On January 29, Towson University welcomed 28 women into the fifth cohort of the TU Professional Leadership Program for Women. The women in this year’s class are an incredibly diverse and accomplished group, representing a broad range of professions. Each brings her own unique perspective, which benefits the other women in the current class and our growing alumnae network of more than 100 women throughout the region.

Meet the 2019 Cohort

Princess Agha is currently a program manager at a local nonprofit, Central Scholarship. Prior to joining the Central Scholarship team, Princess could be found in the front of a classroom teaching an amazing group of students. As a Teach for America alumna, education and equity are guiding factors in all of the work that Princess does. Princess received her B.S. from the University of Maryland—Go Terps! She later received her M.Ed. degree from Francis Marion University in Florence, SC.
Karen Arnold began her career in the nonprofit sector 21 years ago with United Way of Central Maryland, where she currently serves as assistant director of information technology. Karen is responsible for managing and monitoring IT projects to enhance the Microsoft Dynamic CRM system. Karen started her career at UW as senior administrative assistant to the vice president of community building and investment and has since held roles of increasing responsibilities. Karen is seeking her bachelor’s degree in information management systems at the University of Maryland University College. Karen is a single mother who put both her sons through college and has a daughter and 5-year-old grandson.
Nina Bankova joined Graduate School USA in 2016 and since has been providing direction and leadership to the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other international exchanges. Nina manages all grant administration aspects of the IVLP and strengthens relationships with program partners and stakeholders. Nina has been part of the IVLP network since 2006 when she took over the Professional Exchanges Department of the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore. Her experience entailed attracting and managing local and international professional exchanges initiatives, academic enhancement programs for local and international universities, and business networking receptions. Nina holds an M.A. in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University and B.A. in economics from Towson University. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Nina likes to spend time with family and friends and visiting her home country of Bulgaria.
Adri S. Belkot, MSODL, PHR, SHRM-CP, joined the Lifebridge Health system in the fall 2017 as manager, engagement. In this capacity, Adri partners with leaders at all levels to build and influence a culture where all 12,000 employees, leaders, and providers feel connected, appreciated, and engaged in the mission of Lifebridge Health. A human resources and organizational development professional with 15 years of experience, Adri has guided leaders and teams as they plan and implement changes in organizational structure and technology. Adri holds her PHR, SHRM-CP, and change management certifications. She received her master’s degree in organizational development and leadership from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
Anna Borgerding is the associate director of operations for Campus Life Services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where she implements innovative design and facility projects, ensures continuity of operations during critical times, and manages third party contractors that provide services to the entire campus. Anna has a passion for creating functional spaces that engage clients while providing an atmosphere for collaboration. As a certified project manager, Anna has managed projects ranging from software implementation, to training and development program launches, to $1M construction renovation projects. When she’s not managing projects, Anna enjoys squeezing in noon workouts while managing a crazy and chaotic life with two boys under three years old, and a husband who goes to the store for one item at a time.
Keisha Brown is the partnership liaison for Corvias Mid Atlantic Municipal Partnerships where she specializes in creating and leveraging relationships to bring innovative best-practice solutions to communities. She has been involved in the development and administration of new programs to include municipal and military housing partnerships in Maryland and Pennsylvania, successfully managing employee and client expectations through project and relationship management experience. Brown’s relationship, research and project management experience is focused on understanding client needs and creating innovative solutions to complex problems through partnership. She holds a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies with a business and communication concentration from the University of Baltimore, a certificate in project management from UMBC Training Centers and has completed master-level coursework in leadership and management at Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Sarah Cunningham joined Campbell & Company in April 2015 and was appointed Director of Marketing Communications in February 2018. In her role, Cunningham is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Campbell’s marketing and communication plans and oversees the execution of its critical elements, including ensuring articulation and editorial direction of all internal and external messaging of Campbell’s perspective on industry environment, firm initiatives, and brand image. She is directly responsible for defining and executing the firm’s public relations strategy and has defined and developed the firm’s comprehensive social media strategy. Ms. Cunningham spent the first ten years of her career at T. Rowe Price, where she held multiple roles. Cunningham graduated with a B.A. in history and a B.A. in rhetoric and communications from Mount St. Mary’s University. She is an active board member for Playworks Maryland. She always—ALWAYS—roots for the underdog.
Natasha M. Dartigue is the deputy district public defender for Baltimore City. Dartigue is responsible for promoting and implementing the OPD strategic plan as well as supervising programs and staff development to ensure the highest standards of zealous advocacy and superior legal representation of indigent clients throughout Baltimore City. Natasha is a 1995 graduate of the Howard University School of Law. Upon graduation, she clerked in the Baltimore City Circuit Court for the late Judge Roger W. Brown. Subsequently, she began working at the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore City. Dartigue has worked in the juvenile, district and circuit court divisions as well as served as felony trial supervisor. Dartigue is a 2017 alumna of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Leadership Program. At work and in the community, she is devoted to providing individuals with the tools to be successful. Being visible in the community and working hands-on to inspire young people to dream big has earned her many awards and recognitions.
Shannon Hoffman is the regional director of operations for Steep Hill Maryland, Pennsylvania, and DC, a leading cannabis laboratory. She brings 18 years of experience as an analytical chemist in research and development of consumer products, cosmetics, and OTC pharmaceuticals. Working for Fortune 100 company brands with $2.5B in retail sales across 80 global markets has given her a breadth of experience in compliance, quality, and regulatory matters. As a laboratory chemist, she has expertise in a range of techniques. Shannon has a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a M.S. in analytical chemistry from Illinois Institute of Technology.
Sherry Jones began her career in public safety with the state over eighteen years ago, committing and dedicating her life to serving those in need. Sherry is a first generation graduate. She received her B.S. in applied psychology from Coppin State University, and an A.A. in early childhood education from Baltimore City Community College. Currently, Jones serves on the Maryland ICJ Advisory Committee, Baltimore City Human Trafficking Collaborative, Maryland Sex Trafficking Victims Initiative, Maryland Victim Services Committee, and Roper Academy Alumni Board. She received citations for both Department of Juvenile Services Secretary and President of Baltimore City Council for her dedication to at risk females. In addition, Jones is the owner/operator of Lo’Rosa Hair Studio-mobile salon and founder of Sister Who Care (S.W.C.) Mentoring Program. Jones has one son and a grandson. She is a servant leader who believes in sharing her gifts and talents with those in need—homeless women and girls and crime victims.
Ally Lauer is the membership sales and marketing manager at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and has been with the organization for the past four years; overseeing the family membership program, adoption program and corporate membership programs. She began her sales career with Hard Rock Cafe in 2012. Ally is from the Baltimore area, growing up in Howard County, and currently resides in Baltimore City.
Julie Levi focuses on regulatory and transactional matters for a variety of financial institutions, drawing on her experience as in-house counsel and a compliance advisor for more than a decade. Her sophisticated understanding of consumer and corporate finance and her unique legal and compliance experience has positioned Julie to effectively help clients navigate complex issues in ways that fully account for business, operational and legal considerations. As a compliance and regulatory advisor, she counsels financial institution clients on matters related to state and federal consumer finance law, securities regulation, training and regulatory exams. As a transactional attorney, Julie counsels clients on a wide variety of commercial and financing agreements. Prior to joining Miles & Stockbridge, Julie was associate general counsel at OneMain Financial. She previously served as regulatory counsel and compliance advisor at several leading global investment banks, with a focus on fixed income products.
Whitney A. Leydecker is a senior philanthropy officer who works with corporations, foundations and individuals to generate private philanthropic support for the American Red Cross. With a decade of experience working in development for large, complex not-for-profit organizations, Whitney knows that the key to raising significant funds is to identify and focus on what is most meaningful to the donor in terms of motivations and goals for making philanthropic investments. Whitney has consistently exceeded fundraising goals and raised millions of dollars to support and advance the lifesaving work of humanitarian and healthcare organizations. Previously, Whitney spent five years at the University of Maryland Medical System where she began her development career at the UMMS Foundation. Whitney is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Maryland Chapter and holds a B.A. in communication studies and a minor in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Lorie Logan-Bennett has worked in higher education for over twenty years and is currently serving as the director of the Career Center at Towson University. Lorie is past-president of the Maryland Career Development Association and the Maryland Career Consortium and has presented professionally at regional and national conferences. She received her M.A. from The Ohio State University and her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University. Lorie is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, has participated in the NACE Management Leadership Institute, and was a member of the inaugural class of the Career Leadership Collective’s Mastermind program.
Tracey McLaughlin has been in human resources (compensation, benefits, HRIS) for many years in a few different industries (healthcare, legal, and finance). She obviously likes a challenging environment. Tracey started her professional life as an internal auditor. She graduated from Towson University back when it was Towson State with a degree in accounting and obtained her CPA. Ms. McLaughlin holds a few HR designations (SPHR and a SHRM-SCP). She is a member of SHRM, WorldAtWork and the Chesapeake Human Resources Association. Tracey lives in the Baltimore suburbs with her husband, 2 sons, and a very spoiled dog.
Kristin Montgomery is the senior advisor to the executive director at the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. In this capacity, she leads major strategic initiatives in the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs that leverage technology to improve efficiency and customer service. Kristin brings to HABC a decade of experience in public service in both federal and city government. She served as a program manager at the New York City Housing Authority, managing business process improvement projects and playing a critical role in the transformation of the interim recertification and administrative termination. Prior to joining NYCHA, Kristin served on Capitol Hill as a legislative correspondent and scheduler. Kristin is a proud Terp, graduating from the University of Maryland at College Park with a double-degree in government and sociology. She holds a Master in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Michele Mueller is currently the director of special events at Kennedy Krieger Institute where she has been employed for more than 15 years. Michele’s team is responsible for a special event fundraising program that brings in nearly $2 million annually and includes events such as the ROAR for Kids 5k, fun walk & family festival and Festival of Trees (held annually on Thanksgiving weekend). Born and raised in Baltimore, Michele is an alumna of Mercy High School and Towson University. Michele currently lives in Parkville with her husband and toddler son and in her spare time coaches training programs for Charm City Run.
Melissa Patterson has spent the last six years working for the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company as an internal auditor. She graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a major in accounting, a minor in Spanish, and was a member of the varsity volleyball team all four years. Melissa is currently pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Baltimore, and will be graduating  in 2020. Melissa has also been volunteering her time tutoring and mentoring high school students in underserved communities through TouchPoint Baltimore, a collaboration center founded by Whiting-Turner and BGE.
Stephanie Richardson grew up in Bel Air, Maryland. She Graduated from Towson University in 2011 with a B.S. in business and concentration in finance. She received an MBA from the collective business schools of Towson University and The University of Baltimore in 2015. Stephanie got her start in the industry eight years ago as a stockbroker at Scottrade; obtaining her Series 7 and 63 licenses. She joined Fidelity Investments in Towson five years later in 2016 where she added her Series 65 license and in a brief time won two consecutive Unsung Hero Awards for driving excellence.
Leeann Schubert is the director of educational options for the Baltimore County Public Schools. Her work at the local and national levels, in both higher education and public school systems, has afforded her the opportunity to promote her professional passion of ensuring that all students have access to high quality instruction that leads to school success and a lifelong learning.  After several years coordinating blended learning initiatives at the Johns Hopkins University, Ms. Schubert led school improvement work in Harford County Public Schools. Under Leeann’s leadership, BCPS has increased options to support high school graduation for At Promise students.
Kate Shaffer is the rehabilitation manager for the National Aquarium; she oversees husbandry and treatment of rehabilitating seals and sea turtles. Previously director of rehabilitation at the National Marine Life Center, Kate has over 10 years of stranding response and rehabilitation experience. She was recently selected a top ten finalist in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Heroes competition and is among Cape Cod Business Magazine’s 40 under 40 class of 2016. Kate believes in the value of rehabilitation of endangered species and inspiring conservation by bringing patient stories to the public eye. Kate lives in Baldwin with her family.
Michelle Siri is the executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the safety, economic security, and autonomy of women across Maryland. A former board chair of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, a fellow of the Maryland Bar Foundation, president-elect of her law school alumni board, treasurer of the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women, and a member of the board of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, she was awarded The Women’s Bar Association’s Rita C. Davidson Award in 2018, and was twice named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record.
Cassandra C. Stevenson is the international tax director for Legg Mason, Inc. and is responsible for the international compliance and the ASC 740 reporting for the firm’s international subsidiaries. She has 16 years of experience working with publicly traded companies in the area of tax planning, compliance, and reporting. Cassandra began her tax career with the Baltimore Office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LP in 2002 and joined Legg Mason in April 2009. Cassandra is a certified public accountant and holds an active license in Maryland. She is a member of the AICPA, the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of TEI, a board member of Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation, and an active member of the Baltimore Chapter of the Links, Inc. She holds a B.S. in accounting from Morgan State University and a M.S. in taxation from American University.
Cortney Streets earned her B.S. in business administration from Towson University, and earned a M.A. in leadership and management, with a concentration in project management from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She holds a PMP credential and works for Leidos as a control account manager and staffing lead. Cortney supports a program known as Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, a highly complex software modernization contract for the United States Army, valued at over $130 million and employees over 130 systems, software and test engineers. She is responsible for managing program operations and staffing in addition to supporting program Earned Value requirements. Previously, Cortney served as a capture support manager at Leidos, in which she was responsible for business development efforts for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense and Command and Control (C2) markets. She lives in Bel Air with her husband, two sons, and the family’s chocolate lab.
Rachel Tracey joined Weber Shandwick as senior account executive in July 2016 and was appointed manager, client experience in October 2017. She primarily serves as account manager and strategic counsel for B2B demand generation, lead generation and customer retention campaigns for various brands including Fortune 100 and global clients. Previously, Tracey was marketing manager at McClung-Logan Equipment Company in Baltimore, where she was responsible for managing all digital and print advertising channels, as well as branded materials.  While there, she worked closely with the Volvo CE North America marketing team. Rachel began her career in marketing at DoublePositive, where she executed B2B lead generation and cross-channel marketing campaigns. Rachel received her B.S. in communications from Towson University, where she also minored in business administration. She resides in Fallston with her husband and their yellow lab.
Katie Vester has been with Itineris for five years and is the employment services Director. She received her degree from Penn State with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and two minors; one in sociology and one in human development and family studies. Katie is passionate about creating new opportunities for individuals with autism as well as sharing both successes and lessons with those who recognize the many benefits of a neurodiverse workforce. She sits on the Quality Assurance and Admissions Committees at Itineris.
Julie Vishnyakov is an experienced professional in energy commodity trading, structured origination, risk management, and accounting and finance. Vishnyakov joined Constellation in 2003, where she has held various positions, including director of Enterprise Risk Management Operations, director of market risk, manager of trading analytics as well as an accounting manager position. Prior to joining constellation, Vishnyakov worked as a senior auditor at Arthur Andersen. Vishnyakov graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She holds a license of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).
Abbi Wicklein is currently the chief of interpretation and visitor services for the National Park Service. She manages all visitor related programming at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Hampton National Historic Site, and the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Abbi has over 23 years of experience in educational programming for museums and heritage organizations. She began her work with the NPS as an interpretive and education specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Program Office in Annapolis, where she served from 2009-2016. Prior to joining the National Park Service she managed the operations and educational programs for several small museums in Baltimore City, and served as the Heritage Education and Outreach Administrator for the Baltimore National Heritage Area.  She holds a B.A. in history from McDaniel College (Western Maryland College) and an M.A.T. in museum education from the George Washington University.

Learn More about the Program

If you have questions about the program visit our homepage or send us an email. You can also stay up-to-date via the Program’s Facebook page.