OUR 2023 Stories & News
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Nicole Hughey as a new member.
Nicole Hughey is Senior Vice President, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Social Impact at SiriusXM, the leading audio entertainment company in North America.
A trusted leader and advocate for all employees, Nicole established and leads SiriusXM’s DE&I strategy, mission, goals, and priorities and the company’s philanthropic strategy. Since joining the company in 2020, Nicole has rolled out mentoring and leadership programs for underrepresented employees, created the “Pathways Program” to create an avenue into the company for students from HBCUs, launched the initiative “Can We Talk?” to engage employees in authentic conversations about race, and created company-wide communications to ensure employees are aware of and can participate in cultural-specific music, talk, sports, and podcast programming. She has also created the company’s first holistic philanthropic strategy, SiriusXM Cares, that brings together social equity giving, employee giving, and corporate giving in alignment with the communities in which the company operates.
Before joining SiriusXM, Nicole spent over 25 years in the insurance and healthcare industries, largely focused on DE&I. During her tenures at both Mass General Brigham, New England’s largest healthcare organization, and Travelers Insurance Company, Nicole was a DE&I senior leader and played an integral part in developing and executing diversity strategies that impacted over 75,000 and 30,000 employees, respectively.
Nicole is a frequent contributor on a variety of speaking engagements where she shares her knowledge and expertise with others. Nicole has been a guest speaker on several podcasts including Black Enterprise’s Class is in Session, Diversity Pivot Podcast and Cause Talk Radio, a feature in articles including CoolstuffNYC, a presenter at several conferences and webinars, including Columbia Business School, From Day One Conference, She Runs It Multicultural Bootcamp, Fairygodboss’ Top Diversity Priorities, ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference, and Adweek’s Challenger Brands, and is a repeat featured speaker at the Leeds School of Business University of Colorado (Boulder) Certificate of ESG Strategy Program. In Spring 2023, she was honored to be the University of Hartford Spring 2023 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker where she addressed more than 800 graduating students. Most recently, she has been recognized as Crain NY’s 2023 Top DE&I Leader, a 2023 Most Influential Executives in Diversity & Inclusion by Savoy, a 2023 Top 15 Chief Diversity Officer, a 2021 Outstanding Alum for Exceptional Professional Success at her alma mater University of Hartford, a 2021 She Runs It Changing the Game Honoree, a 2021 Top 50 Leader in Entertainment by the National Diversity Council, and a 2021 honoree of the 100 Women of Color of Connecticut.
Nicole holds a B.S. in Business from the University of Connecticut, an MBA in Organizational Behavior from the University of Hartford, and an Executive Strategic Change Management Certificate from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Currently, Nicole is the Board Chair for the Urban League of Greater Hartford, a member of the American Advertising Federation’s Mosaic Council, a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
More information about Nicole can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Vikki Pryor as a new member.
Vikki Pryor serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the non- profit, Getting Out and Staying Out, GOSO. She leads the organization to achieve GOSO’s mission to interrupt violence through programs supporting the education, employment and emotional well-being of at-risk and legal system involved young adults. Vikki is also Founder, Managing Principal and President of Change Create Transform LLC and Foundation, a consulting practice, and an educational and leadership development non-profit for the last 12 years. She currently serves on the boards of Sagicor Life USA, Sagicor Reinsurance Bermuda, and Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey.
An experienced executive, Vikki was the first African American woman President and CEO of a life insurance company in the United States, SBLI USA, where she served for 11 years. She previously was CEO American Red Cross of Greater New York, Senior Vice President Oxford Health Plans, Senior Vice President Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Director Allstate. She has eight years of public service as a lawyer with the Department of Treasury, Office of Chief Counsel. She previously served on the boards of USTrust Bank, Boston, Keyspan, Riversource Funds, and NYISO.
Vikki brings a strong commitment to education and community. She is emeritus member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at University at Buffalo Law School and has served on many non-profit boards, including the University at Buffalo Foundation, the Girls Scouts of the USA, The New York Women’s Forum, The Partnership for New York City, and the Life Insurance Council of New York.
A graduate of the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and its Law School, Vikki holds BA and JD degrees. She has an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a licensed attorney and CPA, and holds honorary degrees from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Sacred Heart University, and the Presidential Medallion from Bronx Community College. She is the proud mother of son Daniel and grandchildren Dakota and JayR.
More information about Vikki can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Melinda Agsten as a new member.
Melinda recently became Special Counsel to Wiggin and Dana LLP after having been a partner for forty years. She has spent decades helping health care, educational, charitable, and other tax-exempt organizations address legal challenges so they can focus on achieving their missions.
Melinda advises clients on a range of corporate, governance, federal and state tax-exemption, and regulatory matters. Charitable and tax-exempt organizations, ranging from grassroots local charities to those with billion-dollar budgets, seek Melinda’s counsel about the investment and use of endowment and other charitable funds, charitable solicitation, obtaining judicial modification of unworkable or obsolete restrictions, and reviews and investigations by state regulatory entities such as the Attorney General. Melinda also advises health care organizations, including hospitals, integrated systems, clinics, home health care agencies, and other providers, on their corporate, patient, regulatory, and operating matters. She is viewed as particularly adept at helping boards of directors of nonprofit organizations with governance matters and revising their structures and bylaws to better address contemporary needs.
Melinda was a clinical visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School from 2012 to 2016 and taught in its Nonprofit Organizations Clinic. She has been named by The Best Lawyers in America in the category Best Health Care Lawyers every year from the category’s inception. Melinda is also consistently listed in Band 1 by Chambers USA in the healthcare field.
Melinda is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a Life Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, past President of the Connecticut Health Lawyers Association, and a member of the American and Connecticut Bar Associations, the ABA’s Committee on Exempt Organizations of the Section of Taxation, and the American Health Law Association.
Melinda is committed to pro bono service. She served as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, is the Past President of the Board of Directors of The Foote School, an independent school in New Haven, and has served on numerous other boards. She was a member of the State Tax Panel appointed by the Connecticut Legislature in 2014 to make policy recommendations about Connecticut taxes. She is a past Director of the Connecticut Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and served on the Board of Finance of the City of New Haven and on its Financial Review and Audit Commission.
Melinda received her J.D. from Vanderbilt University, where she was an associate editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. She graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude from Duke University.
More information about Melinda can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Katherine (Kate) Maloney as a new member.
As an Assistant Vice President at Infosys Ltd and the Executive Director of the Infosys Foundation USA, Kate is inspired to advance the Foundation’s commitment to tackle the digital skills gap from K12 to the tech talent workforce.
Kate has over 20 years of international policy and economic development experience globally with governments, private foundations, industry, nonprofits, and the United Nations. Previously, Kate worked at KPMG LLP within the global infrastructure, corporate social responsibility and social impact spheres within the US, UK, Africa and Latin America. During that time, she had the good fortune to work on the Future Role of Civil Society project at the World Economic Forum USA.
Immediately prior to Infosys, Kate was immersed in developing public-private partnerships that advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals with a particular focus on lifelong learning, data and gender equality. In addition to her global strategic consulting experience, Kate worked for Senator Richard G. Lugar in the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was a Country Manager at the U.S. Trade & Development Agency with a focus on advancing US business interests in infrastructure projects in the emerging markets of Mexico and Central America.
Kate is passionate about the power of education and technology to create positive social impact. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Mary’s Meals USA; served as a Global Give Back Circle Mentor; co-founded and leads the Wake Forest University ‘Global Deacs’ alumni network and served on the Wake Forest Alumni Council. Kate was previously a member of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association, co-led the JHU SAIS New York Alumni Club and served on the Executive Committee of the SAIS Women Lead initiative. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University with a BA in Spanish and Political Science and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a MA in International Economics and Latin American Studies. Kate currently resides in Greenwich, CT.
More information about Kate can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Michele Scott as a new member.
Michele Scott is a Tribal Councilor for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. As an elected official of the 7-member governing body, she oversees the sovereign government and all of its enterprises including Foxwoods Resort Casino, Foxwoods El San Juan, Norwich Inn and Spa, and more. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University and a Master of Science degree from Quinnipiac University. She also received a Certification in Genealogical Research from Boston University. Michele chairs the Tribe's Economic Development and Health & Human Services Committees. Her commitment to health and economic development has been at the forefront of her professional career; she was Chairwoman of the Mashantucket Pequot Health Care Advisory Board and a founding Director for Command Holdings, LLC. that focuses on federal contracting.
Prior to Tribal Council, Michele served as the Executive Director of the Health Education Center, Inc. (HEC) of Connecticut. Michele is committed to the broader community outside of her Tribal Council responsibilities. She serves on the Board of Directors for United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, Columbia University’s Alumni Representative Committee, and Johns Hopkins University’s Tribal Advisory Board. Michele is an Eastern Region Alternate Delegate for the Indian Gaming Association and the National Institutes of Health’s Tribal Advisory Committee Nashville Region Alternate Delegate.
For her years of work training healthcare professionals and community advocates, Michele was selected as a Leaders In Action Fellow by the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. She was recognized as a National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development's 2020 Native American 40 Under 40 Award recipient. She also founded the Mashantucket Pequot Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day that has run annually since 2009.
Michele is a proud citizen of the Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation and is equally proud of her Eastern Pequot, Narragansett, Shinnecock, and Black ancestry. She resides on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation with her family.
More information about Michele can be found at the following link.
Congratulations to Wendy Foster on her new role as Chief Operating Officer with Social Venture Partners Connecticut (SVP-CT). Her announcement and a few words about Wendy is captured below.
Wendy is an accomplished, mission-driven, C-suite leader and nonprofit board member with more than three decades of executive leadership driving organizational capacity, adaptability, and sustainable growth in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.
Most recently, Wendy was the inaugural Chief Customer Experience Officer at Success Academy Charter Schools, the largest charter school network in New York City serving 20,000 children. Prior to that, Wendy was President & Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM), the largest youth mentoring organization in New England and among the top 1% of independent Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates in the nation. Under her 11 years of leadership, BBBSEM scaled quality service by more than 125%, growing to serve more than 4,000 under-resourced children annually, grew revenues by 80%, prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion, and received national recognition as Agency of the Year in 2019.
Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Wendy served as a senior executive with the Internet start-up, America Online (AOL), and held executive roles in companies in the publishing and direct marketing industries.
Wendy is nationally recognized for her leadership within the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation. She is a member of the Board of Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA and the International Women’s Forum of Connecticut. She has previously served on the boards of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation, YWBoston and the International Women’s Forum of Massachusetts. She is a Director Emeritus of the BBBSEM Board of Directors. Wendy received the 2017 Pinnacle Award for Nonprofit Management from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Wendy holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the George Washington University. Wendy lives in Norwalk, CT with her wife, Claudia, a career officer in the US Coast Guard.
A few words about SVP-CT. The mission of SVP-CT is to build a thriving Connecticut with racial equity and economic security for all people that would work state-wide to drive systems change in two focus areas: Early Childhood Care and Education and Workforce Development.
The mission uses an innovative model -- a collective of 280 (and growing) volunteer "Partners" who pool their time, talent, and resources to provide staffing capacity, technical expertise, and thought partnership to nonprofits, state government, and the business community.
Join us in congratulation Wendy and wishing her success in her new role.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Dr. Nance Roy as a new member.
Nance is a psychologist with over 30 years’ experience who has dedicated her career to protecting the mental health of teen and young adults and reducing suicide. As the Chief Clinical Officer of the Jed Foundation and Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry, she consults to high schools, colleges, and workplace and professional organizations across the country on effecting systems change, strategic planning and implementing recommended practices that promote positive mental health.
Prior to her role as Chief Clinical Officer at The Jed Foundation, Nance held positions as Assistant Dean of Health and Wellness at Sarah Lawrence College and Associate Dean of Health and Wellness at Rhode Island School of Design where she developed, implemented and evaluated policies, programs and systems that enhance and support well-being. She has been actively involved in comprehensive initiatives focusing on a holistic approach to education, crisis management and a public health model for delivery of care.
Publications have focused on effective strategies for promoting emotional well-being among teens and young adults as well as treatment and management of at-risk youth. She is a nationally known speaker and has been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts including CBS, NBC, The Boston Globe, TIME, The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The American Council on Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed among others.
Nance served as senior advisor to the National College Depression Partnership, serves on the Mental Health Task Force for the Ruderman Foundation and has worked on mental health initiatives with the Surgeon General, the Higher Education Mental Health Alliance, the Department of Defense, The Veteran’s Administration, the Milken Institute, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, the Aspen Institute and educational systems across the country.
Nance earned her doctorate from Harvard University, master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island.
More information about Dr Roy can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Jane Applegate as a new member.
Jane Applegate is a passionate storyteller who has been sharing stories about women in business, history and the arts for decades in print, online, on TV and through her independent films.
Applegate is the co-founder and executive producer of the Remarkable Women Project.org, a non-profit organization supporting research and production of stories about accomplished women whose stories have not been told. Our writers and producers shine a light on women’s achievements online, in an upcoming book and in film and TV. www.remarkablewomenproject.org
Prior to becoming a producer, Applegate was a reporter and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of four books on small business success based on the syndicated column she wrote for many years for the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post Syndicate. Her most recent book, Hair on Fire, is a guide to producing independent films. Applegate teaches the Business of Film course at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College.
Her independent films have won several domestic and international film festival awards. She’s also won awards for investigative reporting and been a keynote speaker sponsored by corporate clients and Bloomberg TV at women’s events throughout the U.S. and around the world.
When she is not writing, teaching or producing, Applegate is an avid gardener. She lives in a 103 -year-old home in the village of Verplanck, New York in the Hudson River Valley, with her husband, Joe, a retired editor at Newsweek.
More information about Jane can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Lakisha Hyatt as a new member.
Lakisha is a Hospital Executive, Advanced Practice Trained Nurse, Life Coach and Faith Leader. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the largest state funded Psychiatric Hospital in Connecticut and the first woman of color to serve in that capacity. As a licensed minister, Lakisha serves as Executive Director of Ministries for a 900+ member faith organization in Connecticut. She has over 20 years of senior leadership experience.
Lakisha has served as adjunct professor for University of Connecticut and Yale University. She has a passion for creating spaces for mental, physical, and spiritual health. She partners with individuals and communities to strategically meet their unique goals for success.
In addition to her service as Board Member for Integrated Health Services, she is a Board Member for the Middlesex United Way, Board Member for MARC, Community Resources, Ltd., Member Wilson/Deerfield Commission.
Lakisha earned a bachelors in Nursing from the University of Connecticut and a Masters in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Yale University. She is Certified Coach and Certified Mediator from Quinnipiac University and is a recipient of many awards and accolades including the recipient of the Hartford Business Journal’s Women in Business Award.
More information about Lakisha can be found at the following link.
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Amanda Skinner as a new member.
Amanda is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. She is an experienced health care executive committed to improving health equity and healthcare access for all. She is a thought leader on sexual and reproductive health care and rights, value-based care, and population health.
Amanda is a 2021-2022 Donaldson Fellow of the Yale School of Management, a recognition that honors alumni from all sectors and across the globe who share a dedication to solving complex problems and pursuing positive change in the world. She is a member of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Directors, where she chairs the Audit committee and serves on the Executive, Revenue, and Board Governance committees, sits on the Board of Directors of BetterHealth and the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, and is a member of The Beryl Institute Standing Committee on Equity and Inclusion.
Amanda has spent her professional life working to advance equity in healthcare through a variety of roles in a variety of different types of health care settings – private practice, consulting, large academic health system, payer, and community-based non-profit provider. She is a certified nurse-midwife and spent 10 years in clinical practice and practice leadership. During that time she served as chair of the CT Chapter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, leading a successful campaign to expand the practice of nurse-midwives in Connecticut through policy change.
Following her graduation from Yale School of Management, Amanda joined The Chartis Group as a healthcare strategy and operations consultant, spent 6 years at Yale New Haven Health System where she was instrumental in building out the population health, clinical integration, and value-based care operations, and then served as Vice President and General Manager at Optum growing an integrated population health analytics and services business.
In 2017 Amanda accepted her dream job at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. She is a graduate of Rice University in Houston, TX, holds a master’s degree in nursing from the Yale School of Nursing with a clinical focus in nurse-midwifery, and holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
More information about Amanda Skinner can be found at the following link.
Join us in congratulating our IWFCT member Lorraine George Harik for being featured in the Stamford Magazine for their family business "Zesty Z".
Both Mother (Lorraine) and Son (Alexander) brainstormed on bringing a delicious Mediterranean popular diet to US Consumers. They wrote a plan and launched the business using their innovative thinking and their business skills to run the company. Lorraine drives research and development, coordinates social media and sits on the finance team while her son, Alexander handles logistics, operations, sales and marketing.
A great story how IWFCT women and mothers are always on the go with innovation, determination and support to continue their path to success both for themselves, their families and their communities.
Read about the article at the following link (pages 16 and 18) of the Stamford Magazine.
Join us in congratulating our IWFCT member Laura Grondin for being one of the three finalists for the US Sailing's 2022 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.
Laura Grondin’s success as a skipper in the J/70 class earned her a spot as one of this year’s finalists. Grondin helmed her way to first place at the J/70 East Coast Championships and Davis Island J/70 Regatta, as well as the top female helm at the J/70 European Championship. Grondin also had success in the Melges 24 class, placing fourth at the Melges 24 World Championship.
What an exceptional performance and such well deserved selection. Laura once again proves that women can be leaders in anything they set their mind to. Laura is a successful woman running a global company, raising a family and leading the way in this tough sport.
IWFCT congratulates Laura Grondin for being one of the "best in the US" and for being one of three finalist of the US Sailing's 2022 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.
IWF members connecting globally during travels.
Our IWFCT member Peggy Boissoneau took the opportunity to connect with IWFUK members during her travel to London during the Holiday season. Despite the busy time of the year, our IWF members were able to connect and meet at the Royal Academy in the Burlington House Piccadilly.
They had much to share with conversations across a wide array of topics and finding common topics and interests. This was the start to a long newly found global friendship and sisterhood that will continue for years to come.
We encourage all our IWFCT members to reach out to local IWF Forums whenever they travel. Our sister Forums will welcome you with open arms, introduce you to members and invite you to local events.