Lisa FainCEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence
Lisa Fain serves as the Center for Mentoring Excellence's Leadership Development Services’ CEO and lead in diversity strategy, cross-cultural competency, and conflict resolution. Her passion for diversity and inclusion work is fueled by her strong conviction that leveraging differences creates a better workplace and drives better business results.
Fain has conducted mentoring training programs for corporate, government and educational institutions. She coaches mentors, mentees and program administrators on how to achieve mentoring excellence and create the right environment for achievement of career and personal goals. She is highly regarded for her special combination of knowledge, expertise, humor and a no-nonsense practical approach. As senior director of the diversity and inclusion function at Outerwall Inc. (parent company to automated retail giants Redbox and Coinstar), Fain spearheaded the development, establishment and implementation of its diversity initiative, including launching the company’s first mentoring program for its Women’s Business Resource Group. Prior to that position, she worked as Outerwall’s in-house counsel, where she coached leaders and partnered with human resources to establish fair and effective policies and practices that would sustain the organization as it grew in size, revenue and renown.
Fain practiced law with the Chicago office of a major multinational law firm and counseled employers on creating inclusive policies and practices. In addition, she served as a master trainer, training thousands of employees at a variety of companies, large and small, on how to create a better workplace. Certified as a mediator through Chicago’s Center for Conflict Resolution, Fain applied her counseling skills to help clients understand and proactively prevent conflict. She holds a B.S. in Social Policy from Northwestern University and a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law. Fain is a Life Coach and has completed her certification from the International Coach Academy.
Meg Gilbert CroftonFormer President, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Meg Crofton is a 35-year veteran of The Walt Disney Co. She retired in 2015 as the president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, United States and France. She was responsible for the operations of the company’s theme parks and resorts in Florida, California and Paris. Throughout her Disney career, Crofton held a wide range of executive positions in both operating and functional areas, as well as key leadership roles in the openings of many domestic and international properties. Prior to her last role, Crofton served as the fourth president of the Walt Disney World Resort, overseeing a workforce of more than 66,000 cast members at the world’s premiere vacation destination. During her tenure as president, Crofton led the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom park, launched the expansion and rebranding of the property’s retail, dining and entertainment complex, and was at the forefront of the award-winning MyMagic+ technology initiative aimed at transforming the guest experience.
Crofton is widely known and respected for her outstanding leadership and passion for a world-class customer and employee experience. She believes that when great brand, culture and leadership are present, employees in any organization can make magic happen. Upon retirement, Crofton received the highest honor Disney bestows--a dedicated window on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom park. It celebrates her legacy of mentoring and leadership development.
In addition to her company responsibilities, Crofton was also committed to giving back to her community through volunteer service at many non-profit organizations. She served as an executive leader on the following boards: Rollins College, University of Central Florida, the Central Florida Economic Development Commission, the Mayor’s Commission to End Homelessness, the executive committee to build the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, as well as the Board of Orlando Health. Crofton is currently engaged in board service and serves on the board of Tupperware Brands.
Crofton has coached leaders in areas regarding their personal brand, team leadership and interpersonal communications. She encourages them to see that their authentic combination of all of these drives business performance. Crofton earned both her bachelor’s degree in marketing and her MBA from Florida State University. She was inducted into the FSU College of Business Hall of Fame in 2008, and recognized with the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013.
Bonnie HagemannCEO, Executive Development Associates
Bonnie Hagemann is the CEO of Executive Development Associates. EDA is a boutique consulting firm known around the world for its C-Suite capabilities in executive education, coaching, assessment and high-potential development. In addition to leading the firm, Hagemann is an executive coach to Fortune 500 senior leaders as well as a speaker and a published author. To date, Hagemann has provided coaching for more than over 225 leaders in primarily large organizations including 8 organizational presidents. The majority of her coaching clients receive a promotion, better position or an increase in salary during or upon completion of the coaching process. Hagemann has 32 published works including "Decades Of Differences," a book on the shifting workforce demographics and their impact on leadership and "Leading with Vision: The Leader’s Blueprint for Creating a Compelling Vision and Engaging the Workforce." She leads research initiatives and publishes results in the areas of trends in executive development, executive coaching and high--potential development. Hagemann earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Education and Masters of Education in Counseling. She is a certified qualification instructor for the MBTI, FIRO-B and CPI 260 assessments. In 2016, Hagemann earned the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program’s “Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director” certification.
Shannon Huffman PolsonAuthor, & U.S. Army Apache Helicopter Captain, The Grit Project
Shannon Huffman Polson is the author of "The Grit Project," is one of the first U.S. Army Women Apache helicopter captains and pilots. From the cockpit to the boardroom, Huffman Polson shares stories of grit and leadership to help others overcome fear, break through uncertainty, and reach their full potential. Huffman Polson is a woman of many firsts. Among those high points: She is one of the first women to fly Apache combat helicopters in the U.S. Armed Forces, where she served on three continents and led two flight platoons and a line company.
After nearly a decade as an Army officer and attack aviation leader, and later, as a leader and manager in the corporate sector at Guidant and Microsoft, she turned her attention to storytelling, sharing the stories of remarkable female leaders and trailblazers through her “Grit Project” and other writing endeavors.
Drawing on a distinguished military and corporate career, she reveals her lessons learned and leadership strategies to help individuals harness their inner strength, move beyond resistance, and attain their goals. With an emphasis on grit – which she describes as a dogged determination in the face of difficult circumstances – she demonstrates how to tap into that passion and resolve so anyone can face their limitations, sense of purpose, and become a leader of greatness.
Lisa MacKenziePartner, Executive Vice President, The Channel Company
Lisa MacKenzie is a seasoned executive with expertise in marketing, sales, product management and operations. Lisa was instrumental in The Channel Company's evolution from providing traditional media to offering a full portfolio of solutions and services. She brings her proven expertise to The Channel Company's extensive events portfolio - helping ensure that our events meet the evolving needs of our customers. Thanks to Lisa's leadership, The Channel Company attracts record audiences and receives high customer satisfaction scores. Lisa also repositioned our consulting, research and education offerings, resulting in increased profitability and new product launches.
Aaren McKinneyTrainer, Account Executive, Dale Carnegie Training
Aaren McKinney is a San Diego native, a graduate of Vanguard University and holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology. Aaren has 15 years’ involvement in the social services arena. Through her diverse experience, she has managed care home facilities, taught core subjects for the court and community schools, and was an assessment counselor for the California Welfare System. While working at a large church in San Diego Aaren was able to narrow her interests, specializing in leadership training, boundaries workshops, and conflict resolution. As a member of the team at Dale Carnegie of San Diego Aaren is able to fulfill her passion of not just working with people, but spurring individuals on to their full potential in business and personal life. Aaren has had focused experience training with aerospace engineers, IT professionals, and software engineers. She enjoys training and facilitation as well as account management for large aerospace companies in San Diego.
Carrie PobreVice President, Sandler Training
Carrie Pobre brings over 24 years of sales experience in having founded and operated multiple companies in digital marketing and streaming media. As SVP of Product and Marketing at Cloud Cover Music, she designed their enterprise streaming platform and established sales and customer support for nationwide clients including Burger King, JP Morgan Chase, Walmart and CVS. Back in the 90’s, Carrie founded a digital marketing company in the travel industry which was acquired and is still active today at the Sabre Corporation.
Now as Vice President of Sandler Training Los Angeles, Carrie and her team deliver customized selling solutions for both traditional and online sales funnels. They work with all levels of the company including management, sales staff and customer success teams. Training centers are located at Van Nuys and El Segundo and on-site training is also available for larger companies. They consult for a large range of industries including engineering, software, insurance, real estate, law firms, aerospace, accounting firms, and healthcare.
Carrie is originally from Seattle, graduated from the University of Washington, and then spent years working and travelling all over the world. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, a software architect, and their two kids who enjoy the beach and travelling almost as much as she does.
Samantha WalravensAward-Winning Author & Journalist, Forbes
Samantha Walravens is an award-winning journalist and author of two books, "Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech" and "TORN: True Stories of Kids, Career & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood." She writes about women, career and work-life issues for Forbes, The Huffington Post, Disney Interactive and Modern Mom and speaks to audiences nationwide on the topic of work-life success. Walravens has been a guest on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Yahoo! Finance and NPR. She started her career as a technology reporter for PC World magazine and led marketing communications for Tumbleweed Software in Silicon Valley. She is a member of Pipeline Angels, an angel network that invests in female-led companies, and serves on the Alumni Schools Committee for her alma mater, Princeton University.