2019 A View From the Top: Reflections on Success and Coaching the Next Generation of Women Leaders

Success should be shared. Fordham women will discuss how they have navigated both professional and personal obstacles to break into the upper echelons of their industries.

Morning Session | Afternoon Session

Morning Session


Debra Toppeta, PAR, Publisher, Woman Around Town

Debra Toppeta is a leader in her field and a committed champion of Fordham. She began her varied career in financial services, then spent eight years as an attorney at a prominent firm working on mergers and acquisitions. She is the founder and publisher of Woman Around Town, a website that helps women get the most out of living in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Debra Toppeta


Marcella Barry, FCRH ’92, GSE ’96, Chief Human Resources Officer, Design Within Reach, Herman Miller Retail

Marcella Barry, FCRH ’92, GSE ’96, serves as the chief human resources officer at Design Within Reach and Herman Miller Retail. Marcella joined Design Within Reach (DWR) in September 2010; since then she has been a lead executive on change management as the company evolved from a modern furniture company to the leading authority on authentic modern design.

Panelist Marcella Barry

Julie Gebauer, PAR, Head of Human Capital and Benefits, Willis Towers Watson

Julie Gebauer is the head of the human capital and benefits (HCB) segment of Willis Towers Watson. She is at the helm of the largest business (with a more than $3 billion annual revenue) within the organization, comprised of 15,000 practitioners around the world.

Panelist Julie Gebauer

Ellen M. Hancock, GSAS ’67, President, Jazz Technologies (Retired)

Ellen M. Hancock, GSAS ’67, served as the president of Jazz Technologies Inc., and as president and chief operating officer of its predecessor, Acquicor Technology Inc., from August 2005 to June 2007. Prior to its merger with the wafer foundry Jazz Semiconductor Inc. in February 2007, Acquicor was a blank check company formed for the purpose of acquiring businesses in the technology, multimedia, and networking sector.

Ellen Hancock

Camelia Lawrence, M.D., FCRH ’00, Director of Breast Surgery, Central Region, Hartford HealthCare

Camelia Lawrence, M.D., FCRH ’00, is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. A board-certified surgeon specializing in benign and malignant breast disease, she has fellowship training in advanced breast cancer surgery, including skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, and oncoplastic techniques.

Camelia Lawrence

Stacie Yates, GSAS ’96, Senior Director, Head of Investment Product, Artivest

Stacie Yates, GSAS ’96, has more than 19 years of alternative investment experience in structuring alternative investment vehicles and legal, compliance, and regulatory issues from both the business and legal perspective.

Stacie Yates

Afternoon Session


Lesley Massiah-Arthur, GSAS ’12, ’13, Associate Vice President and Special Assistant to the President for Government Relations, Fordham University

Lesley Massiah-Arthur, GSAS ’12, ’13, was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in the Bronx. She is currently the associate vice president for government relations and urban affairs at Fordham University.

Lesley Massiah-Arthur


Mary Ann Bartels, GABELLI ’85, GSAS ’92, Head of Research Investment Committee and Head of Exchange Traded Fund Strategy for Global Research, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Mary Ann Bartels, GABELLI ’85, GSAS ’92, is head of the Research Investment Committee and of exchange traded fund (ETF) strategy for global research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She is the lead author of The RIC Report, a monthly publication which provides investment themes and actionable ideas for the firm’s clients.

Panelist Mary Ann Bartels

Christine Walsh, M.D., TMC ’69, Co-Director of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for CardioGenetics

Christine A. Walsh, M.D., TMC ’69, is a pediatric cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and professor emerita at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She co-founded the Montefiore-Einstein Center for CardioGenetics, the first such multidisciplinary clinic in the tristate area to care for both adults and children of a family that has suffered the unexpected loss of an infant, child, or young adult.

Christine Walsh

Kathleen Walsh, M.D., Pediatric Cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Stony Brook Children's Hospital

Kathleen Walsh-Spoonhower, M.D., is an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, and an attending pediatric cardiologist at Stony Brook University Hospital in Suffolk County, New York. She is the daughter of fellow panelist Christine Walsh, M.D. Together, they are the first pair of mother-daughter pediatric cardiologists in the U.S.

Panelist Kathleen Walsh-Spoonhower

Valerie White, FCRH ’83, LAW ’96, Executive Vice President, Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, Empire State Development Corporation

Valerie White, FCRH ’83, LAW ’96, is the executive vice president of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) and serves as the executive director of the organization’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, which is charged with promoting equality of economic opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) throughout New York state. In her role, Valerie oversees the state’s MWBE certification program and all matters related to compliance with the governor’s directives to maximize MWBE engagement in New York’s contracting.

Valerie White

Elizabeth Zeigler, GSE ’00, PAR, President, Graham-Pelton Consulting

Elizabeth S. Zeigler, GSE ’00, is the first woman to lead a global fundraising consulting firm in the multibillion-dollar nonprofit services industry. She was named CEO of Graham-Pelton Consulting in January 2017, succeeding company founder Craig J. Leach after his more than two decades at the helm.

Elizabeth Zeigler