Thursday - February 27, 2020
8:30 am – 4:30 pm

This meeting is at capacity and there is no waitlist. Please contact Denise Baker at the MMA with any questions.

Women Leading Government, an initiative of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association, will hold its first Leadership Conference on Feb. 27 in Marlborough.

The full-day event will feature a keynote address by Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Leshin is the first female president at WPI and has more than 20 years of experience in academia and science, including working at NASA. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will join the event as the education workshops conclude.

Breakout session topics will include: personal safety, personal finance, mindfulness, advancing while raising a family, serving on the front line of management, and transitioning into management positions. Speakers will include local government officials as well as academic and private sector leaders.

For those who’d like an updated head shot, a photographer will be available at the meeting to take photos of all attendees.

The day will conclude with a networking reception.

The mission of WLG is to encourage and support women working in all levels of local government to pursue positions in management.

The Leadership Conference is open to any non-elected town or city employee, including, but not limited to, town managers and administrators, assistant town administrators, clerks, finance directors, accountants, assessors, planners, human resources directors, health officers, and staff from public works, economic development, public safety, public information, and human services departments.

The meeting will be held at the Courtyard Marriott, and the cost is $50.

Conference Sponsors


8:30-9:15 a.m.
Registration, Networking, Light Breakfast

9:15 a.m.
Julie Jacobson, WLG Chair and Auburn Town Manager

9:30 a.m.
Keynote speaker: Laurie Leshin, President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

10:20-10:30 a.m.

10:30-11:15 a.m.
Personal Safety
• Kristina Hankins, School Resource Officer, Lexington
• Christiana Severe, Police Officer, Lexington
• Rebecca Ping, Emergency Management Program Administrator, Needham
Moderator: Kelly Axtell, Deputy Town Manager, Lexington

11:15 a.m.-Noon
Personal Finance
• Molly Kean, Human Resources Director, Norwood
• Debra Brede, President, Brede Investment Management Company
• Kerry Colburn-Dion, Assistant Town Manager, Wilmington
Moderator: Kate Fitzpatrick, Town Manager, Needham


1:-1:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions 1

Advancing While Mothering
• Katherine Craven, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer, Babson College
• Cheryl Herrick-Stella, Director of Finance and Budget/Town Accountant, Littleton
• Kimberly Williams, Assistant Town Manager, Bridgewater
Moderator: Nina Nazarian, Town Administrator, Littleton

I’m in Charge Now!
• Maureen Valente, retired Town Manager and former CEO, Massachusetts School Building Authority
• Heather Harper, Assistant Town Manager, Sandwich
• Gail Infurna, former Acting Mayor, City of Melrose
Moderator: Vanessa Hale, Assistant Town Administrator, Southborough

1:45-2 p.m.

2-3 p.m.
Breakout Sessions 2

Transitioning from Worrier to Warrior
• Brenda Fingold, Brown University
Moderator: Liz Sullivan, Town Administrator, Dennis

Breaking Barriers: On the Front Lines of Management
• Sue Mailman, President and Owner, Coghlin Electrical Contractors
• Deborah Penta, Founder/CEO, Penta Communications
Moderator: Julie Jacobson, Town Manager, Auburn

3-3:30 p.m.
Closing Speaker: Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito

3:30-4:30 p.m.
Networking Reception

Courtyard by Marriott, Marlborough

MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker
Massachusetts Municipal Management Association