DC Startup Week 2020 DC Startup Week 2020
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The CEO's New Framework on Employee Engagement, Retention and Culture

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Amira El-Gawly
Manifesta and St. Plant, Founder + CEO

Amira El-Gawly is an entrepreneur, coach and writer with over 15 years

guiding executives and brands to design elevated and impactful experiences,

both internal and external, that are authentically aligned to their company's

mission and values. El-Gawly is the founder and CEO of Manifesta, a

leadership and workplace culture consultancy with a focus on team

alignment, wellbeing and performance. She speaks and coaches on a number

of topics, and is most known for her strategies on strengths-based leadership

and compassion at work. El-Gawly is also the founder of St. Plant, a business

designed to reconnect humans with nature through meaningful products and

experiences. Her favorite plant’s name is Dolly.

Dorinda Walker
Cultural Solutions Group, CEO

I transformed from a broken, dysfunctional young woman who suffered from depression, low self-esteem, headed on a path to prison or death. I am now a well-accomplished, bad to the bone EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN!

I put in the work. I learned how to embrace the process of forgiveness. I found my faith and mustered up the courage to do the work needed to change my circumstances. I now have the mindset and skills required to lead an extraordinary life.

Do you want my receipts? Here are just a few of many:

  • Happily married wife of over 25 years, mother and grandmother
  • Climbed to the executive ranks of a Fortune 50 company on a GED education
  • Multiple award-winning marketer
  • International Speaker
  • John Maxwell Certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer
  • Named one of the "25 Most Influential Black Women in Business" by The Network Journal
  • An acclaimed published author of the book "Protected by Purpose."
  • Featured in Forbes.com, Essence, Black Enterprise, and other mainstream media and publications
  • Recipient of over 30 honors including "25 African American Women Leaders who are making a difference in New Jersey" and "The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee Community Achievement Award."
  • Owner of a certified MBE/WBE business
Michael Akin
LINK Strategic Partners, President
Mark Wattley
Cooler Screens Inc., Chief People Officer

Mark is serious and passionate about Human Resources driving business success while also fostering an incredible team member experience. Mark is currently the Chief People Officer for Cooler Screens, Inc. In this role he is helping this early stage company build its winning culture and implement new and innovative talent practices to attract, develop, and propel the success of the Cooler Screens team. Mark brings an extensive record of success as an employment attorney and HR leader to Cooler Screens. In nearly 20 years with Walgreens and Walgreens Boots Alliance, Mark held senior attorney and HR executive roles. Most recently he was the Vice President of HR Mergers & Acquisitions with Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. During his time with Walgreens Mark was tapped to start and lead several new HR organizations within the Walgreens family of companies. Earlier in his career, Mark held legal roles in private practice as well as Senior Attorney roles with the U.S. Department of Education and the Chicago Board Of Education. Mark holds a Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and earned his Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame Law School.