Imagine Yourself in the C-Suite

Inspiring female leadership

“Imagine Yourself in the C-Suite” is an educational event series that provides an opportunity for school-aged girls across Chicagoland to engage in dialogue with leading professionals and with one another. Featured speakers include CEOs and executives who share their success stories – as well as the failures that helped shape their professional development – to inspire achievement, build confidence and embolden girls to forge pathways to excellence.

The speaker series covers a vast range of topics aimed at preparation and empowerment, including insights, experiences and lessons learned that allow each student to reflect on her interests and discover potential career pathways. Featuring presenters that hold a variety of executive-level positions, the conversations encourage students to explore opportunities for global leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, business and beyond.

In addition to the Woodlands students and invited-guests only events, the series includes annual programming open to the public.

Past Speakers

Eric Smith

Eric Smith is chief operating officer of Fifth Third Bank (Chicago), which includes more than $9.7 billion in assets. He is responsible for the growth and strategic alignment of our Commercial, Wealth & Asset Management and Consumer businesses to deliver distinctive value to our customers and community impact in the region.

Read Full Bio about Eric Smith
Connie Capone

Connie Capone is Chief Financial Officer at SpotHero. In this role, she oversees the company’s financial functions as it enters its next phase of growth, and brings extensive experience from her previous roles in operations, consulting and venture capital. Prior to SpotHero, Connie served as the CFO and Chief Administrative Officer at GeoDigital, an Atlanta-based high tech software company.

Read Full Bio about Connie Capone
Charlotte Kremer

Charlotte Kremer M.D., MBA is currently the executive vice president and head of Medical Affairs for Astellas Pharma Inc. In this role, Kremer provides leadership for the Medical Affairs organization globally. She joined Astellas in 2012 with 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.

Read Full Bio about Charlotte Kremer
Patricia Besser

Patricia Besser, Managing Director, is responsible for leading teams in Chicago focused on the wealthiest families in the world. Ms. Besser joined Bank of America’s private wealth group in 2001 following over 20 years in corporate finance and investment banking with several other U.S. and international financial firms.

Read Full Bio about Patricia Besser
Kathleen Williams

Kathleen Williams is the Global Program Director at Capgemini. She is responsible for managing the delivery, customer satisfaction and sales across all of Capgemini’s service lines including consulting, systems integration, application management, and business process outsourcing.

Read Full Bio about Kathleen Williams

Importance of Good Role Models of Female Leadership

Woodlands alumna and C-Suite guest speaker Vanessa Ruiz '01 shares the importance of having strong role models of female leadership. Ms. Ruiz serves as Creative Director for WoltersKluwer Health and spoke to our students as a part of our "Imagine Yourself in the C-Suite" speaker series.