Signature Boston

And Here They Are…the 2017 Women’s Leadership Forum Speakers!


Christine Holton Cashen, CSP  
Leadership Facilitator

Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride! Christine Holton Cashen delivers a fast-paced, hilarious program with useful content that makes her a sought-after speaker worldwide. For more than 15 years, she has jazzed an amazing variety of audiences throughout the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Christine is an authority on sparking innovative ideas, handling conflict, reducing stress and energizing employees.


Terri Ammerman
President & CEO, The Ammerman Experience

As the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Ammerman Experience, Terri Ammerman believes in helping people and organizations tell their stories in a compelling way that ultimately influences change.

Terri became a guiding force when she joined the company in 1981.  She became CEO in 2007.  Over the years, The Ammerman Experience has thrived under Terri’s leadership.  She provides strategic counsel, communications advice and training for clients around the world, including several of the world’s largest energy companies.  Terri is also an accomplished public speaker.  She has traveled internationally and spoken to numerous groups, such as The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Texas Counsel for School Women Executives and as a guest lecturer at Rice University.

Top executives of Fortune 500 companies, energy companies, nuclear power plants, major food manufacturers and major retailers turn to Terri and The Ammerman Experience to achieve the ultimate result of communicating effectively in today’s global marketplace.

Terri is recognized by Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who of Women in the Media. She was honored as a “Celebrated Houston Entrepreneur” in both 2012 and 2013.  Terri is active in the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce, serves on the board of Goodwill Industries Houston, is very active in her church and volunteers her time to mentor young women, helping them to look, sound and feel confident.


Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM
Executive Vice President & COO, IAEE and CEO, CEIR

In her role as EVP/COO, Cathy Breden oversees marketing and communications, exhibitions and events, membership, education, and administration of the association. In addition, she currently serves as the CEO of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), whose primary purpose is to promote the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering research-based knowledge tools.

Cathy is a frequent presenter on the areas of exhibition industry trends and the power of exhibitions in face-to-face marketing. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Association Executive (CAE), as well as a graduate of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA.


Jay Newton-Small
Correspondent, TIME

Jay Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for TIME. She is the author of Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works. Jay writes about everything from Washington politics to foreign policy and national trends. She has covered stories on five continents for TIME from conflicts in the Middle East, to the earthquake in Haiti, to the Scottish independence movement, and the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks in Paris. Jay has covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns for TIME, as well as activity in Congress and the White House. She has written more than half a dozen TIME cover stories and contributed to dozens of others in addition to having interviewed numerous heads of state, including Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as senators, governors and foreign dignitaries.

Before TIME, Jay was a reporter for Bloomberg News, where she covered the White House, Congress and the 2004 presidential campaign. She received an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University and a double B.S. in International Relations and Art History from Tufts University. Jay was a 2015 Harvard Institute of Politics fellow and is a 2016 New America fellow. The daughter of two United Nations diplomats, she grew up abroad, living in such places as Asia, Africa and Europe. She is fluent in French.


Debi Silber MS, RD, WHC™, FDN
President & CEO, Lifestyle Fitness

Debi Silber is President/CEO of Lifestyle Fitness, Inc. and Founder of A recognized health, weight loss, fitness, wellness, lifestyle and personal development expert, she’s a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Nutrition. Debi is also a certified Personal Trainer; Whole Health Coach™ (a health expert trained to teach how your lifestyle creates health/wellness or illness/disease); has two certifications in pre- and post-natal fitness with specialty recognition in weight loss and weight maintenance; and is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner in addition to working towards her PhD in Transpersonal Psychology. All this as a working mom with 4 kids, 6 dogs and married to her husband, Adam, for over 25 years.

Debi has led thousands of clients to achieve their ultimate body, mind, image and lifestyle; inspiring them to “get their mojo back” and helping them transform into their personal and professional best. She’s a master at showing others how to create a lean, fit body, radiant health, soaring confidence, endless energy, rewarding relationships, financial abundance, a dynamic image, charismatic style, and an optimistic outlook. Debi has also helped many companies to boost morale, productivity, loyalty … as well as their bottom line, by inspiring employees towards making small yet dramatic lifestyle changes.


Jocelyn D. Wright, MBA, CFP®

Jocelyn D. Wright serves as State Farm® Chair in Women and Financial Services, Director of The American College State Farm® Center for Women and Financial Services and Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at The American College of Financial Services.  In these dual roles, she functions as the Center’s director and chief ambassador in leveraging research and education to create broad awareness of the challenges and opportunities that pertain to women and financial services.

Jocelyn is also responsible for the course, FA 204: Marketing Financial Services to Women, contributing material on women’s issues for other courses offered at The College, and developing strategic relationships with external partners.

Concurrent to her roles at The American College, Jocelyn is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Ascension Group (“Ascension”). As an advisor, she partners with her clients to design a personalized holistic strategy to help them reach their financial goals. With over twenty years of financial services experience, Jocelyn has been working with individuals since 2002.  She also holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

Pre-Forum Session Presenters


Julie Coker Graham
President & CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Julie Coker Graham is the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) where she oversees all of the organization’s departments and operational duties. Prior to being named to this position she served as the Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and managed a staff of 25 sales and services professionals at the PHLCVB responsible for selling the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center and Philadelphia’s hotel package to customers across the country.

Coker Graham was named chair of Mayor Jim Kenney’s transition team for the Democratic National Convention preparation. In addition, she serves on the board of Center City District and has been appointed to the 2016 board of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. She is also on the board of two of the tourism industry’s top associations – the U.S. Travel Association and Destination Marketing Association International. Plus, she is a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of Links, Incorporated. She served as first Vice Chair for the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association (GPHA) as well as a board member with Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (now Visit Philadelphia), Independence Visitors Center Corporation, Girls, Inc. Philadelphia region, and Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council. She is a past secretary and board member of the Illinois Hospitality and Lodging Association (IHLA) and past board member of the Oak Brook, Illinois Economic Development Committee. She served as Chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Women in Lodging Networking Group (WIL).


Mark Herrera
Director of Education, International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)

As part of his duties, Mark teaches Situational Awareness-Mindset training aimed at giving venues the tools to be safer and more secure. The training emphasizes on Exceptional Focus, Performance, and Control in Extreme Situations.

In addition, as the Director of Education for IAVM, Mark represents the Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection through the Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector Council. As a representative of the Public Assemblies Facilities Sub-Sector Council he works in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the Protective Security Advisor to assure that information is provided to protect our Public Facility Assemblies and all Critical Infrastructures. Mark is also on the National Fire Protection Association Technical Advisory Committee for Assembly Occupancies.

Herrera is also a seasoned law enforcement officer and trainer, having spent twenty years with the Hobbs, NM, Police Department in numerous roles including Patrol Officer, Detective for the Gang and Narcotics unit, Supervisor of the Crime Prevention Division, Field Training Officer, Honor Guard Commander, and Entry Team Leader and Tactical Sergeant for a Special Operations Unit known as S.W.A.T.

During this time, his responsibilities also included the development and implementation of security policies and procedures and security awareness programs for the Community of Hobbs.

Upon retiring from the police department, he leveraged his training background to implement security policies, procedures and training programs for the oil and gas industry and later worked as an instructor for the DHS, training 3,000 armed pilots to defend against acts of terrorism involving criminal violence or air piracy.

gary shapiro

Gary Shapiro
President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies and which owns and produces CES®  – The Global Stage for Innovation.

Shapiro directs a staff of more than 160 employees and thousands of industry volunteers, leading his organization’s promotion of innovation as a national policy to spur the economy, create jobs and cut the deficit. CTA advocates for a lower deficit, skilled immigration, free trade and policies that support innovative new business models. CTA does not seek government funding for industry.

Shapiro has testified before Congress on technology and business issues more than 20 times and led the industry through its successful transition to HDTV. As chairman of the Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC), Shapiro led the manufacturers’ battle to preserve the legality of recording technology and consumer fair-use rights, and opposed legislation like PIPA and SOPA that would be harmful to a robust internet. He co-founded and chaired the HDTV Model Station, served as a leader of the Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC) and is a charter inductee to the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers, receiving its highest award as the industry leader most influential in advancing HDTV.

In 2015 and 2016, The Hill named Shapiro “one of the most influential lobbyists” in Washington, D.C. Shapiro has also been repeatedly named one of the 100 most influential people in Washington by Washington Life magazine and a Tech Titan by Washingtonian magazine. He has also held many exhibition industry leadership posts and received the exhibition industry’s highest honor, the IAEE Pinnacle Award. Under Shapiro’s leadership, CTA regularly wins awards for its success as a family friendly employer, the healthiest workplace of its size in Washington, and as a “green” tradeshow producer. In 2016, CTA earned its third consecutive selection as a Washington Post Top Workplace.

Shapiro authored CTA’s New York Times best-sellers, “Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses” (Harper Collins, 2013) and “The Comeback: How Innovation will Restore the American Dream” (Beaufort, 2011). Through these books and television appearances, and as a columnist whose more than 500 opinion pieces have appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post, Shapiro has helped direct policymakers and business leaders on the importance of innovation in the U.S. economy. He is considered an “influencer” on LinkedIn and has more than 200,000 followers.

Shapiro sits on the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore Board of Directors, and the American Enterprise Institute Global Internet Strategy Advisory Board. He is also a member of the No Labels Executive Council. He served on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s bipartisan Commission on Information Technology, which created policy positions for using the internet as a medium for business. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the Economic Club of Washington and on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University. He has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “mastermind” for his initiative in helping to create the Industry Cooperative for Ozone Layer Protection (ICOLP).

Prior to joining CTA in 1982, Shapiro was an associate at the law firm of Squire Sanders. He has also worked on Capitol Hill as an assistant to a member of Congress. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a double major in economics and psychology from Binghamton University. He is married to Dr. Susan Malinowski, a retina surgeon.


Andy Smith
Senior Vice President, ESN and Strategic Sourcing, Experient, A Maritz Travel Company

Andy has 35 years of sales and account management experiences from several key segments of the hospitality industry. Since joining Experient in 2002, Smith has focused his efforts on delivering cohesive sourcing strategies to a diverse mix of corporate, association, tradeshow, and enthusiasts’ events. This efficiency allows our industry partners to leverage their sales deployment while delivering our customers optimum risk management protection, and benchmarking analytics to ensure they receive the best combination of rates, terms and concessions. His greatest professional passion is seeking ways to leverage the collective assets of our customers and our internal infrastructure to improve the event experience.

Smith manages a predominantly female team (44 women/one man) of sourcing professionals along with independent contractors that make up the ESN which is 65% (128 total people) women. He is a frequent industry speaker. His ESN Division is actively recruiting professionals and helping both men & women further their careers.