The 2019 Million Women Mentors Summit & Awards Gala

Recap of the Event

Thank you for those who joined Million Women Mentors and global thought leaders for two days of engaging programming around mentoring!

On the evening of October 22, 2019 at the Willard InterContinental, we celebrated progress from across the Million Women Mentors network, recognizing the leaders who make our movement possible and work every day to increase the confidence of women and girls to pursue and excel in STEM careers through the power of mentoring. Over 250 leaders representing the C-Suite, government, national nonprofits and state volunteers came together in support of the movement and to share best practices for future impact.

For photos of the event please click here.
Gallery Password: stempix19

The following day, at the Summit (click here to jump to the workshops) attendees immersed themselves in discussions centered around new research, best practices, and helpful resources. With workshops tailored to audience interest, attendees worked to problem-solve around specific challenges relevant to their role in the mentoring space (including program leaders, industry partners, volunteers, and mentors themselves). Workshops also provided an occasion for state leaders to share how they have operationalized mentoring programs and volunteer networks within their states. Attendees left the Summit with access to new resources for measuring impact of programs within their organization.

Awards Gala

At the Awards Gala, Andronica Klaas gave the keynote address, sharing her incredible story from growing up impoverished in South Africa to acceptance to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and going on to become a STEM leader.  She inspired the audience with her wisdom about the power of mentoring, reminding everyone in the room why we do the work we do.

Andronica  attained a BSc in Computer Science Information Systems from Johnson C. Smith University in May of 2017. While attending Johnson C. Smith University, Andronica served as an HBCU White House Initiative Ambassador where she lobbied for inclusive recruitment efforts for first generation minority students with representatives from Google, the White House and members of the UNCF.

Amongst two of her peers, Andronica was able to secure a $5000 grant from Google, through theGoogle IgniteCS initiative for what would serve as a pilot Tech Camp named STEMites. STEMites is a leadership and tech summer camp that offers 20 students from title I schools the opportunity to learn how to develop a website using HTML. One that is aimed towards maturing minority students from underrepresented communities into leaders in technology, innovation and civic engagement.

Because of the program, 2 participants are now enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University as Computer Science majors. A result that keeps Andronica inspired to relaunch the camp once her fundraising goal has been met.

Miss Klaas is employed by Bank of America, N.A. where she serves as a Lead Quality Assurance Engineer. While ensuring quality delivery; Andronica is also a mentor for women in technology, a member of the employee engagement committee and a volunteer for the Ignite with Tech program where she reviews resumes for potential student employees while providing them with mock interviews.

Andronica has also been invited by the bank to share her journey at the “Inspire – Women who Tech” enrichment event for female freshman and sophomore students interested in pursuing roles in technology.

Lastly, Andronica hosts civic engagement and self-development workshops at summer camps and conferences geared towards improving the livelihood of minority students. Some of her notable workshops were hosted at the InTech Girls Camp, EmpowerHERment Conference and Camp LeadUp.

5 Awards were given to select members and individuals within the Million Women Mentors network who are making a difference in the mentoring space, or in creating opportunities for women in STEM careers and leadership positions.

Outstanding State Achievement Award: This award goes to a group of outstanding volunteers who collectively lead a state steering committee to above and beyond the call of duty, organizing incredible events for the women and girls of that state year after year. Pennsylvania has exceeded all expectations in this regard, in particular their organization of ‘PA Girls in STEM Day’; an annually held day that brings together middle school and high school girls from across the state to learn about STEM, STEM careers, and network with women who have careers in STEM. In 2019, five locations across the state participated; Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley. Cisco Systems helped to facilitate the day in Pittsburgh, Erie Insurance in Erie, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, Temple University in Philadelphia, and BBraun in Lehigh Valley. In total the event hosted over 230 girls from across the state, nearly doubling participation from the previous year. 

Global Impact Award: This award goes to an organization taking the Million Women Mentors movement beyond the United States and expanding opportunities for impact to women and girls across the globe. When the US-Pakistan Women’s Council reached out about kicking off Million Women Mentors in Pakistan, S&P Global immediately jumped on the opportunity with a commitment to mentor 20,000 women over the next 3 years, and have since completed action plans for how to actually achieve those relationships and make a difference for women in Pakistan in addition to their already tremendous impact for women around the world. 

Corporate Commitment Award: This award goes to a company with a long-standing commitment to improving opportunities for women and girls in STEM in the communities in which it works. Through outreach programming and employee volunteerism, Rockwell Automation has made an impact at the local, national and global levels through partnerships with schools and nonprofit organizations, such as FIRST and MIND Research Institute. Furthermore, Rockwell is a leading contributor to MWM’s Global Impact Program, which is working to expand MWM’s global presence.

Million Women Mentors Commitment Award: This award goes to a long-standing MWM leader who has continually exceeded expectations to expand opportunity for women and girls in STEM. As an early leader of MWM, Beth Broome and UC Davis have taken state leadership to a new level in California, having reached over 100,000 completed mentor relationships against an ever-increasing pledge and building initatives like Snap the Gap, a partnership between UC Davis, Little Bits, and Disney to ensure more girls have access to STEM learning and mentoring opportunities. 

Entrepreneur of the Year Award: The Entrepreneur of the Year Award goes to a stand out leader in the MWM-Ei Program: Monica Smiley. She has proven to be a tireless advocate and mentor for the Million Women Mentor Entrepreneurship Initiative Mentor Program. Since the inception of the program, Monica has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and effectiveness as a mentor. She consistently goes above and beyond the formal expectations of mentoring. Mentees have cited Monica’s ability to “remain highly involved, steering their course by continuing to pose focused questions” — and they appreciate her “benevolent scrutiny” and willingness to provide a push, when needed, to dig deeper, set the highest standard, and assist (her mentees) with staying on track toward success.

Rising Together Million Women Mentors Summit 2019

At the Summit attendees immersed themselves in discussions centered around new research, best practices, and helpful resources. With workshops tailored to audience interest, attendees worked to problem-solve around specific challenges relevant to their role in the mentoring space (including program leaders, industry partners, volunteers, and mentors themselves). Workshops also provided an occasion for state leaders to share how they have operationalized mentoring programs and volunteer networks within their states.

Please see below summaries from each of the sessions, if you have any questions or would like to be put in touch with any of the presenters, please email

The Summit was broken into 2 Workshops followed by our annual government lunch panel and a panel on mentoring partnerships to end the day:

  • Workshop 1
  • Workshop 2

The day started with a keynote panel, The Makings of Leader: Senior Leaders Share Their Pathways to Success and What it Means to Be a Role Model, featuring:

  • Umran Beba, Senior Vice President, Chief Global Diversity and Engagement Officer, PepsiCo
  • Jan Jones Blackhurst, Member, Board of Directors, Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Former Caesars Executive
  • Kathleen Martinez, Senior Director, National Strategic Relationships, BP America & Executive Director, BP Global Foundation
  • Sonar Thekdi, Vice President of Engineering Business Operations, IoT, Cisco Systems

During lunch we continued the tradition of an annual government panel moderated by National States Chair Sheila Boyington. This year the panel included:

  • Bethany Hall-Long, Lt. Governor, Delaware
  • Dr. Flora TydingsChancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Kate Marshall, Lt. Governor, Nevada

To close out the summit we invited our partner MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and their partners Starbucks & LinkedIn to discuss a recent partnership they had created around mentoring. This year the panel included:

  • Matt Meyersohn, Senior Director of External Affairs, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
  • Shannon Koval, District Manager- Retail, Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Nicole Isaac, Head of North America Policy, LinkedIn

Workshop 1

The Story of MWM

Panel Discussion: As a founding member, Tata Consultancy Services will reflect on the origins of MWM, significant milestones, and how it partnered with MWM to implement a technology solution around a common goal. The panel will discuss what’s in store for the platform as the movement grows.

  • Abigail Santner, Engagement Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, TCS
  • Arif Rahman, Lead, Digital Empowerment Projects, TCS
  • Dr. Dane Boyington, CTO, Thinking Media/Learning Blade

“When people ask you when it comes to technology – how do we automate [this]?, we think a website would help, it’s important to step back and ask, “are we doing the right things before we even get to the website. Are we connecting to the people, are we understanding every person’s journey with the organization? Only if we understand a person’s journey with their organization will you be able to say these are the touch-points with technology to enhance the experience and elevate your organization.” – Arif Rahman. TCS is responsible for hosting MWM’s website and has been on the journey with us of creating a new interface. We cannot wait to release it.

Mentorship for Entrepreneurs

PANEL: Wells Fargo will moderate a panel of mentors and mentees who have participated in the Million Women Mentors Entrepreneurs Initiative. Hear these STEM entrepreneurs share their experience of the program.

  • Moderator: Regina Hayward, Senior Vice President, Head of Supplier Diversity, Wells Fargo
  • Mentees from the Entrepreneurs Initiative

For more information about the Million Women Mentors Entrepreneurs Initiative and the work that they do, please click here.

States Movements Fueled by Corporate Sponsors

Facilitated Workshop: Many corporate sponsors have participated in the MWM state activities. More recently key corporate MWM Sponsors have not only taken a role, but have chosen to lead their states in this movement. This session will explore the journey each of these companies has experienced and the tremendous impact they are already having.

  • Caesars Entertainment Corporation – Nevada
  • MEMIC – Maine
  • Alliant Energy / Northwestern Mutual / Rockwell Automation – Wisconsin

“We do a lot of 1-day touch-points, want to do the more long-term mentoring relationships. What I want to do differently, and what MWM can help us do, is create more longer-term mentorship opportunities. Bringing more of these opportunities to their employees. Connect employees, for example, a lot of our employees’ mentor in their children’s school, in suburban schools, I want to know how MWM can bring our employees into those higher-need mentorship opportunities.” – Stacy Zaja, Rockwell

How to Approach a New Community

Facilitated Workshop: Prudential has experienced great success in working with new communities by creating a cross-sector, multi-functional approach to meeting community and business needs simultaneously. In this session members from Prudential will share how they approach investing in new regions and partnering with their CSR team in order to produce positive results.

  • Ignace Conic, VP, Process Management, Prudential Financial
  • René O. Deida, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Prudential Financial
Leaders to Learn From

Panel: Our 2019 Leaders to Learn from series profiled a group of women in various stages of their careers across sectors and industries. During this session, a selection of these leaders will share their personal pathways and what it means to be a role model.

  • Monique Rhodes, Director, Communications, Prudential Financial
  • Cynthia Murphy-Ortega, Manager of University Partnerships and Association Relations, Chevron Corporation
  • Shantel Butler, Project Engineer, UPS
  • Cindy Patman, VP, Human Resources, Orica
  • Moderator: Gabriela Gonzalez, Deputy Director, Intel Foundation, Intel Corporation

To learn more about our Leaders to Learn from series please click here. 

Workshop 2 –

Preparing Employees to be Mentors

Facilitated Workshop: Demonstrated by their partnership and its success, BP and CoLabL will share the importance of preparing employees to volunteer with a mentoring mindset.

  • Cindy Berkman, Associate Director, National Strategic Relationships & Initiatives, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, BP
  • Dan Horgan, Founder & CEO, CoLabL

For more than six decades, BP America has supported education initiatives focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Over the past three years alone, BP has invested more than $60 million in programs and activities that encourage students across the United States to pursue STEM subjects and careers. Visit for more tools and activities that can be used to share STEM content with students of any age.

Scalable Mentoring in Entrepreneurship

Presentation: Jo Webber began her career as a scientist and has gone on to build and sell several start ups. Hear how this scientist and entrepreneur has leveraged mentoring in her next venture, which takes networking to the next level.

  • Jo Webber, Founder & CEO, Pod

Jo left the members of the session with four key takeaways which have proven in her life the keys to her successes:

  1. Be Available
  2. Be Visible
  3. Be Encouraging
  4. Be Inspiring
States’ Movement Celebrating 5 Years

Workshop: This session will review the many different aspects of MWM that have been part of the past 5 years. What will the next 5 years hold? Come and help brainstorm some new ideas to continue to impact this important movement specifically in the states.

  • Jenny Kopach, MWM-IL
  • Jana Rieker, MWM-IA
  • Beverly Magda, MWM-PA
  • Lulu Copeland, MWM-TN
Global Impact Playbook Deep Dive

Workshop: PepsiCo has successfully established Million Women Mentors chapters in several countries and is developing a playbook for additional expansion. Learn what it takes to launch and succeed in a new market and provide feedback for the playbook, which MWM will share among our members in 2020.

  • Kathleen Timperman, R&D Director, Product Development, PepsiCo
  • Arlene Gibbons, R&D Senior Manager, PepsiCo
  • Linda Stewart, Sr. Analyst, R&D, Technology Ventures, KM, PepsiCo

“What we’ve seen at PepsiCo that I think is really great, is that mentors have rewards and development that they get from the opportunity to work with these young minds, and learn from the people that they mentor – and so we see a lot of the employees who have had a mentor at PepsiCo then turn around and volunteer and engage with mentoring high school and university student. So, it’s a really important program to start teaching the value of mentoring at an early age.” –Kathleen Timperman

Women in Insurance

Presentation and Data-Sharing: In 2019, the MWM Women in Insurance Initiative took on a months-long data collection effort to identify trends for women in the insurance industry. Hear some of their findings and implications for the industry that will be included in a 2020 white paper.

  • Margaret Resce Milkint, Manager Partner, The Jacobson Group
  • Barbara Ingraham, Managing Director of Excess & Surplus, Verisk

The Women in Insurance Initiative (WII) is a consortium of organizations throughout the insurance industry to taking substantive and measurable action by recruiting, mentoring, and sponsoring women to drive equality in career advancement and leadership throughout the insurance industry. Learn more about how your organization can get involved in building diversity throughout the industry.