12 DAYS OF C-SUITE CHICKS
Go Inside the Office of These Fabulous Leaders!
12 DAYS OF C-SUITE CHICKS
04 Welcome ‘Inside’
06 Adis Vila
08 Alicia Robinson
10 Alka Pateriya
12 Christella Spry
14 Debora Barr
16 Delora Sanchez
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22Lisa Brown Morton
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At C-Suite Pics, we don’t have to wait for amazing, strong and fascinating women,
Christmas Day to receive amazing gifts. like Mollie Jackson, the vivacious Executive
We are gifted throughout the year with Director of the President’s RoundTable,
amazing corporate and entrepreneur and Janetta Kearney, a successful attorney
clients! These women are executives, working as an Education Rights Professional.
chefs, small business owners, corporate We shared stories of heroes and mentors who
consultants, and authors. They are also have inspired and supported these women,
mothers, daughters, community activists, such as Adis Villa’s mom who overcame
and overcomers. barriers to provide for her family, and
taught her daughter to do the same, and to
Our brand promise is “Where What You Do advocate for others, as well. And then there
Meets Who You Are. Beautifully.” We strive is Christella Spry, who finds encouragement
to achieve that vision in every image we and inspiration from her sisters after the loss
create. of her mother. Our leaders shared college
professors, high school principals, and even
In the spirit of multiple gifts, we were Biblical characters who have been role
excited to recently launch a new interview models, heroes and mentors. We hope you
series: Inside the Office, through 12 Days thoroughly enjoyed these stories!
of C-Suite Chicks! And, we will continue to
highlight one of our amazing clients each In case you missed our blog series, here is
month on our blog! one more special gift, just for you! We’ve
added all twelve profiles here, to make it
The powerful, dynamic women we are even easier for you to enjoy, and to share!
privileged to capture have taken some time Take a few minutes from your day to be
and have allowed us into their inner space, encouraged by these 12 women who have
to talk a bit about their lives, inspirations, welcomed us into their lives. And then we
and legacy goals. invite you to look inside your own life and
examine what has inspired you, and how
With the help of Janis F. Kearney, journalist, you can share that with others. We would
author, publisher, and former Presidential love to hear what you discover!
Diarist for President Bill Clinton, we created
a set of questions for each client to answer. Thank you to each C-Suite Chick who took
These questions were designed to help us the time to welcome us and to answer our
get a snapshot view of who each amazing questions. We are grateful for you! And
person is, and to help inspire those who thank you, dear readers--we hope that you,
read about them. too, will find the inspiration in your own
lives, and be encouraged to inspire others
We were delighted to introduce this first as we start a fabulous New Year!
group of marvelous women to you, during
our special series, 12 Days of C-Suite Chicks!
From December 25-January 5, you met 12
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Beginning in February, you’ll find more inspiring stories
over at our blog -- www.csuitepics.com/new-blog --
we hope you’ll join us!
And, we’d love to capture your images, and
your story, as well! Find out more about working
with us on the site - www.csuitepics.com.
Happy reading, C-Suite Chicks,
and Happy New Year!
Lydia Kearney Carlis
Lydia Kearney Carlis, PhD
Founder | Principal Photographer
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics
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One of the things we take pleasure in here at C-Suite Pics
is the opportunity to meet fascinating clients who are
making a difference in a wide range of interesting careers.
Today, we are pleased to feature Adis Vila. Adis is a woman of
many talents and skills; and, she puts those skills to work in a
wide variety of arenas. She “pays it forward” in her many roles
and responsibilities. Thank you, Adis, for sharing some of your
life, and your closing words of hope and perseverance, with our
readers! We think it is the perfect sentiment, and you are the
perfect person, for our very first Inside the Office profile.
What is your “day job”? If I had to sum up my various activities into a theme, I
My day job is as a Senior Fellow at the Institute of would say I am an advocate for equal access to all that
Cross-Cultural Management (ICCM) at Florida Institute life has to offer for men and women, with a particular
of Technology, but I have a lot of day jobs, and am soft spot for helping women of color reach their
thankful to wear many interesting hats. Corporate dreams. I am a continuous learner fully committed
governance is an area in which I have developed to using my education, professional work, and life
expertise, having completed the Advanced Director experiences to allow others to reach their goals.
Professionalism Class (Master Class) through the
National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). Who were your heroes, or mentors?
Serving on corporate boards allows me to use 35 years My Mom has always been my hero. In 1962, she
of experience as a corporate executive, government found herself in the US with an eight-year-old child
official, academic administrator and professor of to support, and with no family, work experience or
international law and international business. English language skills. She was an inspiration to
me then and she is an inspiration to me now. She
I am pleased to be a member of The Washington DC worked multiple jobs, taking public transportation to
Bar and The Florida Bar, to be a Certified Diversity reach her places of employment. I was a latch-key
Executive, and to hold the advanced governance kid, and my mom ensured that I developed life skills
designation of NACD Board Leadership Fellow. early so that I could take care of myself and reach
my life’s goals.
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NO DOUBT I HAVE MADE MISTAKES; YET, I AM
PROUD TO SAY THAT “REGRET” IS NOT PART OF MY
VOCABULARY OR OF MY LIFE EXPERIENCES.
When did you decide that you were a diversity What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy
advocate, that this would be your journey? or peace?
I did not set out to focus on diversity advocacy; I meditate, pray, and reflect on the many blessings
however, I have been interested in cross cultural I have every day. Each morning and each evening I
competence since I first came to the US at the age of thank God for the good health my loved ones and I
eight and had to figure out the American way of life. I enjoy, and ask Him to give me serenity in dealing with
have been fortunate to travel the world for school and challenges that come my way. I have always known
work, learning multiple languages, and succeeding in He has a plan for me, and as I have matured He has
very different settings. Whether while CEO (Secretary) disclosed to me that the plan includes giving back to
of the Department of Administration in Florida, COO others and making the world a better place.
(Assistant Secretary) of Administration at the US
Department of Agriculture, or as the first Chief Diversity What would you like your epitaph to read?
Officer of the US Air Force Academy, I have worked to While a sophomore at Rollins College, I was selected
transform organizational cultures in order to promote to read a biography about the life of a very successful
a diverse, cross-culturally competent, and inclusive lawyer named Algernon Sydney Sullivan, founder
organizational culture that encourages innovation, in 1879 of the silk stocking law firm, Sullivan and
globalization, and a level playing field. I believe that we Cromwell. In response to his biographer Anne Holmes’
are better role models when we model the behavior question, “For which of your many accomplishments,
that we want to see others emulate, and that we are Mr. Sullivan, do you wish to be remembered?”, Mr.
better organizations when the processes and systems Sullivan responded: “Not for anything that I have done
we use afford all employees and/or students an equal but for the number of lives that I have touched.” The
opportunity to succeed. Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion is bestowed on
students who have shown “remarkable character
If you weren’t a diversity advocate, what would life and integrity and who demonstrate a commitment
look like? to service.” In 1974, as a senior at Rollins College, the
Whichever role I have had and wherever I have Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallion, was bestowed on
undertaken the role, I have believed, and continue me.
to believe, that those who have received much must
never stop paying it forward. I cannot see injustice, If you were only given one word, what is it that you
and I cannot stop teaching others that which I have want people to remember about you?
learned. Lifting people and doing so with integrity Integrity
guides my personal and professional life.
Is there anything else you wish I’d asked you?
If you had it all to do over again, would you do Of late, I have become aware that many people are
anything differently? giving up because they do not see a way out. So, I wish
No doubt I have made mistakes; yet, I am proud to you had asked, “When should one give up?” My answer
say that “regret” is not part of my vocabulary or of to anyone asking me this question would be that life
my life experiences. I learn from my mistakes and gets tough sometimes, and it might feel like we should
often reflect on how I might be more effective in give up. I would encourage any who are thinking
accomplishing an objective, but I would not change about giving up NOT to do so but rather to use their
anything that I have done. Even the more difficult skills, their networks, and their emotions to “rephrase”
experiences have impacted the woman I am and the their challenge, and use their resiliency to continue
positive view I have of the world. to pursue—albeit using different approaches—that
which is important to them. Often taking a pause and
approaching a challenge in a different way identifies a
way around the problem allowing us to solve it.
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Children are the future; and to that end, education is vital. Alicia Robinson understands
this truth. She has chosen education, and the pursuit of quality education for traditionally
marginalized communities, as her life’s work. Alicia is an Education Career Catalyst, and
today you have the privilege of reading about her journey on this particular path to social justice.
Thank you, Alicia, for the work you are doing for our nation’s children!
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I’VE DEFINITELY EXPERIENCED BUMPS IN THE ROAD,
BUT I DON’T BELIEVE IN REGRET. I FEEL LIKE THE PATH
I’VE TAKEN AND THE EXPERIENCES I’VE HAD – BOTH
GOOD AND BAD – HAVE MADE ME WHO I AM TODAY
AND WHO I WILL ULTIMATELY BECOME.
What is your “day job”? What do you do for you that brings you absolute
I believe that with the right people and joy or peace?
organizational culture, traditionally marginalized I spend time with those with whom I’m close.
communities can attain education equity. To I also read, enjoy the arts (plays, movies, etc.),
that end, I work with education professionals and enjoy creative outlets like knitting and very
and high-impact education organizations to amateur painting.
ensure optimal talent matches, and assist those
organizations in incorporating effective talent What would you like your epitaph to be?
management strategies. I like to think of myself She helped people change their lives for the
as an education career catalyst. better.
Who were your heroes, or mentors? If you only had one word, what is it that you
My heroes include women leaders who defied want people to remember about you?
the odds to leave the world a better place, like Compassion
the ones I admired as a teenager in “I Dream A
World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed Is there anything else you wish I’d asked you?
America”. I’m also regularly inspired by the women No.
educators I know and work with who devote
their skills and talent to improve educational
When did you decide you were an Education
Career Catalyst, that this would be your journey?
I decided while working at a boutique public
relations firm in downtown Washington, DC that
I wanted to stop talking about public education
problems in the nation’s capital and instead be a
part of solving them.
If you weren’t an Education Career Catalyst,
what would life look like?
If I weren’t working to improve education equity,
I think I’d be working on some other social justice
cause. If I wasn’t involved in such work, I don’t
think I’d feel that I was truly living my purpose.
If you had it all to do over again, would you do
I’ve definitely experienced bumps in the road, but
I don’t believe in regret. I feel like the path I’ve
taken and the experiences I’ve had – both good
and bad – have made me who I am today and
who I will ultimately become.
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Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics C-Suite Pics is honored to introduce Alka Pateriya to
you today! Alka is Vice President of an education-
focused company that helps schools and teachers
provide the best educational experience for their
students and communities. As you read, be sure to
note her favorite Anatole France quote--it’s a great
What is your “day job”?
I work as Vice President at Tripod Education Partners,
an education company based in Cambridge, MA. We
provide actionable feedback to teachers and school
leaders, based on surveys of students and teachers
about their perceptions of the teaching and learning
environment in classrooms and schools.
Who were your heroes, or mentors?
My mom and her sister are definitely my role models
when it comes to working hard, pursuing my
passions, and speaking my mind. They taught me
the value of being independent, strong, committed,
and pushing to reach my goals. They both also
showed me how essential family and close friends
are to one’s life and the pursuit of one’s goals.
When did you decide that you were an education
executive; that this would be your journey?
I spent seven years as a teacher and an administrator,
and then nine years working in an educational
research organization. Mid-way through my time
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there, I had the opportunity to work on a landmark What would you like your epitaph to read?
study of teacher effectiveness. From that moment, I
knew that I wanted to pursue a leadership position in One of my favorite sentiments about teaching was
a company that valued what I had to offer— my drive included in a book that changed the way I viewed the
for success and my experience working in and with teaching of American History: Lies My Teacher Told
schools and school districts across the country. Me, by James Loewen. The quotation is from Anatole
France: “Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching
If you weren’t an education executive, what would a great many things. Awaken people’s curiosity. It is
life look like? enough to open minds; do not overload them.”
I think my work life would be focused on supporting If you were only given one word, what is it that you
a variety of organizations as a consultant. I have the want people to remember about you?
great fortune to work from home, so I think the rest
of my life would be largely similar— perhaps with Passionate
more travel and adventures outside of DC.
Is there anything else you wish I’d asked you?
If you had it all to do over again, would you do
anything differently? I wish you had asked if I had advice to young
women starting their careers. I would tell them to be
I think I would have been more confident in my themselves, be assertive, and pursue their passions.
decisions along the way. I likely would have pursued I remember early in my career being called bossy,
independent consulting sooner than I did. I think I opinionated, and overly independent. Because of
would have definitely found the time to take a four- how I was raised, I took all those as compliments,
to-six month sabbatical at some point to travel though they weren’t meant to be. I think some of
throughout India and really explore the places, that thinking has dissipated, but not enough of it.
people, and history I studied as an undergraduate
What do you do for you that brings you absolute
joy or peace?
Spending time with my nieces, and watching them
grow into amazing young ladies, is my greatest joy.
Outside of that family time, I find rejuvenation from
spending time with close friends, over good food
and a glass of wine. Of course, I also enjoy taking
time for just me, reading a book, cooking, or baking.
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Authenticity. It’s something we all
should be striving for. Christella
Spry understands that, and
makes that a daily part of her work
as a new, full-time entrepreneur. She
also recognizes a deep appreciation
for the influence her mother and
sisters have had on her life. Thank
you, Christella, for taking time to
share with us a bit of your life!
What is your “day job”? I also still do Kingdom Citizen families as well as our family as a
I am an entrepreneur. I left my Youth Empowerment tasks, whole. They are my heroes right
teaching job in July 2015, so now which includes communicating now.
I am a full-time entrepreneur. with donors, sponsors, and
Literally, I send and receive emails, parents. My oldest sister is 21 years
make phone calls, and I get to older than me. She has been a
create things. From now until the Who were your heroes, or professional woman all of my life,
end of 2016, my focus will be on mentors? and has successfully balanced
perfumes. That process includes Now that I’m older, I consider her profession and motherhood.
the advertising side of creating my mother, who is no longer She demonstrates an excellent
perfumes, as well as coming up with us, to be one of my heroes. balance between domestic
with ideas and communicating Because of that, I feel really close excellence and professional
with people who can help to my sisters. Each of them have excellence. All of our family truly
bring those ideas to life. I love a special part of her that I need admires her for that.
perfumes, and I enjoy dreaming in my life, and the way that they
up combinations that I think are herald those qualities individually My other sister is so incredibly
awesome and then sharing those is awesome to me. I get to loving. She has younger children
with others. observe those qualities in the as well as two adult children. Her
way that they interact with their love is magnetic, in the sense
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that she is a friend to strangers. She will since high school. However, to C-Suite Interview
always go above and beyond to meet a me, it wasn’t creating stuff, it was
need for strangers. just owning stuff. I loved the idea (Laughs) Don’t laugh. Okay, so,
of being able to take care of my generally speaking, I eat food.
My mom was entrepreneurial, and I kids as well as provide for my Specifically...chocolate. As much
believe that quality was passed down to family. But I didn’t think it would as I like chocolate, I can’t eat it all
me. Mom did not take her creativity to be through an idea that I had the time. But when I feel a need
a public level like she could have. She created; I didn’t have that idea to be “happy”, I eat chocolate,
took care of other people’s children, until later. and my favorite is dark choco-
as well as she sold Avon, which was late.
my first perfume experience. She was When I started my nonprof-
also a musician all my life, as well as a it five years ago. I bit the bullet, What would you like your
pastor’s wife. She was very busy, and and I thought, I have ideas. I epitaph to be?
what she did was done very lovingly. had always created little things Hmm, She lived, she loved, and
throughout my life, but when I she laughed. She created awe-
When did you decide you were an started the nonprofit, the idea of some life-giving experiences, and
entrepreneur, that this would be your marketing my ideas and selling she shared them with others.
journey? what I had created became inter-
I have wanted to be an entrepreneur esting to me. So, I would say that In one word, what is it that
five years ago is when I decided you want people to remember
that I would be an entrepreneur. about you?
Even though I was a teacher at Authenticity. Biting the bullet and
the time; I knew that was what I saying that I’m going to do this
would work toward. entrepreneurship thing full time,
is making me happy, and it is
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, making it easier for me to share
what would life look like? myself and my journey. I am still
I would be a classroom teacher. learning how to use social me-
I like helping people and I love dia and how to incorporate that,
kids. However, I grew very un- but I truly enjoy meeting people
happy with just that. face to face and having those
encounters. I want people to feel
I’m very curious naturally, and they had a genuine connection
the ideas I had became very liter- with me. Being authentic is be-
al when I started exploring them. ing genuine; not feeling like you
I knew I would be happiest if I have to practice anything. I want
could put my energies into them everything I do to be heartfelt,
and see them develop. and seen as such.
If you had it all to do over Is there anything else you wish
again, would you do anything I’d asked you?
differently? No. I think your questions are
Absolutely nothing. I’ve learned wonderful!
so much and I’m still learning. I
started out at Howard University
as a musical theater major. The
experiences I have had through
that were priceless. I refuse to
think that any of that informa-
tion or those experiences would
go to waste in my life. I’m using
everything I’ve experienced and
What do you do for you that
brings you absolute joy or peace?
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Life is a journey, and our next featured client knows that very well. Meet Debora Barr, an
author and speaker who is in the process of transitioning from her executive-level federal
government position into full-time ministry. Our lives are also our stories; thank you,
Debora, for sharing a small portion of your story with our readers!
What is your “day job”? I WAS RECENTLY If you weren’t a ministry leader,
Currently, my job is for the LICENSED AS what would life look like?
Federal Government, but I am A MINISTER OF I would most likely have
retiring on February 1st and will be continued to work for the
transitioning to full-time ministry. THE GOSPEL AND government.
AM WALKING IN
Who were your heroes, or THE PLANS AND If you had to do it all over
mentors? PURPOSES THAT again, would you do anything
I never really had any heroes; GOD HAS FOR differently?
however, I have had mentors in Yes; I would have surrendered
my life. They are ministry leaders MY LIFE. my life to Jesus Christ several
and teachers who have helped years ago.
me along in my journey to finally
fulfill the plans and purposes that What do you do for you that
God has for my life. brings you absolute joy or
When did you decide you were I spend as much time outdoors
a Christian ministry leader; that in nature and as far away from
this would be your journey? concrete as possible. I love it!
When God completely trans-
formed my life and changed its What would you like your epitaph
trajectory from that of a lesbian to be? In one word, what is it that
and atheist who wondered what you want people to remember
her purpose was in life, to that of about you?
a woman who loves God with Blessed!
her whole heart, soul, mind and
strength, and who is now free Is there anything else you wish I
from the life of homosexuality. had asked you?
I am now fulfilling the plans and No.
purposes God has for my life--to
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and to draw others to Jesus for
healing and wholeness. I was
recently licensed as a minister of
the Gospel and am walking in the
plans and purposes that God has
for my life.
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics
I SPEND AS
AND AS FAR
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Like all of us, Delora Sanchez’s
past experiences have helped to
shape her. However, Delora made
a decision that they would propel
rather than constrain her! She
recognizes those who have invested
in her life, and is working to do the
same in the lives of others, especially
young girls. Delora’s career in law
provides her opportunities to lobby
on behalf of many clients, including
nonprofits. She relishes the joy of
mentoring and of “giving back”. We
think you will be inspired to do the
same, after you read today’s featured
C-Suite Inside The Office profile!
Delora of policy. I help to interpret
Sanchez legislation, and also work to
provide advocacy on legislation.
What is your “day job”?
I am a Government Relations I am located in the Annapolis,
Professional. I am an attorney by MD branch of a national lobbying
training, but I am not currently firm.
practicing. My work involves
government affairs and lobbying, Who were your heroes, or
providing services to clients, mentors?
including nonprofits. My tasks There has always been a
include representing them before strong black woman in my life,
the state general assembly and mentoring me and ushering me
the executive branch, on issues through tough times. This has
been the case in every stage of
life, even when I was younger.
I entered into foster care as an
orphan, and from that point on,
I have had heroes and mentors
from Delta Sigma Theta, as well
as other women along the way,
who have been tenacious in
supporting both my personal and
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ANOTHER SOURCE OF JOY IS HAVING A MENTEE
AND HELPING THEM UNDERSTAND THAT THEY
ARE CAPABLE OF MORE, BECAUSE THEY SEE
THEMSELVES IN YOU.
When did you decide you If you weren’t doing this work, and that there is nothing really
were a government relations what would life look like? different between the two of us,
professional, that this would be I love decorating, so if I were not and that I believe she can--to see
your journey? doing the work I am involved, in, the light “turn on” in her eyes, is
The decision to become an I might find myself focused on everything.
attorney came during my something more visually creative.
pursuit of my undergraduate However, I don’t think I would What would you like your
degree; that is when I became ever come away from some kind epitaph to be?
interested in policy. That was just of advocacy, or working with “She left things better than she
the beginning. I was enchanted foster children in some capacity. found them.” I’m not a perfect
with the idea of framing policy person, but hopefully I will have
and law from the outset, and If you had it all to do over again, made a contribution. That is
also became very interested in would you do anything differently? what we are here for. We are
shaping policy on a very large I view that as kind of beyond my here to contribute, not just take
scale. The doorway to what I am control, but I believe I would away. That is my hope.
doing now was learning about have focused more in my math
what needed to be changed in courses. I enjoyed reading and In one word, what is it that
healthcare, but then that scope writing, and both were second you want people to remember
grew. Once my interest was nature; however, my mind is still about you?
piqued, I came to understand very analytical. If I had had that Determined.
that every aspect of our lives is science and math base, I would
touched by policy. Being able to have gone into hard sciences. I’m Is there anything else you wish
influence that policy is huge. very interested in STEM, but I just I’d asked you?
don’t have the propensity for it. No!
Ultimately, though, I am satisfied
with the path I am on. we are here to
What do you do for you that just take away.
brings you absolute joy or peace? that is my hope.
To be honest, I really like being
able to share with someone else
what was given to me. Through
my work, I support corporations
and government entities. The real
joy and benefit--the real payoff--is
when you talk to a child in foster
care, or are able to change policy
related to foster care. Another
source of joy is having a mentee
and helping them understand
that they are capable of more,
because they see themselves in
you. You can’t bottle that up and
sell it. When I can talk to a young
lady who is saying “I can’t…”, and
have the opportunity to drill down
and help her see that I, too, have
experienced those same things,
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We all need someone “in our corner”. Advocacy is such an important concept, and
Janetta Kearney lives in that realm each and every day. As an attorney, Janetta spends
her busy days doing just that--advocating for those who need it. She works tirelessly
in pursuit of educational rights, and uses her skills to also facilitate dispute resolutions
through mediation. She knew at an early age that advocacy was her path in life.
C-Suite Pics is privileged and honored to introduce Janetta to you!
What is your “day job”? a very observant person and whether by leaders, officers or
While I am semi-retired, I remain a consummate analyst. After teachers--again, in favor of the
busy in the roles of attorney, taking debate team class work invisible or the voiceless.
Dispute Resolution Mediator/ in the 6th grade, it was clear
Facilitator, and as an Education that analysis and interpretation After being laughed at by the
Rights Professional. of the “truth” is necessary, in registrar of the local HBCU
light of laws and regulations that college when I went to enroll
Who were your heroes, or are too often justified against as a Journalism major at age
mentors? the voiceless. History and the 17, I determined more influence
I have two that I consider as my U.S. Constitution became a big was needed, and the idea of
hero or mentor. First, is Jesus interest to me, and though I becoming an attorney started to
Christ. Second is Ethel Curry was quiet and somewhat of an fill my mind and my short list of
Kearney, my mother. introverted loner, I found little career options.
fear in confronting wrongdoing,
When did you decide you were If you weren’t a lawyer, what
an attorney, and that this would would life look like?
be your journey? If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I
In about the 5th grade, I decided believe that I would be a paid
that I would be an advocate. At mediatory/rights facilitator. My
the time, I thought it would take life would be filled with advocacy
the form of a roving reporter, in one way or another, if I were
where the “truth and only the not an attorney. I believe my
truth” of matters would make a life purpose is to advocate on
difference, in the lives of all of behalf of people. My passionate
the afflicted and especially for focus today is on the lack of
persons who “had no voice”. As preparation by the school system
time passed, I developed into for struggling and labeled youth.
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics Where What You Do Meets Who You Are. Beautifully. | Page 18
My goal is to be funded in such models. I would be thankful for are available to me so that I keep
a way that I can work full-time my gifts, and refuse to apologize learning and growing.
with disappointed or troubled for the excellence that I possess,
children and youth--using my own as opposed to trying to convince What would you like your epitaph
errors and the wrong paths that I others that I have average talent, or to be? In one word, what is it that
have seen during my lifetime--to that I am not as brilliant as I am, in you want people to remember
help guide young people into a order to appease others. about you?
productive and “conflict minimized” EXHORTER! I want to be remembered
path, and away from jails, prison, What do you do, for you, that as a person who wants to and is willing
and mediocrity. brings you absolute joy or peace? to help, and who shares resources
I travel, pray, meditate, and take using divine wisdom.
If you had it all to do over again, time outs. Additionally, I surround
would you do anything different? myself with folks who find Is there anything else you wish I
Yes. I would spend more time satisfaction in some of the same had asked you?
being present: really seeing the disciplines that I do, while keeping No, I can’t think of anything else.
efforts of my mentors and role balance to ensure others’ ideas
#BrandYouBeautiful | Page 19
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics What is your “day job”?
I’m an attorney. I’m a shareholder based in the Washington,
DC office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. I am Chair of the Labor &
Employment Practice’s Statutory Compliance and Contracts
and Regulatory Practice Group. My practice focuses on
management side labor and employment matters.
Who were your heroes, or mentors?
I never really had a hero, other than possibly Jesus. However, I
have had lots of mentors and people who inspire me, as well.
Both of my grandmothers were inspirations to me. They were
strong women who managed to raise and take care of their
families virtually alone.
My mother and father are also inspirations in my life because
they have done everything needed to provide opportunity and
a good Christian-based upbringing for my sister and myself,
and now they are doing the same for their grandchildren.
Betty Southard Murphy was a mentor to me. She was the first
female chair of National Labor Relations Board. I had the honor
of working under her for 13 years. She was very well respected
in the labor field, and she taught me how to be an exceptional
lawyer and how to practice law.
Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a congressional member from
Cleveland, Ohio, was also a mentor. She taught me to always
stay focused on the things that you want, and to never put
anything out of reach. She always helped me to focus on the
fact that I am not on my journey alone or for my own purpose
and that I am bringing others along with me.
When did you decide you would be an attorney , that this
would be your journey?
Where What You Do Meets Who You Are. Beautifully. | Page 20
Johnine Barnes, a DC-based attorney, is
today’s featured #CSuiteChick. Johnine
has had tremendous success in her career
field, but she recognizes that life is so
much more than that -- our careers are just
one small part of our worlds. Be inspired
by what Johnine shares with us today --
about her mentors, her motivations, and
what she believes is truly important in life.
I think that decision was made during my undergrad years. Also, spending time with family is important to me. I like
I always had an interest in fairness and justice, and in the vacationing and traveling with my family as well as just
entire debate and negotiation process. After interning for hanging out together.
Congressman Louis Stokes, I made the decision that I would
go to law school as opposed to going straight into public What would you like your epitaph to be?
service. I thought I could be a more effective advocate for I wouldn’t want it to be about me. I would want it to be
others with a law degree. Aside, I wanted a few more years about God’s grace and mercy.
before permanently entering the workforce, and becoming
an adult. After I went to law school, I decided I wanted to In one word, what is it that you want people to remember
practice law to effectuate change in society. about you?
Love. I hope that people will remember me as being
If you weren’t an attorney, what would life look like? someone who loved the things that I said I valued and
I have a lot of things I would do. I think I definitely would treasured; those things being God and my family. I would
be involved in education in some manner. I do not know if I want to be remembered as someone who showed and
would be a great full-time teacher; patience is more than a bestowed love upon others.
virtue. But, if I did teach I would like to possibly teach 5th or
6th grade. In 5th and 6th grade, you can disassemble any Is there anything else you wish I’d asked you?
bad habits and practices that kids may have learned, and “What’s important in my life?” You’re doing pictures for
assemble and teach new practices as well. executives, however most of my responses have little to
do with what I do for a living.
If you had it all to do over again, would you do anything
differently? I think that often, people think that their epitaph has to be
I don’t think I would do anything differently. Life is meant to about their personal accomplishments and achievements.
teach you to learn from your mistakes and become better. I don’t take those for granted, but I don’t believe that is what
Every thing that I have gone through in life, even the not- my life and purpose are about. It’s what I do for a living. To
so-good moments, has taught me a lesson. the extent that I can use that to help people -- volunteer,
go into schools and teach street law, teach people about
What do you do for you that brings you absolute joy or what their employment rights are, provide employment
peace? and career opportunities for others, or a living that allows
Exercising. I love to run and engage in physical activity to me to give to others less fortunate -- that’s what should be
challenge both my physical and mental toughness. I like to primary. It’s how you can help and mold others, not what
travel, and to occasionally read. I read so much for work and you can personally achieve, that is truly important.
for Jonathan (my son), that it’s rare that I get an opportunity
to read something for myself and really enjoy it.
www.csuitepics.com #BrandYouBeautiful | Page 21
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics Lisa
C-Suite Pics is pleased to introduce
Lisa Brown Morton! This energetic
CEO spends her days working with
nonprofits to develop strong foundations.
Lisa shared with us a beautiful picture
of the heroes who have influenced her
professional and personal paths. She also
has a definition of success I think we all
can aspire to!
Where What You Do Meets Who You Are. Beautifully. | Page 22
MY MOTHER WAS MY HERO. ANOTHER
HERO/MENTOR WAS A WOMAN NAMED
GLENDA MAE GREENE. SHE TAUGHT ME
HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN A BUSINESS
ENVIRONMENT WHILE I WAS
STILL A TEENAGER.
What is your “day job”? If you had it all to do over again, would
I am the CEO of a consulting firm that you do anything differently?
works with nonprofits to strengthen their If I had it all to do over again, I think that I
people/talent capacity. would pursue attending law school.
Who were your heroes, or mentors? What do you do for you that brings you
My mother was my hero. Another hero/ absolute joy or peace?
mentor was a woman named Glenda Several things bring me peace and joy,
Mae Greene. She taught me how to be including staying connected to God,
successful in a business environment staying anchored in the truths that I
while I was still a teenager. From a learned as a child, and making room for
biblical perspective, I see Hannah as alone time. Also, I find it helpful to vent
a mentor and a hero. She endured to my closest confidantes, cry when the
hardship and emotional pain but trusted stress gets too much, shop, and go to
in God until she got her breakthrough. I the spa!
can relate to that.
In one word, what is it that you want
When did you decide you were a people to remember about you?
CEO,that this would be your journey? One word? Really? How about two?
Probably when I was about 18 years old. Lived fully!
I always knew that I wanted to chart my
own journey and blaze my own trail. I’ve Is there anything else you wish I’d asked
never been a follower. you?
If you weren’t a CEO, what would life I wish you had asked...How do you define
look like? success? Loving without fear; living
I’d probably be running an events without hesitation; giving more than
management company, or running a taking; being emotionally, spiritually and
swanky, intimate restaurant that featured mentally free.
really good food and really good music!
www.csuitepics.com #BrandYouBeautiful | Page 23
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics Lynn
The events and experiences of
our lives continually prepare
us for what is to come. That
is something Lynn Selby, today’s
featured #CSuiteChick, has learned.
As she says below, “Timing and
positioning are everything”, and as a
result, Lynn is currently the founder
and CEO of a successful consulting
group based in Baltimore, MD. She
is enjoying entrepreneurship, and
is walking in the footsteps of some
beautiful women role models. Grab a
cup of tea, pull up a chair, and spend
a few moments getting to know Lynn!
Where What You Do Meets Who You Are. Beautifully. | Page 24
What is your “day job”? C-Suite Interview
I am the CEO and founder of The Reed +
Selby Consulting Group, LLC, a management a political science major, so to answer your
consulting firm headquartered in Baltimore, MD. question, I would have continued along that
path. But, no regrets and I never say never.
Who were your heroes, or mentors? *Wink.*
Certainly the women in my family, beginning
with my Mother, were my heroes and mentors. What do you do for you that brings you
My mother, grandmother and two aunts are absolute joy or peace?
strong, supportive and brilliant women who Like most, I enjoy spending time with my
encouraged education, excellence, strength, husband, family and friends. However, in my
grace, kindness, perseverance and tenacity. alone time I absolutely love watching political
My mother’s favorite phrase is, “It’s a great life news shows, being crafty (any opportunity
if you don’t weaken.” This advice has served to break out my glue gun), and finally, I love
me well throughout the years. running. I am so off my schedule, but I enjoy
hitting the pavement.
When did you decide that you were an
entrepreneur, that this would be your What would you like your epitaph to read?
journey? “She practiced excellence, loved and
Honestly, entrepreneurship selected me. embraced life to the fullest and gave back to it
My husband encouraged me to pursue with unwavering commitment and passion.”
entrepreneurship for some time, but I always
pushed back that I was risk averse (read If you were only given one word, what is it
fearful). For the past seven years, I served as that you want people to remember about
a gubernatorial appointee in the O’Malley you?
administration in Maryland. Following Friend
the 2014 election, my tenure ended. As I
searched for my next career option, multiple Is there anything else you wish I’d asked
consulting opportunities were presented to you?
me-ones that aligned well with my skills and If you could have dinner with one person
interests. Five months and six clients later, I living or deceased who would it be? I love that
am enjoying entrepreneurship more I than question, because it gives me the opportunity
could have imagined. to talk about my paternal Grandmother, Ruth
Reed. She passed away when I was a young
I do believe, however, that timing and woman, but I remember her vividly and how
positioning are everything. I don’t know she, like the other women in my life, helped
that I was prepared to launch The Reed + mold me into the woman I have become. I
Selby Consulting Group any earlier. On the think of her often, miss her and wonder if she
other hand, my Grandmother was the first would be proud of the life I have created.
entrepreneur I knew, so I suppose it was in
my DNA. #BrandYouBeautiful | Page 25
If you weren’t running your consulting
agency, what would life look like?
I honestly believe I’d be an entrepreneur, but
focused on something more creative.
If you had it all to do over again, would you
do anything differently?
Life really unravels exactly as it should. What’s
the adage, “While you are busy making plans,
God is laughing”? But all things considered,
when I entered college I wanted to pursue
public relations or communications with
the goal of working for an ad agency or
becoming a sports journalist. I ended up as
We at C-Suite love passionate people who are willing to share that passion
and to invest in the lives of others! Mollie Jackson is a perfect example.
Mollie is the Executive Director for the Presidents’ RoundTable. She is
full of wisdom and joy. We sat down for a bit with Mollie and invited her to share
some of her stories with us. Enjoy getting to know this amazing C-Suite Chick!
What is your “day job”? hand so he could take me to the doctor.
That was his way of showing his love. I
I am the Executive Director for The always knew that I could go to him and
President’s Round Table and PRT Reach tell him anything, and he would try to
Foundation. My primary responsibilities make it better.
center around fundraising and
administrative tasks. It is a one-person My mentors were educators, beginning
office, so there are a couple of different with Ms. Sadie Crowder, my first grade
“hats” that I wear as Executive Director. teacher. I also remember the principal
from my first elementary school as having
Who were your heroes, or mentors? an impact on my life. He also taught the
seventh grade and I used to take the lunch
I’m a small-town country girl who had money down to his classroom. One time
limited exposure to the outside world, he was teaching on Jamestown and the
except what I watched on television. first settlement and asked me a question
So, my hero was my dad. He was the that I was able to answer. He praised me
“Superman” of my life, so to speak. He in front of the class. That made me feel
had a grade school education, and was like I was 10 feet tall. The fact that I still
a blue collar day-laborer, who taught us remember these experiences means that
that, by hard work, you can achieve your these educators had some impact!
There were others along the way. Ms.
When I was six, he moved us from tenant Broadus helped me get to college. She
farmer status into our own home. My also convinced my parents to let me be a
mom was the disciplinarian, but my debutante. There is my best friend Julia,
dad was the “quiet giant”. If we needed who redirected my life back to Christ after
a personality correction, he would have I finished sowing my wild oats. And my
a “walking conversation” with us. When best friend Veronica, who has been my
that conversation was over, you would best friend since my first year of college.
feel as low as a snake’s belly and be There were managers and supervisors
compelled to think through what you who have been my mentors by helping
had done to disappoint him, and how to me with professional counseling, as well
never repeat that offense again. as others who have taken the time to talk
to me as a person and to be interested in
Daddy didn’t do hugs and kisses, but he where I wanted to go in life.
really loved his kids. I got very sick one
winter and was too weak to walk. There
was too much snow to get the car out of
the driveway, so he dug out a very long
driveway (we had over an acre of land) by
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When did you decide you were an executive take time off to participate in other school activities.
administrator, that this would be your journey? And my electronic connection (laptop, cell phone)
to work definitely blurred the family-work line.
It was partially “I”, but mainly God who directed me. What do you do for you that brings you absolute
I directed myself to the first three jobs, which lasted joy or peace?
about 2-3 years each. I always had the vision of I bought myself a convertible as a birthday present
finding a career and was searching for that “fit”. After and love to take day trips on sunny days with the top
finding myself unemployed due to down-sizing at down and some “oldies but goodies” music. Having
my firm, I applied at USA TODAY, which was a start- a 15-minute commute instead of the 90-minute trek
up newspaper at that point. That began a 34-year around the beltway is a real treat. I am able to be
career with the newspaper. more active in church, and I like to travel and read.
What would you like your epitaph to be?
When I walked out the door of USA TODAY on May She tried her best to do what He expected of her.
15, 2015, I was a little teary-eyed. I wanted to keep In one word, what is it that you want people to
working but had no idea what the next step was remember about you?
going to be, but God did. Seventy-two hours later I It’s a tie between these two: Tenacious or Committed.
came home from an appointment with my financial Is there anything else you wish I’d asked you?
advisor to find a message from Dr. Brooks asking me I can’t think of anything.
to call her about a job opportunity. I don’t believe
in luck or chance; I do believe the Good Lord was I DON’T BELIEVE IN LUCK
directing me to the next season in my life, which was OR CHANCE. I DO BELIEVE
Executive Director of this organization. THE GOOD LORD WAS
If you weren’t an executive administrator, what
would life look like?
I have absolutely no clue! I took a “fruits of the
spirit” profile that identified my top three “gifts” as
administrator/manager, teacher and ministerial.
One has solidly matched my life -- administrative/
managerial. The other two have been my surprise
talents. So if my managerial/administrative career
was taken away, I suppose I would be somewhere
between teaching/ministerial--but I cannot picture
myself doing either one!
If you had it all to do over again, would you do
There are three things that I would “do over”.
First, I’d probably keep going with my educational
pursuits. When I got my bachelor’s degree, I wanted
to take a “break” and go back later to get a master’s
degree or become a lawyer. In hindsight, I would
have stayed in school.
Second, I would have worked harder on my
marriage. My ex-husband was a good guy, but I
was more focused on “career” goals.
And third, as a single parent, I would do a better job
of blending family and work commitments. I regret
that I didn’t go on any of my daughter’s class trips or
www.csuitepics.com #BrandYouBeautiful | Page 27
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics Where What You Do Meets Who You Are. Beautifully. | Page 28
Today, we welcome Dr. Rachel Talton to share her amazing life
with us! Rachel is the CEO of Synergy Marketing Strategy and
Research, Inc. and Flourish Leadership, LLC. Rachel strives to help
others flourish in all that they do, professionally and personally.
Her vivacious energy is contagious! We appreciate Rachel taking
some time to answer our questions and inspire us all to flourish
in our own lives!
What is your “day job”? I have several business mentors, but I
That’s a great question. Sometimes I feel will discuss the most important here.
that I have several! My day job is CEO of First, is my husband. He happens to be
Synergy Marketing Strategy & Research, my business partner and life partner,
Inc. and of Flourish Leadership, LLC. but he has had a tremendous impact
As you may know, Synergy is a brand on our businesses and my strategic
strategy and research firm. We serve approach to business. I’m so honored
regional, national and global corporate to be his partner and wife. And I’m so
and nonprofits – providing them with proud of him. Three other important
comprehensive brand and leadership mentors in my professional life have
strategies and full-service marketing been Congressman Louis Stokes (God
research. rest his soul), Pat Mullin and Margot
Copeland. Each of them have poured
Flourish hosts the Flourish Conferences into me, and helped me brainstorm
for Women in Leadership in several U.S. big questions in my life and business.
cities and partners with the Flourish They have championed, sponsored
Foundation to touch and transform the and mentored me whenever needed,
personal and professional lives of 10,000 and have certainly helped me grow as
women leaders by 2020, to help them a leader.
strategically flourish in several areas of
their lives. The Foundation allows us to Finally, there are many, many others
also serve emerging leaders and girls whom I look to for guidance on my
aged 14-19 with leadership offerings and personal board of advisors. Some whom
growth strategies, as well. I look to from afar are Jesus, Oprah,
Ghandi and Warren Buffet, to name a
I’m also a burgeoning author of my few. I’m absolutely fascinated by Pope
first published book. I’m really excited Francis, as well. What an exemplar of
to share it with the world. It’s called loving leadership and transformational
Flourish: Having it All without Losing (if incremental) change! I was just in
Yourself. Rome last week, and reflected on what
wonders he’s done for the Catholic
Who were your heroes, or mentors? Church.
My first heroes and mentors were my
mother and my maternal grandmother. When did you decide you were a CEO,
Both of them are brilliant, beautiful, that this would be your journey?
benevolent and strong. They have been I’ve always had an entrepreneurial
so meaningful in shaping the woman I spirit, but through my early adulthood
am today – and the contribution I want I thought my career path would be
to make to the world.
#BrandYouBeautiful | Page 29
pretty traditional. Since I was a My first heroes
very young girl, I’d wanted to and mentors
be a psychiatrist and author. My were my mother
mission in life was to help people and my maternal
who needed mental, emotional grandmother.
and even physical and spiritual
help to become whole. To be If you had it all to do over would take more time to reflect
live their purpose, even through again, would you do anything on the lessons and amazing
difficulties. differently? experiences I’ve been able to
You know that’s always a tough have. I would take more time to
Although my vision for my life question. I could say that I’d flourish myself. To learn, to grow
never included business, I’ve live the perfect life and never and to invest with the people I
always had a strategic mind and make the MANY mistakes I’ve love.
have always been excited and made, but then I wouldn’t be the
fueled by the opportunity to solve person I am today. I wouldn’t What do you do for you that
problems of the human condition. have the scars that help me be brings you absolute joy or
more empathetic. Or I wouldn’t peace?
Today, I am so fortunate that my have the lessons that come with That’s an easy one. Helping
day job and God job have collided! failing… and failing forward. women flourish. It’s literally my
My education in psychology, I think if there is anything I would favorite thing. The pleasure I get
business and management do differently, it would not be when women (and extraordinary
and professional experience to change my choices or the men) have a foolproof strategy
as a marketing executive, circumstance in my life. I think I to help their business, to grow
leadership and brand strategist
and researcher have truly come
to full fruition. Every day I am
blessed with opportunities to
solve business problems for
companies and organizations,
solve human challenges for
brands and consumers, support
women leaders as they grow
luxuriantly to meet their full
potential, and engage heavily in
If you weren’t the CEO of
Synergy and Flourish, what
would life look like?
That’s an interesting question.
I can’t imagine doing anything
else. I would probably spend
more time on philanthropy – the
Flourish Foundation advancing
women and girls and several
other boards and issues that
matter to me. I’d write more…
and I’d certainly travel the world
Eyemagination Imaging | C-Suite Pics Where What You Do Meets Who You Are. Beautifully. | Page 30
Today, I am
that my day
job and God
their careers, to nurture their God’s glory. I love to hear and she changed my life for the
relationships or build their teams, try to speak the languages, to better. I hope whoever writes
to grow brands, market share share in the interesting foods, to it can say that.
or consolidate a product line is witness the wonder of different In one word, what is it that
indescribable. I just can’t think of cultures. To fall in love with a you want people to remember
a more edifying role than that of new country every year. about you?
strategist and executive coach. I TRANSFORMATION
get to bring all of that education, What would you like your
experience and expertise to bear epitaph to be? Is there anything else you wish
to serve people I care very much She LOVED. She loved fully, I’d asked you?
about and organizations in which authentically, proactively, No. I love that you are sharing
I’m invested in their success. It’s passionately, meaningfully your gift, and the stories of
the best job ever. and without reservation. flourishing women leaders, with
She touched and positively the world!
Another thing that brings me transformed the lives of
absolute joy is travel. I absolutely thousands of women and #BrandYouBeautiful | Page 31
LOVE to see the world and all of girls… and most importantly,
Read about more amazing C-Suite Chicks every month on our blog!