Annually, the Harvard Kennedy School brings together people of all genders to explore, discuss, and debate issues relating to the advancement of women and gender equity. Historically, the conference has boasted speakers including Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State; Alyssa Milano, actress, producer, singer, author, and activist; Liz Plank, author, and journalist and countless others. Flame Bearers hosted a panel with four athletes: Rukhsar Habibzai, Jenny Sichel, Danusia Francis, and Anastasia Pagonis discussing women in elite sports and the inequities ranging from equal pay to media coverage and fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan.
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM | Registration & Breakfast
Location: Harvard Kennedy School Main Courtyard
Please join us for a delicious breakfast and live music!
9:30 AM -10:00 AM | Opening Ceremony & Remarks
Location: JFK Forum
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM | Keynote
Location: JFK Forum
Moderated by Tram Nguyen, MA State Representative, MC/MPA ‘24
Iris Bohnet is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and the co-director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She is a behavioral economist, combining insights from economics and psychology to improve decision-making in organizations and society, often with a gender or cross-cultural perspective. Her most recent research examines behavioral design to de-bias how we live, learn and work. She is the author of the award-winning book What Works: Gender Equality by Design and advises governments and companies on the topic around the world. She was appointed to the Gender Equality Advisory Council of the G7 in 2021 and named one of the Most Influential Academics in Government and one of the most Influential People in Gender Policy by apolitical. Professor Bohnet served as academic dean of Harvard Kennedy School for six years and as faculty chair of the executive program “Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century” for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for more than ten years. She serves on a number of boards and advisory boards, and is the recipient of several awards and honorary degrees. Iris is married and the mother of two children. For more information, please visit Professor Iris Bohnet’s curriculum vitae.
Olubamiwo Adeosun (Banwo) was appointed as the Secretary to the Oyo state Government on the 28th of June 2019, a role she holds till date. In the 47 years of existence of Oyo state and the Western state before then, she is the first female to occupy the position. As the Secretary to the state government, she oversees the day-to-day running of the government, ensuring policies, processes and procedures are administered as designed and the government runs smoothly and efficiently. With over experience 29 years prior experience in different multinational companies, she has brought to bear her private sector experience into governance and this has greatly impacted the way the government is perceived and governmental service delivery as a whole.
Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State. She is a licensed Pharmacist and also a Chartered Human Resources Practitioner and has held various Human Resource positions with specialization in areas such as Talent Management, Business Partnering, Employee Relations, amongst others. Prior to joining Oyo State Government, She worked for over 20 years at the Shell Petroleum Development Company and SmithKline Beecham (GlaxoSmithKline) before then. Her last role in Shell was as the Country Implementation Lead for Shell Business Operations (SBO), Nigeria and in this role she was integral to the successful set up of the Shell Business Office which pioneered changing the service delivery model for Shell companies in Nigeria. Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), United Kingdom and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). As a leader focused on transformation, Mrs Adeosun has been involved in programmes targeted at mentoring young leaders with a view to imbibing values of integrity, empathy, excellence, humility and transformation. She is married and the proud mother of three adult sons.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Advancing Advocacy
Location: Littauer 140
Moderated by Sara Al-Zubi, MD/MPP HMS & HKS
At Value for Women, Mara focuses on building and leading new initiatives, developing new product lines, and overseeing business development efforts. She leads technically complex assignments and develops innovative products, services, and research for the company. She also provides strategic guidance to VfW’s clients leveraging her decades of experience at the intersection of gender, business, and finance. Prior to her work at Value for Women, Mara served as Chief Strategy Officer at the Marshall Plan for Moms, a campaign to put mothers at the center of the US’s economic recovery from the global Covid-19 pandemic by removing the barriers that hold women back. Mara was responsible for setting the organization’s strategic direction, developing new programming, and leading its flagship initiative on childcare. Prior to the Marshall Plan for Moms, Mara co-led Oxfam America’s Gender Justice and Inclusion Hub, where she worked to advance women’s economic rights through strategy development, program design, advocacy, fundraising, and team management. At Oxfam, she launched and led the Women in Small Enterprise initiative, which includes Oxfam America’s first impact investing fund that focuses on women entrepreneurs in Latin America. She has a Master of Business Administration degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Mara speaks fluent Latvian.
Rangita de Silva de Alwis is a globally recognized international women’s rights expert. Rangita’s recent work was featured in the Financial Times (FT). She has also appeared on C-span’s Book TV. Rangita also leads the Thomson Reuters Project on Inclusion and Transforming Women’s Leadership. Most recently, The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession has invited her to write a report on “Intersectionality and Male Allyship in the Legal Profession.” Her work is on expanding the Women Peace and Security agenda to include gender- based intellectual violence such as the denial of women’s education as a security threat. Rangita has a LL.M and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a Teaching Fellow with the European Law Research Institute at Harvard Law School, a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.
Tara Murray is a civil and human rights attorney, activist, and advocate. She joined the Biden-Harris Administration as a White House Fellow where she was placed in the Executive Office of the President and served as a liaison between the White House and the Cabinet. Prior to her government service, Tara ran her own law office in Washington, D.C. Before starting her firm, Tara led a team of lawyers, investigators, and social service providers as Deputy Director of London-based human rights NGO Reprieve. Tara has spent her career developing and maintaining strategic partnerships in the public, nonprofit, and government sectors and mobilizing diverse teams worldwide to champion the rights of inequitably treated people. She is committed to pursuing accountability and transparency in service to those persons most vulnerable to unfair treatment. Her work has been profiled internationally by news and media outlets. Tara was recently honored as one of the nation’s ‘Best Advocates’ by the National Bar Association. Tara received an LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow and taught law students in the Criminal Justice Clinic while representing indigent clients, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a B.A. summa cum laude from Howard University. Tara enjoys a rich home life with her husband and their three young children.
Hannah Peaker is Chief of Staff for the Women’s Equality Party in the UK, which uses electoral pressure to push women’s equality to the top of the political agenda. She helped build the party from scratch and is responsible for its strategy and communications as well as being the Party Leader’s right-hand woman. Hannah cut her political teeth working on Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign and was inspired to think about ways that we can use political organizing and activism to achieve progress for women. She was awarded a John F. Kennedy scholarship to study at Harvard, after which she worked for UN Women.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Smashing STEM Stereotypes
Location: Malkin Penthouse
Moderated by Anya Bharadwaj, MPP/MBA, HKS & Stanford
Lisa Francoeur is a proud Haitian American and former fashion stylist who is presently co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Crypto Tutors a privately held, profitable and award-winning web3 education start-up. Crypto Tutors B2B model specializes in upskilling corporate employees (internal) and their customer communities. As a seasoned tech executive with 10+ years of enterprise sales experience, Lisa has a proven track record of driving exponential growth while navigating complex deal structures at Fortune 100s including LinkedIn and start-ups. At the helm of business development, Lisa has led two lean start-ups to 7 figure valuations in less than 18 months without external funding, just revenue!
Lisa is known as the “Oprah of Tech”and as LinkedIn content creator on web3 her thought leadership is in high demand having spoken at Meta, Block, Cash App, Gemini, A16z’s Culture Leadership Summit and Earn Your Leisure’s (EYL) InvestFest. Lisa is a global champion of diversity and her company Crypto Tutors organizes the world’s largest diversity conference in crypto called Crypto for the Culture. In January of 2023, Lisa was ranked #30 on the list of Top 50 Most Influential People in Crypto in the world and #5 out of 7 Top Crypto Female CEOs. Lisa is also Founder/CEO of Fancyfied, an innovation lab of human engineering. She is a motivational and instructional speaker who’s motivational talks have been delivered at LinkedIn, Ghana Tech Summit, Doordash Splunk and is also a corporate trainer who has delivered her proprietary mind-set training “Authentic Intelligence – the New AIl” at Salesforce, AMC Networks, Microsoft.
Lili Gangas is the Chief Technology Community Officer at the Kapor Center, an operating foundation at the intersection of technology and racial justice, providing research and thought leadership, operating programs, supporting strategic partnerships and investments to increase diversity across the tech ecosystem–from K-12 education through entrepreneurship and venture capital – aiming to level the playing field in tech. Lili co-leads the Kapor Center’s Equitable Tech Policy Initiative with a focus on inclusive technology policy with special interests in closing digital divide, scaling new tech workforce models, advocating for responsible emerging technology as well as providing foundational support across civic engagement issues and tech enablement of civic organizations.
Belén Sanchez works on accelerating AI adoption in enterprises in the United States and in Latin America. She has contributed to the design and development of AI solutions in the retail, education and healthcare industries. She is a leader of the WaiCAMP by DataRobot University Initiative that contributes to the reduction of the gender gap in the AI Industry in Latin America through pragmatic education on AI. She was also part of the AI for Good: Powered by DataRobot program, which partners with non-profit organizations to use data to create sustainable and lasting impacts. Before joining DataRobot she worked as a data scientist and as an international policy advisor on economic growth in organizations like the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and government agencies in Latin America.
Belén has a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and a M.B.A. from the University of Leipzig in Germany.
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | Lunch
Please join us for a delicious catered lunch in either the Wexner Commons or outside in the courtyard, weather permitting.
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Storytelling Session
Location: Wexner 434AB
Moderated by Priyamvada Saraf HKS MPA ‘24
This session will include several deeply personal stories from Harvard Community members about how they have each overcome challenges and broken barriers.
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Positive Parenting
Location: Wexner 436
Moderated by Milly Bell, HKS MC/MPA ‘23
Hannah Riley Bowles chairs the HKS Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences (MLD) Area and co-directs the HKS Center for Public Leadership and HKS Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP). She is a leading expert on gender in negotiation. Hannah’s research focuses on women’s leadership advancement and the role of negotiation in educational and career advancement, including the management of work-family conflict. Her work has been featured in Harvard Business Review’s “Definitive Management Ideas of the Year” and covered by major news media, such as ABC News, National Public Radio, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Hannah’s academic studies are published in journals, such as the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Organization Science, and Psychological Science. She is the faculty director of Women and Power and Women Leading Change, the HKS executive programs for women in senior leadership from the public, private and non-profit sectors. She won the HKS Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003. She has been actively involved in negotiation and conflict management training, practice, and research for over 25 years, including early career opportunities to work for the governments of Argentina, Costa Rica, and Germany. She has a DBA from the Harvard Business School, an MPP from HKS, and a BA from Smith College.
Rachel Goldflam currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at David Yurman. In her current role, she oversees all aspects of global media, performance marketing, CRM, public relations, social media, events, strategic partnerships, and brand and channel marketing. Prior to her time at David Yurman, Rachel held positions with fashion brands including Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. In 2023 she joined the Board of Directors of the Women’s Jewelry Association, the premier business networking organization dedicated to enriching and advancing the professional lives of women in the jewelry and watch industries. Rachel is actively involved in the professional community The Retail Hive, and is a member of Chief, a private network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders. Ms. Goldflam graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Major in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rachel currently resides in Manhattan with her husband and two daughters.
Gary Barker, PhD, has been a global voice in engaging men and boys in advancing gender equality, gender justice and positive masculinities for three decades. He is the CEO and co-founder of Equimundo Center for Masculinities and Social Justice (formerly Promundo-US), a major contributor to international activism and research on male allyship in gender equality. He was the first Executive Director of Instituto Promundo in Brazil and led its pioneering work on healthy masculinities. He is co-founder of MenCare, a global campaign in more than 50 countries to promote men’s involvement as caregivers, and co-founder of MenEngage, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs. He co-created the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), the largest survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood, and gender equality. He leads Equimundo’s State of the World’s Fathers reports, which has become a major advocacy platform for the global care economy. He has advised the UN, the World Bank, national governments, international foundations and corporations on strategies to engage men and boys in promoting gender equality. In 2017 he was named by Apolitical as one of the 20 most influential people in gender policy worldwide. He is an Ashoka Fellow and received the Voices of Solidarity Award from Vital Voices for his work to engage men for gender equality. He holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a Research Affiliate position at the Center for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal. He lived nearly 20 years in Latin America.
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Designing Differences
Location: Wexner 436
Moderated by Adefemi Bucknor-Arigbede, MC/MPA ‘23
Karen Korellis Reuther is an experienced creative executive, and a Design Critic at Harvard’s Masters of Design Engineering program. From 2021-2022 she was a Fellow at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI). Prior to ALI she was Vice President Creative Direction + Future at Reebok, where she led the global creative strategy and implementation across every consumer touch point of the brand. Karen was Global Creative Director at NIKE for twelve years where she developed major product, merchandising and brand strategies solidifying NIKE at the top of its industry. She has over twenty years of experience in the sports footwear and apparel industry and spent many years in the design of consumer products and electronics in both the US and Germany.
A designer by training and practice for decades, and today a practicing activist committed to “Inclusion by Design: Ending Gender Bias in Product Design”. Karen received her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Purdue University and her Masters in Business Management from Lesley University. She was named a Purdue Old Master in 2013 and received the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Storytelling Session
Location: Wexner 434AB
Moderated by Sara BinMahfooz, HKS MC/MPA ‘23
This session will include several deeply personal stories from Harvard Community members who will share how they have each overcome challenges and broken barriers.
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Men Against Misogyny
Location: Malkin Penthouse
Moderated by Eliazar Chacha, MC/MPA ‘23
Jackson Katz, Ph.D., has long been a major figure and thought leader in the growing global movement of men working to promote gender equality and prevent gender-based violence. He is co-founder of the multiracial, mixed-gender Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, one of the longest-running and most widely influential gender violence prevention initiatives in North America and beyond. Katz’s books include the classic bestseller The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, as well as the award-winning Man Enough: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the Politics of Presidential Masculinity. He is the creator of many groundbreaking and popular educational videos, including the Tough Guise series, as well as The Bystander Moment: Transforming Rape Culture at its Roots, and The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump. His TEDx talk, “Violence Against Women Is a Men’s Issue,” has been translated into 27 languages and has more than 5 million views. He has lectured and trained in all fifty U.S. states, eight Canadian provinces, and every continent except Antarctica.
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Athlete Panel | Sparking Conversations in Sport: Elite Women Athletes
Location: Wexner 436
Brought to you in partnership with Flame Bearers.
Moderated by Jamie Mittelman, Founder, Flame Bearers, HKS ‘22 and former Conference Co-Chair
Danusia is an Jamaican Olympic gymnast, presenter, stuntwoman, college recruiter, shareholder of strongandsasygirls.com,
Born in the UK, Danusia’s mother is Polish and father is Jamaican. At the age of nine, Danusia moved 100 miles away from her family on a gymnastics scholarship at a boarding school, to chase her Olympic dreams. She won her first British Championships at nine years old and placed in the top six at every British Championships until the age of eighteen. Danusia represented Great Britain (GB) at many competitons including three Youth Olympics, two European Championships and the World Championships in 2011. In college at UCLA, she was the NCAA Balance beam champion and after narrowly missing out on fulfilling her Olympic dream twice (2012 she was reserve for the GB team, and in 2016 after qualifying to the test event another Jamaican athlete was selected), Danusia made her dream come true! However, unfortunately I tore my ACL just days before competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Danusia made the most of the situation and did a short bar routine to officially become an Olympian.
Born in Afghanistan, Rukhsar Habibzai is the founder of Cheetah Cycling Club and captain of her nation’s first women’s cycling team, a group of ground-breaking women cyclists nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for their bravery and courage in defying gender taboos in Afghanistan. Habibzai was a student in the dentistry program, when she was forced to leave her country as part of the mass evacuation of vulnerable citizens who faced targeted gender violence by the Taliban. Now living in Virginia, Habibzai is a dental professional racing for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 Cycling Professional Team.
Anastasia is a Tokyo Paralympian, two-time Paralympic medalist (1 gold, 1 bronze), and a 3x World Champion (200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle). Anastasia got into swimming when she first began losing her vision at 12 years old due to genetic retina disease and autoimmune retinopathy. Her hobbies include hanging out with her friends and social media where she uses her platform to educate fans about Paralympic sport and visual impairment. She also has a guide dog named Radar.
Jenny has been involved in rowing for 17 years and spent 7 of those years on the USRowing National Team. In 2016, she won a Paralympic silver medal at the Rio Games and has four other World Championships silver medals. In 2019, Jenny retired from international coxing and moved to the coaching world, which led her to the 2020 Tokyo Games as the coach for the US Women’s PR1x athlete. She’s still on the water every week with a local boat club here in Boston and doing national/international coaching with both USRowing and Para Rowing Foundation. Outside of the water, Jenny works full time at the National Council on Independent Living as Operations Director. Jenny is a strong mental health advocate as she identifies as having a mental health disability and often speaks on destigmatizing mental health in society.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Keynote
Location: JFK Forum
Sara Minkara was appointed by President Biden as the Special Advisor on International Disability Rights. In this role, Special Advisor Minkara leads the U.S. Department of State’s comprehensive strategy to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities internationally. Prior to joining the Department of State, she founded and served as CEO of Sara Minkara, LLC, which promotes authentic leadership and value-based inclusion. She also established Empowerment Through Integration (ETI), a nonprofit organization committed to developing a more inclusive global society and transforming social and cultural stigmas against disability.
Special Advisor Minkara is a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She has been recognized for her many contributions through appointments and awards, including honors from the Clinton Global Initiative, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Forbes 30 Under 30, Ashoka, Harvard, Halcyon, and the Vital Voices “100 Women Using Their Power to Empower” retrospective.
Internationally, Special Advisor Minkara has promoted disability rights, diversity, access, and inclusion in a range of countries including Lebanon, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. She speaks Arabic.
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM | Mindful Momentum
Location: Wexner 434AB
Moderated by Rumi Pavlova-Plotnik, HKS MC/MPA 2023
Biliana Angelova is a mindfulness coach with 20 years of mindfulness and clinical therapy experience who offers practical programs for wellness, stress relief, and transformation. Her mission is to help clients create lasting change through the integration of body-based and psychotherapy technology. Biliana has contributed to cutting-edge mindfulness research at the Benson-Henry Mind Body Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Center for Anxiety Studies at Boston University and has led mindfulness workshops at the Harvard Kennedy School and many other Boston-based businesses and institutions. She facilitates group and private 1:1 sessions in the Greater Boston area and globally, through digital spaces. She offers accessible practices of healing for the purpose of living fully and is an avid advocate of persons with disability, people with long-term complex care, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Hiba Khaled trained as a physician in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, before obtaining a Master’s degree in Medical Education from Harvard Medical School. She worked as a curriculum designer and developer at Harvard Medical School and as a leadership coach with Professors Ron Heifetz and Tim O’Brien at Harvard Kennedy School to coach students from diverse backgrounds. Having experienced and recovered from burnout herself, she is passionate about helping clients in demanding careers recover from burnout while empowering them to build the capacity to thrive in their work and lives. A surfer, tea enthusiast, and avid reader
Cassandre Titus is a certified Yoga Instructor and Holistic Health Coach. She is also a Licensed Practical Nurse and has been caring for patients for more than 9 years. Her studies of the human body and her curiosity about the body/mind/spirit connection led her to yoga. She completed her 200+ hour yoga teacher training with the Boston Yoga School in 2016 under the guidance of Ame Wren and Brenna Matthews. Her studies included Vinyasa, Restorative, and Fundamental Yin Yoga. Cassandre uses her qualities of compassion and empathy to care for human beings through multiple healing modalities. Cassandre is also very active in her life and has had the blessing of participating in many sports and activities including soccer, basketball, cheerleading, dance, tap + jazz, gymnastics, figure skating, track, rock climbing, pilates, and kickboxing. She loves exploring all that her body is capable of and brings all that insight to her practices on and off the mat. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, connect with nature, and take care of her plant babies.
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM | Poker Power
Location: Malkin Penthouse
Erin Lydon Hart is a thought leader and frequent speaker on gender equity where she inspires audiences to take action and create change in their communities and organizations. Erin is the President of Poker Power, an edtech company with a mission to teach one million women how to play the game…the game of poker and the game of life. Learning how to think, strategize, negotiate and allocate capital, like a winning poker player, translates to leadership skills that help women succeed from the classroom to the board room. Erin worked on Wall Street when pay was secret and pregnancy was hidden. She received her MBA in Finance from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and her BA in English from Bates College. She was the Strategic Advisor to Evil Geniuses, a legendary esports organization, a Vice President at JPMorgan, and an independent director on public and private company boards. Erin serves on the advisory board of Money 20/20 Rise Up and is a member of McKinsey & Co. Midwest Women’s Executive Forum and of Global Gaming Women. Erin is the 2023 recipient of the Global Gaming Women / Women in Sports & Events “Women of Inspiration – Woman to Watch” award. Poker Power joint program with Kellogg has been shortlisted twice for the Reimagine Education award, “the Oscars of education.” Erin’s recent speaking engagements include: TEDx, Money 20/20, SXSW EDU, Monaco Positive Impact Summit, AWS Women’s Summit, Future Business Leaders of America, Prime Global Women’s Leadership Summit, WNET Leadership Summit, G2E, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, Fairy Godboss, Luminary Women’s History Month Summit, and TeachX. Erin enjoys alpine skiing, scuba diving, running and spectating Formula 1.
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM | Reception supported by David Yurman
Location: Wexner Commons