|7-7:30am Registration & Networking
7:30-8:30 Speaker and Q&A
|Auditorium, Chatham University
The Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series features prominent regional women business leaders speaking on a variety of progressive business topics. Casual networking and a continental breakfast precede engaging and interactive presentations on topics essential for women in business such as innovative entrepreneurship, strategic business growth, unique marketing strategies, and logistical business planning.
Upcoming Dates & Speakers
Friday, September 08
Sew Accomplished: The Women Behind the Machines
From designing, selecting fabrics, and determining trends to learning the world of small-batch manufacturing and retail environments these accomplished entrepreneurs have sewn their way to the top. Learn about why a work force environment where employee skills, talents, and intellects are highly valued, is an art unto itself. Come and experience the impact the sewing ecosystem is having on Pittsburgh.
Founder and President, Abram's Bed - maker of the Safety Sleeper
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Rose is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Elementary Education. She taught elementary and middle school science and math for several years before retiring to transition into a stay at home mom after moving to Pennsylvania. Rose and her husband Jeff have 3 children, one of whom was diagnosed at an early age with autism. As a mother of a son with autism, her family was thrust into the world of autism and intensive therapy. Rose saw a need for a product that could keep Abram sleep safely at home or away. Out of this need The Safety Sleeper was born and has helped hundreds of children and adults with special needs worldwide. Her company, Abram’s Bed, was started in 2009 with the vision to become every customer's choice in their pursuit of creating a secure and safe environment for their loved one, every night, at home or wherever they may travel. Rose, her husband and a dedicated staff build, manufacture and orchestrate the shipping for The Safety Sleeper at their facility in Pittsburgh PA.
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As a long-time Pittsburgh resident with a brief stint in Los Angeles, Jen is grateful to have started a business that mixes her heritage sewing skills with her educational background from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Los Angeles Trade Tech. Since opening the sewing studio in 2012, Jen has enjoyed the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur and the opportunity to push the boundaries of sewing, whether in fashion, wearables, or soft goods product development.
Cathy Schnaubelt Rogers
President, Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear
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Cathy is the President of Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear. They are an e-commerce company with 99% of their sales from their website, amazon, ebay, Walmart and jet. The company designs and manufactures their softgoods on the North Side of the city in a 60,000 sq ft. facility. As a cycling company, they enjoy the added benefit of being located on the Three Rivers Heritage Bike Trail. The company employs about 50 people. Aero Tech Designs in a vital part of the planning and implementation of trails into and out of the city of Pittsburgh.
Friday, October 13
The Food Waste Scandal and How It Impacts People and Planet
We waste 40% of all the food we produce. On the other side of this waste are tremendous impacts on our environment and on hunger. 412 Food Rescue’s mission is to prevent perfectly viable food from entering the waste stream by rescuing surplus food and redirecting to nonprofits that serve those who are food insecure. The talk will focus on how innovation and courage to tackle one of the most difficult problems are moving the needle impacting hunger in our region.
CEO and Co-Founder, 412 Food Rescue
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Leah Lizarondo is Co-Founder and CEO of 412 Food Rescue. 412 Food Rescue works to eliminate hunger and promote a healthy environment by rescuing viable food about to go to waste and redirecting to nonprofits that serve those who are food insecure. 412 Food Rescue is an innovative approach to food recovery with rapid response reverse logistics model that utilizes technology to aggregate and automatically match food donors and beneficiaries. The organization works with a network of dedicated volunteers and deploys a scalable technology and replicable model designed to eliminate food waste at the retail level. Leah received her Masters Degree in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University graduating with Highest Distinction and is an advocate for healthy food accessibility, food safety policy and sustainability. She has also trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and received her Certification in Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University. She began her career as a product manager in Southeast Asia, working in consumer packaged goods and technology before moving on to her passion in food and health advocacy. She has a track record of leadership in nonprofits in New York and Pittsburgh. She is interested in social innovation and technology and mines her experience launching startups as she works to establish 412 Food Rescue. Leah is an active advocate for food, health and innovation in Pittsburgh. She is also the founder of The Brazen Kitchen, an award-winning blog and Pittsburgh Magazine weekly column. Leah is currently Editor-at-Large for NEXTpittsburgh, covering social innovation. Leah’s work has been featured in print and online publications including MSN’s Re:Discover Series, NPR, Oprah.com, GOOD Magazine online, and local media. The Brazen Kitchen won the 2013 National City & Regional Magazine Awards. Leah has delivered numerous talks in the field of food policy and innovation. In April 2014, she gave the TEDx Talk “Why the Farm Is Not Getting to the Table.” The video can be accessed on tedx.ted.com.
Friday, November 10
The Strategic Women Thinkers Behind Everyday Brands
Clearly understanding what a brand/product is looking to achieve - brand awareness, specific sales objectives, channel opportunities, etc. is a crucial ingredient to a household name. Also, having in-depth knowledge about your target audience- keeping your end consumer in mind as well as the brands channel marketing strategy. How will this brand/product be brought to market? Channel mix marketing is so important - where are your best targets, which medium (digital (social) playing a vital role in today’s world). These are the questions this panel of executive women will explore and discuss.
Lisa Nolen Birmingham
Vice President, Comcast
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Lisa leads a team government and community affairs professionals supporting more than 1,300 communities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and northwest Maryland. Lisa is responsible for advancing business growth and policy through advocacy and strategic partnerships and manages franchising, compliance and community investment. Lisa has held a similar roles for Comcast in the mid-west and New England. Lisa practiced administrative law in Vermont prior to joining Comcast in 2006. A lawyer by training, Lisa has extensive negotiation and advocacy experience. She has led numerous collaborative efforts to address key policy issues such as the digital divide, lead paint and health care privacy. Lisa graduated from Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut and magna cum laude from Vermont Law School. A believer in giving back, Lisa has served on various nonprofit boards such as the Urban League of Southwest Michigan and Detroit. Lisa’s personal passion is promoting equity and opportunity for women and girls. She has been a crisis intervention counselor, an advocate and fundraiser, and more recently, a Chapter Advisor for Women in Cable and Telecommunications. She relocated to Pittsburgh in 2015 and is a recent graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh.
Vice President of Strategic Planning, FedEx Ground
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Stephanie Cohen is Vice President of Strategic Planning for FedEx Ground, headquartered in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. Stephanie began her career at FedEx Ground 24 years ago in Customer Service. From there she held positions in a number of areas – including Internal Audit, Product Marketing, Administrative Process Engineering, New Services and Field Technology Support – before being named the Managing Director of Administrative Process Engineering in 2006 and the Managing Director of New Services Planning in 2009. Stephanie has led FedEx Ground involvement in numerous strategic enterprise projects, customer implementations and solution designs and strategy research and integration initiatives. She has distinguished herself through her leadership, commitment to continuous improvement and collaboration across the enterprise. As an accomplished leader, Stephanie attended the FedEx Executive Leadership Institute and has been honored with numerous company awards, including the prestigious FedEx Ground Five Star Award on two separate occasions. A native of Philadelphia, Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her master’s from Carnegie Mellon University. Stephanie currently resides in Sewickley, PA, with her husband and three children.
Mary Kay Modaffari
Executive Vice President, Partner, Brunner
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Mary Kay Modaffari is the Executive Vice President and Partner of Brunner. Brunner is a U.S.-based, independently owned, privately held marketing services organization. Founded in 1989, Brunner has offices in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and maintain a satellite office in Washington, D.C. Brunner employs close to 200 staff members. Brunner ranks as one of the top 100 independent national agencies. For over 25 years, Mary Kay has been an instrumental part of the agency’s leadership team, under who’s leadership, the organization has grown to over $150 million in billings. Mary Kay, and the leadership team at Brunner, have remained committed to a strong vision to stay well ahead of the marketing communications landscape, anticipating and being prepared for what’s next. With innovation, technology, data-science and creativity as the foundation of the organization, the Brunner enterprise is poised for success. The Brunner brand provides full-service offerings from Strategic Brand Planning, Brand Development, Creative Ideation and Execution, Communications Planning, Content Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Web and Mobile Development, Search and Analytics, Digital Performance Marketing, and Tech Innovation (and lots more). Mary Kay leads Brunner with strength and spirit. Her intense ‘people focus’ and can-do attitude combined with her ability to constantly push the thinking to a higher level, is what keeps the agency motivated and growing. She has perfected the balance of dealing with the business needs of the client, while keeping the creative talent inspired. Her unique perspective brings strategic success to our clients and staff every day. Mary Kay has been instrumental in helping numerous restaurant, retail, healthcare, business-to-business and non-profit clients achieve success. Some of these brands include; Bob Evans Restaurants, UPMC, GNC, Zippo, LaRosa’s Pizzeria, Giant Eagle, Westinghouse Corporation/CBS, Knouse Foods, Mellon and PNC Bank. Mary Kay’s past agency holding company experience, with Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, and strong account management leadership has benefited her ability to orchestrate many moving parts on behalf of clients. Mary Kay is on a number of non-profit Board of Directors and Advisory Boards. Mary Kay is a current board member of The Mentoring Partnership. She also sits on the Advisory Board for UMPC Cancer Center Wellness & Integrative Oncology Program as well as Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University. Mary Kay is actively involved in the Women’s Leadership series, speaking on topics such as “The Strategic Women Thinkers Behind the Brand”. Mary Kay has one daughter, Melanie, who is in the healthcare industry, She and her significant other, Don, are Dairy Queen Franchise Owners – the family loves a cone with a curl on top! Mary Kay enjoys the outdoors and soaking in what the world has to offer. She loves riding her bike, letting her hair fly in the wind. She is an avid reader – usually an easy novel to allow her mind to drift, she loves to express herself through writing and you will often find Mary Kay with a Crayon in her hand expressing her creative side.
Friday, December 08
The Art of Asking for It! Negotiation Strategies for Women
Do you ask for what you want or are you waiting to be offered the opportunity that will advance your career and/or compensation? Learn how to better navigate the barriers we know women face in the workplace. Did you know: Men are 4x more likely than women to negotiate, women are more anxious about negotiating, and women are great negotiators on behalf of other people but not necessarily themselves? During this presentation, participants will learn to recognize opportunities to negotiate, eliminate anxiety, feel entitled to get what they want and avoid social consequences that inhibit good outcomes for you and your organization.
Director of Leadership Development, Tepper School of Business, CMU
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Leanne Meyer is Program Director of the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women and Director of Leadership Development at the Tepper School of business at CMU. Leanne’s work focuses on assisting leaders navigate critical inflection points where many have outgrown their professional identity and, given the demands and responsibility of their roles, need to change their perspectives regarding what is important and accordingly, how they spend their time and what new skill sets and behaviors they develop. Leanne’s journey began in South Africa. She was specifically influenced by the events in her home country, which ignited her interest in the possibility for human change and transformation. She has spent the past twenty years applying and building her change agent skills in South Africa, England, Ireland, and now America. Leanne’s calling is to help leaders make sense of their lives through the reclamation of passion and purpose. Leanne consults and coaches regularly, and her clients include such companies as Salesforce, GlaxoSmithKline, McKesson, SAP, UBS, Bayer, EQT, Highmark, UPMC and the American Bar Association. Leanne holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Psychology.