Governor Terry McAuliffe’s

Virginia Women’s Summit


The Honorable Terence R. McAuliffe

Governor of Virginia

Terry McAuliffe is the 72nd Governor of Virginia. Since being sworn-into office, Governor McAuliffe has aggressively focused on building a new Virginia economy. 

Whether traveling to Bedford or Beijing, Governor McAuliffe has made it clear that his number one priority is economic development and he is working hard to create and maintain jobs throughout the Commonwealth. 

Dorothy McAuliffe

First Lady of Virginia

Dorothy McAuliffe is a graduate of The Catholic University of America, and completed her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center. As First Lady of the Commonwealth, Dorothy McAuliffe has partnered with state agencies, non-profits, business leaders, and schools across Virginia to expand access to existing federal nutrition programs and end childhood hunger in Virginia.

Mrs. McAuliffe led a team that applied for and received an $8.8 million demonstration grant from the USDA to prove that we can end childhood hunger in Virginia and across the nation. This was the largest amount awarded to any state. This year, Mrs. McAuliffe worked with the General Assembly to secure a budget amendment of over $2 million to help schools adopt breakfast after the bell models proven to expand access and increase academic performance. Virginia expanded participation in the Community Eligibility Provision by 139% from 2014 to 2015 - nearly seven times the national average of 20%. Approximately 100,000 students in 206 Virginia schools now benefit from the program, which provides high-need schools an opportunity to serve no-cost meals.

On April 15th, 2015, Dorothy testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to explore ways we can continue to improve and strengthen nutrition programs for the 40 million U.S. children who rely on them every day for healthy food. Her testimony kicked off debate of the reauthorization of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010.
Mrs. McAuliffe serves as Chair of the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide. The Council is focused on eliminating childhood hunger in Virginia, developing local agriculture markets, and promoting community efforts that link locally grown food, education, health and nutrition.

The First Lady is also committed to supporting Virginia’s active-duty military and their families. Mrs. McAuliffe is honored to serve as the Governor’s designee to the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The Council assists in easing the transition of children of military families into Virginia schools, a process that can be difficult due to frequent moves and deployment of their parents. She has made it a top priority to ensure that Virginia provides the most effective supports available in addressing the unique concerns of our service men and women and their families.

Having served as a volunteer over many years in her community, Mrs. McAuliffe recognizes the power of engagement. Under her leadership, Virginia is leading the way to encourage and elevate national service as a pathway for solving challenges in local communities, deepening appreciation for citizenship, and developing valuable workforce training opportunities. Largely as a result of her efforts, Virginia became the first state to be designated an Employer of National Service and more than 50 Virginia public, private and community colleges signed the Virginia Compact on National Service, a first-in-the-nation commitment by institutions of higher education to integrating service-year opportunities on their campuses.

Mrs. McAuliffe has long been devoted to the arts and education. She has served on the Boards of Trustees of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institution. She is honored by the opportunity to use her platform as First Lady to help promote the unique historical, cultural and art treasures of the Commonwealth for both tourism and educational purposes.

After receiving her degree, Mrs. McAuliffe practiced banking and securities law for several years. She and the Governor are the proud parents of five children. Together, they enjoy all outdoor activities and exploring the natural beauty of our Commonwealth, especially our magnificent Virginia State Parks.

The Honorable Kelly Thomasson

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Kelly Thomasson was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe as Secretary of the Commonwealth on April 15, 2016. She had served as the Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth since January 2014. Before joining the administration, she worked for Senator Mark Warner for over 13 years in a various capacities including Projects Director in his Senate office and Director of Scheduling in the Office of the Governor.

Kelly is a native of Richmond and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She lives in Ashland with her husband, Clark Mercer, and two children. She is involved in many community activities including serving on the board of the Ashland Main Street Association.

Pam Northam

Second Lady of Virginia

Pam Northam is the Pearl Faith Coordinator at Lynnhaven River NOW, a conservation organization that works with residents, businesses, faith communities, schools, and community leaders who are trying to restore and protect Virginia Beach waterways. A long-time elementary school science teacher, Pam is a native Texan (Baylor University and the University of Texas). Pam lives in Norfolk with her husband, Ralph, and together they have two children: Wes, a neurosurgical resident at the University of North Carolina, and Aubrey, a graduate of the University of Virginia, who works in graphic design and coding in Richmond.

Meta Robinson Braymer

Chair, Virginia Council on Women

Meta Robinson Braymer, Vice President Emerita, University of Mary Washington, was Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and Vice President for Economic Development and Regional Engagement. Among other activities while at UMW, she created the annual Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women, served as chair of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding member of Women Executives in Virginia Higher Education. One of her current volunteer activities is chairing the Virginia Council on Women.

Patti Russo

Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale

Patricia Russo is a nationally recognized leader focused on improving the quality of life for women in Connecticut and the United States. For over twenty-five years she has held numerous leadership positions in public, private and not for profit organizations centered on women’s rights. She has also held leadership positions on federal, state and local political campaigns.

Currently, Patricia serves as Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. The Women’s Campaign School at Yale is a non partisan, issue neutral political campaign training program for women interested in running for public office, and for women interested in campaign management. Based at Yale Law School, it is a leading program attracting women from the U.S. and internationally. She is also a member of the Council of Women’s Health Research at Yale University and chairs its Philanthropy and Communications Committee.

Symone D. Sanders

Democratic Strategist and CNN Political Commentator

A champion for women, Symone D. Sanders is a democratic strategist and CNN Political Commentator who rose to prominence during her tenure as the national press secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. At 25, Symone demonstrated an uncanny command of the issues earning her a place in history as the youngest presidential press secretary on record. However, Symone was not new to presidential politics. When she was 16, she introduced former President Bill Clinton at a luncheon in Omaha. Following her remarks, President Clinton said, “Symone spoke so well I really hate to follow her.” President Clinton went on to write about Symone in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.

A communicator with a passion for policy and juvenile justice reform, Symone is the immediate past chair of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice’s Emerging Leaders Committee and former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. Through her involvement with CJJ and the FACJJ, Symone worked to raise the profile of young voices in the fight for juvenile justice reform and bring millennial perspectives to policy conversations.

Symone has been featured on NPR, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Fox News, ABC, BET and has been profiled in the Washington Post, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise, Cosmopolitan and ELLE. In 2013, Symone Sanders was honored as the youngest recipient to ever receive the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award. Most recently, she was honored by Fusion as one of 30 women under 30 who will influence the 2016 elections, named one of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election by Rolling Stone and one of the most influential African-Americans of 2016 by The Root.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Symone is a proud member of the Capital City (DC) chapter of the Links, Incorporated, Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network and The Collective 100. When she is not on the campaign trail, Symone resides in Washington D.C.

The Honorable Lashrecse D. Aird

Virginia House of Delegates

Delegate Lashrecse Aird was elected in November 2015 to represent the 63rd District, which includes all of the City of Petersburg, parts of the City of Hopewell, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George County. She holds the special distinction of being the youngest woman ever elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegate Aird serves on the General Laws; Health, Welfare and Institutions; and Appropriations committees.

Delegate Aird believes that the struggle for equality begins with civic involvement and education. Working together with the president and as a member of the executive leadership team at Richard Bland College of William and Mary, she guides policy development that helps today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.

Delegate Aird earned her undergraduate degree from Virginia State University in 2008. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Political Leadership Program; a graduate of the American Council on Education Virginia Network for Women in Higher Education’s Senior Leadership Seminar; a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Minority Political Leadership Institute. In addition, she has completed coursework at Virginia Commonwealth University toward a Master’s in Public Administration.

Delegate Aird has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named to the Virginia Leadership Institute’s Top Ten Leaders under Forty and the recipient of Virginia State University’s Young Trojan Distinguished Alumni Award for two consecutive years.

Delegate Aird is a resident of Petersburg where she and her husband, Blaine, reside and are raising their two young boys, Blaine and Blake.

The Honorable Viola Baskerville

Former CEO, Girl Scouts of Virginia, former Secretary of Administration

Viola Osborne Baskerville has served as a Governor’s Cabinet Secretary, as a Member of the Virginia House of Delegates and as a locally elected official. She graduated from the College of William and Mary and was as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bonn, Germany. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa, College of Law and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Richmond.

Currently, she serves on the Virginia Outdoors Foundation as a Trustee and on the Impact of Women Committee for Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration. She served on the Governor’s Commission on Integrity in Government (2014), and on the Commission on Redistricting (2011). As a citizen member of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, she advocated for memorializing Reconstruction Era Virginia African American legislators in the state Capitol Building.

As a legislator, she focused on children’s health, women and small business issues and fighting employment discrimination. She led the charge to have the General Assembly express regret over its role in closing the public schools in Prince Edward County (1959-1964) and to establish a scholarship fund for students affected by Virginia’s legislative action defying the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Named “Most Influential Woman of the Year” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly in 2013, Ms. Baskerville retired in 2015 as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is married to Dr. Archer Baskerville, and they have two sons.

Gail M. Deady

The Secular Society Women’s Rights Legal Fellow, ACLU of Virginia

Gail M. Deady joined the ACLU of Virginia as The Secular Society Women’s Rights Legal Fellow in March 2015. Ms. Deady advocates for reproductive rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights in Virginia through impact litigation, lobbying, and educating individuals and communities across the Commonwealth on issues of gender equality. Ms. Deady earned her J.D. from the Washington and Lee University School of Law and a B.A. in History from The College of William and Mary. Prior to joining the ACLU of Virginia, Ms. Deady was a litigation associate at McCandlish Holton, P.C. in Richmond. She currently serves on the Pro Bono Committee of the Richmond Bar Association.

In law school, Ms. Deady worked on behalf of indigent clients in family law, housing, commercial, and domestic violence matters in Central Virginia Legal Aid Society’s Richmond and Charlottesville offices and at Rappahannock Legal Services in Culpeper, Virginia. At Washington and Lee, she participated in the Shepherd Poverty Program, was Articles Editor of the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and served as president of the Women Law Students Organization and the W&L Chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

Mary Doswell

Former Senior Vice President, Dominion Energy Solutions

Mary Doswell retired from Dominion Resources in July after 34 years. Most recently she was responsible for evaluating new energy technologies and developing business opportunities. She was also responsible for Dominion Voltage Inc, which provides grid efficiency and optimization solutions to utilities, nationally and internationally. Mary is currently providing consulting services to the energy industry.

Mary is a Governor appointee to the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority and the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority and serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia, Chairman of the Board of Venture Richmond, Immediate Past Chairman of the VCU School of Engineering Foundation Board, and Board member of Peter Paul Development Center.

Mary earned her B.A. Degree in physics cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and her Master's Degree in Materials Engineering, with a concentration in econometrics, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She attended the Darden Executive Development Program at the University of Virginia Graduate School of Business.

Her husband is a practicing periodontist and she has 5 daughters.

Bea Gonzalez

Capital Results

Bea is a partner at Capital Results and has more than 20 years’ experience managing a variety of clients in the areas of government relations and issue management. Her practice began working with legislative and executive branches and regulatory agencies in Virginia, but she has now represented clients over 40 states around the country. She also represents corporate interests at the national level by working with Attorneys General and Governors associations, as well as other national legislative organizations.

Bea represents a diverse group of clients and has expertise in health care policy, telecommunications, tobacco, technology, manufacturing and environmental matters. She has built a reputation for taking on controversial and complex client issues and developing winning strategies at the local and state levels of government and regulatory agencies.

Bea also works with the development community to find solutions to challenging projects and managing relationships through the local land-use, permitting and public hearing process. Before joining Capital Results, Bea worked with the government relations team at a major Southeastern law firm. She also served as the Finance Director for the Republican Party of Virginia and as a consultant for the Republican National Committee and the National Rifle Association in Washington, D.C. She has served on a number of political, community and charitable boards, and is currently on the VCU Massey Cancer Center Advisory Board as well as Carry the Future, which collects baby carriers for refugee families across Europe. Bea has been named one of the Outstanding People in Richmond under the age of 40.

Tarina Keene

Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia

Tarina Keene took the helm of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia in January 2008 as the organization's executive director. As a native Virginian, her vision is to make reproductive freedom and healthcare access a reality for all Virginia women. During Tarina’s tenure, she has increased the organization’s capacity and political power by quadrupling the budget and growing its staff from two to ten.

Tarina led the charge in 2012 in the General Assembly against the infamous mandatory ultrasound bill. With the help of legislative allies, she introduced the legislature - and the nation - to the “transvaginal” ultrasound that gained international media scrutiny and galvanized thousands of Virginians to protest against the bill. She was quoted more than 100 times in media.

In March 2011, Tarina founded the Virginia Coalition to Protect Women’s Health which came together in to fight the law regulating abortion providers as hospitals. After the historic election of three pro-choice statewide candidates in 2013, the Board of Health was reconfigured by Governor McAuliffe and new legal advice offered by AG Herring which helped drastically amend the regulations in October 2016.

Tarina began her career as a local television news reporter/producer working in Roanoke, Bluefield, WV, Columbus, OH and Norfolk. Tarina was appointed to the Alexandria Commission for Women by City Council in 2009, is a former Virginia NOW president, and is a 2006 graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

She has a B.A. in Media Studies and Political Science from Radford University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Old Dominion University. In 1999, she hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. She resides in Alexandria with her husband, Jason Osborne, and their 4-year old daughter, Sydney.

Lisa Schaffner

Public Relations and Marketing Director, UNOS, United Network for Organ Sharing

Lisa Schaffner is the Public Relations and Marketing Director for UNOS, United Network for Organ Sharing, a national non-profit based in Richmond that matches lifesaving organs from deceased donors to those on the national waiting list. Lisa previously served as the main news anchor for WRIC-TV8, anchoring the ABC affiliate’s 4:30, 6:00 and 11pm newscasts.

Rupa S. Murthy

Chief Development Officer, YWCA Richmond

Rupa S. Murthy leads the communications and development strategy at YWCA Richmond. She helped create The Sprout School, a high quality, public-private preschool model. She led an effort to build the Virginia Treatment Center for Children with community advocates, Virginia’s legislature, local elected officials and university executives from 2008-2015. She built a $60M campaign to support psychiatry and children's mental health at VCU. Rupa served in Governor Mark R. Warner's administration. Her role led to increased diversity and expertise on Virginia's boards & commissions in the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. Most recently she served on Mayor Levar Stoney's transition team.

Rupa holds degrees in political science and communications from James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently president of the PTA at Mary Munford Elementary School and volunteers extensively as an advocate for Richmond Public Schools through Support RPS. She is a past board member of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood and the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. She enjoys gardening and traveling with her three children & husband.

The Honorable Shannon Valentine

Founding Member, OneVirginia2012, Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates

Shannon is a Member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Vice Chair of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, and Chair of Investor Relations for Beacon of Hope, an organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing students for post-secondary education.

Shannon is a former Member of the Virginia Housepaof Delegates, and Founding Member of OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting. She chaired the launch of OneVirginia in February of 2014, and served as the first President of the OneVirginia Foundation.

Her public policy priorities have included education, transportation, and economic development. She led the bipartisan effort to invest in intercity passenger rail service for the first time in Virginia’s history; expand clean energy; and create transparent government through initiatives in redistricting reform, campaign finance, and recorded votes.

Shannon graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia in Economics (1981), and from Education for Ministry, a four-year program through Sewanee University’s School of Theology (2000).

Shannon is married to Dr. Mike Valentine, and has three children, Catherine, Jack and Brooke.

The Honorable Katherine Waddell

Special Advisor to the Governor on Women’s Issues, Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates

The Honorable Katherine B. Waddell is currently a Special Advisor to Governor McAuliffe on women’s issues. Katherine is a former Member of the Virginia House of Delegates and has over 30 years experience in Virginia politics and state government. She supported and worked for elected officials on both sides of the aisle including Senators Warner (both Mark and John), Senator Tim Kaine, Lt. Governor John Hager, Attorney General and Governor Jim Gilmore. She was President of the Women’s Strike Force, Board member of Virginia Tourism Corporation and other boards. Katherine is married to John Waddell and has two daughters, two granddaughters and one grandson. She is a strong independent community leader.