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2018 Symposium-Seattle, Washington - Speakers

2018 West Region Women In Leadership Symposium

May 22, 2018

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Anthony's Executive Forum

Seattle, Washington

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9:30am -10:30am Morning Keynote - Coaching and Leading the Next Generation

Dr. Xiao-Ping Chen

Dr. Xiao-Ping Chen

Dr. Xiao-Ping Chen is currently Philip M. Condit Endowed Chair Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington. She is an elected Fellow in American Psychological Association (APA) and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Professor Chen has served as Editor-in-Chief for Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (2010-2016) and is currently the Editor-in-Chief for Management Insights, a bilingual (Chinese and English) magazine for business educators and practitioners. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Professor Chen is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, including Dean’s Leadership Award (2017), Distinguished Scholarly Contribution Award (2016) by IACMR, Andrew Smith Faculty Development Award, Outstanding University of Washington Woman Award, Outstanding Ph.D. Mentor Award, Dean’s International Research Award, and Charles E. Summer Teaching Award.


Sara Dawson

Certified Coach with Ama La Vida

Sara is a Certified Health, Career, and Business Coach at Ama La Vida, an innovative coaching company which helps people find and design a life that brings them greater fulfillment and elevated success. Besides coaching, Sara is responsible for account management strategy, operations, and employee development at a large digital agency, SapientRazorfish. Although she is an advertising leader with over 12 years of industry experience, coaching is her ultimate passion!

Sara loves applying her personal and professional experience in support of her clients’ goals. Everyone has a unique approach to health and happiness and she will help you uncover yours. Sara’s clients often find success in certain areas yet struggle in others, including confidence, work/life balance, job satisfaction, weight loss, and stress management. Sara specializes in helping them realize their potential and elevate their health, career, and life.

Sara earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington. Additionally, she is a Certified Health Coach and Human Potential Coach from the Health Coach Institute and Bulletproof Training Institute. Sara also serves as President of Street Soccer Seattle, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and empowering young adults who have been affected by homelessness through soccer for social change initiatives.

Dr. Crystal Farh

Assistant Professor of Management and Organization

Dr. Crystal Farh is an Assistant Professor of management and organization at the University of Washington. She previously served on the faculty of the Broad College of Business at the Michigan State University. Crystal earned her B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the School of Business at the University of Maryland. Crystal’s research focuses on employee voice, teams and leadership, abusive supervision, and managing cross-cultural interfaces. Her research has been published in top-tier management and applied psychology journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Journal of Applied Psychology. In recognition of her research contributions, Crystal received the Frank T. Paine Doctoral Award for Academic Achievement (2011) at the University of Maryland, the S. Rains Wallace Dissertation Award (2014) from the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology, and the Western Academy of Management’s Ascendant Scholar Award (2017). Crystal is also an award-winning teacher. Since joining Foster in 2015, she has taught MBA-level courses in leadership and management, including the core leading teams and organizations course as well as the popular leadership development elective course.

 Kira Schabram

Assistant Professor of Management

Kira Schabram is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington. Her research expertise is in understanding and mitigating the challenges faced by employees who want to make a prosocial impact in the world. She explores conditions that thwart such virtuous efforts, as well as how the impulse to make a positive difference can, counter-intuitively, lead to costly consequences. Much of her field work focuses on examining the growing portion of employees who view work as a ‘calling’ including recent studies of animal shelter employees, wedding officiants, funeral directors, and those who work in residential care facilities. Her projects have received multiple awards for their impact on academia and practice.


Dr. Elizabeth Umphress

Associate Professor of Management
Evert McCabe Endowed Fellow

Dr. Umphress is an associate professor and the Evert McCabe Endowed Fellow at the University of Washington. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her PhD in Organizational Behavior from Tulane University.

Dr. Umphress teaches Dynamics of Negotiations and Ethical Leadership to executive and masters students MBAs at the University of Washington. She has extensive consulting and executive education experience. She has conducted executive education programs for companies such as Microsoft and ExxonMobil. She specializes in teaching executives Strategic Communications and Negotiations and Ethical Leadership. Her consulting work focuses on helping employees feel empowered and more productive in the workplace. She has worked with companies such as NASA, Citigroup, and Lockheed Martin.

Under the rubric of social justice research, Dr. Umphress pursues three primary branches of inquiry: ethics, organizational justice, and diversity. To date, in collaboration with co-authors, she has published twenty-six peer-reviewed research articles. Of these, twelve are published in leading management journals in her field including one article in the Academy of Management Journal, two articles in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, five articles in the Journal of Applied Psychology, and four articles in Organization Science. Additionally, five of her articles are published in journals specific to her research area: Social Justice Research and Journal of Business Ethics.

With regard to teaching, she was voted the Professor of the Year for the evening MBA program in 2014 and recognized as a Star Teacher for exemplary teaching every year since joining the faculty at the University of Washington. In addition, she was the recipient of two teaching awards from her former institution. Further, she is committed to teaching and mentoring doctoral students, exemplified by authoring sixteen publications with current or former doctoral students. She also provides important service to her profession, including serving on two editorial boards of major journals in her field: the Academy of Management Journal and
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


Moderated by: Nadia Alhashimi

Nadia is the manager of operations for the National Association of Women MBAs. In her role she works with both professional and academic members to enhance their NAWMBA experience through customer service and on-going programming development. She sits on Millsaps College's Alum Board. While at Millsaps, Nadia received a Fulbright to work in Jordan and continued her professional career as an editor of a magazine, leading in its multinational launch and branding. One of Nadia's passions is helping create sustainable solutions for refugee populations and promoting the economic empowerment of women and girls. Since she returned to the US, she has been heavily involved in non-profits in Louisiana.

Nadia obtained her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Millsaps College in 2010, graduating with honors and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

10:45-11:45am Neuroscience Of Difficult Conversations

Venus RekawVenus Rekow

Venus Rekow is the founder of Neural Shifts, a consulting firm specialized in helping leaders reach their highest level of productivity utilizing neuroscience & behavior

al economics’ principles. Venus helps CEO’s & senior managers thrive through rapid change, increase leadership abilities & architect high-performing environments. Her clients include fortune 500 and small private companies.

Venus earned a B.S. in Psychology from Boise State University, an M.S. in Organizational Development from Seattle University, completed coursework for an M.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Oberta, Spain. In addition, she is a certified executive coach from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and the Neuroleadership Institute.


12:45-1:45 Lunch Keynote - Career Confidence: 4 Keys to Career Advancement

Presented by Suzanne O'Brien

Suzanne O’Brien is a Career Advancement Coach and is the Founder and CEO of LevelUp Careers, which she established to provide greater awareness, understanding and tools for aspiring executives to achieve their goals. She brings extensive experience working with executives and leadership teams of high-growth, global companies for over 10 years. Having grown up in the recruiting business, she is driven by a lifelong passion for helping others achieve career growth and transformation. With her proven approach to career planning, Suzanne has helped 1,000+ executives and mid-career professionals make a career change and simultaneously take a step forward professionally.

Previously, as an Executive Recruiter for the Toft Group and Renaissance Leadership, Suzanne delivered executive searches for some of the most well-known biotechnology and high tech companies across the country. She has driven VP and C-Level searches with some of Silicon Valley’s most exciting tech companies backed by Sequoia, Bessemer, and Lightspeed Partners, Khosla Ventures and NEA.

Prior to taking on a leadership role in Executive Recruiting, Suzanne managed the strategic services program for the New Zealand Government in North America. In this role, Suzanne worked closely with CEO’s on global expansion strategies and recruited C-Level executives to the Board. As part of her role, she worked with New Zealand’s largest companies on development of talent attraction, retention and
employee development strategies.

In her spare time, Suzanne has served on the Los Angeles board of MBA Women International and is a Founding Member of The HUB, a social impact accelerator in Los Angeles. She has served on the Graduate Management African Pipeline Advisory Group, along with representatives from top business schools including Kellogg, Booth, Maryland, Wharton and Stanford.



2:00-3:00 pm - Women In Leadership Panel

Colleen Brown Colleen Brown

Brown is an award winning public company CEO and corporate board director.
She is founder of Marca Global, an Inc. 5000 fastest growing technology
company. Brown is a frequent speaker and panelist on disruption, innovation and

Brown serves on the board of True Blue, Inc (TBI) and is chair of the Innovation and Technology Committee. She serves on the board of Spark Networks (LOV) and is chair of the Audit Committee. She is a director and audit chair of privately held Port Blakely. Brown served as chairperson of American Apparel (APP) during its reorganization. She previously served on the boards of DataSphere Technologies until its successful sale in 2017, BECU (Boeing Employee Credit Union), and (

As director, president and CEO of Fisher Communications, Inc. (FSCI), Brown led the company's turn around and was selected into the GAMCO Hall of Fame in 2014 for delivering outstanding shareholder value. Brown served in the C-Suite of Belo Corp (BCI) and Lee Enterprises (LEE), and as a senior leader at Gannett (GCI). She began her career in finance and digital technology.
She was selected as a Top 100 Director in 2017 by the NACD. Brown was also honored in the Pacific Northwest as Director of the Year. Brown is a NACD Leadership Fellow. She received the Outstanding Public Company CEO Award from the Seattle Business Journal in 2014. She earned the Technology Leadership Award and the Innovation Award for her work in Television. She is a director of the non-profit Delta Dental of WA, past chair of United Way of King County and former director of Associated Press Television (AP), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and the National Association of Television and Programming Executives (NATPE). She is active in IWF and C200. Brown is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Leadership Institute.


 Joanne Harrell

Senior Director, USA Citizenship at Microsoft

Joanne Harrell is the Senior Director, U.S. Citizenship, at Microsoft, where she has worked since 2001 leading teams focused on Enterprise, Public Sector, and hardware manufacturing (OEM) customers.

Ms. Harrell’s pre-Microsoft work history is extensive and encompasses executive roles within the high-tech, telecommunications, and non-profit sectors.

A Regent for the University of Washington since 2009, Joanne was Board Chair in 2012-2013 and currently chairs the Board’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee

Joanne is a former Conference Board/Brookings Institution Congressional Fellow and has completed Marketing Management programs at Columbia University and Stanford University. She has also completed the Stanford Advanced Management College and a non-profit management program at The Harvard Business School.  Her B.A. and M.B.A. are from the University of Washington.  In 2014, she completed the Corporate Citizenship Leadership Academy at the Boston College Carroll School of Management.

Selected to the UW School of Communication “Hall of Fame” in 2009, Joanne was honored as the school’s 2013 Distinguished Alumna.  U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell recognized her as a 2015 “Woman of Valor” for her leadership and community impact.  In November 2016, Joanne was recognized as a “Woman of Influence” by the Puget Sound Business Journal and in November 2017, she was honored as a “Woman of Impact” by the International Women’s Forum (IWF).

In May 2017, Joanne and her spouse received the Charles E. Odegaard Award for Outstanding Community Service and Diversity.  This is the UW’s only university and community-selected award and represents its highest achievement in Diversity.





 Moderated by: Julie McReynolds

Julie is the National Director of Operations for NAWMBA. In her role she reports to the board of directors and oversees the organization, staff, and volunteers making sure that all members and sponsors are getting the return on their investment. She sits on the American Marketing Association, Nashville chapter Board and volunteers for several animal rescues in Nashville, TN. Previous to NAWMBA, Julie was an independent marketing consultant for five years and has held marketing and sales roles at several Fortune 500 companies including Xerox and JP Morgan Chase. 

Julie obtained her MBA from Capella University in 2011 and her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2002. 

3:10-4:10 pm- Women on Boards

Cate Goethals

Cate Goethals is a certified leadership coach and longtime business professor at the UW Foster School of Business. She leads the UW Foster Women Board Director Development Program and conducts leadership seminars on building strategic and sponsorship connections, finding pathways to the boardroom and developing an authentic executive presence.

Cate has inspired hundreds of women to unleash their leadership potential; she specializes in working with senior executives who wish to create a bigger impact in their organization and the community. Additional areas of focus include moving from management to board director, transitioning from technical/operational manager to strategic leader, building gravitas and executive presence for greater influence, and finding ways to shine as a leader while managing multiple work and home priorities.

 In addition to her executive coaching practice, Cate is a Chief Journey Advisor for the Athena Alliance, an organization dedicated to moving high-level executive women into the right boardrooms. She is a frequent speaker on issues related to inclusive leadership, sponsorship/allyship, and boards. She has experience in technology, engineering, nonprofit and finance organizations and works with women across the globe including the UK, Europe, and India.