2018 Opening Night Speakers



Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love has been called “a generation’s instruction manual” by The Toronto Sun. Exploding onto the scene in 2006, the best-seller famously chronicled the year Gilbert spent traveling the world after a shattering divorce. Translated into more than thirty languages, Eat, Pray, Love has sold over ten million copies worldwide. Educated at New York University, Gilbert hails from an ascetic childhood in rural Connecticut. Fearless reporting skills and an abiding appreciation for working-class values have colored her writing from the beginning. Gilbert’s writing has been published in Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine.  Her work in Spin caught the attention of editors at GQ, and she became a stalwart at that publication, producing vivid, provocative pieces that soon grew into books and even a film: 2000’s Coyote Ugly. Gilbert was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and her work was anthologized in Best American Writing 2001. @gilbertliz

Ellen McGirt

Ellen McGirt is an award-winning feature writer who covers race, culture, and leadership for RaceAhead, a daily column in Fortune. Her reporting has taken her inside the c-suites of Facebook, Nike, Twitter, Intel, Xerox and Cisco, on the campaign trail with Barack Obama, and across Africa with Bono to study breakthrough philanthropy. McGirt has previously written for Time, Money and Fast Company, where she wrote or contributed to more than twenty cover stories and created the digital series the 30 Second MBA. Back when the web was young, she was the founder of a financial website for women called Cassandra’s Revenge, and she established similar sites for AOL and Oxygen Media. McGirt was the lead editor for Your First Leadership Job, a book published by Wiley in 2015. She attended Brown University and is on the board of L’Ecole de Choix, an elementary school in Mirebalais, Haiti. @ellmcgirt

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 co-anchor of WCVB’s weekend EyeOpener newscast. You can catch her filling in on the anchor desk of the weekday evening newscasts as well. Since her arrival at the station in April 2006, Seymour has been nominated for several local Emmy Award, and was awarded an Emmy in 2015 as co-host of WCVB’s telecast of the annual “Holiday Lights” tree lighting event. She reports on a wide range of human interest and lifestyle stories, and has had the opportunity to interview many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Ginger Zee. Seymour was also the host of Boston Idol, a special Chronicle episode that featured several local American Idol hopefuls before the iconic show made its comeback on ABC. Seymour launched her broadcast career at WSTM-TV in Syracuse, NY as an intern. Prior to that, she was employed in the corporate world. Seymour earned a BA in sociology from Spelman College and and MS in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University. She has been recognized as a “stylish Bostonian” by the Boston Globe, Boston Common Magazine, and the Improper Bostonian, even gracing the cover of the latter. @shaynaseymour

Aly Raisman

Aly Raisman is the team captain of the gold medal winning US Olympic Women’s Gymnastics teams in 2012 and 2016. She is the second most decorated American gymnast of all-time with six total Olympic medals. The most decorated US gymnast at the 2012 Games, Raisman captured the hearts of millions as she became the first American gymnast to win gold in the floor exercise. One of only two US gymnasts to make back-to-back Olympic teams in more than fifteen years, she helped guide the team to gold and landed a silver medal performance in the All-Around competition at the 2016 Games. A leader on and off the floor, Raisman uses her platform to promote positive body image and encourages everyone to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. In her New York Times best-selling memoir, – Fierce – she shares the highs and lows of her journey, including her survival of sexual abuse. Inspired by an army of survivors, Raisman continues her advocacy for systematic changes within the sport of gymnastics and efforts to help to eradicate sexual abuse in youth [email protected]_raisman

Franchesca Ramsey

Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramseyis an actress, writer, producer, director and influencer. The always busy Ms. Ramsey is the host of MTV’s popular web series DECODED WITH FRANCHESCA RAMSEY, which has been ordered for a seventh season. Ramsey also appears on her own podcast, LAST NAME BASIS, which she co-hosts with her husband Patrick Kondas. She is developing a Comedy Central TV series titled FRANCHESCA & SHOW, as well as rewriting a feature film for 20th Century Fox. Past credits include writer/performer on Comedy Central’s the NIGHTLY SHOW WITH LARRY WILMORE, where she created the popular #HASH IT OUT segment, and the infamous original viral video “Sh*t White Girls Say… to Black Girls.” Her original book, Grand Central Publishing’s WELL THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY: MEMOIRS AND MISTAKES OF AN ACCIDENTAL ACTIVIST, was published in May 2018. Ramsey can also be seen in Maroon 5’s music video Girls Like You. Ramsey is a popular guest speaker at colleges and universities across the country. @chescaleigh



ANDREA BERNARD is a managing director for Wells Fargo Capital Finance’s loan sales and syndications team. She is responsible for structuring and distributing syndicated asset-based and cash flow credit facilities for corporate and sponsor backed transactions. Bernard brings eighteen years of banking experience with previous roles at Bank of America and Fleet Boston. She was selected to be a member of the Wells Fargo Capital Finance Management Committee that develops and executes strategic priorities for the business. As the head of the New England Volunteer board for Wells Fargo, Bernard leads initiatives to promote financial literacy and support youth and women in the Greater Boston/New England community. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children. She is very active in her son’s elementary school where she serves as treasurer of the Lincoln School Parents’ Association. @wellsfargo

SUE COLLARD is currently chief of staff for Dell’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Brian Reaves. In her role, she is responsible for advising the CDIO on his top priorities, driving operational excellence for all D&I programs and initiatives, acting as consultant to global D&I senior leadership, and leading global business operations & strategy. Collard is a seasoned professional with over twenty five years of successful and progressive experience in the fields of operations, strategy, marketing communications, field marketing, talent acquisition and career development. Before Dell, Collard led field marketing for the data storage start-up, EqualLogic, before it was acquired by Dell in 2008. Collard earned a BS from Bentley University. She resides in Wakefield, MA with her two children. She is passionate about the environment, children in need, nutrition and fitness, and helping others to grow and thrive. She is also involved with a local mentor group connecting with children who need adult mentors. @dell

LINDSEY CONLIN is the sales controller for OSRAM digital systems America. She oversees the financial sales activities of a multi-hundred million dollar technology business across three go-to-market sales channels on two continents. Since joining OSRAM, Conlin has overhauled the sales reporting and forecasting, and operational activities for the Americas region. Prior to joining OSRAM, she worked at Raytheon Company, as a key financial business partner for the engineering function and financial planner across multiple programs. During her tenure at Raytheon, she was instrumental in the intercompany business merger. Conlin earned her BS in corporate finance and accounting at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. In her spare time, Conlin is the head coach for the Town of Weston Recreation Swim Team. @osramamericas

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, building and inspiring corporate culture, acquisition integration and “scaling with soul.” Prior to joining Rapid7, she was the owner of People Innovations, a consulting firm focused on the creation of innovative people strategies for start-ups and high growth companies. Luconi also 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 was previously VP of people strategy at Sapient Corporation. 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 is currently an investor and advisor to CultureHQ, and gives back by partnering with CEOs of early stage companies on their people strategies. She is an advisor to the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. She contributes a weekly blog to VentureFizz and LinkedIn. Luconi earned a BA in psychology from George Washington University, and an MS in organizational administration from Boston University. @rapid7

CAROLYN FISCHER is the vice president of global talent management for TJX Companies, the leading off-price retailer of apparel and home fashions in the US and worldwide. With more than $33B in revenues in 2016, 3,800 stores worldwide, and over 230,000 associates, the Company ranks eighty seven in the most recent Fortune 500 listings. Fischer runs the Global Talent Management Center of Expertise for TJX Companies, and she and her team lead the design and development efforts for TJX University. She acts as a consultant to senior and executive management on strategic business issues involving talent management, the acceleration of readiness for the top twenty executives in the organization. Fischer has more than thirty years of experience in the field of HR, specifically in executive and organizational development, training and development and employee communications. She has worked in a variety of industries including finance, medical devices and telecommunications. Prior to joining TJX, she was the VP of organizational effectiveness at Comcast Cable Corporation. Fischer earned a BS in management from Lesley University, and a master’s degree in organizational development and leadership, as well as her executive coaching certification in Evidenced Based Coaching from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA. @tjxcareers 

Health & Wellness speakers:

ELIZABETH YANCY BOSTIC is the founder of The Parent Coach LLC, specializing in special education advocacy and consultation. As a single mother of two children with special needs – one of whom is medically complex – she understands the challenge of balancing the intricacies of caregiving with employment and pursuing personal growth. Bostic is a certified John C. Maxwell coach, trainer, and speaker who is sought after for speaking engagements on a variety of topics, including effective communication, leadership, and advocacy. She is known for empowering parents with skills and knowledge to effectively collaborate with their school districts to access the educational supports their children need, and she is highly respected by school districts and disability stakeholders across the state. She is a member of the board of directors of the Federation for Children with Special Needs, a previous board president of the Special Needs Advocacy Network, and a former member of the Arc of Massachusetts Board.

MARIA MARLOWE helps busy women improve their health, clear up acne, and reach their ideal weight by upgrading their eating habits. She is a certified integrative nutrition health coach, and founder of mariamarlowe.com, a source for delicious plant-based recipes, meal plans, and online courses to optimize your diet and lifestyle to look and feel your best everyday. She has coached moms, business executives, and celebrities alike to adopt healthier eating habits. Marlowe’s book The Real Food Grocery Guide has been called “the most practical guide to healthy eating” by renowned physician and leading researcher in healthcare, Dr. Dean Ornish. Her tips and recipes have been featured in Vogue, InStyle, The New York Times, and more. Marlowe lives in New York and coaches and consults for individuals, corporations, and brands. She graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, is certified through The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and studied cooking at Natural Gourmet Institute. @mariamarlowe1

DR. MACHE SEIBEL (MAYsh rhymes with Bible), is an international health expert and leading authority on women’s wellness and menopause. He was a pioneer in infertility, performing the first successful IVF procedure in Massachusetts. He redirected his research to menopause when his wife had surgery that threw her into early menopause shortly after a study incorrectly suggested estrogen caused breast cancer and her doctors were reluctant to treat her with hormones. Seibel is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Media Award from the North American Menopause Society as editor of HotYearsMag.com for advancing the understanding of menopause in the United States. He is author of over 200 scientific articles and seventeen books, including is the recently best-selling book The Estrogen Fix. Seibel is a member of the Beth Israel Deaconess/Harvard Medical faculty where he sees patients. @drmacheseibel

Additional speakers will be announced here soon. Check out last year’s program, speakers and sponsors.


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