Building a Global Society of Prosperous Women

Friday, November 13, 2015  |  5:00PM - 9:00PM

New York Institute of Technology, New York City

We are building a new society of women achieving social and economic prosperity, while creating impact.  The Summit ignites a movement focused on career advancement and entrepreneurial success -- through community building, entrepreneurship and access to influential networks.  

An exemplary panel of outstanding career-driven, innovative and entrepreneurial women will join the discussion on stage.  Invited guest speakers will share their stories, strategies and insights in an effort to demystify the roadmap to career and entrepreneurial success.  The agenda includes a plenary panel session, sit-down interviews and high-caliber networking sessions.  

Over 200 professional, entrepreneurial, innovative and aspiring guests will join us to build community and move their vision forward.  While our focus is primarily on Latinas, we welcome everyone to join us!  Hosted at New York Institute of Technology, this gathering culminates with a lively networking reception.


Angelica Perez-Litiwn, PhD      Founder, Latinas Think Big®

Angelica Perez-Litiwn, PhD     Founder, Latinas Think Big®

Blanca de la Rosa,  Business Development Project Manager, ExxonMobil

Blanca de la Rosa, Business Development Project Manager, ExxonMobil

Catherine Lajara                   Founder, Novel Research                    

Catherine Lajara                Founder, Novel Research                    

Megan Siemers,    Assistant Dean of Campus Life, NY Institute of Technology

Megan Siemers,  Assistant Dean of Campus Life, NY Institute of Technology

Nina G. Vaca, Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group

Liliana Gil Valletta,   Co Founder & President XL Alliance   

Liliana Gil Valletta, Co Founder & President XL Alliance 

Rebecca Garcia,  Development Evangelist, Squarespace    

Rebecca Garcia, Development Evangelist, Squarespace    

Veronica Cool,                            Founder, Cool & Associates

Veronica Cool,                           Founder, Cool & Associates

Frances Colon, PhD   Deputy Science & Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, U.S. Dept of State                  

Frances Colon, PhD Deputy Science & Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, U.S. Dept of State                 

Bianca Caban , Founding Partner of Koban Holdings LLC

Bianca Caban, Founding Partner of Koban Holdings LLC

Caroline Avakian , Founder, SourceRise

Caroline Avakian, Founder, SourceRise


5:00PM  Registration, Hors d'Oeuvres & Networking

5:45PM  Welcome Remarks: 

  • Caroline Avakian, Master of Ceremony

  • Megan Siemers, Assitant Dean of Campus Life

6PM   Welcome & Presentation: Angelica Perez-Litwin, Ph.D., Founder of Latinas Think Big®

6:20PM  Panel Discussion:  Building Successful Careers and Enterprises by Leveraging Community, Entrepreneurship, Technology and Influential Networks 

  • Rebecca Garcia, Development Evangelist at Squarespace

  • Bianca Cabán, Founding Partner of Koban Holdings LLC

  • Catherine Lajara, Founder of Novel Research

  • Veronica Cool, CEO of Cool & Associate

  • Liliana Gil Valletta, Co-Founder & President, XL Alliance

  • Moderator: Angelica Perez-Litwin, PhD 

7:10PM  Evening Remarks:  Blanca de la Rosa, Business Development Project Manager at ExxonMobil

7:25PM  Special Keynote Interview:  Pathways, Strategies and Networks

  • Nina G. Vaca, Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group

  • Frances Colón, PhD, Deputy Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State

  • Interviewer: Angelica Perez-Litwin, Ph.D.

8:00PM Closing: Angelica Perez-Litwin, Ph.D.

8:05PM - 9PM Networking Reception


FRANCES COLON, PhD serves as Acting Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State where she promotes integration of science and technology into foreign policy dialogues; global scientific engagement for capacity-building; advancement of women in science; and innovation as a tool for economic growth around the world. Previously, Dr. Colon served the U.S. Department of State as the Science and Environment Adviser at the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau where she was responsible for advising on environmental and scientific issues that affected the U.S. Government's foreign policy objectives in the Americas. During that time, she coordinated climate change policy for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas announced by President Obama in 2009. As a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow (2006-2008), Dr. Colon led the OES Bureau’s program for Muslim world outreach through K-12 science and math education cooperation. In 2004 Ms. Colon was awarded a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University, and in 1997 a B.S. in biology from the University of Puerto Rico.

Nina G. Vaca serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Office of the Pinnacle Group.  Under her leadership, Pinnacle has become one of the largest firms in its industry. She is Chairman Emeritus of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Vaca is a Director of Startup America Partnership, LLC and Director of Comerica Bank and Comerica Incorporated of Comerica Bank. She is the recipient of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 and a Member of it's prestigious hall of family.  In 2014, she selected by the White House as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Ms. Vaca has received numerous recognitions and awards, including '100 Most Influential Hispanics in America' from Latino Leaders Magazine in 2007, and 'Top 25 Women Business Buildiers' from Fast Company Magazine in 2005. Ms. Vaca graduated from Texas State University with a B.A. in Speech Communications and Business Administration. She has completed Harvard Business School's Corporate Governance Executive Program and Northwestern University's Kellog School of Management Advancement management Education Program. Ms. Vaca holds a Doctor of Laws "Honoris Causa" from Northwood University.

BLANCA DE LA ROSA served as President/Vice President (2007–2010) of ExxonMobil’s Employee Resource Group, the Global Organization for the Advancement of Latinos (GOAL). GOAL is an ExxonMobil group designed to facilitate and promote the business, professional growth, and advancement of Hispanics throughout ExxonMobil. Blanca is also the author of “Empower Yourself for an Amazing Career” (published by Balboa Press), in which she offers valuable information and encouragement for people who want to progress their careers.

BIANCA CABAN is a Founding Partner of Koban Holdings LLC (“Koban”) a global investment holdings company based in New York and Puerto Rico that originates, structures, and cultivates investments through a dependable network of private sector and government relationships. Before launching Koban, as a member of the Founding Team of Atlas Merchant Capital LLC (“Atlas”) and former Chief of Staff to the Founder and CEO, Bianca assisted in the creation of the firm, which employed a merchant banking approach to global financial services investing. Prior to founding Atlas, Bianca was a Business Management & Analytics Associate of the Global Client Group at BlackRock, reporting to the executive team. She started her career as a Research Analyst at Credit Suisse. Bianca earned a B.A. from Harvard College in 2009. At Harvard, Bianca served as President of Latinas Unidas where she founded the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference (LEAD) in 2007. LEAD organizes trans-institutional, cultural, and geographic networks for the academic, political, and economic empowerment of the global Latino community.

REBECCA GARCIA is the Co-founder of CoderDojo NYC, a non-profit teaching youth to code. In 2013 she was awarded as a U.S. White House 'Champion of Change' for Tech Inclusion for her work to bring STEM education to underrepresented groups, especially youth and women. Last year she was listed as one of Glamour Magazine's '35 Women Under 35 Who are Changing the Tech Industry’ and this year as one of AskMen’s ‘Top 99 Outstanding Women’. Previously she was a Developer at Do Something, the largest U.S. non-profit for youth and social change, and CTO of Greatist, a health, fitness and wellness media startup reaching over 3 million unique visitors. Currently she is a Developer Evangelist at Squarespace, empowering people to build their ideas on the web.

Liliana "Lili" Gil Valletta is an award-winning entrepreneur, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, TV Media contributor and President of XL Alliance. Her company offers business consulting and marketing services to the C-suite and organizations seeking to effectively reach today's multicultural markets. Prior to cofounding XL, Lili served as Global markeing Services Director at Johnson & Johnson, where she became the youngest female executive during her tenure at the corporation, pioneered multicultural marketing initiatives for the corporation and co-founded the Hispanic Employee Resource Group HOLA. She is also the receipient of many industry awards and is an active member of the Harvard Women's Leadership Board and Corporate AdvisoryBoard to the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families.

CAROLINE AVAKIAN is an Emmy-nominated television correspondent, media technologist and award-winning social entrepreneur. Dubbed the “Publicist to the Poor”, she is the Founder of SourceRise, an organization that is forging a new path for foreign and crisis news reporting by increasing the media’s access to on-the-ground expert sources in the developing world.  Caroline is also the Managing Partner of Socialbrite, a leading social media for nonprofits consultancy and digital learning hub that brings together top experts in social causes and social media. Caroline has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, is a contributor to the Huffington Post and has appeared as a guest on television shows such as CNN, The Today Show, Good Day New York and Univision’s Despierta America. In 2014, she was named a “50 under 40 Emerging Social Enterprise Leader” by American Express and the Social Enterprise Alliance, and received the Boehm Media Fellowship from Opportunity Collaboration.

CATHERINE LAJARA is an entrepreneur & founder of Novel Research of New York, LLC a clinical research center in the Bronx. Her mission is to eliminate health disparities by implementing community based initiatives to provide education on prevention, early detection and treatment. Ms. Lajara is passionate about informing everyone about the importance of clinical trials and how their outcomes affect our communities. She has a strong interest in community advocacy, health equity, women's leadership, empowerment and entrepreneurship. She is also a contributing writer for & 

VERONICA COOL established Cool & Associates LLC in 2011 to provide support to businesses, NGOs and Municipalities in the areas of Hispanic Marketing & Community outreach, Financial Services, Management Advisory Services, Professional Development including Speaking & Facilitating workshops and Seminars. Recent projects & topics include: Strategic Entrepreneurship, MBE/WBE Procurement, Leadership and Women & Success, Mentoring vs. Sponsorship, Professional Development and Effective Networking & Business Development.

MEGAN SIEMERS has worked at public and private institutions in a variety of capacities for the last 10 years, mainly with Student Activities, Orientation Counseling, and Alcohol and Drug Education. Siemers is a committed professional with a wealth of experience in working with parent and families, students, staff and members of the community. As the current Director for Student Activities and Leadership Development at the New York Institute of Technology she is dedicated to developing student leaders while staying true to the mission of the University and to the Division of Student Affairs.