Panel of Experts
Ralph James retired from Harvard Business School in 2017 and currently spends his time on philanthropic ventures and volunteer roles with organizations like Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies, the Harvard Divinity School, the Joslin Diabetes Center and the International Quilt Museum.
He previously held both Strategic Advisor and Executive Director of University Affairs roles at Harvard Business School. He also had been responsible for External Relations and Executive Education activities for HBS.
James attended the College of Wooster in Ohio and received his BA in religious studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1977.
He received his MBA from Harvard in 1982. Over the next 15 years, he held several different positions at HBS in the areas of executive education, MBA admissions, and major gift fundraising, finally serving as Associate Dean and Senior Executive Officer under Deans McArthur and Clark.
In 1996, James left HBS to join the First Marblehead Corporation, as Chief Marketing Officer, becoming Chief Operating Officer in 1998 and President in 2000, prior to the company going public in 2003 (NYSE: FMD). In 2005, James stepped down from his position as Vice Chairman to return to HBS.
Shirley Leung is an award-winning columnist at the Boston Globe, who has written on everything from business to gender issues in the workplace. She is host of a new Globe Opinion podcast “Say More,” Listen on Apple, Spotify, and globe.com/saymore. Shirley is also a contributor to GBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” and has served as the Globe’s business editor and interim editorial page editor. Prior to the Globe, Shirley was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Princeton University, Shirley started her career at The Baltimore Sun. She has two young sons on the autism spectrum.
Marylou Sudders is currently a senior policy advisor at Smith, Costello & Crawford, a Massachusetts based consulting and legal practice and a trustee of a child and youth charitable foundation. She provides strategic advice to a broad scope of national and international small and mid-cap public corporations, and medium to large non-profit health care organizations. She also was appointed to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Care Services through Medicaid and Medicare.
Most recently, she served as Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services for the entirety of Governor Charlie Baker’s eight-year term. With a budget of $27 billion and 22,000 public employees, she provided executive leadership to twelve agencies including Medicaid. As chair of the state’s health insurance marketplace, she led its turnaround from national worst performer to best in class. She directed the state’s response to COVID-19, earning The Commonwealth Fund’s highest performance among all states and territories in its 2022 Scorecard. She led the strategic transformation of Medicaid into an innovative, population-based health program and reframed the public perception of Medicaid as a budget buster. During her tenure, Massachusetts achieved and maintained the highest or amongst the highest in numerous national state rankings including as overall healthiest state, for prenatal and maternal care access, for mental health care and access, in child well-being, as age friendly, and for long term services and supports for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Previously, she served as President & CEO of a large, non-profit direct services organization, Massachusetts Commissioner of Mental Health, and chaired the health and mental health program as an associate professor at Boston College’s School of Social Work, a top ten social work school.
Sudders holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree with honors from Boston University, and three honorary doctorates, including one from her alma mater. She is the recipient of numerous civic, social work, and professional honors.
Nora Moreno Cargie
Nora Moreno Cargie is president of the Point32Health Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Point32Health. In this dual role, she helps shape strategies to support nonprofit organizations working to address systemic disparities and eliminate barriers to access.
Previously, Nora was director of global corporate citizenship for The Boeing Company, vice president of communications and development for the Illinois Action for Children, deputy communications director for Barack Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, and deputy commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development in Chicago.
Nora currently serves on the board of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, the Executive Forum for Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship, the Elder Stakeholders Group of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and as a mentor for Conexión, a Latine mid-career professional development program.
YW Boston inducted Nora into the Academy of Women Achievers earlier this year. Amplify Latinx has selected her as one of the ALX100 for 2023. In 2022, the National Council on Aging recognized Nora with the Trailblazer Change Agent Award for “centering social justice and racial equity in all her work.”
Nora earned a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College and a Master’s in Management from NorthPark University, both in Chicago, Illinois.
Matt Kennedy is a Senior Adviser at Laurel Strategies and a founder of Kennedy Merchant Partners (KMP) and has worked in more than twenty countries on six continents. Previously, Matt served in senior roles in the Obama Administration at the Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury and the White House. As the Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships at Commerce, Matt worked closely with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Export-Import Bank of the United States to develop innovative public-private partnerships with leading Trade organizations and several Fortune 500 businesses. These partnerships have enabled more than 5,000 small businesses to learn about overseas markets and begin exporting.
Prior to his service in government, Matt managed Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s 2006 reelection campaign and the MoneySite, a non-profit financial services initiative that leverages tax preparation as a vehicle to create personal financial plans for low-income households.
Matt graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Management Science and Engineering, where he was also captain of the lacrosse team. He holds an MBA from Harvard University. He sits on the board of the John F. Kennedy Library and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
James Day Keith
James Day Keith is a 25-year-old adult with Down syndrome whose passion and zest for life has brought so much joy to those around him. He is a college student at Northern Essex Community College where he is pursuing his college degree. He works part-time at Windrush Farm in North Andover and spends time volunteering in his community, for Meals on Wheels and at a Guinee Pig Sanctuary. He is an avid athlete and teammate with Special Olympics Massachusetts, participating in many sports, including soccer, basketball, skiing, and powerlifting. James has traveled throughout the United States as a player on the Revolution Unified Soccer team. James is an ambassador for Special Olympics sharing his story with various schools and organizations and he is especially proud of his family’s induction to the Special Olympics Massachusetts Hall of Fame in 2017. He is a member of Best Buddies and loves his friends from the Merrimack College Chapter. His skills on the parquet led him to the opportunity of a lifetime: a starring role in the feature film CHAMPIONS with Woody Harrelson! The storyline was perfect for James: a Special Olympics basketball team that teaches an arrogant coach a thing or two about friendship and success. James has been blessed with many opportunities to share his story with numerous organizations across New England.
Moderator | David S. Chang
David is GM, Expert Network at Hunt Club and a Founding Member at TBD Angels. As an entrepreneur, he has held operating roles at six internet/mobile startups that raised $150m and were acquired for $750m, and he has invested in 100 companies as an angel investor. He was previously the CEO of Gradifi (E*TRADE), EIR at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Babson Summer Venture Program.
David has played product and marketing roles at five other Boston-based startups. He led PayPal Boston, co-founded the Start Tank innovation space, and held roles at Tripadvisor (IAC), m-Qube (Verisign), edocs (Siebel), SnapMyLife (Exclaim Mobility), and Goldman Sachs.
As a leader in the entrepreneurship community, he evangelizes startups, talent, and the Boston tech ecosystem. Awards include The Boston Globe’s Tech Power Players 50, Boston Business Journal’s Power 50: Most Influential Bostonians, BostInno’s 50 on Fire: Education Winner / Investment Winner / Tech Finalist, Finalist for NEVY Angel of the Year and Startup Boston Community Builder of the Year.
Presentation Mentor | Margaret Ake
Margaret Ake is an instructor for the Corporate Learning Division of Harvard Business Publishing, a subsidiary of the Harvard Business School. She is also a partner at Herter Associates, a corporate training firm that offers customized courses for financial analysts and relationship managers at commercial and investment banks worldwide.
Margaret joined Herter Associates and Harvard Business School after a 14-year career in teaching at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. At Endicott College, she taught a variety of courses in the general business curriculum including: Finance, Accounting, Organizational Behavior, Business Writing, and Strategy. Margaret also taught a series of corporate financial training seminars delivered through the Graduate and Professional School. She directed the Case Writing Program and has had eight business education case studies published in a variety of business journals. She also has experience from her time as a Research Analyst for Fidelity Investments.
In addition to her work with Northeast Arc, Margaret regularly travels internationally with Operation Smile working as a medical records, statistical reporting, and data outcomes volunteer. Margaret’s relationship with Northeast Arc began 33 years ago, when her son was served by the agency’s Early Intervention program; he is now a high school special education teacher. For more than 20 years, Margaret was a valued member of the planning committee for Northeast Arc’s annual golf tournament, the Mike Frangos Commodore Invitational. In 2018, Margaret received the 6th Annual Mike Frangos Award for her outstanding support of the tournament.
Presentation Mentor | Bonnie Leavitt
Bonnie Leavitt is a Vice President on the Product Management team at EBSCO Information Services. EBSCO is the leading provider of research databases, e-journal and e-package subscription management, book collection development and acquisition management, and a major provider of library technology, e-books and clinical decision solutions for universities, colleges, hospitals, corporations, government, K12 schools and public libraries worldwide.
Bonnie joined EBSCO in 2010 after graduating with a degree in Business Administration from Endicott College. At EBSCO she is responsible for managing the development, roll out and roadmap of the new user interface for EBSCOhost, the primary interface sold to the customers. This includes overseeing a team of product managers and working closely with customers and Sales teams to collect feedback to inform future development. Bonnie also works with third-party partners on software integrations via the interface and APIs and has focused on modern authentication options that make it easier for users to log-in for a seamless research experience. Prior to working on the product management team, Bonnie led sales efforts for the Software as a Service (SaaS) suite of products EBSCO sells worldwide.
In addition to her undergraduate degree, Bonnie holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Fitchburg State College.