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Lean In Panel November 12 th , 2013. Meet the Panelists!. IN. LOCAL. Ellen Castro. In the 1970’s, she was the highest ranking woman in Marketing and led a $90M profit center (500 employees, 55 service stations) for Exxon, the first woman to successfully complete !.

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lean in panel november 12 th 2013

Lean In PanelNovember 12th, 2013

Meet the Panelists!



ellen castro
Ellen Castro

In the 1970’s, she was the highest ranking woman in Marketing and led a $90M profit center (500 employees, 55 service stations) for Exxon, the first woman to successfully complete!

Ellen has an Ed.M. from Harvard University and an BBA and an MBA from Southern Methodist University where she served on the faculty of the Business Leadership Center at the Edwin Cox School of Business for over 15 years.

She has successfully run her consultancy since 1991 mostly through referrals or repeat business, which consists of clients across 17 industries and 3 continents and is a published author.  

A few clients include: Adobe, Aetna, Allstate, AA,

Ericsson, Verizon Frito-Lay, Mary Kay


Spirited Leadership

52 Ways to Build Trust on the Job




John Ansbach

  • General Counsel
  • General Datatech, L.P. (GDT)
  • Headquartered in Dallas, GDT’s core business is delivering large complex solutions utilizing advanced technologies such as Cisco, EMC, VMware and others to businesses and service providers coast to coast. They currently have 350 employees.

John had an in-flight epiphany after reading the book on a flight to Houston which led to changing his position on a critical employee policy that gave all new parents fully paid maternity leave!

New mothers get 8-10 weeks leave with full salary! Dads, adoptive parents and foster parents (including same-sex couples) get 2 weeks 'bonding time' leave with full salary!

Only 11 percent of all private industry workers in the United States have access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Please see the article below for more reading!





Elizabeth Petruy

A senior at UTD majoring in Political Science and Minoring in Criminology, and fast-tracking into a Master's Degree in Constitutional Law Studies.  

Originally from California, Elizabeth grew up in Florida and came to Texas for college. She is involved in the Pre-Law Society, Delta DeltaDelta (sorority) as the New Member Educator and is the Vice President of the College Panhellenic Council, as well as serving on the Judicial Affairs Committee for the University.

She also works part-time at an investment firm as a "Client Service Specialist" and serves as the social chair for the Dallas Chapter of the Bill Archer Fellowship Alumni Association. Lastly, I'm the treasurer of an honor society for people involved in Greek Life, Order of Omega.  




Kyler Kelly

Kyler is from Amarillo, Texas.

A student at The University of Texas at Dallas studying International Political Economy and Child Development.

She is an executive member of Delta DeltaDelta, Panhellenic Executive Board, and also the Vice President of Order of Omega, an honor society for the top 3% of students in Fraternity and Sorority Life.   

I helped to start another club at UTDallas, International Justice Mission at UT Dallas, an activist group, and a member in Reasonable Faith, an apologetics group.

Furthermore, she volunteers weekly at the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County with the Child Care Department.




Steve Basmajian

  • CEO - Gimme!
  • Steve's a tech entrepreneur that's been working in the Dallas-area for the past 9 years.  His previous experience includes Loudsprout, Inc. working to make cell phone service more affordable through advertising and his current company, Gimme! which is set to launch in South Africa next year.  
  • He has also served as the Creative Lead at Six Flags Entertainment, working on advertising campaigns with companies such as Discover, Kraft, Walgreens and Nokia.  

Gimme! Company Summary:

Gimme! has developed patent-pending solutions for intercepting receipt data sent from the point of sale and modifying the receipt including, but not limited to, adding dynamic graphics and text to the final printed receipt.  This technology opens up new marketing opportunities for merchants and third-party service companies (ie. loyalty programs, B&M marketing platforms) by targeting advertising to consumers based on real-time transaction data.  This data provides additional opportunities to provide in-depth business intelligence and transaction analytics and/or mined in the aggregate and leveraged for further business opportunities.  




Michael Hermens

  • Senior Change Leader

He is an Change Consultant driving change for client’s organizational transformation strategies, technology initiatives and process transformation projects. He coaches and develops leaders to be effective in a mobile, global world.

Michael’s clients include Comerica Bank, Whataburger Inc., Allstate, Telstra, ABN Amro and Lexmark.

Michael has been a consultant for the last 18 years in change management and performance enhancement focusing on process and technology based change.

Michael has his BA in Economics from Eastern Oregon University and MBA in Management from Oregon State University




Amy Cockerham

Founding Partner, Chief Development Officer

at Geode Partners & RiverRockHoldings

Geode is a consulting firm dedicated to venture backed companies and RRH is sell-side representation for exit strategies and a Private Equity holding company

Amy is a senior executive with 24 years of experience in the hi-tech industry. She not only has led large operations in two large public companies, but she also understands the small business start-up ventures as well.

Her strengths lay in understanding tech companies from conception of an idea to liquidity. She has created business strategy with intellectual property, go-to-market programs, and exit strategies for many tech companies.

Amy has a BS and MBA from the University of Denver – Daniels College of Business