People. Progress. Results.

NLC4 Women Leadership Summit Agenda

Brooklyn Sheraton
228 Duffield St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9:30am - 5:00pm

Register here:

The NLC4 Women Leadership Summit will include the following agenda items and speakers:

Registration and Breakfast
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Welcome by NLC4 Women’s Caucus Honorary Chair Claire Silberman
10:00 AM

Keynote: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James
10:20 AM

Why We Need Entrepreneurial Women
Victoria Meakin, President, Ocrolus LLC
10:50 AM

Fail, Brag, Pivot
Christina Wallace, Christina Wallace, BridgeUp: STEM
11:15 AM

Sharing Your Narrative: Understanding the Importance of Telling Your Story          
11:50 AM

12:35 PM

Is it Time to Quit Your Job to Live Your Dream?
In conversation with Courtney Emerson, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, All In Together and Advisor, Everwise
1:00 PM

Intentional Velocity: The Speed and Direction of Leadership in Life
Atyia Martin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Boston & NLC Alumna
1:30 PM

Building Coalitions: How to Effectively Bring People Together to Achieve a Common Purpose
2:00 PM

Organizing: Creating a Structure, Coordinating People and Making Strategic Decisions on the Ground
2:55 PM

The Women's Leadership Parity Gap: Identifying Issues, Determining Solutions and Utilizing Male Allies
3:45 PM

Lessons Learned From Global Grassroots Women Leaders
Zulma Miranda, Esq., Human Rights Attorney and Philanthropy Strategist
4:15 PM

Working Together for More Women Leaders
Caroline Fayard, Attorney, Fayard Law Firm

4:35 PM

The program will be followed by a Happy Hour at Local 61, 61 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY from 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Speakers, panelists and participants include the below. 

Letitia James, Public Advocate, New York City

Letitia James is the Public Advocate for the City of New York, the second highest ranking elected office in the City. As Public Advocate, she serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over City agencies, and investigates complaints about City services. Public Advocate James made history in 2014, by becoming the first woman of color to hold  citywide office in New York City.

Prior to being elected Public Advocate, Letitia James served as a City Council Member from 2004 to 2013..Public Advocate James is a graduate of CUNY's Lehman College and Howard University Law School. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General, and a public defender. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

Victoria Meakin, President, Ocrolus

Victoria Meakin is a technology entrepreneur who co-founded PhoneCharge, a forerunner in electronic payment processing. Ms. Meakin is currently the president of Ocrolus, provider of a proprietary OCR solution creating efficiencies for the financial and health care sectors. She graduated from Barnard College with a BA in Political Science and Sociology. Victoria serves on the boards of All In Together and Soho Rep., a leading innovator in contemporary theater.

Christina Wallace, Founding Director, BridgeUp: STEM

Christina Wallace is the founding director of BridgeUp: STEM, a new educational initiative at the American Museum of Natural History with a mission to captivate, inspire, and propel girls and minorities into computer science. It is funded by a generous $7.5M 5-year grant from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust.

Previously Christina was the founding director of Startup Institute New York, the Founder and CEO of venture-backed fashion company Quincy Apparel, a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, and an arts manager at the Metropolitan Opera. She holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and theater studies from Emory University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Courtney Emerson, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, All In Together Campaign

Courtney Emerson co-founded the All In Together Campaign in 2014 to ensure women’s voices are fully represented in political and civic life and close the most critical gender gaps in political engagement. As COO, she oversees partnerships, programming and general operations and leads all initiatives focused on engaging and amplifying the voices of Millennial women. In addition to her role at AIT, Courtney serves as an Advisor to Everwise, where she supports their women’s leadership programming.

Formerly a Vice President at the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), Emerson advised Fortune 500 and global companies on the design and delivery of talent-based initiatives. Emerson graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in Politics, where her senior thesis explored the conditions influencing positive reform of women’s legal rights in the Arab world.

Dr. S. Atyia Martin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Boston

Dr. S. Atyia Martin was appointed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston as part of the 100 Resilient Cities pioneered by the Rockefeller foundation. She is also adjunct faculty at Northeastern University in the Master of Homeland Security program. Previously, Dr. Martin was the Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).

Her previous professional experience includes the Boston Police Department’s Boston Regional Intelligence Center; City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management; the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); and active duty Air Force assigned to the National Security Agency. 

Dr. Martin earned her Doctor of Law and Policy from Northeastern University, Master in Homeland Security Leadership from the University of Connecticut, Bachelor in Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Administrative Studies and Serbian Croatian from Excelsior College, and Associate in Serbian Croatian from the Defense Language Institute.

Zulma Miranda, Esq., Human Rights Lawyer and Philanthropy Strategist

Zulma is an international human rights lawyer with over 20 years of experience as an activist for social change. She works at the intersection of human rights, social justice and philanthropy providing counsel to diverse group of global leaders and advocates, ngos and at the UN, where she leads strategic advocacy to promote the rights of grassroots women leaders. As a philanthropic advisor, she has raised millions of dollars for social justice initiatives and has led global campaigns on the implementation of international human rights and equality law in national jurisdictions.

Zulma speaks and writes widely on international law and gender equality, and the use of media and technology as tools for social change.  She is a member of the National Association of Women’s Lawyers; the New York City Bar Association, International Human Rights Committee; and the American Society of International Law.  Zulma is Global Adviser at World Pulse & Senior Director of Strategic Partnership at Auburn.

Caroline Fayard, Attorney, Fayard Law Firm

Caroline's practice is primarily focused on litigation. She is honored to represent individuals, families, and businesses injured by the wrongdoing and/or negligence of others. Caroline is licensed to practice in Louisiana and New York.

In 2010, Caroline ran for the special election for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, a race in which she finished second out of eight candidates. The Livingston Parish News editorialized in their endorsement of Caroline, “Imagine a world where the best and brightest step forward into public service to become leaders and problem solvers.”

Caroline currently serves as President of Louisiana Appleseed, a non-profit organization that promotes access to justice. She is in-house counsel to the Junior League of New Orleans and former chapter president of Delta Delta Delta, Gamma Gamma chapter. Caroline is a current board member of both and the Louisiana Children’s Museum.

Sharing Your Narrative: Understanding the Importance of Telling Your Story

Katie Orenstein, Founder and CEO, Op-Ed Project

Katie Orenstein writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media and mythology – that is, what we think is fact or fiction and how that shapes our ideas about politics, culture and history. She has contributed to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Miami Herald. Her commentaries on women, politics, popular culture, mythology and human rights have been nationally syndicated and appear in anthologies. A graduate of Harvard (MA) and Columbia (MA) universities, she is the author of Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality & the Evolution of a Fairy Tale, which explores stories told about women over 500 years across multiple continents, and how they shape our lives today.

Robin Carnahan, Former Missouri Secretary of State; Senior Advisory, Albright Stonebridge Group

Robin Carnahan is a Senior Advisor at ASG, where she puts her 25 years of government and private sector executive management experience to work helping clients analyze opportunities, identify strategic investment partners, and navigate political and regulatory risks in the U.S. and internationally. Carnahan served for eight years as the elected Secretary of State of Missouri. In her role as CEO of a large government service and regulatory agency, she emerged as a national leader in pioneering the use of innovative technology to save money and improve government service delivery for businesses and voters. Prior to becoming Secretary of State, Carnahan advised businesses -- ranging from Fortune 500s to start-ups -- on international trade issues, served as an executive at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and practiced corporate law.

Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO, McPherson Strategies

Susan McPherson is a serial connector, passionate cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert. She is the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good, providing storytelling, partnership creation and visibility to corporations, NGOs and social enterprises including Intel, Girl Rising, Positive Luxury, IF Hummingbird Foundation, THNK, The School of Creative Leadership and Plum Alley. Recently, McPherson was selected as a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador and was named as one of 40 Women to Watch Over 40, Fortune's 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter, and Fast Company's 25 Smartest Women of Twitter.

A. Angélique Roché, Senior Director of External Affairs, Ms. Foundation for Women, NLC Alumna & NLC4 Women’s Caucus Member

Angelique Roche is an attorney, educator and communications professional with experience in advocacy, legislative policy and electoral politics. Roche has worked in both local and national organizing, having served as campaign director for Nina Turner for Secretary of State (Ohio), a regional field director for OFA North Carolina and as a campaign director for She is currently the Senior Director for External Affairs at the Ms. Foundation for Women. Roche is a member of the board of directors at the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. She holds a LL.M in International and Comparative Law, a Juris Doctorate and a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communications.

Is it Time to Quit Your Job to Live Your Dream?

Neha Dewan, Associate, Government Affairs, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker

Neha is an associate in the Government Affairs practice at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker. Prior to joining the law firm, Neha served as the Deputy Director and General Counsel at the Mayor's Office of Appointments. Before that, she was an appellate attorney at the New York City Department of Education, and a litigation associate at DLA Piper prior to that. Neha also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Julian A. Cooke Jr. of the Eastern District of Michigan. She currently serves on the advisory board of New Leaders Council. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Neha chaired the New York Chapter of South Asians for Obama where she was responsible for the grassroots efforts in support of President Obama's re-election campaign.  Currently, Neha serves on the Steering Committee of Young Lawyers for America, an organization dedicated to the election of Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton.

Building Coalitions: How to Effectively Bring People Together to Achieve a Common Purpose

Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Deputy Director of US Programs, Open Society Foundations

Andrea Batista Schlesinger is the deputy director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations. Before joining the Foundations, Schlesinger served as special advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. She coordinated the mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative to improve the life outcomes of young black and Latino males. She also served as a special advisor in Bloomberg’s 2009 reelection campaign, focused on his agenda in areas including higher education, immigration, and housing. For eight years, Schlesinger led the Drum Major Institute (DMI) for Public Policy, a think tank founded during the civil rights movement. Schlesinger is the author of The Death of Why: The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy. She has a double master’s in history from Columbia University and the London School of Economics where she studied global cities’ responses to economic inequality.

Alyssa Aguilera, Political DIrector, VOCAL-NY

Alyssa Aguilera is the Political Director at VOCAL-NY, a grassroots community organizing group that builds power among low-income people impacted by HIV/AIDS, the drug war, and mass incarceration. At VOCAL, Alyssa leads campaigns to reform discriminatory policing practices, create alternatives to the drug war, and address the collateral consequences of mass incarceration. She is also the Executive Director of VOCAL-NY Action Fund, the affiliated 501(c)4 electoral and lobbying arm of VOCAL-NY. Alyssa has previously organized in the Health Justice program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Boston Workers Alliance, and SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign. She earned a B.A. from Harvard.

Sandra Kim, Founder & CEO, Everyday Feminism

Sandra Kim is the Founder,CEO, and Co-Publisher of Everyday Feminism. Launched in June 2012, Everyday Feminism has become one of the most popular feminist digital media sites in the world, with over 4.5 million monthly visitors from over 150 countries and a team of over 40 writers. EF takes an intersectional approach to feminism, addressing the daily issues people face around gender, sexuality, race, class, and more, and how we can create change in our lives and our communities. As a person with multiple marginalized identities, Sandra is committed to an intersectional feminism that focuses on personal and social liberation for everyone. She’s also pioneering an innovative online business model for feminism and social justice to make this work sustainable for activists.

Heidi Sieck, Chief Community Officer and Founding Chief Operating Officer, Civic Hall, Chief Executive Officer, CTZNWELL

Heidi Sieck is the founding Chief Operating Officer of Civic Hall, the new community center for civic technology launched in New York Flatiron District in February 2015. Heidi has a 25+ year career in political action and civic technology, devoting her career to implementing foundational solutions to transform society. Before joining the Civic Hall team, Heidi was the Chief Operating Officer of, a political technology platform she founded with classmates from the Harvard Kennedy School. She has led many complex projects including the award winning San Francisco 311 Customer Service Center establishing the foundation of the open government movement and ResilientSF, one of the first post-disaster recovery programs in the U.S.

Jennifer Spall, Senior Director, Walmart Political Programs

Jennifer Spall is in her ninth year with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., serving as A Corporate Affairs Senior Director for Political Programs, including grassroots outreach and management of WAL PAC.  Previously, Jennifer spent 7 years on the Public Affairs & Government Relations team, where she most recently led a team that covers 22 western states managing policy, legislative, and land use issues that impact Walmart, as well Walmart’s Foundation, urban development, and community relations. She has served multiple association boards and was appointed by Governor Gregoire to serve on the WA Child Product Safety Task Force and the WA State Freight Mobility Stakeholders Committee. Jennifer is a double major from the Montana State University in French and Political Science. She and her husband Chip recently relocated from Seattle to Bentonville, AR with their four year old son Jonathan and two dogs.

Organizing: Creating a Structure, Organizing People and Making Strategic Decisions on the Ground

Alise Roderer, Account Executive, CN Communications International, Inc., NLC Alumna & NLC4 Women’s Caucus Member

Alise Roderer is a public relations and political professional with more than a decade of experience in the public and private sectors.  She currently provides communications strategy to nonprofit and corporate clients. Prior to her current position, Alise served as the Deputy Director of Communications for the New Jersey Senate Majority Office. Alise started her career in politics working on campaigns – working in seven states on more than a dozen campaigns. Alise was a 2011 New Leaders Council fellow she has served as the NJ Institute and Advisory Board Chairs and as a National Curriculum chair.  She currently serves on the NLC National Program Committee and is a member of the NLC4 Women’s Caucus.

Lucinda Guinn, Vice President of Campaigns, EMILY’s List

Lucinda Guinn is the Vice President of Campaigns at EMILY’s List, where she oversees all of the group’s efforts to elect pro-choice Democratic women to local, state and federal office. Previously, Lucinda served as the Vice President of Independent Expenditures. In this role, Lucinda ran WOMEN VOTE!, EMILY’s List independent expenditure arm which works to educate and mobilize women voters on behalf of pro-choice Democratic women candidates. Prior to joining EMILY’s List, Lucinda served as Political Director at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a nonpartisan organization that helps elect outstanding LGBT community leaders to public office. During the 2012 election cycle Lucinda served as the Western Political Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where she helped elect 11 new members of Congress while retaining the seat of every incumbent in her region. Lucinda, a proud BBQ-eating Texas Democrat, has a Bachelor of Science from the UT Austin School of Journalism and now lives in Washington, DC.

Paula Hodges, New Hampshire State Director, America Votes

Paula Hodges relocated to New Hampshire in July 2014 to join America Votes NH.  She previously worked for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England as the Public Policy & Governmental Relations Director where she led the organizing, political and lobby efforts for the state.  Hodges also worked as Political Director for Missouri National Education Association (MNEA), the state’s largest public employee union and prior to that coordinated progressive labor, environmental and women’s groups’ electoral plans at the America Votes – Missouri table. Paula got her start in public policy and advocacy as the deputy director of policy for Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

Meghan Meehan-Draper

Meghan Meehan-Draper is a Florida native and graduate of Eckerd College.  She has traveled the country as a political fundraiser and has helped raise more than $25 million for pro-choice Democratic candidates and causes. Meghan has worked on half a dozen campaigns, including statewide races in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. She was Pennsylvania state Finance Director for Allyson Schwartz’s campaign for Governor, Finance Director for Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy’s successful re-election, and has served as Finance Director for multiple congressional and down ballot state-wide campaigns. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. and is the Major Donor Director at the Democratic Governors Association. In her free time, Meghan enjoys dancing and  being outdoors.