conversation ON BOARD DIVERSITy


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Chair & Co-chairs

Jennifer Smuts

Chief Marketing Officer — Connolly Gallagher LLP

Lynn Evans

Managing Director of Women's Leadership Initiative — University of Delaware

Elaine Bittner

President and CEO — EB Strategy Partners


Doneene Damon

President and Director — Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A.

Doneene Damon is the president of Richards Layton, co-chair of the firm’s Business Department, and chair of the Corporate Trust and Agency Services Group. She focuses her practice primarily on formation and operational issues relating to Delaware statutory and common law trusts in all types of commercial and business transactions, representing issuers, underwriters, investors, and trustees. Doneene also represents banks and trust companies in connection with their trust and agency services under Delaware and New York law in various commercial transactions, including their roles as trustee, collateral agent, custodian, master servicer, depository agent, and exchange agent. Doneene’s varied corporate trust transactional practice includes asset-backed securities, including auto loans and leases, credit cards, student loans, residential mortgages, home equity loans, equipment leases, litigation settlements, insurance policies, and intellectual property; royalty trusts; liquidation trusts; and voting trusts. Doneene is also experienced in capital securities and hybrid capital securities; mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and private equity funds; and collateralized loan obligations, cross-border leasing transactions, project finance transactions, and defeasance transactions. In addition, Doneene represents health-care clients in all types of commercial and transactional matters, including the purchase and servicing of health-care receivables and the issuance of tax-exempt bonds. Chambers USA reported that Doneene is “terrific,” noting that clients praise her as “experienced, careful, smart and very personable.” She was recently featured in an article in Super Lawyers and was honored as one of Savoy magazine’s Most Influential Black Lawyers.

Corporate Boards: Christiana Care Health System. Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A.

Vip keynote panelists

Soledad Alfaro

Chief Administrative Officer — Philadelphia International Airport

Soledad Alfaro is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, a large hub airport system serving over 32 million passengers annually.  Ms. Alfaro leads several branches of the business, including Strategy, Human Resources, Information Security, Communications, Government Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion, and Administrative Operations. Before joining the Airport, Soledad was the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mastery Charter School Network. She also worked in non-profit education organizations building internal capacity, developing systems, and advancing strategy in support of educational equity for children of color living in marginalized communities. Ms. Alfaro completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Colorado, a master’s degree in Urban Education from Temple University and holds an MBA from the Fox School of Business at Temple University. 

Jennifer Cohan

CEO — Leadership Delaware

Jennifer Cohan was appointed in January 2015 to lead the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), becoming the third woman to serve in this role in the department’s 100 year history. Prior to her appointment, Jennifer served as the Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles for eight years, and her state public service career has spanned more than 28 years. Her previous work includes serving as the Financial/Program Manager at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) managing the state's Clean Water Program, and working with the Delaware State Legislature within the Office of the Controller General. Ms. Cohan has also held an array of leadership positions within DelDOT in the areas of planning, finance, and Motor Carrier Safety. Jennifer graduated summa cum laude from Wilmington University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Master of Science in Public Administration and also attended the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. She remains involved with Wilmington University as an adjunct professor teaching leadership and public policy in the master's program. Secretary Cohan currently serves as the Vice President of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials (NASTO), Vice-Chair of ITS America Board of Directors and Chair of the I-95 Corridor Coalition's Executive Board.. In addition, she is also a member of: The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Board of Directors, The Northeast Corridor Commission, The National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) Board of Directors and Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment Coalition. Beyond her professional duties, Jennifer is an active board member of the Greater Dover Boys and Girls Club and serves as Chair of the Southern Delaware American Heart Association Board of Directors. In 2016, Jennifer was honored with the Kent Distinguished Citizen Award by the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America for her commitment to public service.

Corporate Boards: Greater Dover Boys and Girls Club, Southern Delaware American Heart Association

Sharon Kurfuerst

Chief Operating Officer — Christiana Care

Sharon Kurfuerst, EdD,OTR/L, FACHE, is system chief operating officer of ChristianaCare, responsible for the development and execution of core enterprise business processes and functions, including campus operations for Newark, Middletown, Wilmington and Cecil County; clinical essential services; corporate compliance; facilities and services; safety and security; real estate; retail strategy and expansion; and design and construction activities. Kurfuerst has a doctoral degree in educational leadership and professional development and a master’s degree in adult education from Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from College Misericordia, Dallas, PA. Kurfuerst is a frequent national presenter on topics in rehabilitation, health care leadership and academic health care system partnerships, and has published several times on these same topics. She is also a frequent lecturer for other health care providers and universities. In addition to her role at ChristianaCare, Kurfuerst sits on several local boards focused on activities in education and serving vulnerable populations.

Corporate Boards: Wilmington HOPE Commission, Delaware Military Academy

Director coaches

Mark Turner

Director, Advisor, Entrepreneur/Investor, Speaker, Coach

Corporate Boards

WSFS Bank and Financial Corporation, Christiana Care Hospital System

Jagruti Panwala

President & CEO — Wealth Protection Strategies Inc.

Corporate Boards


Maria A. Thompson

Venture Partner — Arsenal

Corporate Boards

Reko International Group

Joseph M. Rigby

Retired Chairman, President and CEO — Pepco Holdings, Inc.

Corporate Boards

Dominion Energy, Inc., South Jersey Industries Board

David Nicoli

President — The Nicoli Consulting Group, LLC

Corporate Boards

The Nicoli Consulting Group, LLC, Christiana Health Care System

Sonia Galindo

Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer — FLIR Systems, Inc.

Leslie T. Thornton

Former Vice President and General Counsel — WGL Holdings and Washington Gas Light Company

Corporate Boards

Perdoceo Education Corporation and Southwest Gas Holdings

Claudia Porretti

CEO — Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay

Corporate Boards

University of Delaware and Woodlawn Trustees

leadership committee members

Doneene Damon

President — Richards Layton & Finger

Donna Kinzel

Director of Finance and Operations — Ursuline Academy

Jennifer Schwartz

Chief Strategy Officer & General Counsel — Christiana Care Health System

Karen Darby

Financial Planner — MassMutual

Kyle Evans Gay

Attorney — Connolly Gallagher LLP

Maria Gunther

Partner — Trellist Marketing and Technology

Michelle Whetzel

President — Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation

Stephanie L. Staats

CEO — YWCA Delaware

Temeka Easter Rice

Senior Director — SallieMae

Terri Hartwell Easter

Principal — T.H. Easter Consulting

Jennifer Kmiec

Executive Director — The Committee of 100

Kristel Tupja

Attorney — Ballard Spahr LLP

Devon Beverly

Attorney — Ballard Spahr LLP

Joanne Natale Spigonardo

Senior Advisor — The Water Center at Penn

Sherrill Corbett

Partner — Tonkon Torp

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