(2:15PM – 3:15PM)

What Gets Measured, Gets Results - Operate in Excellence: Goal Setting, Project Management the philosophy of the workplace where problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership results in the ongoing improvement in an organization. Understand the process involving focusing on the customers' needs, keeping the employees positive and empowered, and continually improving the current activities in the workplace whether you are soleprenuer or have a team  - E

Being Confident in My Skin - Managing Like a Leader: Learn the top 10 Executive leadership skill to perform as the Executive Leader of your organization; Leaders: Inspires and motivates others, Displays high integrity and honesty, Solves problems and analyzes issues, Drives for results, Communicates powerfully and prolifically, Builds relationships, Displays technical or professional expertise, Displays a strategic perspective, Develops others, Innovate - PD

Women of Excellence Who Overcome in Negotiations: Building your brand and scaling your business through the power of effective negotiations – Winning the business by defining your Value Proposition that explains how your product solves customers' problems or improves their situation (relevancy), delivers specific benefits (quantified value), tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation) - LSMB

Industry: Get expert hands-on-advice from business owners that are leading the way in ECONOMIC mobility. Come hear how you can enhance your businesses bottom line as our Entrepreneurs share their success stories.  Some growing their business into a multi-million dollar business and sustaining it. Panel Discussion:  IT Staffing, Real Estate, Transportation  - IND


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doug harris

Kaleidoscope Group

Doug Harris is Chief Executive Officer of The Kaleidoscope Group, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. For almost 30 years, Doug Harris has impacted the American workplace with his work in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). In fact, his work extends back far enough that he was a part of the movements and conversations that birthed and developed the industry that has grown from what was once called “Affirmative Action: Next Phase”. Combining compassion and a keen business sense, he has shepherded organizations, teams and executives forward as the diversity dialogue has evolved from compliance, to fostering inclusion and ultimately, achieving exceptional business outcomes. Powerfully balancing the practical and the philosophical, Doug has partnered with countless clients to create customized strategies that address the specific diversity needs of each business and their unique company culture, working closely with leaders and executives to champion D&I, to develop commitment and enthusiasm across all employee groups. His energy and passion for the work have been described as “contagious” and few have walked away with anything less than an unforgettable experience.

Doug also brings a subject matter expert lens to gender synergies and has been a keynote speaker and panelist for numerous conferences focused on gender equality and equity over the years. Doug has developed and designed cutting-edge content for many D&I workshops around the topic of conscious and unconscious inclusion. He has forged partnerships with organizations like Difference Works to highlight gender issues and build inclusive communication skills.

The waves and ripples of his work have empowered organizations across this country and across sectors, from household names to small businesses, from financial institutions to academia, to make the absolute most of each of their people, including Caterpillar, Nielsen, HP, Coca-Cola and Blue Cross Blue Shield, just to name few. As different as each of these organizations are, what they share in common is they have enriched their culture and advanced their mission by embracing Doug’s mission: To free the human potential™.

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Melissa Nixon

Courageous Life Academy

Melissa Nixon is known as "The Courage Coach" and is a sought-after business and leadership development consultant.  She is the Founder of the Courageous Life Academy, a leadership and business development firm. As certified John Maxwell coach & trainer, a professional member of the National Speakers Association with an expertise in organization development, she prepares, positions, and pushes leaders and organizations to make their next courageous move.

Melissa is known for the success of her program development for organizations such as CVMSDC and the Women’s Business Center of Charlotte. As a result, she was awarded the Presidential Award for her work in leadership and small business development from the Carolinas Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council. This executive coach and captivating keynote speaker is known for being a thought-driver to leaders and audiences nationally and internationally.  Melissa’s motto is “I’m not afraid of failure, I’m afraid of regret.” Her desire is the same for other leaders and organizations.  As a result, she pushes them both to live and lead courageously!


Bartina edwards

Law Offices of Bartina Edwards

Bartina L. Edwards is the owner of the Law Office of Bartina Edwards in Charlotte and is the co-owner of CP3 Paradigm LLC. She graduated from the College of Charleston in 1987 with a double major in French and Business Administration. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Edwards was employed in the banking industry for over ten years. She later owned and managed a staffing agency, a consulting and strategic firm, and held ownership in a turnkey marketing firm.

She is a cum laude graduate of the North Carolina Central University School of Law. She has been admitted to and is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of the United States Federal Courts, has appeared before the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. She is collaborative law trained, has a corporate and entrepreneurial background and holds the designation of Super Lawyer.

She was one of few attorneys approved to support and represent the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers in the Resolution of their USDA Discrimination Claims and currently serves on the NCBA Labor and Employment Council, where she is also the Collaborative Law Liaison, serves on the NCAJ Board of Governors, serves on its Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and continues to serve on other boards and in a variety of community and professional organizations. She is active in her church, has one adult daughter and believes success is helping others. (

dr. tonnia thomas

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Training to Work and Industry Niche (TWIN)

Educated at Tuskegee University, Dr. Tonnia Thomas earned her B.S in Mechanical Engineering. She was also a part of the first class to receive a Ph.D. in a Material Science Engineering program at Tuskegee University in 2003. Tonnia’s professional career consists of roles within the areas of Operations, Controls Engineering, R&D, New Product Development, Supply Chain Management, and Small Business Development. Tonnia has a passion for program development as it challenges her thinking and creativity. She enjoys developing solutions for people, processes, and systems because it allows her to bring new things to life.

Tonnia is the Founder/Executive Director of Training to Work and Industry Niche (TWIN), a nonprofit organization with a mission to support and promote the professional development of individuals on three levels: workforce development, youth career development, and small business development initiatives. Tonnia enjoys coaching entrepreneurs to their next level via her consulting firm, Supplier Support Group (SSG), and as an instructor for the Women Business Center of Charlotte (WBCC). Lastly, Tonnia recently authored a book on managing emotional risk called “Push Through the Emotion”, released June 2017.

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Gene Waddy


Gene C. Waddy is a visionary entrepreneur and owner of DIVERSANT LLC, the nation’s largest African-American owned IT staffing and solutions firm. In many ways, DIVERSANT is a reflection of Gene’s professional expertise, personal drive, and his commitment to helping others. The company has enjoyed dramatic growth, even during the economic downturn, and has developed a reputation for excellence among numerous Fortune 500 companies.

In his local community, Gene coaches minority youth about how they can get involved with technology and use it to advance their careers and lives. Gene is an active member of the Board of Directors of PACE Monmouth. PACE, the Program for Acceleration in Careers of Engineering, is a science and engineering awareness program in which professionals volunteer their time to work with local minority high school students to help prepare them for technical careers. Gene also serves as an active board member with Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, and the New Jersey Tech Council. A member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the country’s first African-American fraternity, Gene is very active in many of their community service programs. Gene was named the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year New Jersey winner, as well as a 2011 NJBiz Executive of the Year Finalist.

The son of two Harlemites, Gene was raised in New Jersey; Gene attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. A “Jersey Guy” at heart, Gene chose to stay in his home state where he now resides with his wife and children.

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Jane WU

Panoroma Holdings

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.

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Lori Pasewaldt

Olympic Transportation

How many drive-thru dinners? How many more days and miles in the car? And how many traffic jams? These are the questions that set Lori Pasewaldt, President and CEO of Olympic Transportation, on a journey to give families back the gift of time. Olympic Transportation is a company founded specifically to alleviate the stress of charter school parents in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Charter Schools have opened in every county in North Carolina, and along with that, parents have focused their attention on finding a charter to fit their children’s educational needs and talents. While sitting in her own car line one day in 2011, Lori came up with the idea of Olympic Transportation. 

Equipped with 11 years’ experience as a Paralegal in a New Jersey law firm, a degree in Psychology, and a determination to help others, Olympic was created. Because of her belief in what she was doing, her passion to make a difference, and her own fortitude, Lori has truly carved out a significant presence in the local transportation world and has built a company she is proud of. Today, Olympic has a fleet of 19 vehicles and utilizes them daily to safely transport Mecklenburg, Iredell and Union County charter school students. Lori attributes Olympic’s growth to the level of professionalism and safety that her company offers parents and school administrators in Moving America’s Future™.

Lori is a 1996 graduate of Georgian Court University (B.A. in Psychology), is married to her husband, Kurt, for 22 years and is the mother to two boys, ages 15 and 20. Lori is honored to have been invited to speak today at the 2018 Heart of A Women’s Conference, to help be a guiding voice for other business owners on their entrepreneurial journey.