NAWBO :: Speaker Bios: General Sessions

Speaker Bios: General Sessions


Click links below for more about Lisa Price:

Lisa Price
Founder & President
Carol’s Daughter, Inc.

From humble beginnings in her Brooklyn kitchen, Lisa transformed her beloved hobby of mixing up fragrances and creams at home into a multi-million dollar beauty empire.

In the early 1990s, Lisa began experimenting with making her own fragrances and perfume sprays when she wasn’t busy working on the legendary sitcom The Cosby Show. When the show finished in 1992, Lisa used the end of one chapter of her life to embark on another. With $100 in cash, her own kitchen, and the simple notion that people should follow their hearts, Lisa started building her collection.

In 1994, Lisa officially established Carol’s Daughter (the company lovingly named after her mother). Today, it sells millions of dollars worth of products, employs more than 80 staff members and boasts nine stores across the country, with a flagship store in Harlem.

Lisa is the author of Success Never Smelled So Sweet, a memoir chronicling her transformation from a young Black woman deep in debt and burdened by low self-esteem to the president of a multi-million dollar business. She sits on the board of the Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) and is a council member of the National Women’s Business Council.


Click links below for more about Gail Blanke:

Gail's Website
Life Designs

Gail Blanke
Founder, President & CEO
Lifedesigns, LLC

A best-selling author, Ms. Blanke’s newest book, Throw Out Fifty Things-Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, was published March 20, 2009 by Grand Central Publishing and has been featured on The Today Show, CNN International and CBS Sunday Morning. The book recently won the prestigious Books-for-a-Better-Life award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her column, “The Motivator” has appeared monthly for two years in Real Simple magazine and she is featured as a Business and Career Coach on AOL Coaches. Ms. Blanke appears monthly on Martha Stewart Whole Living Radio, and regularly on CNN International and CBS 2 Sunday Morning.

A renowned executive coach and presentation skills trainer, Ms. Blanke has advised CEO’s, presidential candidates, college presidents—and even a jazz musician. Considered one of the finest motivational speakers in the country, she has delivered keynote addresses for scores of corporations including GE, MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, AXA Financial, Citigroup and at events such as the “Global Summit of Women” in Taiwan, the “Decade to Democracy” conference in Budapest and Cornell University’s symposium, “Contracting Out: Danger Signal for Working Women and Men” chaired by Betty Friedan. Ms. Blanke has appeared on CNN, FNN, CNBC and FOX TV.

She was one of the youngest female senior vice presidents of Avon Products, Inc., where, in addition to her responsibilities as global head of public affairs, she motivated and inspired Avon’s half million sales representatives to live the lives of their wildest dreams.


Click links below for more about Cindy Solomon:

Cindy's Website


Cindy Solomon
Speaker, Consultant and Executive Coach

Cindy Solomon is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant, author and entrepreneur who helps organizations, teams and individuals find their courage. Their courage as leaders, as business owners and as individuals. She has helped organizations as varied as The Mayo Clinic and Google, The Ritz Carlton and State Farm to create and nurture the leadership and customer skills they need to meet the challenges of today’s economy. As the number one speaker at women’s conferences around the country (including the Texas, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Governor’s Conferences and the Professional Business Women of California), Cindy has brought her humorous, provocative and meaningful insights to literally thousands of leaders each year.

Cindy is also the cofounder of the largest senior executive women’s event in the country, the Women’s Success Forum, which has helped more than 15,000 women executives build their skills and success over the past 13 years. Cindy’s first book, The Rules of Woo: A Guide to Capturing the Hearts and Minds of Today’s Customers, was released in 2010 to rave reviews, and her new book, Creating a Culture of Courage—The Courage Challenge Workbook, was just released and is available at





The Honorable Jerry Sanders
Mayor of San Diego

In late 2005, after winning in a special election, Mayor Sanders took office with one goal in mind: to right the city’s financial ship and ensure accountability measures were put in place to prevent future financial scandals. In addition to a broad reform agenda, Sanders has placed a high priority on economic growth and job creation during his time in office. Specifically, the mayor has been a champion of the region's promising clean technology industry, including solar energy, biofuels and other environmentally friendly products. Sanders will complete his second and final term in December 2012.





Marla Black
SVP/Region Manager
Union Bank

Marla is a native San Diegan with more than 33 years of banking and sales management experience. Prior to joining Union Bank in 1985, she was the sales and service manager for San Diego Federal/Great American Savings Bank. Some of her accomplishments include introducing a sales tracking system to California First Bank, the creation of SMART, Small Business positions, Deal Days, CBB and StaffSmart, now known as Scheduler 360. Marla graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in telecommunications in 1978 and Pacific Coast Banking School in 1999.





Eileen Crane
Founding Winemaker and President
Domaine Carneros'

Often referred to as America’s Doyenne of Sparkling Wine, Eileen Crane has spent more than 30 years in the industry. This makes her the most experienced Sparkling Winemaker in the United States. Raised with a keen appreciation for fine wines and haute cuisine, Eileen originally prepared for a culinary career, earning a master’s degree in nutrition followed by professional training at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. Eileen is one of a handful of women who are now in the forefront of the wine industry in California and was recently recognized as one of the 75 Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times.




Opening Reception Presenter


May Pon
President and Principal
M. Butterfield-Brown & Associates, Ltd.

May is a tax specialist enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service and provides tax preparation and planning, audit representation and small business consulting with an emphasis in real estate, estates and trusts. She has served on the San Francisco boards of the American Society of Women Accountants, the League of Women Voters and Live Oak School. She was San Francisco’s nominee for the 1991 National Woman of Achievement Award with ASWA and a past president of the San Francisco chapter. In addition to her 10 years as a trustee on the board at Live Oak School, May was instrumental in assisting the school in the purchase and renovation of a new school site using tax exempt financing.



Dinner Keynote Panelist


Janice Bryant Howroyd
Founder and CEO
Act One Personnel Services

Janice Bryant Howroyd is the founder and CEO of Act One Personnel Services--a company that provides staffing solutions for corporations across the U.S. Founded in 1978 with an initial investment of $1,500, a telephone and a small lease space, her company is now the largest certified woman minority-owned staffing company in the United States and is worth over $500 million. Motivated by the supportive environments of her own youth; She firmly believes that people perform best when their personal strengths are developed and challenged. She currently serves as a board member of the U.S. Department of Labor's Workforce Initiative Board, LA Economic Development Corporation, Women's Leadership Board's Committee of the Women and Public Policy Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), Academy of Business Leadership, Loyola Marymount University's Board of Regents, Los Angeles Urban League, Women in Film and other organizations.




Dinner Keynote Panelist



Koni Kim
President and CEO
Koni Corporation

Design legend Koni Kim has had a profound impact on the hospitality industry and her product innovations have significantly improved the hotel guest’s experience. With 30 years in hospitality soft goods, Koni embodies creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Koni Kim founded Koni Corporation in 1987; the company created custom textiles and soft sculptures for the design community and retail stores. Koni’s designs became very popular and the company quickly grew, and her design concept and the quality of the products became a high demands in the Hospitality Industry. Among her many innovations, Koni developed the Westin Heavenly Bed, which changed the hospitality industry. Additional Koni introductions include the “Peek-A-Boo” shower curtain that brings light to the bath tub and “Light Seal” drapery that seals the light in the window delivering comfortable sleep. Koni’s commitment to provide the highest quality and best value products to the industry drove her to design textile products in the guest rooms that cover not just bedding solutions but window and bath solutions as well.




Dinner Keynote Panelist



Maria de Lourdes Sobrino
Founder & CEO
Lulu’s Dessert Corporation

Maria de Lourdes Sobrino is founder and CEO of Lulu’s Dessert Corporation. Established in 1982, Lulu’s Dessert is ranked among the top 500 Hispanic Businesses in the United States. Born and raised in Mexico City, Maria revolutionized the food industry by creating the first-ever ready-to-eat gelatin category, based on her own mother’s recipe. Maria Shriver invited her to the 2009 Women’s Conference in Long Beach, California. She joined a panel to discuss How to Start or Grow Your Own Business in These Uncertain Times. In her first book, Thriving Latina Entrepreneurs in America, Maria shares her story along with seven other outstanding Latinas and their business successes.




Dinner Keynote Panelist



Lynda Weinman

Lynda Weinman co-founded, a leading online instructional video service that teaches technology and design skills to hundreds of thousands of people through individual memberships or site licenses to businesses and universities. Lynda’s story is an example of how an individual teacher, frustrated by the incomprehensible manuals that taught computer skills, created her own brand and started a school with her husband that branched into a company with 500-plus employees and contractors combined. The company was listed as the #12 fastest growing education companies in America in Inc. magazine's 5,000 list, and is growing 40-60 percent per year.






Dinner & Ceremony Sponsor


Suzanna de Baca
Vice President of Client Acquisition,
Field Engagement & Wealth Strategies

Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

For more than 17 years, Suzanna has provided financial and investment advice and services to high net worth individuals and families. Most recently, she was president of Private Capital Solutions Group, a private wealth advisory firm that she founded. Prior to running her own advisory business, she held senior level positions in production and sales management at several asset management firms in New York City, including Bank of America’s Private Bank and Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Group. A frequent guest at investment and finance industry conferences, Ms. de Baca has appeared on national television and radio, providing commentary on money management, wealth transfer, and business leadership.


Dinner Keynote Panel Moderator


Patricia Greene, Ph.D., MBA
Chair, Center for Women's Business Research
President's Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, Babson College

Patricia Greene previously served as Provost, and before that as Dean of the Undergraduate School at Babson College. Her current assignment is as the National Academic Director for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative and advisor to the 10,000 Women project. Patricia is passionately connected to the research on women’s business ownership and the practices and policies that should come from that research. She is the board chair for the Center for Women’s Business Research, a co-founder of the Diana Project, an advisory board member for the SBA’s SBDC program, a Fellow at IC2 at the University of Texas and special academic advisor to the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute. Most recently, she served as the women’s entrepreneurship subject matter expert for the Wall Street Journal’s Women in the Economy Task Force.

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