Keynote Speakers

Crystal Hanlon

Crystal Hanlon

President - Northern Division, The Home Depot

Crystal Hanlon is president of the Northern Division of The Home Depot. Crystal joined the company in 1985 and is responsible for the sales and operations of 795 stores in 24 Midwest and Northeastern states with a team of more than 110,000 associates.

Most recently, Crystal served as regional vice present for the Gulf Region, overseeing 128 stores in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and leading a team of 18,000 associates.

Crystal began her career at the company in 1985 as a cashier in Texas while attending the University of Houston. During the last 30 years she has held numerous positions, including customer services manager, assistant store manager, store manager, district manager, senior director of operations, merchandising vice president of décor, regional vice president of the Midwest and regional vice president of the Gulf Region.

Crystal studied business management at the University of Houston and the University of Phoenix.

Mary Laschinger

Mary Laschinger

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Veritiv Corporation

Mary Laschinger is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Veritiv Corporation (NYSE: VRTV), a leading North American distribution solutions company. Previously, Ms. Laschinger served as Senior Vice President of International Paper Company from 2007 to June 2014, and as President of the xpedx distribution business from January 2010 to June 2014.

Ms. Laschinger also served as President of the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia business at International Paper; Vice President and General Manager of International Paper’s Wood Products and Pulp businesses, as well as in other senior management roles in sales, marketing, manufacturing and supply chain at International Paper.

Prior to joining International Paper in 1992, Ms. Laschinger held various positions in sales, marketing and supply chain at James River Corporation and Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Ms. Laschinger is a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as well as the Board of Directors for Kellogg Company, where she serves on the Compensation & Talent Management and Nominating & Governance Committees. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and is a former lead Director of Ilim Group, Russia’s largest pulp and paper company. Ms. Laschinger holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s of business administration from the University of Connecticut. Ms. Laschinger has also completed postgraduate studies in executive management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Brooke Beach

Georgia Beach

Founder and CEO, Marketwake

Brooke Beach is the Founder and CEO of Marketwake - a digital marketing agency that focuses on sharing stories and building brands for businesses across the globe. Most recently Brooke was the CEO of a technology company called Kevy where she helped turn around the company after its pivot into marketing automation in 2015.

Brooke graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. After graduation, she became a spokesperson for Fortune 500 companies and helped lead nation-wide PR and marketing campaigns.

A serial entrepreneur and sought-after leader in the industry, Brooke has a passion for helping businesses and leaders grow.

Genevieve Bos — Moderator

Genevieve Bos

Thought Capital

Genevieve has been featured sharing her technology start up and business secrets in Forbes, and on CNBC, NBC, CNN and more. She is also known for launching then selling the publishing lifestyle brand PINK - created exclusively for professional women – think of it as “Fortune Meets Oprah.”

Under her leadership, readership of the print publication grew to over 650,000 and won 10 national industry awards and positively impacted millions of women. She has also co-founded multiple technology companies and specialized in developing international sales, distribution and marketing teams in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Her last company was a tech innovation platform called IdeaString which sold to GE - a SaaS that accelerates innovation and cost-out by harnessing ideas from communities of employees and creatives. Her newest business incarnation launched two years ago year is called Thought Capital. Her firm helps companies accelerate growth through marketing and sales strategies and digital transformation to optimize the sales conversion funnel.

She is also a sought after speaker for companies like Cisco, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, GE, The Home Depot, P&G and many more. Genevieve sits on multiple company boards including a sewing machine robotics company called Software Automation and Platypus Institute that provides individuals and teams with the scientific knowledge and cutting-edge tools to become peak performers. You can find out more about Genevieve at

Georgia Doran

Georgia Doran

Owner, Protocol Advantage

Georgia Holmes Doran has served as the Senior Director of the Office of Career Management at the University of South Carolina’s, Darla Moore School of Business in Columbia, South Carolina for the past 7 years. Her background includes more than 20+ years of student recruitment, university – level teaching, marketing and extensive presentation experience.

Georgia earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Georgia and a M.Ed. in Student Personnel Services/Higher Education Administration from the University of South Carolina. She continues to pursue additional educational experiences to more fully develop her passion for training students in the area of Professional Development. She is a certified expert in "Business Etiquette and International Protocol" from the Protocol School of Washington. To date, she has worked with over 10,000+ professionals and students in this area.

In 2004, Georgia received her certificate of training in the Birkman Method – the premier “career and behaviors” tool. She has extended her professional development reach within the USC community, by using the Birkman Assessment with pharmacy students, studying both at the USC School of Pharmacy and the Medical University of South Carolina. She recently co-authored a research article with USC Pharmacy faculty entitled, “Impact of the Birkman Method Assessment on Pharmacy Students Self-Confidence, Self –Perceptions and Self- Awareness,” published in 2016 in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

In addition to developing and facilitating all of the Professional Development workshops for over 800 graduate students and over 6400 undergraduate students enrolled in the Moore School, Georgia enjoys teaching a freshman business course at USC, as well.  Her extensive 40 hour career management curriculum is considered one of the most cutting-edge professional development tools in the MBA business education arena to date. Also in 2004, Georgia opened her own consulting business, “Protocol Advantage.” Georgia is also certified to administer and interpret the EQ-i that measures one’s level of “Emotional Intelligence.” Georgia is also sought after for her expertise in assisting corporations with integrating a Multi-Generational workforce.

Georgia currently works with university groups, non profit and corporate groups, and in the area of Executive Coaching working one-on-one with individuals.  She is an expert the areas of Personal, Professional and Career Development. For example, her most sought after workshops cover the areas of dining etiquette, interviewing skills, networking protocol and “Personal Branding.” Georgia’s own personal developmental interest is in the area of “Life Planning” and she became certified a Life Planner herself in July 2007. She studied personally under the direction of Tom Paterson who developed the trademarked, and proven, “Life Plan” process. Georgia’s most recent accomplishment includes developing a Sophomore level career preparation course called “BADM 301-Business Careers in a Global Economy.” In Fall 2011, this professional development skills course was approved as a graduation requirement for approximately 1500+ Sophomore level Darla Moore School of Business students, who graduate annually from the University of South Carolina, with undergraduate business degrees.

Lara Hodgson

Lara Hodgson

President and CEO, NOW Corporation

Lara serves as President & CEO of NOW Corp, a company she co-founded to free small businesses from the burden of funding trade credit and to enable small business growth.  The concept for NOW Corp’s NOWaccount payment system stems from the challenges Lara faced when growing her manufacturing business, Nourish.

Lara co-founded Nourish Inc, and introduced its first patented products for children, in airports, hotels, entertainment venues and retail outlets across the US.  Lara experienced the challenge of having to fund the trade credit required to support growth.  Not finding a solution that worked, she partnered with John Hayes and launched NOW Corp and NOWaccount, the payment system that is changing the way B2B businesses get paid.  NOWaccount enables businesses to get paid immediately in a way that feels like taking a credit card for payment even when terms are offered.  NOWaccount is extending “a world without A/R” from the B2C market into the much larger B2B market, and is removing a portion of the $1.2T of trade credit from small business’ balance sheets.  NOW Corp is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study and Lara serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Harvard Business School.

Lara co-founded and served as CEO of Insomnia, LLC, a firm specializing in investment, development and management of complex and innovative “world-changing” projects. Lara developed a white paper on the state of global infrastructure and the impending shift in the global balance of power.  She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on innovative thinking and disruption. 

Lara spent 5 years with Dewberry Capital Corporation, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate development and investment firm, where she served as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer, overseeing development, sales & leasing, property management and marketing.    

Lara was the Executive Vice President of Dunk, a performance footwear and apparel manufacturing/retail company built on the concept of mass customization and founded with Shaquille O’Neal & Mike Piazza.

Lara was the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Retail and Consumer Products Division of iXL (now Scient), an Internet strategy and consulting firm. She founded the division in 1999 and built it into one of the top performing groups within iXL. The group operated across 26 offices worldwide with clients such as The Home Depot, Coca-Cola, and Nike.  Lara began her career with Andersen Consulting as the first Business Analyst in the Strategic Services South Practice.

Lara is an internationally recognized speaker, leading seminars on creativity, innovation and access to capital.  Internationally, Lara has worked in Koriyama, Japan with the U.S. Defense Department’s EAGLE Japan Program and served as the Ambassador to Lebanon for the 1996 Olympic Games.

Lara received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She was featured in USA Today as one of the top 20 students in the US and was the ODK National Leader of the Year. Lara was a scholarship member of the varsity Track & Field team at Georgia Tech.

Lara has served on several Boards including: Georgia Tech Alumni Association Board of Trustees, Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, ACE Loans, Atlanta Heights Charter School, Flag Bank, Georgia Tech’s Alexander Tharpe Fund, and Society of International Business Fellows. Lara is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2005 and the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2004. Lara taught finance as an adjunct instructor in Georgia Tech’s MBA Program for 10 years.  Lara was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to serve on the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Board.  Lara was recently honored by the Georgia Tech Athletic Association with the Total Person Alumnus Award and by the Georgia Tech Women in Engineering as the Alumnus of the Year.  She is a member of the Georgia Tech Young Alumni Hall of Fame, was a recipient of a Womenetics 2013 POW! Award honoring Purposeful Women and was named to the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year.   

Kiran Jeffery

Kiran Jeffery

Franchise Management Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering

Kiran is an innovative marketing executive with global marketing experience who has worked in the entertainment industry as a strategic marketer for over 15 years. Over her time with the company, Kiran has honed a particular expertise in franchise management as well as brand and digital marketing working across multiple lines of business focused on theme parks, retail and licensing executions.

In her time with the company, Kiran has managed global strategy and digital marketing content for popular Disney franchises (including Marvel, Disney Fairies and Princess, and Pixar's Cars) digital platforms and product initiatives.

Kiran holds a sociology degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Marketing degree from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.