NCGS Annual Conference 2013 - Keynote Speakers

Karen Middleton

POSITION: Emerge America, President


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Karen Middleton is the president of Emerge America, a national political organization that trains Democratic women to run for elected office. 

Karen served in the Colorado State Legislature from February 2008 through 2010, where she was in a leadership position as Majority Caucus Chair and a member of the Education and Business Affairs and Labor Committees. From November 2004 - February 2008, she served on Colorado's elected State Board of Education representing the 7th Congressional District.

In addition to six years as an elected official, Karen's work includes teaching political science, serving as a trainer for the White House Project and the Center for Progressive Leadership, and creating the bipartisan Colorado Legislative Women's Caucus.  She worked for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), eCollege, and as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. While at WICHE, she established the North American Council for On-Line Learning, an international association of online K-12 schools. In Washington DC, Karen was the Manager of Development Programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

Karen graduated from Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA.  She holds a B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College in Women's Studies and Politics, an MA in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Denver, and an MA in Higher Education Governance from the University of Denver.  She is married to Larry Beer, who is also a former elected official.   They have a daughter, Zoe Grace (4) and Karen has two stepdaughters, Molly (18), a first year at Mount Holyoke, and Katie (15), a high school sophomore.  They live in Aurora, Colorado.

Ilene Lang

POSITION: Catalyst, President & Chief Executive Officer


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Ilene H. Lang is the President & Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst, the leading research and advisory organization working to change workplaces and improve lives through advancing women into business leadership. She was appointed President in August 2003 and named Chief Executive Officer in September 2008.

Ms. Lang brings energy and corporate savvy to the advancement of women in every sector of the global marketplace, including corporate boards and governance, workforce demographic trends, the business case for closing gender gaps in leadership and pay, women’s career development, and work-life effectiveness. She frequently addresses groups of senior leaders in a variety of business, academic, and public policy venues and is regularly cited by global media outlets including The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Fortune, CNN, The Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, BBC, CNBC, and NPR.

Having broken barriers in her own career, Ms. Lang is broadly recognized as a pioneering female high-tech/Internet executive. She was the founding CEO of AltaVista Internet Software Inc., a subsidiary of Digital Equipment Corporation. Prior to that position, Ms. Lang was Senior Vice President of the Desktop Business Group at Lotus Development Corporation, responsible for a $500 million global business. She has also advised CEOs and entrepreneurs as a board member, coach, and investor in women-led technology companies.

Ms. Lang was named to the Global Agenda Council on Women's Empowerment at the World Economic Forum, and she is a member of the National Board Development Committee of the Girl Scouts of the USA. She has served on numerous other corporate, private, and nonprofit boards.

Ms. Lang earned an AB degree in History and Literature from Radcliffe College and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She is married and the mother of three adult children.

Click here for a video interview of Ms. Lang from the documentary A Seat at the Table produced by Miss Hall's School.

Katherine August-deWilde

POSITION: First Republic Bank (FRC), President, Chief Operating Officer, and Director


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Katherine August-deWilde is President, Chief Operating Officer, and a Director of First Republic Bank. First Republic Bank (NYSE) is a commercial bank and wealth management firm. The bank specializes in providing relationship-based private banking, investment management, trust, brokerage, and real estate lending. First Republic provides its services online and in offices in major coastal metropolitan areas including: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Boston, Palm Beach and New York City. The bank’s assets, including those managed for clients, exceed $70 billion.

Prior to joining First Republic at its inception, Ms. August-deWilde was Chief Financial Officer at the PMI Group and a consultant for McKinsey & Company in San Francisco and London.

The bank started with $10 million in capital. In 2007 it was sold to Merrill Lynch for 3.7 times book value. In 2010, Ms. August-deWilde, along with First Republic’s Chairman and CEO, led a management buy-back of First Republic from Bank of America in 2010.

At Stanford University, Ms. August-deWilde is a member of both the Advisory Council of the Graduate School of Business and the Advisory Council for the Stanford Center on Longevity. She is also a Trustee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.

Ms. August-deWilde has a BA from Goucher College and an MBA from Stanford University.

She lives in San Francisco with her husband David and has four children.

Dyllan McGee

POSITION: MAKERS, Founder and Executive Producer


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Dyllan McGee is an executive producer at Kunhardt McGee Productions, overseeing all documentary and web programming along with her partner, Peter Kunhardt. Recent documentary projects include MAKERS: Women Who Make America (PBS) the Emmy Award-nominated documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words (HBO), Emmy Award-winning Teddy: In His Own Words (HBO), Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (PBS), This Emotional Life (PBS), African American Lives 1 and 2 (PBS), Oprah's Roots (PBS); The American President (PBS), and In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01 (HBO). From 2003 to 2005, McGee served as the director of content and operations for the International Freedom Center on Ground Zero in New York, a cultural institution that was proposed as part of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. In addition to her film work, McGee also serves on the board of directors for the Gordon Parks Foundation and the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation, both not-for-profit organizations with a focus on photography. From 1997 to 2007, she served on the board of directors for The Taft School. She lives in Katonah, New York, with her husband and two sons.

Helen Drinan

POSITION: Simmons College, President


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Helen Drinan is President of Simmons College. Over the past five years, she has used her leadership experience to guide the institution to a position of competitive strength financially, academically, and operationally. Before being named President in 2008, Helen served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. An alumna of the School of Management and Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, her relationship with Simmons spans nearly four decades.

Prior to assuming the role of President, Helen was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Caritas Christi Health Care (2003-2008). She received national attention for the strength of character and values she displayed in her service to Caritas Christi and for her work cultivating a culture focused on those the institution serves. Helen has also served as the President and CEO of the Society of Human Resources Management (2000-2002), a professional organization with the largest human resource membership in the world, and Executive Vice President Human Resources for BankBoston (1993-2000), where she developed nationally recognized programs on executive compensation, work-life strategy, and diversity.

She has received multiple acknowledgements for her achievements in the fields of human resources and education. Helen received the John D. Erdlen Five Star Award in 2007, the highest award given annually by the Northeast Human Resource Association. In 2012, she was a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award Honoree for Excellence in Arts & Education.

Helen is dedicated to making sure that all girls and women have the resources they need to become strong, principled leaders. As an undergraduate alumna of Mount Holyoke College, she understands firsthand the value of an all-women’s college. In addition to her work at Simmons, Helen is a member of several organizations working to empower women, including 2020 Women on Boards, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women on U.S. public boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020, and the Massachusetts Women’s Forum.

She currently resides in Boston with her husband, David H. Drinan. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.

Dr. Kerry Healey

POSITION: President-Elect, Babson College


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An academic by training, Dr. Healey is an internationally known and respected leader with nearly three decades experience in academia, government, and international diplomatic and humanitarian work. Widely published on criminal justice issues, Dr. Healey’s academic experience includes several teaching roles in which she helped students translate real-life lessons into knowledge in order to generate and advance change. Dr. Healey has been a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, and has taught or lectured at Rutgers University, Endicott College, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Dr. Healey holds an A.B. in Government from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Political Science and Law from Trinity College, Dublin.

Since serving as the 70th Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, Dr. Healey has led numerous diplomatic, humanitarian and philanthropic initiatives here in the U.S. and overseas. Her work has had a special focus on the welfare and advancement of women and children, including leading a national effort to reduce child homelessness for the National Center on Family Homelessness, bringing humanitarian aid to schools for the disabled in Cuba with ACESSO, co-chairing with Ambassador Swanee Hunt the Parity Project, a bi-partisan effort to increase women’s representation in high-level offices, and training female Afghan parliamentarians in Kabul for the International Republican Institute.

Her work took a new direction when she was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a founding member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Department of State’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (PPP), a position to which she was reappointed in 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. As Founder and President of the non-profit, which administers the PPP’s Afghan rule of law programs, Dr. Healey has assisted Afghan lawyers in attending top U.S. law schools to study human rights and commercial law and oversees offices in Kabul and Herat. Through the program, graduates and grantees work to promote rule of law, human rights, women’s rights, and provide legal aid. As a trustee of the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF), she has worked to establish a law school program in conjunction with Stanford Law School and to secure numerous scholarships for Afghan women. She has brought the PPP and AUAF together to start a new initiative that will provide legal advice to Afghan women entrepreneurs.

Further building her global presence and connections, she served as both domestic and foreign policy advisor to the Romney for President Campaign. As Foreign Policy Coordinator she recruited and assembled a team of 250 foreign policy experts and thought leaders from around world. Domestically, she led the effort to identify top candidates for domestic cabinet posts and presidential appointments. Dr. Healey also served as one of 11 National Finance Team Co-Chairs responsible for collectively raising an unprecedented $1 billion in support of Gov. Romney’s campaign. Dr. Healey has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2005.

Raised in Florida, Dr. Healey attended Harvard College on a substantial scholarship going on to earn her Ph.D. at Trinity College, Dublin, as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar. From an early age she understood the intrinsic link between education and opportunity and throughout her career has worked tirelessly to pursue excellence in education and support financial aid and scholarship programs for students. In fact, under the Romney-Healey Administration, Massachusetts’ schools were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in both English and Math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The Romney-Healey Administration also established the John and Abigail Adams Scholarships to provide greater access to public higher education for Massachusetts’ top students. Further, Dr. Healey led a bi-partisan effort with former State Senator Steven Tolman to found three Recovery High Schools to support education for formerly drug-addicted youths.

Dr. Healey assumed a broad range of responsibilities as Lt. Governor, including leading the administration’s successful efforts to combat drunken driving, address homelessness, and increase penalties for perpetrators of child abuse, gang violence, sexual assault and domestic violence. She was the point person responsible for working with mayors and town leaders in 351 municipalities. She also partnered with Gov. Romney to craft first in the nation health care reform legislation. Prior to entering public service, Dr. Healey worked for more than a decade as public policy consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice for the Cambridge-based think tank, Abt Associates, Inc.

Dr. Healey’s commitment to fighting homelessness, which began with her establishment of Massachusetts’ first Interagency Council on Homelessness, has been recognized both locally and nationally by Housing Families, Inc., Wellspring Inc. and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which awarded her the “A Home for Every American” Award in 2006. Her international humanitarian work has been recognized by the Red Cross (International Hero Award, 2012) and Empower Peace/Women2Women which honored her with the “Torchbearer Award” in 2011 for advancing the status of women worldwide.

Dr. Healey is a regular contributor to public radio, with commentaries appearing on WGBH’s Local Voices and WBUR’s Cognoscenti on-line opinion page. In 2010, she was the creator and host of Shining City, a television series showcasing New England’s cutting-edge scientific and social innovation which aired on NESN.

Dr. Healey and her husband, Sean, have two college-age children, Alex and Averill.