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TWIST Conference Speakers

Tanya BlackmonTanya Blackmon, MBA, MSW

President & Founder, Auspen Consulting

Roundtable Discussions with Senior Women Leaders

Tanya Stewart Blackmon is a nationally recognized DEI thought leader with an exceptional record of leadership, performance improvement, and revenue growth at an award-winning integrated healthcare system. She is a trusted advisor to boards and C-suite with a reputation for leading award-winning cultural change, increasing market share across diverse populations and geographies, and achieving numerous DEI awards.


Melissa BodfordMelissa Bodford

Co-Founder, uBack, Inc.

Community Impact Panel

Melissa Schuessler Bodford is a Board Director for HUB International, a leading North American insurance brokerage that provides employee benefits, business, and personal insurance products and services, and the Co-Founder of uBack, Inc., a multi-channel, consulting and technology services firm for the philanthropic industry.


Laura Yates ClarkLaura Yates Clark

President & CEO, United Way of Central Carolinas

Community Impact Panel

As president and CEO of United Way of Central Carolinas, Laura Yates Clark leads the effort to build stronger neighborhoods, increase racial equity and improve the systems that serve our children and families across a five-county region. Under Laura’s leadership, United Way has increased its investment to expand two major community initiatives—United Neighborhoods to drive neighborhood transformation and revitalization and Unite Charlotte to improve racial equity and increase social capital.


Kathleen ConnollyKathleen Connolly, Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty, McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte

Coaching & Reflective Listening

Dr. Kathleen Connolly’s approach to executive coaching is informed by humanistic and positive psychology, cognitive and psychodynamic theories, as well as an interest in emotional intelligence, particularly as it relates to leadership. Dr. Connolly is licensed as a professional counselor with national certifications. Her career in psychology, mental health, and counseling has spanned over 25 years. In 2011, Dr. Connolly joined the faculty in the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte as an adjunct professor.


Donna DunlapDonna Dunlap

CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas

Community Impact Panel

Donna Dunlap joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte (BBBS) as the Chief Executive Officer February 16, 2016.  She has over 30 years of not for profit board and for profit leadership experience. As CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters her mission is to enable the organization to provide purposeful one to one mentoring to youth who are facing adversity ages 5-18 to help change their lives for the better forever.  The organization’s measurable, positive outcomes such as elevated school performance, improved behaviors and enhanced self-confidence empower children to achieve success.


Donna JulianDonna Julian

EVP & GM, Spectrum Center

Meeting Your Shadow & Maximizing Your Potential

Donna Julian is an award-winning, highly respected entertainment executive with an impressive track record of success. Ms. Julian directs all aspects of major venue operations and administration; including event booking, public safety, arena marketing and guest experience. She is recognized for her outstanding leadership directing and overseeing the preparation, production, and execution of all arena events from performances by prominent entertainers and high-profile political conventions to major league sports and athletic competitions.


Janet LaBarJanet LaBar

President & CEO, Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

Roundtable Discussions with Senior Women Leaders

Janet LaBar  joined the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance as CEO in April 2019 through a national executive search. A seasoned regional economic development leader with strong communications, strategy, and operations skills, she is leading the CLT Alliance in a new direction to ensure the Charlotte region is the most vibrant, innovative, and healthy economy in the nation. Through collaboration, the CLT Alliance is advancing a region that creates economic opportunities and prosperity for all.


Lou SolomonLou Solomon, MSOD

Founder & CEO, Interact Studio

Leadership & Executive Presence

Lou Solomon, MSOD, is an author, TEDx speaker, and the co-founder of TWIST. She CEO of Interact, a communications company she founded based on the idea that a speaking curriculum should teach more than technique—it should help people find their authentic voice, tell their stories, and grow their natural influence. Lou’s TEDx Talk on the Impostor Mindset is an intimate exploration of the human condition that causes us to feel as though we don’t belong. The talk has become a popular video on YouTube and inspired her second book Freeing Your Radical Hero: Fighting the Impostor Mindset.


Will SparksWill Sparks, Ph.D.

Dennis Thompson Chair & Professor of Leadership, McColl School of Business

Meeting Your Shadow & Maximizing Your Potential

Dr. Will Sparks has published numerous research articles and co-authored, with Peter Browning, the book The Director’s Manual: A Framework for Board Governance published by Wiley in 2016. He is the author of the book Actualized Leadership: Meeting Your Shadow and Maximizing Your Potential. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Development from The George Washington University.


Carson TateCarson Tate, MSOD

Founder & Principal, Working Simply, Inc.

Activating Your Productivity & Dream Job

Carson Tate serves as a consultant and executive coach to executives at Fortune 500 companies including AbbVie, Deloitte, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Heinz, Synchrony and Wells Fargo. The author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style (2015) and Own It. Love It. Make It Work: How to Make Any Job Your Dream Job (2020) her views have been included in top-tier business media including Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, CBS Money Watch, Fast Company, Forbes, Harvard Business Review blog, The New York Times, USA Today, Working Mother and more. Tate is cofounder of the TWIST Conference.