WEST Workshop Leaders

WEST is very fortune to work with great speakers who lead workshops for our community.  If you are interested finding a speaker or coach, please review the details below. 

Gwen Acton - Vivo Group

Gwen Acton, PhD, is an expert on strategic leadership at the intersection of science and business. She is CEO of Vivo Group, a firm that improves the leadership skills of technical experts so they can be more productive and innovative in industry. Prior to this, she served as Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where she ran the operations of the Functional Genomics Program, a $40 million, 50-person academic-industry collaborative research program. Dr. Acton has a doctorate in biology from M.I.T., and served as a faculty member at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is the author of the book "The Bluffer’s Guide to Genetics," a humorous guide to DNA published by Oval Books, and the former president of Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (WEST). Dr. Acton is a popular speaker, workshop presenter, and facilitator.

Rita Balian Allen - Rita B. Allen Associates

Rita Balian Allen is the president of Rita B. Allen Associates, a career management firm specializing in executive coaching, leadership development, management training and career development. She is a lecturer at Boston-area universities, a sought-after speaker and presenter, the author of numerous articles, blogs and the book, "Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself: The Three P's Marketing Technique as a Guide to Career Empowerment". Rita was voted one of the top ten executive coaches by the Boston Women's Business Journal. She brings many years of human resources experience to her practice and has worked with leaders across all industries and professions. Previously, she held roles as Vice President of Marketing and Search Services with Gatti & Associates, and human resource positions with C.R. Bard, Inc., BTU International, and Unitrode Corporation. She holds an MS in Leadership and a BS in Business Administration from Northeastern University and is certified in several assessments tools. Rita currently serves on the board of directors of More Than Words and is a former board member of The Boston Club and the Association of Career Professionals International - New England. She is also an active member of other professional associations and organizations.  

Kathy Ball-Toncic - The 262 Group

Kathy Ball-Toncic is a corporate and leadership coach, specializing in women’s leadership development. In 2006, she founded the two.six.two group, a leadership coaching and consulting firm. Kathy leverages her own experience in the corporate world to motivate and inspire other leaders. She has collaborated with CEO’s, managers, directors, and individual contributors, both men and women, from many diverse companies including corporations such as Omgeo (a Thomson Financial/DTCC company), NYFIX, Novartis, Raytheon, ING, and Babson University. Kathy is the former director and current faculty member of the Graduate Program in Executive Coaching at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in Boston (www.mspp.edu). Kathy is an adjunct faculty member at the Swiss School of Management in Rome where she teaches leadership to MBA students from around the world. 

Beata Dragovics - Freedom Trail Financial, LLC

Beata Dragovics, founder of Freedom Trail Financial, LLC., was born in a small suburban town near Budapest, Hungary. Her mother set a powerful entrepreneurial example by opening her own CPA firm and encouraging Beata to study English and travel. She relocated to Boston close to two decades ago, earned her CFP® certification and, after working at a major brokerage firm in Boston for over 10 years, established Freedom Trail Financial. Beata believes in the effectiveness of comprehensive, holistic, financial planning that aligns your values with your long term financial goals. Beata earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the Budapest Business School and in 2016 earned her Master’s Degree in Financial Planning from the College of Financial Planning. She holds the FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®.

Christine Duvivier - Positive Leaders LLC

Christine Duvivier’s personal experience in positive change began 20 years ago, as a Fortune 50 leader in a technology firm, when she engaged employees worldwide to boost Customer Loyalty. Working with hundreds of global leaders in companies such as Akamai, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Haemonetics, and HP, Christine has studied and applied the teachings of the great masters in happiness, spirituality, leadership and positive change, becoming one of the first 65 people in the world to become a Master in Applied Positive Psychology at UPenn. She also holds an MBA from Cornell. Christine lives in Wellesley, MA with her husband, David and they have two daughters, Katherine and Lauren.

Marion Estienne - 3sixtyglobal

Marion Estienne, Ph. D is an expert in international business, global mindset, and cross-cultural leadership changes. She develops talent in companies that need to meet the demands of the global marketplace. Not only does she develop others to work successfully in the international environment, but she also has done business herself as an international consultant, trainer and coach. Marion is an ICF certified Executive Coach from the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara. Leadership and developing leaders are her passion. She believes it is not possible to move forward as an organization without transformational leadership. She is exploring this theme weekly in a radio program, entitled, Present Tense, Future Perfect, on the Bold and Brave Media Global Network/TuneIn Radio. Faced with accelerated change due to four factors, Innovation, Globalization, Climate Change, and Technology, her radio show asks the question, are our organizations and societies developing the kind of leadership that is necessary for what is a turning point in history?  

Ali Farquhar - GTL Coaching and Consulting 

Alison Farquhar (Ali), Principal of GTL Coaching & Consulting, is a respected executive coach, consultant, and facilitator who helps high potentials develop as leaders and teams find constructive and effective ways to get results. As a facilitator, Ali helps groups work through high stakes situations and engage with the unspoken issues that hold them back. Building leadership capacity, driving growth and change, advancing strategic dialogue, and unlocking the system when change appears blocked, are all central to GTL’s mission. Ali holds a BA (1st Class Combined Honours) from Exeter University in the UK, an MBA from INSEAD, France, and is a Certified Executive Coach trained at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Prior to forming GTL, her career included international banking, academic research, management consulting, and executive education. Ali has consulted in a wide range of industries across Europe and North America, and worked with leaders in organizations of all sizes from Fortune 50 to small hi-tech start-ups. She draws from multiple disciplines (leadership, change management, adult development, neuropsychology, and cross-cultural dynamics) to serve her clients. In addition, she is a certified “Overcoming Immunity to Change” Coachtrained to help individuals and teams get “un-blocked” in the face of persistent challenging issues. 

Cindy Loughran - Cindy Loughran Coaching

Cindy Loughran is the Founder and CEO of Cindy Loughran Coaching. She has helped hundreds of leaders and emerging leaders expand their roles, make decisions with confidence, build collaborative relationships, and expand their capacity to achieve their business results with less stress and struggle. She is a masterful Certified Professional Coach, Certified Group Coach, Enhanced Conversational Intelligence Coach and Strengths Coach and an engaging speaker who is known for her insight, directness and humor and her ability to bring out the best in people. Cindy helps her clients set big goals, bring their strengths forward, identify and overcome barriers to success. She guides her clients to make changes from the inside out in manageable steps. Some of the many tools Cindy employs in her work are based on the most recent findings in neuroscience and mindfulness. She is certified to administer leadership, personal, and team assessment instruments, including: the Index for Emotional Intelligence, DISC, StressMap and StandOut and Team EI.

Sherri Malouf - Situation Management Systems, Inc

Entrepreneurial and seasoned professional trainer and consultant with over fifteen years experience. Highly effective working with different levels of people in a variety of industries. Expertise includes training & consulting, design & development, marketing & sales, and business management & leadership. Firm grasp of organizational dynamics enables clients to be more successful.  


First impression & etiquette expert Janet Parnes is on a mission: equip young professionals with skills that enable them to maximize the opportunities and handle the conundrums that come with career advancement. Whether we are talking about a board game, table manners, or interviewing, playing by the rules shows that we are respectful, confident and competent. Janet’s etiquette workshops teach skills that develop and display these qualities; students learn how to polish their professional image to make themselves notable and memorable. As a professional storyteller, Janet spices her workshops with intriguing historical trivia, accounts of hapless etiquette breaches (including her own!) and breath-catching tales of real–life rudeness! Clients describe her workshops as “awesome”: the experience engaging and the lessons memorable. Janet’s professional experience encompasses companies such as Analog Devices, Lipton Tea, and Shaw's Supermarkets. Her desire to see young people reach their potential, and conviction that dreams are designed to be realized led her to enroll at the internationally recognized Protocol School of Washington®. With a client list that spans colleges, business groups, schools, libraries, museums and private homes, she leverages her talents and conviction to give clients techniques that cement the foundation for success in every area of life.

Claudette Rowley - Cultural Brilliance, Inc.

Claudette Rowley, Cultural Brilliance CEO, is a culture design consultant with 20 years of experience in organizational development. With her 5-Step Cultural Brilliance methodology, she helps executive leaders retain and increase the value of their business as they merge, transform and scale. Claudette is an experienced strategist with a knack for building collaborative executive leadership teams to boost business performance and increase employee engagement. For the last fifteen years, Claudette has consulted, trained and coached executive leaders and management teams at Fortune 1000 companies, small businesses and start-ups around how to create a workplace culture that delivers effective business results. She is the author of Embrace Your Brilliance: How to align yourself with your unique potential and lives in the Boston area with her husband and three teenagers. Claudette holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, a certification from the Coaches Training Institute, and the Professional Certified Coach credential through the International Coach Federation. She has completed additional training in organizational development, conflict resolution, mediation, the Predictable Success business life cycle model, and relationship systems coaching.

Carol Salloway - Performa Consulting Group

Carol Salloway is an Executive Coach and Leadership Development Consultant. With nearly 20 years of experience, Carol has deeply honed her coaching expertise. She has coached over 100 leaders – smart, high performing individuals who are interested in continuing their leadership growth. Her credentials include an MBA with a concentration in Organizational Behavior as well as being certified as a professional coach. Her toolbox is very rich with certifications in the best-in-class leadership assessment instruments and approaches including several leadership 360 tools, various individual and team Emotional Intelligence instruments and personality instruments. Carol’s earlier career includes serving as the leader of the organizational effectiveness consulting practice at a Boston-area management consultancy. With her extensive management consultant experience, she brings a deep understanding of organizational and business dynamics to her coaching work. Carol serves as a Supervisor Coach for the Executive Coaching Graduate Program at William James College. She also coaches in the executive education programs at Harvard Business School.

Mari Anne Snow - SophiaThink Consulting

Mari Anne Snow is an organizational development and change management professional with over 20 years experience utilizing technology to support non-disruptive change. She is CEO of SophiaThink, a management consulting firm that helps clients develop high performing virtual teams using new technologies. Before SophiaThink, Mari Anne held senior positions as a business technologist and organizational development professional at the State Street Corporation. Mari Anne is an Adjunct Professor at Bentley University; on the Board of Directors of WEST, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of women in science and technology; and a contributor to Data Guidance, an international privacy publication. She is also the resident social media guru for Patricia Raskin’s radio show – Positive Business on Rhode Island’s WPRV AM790. 

Maura Snow - Great Brook Biotech

With over 20 years of experience in the role of Senior Human Resources Leader, Maura has helped technical professionals improve their interaction and leadership skills in a variety of industries. Maura has worked in the biotechnology industry since 2000 with drug discovery companies, drug sales organizations, and European pharmaceutical companies operating in the United States. Since 2009 Maura has been active in presenting communication and team building seminars for small start up companies as well as large research institutes within Harvard Medical School. 

Iris Stammberger - Learning Management Institute

Iris Stammberger, Ph.D. is a business performance improvement consultant who has worked internationally with IT, energy, biotech, pharmaceutical, energy and higher education organizations. She is the founder and CEO of the Learning Management Institute, a consulting firm supporting business performance improvement in organizations through the use of TALBOK™, a framework and methodology for effective decision-making in organizations. Prior to this, she held the Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) and worked internationally in strategy execution and project management as the CEO of a boutique management and engineering consulting firm in Latin America. She holds a Ph.D. from Tufts University (Cognitive Studies) and an MSEE from Universidad Central de Venezuela. 

Ank Stuyfzand - SYNC

Ank is a seasoned organizational development consultant, coach and educator with more than 20 years of experience with individual and organizational effectiveness. As a managing partner at SYNC Ank works with organizations to create productive workplace dynamics and high performing teams. She’s a Clinical Professor of Management at Suffolk University, Boston, MA, with expertise in leadership development, change management and managing across cultures. Ank has worked for small to 100.000+ companies in both the US and Europe, across a wide range of industries varying from financial services, healthcare, IT, utilities, marketing, retail, professional services, not for profit and academia. Throughout her career Ank has had a strong interest in women leadership and has helped many women to reshape their perception of themselves, and to step up and lead. Ank earned her Master in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University, Irvine, CA, and her Master in Law from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Alida Zweidler-McKay - ZMCoach  

Alida Zweidler-McKay coaches talented executives to lead with confidence. Her coaching helps clients gain clarity about what they want and exactly what they need to do to get there. They go from feeling overworked and under-appreciated to increasing their executive presence and influence in their organizations. They build teams they can trust, where people are committed and productive. Above all, they gain the respect and recognition that sets them apart so that they are first in line for promotions and pay raises. Along the way, they also find more time for family and friends, exercise, healthy eating and getting the rest they need and deserve. Alida’s coaching is based on 20 years experience helping leaders and teams take their performance to the next level. She’s consulted to some of the largest projects in the energy sector worldwide, as well as other Fortune 500 companies, academic and non-profit organizations, where she helped leaders build effective teams, manage conflict, and lead change. She has an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.