"Women Who Lead With A Purpose"
Simmons YMCA in East Charlotte
Astrid Chirinos is a bi-lingual visionary and multicultural trailblazer who brings together diverse communities and engages them for the purposes of connecting their contributions, stimulating transformation and igniting economic growth. Astrid currently serves as the Executive Director of the Simmons YMCA in East Charlotte and was recently recognized as a top 60 influencer in North Carolina. Astrid also serves on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Latin American/Hispanic Affairs.
Her passion and accomplishments towards the importance, impact and results that inclusion, innovation and the value of differences can generate in our economic growth, our communities and workplace have been recognized by several local, statewide and national awards in both the business and in the diversity arenas. She was founder and partner in companies focused in Talent Realignment and in the Sustainability industries as well.
She currently serves on impactful non-profit boards such as YMCA Metro Board, Community Building Initiatives Board, Centralina Economic Development Commission, Communities In Schools, Johnson C Smith University Board of Trustees and has led or served on many other community boards in our region such as the Charlotte Mayor’s International Cabinet, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the Workforce Development Board of Mecklenburg County, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, The Levine Museum of the New South, The NC Center for Public Policy and the Knight Foundation among others. Astrid also was one of the initial CMS 16 Member Community Leaders Taskforce created in 2006 to help reevaluate the Structure and Governance of the school system in Mecklenburg County that resulted in the formation of today’s MeckEd organization.
Astrid has been a speaker, panelist and interviewee in a variety of local, national and international programs and conferences.
Eric is responsible for developing and advising Client Strategy, CDO Coaching, Advisory Board and serving as a Liaison and thought leader for Associations and Conferences. As a credible industry voice and innovator he is also accountable for market and talent development.
Eric Watson is the former President and CEO of the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (CVMSDC), a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, with more than 250 corporate members and 475 certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) members. Watson is responsible for the development and execution of strategy to achieve CVMSDC’s vision and goals of advancing business opportunities between major corporations and minority business enterprises in North Carolina, South Carolina and Central Virginia. His responsibilities also include membership and funding outreach, as well as, leadership of day-to-day operations related to services, programs, education, and staff and fiscal management.
Watson has 38 years of experience in operations management, including more than 25 years in the field of diversity and inclusion. Watson has developed strategies that impact business success through creating a vision for managing diversity, designing leadership mentoring programs to promote diversity, and establishing an accountability system for business.
Dr. Shelia Robinson
Diversity Woman Magazine
Sheila Robinson is Owner and Publisher of Diversity Woman Magazine, a professional business magazine for women leaders, executives and entrepreneurs of all races, cultures and backgrounds. Due to the overwhelming national response to her first magazine, North Carolina Career Network, the publication expanded nationally in April of 2008 becoming Diversity Woman.
In 2009 she was honored with the MEAC Image Award as a positive role model for young women. Other honors include 2011 Minority Business Person of the Year by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, 2012 Top 100 Leaders by Diversity MBA Magazine, 2016 Rosa Parks Diversit Leadership Award, 2017 National Association of Female Executives Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and in 2018 a Global Leaders Hall of Fame Award.
Sheila has been featured on the cover of Publishing Executive Magazine and named as one of 50 Top Women in Magazine Publishing for the significant contribution she has made in her industry.
Angela broome Powley
American Red Cross
Angela A. Broome Powley joined the American Red Cross in March 2011. She serves as the regional Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Carolinas Region, which is composed of 6 Red Cross chapters in 47 counties throughout Western North Carolina and 4 in Northern South Carolina, headquartered in Charlotte. Angela’s leadership team members support Red Cross programs such as Services to the Armed Forces, Disaster Cycle Services, Health and Safety, Emergency Services and Transportation Services, as well as support services, fund development and communications.
Angela’s past community and civic involvements lead her to a career in the non-profit sector. She has been actively engaged in community nonprofit leadership, including serving on the YWCA’s Board of Directors as the Board Chair, the Charlotte Chamber’s East and Center City Board of Directors, LifeSpan’s Board of Visitors and the Charlotte Philharmonic’s Board of Directors. She has held numerous other non-profit committee and volunteer positions with Junior Achievement, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Habitat for Humanity and the Make a Wish Foundation. She currently serves as the committee chair for the Charlotte Chamber’s Power of Women initiative. She also serves on the UNCC on the Graduate School’s Advisory Board and the Carolina Freedom Foundation Board.
Angela was honored in 2006 as a recipient of the Charlotte Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award and in 2012 she was named as one of The Mecklenburg Times 50 Most Influential Women.
Angela resides in Charlotte with her husband Keith Powley and her son Grayson (15). She also has a son currently serving in the United States Marine Corp.
North Carolina Department of Transportation
Shelby Scales is the newly appointed Director of Civil Rights for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). As Director, she oversees and guides several units including Utilization, Contract Compliance, EEO, ADA, Title VI, and Business Opportunity Workforce Development. Prior to NCDOT, Scales served as former President & CEO of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), an organization established nearly 30 years ago to promote the full participation of minorities and women in the aviation and airport contracting environment. Taking on this important role since August 1, 2011 and serving until February 2016, Scales served as the organization’s first CEO from an airport’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Office. She leveraged her leadership skills among the AMAC board of directors, its staff and members, and airports executives, affiliated organizations, and legislative leaders. Scales worked to improve program policy, legislation and business practices to increase the participation of women and minorities seeking employment and contractual opportunities throughout aviation and all modes of transportation.
Scales is recognized for her consulting in the areas of business development, community engagement, diversity inclusion, strategic planning and training for professionals and corporate clientele. She is a recognized diversity program professional in the areas of business development, government contracting, supplier diversity and fundraising. Over the years, she has contributed as keynote speaker, panel presenter, and moderator on a board range of topics, including “Doing Business in Airports,” and “How to Increase Minority Participation,” to “Certification Training and Contract Compliance.” Scales has developed and implemented numerous training courses for all types of businesses of various sizes and industries.
She is the recipient of numerous honors including recognition from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation for her leadership in promoting improvements for the DBE Program’s. She cherishes being honored by COMTO for “Women Who Move the Nation”.
Mantra: I’m here to leave a positive footprint in the sand of time.
Strategic Business Consultant
Jennifer Roberts is an accomplished Senior Executive and Consultant with more than 30 years of success across the government, education, financial services, nonprofits, management consulting, healthcare, and energy industries. Leveraging extensive experience in leading sustainability efforts, participating in public speaking, and spearheading community outreach initiatives, Jennifer is a valuable asset for organizations seeking increased diversity inclusion, companies considering exporting or outsourcing manufacturing services overseas, and businesses pursuing stronger corporate philanthropy and community partnership. Her broad areas of expertise include education, diversity, employee benefits, marketing, international business, fundraising, program implementation, consulting, strategic planning, and leadership.
Jennifer’s career has been defined by her strong business acumen and dedication to improving her community. She is currently a Strategic Business Consultant and helps both startups and established companies understand the Charlotte, North Carolina area and market on a deeper level in order to facilitate growth and profitability. Previously, she served as the Mayor of the City of Charlotte and implemented numerous programs and initiatives to strengthen the region and its inhabitants. During her tenure, she successfully raised $8 million for a domestic violence shelter, secured the passing of a $500 million school bond, and adjusted policies to promote inclusion and support of the LGBT community. Jennifer also focused efforts in sustainability and education, which led her to collaborate with businesspeople in the city to construct plans to reduce air pollution and create Charlotte Next, an after-school program for middle school children. Fed by her passion for diversity, she worked closely with World Affairs and the International House to foster support and international connections for immigrants. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Literature and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master of Arts in European History from the University of Toronto. She received her Master of Arts in International Administration and European Studies from the Paul. H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the John Hopkins University. As a successful Board Member, she has served as the Board President of the International House and held positions with numerous nonprofit and community organizations. She has also acted as Chairperson of a Fundraising Campaign for Safe Alliance and raised $8 million.
Ms. Jane Wu is a successful investor as well as an experienced real estate developer. She founded Panorama Holdings and serves as the President. Panorama Holdings specializes in real estate development, investment, finance, consultation, and EB-5 projects. Currently the company is developing several projects with a total of over three million square feet in the Greater Charlotte area, with asset classes spanning over conventional multifamily development, retail, office space, and hotels. One of the multifamily development projects, Blu at Northline, was nominated “New Property of the Year” for the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association Bravo Awards in 2017.
Ms. Wu also specializes in EB-5 financing. She has successfully raised EB-5 funds for several projects since 2011. She currently owns three USCIS-designated regional centers with licenses to finance projects via the EB-5 channel in seven states, including NC, SC, NY, NJ, PA, CT, and CA.
Prior to establishing Panorama Holdings, Ms. Wu was an investment professional. She joined Wells Fargo Securities to underwrite/source deals with more than $1.1Bn exclusively for large cap clients. She also worked on the trading side and developed trading strategies for various desks.
Ms. Wu is active in economic development activities both locally and internationally by serving on the Board for University City Partners (UCP) and establishing North America Chinese Chamber of Commerce (NACCC).
Ms. Wu earned her Master of Financial Engineer from Belk College at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
W.M. Stone Enterprises, Inc.
Melissa Harville-Lebron is the first African American woman, to soley own a Camping World Truck Series and a developmental racing team in NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series, Division I. The multicultural racing team is the first ever to consist of two brothers from two different ethnicities and minority classes, hailing from the North East and under the age of 25. The team consist of 6 drivers of various professional licensed levels. On February 16, 2018, E2NE partnered with Copp Motorsports for “The Next Era Energy 250” at Daytona. Scott Stenzel finished an impressive 15th.
Melissa is an African American, single mother of 7; 3 biological children from a prior 16 year marriage and legal guardian of 4 additional children from younger siblings. Known as "Captain Lebron" for the last 5 years of her career in the Mental Observation Unit in New York City’s Department of Corrections Rikers Island - Anna M. Kross Center, Melissa was forced to retire after 19 years of service due to a work related injury. A chronic asthma sufferer, it was after another severe attack that she had an epiphany, never be able to say “I wish I had", be able to say “I'm glad I did." The pursuit of her passion was born.
Ms. Harville - Lebron is the founder and CEO of W.M. Stone Enterprises, Inc. A multifarious entertainment conglomeration that is the home to Coutrá Music Group, a boutique music label. CMG’s eclectic roster at one time included a female racecar driver with a phenomenal voice. This would be Melissa's initial exposure to NASCAR and also what would capture her attention and direct her awareness to the lack of diversity in the motorsport. At that moment the conscious decision was made to pursue and fill that multicultural gap. E2 Northeast Motorsports was developed to be the 1st. multicultural team in NASCAR. In 2018, Ms. Harville-Lebron became the Executive Producer, for the soundtrack to the drama series 5th Ward on UMC network.
A native of Staten Island, NY,her foundation was an overly protective mother and entrepreneur grandmother. Her father was consistently influential in her life, as she remained "Daddy's little girl" while he suffered with Sarcoidosis of the brain. The drug epidemic of the early 1980's that consumed and damaged most families during that era showed no exception to Melissa and her family. While battling her own personal demons, Melissa’s mother remained ever so committed to her breaking the negative cycle that society had already proclaimed her destiny to ensure that she became a positive product of her environment.
First mentored by lifetime friend and legendary hip hop DJ Red Alert, she always had his support and admiration in her pursuit of the entertainment industry on her own terms. Being asked to accompany a friend to a video in the Bronx would prove to be two “firsts” for Melissa, one being her first industry connections that she would make on her own, and the other being her first time in the Bronx. Completely intrigued by the chaos behind the camera she landed her first position as a Production Assistant. After being introduced to producer Jay Ellis and being able to view the music industry from a different perspective, she knew that she did not want to be an artist, but knew immediately that she wanted his job. Mr. Ellis's influence would solidify her drive to one day be a boss. She landed what she believed to be the opportunity of a lifetime, an internship at Sony Music where she quickly assessed, "All that glitters is not gold”.
Melissa has always felt that the many obstacles in life were preparation for greatness in the future. Focused on creating her own destiny, she incorporated opportunity and imagination. Accepting social accountability for the impressions we portray to our youth throughout platforms that we have access to, E'mergê's goal is to encourage the youth to, “Unlock their dreams and pursue the unimaginable”. The obstacles of adversity do not define your future.