Women In Leadership

The Women in Leadership Conference brings together highly successful women executives and motivational speakers from across the country to share their insight and advice on how to carve out a career of achievements.
See below the 2019 event theme and list of outstanding speakers and panelists.

Strategies for Achieving Your Dream Career

2019 Women in Leadership Conference Recap Video

Keynote Speakers


Alexandria Johnson Boone
President & CEO
GAP Communications Group

Alexandria Johnson Boone is President and CEO of GAP Communications Group, full-service public relations, advertising, marketing and special events firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Under her leadership, GAP has gained local, regional and national recognition for its quality public relations, publicity and marketing services and its signature special events.  She is also widely recognized and respected in the communications and public relations industry as the architect of the LeBron James media persona.

Alex is also the Chairwoman and Founder of the Women of Color Foundation, a 501c3 organization, dedicated to the education, empowerment, training and leadership development of women and girls of all colors.  Over the years, the Foundation has produced several annual personal and professional development retreats, conferences, awards luncheons, and other special events across the region.

She is a graduate of the Cleveland Public Schools.  She also holds a master’s degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University; a Certificate from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; and was a 1997 National Fellow at the Boston University School of Public Health’s Join Together Program.  She was also a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 1988.

In 2014, she founded C L Magazine, a career and lifestyle digital magazine for women and girls of color.  The magazine has been continuously in publication since that time.

Some of her community involvements have included serving as a member of the Board at The Club at Key Center; The SHINE Foundation; The Urban League of Greater Cleveland; the Community Advisory Board of The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women; The Visiting Committees at the Weatherhead School of Management & the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Case Western Reserve University; and the Board of Directors at the Greater Cleveland Partnership, all located in Cleveland, Ohio; and the Urquhart Memorial Foundation located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Boone has also received several awards for her business and professional achievements and community service.

Her 2016 awards and recognitions include the following: 2016 Recipient of the “National ColorComm Circle Award” for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman of Color in the Communications Industry; 2016 Trailblazer of the Year by the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council at their Annual Regional Conference; 2016 Business Trailblazer of the Year by the Christian Business League; 2016 Recipient of the Greater Cleveland Community Service Award by the Gloria Pointer Foundation; and the 2015 recipient of the Elite Women Around the World’s, Women Who Changed the World Award.

In 2017, Alex was selected for inclusion in the Inaugural “Women WELDing the Way” 2018 Business Success Calendar by the Women for Economic and Leadership Development, Cleveland Chapter; and was included in a local PBS television mini-documentary, highlighting Cleveland Black professional women and their success in spite of facing racism during their careers.

In 2018, Boone was featured in an article in the March issue of Cleveland’s Smart Business Magazine, highlighting her work with the Women of Color Foundation.  Additionally, the Women of Color Foundation was recognized as the “2018 Organization that Empowered Women” at the Smart Business Magazine Annual Women’s Awards Breakfast.


June Ryan
Success Principles® Trainer, Speaker, Coach, Author

About Rear Admiral Ryan

Rear Admiral June Ryan is a motivational speaker, Success Trainer and coach drawing upon her 35 years of military service, two formal certifications in the Success Principles - Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want To Be®, by Jack Canfield, co-Author of Chicken Soup for the Soul®, and certification as a Barrett Values Centre Consultant.

During her career, Admiral Ryan was a trailblazer, achieving many historical firsts for women – including the first enlisted woman in the Coast Guard to rise to the rank of Rear Admiral, the first woman to serve as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the third woman in our nation’s history to serve as the Military Aide to the President of the United States.

She served in a wide variety of leadership roles including five command positions; two aboard Coast Guard cutters, three regional units ashore.  She also served as the Chief of Staff of Coast Guard Pacific Area, an area that encompasses 6 of the 7 continents, 71 countries, and more than 74 million miles of ocean from U. S. Western States to Asia and from the Arctic to Antarctica. Prior to her retirement in October 2017, June served as the Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District (Great Lakes Region), leading the 6,000 men and women of the Coast Guard across an area of responsibility that spanned 8 states and a 1,500-mile international maritime border. She again made history as the first woman to hold that assignment.  Even her final Change of Command was historic.  It marked the first time in U.S. history that a female Coast Guard Admiral was relieved as District Commander by another female Coast Guard Admiral.

Rear Admiral Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bowling Green State University, and a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education from the University of South Florida.  She is a graduate of the National Preparedness Initiative (NPLI) from the Harvard School of Public Health/Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  In addition to her two certifications in Success Principles, she holds the highest-level certification from the Barrett Values Center Institute using powerful metrics to assisting leaders in building values-driven cultures in their organizations.

Her personal military awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Award, two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legion of Merits, and six Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals among many others.  She wears the Presidential Service Badge, the Secretary of Homeland Security Service Badge, the Advanced Boat Force Operations pin, and Coast Guard Cutterman’s pin.

When not speaking or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 30+ years, their 17-year old daughter, Aisling and dog Lucy.



Amy Shore
Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Officer

Amy Shore is Chief Customer Officer for Nationwide. In this role, Amy is accountable for developing and executing Nationwide’s customer strategy to maximize customer acquisition and drive retention to ensure that Nationwide delivers on its mission. 

Amy has over 30 years of experience in the P&C industry, including over 20 years in varying leadership positions across Nationwide. She has leadership experience in a variety of business functions including sales, underwriting, product/pricing, customer service and general management. She has served as executive sponsor for the All Women’s Associate Resource Group. The largest ARG at Nationwide.

Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University. She also is a Chartered Property/Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Amy is actively involved in her local community. Currently, serving on the board of the Columbus Symphony and the capital campaign committee for Bowling Green State University. She is national chair of the Nationwide Insurance United Way campaign.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in production operations/material management from the BGSU College of Business Administration in 1986.


Sharon Speyer
Huntington’s Northwest Ohio Region

Sharon Speyer is president of Huntington’s Northwest Ohio Region, which is headquartered in Toledo.  Moreover, Speyer serves as the executive responsible for the Corporate Community Development Outreach Department which includes volunteerism and philanthropy, focusing on serving the needs of low to moderate income communities across the eight state footprint.  

Speyer has been with Huntington and its predecessor banks since 1992.  During that time, Speyer was responsible for profitability growing the client base in retail banking, business banking, commercial banking and the private client group.  In addition to her role as President, Speyer previously served as General Counsel for Sky Bank.  

Speyer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from The Ohio State University.  She also received her Juris Doctorate from The University of Toledo

Speyer serves on numerous boards including The University of Toledo (past board chair), The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority (vice chair), Toledo Museum of Art, ConnecToledo (board chair) and the Toledo Association of Performing Arts.  



Charmaine Brown
President & Founder
Connexions Consulting, Inc., 

Charmaine Brown, President & Founder at Connexions Consulting, Inc., is a recognized corporate leader with over 23 years of experience in strategic HR, diversity & inclusion, talent management, organization development, and HR compliance.  Her experience spans a range of industries including real estate, banking, healthcare and nonprofits. 

Prior to founding Connexions Consulting, Charmaine D. Brown served as Director, Diversity and Inclusion at Forest City Enterprises, Inc., a $9 billion national owner, operator and developer of distinctive and diversified real estate. In this role, she guided the senior executive leadership in the development of corporate diversity and inclusion strategies and actions.  Her thought leadership and operational oversight of diversity resulted in Forest City’s recognition as one of the 25 Noteworthy Companies in Diversity by DiversityInc.

Charmaine has demonstrated expertise in building diversity and inclusion programs from infancy to national recognition by achieving results in talent management, culture and marketplace strategies. Additionally, she cultivated an extensive network of community partnerships and relationships with national and local organizations to support and further Forest City’s inclusion and philanthropic efforts. 

Charmaine established a national reputation as a thought leader in diversity and inclusion, talent management strategies and community partnership within the commercial real estate industry.  She has shared her expertise as a presenter and speaker to organizations such as NAREIT (National Associate of Real Estate Investment Trust) and ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers).  Charmaine was recognized by her industry peers and awarded the Commercial Property Executive’s 2012 Diversity Executive of the Year.   

Prior to joining Forest City, Charmaine served as corporate manager of diversity and inclusion at Charter One Financial, Inc. During her time at Charter One, she established organization-wide goals for diversity and inclusion and led the development and implementation of a viable corporate diversity and inclusion program.

Charmaine is an active executive volunteer in the non-profit community. She served as a member of the Cleveland Commission on Economic Inclusion’s Membership Engagement Committee.   Other non-profit and board involvement includes CollegeNow of Greater Cleveland, Saint Joseph Academy, United Black Fund and Project REAP.  

Charmaine is the 2012 recipient of the Crain’s Cleveland Archer Award, Commercial Property Executive’s 2012 Diversity Executive of the Year and recipient of the 2013 Women of Color Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Courage Award. She is a graduate of the 2009 Cleveland Bridge Builder program, often returning as a facilitator on the topic of Cultural Competence.

Charmaine attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. She currently resides with her family in Michigan with her husband and children.


Sarah Eppink
Leadership Coach and Talent Development Consultant

Having discovered how fulfilling life is when you break through the barriers and finally start living your dream, Sarah founded Aisling Group to support others in their journey towards doing the same. Sarah is a passionate talent development professional and certified coach with over 17 years of experience in creating and delivering leadership programs that drive organizational change. With experience in partnering with financial services, non-profit organizations, manufacturing, and retail, Sarah is well-versed in what engages talent and is a trusted advisor to many leaders.

Sarah is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation and a Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education.  She graduated with her bachelor's degree in psychology from Cleveland State University and her master's degree in organization development from Bowling Green State University.


Julie Krebs
President and Principal Brand Advisor
Virtual Brand Advisors

Julie Krebs is president and principal brand advisor of Virtual Brand Advisors, a full service marketing communications solution provider headquartered in Northeast Ohio. Krebs has spent her career in marketing and advertising, previously serving as vice president, brand advisor for Doner Advertising and Liggett Stashower Advertising, both Cleveland-area agencies.

After more than twenty years in the industry, Krebs began to rethink the traditional brick and mortar agency structure and offers a solution to maximize an organization’s marketing investment. By augmenting the breadth of proven, independent senior-level talent with a virtual business structure, Krebs built a new agency model which matches the right level of expertise to a client’s exact initiative and budget, eliminating geographic boundaries and financial barriers to accessing top talent. Virtual Brand Advisors is an organization with more than 25 professionals from across the country consisting of brand managers, brand strategists, public relations practitioners, content specialists, designers, SEO experts, website and mobile planners, web programmers and more. These professionals have big brand expertise and Fortune 500 and 1000 experience. Virtual Brand Advisors champions the brands of large corporations and supports the brands of emerging startups, all of which take advantage of the think-time, value and access the Virtual Brand Advisors model delivers.

Krebs received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Bowling Green State University in 1994. She is a 2017 recipient of the IABC Northeast Ohio Spotlight Award in recognition of contributions to the discipline of communications and inspiring work demonstrating a commitment to the region. Krebs was the 2013 recipient, Key to the City, City of Aurora, Ohio in recognition for civic activity and service to the city and non-profit organizations serving Aurora and neighboring communities. She is currently a member of the Northeast Ohio Circle of Red with the American Heart Association and serves as the public member on the national board for ABCGN, the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses.
Julie Krebs and her husband Brady are BGSU Falcon Flames and have recently celebrated 20 years of marriage. Together, they are culinary enthusiasts who enjoy international travel, long walks and classic cinema.


Paige Redlin
President, Women in Business Leadership
College of Business

My name is Paige Redlin and I am a Senior specializing in Finance and International Business here at Bowling Green State University. I am originally from the Metro-Detroit area prior to moving down the NW Ohio to further my education. I attended both a public high school and a specialty STEM high school prior to pursuing business. Throughout my time at BGSU, I have been attempting to make my mark through involvement in a variety of organizations. I have previously been involved in Dean Scholars and Peer Leaders through the College of Business where I have been able to directly impact potential students experience at BGSU. Being able to positively impact others is a passion I strive to accomplish in every portion of my educational, professional, and life. My main passion that I have been able to work with directly in part to coming to BGSU is Women Empowerment - in and out of the workplace. I do this by my involvement in Women in Business Leadership. Going into my third year on-campus and in the organization, I have been elected president where I plan on extending our reach on campus and in the community. My favorite part of being so involved in WBL is the amount of inspiration I am able to draw from women of every field that are all striving for the same thing - equality and change."



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Updated: 02/01/2021 11:52AM