2022 Connecticut Women in Leadership Symposium
March 09, 2022
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM (ET)
Paragon of Womanhood: Restoration, Reintegration & Reemergence
Heather M. Gates, MBA, has been the President/CEO of Community Health Resources for more than 28 years. CHR is the most comprehensive, behavioral health care organization in the state of Connecticut. As the CEO of CHR, Ms. Gates has increased the geographic, programmatic and fiscal scope of the organization from a budget of $3 million to more than $67 million. CHR provides mental health and substance use services, supportive housing, foster care, and integrated care to all ages throughout most of Connecticut utilizing a wide array of treatment modalities and settings. CHR has over 85 programs in 33 locations, over 900 employees, and provides services to 26,000 children, families and adults every year. Under Ms. Gates’ leadership, CHR was the first agency in CT to meet all of the rigorous federal criteria as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), attesting to the agency’s broad array of services. In addition, CHR has been recognized as a trailblazer in the implementation of innovative programs including comprehensive care for opioid addiction in several CT prisons; expanded school-based clinics for children and families; and the integration of peer support staff throughout the agency. In 2021, CHR was ranked by Newsweek among the top short-term addiction treatment centers in the country. Statewide, CHR has been recognized as a Top Work Place by its employees for the last 8 years and Ms. Gates has twice been recognized as the Top Leader among larger employers in CT. She was also recognized as a Health Care Hero by the Hartford Business Journal in 2015. In 2013 she received the Visionary Leadership award from the National Council for Community Behavioral Health. Ms. Gates worked in the Western Massachusetts community service system from 1978 - 1993. She was a legal advocate representing individual’s rights as well as participating in the oversight of the implementation of the Brewster V. Dukakis Consent Degree. Ms. Gates went on to become the Executive Director of a small supported housing agency and later worked for the Department of Mental Health as the Director of Managed Care. In all of these positions Ms. Gates provided leadership for system change and reforms. As a result of her work, Ms. Gates emerged as an advocate for a wide range of issues affecting providers and those in need of services. She is currently in her second term on the Board of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Through the National Council, she has served on an Expert Panel on Mass Violence, the Membership Committee, the Linda Rosenberg Leadership Institute Work Group, and the DEI Committee. In addition, she was recently appointed Vice Chair of the Nominating Committee. In CT, she is a member of the Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council where she has chaired both the Adult and Child Quality, Access and Policy Committees and currently co-chairs the Operations Committee. She was a member of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. Ms. Gates has been a member of the Practice Transformation Task Force charged with the modernization of primary care under the SIM initiative of CMS. She has served on numerous other commissions and committees representing behavioral health needs in Ct. Ms. Gates is active in the statewide trade association, the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance as a Board member and as co-chair of the Public Policy Committee. Ms. Gates received her BA from Hampshire College and her MBA from the University of Massachusetts Isenberg School of Management.
LaTanya Langley serves as Chief Legal Officer of Edgewell Personal Care Company, a leading pure-play consumer products company with an attractive, diversified portfolio of established brand names in the wet shave, sun and skincare and feminine care categories based in the Greater New York area. Prior to joining Edgewell, Ms. Langley was most recently Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at BIC®. Throughout her 22 year career, Ms. Langley held several leadership roles including executive roles at Diageo, including General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd. based in Accra, Ghana. Ms. Langley began her legal career as an associate at Paul Hastings LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Shipman & Goodwin LLP, specializing in corporate law and business finance and restructuring. Ms. Langley is a member of the New York and Connecticut Bars and the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Ms. Langley received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and doctor of laws, honoris causa from Trinity College, where she serves on the Board of Trustees and received her juris doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law where she serves as an adjunct professor.
Adrienne Parkmond serves as Chief Operating Officer for The WorkPlace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing employment and job training services to adults and youth headquartered in Southwestern Connecticut. During her tenure at The WorkPlace, the organization has evolved into a nationally recognized leader in creating state of the art workforce development programs. Attorney Parkmond leads a team of 180 staff in the implementation and operation of over $40 million in grant funded programs each year. She is responsible for the design of programs for unemployed, youth, people with disabilities, veterans, dislocated workers and mature workers. In addition to its locations in Connecticut, The WorkPlace currently operates programs in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The WorkPlace programs have been features on 60 Minutes, CNN, Bloomberg and various other national news outlets. Prior to joining The WorkPlace, Attorney Parkmond was an Associate in the Legal Division for the Connecticut Department of Labor. As a seasoned administrator and leader, her style emphasizes innovation, collaboration, leveraging resources, and accountability. Attorney Parkmond is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies at Post University and Naugatuck Valley Community College. Adrienne Parkmond received her B.S. from Villanova University and her Juris Doctor from Quinnipiac University School of Law. She was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in a private ceremony presided over by the late Honorable Justice Robert D. Glass, the first African American Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. She is President of The Waterbury (CT) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, President of the New Haven Pearls of Excellence Foundation, past Board Chair for the CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), has served on two Charter Revision Commissions for the City of Waterbury as well as the City of Waterbury Human Rights Commission, and the City of Waterbury Board of Assessment Appeals. Other current and past community and civic involvement include: United Way of Greater Waterbury Board of Directors, Girl Scouts of Connecticut Board of Directors, Girls, Inc. of Western Connecticut (past Board Chair), Waterbury OIC of America Board of Directors, Waterbury Hospital Children’s Center Board of Directors, Children in Placement Board of Directors, Chase Collegiate School Board of Trustees, The Gunnery Parents Council, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter, The New Haven Girl Friends, and the Greater Waterbury CT Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women (Past Chair). Attorney Parkmond lives in Waterbury and has two children. Her daughter Sydney, a graduate of Smith College and Quinnipiac University School of Law serves as Associate Counsel for Henkel and is Assistant Basketball Coach for Mount Holyoke College. Her son Xavier is a graduate of The George Washington University and is a 2021 MBA Candidate at Stanford University School of Business.
Martha Ruiz-Cornejo is senior vice president, Talent Strategy for the Nielsen Company. In her role she oversees the implementation of strategies to identify, develop and retain top talent to achieve Nielsen’s mission to power a better Media future for all People. She works with Leaders and employees supporting their Product, Operations, Content Operations & Technology teams globally to drive our Growth, Representation & Transformation agendas. Martha has a track record of enabling growth, transformation and positive organizational outcomes in companies large and small, with experience spanning Tech, Big Data, Media and Financial Services among other industries. Commercially and operationally driven, Martha integrates the People agenda with the business drivers with an eye on future-proofing businesses. Comfortable in fast paced environments where change is part of the landscape, Martha enables teams and individuals to use their strengths every day, and to effectively collaborate to achieve shared goals. Martha joined Nielsen in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic to help set up the HR Model and drive its transformation. Prior to joining Nielsen, Martha served as SVP of Human Resources with Univision Communications, overseeing the People function for its extensive network of TV, Radio Stations and Digital properties, as well as Technology. She also held roles of progressive responsibility as HR leader supporting large client groups with AIG, Baker Hughes and PepsiCo. She started her career with Procter & Gamble, where she led the Talent Acquisition team for Mexico and Central America. Martha holds a M.Sc. (with Honors) in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. in International Relations (Hons) from the National Autonomous University in Mexico.
Janine is currently a Senior Director of Inclusion & Diversity at Teva Pharmaceuticals. She has over fifteen years of experience in the HR field working in Finance, Law, & Pharmaceuticals supporting business leaders. Her areas of expertise including Diversity, Talent, Recruitment, & HR Strategy. She was recently featured as a contributing author for the book "Latinas Rising up In HR." As the first in her family to pursue a college education she enjoys giving back by volunteering in her community. She actively assists others in advancing their careers and obtaining educational attainment. She frequently supports students and professionals through mentoring, coaching, and public speaking on this all-important topic. She has held several board positions with Prospanica New York (President), Latino U College Access (Board Advisor), Global Co-President for Adelante, an S&P Global ERG, Inclusivity at Work Chair for NYC SHRM, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Alumni Association’s New York Chapter (Past President & Advisor). Her educational accomplishments include a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School, a Graduate Certificate from the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Communications and Political Science from Emmanuel College. She also has two certificates from Cornell on Diversity and Inclusion for HR and Strategic Human Resources Leadership, as well as an Inclusive Workplace Specialty Credential from SHRM. Janine currently resides in Mahwah, New Jersey and is a native New Yorker. She is actively involved in the local community supporting her three school aged children.
Keti Mehta currently serves as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Growth Leader for Gallagher’s NY Metro office, where she manages the firm’s growth initiatives to expand and deepen client footprint across diverse industry segments. Mehta also serves as an Advisor to the inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee of the Risk & Insurance Management Society’s (RIMS) Advisory Board. For the past eight years, Keti has passionately served as a Board Member on the Tri-State Diversity Council (NY, NJ, and CT). Recognized for being an inspiring growth accelerator, strategic brand promoter, and influencer - Keti Mehta successfully develops high-performing teams and strategic partnerships to unleash organic growth potential. She stands out for being a transformational culture catalyst by building diverse communities of practice that promote inclusion and collaboration. Keti leads by example and is a highly skilled, certified sales activator, leadership development coach, talent enthusiast and evangelist of the Customer Experience. Mehta has also held senior executive leadership roles at Hub International, USI Insurance Services, Dell, and Morgan Stanley. Keti resides in White Plains, Westchester County with her husband of 24 years and their beloved daughter, Karina. Keti is a licensed NY Property & Casualty Insurance Broker. Mehta received a Master of Arts degree in Change Leadership/Business Transformation from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in New York City. Additionally, Keti holds an Executive Coaching Certification from the International Coach Federation.
When she was 10 years old, Ramona Mercado-Espinoza, migrated with her parents and 8 siblings from Puerto Rico to Connecticut. She attended the public school system in New Britain, Connecticut and after graduating from high school, Ramona obtained a B.A. cum laude, from Central Connecticut State University and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Presently, Ramona has more than 35 years of experience as an attorney advocating for low income people. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated the strongest commitment to achieving equal justice for the poor in Connecticut. In 1986, Ramona began her career as a Deputy Assistant Public Defender at Hartford Geographical Area 14 representing indigent persons. In 1990, Ramona joined a private firm in Hartford, practicing family law, criminal law, and personal injury. While in private practice, many of her cases were pro bono for family cases of women who were domestic violence victims and survivors. In 1998, Ramona was appointed by the Speaker of the House as a member of the Commission for the Public Defender Division, in which she has been an active member for the past 23 years. From 1998 to 2006, Ramona was also appointed as a Magistrate Hearing Officer for Small Claims Court in the State of Connecticut Judicial Department. In this position, she heard and rendered decisions pertaining to Small Claims and Motor Vehicle Infractions. She resigned from this position in 2006 to join Greater Hartford Legal Aid, where she has been a staff attorney for 15 years. In this position, Ramona practices family law in Hartford, New Britain and Rockville, where she represents low income domestic violence victims and survivors. Before joining GHLA, Ramona also served for 9 years as member of the GHLA’s Board of Directors. She was also an active Board member at Community Partners in Action for 6 years. Ramona continues memberships at the Hartford County Bar Association, Connecticut Bar Association and the Connecticut Innocence Project Fund Advisory Committee.
$3 Transaction Fee Will Be Added