Power Your Potential

Power Your Potential

Saunders College of Business is pleased to host the 14th Annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference.

Power Your Potential (PYP) is a half-day women's leadership conference that celebrates the upcoming National Women's History Month in March. The event invites area businesswomen to gain insights from their peers and engage in educational activities geared at helping women succeed.

Across industries and communities, women are navigating monumental change to spark movements and opportunities for future generations. This event gathers communities of innovative and inspiring women who lead boldly, challenge norms, and change their organizations.

This year's theme is Embracing Innovation Across Today's Changing Workforce

This program is open to all eligible individuals regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, race, color, and/or national origin. View RIT nondiscrimination statement.

Power Your Potential 

Date: February 23, 2024
Time: 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location:  Susan R. Holliday Center, Max Lowenthal Hall -  Rochester Institute of Technology
Ticket Cost: $75 - Faculty & Staff, $85 - Alumni, and $95 - General 
Breakfast, Lunch, and a small gift from RIT Saunders College of Business are included in the ticket price. 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Saunders College of Business is excited to celebrate its second annual Women's Leadership Weekend! Join us again on Saturday, February 24, 2024, for the fourth annual Women's Leadership Summit (WLS) hosted by the Leadership Academy @ Saunders, and the first annual AdvanceRIT Women's Faculty Leadership Summit.

PYP Agenda

Time Details
7:30-8:15 a.m. Registration and Breakfast Available
8:15–8:30 a.m. Welcome Remarks from Dean Mozrall
8:30–9:30 a.m. Stacey Wronkowski
Keynote Speaker
Soaring to New Heights: A United story
9:30-9:45 a.m. Mix & Mingle
9:45-10:30 a.m. Kim B Miller
Workshop Presenter
Power Your Potential By Letting Superwoman Syndrome Go
10:30-10:45 a.m. Mix & Mingle
10:45-11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion with Q&A
Embracing Innovation Across Today's Changing Workforce
11:30-11:45 a.m. Mix & Mingle
11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Ushi Patel
Workshop Presenter
Make Your Mark: The 5 Habits of Confident, Visible, and Magnetic Brands 
12:30-1:30 p.m. Networking Lunch – Power Bowls

Mistress of Ceremonies

Darci Lane

During her nearly 15 years here at RIT, Darci Lane has served as a director, counselor, advocate, and administrator. As the 2020 Edwina Award recipient, Darci has always prioritized the need to embrace, recognize, and celebrate women and gender minorities. 

Keynote Speaker

Stacey Wronkowski

Stacey Wronkowski ’03 (management info systems) serves as Vice President Digital Technology for United Airlines. In this role Stacey oversees the technology organizations for Flight Operations, Inflight Services, Network Operations and Technical Operations.  She also leads the United Analytics and Employee User Experience organizations. Since starting her career at United 6 years ago, she has been a positive force for the organization in both her prior roles as the Director of Customer Contactor Center Technology and most recently the Managing Director of Contact Center, Crew, Catering and Loyalty technology.  She is known at United as a customer and employee advocate – seeking changes that drive efficiency but also has a vision for how we can reuse solutions across workgroups.

Stacey obtained her bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and an MBA from Xavier University in Ohio.

Workshop Speakers

Kim B Miller Headshot

Kim B Miller

Kim B Miller ’85 (business administration retail management) is Prince William County, Manassas & Manassas Park, Virginia Poet Laureate Emerita. She is the First African American Poet Laureate for that region. Her poems have been published in African Voices magazine, an international haiku anthology, a DC newspaper, and Prince George’s Community College Literary & Arts Magazine and several other anthologies and websites. Kim is the author of several books.

Kim is the 2023, 2022 and 2021 DMV Renaissance Awards Haikuist of the Year. Kim received the 2023 and 2021 DMV Best Business Award in the category of Arts & Entertainment. (DMV=DC, MD, VA) In 2023, Kim was awarded the Vivien H. Hansbury Award for: Trailblazing A Path For Women In The Field Of Creative Arts.

Kim facilitated a seminars at a Women’s Leadership Summit at Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, and online for Google. Voice of America (VOA), did a documentary on Kim. Voice of America is the largest and oldest US funded international broadcaster. Kim was also featured on WTOP, 103.5 FM.

Ushi Patel Headshot

Ushi Patel

Ushi Patel ’00 (graphic communications), ’01 (MBA) is a designer, speaker, and co-host of The Phoenix podcast who has earned the name "Brand Whisperer" from her clients and peers. For over two decades, her model has empowered thousands of people globally to build an authentic and effective brand presence that increases confidence, visibility, and magnetism. Her portfolio includes leaders in Fortune 500 companies and at the helm of social movements, as well as

owners of small but mighty mom-and-pop shops, startups, experts, and investors. While each client is different, what is common is an unconventional method that disrupts the status quo.


Her multicultural approach and heartfelt visual storytelling have inspired clients to utilize her design talent and eye for their homes, events, and weddings, in addition to the creative direction and mentorship she provides for their brands. Never able to contain her creativity to just one avenue, Ushi wrote and published Benjamin Franklin award-winning poetry. In 2016, she gave a TEDx Talk about how to stay true to who you are. She was recently recognized by L.A. Style Magazine as part of their 2023 Most Influential lineup.

Ushi is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she received her MBA and was an NCAA All-American Volleyball Player and the 1999 NCAA Academic All-American national player of the year. You'll find Ushi, her husband John, and her little rascals, Rayam and Nikhil (Niko), in Austin, Texas, soaking up the sun and beautiful energy.


Embracing Innovation Across Today's Changing Workforce Panel

Lindsay Connelly

For over a decade, Lindsay Connelly ’11 (marketing), MBA ’18 has proven herself a successful digital marketer who enriches the Rochester community. It started at RIT in 2011 with a BA in Marketing, which continued into an MBA with a focus in MIS in 2018 from RIT. While obtaining her master’s, she decided to start her own business.

Linden Digital Marketing was founded in 2018 and the company is now a flourishing marketing firm supporting B2B and B2C companies in digital marketing strategy, tactics, website development, and much more. What began as a one-woman operation has quickly grown into an LLC that employs fourteen local marketing experts. Linden more than doubled in size in each of the last two years. Lindsay was named an RBJ 40 under 40 honoree in 2022 and Emerging Tech Woman of the Year by TechRochester in 2023.

When Lindsay isn’t working on her thriving business, she invests her time in raising her two young children, rock climbing at RIT’s Red Barn and volunteering as a board member for Journeys of Solutions Inc. St. Ann’s Foundation and Home Acres Brighton. Lindsay is a proud member of the Rochester community who gives back through her time, talent, and leadership

Tashanda Thomas

Tashanda Thomas is the Chief Human Resources Officer at WXXI Public Media, including The Little Theatre and CITY Magazine.

Tashanda has been in the Human Resources profession for several years. She has worked in non-profit and for-profit sectors, building relationships with employees and managers to support the business strategy, resolve communication issues, and motivate individuals for optimal performance. Tashanda is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion for all people and cares deeply about the needs of others. 

Tashanda's desire to impact the lives of Rochester's citizens is evident in her past and current volunteer work and service. She is the Chair of the Willow Domestic Violence Center Board and sits on its HR Task Force and Governance committee. She is also a St. John Fisher University Alumni Board member and the YMCA HR Committee. Tashanda is a Commissioner for the City of Rochester's Civil Service Commission, a founding Member of 100 Women Who Care, Roc, and an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated member. 

Tashanda has received recognition for her professional work and her community outreach. She is a 2023 OnCon Icon Top 50 Human Resources Professional Award Winner, 2023 NHRA HR Executive of the Year Finalist, 2022 Rochester Business Journal Women of Excellence Honoree, 2022 ATHENA Young Professional Award Finalist, 2021 Making an Impact Award winner from the Rochester Chapter of the National Human Resources Association, 2020 St. John Fisher College "Ten Under 10" Honoree, a 2019 Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce IGNITE Future Leaders Award Finalist, and a 2018 Rochester Business Journal "Forty under 40 Honoree."

Tashanda is a United Way African American Leadership Development Program Graduate with an Associate degree from Monroe Community College and a Bachelor's degree from St. John Fisher University. Tashanda has her PHR and SHRM-CP certifications and is a wife and mom.


Liz Vega

Liz Vega is an award-winning marketer and Emmy-nominated former television journalist, who uses her appreciation of storytelling to help teams research market needs, identify target audiences and competitors, and create marketing initiatives that generate revenue.

In her most recent role, Liz served as Vice President, Head of Americas Marketing, Xerox Corporation, leading a team of skilled marketers who support clients and channel partners in small, midmarket, and large businesses in 40 countries including the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

In addition, she has held leadership roles in internal and external communications and public relations, developing compelling strategic plans and narratives for employees and external audiences working with senior leadership in 100+ countries.

Liz is the former national president of the Hispanic Association for Professional Advancement (HAPA), an employee resource group at Xerox dedicated to the support, development, and advancement of Hispanic employees.

She holds a BA in Telecommunications and Political Science from Michigan State University, a MS in Management from Nazareth University and was sponsored by Xerox to complete a post-graduate management program at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Previously, Liz taught undergraduate communications in RIT’s School of Communication as a distinguished Minett professor.

Liz serves the Rochester community on several boards of directors including the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County where she is past chair of the board of directors and Lifespan of Greater Rochester where she currently serves as secretary of the board of directors. Liz and her husband reside in Pittsford, NY with their two daughters.


The Next Generation of Business

As part of our Women’s Leadership Weekend, Saunders is proud to be hosting this year's Power Your Potential in our new, state-of-the-art building expansion, highlighted by our featured event space, the Susan R. Holliday Center (in Max Lowenthal Hall). Learn more about the The Next Generation of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Saunders Building Expansion


Once entering campus at the main entrance (indicated with a VERY large sign: "Rochester Institute of Technology, Founded 1829"), follow the directional signs labeled “Power Your Potential”, towards the Susan R. Holliday Center.

Please park in Parking Lot S. Once registered, External guests will receive an e-permit. Please place the permit on your dash so you do not get ticketed.

Download Campus Maps: Interactive Campus Map.
Power Your Potential Map: Parking Lot S to Max Lowenthal Hall 


RIT’s campus is conveniently located five miles from the Greater Rochester International Airport and the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90). GPS Link toParking Lot S, Reynolds Dr, Rochester, NY 14623

Supporting Sponsors

Past Events

Saunders College of Business is pleased to host the 13th Annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference as part of our first Women's Leadership Weekend! Join us again on Saturday, February 18, 2023, for the 3rd annual Women's Leadership Summit (WLS) hosted by the Leadership Academy @ Saunders. The 2023 PYP Keynote Speaker Elizabeth Kiehner is an award-winning author and renowned keynote speaker, who has delivered speeches to a variety of global audiences and has been fortunate to sit alongside other senior professionals on panels, discussing topics such as Artificial Intelligence, and envisaging use cases for human/machine collaboration. She is currently Chief Growth Officer of Nortal, a digital transformation powerhouse founded in Tallinn, Estonia with a US HQ in Seattle. Having co-founded an award-winning design and digital production venture, Thornberg & Forester, Kiehner understands complex business processes, shaping inventive strategies, and owning UX and digital engagements. Kiehner’s career spans non-profit, Fortune 500 companies, and the public sector and is fueled by a desire to transform organizations from the inside out, leading digital, business, and talent transformations with previous leadership roles at IBM and Capgemini. 

View event details, photos and video of PYP 2023

Saunders College of Business was pleased to host the 12th annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference focused on Taking Charge of Your Future, led by Women in Business club students Ann-Katherine Candelori ’22 management information systems, Maggie Dempsey ’22 management information systems, and Palak Wadhwa ’26 business exploration. The conference included a keynote presentation from Karen Putz, 14X Author, International Speaker, and Midlife (and Beyond) Life Coach, a session led by J’nez Thomas, Account Manager at Altria on the topic of “Subject to Change”, as well as 2 lively panel discussions featuring the following panelists: 

"Finding & Feeding Your Passion" Panelists

  • Sady Alvarado-Fischer – Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Hope Drummond - Community Advocate and Board Member
  • Leah Shenandoah - Wolf Clan Member of the Onyo’ta:aká: – Oneida Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy; Ph.D. Candidate at Cornell University

Corporate Panel – First American Equipment Finance Panelists

Topic: Growing Your Role

The 12th annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference was sponsored by First American Equipment Finance(Lead Sponsor), RIT Women’s Council and Manning & Napier (VIP Sponsors), and Consiliarium Group (Supporting Sponsor).

View the 2022 photo gallery

Saunders College of Business was pleased to host the 11th annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference focused on Embracing Our Voice & Leading Boldly, led by Karen Magnuson, Saunders College Executive in Resident and Former Executive Editor at the Democrat and Chronicle (D&C). The conference included a keynote presentation from Melisza Campos, Marketing Manager at Wegmans Food Market, a workshop presented by Saunders lecturer and Director of the Leadership Academy at Saunders Molly McGowan, an education session led by Joanne Braeunle, as well as a lively panel discussion featuring the following panelists: 

Joy Olabisi, Associate Professor, Management and Director of the Undergraduate Management Program, Saunders College of Business
Dinah Gueldenpfennig Weisberg, President/CEO, REDCOM Laboratories, Inc.
Denishea Ortiz, Director of Strategic Marketing and Retail Product Management, RIT
Enessa Carbone, Group Vice President, Lithia Motors, Inc.

The 11th annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference was sponsored by Bergmann and First American Equipment Finance.

View the 2020 photo gallery

Saunders College of Business was pleased to host the 10th annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference focused on Leadership in Action, led by Janet Lomax, Former News Anchor at News 10 NBC. The conference included a keynote presentation from Stacey Bain, previous Chief Financial Officer and General Manager for Hello Alfred, several education sessions led by Joan DeRoche and Kimberlie Barrett, as well as an energetic panel discussion featuring the following panelists: 

The 10th annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference was sponsored by Bergmann.

View the 2019 photo gallery

Saunders College of Business rounded out National Women's Month with the ninth annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference, featuring Dorothy Farris, Vice President of US Sales for Veeam Software and 1973 Saunders College Alumna. Dorothy Farris' keynote presentation, along with educational presentations from Shal Khazanchi and Kathleen Whelehan, provided helpful insights into "Leading Your Life and Achieving Your Goals with Courage." The educational presentations were followed by a panel discussion, focused on "Bringing It All Together: Networking, Negotiating and Bridging the Gender Gap," featuring the following panelists:

  • Devra Bevona, President and CEO of Bevona Business Solutions
  • Kimberly Hamer, MBA, MHA, Vice President of Customer and Relationship Management for Visual Dx
  • Aqua Porter, Vice President of Business Transformation Channels for Xerox
  • Joanne Gibson, MBA, Owner, Capstone Park


Saunders College of Business welcomed Jane M. Elliott, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of at Global Payments, to the eighth annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference. Jane Elliott's keynote presentation, "What's in the BHAG," discussed her career and setting career goals. She stated, "You have to be a little uncomfortable. Get out of your comfort zone. Really work on whatever you are trying to achieve." In addition to Elliott's discussion, there were two educational presentations from Dr. Dena Swanson and Samantha Tassone, which was then followed by a panel about resiliency in your career. The panel discussion was led by:

View the 2017 keynote presentation

Saunders College of Business hosted the seventh annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference. This conference provided women an outlet to discuss challenges and opportunities in becoming an effective leader. Sarah Personette, VP of global business marketing at Facebook, headlined the conference. Sarah Personette, VP of global business marketing at Facebook, headlined the conference. Her keynote presentation was on the changing dynamics of leadership and communications. She offered some key advice, "Check your ego at the door and concentrate on working as a team to deliver results." Personette also encouraged women to speak up. "It might be uncomfortable at first, you may feel like you want to play it safe by keeping quiet, but just do it. It's the only way we can achieve gender parity in the workplace."

The event also included a panel discussion, "Leading Change Outside the Lines." This discussion showed women how to think outside the box, while building employee support for their ideas. Following the panel discussion, two educational sessions focused on providing women guidance in "Success: Creative Destruction" and "Navigating Complexity." Our 2016 Power Your Potential Panelists and Education Presenters included:

  • Deborah Hughes, President and CEO of the Susan B Anthony Museum and House
  • Kelly Mandarano, WW Director of Marketing and Communications / VP of Kodak Print Systems Division
  • Dina Vazzana, Chief Human Resources Officer at Carestream
  • Lori Van Dusen, CEO/CIO at LVW Advisors
  • Jennifer Sertl, Business Strategist at Agility3R

View the 2016 keynote presentation

The sixth annual Power Your Potential Conference provided women an opportunity to discuss firsthand the challenges women face and how to become more effective leaders. The conference featured a panel discussion and educational presentations targeted at empowering women to succeed in the workplace. The keynote speaker was Kathleen Buse, founder and CEO of Advancing Women in STEM. She presented on "Recognizing and Overcoming 2nd Generation Gender Bias." This presentation commented on the impact of women as leaders and how to overcome the generational gender biases women may face in the workplace. Other presenters included Jennifer Green-Wilson on "Assertiveness & Passion," Sandy Parker on "Leading in a Male World" and a panel on company culture. The panelists included:

  • David Mammano, Founder and CEO of Next Step Education Group
  • Cheri Copie, Director of Compliance & Regulatory Affairs at NeoGenomics Laboratories, Inc
  • Kim Allen, Senior Strategic Communications Executive, Dixon Schwabl
  • Kate Jacus, Director of Marketing & Communications at Harley School

Attendees, including prominent Rochester-area businesswomen, gained insights on how to build their organization and enhance their career.

View the 2015 keynote presentation

Saunders College of Business welcomed JJ DiGeronimo, Founder and CEO of Purposeful Woman and Tech Savvy Women, to the fifth annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference. DiGeronimo is a global spokesperson for women leaders, women in technology, women entrepreneurs and young women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.), and has shared her insights and discoveries with many women's organizations. DiGeronimo’s keynote presentation, “The Power of No,” discussed how successful women use “no” and take specific actions in navigating their professional path to advance forward.

In addition to DiGeronimo’s discussion, the half-day conference included two educational presentations from Talya Meyerowitz and Betty Noonan on strategic business trends, as well as a panel discussion focused on “Owning Your Success.” The panel discussion featured prominent Rochester business women, who provided firsthand knowledge on challenges that women face and how to become a more effective leader. Our 2014 Power Your Potential Panelists included:

The fourth annual Power Your Potential Women’s Leadership Conference hosted Jennifer L. Pozner, Founder and Executive Director of Women in Media & News, who presented as keynote speaker on “Ladies First, Leaders Later…or Never? Media, Sexism and Power.” As a widely published journalist and media critic, Pozner works to increase women's presence and power in the public debate through media analysis, education, advocacy and reform. The conference also included an educational session with Linda Murphy and a panel discussion on gender and negotiation, featuring:

The conference concluded with ‘An Evening with Maya Angelou,’ an inspirational presentation for all attendees.

The third annual Power Your Potential Conference featured keynote speaker Michelle Berryman, founding principal and CEO of the design firm Echo Visualization, LLC. Berryman’s practice centers on interaction design and user experience for consumer, medical and industrial products, as well as software, websites and rich Internet applications. By combining insights from her impressive professional background and passion for traveling the world, Berryman presented on “Savoring the Journey,” encouraging women to look for inspiration and fresh perspectives in their surroundings.

The conference incorporated two educational sessions, led by Ann McCorvey and Mary-Beth Cooper, plus a panel discussion with connected local business executives, including:

  • Sandy Rothenberg, Associate Professor in RIT’s Saunders College of Business – Moderator
  • Ellen Brenner, Co-Owner of Fleet Feet
  • Soma Chengalur, Director HSE Federal Policy for Eastman Kodak Company
  • Nancy Rencis, VP and Commercial Banking Officer for Key Bank

Saunders College of Business welcomed Kitty Van Bortel, President and CEO of Van Bortel Groups, to the second annual Power Your Potential Women's Conference. The conference connected local business executives, entrepreneurs, alumnae and students, and gave women the opportunity to support and implement business with each other while learning innovative ideas and strategies for surpassing their business and professional objectives.

Followed by Van Bortel, a panel of experts shared the ups and downs of success, what defines an entrepreneur and the kinds of information, resources and the "pushes" a person needs to choose the path of greater risk, in the "Winning from the Bottom Up" panel discussion. The panel included:

The conference wrapped up with various educational workshops, hosted by Sandra RothenbergAnn JohnsonJennifer Cisney, and Mary-Beth Cooper.