The discovery in 2008 that women held only 18 percent of top leadership roles motivated Gloria to write the best-seller, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, in which she gives women practical “power tools” for personal and professional success. She co-founded Take The Lead with former investment banker Amy Litzenberger in 2014 with the bold mission to bring women to leadership parity by 2025. And she has since developed a wide range of powerful programs resulting in tremendous career breakthroughs for the women participating in them. A former teen mom, she turned hard work, determination and a knack for leadership into a 30-year career at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, including a 9-year stint as its national president and CEO. People magazine called her “the voice of experience,” while Vanity Fair named her one of America’s “Top 200 Women Legends, Leaders and Trailblazers.” Gloria is also an excellent chili maker.
A self-described “clarity-maker,” Nailah is a business and marketing strategist who guides Take The Lead’s social media presence with the aim of building thriving, inclusive communities of fans, prospects and influencers. Passionate about communication and community, she holds a master’s in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Southern California. Nailah is the founder and CEO of Wylie & Co., a digital marketing agency committed to diversity and inclusion.
Having embraced her own power to reinvent her life, Jovanka understands what it takes for other women to experience a personal and professional transformation. The former entertainment executive-turned-freelance project manager, director of operations and wellness expert credits the reset to a desire for a happier and healthier lifestyle. Now, she directs operations at Take The Lead, handling event planning and production, monthly Virtual Happy Hours and podcasts, and email marketing efforts. With more than six years experience in business consulting and strategy, project management and team building, she has managed the launches of two startups as well as products for herself and high-profile clients. She’s also served as an interim chief of staff and COO. Jovanka is a certified wellness coach and clinical herbalist who loves a good detox challenge.
Together with a team of expert facilitators trained in the 9 Leadership Power Tools, Laura is exponentially reaching and teaching more women to become leaders. As head of the Leadership Ambassador program, she selects and certifies an intergenerational network of Leadership Ambassadors from diverse industries to scale up Take The Lead’s innovative programs, including training, coaching and mentoring initiatives. She also partners with organizations to customize and execute these program offerings. Laura leverages a 20-year career in retail and wholesale financial services to lead consulting teams, design and facilitate trainings, and build alliances that help women power up and advance toward parity. And she mentors women in finance. Even when volunteering, she is cultivating and preparing diverse talent for top executive spots. Laura describes herself as “insatiably curious — love falling down the rabbit hole.”
Ariana brings a global perspective to her work consulting for Take The Lead, where she focuses on 50 Women Can Change The World programming and organizational operations, among other roles. She joins the team after having worked internationally for organizations such as the United Nations, where she coordinated efforts to ensure the protection of vulnerable populations from sexual exploitation in humanitarian crises. Ariana is skilled at bringing together organizations on common core issues. She specializes in gender equality in humanitarian operations, and her other nonprofit experience includes facilitating access to justice for survivors of war crimes, genocide and domestic violence. She lists London and Phnom Penh, Cambodia among the stops on her career journey.
Enhancing the leadership capabilities of Arizona women is a top priority for Teri. In her capacity, she is growing the membership of the Leadership Council, which supports Take The Lead Arizona’s programs to advance women’s leadership. With Teri comes 30 years of corporate communications experience in social responsibility, marketing, branding, advertising, media relations, social media planning, special events production and strategic planning. She also brings a rich mix of community relations, philanthropy, volunteerism, government affairs and economic development expertise from her tenure as an executive with a Fortune 500 high-tech company. Teri has served as a corporate spokesperson, created internationally award-winning signature events, and been honored by PR News as Community Relations Professional of the Year.
Beth’s official title is finance director, but she’s also Take The Lead’s resident tech guru, jumping in when needed to troubleshoot and solve all issues technical. Working with the organization since 2017, she brings to the table more than 25 years experience managing accounting departments. She and co-founder Gloria Feldt first crossed paths in 2010 at a women’s bloggers conference, where Gloria learned about her passion for environmental sustainability. Beth considers herself an “unexpected” activist, blogger and author who penned the book, Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. Fun fact: Her story of activism received a mention in Gloria’s best-seller, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power.
From writing three original columns per week For Take The Lead, to supervising Virtual Happy Hours and producing a 20,000-plus subscriber e-newsletter, Michele is keen on supporting Take The Lead’s mission. Often writing on gender, media, diversity, pop culture and women’s issues, her commentaries appear in The New York Times, USA Today, Forbes, Time, CNN, The Washington Post, Slate, Cosmopolitan and many more. She is the author of five nonfiction books: I Closed My Eyes; Writing To Save Your Life; Everyman News; Me and My Three Sons; and her latest, Escape Points: A Memoir, named one of the best books of 2015 by Booklist of the American Library Association. She is a frequent radio and TV guest on issues of gender and is emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University. She is senior leader with The OpEd Project, where she has led fellowships and programs across the U.S. and globally since 2011.