WEST Workshop Leaders

WEST is very fortune to work with great speakers who lead workshops for our community.  If you are interested finding a speaker or coach, please review the details below. 

Gwen Acton - Vivo Group

Gwen Acton, PhD, is an expert on strategic leadership at the intersection of science and business. She is CEO of Vivo Group, a firm that improves the leadership skills of technical experts so they can be more productive and innovative in industry. Prior to this, she served as Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where she ran the operations of the Functional Genomics Program, a $40 million, 50-person academic-industry collaborative research program.  Dr. Acton has a doctorate in biology from M.I.T., and served as a faculty member at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is the author of the book "The Bluffer’s Guide to Genetics," a humorous guide to DNA published by Oval Books, and the former president of Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (WEST). Dr. Acton is a popular speaker, workshop presenter, and facilitator.

Rita Balian Allen - Rita B. Allen Associates

Rita Balian Allen is the president of Rita B. Allen Associates, a career management firm specializing in executive coaching, leadership development, management training and career development. She is a lecturer at Boston-area universities, a sought-after speaker and presenter, the author of numerous articles, blogs and the book, "Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself: The Three P's Marketing Technique as a Guide to Career Empowerment". Rita was voted one of the top ten executive coaches by the Boston Women's Business Journal.  She brings many years of human resources experience to her practice and has worked with leaders across all industries and professions.  Previously, she held roles as Vice President of Marketing and Search Services with Gatti & Associates, and human resource positions with C.R. Bard, Inc., BTU International, and Unitrode Corporation.  She holds an MS in Leadership and a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University and is certified in several assessments tools.   Rita currently serves on the board of directors of More Than Words and is a former board member of The Boston Club and the Association of Career Professionals International - New England.   She is also an active member of other professional associations and organizations.  

Kathy Ball-Toncic - The 262 Group

Kathy Ball-Toncic is a corporate and leadership coach, specializing in women’s leadership development. In 2006, she founded the two.six.two group, a leadership coaching and consulting firm. Kathy leverages her own experience in the corporate world to motivate and inspire other leaders. She has collaborated with CEO’s, managers, directors, and individual contributors, both men and women, from many diverse companies including corporations such as Omgeo (a Thomson Financial/DTCC company), NYFIX, Novartis, Raytheon, ING, and Babson University. Kathy is the former director and current faculty member of the Graduate Program in Executive Coaching at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Boston (www.mspp.edu).  Kathy is an adjunct faculty member at the Swiss School of Management in Rome where she teaches leadership to MBA students from around the world. 

Eleanor Chin - Clarity Partners Coaching and Consulting

Eleanor Chin brings over 20 years of experience as a dynamic leader, executive coach and an innovative thinker in her work with not-for-profits, educational institutions, Fortune 1000 corporations and start-up ventures. Ms. Chin combines her experience and vision to coach individual and institutional clients in navigating change and creating inclusive, effective systems.

 Katie Donovan - Equal Pay Negotiations LLC

Katie Donovan is a salary negotiation consultant, equal pay advocate, and keynote speaker.  Ms. Donovan’s speaks on equal pay issues and salary negotiations at such venues as Harvard Business School, National Association of Women MBAs Conference, Association of American University Women, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Mom Corps, Holy Cross Women in Business Conference, and 85 Broads.  She is frequently quoted by media writing about career management, salary negotiation, and pay equal pay issues including NPR, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, The Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Woman’s Day, Salary.com, and The Glass Hammer.  It's common for women who take who courses or consult with her to negotiate at least 10% more from the initial offer or their current pay.

Beata Dragovics - Freedom Trail Financial, LLC

Beata Dragovics, founder of Freedom Trail Financial, LLC., was born in a small suburban town near Budapest, Hungary. Her mother set a powerful entrepreneurial example by opening her own CPA firm and encouraging Beata to study English and travel. She relocated to Boston close to two decades ago, earned her CFP® certification and, after working at a major brokerage firm in Boston for over 10 years, established Freedom Trail Financial. Beata believes in the effectiveness of comprehensive, holistic, financial planning that aligns your values with your long term financial goals. Beata earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the Budapest Business School and in 2016 earned her Master’s Degree in Financial Planning from the College of Financial Planning. She holds the FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®.

Christine Duvivier - Positive Leaders LLC

Christine Duvivier’s personal experience in positive change began 20 years ago, as a Fortune 50 leader in a technology firm, when she engaged employees worldwide to boost Customer Loyalty.   Working with hundreds of global leaders in companies such as Akamai, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Haemonetics, and HP, Christine has studied and applied the teachings of the great masters in happiness, spirituality, leadership and positive change, becoming one of the first 65 people in the world to become a Master in Applied Positive Psychology at UPenn.  She also holds an MBA from Cornell.  Christine lives in Wellesley, MA with her husband, David and they have two daughters, Katherine and Lauren.

Marion Estienne - 3sixtyglobal

Marion Estienne, Ph. D is an expert in international business, global mindset, and cross-cultural leadership changes. She develops talent in companies that need to meet the demands of the global marketplace.  Not only does she develop others to work successfully in the international environment, but she also has done business herself as an international consultant, trainer and coach.  Marion is an ICF certified Executive Coach from the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara. Leadership and developing leaders are her passion.  She believes it is not possible to move forward as an organization without transformational leadership.  She is exploring this theme weekly in a radio program, entitled, Present Tense, Future Perfect, on the Bold and Brave Media Global Network/TuneIn Radio.  Faced with accelerated change due to four factors, Innovation, Globalization, Climate Change, and Technology, her radio show asks the question, are our organizations and societies developing the kind of leadership that is necessary for what is a turning point in history?  

Ali Farquhar - GTL Coaching and Consulting 

Alison Farquhar (Ali), Principal of GTL Coaching & Consulting, is a respected executive coach, consultant, and facilitator who helps high potentials develop as leaders and teams find constructive and effective ways to get results. As a facilitator, Ali helps groups work through high stakes situations and engage with the unspoken issues that hold them back. Building leadership capacity, driving growth and change, advancing strategic dialogue, and unlocking the system when change appears blocked, are all central to GTL’s mission. Ali holds a BA (1st Class Combined Honours) from Exeter University in the UK, an MBA from INSEAD, France, and is a Certified Executive Coach trained at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Prior to forming GTL, her career included international banking, academic research, management consulting, and executive education. Ali has consulted in a wide range of industries across Europe and North America, and worked with leaders in organizations of all sizes from Fortune 50 to small hi-tech start-ups. She draws from multiple disciplines (leadership, change management, adult development, neuropsychology, and cross-cultural dynamics) to serve her clients. In addition, she is a certified “Overcoming Immunity to Change” Coachtrained to help individuals and teams get “un-blocked” in the face of persistent challenging issues. 

Laurie Gerber - The Handel Group 

More About Laurie
Laurie Gerber is Co-President and Senior Coach at Handel Group® Life Coaching. Her professional and personal mission is to better the world by teaching people to tell the truth and pursue their dreams. Her focus is on maximizing clients' ability to thrive across all areas of life--health, love, career, money, family, etc. Laurie spreads her message of empowerment through live international events, one-on-one coaching, virtual coaching courses, as a writer for well-known blogs, and in TV and radio appearances. 

Julie Lynch - Uncommon Consulting

Julie Lynch, Principal of Uncommon Consulting, is an expert in motivation, management and meaningful work and brings 20 years of experience in executive and management development, organizational effectiveness and HR leadership roles.  With a unique ability to articulate goals, inspire action and facilitate the development of outstanding teams, her programs are engaging, informative and packed with practical tools. 

Heather McGotty - Welch's

Heather McGotty, Director, Human Resources, has been hiring people for over 22 years and still gets a thrill when a prospective candidate says “yes!”  A Massachusetts native, Heather graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.B.A. in Human Resources and immediately relocated to New Jersey to work at The Prudential as a recruiter.  In her career, she’s also worked in organizational design and development, learning and development, employee relations, compensation, and project management.  While the industries have varied (consumer package goods and financial services), the core of Human Resources has and will always be people and how we create environments so that everyone can contribute to an organization’s success.

Sherri Malouf - Situation Management Systems, Inc

Entrepreneurial and seasoned professional trainer and consultant with over fifteen years experience. Highly effective working with different levels of people in a variety of industries. Expertise includes training & consulting, design & development, marketing & sales, and business management & leadership. Firm grasp of organizational dynamics enables clients to be more successful.  

Bonnie Marcus - Women's Success Coaching 

Award winning entrepreneur and Forbes contributing writer, Bonnie Marcus, M.Ed., has real conversations for real women about real situations in the workplace today. As the founder and principal of Women’s Success Coaching, Bonnie assists professional women to successfully navigate the workplace and position and promote themselves to advance their careers.  With 20+ years of sales and management experience, Bonnie’s extensive business background includes CEO of a ServiceMaster company and VP of Sales at Medical Staffing Network and two others national companies in the healthcare and software industries.  She has held executive positions in startup companies and Fortune 500 companies.  In addition to ForbesWoman, Bonnie has been published in WomenEntrepreneur, Central Valley Business Times. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Diversity MBA, and CIO Magazine.  Bonnie received a BA from Connecticut College and a M.Ed. from New York University.  Her weekly radio show, GPS Your Career: A Woman’s Guide To Success, provides practical tips and resources for professional women to succeed in business. 

Edith Onderick-Harvey - Factor In Talent

Edith Onderick-Harvey is a highly sought after partner in developing leaders, executive teams and organizations that achieve exceptional performance. She has led and managed U.S.-based and international assignments with a focus on the innovation sector – high tech, life sciences, higher education and financial services. . Over the course of her career she has been a Partner with Bridge Avenue Partners in charge of marketing, worked with Accenture and had internal leadership roles for five years with BankBoston (now Bank of America) and Fidelity Investments. Edith has published articles on building sustainable talent pipelines and effectively communicating change. She has been quoted in The New York Times, Human Resource Executive, American Executive, U.S. Business Review and CNN.com.  Her work with Harvard University is featured in The Conference Board publication “Evidence-based HR in Action.”  She has also published research on Leadership in the Next Decade. Ms. Onderick-Harvey has an M.A. in Organizational Communication from Purdue


First impression & etiquette expert Janet Parnes is on a mission: equip young professionals with skills that enable them to maximize the opportunities and handle the conundrums that come with career advancement. Whether we are talking about a board game, table manners, or interviewing, playing by the rules shows that we are respectful, confident and competent. Janet’s etiquette workshops teach skills that develop and display these qualities; students learn how to polish their professional image to make themselves notable and memorable. As a professional storyteller, Janet spices her workshops with intriguing historical trivia, accounts of hapless etiquette breaches (including her own!) and breath-catching tales of real–life rudeness! Clients describe her workshops as “awesome”: the experience engaging and the lessons memorable. Janet’s professional experience encompasses companies such as Analog Devices, Lipton Tea, and Shaw's Supermarkets. Her desire to see young people reach their potential, and conviction that dreams are designed to be realized led her to enroll at the internationally recognized Protocol School of Washington®. With a client list that spans colleges, business groups, schools, libraries, museums and private homes, she leverages her talents and conviction to give clients techniques that cement the foundation for success in every area of life.

Susan Peppercorn - Positive Workplace Partners 

Susan specializes in working with individuals in career transition who find themselves at a crossroads either through circumstance or choice. She also develops training, for organizations to help them create higher levels of employee engagement and productivity. Susan works extensively with life science professionals helping them to identify their unique skills and strengths and build their personal brand for career success. She completed a Certification in Positive Psychology Coaching with Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener as well as a Certification in Positive Psychology from Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, highly respected leaders in Positive Psychology.

Claudette Rowley - Cultural Brilliance, Inc.

Claudette Rowley, Cultural Brilliance CEO, is a culture design consultant with 20 years of experience in organizational development. With her 5-Step Cultural Brilliance methodology, she helps executive leaders retain and increase the value of their business as they merge, transform and scale. Claudette is an experienced strategist with a knack for building collaborative executive leadership teams to boost business performance and increase employee engagement. For the last fifteen years, Claudette has consulted, trained and coached executive leaders and management teams at Fortune 1000 companies, small businesses and start-ups around how to create a workplace culture that delivers effective business results. She is the author of Embrace Your Brilliance: How to align yourself with your unique potential and lives in the Boston area with her husband and three teenagers. Claudette holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, a certification from the Coaches Training Institute, and the Professional Certified Coach credential through the International Coach Federation. She has completed additional training in organizational development, conflict resolution, mediation, the Predictable Success business life cycle model, and relationship systems coaching.

Carol Salloway - Performa Consulting Group

Carol Salloway is an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Consultant. With nearly 20 years of experience, Carol has deeply honed her coaching expertise.   She has coached over 100 leaders – smart, high performing individuals who are interested in continuing their leadership growth.   Her credentials include an MBA with a concentration in Organizational Behavior as well as being certified as a professional coach.   Her toolbox is very rich with certifications in the best-in-class leadership assessment instruments and approaches including several leadership 360 tools, various individual and team Emotional Intelligence instruments and personality instruments. Carol’s earlier career includes serving as the leader of the organizational effectiveness consulting practice at a Boston-area management consultancy. With her extensive management consultant experience, she brings a deep understanding of organizational and business dynamics to her coaching work.  Carol serves as a Supervisor Coach for the Executive Coaching Graduate Program at William James College.  She also coaches in the executive education programs at Harvard Business School.

Mari Anne Snow - SophiaThink Consulting

Mari Anne Snow is an organizational development and change management professional with over 20 years experience utilizing technology to support non-disruptive change.  She is CEO of SophiaThink, a management consulting firm that helps clients develop high performing virtual teams using new technologies.  Before SophiaThink, Mari Anne held senior positions as a business technologist and organizational development professional at the State Street Corporation.  Mari Anne is an Adjunct Professor at Bentley University; on the Board of Directors of WEST, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of women in science and technology; and a contributor to Data Guidance, an international privacy publication.  She is also the resident social media guru for Patricia Raskin’s radio show – Positive Business on Rhode Island’s WPRV AM790. 

Maura Snow - Great Brook Biotech

With over 20 years of experience in the role of Senior Human Resources Leader, Maura has helped technical professionals improve their interaction and leadership skills in a variety of industries. Maura has worked in the biotechnology industry since 2000 with drug discovery companies, drug sales organizations, and European pharmaceutical companies operating in the United States. Since 2009 Maura has been active in presenting communication and team building seminars for small start up companies as well as large research institutes within Harvard Medical School. 

Iris Stammberger - Learning Management Institute

Iris Stammberger, Ph.D. is a business performance improvement consultant who has worked internationally with IT, energy, biotech, pharmaceutical, energy and higher education organizations. She is the founder and CEO of the Learning Management Institute, a consulting firm supporting business performance improvement in organizations through the use of TALBOK™, a framework and methodology for effective decision-making in organizations. Prior to this, she held the Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) and worked internationally in strategy execution and project management as the CEO of a boutique management and engineering consulting firm in Latin America. She holds a Ph.D. from Tufts University (Cognitive Studies) and an MSEE from Universidad Central de Venezuela. 

Samantha Sutton - Samantha Sutton, Ph.D. Life Solutions

Samantha is passionate about helping brilliant people like you live brilliant lives.  Samantha earned a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering at MIT, and then realized that, if she really wanted to change the face of science and technology in the world, the best way to do it would be to start with the scientists and technologists, themselves. Samantha has spent the past seven years teaching over a thousand individuals in how to make inspired and fulfilling life choices. She combines her background in science, engineering and coaching to teach you how to achieve a WHOLE life that you love: career, relationships, time management, money, health, and other areas. Samantha runs her own coaching company, Samantha Sutton, Ph.D. Life Solutions, that offers a systematic and powerful approach to inventing a life you love. Samantha has coached at institutions like Stanford, MIT, Columbia and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), organizations such as the American Women in Science (AWIS), the Association for Underrepresented Minority Fellows (AUMF), and NSF's FORWARD to Professorship Workshop, and at companies like BASF and DaVita HealthCare Partners. 

Fredia Woolf - Woolf Consulting

Fredia has been providing consulting, facilitation and executive coaching services since the late 1990s. Prior to founding Woolf Consulting, Fredia held line and leadership roles in the global capital markets. She spent more than a decade in investment banking, where she turned around and led sales teams, spearheaded innovative sales approaches, and substantially increased market penetration and bottom line results.  She has been advising C-suite executives since 1990, and spent five years helping CFOs and CEOs of FT-SE 100 companies craft effective shareholder communications strategies. In addition to her consulting work, Fredia serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of ITN Greater Boston, a transportation service for the elderly, as Board Member of the Boston Facilitators Roundtable, a professional association, and as Vice-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Boston Club, an organization for women leaders.  She has lived in South Africa, Europe and the United States.  Her education includes degrees in Modern Languages and Education, and an MBA, with Highest Honors, from Simmons School of Management in Boston, where she specialized in Marketing and Organizational Behavior.