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Past Speakers

Speakers of the 2021 Professional Women's Conference

Deborah RobertsDeborah Roberts

Deborah Roberts is an award-winning ABC News senior national affairs correspondent for “20/20,” “Nightline,” “Good Morning America” and “World News Tonight with David Muir.” She has served as a substitute anchor for “Good Morning America,” “World News Weekend” and “20/20,” as well as a guest co-host on “The View.” Roberts has been awarded multiple Emmy® Awards for her coverage of national and international events. In 2021, Roberts was awarded a Peabody Award for the “20/20” special “Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor.” Roberts is the author of Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom for Modern Times, a book written with her husband, Al Roker. She resides in New York City with her husband and two children.

Christine McCarthyChristine McCarthy

Christine M. McCarthy is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Company and oversees the company’s worldwide finance organization. Prior to becoming CFO, Ms. McCarthy served as the company’s Executive Vice President, Corporate Real Estate, Alliances and Treasurer. Ms. McCarthy has received numerous awards and has been named to Treasury & Risk’s “100 Most Influential People in Finance,” the Top 100 Irish American Business Leaders and Business Insider’s “15 Most Influential Women in Finance.” In 2015, she was the recipient of Treasury Today’s Adam Smith “Woman of the Year” award. In 2016, she received the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Executive of the Year” award and was honored as one of the Entertainment Diversity Council’s “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment.”

Bonnie HagemannBonnie Hagemann

Bonnie Hagemann is the CEO of EDA, Inc., a consulting firm known around the world for its C-Suite capabilities in executive development and research. Shifting to advancing the state of the industry rather than one company at a time, EDA is taking its 37-year history as a thought leader in the space and using it to create a powerful HR Tech platform called SurveySaurus, designed to make culture visible to the leaders, the board and the investors. Bonnie is a published and well-known leadership strategist who advises public and large company CEOs and is often called upon as a subject matter expert for the media, including Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, U.S. News and World Report and many more. 

Sue Bates

Sue Bates

Sue Bates serves as a longtime leadership coach, strategist and pastor. An avid reader and lover of resources, she cares deeply about using a variety of tools, frameworks and assessments to help people grow by taking healthy, consistent steps.



Marla Deen BrooksMarla-Deen Brooks

Marla-Deen Brooks is a UGA graduate and practicing attorney living in Atlanta. The mother of three grown sons, she has been working her “side hustle” in the fitness space for 30 years. Marla-Deen is a certified health and life coach, speaker and blogger. She inspires clients to not only “move” but also to “move forward.” Having faced considerable loss and grief in her life, Marla-Deen is focused on resilience and positive energy. She loves coaching women to embrace new seasons and to navigate what life throws at you. She is also happy to say she is a work in progress and is enjoying the journey.

Allison HillAllison Hill

Allison Hill serves as Senior Executive for Roark Capital, a private equity firm based in Atlanta with $20 billion of assets under management. Since inception, affiliates of Roark have invested in 90 franchise/multi-unit brands, such as Dunkin’ and OrangeTheory Fitness, which generate approximately $54 billion in annual system revenues from 63,000 locations in 50 states and 89 countries. She is the Head of Diversity & Social Responsibility, developing and leading Roark’s initiatives related to diversity and inclusion, philanthropic giving and community service, as well as a member of Roark’s ESG committee. Allison earned her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Cornell University. She has been married to her college sweetheart for 26 years, and has two daughters and three dogs.

Laura MartellaLaura Martella

Atlanta native Laura Martella is the creative director, producer and author of Gentleman Norman — How to Be a Man, a coffee table book about style and manners. During her two year book tour, Laura realized meeting fans and connecting with people on a personal level gave her the courage and the confidence to reveal more of herself to the public. This led to her short film titled, If You are Still Breathing depicting her battle with alcoholism and bulimia. The film went on to be featured in film festivals. Today, Laura is 21 years sober and recognized as L.A.’s leading Clean Food Expert. Her food philosophy is “Everything we eat is either fighting disease or feeding it, choose wisely”. Laura’s mission is to educate and empower individuals and corporations to develop healthy lifestyles, a strong dependable workforce and reduce illness.   

Laura SosciaLaura Soscia

Laura Soscia is the founder of Accelerated Leadership Group (ALG). Since founding ALG in 2007, Laura has built the firm from a fledgling training consultancy to a recognized leader in crafting customized strategies to effectively address leadership, performance management, team development and training issues. Laura has led leadership development and change initiative efforts for top corporations, including Coca-Cola, Newell Rubbermaid, Sunovion, AT&T, Biogen Idec and Discover. After graduating from UGA with a degree in microbiology, Laura launched a successful sales and training career with Pfizer. As part of the company’s Learning & Development Department’s senior leadership team, the organization was named Training Magazine’s “Top Training Organization” a record three times and named to the publication’s elite Hall of Fame.

Robin SterneckRobin Sterneck

Robin Sterneck is a seasoned executive and board director who brings 35 years of business and leadership experience to her financial planning services and executive leadership keynotes, workshops, roundtables, coaching sessions and storytelling. Robin’s work as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and her roles in Financial Services at GE and Swiss Re arm her with a broad breadth of firsthand experience and strategies. Today, she enables others to optimize their financial lives and professional careers through her work at Sterneck Capital Management and in executive leadership. As the co-facilitator of the Emerging Leaders Program at the Central Exchange, lecturer for the Women’s Leadership Forum at Washington University and an executive coach, she has helped advance the careers of many high potential leaders internationally.

Carol YanceyCarol Yancey

Carol Yancey is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Genuine Parts Company, a Fortune 200 company with approximately $17 billion in annual sales and over 50,000 employees. Carol has been with the company 30 years in a variety of key financial positions. She has served as Executive Vice President and CFO for the past eight years. She was the first female corporate officer and is currently the most senior female corporate officer. In her role as EVP and CFO, Carol serves on the company’s Executive Leadership Team and Capital Allocation and Investment Committee. In 2020, Carol was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as the “Public Company CFO of the Year.”