2014 Speaker biographies
SVP, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Investor Relations, Intercontinental Exchange
Co-Owner and Co-Chairman, WNBA Atlanta Dream
Kelly Loeffler is responsible for Intercontinental Exchange's investor relations program, public relations, corporate communications, global marketing and brand strategy. Prior to joining ICE in 2002, she managed investor relations at Crossroads Investment Advisers LP, a private equity firm. She held equity research roles at William Blair & Company and Citi Global Asset Management.
Loeffler is also co-owner and co-chairman of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, the first women-owned professional sports team in Georgia. As a result of her own positive experiences gained through athletic participation, she is an advocate of combining education and sports to contribute to the success of young people from the classroom to the workplace. Additionally, Loeffler is a member of the American Red Cross Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter's Board of Directors, the Georgia Research Alliance the Board of Trustees, and the boards of Central Atlanta Progress, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Skyland Trail and the Atlanta Sports Council. She also serves on the Gene Siskel Film Center's Advisory Board. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Illinois, an MBA at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University and is a CFA charterholder.
Southeast Regional Managing Partner, EY
Karole Lloyd is responsible for overseeing the deployment of EY's Vision 2020 strategy, empowering its people with the knowledge and resources to best benefit their clients. She oversees an executive team of 15, and is responsible for more than 3,000 professionals in the region, which includes six states in the U.S. and EY Caribbean. Additionally, she has more than 34 years of experience serving various clients in the financial services and healthcare industries. Along with her leadership responsibilities, Lloyd currently serves as a senior advisory partner to many Southeastern U.S. clients.
When based in New York City, Lloyd was the vice chair of industry and knowledge, responsible for the execution of EY's market segment strategy, working closely with Global EY. Additionally, she is the chairperson of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, serves on the Woodruff Arts Center Governing Board, and is active in supporting many colleges and universities throughout the Southeast. She serves on the University of Alabama's President's Advisory Council and Board of Visitors.
Danette M. Beck
Senior Vice President, Marsh
Danette Beck joined Marsh in August 2010. She is the West Zone Construction Practice Leader, based in the Los Angeles office. In this role, she is responsible for developing, managing and delivering construction risk-management services to contractors, architects, engineers, project owners and developers throughout the west zone. Beck works in coordination with Marsh service teams and the Global Construction Practice to define, design and deliver a broad array of services to a variety of Marsh clients. Her experience with complex construction projects and contractor businesses includes the design of traditional and alternative and/or integrated risk-management programs, consolidated insurance programs, contract formation and risk allocation.
Prior to joining Marsh, Beck was a senior vice president at a large global broker for 14 years, where her most recent responsibilities included brokering all consolidated insurance programs (OCIPs and CCIPs) for the West, managing a book of construction and real estate business, and being the West Coast representative of their public private partnership (P3) taskforce.
Managing Partner, Cohn Reznick
Melissa W. Boone, CPA, is Managing Partner of CohnReznick's Charlotte office and is a member of the firm's not-for-profit and education industry practice. She has more than 17 years of public accounting experience, including audit and other relevant services for both for-profit and nonprofit clients. In the nonprofit industry, Boone services clients that have received federally sourced grants. This includes the evaluation and testing of financial and statistical data compliance with regulatory federal and state agencies. She also works to keep her clients updated on government required standards and performs various agreed-upon procedures engagements.
In leading the office's assurance practice for six years, Boone was actively involved with office implementation of assurance policies, acted as liaison between the Charlotte office and CohnReznick's National Assurance Practice, and monitored professional staff performance in regards to assurance initiatives.
Managing Director and Client Executive Leader, Aon Risk Solutions
Laurie Champion serves as the account executive practice leader and CAO for the Atlanta ARS operation, partnering with the leadership team in delivering excellence in people, client, financial and compliance processes and related matters. She also serves as a strategic partner for the client service teams. She has extensive hands-on risk management experience as a client advisor, consultant and corporate risk management executive.
Champion led Aon's U.S. Enterprise Risk Management practice from 2008-2013 and was a founding thought leader for the Aon Risk Maturity Index. She previously served as the vice president, risk management for Coca-Cola Enterprises and the director, risk management for Ford Motor Company overseeing Ford’s global risk management staff.
Jodie Charlop, NCC, CMC
Founding Partner, Exceleration Partners
Jodie Charlop understands how to help leaders transform from technically brilliant producers to powerful leaders. Her background as a former communication executive combined with an advanced study of human behavior brings her clients a unique intersection of business, communication and human understanding. She advises emerging leaders and executives on how to take a holistic view of their professional path and ensure they are not only relevant to their organization and industry, but also building a career and life that matters.
While Charlop works with professionals across industries and the Fortune 500, she is particularly attuned to helping professionals — especially women — hone in on sabotaging behaviors and limiting beliefs. She challenges women to get out of the production trap of work, seize control of their lives and build a healthy relationship with power and influence.
Vice President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company
General Manager, Marietta Facility
Shan Cooper became vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and General Manager of the company's Marietta, facility in January 2011. She is also responsible for the company's subassembly sites in Meridian, MS, and Clarksburg, WV. In addition, she serves as the company's vice president of business ethics.
As general manager, Cooper is responsible for the 6,300-employee Marietta operation, which designs, produces, modifies and maintains military aircraft for the U.S. and countries around the world. Marietta-based programs include the C-130J Super Hercules, C-5M Super Galaxy and P-3 Orion. The Marietta site is also responsible for F-35 Lightning II subassembly and coatings work.
Bernice "Bernie" Dixon
CEO, Atlanta Technology Angels
Bernie is a distinguished and accomplished businesswoman. Capping her broad and well-accomplished career in private industry, she heads up the private investment network, the Atlanta Technology Angels, a 130-member investment network that sources, performs due diligence and post-deal stewardship for early-state technology companies in Georgia and beyond. ATA ranks in the top 10 networks in the U.S. in portfolio size, members and opportunity flow and invests in technology-based companies with large market potential.
As an adjunct to ATA Bernie co-founded the 2X Angel Investment Network to fulfill the need for educating and developing accredited female investors as an economic resource for early-stage companies. Recognizing the need to develop and fund women-led businesses, she worked with Atlanta business leaders to create LaunchPad2X, a development forum to support early stage female entrepreneurs as they transition from founders to CEOs. Bernie also organized and runs the LaunchPad2X Advisory Board to mentor and advise the LaunchPad2X companies.
President, The Alliance Group (KMEG) Inc.
Lisa Dugan works extensively with Fortune 1000 executives and small to midsize company business owners in individual coaching sessions and team-building sessions to enhance personal and professional potential. Her objective is to help leaders make better decisions and get better results, think strategically, communicate effectively, hire and retain talented team members, manage team dynamics and remove barriers to success.
Dugan's professional background includes being a 25-year partner and executive coach with Bixler Consulting Group, and a seven-year chairperson for Vistage International, the world's largest CEO membership organization. She also co-authored TAKE ACTION!: 18 Proven Strategies for Advancing in Today's Changing Business World, published by Random House and 5 Steps to Professional Presence, published by Adams Media and serves on numerous advisory boards.
Vice President of Sales, mBlox
Charlotte Fors has been in the Wireless industry since 2003, successfully managing business development, sales, and account management teams in the U.S., Europe and Asia. She has an outstanding personal network spanning across the mobile value chain, from carriers and aggregators to service providers, content providers and enterprise companies. In 2012, she was recognized by the Mobile Marketer as one of the top 25 Women to Watch in the mobile industry.
Fors is co-founder of Women in Wireless, a nonprofit industry organization that promotes and develops female leaders in mobile and digital media. The organization has over 10,000 members, as well as local chapters in most major U.S. cities, and is expanding overseas. She also serves on the board of MEF Mobile, the Mobile Entertainment Forum, a global trade association for companies wishing to monetize their products and services via mobile, and SACC, the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, which helps facilitate and support trade, commerce and investment between the U.S. and Sweden.
Lara O'Connor Hodgson
Founder, CEO, NOWaccount Network
Founder, Mom, CEO, Nourish
Lara O'Connor Hodgson co-founded Nourish Inc. shortly after becoming a mom. Nourish is a brand dedicated to bringing nutrition, safety and convenience to young children and their families. Nourish introduced its first patented products: Nourish Baby, a formula-ready bottled water for babies; and Nourish Toddler, a spill-proof bottled water for toddlers, in airports, hotels, entertainment venues and retail outlets across the U.S.
While growing Nourish, Hodgson experienced the challenge of managing cash flow in a growing business and having to fund the trade credit required to support growth. Not finding a solution that worked, she partnered with John Hayes and launched NOWaccount Network Corporation, the first merchant service that works for B2B and enables small companies to get paid now, while their business customers still enjoy the free and flexible trade credit that allows them to pay later. NOWaccount is poised to change the way small businesses manage cash flow, has done over $40 million in transactions, and aims to turn a portion of the $1.2 trillion of trade credit that small businesses hold into cash. NOWaccount's innovative structure that costs less than taking a credit card for payment, is not a loan and is invisible to the small business' customers is the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys
Director, Selig Center for Economic Growth
Jeff Humphreys is the director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. The Selig Center is an endowed economic forecasting and market research center. He is based at the Terry College's Executive Education Center on Lenox Road in Atlanta, but spends a lot of his time traveling across the state either giving speeches or meeting with the Selig Center's clients. Jeff serves as a member of Governor Deal's Council of Economic Advisors. He also served on Governor Purdue's Council of Economic Advisors.
Humphreys has published over 250 applied and academic studies regarding economic development, economic impact analysis, market research, regional economics, and transportation. In Georgia, he is best known for his economic forecasts, but nationally he is best known for his detailed estimates of the spending power of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans. For 22 years, he has written a monthly "State of the Economy" column for Georgia Trend magazine. He received his BA and PhD degrees from the Terry College of Business and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.
National Media Personality and Life Coach
Recognized as one of the most passionate, engaging and powerful voices on the airwaves, Jennifer Keitt empowers and educates more than 1 million listeners across the country each week as the host of the nationally syndicated "Today's Black Woman Radio Show" and as the host of her new talk show: "The Jennifer Keitt Show," which airs on KISS 104FM in Atlanta.
For close to three decades, Keitt has represented the power and perseverance of women, challenging them to invoke change and conquer the world in unique and creative ways. Her passion for people and gift for helping listeners realize the amazing power they possess shines through in every broadcast. Her relatable style and authentic persona attracts listeners of all ages seeking encouragement and words to live by, as well as a variety of high-profile guests, including Maya Angelou, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Tina Turner, Halle Berry, Susan Taylor and Mellody Hobson.
Ronald L. Lepionka
Senior Vice President and Chief Audit Executive, AGL Resources
Ronald Lepionka is responsible for maintaining AGL Resources' internal audit function, which provides independent, objective assurance and consulting services. He has more than 30 years of experience in accounting, planning, budgeting, finance, economic evaluation and start-ups. Previously, he was vice president and chief auditor of AGL Resources. Prior to that, he served as vice president and controller for Sequent Energy Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of AGL Resources headquartered in Houston, TX. Before joining Sequent, Lepionka served as vice president and controller for Mirant Americas and as operational controller at Mirant Americas Energy Marketing, where he coordinated and oversaw the company's energy trading accounting operation in the Americas. He has also held various positions with Consolidated Natural Gas.
Lepionka is a certified fraud examiner and a certified management accountant, and also holds a certificate in risk management assurance. He is also a member of the Forensic Accounting Advisory Board at Georgia Southern University. He graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, and holds a Master's Degree in business administration from Robert Morris University.
Chief Creative Officer, MASHBURN
Ann Mashburn began her fashion career in editorial in New York in 1984 at Conde Nast as an assistant to famed Vogue Fashion Editor and Stylist Polly Mellon, and worked alongside such visionary greats as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Steven Meisel. Following her time at Vogue, Mashburn served as an editor and stylist for Glamour Magazine, and then as a stylist at J.Crew, where she worked alongside her soon-to-be-husband, Sid. This began their lifelong creative partnership.
In 2007, the Mashburns opened the Sid Mashburn men's shop in Atlanta, with Ann serving as CFO and COO of the brand during the first three years of the business. In 2010, Ann opened the Ann Mashburn shop as a women's counterpoint and feminine equivalent to Sid Mashburn. The store is inspired by her own well-edited closet, timeless classics and what she feels are essentials for every woman to own. The shop features an assortment of Ann Mashburn signature line of shirting, dresses, skirts, footwear and accessories, as well as a curation of her favorite things picked up from stops around the world. Both shops have been named as destinations by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, O, The Oprah Magazine, Esquire, GQ, Lucky Magazine, CondeNast Traveler and InStyle, among others. Ann has also been recognized by Southern Living as one of the "Most Stylish Southerners," and recognized as "Most Stylish Woman in Atlanta" by Atlanta Magazine.
Senior Counsel, Compliance and Ethics, Panasonic
Ling-Ling Nie has practiced in both the private and public sectors in multiple areas, and currently focuses on corporate global compliance, data protection and general contractual matters relating to automotive electronics, premium audio and online radio.
She received the "Excellence in Ethics Training and Communications Award" from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in 2010 and was a University of Georgia "40 Under 40" award program nominee in 2013. She has also been a featured speaker on compliance topics for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics and on entertainment contracts with the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and received her law degree from Washington and Lee University's School of Law, and is licensed to practice in both Georgia and Virginia.
Jerry W. Nix
Retired CFO & Vice Chairman, Genuine Parts Company
Jerry Nix retired in March 2013 as CFO and vice chairman of the board of directors of Genuine Parts Company. He joined the company in 1978, and in his 30-plus-year career held a variety of key financial roles. He served as the Company's CFO from 1999 until his retirement. Prior to joining the Company he was an accountant with Ernst & Young.
Nix has served on the boards of Arts for All Inc., Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Cobb County YWCA, United Way and WellStar Foundation. He currently serves on the boards of Boy Scouts of America, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, Genuine Parts Company, John and Mary Franklin Foundation, Synovus Financial Corp. and Young Harris College.
Partner, Kilpatric Townsend
Adria Perez is a partner in Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP's Atlanta office and is a member of the firm's Special Investigations & White Collar Crime team. She focuses her practice on representing both corporations and individuals in white collar criminal defense matters, government enforcement issues, as well as internal, criminal and SEC investigations. Her experience includes handling issues relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claims Act (including government contracting, healthcare and tax matters), civil investigative demands and export enforcement. Perez assists clients in responding to inquiries from and government investigations conducted by the DOJ, SEC, OCC and Office of Inspector General from a variety of federal agencies. She also counsels clients on developing and strengthening compliance programs and policies.
Perez was recognized as a 2011 "40 Under 40" Rising Leader by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Super Lawyers magazine recognized her as a Georgia "Rising Star" in the area of white collar criminal defense. In 2013, she was listed as a Georgia Trend "Legal Elite" in the area of Criminal Law.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Georgia
Pamela Whitten joined the University of Georgia as its senior vice president for academic affairs and provost in February 2014, following a national search. She was previously dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. An internationally recognized expert in the field of telemedicine—the remote delivery of health care services and information—Whitten has conducted her research with nearly $30 million in funding from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Commerce. She has co-authored two books and published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters. She joined Michigan State as an assistant professor in 1998 and served in a variety of administrative roles before being named dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences in 2009.
In addition to her role as provost at UGA, Whitten holds tenured faculty appointments jointly in three departments: telecommunications in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, health policy and management in the College of Public Health, and communication studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Executive Vice President of Television, Cox Media Group
Jane Williams is Cox Media Group’s executive vice president of television, overseeing all of CMG’s television markets. Previously, she was publisher of the Austin American-Statesman and The Statesman Co., the leading media business in Austin, TX. She was responsible for all business and editorial operations of the American-Statesman and its affiliated publications, including Statesman.com, Austin360.com and seven weekly community newspapers, in addition to its regional commercial printing and distribution operation.
Williams began her media career in television in 1984 at WATL-TV in Atlanta, as an account executive. She worked as an AE at WAGA-TV as well before joining WSB-TV in 1988 as an account executive and rising to sales manager and director of sales. In 2007, she was promoted to vice president of sales for Cox Television, and in 2009 became vice president of sales for Cox Media Group. In 2011, she was promoted to publisher of the Statesman.