MEET THE NYC CHAPTER TEAM
Regional Network Leader
Debra Albert is the longest, consistently running Lean In Circle Leader in the world (53,000 + Circles in 179 countries) and is also the Leader of the NYC Network of 6,100+ in 32 Circles.
Debra is a Partner and Chief Development Officer at Sequent, with overall responsibility for Sequent's growth and development strategies and execution. Debra has 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, and professional development in the information services industry and ten years of experience in the advertising industry.
Prior to joining Sequent, Debra was Senior Vice President at TNS, a global market research company where she established a business development function and coached the organization through a very dramatic change. She was also a Vice President at Datamonitor where she started up the U.S. operation and set up five industry practice areas. Previous to her career in the Market Research industry, she spent 10 years in Media (television and print), and at an Advertising Agency.
Debra is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and also studied at The American University of Paris, in Paris, France. She currently holds two Professional Certificates from New York University – in Organizational Development and Leadership, and the other in Executive and Organizational Coaching.
Philanthropically, Debra was on the Board of Trustees of the Kaufman Music Center for 3 years. Also on the Career Services Committee of The George Washington University Alumni Association. Debra lives in Manhattan (but loves to travel).
Vonetta Young is an investment readiness and fund formation advisor who helps start-up founders and their investors raise capital confidently and successfully by creating a clear business plan and memorable messaging.
She previously worked on the investment team at Abbott Capital, a private equity fund of funds in New York City, and at the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program at the U.S. Small Business Administration. She holds a BA in English and an MBA in Finance from Georgetown University.
Vonetta is also a writer whose short stories and personal essays have been published in numerous publications online and in print. She is a Fiction Editor for The Rumpus and Insight (nonfiction) Editor of The Offing literary journals. She serves as treasurer of the board of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, a literary arts organization empowering writers of color. Vonetta lives with her spouse in Washington, DC.
Resa Matthews is an award winning broadcast journalist with more than 20 years of experience developing, producing and supervising non-fiction programming, branded content, news and documentaries. Her work has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, Hd-Net, CNN, A&E, Discovery, Lifetime, and History.
Her productions have been singled out for both the quality of reporting and excellence in writing, earning her a Dupont, Peabody and Emmy Award, among others. In 2008, she launched her production company, Reel One Pictures, Inc., to develop and produce broadcast quality content for major media, Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits.
Brenda McFarland is an accomplished corporate executive, business consultant and marketer. She brings over 25 years of experience to helping leaders achieve positive and sustainable changes in leadership behavior that is recognized and acknowledged by key stakeholders.
Throughout her career, Brenda advised C-suite executives across a variety of industries, and among both established global organizations and startups. Her expertise and guidance in market opportunity, brand and sales strategy, organizational development and employee engagement have successfully driven increased revenue and profitability.
Most recently, Brenda served as consultant and Chief Marketing Officer at Critical Mix, a consumer insights technology company. In this role, she built a distinctive brand experience and helped to create a loyal, mission-driven company culture. The company was recognized as the 43rd fastest growing private company in 2015 by Inc. 500, and won MRCareers Best Employees award in 2017. She was also instrumental in marketing the brand portfolio that attracted investors and led to a successful acquisition in 2019.
Throughout her career Brenda has been a frequent guest speaker at a variety of industry events, served as company spokesperson, provided corporate sales and product training, and consumer data analysis. She is a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach and holds a B.S. in Marketing from Susquehanna University. She currently mentors young women at the Susquehanna Sigmund Weis School of Business as well as the White Plains Youth services.
Kimberly Chao is a passionate investment professional with over 15 years of industry experience. She is committed to increasing financial literacy and enabling investors to achieve their financial goals.
She is the founder of Zebra Crossing Asset Management, managing investments, providing financial planning, and increasing financial awareness. Her financial acumen and ability to earn the trust of her clients led to the launch of Zebra Crossing in 2014.
Over the decade prior to launch, Kimberly built expertise through her diverse work experience. Her expertise includes investment strategy, portfolio management, and trading. In 2004, she began her career on a currency trading desk at Wachovia and then transitioned to commodities with Standard Bank of South Africa. During the financial crisis, she relocated to Hong Kong where she managed a bond portfolio for ING. Upon returning to America in 2011, she joined the global-macro hedge fund Bridgewater.
Originally born in upstate New York, she was raised in Georgia. At age 21, she graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a double degree in Finance and Chemical Engineering. She enjoys running, snowboarding, and learning Mandarin.
Elyse is a visionary architect who builds scalable teams, practices & processes at the intersection of tech and digital.
An academic at heart with 17 years of experience across traditional and digital media strategy, brand marketing, start-ups, location-based technology, client success, sales enablement, management training, educational learning design, professional development coaching and diversity & inclusion consulting.
She's a builder, a fixer and a lover of developing talent, especially from under-represented groups. In her most recent role as Foursquare's Vice President of Education & Experience, she incepted Foursquare University, an internal education and employee experience department.
In that role, she identified knowledge gaps, developed training programs and guided the vision, strategy and end-to-end operations of Foursquare's learning and development efforts. A strong public speaker and empathetic communicator, Elyse consulted the executive team on internal narrative building, external media presentations and delivery, diversity & inclusion sponsorship and served as the “pulse” of the company culture and morale.
Emilie has an extensive background in international business. With over 10 years of work experience in the retail and luxury industries, she oversaw many global brands.
Her entry into the cosmetic world was with Shiseido Company, where she successfully managed the LATAM and Military accounts for Shiseido and NARS brands.
Serving as the International Business Development Senior Manager for a luxury skincare brand, Emilie is part of the corporate team to foster strategic alliances and to formulate and execute market-specific plans with local partners worldwide.
Michelle Liu is a serial networker and community creator. She currently works at The Conference Board, a not-for-profit research think tank, as an Executive Programs Manager, convening Talent Acquisition Executives, Career Strategists, Onboarding Experts, Women's Leadership Champions, and DEI Practitioners across industries. She joined The Conference Board in 2013 and has held positions within the CEO’s office, business development, and account management.
Outside of work, Michelle produces multi-genre and pop culture events and conventions, most notably DerpyCon in New Brunswick, NJ and Zenkaikon in Lancaster, PA. She is a relentless people connector and revels in creating communities for self-identified nerds, geeks, and fans.
Michelle graduated from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and is fluent in Mandarin. In her free time, she volunteers and advises pop culture and fandom events and studying the Finnish language.
Mary Dove, is the Founder, Lean In NYC, a community organization with over 6,000 members. She has produced over 30 educational events creating a new picture of leadership. In 2017, Mary started the Change Makers Project, a portrait and story project spotlighting women revolutionizing change.
As the producer, Mary brought together a talented team and created The Change Makers book (published in 2019). She partnered with Hudson Guild, creating an exhibition of the portraits, as well as educational events with their teen youth program.
When Mary is not producing community events, she works as a licensed psychotherapist. Mary has a private practice in Chelsea and provides counseling for students at the Juilliard School. She feels the creativity that each person holds is one of their greatest treasures, and cultivating it is one of their greatest adventures. Mary also is proud to serve on the Board of Directors of Duke Ellington Center for the Arts.