Women's Leadership Summit (WLS)

Descriptive image that says owning your voice Women's Leadership Summit WLS 2024 Saturday, February 24 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Student Alumni Union, RIT Campus hosted by RIT Saunders College of Business Leadership Academy

Saunders College of Business is pleased to host the 4th Annual Women's Leadership Summit (WLS)

The WLS is an RIT Women’s Leadership Summit held in the Student Alumni Union and Campus Center hosted by the Leadership Academy @ Saunders. Its mission is to inspire, connect, and educate women & allies to become tomorrow’s future leaders. We focus on driving leadership excellence in all industries from arts, and sciences, to technology.

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

WLS 2024: Owning Your Voice

Date: February 24, 2024
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: Student Alumni Union, Rochester Institute of Technology
Ticket Cost: $20

Deadline to Register: Friday, February 9, 2024

Registration is now closed. 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Saunders College of Business is excited to celebrate Women's Leadership Weekend! Join us on Friday, February 23, 2024, for the 14th annual Power Your Potential half-day leadership conference geared toward working professionals, or AdvanceRIT Women's Faculty Leadership Summit for faculty from RIT and Rochester region universities.

Register Today!

WLS Agenda




9:00am - 10:00am

Check-In, Breakfast

10:00am - 11:00am

Keynote Presentation 

Ingle Auditorium

Erin Sarofsky

11:15am - 12:25pm

TED Talk

Ingle Auditorium

Laura Hild 

“Authentic Self-Expression: The Power of Understanding Your Motivators” (11:15am-11:30am)

TED Talk

1010/1015 Conference Room

Ann-Katherine and Claire Candelori

“Owning the Stage form 2X Champion Irish Dancers” (11:15am-11:30am)


Peggy Tirrell 

“Powerlifting as Leadership Training - Breaking Stereotyping and Learning the Power of Empowerment” (12:00pm-12:15pm)


SAU 1510 “1829 Room”

Rawan Alsukairi

“The Secrets of Being Empowerful Successful Woman” (11:15am-11:45am)


Linda Kerrigan

“Female Dynamics in the Workplace: How to be Allies Instead of Rivals” (11:55 am-12:25 pm)


Bamboo Room #1

Becca Post and Ashley Mason

“Embracing Vulnerability and Humanity” (11:15am-12:15pm)


Bamboo Room #2

Bethany Collins 

“Negotiation: How to Get the Deal” (11:15am-12:15pm)


2520 Clark A Conference Room

Trisch Axsmith Tavolette

“Becoming a Person of Influence” (11:15am-12:15pm)

12:30pm - 1:15pm


The Davis Room / Brick City

1:15pm - 1:45pm

Leadership Networking Activity

The Davis Room / Brick City


Jernee Bramble, Stacey Wronkowski, Amy Stornello, and Ushi Patel

2:00pm - 3:00pm

The Alumnae Leadership Panel

Ingle Auditorium

3:15pm - 4:30pm

The Leadership Challenge

Assigned at Event

Speakers & Panelists

Erin Sarofsky Headshot

Keynote Speaker

Erin Sarofsky BFA '98 (graphic design), MFA '00 (computer graphic design)
Executive Creative Director and Owner of Sarofsky Corporation

Erin Sarofsky is the internationally heralded creative visionary regularly chosen by brand and entertainment titans to lead their most artful storytelling projects.In 2009, Erin Sarofsky launched Sarofsky Corp. in Chicago’s booming West Loop, and the rest, as they say, is history. Recognized internationally for brilliant design-driven production that is limited only by the imagination, the firm has forged long-standing relationships with leaders of the advertising and entertainment industries. We have been recognized internationally for the brilliant design-forward work we produce and, most notably, our main title sequences. Our recent projects are “Peacemaker,” “The Gray Man,” “WeCrashed,” and “The Staircase,” but we are also known for iconic sequences like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy (1 and 2),” “Shameless,” and “Community.”

Jernee Bramble '00 (biology) - Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Professional Development at Miles & Stockbridge, P.C.

Ushi Patel '00 (graphic communications), MBA ’01 - Founder and CEO at USHI

Amy Stornello 96' (criminal justice) - NTID Deputy Title IX Coordinator at RIT

Stacey Wronkowski 03' (management info systems) – Vice President of Digital Technology at United Airlines

Laura Hild '00 (mechanical engineering) - Director of Global Technical Support at Cambridge Mobile Telematics

Ann-Katherine Candelori '22 (MIS) - Engineering Product Management Specialist at Cisco Systems, Inc.

Claire Candelori '20 (industrial engineering), '21 (MBA) - Process Improvement Analyst at Navy Federal Credit Union

Peggy Tirrell '95 (human resource management) - Senior Associate Director of Graduate Business Programs at RIT Saunders College of Business

Linda Kerrigan ’02 (biotechnology), MBA ’03 - Associate Director, Sourcing Excellence at Bristol Myers Squibb

Rawan Alsukairi '17 (biomedical science and diagnostic medical sonographer) - ARDMS sonographer double boarded in Abdomen and OB/GYN specialties

Trisch Axsmith Tavolette ’93 (photo process & finish mg), MS ’95 (instructional technology), ACT ’08 (project management) – Team Lead, Technical Publications/Training at Alstom Transport

Bethany Collins '04 (MIS) - Senior Director, Global Information Technology and Data Protection Officer at Oceana

Ashley Mason - Senior Communication Specialist at Helen & Gertrude 

Becca Post '09 (new media design and imaging, communication) - Founder & CEO at Helen & Gertrude



Women's Leadership Summit will be held in the Student Alumni Union and Campus Center, on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology.


Please park in Parking Lot D, with overflow parking available in Lot N. 

Download Campus Maps: Interactive Campus Map.


RIT’s campus is conveniently located five miles from the Greater Rochester International Airport and the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90).

From the Airport
Turn right onto Brooks Avenue, then right onto Interstate 390 South. From 390, take the Scottsville Road exit and turn right. Drive for approximately three miles, then turn left onto Jefferson Road. Travel east for approximately one-half mile to the campus.

From Interstate 90
Take exit 46 and proceed north on Interstate 390 to exit 13 (Hylan Drive). Turn left on Hylan and continue north to Jefferson Road. Turn left on Jefferson and proceed west for approximately two miles to the campus.

Address for GPS
Parking Lot D, Reynolds Dr, Rochester, NY 14623

Past Events

The Leadership Academy at Saunders was pleased to host the 3rd annual Women's Leadership Summit as part of Saunders College of Business's 1st annual Women's Leadership Weekend, centered around "Be the Future YOU Want." The conference included a keynote presentation from RIT alumna JoAnne Ryan MS '04, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities. 

RIT Alumnae Leadership Panel


  • Chitra Sivanandam '98 (imaging science) - Chief Technology Officer at Rohirrim
  • Rebecca Brubaker '93 (newspaper operations management) - Vice President of Manufacturing | Operations at Power Drives Inc.
  • Elizabeth Del Valle '10 (international business) - Global Creator Marketing at YouTube
  • Danielle Walters '12 (electrical engineering) - Principle Electronic Engineer at MKS Instruments
  • Elizabeth Kiehner '22 (EMBA) - Chief Growth Officer at Nortal 
  • Ebony Watson '04 (applied computer technology) - Software Engineering Project Manager at Apple

TED Talks:

  • Janine Susz '92 (graphic design) - Instructor of Graphic Design at Bryant & Stratton College 
  • Krista Vardabash '12 (EMBA) - Business Development Manager, Executive Education at RIT Saunders College of Business
  • Karen Putz - 16X Author, International Speaker, Midlife (and Beyond) Life Coach
  • Crystal Gallagher '20 (EMBA) - Corporate Manager of Organizational Development at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield



  • Angelica Pilato '64 (food administration) - Public Speaker and Author of Angel's Truck Stop (a Memoir) A Woman's Love, Laughter, and Loss during the Vietnam War
  • Kristen Jones Seymour '05 (biotechnology)



  • Jennifer Gress - Professional Speaker. Mindfulness, Meditation & Yoga Teacher. Former CPA. Optimist.
  • Jean Ellefson '98 (applied statistics) - Assistant Professor Analytics, Jon and Mary Tabor Chair in Family Business and Entrepreneurship at Alfred University
  • Melissa Scrimo '90 (biotechnology) - President and Founder at Applied Intelligence Consulting 

View the 2023 photo gallery


The Leadership Academy at Saunders was pleased to host the 2nd annual Women's Leadership Summit, as they expanded their opportunities of offering interactive workshops, professional development seminars, RIT TED Talks, BE STEAM Challenge, and our most anticipated C-Suite Panel. The conference included a keynote presentation from RIT alumna Laurie E. Axelrod BS '86, co-founder and CEO of Wheelhouse Group Inc.

C-Suite Panelists

  • Erin Crowley-Ellis '08 (mechanical engineering) – Co-Founder and Managing Director of ATVentureCenter
  • Pooja Kapoor '04 (information technology)  - Managing Director of Google’s Corporate Strategy team
  • Rosa Lee Timm '00 (social work) – biracial deaf queer innovation artist known mostly for her YouTube ASL music videos, her work as a solo performer of The Rosa Lee Show, and as a lead actress in ASL Films’ feature film, Versa Effect
  • Sophie Schillaci '10 (advertising and public relations) –  seasoned entertainment journalist 
  • Sheri Watkins '04 (information technology) - transformational nonprofit and small business leader

TED Talks:

  • Anjeanette Agro '92 (graphic design) - Risk, Reward, and Roller Derby
  • Dawn Aprile '14 - Small Business Leadership: Opportunities to Lead Change within the Small Business Environment
  • Kimberlie Barrett '81 (marketing) - Path to Leadership & Success
  • Jessica Carnovale, RIT Saunders College of Business Adjunct Faculty - Women in Supply Chain Management (WiSCM)
  • Lindsay Connelly '11 (marketing), '18 (MBA) - "The First 3 Years" - The Top Digital Strategies and Key People to Build your Service Business. 
  • Jane Elliot '88 (accounting) - Actively Managing your Career through the Process of Goal Setting
  • Taylor Evans '15 (biomedical sciences) - How My Style Blog Made Me a Better Scientis
  • Crystal Gallagher '20 (MBA) - Change Management: How to Effectively Manage the People Side of Change and How to Best Communicate Change in the Workplace
  • Celia Garland '14 (glass and glass sculpture) - Leading through Storytelling - Parallel Passions & the Power of Public Speaking
  • Rachael Gootnick '09 - Building your Personal Brand
  • Kimberly Hill '09 (communication), MS '15 (media technology) - When Introverts and Extroverts Unite: A Story of Combined Leadership Growth
  • Tara M. LoCastro '96 (environmental management), '98 (MBA) - The Value of Authenticity and Values-Based Leadership
  • Christina Pierce '92 (hotel management), '96 (mechanical engineering), ME '11 (engineering management)  - Recruiting your own Personal Board of Directors
  • Mona Samaan-Ockenden '94 (civil engineering) - Joy of an Entrepreneur: Knowing when it's Time to Jump and Fly and Becoming Comfortable, Being Uncomfortable
  • Susan Stewart '98 (civil engineering technology) - Leadership Begins with You
  • Peggy Tirrell MS '95 (Career & Human Resource Development) - Powerlifting as Leadership
  • Lorena Valenzuela MS '12 (innovation management) - Turning Flames into Fuel

Fireside Chat:

  • Arina Kotlyarskaya '06 (graphic media) and Kara Burns - Leading Outside of your Expertise



  • Lindsay Connelly '11 (marketing, '18 (MBA), Michele Judkins '20 (new media marketing), and Elyse Mee '11 (new media marketing) - Workshop Title Marketing Essentials for Launching Your Business
  • Melissa Scrimo '90 - Create Your Own Destiny by Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

View the 2022 photo gallery