Woman of Power Conference Sunday Keynote Speaker
Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe
Humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee 2017
Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” 2014
Humanitarian and subject of the book, "Sewing Hope," Sister Rosemary was honored by Time magazine in 2014 as one of its "100 Most Influential People in the World." She has also received the United Nations "Impact Award," and been honored by the "Women in The World" Summit conferences in New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Davos, Switzerland, and in London.
Sister Rosemary's story is of one woman's fight to bring hope and dignity back to her nation. For the last 30 years she has answered the call to serve the victims at the epicenter of the bloody and violent civil wars that decimated North Uganda and South Sudan. For years, Joseph Kony and his "Lord's Resistance Army" terrorized villages and stole children from their families, forcing them into slavery.
The gunfire has ceased but one battle remains - the battle to restore the future of the children of Uganda. Armed with only a sewing machine, Sister Rosemary, a Catholic nun of The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, openly defied the rebels in their 20-year reign of terror. Since 2002, she has enrolled more than 2000 girls who had been abducted and abandoned by their families, into her "Saint Monica's Girls Tailoring Center" in Gulu, Uganda. She has made it her mission to provide a home and school for women and girls whose lives have been shattered by violence, rape and sexual exploitation. She has given them ways to support themselves through job training in tailoring, catering and other practical skills to restore dignity, independence and hope. Anyone who sets foot on the campus will instantly recognize that there are few other places where a community of women learns to become self-reliant and change agents for peace and prosperity, while also showing mercy to those who are less fortunate.
Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, who has narrated a documentary film, "Sewing Hope," about Sister Rosemary says, "The girls can become themselves again, thanks to the security and comfort they feel-- a tremendous accomplishment in a country still fragile from years of civil war. For girls who were forcibly enlisted as child soldiers, Sister Rosemary has the power to rekindle a bright light in eyes long gone blank. For women with unwanted children born out of conflict, she allows them to become loving mothers at last. The traumas she heals are unfathomable, but the reach of her love is boundless." The film can be seen on Netflix.
Since 2013, when The MetroHealth System Board of Trustees elected him president and CEO, Akram Boutros has piloted an unprecedented transformation of Cuyahoga County’s public health care system.
Under his leadership, MetroHealth has expanded the number of locations. It has helped improve the economic health of the community by hiring more than 700 additional employees and beginning an $82 million expansion of its Critical Care Pavilion. And annual operating income has grown from $10.3 million in 2012 to $29.8 million in 2015.
Dr. Boutros is an internist with a 25-year record of successful hospital leadership at academic medical centers, community hospitals and specialty hospitals.
Dr. Boutros came to MetroHealth following five years as founder and president of BusinessFirst Healthcare Solutions. A graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, he has led organizations through strategic repositioning, operational redesign, clinical and physician integration and population-health and risk-contracting efforts.
His community service includes chairing the American Heart Association 2015 Cleveland Heart Ball and others.
His has received numerous awards including being named The American Red Cross 2016 Community Leader, One of Northeast Ohio’s Power 150 by Crain’s Cleveland Business and more.
Maryann is currently Chief Financial Officer for Heinen’s, Inc., a private grocery store Chain serving Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois. At Heinen’s, Maryann is responsible for developing and directing an 80 person team in the areas of finance, information technology, risk management, marketing, and corporate human resources. Prior to joining Heinen’s (2003-2005) she provided consulting to various public companies establishing policies and procedures to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley Regulations. The majority of Maryann’s career (26 years) was spent with the professional services firm of Arthur Andersen, which after 77 years disbanded in the wake of the Enron scandal. She spent time in Andersen’s Chicago Illinois, Dallas Texas, and Cleveland Ohio offices. At Arthur Andersen, Maryann was an Audit Partner primarily working with public companies specializing in acquisitions, restructuring, strategic business planning, and customer satisfaction. She also spent time developing and teaching leadership training to other Andersen associates. Maryann is past president of the American Woman’s Society of CPA’s, a 7000 member national organization. She is a Certified Public Accountant (non- practicing) and graduated from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York. Maryann sits on the Boards of Pyramyd Air, University Hospital Richmond and Bedford and Lake Geauga Recovery Centers.
Micki Byrnes currently serves as President & General Manager of WKYC Media, overseeing all operations of the broadcast station and its digital platforms. She joined Channel 3 in 1997 as Director of Marketing and was named Vice President, Advertising and Promotion in 2000, and Station Manager in 2014.
Micki has held broadcast management positions in Boston, San Francisco, Atlanta and Orlando. She is a past Chair and Director of PROMAX, International, the television industry's premiere marketing association. Micki has also served on the marketing advisory boards of CBS and ABC Television and Fox Broadcasting.
Micki is the recipient of numerous regional Emmy, Telly and Addy Awards. She was inducted into the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 2013 and was named a 2016 YWCA Woman of Achievement and a 2016 Crain’s Woman of Note. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Cleveland Foodbank, and is very active in several other organizations.
Entrepreneur, author, and possibility broker, Raquel Eatmon is CEO of the communications company Rising Media LLC, founder of ProjectHeard.com a digital magazine for achieving women and is the founder of the Woman of Power Leadership Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.
Starting out with a promising career in television, she quickly climbed the ranks as an anchor/reporter in top markets. She longed to create deeper connections with viewers. Overtime she grew disillusioned with the broadcast news business and left her high-profile position in search of deeper purpose. That purpose became women’s empowerment.
Eatmon documented her own struggle to overcome rejection and give meaning to her work in Strut Your Stuff: Principles in Purpose, Power, and Position, a resource guide for women seeking to change their lives. She continues to deliver her motivational messages in a national newspaper column, Be Inspired with Raquel, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post. Eatmon loves calling Cleveland home.
Cheri joined The Sherwin-Williams Company as a Management Trainee in 1993. After roles as a Store Manager, Sales Representative, and Sales Manager, Cheri was promoted to District Manager. She has 22 years of experience, 22 years with Sherwin-Williams.
In 2006, Cheri received The Henry Sherwin Award for posting the highest profit results for a two-year period in the company among Vice Presidents. In 2014, Cheri was the recipient of the Chairman’s Award for the same results as above, among Presidents in the organization.
In 2008, Cheri was named one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas”. In 2009, the Dallas Business Journal named Cheri to the list of “Top 40 Under Forty” business people in Dallas.
Cheri is a Clemson University Foundation Executive Board Member and leads the Trevillian Board for the business school, as well. She is a founding member of Professional Women in Painting and is a member of the National Association of Women in Construction and National Association of Professional Women,
Cheri received her BA and MBA from Clemson University.
Elizabeth Brooks is an executive with over 15 years of experience in HR, talent management, process improvement and technology. She is known for quickly mastering complex business scenarios and developing creative solutions to address them. This unique combination of skills and experiences allows her to ensure that people are a strategic differentiator for the businesses she supports.
Currently at Swagelok Company, Brooks leads the teams who recruit new hires to the organization, provide systems to support HR processes, manage a portfolio of projects and keep the HR back office humming. Her favorite assignment is helping create the future by working with the team defining Swagelok’s innovation strategy.
Brooks is a happy wife and mom to three amazing little people who make her laugh every day. She is a mediocre soccer mom who, after a decade, still can’t explain off sides. She’s honored to support the arts community in Cleveland as a member of the board of SPACES—a resource and public forum for artists who explore and experiment.
Bernett Williams is responsible for leading the hospital’s community partnerships and collaborations as well as government relations and community benefit strategies. Bernett has spent most of her professional career in the non-profit sector and serving on multiple boards. Prior to joining Akron Children’s in 2011, she served as president and CEO of the Akron Urban League where she was credited with major accomplishments including:
Most recently, she was honored with the Community Service Award in 2013 from the Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW) and in 2016, the Champion for Children Community Leader Award from Summit County Children’s Services Board. She resides in Akron with her husband Todd and their two children.
Undergraduate School- BA: Rhetoric and Communications: Kent State University, Kent, OH
Graduate School- Master of Public Administration: University of Akron, Akron, OH
Robert J. Klonk is Chief Executive Officer of Oswald Companies, one of the nation's largest privately held, employee-owned, insurance brokerage and risk management consulting firms.
Bob has more than 30 years of industry experience, previously serving as Oswald’s Director of Group Benefits before assuming the duties of Chief Executive Officer in 2013.
He is a current board member of The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) and Assurex Global, served as chairman of The Council of Employee Benefits Executives in Washington D.C., and the Council P.A.C., a Political Action Committee that serves the broker community.
Bob is a prominent thought leader in the employee benefits and health insurance industry. In 2013, Bob was recognized as one of the Top 100 “Insurance Industry Game Changers,” by Leader’s Edge Magazine and CIAB, honoring the most influential industry leaders of the past century.
Bob exemplifies Oswald’s mission of “Commitment to Community,” serving on the boards of the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), Business Volunteers Unlimited, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Dr. Denise Douglas has more than 20 years of leadership experience in both private and public higher education institutions. Denise is currently the Associate Dean of Executive Education at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) where she leads a staff of 14 responsible for over 70 open enrollment professional development programs, custom corporate solutions, executive coaching, the Executive MBA (EMBA), and operations.
During Denise’s 16 year career at CWRU, she has been instrumental in forming partnerships with individuals across several university departments to launch professional development programs such as the Women Staff Leadership Development Institute (WSLDI).
Denise is the recipient of many awards including the President’s Distinguished Service Award (CWRU).
Denise holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota. She received her B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. Denise has two grown sons and lives with her husband in the Cleveland, OH area.
Karen has operational responsibilities along with leading the community engagement portfolio. She has 34 years of federal government experience in the area of human capital management, workforce planning, and project planning and execution.
Ms. Harper developed the Department of Defense (DoD) STEM Diversity Campaign launched in 2013 and principally responsible for the creation of the Greater DC STEM Pilot designed to engage historically underserved K-12 student populations.
Ms. Harper built the community engagement portfolio to include local and national collaborative partnerships that advance STEM awareness, build skills, and create career pathways. Her steady leadership style yields results in building relationships with school districts, non-profits, government organizations, industry, and other stakeholders.
Dr. Marla E. Pérez-Davis serves as the Deputy Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. In this capacity she shares with the center director responsibility for planning, organizing and managing the Agency level programs and projects assigned to the Center.
Immediately prior to her current assignment, Pérez-Davis served as Deputy Director of the Research and Engineering Directorate, a post she held since 2014.
Other key leadership positions Pérez-Davis held at Glenn include Director of the Aeronautics Research Office, where she served as the focal point for aeronautics research and provided project management, leadership and oversight in support of the Agency’s aeronautics research mission.
Pérez-Davis is the recipient of NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal; 2015 Crain’s Women of Note, the Top 25 Elite Business Women, Hispanic Business Magazine; Women of Color Career Achievement; Distinguished Alumni Award Alumni Association of University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez; Women in Aerospace Award for Aerospace Awareness and many other awards. She is also a certified NASA Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Pérez-Davis, a native of Puerto Rico, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico; a master of science degree from the University of Toledo and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Chemical Engineering. In 2006, she completed NASA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and the Office of Personnel Management Program.
Shreyasi Lahiri is engineering manager for The Lubrizol Corporation. In her role, she is responsible for ensuring her team meets the engineering needs of Lubrizol’s Driveline and Industrial business groups as well as supporting data processing and analysis, report generation, and knowledge management efforts within Lubrizol Mechanical Testing.
She joined Lubrizol in 2001 as a research chemist and was later named project manager for Lubrizol’s Driveline business prior to assuming her current role in 2012. Throughout her various positions, Dr. Lahiri has been a core contributor to Lubrizol, co-inventing five patents for the organization.
Dr. Lahiri holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Wellesley College and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In addition to her work activities, she participates in cultural activities in Cleveland’s local South Asian community.
Jan Gusich is founder and CEO of AKHIA, an integrated business marketing firm with expertise in strategic planning, corporate positioning, brand development, marketing communications, business communications and reputation management. AKHIA provides these services to a wide variety of regional, national and global companies.
Prior to opening her own agency in 1996, Jan served as director of public relations for a Cleveland based advertising agency. She opened AKHIA with one employee, and has since grown the firm to a professional staff of 60+ with sales of $6 million.
Gusich is an Accredited Public Relations (APR) professional and has served as Chair of the Accreditation Committee for the Public Relations Society of America’s Cleveland Chapter for 11 years where she mentors young professionals.
A Strong believer in giving back, Gusich serves on several non-profit boards including The YWCA of Cleveland. She helps to advance the causes of these organizations by dedicating personal and agency volunteer hours to promoting their missions.
Jan holds a B.A. degree in English and Marketing from Baldwin-Wallace College. She often speaks to groups on the topics of Crisis Communications, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Internal Communications and Women in Business.
Dr. Charu Ramanathan is the co-founder of CardioInsight, a Company developing noninvasive cardiac mapping technologies. Dr. Ramanathan led CardioInsight through its growth stages, raising over $33 million of capital and ultimately its acquisition in 2015 by medical device giant, Medtronic. The CardioInsight Product has received several awards including the Edison Innovation Award (2014).
Dr. Ramanathan holds over 15 patents and 30 patent applications and is published in this field including in prestigious journals like Nature Medicine and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She is passionate about fostering entrepreneurship by being involved in various programs including Whitehouse Panels.
She is also involved in Women and Minority enablement and has been a vocal panelist at the State level to support funding for W&M led organizations. Dr. Ramanathan is the recipient of several awards for her contributions to medical device development including Crain’s Cleveland and others.
Dr. Ramanathan has a BS from Cochin University and PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and currently is the Senior Business Director of Cardiac Mapping in Medtronic’s Atrial Fibrillation Division.
A native Clevelander, Rita spent the first ten years of her career in various gray cubicles working in software, and loving it. Starting a family meant a change in lifestyle and priorities. After much searching for the next step, while doing a favor for family, the idea formed to start a child care.
Writing a small, eight page business plan, cashing out the 401K, and sweet-talking her husband for additional cash, the idea turned into action. The wild ride that ensued could make a movie, but it would be too far-fetched: shopping at garage sales, being turned down by the bank, not being able to make payroll, and yes, biting. But also, wonderfully, teaching, singing, loving, growing!
That was 15 years, 4 locations, hundreds of staff, thousands of students, and millions of dollars ago.
Today Young Explorers Montessori Child Cares are the beloved amenities of the communities they serve. The original mission is still going strong today: Great early education for all children.
Rita and her husband Will share their story in the book series, From Mom and Pop to Millionaire.
Armed with an MBA in Systems Management, Baldwin-Wallace University, Rita also believes in giving back to many organizations. She is sits on various boards and is President of Barrington Master Association Board of Trustees.
Amy Martin brings more than 18 years of experience to helping organizations and brands reach target audiences by creating value for customers through content development, customer success programs, social strategy and thought leadership.
Currently at JumpStart, Martin has been crucial to driving awareness and results about the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem and has secured national media coverage with CNN MONEY, USA Today, Forbes and others. Martin leads all the content marketing efforts for the organization and manages the department which provides marketing support to the entrepreneurial companies that JumpStart invests in and supports.
Prior to joining JumpStart, Martin was a consultant with various firms where she provided integrated marketing and communication support to companies such as Gatorade, Macy’s, and other brands.
Martin is also the founder of SheInTheCLE.com, a female blogger collective that focuses on driving purposeful conversations by women in Northeast Ohio and manages her own consultancy agency, Hyperthink which provides marketing support to women-owned businesses.
She was recently appointed to the Republican National Convention Visiting Media Subcommittee and is speaker for the YWCA Greater Cleveland Women’s Leadership Institute.
As a leader, Rocco prioritizes people. Over the years, he has mentored many junior staff members, helping them grow as engineers and individuals. Today, he’s focused on mentoring rising staff, so they can lead the next generation.
Rocco is committed to continuous improvement. He leads an internal team that develops design tools and workflows for the firm. He’s currently exploring how LEAN methodologies can be applied to the firm’s operations and project delivery.
In the course of his career, Rocco has contributed to projects throughout Northeast Ohio, including the recently-renovated Emergency Department at Lutheran Hospital (Cleveland), TriPoint Medical Center (Concord Township), and the award-winning Cleveland Museum of Art addition and renovation. He is inspired by the fact that what he does for a living lets him play a role in so many people’s lives.
Ramona is an aspiring motivational speaker, poet, and author of the inspirational book Shine Sistah Shine. Currently she is a high achieving senior at Baldwin Wallace University with a major in Public Relations, minor in Marketing and a 3.9 GPA. In addition, Ramona is an experienced content marketing professional with a background in blogging and social media communications.
Ramona is an award winning public speaker, specifically targeting women ages 18-45. Her speeches are tailored to audiences with interest in self- improvement. She is the mother of a miraculous 4-year old named Ryan.
A Los Angeles native, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. She worked as a Plain Dealer writer from 1989 to 2013. A recipient of many journalism honors, she is an award-winning volunteer as well. Margaret was named National Big Sister of the Year in 2000 for her work with two Cleveland girls, Cora and Ernestine, through the local Big Brother Big Sister agency. She was also a longtime volunteer with the Urban Journalism Workshop, an annual program for high school students put on by local black journalists.
Margaret Bernstein is also the writer of The Bond, a memoir on fatherlessness by The Three Doctors. That experience led her to write her most recent book, a storybook titled “All In A Dad’s Day,” designed to tighten the bond between fathers and their young children.
Alenka is the COO of College Now Greater Cleveland, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase college attainment through college and career access advising, financial aid counseling and scholarship and retention services. She joined College Now in 2001 as the Chief Financial Officer and was named the Chief Operating Officer in 2006. Alenka is responsible for College Now’s organizational operations and creates efficient and effective systems, as well as contributes to the development, evaluation and enhancement of College Now’s strategic goals and objectives.
Alenka has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit accounting and program and operational management. Prior to joining College Now, she was an auditor at Grant Thornton LLP for six years specializing in the nonprofit and governmental industry. Alenka received her BBA majoring in Accounting from the University of Cincinnati and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Alenka is a College Now mentor and a mentor to other professionals in the community. She is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland, serves as the Treasurer of the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland, sits on the board of the Slovene Home for the Aged Foundation, and is active in many other organizations.
Natasa focuses on healthcare facility design. She appreciates that her work affects the wellbeing of patients, especially as they journey to recovery.
Among her projects are the recently-renovated Emergency Department at Lutheran Hospital (Cleveland) and Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cleveland Clinic (Warrensville Heights). She also contributed to the award-winning Cleveland Museum of Art addition and renovation. Her lighting design for the North Royalton Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library won a 2014 IES Illumination Award of Merit.
Natasa joined Karpinski Engineering as a new college graduate. She’s been with the firm for eight years, and she’s had the opportunity to both receive mentoring and serve as a mentor.
She earned her Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from The University of Akron. She is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and a board member of the IES Cleveland Chapter.