Leadercast Women Speakers - Meridian Tech
Clemantine Wamariya
Storyteller and Human Rights Advocate

Clemantine is a storyteller and human rights advocate committed to inspiring others through the power and art of storytelling. Her personal account of her childhood in Rwanda, displacement throughout war-torn countries, and experiences in various refugee camps have encouraged myriads of people to persevere despite great odds. With no formal education before the age of 13, Clemantine went on to graduate from Yale University with a BA in Comparative Literature.

Clemantine has been telling her story and speaking for over 10 years. She has been a four-time guest on The Oprah Show, and a speaker at the Forbes Summit and TEDx, as well as numerous universities and distinguished organizations. In 2011, President Obama appointed her to the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, making her the youngest board member in history. During her first year she was recognized for her dedication to improving the lives of others, especially the underserved, and she was reappointed in 2016. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization recently described Clemantine as “a compelling storyteller and fierce advocate.” Her Medium article “Everything is Yours, Everything is Not Yours” was called “superb and artful” by The New York Times. Her memoir, The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After was published in April. She devotes her time to building community in the Bay Area and around the world.

Clemantine’s life is a testament to the power of seized opportunities. She is committed to creating platforms that allow individuals from diverse demographic backgrounds to build relationships and exchange ideas. In this way, she challenges us to reexamine the way that we interact with one another in order to work towards our shared goal of improved equity in our communities.


Barbara Bush
CEO and Co-Founder, Global Health Corps

Barbara Bush co-founded Global Health Corps (GHC) in 2009 to mobilize a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. To-date, GHC has fostered over 900 young leaders who believe health is a human right and who take an innovative approach to solving some of the world’s biggest global health challenges. In 2015, Barbara was recognized as one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Previously, she worked at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa, UNICEF in Botswana, and the UN World Food Program.

Barbara is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and on the Board of Directors of Covenant House International, PSI, and the UN’s Social Entrepreneurship Council.


Jenna Bush Hager
Founding Chairperson, UNICEF Next Generation

Jenna Hager has seen firsthand how small change can make a large difference in a single life. Currently the chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation, an initiative dedicated to reducing the number of preventable childhood deaths around the world, Hager traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with UNICEF where she saw firsthand the plight faced by the underprivileged. Her experience inspired her to write Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, New York Times bestseller based on the life of a 17-year-old single mother living with HIV and determined to shield her child from the abuse and neglect that riddled her own childhood.

Hager shares her own stories of creating change in someone’s life and leaves audiences with a call to action on how they too can improve people’s lives in their own community. A contributing correspondent for NBC’s TODAY, Hager shares positive, uplifting messages of regular people doing extraordinary things. Passionate about literacy, education and improving inner-city schools, Hager was herself a teacher in Baltimore, MD.

In addition to Ana’s Story, she also co-wrote Read All About It! with her mother, former First Lady Laura Bush. Hager and Mrs. Bush recently released a second children’s book, Our Great Big Backyard, which celebrates the Centennial of the National Park Service, and encourages children to go outside and explore America’s parks. Hager is currently writing a joint book of short stories with her sister, Barbara Pierce Bush titled Sisters First for release in October 2017. It will take readers on an extraordinary and deeply personal journey behind the scenes of what it is like to be born into a political dynasty, reveal never-before-told stories about their family, and uncover the enduring sisterly bond that kept them sane through it all.


Molly Fletcher
CEO, Keynote Speaker and Sports Agent

Molly Fletcher is a trailblazer in every sense of the word– a rare talent of business wisdom, relationship brilliance and unwavering optimism. As a CEO, she shares her unconventional and unique techniques that made her one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and now a successful entrepreneur.

Formerly, as president of client representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, Molly spent two decades as one of the world’s only female sports agents. She was hailed as the “female Jerry Maguire” by CNN as she recruited and represented hundreds of sport’s biggest names, including Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, PGA TOUR golfer Matt Kuchar, broadcaster Erin Andrews, and basketball championship coaches Tom Izzo and Doc Rivers. As she successfully negotiated over $500 million in contracts and built lasting relationships, she also observed and adopted the traits of those at the top of their game.

Molly has been featured in ESPN, Fast Company, Forbes and Sports Illustrated. A sought after motivational speaker, she delivers game changing messages to top companies, trade associations, and teams worldwide.

Molly is the author of four books: Fearless At Work; A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating; The Business of Being the Best; and The 5 Best Tools to Find Your Dream Career. She’s also the founder of an e-learning platform that provides personal and professional development content for individuals and companies.

Molly has been recognized by Michigan State University with the Outstanding Alumni award and has received numerous other awards. She currently serves as a National Trustee member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and on the national advisory board for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

Molly earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University while captaining the women’s tennis team. Molly’s energy and passion for life shines through everything she does. She finds her greatest joy at home in Atlanta with her husband Fred and their three daughters.


Celeste Headlee
Award-winning Journalist, Speaker and Author

Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist, professional speaker and author of the book We Need To Talk – How To Have Conversations That Matter (Harper Wave). After four years as the Executive Producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio, Celeste is back as a guest host with National Public Radio in Washington DC. In her 19-year career with NPR, she has anchored shows including Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also served as co-host of the national morning news show, The Takeaway, from PRI and WNYC, and anchored presidential coverage in 2012 for PBS World Channel.

As an NPR host and journalist, Celeste Headlee has interviewed hundreds of people from all walks of life. Through her work, she has learned the true power of conversation and its ability to both bridge gaps or deepen wounds. In a time when conversations are often minimized to a few words in a text message and lack of meaningful communication and conversation abounds, Celeste sheds a much-needed light on the lost and essential art of conversation. Celeste’s TEDx Talk sharing 10 ways to have a better conversation was listed as one of the most watched TED Talks in 2016 by CNBC and named the #1 must-watch TED Talk by Glassdoor with 12.5 million total views to date.


Julia Landauer
Champion NASCAR Driver and Motivational Speaker

Julia Landauer is a 2-time champion NASCAR racer from New York City. Having won in many different racing series in her 15 year career, Julia is now making history with her results in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, with televised races on NBCSN. Beyond the race track, Julia is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. During college Julia was also a contestant on season 26 of CBS’ reality TV show SURVIVOR.

In January 2017, a few years after moving to North Carolina to pursue racing full-time, Forbes listed Julia as a 30 Under 30 honoree in the sports division. Julia has collaborated with Spotify, Disney/Pixar, and GIRLBOSS Radio and has been written about by The New York Times, Entrepreneur, and espnW, to name a few. As Julia continues to develop her career and brand on and off the track, she uses her platform to advocate for STEM education and women’s empowerment.


Ritu Bhasin
Speaker, Author and President, Bhasin Consulting Inc.

Ritu Bhasin didn’t always feel empowered to be an unapologetic, fiercely authentic leader. While she was highly successful and living the “corporate dream” in her early career, Ritu had a startling realization: the person she was in her day-to-day life bore little resemblance to her true self. Because of her experiences with racism and bullying, she found herself minimizing racial, religious, gender, and class-based aspects of her identity to “fit in” among circles where she felt she didn’t belong. And in doing this, she was profoundly unhappy.

After much soul-searching, Ritu decided to transform her life. She completed her MBA, left her corporate job, launched her own business, became a mindfulness practitioner and teacher, and dedicated her life to helping others become more empowered and inclusive. Most importantly, she committed to living as authentically as possible in all that she did going forward.

In 2010, Ritu launched bhasin consulting inc., a diversity and inclusion-focused consulting firm, and has since gained a global reputation for her work in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and women’s advancement. Through her work, Ritu is committed to disrupting the status quo to build a world in which each of us celebrates our own differences and the differences of others. She has delivered talks to thousands, inspiring leaders to be more inclusive, and encouraging those who have experienced oppression to be more empowered. Ritu has won numerous awards for her work, including the City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations.

Ritu lives in Toronto, Canada, but travels all over the world to eat, swim, hike, dance, and work. Her first book, The Authenticity Principle, was released in 2017.


Jess Ekstrom
CEO, Headbands of Hope

During the summer of 2011, Jess Ekstrom participated in an internship at a wish-granting organization for kids with life-threatening illnesses. She discovered that a lot of kids losing their hair to chemotherapy loved to wear headbands after hair loss, but they were only given wigs and hats.

Armed with inspiration, she spent her junior year at North Carolina State University developing her company, Headbands of Hope. For every item sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer. By the time she graduated, she had donated thousands of headbands to kids with cancer and was elected to give the commencement speech at her graduation to 20,000 people.

Along with her business, her message started to spread across America. Jess speaks over 40 times a year to campuses, corporations and conferences. She’s keynoted at Leadercast Live, SAS Global Forum, Women’s Business Summit, Citrix and more. Jess focuses on increasing workplace engagement and employee empowerment through meaningful work and establishing a healthy relationship with failure.

Today, Headbands of Hope is in over 2,000 stores across the United States and Canada including all Ulta locations. They’ve been featured on the TODAY Show, Forbes, Seventeen, Vanity Fair, People Magazine, Good Morning America and the headbands have been worn and supported by celebrities such as Lauren Conrad, Lea Michele, Molly Sims, Tiffani Thiessen and more. But their biggest accomplishment has been donating over 200,000 headbands to every children’s hospital in America and across 15 countries.

In the past year, the company has launched impact initiatives such as hosting proms at children’s hospitals and starting their #BandTogether program where they partner with a childhood cancer charity and donate proceeds from sales to their mission. They’ve also joined hands with art therapy by having the patients create their own headbands with the flower crown kits they provide.

Jess was named the Women’s Health Magazine Ultimate Game Changer in 2017 and was also honored as the Most Outstanding Alumni of NC State University. In 2017 she also received the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award from Atlantic BT. A Huffington Post article named her a limit breaking female founder. She also serves on the board of District C to help high school students solve real world problems. Jess is a regular contributor for Entrepreneur, Huffington Post and hosts virtual learning classes with Brit + Co.

Jess believes that you shouldn’t have to choose between making a living and making a difference. She’s passionate about helping others find those collision points and live a more purposeful life (even if that means more risks and hiccups along the way!). Her most popular audiences are employees, millennials in the workforce, leaders, entrepreneurs and college students.


Marilyn Tam
Consultant, Author, and Former Executive at Aveda, Nike and Reebok

Marilyn Tam, Ph.D. is a Speaker, best selling Author, Consultant, Board Certified Executive/Corporate Coach, CEO of Marilyn Tam & Co. and Founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation. She was formerly the CEO of Aveda Corp., President of Reebok Apparel and Retail Group, Vice President of Nike Inc. and also a successful entrepreneur who has built four companies.

Inc. Magazine ranks her as one of the top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world. She has been selected as one of the Top 10 inspirational business speakers by one of the best professional speakers bureaus. Brand Channel lists her as one of the four most prominent names in Ethical Business globally. Marilyn is a contributing writer to Thrive Global/Medium on how to live a successful, happy, healthy and dynamically balanced life.

Her life is an inspiring example of what can be achieved if one followed their dreams. She grew up as an abused and neglected child in Hong Kong. She left home as a teen to come to America alone. Following her life mission, she achieved international business and humanitarian success. Marilyn is now speaks, facilitates workshops and consults with corporations, organizations and people to achieve greater success and happiness. She helps people and organizations find and fulfill their life purpose, and provide them with the principles and actions steps to take them their goals. Her NPR (Net Promoter Score) from her clients, the industry standard for measuring customer satisfaction, is among the highest rated of all speakers.

Marilyn was recognized as one of the Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs in the USA by Fempreneur magazine. Jack Canfield detailed her work in his book on the strategies for success, The Success Principles.

Among her numerous recognition and awards is the Artemis Award from the Greek Government and Euro-American Women’s Council, with her image on a Greek postage stamp. Marilyn is featured in many documentary movies including GLOW Project, The Compass, Tapping the Source, and FEMME for her accomplishments and inner wisdom.

Marilyn’s book, “The Happiness Choice”, was the top three most read book by businesses according to the leading business book supplier. The book won the Silver Medal of the Global eBook Awards. The book shows how and why happiness is crucial for business productivity and success, and for your physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health.

Her book How to Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want is published in six languages. Her book, Living the Life of Your Dreams was eBook of the Year in the Inspirational/Visionary category.


Dana Barrett
TV and Radio Host and Business Commentator

Dana Barrett is an award winning TV and radio personality, speaker, political and business commentator and social critic. She is the host of The Dana Barrett Show, which airs weekdays on Talk Radio 640 WGST in Atlanta. Her on-camera credits include host of Atlanta Tech Edge on Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, and Tech’d Out TV for Cox Communications, as well as playing a reporter in both TV and feature films. Dana is active in the community as a speaker and emcee for business, technology and non-profit events and is the official spokesperson for TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation. Before moving to radio and television, Dana was both an entrepreneur and a corporate executive, working in a variety of industries including publishing, media and IT.