Leadership Council

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Washington Heads of Office Leadership Council Announces 2021 Leadership Boot Camp Cohort

Oct 29, 2021

Seven Mid-Level Government Affairs Executives Successfully Completed the virtual 2021 Leadership Boot Camp Intensive with Industry Veterans and Subject Matter Experts

WASHINGTON, DC – The Washington Heads of Office Leadership Council (WHOOLC), the premier professional organization for senior executives of color who oversee government affairs for fortune-level companies and trade associations, recently held its third Leadership Boot Camp virtually and introduced the seven participants in the 2021 Cohort.

This year’s leadership development program builds on the successes of the two prior boot camps and, while held virtually provided numerous opportunities for Boot Campers and WHOOLC members to glean information and make connections. “Our initial goal for the creation of the Leadership Boot Camp was to help our participants chart a course for success as a future head of office,” said Molly Ryan, Co-Founder and President of WHOOLC and Vice President of Global Affairs and Policy, Global Blood Therapeutics. Ryan, along with Co-Founder and Board Chairman Brad Knox, Senior Vice President and Counsel of Federal Affairs for Aflac, and Clif Porter, Secretary of the Board of Directors and Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for AHCA, has seen the program grow over the past several years and their goal has come to fruition.

“We now have WHOOLC members who are former Boot Campers. In their roles as Heads of Office, they are looking for new leaders that they can assist with their professional trajectories,” said Knox. “The Leadership Boot Camp is a great training opportunity that brings together a leadership intensive with an inclusive, collaborative experience. We are extremely proud of the impact in our industry that the Leadership Boot Camp has created.

Meet this year’s Leadership Boot Camp Cohort:

  • Mayealie Adams, Managing Director of Government & External Affairs for Philips North America
  • Susie Feliz, Vice President for Policy and Legislative Affairs, National Urban League
  • Jackie Kelly, Senior Federal Affairs Representative, FedEx Corporation
  • Miguel Martinez, Director, Government, Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy Group, Price Waterhouse Cooper
  • Michelle Persuad, Director & Chief Policy Counsel for Strategic Alliances & External Affairs, T-Mobile
  • Theresa Peterson, Senior Director, Government Affairs and Technology Programs, GE
  • Amena Ross, Managing Director, Federal Government Affairs, Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)

Presenters included government affairs veterans Lucia Riddle, Barry Granger, Howard Woolley, who each provided personal insight on their Heads of Office journeys. In addition, a variety of subject matter experts joined the Boot Camp agenda including Nate Allen, Ph.D., a partner at Tribus Allen, who facilitated the leadership development workshops for the Boot Campers; Julian Ha, a partner at Heidrick & Struggles, who spoke on transitioning from the C-Suite to the Board Room; Robert Greene, President and CEO of the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC), who provided information on the investment space; and Layla Nielsen, Founder, and CEO of Layla E. Nielsen and Co., shared tips on social media and senior-level and executive branding.

The program featured a lunch keynote presentation by Michael Hyter, President of the Executive Leadership Council on “How Do We Maximize This Moment,” and a fireside chat with WHOOLC Co-Founder and Board Chairman Knox, and WHOOLC Members Antoinette Bush, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Government Affairs with News Corp, and Tamar Thompson, Head of Corporate Affairs, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

A special highlight of the program was the presentation of the 2021 Legacy Award. The Legacy Award is presented each year to an individual who embodies the WHOOLC mission and exhibits the five objectives of our Leadership Bootcamp: leadership, mentorship, professional development, network, and strategic ideation. The awardee is also a champion of WHOOLC and heads of offices everywhere, empowering members and creating avenues for them to grow and thrive. This year’s Legacy Award recipient is Howard Woolley, President of the Howard Woolley Group, a strategic advisory firm serving the technology sector.

“Howard is a public servant, a leader, a philanthropist, a mentor, and a friend to WHOOLC,” said WHOOLC Co-Founder and President Molly Ryan. “Through his work and service, he embodies the values of WHOOLC. We are excited to have him as this year’s honoree.”

“Receiving the Legacy Award from the Washington Heads of Office Leadership Council is a special achievement for me,” Woolley shared. “Their members are among the finest corporate leaders in the country. As African American heads of their corporate government affairs offices, they are talented executives and leaders. Having them recognize my contributions to the field was quite a special moment and it inspired me to think about the leaders on whose shoulders I stand as we discussed strategies for developing the next generation of talented corporate leaders.”

The next Leadership Boot Camp is slated for October 2022.


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