Skip to Main Content

2016 Workplace Summit

The 2nd annual MA Conference for Women Workplace Summit was held on December 7, 2016 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Learn more about the day’s program and speakers here.


12:45 pm:  Registration/Arrival          

1:00 pm: Welcome Remarks and Keynote on Organizational Transformation featuring MIKE ABRASHOFF, “New York Times” best-selling author, “It’s Your Ship” 

2:00 pm: Networking Break

2:15-4:00 pm: Breakout Workshop: Pioneering Equity Through Gender Partnership

(Participants are divided into three rooms for workshop featuring same content, but allowing a smaller environment to learn and engage.) 

Led by a subject matter expert and featuring a case study executive to share real-life examples, each workshop offers collaborative strategies relevant across genders to achieve inclusion critical in pioneering equity and creating workplaces that work for everyone. Using a blend of research-and-practice based insights and applications relevant for the work setting, attendees will explore unique gender specific challenges facing leaders as individuals and managers, learn how assumptions and work culture influence efforts to advance women and identify hurdles to men’s engagement in workplace inclusion. Interactive small group activities will join together men and women to allow for a common understanding of today’s current work environment and culture. Participants will focus on developing skills to build inclusive and equitable workplaces through role-plays that practice empathetic and active listening, identifying and interrupting bias and/or exclusionary behavior and working across differences. Offering a safe forum to listen, learn and engage with experts and peers, participants will leave with concrete takeaways to:

•  Build a business case to engage men as advocates for change within their organization and ultimately sell this internally;
•  Recruit, retain and promote in a way that offers equitable opportunities for women;
•  Foster a culture where power is shared more equitably and ensure all ideas are heard and considered;
•  Ways to form closer ties across gender and partner together more effectively.

4:00 pm: Networking Break

4:15 pm: Welcome Remarks and Workshop Summaries

4:35 pm: Closing Keynote featuring ELIZABETH NYAMAYARO, senior advisor to the executive director of UN Women, and head of the #HeForShe Global Movement

Join the Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality in the Workplace
Around the world, many women struggle for equality – not just in the workplace, but shockingly even in basic matters like having the right to drive and to marry when and whom they choose. Gender inequality is an issue that affects all genders and societal issues can’t be solved with only half of society. That’s why we ALL need to address these issue as allies united for change – but how? Meet Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the driving force behind the groundbreaking HeForShe movement, which created over 2 billion online conversations and inspired 100,000 men to sign up in the first few days, including at least one man in every country in the world.  Now, with more than 1.3 million men and boys on board, HeForShe has become one of the most important social movements in the world today. Drawing on concepts learned from the Summit Workshops, along with Nyamayaro’s personal experiences and stories of change, you will walk away inspired to join as allies in women’s empowerment, and prepared to champion change in your workplace today! 

5:00 pm: Closing Remarks


D. Michael Abrashoff_2013MIKE ABRASHOFF is at the center of one of the most remarkable modern day stories of organizational transformation. At the age of 36, the Navy selected Abrashoff to become Commander of USS Benfold. At the time he was the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet – on a ship that was plagued by low morale, high turnover and abysmal performance evaluations. Few thought that the ship could improve, yet 12 months later the ship was ranked #1 in performance, using the same crew. People were amazed and the lesson was clear – leadership matters and culture is everything. In many ways, the USS Benfold was an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today. That’s why dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company have cited Abrashoff’s story as an inspiring lesson for business. Leaders especially identify with his being accountable for the results in an environment where he couldn’t make the rules. Abrashoff focused on the one thing he could influence, his crew’s attitude, because culture is the ultimate competitive weapon for any organization. His solution was to establish a set of management principles that he calls The Leadership Roadmap. At the core of his leadership approach on Benfold was a process of replacing command and control with commitment and cohesion, and engaging the hearts, minds and loyalties of workers with conviction and humility. By every measure, these principles achieved breakthrough results. Turnover decreased to an unprecedented 1%. The rate of promotions tripled, and the crew slashed operating expenses by 25%. Regarded as the finest ship in the Pacific Fleet, Benfold won the prestigious Spokane Trophy for having the highest degree of combat readiness. Abrashoff is author of three books. His first, “It’s Your Ship,” has sold over one million copies. His next books, “It’s Our Ship” and “Get Your Ship Together,” showed how his principles have been put into action by business leaders in their own organizations. Prior to commanding USS Benfold, Abrashoff served as the Military Assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. He also helped draft the air defense plan for naval forces in the Persian Gulf in 1990, coinciding with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait; and served as the executive officer of the Cruiser Shiloh, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Abrashoff is the founder of Aegis Performance Group, a consulting firm which works with and supports leaders as they address leadership, talent and performance challenges within their organizations. @itsyourship @apg_leadership

nyamayaro-elizabethsmELIZABETH NYAMAYARO is senior advisor to Under-Secretary-General and executive director of UN Women and the Global Head of the HeForShe Initiative, a global solidarity movement which seeks to engage men and boys as advocates for gender equality. A strong advocate for women rights and economic empowerment, Nyamayaro has worked at the forefront of Africa’s development agenda for more than a decade in both the public and private sector, and previously held positions with UNAIDS, World Health Organization and the World Bank. Prior to UN Women, she was director external affairs and policy, Africa and part of the corporate strategy office at Merck. Born in Zimbabwe and a political scientist by training, Nyamayaro holds a M.Sc. in Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. @e_nyamayaro


degroote-christina CHRISTINA DeGROOTE is vice president and treasurer for Suffolk Construction Company. She is responsible for forecasting and related reporting, business plans and budgets, cash management, bank relationships, investment policy and strategy and real estate for the organization. She also serves on the credit committee. DeGroote has more than thirteen years’ experience in corporate financial planning and analysis, reporting, treasury, capital markets and institutional equity. Prior to her role as vice president and treasurer for Suffolk, she served as chief financial officer for Liberty Construction Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Suffolk. Previous to her Liberty position, she served as vice president of finance for Suffolk. Prior to joining Suffolk Construction, DeGroote spent nine years at Clark Realty Capital, LLC where she held director and leadership roles at Duxbury Financial and Clark Realty Capital. DeGroote was the founder and executive director of the Clark CARES Foundation, a public charity that raised more than $1 million through various fundraising activities. Prior to joining Clark Realty Capital, LLC, she held various management and financial analyst positions at Nextel Communications, Arthur Andersen Real Estate Consulting Group and Lehman Brothers CMBS Fixed Income Group. DeGroote earned a B.S. at the Leonard Stern School of Business at New York University. @suffolkbuilds


SARAH DINOLFO is director of research with Catalyst at the Advancing Leader Effectiveness Research Center. In this role, she works to identify and better understand behaviors of inclusive leaders and develop programs that can help men and women grow their inclusive leadership skills. Dinolfo works closely with Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), a Catalyst-founded community of male champions of gender equity, to support men who are looking for ways to become change agents and architects of inclusive workplaces. She has authored “Anatomy of Change: How cultures Evolve,” and contributed to “Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives: What Change Agents Need to Know.”  Dinolfo also has a keen interest in the topics of mentoring and sponsorship. She co-authored Catalyst’s “Making Mentoring Work” and “Sponsoring Women to Success,” and has served as leader of Catalyst’s internal team focused on sharing mentoring and employee network knowledge. Dinolfo earned a M.A. in industrial-organizational psychology from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and graduated with a B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York, Geneseo. @catalystinc

heather_foust-cummings_09-2013-1HEATHER FOUST-CUMMINGS PhD, leads the Catalyst Research Center for Equity in Business Leadership with a focus on understanding relationships between diversity, corporate governance and board and firm performance. As part of the tenth anniversary Catalyst Census of Women board directors of the Fortune 500, Dr. Foust-Cummings profiled the experiences of women board directors of companies that had demonstrated a sustained commitment over time to having a significant proportion of women on the board. Additionally, she examines the role of sponsors in influencing the advancement and retention of senior-level and high-potential women and men, which she speaks about frequently. Prior to joining Catalyst, Dr. Foust-Cummings taught at Columbia University and conducted brand analyses for the Corporate Research Department at Young & Rubicam. Dr. Foust-Cummings earned her Ph.D. and an M.A. in political science and a certificate in women’s studies from Emory University.  She also earned a B.S. in political science and secondary education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

julie_nugent_09-2013-1JULIE S. NUGENT examines organizational diversity efforts, change models, career experiences and perceptions of women and men professionals across various levels and industries. As vice president and center leader of the Catalyst Research Center for Corporate Practice, Nugent distinguishes sound talent management strategies from programmatic fads and documents the best practices. She plays an integral role in developing strategies and implementing milestones for the Center.  Her work also consists of investigating and researching organization-specific diversity programs and workplace environments and providing actionable recommendations. She frequently speaks to corporate and public audiences and the media on topics including women’s leadership and advancement, mentoring, diversity and inclusion strategies, LGBT inclusion, and the Catalyst award, which she chaired for over six years. She has authored numerous external book chapters as well as many Catalyst publications, including a suite of company practices and Catalyst award-winning initiatives. Nugent also taught a course on gender in the workplace as a former adjunct assistant professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. Nugent earned an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology from New York University and a B.A. in psychology and English from Ohio University, where she graduated with top honors.


bass-deannaDEANNA BASS
is currently the global human resources director for Procter and Gamble’s diversity and inclusion practice.  She started her career at P&P Sales and has spent the last 17 years in human resources working on a variety of P&G businesses and functions. Bass has expertise in the area of organization design, organization transition/transformation, strategic HR partnerships, change management and divestitures.  She is also a passionate and capable leader in the area of global diversity and Inclusion through her work in talent management systems, culture, BRG’s, and training and development.  She is a strong mentor and advocate inside and outside of P&G. Outside of work, she sits on the board of directors and executive committee of Hope Springs Institute in Peebles, Ohio.


bechard-tomTOM BECHARD is a sales director for Proctor & Gamble. Currently, he leads P&G’s customer team dedicated to CVS business. He is responsible for the selling, marketing, finance, market research, product supply and data analysis organizations. Prior to his work in Rhode Island with CVS, Bechard was the global home care sales director, building P&G’s surface, dish and air car footprint across Asia, Latin America and Europe.  He’s also been the North America home care sales manager.  In his 25 years with P&G, he has worked directly with Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club and CVS.  He started his P&G career in Kansas City as an account executive working with Associated Wholesale Grocers.  In addition to his work with P&G, Bechard was a City Councilman in Fayetteville, AR and served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for the Southern Ohio Region.  He recently joined the University of Kansas marketing advisory board. Bechard graduated from the University of Kansas in 1989 with a major in business administration and a minor in journalism.


grignolo-albertoALBERTO GRIGNOLO, Ph.D. is a corporate vice president at PAREXEL Consulting.  He is the executive sponsor of a number of global development programs for the benefit of the clients of PAREXEL International and advises clients in the areas of drug development strategy, regulatory negotiation and best regulatory and clinical practices. Dr. Grignolo was a member (2008-2011) of the executive committee of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), a public private partnership between the FDA and Duke University. He was an expert adviser to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research Participants in 2000-2002, was the winner of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement award from the GCP Journal and was recognized as one of the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Life-Sciences Industry in 2008 by the readers of PharmaVOICE.  Dr. Grignolo is a past chairman of the board of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), has been involved in the advancement of the regulatory profession for most of his career, and was the recipient of the 1995 Richard E. Greco Professional of the Year award from RAPS.  He has been an active member of the Drug Information Association (DIA) since 1984, served on the DIA board from 2000 until 2004, was the chair of the regulatory track of the 2001, 2002 and 2003 DIA annual meetings, was the chair of the 2007 DIA annual meeting and is an instructor on the DIA regulatory training faculty.  He serves on the graduate faculty of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston as an adjunct associate professor. He is the Deputy Editor of DIA Global Forum magazine and received DIA’s Global Inspire Award (Global Connector) in 2015. After completing his undergraduate degree at Duke University, he earned a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of North Carolina and conducted postdoctoral research in neuropharmacology at Duke University Medical Center.

jay-colleenCOLLEEN JAY has worked across multiple businesses for Procter and Gamble; half of her career being in beauty care.  She also has extensive experience in health/oral care and home care (including the launches of new brands like Febreze and Swiffer). Varied experiences include both operational line general management roles and new business development. Jay joined Procter and Gamble in Canada, (from Wilfrid Laurier University – Business). She has worked in Canada, United States, China and has led global businesses based from Geneva Switzerland. She is passionate about building strong businesses and brands, and also building exceptional organizations. She is very excited with her current assignment as a “senior executive on loan” from P&G to Catalyst. She is on the board of directors of The Cooper Companies and also a member of the Catalyst advisory board in Europe.


wunderle-deanDEAN WUNDERLE is currently the North America sales human resources director for Procter and Gamble.  He started his career in product supply at the Ivorydale plant in Cincinnati, Ohio and has spent the last 17 years in human resources working with a variety of P&G businesses to include product supply and sales. Wunderle has expertise in the areas of talent development, organization effectiveness and design, strategic HR partnerships and labor relations.  He is committed to developing leaders and creating an inclusive culture through his talent and organizational effectiveness work.  He also serves as a mentor, coach and advisor to many.


fulp-2x3-color-175-ppi-jpgCAROL FULP is president and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., New England’s premier organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing, retaining and convening multicultural professionals. Prior to The Partnership, Fulp was senior vice president of corporate responsibility and brand management at John Hancock Financial. Here she led the company’s marketing and sponsorships departments, while directing the company’s $12 million philanthropic giving program. Previously, Fulp was the director of community programming and human resources for WCVB, the ABC-TV Boston affiliate. She also served as the corporate employee relations manager for the Gillette Company. Given her leadership in business and public service, President Obama appointed Fulp as a representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Governor de Jongh appointed her as a trustee of the University of the Virgin Islands, and Mayor Walsh appointed her as a trustee of the Boston Public Library and as a member of the City of Boston Compensation advisory board. Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg also appointed Fulp to her advisory committee on Wage Equality. Fulp serves on the board of trustees for Eastern Bank as well as the board of directors for American Student Assistance Corporation, where she chaired the search committee for their president. Her civic involvement includes the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s leadership board and trustee of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. In addition, she is on the board of directors of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University and Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE). She is also a founding co-chair of the Massachusetts Conference for Women.

irizarry-marcoMARCO IRIZARRY is the global manager of diversity and inclusion for Akamai Technologies, Inc., in Cambridge, MA. He leads Akamai’s global employee resource groups (ERGs), drives global diversity and inclusion initiatives, and consults on diversity training needs across the organization. Irizarry is a member of Akamai’s executive diversity council and partners with the business divisions to build an inclusive culture. He has presented at diversity conferences and corporations on the value of ERG leadership as a development opportunity for future senior leaders. He is featured in the Oct/Nov 2016 issue of Hispanic Executive magazine, spotlighting his efforts to build a more an inclusive culture at Akamai. He also serves as president, Connecticut chapter of Prospanica (formerly National Society of Hispanic MBAs) where he leads a board of ten, and organization of more than 200 members, and seven Fortune 100 corporate sponsors. Prior to Akamai, Irizarry started and grew ERG membership at Travelers Insurance, and served as a diversity consultant to internal business groups. His experience in the insurance industry spanned more than 10 years in positions including claims, executive support, financial compliance and arbitration. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Irizarry earned a B.A. in philosophy and English from Brooklyn College-City University of New York and a M.B.A. in management from Dowling College. @akamai

pine-debDEB PINE is executive director for Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business. She sets and leads all external and internal strategic efforts, including corporate engagement, student initiatives, faculty collaboration, and research. Pine joined Bentley from Harvard Business School, where she served as a consultant and advisor as well as a student career coach and mentor for start-up teams. Previously, she served as COO of, a curated online e-commerce site that was acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. She also co-founded PreVision Marketing, a customer marketing and technology firm which developed breakthrough customer loyalty marketing programs for Fortune 500 companies. Under her leadership, PreVision was ranked on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies and the Software 500 representing leading technology providers. She was also head of business development for ADVO, a leader in direct-to-consumer print advertising, where she spearheaded M&A initiatives, and head of major accounts for Epsilon, a pioneer in database development and loyalty marketing. She currently sits on the board for UNITIO, serves as a mentor for The Founders Institute, and is a member of The Boston Club and the Harvard Business School Women’s Association. Pine earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and her B.A. in communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. @deb_pine