Washington D.C. iRelaunch Return to Work Conference Speakers - November 2011

Keynote Speakers

Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin

Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin are the co-authors of the acclaimed career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at- Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, and co-founders of career reentry programming company

iRelaunch has helped thousands of women and men on career break return to the workforce through its programs, events, and content for employers, universities, organizations, and individuals. iRelaunch’s signature product is the iRelaunch Return-to-Work Conference, held four times a year in major cities. With a focus on educating “relaunchers” about effective return-to-work
strategies, the Conference is the only large scale gathering of experienced professionals on career break looking to return to work and the employers interested in meeting them. Carol and Vivian are frequent speakers on the career reentry topic and are regularly featured in the national press.

Carol and Vivian are both Harvard Business School graduates and relaunchers themselves; between them, they have nine kids, and 43 years of diverse business experience. They each returned to work after multi-year career breaks before writing Back on the
Career Track and starting iRelaunch. They understand each phase of the “relaunch process” first hand. Carol’s return to an investment firm after 11 years out of the full-time workforce is documented in a Harvard Business School case study about professional career reentry. Visit them at www.iRelaunch.com and follow them on Twitter @iRelaunch.

Featured Speakers

Marva Gumbs Jennings
Executive Director - The George Washington University Career Center

Marva Gumbs Jennings has worked with the George Washington University Career Center for over 26 years and was appointed executive director in August 2000.  As head of the Career Center, Marva oversees strategic initiatives for a comprehensive center providing career education and employer services, student employment and experiential education programs (including cooperative education and federal work-study), and the technological, communications, and event management aspects of the department.  Her emphasis continues to be collaboration and partnerships with internal and external entities to effectively serve clients, the incorporation of technologies to support the work of the Center, and the establishment of innovative services and programs. Prior to joining GW, Marva worked for a number of years with the Psychiatric Institute in Washington, D.C., and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in St. Croix, USVI.

Marva received her graduate degree in Education from GW and her bachelors from Rutgers University (NJ).  She brings consistent visibility to GW through her involvement in professional associations and is active in the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE). Marva held the unique distinction of becoming the first elected president of EACE, a new organization formed with the merger of two professional associations. She served as president of the executive board (1997-98) and past president (1999) of EACE, as a member of the NACE Board of Presidents (1997-98), and on the NACE Board as Regional Director for EACE (2002-2004). She continues to serve on several NACE national committees and task forces annually and is currently a faculty member of the Career Services Institute West.  Additionally, she has been featured as a career expert in several media outlets, including local Washington D.C. television, The Washington Post, and the Knight-Ridder news service.

Carol Nevins
Managing Director, Greater Maryland Complex, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 

Carol Nevins is the Managing Director for the Greater Maryland area for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management  (including Rockville, Bethesda, Frederick, Columbia, Hagerstown, Annapolis, Easton, Salisbury, and Ocean City, Maryland). Prior to her move to Maryland in 1999, she managed a Merrill Lynch office in Del Ray Beach, Florida.

A University of Maryland graduate, Carol was a Financial Advisor in the Alexandria, Virginia Merrill Lynch office from 1986 to 1993.  She became the Producing Sales Manager in Northern Virginia and then the Sales Manager in the Washington office until 1997.

Carol and her husband Michael live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have a 13-year old son Sam who has autism, and an 11-year old daughter, Margaret.  Carol was the first Branch Manager at Merrill Lynch to have a baby while she was leading the Del Ray Beach office.

Employer Panel

Manar Morales, Moderator
Executive Director - Project for Attorney Retention, UC Hastings College of Law

Manar Morales joined the Project for Attorney Retention staff in 2005 and has been a long-time advocate of women in the legal profession. She is a frequent speaker on work-life issues and the advancement and retention of women. Prior to joining PAR, Manar was Of Counsel with the firm of Barr & Camens. She has represented clients in all aspects of labor relations and employment law. Manar has litigation experience in federal court, before federal administrative agencies, and in arbitration. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University where she teaches Labor and Employment law, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, and Principles of Negotiation. She is also a Commissioner on the Montgomery County Commission for Women.

Manar is a 1997 graduate of the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University and a 1993 graduate of Cornell University. She is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar. Manar is also a Commissioner on the Montgomery County Commission for Women and serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School and Everybody Wins! USA.

She is married and has three boys.

Michele Espada
Talent Acquisition Director - Freddie Mac

Michele Espada joined Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co. (Freddie Mac) as a Recruiting Manager in March 2006.  In this role she was responsible for leading the recruiting efforts for the Operations Department.  In August of 2006 Michele was promoted to Recruiting Director and the scope of her responsibilities increased.  In this role she was responsible for leading and managing the recruiting activities for the Operations and Technology Division, which is comprised of over half of Freddie Mac’s work force. In August of 2010, Michele was promoted to her current role, Talent Acquisition Director.  She is responsible for leading a team of 35 who support the non-executive and executive recruiting efforts.  

Prior to assuming her current duties, Michele was a Director of Recruiting for Nextel Communications.  In this role, she was responsible for managing the nationwide recruiting efforts for the Information Technology, Engineering and Technology Development departments. 

Michele brings 15 years of recruiting and leadership experience to her role with Freddie Mac.  She has held multiple management positions with increasing responsibility.   

Michele earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management from Cabrini College in Radnor, PA.

Sherene Peart
Talent Engagement and Development - Wipro Consulting Services

Sherene Peart currently heads the Talent Engagement and Development function for the Americas for Wipro Consulting Services. Additionally, she also has responsibilities for Wipro’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the United States. She joined Wipro’s HR team in 2007 and has over 14 years professional work experience, 7 of which have been spent in various HR roles such as Performance Management, Employee Relations, Training & Development and some recruiting. Prior to joining Wipro, she worked in the manufacturing industry functioning both in HR and Finance. Sherene is originally from the island of Jamaica and currently lives with her family in New Jersey. Her interests are traveling, shopping, tennis, shopping, dancing and shopping. 

Lisa Robinson
Director, Staff Recruitment & Career Counseling Services - George Washington University

Lisa Robinson has fifteen years of HR expertise, representing a diverse combination of for-profit (Professional & Financial Services) and not-for-profit (Academic, Energy Services & Healthcare) organizations. In her current role with George Washington University (GW), Lisa is responsible for the full life cycle recruitment process of staff and research positions. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Labor Relations.

Marie Schwartz
President and Founder - TeenLife Media, LLC

Marie is a marketing professional who launched TeenLife Media after 20+ years of working in the financial services and publishing industries. She is responsible for leading and growing this multi-media company which is passionate about connecting teens to meaningful programs, services and resources - locally, nationally, and internationally. TeenLife’s award-winning website, guides, and events are highly regarded by middle and high school educators and families with college-bound teens. Launched in Boston in 2007, TeenLife is in the process of implementing an aggressive expansion to 10 other major markets nationwide. Marie has a history of employing Relaunchers and welcomes inquiries from Relaunchers who are interested in helping TeenLife to grow in these new communities.

Prior to moving to Boston in 2003 with her husband and two sons, Marie lived in the New York area and worked for American Express, Scudder Stevens & Clark, and Nelson Publications. She has a BSE from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Relauncher Panel

Vivian Steir Rabin, Moderator
Co-Founder - iRelaunch

Along with Carol Fishman Cohen, Vivian Steir Rabin co-authored the acclaimed career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, and co-founded career reentry programming company, iRelaunch. Carol and Vivian have presented their career reentry strategies to nearly 9,000 people at over 140 events since 2006.

A graduate of Harvard Business School and a relauncher, Vivian understands every phase of the relaunch process first hand. Vivian has over 21 years of diverse business experience, including leadership roles in finance and human resources, in the media, financial services, consulting and executive search industries. She is a mother of five children, and returned to work after multi-year career breaks before writing Back on the Career Track and founding iRelaunch. Carol and Vivian are regularly quoted in the national press including TIME, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Fast Company, Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, NPR, and MSNBC.

Jenny Brody
Founder and Co-Executive Director - DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP) 

Ms. Brody earned a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1981 and clerked for the Honorable Irving L. Goldberg of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She served as an appellate staff attorney with the US Department of Justice, Civil Division, where she briefed and argued cases in the US Courts of Appeals, and as a litigator in private practice.  Ms. Brody left private practice in 1991 to stay home with her three children, and resumed her legal career in 2006, providing pro bono representation to low-income clients in family law cases. She co-founded the DCVLP in 2008, and currently practices in the areas of domestic violence, adoption and custody. She is a member of the Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN) Attorney Panel of DC Superior Court.

Hina McCree
Software Engineer - Raytheon BBN Technologies

Hina McCree is a tech lead and the software manager of a ten-person engineering team at Raytheon BBN Technologies.

Hina has relaunched her career twice: the first time after a nine-year career break and the second time after a seven-year career break. During her first break, she obtained her Master's degree in electrical engineering (having already received her Bachelor's in EE). During her second break, Hina held a number of volunteer positions, and moved her family across the country. She took some graduate level courses during this time as well, and found this technical update key to her relaunch.

When she was applying for a position at Raytheon BBN, another relauncher noticed her resume and recommended her colleagues interview Hina.

Rosaelena O'Neil
Associate Director and Academic and Career Advisor for the Landegger Program - Georgetown University

Rosaelena A. O’Neil is the Associate Director and Academic and Career Advisor for the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, managing day-to-day academic program requirements and counseling students on curriculum design and course selection. She also works closely with students and alumni as an advisor in their professional career search and transition efforts.  Beyond her work with students, Rosie coordinates all stakeholder relations and cross-campus academic and career efforts for the Landegger Program with the McDonough School of Business, the School of Foreign Service, the Georgetown Law School and other Georgetown University graduate programs. 

Prior to returning to Georgetown University in the fall of 1999, Rosie served in both the public and private sectors:  she was executive assistant to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, worked on the establishment of the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Treasury as a member of the White House transition team, joined the investment banking firm of J.P. Morgan in the Latin America Financial Advisory and M&A group, and served as Group Vice President and Strategic Planning Manager for the commercial banking firm First American Metro Corp.

Rosie attended Georgetown University and graduated in 1983 from the School of Foreign Service with a Bachelors Degree in the Science of Foreign Service (BSFS) and a concentration in Finance and Commerce. She was also awarded an Honors Certificate in International Business Diplomacy.  In 1988 she received her MBA from the Harvard Business School. 

Currently Co-Chair of the Advisory Council on Instruction (ACI) for the Arlington County School Board and a citizen member and ACI liaison on the Career, Technical and Adult Education Committee, Rosie has also served in a variety of local leadership positions as a PTA officer in various schools and in both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts organizations. She returned to the professional workforce after an almost seven-year career break to raise her children.

Leslie Whipkey
Wealth Management Advisor - Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

As a wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch, in the Tysons Corner, Virginia office, Leslie works with professionals, families, and business owners who are facing a number of financial challenges in today's increasingly complex world and rapidly changing legislative landscape.

As a parent, it is also important to Leslie that children develop financial awareness and skills while they are young, so they can grow into financially responsible adults, particularly during these economically challenging times. She teaches Merrill Lynch's award-winning financial literacy program, Investing Pays Off®, to middle school students in Montgomery County, Maryland.

In addition to her financial planning education, Leslie holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Fordham University and a Master's in Mathematics from The George Washington University. Following her university studies, she was a transportation logistics analyst serving the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. She relaunched into Merrill Lynch's Global Wealth Management group in 2005 following a 12-year career break to raise her children.





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