2014 Women's Executive Leadership Program Class

The extraordinary women participating in this year’s class come from a diverse array of backgrounds, representing fields that include academia, healthcare, the military, business, law firms, and a variety of non-profits.  Among the women in the class are those who have international experience, speak several languages, have made significant career transitions, attained higher degrees at prestigious universities, started successful new ventures, work at premier organizations, and represent the very best in an emerging generation of high-impact leaders.

Rachel Briley

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Rachel Briley is US Delegate to represent Theatre Communication Group (TCG). As an Associate Professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), she has taught for over twelve years. She lead of the M.F.A. program in Theatre for Youth and the Artistic Director of the North Carolina Theatre for Young People. She came to North Carolina from Michigan where she served as the Director of Theatre Education at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Prior to that, Rachel taught and directed at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. She has been a teaching artist at Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts where she conducted professional development workshops for in-service teachers and residencies for pre-school children in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Arizona, and Michigan since 1992. Rachel has expertise in integrating American Sign Language (ASL), music, and drama in the education of the young child. She is also drawn to work in the drama classroom that explores social inequities and inspires students to become more actively involved in their communities. Rachel was a member of the 2006 Leadership Greensboro class where she assisted in the development of the Guilford Education Alliance’s first Education Leadership Academy. She served on the board of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) for four years. Rachel graduated Phi Beta Kappa from The Catholic University of America with a B.A. in music (1989) and received her M.F.A. in Theatre for Young Audiences from Arizona State University (1996). She is fluent in ASL and proficient in Spanish.


Monique Brunson Jones, LCSW

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Monique is President and CEO of Evanston Community Foundation. For the Evanston Community, Monique builds, connects, and distributes resources and knowledge through local organizations.

During her WELP Fellowship, Monique was the Director of Programs for Chicago Foundation for Women, a community-based foundation investing throughout Chicago to support basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls. With a 28 year history of making more than 3,000 grants totaling over $20 million, Monique’s role on the senior management team leads staff and volunteers in grantmaking and advocacy programs of the foundation, develops capacity building and network growth opportunities for grantees and promotes philanthropic leadership among women. Previous to joining the foundation in 2011 as the Senior Program Officer, she served as a volunteer co-chair of the African American Leadership Council and served on the grantmaking subcommittee; avenues in which the foundation uses to engage community members in its mission. Using her experience as a licensed clinical social worker, her past career has included work with the Cook County Department of Public Health as the Director of the Office of Violence Prevention Coordination assisting organizations implement systemic violence prevention strategies throughout Cook County. Monique has over 15 years of experience providing behavioral health services for children and adolescents focused on healing and recovery from traumatic experiences, including child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and grief and loss. Monique serves on the board and co-chair of the communications committee of Chicago Women in Philanthropy, and on the associate board for Compass to Care Childhood Cancer Foundation. She serves as the recording secretary for the Evanston-North Shore Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization. She also volunteers with Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy, on the social justice committee. Monique enjoys sharing practical “empowerment tips” on twitter @lcswempowerorg or her blog at EmpoweredToday.org. She most appears on the Careergirls.org website in an interview detailing the importance of helping young women make life career choices. Ms. Brunson received her BA in Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and her MS in Social Work with an administration and planning concentration from the University of Texas at Austin.


Eva De La Rosa

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Eva De La Rosa is a strategic business leader with over ten years of professional experience in marketing, sales, and business development. She has diversified experience in the financial services, retail, and consumer goods industries and has held various positions at Coca-Cola, BP, and American Express. Eva is currently Director of Business Development, Retail for American Express and previously was Director, Strategic and Business Planning for American Express. 

During her WELP Fellowship, Eva was Senior Client Manager for the National Client Group at American Express. In this role, she is responsible for managing a client portfolio with annual sales revenue of $2 billion and developing the growth strategy in the U.S. with B2B merchants. Eva is responsible for identifying and implementing innovative payments solutions and optimizing the client experience. Eva previously held various positions at American Express with Global Network Services and OPEN Small Business. As Senior Manager on the Global Marketing Team, she was responsible for launching The Platinum Card in five countries throughout Latin America in collaboration with bank issuers in this region. Eva also previously held the position of Manager with the OPEN Small Business group at American Express and managed the development, execution, and analysis of multi-channel marketing campaigns targeting small business customers. At Coca-Cola, Eva was Director of Product Commercialization and led the development and execution of new product launches in the Southern and Northeastern U.S. markets. She managed marketing strategies and merchant campaigns across various portfolios including Coke Classic, Minute Maid, vitaminwater, and Fanta. As Director of Marketing at BP North America, Eva developed and implemented the marketing strategy for over 2,000 franchisees in the convenience retail channel in the U.S. market. She managed marketing partnerships with food and beverage companies including Pepsi, Kraft, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Anheuser Busch to drive incremental sales in the snack and beverage categories. Eva serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations including the Children’s Nature Institute, California Hispanic Corporate Council and Leadership Institute, and the Duke Alumni Association of Southern California. Eva holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Duke University. She is a native of California and resides in downtown Los Angeles.   


Karen Dunn

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Karen L. Dunn is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Her practice focuses on high-profile civil and criminal litigation as well as crisis management. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Dunn served in all three branches of government. She worked in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama, in the Eastern District of Virginia as an Assistant United States Attorney, in the Senate as communications director and a senior advisor to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and as a law clerk first to Judge Merrick B. Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and then to Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms. Dunn has substantial trial and investigations experience. As an Assistant United States Attorney in one of the nation’s busiest U.S. Attorney’s Offices, she prosecuted a range of offenses, including terrorism, international narcotics, money laundering, espionage, and fraud. Ms. Dunn tried to jury verdict a number of multi-defendant cases, handled appellate briefing, and led complex investigations, often involving multiple government agencies. In the White House, she represented the Executive Office of the President in congressional investigations and conducted internal investigations. Ms. Dunn is also expert in crisis management. Throughout her career, Ms. Dunn has acted in public-facing and government-facing roles in which she was responsible for managing the response to developing crises. As a senior advisor and communications director to then-Senator Clinton, Ms. Dunn guided the response to a string of closely watched events, including those associated with rebuilding New York after 9/11. She has appeared on network and cable television, dealt with nearly every national news organization in America, and provided government officials and political candidates with strategic and communications advice. She also employed her crisis management skills at the White House and in several high profile political campaigns, including the 2008 and 2012 presidential races. Ms. Dunn's unusual combination of experience—litigation and crisis management—has developed her expertise in counseling public and private clients on issues at the intersection of law, media, policy, and politics. She has prepared high-profile political candidates, including President Obama, for televised debates and numerous nominees for high-stakes congressional hearings, including developing the confirmation strategy for now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. In the White House, Ms. Dunn advised the President and Executive Branch staff on a wide variety of constitutional, statutory, policy, and regulatory issues. And she has guided companies, research universities, and non-profit organizations in crafting internal and external strategies designed to advance their policy goals.


Allison DeVito

Captain Allison DeVito currently serves as Counsel for Office of Air Force General Counsel for the United States Air Force, providing legal and policy advice to Air Force senior leaders and the Air Force on administrative law, civilian personnel, ethics, fiscal law, and legislative matters. As Chief, Joint Service Policy and Legislation, Military Justice Division for the United States Air Force, Allison led drafting and interagency review of Executive Order 13696 – implemented significant changes to military justice system (statutory rights for victims of crime, overhaul of preliminary hearings). She developed Air Force positions on National Defense Authorization Act military justice and victim services provisions. She drafted and coordinated testimony for Air Force leaders testifying before Federal Advisory Committees – key to recommendations aligned with Air Force positions. Additionally, she developed trend analysis for sexual assault reports and prosecution trends utilized in senior leader engagements with the White House and Capitol Hill to accurately portray Air Force programs

During her WELP Fellowship she was Chief of the Victim Issues and Policy Branch, Military Justice Division, in the United States Air Force. In this capacity, Capt DeVito develops and implements programs and policies concerning victim related issues; oversees the Air Force’s Victim and Witness Assistance Program; and coordinates with other divisions within the Air Staff and the Air Force JAG Corps to implement victim service programs. Over the past year Capt DeVito stood up the Air Force Special Victims’ Counsel Program, which has provided legal counsel to over 700 victims of sexual assault in the Air Force in its first year of existence. Immediately prior to her current position, Capt DeVito served as the Rule of Law Field Support Officer in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. In this capacity, Capt DeVito mentored 30 Afghan judges and prosecutors, supported standardization of Afghan trials, led training events for the legal community, and worked to increase judicial legitimacy and strengthen civil sector ties between the district, provincial, and national governments. Previously she served as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate at Rome Laboratory and the Chief of Military Justice at Luke Air Force Base. Prior to entering the Air Force, she served as a law clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and as a Legislative Assistant to Congresswoman Betty Sutton. She holds a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A. (Political Science) from the University of Notre Dame.


Ann Gillespie

Ann Gillespie serves as President and CEO of Envision Impact, LLC.  Ann currently serves as an strategic advisor for a start-up media business owner as she grows print and digital outlets for Edible DC and Edible Baltimore. She is also volunteering with Francis in the Schools which plans and implements educational outings for children from low-income neighborhoods, and continues her trustee role with the Foundation for Autism Support and Training (FAST).

During her WELP Fellowship  she was Chief Strategy Officer Asbury Communities. Asbury is a not-for-profit aging services system that provides management and support services to its five continuing care retirement communities in three states. She is responsible for development and oversight of the organization’s strategy, positioning for the health care reform environment, as well as the expansion of new business lines. Ann has more than 25 years of professional experience in the aging field across the government, private and civil sectors, and is recognized for leading and growing large scale efforts focused on transformational change for social good. Ann started her career with the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, established and led the first national accrediting body for senior living, the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), and served with AAHSA (now LeadingAge) as its Senior Vice President for Education and Leadership Development. Most recently, she served as Senior Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton where she led major engagements with not-for-profit and government clients and established the firm's cross sector collaboration service offering. Ann has also held positions on the Asbury Communities and the Foundation for Autism and Training Boards as a member of their Executive Committees. Ann is a graduate of the Miami University of Ohio and the recipient of the Miami University’s and Scripps Gerontology Center's Cottrell Distinguished Award for Scholarship, Leadership and Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Aging.


Nicole Sabado Green

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Nicole Sabado Green is an Associate with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. During her WELP Fellowship she was a Covenant Analyst at Xtract Research LLC, where she provides covenant focused legal analysis to fixed income professionals.   She has over twelve years of experience as a capital markets, corporate finance and restructuring attorney.  Nicole was previously a counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and also practiced at Stroock  & Stroock & Lavan LLP.   Nicole has represented public and private companies, private equity sponsors and financial institutions in complex corporate transactions such secured and unsecured high yield debt offerings and other debt financings, Chapter 11 bankruptcies and out-of-court restructurings.  She also has extensive private equity and capital markets experience.  At O’Melveny, Nicole actively participated in the professional development of young attorneys, served as a member of her office’s employment, mentoring and summer program committees and was a member of a planning committee for her firm’s women’s leadership academy.  Nicole received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law where she was Order of the Coif and an editor of the Fordham Law Review.  Nicole graduated cum laude in Government at Harvard University.  Nicole also has experience in the not-for-profit sector as a Policy Analyst and Voters Directory Coordinator for the Citizens Union of the City of New York, a good government organization founded in 1897, and as a Project Coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group.


Caroline Kim

Caroline Kim is a Senior Associate at Booz Allen as well as serving as Director of Asbury Atlantic Board of Directors. During her WELP Fellowship, Caroline was a Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton. With more than ten years of experience in the commercial, international development, global health, and not-for-profit market, she is a recognized leader and expert in strategic planning, reputation management, change management, multi-stakeholder coalition-building. She has developed and led multi-million dollar engagements with Fortune 50 organizations and international development organizations. Prior to receiving a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University, Caroline spent several years teaching social studies at the Bronx High School of Science in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College – Columbia University and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach conversational English in a public high school in South Korea in 2002-03. Caroline enjoys spending her free time traveling, experimenting with cooking and watching her favorite baseball team, the Red Sox.


Erin Mazurksy

Erin Mazursky is the Co-Founder and President of Rhize, a new venture that is re-designing and the function and experience of democracy towards more participatory, just and flourishing communities through the innovation of collective action. Erin brings over a decade of experience in movement-building, technology, human rights and advocacy to her work, having worked with social and political movements around the world, including in Turkey, India, and Albania. Before starting Rhize, Erin worked at Purpose, a social enterprise that incubates and launches global social movements. There, Erin helped to lead some of Purpose’s biggest projects, most notably with the American Civil Liberties Union and CARE International, which integrated movement-building, technology and citizen advocacy to increase the social impact. Prior to this, Erin worked for President Obama’s 2008 election campaign and went on to serve as the Youth Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where she helped author the first global policy on youth development and made youth a central part of the Agency’s broader development efforts. Erin got her start as Co-Founder and Executive Director of STAND, a leading organization in the anti-genocide advocacy movement. She is a graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, a 2010 fellow at New Leaders Council, blogger at the Huffington Post and a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project.


Jackie Norris

Jackie has 20 years of experience in managing high-profile public affairs and corporate initiatives. Combining her experience in federal government, national and statewide political campaigns, nonprofit and academia, she has incubated, developed and managed numerous campaigns and initiatives from inception to implementation. Her current role is President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa.

She has been a Lecturer for John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. She has served as the Executive Director of the Points of Light Corporate Institute, the go-to resource for community minded companies looking to build and expand effective employee volunteer programs. Ms. Norris led corporate strategy and employee engagement programs and advises America’s most respected brands on how to use the time and talent of their employees in volunteer service. Ms. Norris has also served as the Senior Advisor to the CEO at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Prior to that, she served as Assistant to President Obama and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. Ms. Norris developed a strategic plan to address the issues the First Lady is involved with including healthy eating and supporting America’s military families. She has served as a trusted advisor to various political candidates and their families including leading Barack Obama’s winning effort in the 2008 presidential campaign as the Iowa State Director. Norris began her career in Washington serving on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, then served as a White House scheduler for Vice President Al Gore and later worked as Director of Scheduling and Advance at the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Ms. Norris has a passion for working with young people and has served as a high school government teacher and adjunct professor at American University. She was awarded the James Madison Fellowship in 2005, which supports the graduate study of U.S. history by aspiring and experienced secondary school teachers of history and government. She serves as an informal advisor to the Impact Center and has been appointed to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the DC Service Commission. Ms. Norris has a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY: College at Geneseo, and both a secondary education certification and a Masters in Political Science from Iowa State University.


Kristen Panerali

Kristen Panerali is currently a Director for World Economic Forum as Head of Electricity Industry. Previously, she led Business Development as Managing Director at SunEdison.

During her WELP Fellowship, Kristen was Director of Global Business Development at Silver Ridge Power. For the past 7 years, she has been developing utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plants in Spain France and the United States. She led the startup of business development, project finance, construction and operations in both Spain and in France as Country Manager for AES Solar. She has led or been involved in some aspect of project development or operations of over 270 MW of renewable energy power plants. Kristen worked in the energy sector since 2002 and has held various business development, planning and strategy roles in Romania, Venezuela, and Cameroon while working for the AES Corporation. Prior to joining AES, Kristen worked at the White House during the Clinton Administration in various political roles at the National Economic Council and Office of Management and Budget. She also served as a special assistant to the US Ambassador in Romania. Ms. Panerali has a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and an MBA from IESE Business School in Spain. She speaks English, Spanish, French, and Romanian. 


Shayla Price

Shayla Price serves as the Executive Director for the National Search Dog Alliance, where she focuses on multiple national projects aimed at increasing the capacity of the organization and carrying out its mission of strengthening the canine search and rescue community. She brings more than 10 years of experience in strategic planning, marketing, and leadership development, which includes a Research Associate position in Kampala, Uganda. Shayla is passionate about helping individuals and organizations achieve social impact. Her projects have involved supporting the redesign of a talent recruitment strategy for a nonprofit, assessing a social media plan for a startup, and developing a brand messaging campaign for a state agency. She also led a cross-functional team that increased access to nutritious food for poverty-stricken families. Shayla is a New Leaders Council Fellow and an instructor for Scholarship Winner, an online course teaching students how to earn college scholarships. She has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Kansas City and as a board member for SCOUT BANANA and the Alliance for Positive Youth Development. Shayla was named one of EBONY magazine’s Heroes Next Door and honored with the Daily Points of Light Award. She has written about nonprofit leadership for the Huffington Post, VolunteerMatch, and other publications. A Louisiana native, Shayla graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Marketing with a concentration in Sales from Southern University and A&M College and holds a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.


Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio

Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, joined the Rockefeller Foundation in April 2007. As a Senior Associate Director, Dr. Rumbaitis del Rio helps develop the Foundation’s initiatives regarding building resilience for poor and vulnerable people who will be affected by climate change. She is currently leading the Rockefeller Foundation’s exploratory work on oceans and fisheries conservation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Rumbaitis del Rio was a post-doctoral fellow conducting research on sustainable development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She also did policy research for the United Nations Environmental Program, the U.S. Department of State and other institutions. She was a recipient of the 1996 National Harry S. Truman Scholarship for Public Service and a Mass Media Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement Science. Rumbaitis del Rio received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University.  She also has a Doctoral degree in Ecology from the University of Colorado.


Maya Rupert

Maya joined NCLR in 2010 to advance NCLR’s federal policy and legislative priorities. Maya’s work includes advocacy in many areas including federal legislation and regulations on housing, family policy, health, and employment. She has worked closely with the administration on several of its most significant achievements extending equal rights and protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families. She was a lead partner with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create the historic LGBT Equal Access Rule, the first-of-its-kind nondiscrimination rule enacted by HUD to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. She has worked closely with other agencies as they have undertaken efforts to replicate this rule. She was also a lead partner with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) implementation of the 2011 Hospital Visitation Rule, which provided equal access to visitation for LGBT patients, families, and loved ones. She also was closely involved in advocacy efforts that led to the administration refusing to continue to defend the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). Maya has also been a regular contributing writer to a number of media outlets—including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Huffington Post—where she frequently addresses the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Her writing has won awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for her writing. She has also been recognized by national outlets Ebony Magazine and The Root for being one of the most influential African-American leaders in the country. Maya received her B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara in 2003, and her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 2006. In 2007, Maya clerked for the Honorable Eric L. Clay of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to joining NCLR, she was an associate with Sidley Austin LLP’s Los Angeles office where she practiced in the firm’s appellate group.


Ruti Smithline


Ruti Smithline is a partner in the Securities Litigation, Enforcement, and White-Collar Criminal Defense Group. Her practice focuses on complex litigation, with an emphasis on white-collar criminal defense, SEC enforcement, securities litigation, and corporate internal investigations. Ms. Smithline is a member of the firm’s FCPA + Anti-Corruption Task Force. She regularly advises clients on cross-border investigations, global anti-corruption compliance programs and anti-corruption due diligence for acquisitions, joint ventures, and private equity transactions. Ms. Smithline has represented individual and corporate defendants in criminal investigations, SEC enforcement matters, and other regulatory proceedings, including matters related to trade sanctions and anti-money laundering. She has experience conducting corporate internal investigations both domestically and internationally, often advising clients on remedial measures responsive to the issues investigated. Ms. Smithline was born and raised in Colombia and is fluent in Spanish. She has conducted investigations, seminars and anti-corruption training in Spanish in Central and South America. Ms. Smithline has been selected to the 2013 New York Metro Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers based on peer recognition and professional achievement. Ms. Smithline received her J.D. from The George Washington University School of Law, where she graduated with honors and as a member of the Order of the Coif. She received her B.A. degree, cum laude, from Cornell University. She serves on the Public Service Committee of the Federal Bar Council, and the Inter-American Affairs Committee for the New York City Bar Association. She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.