Business & Entrepreneurship Panel
Facilitator: Felena Hanson
Founder at Hera Hub: Collaborative Workspace for Women
Felena is a long-time entrepreneur and marketing maven. Her latest venture, Hera Hub, is a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs. This as-needed, flexible work and meeting space provides a productive environment for growing businesses. Hera Hub members have access to a professional space to meet with clients and to connect and collaborate with like-minded business owners, thus giving them the support they need to be prosperous.
The company has three locations in San Diego, one in Washington, D.C., and continues to grow nationally via a licensing model. Her goal is to support over 20,000 women in the launch and growth of their business by 2020.
Felena and Hera Hub have been featured in Inc Magazine, the BBC News, Forbes, and the New York Times. She is a published author and international speaker. Her book, “Flight Club – Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business” is available on Amazon.
Panelist: Mary Ann McGarry
President and CEO, Partner at Guild Mortgage Company
Ms. McGarry has been a member of Guild’s Board of Directors since 1988. Ms. McGarry leads the development and execution of the company’s strategic plans and objectives and directs all corporate and subsidiary operations.
Ms. McGarry, who began her career with Guild in 1984, has been one of the driving forces in formulating and executing Guild’s financial, operational and technology strategies. She began as a supervisor in Internal Audit and within three years was Senior Vice President of Loan Administration and Information Technology. She reorganized the Loan Administration Division and led the development and creation of the proprietary servicing software. She continued developing software applications to increase operational and financial efficiencies as she held a number of other executive positions: Chief Financial Officer, Chief Production Operations Officer, and Chief Operating Officer.
Prior to joining Guild, Ms. McGarry was employed by the public accounting firm Peat, Marwick, Mitchell. She was trained as a Certified Public Accountant and serves on the Investment Committee and the Servicing Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association, and on the FNMA Advisory Council. Ms. McGarry received a B.B.A. degree in Accounting with a minor in Computer Science in 1980 from the University of San Diego.
Panelist: Michele Comtois
Principal of Executive Liability Practice at Barney & Barney
Michele Comtois is a Principal with over 14 years of experience in the insurance industry. She has served as a member of Barney & Barney/MMA’s Executive Liability Practice since 2005.
Michele has a background in finance and risk management and works directly with clients by providing strategic guidance and counsel in the areas of public company directors and officers liability.
Prior to joining the firm, Michele was a Senior Underwriter at Arch Insurance Group in San Francisco where she served in the Executive Assurance Group. During her tenure there, she developed a book of business consisting primarily of public and private company D&O and professional liability insurance. She also worked in the financial services field in Boston.
Michele is a founding member of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s San Diego Chapter. She currently holds board positions with the San Diego Venture Group and Athena San Diego. Michele serves as the chair for B&B GROW, a women's initiative focused on attracting, retaining, educating and supporting the women of Barney & Barney/MMA.
Michele earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in finance from the University of Vermont.
Panelist: Jamie Moraga
President and CEO of intelliSolutions, Inc.
Ms. Moraga is President & CEO of intelliSolutions, inc., a woman- owned small business in the military and defense industry. The company’s focus is program management and engineering services with expertise in Satellite Communications, Tactical Data Links, and Maritime Surveillance. Jamie is a Past President and current Board member of the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) in Washington, DC., and serves as the SDMAC liaison to the Board of Directors for the Downtown San Diego Partnership. She enjoys being a weekly contributor to the Union- Tribune’s “EconoMeter” column and is a LEAD San Diego graduate. The Daily Transcript honored Jamie in 2015 as a “Top Influential”, SD Metro Magazine just named her as a “Top 40 Under 40” in 2016, and the San Diego Business Journal recently included her in their “San Diego 500” Book of Influential Business Leaders. Jamie received her Bachelor’s Degree and MBA from the University of San Diego and she and her husband, Ben, are proud parents to a son, Jack.
Panelist: Amy Wimer
VP & Associate Publisher of the San Diego Business Journal
Amy Wimer has had a diverse career path across marketing and publishing, including corporate communications, strategy, sales and team management. She was appointed VP & Associate Publisher of the San Diego Business Journal in August 2014. She is responsible for the oversight of revenue generation for the 36-year old paper, which includes the strategic planning and budgeting for all print and digital advertising, and event sponsorships for the business newspaper.
Previously Wimer was with Modern Luxury, as Publisher of a magazine for HNW executives. She was a key member of the team that launched Men’s Book magazine, and while she left the company for five years, was recruited back in a critical role to reinvigorate the brand that was about to be shuttered at the height of the recession. Delivering 474% revenue growth in her first 11 months, her business plan included new editorial direction, an increased distribution model, doubling the number of issues per year, creating quarterly events with 500+ attendees, developing a website, social media following and an app for the title, and re-training the sales team.
Ms. Wimer was the first Midwest Director hired by DiversityInc magazine. Within two years she built a multi-million dollar sales portfolio for the company, comprised of Fortune 500 Companies and offering them diversity benchmarking consulting based upon the empirical data gathered from the magazine’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey.
Panelist: Kymberli Parker
Owner of Mrs. Parker's Charm School
Trained at the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vermont, Kymberli Parker has worked directly with Cindy Post Senning and her son Daniel, the next generation of the Post family that has followed in the footsteps of the 20th etiquette maven. Mrs. Parker brings her knowledge as mother, entrepreneur, fundraiser, hostess and businesswoman to her etiquette teachings.
Though the word “etiquette” might bring to mind images of stiff-backed chairs, stuffy dining rooms and old-fashioned dances, Mrs. Parker had something else in mind when she founded her charm school in 2012: merging the elements of etiquette into a program that would make everyone smile. From fine dining, to tips on creating your personal brand, to the simple act of being kind to one another, Mrs. Parker’s Charm School covers all the aspects of modern manners. With Eleanor Roosevelt and Emily Post as her inspiration, Kymberli relies on the principles of respect, consideration, and honesty to get her through any situation.
Mrs. Parker teaches etiquette to students at Francis Parker School, the Cambridge School and St. Vincent’s. She has also worked with the University Club, San Diego County Bar Association, Qualcomm, Blue Apple Ranch, Extraordinary Desserts, UCSD and the Girl Scouts, among others.