2014 April Power Breakfast
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Women in Leadership as a Strategic Priority
Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 7:00am - 9:00am | Mercer University - Atlanta Campus

Recent books like Lean In and Dare have caused a groundswell of awareness of the under-representation of women in senior leadership and offer a call to action of what women should do to position themselves for advancement. Yet, studies show that organizations that strategically focus on moving women forward benefit significantly. Much evidence supports the business case that gender diverse leadership generates stronger business results.   

What are the companies who understand the business imperative doing to accelerate progress in developing female senior leaders? Join us on April 3, 2014, to hear from organizations who have invested in developing female talent. From women’s networks and initiatives, mentoring programs and women-specific leadership development programs, there are a myriad of options. Our panelists will share examples of what works, how best to build the foundations for success, and address developing the business case. 

Moderator: Helene Lollis, Partner and President, Pathbuilders
-Cathy Callaway Adams, EVP, COO, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
-Laura Grams, Senior Director, Global Engineering Talent, Cisco Systems
-Joanna Irwin, Head of Client Marketing, Invesco
-Joe Parham, Vice President, CHRO, Asbury Automotive Group

Helene Lollis is president of PATHBUILDERS, an organization that partners with clients to develop top-tier talent through mentoring and leadership development, with special expertise in developing high-potential women. She guides strategic direction and program development, provides high-level partnership with clients, and represents Pathbuilders in the community. Trained as a chemical engineer, Helene spent 12 years with Amoco and BP Corporation in plastics process design, product development, marketing, strategic planning and company mergers and acquisitions. Helene is frequently invited to speak on the topics of mentoring, women in the workplace and career planning. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from N.C. State and Purdue Universities.  

Cathy Callaway Adams is executive vice president and chief operations officer at Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, a $119 billion wholesale bank.  Ms. Adams is responsible for directing all administrative, operations, and support functions of the Bank, including information technology, human resources, financial management operations, community involvement/volunteer programs, security, facilities management, mail/print management, travel and meeting planning, and purchasing.  She serves on the Bank's executive management committee, working directly with the board of directors and staff in developing and executing the Bank's mission of delivering wholesale funding and liquidity for mortgage lending to its member financial institutions. Ms. Adams earned a bachelor of arts degree in piano performance and behavioral sciences from Tift College, an all-women's college in Georgia, and the MBA in management degree from Georgia State University.  She holds professional certifications in human resources and compensation practice, and is certified to administer a battery of assessment and evaluative instruments.

Laura Grams is a seasoned leader who brings a strong combination of business, organizational development and HR expertise to Cisco Systems.  As Senior Director of Engineering Talent she is passionate about developing organizational, leadership and technical capabilities for Cisco’s 30,000 engineers. Laura’s responsibilities include: Talent Management, University Hiring, Inclusion and Diversity, and Organizational Development.  Laura is the Executive Sponsor for Cisco’s Connected Women Employee Resource Group and the Women of Impact conference which draws over 1,500 participants together annually to promote the advancement of technical women. As a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, she is an active alumnus.  Laura works as an advocate for cancer research as a speaker, mentor, and fund raiser. She has also volunteered with Junior Achievement, Literacy Volunteers of America, and served on the advisory board for Georgia Tech University.  

Joanna Irwin is head of Client Marketing for Invesco in the US. In this role, Mrs. Irwin oversees US product marketing, channel marketing, digital marketing, requests for proposals (RFPs), consultant databases, marketing analytics, creative design, print production and fulfillment. Joanna is a member of the Women’s Bond Club of New York and a founding member of the Invesco Women’s Network. Mrs. Irwin is an honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a BA degree in Psychology and Radio, Television, Motion Pictures.

Joe Parham serves Asbury as Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. He was most recently Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Acuity Brands, Inc. a $2.4 billion lighting fixtures and specialty cleaning chemicals company in Atlanta. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at National Service Industries, Inc. From 1983 to 2000, he held various positions within Polaroid Corporation, such as President and COO of Polaroid Eyewear, Senior Vice President of global Human Resources and Senior Director of global logistics and customer service. Mr. Parham holds both a B.S.B.A in Management and an M.B.A. in Economics from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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