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Keynote Speaker: Florence D. Hudson

Florence DiStefano Hudson is a contemporary leader and innovator with an inspiring personal story and impressive professional resume. She is an inspirational business, technical and not-for-profit senior executive and board member with leadership skills in innovation, strategic planning, marketing, channels, partnerships, business development, sales, diversity, industry, research and academia. She is a highly respected transformational change agent and leader in both industry and research & education. She lives at the leading edge, creating the future.

Florence grew up on Long Island, NY and was trained as a mechanical and aerospace engineer, starting her career at Grumman Aerospace Corporation and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, working on solar power satellites, the space shuttle program, and future missions around Jupiter. She then entered the Information Technology field, first at Hewlett Packard, then at IBM where she had a 33-year career. She was IBM Director and Vice President in Corporate Strategy, the Global Industrial Sector and the Systems and Technology Group, developing and growing multi-billion dollar businesses. She was a leader of many growth strategies at IBM, including the Internet of Things, smart buildings, smart water management, Watson cognitive computing, healthcare and life sciences, cloud, hardware, software, financing and services.  After IBM, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Internet2, a not-for-profit consortium of 500 research and education organizations in academia, industry and government.

Her current role is Special Advisor to the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub for Next Generation Internet at Columbia University, and serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Blockchain in Healthcare Today. She is on engineering and technology advisory councils at Princeton University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Union County College. She has spoken in many venues worldwide, from Dubai to Japan, including a TED talk focused on sustainability on a smarter planet.  Ms. Hudson graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and has attended executive education at Harvard Business School and Columbia University. She is married with two adult children.

Susan Fioto – Scared Speechless: How You Can Overcome One of the World’s Biggest Fears and Find YOUR Voice!
Director, Residential Financial Services, Campus Residences & President, Brookhaven Toastmasters
The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only be accomplished, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership. Let’s find YOURS!

Amanda Ferranti, MA, CMPC – Harnessing Sports Psychology Methods for Professional Development
Director and Founder of Ferranti Empowerment; AASP Certified Mental Performance Consultant
A presentation of the methods used in sports psychology with the objective of inspiring women to acknowledge and overcome gender-related obstacles in their pursuit of professional goals.

Karin Schlee, Ph.D.– Your Inner Critic 101: When “I’m Not Ready” is in Your Way
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Stony Brook, NY
Ever notice when an opportunity comes your way, or a situation tries to pull you out of your comfort zone, that your reflex reaction is: “No, I’m not ready for that”? Be it speaking up in a work meeting, starting a new business venture, pursuing some creative endeavor you’re passionate about… what’s holding you back may be an inner critic that is louder than it needs to be.  Why does this happen to me? What does it mean? Why are women more likely to be duped by this voice? How can I get beyond this & venture out of my comfort zone?  These and other questions will be the focus of this psychological exploration of your inner critic and how to manage it, so you can take action and head toward your goals.


Christine Pacinello, Ed.D. & Juanita Winfield – Leading Without Self-Glory…Servant Leadership and its Relevance to 21st Century Organizations
Our presentation will define and discuss the origins of servant leadership, identify characteristics of servant leaders and the benefits to organizations and their members. Presenters will discuss their research findings and implications for leaders.

Tina Annibell – The Breakfast Experiment: 5 Days to Increased Energy and a Positive Mood
Owner and Founder, Nourished Living Holistic Nutrition; Holistic Health Coach
In this session, Tina Annibell, of Nourished Living will discuss how the foods we eat affect our overall health and well being. Are you ready to be part of the Breakfast Experiment?


Nancy Burner, Esq. – Why Women Need to Mentor Women – The Silver Lining in the #MeToo Movement
Founding Manager & Partner, Burner Law Group; Certified Elder Law Attorney
We find ourselves in a unique place in history. Now is the time to seize the moment and bring about positive and lasting change. This will be a frank discussion about how women must step up to plate and mentor other women in every age group and at every stage of life. Whether you are just starting out, stuck in a boring job, juggling family and work, returning to work after having a family or ready for a fresh challenge in your Third Age, this lecture will give you tools to get unstuck and move toward a vibrant and wholehearted life. Nancy Burner is mother to 6 daughters and founder of the largest all female law firm in the Tri-state area.

Marilyn Haig, MPS – Rising Above the Noise: Strategies for the Introverted Leader
Director, Corporate Education & Training, Stony Brook Hospital
Do you find that you have to work harder to overcome being disregarded or misunderstood because of your quiet demeanor? Do you have a preference for thinking before you speak? Do you need “alone time” to recharge your energy level? Are you concerned that your career progression may be hampered because you are not “outgoing”? There’s nothing wrong with you; you just may be among the one third to one half of Americans who are introverts. Introverts possess many unique characteristics that make them successful leaders. By sharing a personal story of recovering from a professional setback, Ms. Haig will share tips and techniques to enhance your impact as an introverted leader.


Lauren Gallagher, PhD – Lead Your Best Life: Unlocking the Mysteries of Positive Leadership.
Co-Founder of Sync it Up Sports; School Psychologist, Harborfields Central School District
Unlocking the mystery of good leadership always begins with connecting to your own passion and purpose. Unleash the natural born leader in you by listening to Lauren’s personal journey from NYC school teacher and bartender to practicing school psychologist, children’s author, mother, coach and business owner. She will share her secrets for helping you move forward in your growth as a leader by tapping into the inner tools you already possess. You will learn to grow from the people you come into contact each day as well as learn to think and be inspired by those at the top of their game. Lauren is passionate about inspiring and teaching children and adults to be the best versions of themselves and in doing so become confident and competent leaders of their own lives. Whether you are a young woman just beginning her journey, the CEO of a large corporation, or the leading force in your family, you will leave with practical tools and the inspiration needed to help you grow as a person and flourish as a leader.


Robin Burner Daleo, Esq. – Financial Independence: How to Have It All!
Associate, Burner Law Group, P.C
How can you achieve financial independence, but still have it all? Join us as we discuss work life balance and achieving your financial goals at any life stage without sacrificing joy.


Marianna Savoca, Ph.D., Patricia Aceves, Ed.D., Alfreda James, Ph.D., Jonelle Bradshaw de Hernandez, A.B.D., – Mid-career doctorate? Considerations, Realities, and Opportunities
Director, Career Services; Assistant Provost, CELT; Senior Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations – Stony Brook University
The motivations for earning a mid-career doctorate are varied and the reasons to begin this journey depend on the individual and career goals. A desire for knowledge, self improvement, and career change or advancement are among the reasons women choose to pursue a terminal degree mid-career. Panelists will discuss their personal motivations, considerations, challenges and perceived benefits for choosing their degree. Also discussed will be the decision to choose between masters or doctorate, PhD or EdD.


Pamela Wolfskill – The Art of Journaling
Stony Brook University Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Science is only now discovering what people who journal regularly have known all along: journaling heals the mind. A study published in the online magazine Science found that if students write about their anxieties right before an exam, the exercise helps them score better in the test. A 2014 study even showed improvement in cancer patients who put pen to paper to express their deepest feelings about the disease. In fact, journaling is so powerful that it can even help people heal their physical wounds, found a 2008 study in the British Journal of Health Psychology. “When you write in a journal, you have the opportunity to examine challenging feelings and circumstances and to learn from them and rise above those situations,” says psychologist Paulette Kouffman Sherman. “When your life seems chaotic, it can help you to look at the larger picture and see patterns that help things make sense over time.


Susan Hayes – Leading with Confidence
Consultant, Hayes Horizons

What at the qualities of confident leaders as they influence others? What are the habits you can work on right away? Susan Hayes will present these concepts and how they situationally impact all of us as leaders.

Joe Bica & Peter Thomsen – Personal Safety and Self Defense Techniques for Women
Community Relations Team, Stony Brook University Police Department
In this session, you will learn about crime prevention and participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice self-defense skills.

Dafny Irizarry – We Can Do It!
President and Founder, Long Island Latino Teachers Association
Life lessons on how an immigrant young woman with limited English overcame personal and professional obstacles to become the first Latina to chair the board of the largest community college in the state of New York and form an influential civil rights group for Latino teachers and students on Long Island. By sharing our stories, we come to realize that we are not alone in our challenges and struggles and can provide inspiration for others to achieve their dreams.

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