Marissa firmly believes in the need to stand on the shoulders of giants in order to see beyond the horizon, and to reach our greatest potential. She surrounds herself with the very best advisors and experts to make her the best she can be, and to provide maximum value to her client community. Here are a few of Marissa’s top advisors & experts, many who have been part of her journey for more than 10 years as she has grown into a global leader.
Herb Rubenstein |High Impact Strategic Planner; Attorney
Herb is a high impact consultant in the areas of strategic and scenario planning who helps take companies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies to greater levels of productivity and performance. He is the author of over 100 articles and lead author of three published books including Leadership for Lawyers, American Bar Association, 2nd ed., 2008, Leadership for Educators, Rowman and Littlefield, 2010, and Breakthrough, Inc: High Growth Strategies for Entrepreneurial Organizations (Financial Times, 1999).
Herb is also an attorney who advises companies on legal requirements of developing growth strategies, a keynote speaker, webinar presenter, and conference panelist on energy matters, business and organizational strategy, improving individual performance. http://www.sbizgroup.com/
Julie Kantor |Founder & CEO, Twomentor
Julie Kantor, President & CEO of Twomentor, llc., is a veteran leader and tireless ambassador of entrepreneurship, STEM education, and building of America’s diverse skilled workforce, serving in CXO roles since 1992. Kantor is known in the community as a builder of movements, a networked people person, tech savvy, national speaker, writer for Huffington Post and a mentor-‐driven leader.
Recognized by President Obama for her 20-‐year career in youth entrepreneurship education and Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) as 2012 CIT 50 Winner. Before joining STEMconnector as VP & Chief Partnership Officer and leading Million Women Mentors, Julie spent 20 years launching & building Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in multiple cities scaling youth entrepreneurship education (625,000 youth served in 12 countries!). She co-founded a tech start-‐up that crowdsources jobs, launching it at DEMO in Silicon Valley.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Julie attended Sidwell Friends School and earned a degree from Simmons College in Boston. Kantor lives in Bethesda, MD, with her husband, middle-‐school daughter, and Havanese Pup. She is a Certified Entrepreneurship Training Instructor and a Price-Babson Fellow. Most recently she Chaired the Women in STEM Conference held at Bentley University and Keynoted at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank on STEM Diversity.
Christopher Helmrath | Managing Partner, SC&H Capital
As head of SC&H Capital Group, Chris advises boards of directors and management teams of non-profits, public, and private, companies on the best methods to achieve their goals, and provides the real world tools for them to measure and evaluate their progress. He also aligns the companies with the services they need to accomplish their business objectives in a measurable way. Much of Chris’ work leads to buy-side and sell-side transactions. He helps companies develop strategic and operational plans for their business success.
Chris’ unique capabilities derive from his years of experience in corporate finance with several large accounting firms, his years now with SC&H, and his academic career as a finance professor. He has taught graduate-level courses at Loyola College’s Sellinger School of Business, and also for the Capstone Program at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, which recognized him with an Excellence in Teaching Award. Chris also directed the Capstone Program at Johns Hopkins, which provided him with a sharpened understanding of corporate finance and business strategy that translates into the leadership skills he continues to bring into his client’s boardrooms.
At SC&H, Chris manages and directs the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) practice, as well as corporate financial advisory and management consulting services. His expertise is in M&A, debt and equity financing, strategic and operational planning, and financial and transactional advisory aimed at increasing shareholder value. Chris’ experience extends through various industries, with particular concentration in healthcare, real estate, government contracting, IT, manufacturing and distribution, consumer products, and business services. He has conducted transactional and advisory service engagements involving, in aggregate, over $5 billion.
Chris is a member of SC&H’s Executive Committee, where he oversees operations and business development across the firm’s various practice areas and service lines. He has been named a “Top Advisor” by SmartCEO Magazine, contributes to the Baltimore Business Journal and Washington Business Journal, and often speaks to industry groups on issues affecting corporate finance and strategic planning.
Chris earned his B.A. in Economics from Miami University, and his MBA in Finance from Loyola College, where he graduated at the top of his class. He is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Registered Representative and Principal, and holds Securities licenses Series 7, 24, 63, and 79.
Sheila Ronning | Founder/CEO, Women in the Boardroom
Long before women on boards was a hot topic, Sheila Ronning believed in women’s ability to serve on corporate boards strongly enough to found Women in the Boardroom. Today, as one of the nation’s top leadership and board service experts, Sheila excels at connecting professionals with the people and tools they need to succeed in business.
Sheila has built a strong track record over the years. Before founding Women in the Boardroom in 2002, she garnered more than 10 years of strategic marketing, sales management, and operations leadership experience with companies that range from Fortune 500 leaders to visionary start-ups.
After more than a decade of working with women professionals from her office in Minneapolis, Sheila moved her life and her business to New York City. When asked her secret to networking, Sheila says, “Be fearless, sincere, honest, and frank.” Today, Sheila has thousands of powerful connections nationwide, which she uses to help other women achieve their goals.
Sheila’s leadership development expertise has been featured in Wall Street Journal, ForbesWoman, Star Tribune, The Pioneer Press, and Chicago Sun-Times. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named Sheila in their prestigious “40 Under Forty” list for her entrepreneurial dynamism and reputation as a networking maven. Most recently, Sheila won the Enterprising Women of the Year Award from Enterprising Women magazine.
Steven Gaffney | President, Steven Gaffney Company
Would you believe that the most common obstacle holding businesses back from their true potential is open, effective honest communication?
No one knows this better than Steven Gaffney, who, for two decades, has been one of the most recognized experts on the subject of Honesty, specializing in managing change to drive team performance, collaboration, and revenue through honey communication.
Mr. Gaffney’s inability to speak due to hearing impairments as a child forced him to learn at a very early age the importance of effective communication. This problem stimulated Steven’s desire to help individuals transform the quality of their professional and personal lives through honest and open communication, and is what drove the foundation of The Steven Gaffney Company.
Steven is the author of three books, “Just Be Honest” “Honesty Works!” and “Honesty Sells,” and an expert on getting the unsaid said. Steven’s signature, “Notice vs. Imagine” technique helps us to eradicate false assumptions and tackle issues with misunderstandings in their organizations and elicit open and honest communication.
Mr. Gaffney’s tools and strategies have proven to increase collaboration and communication within many organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, and has become a major strategic partner in encouraging positive organization change.
Steven Gaffney’s work has been sought out by a diverse range of leaders including top executives of multinational corporations and Military officers such as Marriott, Lockheed Martin, Traytheon, BP, SAIC, Citigroup, Allstate Insurance, Defense Logistics Agency, Northrop Grumman, Best Buy, NASA, American Cancer Society, the U.S. Navy, American Express, General Dynamics, the U.S. Marine Corps, Barrick Gold Corporation, Booz Allen Hamilton, and many more.
Mr. Gaffney has been interviewed or featured in several major media and publications including CBS, NBC, FOX, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, and The Washington Business Journal. In addiction, he has made special guest speaking appearances on numerous national and local radio programs in cities across the country. Mr. Gaffney also produced and hosted his own cable access show, “Maximum Effectiveness,” where he interviewed successful individuals to reveal the secrets to their success.
Steven Gaffney is a highly respected member of the National Speakers Association, and his programs consistently receive high ratings with attendees and participants reporting immediate, sustainable results. He is also a former adjunct faculty member of The Johns Hopkins University, as well as former board member of the Washington, D.C chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives International. Thousands of people across the globe credit Seven Gaffney’s speaking engagements, seminars, television and radio appearances, books and multimedia products with making immediate and lasting positive changes in both their organizations as well as their personal lives. www.stevengaffney.com
Bill Cates | Founder and CEO, Referral Coach International
Bill Cates is a high-energy speaker who motivates by sharing proven ideas and strategies that work. Bill has helped over 20,000 small business owners and salespeople build thriving referral-based businesses – where the phone is ringing with referred customers/clients. And Bill has helped large companies increase sales and cut hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing expenses at the same time!
Bill Cates is the author of three popular books on referrals: Get More Referrals Now!, Don’t Keep Me a Secret!, and Beyond Referrals: How to Use the Perpetual Revenue System to Turn Referrals into High-Value Clients. Bill is the president of Referral Coach International and the founder of The Referral Coach Academy.
Bill’s referral selling system has been featured in such publications as Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Selling Power and The Wall Street Journal. And his own business success has been featured in Money Magazine.
Bill’s seminars are high energy, and high content. Bill is the kind of speaker who prefers to talk with his audience instead of talking to them. Therefore, you can expect a highly interactive session. You can also expect to receive powerful and practical strategies that will have an immediate impact on your business.
Jennifer Brown | Founder and CEO, PeopleTactics
Jennifer Brown is a business-focused Human Resources (HR) leader who knows that a business is only as strong as its people. Her goal in working with clients is to provide thoughtful, specialized and appropriate business solutions to challenging HR issues. Having led major corporate functions and advised executives during turbulent times, she has extensive first-hand experience in driving organizational change at a strategic level and facilitating rapid personal improvement in individuals. Consulting with firms of all sizes, she has an appreciation for what really works when it comes to making people more effective. She has worked in diverse environments to include government contracting; professional services; financial; banking; real estate; insurance; non-profits; legal; hospitality; retail; transportation; and utilities.
Jennifer’s unique blend of real world business experience, coupled with over 25 years of HR management, organizational development practice, change management, and project management help her to consistently exceed client expectations. She spent the first part of her career in Andersen Consulting’s (Accenture) Change Management practice and then held various senior roles at Freddie Mac to include Director, HR Business Partner; Director of Recruiting; and Director of HR Business Operations. For the past 12 years, she has been providing HR consulting and advisory services.
Jennifer consults to clients on strategic and tactical human resources issues related to:
- HR function establishment and turn-around situations,
- strategy and organizational development,
- recruiting, selection and hiring,
- performance management,
- training and development,
- job evaluation, compensation and benefits, and
- employment relations, policies and law compliance.
These engagements have helped clients to increase their HR efficiency and effectiveness; improve employee productivity; enhance the attraction, development, and retention of employees; and minimize the risk of employment litigation. Ultimately, these engagements better position her clients to achieve their business objectives and prevent HR problems that can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful.
Jennifer holds a Master in Business Administration (major in HR and Organizational Development) and Bachelor of Science (major in Personnel/Labor Relations) from the University of Maryland. She is also certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources.