Women’s Leadership Symposium Speakers

Pre-Symposium Session: Women in Politics

Donna Edwards (’80)

Donna F. Edwards was the first African American woman elected to represent Maryland in the United States Congress.
Congresswoman Edwards earned a B.A. degree from Wake Forest University, where she was one of only six black women in the class of 1980.

In Congress, she served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Committee on Standards and Official Conduct, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, serving as the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Space. In her last term, Congresswoman Edwards was a member of the Democratic leadership team as co-chair of the House Democrat’s Steering and Policy Committee.

Congresswoman Edwards ran, unsuccessfully for the United States Senate, ending her tenure in the House of Representatives in 2017.

Bio & Photo courtesy of Donna Edwards


Denise D. Adams

Denise D. Adams has served as the Council Member for the North Ward of Winston-Salem since 2009. Council Member Adams serves her community through involvement as the Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee and as a member of the Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee. Council Member Adams was recently elected by the State Executive Committee of the NC Democratic Party as one of five members to serve on the Democratic National Committee. She is a Lifetime Alumnae member of Morgan State University and a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She received a B.A. degree in Speech Communication from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD.

Bio & Photo courtesy of Denise D. Adams

Keynote Speaker

Tycely Williams (’97)

Tycely, a self-proclaimed matchmaker, has raised and managed more than $80 million dollars by connecting individuals and institutions to charitable causes. Tycely serves as vice president of development for YWCA USA. Over her 20-year career, she advanced philanthropy at the American Red Cross, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington and four human services organizations. A recipient of the Joseph G. Gordon scholarship, Tycely graduated cum laude with departmental honors from Wake Forest University in 1997. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a minor in Journalism. While at Wake Forest she was a member of the Lilting Banshees Comedy Troupe, a sports writer for the Old Gold & Black and a member of Tri Delta.

Tycely is an active volunteer with the Junior League of Washington and from 2018-2019 is slated to become the first African-American and woman of color to lead the 105-year-old organization. Tycely is the founding board chair of Monument Academy Public Charter School, the first weekday boarding school in the District of Columbia for children in the foster care system.

Bio & Photo courtesy of Tycely Williams

Session I


Angelina Darrisaw (MA ’10)

Angelina Darrisaw is founder of C-Suite Coach, which helps companies recruit and retain diverse Millennial professionals. She is a career coach and trainer, who has been quoted in Bustle, Levo, and Fast Company. A New Media enthusiast, Angelina contributes to Huffington Post and Elite Daily, among others. Prior to launching her own venture, Angelina was senior manager of digital business development at Viacom and business analysis/marketing at ESPN.

A graduate of Davidson College, Angelina also holds an MA in Management from Wake Forest and certificates from New York University. She currently serves on the MA Development Council for Wake Forest School of Business as well as the steering committee of the Young Patrons Circle of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She is also a board member of Youth Communication, which helps marginalized teens strengthen the social, emotional, and literacy skills that contribute to success in school, work, and life.


Meagan Hooper (’04)

Meagan Hooper is the founder of bSmart, which helps millennial women connect and promote their personal brands in order to reach their goals. Ms. Hooper studied theatre while at Wake Forest University, and today performs stand-up comedy and has appeared in film, television, & theatre productions.

Hooper leveraged her arts degree and professional theatre and film experience into a decade-long career on Wall Street, working her way up from Administrative Assistant of a hedge fund to the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. She then became Director of Operations for a global wealth management firm, overseeing $4 billion in assets across multiple asset classes. Through her journey, Meagan discovered a need for advising, supporting, and connecting aspirational millennial women. This motivated her to launch bSmartGuide.com to serve as a platform for women to learn, connect and promote their brands in order to achieve success and obtain their goals.

While building on her business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit, Meagan continues her pursuit of the arts, from performing stand-up comedy to appearing in film, television, and theatre. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Meagan lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her husband, Joe, and pug, Stella. Learn more about Ms. Hooper.

Alumni Panel: Gender at Work

Jelisa Castrodale (’01)

Jelisa Castrodale is a freelance writer who has covered sports, music, travel and pop culture for a number of publications, including NBC Sports, USA TODAY, People, MSN and Orbitz. She currently works as a contributing writer for VICE and is a columnist for Triad City Beat. She is also a former Jeopardy! winner who should probably stop mentioning that in polite conversation.

Bio and Photo courtesy of Jelisa Castrodale

Diana Santos Johnson (’05)

Diana Santos Johnson is an associate attorney at Bolton Law Group, PA, a law firm focusing primarily on individual and small business bankruptcies and debt collection matters.  In 2012, she received the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Blackshear Fellowship, which is given to up-and-coming bankruptcy attorneys. In 2013, she was named a Young and Rising Alumni in NCCU Now, NCCU’s alumni magazine.

Diana spent the first six years of her legal career working as a public interest attorney with Land Loss Prevention Projection in Durham, NC and Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc., in Winston-Salem, NC.  At both organizations, Diana assisted North Carolina’s low income population. Diana serves on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Minorities in the Profession Committee.  She also serves on the Winston-Salem Zoning Board of Adjustment and is a board member for Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. Diana has also taught bankruptcy courses for paralegals at Forsyth Technical Community College.   

Diana is from Clinton, North Carolina.  She attended Wake Forest University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish in 2005. After graduation, she worked in Winston-Salem with the YMCA Hispanic Achievers, an enrichment program for Hispanic youth.  She left the job a year later to attend law school at North Carolina Central University and graduated in 2009.  Diana is married and has a three year old daughter.  

Bio and Photo courtesy of Diana Santos Johnson

Lamaya Covington Williams (’01)

Lamaya Covington Williams is a writer, teacher, entrepreneur and nonprofit professional. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wake Forest University and has completed postgraduate work at The University of Georgia, Salem College and The University of Amsterdam in Holland. Currently, she teaches humanities at Forsyth Technical Community College, directs programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters and is managing partner of Good People Win, LLC. Williams also serves as vice chair of the board of directors for The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.

Bio & Photo courtesy of Lamaya Covington Williams

Session II

Melissa Jones Briggs (’04)

Melissa Jones Briggs designs, directs, and implements global leadership and inclusion programs, in which not only people, but teams and organizations, learn to navigate power in the workplace. Currently, Ms. Briggs is a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business where she teaches Acting with Power. She is an honors graduate of Wake Forest University.

Jones Briggs elevates people by combining research from the fields of social science and the practical application of performance techniques. She has taught globally and consults independently. Client sectors range from the corporate (Intel, Twitter, Cisco, eBay, Ubisoft, Lyft, Mozilla, Dechert LLP) and academic (Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Singularity University, Stanford’s School of Medicine and School of Law), to healthcare (Lorraine Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Hospitals & Clinics, The Public Health Institute), and nonprofit (Clinton Global Initiative, Watermark, Invoking the Pause Foundation, 52nd Street Project, Williamstown Theatre Festival) among others.

Melissa serves on the Board of Directors at Youth in Arts, an arts education nonprofit with a focus on social justice. An honors graduate of Wake Forest University, Jones Briggs also studied at the Coaches Training Institute, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and the Actors Center Conservatory in New York. Learn more about Ms. Briggs.


Tiffany Waddell Tate (’07, ’11)

Tiffany Waddell Tate currently serves as the Assistant Director for Career Development at Davidson College. She has coached hundreds of budding young professionals on how to create strategic action plans for academic and career-related goals. Affectionately known for her “tough love” approach to coaching and people development, she is an avid connector of people and ideas.  She is passionate about helping others develop themselves professionally while adding value to organizations and the world. As a “double deac,” Tate received both her B.A. and M.A. from Wake Forest University.  Stay connected on Twitter @tiffanyiwaddell and continue the conversation! Learn more about Ms. Waddell Tate.

Alumnae Panel: Taking Risks

Sarah Albritton (’82)

Sarah C. Albritton is President and Founder of Leadership Innovations Inc, where she specializes in delivering high impact coaching, facilitation, and presentations for chief executives, senior executive teams, and senior leaders of companies throughout the world. Sarah is the co-author of I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You!, an international top selling book on psychological type (Myers-Briggs Type) for 19 years and recently in its second updated edition (2010).

A dynamic, highly esteemed facilitator, trainer, coach and consultant, Sarah thrives on operating as a client’s team member and partner ally. She is known for her fearless yet supportive candor. Anchoring her relationships in trust, respect, and a healthy dose of humor, she uses well-grounded assessment data, insight and challenge to inspire honest reflection and lasting strategic change.

Bio & Photo courtesy of Sarah Albritton


Rosalyn Frazier (’95)

Rosalyn is a proud Demon Deacon, having graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in mathematics in 1993. She also holds a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where she concentrated in marketing, healthcare management, and nonprofit management. After 20 years of corporate experience in consulting and financial services, she is now fulfilling her long-held interest in healthcare by returning to school to obtain a doctorate in pharmacy.

Rosalyn is an active volunteer in the educational and health services arena. She currently sits on Wake Forest University’s Board of Visitors, and serves on the Executive Committee of Wake’s Charlotte Alumni Organization and the Board of the North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation. She has had the incredible honor and privilege of granting the wishes of over 80 children in the North Carolina area through her volunteer work with the Make a Wish Foundation.

In her spare time, Rosalyn enjoys traveling, watching ACC basketball, and all forms of entertainment. Rosalyn is an avid theatregoer and has a strong love of Broadway musicals.

Bio & Photo courtesy of Rosalyn Frazier


DeeDe Pinckney (’09)

A strong communicator with a passion for developing and executing creative strategies, DeeDe Pinckney knows the importance of procuring and maintaining audience engagement. As a content development expert, she does more than spot compelling stories, she advances brands through targeted communication of core values.

She brings over 10 years of higher education and non-profit marketing and communications experience, including project management, to her roles. A background in journalism, PR and higher education marketing/communications leads her to champion the success of organizations that “do good.” Whether working with a nonprofit group to help to make the world a better place or an institution of higher learning that helps its students secure the future they desire, she’s most at home communicating messages that matter.

She currently serves as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Davidson County Community College.

Bio & Photo courtesy of DeeDe Pinckney