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2020 Women's Leadership Conference Speakers

2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Brad Johnson image 2020 WIPL Conference Speaker David Smith image 2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Rebecca Minkoff image 2020 WIPL Speaker Debbie Rosen 2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Tererai Trent image 2020 WIPL Conference Moderator Eva Saha image

Speakers for the 10th Annual Women's Leadership Conference on Feb. 11, 2020, include (pictured left to right) Brad Johnson and David Smith, Rebecca MinkoffDebbie Rosen and Tererai Trent. Moderator for the 2020 conference will be Eva Saha. Additional speakers will be posted here soon.

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Brad Johnson

2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Brad Johnson imageW. Brad Johnson, Ph.D., is the co-author of Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women. He is a professor of psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law at the United States Naval Academy, and a faculty associate in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University.

A clinical psychologist and former Lieutenant Commander in the Navy’s Medical Service Corps, Johnson served as a psychologist at Bethesda Naval Hospital and the Medical Clinic at Pearl Harbor where he was the division head for psychology. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Teaching Excellence Award. He has served as chair of the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Committee and as president of the Society for Military Psychology.

Johnson is the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters—many on the topic of mentoring—and 12 books, in the areas of mentoring, professional ethics, and counseling. Books of related interest include: On Being a Mentor: A Guide for Higher Education Faculty (2nd Ed.) (2015), The Elements of Mentoring (Revised Ed.) (2008, with Charles Ridley), The Elements of Ethics for Professionals (2008, with Charles Ridley), and Becoming a Leader the Annapolis Way (2006, with Greg Harper). 

David Smith

2020 WIPL Conference Speaker David Smith imageDavid Smith, Ph.D., is the co-author of Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women. He is an associate professor of sociology in the Department of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College.

A former Navy pilot, Smith led diverse organizations of women and men culminating in command of a squadron in combat and flew more than 3,000 hours over 30 years including combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a sociologist trained in military sociology and social psychology, he focuses his research in gender, work, and family issues including gender bias in performance evaluations, dual career families, military families, women in the military, and retention of women.

Smith is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters—many on the topic of gender and the workplace. 

Rebecca Minkoff

2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Rebecca Minkoff image

An industry leader in accessible luxury handbags, accessories, footwear and apparel, Rebecca Minkoff’s playful and subtly edgy designs can be spotted around the world on young women and celebrities alike.

After developing an affinity for design while in the costume department in high school, Minkoff moved to New York City at only 18 years old to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

In 2001, she designed a version of the “I Love New York” T-shirt as part of a five-piece capsule collection, which appeared on The Tonight Show and became an overnight sensation. In 2005, Minkoff designed her first handbag, which she soon dubbed the “Morning After Bag, a.k.a. the M.A.B.” This iconic bag ignited Minkoff’s career as a handbag designer and inspired her edgy, feminine creations in the years to come.

Minkoff’s success was further enhanced by the support of her brother and the CEO and co-founder, Uri Minkoff, who helped usher in and pioneer the company’s industry-leading social media efforts.

After four years of designing statement-making handbags and accessories with her trademark leathers, studs and hardware, she returned to her roots of apparel design and introduced her first ready-to-wear collection in 2009.

Today, Rebecca Minkoff is a global brand with a wide range of apparel, handbags, footwear, jewelry and accessories (including tech) as well as men’s accessories under the label Uri Minkoff. In the spring of 2017, Rebecca Minkoff Watches was launched, reimagining the category through their decidedly downtown, Rock and Roll aesthetic. Uri Minkoff also introduced its own distinct line of menswear timepieces.

The brand has four domestic retail stores, eight international locations, and is distributed in over 900 stores worldwide. In 2011, she won industry recognition when she was awarded the Breakthrough Designer Award from the Accessories Council. She is an active member of the CFDA and supports multiple philanthropies. In August of 2017, she was announced as a member of the first-ever New York State Council on Women and Girls, in the company of other female industry leaders including Refinery29 founder Christene Barberich, SoulCycle CEO, Melanie Whelan, and Deloitte CEO, Cathy Engelbert.

Minkoff is dedicated to bringing women together to enact positive change. In September of 2018, she established the Female Founder Collective, a network of businesses led by women that invests in women’s financial power across the socio-economic spectrum by enabling and empowering female-owned businesses.

She is married to Gavin Bellour and they live in Brooklyn with their three children.

Debbie Rosen

2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Debbie Rosen imageDebbie Rosen is a highly accomplished and visionary healthcare executive with a longstanding history of success in corporate strategy, business development, acquisition strategy and integration, operational leadership, product innovation, and cultural transformation.

As executive vice president and healthcare practice leader at Energage, Rosen is responsible for setting the strategic direction for healthcare solutions in the organization, providing thought leadership to clients and ensuring sustainable growth of the Energage healthcare business. She serves as an industry leader to ensure Energage tools and insights are effectively used to help make the world a better place to work together for all healthcare associates.

Prior to joining Energage, Rosen spent nine years as senior vice president of strategy and physician and employee services at Press Ganey Associates. Previously she served in several senior leadership roles in the healthcare industry including global practice leader, healthcare for The Gallup Organization, assistant vice president for strategic improvement with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Hamilton, recipient of the 2004 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, director of cardiopulmonary services and performance improvement with Bon Secours Health System, and strategic advisor to the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rosen has a master’s degree in business administration from Ellis College of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), a master black belt in six sigma, and has various certifications in human behavior and business performance.

Eva Saha

2020 WIPL Conference Moderator Eva Saha imageEva Saha is a professional emcee, moderator and presenter. She served as moderator for the 2019 Women's Leadership Conference. 

Saha is best known for having worked as a TV personality on the award winning entertainment show, 190 North, on Chicago’s ABC7. Her natural, warm and commanding presence, both on and off-camera, has also made her the host of choice for a variety of live-event clients including Cardinal Health, Panasonic, Caterpillar and St. Jude Medical. She is known to bring out the best in her stage guests. She has interviewed people from all walks of life, including James Carville and Mary Matalin, Jim Kelly, Venus Williams, Magic Johnson, Michael J. Fox and Bill Nye the Science Guy to name a few.

Her ability to relate to all personalities and people of different backgrounds and cultures enables her to effectively interview and moderate discussions among Fortune 100 CEOs and customers of those companies alike.

A formerly practicing accountant for an international energy company and corporate attorney for a world renowned firm, Saha brings focus, dedication and intelligence to the job.

Saha is an active volunteer for Selah Freedom and WITS Chicago, working to advance literacy and improve the welfare of disadvantaged women and children. She also supports and fundraises for a plethora of causes including international women’s rights, disease research and advocacy for people with disabilities.

When she's not working, you'll find her laughing, playing and traveling with her favorite people on earth (her husband and two daughters), sampling the culinary treasures of Chicago, or lounging on her couch reading a good book, watching a crime drama or cheering on (sometimes screaming at) the University of Michigan football team.

Tererai Trent

2020 WIPL Conference Speaker Tererai Trent imageBorn into poverty and a culture that excluded girls from education, Tererai Trent shares her stunning journey from rural Zimbabwe to a global advocate for literacy that has helped transform education in her country and illuminated the pathway for women around the world to realize their dreams.

Trent is a world-renowned humanitarian, educator, and author who has served as a consultant to major international aid organizations in program and policy evaluation. She is a fellow at the Center of AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco and an adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at Drexel University.

From the moment she wrote down her dreams of going to America for higher education, sealed them in a tin can, and buried them under a rock, Trent launched a narrative of turning oppression and injustice into opportunity that serves as a beacon of hope for women everywhere. Her soul-stirring talks not only bring tears to eyes and smiles to faces, but also include practical, actionable steps to achieve one’s goals and overcome the most daunting challenges.


WIPL's Women's Leadership Conference seeks to educate, motivate and challenge women to lead change in their own lives, their communities and the world. Do you have a recommendation for a speaker for the 10th annual Women's Leadership Conference? Use the form below to submit your recommendation.

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Our Past Speakers

Since 2011, the Women’s Leadership Conference has featured more than 300 world-class speakers. To learn more, select from the annual archives below.

2019  |  2018  |  2017  |  2016 |  2015  |  2014  |  2013  |  2012  |  2011

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