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D CEO Events

Speaker Lineup Revealed: D CEO’s 2024 Women’s Leadership Symposium

The ninth annual conference includes speakers from Coca-Cola, Toyota, a former CIA Officer and FBI special agent, and more.
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The agenda for D CEO’s 2024 Women’s Leadership Symposium has been released, and it is full of thoughtful and engaging content designed to go beyond the conventional boundaries of ambition, acknowledging a new era of possibilities and work.

The theme “Redefining Ambition,” addresses the nuances associated with the word ambition, recognizing that for women this can take various forms and paths. The symposium aims to dismantle the oft-associated stereotypes and reframe narratives around female ambition.

The symposium will kick off with breakfast and networking from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. A second networking break will be held mid-morning.

Speakers include Julia Simon, the longtime chief legal officer for Mary Kay who’s now a partner at Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann. Her opening keynote will focus on female corporate trailblazers and the power of seizing opportunities. 

Tracy Walder, a former CIA officer and FBI agent turned educator and author, will close out the symposium by sharing her fascinating journey in a presentation that looks at the power of asking “why not?” Instead of “why?” 

See full details on all speakers and presentations below.

We hope you will join us for this day of inspiration and connection. Tickets are available HERE for $195, which includes access to the event, breakfast, a two-year subscription to D CEO and D Magazine, a gift bag, and links to presentation recordings following the event.


7:30 A.M. Registration, Breakfast, and Networking


8:15 A.M. Opening Remarks


8:22 A.M. Embracing Ambition: Shaking off the Stereotypes

Explore how the drive to achieve something greater can be a key to success in both work and life in this inspiring talk. By examining the stories of female corporate trailblazers—and artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift—this session highlights the power of ambition in breaking away from the status quo and seizing extraordinary opportunities. Gain valuable insights and actionable takeaways to help you stand out in your career and discover how your ambition can propel you towards amazing accomplishments.

Julia A. Simon, Partner, Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann


8:35 A.M. Panel Discussion: Empowering Women: Overcoming Obstacles and Adapting to a New Era of Opportunity

In this panel, discover how to break barriers, foster inclusion, and make change within organizations to create more opportunities for women at all levels of leadership. According to McKinsey’s 2023 Women in the Workplace report, the ‘broken rung’ is the most significant obstacle for women on the path to senior leadership. For every 100 men promoted from entry-level to manager, only 87 women (and only 73 women of color) are promoted. Gain both personal and organization-wide actionable takeaways to help ensure that more women have a seat at the table. 

Luisa Havens Gerardo PhD, Vice President for Enrollment Management, The University of Texas at Arlington
Neena Newberry, CEO, Newberry Solutions
Karen Hughes White, President & CEO, Texas Women’s Foundation
Gillea Allison, President, D Magazine Partners (moderator)


9:20 A.M. Cracking the Code: Your Blueprint for Authentic Networking in the Workplace

Most of us know that networking is important, but no one teaches us how. In her compelling presentation, AT&T executive and best-selling author Rachel Simon shares her practical tips to demystify the art of networking. By the end of the two-part session, you will hold the power to improve the way you collaborate with co-workers, establish meaningful connections, accomplish goals, and quite possibly change the trajectory of your career!

Rachel B. Simon, AT&T Executive and Author of Relationships at Work


9:50 A.M. Networking Break


10:20 A.M. Cracking the Code: Your Blueprint for Authentic Networking in the Workplace (Q&A)

You’ve put your networking best practices into action, now what? Rachel will lead an interactive Q&A designed to fully unlock the power of networking.

Rachel B. Simon, AT&T Executive and Author of Relationships at Work


10:37 A.M. Panel Discussion: Navigating Career Transitions and Shaping Your Ideal Life

Join us for an insightful exploration into the strategies and insights needed to navigate pivotal career transitions—and negotiate within your current role—so you can achieve the work-life integration and future you seek. Our panelists will share their personal journeys, offering practical advice and inspiration to empower attendees to chart their own paths to success. Discover how to leverage your strengths to get what you want, overcome objections, convey your value, and seize opportunities to build a career and journey that you want. 

Sílvia Martins, Vice President of Human Resources, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages
Renda Mathew, Dallas Market President, Truist
Sharla H. Myers, CEO, Community Council of Greater Dallas
Briana Nelson, Group Vice President, Sales, Toyota Financial Services
Christine Perez, Editor, D CEO (moderator)


11:13 A.M. Living Your Dream Life

Ambition doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal life to climb the corporate ladder—it’s clearly identifying your dream life and working tirelessly to get it. Money is just a tool that will help you build it. How efficient you are with your money determines how close you get to that dream life. 

Mary Lyons, Financial Advisor and Founder, Benchmark Income Group and The Wealth Women


11:31 Closing Keynote: Why Not? Achieve Your Full Potential by Rethinking the Question: Why?   

Why do we have to have a reason for the path we choose in life? We often get so caught up in trying to answer the question “why?” that an opportunity passes us by. In this talk, former CIA officer and FBI agent, Tracy Walder, uses her own unique life experience to demonstrate how embracing the question “why not?” can lead to life-changing opportunities. Relying on gut instincts, she shares how she went from a history major at USC to the CIA counterterrorism center, from taking down a Chinese spy ring as a special agent in the FBI to becoming a history teacher at an all-girls school. Through using her own unconventional journey, Walder inspires audiences to embody this “why not” approach and not let the question of “why” dictate how they lead their lives. 

Tracy Walder, Former CIA Officer, FBI Special Agent, Educator, and Author 


Tickets are on sale HERE.

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D CEO Staff

D CEO Staff

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