Meet the Staff
Aidan joins Reaching Out MBA as Executive Director with a diverse background in non-profit leadership, management consulting in the hospitality industry, and digital communications for the world’s largest PR firm. His career has enabled him to work in the UK and continental Europe, Australia, and South Africa.
His initial involvement with ROMBA was as a student at the 2010 conference. He returned in 2012, having secured funding from his then employer, Marriott International, to be a corporate partner.
Aidan has spent the last seven years in the hospitality industry, drawn to its international scope, complexity, and opportunities to engage with a variety of people. His most recent role was in business development for InterContinental Hotels Group in Atlanta, GA., where he created a new business unit to elevate the company’s Sales organization. Prior to this, Aidan worked for Marriott International in Washington D.C., as part of a consulting group specializing in Sales and Revenue Strategy.
Before moving into hospitality, Aidan was a VP in Edelman’s Digital Practice in New York City, where he oversaw multiple blue chip accounts in healthcare and tourism. He also led the Digital Department of Age Concern England, a large non-profit organization supporting those in later life by providing advice on healthcare and finances, as well as community engagement.
Outside of work, Aidan has long been an active volunteer in several LGBTQ organizations including the NGLCC, Lost-n-Found Youth, and Rainbros.
Aidan is a graduate of NYU Stern School of Business, and holds a BA in Politics from Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada.
Julie’s relationship with Reaching Out began with the 2006 ROMBA Conference at the Grand Hyatt in New York City thanks to a referral to one of the student organizers by a friend at Stern.
Julie and ROMBA both relocated to San Francisco in 2007, and following the 2007 Conference, Julie became the permanent Event Producer for the annual conference and other events throughout the year.
Julie’s background is Theatrical Stage Management, Event Production Management, and Fashion Show Production. Past events and activations include clients at Comic Con, New York City Marathon, New York Fashion Week, and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
ROMBA is Julie’s longest standing client, and she is excited to celebrate 12 years with this inspiring group of people.
Jordan Summers joins the Reaching Out MBA team after working in higher education administration for several years. Prior to her current role, she served as the Mentoring and Youth Development Coordinator at Berklee City Music, a nonprofit branch of Berklee College of Music. There, she recruited current Berklee students and alumni to teach music lessons to high school musicians across the Boston area.
Jordan holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Business from the State University of New York College at Potsdam. She has volunteered with Boston LGBT organizations in the past and currently volunteers her time to teach math at a local elementary school. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, composing, and playing music.
Director of Development
Paul joins Reaching Out MBA as Director of Development with substantial experience in fundraising, LGBTQ+ non-profit leadership, and law. Prior to Reaching Out, Paul served as the Director of External Affairs for the National LGBT Bar Association and Foundation. He was responsible for maintaining relationships with the organization’s internal and external constituents, which included corporations and law firms, as well as overseeing the Bar’s membership efforts. Paul has experience speaking on a number of issues related to LGBTQ+ rights and the law.
Paul previously worked with students in higher education, having served as the Assistant Director of the Law Career Development Office at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Prior to that, Paul worked as an attorney for two litigation firms in the Baltimore area.
Paul received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law and an undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College.
Meet the Board
Jens Audenaert is a Division Vice President at ADP and General Manager of WorkMarket, an ADP Company. Jens also serves as the global Executive Sponsor of ADP’s LGBTQ business resource group and is actively involved in ADP’s numerous diversity efforts which earn the company a mention as one of the best companies to work for by Diversity, Inc. and the Human Rights Campaign. Prior to joining ADP, Jens spent 10 years as a strategy consultant with Bain & Company, serving clients across 7 offices and 3 continents, and leading the firm’s worldwide LGBTQ recruiting outreach.
Jens holds an MA in Economics from Ghent University (Belgium), an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he received the Dean’s Award. Jens also serves on the Board of Directors of God’s Love We Deliver, which prepares and delivers more than 7,000 medically tailored meals daily to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses in the New York metropolitan area. Jens and his husband Amol live in New York City.
Jeff is a Deals partner based in San Francisco where he primarily focuses on serving private equity funds and private equity owned companies. His deal experience crosses a number of sectors with a focus on healthcare, services and technology. Jeff has participated in nearly all aspects and types of transactions, including large strategic divestitures, joint ventures, purchase price disputes and bankruptcy buyouts.
Jeff chairs PwC’s LGBT+ Partner Advisory Board which advises PwC’s Executive Leadership Team on strategy, policy and agenda across all aspects of the Firm’s LGBT+ initiatives.
Beyond his client work, Jeff is active in the community. Jeff sits on the Board of Directors of the California Shakespeare Theater, the University of Scranton’s Accounting Department Professional Advisory Council, serves on the AICPA’s LGBT Task Force and is a past member of the San Francisco Symphony SoundBox Advisory Council. Jeff is an avid biker who recently completed his first AIDS/LifeCycle and was a Top 100 fundraiser.
Jeff graduated from the University of Scranton where he majored in Finance and Accounting. Jeff is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the AICPA, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and CalCPA.
Paula Cobb is Chief Operating Officer at Decibel Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on discovering and developing therapeutics for hearing and balance. She is an independent director of Prothena Corporation plc, and previously served on the board of NightStar Therapeutics. Prior to joining Decibel Paula spent nearly 14 years at Biogen where she most recently served as senior vice president of the rare disease group, responsible for the company’s global hemophilia business and Phase 3 programs in spinal muscular atrophy and neuropathic pain. Prior to this role, Paula served as senior vice president of Biogen’s multiple sclerosis franchise. Previously, Paula led late-stage teams through 3 new drug registrations and launches. Paula graduated cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in political science and English and received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She lives with her wife and two kids outside of Boston, MA.
Vice -President and Secretary
Rob’s first involvement with Reaching Out was as a student attendee in 2013 at the Reaching Out MBA conference in New Orleans. He then co-chaired the 2014 student organizing committee to plan the conference in San Francisco. After graduating in 2015, he joined Reaching Out’s Board of Directors.
Rob Mark works in procurement with Apple Inc. as a Business Operations Manager in California, responsible for finished good manufacturing for multiple product lines. Prior to this position, Rob worked for the White House as an intern assisting with policy and research in the National Security Affairs group in the Office of the Vice President. Rob then worked as an Advance Staffer coordinating diplomacy, logistics, and security for domestic and international trips of the Vice President. Prior to this Rob served in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Officer for 5 years on Active Duty, and then continued his service as a Captain in the US Army Reserve for three years before resigning his commission.
Rob earned an MBA from the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University in Houston, TX and a B.A. in History from Davidson College in NC. Rob resides in San Francisco, CA with his husband.
Dr. Renee McLaughlin
Dr. Renee McLaughlin is National Medical Director, Value-Based Relationships with Cigna and leads a team focused on the design,
implementation, and management of collaborative partnerships with health care providers to improve health outcomes. She has extensive
experience in this field and speaks regularly in both regional and national forums on value-based health care delivery. She serves as a member of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Guiding Committee for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Prior to joining Cigna in 2005, Dr. McLaughlin was a practicing general and vascular surgeon in a single-specialty practice. She earned a BS at Adrian College, MS at Wayne State University, and completed her graduate and post-graduate medical and surgical training at the University of
Pittsburgh. She is currently completing her MBA at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. She served in the United States Army during the first Gulf war and was awarded the National Defense Medal. She currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she spends her free time enjoying Southern culture.
Gabrielle Novacek is a Partner and Managing Director in the Chicago office of The Boston Consulting Group. During her 10+ years at BCG, Gabrielle has focused her work on organizational issues within the consumer goods industry, and is an expert on topics of organization and operating model design, agile ways of working, strategic workforce planning, and change management. During her time at BCG, Gabrielle has lead numerous wide-scale, end-to-end organizational change efforts. These efforts have taken place in a broad range of strategic contexts, including post-merger integration, de-merger and spin-off, cost restructuring to protect against activist investors, and strategic reorganization to enable transformative growth.
In addition to her work on organizational topics, Gabrielle serves as BCG's North America topic leader on digital transformation in the consumer packaged goods industry. In this role, she helps guide companies through the articulation and implementation of their commercial and operational digital strategies. She also co-leads BCG's strategic digital partnership with the Grocery Manufacturers of Association (GMA) and serves as a key contributor to BCG's intellectual capital and publication agenda on digital topics.
Inside BCG, Gabrielle invests significant time advancing the firm's diversity agenda, serving as the global lead for the BCG LGBT Network and as a member of the North America Diversity Council.
Prior to coming to BCG, Gabrielle earned a BA Magna Cum Laude from Harvard College and a PhD with honors in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Her research focused upon the impact of social, cultural, and organizational norms upon economic behavior and socio-cultural development. In her free time she is a three-time Ironman Triathlon finisher and avid skier, and enjoys spending time with her wife Nicole and their two very tiny dogs.
Christy O'Gaughan is the Head of Customer and Market Insights for Roche France. She is an accomplished leader, with 20 years’ experience driving profitable business growth through the strategic use of data and analytics. Her team is responsible for all Commercial analytics at Roche France, which includes forecasting, market research, promotional effectiveness, and resource allocation. Prior to this role, Christy was the Senior Director of Marketing Science at Genentech. In that role, her 60-person team leveraged advanced analytics to guide resource allocation decisions. She also led the creation of a Big Data analytical platform for Genentech, which will be used to generate deeper insights. Across her roles, Christy is known to create a culture and an environment that develops strategic thought partners and business leaders.
She has also held a variety of leadership roles for Genentech’s LGBT employee resource group gPride and Out & Equal’s San Francisco regional affiliate, as well as served on the board of a non-profit focused on the health of the Philadelphia LGBT community. Christy has also spoken at a variety of conferences, including ROMBA and Lesbians Who Tech. Prior to Genentech, she worked as a Senior Statistician at IMS Health, the University of Pennsylvania, and Campbell Soup Company. Christy holds an MBA/MS in Healthcare Management and Healthcare Finance, as well as a Masters in Statistics from Temple University. She received her BA in Mathematics from Rowan University. Christy recently moved from San Francisco to Paris with her wife Melissa.
Corbin Petro is the CEO and Co-Founder of Eleanor Health, a comprehensive, evidence-based outpatient services platform for opioid and other substance use disorders. Eleanor provides value-based, tech-enabled services including medication, therapy, and recovery services in outpatient clinics and through community-based teams. The business offers a sustainable path to recovery by addressing behavioral and social determinants of substance abuse in tandem with medical needs.
Previously, Petro was the founding CEO and President of Benevera Health, a first-of-its-kind payer/provider joint venture (JV) encompassing two businesses: Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare’s New Hampshire insurance business and a newly formed population health services company. Petro has an extensive background in healthcare including as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Massachusetts Department of Medicaid (MassHealth), a $13 billion agency providing health care to 1.4 million Massachusetts residents, advising a US Senator on health reform, and roles at Bain and Company, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte Consulting, and American Management Systems.
Petro was honored as one of fifteen healthcare executives under 40 named a 2018 Up and Comer by Modern Healthcare. She received a BA from Yale University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is married, has two sons, and resides in the greater Boston area.
Jared is a Vice President with DWS Group, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, where he focuses on private direct investing out of the firm’s Alternatives division, based in New York. A member of the Sustainable Investments team, Jared has experience originating, underwriting, and managing investment positions in a variety of businesses and assets across clean technology, renewable energy, and social enterprise. Prior to DWS, Jared was a member of the Investment Banking Division of Deutsche Bank, where he focused on the Metals & Mining sector within the firm’s Natural Resources Group. Jared began his career at Bloomberg LP, where he focused on fixed income clients and functionality.
Jared served as a member of the 2010 Reaching Out Student Organizing Committee, and his volunteer experience includes organizations like StreetWise Partners and the Trevor Project in New York. Jared has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from Willamette University.
Monne Williams is an Associate Partner in McKinsey & Company's Atlanta office. As part of the McKinsey Transformation practice, she has led multiple full-scale transformation efforts across industries. Monne focuses on driving performance sustainability through organizational behavior change and capability building. She has developed enterprise-wide capability building solutions and also works closely with executive teams to improve how effectively they work together during transformations.
Prior to business school and McKinsey, Monne served as Marketing Manager for the Boston Red Sox, where she built the team’s social media presence and led the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Monne earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and has a dual Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and African & African American Studies from Duke University.
She resides in Atlanta with her wife, Donna-Marie.
John M. Witherington is a Director in the Markets Division of Wells Fargo Securities. Based in Charlotte, NC, John is the head of the Residual Trading Desk, which trades residual bonds of both residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities. John joined Wells Fargo in Asset-Backed Finance origination immediately after graduating from Duke University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Economics in 2003.
John previously was one of the Diversity Chairs for Wells Fargo Securities as an executive member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for over 7 years. John also designed and co-founded the global Ally Engagement Program for Wells Fargo’s enterprise PRIDE Team Member Network. In addition to LGBT initiatives at work, John’s leadership includes campus recruiting, employee engagement, and mentorship.
After serving as its national board chair for 3.5 years, John now sits on the national Advisory Board of Campus Pride, which is the nation’s leading nonprofit focused on creating safe and LGBT inclusive university campuses. In 2015, John founded The Gold District of Charlotte, a nonprofit focused on neighborhood and economic development, which has re-zoned and transformed an under-utilized neighborhood near Uptown Charlotte. As a patron of the arts, John has served on the executive committee of the Charlotte Arts and Science Council’s Young Donor Society, and he was chairman and founding board member of the NODA School of Arts, a Charlotte-based nonprofit that provides arts education to underserved youth. John has also served as the president of Charlotte Succession, a highly selective, membership-based nonprofit organization committed to community outreach and leadership development for its 65 members. Prior to joining the Board of Directors of Reaching Out, John was a member of Reaching Out’s Advisory Board.
Hannah is an Associate Partner with McKinsey, splitting her time between McKinsey’s Minneapolis and New York offices. Hannah is a global leader within McKinsey’s Retail practice where she loves to help clients achieve sustained success with their strategic growth goals. Originally from Los Angeles, Hannah went east to Smith College where she majored in Economics and English. From there, she headed back west to California where she spent 4+ years at Google working with Retail companies to maximize their e-commerce performance while bridging to offline results. Hannah headed back east to Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth where she joined McKinsey full-time and hasn’t looked back. As the former President of Reaching Out’s Board and current active board member, Hannah has helped establish a organizational goal to increase visibility and create opportunities for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in business graduate programs and in the greater business community. Hannah has been part of the Reaching Out organization for 6+ years when she first volunteered with the organization as a member of the 2012 ROMBA conference organizing committee. Hannah welcomes any and all conversations about the organization, as well as the broader community, and thanks you for your continued support of Reaching Out.
Head of Strategy Committee
Liz Zale is a Managing Director based in the New York office of Sard Verbinnen & Co., a global strategic communications firm. She advises senior leadership and board directors of public and private companies and educational institutions on communications strategy for high-profile situations including crisis management, mergers and acquisitions, litigation support, cybersecurity incident preparedness and
response, executive transitions, and shareholder activism defense. Liz has expertise in investor relations, public relations, digital marketing and social media, corporate affairs, corporate social responsibility and ESG, and diversity and inclusion.
Liz earned a B.A. magna cum laude from Middlebury College and M.B.A from Columbia Business School. Liz was a founding board member of Third Wave Foundation and served as an independent director on the board of the A.K. Rice Institute. She is a longtime activist for LGBTQ+ and women’s equality, and helped create or lead LGBTQ+ and women’s employee groups and changes to culture and policies at
Time Inc., Moody’s Corporation (where she co-founded the LGBT ERG, served as its executive sponsor and was a member of the Diversity Council), and Nielsen (where she was a member of the LGBT ERG and was appointed to the Global Nielsen Cares Council). She co-founded the LGBT alumni group at Middlebury College, was an active member of Columbia Business School’s Cluster Q, and was the first
female co-chair of the Reaching Out MBA conference, organized in 2000 by Columbia and Wharton.