2018 Speakers - Coastal Carolina University
In This Section

Eighth Annual Women's Leadership Conference Speakers

Held Feb. 5-6, 2018

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. Since 2011, the Women's Leadership Conference has featured more than 250 world-class speakers, including the 2018 speakers below. To learn more about past speakers, select from the menu (right).

Barbara Pierce Bush »
Cara Brookins »
Debbie Durban »
Kim Fisher »
Jenna Bush Hager »
Julia Landauer »
Joan Robinson-Berry »
Myra Rowell »
Connie Ryan »
Dorrie Sieburg »
Sharon Suchoval »
Gina Trimarco »     
Barbara Hickman Whye »
Vanessa E. Wyche »


Barbara Pierce Bush

2018 WIPL Speaker Barbara Bush imageBarbara Bush is CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps (GHC), which mobilizes a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC was founded in 2009 by six 20-somethings, who were challenged by Peter Piot at the aids2031 Young Leaders Summit to engage their generation in solving the world’s biggest health challenges. Bush and her co-founders were united by the belief that health is a human right and that their generation must build the world where this is realized. Since that time, GHC has placed more than 700 young leaders on the frontlines of health equity in Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and the United States, developing a cadre of creative, effective and compassionate change-makers.

Prior to GHC, Bush worked in educational programming at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, where she supported design-thinking programs for high school students and faculty across the U.S. She has worked with Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa and UNICEF in Botswana. Bush is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and the UN Global Entrepreneurs Council. She is a Draper Richards Foundation Social Entrepreneur, a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, and a fellow of the Echoing Green Foundation.

In 2011, Bush was named one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year, in 2013 she was recognized as one of Newsweek’s Women of Impact, and in 2015 she was named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business list.

With her sister Jenna Bush Hager, she coauthored the book Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life.

Bush graduated from Yale University with a degree in humanities in 2004. She is the daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

Cara Brookins

2018 WIPL Speaker Cara BrookinsCara Brookins is a computer analyst, social media marketing expert and has written seven middle grade and young adult novels. Her breakthrough book, Rise: How a House Built a Family, details the extraordinary true story of taking the greatest risk of her life in order to heal from the unthinkable.

After escaping an abusive marriage, Brookins had four children to provide for and no one to turn to but herself. In desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one, she did something incredible. Equipped only with YouTube instructional videos, a small bank loan and a mile-wide stubborn streak, she built her own house from the foundation up with a work crew made up of her four children.

Together they designed the house, framed it, ran the plumbing and gas lines, and mortared blocks with their hands. With no experience nailing together anything bigger than a bookshelf, she and her children poured concrete, framed the walls and laid bricks for their two-story, five-bedroom house.    

It would be the hardest thing she had ever done. But the daunting process helped to convince herself that if they could build a house, they could rebuild their broken family. Building something big enough to change the way she and her kids saw themselves gave Brookins the idea that other people could do exactly the same thing. She firmly believes that taking a leap toward a better life is exactly the right move for everyone. She now motivates businesses, writers and parenting groups to take enormous leaps toward their goals and to build impossible things.

Brookins, who grew up in Wisconsin, lives in Arkansas with her four children: Hope, Drew, Jada and Roman.

Debbie Whittle Durban

2018 WIPL Speaker Debbie Durban imageDebbie Durban is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP in Columbia, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C., where she practices in the areas of labor and employment law, ADA compliance, trade secrets, and business litigation. She is a certified specialist in employment and labor law. 

She earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and a juris doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1999.


Kim Fisher

2018 WIPL Speaker Kim FisherKim Fisher is the corporate vice president and market manager at New York Life Insurance Company, where she is responsible for developing, implementing and achieving strategic growth of the women’s, millennial and LGBT markets. She is a passionate advocate who empowers women and millennials to take control of securing their financial futures.

After spending 12 years in the banking industry in Michigan, Fisher decided she needed a career that could make a more significant impact in the lives of others. With that, she began her New York Life career in July 2006 as an agent in the Greater Detroit general office, where she achieved Million Dollar Round Table status, Rookie of the Year and two consecutive councils. She was promoted to partner in 2008.

Having been identified as a leader and champion of development, she was asked to join the management development department in New York Life’s home office in 2009. She held leadership roles in recruiting and retention as well as leading the market development consultant group.

In 2013, Fisher was promoted to market manager of the women’s market. Under her leadership the market experienced unprecedented growth in key company drivers – recruiting, retention and the growth of women managers – in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2015, Fisher assumed responsibility of the millennial market and has expanded the millennial market outreach.

Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Siena Heights University in 1998. She enjoys traveling, playing golf, and spending time with family and friends.

Jenna Bush Hager

2018 WIPL Speaker Jenna Hager imageJenna Hager is a contributing correspondent on NBC’s Today show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine.

She is also the author of The New York Times bestseller Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, which she wrote after traveling to Latin America in 2006 as an intern with UNICEF. Ana’s Story is based on the life of a 17-year-old single mother with HIV, who struggles to shield her child from the life she had of abuse and neglect.

Hager remains involved with UNICEF and is the chair of its Next Generation initiative, which is dedicated to reducing childhood deaths around the world.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also co-author of the children’s books Read All About It! and Our Great Big Backyard.

In 2008, she married Henry Hager; they are the proud parents of two daughters, Margaret Laura “Mila” and Poppy Louise Hager. She is the daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

Julia Landauer

2018 WIPL Speaker Julia Landauer imageJulia Landauer is a two-time NASCAR champion driver from New York City. Having won in various racing series during her 15-year career, she is now making history with her results in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. In 2016, she finished fourth in the K&N series championship, becoming the highest finishing female in the series’ 62-year history. Landauer was the only woman among the 11 drivers selected for the 2016-17 NASCAR Next program, which highlights the best rising young stars in racing.

In January 2017, a few years after moving to North Carolina to pursue racing on a full-time basis, Landauer was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list of the “brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers” in sports. She has collaborated with Spotify, Disney/Pixar, and GIRLBOSS Radio and has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, Entrepreneur and espnW.

Landauer is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in science, technology and society. She focused on business and how modern technology can be applied to racing. While at Stanford, she was also a contestant on the CBS reality TV show, Survivor: Caramoan.

As Landauer continues to develop her career and brand on and off the track, she uses her platform to advocate for STEM education and women’s empowerment.

Joan Robinson-Berry

Joan Robinson-Berry, 2018 WIPL Inspiring WomanJoan Robinson-Berry is the vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, where she has overall leadership responsibility for Boeing’s South Carolina facilities in North Charleston. Boeing South Carolina’s airport campus is home to 787 Aftbody and Midbody operations, 787 Final Assembly and Delivery operations, as well as an engineering design center and IT centers. BSC’s north campus includes the Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina, Propulsion South Carolina, and a Boeing research and technology center.

Robinson-Berry previously served as vice president of the Shared Services Group Supplier Management organization, where she led the strategy, contracting, daily management and development of the supply chain, providing more than $8 billion of nonproduction goods and services for The Boeing Company.

Earlier in her career, she was director of Phantom Works Supplier Management for the Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) division and was responsible for implementing supplier management strategy and execution in support of the development of advanced concepts and technologies.

Before that, Robinson-Berry was director of Small/Diverse Business & Strategic Alliances for BDS and ensured that BDS fulfilled its contractual obligations. She also represented Boeing as its small- business liaison officer and was responsible for integrating more than $5 billion in goods and services purchased annually from small and diverse suppliers. In this role, she helped establish the local supplier network for BSC.

Robinson-Berry has also served as director of Technical Workforce Excellence, overseeing technical affiliations, fellowship programs and university technical relationships and as director of engineering processes, tools and skills for the space and communications business. Prior to that position, she served as program manager of the MD-80/-90 Twinjet Programs for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

She has received extensive recognition for her work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from global organizations, including the National Society of Black Engineers and various members of Congress. Robinson-Berry has helped empower women and minorities with presentations at the Women of Power Conference and the South Carolina Women’s Caucus Luncheon. She has been instrumental in launching two community action teams – one on Hispanic leaders and the other on African-American leaders – that focus on business relations, social issues and civic responsibility.

In 2017, Robinson-Berry was named one of Women’s Enterprise magazine's Top 100 leaders in corporate supplier diversity. Charleston Business magazine featured her as one of the 50 most-influential people in Charleston, and she received a Woman of Distinction & Accomplishment award from the Washington State African American Achievement Awards team. She has also been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Business by Black Enterprise. In 2016, she was named one of Women’s Enterprise USA's Top 100 Leaders in Supplier Diversity, and she received the Women of Color Professional Achievement Award in 2015. The Career Communications Group presented her with its 2007 Black Engineer of the Year Achievement Award, and she was inducted into its Alumni Hall of Fame in 2012.

Robinson-Berry earned a master's degree in engineering management and business administration and a bachelor's degree in engineering technology. She is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow and an African Scientific Institute Fellow.

She will be honored as a 2018 WIPL Inspiring Woman.

Myra Rowell

2018 WIPL Speaker Myra Rowell imageMyra Rowell is the global information security external engagements executive at Bank of America. She is responsible for collaborating with external partners to increase awareness and encourage adoption of stronger cybersecurity standards that enhance the public policy environment that governs and controls external entities. This includes identifying internal partners that are outside of the scope of the traditional information security program.

Since joining the bank in 2002, Rowell has held positions in information security, technology infrastructure, portfolio management, systems and data security, as well as change management. She is active in several diversity and inclusion efforts and a member of the bank’s Women in Technology & Operations (WIT&O) and Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Development for Women (LEAD) employee networks as well as the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT), Waxhaw-Weddington Rotary, and Elevation Church. She also serves on the Cybersecurity Advisory Council for Montreat College in Montreat, N.C.

A certified Six Sigma Green Belt, Rowell earned a bachelor’s degree in management and an MBA from Montreat College.

Connie Ryan

2018 WIPL Speaker Connie RyanConnie Ryan is the president and CEO of Streck Inc., an industry leader in cell stabilization. She earned a medical technology degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and joined the family business in 1982. She became president in 1992, when revenue was approximately $15 million. Since that time, the company has experienced consistent, steady growth through acquisitions and the introduction of 45 new products. Revenue for fiscal 2017 was more than $140 million.

She serves on the boards of Habitat for Humanity, the Omaha Community Foundation, and The Omaha Symphony. She is a member of the Strategic Command Consultation Committee, AdvaMed’s CEO Advisory Council, and the Chief Executives Organization. In 2002, she completed the Harvard School of Business Owner/President Management Program. She is a past recipient of Creighton University’s annual Leader for Life award for the impact she has made on women’s sports at the University. In 2011, she received an honorary doctorate in science from Creighton.

Founded in 1971, Streck is a privately held company with more than 350 employees. It specializes in the development and manufacture of control and calibration materials for the clinical laboratory. Streck recently expanded into the molecular biology market with Cell?Free DNA and Cell?Free RNA blood collection tubes and a device for rapidly replicating DNA.

Dorrie Sieburg

2018 WIPL Speaker Dorrie Sieburg imageDorrie Sieburg is program manager for American Association of University Women’s salary negotiation workshops, AAUW Work Smart and AAUW Start Smart. Using the lens of the gender pay gap, these salary negotiation workshops empower women with the skills and confidence they need to successfully negotiate their salary and benefits. Sieburg has managed AAUW’s salary negotiation workshops for the past nine years, training thousands of women on college campuses, and in cities and communities across the country, to ask for and receive the salary they deserve.

She lives in Asheville, N.C., with her two daughters.

Sharon Suchoval

2018 WIPL Speaker Sharon SuchovalSharon Suchoval is a marketing strategist, content expert and the founder of Advice for My Daughter, a blog that provides inspiration for women, and the people who raise them, worldwide. Her words have been shared by the website A Mighty Girl and address some of the deep, emotional topics that are so important to women today.   

Suchoval was raised by a single mother of five and has experienced firsthand the deep inner and outer strength that women have when they are forced to overcome financial, societal and physically exhausting challenges. She was raised by a superhero. 

After college, Suchoval spent the first chapter of her career in the music industry, working with artists such as Alanis Morissette, Michelle Branch and Boy George. As the music industry redefined itself, Suchoval decided that it was time for a change and transitioned over to digital and social media around the time that Twitter was launching. She has spent the past 10 years writing and managing content during the day and building a community of strong women by night.

Advice for My Daughter started as a place to capture all of the things that she wanted her daughter to know, but it has evolved into something much bigger. She inspires women who are struggling with all of the “stuff” they are juggling and gets right down to what is important, being the best women they can be. She celebrates the individuality and uniqueness of all girls and is a source of encouragement, connection and sometimes tears.

Suchoval, who grew up in Chicago, lives in St. Louis with her husband Derrick and daughter Kennedy.

Gina Trimarco

2017 WIPL Speaker Gina TrimarcoGina Trimarco is the founder and chief results officer at Pivot10 Results (P10). She is an international speaker, trainer, business strategist, certified sales coach and serial entrepreneur who helps businesses shift from "people problems" to performance results. Her philosophy is that performance pays and people need to be trained to perform on the stage of business to achieve results. At P10, she designs, develops and delivers strategic training programs that address overall company culture, integrating leadership, sales and customer service skills. Her goal is to teach businesses that meeting sales goals and delivering stellar customer service starts with acknowledging communication and leadership challenges first. Further, her philosophy is that organizations with the best ROI for training programs are those that also invest their time post-training to ensure sustainability, utilizing experiential learning tools and strategies provided by P10.

With more than 20 years of experience in a variety of industries, Trimarco has worked in most areas of business including as a marketing director, sales director, public relations director, publicist, operations manager, media buyer, video producer and the all-so-important "general manager." From training and developing employees to analyzing profit and loss statements, she understands business and how to scale one. She has personal experience launching a business during a recession and then growing it into additional businesses. Industry experience includes hospitality, entertainment, franchises, medical, associations and financial.

A Chicago native, Trimarco graduated from DePaul University and received additional training at The Second City Conservatory and The Players Workshop of The Second City. She also is a certified sales coach with Tim Hagen's Progress Coaching System. Trimarco lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Barbara Hickman Whye

Barbara McAllister WhyeBarbara Hickman Whye, vice president of human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Intel Corp., leads global diversity and inclusion strategic initiatives and program investments to deliver tangible results against Intel’s Diversity in Technology Initiative and $300M commitment. She is driven to improve access to technology careers and retention by creating opportunities for diverse talent that allow all to feel welcomed, challenged and valued. Her current investment portfolio has a huge emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) awareness, ecosystem development and retention in science and technology careers. Whye’s passion for advancing STEM practices has resulted in catalytic global programs that have fueled innovation in classrooms, empowered women and under-served youth, and strengthened communities.

‌Prior to transitioning to the philanthropic side of Intel, she spent 15 years in key leadership and project engineering roles responsible for acquiring and starting up new facilities for Intel Corporation worldwide. Whye led operations for multiple international startups with fast-paced ramps resulting in rich and rewarding cultural experiences. She and her family lived in Costa Rica for two years as Intel established a critical manufacturing presence there.

Prior to joining Intel in 1997, Whye held engineering positions with NCR and BellSouth in Columbia, S.C.

She is a certified executive leadership coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a professional certified facilitator with experience in the fields of program management, strategy development, and mergers/acquisitions. She is a graduate of the Business for Diplomatic Action Fellows Program that resulted in a three-week global leadership exchange in the Middle East (Egypt and Dubai) and is a recipient of the Intel Arizona Lifetime Diversity Achievement Award. She was recently awarded STEMconnector’s 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM and is also the 2015 Recipient of the Society of Women Engineer’s Spark Award.

She received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and an MBA, both from the University of South Carolina. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Arizona State University in human social dimensions and technology.

Whye has been a featured speaker at the Women's Leadership Conference in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and was honored as a WIPL Inspiring Woman in 2016.

Vanessa E. Wyche

Vanessa E. WycheVanessa E. Wyche is deputy director of NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) on a rotational assignment. She assists in leading an organization of approximately 3,000 civil servants and 8,500 contractors to successfully operate and develop human space exploration programs and projects. In February 2018, she will return to her role as director of exploration integration and science at JSC, leading efforts to enable human and robotic exploration of deep space leading to missions to Mars.

In recognition of her management, leadership and innovation, Wyche has received numerous honors, most notably, a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, two NASA Achievement Medals, a JSC Innovation Award, 2014 Women@NASA awardee, a national “2016 Women Worth Watching” honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal, and was an honoree at the 2017 Celebration of Inspiring Women presented by Women in Philanthropy and Leadership at Coastal Carolina University.

Featured in the January 2017 issue of Role Model Magazine, Wyche is a passionate mentor and promoter of STEM, evidenced by leading an annual science fair initiated in 2013 at an underserved elementary school.

A native of South Carolina, Wyche earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in bioengineering from Clemson University. She and her husband George Wyche Jr., have one son George Wyche III, a recent graduate of Howard University.

Tidelands Health Expo logo


Dr. Sarah Allen is a board-certified internal medicine physician at Tidelands Health Family Medicine in Myrtle Beach. Mom to four daughters ranging in age from 7 to 1, she not only balances a busy family life and the needs of her patients but also trains the next generation of doctors as a faculty member with the Tidelands Health MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program.

Dr. Xaviera Carter, obstetrician and gynecologist, has welcomed countless babies into the world through her medical practice at Tidelands Health Women’s Center, with locations in Myrtle Beach and Georgetown. Just over a year ago, she welcomed her own. She is now proud mom to baby Logan and has a whole new understanding of pregnancy cravings, maternity clothes and the miracle of motherhood!

Monica Grey serves as associate vice president of transitional care services for Tidelands Health. It’s a role this nurse was made for, as she helps patients and families successfully transition from hospital care to home-based and community care. Grey is also managing transitions in her own life – this mom of two is now a grandmother taking an active role in her granddaughter’s upbringing.

Dr. Katherine Johnson is a board-certified family medicine physician at Tidelands Health Diabetes Center in Murrells Inlet. A passionate proponent of health and wellness for all ages, she earned her medical degree from the University of Kentucky and completed her residency at Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood.

Jamie Kandora is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Tidelands Health. She provides nutrition education and teaches healthy cooking and eating tips as part the health system’s Diabetes Self-Management Program and the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

Nick McClary is clinical manager for Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness in Pawleys Island. A doctor of physical therapy, he leads the facility’s Stronger Through Movement program, a medical fitness solution that helps those living with chronic conditions incorporate movement into their lives.

Gayle Resetar began her career with Tidelands Health as an administrative resident fresh out of school back in 1990. Over the years, she has risen through the ranks and today serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer – the health system’s second-ranking executive. Along the way, she was widowed at a young age and became a single mom charged with raising a child on her own. Her daughter, Caroline, is now a young adult beginning her own career path.

Carla Wham serves as population health liaison for Tidelands Community Care Network. In this role, she plays an integral part in the health system’s participation in the National Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based lifestyle change program that has been demonstrated to delay or prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes among people at high risk.