Women in Corporate Growth

ACG 101’s Women in Corporate Growth ("WCG") is a small group of professional women located along the 101 corridor who work for or provide services to companies in the middle to upper middle market.

WCG meets quarterly to discuss current topics related to private equity and investment banking transactions, to build relationships, and to recognize the achievements of local female executives.

In addition, WCG encourages a practice of mentoring the next generation of executives and service providers, helping up-and-coming professionals to build relationships, learn best practices, and strengthen their referral network.

WCG Committee Members 
Nicole (Carnation) Grolman, Director, M&A Capital (Chair)
Sally Aubury, Partner, Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein 
Elsa Reyna Burton, Senior Vice President, Bank Leumi USA
Cornelia Cheng, Vice President, Prudential Capital Group
Kristin Rasmussen, Senior Tax Manager, Crowe Horwath, LLP
Carol (Suruki) Carmany, Partner, Moss Adams
Lisa N. Murgia, Vice President & Regional Sales Manager, Wells Fargo Bank
Melissa Fulmer, Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank

Past WCG Events

January 19, 2017 Luncheon:  Baby and Children's Products Panel
The 2017 Women in Corporate Growth Annual Luncheon featured a panel of leaders in the Baby and Children's Products sector. 

Speakers included:

  • DeNai Jones, Founder and Designer, Petunia Pickle Bottom. Her company, based in Ventura, has been bringing style and sophistication to the world of modern motherhood since 2000. Its line includes diaper bags, backpacks, shoulder bags, travel bags, satchels and totes.
  • Katie Richardson, Founder of Puj. Pronounced "Pudge," Puj was founded by designers Katie and Ben with four kids of their own, with the goal of simplifying parenthood through great product design. The Vancouver, WA-based company makes soft infant tubs, infant and toddler towels, hangable kid cups, bath spout covers and more.
  • Jennifer Saxton, Founder & CEO of Tot Squad. Her startup, based in Los Angeles, has raised over $1.4M from angel investors. It provides services for busy parents such as car seat and stroller installation, cleaning and repairs, in partnership with retailers. Tot Squad recently opened its first franchise and is about to launch a program with car seat safety affiliates in 40 states.

Our moderator was Heather Smith Thorne, Managing Director, Swander Pace Capital.

  • Heather joined Swander Pace Capital in 2010, where she manages the private equity firm’s investments in a number of consumer goods companies, including Aden & Anais, Inc., which markets blankets for infants and toddlers. Previously she was a Vice President at Thoma Bravo, where she originated and executed leveraged buyouts in consumer products and other sectors. Heather is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Nancy Allen, Executive Director of weSPARK, delivered brief remarks.

  • Nancy Allen was a close friend of Wendi Jo Sperber, who founded weSPARK in 2001 to provide emotional support to those battling cancer and their familes after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nancy first used her worldwide visibility as a screen and theatre actress to help Wendi Jo establish weSPARK, and in 2010 accepted the position of Executive Director.

The luncheon was dedicated to the memory of Anne Gardner. Anne, a beloved member of WCG from her time at from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, lost her fight with cervical cancer in October of 2016. (January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.)


April 19, 2016:  An Evening of Bubbles & Sweets! 

ACG 101’s Women in Corporate Growth presented an invitation-only event with Rosie O’Neill, Co-Founder of the chic, premium candy boutiques Sugarfina.

It was an opportunity to network with other C-level women executives, like-minded entrepreneurs and senior-level professionals while raising money for a great, local cause: Interface Children & Family Services.

This special evening took place at Sugarfina Beverly Hills. Champagne, yummy food and – of course – delicious, gourmet candy were served! 

Rosie O'Neill is an entrepreneur with a major sweet tooth. 
Sugarfina opened its first retail boutique in Beverly Hills in November 2013 and now has 15 stores in major cities across the U.S.

Interface Children & Family Services, established in 1973, is a comprehensive nonprofit social services agency that serves 24,000 individuals annually through seven Ventura County locations.
 


September 30th, 2015: Women In Corporate Growth Annual Luncheon
The 2015 Women in Corporate Growth Annual Luncheon featured a presentation by Karenjo Goodwin, Founder and President of Exact Staff.

Exact Staff has been recognized as an Inc. Magazine 5000 Fastest Growing Company and as one of the Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses in California by the Los Angeles Business Journal. She was named Business Owner of the Year for Ventura County by the National Association of Women Business Owners.  

The Exact Staff team operates with a strong commitment to the community and to public service. All employees get a day off each year to work with a charity of their choice. 

Proceeds from the luncheon benefited Children of The Night, operated by Dr. Lois Lee. 

November 12, 2014: Women In Corporate Growth Luncheon

The 2014 Women In Corporate Growth Annual Luncheon featured outstanding business leaders who discussed their experiences starting and running companies in the Medical Devices, Real Estate and Aerospace & Defense industries.

Our Panelists were:  Alison Perry Bauerlein, Co Founder, Executive Vice President and CFO of Inogen Inc. (Nasdaq GS:  INGN); Trixy Weiss, President and CEO of Gensis Capital LLC; and Leslie King, CEO of King Nutronics CorporationModerating the discussion was Valarie Wright, President of Val Wright Consulting.


April 10, 2014: Women In Corporate Growth Breakfast

Our speaker was Kathy PetersonFounder and President of Koi Design LLC
A former designer for companies ranging from Guess to Carole Little, Kathy founded Koi Design to create scrubs for medical professionals that feature both comfort and style. From the introduction of its first collection in 2007, Santa Monica-based Koi's fashion-forward designs captivated the industry and earned the company a passionate and intensely loyal following. 
As a very hands-on entrepreneur, Kathy has transformed Koi from a small startup into a major player and leading creative force in the industry.

_____________________________________________________

December 10th, 2013: Sara Miller McCune, Founder and Chair of Sage Publications.
Amanda Kimball,  Research Specialist at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, presented an updated California Women Business Leaders study.

May 9, 2013: "There's a New Woman in the Kitchen!" An evening discussion with Dr.Ilana Kukoff, Psychologist, and a Wellness Experience with Registered Dietition Paulette Lambert at the California Health and Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake Village.

November 1, 2012: Noel Irwin Hentschel, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, American Tours International, Inc., and
Amanda Kimball, Research Specialist, University of California Davis

May 1, 2012:  Wine Social, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., Westlake Village Inn

February 21, 2012: Pamela J. Shelley-Kessler, President & Chief Executive Officer, LTC Properties, Inc., and
Wendy L. Simpson, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, LTC Properties, Inc.

December 6, 2011:  Mary Ellen Broganer, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance, Line 6.