Events and Workshops



Keynote Speaker Denise D'Ascenzo

denise dascenzoDenise D'Ascenzo

Denise D'Ascenzo is a 10-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist who has also earned distinction as the longest-serving news anchor at a single television station in Connecticut.

Denise became interested in journalism as a young child. She was born in Washington, DC and grew up in suburban Rockville, Maryland. At the age of 12, Denise launched the first newspaper at her grammar school. She went on to become editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper and the first person to receive a scholarship from the American Newspaper Women's Club to attend a summer journalism program at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

In 2013, Denise was elected to the Silver Circle, a prestigious honor bestowed by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for significant contributions to broadcasting. Two years later, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Denise was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Quinnipiac University.

Denise and her husband, Wayne have a daughter, Kathryn. In her free time, Denise enjoys family outings, swimming, and hiking with her dogs.

Panel Discussion

Managing Pivotal Transitions with Power and Poise


thumb Valerie Gordon

 Valerie Gordon is a 10-time Emmy award-winning television producer whose feature stories have been seen on CBS News, HBO Sports, ESPN, Lifetime and Weekend TODAY. Now the founder and president of Commander-in-She, Valerie uses the principles of storytelling to help professional women “Take Command” of their stories and navigate the plot twists of both unexpected and planned transitions to create an even more rewarding “Next Chapter.”

Candace Freedenberg headshot

Candace Freedenberg is a technologist and business leader with experience at Laboratory for Laser Energetics, IBM and Kodak. Her work yielded over a dozen patents. Often a catalyst for organizational change, now as the Founder of Untapped Potential Inc., she is engineering social change for women impacting gender equity, diversity and work-life balance. She is the recipient of SBA’s InnovateHER (Finalist), CT Entrepreneur Award (Finalist) and reSET Incubator Award. She will focus on how to navigate mid-career transitions and find flexibility and work-life balance during care-giving years.

 Maureen Ross Gemme2Maureen Ross Gemme, MS Ed, started her own company in 2014 called Emerge Leadership Academy after spending 3 decades in corporate training and consulting. Her talent lies in coaching young women to create the career of their dreams. By guiding professionals to manage their critical inner voice during transition, Maureen provides a path of transformation into empowered leadership.She will focus on "managing your critical inner voice" during transition. 


Kelly KennedyKelly Kennedy is currently the Associate Director of Student Development and Outreach, Career Development Instructor, Coach and handles all career education for the undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut School of Business. She develops partnerships with companies and organizations in order to create programing that will enable students to move from college to work successfully.

Kelly is also a Senior Consultant of Career Transition Advisors, the premier provider of career transition, consulting, coaching, management and outplacement services, and a subsidiary of MCG Partners, a former Chamber of Commerce winner of “Entrepreneur of the Year” and provider of leadership, talent, sales, and organizational effectiveness solutions.  She will focus on how to powerfully prepare for a career transition, tapping into your personal brand.

Heidi Bailey




Moderator:  Heidi Bailey

Morning Breakout Session - Donna Cameron

thumb DCameron Conference 002Donna Cameron, BS, RN, CBCN(r), Women's Health Nurse Navigator
Eastern Connecticut Health Network

About the Presenter

Donna Cameron is the Women's Health Nurse Navigator at Eastern Connecticut Health Network, and is the GPS for her clients, Great Personal Service.  Donna has over 35 years of clinical experience in women's health including patient education and women's health coaching; and is certified as a Clinical Breast Care Nurse (CBCN(r)).  Donna is dedicated to providing education on preventative health, facilitating communication with healthcare providers, identifying available community resources, and can provide guidance in finding a specialist or scheduling an appointment.  Donna aids you and your family in taking a holistic approach to your healthcare no matter what stage of life.



Morning Featured Speaker - Karen Senteio

Senteio KarenKaren Senteio, VERVE, LLC

About the Speaker

Karen Senteio is a Professional Coach and President of VERVE LLC, Consulting Services which focuses on inspired living, working and leading.  She is an activist for helping individuals dare greatly and live authentic, courageous, and resilient lives connected to their purpose and inspired by their gifts. Senteio works with professionals to lead powerfully, authentically, and courageously, therefore creating cultures that not only innovate and create but delivers and thrives powered by connection, engagement, ideas and energy at all levels within the organization. 

Senteio has over 29 years corporate experience in leadership positions in Project and Program Management, Operations, Information Technology, Diversity and Inclusion, Training, Facilitation and Change Management.  Her corporate experience provides a unique backdrop to her coaching and consulting practice providing a lens into the many challenges individuals face in the workplace and at home. 


Afternoon Featured Speakers - Cindy Maher and Jamie Guite

Cindy Headshot 2017Cindy Maher 
Leading Edge Coaching & Development

Maximizing Energy in a World That Sucks You Dry

Tired?  Join the club!  As women, our response to rising demands and pressures in the workplace and homeplace is usually to work longer.  Unfortunately, that quickly takes a toll on our productivity, creativity, engagement and health.  The problem with time is that it’s a finite resource (you only get 24 hours in a day).  But energy is renewable.  During this workshop, you’ll explore the four wellsprings of energy and take a close look at what you’re doing to contribute to your leadership effectiveness and reputation.  This unique and transformational keynote will engage you through an innovative mix of improvisational comedy, cutting edge research, and peer learning.  You’ll walk away inspired, renewed, and ready to move forward.

Read more: Afternoon Featured Speakers - Cindy Maher and Jamie Guite

Media Sponsors

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Silver Sponsors



Bronze Sponsors

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Supporting Sponsors


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