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Top IBM exec, marketing pro to headline event

UMass Lowell

LOWELL – An IBM executive who oversees emerging technology partnerships for the multi-billion-dollar company and a business marketing strategist who launched her career in Lowell will anchor the 2019 UMass Lowell Women’s Leadership Conference.  

“The Power and Potential of Women” will bring together professionals across all fields to share ways to advance their careers and enhance their time away from work. The conference, which is expected to draw more than 250 people, will be held on Tuesday, June 18 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell.

Headlining the event will be Sophie Vandebroek, vice president of emerging technology partnerships at IBM Corp, where she leads key strategic initiatives to scale IBM’s partnerships and ecosystems. Before serving in her current post, she was chief operating officer for IBM Research, a leader in transformative innovations such as artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and quantum computing.

Prior to joining IBM, she was chief technology officer of Xerox Corp., where she also served as president of the company’s Innovation Group and as a corporate officer. Vandebroek is a 2011 inductee of Women in Technology International’s Hall of Fame and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She holds 14 U.S. patents and serves as a director of IDEXX Corp.

“This event has become a highlight of our year, bringing together dynamic women – from established leaders to entry-level professionals – for an inspiring day focused on our mutual successes in the workplace and beyond. We’re particularly excited about this year’s lineup of speakers and look forward to learning from their achievements and challenges, and hearing about their future plans, as we meet and share ideas with each other,” said Elizabeth Altman, event co-chairwoman and assistant professor of management in UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business.  

Opening the conference will be Lorna Boucher, managing director, chief marketing officer and executive committee member of Instinet Holdings Inc., a New York brokerage firm that serves clients in the asset-management and insurance sectors. Boucher launched her career while she was still a student in UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business, where a class assignment asked her to develop a marketing plan for Lowell’s small businesses. Boucher’s project was so successful, it helped her land her first full-time job.

Since her 1986 UMass Lowell graduation, she has progressed to increasingly more senior roles in marketing and brand management, serving businesses including Bankers Trust Co., UBS and KCG Holdings. In 2017, Markets Media honored her with the Women in Finance Award for Excellence in Marketing. Boucher also serves on UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business Advisory Board.

Other event speakers are scheduled to include Ann Barry, director of global risk management at Juniper Networks; Amy Hoey, Lowell General Hospital’s executive vice president and chief operating officer; and Ashley Tsongas, chief of staff and strategy at Oxfam America.

They will be joined by women leaders in career counseling, computer technology, financial services, health care, higher education, human resources, human services, law, publishing and retail who will participate in 12 panels. The conference includes four tracks with concurrent sessions focusing on advancing business careers, building skills, owning your value, and empowering and inspiring others. The session formats include individual speakers, integrated panels and interactive workshops for an energetic, high-value experience.         

UMass Lowell faculty will moderate panels on topics including:

  • Skill-building, featuring Denise Dunlap, assistant professor of global strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • The future of the workforce, with Beth Humberd, assistant professor of management;
  • Women in technology, with Elissa Magnant, visiting professor of management and co-director of the university’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility;
  • Board membership, featuring Erica Steckler, assistant professor of management and co-director of the university’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility;
  • Cultivating well-being at the office, led by Suzanne Nobrega, outreach director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace.  

The conference will end with a networking reception. The full schedule can be found at Individuals interested in attending the conference should visit Registration is going on through Tuesday, June 11.

The conference was founded in 2015 by UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, the first woman to lead the university in its history and one of the inaugural recipients of the “Women Who Mean Business” honor from the Boston Business Journal. UMass Lowell is ranked No. 7 – and for the second-straight year the highest-ranked educational institution – in the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe Magazine and Commonwealth Institute. The university is home to the Center for Women and Work, an innovative research collaborative that seeks remedies for gender-based inequality in the workforce through education and promoting change. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the center’s Making WAVES (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM) initiative is establishing innovative approaches to increasing the diversity of faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields at higher-education institutions across the country.

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