Valerie King serves as Senior Manager, Innovation for Altria Client Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Altria Group, Inc. She has held this position since October 2013. In this role, Valerie is part of a team charged with enhancing and supporting innovation capability at Altria. Valerie joined the Altria family of companies in 1994 as an administrative assistant. In 1998, she transitioned into a non-administrative role in Research and Development at Philip Morris USA. She advanced through the R&D organization, holding subsequent positions in the Scientific Affairs, Clinical Evaluation, and Contracts organizations. In 2008, Valerie moved into Altria Client Services, holding subsequent positions in the Regulatory Affairs organization prior to her current role. Valerie holds a B.A. in English from Virginia Commonwealth University.
René Haines brings over 25 years of experience in the business world. She held the position of Corporate Vice President with Cavalier Marine Supply Company, in Norfolk, VA. René has also held the position of General Manager for other companies, ranging from the maritime industry to the wholesale industry. She also has experience in the fields of logistics, supply chain, purchasing, warehousing/distribution, international and domestic marketing and retail distribution.
René is currently the President, founder and owner of FocalPath Coaching – a business advisory firm located in central Virginia. FocalPath Coaching specializes in working with small and medium sized businesses to prioritize company needs, design action plans and assist in implementing the plans until positive results are realized.
René has served as the President of the Network of Enterprising Women for 2 years and is the immediate Past-President of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Richmond Chapter.
Camille Blanchard’s breadth of skills spans marketing, operations, data, technology and business management on both the client and agency sides. She is currently the Vice President of Account Services at West Cary Group, a local small business and award-winning marketing communications and advertising agency. Camille previously worked in investment operations at Wachovia, and served as senior project manager and senior relationship manager at Capital One. She’s a graduate of Wake Forest University.
Tammy Cummings brings over 20 years of experience to her position as Vice President of Strategic Human Resources Development at Royall & Company, a leader in strategic direct marketing for higher education. In addition to human resources, Tammy leads Royall & Company’s community engagement efforts to help underserved youth with college access.
Prior to joining Royall & Company, Tammy was the Senior Vice President and Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Before joining the bank, Tammy served as Corporate Vice President of Human Resources for two other Richmond-based companies. Her experience spans a variety of industries including global consumer manufacturing, retail, building materials and telecommunications, and financial services. Tammy currently serves as the Board Chair for the Virginia Mentoring Partnership and is the Vice President of Community Leadership and President Elect for the Richmond Society for Human Resource Management.
Lee Brazzell, Chief Executive Officer of Transformation Consulting, LLC has over twenty-five years of technical and senior management experience in both the public and private sector, in organizational development, strategic planning, program design and development, human resources, leadership and project management. She has owned and operated Transformation Corporation since 1995, and Transformation Consulting LLC since 2004. Ms. Brazzell also served as an Adjunct Professor, University of Richmond/Robins Business School Management Institute, and is the former Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center/University of Richmond.
Mary Foley offers entertaining advice to increase women’s career confidence in the workplace and the marketplace. Her energizing insights are influenced by a life of contrasts, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Organization Development; a 10-year corporate career at AOL (when AOL was cool) followed by a decade of being an entrepreneur; and professional highs punctuated by personal lows.
Today, she’s a popular presenter and facilitator, author of 3 books, featured blogger on WorkingMother.com, career mentor, and creator of the video program “Keys to Being a Confident, Courageous Career-Savvy Woman”. For more, go to www.MaryFoley.com.
Emily Shane is Chief Social Strategist at The Hodges Partnership. She graduated from the University of Maryland, where she studied broadcast journalism and history. In her nearly 10 years here at Hodges, Emily has gained traditional and social media marketing and event planning expertise through her work with AMF Bowling Centers and Carpenter Co. As content marketing and social advertising have become further integrated into our clients’ publicity wheel – and into Hodges’ own public relations practice – Emily has become one of our social experts, spearheading agency-wide processes to guide strategy, content collection and management as well as content analysis.
Bethany Miller is a vice president of business development for the Greater Richmond Partnership where she has worked since April of 2013. As part of the Business Development Team Bethany focuses on regional marketing and attraction domestically and abroad, works to locate prospective companies to the region, and manages the Partnership’s site selection consultants database. Prior to receiving her position with the Partnership she managed Stafford, Virginia’s business retention and expansion program and served as a Program Administrator for Virginia’s Enterprise Zone Program.
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Bethany received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University.
Vice Mayor Jasmine Gore was elected to represent Ward 4 within the City of Hopewell at the age of 27 making her the first African-American and the first woman ever to be elected. She is believed to be the youngest City Council member and is currently the youngest Vice Mayor to serve in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In 2013, Ms. Gore was recognized as one of Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 participants and named the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Emerging Leader of the Year.
This summer Ms. Gore graduated from the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Leaders Fellow Program; a highly competitive fellowship that selects two newly elected leaders throughout the United States to be mentored. She was also appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve the Commonwealth on the State Board of Medicine.
Ms. Gore is a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. In addition, she obtained a dual-degree in Political Science with a concentration in Government.
Linda Baxter, RN, PhD, PMHNP/CNS-BC, ANP-BC is a nurse practitioner who obtained a master’s degree, adult nurse practitioner certificate and PhD in Nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also has a specialty certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist from the University of Virginia.
She has extensive experience and expertise in the areas of women’s health, stress management and issues related to chronic illness and disability, with particular interest in caregiver issues, including caregiver grief, stress, and self-care. Her practice philosophy is holistic, emphasizing the integrative principles of mind-body-spirit care. She believes that medication is an important aspect of treatment but is only one approach. Balance and health, including mental health, occurs with the integration of multiple approaches, including, but not limited to, self-care and self-nurturing activities, creative expression, physical health practices, stress management, and therapeutic counseling.
Dr. Baxter is committed to providing respectful and comprehensive care based on each individual’s unique needs and experiences
Eva Colen has spent nearly a decade working to improve public education. After graduating from Columbia University, Eva began her career as a 2006 Teach For America corps member. Eva spent two years teaching high school English in Philadelphia public schools before earning her Master’s degree in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She then joined Teach For America’s national staff and spent several years recruiting for the organization, which brought her home to Virginia.
Eva currently lives and works in Richmond, where serves as a managing director of community engagement and new site development, leading efforts to launch Virginia’s first Teach For America site. Eva’s work in Richmond over the past few years has resulted in the passage of 2013’s Teach For America Act, as well as the inclusion of an appropriation to support Teach For America in the Virginia state budget. Eva has participated in Leadership for Educational Equity’s Emerging Public Leadership Fellowship and the Greater Richmond Chamber’s RVA Leadership Lab.
She is an active member of the Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals Network and serves as a mentor for Higher Achievement.
Sue Durnwirth Chief Executive Officer, is a Human Resources professional with 25+ years specializing in the areas of sales, recruiting, staffing, leadership and people management. She has developed innovative and strategic staffing solutions for hundreds of companies across multiple industries, employing thousands of associates each year. Sue’s professional experience culminated in 1996 while serving as Senior Vice President of the Judith Fox Companies and being acquired by a national staffing firm. She was promoted to Regional President. In that capacity she was responsible for leading the sales and operations teams within the Commercial Staffing, Technical Staffing and Training for Growth divisions in Virginia and New York. Immediately prior to founding Bench, Sue served as Regional Director for Staffmark, one of the largest and most successful staffing firms in the world.
Sue Durnwirth has been an active community leader throughout her career. She has held key leadership positions in various non-profit and charitable organizations, a few of which are the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, Comfort Zone Camp, Meals on Wheels and the Society of Human Resource Management.
Brian R. Marks, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Bonfire Funds, is a facilitator. Building a team has always been his number one driver for building products and companies. He embodies the “World Is Flat” approach, which has led to his Bonfire team having members from 3 different continents. Along with Bonfire, Brian is a managing partner and co-founder of Belle Isle Craft Spirits, a Richmond based craft distillery.
Marilyn West is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of M.H. West and Company, a Virginia based consulting firm that specializes in management, planning and education services. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, federal, state and local government entities, medical care facilities and practitioners, housing authorities and school systems. She has significant planning and healthcare experience. She has served on the governing boards and executive committees of many Central Virginia based organizations and has been recognized many times for her contributions to the Greater Richmond community. She is a digital artist. Selected pieces of her work are currently on display at SunTrust Bank headquarters.
Viola O. Baskerville, J.D., currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia. A former Girl Scout herself, she has served as an elected and appointed public official with sixteen years of service to Richmond and the state. CEO Baskerville received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia) in Modern German Literature, attended the University of Bonn (Germany) as a Fulbright Scholar and received her law degree from the University of Iowa, College of Law (Iowa City, Iowa). She studied at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in its Executive Education Program at Harvard University. A lifetime Girl Scout member, she has a personal passion for assisting in the development of the next generation of women leaders. She is married to Dr. Archer L. Baskerville. They are the parents of two sons.
Lori Collier Waran lives and breathes Richmond every day at her job as Publisher of Style Weekly, a local alternative newsweekly. Lori started with Landmark Media LLC, the parent company to Style Weekly, almost 10 years ago and swiftly worked her way up to Publisher in 2007, where, at the time, she was the youngest Publisher for an alternative newsweekly in the United States.
In addition to her role as Publisher, in 2013, Lori added Digital & New Media Director of Pilot Targeted Publications to her portfolio where she manages the digital team (including search and social) of more than 13 niche publications in Virginia.
Lori longs for the day when we can say “Remember Twitter?”.
Laura Sánchez de Solar has been involved in business industries and non-profit areas after having earned her Bachelor of Business Administration at San Ignacio de Loyola University in Peru. She has over thirty years of experience in management and operational departments in domestic and international capacities. Additionally, she has honed her international business acumen through Virginia Commonwealth University’s International Business Certificate Program.
Ms. Sanchez del Solar has created and founded the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and served as a liaison to community organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Small Business Administration, Virginia Department of Assistance, and the Virginia Department of Minority Enterprises.
Most recently, as the Program Director for REDC Center for Women’s Enterprise she wants women and men alike to know they have an equal opportunity to start and grow their own business. Through the services offered with us they can learn the steps on how to progress and become independent business owners.
Shannon L. Venable is vice president of Staffing & Diversity for Dominion Resources. She is chair of the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg Women’s Leadership Initiative advisory council, was elected to the United Way’s board of directors in June 2010 and most recently served on the 2012/2013 United Way Campaign Cabinet. She is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering.
Jean Hines is the Director of Strategic Sourcing & Payments at the University of Richmond, where she has worked since 1997. She oversees the areas of Procurement, Accounts Payable, Purchasing Card Administration, and the university’s supplier diversity initiative.
Prior to joining the University of Richmond, Jean worked at VCU for 13 years, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems.
Jean serves as the secretary on the board of the Metropolitan Business League.