Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University



Check out the lineup of speakers for this year’s event below.

Interested in submitting a proposal to speak at this event or a future WISE Symposium? Click here to submit a speaker proposal to the event planning committee!



Iconic athlete, sports and social advocate, author, and Emmy award-winning television commentator, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon. She has been honored widely for her achievements, most recently being inducted into the USA National Women’s Hall of Fame for creating positive social change. The ramifications of this work is both joyful and profound, changing forever the face of sports, health, and opportunities for women around the world and fearlessly empowering millions beyond the finish line, especially through the non-profit “261® Fearless, Inc.” To learn more about Kathrine, visit



Isisara Bey is an film festival and live events producer, keynote speaker,  facilitator for conferences, festivals, workshops, retreats and board meetings. As an event producer, she serves as Executive Producer of the March on Washington Film Festival (MOWFF), an annual Civil Rights-themed, week long  summer festival of short, documentary and narrative films, first person accounts, scholarship, the performing arts and student filmmaker and journalist competitions in the nation’s capital. The festival’s mission is to unearth the untold stories and unsung icons and foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement, impact the way the movement is taught, and to connect the movement’s aims and strategies to present day social justice activism in this country and abroad.

Prior to joining the March on Washington Film Festival, she served as VP of Programs for Count Me in for Women’s Economic Independence, designing and leading business pitch competitions and multi-day events promoting and supporting entrepreneurship for women around the country.

As a keynote speaker, Isisara brings her powerful presence, rich subject matter and engaging delivery to audiences exploring the principles of business leadership and personal empowerment.  As a workshop facilitator, she creatively blends core content with human development processes and theater games, allowing participants to experience individual agency and an enhanced capacity to accomplish goals and manifest dreams.  She also moderates panels and meetings for a variety of organizations.

Theresa VanderMeer


Theresa VanderMeer is a tech-loving social entrepreneur that identifies deeply with the Horace Mann quote “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” As a University of Michigan-funded researcher, Theresa worked to understand how economic empowerment transforms women’s lives. Having kicked off her career at ad giants like Google and Publicis, Theresa now combines the findings of her research and her corporate knowledge of client management and offshore operations to employ women in need at WORK+SHELTER, an ethical cut-and-sew factory she founded in New Delhi, India.

When not hustling to move her factory’s fair-trade, organic tote bags and tees, Theresa can be found exercising her champion sleeping abilities at less-than-ideal places like Burning Man, and compulsively reading The New York Times, including her favorite column, “Modern Love.”

Jamila Payne


Jamila Payne has built a community for goal-getting professionals creating work-life abundance. The movement is based on her productivity philosophy — Daily Success Method™.  Her system is like a modern-day Franklin Covey for rising women breadwinners. She’s trained over 10,000 entrepreneurs across the U.S. and Africa.

Jamila is an award-winning business owner, selected as a “40 Under 40 Entrepreneur to Watch” by the Philadelphia Business Journal. She’s a Small Business Contributor for the Huffington Post, Black Enterprise Magazine,, and author of the book From Payne to Power.

Jamila’s work has been featured in InStyle, Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.



Rick Tamlyn inspires people to be their best. In 2001, Rick co-created The Bigger Game: a tool that inspires people from all walks of life to get out of their comfort zones and invent the lives they want. He is the author of Play Your Bigger Game: 9 Minutes to Learn, A Lifetime to Live (Hay House).

Rick is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and a Master Certified Coach (MCC) as designated by the International Coach Federation (ICF), and is a senior trainer for The Coaches Training Institute.

Learn more:

Joanne Lenweaver


Joanne Lenweaver is a life-long student of the creative spirit, whether as an entrepreneur within her women-owned business or “intrapreneur” in other large corporations, Joanne believes in creative problem solving, calculated disruption, and never accepting the status-quo in any situation. Starting in 1985, Joanne with her husband, Dave, guided their design firm of remarkably talented creatives through many award-winning years. Lenweaver Advertising+Design Inc. featured in national media for its innovative use of the first version Apple MacIntosh computer installations in a design firm setting led the way in a new world. As Director of the WISE Women’s Business Center, Joanne has taken the women’s business center to new levels by: relocating to a downtown location in The Tech Garden to achieve greater branding presence; initiating the first fund raising effort for the WISE Women’s Business Center; and building an Advisory Board engaged to create a center to serve entrepreneurial women of the future.

Annie Dean


Annie Dean is the Cofounder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Werk, a job discovery platform of top jobs, all with pre-negotiated flexibility.

Annie is an alumni of the Syracuse College of Arts and Sciences (Class of 2007) and is a former corporate real estate law attorney who represented institutional lenders in multi-national commercial real estate transactions.

She lives in New York City with her husband Peter and their two sons, Jack and Walt.

Lisa Baker


Lisa Baker instinctively fosters connections resulting in positivity and motivation by building on over twenty years in corporate IT, and with extensive teaching and training experience as her foundation.  She is compelled to bring diversity and inclusivity to the corporate space, believing at her core that together anything is possible. She brings a quiet energy supporting the collective with a focused drive to realize shared goals. Always curious and creative, having a multitude of ideas Lisa sees possibilities moving towards new ways of doing and being, embracing what is possible in service of the collective. Lisa is a co-founder of The Leaders Co-Lab, a living laboratory and consultancy where people and organizations come together to learn and practice becoming better leaders.

Melissa O'Mara


Melissa O’Mara’s experience encompasses 27 years in complex, global organizations such as Schneider Electric, IBM and Andersen Consulting, engaging in information systems consulting, project management, change management, consultative solution sales, solutions sales management, professional coaching, and leadership development.  She looks to maximize institutional and cultural response to environmental and economic challenges through activating teams and communities of purpose, accelerating public/private collaboration and innovation, and enabling collective leadership.  Melissa is a co-founder of The Leaders Co-Lab, a living laboratory and consultancy where people and organizations come together to learn and practice becoming better leaders.

Helen Marie Fox


Helen Marie Fox is a health and performance coach who has helped hundreds of people perform at their best. Her strategic approach to goal achievement leaves people armed with the knowledge, skills and essential mindset required to create change. As a former NCAA Division I student-athlete, Helen knows how to get the job done on and off the field. Before coaching in the areas of leadership, influence, communication, and high performance, Helen enjoyed a successful career as a health and wellness coach and personal trainer. Her brilliant techniques inspire others to be better and do more so that life can be lived by design, not default.

Ingrid Macher @lose20


Originally born in Bogota, Colombia, Ingrid Macher came to the United States in search of a better life. Now… this Latina, wife and mother of two is helping people across the globe increase the quality of theirs.

After struggling for many years with her weight problems, Ingrid developed a fun, effective, and practical fat loss system that allowed her to lose an astonishing 55 pounds in 90 days. This transformation worked wonders for Ingrid’s energy levels and self-confidence. It became her mission to deliver these life-changing results to as many people as possible.

As a certified holistic health coach (The Institute of Integrative Nutrition) and personal trainer (World Fitness Association), Ingrid’s credentials are unquestionable. But what makes this new fitness and health expert truly stand out is her incredible ability to motivate people to go after their dreams in life.

Dr. Zina Berry


Dr. Zina Berry founded her Syracuse dental practice in 1999. Since then, she has significantly raised the level of quality at Berry Good Dental Care, improving the level dental care by the use of technology, the efficiency of scheduling and billing, and the atmosphere of the office and the treatment rooms. She was awarded a certification in orthodontics from the International Association for Orthodontics in 2002. Dr. Berry has pursued other professional education, including training in the use of Cerec Technology. She is a member of the Fifth District Dental Society of the State of New York and of the New York State Dental Association.

Heather G. Lane


Heather G. Lane has been President and co-owner of Purity Ice Cream Company since 1998.  She has been upholding and improving an Ithaca tradition of Classic Goodness over the past 20 years. The past few years have been a time of growth and renovation for Purity Ice cream.  In March 2015, Purity introduced weekend breakfast… Purity Pancakes.

The expansion includes a 75 seat dining room that opened its doors and quickly became a wildly popular breakfast spot in Ithaca. Finally, in January 2016 Purity opened for lunch Monday – Friday. In addition to serving happiness at Purity Ice cream Co Heather enjoys getting students excited about business and has been a part-time lecturer at Ithaca College School of Business.

The art of creating a satisfying customer experience that is also profitable has been Heather’s pursuit and passion for years. Getting better at it all the time is her enduring goal!

Jackie Wilson


Jackie Wilson is the Proprietor and President of American Fashion Network/JES Apparel. Jackie, who founded the company in 2005, has led her team to achieve award-winning growth over the past five years. The company’s Speed to Market model, offering fast fashion to America’s top mid-tier retailers, brings a host of solutions to the changing landscape in the fashion industry. Ms. Wilson proudly employs six graduates from both the Cazenovia College Fashion Program and Syracuse University… one from each institution who has risen to Director level.

Elin Barton


Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions, Inc., an award-winning video production and marketing firm based in Vestal, NY. Elin is a frequent speaker, certified Infinite Possibilities trainer and business coach. For more than 20 years Elin has worked successfully in the fields of media and video production and has been the featured speaker at women and entrepreneurially focused events throughout the upstate NY region. Elin hosts a weekly podcast called Ready, Set, Grit, where her guests discuss topics of interest to entrepreneurs, particularly around the topics of intentionally creating a life where all your dreams can and do come true.

Elin is working on her first book, Ready, Set, Grit, which will be available in October of 2017 and she is the author and host of the You’ve Got the Power online course.  Elin is an alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and of the Count Me In program.

Elin is a true advocate and supporter of entrepreneurs and small businesspeople who have big dreams and she serves as the Upstate NY chair of the Woman’s Advantage, a nationwide initiative aimed at getting female entrepreneurs to a million dollars of annual revenue and beyond.

Kathryn Cartini


Kate Cartini is an Associate Partner with Chloe Capital, a venture capital firm focused on investing in female tech cofounders, and educating women investors. 

After graduating from the Newhouse Program at Syracuse University, Kate began her career in television broadcasting. She continues to share stories today, representing Upstate’s startup ecosystem as CEO of content marketing firm, Peacock Media, LLC, and CMO of Upstate Venture Connect – Upstate NY’s super regional network for entrepreneurs. 

Kate is also a talent scout and mentor with the StartFast Venture Accelerator, and an advisor for the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship in the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College. 

Berenice Bonilla


Berenice Bonilla is Owner and Director of Bérica Agency, a Syracuse based social impact branding agency, and the first Latina-owned company of its kind in the country. Prior to launching Bérica in Syracuse, NY, she managed communications for the Center for Engineering Leadership at Rice University in Houston, TX, where she organized the nation’s first conference for engineering leadership.

Now living in Syracuse, Ms. Bonilla remains true to her passion of connecting fellow women of color and entrepreneurs to opportunities through which they can accelerate their academic and economic growth. Via Bérica Agency, she offers pro bono marketing support to the WISE Latina Conference and Latino Professional Network of Syracuse, and provided launch communications for the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance and Hispanic Syracuse.

Eugenia Brieva


Eugenia Brieva, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an extraordinary architect who has risen to the top of her field. She graduated magna cum laude from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, receiving a combination Masters and Bachelor of Architecture, and worked as a Designer and Partner of her own firm in her native Chile before moving to the United States. She joined QPK Design (QPK) in 1996 as a Project Architect and Designer. Ms. Brieva became an Associate Partner in 1998 and then became the firm’s only woman partner in 2002. She remains a highly regarded and extraordinary expert in the field of architectural design for many of our community’s major public facilities.

Ms. Brieva’s enthusiasm and passion lies within her commitment to environmentally responsible development, the revitalization of deteriorated urban areas and adaptive reuse projects. Her philosophy of design is to provide quality sustainable design to respond to her client’s needs. She has been involved in sustainable design projects for over 30 years, in Chile and the USA, being one of the first LEED registered architects in the region. These projects are of specific professional interest to Ms. Brieva because of her commitment to contributing and facilitating opportunities for economic development in our City.

Marisol Hernandez


Marisol Hernandez is the editor-in-chief of CNY Latino Newspaper, the only Hispanic-oriented publication in Central New York. Her main roles are to assists with Marketing/Advertising, serves as an editor and proof-reader of the CNY Latino Newspaper; manages the Translation Division, and many events that this organization creates and manages annually. Native of Puerto Rico, she graduated from Empire State College, State University of New York with a degree in Human and Community Services and a concentration in Child and Family Studies.

Marisol created WISE Latina, an annual luncheon to motivate, empower and connect Latina women in Central New York by supporting their existing and developing entrepreneurial objectives. WISE Latina is held within the renowned WISE Symposium in Syracuse, NY. Marisol has received the 2015 WISE Faces of Success Award presented by iHeartMedia’s Y94 and the 2016 Successful Business Women Award for Multicultural Diversity Achievement presented by BIZ Events.