WILMA’s Leadership Accelerator: The Speakers

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 Dive in to WILMA’s Leadership Accelerator: Risk & Rewards

Brush up on our 2023 speaker line-up by reading through their bios below.

WILMA’s half-day leadership conference is back and this year we’re bringing you a jam-packed day of personalized programming that includes hands-on leadership workshops, mentorship sessions, a keynote lunch panel discussion and the opportunity to make meaningful connections with other like-minded women in our community.

WILMA’s Leadership Accelerator
Thursday, July 13
Wilmington Convention Center

Visit W2WLeadership.com to learn more and register today

The Speakers:

Entrepreneur/Former President of Bennett Brothers Yachts, Inc.

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Entrepreneur / Optimist/Soon to be Licensed Real Estate Mogul / Former President of Bennett Brothers Yachts, Inc., a family-owned business in Wilmington for 33 years.



VP-Director, Channel

Keynote Panelist

Chakema Clinton-Quintana is Vice President, Director of Channel, Powered by Live Oak Bank in downtown Wilmington. With a degree in business management, she focuses on strengthening and supporting inclusive small business growth in our communities through research, mentorship, and programming. She was named one of WilmingtonBiz top 100 connectors in 2021 & 2022. Chakema also received the New Hanover County Equity Award for Business in August 2022, and the 2022 James Fullwood Award for outstanding commitment to our community. In addition, Chakema is a board member of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the co-chair of the African American Business Council (AABC) at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Commission of African American History, and is on the boards of four nonprofit organizations that aim to empower underserved young people to aspire and achieve.

VP of Strategy and Execution, UnitedHealth Group

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Wanda Coley is Vice President of Strategy for UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement of the Mid-Atlantic region. In this role, Wanda is responsible for developing and executing market-specific strategy that prioritizes local initiatives to drive business growth. Other responsibilities include leading clinical innovation and fostering community partnerships.

Wanda earned a B.S. in accounting from the UNCW and holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster University.

She currently serves on the UNCW Alumni Board, UNCW College of Health & Human Services Advisory Board, Wilma Advisory Board and Board Development Committee for Girl Scouts of NC Coastal Pines. She is a past member of Chief, YWCA Lower Cape Fear Board, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Advisory Board, North Carolina Association for Home and Hospice Care Board and Enterprise Fleet Management Advisory Board.

Ellen Contente

Founder, Heart-Centered Programs

Workshop Speaker: Rethinking Work-Life Balance

Dr. Ellen Contente is the Founder of Heart-Centered Programs, a Certified Women-owned Business that empowers individuals to live and work with more Passion, Purpose, and Play through training and consulting services. Dr. Ellen holds a Doctorate in Spiritual Studies, a Masters in Spiritual Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Management. Her latest venture is the Conscious Leadership Mastermind, an innovative program that provides a supportive community for professionals and entrepreneurs to thrive. As an accomplished author, she has published ‘M&M’s; Motivational Musings to live an Inspired Life’ and ‘Top 5 Self-Care Practices for Wellbeing’.  After 17 yrs. in LA by way of NY, MA, FL & OK, she now calls Wilmington home. She lives with her husband of 26 years, 24yr old twins, and 3 cats!

Consultant & Coach, Leath HR Group

Keynote Panelist

Amy is a HR Consultant with Leath HR Group. She spent nearly two decades in Executive and Human Resources Management at Nordstrom and now spends her days as an executive coach and people + culture consultant across various industries. As a leader, she is best known for her keen ability to leverage a company’s greatest assets, their people, whether it be for recruiting, development, or retention. Amy is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional and Certified Professional Coach.

NA Regional Supply Chain Manager, Corning Inc.

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Donna is the NA Regional Supply Chain Manager for Corning Incorporated’s Optical Fiber and Cable Division.  She has a Ceramic Engineering degree from Clemson University and a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management from Penn State University.  She has worked for Corning for 37 years in Engineering, Operations Management, and Supply Chain roles.  She’s currently active on the Board of Directors for Lower Cape Fear LifeCare and the WILMA Advisory Board, and really enjoys participating in the WILMA mentoring program and Leadership Institute.  She has also participated as a speaker at UNCW’s Gender Leadership Program and UNCW Cameron School’s Business Week.

District Manager, Government & Community Relations, Duke Energy

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Pam Hardy is a government and community relations manager for Duke Energy serving New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, Bladen, and Sampson counties. In this role, she has the responsibility as part of the Government and Community Relations team to build, cultivate and manage relationships with local government, business, and community leaders, elected officials, stakeholders, and allies to enhance Duke Energy’s corporate, community objectives and reputation. In addition, she will develop and lead plans to manage high profile, sensitive and complex issues through collaboration and community engagement.

Community Liaison, Wilmington Health

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Alexis Hunter is the Community Liaison for Wilmington Health, helping connect people and resources between the organization and community. She helps employers find direct access to healthcare and engages with other healthcare professionals across the region. Alexis enjoys mentoring other women across industries who are growing in their career.


Brandy Keck

SVP – Head of Veterinary & Pet Care Facility Financing, Live Oak Bank

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

A graduate of Mount Union University and native of northeast Ohio, she’s currently the head of the veterinary and pet care facility division of Live Oak Bank. A mass medica major, Brandy began her career in the professional sports industry as a group saleswomen with the Cleveland Cavaliers. She also previously worked at Bank of America Practice Solutions as a business development officer in healthcare and veterinary financing and at Carr Healthcare Realty as a brokerage liaison. Brandy moved in February of 2017 to join Live Oak, fell in love with the community and is proud to call Wilmington her home.

Assistant County Manager, New Hanover County

Keynote Panelist

Jessica Loeper began serving as an assistant county manager for New Hanover County Government in April, after serving as the county’s chief communications officer for four years. She originally joined the county in 2016 and has progressed within the organization as a leader over the past seven years. Prior to working with the county, she worked within nonprofit communications and development in Wilmington and Charlotte. Jessica is a Wilmington native who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a graduate of WILMA’s Leadership Institute and received WILMA’s Women to Watch Award in the public service category in 2019.

Executive Director, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM)

Workshop Speaker: Presenting with Influence

JC Lyle fell in love with Wilmington when she visited in 1996 and moved here three weeks later! She has served as WARM NC’s Executive Director since January 2009. Under her leadership, WARM NC has grown by an average of 14% per year and is on track to make free critical home repairs for 200 low-wealth families in 2023! JC especially loves helping female homeowners retain their largest asset, thereby preserving their independence and dignity.

In 2012, JC was named WILMA Magazine’s inaugural Woman to Watch in the Nonprofit Category. In 2018, the Wilmington City Council appointed JC to the Planning Commission where she now serves as chair, motivated by increasing the supply of affordable housing.

A natural entertainer, JC’s undergraduate degree is in theater which provides a great foundation for public speaking required for her job. She’s also presented numerous workshops and given several keynotes including the opening keynote for the National Coalition for Home Repair.

Marketing, Air Service Development, and PR Manager, Wilmington International Airport

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Erin McNally has over 20 years of professional experience, spanning public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She’s worked with Wilmington International Airport since 2016 and is responsible for managing the airport’s marketing, air service development, and public relations. During her time at ILM, the airport has received two marketing & PR award from Airports Council International, added 3 new airlines and numerous nonstop destinations. McNally was recently honored as a Woman to Watch-Public Service.  She has called Wilmington home for thirteen years and enjoys exploring the area’s natural beauty or simply relaxing in her yard with her husband Clark, teenage son Everett, and the array of family pets/animals.(2 dogs, 4 chickens, 1 leopard gecko, & numerous fish)

Founder, Recess

Keynote Panelist

Bevin Prince is a professional actress from Wilmington, North Carolina, best known for her role on One Tree Hill.  After moving to New York City, Bevin continued acting and transitioned into the world of fitness, as a Master Instructor, a talent trainer, contributor to SiriusXM’s SoulCycle radio and instructor developer for SoulCycle.  Following her passion of promoting balanced health, intentional living and inspired fitness, Bevin moved back home to Wilmington and founded her own cycling studio Recess By Bevin Prince.

RR Smith Strategic Solutions (R2S3) and New Lantern Partners

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

RUTH RAVITZ SMITH is the Founder and President of RR Smith Strategic Solutions (R2S3) and a Strategic Partner with the Washington, DC-area based New Lantern Strategies.  Ruth has three decades of government relations, communications and public affairs experience helping leading companies and organizations position for success across a range of industries.  Following many years in Washington, DC, Ruth relocated to Wilmington in 2015 to become the Chief Communications Officer for New Hanover County.  In 2019, the year she started R2S3, Ruth was a finalist in the WILMA Magazine “Women to Watch” Awards in the business category.

Also in 2019, Ruth began the process to re-establish the Honor Flight program in Wilmington and currently serves as the Founder, President, and Flight leader of the all-volunteer Honor Flight of the Cape Fear Area. Ruth is also a member of the WILMA W2W Advisory Board, a mentor for students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) Cameron School of Business and serves on the board of the Wilmington Jewish Film Festival.

Ruth earned a B.A. from Hood College, a M.B.A. from Marymount University and holds a certification to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Assistant Dean, UNCW CHHS // Owner, sherinicole.co // Co-Founder, Three Ladies in Wilmington

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Sheri Shaw serves in the role of Assistant Dean for Student Success and Academic Advising for the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), where she provides leadership, management, student services, and academic advising for nearly 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Sheri is committed to her community and to creating meaning connections.  This is evident through events crafted and supported by Three Ladies in Wilmington, a business she co-founded with two friends.  Sheri currently serves as a board member for the Willie Stargell Foundation and Wilma Leadership Advisory Board.  Sheri manages a small business, sherinicole.co, which focuses on professional coaching, academic consultations, hosts a syndicated podcast, black woman working. Her favorite quote is by James Keller, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”

Market President, First National Bank

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Speaker bio coming soon!



Partner, RLS Focused Solutions

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

Linda Stinson is a business coach, facilitator, and speaker with a focus on small businesses and non-profit organizations.  Her areas of concentration include seminars & workshops, professional and organizational development, and strategic planning.


Deputy Director of Athletics, UNCW

Workshop Speaker: The Confidence Code

Tiffany D. Tucker is the Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator at UNCW. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and earned her master’s degree from Hampton University.

As a proud Tar Heel alum, Tiffany was selected by the University of North Carolina Athletics and The Rams Club to serve as an ambassador for the FORevHER Tar Heels Campaign. In a partnership with the world’s #1 antiperspirant brand, Degree, and Yahoo Sports – Tiffany was featured in a gender equity series that empowered and inspired female athletes during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four.

She was the recipient of the UNCW Kathleen Berkeley Inconvenient Woman Award, the Women Leaders in College Sports Nell Jackson NIKE Executive of the Year Award, and winner of WILMA’s Women to Watch Awards in the Education Category. Tiffany also joined a star-studded list of athletic influencers as one of Sports Illustrated’s 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.

Market Development Manager, Corning Credit Union

Workshop Speaker: Mentoring Matters

As Market Development Manager for North Carolina, Andrea leads with her heart. She has spent her career helping others grow and sees her current role as a steward of service. Andrea has built her network by establishing meaningful connections with community stakeholders, mostly through extensive volunteering and serving on local boards. Committed to maximize her impact, Andrea helps when she can and also leverages her relationships to connect others in the community so they can work in partnership toward common goals. To amplify her impact, Andrea organizes joint volunteer opportunities for CCU teammates with other area businesses.

Visit W2WLeadership.com to learn more about WILMA’s Leadership Accelerator.

The Accelerator is part of WILMA’s overall Women to Watch Leadership Initiative and is attended by Wilmington’s top female executives, entrepreneurs, up-and-coming leaders and others intent on advancing their careers.