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Meredith McPherron, Founder of the Women’s Leadership Conference

Meredith McPherron graduated in 1989 from Harvard College with Magna Cum Laude honors. Post Harvard, she began her career in finance working at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division (1989-1991). She received her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1993. Upon graduating, Meredith moved to Minnesota and worked as a Brand Manager for General Mills (1993-1996) on both new products and established franchises such as Yoplait Yogurt and Cheerios. In 1996, Meredith accepted a Director of Marketing position with Guinness Import Company in Stamford, CT and worked to build its import lager business and head the restructuring process for the sales and marketing divisions during its merger with Diageo. In 1998, Meredith returned to the Boston area and took a position as VP Marketing with Direct Hit Technologies, an internet search engine company which was sold in 2000 to Ask Jeeves. After Ask Jeeves, Meredith worked as a management and marketing consultant for several years helping companies develop business and marketing strategy and working with non-profit organizations on strategic planning and board governance. In 2003, Meredith accepted a full time position as Executive Vice President at From the Top, a non-profit organization focused on kids and music. In 2005, Meredith returned to her marketing practice, founding her own company, Market Edge Solutions, LLC. Market Edge is a boutique consulting practice that works with both entrepreneurs to create viable go-to market plans for new technology and/or product innovations and with mid stage companies to develop and scale their brand positions and maximize market presence.

Manisha Thakor, Personal Finance Workshop 2011

Manisha Thakor is on a mission to help American women learn how to live their lives from a position of financial strength. Manisha’s financial literacy advocacy work has been featured in national publications such as: The New York Times, BusinessWeek, US News & World Report, Glamour, Real Simple, and Women’s Day. Manisha’s national TV appearances include CNN, CNBC, and NBC Nightly News. In addition to blogging about personal finance for The Huffington Post, Manisha is a bi-monthly contributor to the NPR show “51% – The Women’s Perspective,” monthly columnist for Military.com, and periodic web contributor for NOW on PBS. Prior to this Manisha spent 15 years working in the financial services industry as an analyst, portfolio manager, and client service executive. Manisha received her BA from Wellesley College in 1992, her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997 and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.

Nana Adae, Communications Workshop 2011

Nana Adae is a Vice President in Private Wealth Management at JP Morgan’s Private Bank. She advises high net worth families and small institutions, focusing on customized portfolio construction and manager implementation.
After earning a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Nana served as a Cryptologic Officer working with communications specialists, linguists, and signals analysts.  During her first tour, she led one of the largest military communications centers in the western Pacific. Following her tour of duty in Japan, Nana attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where she studied Arabic.  Her language training prepared her to lead specialized teams onboard Navy reconnaissance aircraft. She was awarded the NATO Medal and Air Medal while leading her team on missions over the former Republic of Yugoslavia. Leaving the Navy after more than seven years of service, Nana enrolled at Columbia Business School and earned an MBA. Upon graduation, she worked at Goldman Sachs in the Private Wealth Management Division before moving to a start-up and then to Lehman Brothers’ Investment Management Division.

Suzy Nelson, Dean of Office of Student Life, Faculty Luncheon Speaker 2010, 2012

In the Office of Student Life, Dean Nelson oversees residential life, housing, student activities, The Student Organization Center at Hilles (SOCH), The Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub, The Harvard College Women’s Center, public service initiatives, and The Harvard Foundation. She will also continue to work with all House masters, co-masters and resident deans, as well as the Freshman Dean’s Office.

Prior to holding this position, Nelson worked at Cornell University, where she served since 1998 as Robert G. Engel Associate Dean of Students for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. At Cornell, Nelson managed the registration, recognition, advisement and evaluation of 67 Greek-letter organizations with roughly 3,500 student members each year. During her tenure she introduced new structure and oversight to the university’s fraternity and sorority system, implemented a “Creating Chapters of Excellence” pilot program and raised substantial funds to broaden this initiative. She also managed 16 Cornell-owned facilities, many of which were renovated under her watch.

Lynn Margherio, Public Service Panelist 2011

ynn Margherio is the founder and current CEO of Cradles to Crayons, a innovative nonprofit that provides, free of charge, disadvantaged children with the essential items that all kids need in order to flourish. She has had more than 20 years of business consulting, public policy and nonprofit experience. As Executive Vice President of the William J. Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative, Lynn helped launch and build President Clinton’s program to assist countries in the developing world to plan and implement large-scale HIV/AIDS care and treatment programs. The procurement services operation, which Lynn oversaw, negotiated agreements that reduced prices of key AIDS drugs and tests by 50-90% off the world’s lowest market prices, achieving global savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.

As a business strategist, she has advised Fortune 500 companies on growth strategies, competitive positioning, and investment/acquisition opportunities. Her career has also included public policy roles at the national and state levels. From mid-1997 to mid-1998, she directed the U.S. Commerce Department team that produced The Emerging Digital Economy report, the first U.S. government report to describe and measure the impact of information technology and the Internet to the longest peace-time expansion in history. In 1993 and 1994, Lynn served as a senior member of the health care reform team in the Clinton White House. Lynn graduated from Georgetown University. She currently resides in Boston with her husband Brian and children, Kyra and Eliot.

Trenni Kusnierek, Women in Media Panelist 2011

Trenni Kusnierek is a Milwaukee native who has worked as a sports reporter for networks such as ABC, Big Ten, MLB, and NFL. She began her career in Eau Claire, WI and has since covered a Super Bowl, a World Series, two NCAA BCS title games, two US Open Golf tournaments, and playoff rounds in all four major sports.

Robin Ely, Keynote Speaker 2011

Robin Ely is Warren Alpert Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Culture and Community at Harvard Business School. Her research focuses on race and gender relations in organizations. Robin has published widely on these topics and lectures both in the US and abroad to academics and practitioners alike. Most recently, she studied men and masculinity on offshore oil platforms and the effects of racial diversity on performance in retail banking. She is currently conducting research in professional service firms on how women and men exercise power and authority. Robin has taught courses in leadership, diversity, teams, and statistics. She also teaches in HBS’s Executive Education programs, including leadership programs designed specifically for women. She has served on the editorial boards of numerous scholarly journals, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Organization Science, and as an Associate Editor of Administrative Science Quarterly. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, Robin taught at Columbia University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Yale University and her A.B. degree from Smith College. Robin is a member of the Academy of Management and an affiliate of the Center for Gender in Organizations at Simmons School of Management.

Sandra O. Moose, Keynote Speaker 2010

Sandra O. Moose AM ’65, PhD ’68 (Economics) is a retired partner of Boston Consulting Group (BCG). She is Founder & President of Strategic Advisory Services LLC in Boston, MA. She serves on the boards of directors of Verizon Communications, Rohm and Haas Company, AES Corporation, and CDC-IXIS and Loomis Sayles Funds. Dr. Moose joined BCG in 1968 (their first female consultant), was a director since 1975, and a senior vice president through 2003. Over the past ten years, she has been intensively engaged in the financial services, telephone, and consumer good industries. She is a founding member and leader in BCG’s financial services practice. She created and sponsored the development of a series of Financial Services Perspectives and Conferences. Her own writings include the BCG Perspectives “Will Wholesale Banks Survive?” and “Evolving Trends in Financial Services,” as well as the Bank Administration Institute report, “The Future of Wholesale Banking.”

Sandy serves as trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA); chair of the MFA Board of Governors and the Boston Public Library Foundation Board; trustee of the Museum of Science; overseer of the Huntington Theatre and Beth Israel/NE Deaconess; council member at the Boston Medical Center; board member of the Sloan Foundation; and member of the Advisory Board at the Boston College Carroll School of Management.

Sandy received the 2004 Outstanding Corporate Director Award. She was the second recipient of the Carolyn Shaw Bell Award in recognition for her leadership in developing, fostering, and mentoring women in the economics professions.