This is usually where I share one of my Leadership Insights interviews with an extraordinary guest and their picture. However, this month I am interviewed by my wonderful colleague Maria Morukian for her podcast Culture Stew. Maria writes in the show notes:
“Is it possible to be a refugee and still have privilege? How do we make space for the multiple layers of our complex stories? In this episode Margarita shares how her personal experience as an immigrant has led her on a journey of self-discovery to define her unique identity and come to terms with white privilege.”
“We need to mobilize resources where they're most needed so we can bring up everyone to the same level of thriving.”
Tonia Wellons is a fan of the African proverb "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." Except during the COVID crisis, Tonia has moved lightning-fast AND together, by galvanizing dozens of philanthropic organizations to drive unprecedented levels of coordinated resources to the most vulnerable of communities. She is brilliantly leading the strategic, focused efforts of Washington-area funders to mitigate the disproportional pandemic impact on communities of color.
Tonia is intentional about leading a long-term, deep, systemic transformation in the world, starting with our community. And she is just getting started!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Tonia Wellons
Tonia Wellons is the President & CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, the largest public foundation in the Greater Washington region. The Community Foundation's mission is to Build Thriving Communities by galvanizing philanthropy and investing locally to maximize community impact. Our vision is for a more equitable, just, and thriving Greater Washington for all, and especially for those who have been systematically marginalized in our region. Leading an organization with a staff of 30, $335 million in assets under management, and $60 million in annual grants, Tonia oversees the day-to-day business of the organization, serves as chief development officer, and works with the Board of Trustees and staff to determine the strategic priorities of The Community Foundation. Tonia has successfully launched and led programmatic and development efforts for several key initiatives at The Community Foundation, including VoicesDMV, the Resilience Fund, and the Partnership to End Homelessness. She also has purview over all grantmaking, community engagement, and strategic partnerships.
Prior to joining The Community Foundation in July 2016, she served as a political appointee for the Obama Administration as head of global partnerships at the Peace Corps. Tonia was responsible for leading the agency’s relationships with other federal agencies, the private sector, international NGOs, and donors. Most notably, Tonia led bold cause-marketing partnerships at the Peace Corps for Let Girls Learn (an initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama). Tonia previously served as fund manager of a multi-donor initiative focused on financial access and inclusion at the World Bank Group. She also spent a significant part of her career working on USAID-funded capacity development initiatives during the immediate post-apartheid era in South Africa and the broader sub-Sahara region. In 2010, Tonia founded the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund (PGCSIF) in an effort to 'shift the narrative' and build social capital in the County. The Innovation Fund's flagship initiative, Forty Under 40 Prince George's, recognizes top talent in the County, and connects them to political, social, and economic opportunity all the while sharing the important story of amazing people - under the age of 40 - who live and work in Prince George's.
Tonia is a 23-year resident of Prince George's County and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and International Development Policy from the University of Delaware, and a bachelor’s in Political Science from North Carolina A&T State University.
“Creativity is something we all possess and tapping into it helps us live our best lives.”
Princess Mhoon is truly a wonder-leader: an award-winning choreographer, educator, entrepreneur and scholar all in one! Her artistic brilliance was sought out by the While House and Michele Obama; her work commissioned by the Kennedy Center and she’s been called "A visionary of her generation!" In this dynamic, enlightening interview you’ll hear her amazing story of growing up in Chicago as the daughter of artists and granddaughter of entrepreneurs; how she artfully integrates art and business; her insights for dealing with the the most challenging circumstances and people with grace, respect and power; and so much more!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Princess Mhoon
Princess Mhoon is a choreographer, producer, educator, and scholar recognized in 2015 by HUFFINGTON POST as one of 26 Female Choreographers "You Should Know" and Dance Magazine's 2006 "Top 25 to Watch" in the world for the Women's Choreography Project titled This Woman's Work. Mhoon is a second generation artist and entrepreneur who has set her sights on enhancing the artistic landscape of the Nation’s Capitol. In 2016 she was invited to participate as one of the region's leading dance leaders by First Lady Michelle Obama during her Celebration of Black Women in Dance; she also served as a panelist for The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during Women's History Month.
Mhoon is also a 2015 Helen Hayes Award Nominee for Best Choreography in a Musical, a Helen Hayes winner for Best Musical, and one of 37 International artists invited to Lusaka, Zambia for solo performance and master classes at the 2015 Barefeet Theatre Festival for vulnerable youth sponsored by UNICEF. She is also a 2016 class member of Leadership Greater Washington.
With work commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the DC Jazz Festival, Princess Mhoon has been called "A visionary of her generation." She is the Founder and Director of the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute with locations in DC and Maryland. Mhoon has served on faculty at Howard University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and a Master of Arts degree in Public History. Her research focuses on Dance History and the African-American experience in dance. In 2015, she was awarded the Owen Dodson DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI award from her Alma Mater.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, she began her training with Alyo Children's Dance Theatre, Joseph Holmes Dance Studio, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. Mhoon Cooper has received numerous awards and scholarships for her excellence in dance, including recognition from the American Dance Festival, Dance Magazine, Howard University, Career Transitions for Dancers, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has performed and toured with the world-renowned Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, The Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble, Nathan Trice Rituals, and Deeply Rooted Productions. She is the founder of DANCING FEET, an integrated arts program that includes classes and workshops for schools and outreach institutions.
The opening of PMDI is the continuation of a life long commitment to the field of dance.
“Beginning with the end in mind is always the key.”
If you want to meet a modern Renaissance man, you must hear Jim Kenefick’s interview! Somehow he simultaneously embodies a brilliant entrepreneurial mind, save-the-world convictions, relentlessly adventurous spirit and heart-centered mindfulness. Jim is passionate about his company’s capacity to make a difference - through its socially responsible orientation, client services and internal culture. He collects experiences, reads voraciously, ideates continuously and learns unceasingly from everything that crosses his path. It’s such a dynamic, inspiring conversation, you don’t want to miss it!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Jim Kenefick
Focused primarily in the technology, media and telecom sectors, Jim put his strategic investment and entrepreneurial leadership skills to use serving as managing partner, CEO, Director and impact investor.
Specialties: CEO, Strategic Corporate Adviser, Board member, Mentor, Coach. Experienced High Growth Leader
Long Standing Licensed Amateur Radio Operator
Young President’s Organization (YPO): Past Chairman of the YPO Social Enterprise Network (SEN) – Real Leaders Making a Difference. Created YPO’s International Sustainability Awards / Hall of Frame. Former Chair of YPO International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) network. Past Washington, DC Chapter Chair and longstanding YPO member.
“Being a trumpet player in an orchestra taught me what moves and inspires people.”
Michael Sapienza was a world-class orchestra musician traveling and performing around the globe when he discovered that his mom had colon cancer. Not even knowing at first where a colon was located, he dived into research and realized that few resources were available to families affected by this terrible disease.
Incredibly, he decided to channel his grief into action, leaving a successful music career to launch a colon cancer foundation! And, as it turned out, many of the skills Michael acquired in his music career – and supporting his family through his mom’s illness - have helped him tune in (pun intended) as a leader. You must listen to this amazing, inspiring interview!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Michael Sapienza
Michael Sapienza, Chief Executive Officer of The Colon Cancer Alliance, lost his mother to the disease in May of 2009 and served as President and Founder of The Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation from 2010-2015. He has turned his profound grief into action, inspiring and challenging the colorectal cancer community, family, friends and professional associates to follow his lead and dedicate themselves to this cause and the Colon Cancer Alliance mission.
Michael was an integral member of the team that led the effort to merge the Colon Cancer Alliance, and the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation creating the nation’s largest colon cancer specific nonprofit. Michael is a member of The Ruesch Center for the Cure of GI Cancer’s Advisory board at Georgetown University. In 2014, Michael received three prestigious industry awards; the David Jagelman, MD Award for advocacy in Colorectal Cancer Awareness by the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, the Public Service Award from the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and the Champion Award from Preventing Colorectal Cancer. He regularly appears on TV, and radio programs throughout the United States to promote the importance of increased funding for colorectal cancer research, and early detection.
Michael holds degrees from both Northwestern University and Rice University and currently resides in the District of Columbia.
“My North Star is helping people who work with me to become even better than when they started.”
Richard Bynum believes there is nothing better than working in a place that’s completely aligned with your values. As a leader he is passionate about supporting and mentoring others to determine their own values (and value) so they can follow their “North Star”.
As the new President of the PNC Bank Richard brings a fresh perspective to his organization and industry at a critical time in history. In this dynamic, informative interview Richard shares what it’s been like to undergo this transition; his views on a diverse, inclusive workplace; being one of the first African American bank presidents in the banking community and so much more!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Richard Bynum
Richard was named regional president of PNC Bank (Greater Washington) in early 2017. Prior to his current role, he was a member of PNC’s retail executive leadership team leading its small business division. Before that he served as the greater Washington Retail Market Executive from 2010-14. He was responsible for consumer & small business sales within the greater Washington area including nearly 200 store locations and more than 1,000 employees.
Prior to coming to Washington, Richard was the Chief Operating Officer for the small business banking group where led the sales force operating platform for hundreds of small business bankers across the 18 markets where PNC has an active retail presence. He began his career with PNC in 2005 in their Executive Leadership Program. During that time at PNC, Richard played key roles in launching businesses and initiatives focused on revenue growth, strengthening the brand, increasing the engagement of employees and fostering innovation throughout PNC.
Prior to joining PNC, Richard had a 12-year career as a senior manager for the American Red Cross. His last role with the organization was as the managing director for disaster response & emergency communications at the Chicago chapter. During his career, he was an operations director for the Kosovo Refugee Operation as well as the September 11th effort in New York.
Richard has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at the Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Florida State University. He is also a graduate of the Consumers Bankers Association Graduate School of Retail Bank Management.
Richard is currently a member of 100 Black Men of Washington DC. Prior to moving into the area, he served as a board member for the Mattress Factory Art Museum and the Thelma Lovette YMCA branch; both in Pittsburgh, PA as well as Youth Service Project, a small not-for-profit in Chicago, IL. He and his wife, Evelyn, live in Springfield, VA with their two children.
“As leaders we have to examine ourselves, our own beliefs, and those structures and systems that perpetuate racial inequity”
Tamara Copeland is a powerhouse of a leader who courageously and tirelessly uses her voice and professional platform to tackle one of the most challenging and charged social issues today - racism!
Tamara’s commitment to racial equity surged when Trayvon Martin was killed. Her son AJ was roughly his age; he could have been Trayvon! In this incredibly powerful, informative conversation Tamara shares her passion for racial equity and offers sage advice for how each of us can become more educated, stronger allies and advocates in this crucial social movement!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Tamara Copeland
Tamara joined the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers in September 2006. In this position, she leads a staff committed to promoting and supporting effective and responsible philanthropy across Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia. Over the course of this time, Tamara has become one of the key spokespeople for philanthropy with her blog, A Voice from Philanthropy. Currently, the organization is leading three major initiatives, Our Region, Your Investment focused on ensuring more affordable housing in the region; the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; and a dynamic exploration of race called “Putting Racism on the Table.” An op ed that she authored on why she feels this is not a post-racial America was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Before this position, she served as the President of Voices for America’s Children for almost 10 years. Many believe that her vision and leadership were instrumental in transforming what was the National Association of Child Advocates, an association focused solely on supporting state and locally based child advocacy organizations into Voices for America’s Children, a national advocacy organization with member groups in almost every state in the country.
Prior to joining Voices, Tamara was Director of the National Health & Education Consortium. She also worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman Bobby Scott as Legislative Director and chief advisor on health, human services and education issues. Before that she was the Director of the Southern Regional Project on Infant Mortality, an initiative of the Southern Governors' Association and the Southern Legislative Conference. She also understands state government, having been Director of the Office of Prevention of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services and Deputy Director of the Virginia Division for Children. Tamara serves on several boards and is a member of the 2004 class of Leadership Greater Washington.
She received her B.A. in Sociology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and her M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
“You can either fight characteristics millennials bring to the workplace or you can harness and direct them”
Sam started her leadership journey early in life when she was elected to be a mayor of a fictional town in a high school program. A testament to her wisdom and brilliance from the start, Sam struggled with and over time learned what it takes to build alliances and support networks, make unpopular decisions and empower others to want to follow.
In this incredibly dynamic, informative episode Sam shares specific tips and strategies on how to lead a high functioning, connected, happy workplace; build a strong culture based on authentic expression of values; and naturally harness the talents, strengths and tendencies of the newest and fastest-growing generation of workers, the millennials!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Sam Cicotello
Sam Cicotello is an expert in organizational development and corporate culture. She is currently Vice President of People Operations at Social Tables, a DC incubated startup and was previously at The Motley Fool for more than a decade. She speaks frequently on the topics of corporate culture and the importance of happy employees.
Sam’s career began as an intern at The White House in 1996 (where she is grateful not to have had access to the West Wing). She cut her teeth in business working as a non-profit fundraising consultant with Adams Hussey & Associates where she served several large national clients and developed expertise in marketing, analytics and membership retention.
In 2003, Sam was recruited by The Motley Fool as a marketing manager. During her tenure, she was asked to lead several different teams within the company to maximize collaboration and data-driven results. Given her broad business background, she was ultimately surprised to find herself working on the HR/People team as the Chief Learning Officer. It was in this role that she began to see the deep business value of investing in organizational excellence.
As the CLO, she identified the needs of individuals to develop top talent for the future success of the organization. She was responsible for facilitating learning throughout the company and led the fellowship program to develop dozens of high-potential employees identified as future leaders. While in this role she was able to meet with and learn from some of the most amazing business leaders in the country including Jack Welch, Steve Wynn, Elon Musk, Tony Hsieh, Ari Weinzweig, Jeff Weiner, and John Mackey.
Sam was added to The Motley Fool’s innovative approach to culture development including core values, performance management, compensation, recruiting and onboarding and was fortunate to be surrounded by innovative coworkers that helped her get to “yes” on people ideas.
In 2015, she went to Social Tables to expand her expertise. Over the past two years, she has helped to more than double the size of the business (in both headcount and revenue) and is managing a workforce composed of young and energetic employees (over 90% millennials). She currently manages all aspects of Human Resources.
Sam has been recognized with awards from the Washington Business Journal (Women Who Mean Business) and SmartCEO (Corporate Executive) and has been quoted in The Washington Post, HR Magazine, USA Today, Human Resources IQ, SmartCEO, and the Washington Business Journal. She has also appeared on CNN and CNBC and presented a much-acclaimed TED talk on Reinventing the Workplace.
Originally from Tennessee, Sam attended Vanderbilt University and now resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two energetic children.
“We train young people to recognize their power and advocate for themselves.”
Adam Levner mission is to do nothing short of creating a new generation of social advocates and leaders! Growing up feeling excluded from his community Adam has created a movement to inspire, empower and train young people to advocate for themselves and their communities through photography.
In this dynamic, insightful interview Adam shares incredible stories of how even the youngest leaders have helped transform their communities and strategies for how all of us can become even more effective in creating social, systemic and institutional change!
What you'll learn
Links & Resources
About Adam Levner
Adam co-founded Critical Exposure in 2004. Previously, Adam worked as a fifth grade teacher in Virginia, a community organizer in Prince George's County, MD, an education consultant for the Center for Community Change, and a freelance photographer. Adam attended Tufts University and received a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University. He is member of Leadership Greater Washington and a founding board member of Morganizing for Change. Adam is a frequent presenter on topics related to nonprofit management and gave a TED talk titled, "Stories Aren't Enough: Connecting Youth Voices to Action" at TEDxFoggyBottom.
“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 want to witness a leader’s passion and authentic expression at its fullest, you must hear Nicole Quiroga’s interview! A daughter of Latino immigrants, Nicole grew up in a warm, affectionate, emotive household and built her career at a company that helps her stay connected to her roots. Her leadership style is a beautiful blend of passion, kindness, creativity and a dash of Latin flare!
In this super dynamic, energizing, candid interview Nicole shares what it can be like for kids from bilingual, bicultural homes to transition to the “real world”; tips for leaders managing multicultural workplaces; guidance for social change organizations on how to partner with the media; and so much more!
What you’ll learn:
Links & Resources
About Nicole Quiroga
Nicole Quiroga, a native of Washington DC, is the General Manager of Telemundo WZDC-25 in Washington D.C. and Telemundo WZTD-45 in Richmond, VA. In her position, Ms. Quiroga predicts market trends, sets budgets and performance expectations, ensures station compliance with FCC requirements and has overall responsibility for maintaining and growing the profitability of both stations.
Ms. Quiroga is a television broadcaster with expertise in media sales, journalism, multi-cultural marketing, and strategic planning. She is deeply passionate about educating and empowering Washington DC’s Latino community and, over her 15 years at Telemundo, has forged strategic partnerships with community and corporate organizations which allow her to execute outreach campaigns that provide Hispanic families access to critical information and resources.
Ms. Quiroga is highly experienced in the planning, financing and executing of local and national campaigns that focus on the advancement of Latinos in the U.S., to include Hispanic-targeted trade shows, grassroots events and over-the-air initiatives. Her most recent success was the launch of Agenda, a local public affairs television program produced in partnership with ABC7/News Channel 8.
A sales trainer and speaker, Nicole is frequently invited to speak on topics such as selling to the Hispanic market, increasing sales through cross-cultural communications, and harnessing the power of Latinos now and in the future.
Ms. Quiroga mentors young women on their journey to becoming executives in the fields of media, communications and journalism. She works with the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the Latino Student Fund to provide one-on-one coaching and tutoring sessions to young girls and women between the ages of 12-25.
Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Marketing from the University of Maryland. She is a graduate of the Leadership Greater Washington Executive Program, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Leadership Program and the National Hispana Leadership Institute. She holds leadership positions at the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Student Fund and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy. In 2014, Ms. Quiroga received Governor Martin O’Malley’s Outstanding Media Award, the Women Who Mean Business Award from the Washington Business Journal and the Public Service Leadership Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
“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.
This seems to be a particularly ideal time for a story about a single individual’s determination and capacity to transform tragedy into a movement that’s saving millions of lives world-wide!
Robin Smalley is an Emmy-winning journalist who miraculously found her life’s purpose at her best friend’s deathbed. At the lowest point in her life she decided to take a wild leap of faith, move her family to Africa and co-found a nonprofit that is tirelessly (and successfully!) eradicating pediatric AIDS globally. In the last 15 years mothers2mothers has transformed from a tiny startup to an award-winning organization that has saved and enriched 1.5 million lives of HIV-positive moms and babies who are now born healthy thanks to Robin’s extraordinary work!
Robin’s story and spirit are beyond inspiring - I know you’ll get so much from this amazing interview!
What you’ll learn:
Links & Resources
About Robin Smalley
After a successful Emmy-winning career as a television producer/director, Robin Smalley co-founded mothers2mothers (m2m), a Cape Town based NGO providing education, empowerment and suppport for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV/AIDS. m2m reaches these women with a unique approach, by employing and professionalizing women from communities living with HIV, called Mentor Mothers. As role models in their townships and villages, Mentor Mothers fight stigma as valued members of health care teams that have traditionally been populated by overworked and overstressed doctors and nurses.
As m2m’s first Executive Director and current Director of m2m U.S., Robin has helped guide the organization through a period of extraordinary growth, from a tiny grassroots start-up to an international organization operating in eight sub-Saharan countries and employing over 1600 HIV-positive women who are providing health and hope to hundreds of thousands of families. m2m has been honored at the White House, has won the Skoll Entrepreneurial Award, the Schwab Entrepreneurial Award, the Global Health Council Best Practices Award, and the Henry Kravis Leadership Award. Robin is married to architect Jeffrey Smalley and has two daughters, Hannah and Sophia.
“My mission is to be a catalyst for positive, systemic change in the community” – Tom Raffa
Tom Raffa admits he’s is a very unusual CEO. He “winged” his way into accounting to pay for college and has built a firm (and a legacy) that focuses more on impact than on profit. 30+ years later Raffa still contributes 10% (almost $5m last year) in financial and pro-bono services to non-profits and allows *unlimited paid* community service time to any employee! When health insurance premiums skyrocketed, Tom not only kept benefits the same for employees, he invested heavily in wellness programs to make sure his staff is healthy, happy and engaged. Tom is an amazing visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist and I know you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did!
What you’ll learn:
Links & Resources
About Tom Raffa
Tom is the Founder and Managing Partner of Raffa, which he established specifically to service the needs of the nonprofit community and social sector. During his more than 35- year career, Tom has provided accounting, auditing, tax services and business consulting to the nonprofit sector, conducting studies on management structure, internal and operational controls, and management information systems. Many Raffa clients have also enlisted Tom’s assistance in assembling compensation and fringe benefits packages, executive compensation and retirement plans, venture capital/fundraising efforts, investment policies, financial projections, indirect cost proposals and matters of governance.
To serve Raffa’s clients more fully, Tom founded three affiliate organizations, Raffa Financial Services, Inc. (RFSI), Raffa Social Capital Advisors (RSCA) and Raffa Wealth Management (RWM). RFSI, formed in 1999, provides insurance and investment products and services, while RWM, formed in 2005, provides investment consulting and financial planning to private foundations and high-wealth individuals who support the nonprofit sector. RSCA was formed in 2016, to accelerate and scale those groups and individuals with solid social enterprises programs that could change the world.
Tom’s professional and volunteer support of nonprofits has garnered him several recent awards, including the 2016 Individual Making a Difference Award from The Nonprofit Village, the Georgetown Entrepreneur of the Year, the Volunteer Achievement Award from the Accountants for the Public Interest and SmartCPA two years running from SmartCEO Magazine. Raffa was recognized as the 19th Top Corporate Philanthropist in the Region in 2012. Tom was recognized for the creation of Companies for Causes and his commitment to improving education outcomes for students by the Pearl and Ivy Educational Foundation at the 2014 P.E.A.R.L.S. Awards with the Innovation in Philanthropy Award. In November, Tom will receive the Man of the Year Award from the Italian American Association (Lido Civic Club) for his unwaivering commitment to community.
Through Tom’s commitment to his employees health and wellness, the firm was recently honored with the 2016 SmartCEO's Healthiest Company Award for first-rate programming. Inside Public Accounting (IPA) and Accounting Today magazine continuously name Raffa as one of the “Top 100 Accounting Firms” in the nation. IPA’s Top 100 and IPA’s National Benchmarking Report are the industry’s longest-running and most up-to-date analysis and ranking of the nation’s largest accounting firms. A recent report recognized Raffa as its “Best of the Best,” which honors only 50 firms from across the country for their overall superior performance on more than 70 criteria. Recently, IPA recognized Raffa as the only firm in the country whose leadership embraces its international and multi-cultural staff in an article entitled, “One IPA 100 Firm Defies Diversity Statistics: 11 of 17 Partners Are Women.” This article named Raffa as the only firm in the top 100 that is women-owned making it the largest CPA firm in the US that is women-owned. It is also one of the only a few CPA firms that is a certified B Corporation.
Tom shares his expertise through articles in national publications such as The Nonprofit Quarterly, The Nonprofit Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which cover issues affecting the nonprofit sector. He also has been an instructor and speaker for many nonprofit training programs and conferences and various federal agencies.
Tom is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the District of Columbia and is an active member of AICPA. He is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and the Alliance for Nonprofit Insurance and has served on the board of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and Sister Cities of Montgomery County. He is a founding member of the board of Social Impact 360 and a recent member to the Park City Community Foundation board. He is also on the Advisory Board of Aspire. Tom is the Vice Chair, the Treasurer and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Catalogue for Philanthropy. Tom is also a member of the board of the United Way of the National Capital Area where he serves on the Strategy Committee and the Audit Committee. Tom is the Treasurer and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tom is a graduate of Georgetown University, a member of the Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Program and has served as a mentor at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business for more than 20 years. He often speaks at Georgetown for various classes and seminars and is currently involved with the Entrepreneurship Fellowship.
“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.
“Values drive our actions, responses and decisions; we each have to determine what matters to us and what we are and aren’t wiling to accept.” – Rosie Allen-Herring
Rosie Allen-Herring counts as a blessing to have grown up in a large, education-focused Southern family; surrounded by a loving, encouraging community; and crossing paths with teachers and mentors that have shaped her path and her values. Today she is an inspiration to her staff, peers and community and hearing her stories and insights on family, growth and leadership it’s easy to see why. Don’t miss this amazing interview with an extraordinary leader - Rosie Allen-Herring!
What You'll Learn:
About Rosie Allen-Herring
Rosie Allen-Herring is the President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA). She brings to United Way NCA a keen understanding of how to leverage resources and convene public and private entities to create a collective impact in the local community as well as on a national level.
Rosie has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of strategic leadership, public and private partnership development, corporate philanthropy and community investment.
Formerly, Rosie was the Managing Director of the Community Investment and Engagement Division at Fannie Mae. In that role, she led Fannie Mae’s corporate philanthropic strategy, and oversaw the organization’s social responsibility investments and employee engagement efforts nationwide.
Prior to Managing Director at Fannie Mae, she served as the National Regulatory Compliance Manager, Housing & Community Development. She was also the Senior Deputy Director, Washington, DC Community Business Center.
Rosie developed, implemented and managed key business strategies for the Washington Metropolitan area, resulting in investments of more than $2 billion in the region.
Rosie holds key leadership roles with several business and civic organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, Prince George's Community College Foundation and several additional organizations. She served as a board member for Washington's exploratory Olympic committee, Washington 2024.
She earned a B.A. in Economics from Howard University, an M.B.A. from Strayer University and was an International Fellow of the United States-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at the University of Cape Town (SA) Graduate School of Business and Duke University Graduate School of Public Policy.
Rosie has been honored by many organizations, including: Washington Business Journal Minority Business Leader (2015); Hope Awardee for Calvary Women's Shelter (2015); Most Influential Business Leader ( 2014 and 2013); Brava Top CEO Award (2014); Washingtonian Magazine’s Most Powerful Women (2013); Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 Leader and Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award (2011).
She has been included on prestigious lists such as “Outstanding Young Women of America,” and “Who’s Who in America.”