GenHERation Announces 2018 Icon Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2018 GenHERation Icon Award winners! Based on nominations from our members, we selected 10 women who epitomize what it means to be a leader in the GenHERation community. The winners represent 5 female leaders and 5 GenHERation members from across the United States. Please join us in honoring the 2018 Class of GenHERation Icon Award winners.

Photo of Icon Award Winners: (From Left to Right Starting in the Upper Left Corner) Kim Davis, Toni and Syndey Loew, Lee Spelman Doty, Keerthi Jayaraman, Sheera Goren, Olivea Varady, Courtney Miller, Melissa Hutchins, and Tonya Adkins 

Meet the Professionals

Tonya Adkins, GSK

Tonya Adkins has nearly 15 years of experience at GlaxoSmithKline in multiple roles across sales, training, and marketing in various business units. In her current role, she is a U.S. Marketing Brand Manager and is responsible for helping to develop and implement strategy and tactics for the pediatric portfolio vaccines through multiple channels. Whether it is launching a product that brings value to her customers and patients or helping someone find that perfect job, being able to work in roles that have a positive impact on people is important to her. She believes that we can all make a difference by giving back, and one of the best ways to give back includes empowering others with both the belief in themselves and the skills needed to make a difference in their own lives. In addition to Tonya’s full-time position at GSK, she is also the WLI (Women Leadership Initiative) Outreach Lead and serves as a Job Plus Coach. Tonya says that she feels lucky every day to work for such a wonderful company like GSK where she is able to combine her love for helping others while at work and partner with organizations like GenHERation. Tonya is the GSK leader responsible for creating the GenHERation GSK Invitational, which has since developed into an annual event at the Navy Yard. Listen to Tonya’s SiriusXM Radio interview about the GSK Invitational here.

Kim Davis, NFP

Based in Austin, Texas, Kim Davis is the Executive Vice President and Chief HR Officer of NFP, one of the largest insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the country. She supports strategic employee programs and ensures that NFP attracts, engages and retains top talent. With over 25 years of HR experience, Kim partners with business leaders to ensure the strategies employed and programs offered engage NFP employees within a PeopleFirst culture dedicated to being diverse, inclusive and innovative. Kim joined NFP through the acquisition of a company she co-founded, bringing in her entrepreneurial expertise from the private equity world of benefits consulting and high-level HR design. Prior to NFP, Kim built and led HR teams within large companies like GE, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, MCI, Equity Residential and Icahn Enterprises. Kim empowers her team with the belief that “Being a great leader requires as much, if not more interest in the success of others as it does in the success of yourself.” NFP has partnered with GenHERation to feature more than 25 of their female leaders across the country through Discovery Days, our Campus Connection tour, simulations, and original videos. Learn more about Kim’s career journey in our interview with the HR leader.

Lee Spelman Doty, J.P. Morgan

Lee Spelman Doty, managing director, is the Head of U.S. Equity at J.P. Morgan. An employee since 1989, Lee was previously a senior research analyst in the U.S. Equity Research group with responsibility for the technology sector. Following her role in research, she led the client team. Lee holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a CFA charterholder. She is a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. She holds Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses. Lee has been actively involved in GenHERation since 2014, serving as an executive host at J.P. Morgan for the GenHERation Summer Leadership Series, Discovery Days 2016, and Discovery Days 2018 tours.

Sheera Goren, Zygo

Sheera Goren grew up in Los Angeles attending Harvard Westlake and spent every moment of her childhood running around, being outside, and playing literally every sport, which eventually led her to the University of Michigan where she played soccer. After graduating from UCLA Law School and working in the legal and business development departments for an international hospitality and restaurant group, she started her own 501C3 ​non-profit, DINATING, helping families in need and getting her first foray into running her own company. At the beginning of 2017, she decided she wanted to spend less time behind a desk and more time playing outside again, so with a friend from high school, she started the SoulCycle of swimming, SwimTeam, and is now developing an underwater headset solution for both streaming audio and live communication as the CEO of Zygo. As an entrepreneur, Sheera reminds young women that “You have to see the invisible to do the impossible. Everyone comes from their own experience, perspective, and opinion and you have to develop a belief in yourself and a conviction of spirit where the ability to attempt something is a victory in itself. You will learn along the way and just because you haven’t done something before, doesn’t mean you can’t in the future.” Sheera is a fixture at our Los Angeles events and has been a featured panelist on nearly every tour, including the Summer Leadership Series 2015, Discovery Days 2017, and Discovery Days 2018. Check out our interview with Sheera to learn more about her work as the founder of DINATING.

Courtney Miller, Southwest Airlines

Courtney Miller joined the Southwest Airlines Communications & Outreach team in 2015. She manages a variety of community outreach efforts such as working on Southwest’s Repurpose with Purpose program to repurpose Southwest materials and creating opportunities for GenHERation members to engage with Southwest. Prior to joining the Community Outreach team, Courtney worked in Customer Relations where she began her career with Southwest in 2012. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. She currently lives in Bedford, TX and enjoys being a part of the community she grew up in. Courtney encourages aspiring female leaders to “work hard and be nice.” GenHERation has partnered with Southwest to connect our members with Southwest’s leaders through Discovery Days, the Southwest Invitational, our Campus Connection Tour, the Southwest Las Vegas Rally, Southwest Summer Camp, and national simulations that have received over 10,000 submissions. Watch this video to learn how a GenHERation member was able to spend the day living her dream as a Southwest Airlines pilot.

Meet the Members

Melissa Hutchins, Seattle, WA

Melissa Hutchins started her journey with GenHERation during July of 2016. She has attended a record-setting 8 GenHERation Discovery Days across multiple cities, including San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Austin, Boston, and Philadelphia. In addition to Discovery Days, Melissa won a national simulation competition with Southwest Airlines and was chosen to represent GenHERation as a young female leader at the 2018 Southwest Airlines Rally held in Las Vegas. Melissa is a recent graduate of the State University of New York at Oneonta where she earned a Business Economics and Marketing degree with honors. She recently accepted a new Product Manager position with Expedia in Seattle, WA. As a new professional in the tech industry, Melissa shares her advice for younger GenHERation members: “There are so many useful skills and lessons I learned from being as involved as I’ve been in the GenHERation community over the past 3 years, but if I had to choose one, it would be the invaluable skill of creating your own opportunities and ACTIVELY stepping out of your own comfort zone. The motto I live by every day is that ‘you get out what you put in.’ I’ve found the key to growth is through taking risks and making your own mistakes, but then consciously choosing to learn from the experiences. GenHERation provides opportunities, the rest is up to you. I definitely would not be the same strong female leader without the support of my mentor Katlyn Grasso, CEO of GenHERation, as well as my entire involvement in the GenHERation community. Although I’m now starting my first full-time job, I will still remain as involved in the GenHERation community as I can.” Read Melissa’s blog post about the Southwest Las Vegas Rally here.

Keerthi Jayaraman, Livingston, NJ

Keerthi Jayaraman is a senior at Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey. She is a proud member of her school’s community as an executive member of her school’s Diversity Council, President of GLAM’D, and President of the Community Service Committee. Keerthi co-founded EdGift Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering girls in urban areas of New Jersey and impoverished parts of India that has reached over 2,500 girls and counting! Keerthi recognizes that “GenHERation has given me priceless opportunities that I am so grateful to have. As a contributor, I am able to interview powerful female figures in their respective fields. Not only do I get to receive wonderful career advice, but I am able to write an article based on my interview and share it with other young women. As an Ambassador, I was given the wonderful opportunity to bring GenHERation to my school! It was a great experience to introduce my peers to the amazing work that GenHERation does and forge a relationship between my school and an organization that means a lot to me. My role with GenHERation has allowed me to grow as a writer, interviewer, and leader.” Read Keerthi’s interview with an Olympic medalist here.

Toni and Sydney Loew, Palo Alto, CA

Silicon Valley sisters Toni and Sydney Loew are co-founders of Poketti LLC. Sydney is a freshman at the University of Southern California and Toni is a high school junior at Castilleja. According to the sisters, “Poketti Plushies are adorable animal pillows with a pocket on the back to store your phone, glasses, or other small items. After our 7th grade entrepreneurial class, we raised money on Kickstarter, started selling to retail and online stores, donated thousands of Poketti to charity, and met inspiring mentors in the gift and toy industries.” As yearly Discovery Days San Francisco participants, Sydney and Toni appreciate the ability to learn from accomplished leaders, explaining, “Every young entrepreneur needs a role model, and the GenHERation community is full of women who are taking their industries by storm. As participants of the Discovery Days program, we were able to witness first-hand how women, through collaboration and determination, can empower themselves and others in the workplace. GenHERation is an invaluable resource and support system that we are proud to be a part of.” Learn what inspired Sydney and Toni to start their own business in our interview with the family of founders.

Olivea Varady, Los Angeles, CA

Olivea Varady is currently a high school senior at the Chadwick School. This year, she is exploring her passion for science by taking 3 science classes: Brain and Behavior, Post AP Computer Science, and AP Environmental Science. Olivea is a hard working student who inspires women to become involved in the STEM fields by working with GenHERation and being a mentor to other peers at her school. Reflecting on her GenHERation journey, Olivea elaborates, “I have been a part of the GenHERation family for four years now! Along this journey, I have learned how to be a great leader. The biggest thing I have taken away from GenHERation is that there are multiple ways to be an amazing leader. I have learned that you need to wear a “tool belt.” Your “tool belt” holds all the different forms of leadership and your “tools” are specific ways to lead. In certain situations, you need a specific “tool” from your “tool belt,” while other times you need 3-4 “tools” to be successful.”

To learn more about our GenHERation Icon Award Winners follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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