Speakers 2019

Kick Off Luncheon | Against All Odds - Monday, April 1, 2019

Sharon Davis

Being raised in Compton, California at the helm of the "Gang Wars," could not have been easy, but Sharon found a way to flourish. She attended Compton High school, where TODAY the College Readiness Index is at 25.2, according to U.S. News and World Report for Education.

Hard work and focus got her accepted into UCSD, Berkeley and ASU. She chose to attend UCSD as a Biology major. Looking at statistics today, less than 6% of Compton High school graduates go on to earn an Associate's degree. She nearly failed her first year, given she was not prepared for all the science classes, but her perseverance and winning spirit allowed her to graduate with a Bachelors of Art in Psychology and Communications. Read More

Dr. Anna Hackenberg

The moment that changed Dr. Anna Hackenberg’s life came in 2017 during a walk with friends on the beach below Torrey Pines State Park. Without warning, rocks tumbled from the cliffs above, crushing Dr. Hackenberg, an urgent care doctor, and leaving her paralyzed from the chest down.

“Life can change in an instant,” she says. “But don’t stop if things don’t turn out the way you planned.”

Dr. Hackenberg’s resilience and positive attitude serve as an example not only for those who have suffered life-altering trauma, but also for anyone who wishes to live a full, rewarding life. Initially, losing physical abilities was devastating to Dr. Hackenberg, who had been a competitive athlete her whole life. However, she was determined to find new ways to move with help from the rehabilitation team at Sharp HealthCare. Read More

Susan Munsey

As a teen, Susan was lured into a life of prostitution in Southern California, where she learned about the abuse of young women firsthand. Eventually she was able to escape that world to become a clinical social worker and a psychotherapist. In 2009, Munsey founded GenerateHope, a nonprofit that offers a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking to heal and build new lives. The group provides long-term housing, therapy, education and medical care.

To date, Munsey says GenerateHope has been a refuge for more than 100 victims -- some as young as 18. Participants attend classes to get caught up on their high school education and prepare for college. They receive therapy focused on their traumatic experiences. Women can stay at GenerateHope's safe house for up to two years and benefit from a variety of volunteer-led support services, such as equine and art therapy, dance and yoga. Read more

Linda Shaffer-Vanaria

Linda was one of the U.S. Navy’s first women Test Pilot’s and Squadron Commanders. At the time she entered the Navy, the U.S. Code Title 10 did not allow for women in combat so she was constantly architecting a career path to be positioned to achieve her career milestones including painstakingly going through the entire Junior Officer billet guide line by line to identify possible assignments, a volume the size of a phone book, something near unimaginable today in the realm of the internet.

Early in her career, Linda was going down in a high performance jet and had to eject. After pulling the ejection handle, instead of rocketing out of the airplane, she remained trapped inside. She literally had only a few seconds to live. She focused on what might be possible and tried firing the seat a second time by gripping and actuating the ejection handle differently. Read more

Leadership Conference - Friday, April 5, 2019

Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt



The topic of racial bias can be difficult and uncomfortable to discuss, often inspiring reactions of tribalism, resentment, blaming, and suspicion. But the potential for bias is present in all of us, and it is vital to understand how bias works in order to begin to correct its devastating effects in our society.

Unblinking about the tragic consequences of prejudice, Eberhardt addresses how racial bias is not the fault of nor restricted to a few “bad apples” but is present at all levels of society in media, education, and business. The good news is that we are not hopelessly doomed by our innate prejudices. Eberhardt reminds us that racial bias is a human problem–one all people can play a role in solving.

Guen Garrido

Against All Odds, She Paid Off $68,000 in Debt

Guen is just like many people out there who found themselves buried in student loans, credit card debt, personal loans, and car debt. It became a heavy burden on her, but it felt impossible to tackle and people assured her it was “normal” anyway. It wasn’t until a series of events that turned her life upside down did she finally feel fed up and wanted to do something about it. She started doing research and taking action, and in March 2018, Guen became debt free! Hear her tell her story and the things she did to reach her goal to pay off over $68k in 3 years and 3 months.

Did you know that women of retirement age are one of the largest growing subsets falling into poverty, and young women are experiencing increasing debt issues partially due to the cost of education? Women and men alike are also delaying the purchase of a home, having children, and even marriage, due to having so much debt. It doesn’t help that talking about money, even with our partners, can be a sensitive topic and not many people know where to start in tackling their debt.

Starla Lewis | Ishe | YahYah

"I AM" - Knowing Your Worth; a Multi-generational Perspective

Three women, three generations within the same family, offering three unique perspectives on what it means to be a woman!

Utilizing poetry, storytelling, and music during the presentation to bridge the gap between mothers and daughters, and inspire all women to have more honest and authentic conversations with each other about womanhood.

They reveal their own personal stories and journeys as women to provide “Jewels of Wisdom” and “Tangible Tools” that help women begin to heal, reveal and feel more empowered!


Gretchen Rubin

Outer Order, Inner Calm

For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. And for most of us, a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work.

The fact is, when we tailor our approach to suit our own particular challenges and habits, we’re then able to create the order that will make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of our stuff makes us feel more in control of our lives. By getting rid of things we don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, we free our minds (and our shelves) for what we truly value.

Tracy Warren

Breaking Barriers

From broadcasting to the boardroom, Tracy has been breaking barriers in male dominated industries from the onset of her careers as a sportscaster and an employment attorney. Noting that, “Sometimes the locker rooms are better than the courtrooms” because she was always treated with civility.

Breaking Barriers challenges women to focus on how they can utilize their individual skills and talents to excel in traditionally male-dominated industries, and realize that truly the only barriers we face are those we create for ourselves.

Rosemary Watson

Busting Out of Your Comfort Zone and Going for It

When Rosemary Watson came to a block in her career, she did what anyone would do!! She got up in the middle of the night and penned a letter to her idol, comedy legend Carol Burnett. It was a nutty idea but, as the saying goes . . . when life hands you nuts. No wait, that’s lemons!

The point is, Carol ended up calling Rosemary and she’ll tell you all about it in this hilarious talk on busting out of your comfort zone, owning your power, letting go of your fear and just going for it!

Right now, could you ask for advice from someone you idolize? Could you approach a master in your field? If you wouldn’t go to the top, why? What stops you from reaching out to the experts? Is it fear or lack of confidence? Feelings of unworthiness? Maybe your ducks aren’t in a row and if so, why not? Rosemary’s message cuts to the heart, soul and funny bone. And you'll hear some inspirational takeaways from some of the famous ladies she impersonates!

Panel - Conflicting Viewpoints

Key Challenges of the Multi-Generational Workforce

Managing across generations is not an easy task. For managers, an understanding of the multigenerational working behaviors is necessary in order to be able to handle workplace conflicts and create an efficient and inclusive workplace. This panel will talk about some of the key challenges in this modern workforce, and how managers effectively can deal with them.

  • How different generations handle stress in the workplace
  • Stark differences in the values, communication styles and work habits
  • Conflict resolution
  • Expectations and etiquette


Olivia Angelucci
Human Resources Coordinator
Embassy Suites San Diego-La Jolla

Natasha Azevedo
Employer Brand Champion

Christi Knight
Senior Policy Advisor
County of San Diego, District 3

Pat Reno

Pat Reno
Senior Vice President
RBC Wealth Management

Lisa Hellmann - Moderator
Vice President, HR & Global Internal Communications

Panel - Challenging the Status Quo

Embracing Rebel Talent as a Way to Foster Innovation, Employee Engagement and Change From Within

There are people who go to work every day, are satisfied with the status quo and enjoy what they do. There are others who don’t enjoy what they do but never make a change. And then there are those who embrace change and are out to make a difference in this world.

This panel will talk about the following areas:

  • Challenging the norm to make a difference
  • Rebel or Warrior?
  • Good or Bad?
  • Encouraging Ingenuity


Paula Bamford
Director, Retail Market Expansion

Erica Hatch
Vice President of Human Resources
Newland Real Estate Group

Faith Jennings
Senior Director Communications
Northrop Grumman

Selena Roberts
General Manager 
Bernardo Winery

Lisa Peterson - Moderator
San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Musical Performances by: Alicia Gwynn

See Alicia on Monday and Friday

Praised as one of San Diego's leading ladies, Dr. Alicia Gwynn, long-standing business owner & philanthropist, community builder, and now recording artist, is blazing a trail of renewed hope, faith, and courage through her music and her life story. Read more

Alicia Gwynn