Women IMPACT virginia - Brought to you by Virginia Tech's Outreach and International Affairs - Virginia Tech LOGO
women IMPACT virginia - SUMMIT 2022 empowering women in the workplace - Brought to you by Virginia Tech's Outreach and International Affairs - Virginia Tech LOGO

Previous Sessions

Previous Sessions

2022 Keynote Speakers

Photo of speaker Nancy Howell Agee
CEO, Carilion Clinic
Steel Magnolia Leadership
Opening Keynote, 9:15 am - See Schedule

Nancy Howell Agee is President and Chief Executive Officer of Carilion Clinic, a $2.4B not-for-profit integrated health system headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia. Before becoming CEO in 2011, Ms. Agee served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and co-led Carilion’s reorganization from a collection of hospitals to a fully integrated, physician-led clinic. The reorganization resulted in a partnership with Virginia Tech to create an allopathic medical school and research institute. Ms. Agee is a nationally recognized health care leader and past Chair of the American Hospital Association. Modern Healthcare named her one of 2021’s Women Leaders Luminaries that recognizes executives whose careers have been defined by reshaping the industry. She was first named to Modern Healthcare’s biennial list of Top 25 Women Leaders in 2017 and is perennially among its 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. She is a former member of The Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners and past Chair of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and the Virginia Center for Health Innovation. Ms. Agee was named Virginia Business Person of the year in 2017 and placed on the 2020 Power List by Virginia Business, and has been on the list of most influential persons in Virginia for the past ten years. Ms. Agee has received many awards over her career including the Total Action for Progress (TAP) 2021 Cabell Brand Hope Award, 2020 University of Virginia Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center Distinguished Alumna Award, Emory School of Nursing’s Nurses Alumni Association Distinguished Nursing Achievement Award, Multiple Sclerosis Silver Hope Award, the Carilion Paladin Award for Quality, and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership’s Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award. Ms. Agee holds degrees with Honors from the University of Virginia and Emory University and attended the Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University. In 2015, she received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Roanoke College and the Jefferson College of Health Sciences.

Photo of speaker Nneka Chiazor
Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, Cox Communications
Closing Keynote, 2:00 pm - See Schedule

Nneka Chiazor is a bridge builder. Born in Newfoundland, growing up between Montreal and Lagos, Nneka’s international upbringing revealed the criticality of bridging divides. It inspired her migration to the United States to pursue the American Dream. She joined Cox Communications in 2017 as Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for Virginia and North Carolina region and leads a team entrusted with enhancing company revenues through public-private partnerships, robust employee engagement, digital equity programs, and community goodwill. Before joining Cox, she worked in several technical and corporate roles in the telecommunications industry, including at Verizon, where she worked on several innovations such as FiOS and smart cities. As a community builder, Nneka engages many nonprofits and professional organizations across the globe. She serves on several boards and as an appointed commissioner on the Virginia Beach Development Authority. She received the 2022 Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities for her commitment to building bridges of understanding across the commonwealth. An alum of Harvard Business School, Nneka is passionate about empowering people—she lives to see people win. She enjoys volunteering to support female entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, and spending time with her family, especially on the beach. Ask her about surviving a wild goose attack!

Breakout Session 1: TRANSCENDING

Photo of speaker Suja S. Mathew
Consultant, founding member - Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia
Presentation: Transcending Historic Cultural Systemic Impacts
Breakout Session 1, 10:15 am - See Schedule

Suja S. Mathew is a driven community activist and passionate advocate, who strives to build alliances while relentlessly fighting for issues that make communities stronger. For twenty years, Suja has had the opportunity to work within diverse and socially conscious industries. She is a contributing writer for Nonprofit Quarterly and Blue Avocado. Currently, she enjoys multiple roles as a consultant and helps support newcomer students and families for Henrico County Public Schools. Suja is one of the founding members of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia. Suja has a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs along with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Psychology. Ms. Mathew is an avid tennis player, and lives in Glen Allen, Virginia with her two children.

Photo of speaker Tracy Gregorio
CEO of G2 Ops, Inc.
Presentation: Transcending Norms in STEM: A Female CEO's Journey
Breakout Session 1, 10:15 am - See Schedule

As CEO of G2 Ops, Inc., Tracy Gregorio leads a group of experts in Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Cybersecurity, and Cloud Engineering that provides a well-rounded portfolio of skill, knowledge, and adaptability to solve real-world business challenges. Tracy leads by example and draws on 35 years of business experience as well as education from Old Dominion University and Virginia Tech, and business and technology certifications from Goldman Sachs and MIT. A proud Virginian, she stays active in the community and serves on several boards and committees including the Board of the Virginia Maritime Association, the Governor appointed Commonwealth Modeling & Simulation Advisory Council, and the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Technical Advisory Board.

Photo of speaker Faith Flippo
Commander of the City of Richmond’s 3rd Precinct
Presentation: Transcending Boundaries in Public Service
Breakout Session 1, 10:15 am - See Schedule

Born in New Jersey, Faith Flippo made her way to Richmond in 2002. She serves as the Commander of the City of Richmond’s 3rd Precinct. Her career has ranged from community engagement units to violent crime task forces to major crimes investigations. Faith always knew she had a calling to serve others and was compelled to become a police officer. Representing women in a male dominated field, Faith prides herself in her ability to show that women can serve in this capacity – while making a positive impact. She graduated from Radford University and ran track for the Highlanders as a student athlete. Faith, her husband, and three children reside in the surrounding Richmond area and are proud to call it home

Hokie Highlight Panelists

Panel Discussion: Beyond boundaries in higher education with Pamela Gilchrist, Reyna Gilbert-Lowry, Anna LoMascolo
11:15 am - See Schedule

Photo of speaker Pamela Gilchrist - Virginia Tech Innovation Campus
Pamela Gilchrist is the new director of K-12 programs at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus where she partners across the broader university and organizations to provide pathways in STEM and to higher learning. Gilchrist is an advocate for equity and has served as a leader in multiple organizations, including past chair of both the North Carolina Science Leadership Association and the North Carolina Science Fair Foundation.

Photo of speaker Reyna Gilbert-Lowry - Virginia Tech Athletics
Reyna Gilbert-Lowry serves as serves as Senior Associate Athletics Director for Inclusive Excellence and Alumni Engagement at Virginia Tech. She joined the Hokies in 2008 and is currently responsible for oversight of the daily operations of the Lombardi Student-Athlete Development Center and works to support student-athletes and coaches across the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Reyna also chairs the Virginia Tech Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Council and is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference Committee for Racial and Social Justice.

Photo of speaker Anna LoMascolo - Virginia Tech Women’s Center
Anna LoMascolo serves as the co-director for the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, where she has served in four different roles over the past 18 years. In her current role, Anna manages all aspects of the education and outreach programming for the Women's Center including program design, implementation, supervision, and assessment of the center’s efforts aimed at advocacy and educating the university community about gender, women's issues, diversity, equity and social justice.

Breakout Session 2: Together

Panel Discussion: Entrepreneurship as a tool for building community with Anne Millehan, Julie Brown, Anne Poarch
Breakout Session 2, 1:00 pm - See Schedule

Photo of speaker Anne Poarch
Founder of BASKET & BIKE

Anne Poarch is the founder of BASKET & BIKE, a bicycle lifestyle company in Richmond, Virginia promoting leisurely excursions in nature and everyday biking as a mode of transportation. Through her bike tours, rentals, and sales of chic bike merchandise Anne empowers people to connect with the land and their communities in graceful, new ways. BASKET & BIKE gives back a portion of every tour to conservation causes in the Richmond area. In addition to her role as small business owner in Richmond, Virginia, Anne is a published poet. The Grit & Joy of Being, published in 2019 and her first book, Flight: of butterflies and robins and other winged dreams, was published in 2017 by Belle Isle Books.

Photo of speaker Julie Brown
Vice President of Advanced Learning at the Institute of Advanced Learning & Research

Dr. Julie Brown currently serves as the Vice President of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, VA, a position she has held for nine years. She is responsible for providing high-quality talent development programs, aligned with economic development interests, which build the region’s STEM capacity and talent pipeline. She has over twenty-five years of experience in education, working for a public research university, two community colleges, and regional K-12 districts. Dr. Brown has extensive experience in federal grant reporting, program development, and fiscal accountability. Dr. Brown received her baccalaureate degree from the University of Virginia, a Master’s degree from Longwood University and a Ph.D. from Old Dominion University.In her spare time, Julie, along with her family, owns and operates 2 Witches Winery & Brewing Company in Danville, VA. 2 Witches opened in 2014 as the first co-located winery and brewery in Virginia.

Photo of speaker Anne Millehan
Founder of Millehan Coaching and Consulting

Anne Millehan, founder of Millehan Coaching and Consulting, is a certified coach and consultant for company owners, leaders, and motivated executives. Anne draws from her strong background in the financial and medical industries and specializes in business performance coaching and corporate strategy consulting. Using her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and coaching certification through Coaching Training Alliance, Anne is focused on helping clients develop solid, customized, and effective solutions designed to accommodate both personalities and company cultures. She’s determined to help those she works with reach goals more quickly and easily. A member of the International Federation of Coaches as well as the local Virginia chapter, Anne takes continuous learning, confidentiality and ethics seriously.

Photo of speaker Natalie Hodge
Producer and Owner/Founder of Rudy’s Girl Media
Presentation: Building Networks Through Story/Media
Breakout Session 2, 2:00 pm - See Schedule

Natalie K. Hodge is a writer, producer and owner/founder of Rudy’s Girl Media, a Martinsville, Virginia based multimedia content development company. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Guilford College and a master’s degree from Cornell University alongside over a decade of independent film and television experience in New York and Los Angeles. Natalie utilizes her background in workforce development and higher education to craft entertaining and inspiring stories about the triumphant human spirit. To date, she has produced three film/television projects in Martinsville, and she and her team are currently in pre production on the second season of Hometown Hustle, a feel-good reality series about small businesses in small towns that make a big impact. In addition to a growing portfolio of digital content, Natalie has three published books. When she’s not writing and producing, Natalie is an active member of numerous local volunteer boards and organizations. She is the 2022 grand prize winner of the Gauntlet, Virginia’s largest business pitch competition. Natalie’s winning pitch was for RGM Studios, Uptown Martinsville’s first digital content development studio.

Photo of speaker May Nivar
Senior Manager, Community Impact & Corporate Citizenship
Discussion: Community Inclusivity, Engagement, and Advocacy
Breakout Session 2, 2:00 pm - See Schedule

May Nivar is passionate about building bridges and solving problems, especially those involving diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace and community. At Altria, May leads all enterprise programs and frameworks that engage employees in supporting their communities, such as giving and volunteering; and civic action on key issues. Previously and on behalf of Altria, she was a fellow with CEO Action for Racial Equity. May helped establish Altria’s Asian employee resource group and also helped pilot the Women's Network’s first mentoring program. Currently, May serves on two nonprofit boards that help advance equity and provide access for its communities. She is a founding member of the Asian & Latino Solidarity Alliance. May is a state board and Richmond chapter member of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, which works with schools, businesses, and communities to achieve success through inclusion. May was born and raised in the Northeast and is the youngest of Chinese immigrants who owned and operated small Chinese take-out restaurants. She lives in Midlothian, Virginia with her husband. Together, they have three children. In her spare time, May enjoys practicing and teaching yoga.

Women Impact Virginia launched as a virtual series in 2021 and included four quarterly webinars covering topics in sectors including Health Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Nonprofit Organizations, and the Entrepreneurial Mindset. The success of this virtual series led to the creation of a hybrid, annual Summit with the goal of connecting and inspiring women across the Commonwealth. View the information below to learn about past sessions and speakers.

November 17, 2021 - The Entrepreneurial Mindset

November Speakers

Opening Keynote

Kimberly Wimbish, KMK Productions
Kimberly Wimbish is known as a People Connector. She can take any brand, person, place, cause, or mission to create the vision you want with the resources needed to succeed. Kimberly is a mother, entrepreneur, businesswoman, a graduate of Norfolk State University. Most recently, she is a 2020 recipient of Inside Business Forty Under 40 for outstanding young business professionals in Hampton Roads. While moving and shaking the community, she uses her marketing savvy skills and innovative approach to do the back-end work for many nonprofit organizations, small businesses, college universities, celebrity clients, sports management marketing, political campaigns, corporate industry branding, and always giving back to the less fortunate.

Kimberly’s work has appeared on dozens of national television, publications and radio programming just to name a few including Fox News, CNN, BET, Essence, Ebony, Jet, CBN, Washington Post, Vibe, Source, New York Times, Guardian and others. Her connections are endless, and she has the local media market news, radio, podcasts and newspaper on her extensive rolodex too. Kimberly has dedicated her life to paving a way for others, being a mentor and servant to those in need. Her passion is to use her ties to make a better place for all. Kimberly’s work has only begun and she looks forward to seeing what the future holds for her and the lives she will touch.

Fast Track Session: Startup Stories

Abbey & Hayley Hester - The VB Picnic Co.
Abbey and Hayley Hester are 24-year-old twin sisters, best friends, and business partners from Virginia Beach, VIrginia. The sisters graduated from Virginia Tech in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology and a concentration in Operations and Supply Chain Management. They went on to work in Big 4 Accounting for 2.5 years with roles as Information Systems Auditors in the Risk Assurance practice. With a passion for entrepreneurship and an online community of over 55,000 women, the duo launched two businesses in September 2020: The VB Picnic Co., a luxury bohemian pop-up picnic company, and Rebel and Wren, an online women’s clothing boutique. Within one month of launching, the 23-year-old sisters resigned from their corporate careers to become full time entrepreneurs. The VB Picnic Co. has been featured in major publications such as Coastal Virginia Bride, The Virginian Pilot, Southern Living Magazine, and Brides Magazine to be recognized as leaders in the boutique event design and micro event industry. The duo opened a brick-and-mortar storefront with their business partner Katie of Long Board Charcuterie in August of 2021. It features luxury beach and picnic retail as well as grab-and-go charcuterie and artisanal food selections.

Courtney Buzzell Riley - Proximo Marketing
Courtney B. Riley is the CEO and visionary behind Proximo Marketing Strategies, an international marketing firm headquartered in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Driven by passion and a calling to serve, Courtney leverages her talent for innovative thinking with a genuine enthusiasm for seeing others succeed, to help her clients find and pursue their true purpose while also providing them with the necessary tools to successfully position their brands in the marketplace. With a decade of success behind her, Courtney now focuses her efforts on helping other entrepreneurs, CEOs and visionaries employ the principles of the Love-Centric Business Model to not only achieve success and fulfillment for themselves, their employees, and their customers, but to do it all on their own terms.

Kelli Lemon, Melody Short and Rasheeda Creighton - Jackson Ward Collective

Rasheeda Creighton: During her 15+ year corporate career at a Fortune 100 company, Rasheeda leveraged her law degree to move from negotiating technology contracts to overseeing significant business relationships with large corporations and small businesses alike. Through this work, she learned and honed her expertise in understanding the impact space design can have on operations, and further developed a passion for using her skills to support community focused organizations and entrepreneurs. In 2020, inspired by a sense of purpose leading her down a new path, Rasheeda harnessed her skills and passions into a convergence of business ventures that all work towards a singular path: creating and holding spaces that connect people, particularly Black and Brown people, to opportunities for growth and wealth building, ultimately leading to a path of financial freedom. Finally, Rasheeda is co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective, a business designed to Learn, Grow and Own in the Black community, by creating a hub for Black business owners of all stages to connect to one another and with partners, service providers and financial resources to grow their businesses. Rasheeda earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Spelman College and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.. Of the many hats Rasheeda wears, her favorite is being mom to her daughter, Zoe.

Kelli Lemon: Kelli Lemon is a “Social Entrepreneur/Consultant” that is passionate about changing how people “LIVE” Richmond, Virginia. Through Like The Fruit LLC, Kelli socially connects people through food, sports, arts and education. Late 2018 she made her dream a reality and opened her social cafe , Urban Hang Suite , at 304 East Broad Street in historic Jackson Ward. She is also the host of Richmond popular podcast “Coffee with Strangers”. On the weekends, Kelli is making Virginia residents a little richer while supporting public schools K-12 as the day time Draw Show Host for the Virginia Lottery. And most recently, Kelli is also helping Black owned businesses learn, grow and own as a co-founder of the Jackson Ward Collective, LLC. Kelli also hosts various social events including The Richmond Jazz Festival, After Hours at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Family Day at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and Controversy History at The Valentine Museum. She’s also assisted in creating unique urban events in RVA including, HeART & Soul Brew Fest, Virginia (Richmond) Black Restaurant Experience, Ready 2 Give Charity Events, The Art of Noise and Made By RVA Creative Market. Kelli got her Bachelor of Science degree from UVA and Master’s in Education from VCU.

Melody Short: Melody Short is a graduate of Morgan State University’s Earl Graves School of Business and a marketing executive, focused on business development and brand development for minority owned businesses. Melody jump-started her career in the Urban Marketing Department of Sony Music Distribution. Her career in the music industry afforded her the opportunity to establish relationships with small business owners in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southwest markets. This proved pivotal to Melody’s career, because it’s where she developed a passion for supporting small business owners. As an entrepreneur and co-founder of the Richmond Night Market, she supports small business owners and independent artists in areas to include public relations, marketing and business development. Melody is the former Director of Marketing and Business Development for the largest collection of Black-owned Inns in the United States, Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns and was featured as part of the cast of their television show, on the OWN Network, Checked Inn. Melody currently serves the small business community of Richmond, Virginia with a focus on minority and women owned businesses as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Metropolitan Business League, and as the Co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective, an incubator for Black business owners and selected partners to share resources, experiences and expertise to build and grow strong, sustainable Black owned businesses in Richmond, VA. In addition, Melody serves on the board of the Afrikana Independent Film Festival, ChamberRVA, The Valentine Museum, CultureWorks, Minority Business Enterprise and Emerging Small Business Advisory Board for the City of Richmond and most recently, the Venture Richmond Economic Opportunity Committee. All this while managing her most important role of all—mother to 13-year old Nia Abiose.

Kat Pascal - FarmBurguesa
Kat Pascal, Coowner of Spotless America (commercial cleaning company) Co Owner of Farmburguesa and CoFounder of Nuestro Comercio Latino & Latinas Network

Breakout Sessions:


Jess Edwards - Dan River Region Entrepreneur Ecosystem
Jess Edwards is a project-based Ecosystem Builder. She currently serves as the Principal of the Dan River Region Entrepreneur Ecosystem (DRREE) in Southern Virginia. With a robust experience in ecosystem building, Edwards was previously the director of outreach and engagement for the Alaska Ocean Cluster Initiative, where her work focused on cultivating strategic partnerships, developing innovative programming and creating a statewide leadership summit, all in an effort to accelerate Alaska’s ocean (blue) economy development.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Edwards holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is a WNY BETA finalist for “Best Buffalo Community Tech Contribution of the Year” and a recipient of “Buffalo 30 Under 30” award. She has served as a panelist or guest speaker at events all over the world, including the Nigeria Social Media Summit, the Dubai Lynx – International Festival of Creativity and MaRS Toronto. Jess’s work focuses on strategically implementing innovative concepts to advance entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Dr. Mary Miller, Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program
Prior to becoming Director of RAMP, Dr. Mary Guy Miller was president and founder of Interactive Design and Development, Inc., an award-winning IT firm in Blacksburg, Virginia. Under her leadership, IDD served a wide range of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, for more than 27 years. Additionally, Mary has provided IT solutions for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress. Mary was a founding member and former president of the RBTC and has served on many boards and advisory committees, including Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering Committee of 100. Mary received her master’s of information science , as well as her doctorate in instructional design from Virginia Tech. When she’s not working, Mary enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with her grandchildren.

Social Impact

Nicole McGrew - Threadleaf
Nicole McGrew is the founder and owner of Threadleaf, a women’s lifestyle boutique focused on responsibly-made, fashion-forward clothing and accessories. Located in Old Town, Alexandria since 2018, the shop has been recognized by several media outlets, including Southern Living, Northern Virginia Magazine, the Washingtonian, the Alexandria Times and NBC News, and has become a destination shop for women looking for the best in ethical fashion. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center,

Nicole practiced law in the area of criminal law and policy for 12 years prior to opening Threadleaf — as an associate at Morrison & Foerster, an Assistant General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, and as Deputy General Counsel at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Obama Administration. In addition to running Threadleaf, Nicole currently serves on the board of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the board’s Governance Sub-Committee. She is also on the Visit Alexandria Board of Governors and the board of the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. Nicole is also a 2021 graduate of the Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses Program and is the recipient of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce 2019 Best in Business: Rising Star Award.


Christie Funk - NASA
Christie Funk is NASA’s Technology Transfer Expansion (T2X) program manager. She has been at NASA since 2008 and her career has spanned across disciplines ranging from aerospace engineering to space technology and now to entrepreneurship and economic impact initiatives. In her current role, she focuses on NASA tech-based startup generation and developing pipelines for successful entrepreneurship. Highlighting her work in Virginia, Christie works in partnership with the Tech Center Research Park’s Accelerator Network Program and in collaboration with Virginia Tech’s EMBA program to reach within academia, advance technology, and accelerate business creation. Christie holds a B.S. in Business Management, a Master of Aeronautical Science, and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering.

Hokie Highlight

Sarah Wray - Virginia Tech Reynolds Homestead & College Access Collaborative
Sarah Wray serves as the Assistant Program Coordinator at the Reynolds Homestead and as the Regional Outreach Coordinator for Virginia Tech’s College Access Collaborative. She holds an undergraduate degree from James Madison University where she studied Early Childhood Education and is currently actively pursuing a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech. Sarah has spent the last decade working in formal and informal educational spheres and has a passion for engaging with students to help them reach their full potential. She is active in the local community and continues to pursue programs, initiatives and opportunities to support the needs of the region. She is a low ropes challenge course and AIR Institute facilitator and enjoys working with students, adults and organizations to develop leadership skills and build productive teams. Sarah co-founded a nonprofit organization, One Family Productions, with her husband in 2013 which works to support community enrichment and growth through the creation of meaningful partnerships and accessible events. She has owned and operated her own business, served as president of the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce, led the initiative to create the Patrick County Young Professionals, and continues to find new ways in which to serve the community.

Chiny Driscoll - MetiStream & Virginia Tech Apex Center for Entrepreneurs
Chiny Driscoll is MetiStream’s founder and CEO. She has more than 24 years of management and executive leadership experience in the technology industry, having served in a variety of roles with Fortune 500 tech companies. Prior to founding MetiStream, Chiny was the Worldwide Executive Leader of Big Data Services for IBM’s Information Management division. There, she led all of the professional services which implemented and supported IBM’s Big Data products and solutions across industries such as financial services, communications and retail. Key solutions included streaming, Hadoop, and appliance related solutions. Before IBM, Chiny was the VP and GM of Netezza (a leader in Big Data warehouse appliances and advanced analytics) and a Practice Director with TIBCO Software (a leader in integration and event processing solutions).

Kelli Jones - Tech Center Research Park
Kelli is the Administrative and Events Coordinator at Tech Center Research Park. In this role, Kelli leads all administrative duties and coordinates events for the research park. With a firm belief in innovation, Kelli supports the park Director, Jeff Johnson, in growing businesses that matter.

Kelli has a diverse background center around media, human services, and hospitality. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, Media Production, from Shaw University, and a Master of Business Administration from Saint Leo University.

Kelli is a native of Newport News, VA and enjoys giving back to her community. She is a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a devoted fitness enthusiast. Kelli enjoys reading, researching, and caring for her English Bulldog ,Nelly.

Closing Keynote

Chandra Briggman - Activation Capital
Chandra Briggman is President and CEO of Activation Capital, a leading innovation ecosystem development organization providing social, knowledge, and financial capital to tech clusters across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Before being named the CEO in May 2020, Chandra was Director of Venture Café Foundation located in Cambridge, MA, and was responsible for the strategy and operations of the global network’s flagship Venture Café Cambridge innovation hub. Before her work in ecosystem development in Massachusetts, she held innovation roles with the United States Postal Service in Washington, DC, culminating with her work as the Director of Digital Platforms and the Innovation Lab. Her prior experience comprised leadership roles with multiple startups, including Founder as a serial entrepreneur.

Chandra earned her Bachelor’s degree in the Humanities from Columbia International University, a Master’s in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

August 25, 2021

The audience was welcomed by Dr. Susan Short, Associate Vice President for Engagement, Virginia Tech, who recognized the leadership from women across the Commonwealth in the nonprofit industry, along with the work being done by the university to further their land grant mission.

The session was opened by Abby Hamilton, President and CEO of United Way of Roanoke Valley. Abby shared her life’s work which has had a special emphasis on collective impact, specifically building and growing collaborations among multiple organizations to achieve community wide outcomes on key issues; and empowering communities to be part of that grassroots effort.. Participants experienced three fast-track, each with a different topic and three speakers. Speakers provided a dynamic overview of their business/organization and how they are addressing the given topic in their work.

Board and Membership Management

  • Blair Durham, Black BRAND
  • Charm Bullard, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities
  • Kristie Helmick Proctor, Center for Rural Virginia & Council for Rural Virginia

Volunteerism and Stakeholder Engagement

  • Trinity Villanueva, Public Art Reston
  • Joanie Petty, Boys & Girls Club of Blue Ridge
  • Hope Sinclair, Ph.D., Communities in Schools of Hampton Roads

Financial Management and Fundraising

  • Sharhonda Woods, ForKids
  • Candra Parker, CultureWorks
  • Tiffany Haworth, Dan River Basin Association

A Hokie Highlight showcased Virginia Tech partnerships and initiatives in Hospitality & Tourism that are extending the Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) motto and land grant mission. A panel of Hokies shared their experiences:

  • Julie Walters-Steele, Virginia Tech Reynolds Homestead
  • Tonya Price, Ph.D., Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension
  • Sara Steinert Borella, Ph.D., Virginia Tech Steger Center for International Scholarship

The day was wrapped up with knowledge and experience shared by Jennifer Thomas, Executive Director - Virginia Association of Museums. She shared her crooked road to leadership and 12 lessons that have helped her become the successful person she is today.

May 26, 2021

Women Impact Virginia hosted its second session on Hospitality & Tourism on May 26, 2021.

The audience was welcomed by Dr. Susan Short, Associate Vice President for Engagement, Virginia Tech, who recognized the leadership from women across the Commonwealth in the hospitality and tourism industries, along with the work being done by the university to further their land grant mission.

The session was opened by Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. Rita shared her experiences working for the state agency charged with marketing the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination and film location.

Participants experienced three fast-track, each with a different topic and three speakers. Speakers provided a dynamic overview of their business/organization and how they are addressing the given topic in their work.

  • Diversity & Inclusion:
    • Eola L. Dance, Fort Monroe National Monument
    • Alex Conner, Starr Hill Roanoke Pilot Brewery & Side Stage
    • Katy Brown, Barter Theatre
  • Sustainability:
    • Beth Brummel, Wolf Trap
    • Idalina Walker, Friends of Southwest Virginia
    • Bridgette Bywater, Kings Dominion at Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
  • Innovative COVID Pivots:
    • Julee Midden, Primland Resort
    • Lisa Pacheco, JEMS Hospitality Group
    • Kisha Moore, Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts

After participants enjoyed a facilitated networking session, a Hokie Highlight showcased Virginia Tech partnerships and initiatives in Hospitality & Tourism that are extending the Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) motto and land grant mission. A panel of Hokies shared their experiences:

  • Laurie Bond, The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center
  • Elizabeth Sandoz, The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center
  • Dr. Kristin Lamoureux, Virginia Tech’s Howard Fieretag Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management

The day was wrapped up with knowledge and experience shared by Dr. Melissa Baker, director of Virginia State Parks. She oversees the operation of the 40 state park system with an estimated visitation of 7.8 million visitors per year. She is the eighth director in the Virginia State Parks’ 85-year history and the first woman to serve in that role.

January 27, 2021

Women Impact Virginia kicked off its first session focusing on Healthcare on Jan. 27, 2021.

This half day session was stacked with successful and experienced women eager to share their stories, advice and tips for successful leadership.

Opening Keynote, Dr. Angela Reddix, is the CEO of ARDX, a multi-million-dollar award-winning healthcare management and IT consulting firm with approximately 100 employees dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable populations. Angela is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, author, TEDx speaker, professor, wife and mother.

An engaging and interactive networking session was facilitated by Elizabeth Duncan-Hawker of Red Hawk Strategic Solutions, providing all participants an opportunity to build their professional network by connecting with women leaders across the Commonwealth.

Dr. Natalie Cook, Public Health professor at Virginia Tech moderated the panel discussion that featured stories of struggle and success in healthcare, showcasing these leaders:

  • Nancy Bell, Population Health Manager for Virginia’s Department of Health’s West Piedmont Health District
  • Linday Talley Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC
  • Dr. Maria Almond, rural Psychiatrist with the Centra medical Group in Farmville, Virginia

Closing Keynote, Amy Taloma, serves as Coordinator for Healthcare Programs at Community College Workforce Alliance where she develops healthcare certification programs for adult learners.

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