Now in its sixth year, TU’s Professional Leadership Program for Women continues to push Towson University into the forefront of leadership development opportunities.

TU’s Professional Leadership Program for Women was established as a cohort-based program to help women increase their capacity for leadership and influence. Now in its sixth year, the program has expanded to running two cohorts concurrently. Meet the members of the class of 2020.

Meet Cohort One 0f the 2020 class

Ashley Meyer is the Director of Government and Business Relations for Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, developing and implementing the annual strategic outreach plan and serving as district liaison. Ashley previously served as the Government Relations Manager for the Houston Airport System in Houston, Texas, overseeing government affairs for Houston’s three airports. She spent several years working in the Maryland legislature as Legislative Director for former Delegate John Olszewski Jr. and as lobbyist for a healthcare association. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Towson University and a Master of Public Administration and Policy from American University. She lives in Baltimore City with her husband and two dogs.
Christine Barnabic is the Education Program Management Specialist at the Center for Integrative Medicine, part of University of Maryland School of Medicine and Cancer Center. She coordinates education programs including integrative medicine elective, culinary medicine, workplace wellness services and assists with the yoga programs. She also teaches mindfulness, breathwork, meditation, yoga, Pilates and Reiki. Christine is a Towson University Alumni for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and studied abroad in Australia. She is active in her community with fitness groups, volunteering, and support in her neighborhood initiatives. She is a travel enthusiast to venture and learn around the world.
Ciera Parks has over 10 years of Human Resources experience, having worked in higher education, manufacturing, non-profit, pharmaceutical, e-commerce and technology industries. Outside of her professional roles, Ciera volunteers with several organizations to increase the dialogue around diversity and inclusion, advocacy for minority students in corporate environments and youth empowerment, including Progressive Steps Incorporated, the Greater Baltimore Urban League, CHRA and Baltimore’s National Association of African Americans in Human Resources chapter.
Ciera currently works as the HR Manager for a premiere medical cannabis company that grows, processes and distributes in the Maryland market. She is also a private HR consultant, specializing in talent and organizational development, by providing direction to businesses looking for HR solutions and training.
Dionne Spencer is Director and Head of the AUM & Revenue Analysis group at Legg Mason. Dionne has 20+ years of asset management experience, which began in fund accounting at T. Rowe Price. She later joined Deutsche Bank and has been with Legg Mason since 2006. Dionne leads a team whose responsibilities include consolidation, reporting and analytics for Legg Mason’s assets under management.
Dionne is Chair of the Competitive Intelligence Committee, a member of the Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council, and participates in a mentoring program providing guidance and support to at risk youth. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the Earl Graves Honors Program at Morgan State University and on the Baltimore Advisory Board of Urban Alliance.
Dionne earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowie State University and an MBA from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Dionne is a wife and mother of two teenagers and is an avid runner.
Erin Runyon works in the Global Retail Program Management Office (PMO) at Under Armour. She and her team focus on realizing benefits for the business through standardizing and tracking project management processes, policies and methods across Global Retail functional groups, while ensuring stakeholder connectivity with an emphasis on two-way communication between Global and Regional teams. Erin has been with Under Armour for over 10 years, working within many facets of the commercialization process including retail field teams, product operations and wholesale store development. Most days you can find Erin at the gym before her husband and daughter wake up.
Jacqueline I. Caldwell is the Lead Coordinator for the Baltimore Civic Site and National Community Strategies teams at The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Previously she served as president (2010–2018) of the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council, which supports and advocates for the neighborhoods surrounding Mondawmin Mall. Under her leadership, over $800 million was invested in the community through development projects, including two affordable housing developments. Being of service is in Jacqueline’s blood and is honored to be a part of solutions to lift up our city. Jacqueline serves as community liaison for TouchPoint Baltimore, developing programs to educate and empower the Greater Mondawmin community. She also facilitates the organization’s Skills for Success for Young Ladies initiative. She serves as board chair of Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore, and is a board member of Innovation Works and the William Baer School Partnership Board. Jacqueline is a proud member and trustee of the historic Bethel AME Church and president of the Whittier-Monroe Community Neighborhood Association, where she has lived for the past 50 years.
Janice Godson-Burnett has 10 years’ experience in Benefit Administration and HRIS System Implementation. Her focus has been on Benefit planning and Open Enrollment setup, Self Service/Workflow implementations.
Janice works with clients to understand their benefit plans, eligibility and enrollment needs so she can design a solution that suits all levels of usage. She is adept at configuring the system to address all levels of complexity, creating custom forms and directing workflows to solve even the most difficult processes.
Janice continuously provides clients with best practice recommendations to help resolve questions throughout implementation, during user acceptance and parallel testing, and as they go live.
Jeanne Imbriale serves as director of the Office of Enterprise Applications in the Department of Information Technology for the country’s 25th largest school district. Imbriale’s focus is on optimizing the use of technology to improve learning for its 115,000 students. This includes leading the development of system solutions for all 175 schools, supervising the capture of student data and reporting, and designing the digital ecosystem to meet the needs of modern students. For the past 24 years, Imbriale has worked to improve teaching and learning, emphasizing the value of technology. Her lifelong goal is to champion the benefits of technology and assist other leaders in their implementation in school systems across the country.
Imbriale has been recognized nationally for advancing the field of educational technology and for her work on the creation and execution of data privacy practices and the establishment of data governance structures has served as a model across the country.
Jennifer Ventimiglia began her career as a 7th grade math teacher for Boston Public Schools. After a couple years, Jennifer moved back to her hometown of Baltimore to work for Baltimore City Public Schools at the city-wide school Baltimore School for the Arts. After leaving teaching, Jennifer worked as a Performance Analyst for a 1919ic, a subsidiary of Stifel Investment Bank. It is there that she began to see the positive impact that her teaching career had in the corporate setting. In each role, Jennifer looks to incorporate her education background by communicating complex ideas in a comprehensible manner.
In 2017, after completing the 3rd level of CFA, Jennifer moved over to Constellation Energy where she is currently a Senior Quantitative Analyst. Jennifer graduated from Dartmouth in 2005 with a degree in Applied Mathematics. Jennifer also holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Baltimore County with her husband and three children.
Judy Poey is the Health Program Officer at United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM). She believes in equity with dignity and that everyone has something to teach. Judy oversees UWCM’s health programs in the region which focus on improving access to healthy food and healthy eating behaviors. She is currently developing a strategic plan for the health program area that incorporates feedback from community members to ensure responsiveness to the community’s stated needs and desires. Prior to working at UWCM, Judy researched, published, and presented on quality of life and well-being outcomes of person-centered care in long-term care settings.
Kris Butcher is the Director of Care Management & Social Work at Levindale, a LifeBridge Health organization founded in 1890, that has been leading the way in providing long-term and specialty hospital care. Kris has a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Kris’ career spans, health care, hospice, child welfare, behavioral health and organizational leadership. Throughout her career she has been as an advocate for those who do not have a voice or platform for meaningful change.
Mahnoor Ahmed serves as Interim Senior Director and Associate Director for Student Diversity and Development at Towson University. She provides mentoring, advising, training and leadership development for students, with a focus on programming around issues of identity and inclusion. She formerly served as Assistant Director of Diversity and Intercultural Development at MICA, where she led the creation of the Women Artists of Color Luncheon Series, and the establishment of the Hispanic/Latino and LGBTQIA+ student mentoring networks. Mahnoor also served as a Community Leader at the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish studies (ICJS), working with community leaders on the Imagining Justice in Baltimore initiative. Her professional interests include advocacy and activism around issues and intersections of identity, gender norms, culturally‐relevant learning, civility, equity, feminism and student leadership. She holds a B.A. in comparative literature from Bryn Mawr College and a M.S. in educational leadership from Towson University.
Melissa Westwood is currently the Senior Director of Human Resources at DLA Piper LLP (US), a leading global law firm, where she began her career in 2000. Prior to that, she held various HR positions with a leading national homebuilder as well as a property and casualty insurance company. She has over 25 years’ of progressive HR leadership experience with an emphasis on employee relations, mergers and acquisitions, HR compliance and affirmative action, and training and development. She received her BS degree in business, concentration in Human Resources, from The College of Notre Dame of Maryland. In her spare time, she loves giving back to the community through her volunteer work, most recently as a volunteer at Luna’s House, an animal shelter in Harford County.
Michelle Brandenburg is an investment advisor for PNC Institutional Advisory Solutions and is located in Baltimore, MD. She coordinates the delivery of investment solutions for various charitable organizations, corporations, and municipalities. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and she earned a Masters degree in financial mathematics from Johns Hopkins University. She serves as associate trustee and investment committee member for the Sheppard Pratt Investment, Inc. Michelle is a CFA® and CAIA charterholder.
Monica Shuler-Marrow is a seasoned Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Monica is a Human Resources Strategic Business Partner at Johns Hopkins University, Development and Alumni Relations. She partners with her clients on a broad range of HR matters. Prior to joining John Hopkins University, Monica was served as the HRBP, Academic Affairs, at Howard University. Monica spent 17 years at Automatic Data Processing (ADP) in various HR and operations roles.
Monica holds a Bachelors of Business Administration, Management, from Howard University, and a Masters of Science Degree, Human Resource Development, from Towson University.
Rania Selfani is a vice president of T. Rowe Price and a senior marketer for U.S. Intermediaries. She’s responsible for setting the digital client experience strategy and leading the team responsible for execution of digital marketing initiatives to increase sales and client engagement. Prior to joining T. Rowe Price in 2007, Rania held various marketing roles at Legg Mason, including the head of digital marketing for the private client business group. Rania earned a bachelor’s degree in management with a minor in French from Goucher College and an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.
Regina Haynes has more than 23 years of multi-family housing experience. Since January 2017, she has worked as director of education and training at Humphrey Management. From March 1997 through December 2016, Regina held multiple positions with Southern Management Corporation, one of three privately owned and managed property management corporations that develops and facilitates their own property management university. Regina values the needs and complexities of adult learners and trains consistently to aide in these efforts. Her work ethic, and contributions to any audience exudes honesty, humbleness, transparency, integrity, empowerment, and excellence. In fall 2016, Regina completed a Master of Education from Concordia University, with a major in curriculum design and minor in Biblical Literacy. She holds a B.A. in organizational management and A.A. in business administration. She enjoys paying it forward by volunteering for various organizations such as Junior Achievement of Central Maryland and the Girl Circle.
Sarah Mersky Miicke is the Deputy Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. She is responsible for government relations for the Council, including lobbying at the Federal, State and local levels, and oversees community relations. She was previously the Director of Government Relations for the BJC. Prior to joining the BJC, Sarah worked for several State and Federal elected officials, including Maryland’s former Speaker Michael Busch and Vice President, formerly U.S. Senator, Joseph Biden. She holds a J.D. from The University of Maryland Carey School of Law and a B.A. in Political Communication from The George Washington University.
Shanae McLean is the Director of Nursing for Long-Term Care & Sub-Acute Rehabilitation with LifeBridge Health at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital. In her role, she oversees clinical operations driving patient/resident outcomes, performance improvement, fiscal and relationship management and strategic management. Shanae received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Coppin State College and Master’s of Business Management & Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Phoenix. A Baltimore native, Shane enjoys traveling, as well as visual and performing arts. “In striving for perfection, we can achieve excellence” is the Vince Lombardi quote Shanae lives by.
Shauntia Lindsay serves as the Statewide Community Services Coordinator for Maryland Department of Juvenile Services’ (DJS) Family Engagement Unit. She is responsible for managing DJS youth programing, volunteer and intern recruitment and processing, family engagement activities, and providing leadership and direction to community and residential staff. Additionally, Shauntia works with external stakeholders to provide external programing and resources; reviews and screens programing and intern applications; serves as an adjunct teacher for Juvenile Services employees. She has been promoted three times during her seven-year DJS career.
Shauntia is a native of Baltimore City. She earned a B.A. in Psychology Pre Med from Temple University. Shauntia serves on the Dept. of Labor and Licensing’s MD Youth Apprenticeship Advisory Committee, Morning Star Baptist Church Correctional Conference Planning Committee, the Transgender Facility Admission Task Force, and is a Chief Election Judge in Baltimore.
Tamara E. Wilson is the pastor of Nu Season Nu Day Church; the founder of Journey Ministries, Inc., and Be Empowered Start Today. She has a passion for empowering people especially women and helping them to achieve their God ordained best. Dr. Wilson is also a very passionate advocate for the preservation, strengthening, and empowering of the African American community and devotes much of her time working with various community and civic organizations.


Meet Cohort Two of the 2020 class

Aisha Scott is a determined and motivated professional that has over a decade of experience in leadership, employee coaching, and training development in corporate and not-for-profit entities. She has a passion for helping others to discover their underlying potential and assist them with creating the toolbox needed to support their goals. In October 2018, she was selected as a national Credit Union Rockstar by Credit Union Magazine (an affiliate of CUNA).
She has a B.S. in management and has completed coursework and/or certificate programs at Towson University, Bowie State University, and the Loyola University of Maryland. Additionally, she has completed ATD’s Project Management for Learning Professionals certificate and is completing coursework towards a M.S. in industrial/organizational psychology. Aisha is a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument which she uses as a tool for career development, communication & team building, and leadership coaching.
Amy Edelmann is the Assistant Benefits Manager at The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company where she specializes in the technical interpretation and management of the company’s benefits and compensation data. Amy’s twenty-five year Whiting-Turner career has evolved with the company’s growth most recently leading to implementation of paperless, nationwide onboarding and benefit enrollment. Amy is a liaison to company executives, a point of contact for employees, and is proud to mentor the company’s Benefits Coordinators. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College. She is a Baltimore County native living in Bel Air, MD with her husband and teenaged son.
Andria Lake is a Senior Originator in the Wholesale Structured Origination business with over a decade of experience in the structured transactions space in roles of increasing responsibility. Andria focuses on developing and maintaining customer relationships with the goal of generating value for the company through the purchase and sale wholesale power. Andria also leads an effort to cross-sell non-commodity products and services through the Wholesale channel.
Beneé Edwards is the Grants Manager at the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC), where she oversees the management and distribution of state and federal grants awarded to higher education institutions, nonprofits, and individuals. Prior to MHEC, Beneé spent over 10-years working in two- and four-year higher education institutions leading career services and workforce development initiatives as well as teaching, advising, and assisting students with admissions and financial aid. Beneé holds a B.S. in Finance and an M.B.A. and D.B.A. in Business Management. She is a proud Auburn University graduate and an Auburn football fan.
Heather Jane Sorensen was born in Puerto Rico to military parents from military families themselves. An only child and a member of Future Teachers of America in high school, she graduated cum laude from Towson (State) University. Heather toured nationally with a children’s theatre company and spent many years as a freelance lighting designer, production manager and stage manager for theatre, television, opera, and dance. She has served as the Director of Events and Operations for the College of Fine Arts and Communication at TU since 2011. Ms. Sorensen lives in Lutherville with fellow TU alum Kevin and her dog Murphy.
Kate Kennedy is the Director of Internal Audit for LifeBridge Health. In her current role, she is responsible for overseeing the Internal Audit function at five hospitals, 20+ joint ventures and a physician enterprise. Prior to joining LifeBridge, she spent six years working as a consultant at Grant Thornton LLP. She graduated with a B.S. in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, gardening, and hanging with her dog, Sadie.
Laura Bankey currently holds the position of Vice President of Conservation Programs at the National Aquarium, where she leads efforts to engage the public in regional conservation initiatives in order to create collective impact. Her primary focus is on issues related to climate change, biodiversity and plastic pollution. Particular areas of interest include community-based habitat restoration, citizen science, gardening for wildlife and community engagement. She holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a master’s degree in Marine Science. Laura has worked at the National Aquarium since 2002.
Liz Debes works as a Systems Analyst coordinating settings in an electronic medical record system to optimize member care and staff efficiency. An educator by training, Liz transitioned to healthcare after bowing out of teaching at Gilmor Elementary School. Although no longer a teacher by trade, Liz’s passion for education and building relationships continues in many aspects of Liz’s work and personal life. A Baltimore City native, Liz enjoys family life in her small (but full of love) Highlandtown rowhome.
Lori Rogers serves as the Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Y in Central Maryland. In this role, Lori works closely with the Y’s corporate partners to deepen their relationships with the community. She has a focus on healthcare partners, as they implement programming that meets the needs of their patients and adds value to Y members. Prior to joining the Y, Lori was self-employed, consulting with local small and mid-sized businesses on their market development efforts. Lori has a degree in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University. In her spare time, she volunteers at community gardens as a Master Gardener and is married with two high school aged children and a dog named Buddy – all of which keeps her very busy!
Melissa Court is Managing Director and the Head of Technology Strategy & Planning at Legg Mason, reporting to the Chief Technology Officer. She is responsible for several functions including the PMO, business relationship management, vendor management, business analysis, communications & training and IT financials. Since 2014, Melissa has led an Agile transformation effort to change the way IT delivers on the IT strategy, as well as how they interact with global business partners. Melissa’s financial service career spans 20+ years and has been entirely technology focused. Her passion is bringing excellence and execution to business strategies through technology solutions. Previously, she has worked at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and DTS Brokerage Solutions. She has a B.A. in sociology, with a double minor in business administration and human resource management, from McDaniel College. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner. She lives in Timonium with her husband, three daughters, and 80 pound Bernedoodle.
Nicole Dobbs has a BS in Business Education and a MS in Technology in Education. Leading comes natural to her. She built her career around designing exciting curricular experiences. Nicole was awarded “Teacher of the Year” for her outstanding pedagogy. Today, as the Director of Training and Development with Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Nicole leads a diverse group of individuals, overseeing 50 employees. Her team is responsible for successfully evaluating, developing and facilitating training for the entire MTA. As she propels her leadership skills, Nicole believes she can make an impact in cultivating future leaders and innovators of tomorrow.
Paige Baskauskas developed a passion for food and wine during her studies at East Carolina University and had been on a constant mission to integrate this into a fruitful career path. After working alongside a mentor at a boutique wine shop, she developed her talent for sales. Paige Baskauskas moved her career path to Opici Family Distributing in 2016 where she then became the top revenue sales representative for 2016 & 2017. After her successful years a territory sales representative, she was promoted to Mid-Atlantic key account manager and fine wine brand manager. Paige was most recently promoted to Montgomery County regional sales manager.
Renee Murphy serves as director of events and experiences at Sagamore Spirit Distillery, developing large-scale events hosted at the distillery in Port Covington, including Whiskey on the Waterfront, Annual Anniversary Celebrations, Holiday Tree Lighting, and Whiskey Thieves events. She also plans market-specific and national consumer-facing and trade association events, as well as international tradeshows. Renee is passionate about creating events and experiences that bring unexpected excitement and joy to guests and feels incredibly lucky to do it with a brand like Sagamore.
Renee is a native Marylander. She earned a degree in resort tourism/hospitality management from Coastal Carolina University. After graduation, she stayed and worked in South Carolina before moving back to Maryland. Renee lives in Harford County with her husband, 4-year-old daughter, and Golden Retriever, Zoey. She will welcome another baby girl in April.
Shereece Singleton has been a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) employee for over 15 years. She has held various administrative positions within UMB and is currently an Office Manager in the Department of Pediatrics. Shereece received her Bachelor’s from Coppin State University and her Master’s from University of Baltimore. Outside of work, Shereece enjoys traveling and spending time with family.
Stacey Rebbert is an award-winning marketing professional and writer and an advocate for women and the issues that affect them. Stacey joined Harford Mutual in 2013 and has maintained a successful freelance business for 10 years. She continually seeks out opportunities to continue learning so she can add value to the organizations where she works and volunteers. Stacey earned a B.S. in mass communications from Towson University and a M.A. in contemporary communication from Notre Dame University of Maryland. She lives in Bel Air with her husband. She has three adult children and a new grandson.
Tiffany Wandy is the Executive Director of the Clinically Integrated Network for LifeBridge Health, a $2.5B regional health care organization based in northwest Baltimore and its surrounding counties. Prior to joining LifeBridge, Tiffany was a Senior Data Analyst and Lead Program Consultant for the CareFirst Patient-Centered Medical (PCMH) Program, where she served as an advisor to primary care providers on best practices relating to the implementation of coordinated care delivery models. Tiffany holds an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business and an MPH from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Tina Schmitt is Director of Talent Acquisition and Retention at Kennedy Krieger Institute, where she leads and directs talent strategies, including the Neurodiversity at Work program, and has helped to launch the Institute’s Project SEARCH, an internship program for young adults with severe disabilities. Tina’s efforts have been dedicated to exploring and implementing human capital strategies to include and retain more individuals with Autism and all abilities into Kennedy Krieger Institute’s workforce. Tina was recognized as a 2019 Leader in Diversity by the Baltimore Business Journal. Tina serves as a board member of The Chesapeake Human Resources Association and the Maryland chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First. Tina holds a master’s from NDMU and a bachelor’s from Towson University. She holds the esteemed designation of Senior HR Professional, is a Certified Healthcare Recruiter and also holds a Professional in Human Resources certification.
Vanessa Eluma is the Head of Variable Annuity Field Distribution in the U.S. Intermediaries—Retirement Group, and Vice President of T. Rowe Price Associates. In her current role, she is focused on helping advisors, brokers, and insurers add value to their clients’ investment strategies. Vanessa has over 20 years of wide-ranging business experience, 14 of which have been with T. Rowe Price. She joined the firm specializing in financial institution services and since then held other roles such as Retirement Segment General Manager, Relationship Manager for the 529 College Savings Plans, Program Manager in the Enterprise Change Office, Digital Experience Strategist in Retail Marketing, and the Co-Chapter lead for the Women’s Resource Group. She earned a B.S from Stevenson University, MBA from Johns Hopkins, PMP Certification, and is a Series 6 and 63 licensed representative.