Career Wave logo

2017 Speakers & Panelists

Featured Speakers | Senior Executives | Rising Stars | Industry-Specific and Career Insights Conversations

button_registration-reqd button_agenda

** Students are required to attend the entire conference which begins with registration at 8am and includes ALL of the event sessions. Students will select which afternoon session they will attend from the list below.**

Featured Speakers

Erica Dhawan

Get Big Things DoneErica Dhawan -"Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence"

Getting a job and choosing a career path starts with building your network. But in today's hyperconnected world, it's the quality (not the quantity) of your networks that will change your life and career potential. Strategist and bestselling author Erica Dhawan argues that the game changer is a thoroughly modern skill called Connectional Intelligence. As game-changing as emotional intelligence was in the 90s, connectional intelligence is the modern ability to drive value by fully leveraging networks and relationships. Learn how to maximize your network to build your brand, get your dream job and accelerate your career potential.

Adam Bryant

Adam Bryant - Lessons from the Corner Office

Adam Bryant is a deputy editor in the Science department of The New York Times, overseeing coverage of climate change and the environment. He is the author of “Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation” and has held many roles at The Times, including business reporter, deputy business editor and senior editor for features. Adam is also a former senior writer and business editor at Newsweek magazine, and he was the lead editor of a series on the dangers of distracted driving that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

Senior Executive Panelists

Edana Desatnick

Edana Desatnick - Principal, Edana Desatnick Consulting (moderator) (B.A. Economics '83)

Edana has over 20 years experience as a human capital and organization development, HR strategy, and leadership consultant, executive coach and educator. Edana works extensively with senior executives and HR leaders on their key talent and organizational issues across many industries including healthcare, professional services, consumer, and industrial products industries. Prior to beginning her own consulting practice, Edana had worldwide responsibility for Organization Development and Talent at Merck. In that capacity, she had responsibility for global leadership/talent planning, performance management and development, and led consulting/coaching to the senior management team on issues of culture, change leadership and organizational effectiveness. Edana’s career includes senior OD/HR leadership roles in a number of leading organizations. Prior to joining Merck, she was Vice President of Organization Development at Honeywell, providing OD leadership in the merger integration of the AlliedSignal and Honeywell organizations. She has also served as Senior Director of Organization Development at Nabisco Brands and at Pepsi prior to that. Earlier in her career Edana was a member of Coopers & Lybrand’s global strategy consulting practice. Edana now spends her time providing human capital and organization development, strategic HR, talent planning, strategy, executive coaching, culture, change management and leadership consulting to major corporations/ partnerships. Edana’s consulting and coaching brings together her years of leading this work on a global basis for several Fortune 500 companies with her experience consulting with leaders across industries and at different stages of their talent development process and strategy. Edana holds an M.B.A. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in economics from Tulane University. She and her family live in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Deborah Elam

Deborah Elam - President, GE Foundation; Chief Diversity Officer, GE (B.A. Sociology YEAR)

Deborah (Augustine) Elam is President of the GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer at GE. She works at the Corporate Headquarters in Fairfield, CT, where she leads the Foundation’s efforts to tackle some of the world’s most critical challenges across health, education, skills and more. She also drives efforts to embrace diversity and create an environment where all GE employees can thrive and contribute to the company’s success in the global economy. Her professional story started over 26 years ago when she worked at GE as an intern while in graduate school. Upon graduation, she joined GE’s Human Resources Leadership Program and had assignments at GE Global Exchange Services and GE Transportation. Upon completion of the training program, Deborah was promoted to successively larger human resources roles in GE Consulting Services, GE Capital Mortgage Corp., GE Capital Insurance Services, and GE Capital Markets Services. In June of 2000, Deborah became Managing Director, Human Resources at GE Capital Commercial Finance, and was promoted to GE’s Chief Diversity Officer in September 2002. In February of 2006, GE’s Board of Directors appointed Deborah an officer of the Company, making her one of the most senior women in the company. In 2013, Deborah’s leadership role was expanded and she was appointed President of GE Foundation in addition to continuing to lead the company’s diversity efforts. Deborah holds leadership roles in GE’s African American Forum and the GE Women’s Network. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) – an organization of the top African Americans in Corporate America and the National Black MBA Association. Outside of work, Deborah is on the Board of Advisors of Working Mother Media’s Multicultural Women’s Initiative and is a Trustee at her alma mater, Ursuline Academy. She is a member of The Links, Incorporated, Fairfield County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Jack and Jill of America. Deborah has received numerous awards and has been featured several times, including on the cover of The Network Journal Magazine where she was named one of Twenty-five Influential Black Women in Business (2005). She is a recipient of the prestigious EPIC (Enhancing Perceptions in Culture) award given by The White House Project; the Brava Award given by the YWCA of Greenwich, CT to women who are achievers at work and also give back in their communities; and a recipient of the Women of Power Award given by the National Urban League to influential women in the civil rights, government, entertainment, journalism, sports and corporate sectors. She was also awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Clarkson University for her steadfast contributions in diversity and philanthropy. Deborah is a native of New Orleans, LA and an alumna of Ursuline Academy. She received a B.A. degree in sociology at Louisiana State University and a Masters of Public Administration at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA.

Emilio T González

Emilio Gonzalez, Ph.D. - Director & Chief Executive Officer, Miami-Dade Aviation Department (M.A. Latin American Studies)

Emilio T. González, Ph.D., is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. He oversees operations at Miami International Airport (MIA) and four general aviation (GA) airports in the Miami area, which together generate $33.7 billion in business revenue and support more than 280,000 direct and indirect jobs. MIA leads the way, handling more than 44 million passengers and more than two million tons of cargo annually, placing it among America’s busiest international passenger and cargo airports. Under González’s leadership, MIA is aggressively expanding its extensive route network into untapped world markets, while leveraging technology to improve the customer experience at the airport. Dr. González has overseen the completion of one of the largest airport expansion programs in the U.S., a $6.5-billion capital improvement program that has added new terminals, roadways and other infrastructure to MIA and the County’s GA airports. He is now leading the planning process for another major infrastructure expansion at MIA. In addition, Dr. González personally directs the Department’s government affairs functions at the local, state, federal and international levels. Dr. González has spent most of his career involved in leader development, strategic planning, foreign affairs and international policy. He completed a distinguished 26-year career in the U.S. Army and retired with the rank of Colonel. He has served as Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House and was later appointed – and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Senate – as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an Under Secretary position within the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. González has also held several executive-level positions in the private sector, including Senior Managing Director for Global and Government Affairs at a major Miami law firm, CEO of his own international and governmental affairs consulting firm, and President & CEO of Indra USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Spain’s Indra Sistemas, S.A., a leading multinational IT company. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. González earned a B.A. in International Studies from the University of South Florida; an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University; an M.A. in Strategic Studies and National Security Affairs from the U.S. Naval War College; and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Miami. He has also served as a member of various boards in the banking, technology and social services industries. A recognized civic leader, Dr. González has been awarded the Boy Scouts of America 2014 Hispanic Heritage Award, Latin Builders Association 2014 Public Administrator of the Year Award, Friends of the American Latino Museum American Latino Influencer Award, and the 2015 Greater Miami Aviation Association Juan Trippe Award.

Catherine Makk

Catherine Makk - VP, Global Insights, HarperCollins (B.A. English '93)

Catherine Makk joined HarperCollins as VP, Global Insight in June 2015. She oversees all of the company’s research initiatives, including market, genre and author work across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia as well as the company’s non-English language territories. Under her leadership, HarperCollins insight practice has expanded into a full-service, in-house agency designed to partner with all company divisions on brand strategy, marketing tactics and trend identification and analysis. Rebranded as “BookSmart”, in 2016 she facilitated the migration of research to an insight community-driven program, building a unique database of reader motivations and behaviors that enhance the larger HarperCollins dataset. In addition to her management role, Catherine has direct responsibility for insight generation for the HarperCollins Global Publishing Program as well as the Harlequin group where she focuses on product development and brand positioning. She is a speaker at the annual Romance Writers of America Conference, a guest instructor at NYU’s Masters in Publishing program, and is a frequent panelist on attitudes and behaviors of Millennials and Gen Z. Prior to joining HarperCollins, Catherine was Director, Retail and Consumer Insights at Teen Vogue. During her four years at the brand, she built Teen Vogue Think Tank, a proprietary research practice focusing on young women's fashion, beauty and retail; managed a 75,000 member brand community, Teen Vogue IT GIRLS and was the architect of the Teen Vogue-Goldman Sachs Millennial Brand Affinity Index. Catherine lives in New York City with her six-year-old daughter.

Mich Mathews Spradlin

Mich Mathews-Spradlin - Former Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft (DEG YEAR)

As the former CMO and SVP of Microsoft, Mich Mathews-Spradlin oversaw the company's global marketing function, including the household brands of Windows, Office, Xbox, Internet Explorer and Bing. She retired from Microsoft September 1st 2011 after 22 years. Mathews-Spradlin led Microsoft’s consumer and business-to-business marketing to hundreds of millions of global customers. She was instrumental in driving the growth of Microsoft’s global business by building several of the world’s leading technology brands. An expert in brand building, marketing strategy and reputation management, Mathews-Spradlin shaped Microsoft to be one of the most consistently admired brands in the world. Mathews-Spradlin is a marketing leader with depth expertise in digital and traditional media. In addition to marketing, Mathews-Spradlin has strong operational skills and orchestrated a marketing organization of several thousand people around the globe responsible for a multi-billion budget. As the most senior woman at Microsoft, she was also a strong advocate for female advancement and personally spearheaded the company’s network and mentoring program for female progression at the company. Mathews-Spradlin began her career with Microsoft in 1989 as a consultant in the U.K. She later joined Microsoft in the United States in 1993 and became a corporate officer in 1999. She served on both Bill Gates’ and Steve Ballmer’s leadership teams. Prior to working with Microsoft, Mathews-Spradlin spent three years at General Motors. She has a degree in Business from the University of Brighton. Mathews-Spradlin serves on the boards of Caltech, The Wendy’s Company, UCLA’s school of Film, Theater and Television and Unilever’s digital advisory board. She also serves on the private boards of You and Mr. Jones, Oanda Corp, The Bouqs and Bitium. She also spends her time angel investing, primarily in the technology sector and regularly guest lectures at both USC and UCLA.

Edana Desatnick

Rod Teamer - Director of Diversity Programs and Business Development, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (Tulane Parent)


Kevin Watters

Kevin Watters - Chief Executive Officer, Chase Card Services (Tulane Parent)

Kevin Watters is the CEO of Chase Card Services, which includes Chase's consumer, small business and commercial card businesses. He’s also a member of the Consumer & Community Banking Leadership team. Prior to joining Card Services, Kevin had served as CEO of Mortgage Banking since 2012. Before that, Kevin was head of Originations and the Customer Experience across Mortgage Banking, overseeing Chase’s four mortgage production channels: Retail, Consumer Direct, Correspondent Lending and Rural Housing. He transitioned to Mortgage Banking in June 2010 from Business Banking, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for five years. Kevin served in the following roles at Bank One prior to the merger with JPMorgan Chase: Head of the Corporate Internet Group, President of the Consumer Internet Group, Chief Strategy Officer of the Consumer Internet Group, and Chief Marketing Officer of Wingspan, Bank One’s Internet-only bank. Before joining JPMorgan Chase and Bank One, Kevin worked in finance and operations at McNeil Consumer Products, a division of Johnson and Johnson; as Brand Manager at Procter and Gamble Business; as Director at Pinnacle, Inc.; and as Senior Manager of Vlasic Foods. Kevin has a bachelor’s degree from Lehigh University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia. He is married with three children.

Rising Star Panelists

James MacLaren

James M. MacLaren, M.A., Ph.D. - Dean of Newcomb-Tulane College (moderator)

James MacLaren, a graduate of Cambridge University, England, earned his Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics from Imperial College, London. His research interests are in the electronic structure of materials and in particular magnetic materials. He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. MacLaren joined the faculty at Tulane in 1990, and has served in several administrative posts including Chair of the Physics Department, Associate Provost, acting Dean of the Faculty of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and most recently as Dean of Newcomb-Tulane College.

Ina Progonati

Ina Progonati - Strategic Partnership Senior Manager, GlobalCitizen (BSM Management ‘11)

Ina, a native of Tirana, Albania, graduated from AB Freeman School of Business with a BSM in management in 2011. After that she decided to further her education in international development with a Master's of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science in England. Following a short stint at the UN, Ina started working at Global Citizen as a Business Development Associate and she is currently a Strategic Partnership Senior Manager. Ina helped transform the then small non-profit into the organization and large movement that Global Citizen is today through various roles in fundraising, business development, production and relationship management. Ina is an avid traveller and feels at best on a plane. When on the ground she is based in New York City.

Industry-Specific and Career Insights Conversations

Students who attend Career Wave will have the option to select one of the following breakout sessions. This will be an opportunity for more focused, industry-specific conversations with experts from different fields.

Jobtreks Information Session

Jobtreks is a digital tool developed by career advisory experts to help you stay organized and elevate your job search.

With Jobtreks, you can:

  • Manage your job search in one digital place
  • Access a database of 7,000+ companies
  • Create a target company list with live news feeds
  • Manage contacts, applications, resumes, cover letters and more
  • Create to-do lists
  • Access 30+ job boards and other resources
  • Prep for networking events and interviews

Set yourself up for a successful job search! Click here to read more and sign up.


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118