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Janet Braun currently serves as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for HBT Labs, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company in Brea, California. With over 25 years’ experience as a corporate lawyer, Janet has served as VP and General Counsel for Brightside Innovations, Inc., a technology-based consumer products company that she co-founded, Associate General Counsel for NeXstar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly held biotechnology company, and Associate General Counsel for SantaFe International Corporation, a privately-held oil drilling services company. Janet began her career at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles where she focused on securities transactions, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. Janet has served on the Boards of Directors of many nonprofit organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Greater Los Angeles Area Council, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), Pasadena Ronald McDonald House and Flintridge Preparatory School. She currently serves as the Chair of the South Pasadena Planning Commission and previously chaired the South Pasadena Public Safety Commission. Janet is a member of the Executive Team of Women Leaders Vital Voices in Pasadena, which promotes public policy issues, and recently joined the Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership council at The Ohio State University. She is also a volunteer member of The Ohio State College of Engineering Time and Change Campaign Committee. Janet graduated from The Ohio State University, earning both a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1982 and a JD, with honors, in 1985.
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Dr. Burnette, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, joined Huston-Tillotson University as president on July 1, 2015. She is the first female president of the combined institutions of Huston and Tillotson Colleges. She served as interim President at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington, the Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Executive Assistant to the President, Vice President for Information Technology and Services and Chief Information Officer at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Dean of Information Technology at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington, and Manager of Consulting and Project Management Services at the Washington State Department of Transportation in Olympia, Washington. Dr. Burnette has combined her IQ, EQ, entrepreneurial spirit, and technical knowledge to forge successful careers in engineering, information technology, and higher education. Before transitioning into higher education, Dr. Burnette worked as a Computer Analyst at The Washington Post, an Operations Support Engineer at Proctor and Gamble, Director of Information Systems at Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and ran her own computer consulting firm, CompuMent.
Dr. Burnette is a strong proponent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and civic and community engagement. She is laser-focused on finding resources to support a student-centered university. Dr. Burnette’s commitment to being a servant leader is evident in her leadership positions in the Austin community as co-chair of the Mayor of Austin’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, Board Chair of Leadership Austin, and Treasurer of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas. She serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Greater Austin Area Black Chamber, National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church, Austin Community Foundation, IDEA Schools, Frontier Bank, Greater Austin Urban League, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Advisory Council, Urban Roots Advisory Council, and Waterloo Greenway Board.
Her many honors include the Ohio State University Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award, Anti-Defamation League Community Hero Award, Urban Land Institute Visionary Award, iACT Hope Award, Mosaic Award, Austin Women’s Hall of Fame, Girls Empowerment Network Igniting Power in Girls Award, named one of the Ten Most Influential Women in Austin, Administrator of the Year (awarded by the Student Government Association), Distinguished Woman of the Year Award, Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s Top 25 Women in Higher Education, US Army Distinguished Civilian Volunteer Service Medal Award, Thurgood Marshall Foundation Chief Information Officer of the Year Award, Thurgood Marshall Chief Fiscal Officer of the Year Award, Dayton Business Journal Chief Fiscal Officer Awardee, and the National Diversity Council Glass Ceiling Award to name a few. Dr. Burnette, a highly sought-after speaker in Central Texas, is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Incorporated.
Colette received her high school diploma in Cleveland, Ohio, from John F. Kennedy High School, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Science in Administration from Georgia College. She is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Management Development Program and received her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Colette is married to retired Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Daarel Burnette, and they have two adult children (Daarel II of Washington, DC, and Daana of Los Angeles, CA).
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Elaina Carpino is a professional leadership coach and consultant with emphasis in professional development, strategy development, operational excellence, and business process optimization. With over 20 years experience working in Fortune 500 firms in industries as building materials, insurance, automotive and chemicals, Elaina’s background spans among organizations across the full value chain from R&D, new product commercialization, sales, marketing, manufacturing and operations, IT and delivery. Elaina is Co-Founder of Leadership is Heart Work and a member of Kruzner Advisory Partners. Recently, she was the Regional Manager for Tesla focusing on vehicle sales and delivery across the Great Lakes Region, a $400M portfolio, where she managed eight locations and led a team of 130 people. Prior, Elaina worked with Owens Corning where she was the Senior Product & Programs Leader for the iconic residential insulation PinkTM brand worth $550M in revenue. As an alumna of The Ohio State University, Elaina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and is a graduate of The Fisher College of Business with a Master’s degree in Business Operational Excellence. Currently, Elaina serves as Co-Chair of the Marketing Committee for The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering BEWEL (Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership) and was a former Board of Directors member for the non-profit organization WEPAN (Woman in Engineering Proactive Network).
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Nancy C. Dawes is a Serial Innovator with roots in the CPG Industry. Through her holistic innovation programs, she led major breakthrough changes in the food (Pringles) and Beauty (Olay) industries. She was recognized at Procter and Gamble via induction in the prestigious Victor Mills Society, a Research and Development organization that recognizes less than one percent of the top technologists. Nancy currently partners with Bruce Vojak (co-author of Serial Innovators: How Individuals Create Breakthrough Innovations in Mature Firms), consults with local early stage entrepreneurs (Queen City Angels, 1819 Ventures, Cincy Tech), is a founding member of Ohio State's BEWEL (Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership) and co-chairs the “Camp Program Vision Team” for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. While at P&G, her many accomplishments include: designing key product and benefit platforms that drove Olay skin care brand to a billion dollar business, more than doubling Olay’s market share and fueling expansion into 15 plus global markets between 1995-2008; developing multiple new anti-aging product forms that became top 10 selling products around the world (Olay Total Effects, Olay Regenerist, Olay Definity); and establishing key products and claims that tripled the size of Pringles’ U.S. business between 1989-93, positioning the brand for strong international expansion. She holds six granted patents and is a published author. She is an alumna of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. Receiving many accolades throughout her career, one that she holds most dear is being recognized by the College of Engineering as a Distinguished Alumna in 2012.
Jackie Marshall DiMarco is the Director of North American Truck at Ford Motor Company. In this role, she is responsible for strategy and end-to-end profitability of Ford’s F-150, Super Duty, and commercial truck products. She leads a cross-functional team of product development, operations, marketing, finance, purchasing, strategy, and human-centered design. Prior to her current role, Ms. DiMarco gained 23 years of experience in automotive product development, program management, quality, and launch. She began her career as a powertrain engineer, and held multiple Chief Program Engineer roles including F-150, Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Transit Connect. She was also Chief Engineer of Ford’s first Autonomous Vehicle program.
Ms. DiMarco was the Powertrain Integration Chief for Ford North America. She worked two years in Germany where she led small car strategy and planning, and was instrumental in developing Ford’s global C-car platform. She was awarded the The Ohio State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Ralph Boyer Young Achiever Award, The Ohio State University College of Engineering Texnikoi Alumni Award, and Ohio State's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Alan Gregory Loofbourrow Business Achievement Award. She was also recognized by Automotive News as a Rising Star in 2017. Ms. DiMarco received a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. She also holds an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Kathy Fox brings more than 35 years experience leading capital improvements and community revitalization projects to her role as President of Community Strategy Partners, LLC in Columbus, Ohio. A graduate of The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture and distinguished alumna of The Ohio State University College of Engineering, Kathy launched the restoration of Ohio’s statehouse and capitol grounds. She was the founding director of the non-profit Capitol Square Foundation. Kathy was subsequently appointed as the first director of the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission. Over a 20 year period she oversaw $500 million in bond-funded capital improvements grants for 300 arts, cultural and professional sports facility projects, with a total project value of more than $1 billion. Kathy was then selected to serve as one of 17 national Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellows of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Her current volunteer service includes the Harvard University Loeb Fellowship Alumni Council, Ohio State's Knowlton School Capital Campaign Committee, the Landscape Architecture Section Advisory Board, and the Contemporary American Theatre Company board of trustees. Kathy’s prior service includes national Vice President of Finance for the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), national Chair of the ASLA Council of Fellows, Ohio State's College of Engineering Dean’s External Advisory Board, Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment board, Chair of the Ohio Historic Sites Preservation Advisory Board, and Board Chair of the Columbus Metropolitan Club.
Mrs. Hammersley is on assignment as a Senior Advisor to the US Secret Service, from the Department of Defense (DoD). Her portfolio includes workforce resiliency and human resource information technology issues. Her 34 year career within DoD includes weapons manufacturing, arms control implementation, program management, policy oversight and budget. She was the Deputy Chief Information Officer for Resources & Analysis within the office of the DoD Chief Information Officer. One of her primary responsibilities was generating and submitting the annual DoD Information Technology budget and associated budget justification materials. Mrs. Hammersley has over 20 years in the Senior Executive Service and is a two-time Presidential Rank Award recipient. Prior to Mrs. Hammersley’s federal service career, she worked for the General Electric Company (GE) at the Specialty Materials Department located in Worthington, Ohio. While at GE, Mrs. Hammersley held several positions, starting as an engineering laboratory technician (while a college co-op) and departing as a research & development engineer. Mrs. Hammersley developed and introduced six new Thermally Stable Diamond Products which concluded with a patent application. Mrs. Hammersley received her BS in Ceramic Engineering
Lara Harrington is a retired chief engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA). She most recently served as Development Leader of the 2019 Honda Passport. In that role, Harrington was responsible for the vehicle’s overall concept, development, and launch, overseeing groups that included engineering, sales, and manufacturing. Harrington also served as Development Leader of the 2019 Honda Pilot and the 2021 Honda Odyssey.
In addition to her roles in vehicle development, Harrington oversaw the business strategy for fundamental research in North America, from 2009-2014, with a portfolio including research in battery, autonomous vehicle, and advanced materials technologies.
Harrington has been recognized as one of the “100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry” by Automotive News for the scope of her influence on Honda’s product development.
A native of Central Ohio, Harrington received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Ohio State University and has received multiple awards of distinction, including the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016.
Mary Juhas is associate vice president in the Office of Research at the Ohio State University.
Her initiatives focus on catalyzing innovation, creativity and development of interdisciplinary women-led research teams. Juhas directed the development of REACH for Commercialization™, an innovation ecosystem for women faculty, staff and postdoctoral inventors. She is co-chair of the Government Enagement Working Group of the National Science Foundation’s recently launched Engineering Research Visioning Alliance. Juhas is fellow of ASM International, former ABET Board member and former member of the Advisory Committees of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate and the SBIR/STTR Subcommittee. She earned a B.A. in Chemistry from Seton Hill University, a master’s degree in Metallurgy & Materials Science from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from The Ohio State University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Paris and has previously held research and leadership positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Edison Welding Institute.
Wendy is currently the US partner strategy lead for the Business Applications cloud at Microsoft, a $1 billion business unit. She’s held various roles in Marketing and Enterprise Sales leadership for the past 20 years, and has deep experience in technology adoption and Digital Transformation. She is the founder of the WEBS Scholarships, a need-based half-tuition scholarship fund for women engineers at Ohio State. She serves on the Fundraising and Marketing committees of Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership (BEWEL). She has a BS, Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University (1998) and a Masters of Business Administration from University of California at Berkeley (2008). Wendy currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Throughout her career at Battelle, Lisa McCauley held executive, technical, and program management positions, principally focused in aerospace and defense. She was General Manager of Battelle’s National Security Global Operations and its Cyber Innovations business unit where she led research and development teams and facilities in the US and abroad. Earlier, she led NASA-supported programs including Battelle’s spaceflight program which culminated in flights on ten Space Shuttle missions, and space exploration programs for which she and other team members were awarded a NASA Group Achievement Award. Lisa received a BS in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from The Ohio State University and MS in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University. Recently retired, she is a charter member and president of the Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership (BEWEL), and chair of the Aerospace External Advisory Board (EAB)/co-chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) EAB. She is an active mentor of students pursuing careers in engineering, and in aerospace in particular, through MAE’s Gearing Women Towards Success program. Lisa was honored as a STEM Exemplar by the Ohio Academy of Science in 2016, and her prior service includes the Battelle India Board of Directors, two American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics technical committees – Space Transportation and Space Systems, and the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. She was recognized as a Distinguished Alumna of Ohio State’s College of Engineering in 2010 and is also a proud supporter of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Outreach program.
As the first Chief Innovation Officer for the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Sophia brought a keen understanding of the rapid transformation of the global transportation industry.
Since joining COTA in September 2019, Sophia has focused on expanding the use of technology to reimagine and advance mobility. She has played a key role in rolling out the first bus on-demand service in North America as well as an effort to share artificial intelligence data regarding traffic, infrastructure and connected vehicle data across Central Ohio.
Sophia comes to COTA from the private sector, having worked 17 years at NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway company headquartered in Columbus. She joined NetJets in 2002 as a business analyst and became the company’s first director of product development, and then its first vice president of owner experience design and strategy. Prior to NetJets, Sophia started her career as a human factors design engineer for IBM, then served as a consultant and manager for a global technology and consulting company.
A Columbus native, Sophia earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial and systems engineering from The Ohio State University, with a specialization in designing systems and services for people.
Christina Sistrunk retired as president and CEO of Aera Energy LLC in September 2020. Aera is one of the largest California and U.S. oil producers with annual revenues of more than $2 billion. Delivering 25 percent of the state’s production, Aera is one of the nation’s most active drillers, operating more than 14,500 wells aimed at powering great todays and better tomorrows. Under Sistrunk’s leadership, Aera continued to extend its environmental leadership by seeking innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions to allow California to meet its aggressive climate goals while providing affordable, reliable energy to the highest safety and environmental standards in the world.
Sistrunk began her career with Amoco Production Company in Louisiana working in a variety of production, facilities and reservoir engineering assignments focused on Gulf of Mexico engineering and development. In 1998 she joined Shell and held a series of technical and management positions, including operations manager and asset manager in the Gulf of Mexico and a two-year assignment as health, safety and environment manager for the Americas. Sistrunk had a global role for worldwide exploration and production based in Rijswijk, The Netherlands to lead the creation and implementation of the upstream process safety improvement program. She returned to the U.S. in 2009 as vice president of production assets for the Gulf of Mexico and later became vice president of Arctic capability. In that role, Sistrunk led the development of technology, people and systems to enable responsible Arctic development. Demonstrating her commitment to contributing to the communities and the state, she served on the governing board of the Kern County Hospital Authority; is a past board member of the California Chamber of Commerce; and member and past chair of the Western States Petroleum Association Board of Directors. Sistrunk also served on the executive committee and board of directors for the California Business Roundtable. She serves as a partner in the Executive Women in Energy Initiative, supporting women leaders in advancing to the top of their organizations to boost industry performance. A highly respected leader known for delivering results, Sistrunk was named a Safety in Action Icon for 2016 by DEKRA Insight, for her inspirational, influential and innovative contributions to safety that have touched lives and changed the way people work; one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Oil and Gas by the National Diversity Council; and one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in California, by California Women Lead. Sistrunk holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and is a Distinguished Engineering Alumna from The Ohio State University. Believing in the power of education as a pathway to the future, Sistrunk serves as a member of Ohio State's College of Engineering External Advisory Council. She and her husband, John, have one daughter, Nicole.
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