Lebanon.  It is there that she recognized the need to specialize in working with individuals affected by complex and acute trauma.  Over the course of the next 20 years Leza passionately sought to collaborate with clients to help them gain the insights and skills needed to heal from trauma and courageously move in the direction of their hopes and dreams.  Leza has trained in a number of evidenced-based treatment models for individuals suffering with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as EMDR, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Attachment, Self Regulation and Competency (ARC).   For the past 14 years, Leza has been the Assistant Director of the HomeBase Program at Wayside Youth & Family Support Network.  As Assistant Program Director and a licensed independent social worker, Leza has provided supervision, training, as well as an array of therapeutic support services.   She is a Senior Leader involved in the Massachusetts Child Trauma Project assuring that her colleagues receive the training, supervision and support to become trauma certified practitioners. Additionally, Leza is an active participant on the Trauma Informed Leadership Teams at the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts.

Leza is involved in a number of volunteer and charitable activities but is most passionate about her involvement  in Cursillo – a three day Christian retreat with the goal of empowering women to develop a more meaningful and personal relationship with God.  Through witness and testimony as well as community building, women are equipped with the tools to impact their environment and inspired to use their time and talents in service to others.   She will once again be leading the weekend in March 2014.

Leza is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Boston University School of Social Work.

Kristen Silverberg
Former Ambassador to the European Union

Ambassador Kristen Silverberg served as the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union from 2008 to 2009 and as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 2005 to 2008. Prior to her time at the State Department, she held a number of senior positions at the White House, including Deputy Assistant to the President and Advisor to the Chief of Staff, as well as Deputy Domestic Policy Advisor. Ambassador Silverberg formerly practiced law at Williams and Connolly, LLP in Washington, DC and served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Brittany Merrill Underwood
Founder, Akola Project

Brittany Merrill Underwood has made an extraordinary impact by transforming the lives of impoverished women and children. While at Southern Methodist University, she spent the summer of 2004 in Uganda and was moved by the dedication of local women who sought to transform their communities. In 2006, Underwood moved to Uganda and founded the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (UAPO) to partner with a Ugandan ministry to build a three-story orphanage with the capacity to house 180 street children. The orphanage project was completed in 2009 and was featured both nationally and internationally on CNN.

In 2007, Brittany launched the Akola Project, a social business within a non-profit framework to improve the physical and spiritual livelihoods of marginalized women, their families and communities. Akola’s model provides vocational training, global employment, holistic care and financial literacy for women in rural poverty. By providing sustainable skills and reliable income for women, the Akola Project has elevated over 1,600 Ugandan women and children out of extreme poverty. Locally made, high-quality and fashionable products made by the women of the Akola Project have been sold in over 250 boutiques throughout the United States and have been featured on the Today Show. In 2014, Akola Project is expanding to the US to provide an economic alternative to sexually trafficked women in Dallas.

Over the last 10 years, Underwood’s organization has successfully built an orphanage home, drilled 33 clean water wells in displaced communities, constructed two vocational training centers and created a thriving social business for women in Northern and Eastern Uganda. Brittany has been featured on CNN’s Young People who Rock, she was awarded the distinguished Emerging Leader Award from SMU in 2013, and has been honored by clothing manufacturer Levi as one of 50 women around the globe who have changed the political, cultural, and spiritual shape of the future. Underwood completed a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2013 and continues to devote herself to improving the lives of women and children as the Founder and President of the Akola Project.

Judy Verses
President, Global Enterprise and Education, Rosetta Stone

Judy Verses is the President, Global Enterprise and Education for Rosetta Stone, responsible for all institutional business across all geographies.  She has been with Rosetta Stone since October 2011.

Judy has extensive experience across business, government, education, and consumer sectors in technology, education and communications industries.  She joined Rosetta Stone from Blackboard where she served as President and Chief Client Officer responsible for Global Sales and Marketing.  Previously, she was President and COO of Blackboard Learn. 

Prior to joining Blackboard, Judy held several senior leadership roles at Verizon. Notably, she successfully launched Verizon FIOS.   Some of her roles included:  SVP Marketing for Verizon’s portfolio of voice, video and data products; SVP Broadband Solutions; Vice President for Business Sales; and Vice President/General Manager of Small Business Sales.  Judy began her career with Xerox in sales.

Judy holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut and a Winner of Washington Business Journal Award for “Women Who Mean Business” in 2009.  She was recently announced as a Finalist in Women In Technology Annual Women in Leadership Awards.  Judy is a former member of the Marketing 50 and has helped multiple small businesses in an advisory capacity.

2013 Mentors

Pam Allyn

Founder, LitWorld
Mentor to Hadeer Maher

Pam Allyn is a world-renowned expert in home and school literacy connections.  As a motivational speaker, author, teacher and humanitarian, she advocates for children's rights and the power of children's voices. 

An educational innovator and entrepreneur, she created the award winning initiative Books for Boys, impacting thousands of young men in foster care.  She also founded the national organization LitLife, which turns around low-performing schools with groundbreaking methods for teaching reading and writing.  LitWorld is a global literacy initiative serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries.  

Her "World Read Aloud Day" is now celebrated as an international event in March of each year.  Pam's work has been featured on Good Morning AmericaThe Today Show, Oprah Radio, The Huffington PostThe New York Times and across the blogosphere.

Pam is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences on the subjects of education and children's rights.  She is the author of many books for educators and families.  These include: Your Child's Writing Life (Mom's Choice Award Winner 2012); What to Read When (National Parenting Magazine Award 2010); and Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys.  Her newest book Be Core Ready was published last year.  The accompanying series Core Ready will follow this year.

Johanna Almstead

kate spade new york

Johanna Almstead is the Director of Public Relations for kate spade new york, a global lifestyle brand which is owned by Fifth & Pacific Companies.  In this role, she oversees all media outreach, VIP outreach, events and special projects for the kate spade new york and kate spade Saturday brands. 

Johanna has played an integral role in fostering kate spade new york’s partnership with Women for Women International and in creating a new formula for how American companies can participate in philanthropy and cause marketing.  She had the opportunity to travel to Kabul in August 2010, where she and some of her colleagues met with local artisans, sourced raw materials and held a press conference at the U.S. Embassy to announce kate spade new york’s goals of employing hundreds of Afghan women through their partnership with Women for Women International.  She also traveled to Rwanda with the goal of empowering women through economic stability. 

Johanna lives in New York City with her husband.

Sahar F. Aziz

Associate Professor of Law
Mentor to Sara Elmatbouly

Sahar F. Aziz joined the faculty of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 2011 as an Associate Professor.  Previously, Sahar was an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where she taught national security and civil rights law. 

Sahar served as a senior policy advisor for the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where she worked on law and policy at the intersection of national security and civil rights.  She was previously an associate at Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC in Washington, D.C., where she litigated class action civil rights lawsuits alleging a nationwide pattern and practice of gender discrimination in pay and promotion.

She began her legal career as an associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., where she conducted internal white collar crime investigations and an independent investigation on child trafficking in the Persian Gulf.  She clerked for The Honorable Andre M. Davis on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Sahar’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of national security and civil rights law with a focus on the post-9/11 era.  She incorporates critical race theory, feminist theory and constitutional law into her examination of the disparate impact of post-9/11 laws and public policy on ethnic, racial and religious minority groups in the United States.  Sahar analyzes these issues in various contexts including immigration, counterterrorism, criminal justice and civil rights litigation.  She applies her scholarship in the American context towards her scholarship on rule of law and democracy promotion in post-Revolution Egypt.

Sahar has been featured on CSPAN, Russia Today and Al Jazeera English.  She has been published in numerous commentaries on national security and civil rights issues in the Houston ChronicleThe Huffington PostThe Guardian, The Washington Times, The American Bar Association Journal and The Christian Science Monitor.   Sahar has also been featured online at cnn.com, truthout.com, altmuslim.com and the American Constitution Society’s blog jurist.com.  She has presented her work in various forums including U.S. Congressional Briefings, the Aspen Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Texas Bar Association.

Sahar earned her J.D. and M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas.  She received her B.S. from the University of Texas in Arlington.  She is a Board Member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association.

Michelle Bekkering

Resident County Director for Indonesia, International Republican Institute
Mentor to Rowida Eldeep

Michelle Bekkering currently serves as IRI’s Resident Country Director for Indonesia where she oversees the Institute’s efforts to support the development of the country’s political sphere, including supporting women candidates and women legislators, and conducting public opinion polling to encourage political parties to focus on constituent concerns and aid them in developing issue-based platforms. IRI is currently conducting its “Winning with Women 2014” program in Aceh, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sumatra, South Sulawesi and West Nusa Tenggara aimed at increasing the number of women elected at all levels of government in the 2014 national legislative elections. Through its pre-election program, IRI is conducting a series of intensive campaign workshops for women candidates to increase their capacity to run effective, issue-based campaigns. Following the elections, IRI will hold governance workshops for newly elected female legislators to ensure they have the skills necessary to govern efficiently and transparently.

Bekkering joined IRI in 2005. From 2010-2013, Bekkering served as Director of the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) where she oversaw IRI’s global initiative to empower women for greater participation in their country’s public life. Under Bekkering’s leadership, WDN grew to active membership in 61 countries worldwide with 15 established country chapters. WDN programming focused on determining the barriers to women’s political participation and election to public office and implementing programming designed to overcome those challenges.  Prior to WDN, Bekkering served as IRI’s Deputy Director for Eurasia where she oversaw programming designed to support the democratic development of the former soviet republics. She also oversaw the Baltic-Eurasia Inter-Parliamentary Training Institute; a parliamentary governance program located in Lithuania which assists leaders of emerging Eurasian democracies.  Since joining IRI, Bekkering has conducted trainings and served as an accredited election observer all across the world, including the 2009 presidential election in Afghanistan and historical 2011 election in post-revolution Tunisia.

Before joining IRI, Bekkering served in numerous p