Speakers


Dr. Dana Bennett 

Interim Executive Director

KENNY C. GUINN CENTER FOR POLICY PRIORITIES  

Former President

NEVADA MINING ASSOCIATION  

Member of IWF Nevada

Dana Bennett recently retired as President of the Nevada Mining Association (the first woman ever in this role) and moved to the historic, remote Nevada hamlet of Midas. As the town’s longtime historian, she authored a book that benefits Friends of Midas, a federally qualified historic preservation nonprofit for which she is President. 

Over 30 years ago and with two history degrees, Dana launched a career in public policy development and advocacy. She began as a committee staffer at the Nevada Legislature, followed by operating her own research and consulting business in Reno and Las Vegas. Her client roster included companies in mining, broadcasting, health care, education and insurance. 

Dana interrupted her career to earn a history PhD from Arizona State University where she also worked for the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Back in Nevada, she was Governor Brian Sandoval’s first Research Director and the Northern Nevada Regional Director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Currently, Dana is temporarily filling the role of Executive Director of Nevada’s Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities. She was also recently elected as the Vice President of the National Mining History Association.  

She has published several articles about Nevada history with a focus on women’s political activities. Her two most recent articles explore women's work in 20th century mining towns and identify the women who opposed Nevada's suffrage movement in 1914. Dana is a lifelong Nevadan who knows this state well and has proudly represented Nevada's world-class mining industry in local, national and international venues. She joined the Nevada IWF chapter in 2015.

 

 

Dr. Bo Bernhard

Executive Director

INTERNATIONAL GAMING INSTITUTE

Vice President of Economic Development

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS

 Dr. Bo Bernhard, a fifth generation Nevadan, calls Las Vegas home, but works frequently in national and international jurisdictions spanning all six inhabited continents.

As the Executive Director of UNLV International Gaming Institute (IGI), Bo oversees all of IGI's research and academic functions. Recently, Dr. Bernhard was additionally appointed as Vice President of Economic Development for UNLV.

He has delivered over 200 keynote addresses in clinical, regulatory and government settings and is published in the top business and social science journals.

Carmen Best

Director of Global Security Risk Operations

MICROSOFT

Ret. Seattle Police Chief

Member of IWF Washington State

Carmen Best is currently the Director of Global Security Risk Operations at Microsoft, where she is responsible for global virtual security operations, intelligence, executive threat intelligence, special asset security, event security, travel security, security risk operations and the security program management office. The former Chief of Police Seattle (Retired) served with the SPD for 28 years, beginning as an entry level patrol officer and later becoming the first African American woman Chief of Police, managing approximately 2,000 sworn and civilian employees before retiring in 2020. Among her many accomplishments as Chief was her creation of the Collaborative Police Bureau, a segment of the SPD encouraging community partnerships and engagement. Carmen also facilitated record-breaking diversity hiring and recruitment within the department. She was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor, dedicated to recognizing individuals who selflessly contribute to society and uphold the ideals of America, an award read into the Congressional Record. 

Additionally, Carmen was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the public safety announcements “Safe in the Sound.” She has been the recipient of dozens of awards and recognitions over the years. Her most recent was the 2022 "Woman of the Year Award" from the National Police Defense Foundation. She is a regularly requested subject matter expert and keynote speaker locally and nationally on a variety of topics: leadership, reimagining policing, police reform, race, women in policing and diversity and inclusion. She is a member of the International Organization of Black Security Executives (IOBSE), ASIS International, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the National Latino Police Officers (NLPOA) and of course, the International Women's Forum (IWF). She is a best-selling author of Black in Blue: Leadership Lessons on Breaking Barriers and Racial Reconciliation.

Elaine Buckberg

Chief Economist

GENERAL MOTORS

Elaine Buckberg is Chief Economist of General Motors. She is responsible for assessing the impact of worldwide economic developments on the corporation, and for providing advice to top leadership on various competitive and economic policy issues. 

Immediately prior to joining GM, she was a Principal at The Brattle Group, a global economic consultancy. Previously, Elaine served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Economic Policy. She also worked at NERA Economic Consulting, where she was a Senior Vice President, a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Strategy Committee. Elaine began her career at the International Monetary Fund and worked in currency strategy and risk management at Morgan Stanley.

Elaine holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Economics and English from Yale University.

 

Dr. Jean Clinton

Clinical Professor 

MCMASTER UNIVERSITY CANADA

 Dr. Jean Clinton is an infant child and adolescent psychiatrist in Canada. She is an author and international speaker focusing on the importance of brain development and the role that relationships and connection play in neuroplasticity and wellbeing. Her book Love Builds Brains is a Canadian best seller and is being used in Early Childhood training programs. She served as a special advisor to the Government of Ontario on wellbeing in education and early childhood development. Her interest lies in the crucial role relationships and connection play in mental health, wellbeing and child and youth flourishing. She is a Zero to Three fellow, a Special Advisor to Goldie Hawn's MindUp foundation’s parent program and sits on their Scientific Advisory committee.

Jean optimistically believes that high quality, competency based relationally focused education of our children and young people is the road to a better and sustainable world. As a mum of five great children and seven grandchildren under six she gets lots of opportunities to practice what she preaches.

 

Nolitha Fakude

Chairman

ANGLO AMERICAN SOUTH AFRICA MANAGEMENT BOARD

Member of IWF South Africa 

Nolitha Fakude is Chairman and Group Director of Anglo American South Africa. Nolitha brings to Anglo American significant management experience gained in various functional leadership roles across the oil and energy, chemicals, financial services and retail industries. Until 2016, Nolitha served as an executive director at Sasol Limited and as Executive Vice President of strategy and sustainability, following an 11-year career with the company where she held executive roles including human resources and business transformation. Prior to that she held senior management positions in corporate affairs, strategy and operations within the retail and financial services sectors.

She has previously served as Deputy Chair of South African Airways, Deputy Chair and Lead Independent Director of Datacentrix Holdings Limited, and as a Non-Executive Director of Harmony Gold and Woolworths Holdings. Currently Nolitha is a Non-Executive Director of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Anglo American Platinum , Discovery Bank and Discovery Bank Holdings and a Patron of Guild Cottage home for girls. Nolitha is also Vice President of the International Women’s Forum South Africa (IWFSA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts and an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa and attended the Senior Executive Program at Harvard Business School.

 

Shari Graydon

CEO & Catalyst 

INFORMED OPINIONS

Member of IWF Canada

 Shari Graydon is an award-winning author, women’s equality advocate and sought-after speaker, who created Informed Opinions in 2010 to amplify women’s voices and increase their influence. She has since trained and motivated thousands of diverse women to share their insights from the podium and through print, online and broadcast commentary. A former newspaper columnist, TV producer and commentator for CBC radio and TV, Shari also previously served as press secretary to a provincial premier, and as president of two national women’s organizations. She has theatre and communication degrees from UBC and SFU, where she also taught. 
Shari is regularly invited to deliver keynote presentations to conferences in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Her impactful advocacy work has been recognized with Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons’ Case, a Woman of Influence award and Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women list. She has written two award-winning media literacy books for youth and is currently updating her 2016 book, OMG! What if I really AM the best person?, which offers purse-sized inspiration for knowledgeable women whose voices deserve to be amplified.

In addition to training and promoting women, Informed Opinions runs the Gender Gap Tracker, a big data accountability tool monitoring the gender ratio of experts quoted in Canadian news media. In 2022 the charity launched a parity in politics initiative to challenge complacency around undemocratic representation practices, and its #ToxicHush campaign to address the torrent of online hate threatening to undermine women’s equality gains that took decades to achieve.

 

G. John Ikenberry

Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs; 
Director, Project on Reimagining World Order

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

G. John Ikenberry is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University in the Department of Politics and the School of Public and International Affairs.  Ikenberry is also a Global Eminence Scholar at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. In 2018-2019, Ikenberry was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University. In 2013-2014, Ikenberry was the 72nd Eastman Visiting Professor at Balliol College, Oxford. Ikenberry is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Ikenberry is the author of eight books, most recently, A World Safe for Democracy:  Liberal Internationalism in the Making of Modern World Order (Yale, 2020), which was a finalist for the Arthur Ross Book Award, listed as “Best of the Year” by Foreign Policy magazine, and listed at Editors’ Best of the Year by Foreign Affairs.  Other books include:  Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American System (Princeton, 2011); and After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton, 2001), which won the 2002 Schroeder-Jervis Award presented by the American Political Science Association for the best book in international history and politics.  He is also co-editor of several new edited books, The Age of Hiroshima (Princeton, 2020), with Michael Gordin, and The Crisis of Liberal Internationalism: Japan and the World Order (Brookings, 2019), with Yoichi Funabashi.  Among his many activities, Professor Ikenberry served as a member of the Policy Planning Staff in 1991-92, as a member of an advisory group at the State Department in 2003-04, and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on U.S.-European relations, the so-called Kissinger-Summers commission. He is also a reviewer of books on political and legal affairs for Foreign Affairs.
 

 

The Honorable Natalie Jaresko

Former Minister of Finance of Ukraine (2014-2016) 

Natalie A. Jaresko is a recognized International Finance Executive with successful transformational experience in the private sector, public service and non-governmental organizations. Natalie recently served five years (2017-2022) as the Executive Director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. She led the sustainable negotiated exit from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, while working to restore the Island’s fiscal health, enabling a return to capital markets. She served as Minister of Finance of Ukraine (2014-16) at one of the most difficult times in Ukraine’s history, rocked by a deep recession, Russian occupation and war on part of its territory. Natalie led the successful negotiation and implementation of the largest IMF program in the institution’s history. She spent two decades in the private equity industry focused on small and medium-sized business in the region, as co-founder and CEO of Horizon Capital, a fund manager with over $600 million under management, and as President and CEO of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund.

Natalie has extensive board experience as a Board member in many private portfolio companies, ranging from banks to insurance and from consumer goods to agriculture. She also serves as Chairperson of Aspen Institute Kyiv. Natalie began her career in the U.S. federal government serving in the U.S. Department of State, including service as Chief of the Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine from 1992-1995.   

 

Melanie Kenderdine

Principal and Executive Vice President

ENERGY FUTURES INITIATIVE 

Melanie Kenderdine is a principal of Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. She is also currently a Visiting Fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). Melanie served at the Department of Energy from May 2013 to January 2017, as the Energy Counselor to the Secretary and concurrently as the Director of DOE’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. She was responsible for analysis and policy development in DOE’s annual review of the Renewable Fuel Standard Program. She produced two installments of the Quadrennial Energy Review and helped conceive of and develop the Energy Security Principles adopted by G-7 leaders in 2014. As Energy Counselor to the Secretary, Melanie provided key strategic advice on a range of issues, including Mission Innovation - a 22-country+ EU initiative that supports transformational clean energy RD&D; North American grid integration and security; and the modernization of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 

Prior to her service at DOE, Melanie helped establish the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and served as its Executive Director for six years. Melanie also started the C3E Symposium series, a joint MIT-DOE program to support the careers of women in clean energy with cash prizes; she still serves as a DOE C3E Ambassador. Before joining MITEI, Melanie served as the Vice President of Washington Operations for the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) from 2001 to 2007. From 1993 to 2001, Melanie worked in President Bill Clinton’s administration, where she served in several key posts at DOE, including Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary, Director of the Office of Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.
 

 

Dr. Avi Loeb

Professor of Science 

HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Abraham (Avi) Loeb is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University and a bestselling author. He received a PhD in Physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel at age 24 (1986), led the first international project supported by the Strategic Defense Initiative (1983-1988), and was subsequently a long-term member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (1988-1993). Avi has written eight books, including most recently, Extraterrestrial, and nearly a thousand scientific papers on black holes, the first stars and the search for extraterrestrial life. 

Avi is the Director of Harvard's Institute for Theory and Computation (2007-present) and the Head of the Galileo Project (2021-present). He had been the longest serving Chair of Harvard's Department of Astronomy (2011-2020) and the Founding Director of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative (2016-2021). He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Physical Society and the International Academy of Astronautics. Avi is a former member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) at the White House, a former Chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies (2018-2021) and a member of the Advisory Board for "Einstein: Visualize the Impossible" of the Hebrew University. He also chairs the Advisory Committee for the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative (2016-present). In 2012, TIME magazine selected Avi as one of the 25 most influential people in space. 
 

Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Arbuckle Professor

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL  

Founding Chair and Director

HARVARD UNIVERSITY ADVANCED LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE (2005-2018)  

Member of IWF Massachusetts

Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, specializing in strategy, innovation and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights guide leaders worldwide through teaching, writing and direct consultation to major corporations, governments and start-up ventures. She co-founded the Harvard University-wide Advanced Leadership Initiative, guiding its planning from 2005 to its launch in 2008 and serving as Founding Chair and Director from 2008-2018 as it became a growing international model for a new stage of higher education preparing successful top leaders to apply their skills to national and global challenges.

Author or co-author of 20 books, her latest book, Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time, has won a number of accolades.

 

Cheryl Norton

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

AMERICAN WATER

Cheryl Norton serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for American Water. She is responsible for the successful performance of American Water’s regulated state subsidiaries. Cheryl also leads customer service across the company’s footprint, as well as systemwide Engineering, Health and Safety, and Environmental and Regulatory Compliance. 

Previously, Cheryl served as President of New Jersey American Water, where she was the principal external contact for American Water in New Jersey, serving approximately 2.8 million people. Additionally, she served as Senior Vice President of the company’s Eastern Division, which was comprised of New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Maryland. She was also the company’s Chief Environmental Officer, overseeing environmental leadership and compliance across American Water’s national footprint. Cheryl has served as President of Missouri American Water and Kentucky American Water. 

She serves on the boards of the Cooper Health System and The Water Research Foundation. Cheryl received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in environmental studies from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

 

Stephanie Maddocks

President and CEO

POWER STRATEGIES  

Member of IWF Nevada

 

Stephanie Maddocks is the Founder of Power Strategies, a technology integration and implementation company, focusing on the casino and hospitality industry. Over her career, she directed casino openings and technology implementation projects for over 95 casinos across the United States, Canada and Asia. As a seasoned gaming industry Executive, Stephanie has earned more than 30 years of experience in both casino operations and game and systems manufacturing and is widely considered an expert on gaming systems technologies and casino openings. She holds three patents for gaming technology, has written extensively for gaming publications and has been a featured speaker and moderator at many industry events. She has been an adjunct faculty at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, teaching gaming operations and audit classes worldwide. She was awarded the Great Woman of Gaming Proven Leader award in 2012. 

While pursuing her professional goals, Stephanie also dedicates time and support to a variety of charitable organizations. She serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Noah’s Animal House and past Secretary/Treasurer for the “I Have a Dream®” Foundation – Las Vegas. She is currently the Vice President of IWF Nevada’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the IWF World Leadership Conference in Las Vegas. She splits her time between Las Vegas and Hollywood, Florida when home from casino projects, enjoying SCUBA diving, fine wine and her hometown Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey team.
 

 

Patricia Mulroy

Owner and President

SUSTAINABLE STRATEGIES

Member of IWF Nevada

 Pat Mulroy, a leader in the international water community for over 30 years, serves as a Senior Fellow and Practitioner in Residence at the UNLV Boyd School of Law and owns Sustainable Strategies, a consulting firm with corporate and public sector clients.

Between 1989 and 2014 Pat served as the CEO of the Las Vegas Valley Water District and of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. She was the lead negotiator for Nevada on all interstate and international matters on the Colorado River, guiding the region through an unprecedented period of growth and one of the worst droughts in the history of the Colorado River and spearheading the most aggressive urban conservation program in the nation.

Pat has been exceptionally active in regional, national and international water issues negotiating numerous trailblazing agreements with neighboring States and the country of Mexico and serving on the Boards of national water organizations. She has been a frequent speaker at water conferences around the world. After retirement she joined the World Economic Forum on their Water Agenda Council, worked with the World Bank in China and is helping develop a water governance structure for a futuristic city in Saudi Arabia.

More recently, Pat sat on the Nevada Gaming Commission and later joined the Board of Wynn Resorts. Shortly thereafter she joined the Boards of Bowman Consulting and NZero.

She is equally active in the community serving on the boards of IWF Nevada, the Keep Memory Alive Foundation, and Catholic Charities; and sits on Diocesan Finance Council. Her honors include the Nevada University system's Distinguished Nevadan Award and the Education Hero Award from the Public Education Foundation.
 

Dr. Nance Roy

Chief Clinical Officer

THE JED FOUNDATION  

Assistant Clinical Professor

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHIATRY, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE  

Dr. Roy serves as the Chief Clinical Office of the Jed Foundation and is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry.  She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina and her doctorate from Harvard University.  Dr. Roy has over 30 years of experience as a psychologist working in college mental health.  She served as the Assistant Dean of Health and Wellness at Sarah Lawrence College and most recently was the Associate Dean of Health and Wellness at Rhode Island School of Design. Publications have focused on effective strategies for promoting emotional well-being among teens and young adults as well as treatment and management of at-risk students on college campuses.  She has been actively involved in strategic planning initiatives focusing on a holistic approach to education, crisis management and a public health model for delivery of care in high schools and on college campuses.  

Dr. Roy is a senior advisor for the National College Depression Partnership, serves on the Mental Health Task Force for the Ruderman Foundation and has worked on mental health initiatives with the Surgeon General, the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance, the Department of Defense, The Veteran’s Administration, the Milken Institute, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and college and university systems across the country.

 

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay

Former Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration (2011-2021)

Senior Fellow

HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

Lobsang Sangay is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School. He was a democratically elected Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration and served two terms (2011-21). Lobsang did his BA and LLB from Delhi University. He did his LLM and SJD ‘04 from Harvard Law School and received Yong K. Kim ‘95 Memorial Prize for excellence in dissertation and contributions to the understanding of East Asia at the Harvard Law School. Lobsang organized seven rounds of meetings and conferences between Tibetan and Western Chinese scholars at Harvard, most notably, the first ever meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 25 Chinese scholars. He was selected as one of the twenty-four Young Leaders of Asia by the Asia Society (2006).

Lobsang spoke at international conferences such as Forum 2000, Halifax Security Forum and Oxford Union. He has written numerous Op-eds in major newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and appeared on many international TV networks like BBC and CNN. He was awarded the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse, College Historical Society (CHS), Trinity College, Dublin (2014) and Salisbury University Presidential Medal for Distinguished Community Leadership (2015). He has visited various capitals and parliaments around the world and played an important role in the passage of Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2020 by the United States Government.
 

Maya Enista Smith

Executive Director

BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION  

Maya Smith proudly serves as the first Executive Director of Born This Way Foundation. In this position, she engages a diverse array of partners across sectors to conduct innovative research, builds authentic youth-focused programming and leads effective campaigns that foster kindness and advance the conversation around mental health. With nearly twenty years of experience in the youth empowerment, civic engagement and community development fields, Maya previously served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Mobilize.org and began her career as East Coast Coordinator for Rock the Vote.

In addition to her work with the Foundation, she is a proud member of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Class of 2022 and serves on the Bullying Prevention Advisory Committee (BPAC) for the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC). Maya grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Rutgers University. She currently resides outside of San Francisco with her husband, David, their two children, and their dog Kai.

 

Dr. Jill Tarter

Co-Founder and Chair Emeritus for SETI Research

SETI INSTITUTE

Member of IWF Northern California

Dr. Jill Tarter is an astrophysicist and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) pioneer. She is the Bernard Chair Emeritus for SETI at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Academy of Sciences. Jill was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2004. She was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology (2001), the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization (2005) and the 2009 TED Prize.

Jill’s astronomical work is illustrated in Carl Sagan’s novel Contact. In the film version of Contact the protagonist, Ellie Arroway, is played by Jodie Foster. Arroway was ‘largely based’ on her work. Jill has spoken around the world and has published dozens of articles about SETI to engage earthlings across the planet in this important search and to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology.

Olivia Troye

CEO

THE TROYE GROUP

Olivia Troye is a national security executive and media commentator with over twenty years of government and private sector experience. She served as Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor to the Vice President of the United States and has served in leadership roles at the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense (DOD) where she was a political appointee under President George W. Bush. Troye has managed complex policy decisions and responses to large-scale crisis events, including the Covid-19 pandemic. She has also led technology projects for DOD with General Dynamics Information Technology and assisted Fortune 500 companies in navigating security challenges in the Middle East and North Africa for the US Chamber of Commerce.

More recently, Troye is working on countering extremism, resisting disinformation undermining U.S. elections, and protecting Americans upholding civic institutions that become the targets of online harassment and threats of violence. She is currently CEO of The Troye Group. A native of El Paso, Texas, she is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs, and the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

 

Dr. Kate Zhong

Director of Innovation

DEPARTMENT OF BRAIN HEALTH
SCHOOL OF INTEGRATED HEALTH SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS

Member of IWF Nevada

Dr. Kate Zhong is a geriatric psychiatrist, pharmacologist, and a trailblazer in Alzheimer’s and brain health research. She is the Director of Innovation and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Brain Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

She served as the Chief Strategy Officer for the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation. She was the Senior Director of Clinical Research for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health where she led the research programs for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury. She is the creator of Healthy Brains, an innovative platform to accelerate clinical trials and to empower the public to improve their brain health and reduce their risk for brain disorders. Kate has been a scientific consultant for multiple pharmaceutical and biotech companies in United States, Canada and Asia. 

Kate received her MD degree at age 22 from West China University of Medical Sciences in Sichuan, China. She earned her master’s degree in pharmacology and completed her residency in Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 

She serves on multiple boards locally and nationally. She was named “Alzheimer’s Ambassador” and was honored with many awards such as “Women of Distinction Award”, “Health Care Headliner Research Award”, “Women to Watch” and “Minority Lifetime Achievement Award”. Kate was featured in the PBS documentary “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” profiling her as one of Nevada’s most influential women.

.


Moderators


Dr. Priscilla H. Douglas

Founder and Principal    

PHDOUGLAS & ASSOCIATES

Ideas Selection Committee Chair 

Member of IWF Massachusetts 

Priscilla H. Douglas, PhD, is the Founder and Principal of PHDouglas & Associates, a consulting firm that helps leaders achieve breakthrough results. The Boston Women’s Business Journal has recognized Douglas as one of the area’s “Top 10 Executive Coaches,” and her two books Getting There & Staying There and Woke Leadership: Profit, Prophets & Purpose extend her reach. She brings over thirty years of real-world experience and thought leadership to client engagements. Her professional career includes key executive positions in government, academics and business where she was often the first woman and the first African American. As a White House Fellow, she served as a Special Assistant to William H. Webster, Director of the FBI. She also was elected by her peers to serve on the White House Fellows Alumni Association.

Within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she has held two key positions: Assistant Secretary for Public Safety and Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations. A former instructor in the master’s program for Harvard University Radcliffe Seminars, she taught courses in management, leadership, and organizational behavior. Priscilla is honored to be the Chair of the Boston Public Library Board of Trustees. She is also an active board member of Leader Bank, The Boston Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts and The American Repertory Theater. Priscilla has presented as a thought leader at the Aspen Institute, Club of Rome, and in forums in Singapore, Australia, South Africa, and Japan. 

 

Jeanne Meserve

Moderator, Facilitator, Emcee, and Host 

 Jeanne Meserve is a homeland security expert and analyst, moderator, and award-winning journalist. She is currently a Security Expert for Canada’s CTV News. While a correspondent and anchor at CNN and ABC, Meserve earned her profession’s highest honors, including two Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards.

Jeanne is a member of the Homeland Security Experts Group and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, and serves on the board of the non-profit Space Foundation. She moderates discussions on topics ranging from technology and security, to medicine and the environment. Clients include AtlanticLIVE, the Munich Security Conference, the Aspen Security Forum, and the Halifax International Security Forum. 
 

Vanessa E. Wyche 

Director    

NASA'S JOHNSON SPACE CENTER

Vanessa E. Wyche is the Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, home to America’s astronaut corps, Mission Control Center, International Space Station, Orion and Gateway programs and its more than 11,000 civil service and contractor employees. She is responsible for overseeing a broad range of human spaceflight activities, including development and operation of human spacecraft, commercialization of low-Earth orbit and Johnson’s role in landing the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon.

Vanessa previously served as Deputy Director at Johnson, a position she held since 2018. Other key leadership positions include: Assistant and Acting Deputy Director of Johnson; Director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate, Flight Manager of several missions of the retired Space Shuttle Program, Executive Officer in the Office of the NASA Administrator, and led additional center-level technical and program organizations. She is a native of South Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Science in Bioengineering from Clemson University. Vanessa is an alumna of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Fellows Program.