Meet the Women's Initiative Mentors

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 America, The 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 Chronicle, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Washington Times, The American Bar Association Journal and The Christian Science Monitor.   Sahar has also been featured online at,, and the American Constitution Society’s blog  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 positions within the U.S. government.  She worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, serving in the European and Eurasian Affairs Directorate of the National Security Council led by Dr. Condoleezza Rice.  Prior to her time in the executive branch, she worked on Capitol Hill as an aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), participating in several congressional staff delegations to Asia and the Middle East.

In recognition for her advocacy efforts for global women’s political empowerment, Bekkering was named a 2013 Top Global Woman by the Diplomatic Courier. Bekkering was also asked by the George W. Bush Institute to serve as a mentor for its Women’s Initiative fellowship program.  Bekkering’s passion for women’s political empowerment also extends to the United States where she serves as a member of the board of the bi-partisan WeLEAD program of American University’s Women and Politics Institute; a program dedicated to increasing the number of women in public office in the United States.  Bekkering is also a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), a bipartisan organization dedicated to fostering relations among young political leaders and policy makers worldwide. A member of its Charter Alumni Council, Bekkering participated in ACYPL’s bilateral delegation to India and Pakistan in 2011.

A native of Iowa, Bekkering graduated from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.  As part of her education, she studied at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Bekkering and her husband currently reside in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Brett Brewer

Associate Director of Base Camp at Pine Cove Camps
Mentor to Mariz Doss

Brett Brewer is the Associate Director of Base Camp at Pine Cove Camps in Texas.  She works with a team to coordinate partnerships across the southeastern U.S .between churches and Pine Cove – founded in 1967 as one of America’s premier Christian camps.  Her work is rooted in and fueled by offering churches the opportunity to use camp as a catalyst for growth and rejuvenation in their community at large.

Pine Cove’s ministry serves over 1,300 college staff each summer who in turn minister to over 12,000 individual campers and thousands of families every year through their properties in East and South Texas.

Brett’s experience with youth includes piloting a year-long program with Blount County Schools (TN) offering 8th grade girls classroom credit through outdoor adventure programs in Smoky Mountain National Park.  The program was introduced in multiple schools in East Tennessee after its pilot year in 2009.  It continues as a successful experience, empowering young women through physical activity that builds self-esteem and initiates opportunities for leadership in and out of school.

Brett also acted as a mentor for a group of rising college freshman women through a five-week program that focused on identity and intentionality in relationship.  This program provides a setting for women entering college to better understand their core values and engage in a small community that supports their spiritual growth.

Brett’s passions lie in using outdoor experiences to foster deepening relationships in order to break down walls and open the opportunity for lives to be transformed by the power of the Gospel.  Her current role allows her to support and develop future leaders for camp ministry as well as teach and mentor college staff through the year.

Brett holds Bachelor’s degrees in Writing and Art from Maryville College.

Karen Louise Chitwood, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist
Mentor to Jeanne Guirrguis

Prior to starting several private practices as a licensed psychologist, Karen Louise Chitwood, Ph.D., managed a career counseling service in New York called “People in New Directions” and worked at various community clinics as a volunteer or staff therapist.  She taught in adult education programs for the empowerment of women at New York University and PACE University and later moved to Austin, Texas, where she has since maintained a private practice. 

Dr. Chitwood specializes in high-conflict couples; advocacy for gifted and talented individuals; and adults in transition who are seeking mindfulness.  Since 2001, she has taught graduate school in the Master’s counseling program for Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists at St. Edward’s University.  She has served on numerous boards, including Court Appointed Advocacy for Children (CASA); Eanes Advisory Board for Gifted and Talented; and Candlelighters, an organization that serves families coping with cancer. 

Dr. Chitwood attended Kansas State University where she was honored as an outstanding graduate and received her Master’s in College Counseling and Student Development from Hunter College.  She earned her Ph.D. from New York University where she worked in Psychological Services at City University and completed practicum and internships in Harlem and Brooklyn.

Cameo Wallace Guillemette

Executive Producer, Discovery Channel
Mentor to Dina Hussein

Cameo Wallace, an award-winning documentary and television producer, has developed and produced successful programming for ABC, CBS, NBC, A&E, the History Channel, MTV, the Discovery Channel, TLC, MSNBC, Oxygen and the Food Network.  She currently is an Executive Producer for the Discovery Channel, overseeing a roster of shows, including MythBusters and Alaska: The Last Frontier.

The diversity of projects on which Cameo has worked, from a documentary for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and Swiss documentary “Jugend ohne Drogen (Youth Without Drugs)” to her involvement in philanthropic organizations, combine her profession with purposeful ventures.   Her company, Cameo Appearance Productions, Inc., focuses on artful storytelling with a redemptive message to reveal truth and inspire change. 

As a consultant, Cameo has worked with a variety of organizations on strategic initiatives, including branding, corporate partnerships, communications, media outreach and fundraising, and has translated all skills acquired through production to benefit those projects.  Projects have required direct communication and coordination with domestic and foreign dignitaries, corporate executives, celebrities, volunteers and individuals whose lives inspire participation in humanitarian endeavors.

Cameo also coordinates and produces large-scale events, including: Presidential Inaugural events; the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 50th Anniversary Gala; Pope Benedict XIV’s Mass at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.; the launch of Peter Lawson-Johnston’s book “Growing Up Guggenheim” held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and a youth program with former child soldiers from Africa and Central America with the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Children in the Crossfire” conference. 

Throughout her life, Cameo has volunteered with children as a tutor, mentor and activities coordinator for organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club and Horizons Club in Washington, D.C.  She spent several years as a van outreach volunteer for Covenant House California, working with at-risk and homeless youth in Los Angeles.

Kelli Hansbauer

Global Digital Marketing Strategist, IBM
Due to a career change and relocation internationally, Kelli has transitioned out as a mentor to Miral Dera

Kelli Hansbauer is a digital marketing strategist and technologist who built her career working with some of the Nation’s leading companies and public personas.  Her creative, innovative approach to digital marketing has taken her through the arenas of publishing, public policy and business.  She has garnered a reputation for creating and executing branding, marketing and social media initiatives that exceed goals, transform businesses, build brands and develop professionals.

Kelli began her career in publishing and public policy where she ran numerous campaigns, as well as grassroots legislative initiatives.  It was her curiosity around grass-roots political movements and the use of emerging web technologies that led her to pursue her Master’s degree in Digital Marketing and Interactive Technologies.  Upon completing her Master’s program, Kelli accepted a position at Mainline Information Systems, a leading IBM National Premier Business Partner, where she led marketing initiatives for their top brands.  During her 11 years at Mainline, her work contributed to rapid growth and helped gain more than 75 industry and business awards for the company.

In 2010, Kelli accepted the position of Executive Director of Internet Marketing at the parent company for a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur and national public personality.  Leading a team of marketing innovators, Kelli drove initiatives reaching tens-of-millions of site visitors each year and activating a tribe of more than one million through digital and social media marketing.  In August of 2012, Kelli joined IBM as a Global Digital Marketing Strategist for STG covering System x, BladeCenter, PureFlex Systems and IBM Flex Systems solutions.

Kelli speaks at conferences, seminars and businesses addressing “Marketing that Matters.”  Outside of professional environments, Kelli speaks at conferences addressing topics of faith and culture, authentic leadership in an age of contrived identities and worldview.  Kelli believes strongly in the importance of education and the implementation of innovative solutions to transform lives and communities, both in the United States and around the world.  Kelli supports causes that share her goal of meeting needs in practical ways through both academic and Christian education, life and community development, and the protection of women and children.

Having found a traveling companion in her native-German husband, Tobias Hansbauer, Kelli combines the adventure of experiencing new cultures with her love of photography.  In 2012, Kelli and Tobias expanded their family and adopted their son, Elias.  Being parents is their greatest and most joyous adventure!  They make their home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Karen Hill

Author and Editor
Mentor to Meral Adeeb

Karen Davis Hill has written 30 books for children and has nearly one million books in print.  The Story for Children, a storybook Bible, was awarded the 2012 Children’s Book of the Year by the Evangelical Christian Press Association. 

In addition, Karen has served for 20 years as Executive Editor to best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado.  In that capacity, she has shepherded the publication of hundreds of trade books, curriculum, children’s books, gift books and fiction. 

Personally dedicated to inspiring creativity as a natural by-product of literacy, Karen regularly speaks to students and school groups on writing.  She consults with elementary teachers and young mothers groups, encouraging literacy and creating environments that are conducive to a love of books and reading.

She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a B.A. in Journalism.  Following college, Karen served as Public Information Officer for the Texas Governor’s Committee on Aging; Public Information Consultant for the Mississippi Governor’s Office of Comprehensive Health Planning; and Editor for the University of Mississippi’s Public Information Office.  As a journalist, Karen was a correspondent for the Texarkana Gazette and Daily News and a reporter for the San Antonio Light.  Other professional experience includes freelance writing and editing for corporations, teaching writing at San Antonio College and serving on the board of Senior Community Services of San Antonio.

Karen is a breast cancer survivor.  She is married and has three children and three grandchildren.

Hind Jarrah, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation
Mentor to Shaima Tantawi

Hind Jarrah, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), a nonprofit organization established in 2005.  TMWF empowers, promotes and supports women and families through programs in education, interfaith dialogue and outreach, philanthropy and social services. 

Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, Dr. Jarrah has been engaged in the promotion of understanding and respect for multicultural diversity for three decades.  She has organized and participated in interfaith dialogue presentations and panel discussions in schools, colleges, churches, civic organizations and international societies.  TMWF is the first organization of its kind in North Texas to give Muslim women a strong voice and address their needs. 

Marjorie Jenkins, MD, FACP

Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gender-Specific Women’s Health; Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health; Associate Dean for Women in Health and Science; Mrs. J. Avery “Janie” Rush Endowed Chair of Excellence in Women’s Health and Oncology; and Program Director, Women's Health Fellowship
Mentor to Roula Abdelhady

Marjorie Jenkins earned her B.S. cum laude in Chemical Engineering from the Tennessee Technological University.  After several years as a control systems design engineer at Kodak Eastman, she pursued a Doctor of Medicine completing an internal medicine residency program at the University of Cincinnati.  She joined the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in 2001.

Marjorie’s academic career focuses on the cultivation of multidisciplinary research and education efforts in sex and gender-based medicine (SGBM) and through these efforts the promotion of personalized care for men and women.  She served as Founding Executive Director and currently as Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health (LWBIWH).  She develops and oversees peer-reviewed seed grant programs along with educational initiatives such as creating four-year healthcare professional curricula in SGBM, working across the institution to expand interprofessional SGBM curriculum model integration and directing a unique web-based SGBM continuing medical education certification program, “Y Does X Make a Difference,” geared toward practicing physicians and nurses.

As a sex- and gender-specific women’s health expert with over a decade of experience, she continues to provide specialty patient consultations and assist organizations in the development of strategies to engage women’s health consumers through integration of sex and gender evidence-based medicine into clinical practice.  She is also the Program Director of a multimillion dollar breast cancer prevention grant award, and her personal research area is translational cancer immunotherapy.

She serves nationally in a variety of positions, such as an Executive Council Member of the Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative; a Member of the WH Task Force of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a Founding Board Member for the Academy of Women’s Health; and an expert panel member for the Health Resources and Services Administration Women’s Health Curricula: Report on Interprofessional Collaboration Across the Health Professions.  By invitation, she has delivered over 100 presentations to professional and public audiences and co-authored numerous works in both the scientific and public arena.  She was honored with the 2012 TTUHSC President’s Community Engagement Award, recognized as a 2013 Texas SuperDoc and selected as the University of Cincinnati’s McGuire Visiting Scholar.  Her most current projects include the creation of a unique SGBM Clinical Casebook and the launch of a consumer awareness campaign about the scientific evidence available regarding the different health needs of men and women.

Melissa Johnson

Principal, MJX Global Health Works, LLC
Mentor to Nemat Madi

Melissa Johnson is a nationally recognized leader in health promotion, wellness and disease prevention with over 20 years of diverse experience across various industry sectors, including corporate, government, nonprofit and media.  She is currently Principal of MJX Global Health Works, LLC, and works with clients on strategic planning, program development, research model design and event planning.

Melissa previously served as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under President George W. Bush, where she managed the activities and operations of the Washington, D.C.,-based Council, an advisory committee that reports to the President and to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  She managed and coordinated health promotion programs and public education campaigns as part of the Healthier U.S. initiative, including the National President’s Challenge and Healthier Feds

Melissa served as a key leader in the development of the evidence-based 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines and spearheaded a coalition of over 3,000 supporting organizations and individuals.  In that role, Melissa also served as a President’s Council spokesperson and was interviewed by numerous media outlets, including FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, The Washington Post, USA Today and the History Channel.  By promoting healthy living to Americans of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through over 200 public/private partnerships, she collaborated with Governors, Mayors, Federal and state government agencies, corporations, schools and other entities.

She also advised the Jordanian Royal Court and Ministry of Education on the development and implementation of the King Abdullah II youth health/fitness program, which was modeled after the President’s Challenge.  The program led to the formation of the Jordanian Royal Health Awareness Society, which focuses on prevention health measures.

Since 2011, Melissa has also served as Marketing Projects Manager for Index Funds Advisors, Inc. (IFA) in Irvine, California, an investment advisory firm with $1.7 billion in assets under management and 1,800 clients.  In this role, she coordinates webcast productions in the company’s TV media lab, directs the public relations campaign and directed the completion of a book titled Index Funds: A 12-Step Recovery Program for Active Investors.

Melissa has a Master’s of Science in Health/Fitness Management from American University in Washington, D.C., where she taught as an adjunct professor, and a B.S. in Kinesiology from UCLA.  She is also trained in Broadcast Journalism through UCLA Extension.  Formerly a competitive gymnast, she leads an active lifestyle as an avid weight trainer, cross trainer, yoga and pilates enthusiast.  She enjoys living in her hometown of Newport Beach, California.

Susan Karamanian

Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies, George Washington University School of Law
Mentor to Reem Molokhia

Susan L. Karamanian is the Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies at the George Washington University Law School and the acting Co-Director of the George Washington Law-Oxford University International Human Rights Law Summer Program.  Before joining George Washington Law in 2000, she was a partner at Locke Lord LLP in Dallas, Texas, where she represented clients in commercial litigation matters.  

Susan has held leadership positions in the American Society of International Law, including having served as Vice President, and is a former President of the Washington Foreign Law Society.  She is on the Boards of the Center for American and International Law (CAIL) and the Texas Appleseed Foundation, and she is a former Member of the Board of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.  Susan is also on the Board of Advisors of the Kuwait International Law School and Karamah, Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights.  Susan is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation. 

Her educational work has taken her to the Middle East, mainly the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, where she has helped law faculties develop commercial law courses; to the University of Paris, where she taught a short course on public international law; and The Hague, where she was Director of English studies at the Hague Academy of International Law.  She has also been active in working with law faculties in India.  Her recent scholarship has focused on the relationship between foreign investment and human rights. 

Susan is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School; Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar; and Auburn University. 

Kelly A Kramer

Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance, Cisco
Mentor to Dina El Ghawy 

Kelly Kramer is Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance which includes Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis, Mergers and Acquisitions Finance, and Portfolio Management.  In this role, Kramer partners with the business to ensure investments are aligned with the priorities of Cisco by maximizing long term shareholder value, ensuring a balanced portfolio of growth initiatives, and maintaining the high level of integrity and transparency Cisco is known for.

Kramer joined Cisco in January of 2012 from over 20 years with General Electric.  Most recently Kramer was Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GE Healthcare’s Healthcare Systems business, a fast growing division in the medical equipment and services markets.  Prior to that, Kramer had other CFO roles including CFO of GE Healthcare Biosciences, a division in Life Sciences and Molecular Diagnostics.  Kramer also worked in GE in Corporate Headquarters, Transportation Systems and Aerospace divisions.  Kramer has extensive FP&A, P&L leadership,  and mergers and acquisition experience.

Kramer is originally from Rochester NY, and has lived and worked in numerous locations for GE across the US and Europe including Paris, London and the Greater New York area. 

Kramer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Purdue University.

Adair Margo

Owner, Adair Margo Gallery
Mentor to Sandy Halim

Adair Margo was the Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities during the Presidency of George W. Bush.  During her tenure, Margo focused on international cultural diplomacy beginning with Mexico.  She traveled with Mrs. Bush to Paris, France, for the United States reentry into United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003 and was appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.  Serving as a cultural Ambassador, Margo traveled to Uruguay in 2004 at the invitation of U.S. Ambassador Martin Silverstein, and she led the highest level cultural delegation to visit the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng in 2006.  Adair received the Aguila Azteca, the highest recognition given by the Mexican Government to a non-Mexican citizen, from Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, DC in 2007.  In 2008, she received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President who cited her “rallying of support for the cultural agencies and strengthening of international relationships from Mexico to China.”

From 1985-2010, Adair owned the Adair Margo Gallery in El Paso.  She became especially devoted to the legacy of Tom Lea, founding The Tom Lea Institute in 2009.  She recorded his oral history, co-editing Tom Lea, An Oral History that won the Border Regional Library Association Award, and wrote the forward to The Two Thousand Yard Stare, Tom Lea’s World War II, winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Award.  Margo also recorded the oral history of National Humanities Medalist Jose Cisneros, co-editing José Cisneros, Immigrant Artist, and she contributed the opening chapter to Grace and Gumption, The Women of El Paso.  She holds a B.A. in Art History from Vanderbilt University; studied Renaissance Art History and Italian Studies in Florence, Italy with Syracuse University; and earned her M.A. in Art History from New Mexico State University.  She has taught art history at the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University.

In Texas, Adair served as Chairman of the Texas Commission on the Arts and on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  Other state boards included the Texas Book Festival, Humanities Texas, and Texas A&M University Press.  Margo also served on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges Executive Committee, and participated on the board of Mid-America Arts Alliance (ExhibitsUSA).  She currently serves on the Smithsonian American Art Museum Advisory Council, the National Advisory Board for the Laura Welch Bush Institute for Women’s Health, and as the President of the Mexican Federation of Private Associations for Health and Economic Development (FEMAP) Foundation. 

Gloria Nelund

Chairman and CEO, TriLinc Global, LLC  
Mentor to Vivian Noeur

Gloria Nelund spent 30 years on Wall Street as one of the most successful and visible executives in the international investment management industry.  After retiring from Deutsche Bank as CEO of its $50 billion North America Private Wealth Management division, she co-founded TriLinc Global, a private investment company dedicated to creating impact investment products that will attract significant private capital to help solve some of the world’s most critical issues.  TriLinc’s current focus is providing private debt capital to subject matter experts in developing economies to foster economic development.

Gloria’s background includes significant expertise in the creation, management and distribution of investment products for institutional, high net worth and retail investors.  Her work includes the support and development of an early Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) product for high net worth investors at Scudder Investments and multiple programs for Deutsche Bank’s high net worth investors to participate in the development of the microcredit industry. 

Gloria currently serves as an independent Trustee on the Board of the RS Investments’ $22 billion mutual fund complex.  She is also a member of several nonprofit boards and supports entrepreneurship research and education.  She is an active speaker and a guest lecturer on Impact Investing at conferences and several top business schools, including Wheaton, Kellogg and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Nancy Reece

Sr. Consultant, The Human Capital Group, Inc.
Mentor to Miral Dera

Nancy Reece is a Senior Consultant with the Human Capital Group, specializing in developing leaders and teams that gain competitive advantage and deliver sustainable business results.  She intuitively knows how to challenge people to make a powerful impact as leaders, while creating a warm, transparent, and open atmosphere for learning and growth.  Nancy is also a certified emotional intelligence and executive development coach.  Nancy has been privileged to serve great organizations like Ingram Content Group, BMI, SVP Worldwide, Correct Care Solutions, DaVita, Inc., the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, Gaylord Opryland, Oreck Corporation, NASBA, Skanska USA, Safe Place Services, Second Harvest Food Bank, and YMCA of the USA.

Prior to joining the Human Capital Group, Nancy was the first woman elected National Board Chair of the Association of YMCA Professionals in its 130-year history.  Her career includes service as Senior Vice President for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee and national consultant and trainer for YMCA of the USA.  As adjunct faculty, she teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Lipscomb University’s Graduate Business School.  Nancy is also the founder and director of Pastors Leadership Academy and a talented writer.  She wrote the Integrity First Column for the Nashville Business Journal for 5 years and authored the book, The Dichotomy of Power® - Using Power with Intelligence and Integrity

She earned her B.S. degree from the University of Evansville and her M.S. degree from Indiana University, and has continued her lifelong learning at Harvard University and the Center for Creative Leadership.  Nancy serves as Vice President on the board of Mercy Health Services and on the board of International Christian Ministries.   

Roslyn Dawson Thompson

President and CEO, Dallas Women’s Foundation

Roslyn Dawson Thompson is President and CEO of the Dallas Women’s Foundation.  A longtime advocate for women and girls with experience in both local and national philanthropy, she changed careers in 2011 from owning a successful marketing communications firm to leading the organization closest to her heart.  She has a passion for the mission of Dallas Women’s Foundation, with a 20-year history of involvement and support, serving twice on the Board of Directors and most recently as Chair-Elect.

In her previous role, Roslyn was president and CEO of DAWSON + MURRAY + TEAGUE, a full-service marketing communications firm she founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1986.  The agency served international, national and regional clients in a variety of industries.  Roslyn was focused on the corporate responsibility, philanthropy and nonprofit sectors with deep experience in cause-related marketing, governance, grant-making, strategic events and development.

A recipient of the Maura Award for her contributions to improving the lives of women and girls, she was a member of the Executive Committees of Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Junior League of Dallas and YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas.  She is a past Chair of the Boards of Texas Discovery Gardens, Center for Nonprofit Management and Parkland Foundation, where she remains on their respective Advisory Councils.  She is past President of The Dallas Summit and a member of the International Women’s Forum and The Dallas Assembly.  She holds a B.A. in English literature from Baylor University and a Master’s in the same field from Vanderbilt University.

Kym Sosolik

Mentor to Caroline Kaldas

As a highly effective Sales, Marketing, and Human Resource Management professional with demonstrated success in critical phases of organizational development that includes strategic planning, people development and executive coaching, Kym Sosolik is President of Allure Talent Consulting. With well-rounded qualifications in designing and delivering development programs and performance metrics that build the foundation for consistent organizational excellence; my desire is to help organizations make the most of their talent by enabling people to unleash their full potential.

Previously Kym was the Vice President of Human Resources with Andrews Distributing Company, one of the nation’s most respected beverage distributors. She served as Director of Leadership and Organizational Development with Cox, Executive Education at Southern Methodist University delivering high quality, contemporary, customer-focused leadership development programs focused on leadership, human capital, and organizational development within the business community. Kym is the founder and developer of the first women’s leadership program at SMU Cox Executive Education. "Women in Motion" is a unique program founded on research and science designed to help seasoned business women develop leadership skills that will move them into higher levels of responsibility. Kym’s background also includes a 15 year track record in the pharmaceutical industry, where she served in a variety of roles including Training, Business Development and Sales Management.

Community service is very important to Kym. She has served for several years as President of Empowering Women as Leaders, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women in achieving their highest potential through education, mentoring and networking. The EWL Scholarship Program provides financial support toward college educations of high-potential Texas residence women. Having a large network of diverse women and a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a EWL leader is what distinguishes us from any other scholarship foundation.  

Kym received a Master of Arts degree in Professional Development from Dallas Baptist University and Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from Midwestern State University. This unique blend of science and organizational studies has enabled Kym to provide business solutions with a perspective of people development based on scientific knowledge.

Kym was awarded the Dallas Business Journal Women in Business Top Women to Watch in July of 2010.

Tobi Young

General Counsel, George W. Bush Foundation

Tobi Young is the General Counsel for the George W. Bush Foundation.  She is also President Bush’s designated Presidential Records Act representative.  Before moving to Texas in 2009 to work for the Foundation, Young served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel.

Prior to joining the White House, Young was a trial attorney and counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  She also served as a law clerk to Judge Jerome A. Holmes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

A native of Oklahoma, Young worked as Press Secretary for Representative J.C. Watts, Jr. before entering the legal field. 


2012 Mentors


Linda Eads

Professor Linda Eads is the associate provost responsible for faculty affairs at Southern Methodist University, where she also serves as the Director of the Hunt Leadership Scholars Program. In addition, Linda serves on various committees and task forces, including the Educational Programs Committee, the Center for Teaching Excellence Advisory Committee, and the Community Engagement Council.

Linda has taught at SMU’s School of Law since January 1986. She teaches and writes in the areas of evidence, legal ethics, constitutional law, and women and the law. She has published articles in the California Law Review, the Washington University Law Quarterly, and the Texas Journal of Women and Law. She also co-authored the “Questions & Answers: Constitutional Law” student guide.

For three years, at the request of the Texas Supreme Court, Linda chaired the Texas State Bar’s committee studying possible changes in the disciplinary rules that govern lawyer behavior. In 2007 she received the State Bar’s President’s Award for her work chairing this committee.

From January 1999 to September 2000, Linda took leave from SMU to assume the post of Deputy Attorney General for Litigation for the State of Texas.

Linda received a bachelor of arts with honors in international studies from American University and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas at Austin.

Annie Griffiths

One of the first female photographers to work for The National Geographic Society, Annie Griffiths has taken pictures in more than 100 countries. She has worked on dozens of magazine and book projects for the Society, including stories on Lawrence of Arabia, Baja California, Galilee, Petra, Sydney, New Zealand, and Jerusalem.

In addition to her magazine work, Annie is deeply committed to photographing women’s issues. She is the Executive Director of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of National Geographic photojournalists who are documenting programs that empower women and girls in emerging nations. Annie is an International League of Conservation Photographers fellow and one of the National Geographic Speaker’s Bureau’s most popular lecturers.

As well as appearing in National Geographic, her work has been published in LIFEGEOSmithsonianSternTime, and many other places. With author Barbara Kingsolver, Annie produced Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands, a book celebrating the last pristine wilderness in North America. Proceeds from the book raised more than $250,000 for grassroots land conservation. In 2008 she published A Camera, Two Kids and a Camel, a photo memoir about balance and the joy of creating a meaningful life.

Annie has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, the Associated Press, the National Organization for Women, The University of Minnesota, and the White House News Photographers Association.

Lindi L. Harvey

Lindi Harvey has more than 25 years of experience as an executive in the private, government, and non-profit sectors. As principal of Lindi Harvey Business Advisory Services, she recently led the world’s largest non-profit workplace-giving program, achieving a record-breaking total of $67 million in donations, which is being distributed to more than 4,000 charities.

Lindi has held several senior-level positions in the federal government. She served as senior advisor to the National Women’s Business Council for the U.S. Small Business Administration, as deputy director of the U.S. National Park Service, and as deputy director for the Office of Global Women’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State. Prior to her career in the federal government, she served as senior vice president for the Geneva Strategies division of Citigroup, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, business growth, and product-expansion strategies.

Lindi was selected by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole to create and lead the Women’s Majority Network initiative, designed to promote and expand women’s participation in the legislative process. As executive director of the Network, Lindi produced forums to show the significant impact women have on the national economy as business owners, investors, consumers, and community leaders.

Outside of her professional career, Lindi serves on numerous boards and councils focusing on women and youth leadership development, public policy advocacy, and civic engagement. She is a widely recognized speaker on entrepreneurship, community service, volunteerism, and civic engagement.

Mary Himinkool

Mary Himinkool is head of global entrepreneurship outreach at Google, where she builds programs to support start-ups and entrepreneurs around the world. Mary joined Google in 2004 as part of the legal team working on the company’s IPO, then moved to new business development, where she spent six years focused on a range of early-stage products. She has led exploratory projects for Google in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, and the West Bank.

Mary earned her bachelor of arts and master of arts from Stanford University and sits on the board of directors for the university’s alumni association.

Lynette Lewis

Lynette Lewis is an expert on career development, marketing, and branding whose 28-year career has taken her from public relations and fund-raising at a major university to a position as the senior marketing leader for the National Women’s Initiative at Deloitte & Touche.

Lynette is a popular public speaker, traveling extensively to address audiences on topics such as developing a purpose and building a personal brand. She is one of John C. Maxwell’s Maximum Impact Speakers.

A passionate advocate for vulnerable children, Lynette is the founder of Stop Child Trafficking Now, for which she launched an annual walk that is now held in 45 cities and on 80 college campuses.

Lynette is also the founder and host of the PureLife conference, which is aimed at empowering women and draws hundreds of attendees every year.

She is the author of Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos, which has been published in several languages. A graduate of Oral Roberts University, Lynette serves on the university’s board of trustees.

Diana Mao

Diana Mao is the co-founder and president of Nomi Network, a non-profit organization aimed at eradicating human trafficking. Nomi Network helps survivors make saleable products, and uses the marketplace, film, and fashion to advance its work.

Previously, Diana was a senior consultant at a governmental consulting firm and an assistant manager at a New York City economic development agency. There, she managed small business programs in collaboration with city and state agencies. She also managed a project to increase public space in conjunction with the New York City Department of Transportation.

Diana is a blogger for the Huffington Post and the United States Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center.

She received a bachelor’s degree in business economics and Chinese at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Harriet Miers

Harriet Miers is a member of the litigation and public policy sections at Locke Liddell & Sapp, a law firm, where she is also a former managing partner. She returned to the firm after serving in President George W. Bush’s administration from 2001 to 2007 as staff secretary, deputy chief of staff, and counsel to the President. Prior to joining the White House staff, Harriet had a distinguished career practicing commercial litigation.

In 1972, after clerking for U.S. District Court Judge Joe E. Estes, Harriet was the first woman hired at the Dallas firm of Locke Purnell Boren Laney & Neely. In 1996, Harriet became the first woman to be elected as the firm’s president.

Throughout her career, Harriet has been committed to public service. She has been an elected official and has served as an appointed official at the state and national levels. She has served in many volunteer positions, and is a strong advocate of pro bono work and the advancement of minorities in the legal field. Among many recognitions and awards, Harriet received the Sandra Day O’Connor award from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, and the Robert G. Storey Award for Distinguished Achievement from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Gloria Nelund

Gloria Nelund co-founded TriLinc Global, an investment company, after a career as a successful executive in international asset management. She served as CEO of the U.S. Private Wealth Management Division of Deutsche Bank, the world’s fifth-largest financial institution. In this capacity, Gloria held fiduciary responsibility for more than $50 billion in investment assets, including more than $20 billion in emerging markets and credit instruments.

Prior to her tenure at Deutsche Bank, Gloria spent sixteen years as an executive at Bank of America/Security Pacific Bank, most notably as President and CEO of BofA Capital Management, Inc. In addition to managing fixed-income and equity mutual funds in the United States and abroad, Gloria’s division was responsible for managing assets on behalf of public funds, common trust funds, and corporate funds.

Gloria has been a pioneer in the development of social impact products for institutional and high net worth investors. At Scudder Investments, she supported the development and growth of one of the industry’s first socially responsible investment mutual funds. Gloria was instrumental in making Deutsche Bank a leading supporter of microcredit.

In addition to her activities with TriLinc, Gloria acts as an independent trustee for RS Investments, a mutual fund complex with more than $20 billion in assets under management. She is also a lifelong supporter of development-oriented philanthropic causes and has volunteered to teach at-risk youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District and at the YMCA of Los Angeles.

Gloria sits on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations, and actively supports entrepreneurship research and education through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Pamela Patsley

Pam Patsley joined the financial services company MoneyGram International (MGI) in January 2009 as executive chairman of the board of directors, and assumed the additional role of chief executive officer later that year.

Pam is an experienced executive in the financial services industry. After leaving KPMG in 1985, she became chief financial officer of First USA, Inc., where she played a key role in a 1989 leveraged buyout and in the company’s IPO in 1992. Patsley then became president and CEO of Paymentech, Inc., a subsidiary of First USA, and led Paymentech’s IPO in 1996. After Paymentech was acquired by First Data Corporation (FDC) in 1999, she became responsible for FDC’s $3 billion merchant-revenue processing business.

In addition to chairing MGI’s board of directors, Patsley serves on the boards of two additional companies, Texas Instruments and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. From 1996 to 2009, she served on the board of the Molson Coors Brewing Company.

Pam is active in both civic and business organizations, specifically Baylor Health Care Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and YPO/WPO International. She is also a member of the Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council at the George W. Bush Institute.

Pam holds a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Missouri.

Rena Pederson

Rena Pederson is director of communications for the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), a non-profit organization created to advance math and science education in the United States.

Prior to joining NMSI, she served as senior advisor for strategic communications for the U.S. under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, acting as a senior speechwriter and communications manager. As part of those duties, Rena served on the editorial board of the Counterterrorism Communications Center at the Department of State, organized an international conference on attacks on the press, prepared Congressional testimony for Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes, and helped create the America Is book for distribution overseas.

She previously served as vice president and editorial page editor at The Dallas Morning News, where she supervised the opinion pages for 16 years. Prior to joining the News, she worked at United Press International, the Associated Press, and the Houston Chronicle.

In 1992, Rena was among the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in editorial writing. She also received awards for editorial writing from the Dallas Press Club, the Austin Headliners, and the Associated Press Media Editors.

Rena served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board for nine years and was co–chair from 2003 to 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and a past president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.

In Dallas, Rena has served on the board of The Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations, SMU’s Tate Lecture Series, the Hart Global Leaders Forum, the Maguire Ethics Center, the Salvation Army, UpLift Charter Schools, and the Tower Center for Political Studies.

Her third book, The Lost Apostle, was published by Jossey–Bass in 2006. Her previous books include What’s Next? Women Redefining Their Dreams in the Prime of Life, published by Penguin Putnam in 2001, and What’s Missing? Inspiration for Women Seeking Faith and Joy in Their Lives, published by Penguin Putnam in 2003.

Rena holds a bachelor of science with honors in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Kathleen Powell

Kathleen Powell is the co-founder and president of Cinequest, a Silicon Valley film festival that fosters digital technologies and new distribution models. As well as growing Cinequest economically over the last 21 years, Kathleen has developed diverse film-related programs aimed at empowering youth.

The first independent feature film Kathleen produced, He’s Still There, premiered to rave reviews at the Venice Film Festival. After experiencing the passion of international film lovers combined with Venice hospitality, it became Kathleen’s ambition to bring an appreciation of the arts to Silicon Valley and combine it with the power of technology, leading her to launch Cinequest.

Previously, Kathleen was vice president of worldwide programming at Jaman, a socially conscious online film distribution portal. There she led the company’s content acquisitions. Kathleen’s technology background includes 17 years at Hewlett-Packard and its spin-off Agilent Technologies, where she served in a variety of management roles.

Kathleen holds a bachelor degree in computer science and business administration from Kansas State University, and a master’s in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

In 2010, Metro Newspapers named Kathleen one of 25 people who had dramatically changed Silicon Valley over the previous 25 years.

Ana C. Rold

Ana C. Rold is the publisher and editor in chief of The Diplomatic Courier. Ana is also one of the founders of a corporate publishing firm, Medauras Global LLC, which provides business leaders with reports on international politics and economics, specializing in conflict-prone countries.

In 2009 Ana was one of the executive editors of the G8 Summit magazine, a yearly publication distributed at the Group of Eight meeting. She has since become editor in chief of the annual G8 and G20 magazines, and in 2011 she served as editor in chief of the APEC CEO Summit publication.

In tandem with her publishing work, Ana teaches political science at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies. At Northeastern she has also served as a consultant to the Dialogue of Civilizations, leading programs in Cyprus and Egypt.

Ana received a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.

She is a member of the National Press Club and a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

Kirsten Tobey

Kirsten Saenz Tobey is co-founder and chief innovation officer of Revolution Foods.

She began her career as a teacher, garden educator, and coordinator of experiential education programs, working at Phillips Academy in Massachusetts and with Amigos de las Americas in Ecuador.

Kirsten has run a public-health campaign for the environmental law firm Earthjustice. She also was an operations manager at the School for Field Studies in Mexico, serving at a station focused on studying the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the fishing industry.

Kirsten worked with the United Nations Hunger Task Force to evaluate the scalability of school feeding programs in Ghana, and with the McDonald’s Corporation to incorporate social and environmental responsibility into the supply chain.

Kirsten co-founded Revolution Foods in 2005 to transform the way students are fed in the United States. Her company provides healthy school meals and offers nutrition education to low-income students.

Kirsten is an Ashoka Fellow and an Aspen Institute for Environmental Leaders Catto Fellow. In 2011, Time magazine named Kirsten and Revolution Foods co-founder Kristin Richmond as education activists of the year. In 2010, the NewSchools Venture Fund named Kirsten and her co-founder entrepreneurs of the year, and in 2007, she won the Global Social Venture Competition.

Kirsten holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.