“Don't ever think that your biggest adversity can't be turned into your greatest gift”
When Lisa says that anyone can do *anything* she knows this to be true from personal experiences. After a horrific car accident she was told she’d never walk again or have children. Through sheer determination and months of hard work Lisa managed to heal her body and defy her doctor’s dire predictions!
Then in her late 30s, as a successful communications executive, Lisa’s life (and career) path took another sudden turn. Her young daughter was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome that seriously affected her daily functions, including sleep. An unexpected healer came to the rescue, persnickety Merlin-the-cat. Witnessing her daughter’s life transform thanks to this incredible bond, Lisa left her corporate job and became an evangelist for helping animals!
In this amazing interview you’ll get to know a leader who has conquered extraordinary adversities with grace, grit and determination to become an incredible force for good in the world! You do not want to miss this moving, inspiring episode!
What you’ll learn
Links & Resources
About Lisa LaFontaine
Lisa LaFontaine is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), this area’s premier animal welfare organization. HRA was created when two iconic predecessors—the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL)—came together to form a single more powerful voice for animals. With this historic union, Washington, DC, becomes the only major urban area in the country that has all of its animal protection programs and services—from medical services and adoptions to animal control and humane law enforcement—unified in one organization.
Lisa’s experience and accomplishments in the animal welfare field are a testament to her compassion and commitment and have prepared her well for the challenge of heading up such a unique organization. She left a successful career in publishing after having what she describes as a personal epiphany. Her young daughter, who was diagnosed with Turrets syndrome, had trouble sleeping at night. A counselor advised having one of the family cats, to whom Lisa’s daughter was very attached, sleep with her. This cat, who had never been interested in sleeping on anyone’s bed, willingly curled up with her, helping bring her the sense of calm she needed to sleep. Lisa recalls thinking first that there had never been an animal like this cat and then that perhaps other people felt the same sense of connection with their companion animals. Her commitment to animals and their well-being was born.
As CEO of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Humane Society, Lisa spearheaded a successful capital campaign that resulted in construction of a new, state-of-the-art animal welfare facility and an expanded endowment fund for the organization. In 2007 she was hired as President and CEO by the Washington Humane Society, where she significantly increased the live release rate for animals from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the country. She also advocated for greater animal protection through innovative programs and changes in law and built critical relationships with DC’s diverse interests and communities on behalf of animals in need.
Lisa worked closely with the senior staff and Boards of Directors of both WHS and WARL to lay the groundwork for a new, combined organization that would not just be larger but would also be more powerful, one that could accomplish more for both animals and people. The Humane Rescue Alliance is the result of that collaboration.
Given her personal and professional devotion to animals, Lisa is dedicated to the vision of a community where there is a loving home for every unwanted animal, affordable medical care for every sick and injured animal, an end to animal abuse and cruelty, and stronger bonds between animals and people through education and training. She believes that the Humane Rescue Alliance can bring that vision to fruition.
When not advocating for the animal community at large, Lisa shares her life and home with her husband, Matt Kayhoe; Sazzy, their pit bull; cats Crystal, Gregory Xavier Pibb, and Harold; and an ever-rotating and always welcomed family of foster animals. She serves as Vice Chairman of the DC Board of Veterinary Examiners and is a proud member of SAWA (the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators).
“If you're the smartest person in the room you're in the wrong room” - Catherine Meloy
Catherine Meloy firmly believes that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room! She was a successful broadcasting executive when she got the call (literally) to serve as the fearless leader of Good Will. That call - along with her brilliance, commitment and passion - has helped transform countless lives in the greater Washington community and beyond. And in the debate of whether the heart or the head should prevail, Catherine uncompromisingly choses to lead with both!
In this inspiring interview Catherine shares wonderful stories of her parents instilling in her the values of discipline, love and faith. You’ll learn why she refuses to ever be the smartest person in the room and empowers her staff to help translate her lofty 5-year vision into reality. And the ways she strives to learn and grow as a leader, manager and businessperson despite being on top of her game (just read her incredible bio!)
I know you’ll find Catherine’s interview riveting and inspiring!
What you’ll learn:
Links & Resources
About Catherine Meloy
Catherine Meloy is the President and CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington (Goodwill). Catherine Meloy serves as President and CEO of Goodwill of Greater Washington and the Goodwill Excel Center. She was selected in 2003 by the Goodwill Board of Trustees as a proven business leader who could dramatically extend the reach and vitality of the organization and enable it to serve an even broader segment of the disabled and disadvantaged community.
Prior to joining Goodwill of Greater Washington, Catherine had a successful 20 year management career in the radio industry.
With Catherine’s leadership, Goodwill has grown to over 800 associates; 15 retail stores; annual revenues of $42M, which include nine government janitorial contracts. In further serving and expanding the mission of Goodwill, the first adult diploma charter high school has been granted by the DC Public Charter School Board to Goodwill to open in the fall of 2016 under the title of the Goodwill Excel Center.
Catherine’s involvement in the greater Washington community includes:
Catherine is a recipient of the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s “Leader of the Years Award“; was honored by Washingtonian Magazine as “Washingtonian of the Year“; was inducted into the American Marketing Association-DC Chapter Hall of Fame and was highlighted as a Most Admired CEO by Smart CEO Magazine for her successful organizational turnaround of Goodwill of Greater Washington.
She and her husband, David, who is President of Merit Hotels, live in Annapolis, Maryland and have three grown children.
“You have to lead by example 24-7” – Tien Wong
What does it say about you if, as a child, you fantasize about an airline being named after you? Or as an adult your proudest accomplishments are the successes of leaders you’ve helped cultivate? For Tien Wong, it says that entrepreneurship and integrity are in his blood and how he defines himself as a leader. In this candid, enlightening interview Tien shares his immigrant family story and what he has learned as a leader and entrepreneur, both through successes and missteps along the way.
What you’ll learn:
Links & Resources
About Tien Wong
S. Tien Wong is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Opus8, Inc., a Chevy Chase, Maryland-based private investment firm specializing in middle market buyouts, private equity and venture capital investment.
The firm seeks to acquire North American call center, CRM (customer relationship management), and outsourced marketing services and technology companies. Opus8 also makes venture capital investments in emerging outsourcing companies in China with a special focus on tech and services companies in the following sectors: ITO (IT outsourcing), CRM, BPO (business process outsourcing), and outsourced marketing and information management.
In 1991, Tien co-founded and served as CEO of CyberRep, Inc. until its acquisition in 2003 by Affiliated Computer Services (NYSE: ACS). At the time of its acquisition, CyberRep was one of the largest privately held CRM outsourcing companies in the world, operating 6 customer interaction centers throughout the USA with over 2,300 employees and $80 million in revenue. Today, the CyberRep/ACS business unit is one of the largest call center operations in the world, with over $850 million in revenue. In addition to garnering such prestigious awards as Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine's MVP Quality Award and Customer Interface magazine's ACCE (Award for Call Center Excellence), CyberRep was ranked in INC. magazine's 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000's "Inc. 500" as the 51st, 53rd, 72nd and 408th fastest growing private company in the USA, respectively. CyberRep was profitable for eleven consecutive years and was backed by Allied Capital Corporation, a $5 billion investment company (NYSE: ALD).
Tien is a recognized international expert in CRM, direct marketing, and BPO. He has presented at dozens of industry events around the world, and has written numerous articles on the CRM and BPO spaces. He has also provided industry commentary on the ABC, Fox, NBC, CNBC, Maryland Public Television, and China's CCTV networks. Prior to co-founding CyberRep, he worked for ten years in commercial real estate finance and investments.
Tien was the recipient of the 2001 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Greater Washington. An "Entrepreneur in Residence" at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, he frequently guest lectures on entrepreneurship, leadership and finance at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and the University of Virginia.
Tien serves on the Boards of Directors of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (bsomusic.org), Technology Council of Maryland (techcouncilmd.com), HarVest Bancorp (harvestbankmd.com), Association for Corporate Growth - National Capital (acg.org), the Potomac Officer's Club (potomacofficersclub.com), and Monte Jade Science and Technology Association (mj-dc.org). He serves on the Investment Advisory Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology GAP Fund (cit.org). He is former Treasurer and National Board Member of the American Teleservices Association (ataconnect.org).
Tien is Chairman of the Executive Leadership Committee for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship's Greater Washington region. He is CEO of The Tien and Beverly Wong Foundation, which supports youth, education, and social services charities. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College where he majored in Government.