SPEAKERS

Deryl McKissack
Chairwoman and CEO
McKissack & McKissack

Deryl McKissack is Chairwoman and CEO of McKissack & McKissack, an architectural, engineering, program and construction firm managing over $10 billion in projects nationwide.

During the past 25 years under her leadership, McKissack & McKissack has managed such landmark projects as the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture on the National Mall, MGM National Harbor Casino, Navy Pier Centennial Projects in Chicago, and lead the design build team and served as the architect of record for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

As a licensed professional engineer and registered project management professional, Deryl McKissack is part of the fifth generation of her family to work in the design and construction field. McKissack & McKissack is the outgrowth of the nation’s oldest African-American architectural firm and traces its beginnings to Moses McKissack, a master builder who was also a slave. By the age of six, Deryl was drafting architectural drawings under her father’s tutelage. After graduating from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, she worked at Turner Construction and Dames & Moore; while at these firms, she honed her experience in field work, business development, and construction management.

In 1990, with a shoestring budget of $1,000 and a business plan crafted with help from a mentor at her alma mater, Deryl started McKissack & McKissack. Of that formative time, she remembers, “What got me through was a whole lot of passion.” Through Deryl’s guidance and vision, McKissack & McKissack has grown to 170 employees, with offices in Baltimore; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; Miami; and Washington, D.C.

The firm is ranked by Engineering News Record as one of the top Construction Management For-Fee firms in the nation and by the Washington Business Journal as one of the top 25 design firms in the metropolitan Washington area.

Deryl was named the 2013 Engineer of the Year by the District of Columbia Society of Professional Engineers. She is active in numerous professional organizations, including the Construction Management Association of America, D.C. Building Industry Association, D.C. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, Industry Advisory Group.

Deryl serves on the board of directors for the Construction Industry Round Table, District of Columbia Building Industry Association, Living Classrooms Foundation (Baltimore, MD), Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and Pérez Art Museum Miami. She also supports many philanthropic, civic, and cultural groups, including: the International Women’s Forum, Career Academy Engineering Industry Advisory Council, Commonwealth Institute, and the National Building Museum.

Anthony Vargas
Founder
VarCom Solutions

Danny Vargas has created opportunities, overcome challenges and beaten the odds all his life. As founder and president of award-winning VARCom Solutions, a D.C. area-based marketing, public relations and management consulting firm, he has made a mark not only in business but in the community as well. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (a 501c3 advancing the efforts to create a new museum within the Smithsonian Institution).A proven corporate executive, Danny was an executive at AOL–first as VP of Global Sales for Voice Services, and later as VP of Latin America. Previously, Danny was VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas for France Telecom’s carrier division where he developed and executed their U.S. market penetration plan and led the organization to reach a $100 million annual run rate within eight months of launch. Danny joined France Telecom after six years at Global One where as Director of Corporate and Carrier sales for the Americas Region (ranging from Canada to Chile) he generated over $140 million in revenue in 1999.Raised poor in New York City, Danny struggled and was determined to rise out of poverty. As the first person in his family to earn a degree, he is proud to give back to his community. He is a sought-after public speaker and is called upon to provide advice to highest echelons of business and government.

Judith Bjornaas 
Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President
ManTech

Judy Bjornaas is an executive vice president and ManTech’s CFO, a position she has held since November 2016.

Ms. Bjornaas responsibilities include investor relations, M&A, financial planning and analysis, auditor and banking relationships, financial reporting, government compliance, facilities and procurement. Ms. Bjornaas started with ManTech in December 2010 as the deputy chief financial officer and senior vice president of financial planning and analysis.

Previously, she spent 15 years at NCI Information Systems, in Reston, Virginia, as executive vice president and chief financial officer and treasurer. While there, she helped lead that company through a successful initial public offering (IPO). She is on the Board of Directors for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Bjornaas has an MBA degree from Marymount University and a Bachelor of Science in business administration–finance from Mankato University in Mankato, Minnesota.

Phyllis Randall 
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors
Loundon County

Phyllis J. Randall was elected as Chair of the Board of Supervisors in November of 2015. Chair Randall represents the county on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and is serving as a COG corporate vice president for 2018. She also was elected vice chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority for 2018. In addition, Chair Randall represents Loudoun on the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the Dulles Area Transportation Association, the Route 28 Transportation Improvement District Commission and the Loudoun County Disability Services Board. Chair Randall has a long history of public service both locally and on the state level. At the state level, Governor Tim Kaine appointed Chair Randall to be the citizen representative on Virginia’s Fair Housing Board in 2009. Governor Bob McDonnell retained her position on the Fair Housing Board where she eventually served as chair. In March of 2014, Randall was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Virginia State Board of Corrections, where she currently serves as chair. By profession, Chair Randall is a mental health therapist working with substance abusing offenders in a local Adult Detention Center; a position she enjoyed for over fifteen years. Her emphasis areas are substance abuse and offender services. She and her husband Thaddeus (T.W.), are the parents of two sons, Ashon and Aaron.

Katie Cristol 
Board of Supervisors
Arlington

Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol is a community advocate and public policy professional. She was elected to the Board in November 2015. Katie is the Co-Chair of Arlington’s Project PEACE, an interagency collaboration to address domestic and sexual violence in our community. Regionally, Ms. Cristol represents Arlington as the Secretary Treasurer of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, and serves as Chair of the Legislative Committee. She is the Vice-Chair of the Operations Board of The Virginia Railway Express, and also Co-Chairs its Capital Committee and Chairs its Legislative Committee. Ms. Cristol also represents Arlington on the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and Chairs the Human Services Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Ms. Cristol has been an advocate for women’s issues, including reproductive health, political representation and support for survivors of sexual assault, for over a decade. She was appointed to the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women by the County Board in 2012, and supported the Commission’s efforts to garner attention for critical issues such as women’s professional advancement and childcare affordability, and to recognize the achievements of women in the community. Ms. Cristol is an education policy advisor, partnering with district, states and nonprofits across the U.S. on strategic planning, resource allocation and community engagement. She holds a public policy master’s degree from Princeton University, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and is a 2012 graduate of Arlington Neighborhood College. She and her husband, Steve, live off Columbia Pike, one of the most diverse corridors both in the County and the metropolitan region.

Kay Kapoor 
Former President, AT&T
Global Public Sector

Ms. Kapoor previously led AT&T’s Global Public Sector organization, a $15 billion portion of AT&T’s business that provides innovative technology and communications solutions to government & education customers across federal, state, local, and international markets. Over the course of 5 years, she transformed the segment for growth and dramatically raised AT&T’s reputation and profile in the market. Achievements include capturing multibillion dollar contracts across Civilian, Defense, National Intelligence and Public Safety agencies, including the landmark FirstNet public-private partnership to build a nationwide public safety broadband network dedicated to first responders.

Prior to joining AT&T, Kay served as chairman and CEO of Accenture Federal Services (AFS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Accenture LLC, leading 2,500 members of their U.S. federal business. Before her tenure at Accenture, she worked at Lockheed Martin Corporation for 20 years leading complex organization units and government relations. She ultimately served as vice president and COO of Lockheed Martin’s $4 billion, 13,000 employee unit, IS&GS – Civil.

Kay has more than 25 years of experience in government and commercial markets. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards. These include the Stevie Award for Woman of the Year in Business Services, the Women in Technology Leader Award, the prestigious Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award from the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council, the FCW Fed100 Award and the Asian American Engineer of the Year Award.

Kapoor has an advisory role with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and has a seat on the Dean’s Council. She is also on the Board of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is a member of the Dean’s Council at Johns Hopkins University.
Kay earned a master’s degree in business from Johns Hopkins University complemented by executive programs at MIT and Harvard University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Maryland.

Lesli Foster
Anchor
WUSA 9

Lesli Foster is an award-winning journalist and mainstay of Washington news as a weeknight anchor for WUSA9 evening broadcasts Monday through Friday. She is also part of the WUSA9’s Special Assignment Unit – leading our “Impact” coverage that aims to tackle community issues. Lesli joined the station in 2001 and has covered the major events of our times across the area.

Known for her warmth, and ability to share impactful stories that have an effect on our wider community, she thrives on work that touches everyday living. While her work has allowed her to interview many local, national and international luminaries, she most enjoys talking with ordinary people who use their lives to do extraordinary things.

Her career work has been recognized with Emmy, Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press Awards. Lesli received an Emmy Award for Best News Anchor in the Washington, DC market in 2012, and has been nominated for Best Anchor for three consecutive years since 2010. Lesli also earned more two Emmys for reporting on a series on the 40th Anniversary for the March on Washington, and Jeep Gas Tank Fires. All totaled, she has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards.

Lesli graduated from Howard University and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She gives her energy to many causes throughout the metropolitan Washington, DC region, and in 2012 Lesli started an event called “Girlfriends Give Back” which helps raise funds for a different small, but impactful charity from the area each year.

In her personal time, Lesli enjoys family life being a wife and mom with her husband and daughter.

Toke Vandervoort
Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel
Under Armour

C.M. Tokë Vandervoort has spent most of her career in leadership roles at major tech sector companies providing strategic legal counsel on technology development, intellectual property protection, data privacy and security, critical transactions, litigation and more. As Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel at Under Armour, she leads an interdisciplinary team of nearly 40 talented legal professionals supporting the global UA footwear and apparel business as well as its Connected Fitness and digital business (comprised of MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness and other fitness and eCom apps boasting 225m registered digital users worldwide). Charged with operationalizing broad, often complex, legal requirements harmoniously for UA’s global business, they are innovative thought leaders in Intellectual Property, Commercial and Technology Transactions, Privacy, Consumer Protection, Employment, Real Estate, Litigation and Brand Protection.

Prior to joining Under Armour, she was VP and Assistant GC for Technology, Privacy & Security, and Chief Privacy Officer for a nationwide telecom, internet and cloud provider now owned by Verizon. She has held legal positions at EDS, MCI and in private practice, and was a judicial clerk to two federal judges US District Court in Denver. Toke is presently a member of the US Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee; a Co-Chair of the ACC Data Protection and Privacy Forum (National Capital chapter); and sits on the Center for Democracy and Technology Advisory Council.

Raised in New Orleans to Dutch immigrant parents, she now calls Washington DC home but has kept her hometown passion for spicy food or live music.

Carrie Rich
Co-Founder and CEO
The Global Good Fund

Carrie Rich is the co-founder and CEO of The Global Good Fund. Built by and for social entrepreneurs, The Global Good Fund was created in 2012 based on the belief that growing leaders is the best strategy for solving complex social problems and achieving global good. Carrie tested the theory behind The Global Good Fund while working as Senior Director of Vision Translation at Inova Health System and teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University. There she co-authored, Sustainability for Healthcare Management: A Leadership Imperative, a Handelsblatt’s Top 5 Business Book.

Carrie is the 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, recipient of the POLITICO Women Who Rule Award, Washington Business Journal 40 under 40, Entrepreneur.com Top 30 Start-ups to Watch, Stevie Award for Women in Business, Asian Social Innovation CEO of the Year, Social Enterprise Alliance 50 under 40, and Empact100. Carrie has been published in media outlets such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, HuffingtonPost, The Founder Institute, Under30CEO, and Philanthropy News Digest. She sits on the boards of Rezon8Capital, Women in Business, Ibasho, and Halcyon Incubator. Carrie serves on the faculty at George Washington University and the Amani Institute in Kenya. She is also the Mentor in Residence at George Washington University where she mentors emerging young social entrepreneurs.

Carrie volunteers, enjoys photography, other people’s cooking, and voluntary running.

Lisa Gable
Former US Ambassador and President Emeritus of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

Lisa Gable is a former US Ambassador and President Emeritus of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a CEO-led initiative aimed at helping to reduce childhood obesity. Lisa serves as a National Trustee, Boys and Girls Clubs of America; a Board Member, the Foundation for a Smoke Free World; a Member, International Advisory Council, International Republican Institute; an Advisory Board Member, the Diplomatic Courier; an Advisory Board Member, FriendsLearn, Inc.

In August 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Gable as U.S. Ambassador and Commissioner General to the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan, a 100% privately funded effort.

Her background includes tenure as a Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy, PepsiCo; a Member, National Academy of Medicine Roundtable on Obesity Solutions; a Board Member, Girl Scouts of the USA; a Member, the Governor’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission; Board of Directors, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute; Advisory Board, Base Technologies; Advisory Board, Distributive Networks; a Trustee, Thunderbird School of Global Management; a Commissioner of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships; a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations; Vice Chairman for the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services; Brand Identity Manager for INTEL Corporation; Deputy Associate Director, Office of Presidential Personnel, the White House; Special Assistant for Technology Transfer Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense. Lisa Gable holds a Bachelors from the University of Virginia and holds a Masters from Georgetown University

Her awards include: PR News Top Women in PR 2015; 100 Women in STEM, STEM Connect 2012.

Melissa Dawn Simkins
CEO, Velvet Suite and
Host, The She-Suite Summit

Melissa Dawn Simkins defines success by fulfilling purpose and empowering people to achieve their greatest potential.

As a wife, mother, executive, author, speaker and fitness advocate, Melissa brands a new model of success for women who lead.

She is CEO of Velvet Suite, Inc. a leadership innovation firm unleashing the future of profit through people. She is the brains and creative force behind some of the world’s most beloved brands. She is a pioneer in her field of personal branding being on the leadership team that launched the Swiffer brand, re-energized the iconic Mr. Clean, created the first-ever multi-cultural marketing plan for Victoria’s Secret Stores and her firm launched the first-ever, National Football League Player Brand University. She has served as an on-air contributor to CNN and currently contributes to Inc.com.

Simkins pioneered the Women In The Spotlight Community ™ and The Brand Leadership Institute ™, designed to empower high achieving women with the confidence, competence and connections to build a career and a life that is equally successful and fulfilling. The Brand Leadership Institute ™ is a technology based e-learning platform that is pioneering a new way to coach, develop and advance women. She is the creator of The She-Suite ® Summit designed to actively address the leadership gap.  

Simkins received a Master of Science degree from the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and received her undergraduate degree from Otterbein University. She serves on the Board of Directors for The SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) Foundation and the Board of Trustees for Otterbein University.

Melissa is married to her husband and purpose-partner Will Simkins. She is a new mom to a beautiful baby boy named Kingston and she is also a step-mom to three fantastic sons: Kevin, Shaunn and Amari.

Julieth Choi
Director
Partnership for Public Service

Juliet K. Choi is the Director of Government Transformation and Agency Partnerships and joined the Partnership for Public Service in April 2017. In this role, she and her team facilitate the convening of public and private partners and thought leaders to facilitate building a more effective and interconnected federal government.

 

A cross-sector leader and civil rights lawyer by training, Juliet recently served as Chief of Staff & Senior Advisor for agencies at the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to her recent political appointments, she led disaster relief operations and community engagement at the American Red Cross and previously worked at the Asian American Justice Center, Mental Health America and a Fortune 500 corporation.

 

Juliet is a graduate of both the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and American Express Non-Profit Leadership Academy. She received her law school’s Alumni Association Award for Leadership and Character (2003) and Rising Star Alumnus Award (2009). She serves on the boards of the NAPABA Law Foundation and Council of Korean Americans.

 

A certified mediator, Juliet received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law and clerked for the Hon. Dennis M. Sweeney (ret.) of the Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia.

Kathy Frey
Founder
Hot Mammas Project

Kathy Korman Frey is the founder of the nationally award-winning Hot Mommas® Project: The world’s largest collection of digital mentors and role models for use by educators, women’s groups, and parents around the globe. The project increases confidence up to 200 percent through its women’s leadership training series. In addition to running The Hot Mommas Project, Frey is the instructor of the nationally award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at the George Washington School of Business in Washington, DC. Previously, Frey was Managing Director of Vision Forward, one of the early flex work firms and the original home of the “Hot Mommas” consultants. Frey also served as COO of the National Council on the Aging Development Corporation where she teamed to build and capitalize ventures in the boomer and senior market. Frey’s prior career was in the merger and acquisition and competitive analysis fields as an analyst and business development executive at MMI (acquired by Citigate). There, she advised Fortune 100 companies on strategic decision-making. Frey serves on the boards of United Women in Business and the youth entrepreneurship venture Icon. She is a former two-term board member of the Alzheimer’s Association, National Capital Area and an expert for the Washington Post’s Time Hack series. She is the recipient of a Washington Business Journal Woman Who Means Business award, an Influential Woman of Virginia award, and is the founding DC National Association of Women Business Owner’s Woman of Distinction. Frey earned her BA in English from The University of Virginia and her MBA from Harvard Business School. Against her better judgment, she is currently studying psychology at Harvard. Frey lives in the DC area with her husband, two children, and dog “Chicken” in a state of semi-controlled chaos.