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Opening Night 2017 [Archive]

The 3rd annual Opening Night at the MA Conference for Women was held on December 6, 2017 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Learn more about the evening’s program and speakers below:

Attending the Massachusetts Conference for Women but want more time socialize and to explore the Exhibit Hall? Can’t make the Conference but want to take advantage of the fun and enriching offerings? Looking to connect with peers and engage in fabulous peer networking?

Whatever your situation, you won’t be disappointed – Join us at Opening Night and take advantage of:

•  KEYNOTES including movers & shakers, authors and entrepreneurs who will inspire and entertain you

THE BOOKSTORE & AUTHORS MEET-UPS to get up close and personal with nationally-recognized New York Times best-selling authors (and beat the lines on Conference day!)

100+ SMALL BUSINESSES as part of our Women-Owned Business Marketplace – a great chance support women entrepreneurs and check out the creative, innovative and fun products at a diverse array of amazing booths.

WELLNESS MOTIVATION with medical and fitness demos, chair massages, healthy food & beverage tastings at the Health & Wellness Pavilion.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES to get involved and make a difference the lives of others and help out local charities in the Community Connection Pavilion.

NETWORKING with colleagues, peers and local leaders at the Social Hub. 

FREE 1:1 CAREER CONSULTING to better position yourself in today’s job market with coaching and resume review in the Career Pavilion.

IMAGE & PRESENCE BOOSTERS to build your personal brand and perfect your career look –including the chance to take a professional headshot!

LIFE BALANCE & INTEGRATION COACHING to help you manage the chaos of your daily life.

YUMMY BITES AND FESTIVE DRINKS (available for purchase) as the perfect backdrop to mingle with friends and peers old and new!



Featuring seating for hundreds and plenty of standing room, don’t miss this diverse line up. You’ll walk away inspired and armed with practical ideas to make positive changes in your life!

5:15pm: Women’s First: Our Heritage, Our Way Forward

Speaker: Diana Bitzas, senior director, global business and marketing planning at Reebok

At Reebok, we believe that sport has the power to change lives. But today, the sport and fitness industry is failing. It is leaving women behind. In fact, women represent only 25% of sales in the athletic industry. Reebok believes it is time to change that. 35 years ago, we led the first women’s fitness movement, and we were the first to create workout products just for her – including being the first fitness brand to create a sneaker specifically for women! More than three decades later, we continue to pioneer and disrupt the industry by creating a movement focused on inspiring women to become their absolute best physically, mentally and socially. Attend this session for a behind the scenes look at our Women’s-First initiative and be a part of the big reveal of product innovations that are revolutionizing the market. Come learn what it means to BE MORE HUMAN – leave inspired to get involved in this transformative movement, drive your own internal transformation and even walk away outfitted from head-to-toe with amazing giveaways.

5:35pm: All Our Wild Wonder

Speaker: Sarah Kay, award-winning poet, founder and co-director, Project V.O.I.C.E and author, B

Most of us think of poetry as words on a page. But sometimes poetry comes to life when it is performed — not simply read aloud, but infused with emotion and nuance. Sarah Kay is leading a movement to bring poetry to a wider audience through her own remarkable work as a spoken word poet, and through the organization she started. Project VOICE uses poetry in classrooms and communities to help people better understand their community, their society, and themselves. In this inspirational keynote, Sarah Kay shares her experiences of how spoken word poetry has shaped her life, and how she uses the art form to motivate and mentor others. Part performance and part speech, Sarah will remind us of the beauty in, and importance of cultivating curiosity, creativity, and confidence in others. Attend this powerful session and see first-hand why Kay has been invited to perform and speak all over the world, and why her TED talk received two standing ovations and has been viewed over 10 millions times online!

6:00pm: Food for Thought…In and Out of the Kitchen (+ LIVE COOKING DEMO)

Speaker: Barbara Lynch, James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and restaurateur

Celebrated chef Barbara Lynch credits the defiant spirit of her upbringing in tough, poor “Southie” with helping her bluff her way into her first professional cooking jobs; develop a distinct culinary style through instinct and sheer moxie; then dare to found an empire of restaurants ranging from a casual but elegant “clam shack” to Boston’s epitome of modern haute cuisine. In this inspiring and entertaining session, chef Barbara will share her remarkable process of self-invention, how the imposter syndrome enabled her to advance her career and explores how the past—both what we strive to escape from and what we remain true to—can strengthen and expand who we are. Lynch will do all of this while creating some magic in the “kitchen” with a live interactive food demonstration that will offer you some motivation to create a few masterpieces of your own during the holiday entertaining season!

6:30pm: The Cocktail for Success

A Conversation With: Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl creator, self-made businesswoman and branding guru

This entertaining, inspiring and advice packed Conversation will give you the chance to get up close and personal with Bethenny Frankel – entrepreneur, brand collaborator, developer, marketer, best-selling author, producer, television personality, mother and advocate for women in crisis with her new B Strong campaign in partnership with Dress for Success. Drawing from her first-hand experiences around grit, risk-taking and passion, now is your chance to learn from her successes and setbacks and create the unique cocktail for your success. Whether you are looking for practical tips to start a business, motivation to reinvent yourself, or branding tips – this session has tools for everyone– and it will even offer some laughs at the same time!

7:00pm: The Longest Revolution: Wisdom and Hope for Today and Tomorrow

A Conversation With: Gloria Steinem, women’s rights pioneer and advocate

Gloria Steinem reflects on her involvement in the social movements of the past five decades to discuss the politics of gender, the economic power of the female and minority consumer market, and workplace issues. A pioneer and an icon, Steinem will offer wisdom and hope for today and tomorrow – and offer inspiration for how we can join together for a brighter and more positive future!


Immediately following their keynotes, the following speakers will be heading over to the Bookstore to sign books and chat with attendees. Don’t miss your chance to get up close and personal with an amazing line-up of nationally recognized best-selling authors.

6:00 pm: Sarah Kay
6:30 pm: Barbara Lynch
7:00 pm: Bethenny Frankel
7:40 pm: Gloria Steinem


Anchored by a variety of Pavilions, don’t miss the many interactive opportunities throughout the exhibit hall!

6:30pm-8:00pm: LinkedIn Profile Makeover Workshops (State Street Social Hub)

Featuring Amanda Healy, award-winning B2B marketing demand generation leader and social media expert

Do you have a LinkedIn profile simply because you feel you ought to? Or have you been meaning to set one up but don’t know where to start? Chances are that even advanced users of LinkedIn are not maximizing the platform to its fullest. With careful curation, it can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal, enabling new opportunities, driving new business and partnerships, and allowing you to position yourself as a thought leader in your respective field.

In these sessions, social media expert Amanda Healy will show LinkedIn novices and vets alike the tips and tricks to get LinkedIn to do the work for you. Learn how to increase your profile strength, strategically grow your network, boost your SEO value, and much more. Discover how investing less than an hour per week can pay big dividends in achieving your personal and professional aspirations. Have your LinkedIn profile open on your device and follow along in real time!

*Workshops will run continuously throughout the evening so stop by anytime!

5:00pm-8:00pm Life Balance & Integration Coaching (Boston Scientific Health & Wellness Pavilion)

Private, 1:1 sessions to help you make a life, not just a living!

Take advantage of a private 1:1 Life Balance & Integration Coaching Session with a ICF certified life coach and learn how to do less “doing” and more “being”! This not about theory – participants will address your specific and unique life situation, to create a customized action plan for making choices that matter to you, right now! Using valuable tools and exercises, you will leave armed with actionable takeaways that address how to:

•  Prioritize and integrate what matters most to you (and sort through the clutter in your brain);
•  Make choices that matter today and accept trade-offs;
•  Create relaxation and restoration practices;
•  Build in sustainability strategies; and much more!

*Sessions are 30 minutes and are first come first serve – advance sign up is NOT required!

5:00pm-8:00pm: 1:1 Career Consulting (Liberty Mutual Career Pavilion)

Take advantage of complimentary career coaching & resumé review

The Coaches Corner program is designed to give Conference attendees an opportunity for one-on-one “speed coaching” sessions. You will be paired with a coaching professional to talk about your career and what is needed to elevate yourself to the next level. Using valuable hands-on tools and exercises, participants learn how to advance your career by exploring topics relevant to your situation, including:

•  Interviewing tips;
•  Maneuvering career transitions;
•  Negotiating a raise;
•  Asking for that promotion;
•  Engaging in a job search;
•  Seeking and attaining board positions; and much more!

RESUMÉ REVIEW: HR and career service experts will be providing free resumé critiques. Don’t miss this opportunity to have a seasoned pro give your resumé a checkup and help you market yourself better in the ever-changing job market!

*Coaching and Resume Reviews will be offered continuously throughout the evening – NO advance sign-up required!

5:00pm-6:00pm: Wine & Spirit Tasting

Featuring Bonterra Organic Wines & Strongbow Cider (first-come, first-served) 


7:00pm-8:00pm (Bookstore brought to you by Bookpeople)

WHY WAIT? Get your books signed now! There is no better way to get up close and personal with nationally-recognized New York Times best-selling authors. (This is also a great chance to beat the lines on conference day if you’re attending on the 7th!)


Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, award-winning personal finance educator and author, The One Week Budget and Live Richer Challenge

Adam Grant, top-rated professor, Wharton and best-selling author, Option B

Dr. Amy Cooper Hakim, author, Working with Difficult People: Handling the Ten Types of Problem People Without Losing Your Mind

Celeste Headlee, award-winning  journalist and author, We Need to Talk

J. Kelly Hoey, author, Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World

Whitney Johnson, disruptive innovation expert & author, Disrupt Yourself

Grace Killelea, author, The Confidence Effect: Every Woman’s Guide to the Attitude That Attracts Success

Jessica Lahey, teacher, New York Times columnist and author, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Christine Porath, associate professor, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and author, Mastering Civility

Courtney Rhodes, award-winning brand strategist, entrepreneur and author, Make Your Mark

Jennifer Romolini, chief content officer, and author, Weird in a World That’s Not

Brigid SchulteNew York Times best-selling author, Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play when No One has the Time and director, The Good Life Initiative & The Better Life Lab

Ann Shoket, author, The Big Life, former editor-in-chief, Seventeen, team member launching CosmoGIRL & millennial enthusiast

Jen Sincero, #1 NY Times best-selling author of the “Badass Series” and success coach

Gretchen Stewart, creator and author, Joy Manifesto

Dr. Jen Welter, first female NFL coach and author, Play Big



Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. In 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and she remained one of its editors for fifteen years. In 1968, she helped to found New York magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles. Her books include the bestsellers My Life on the Road, Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday RebellionsMoving Beyond Words, and Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe, and in India, As If Women Matter. Steinem helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance and the National Women’s Political Caucus. She also co-founded the Women’s Media Center in 2004. She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice, a pro-choice political action committee for twenty-five years, then with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

She was co-founder and serves on the board of Choice USA (now URGE) and is the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women. Steinem is founder of its Take Our Daughters to Work Day. She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, and she is currently working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College on documenting the grassroots origins of the US women’s movement and with the Center for Organizers on a tribute to the late Wilma Mankiller, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. As a writer and activist, Steinem has received countless awards and recognitions throughout her stunning career, including the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. Rutgers University is now creating the Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies. In 1993, she co-produced and narrated Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories, an Emmy Award winning TV documentary for HBO. With Rosilyn Heller, she also co-produced Better Off Dead, an original 1993 TV movie for Lifetime. Steinem has been the subject of three television documentaries, including HBO’s Gloria: In Her Own Words, and she is among the subjects of the 2013 PBS documentary MAKERS. She was also the subject of The Education of a Woman, a biography written by Carolyn Heilbrun. @gloriasteinem 

Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel is a natural foods chef, best-selling author, reality TV star, self-made businesswoman, and mom. She first came to national attention with her wit, wisdom, and humor when she was named first runner-up on NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Her success on the series led her to Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City for three seasons, as well as two spin-off series on the network, Bethenny Getting Married? and Bethenny Ever After… After a three-season hiatus, she made her highly-anticipated return for season seven of The Real Housewives of New York City. She is currently seen on the show’s ninth season. Frankel is the creator of the low-calorie cocktail brand Skinnygirl Cocktails and partnered with Beam Suntory in 2011. As the owner of Skinnygirl, she has created a thriving lifestyle brand featuring products offering women practical solutions to everyday problems. In 2013, Frankel brought her distinct voice and candid point of view to daytime television on Bethenny, her nationally syndicated daytime talk program, and she has been named one of the “Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities” by Forbes magazine. She is the four-time best-selling author of Skinnydipping, A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out Of Life, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting, and The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life. She has also authored Skinnygirl Solutions: Simple Ideas, Extraordinary Results, the recently released children’s book Cookie Meets Peanut, the cocktail book, Skinnygirl Cocktails, and her most recent release I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To. @bethenny

Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay uses the power of spoken word to inspire creativity and self-empowerment in others. Her now-famous TED talk inspired two standing ovations and has been seen by over seven million people online. In it, she tells the story of her metamorphosis from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse in New York’s iconic Bowery Poetry Club, to becoming a teacher. Kay is the founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., an education organization that celebrates and inspires self-expression in youth through spoken-word poetry. She is also a documentary filmmaker, playwright, singer, songwriter, photographer, and editor for Write Bloody Publishing. Kay has performed her poetry in venues across the United States, including the Lincoln Center, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the United Nations, where she was a featured performer for the launch of the 2004 World Youth Report. She is the author of the book B, which was ranked the number one poetry title on, and her newest work, No Matter The Wreckage, is an American poetry best-seller. Her work can also be found in literary journals, such as Foundling Review, Damselfly Press, decomP, the Literary Bohemian, and Pear Noir! Kay earned an MA in The Art of Teaching from Brown University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Grinnell College. @kaysarahsera

Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch is the chef and owner of the Boston-based Barbara Lynch Gruppo. She oversees seven celebrated culinary concepts, including No.9 Park, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Stir, Drink, Sportello, and Menton. Her cookbook, Stir: Mixing It Up in The Italian Tradition, received the prestigious Gourmand Award for Best Chef Cookbook and she shares her life story through her memoir, Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire, released April 11, 2017. Lynch is the only female, American Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, and has earned two James Beard Foundation Awards (Best Chef Northeast and Outstanding Restaurateur) as well as an Amelia Earhart Award for her success in a male-dominated field. In 2017, Lynch was named to the TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of the world’s most powerful people. @barbaralynchbos 

Diana Bitzas

Diana Bitzas is the senior director of global business and marketing planning at Reebok. In this role, she is responsible for managing the implementation of long-term growth plans and seasonal marketing strategy across all Reebok global markets. Beginning as a product marketing manager in the Reebok Kids business unit twelve years ago, Bitzas’ strong product expertise and exemplary ability to direct cross-functional teams led her to become the director of kids product marketing. She served in this role for five years before beginning her current position in January of 2017. Prior to joining Reebok, she spent several years in marketing and account management at companies such as Imagitas, Neutrogena, Digitas, and Fidelity Investments. She earned an MBA from Northeastern University and a BS in political science from Fairfield University. @reebok

Phoebe Robinson

PHOEBE ROBINSON is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actress whom, Essence, and Esquire have named one of the top comedians to watch. She has appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and Last Call with Carson Daly; Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and @midnight with Chris Hardwick; as well as TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Robinson’s writing has been featured in The Village Voice and on,,,, and She was also a staff writer on MTV’s hit talking head show, Girl Code, as well as a consultant on season three of Broad City. Most recently, she created and starred in Refinery29’s web series Woke Bae and, alongside Jessica Williams of The Daily Show, she is the creator and costar of the hit WNYC podcast 2 Dope Queens as well as the creator and host of the new WNYC podcast Sooo Many White Guys. Robinson lives and performs stand-up in Brooklyn, NY, and you can read her weekly musings about race, gender, and pop culture on her blog, (aka Black Daria). @dopequeenpheebs


Jackie Glenn

Jackie Glenn is vice president, global diversity and inclusion at Dell Technologies/Dell EMC, the newly merged technology industry leader with a workforce of 145 thousand in 180 countries. Her strategic focus is on setting the policies and processes of a unified enterprise that brought together Dell Inc. and EMC Corporation in 2016, while executing the role of brand evangelist and thought leader to the global community. Glenn formed recruiting partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, featuring a summer internship that built a pipeline of high-potential future STEM employees. Glenn’s personal honors include Champion of Diversity, NY Urban League; Founder’s Award, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Economic Justice; Black History Leadership, Whittier Street; Boston’s 100 Most Influential People, Get Konnected!; Top 10 Influential Women in Diversity, Diversity Global Magazine; and Women of Excellence/Global Women’s Champion, National Association for Female Executives. Glenn earned an MS in human resources management from Leslie University and a BS from Emmanuel College. Her passion for community advocacy and civic leadership includes service on the boards of the Children’s Services of Roxbury (MA), African-American Museum of Boston, and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. @dellemc

Christina Luconi

Christina Luconi leads Rapid7’s strategic people initiatives as its chief people officer.  She is responsible for the entire employee lifecycle, with critical focus on recruiting stellar talent, corporate culture, acquisition integration and “scaling with soul.”  Prior to joining Rapid7, she was the owner of People Innovations, an independent consulting firm focused on the creation of innovative people strategies for start-ups and high growth companies, primarily in the high technology and internet industry. Luconi served as chief people officer at @stake, a professional services security firm which she helped build from the launch through its acquisition to Symantec. She also played the role of vice president of people strategy at Sapient Corporation.  She also played a critical role as a member of the senior management team, focusing on the strategic and operational direction of the company as well as executing acquisitions, from due diligence through integration.  Luconi has been featured in several articles and is a frequent speaker regarding her visionary approach to people strategy and culture, and for her disdain for old-school “human resources.” She contributes a weekly blog to VentureFizz and LinkedIn. She earned a BA in psychology from George Washington University and an MS in organizational administration from Boston University. @peopleinnovator @rapid7

Shayna Seymour

Shayna Seymour is an Emmy winning journalist, and co-anchor of WCVB’s award-winning nightly newsmagazine, Chronicle. She was previously a reporter, producer and occasional anchor for Chronicle and co-anchor of WCVB’s weekend EyeOpener newscast. Since her arrival at the station in April 2006, Seymour has been nominated for several local Emmy Awards and was awarded an Emmy in 2015 as co-host of WCVB’s telecast of the annual Holiday Lights tree lighting event. She has had the opportunity to interview many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Prior to joining WCVB, Seymour was anchor of the morning and noon newscasts as well as general assignment reporter at WGGB-TV, Springfield. While at this ABC affiliate, Seymour honed her reporting skills covering breaking news events, education and health issues. Seymour co-hosted the MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon for WGGB. Seymour launched her broadcast career at WSTM-TV in Syracuse, New York. Prior to that, she was employed in the corporate world. She has been recognized as a “stylish Bostonian” by both the Boston Globe and the Improper Bostonian, even gracing the cover of the latter. A native of Amherst, Massachusetts, Seymour earned a BA in sociology from Spelman College and an MS in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University. @shaynaseymour



Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche

Award-winning personal finance educator and author, The One Week Budget and Live Richer Challenge

Adam Grant

Top-rated professor, Wharton and best-selling author, Option B

Amy Cooper Hakim

Author, Working with Difficult People: Handling the Ten Types of Problem People Without Losing Your Mind

Celeste Headlee

Award-winning  journalist and author, We Need to Talk

Kelly Hoey J. Kelly Hoey

Author, Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World

 Whitney Johnson

Author, Disrupt Yourself

Grace Killelea

Author, The Confidence Effect: Every Woman’s Guide to the Attitude That Attracts Success

Jessica Lahey

Teacher, New York Times columnist and author, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Nilofer Merchant

Author, The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World

Christine Porath

Associate professor, McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and author, Mastering Civility

CourtneyCourtney Rhodes

Award-winning brand strategist, entrepreneur and author, Make Your Mark

Jennifer Romolini

Chief content officer, and author, Weird in a World That’s Not

Brigid Schulte

Author, Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play when No One has the Time and director, The Good Life Initiative & The Better Life Lab

Ann ShoketAnn Shoket

Author, The Big Life, former editor-in-chief, Seventeen, team member launching CosmoGIRL & millennial enthusiast

Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero

#1 NY Times best-selling author of the “Badass Series” and success coach

Dr. Jen Welter

First female NFL coach and author, Play Big