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Meet our Speakers

Lucy Brazier is CEO of Marcham Publishing, specialist publishers of Executive Secretary - a global training magazine dedicated to the professional development needs of senior and aspiring administrative professionals. As editor of the magazines, Lucy works with some of the best trainers of Executive Assistants in the world to deliver the most up to date and current training in the market. She campaigns tirelessly for the recognition of the PA role as a profession, speaking regularly to everyone from Blue Chip Executive Assistants on why it is important to become a centre of excellence within your company, to college students on choosing the role of PA as a career choice.

Lucy has a unique overview of the role and where it is heading. With access to the most forward thinking, passionate and knowledgeable trainers in the world as well as personally meeting and speaking to literally thousands of PAs over the last four years, Lucy’s knowledge of the market and what Assistants all over the world are facing on a day to day basis are second to none. Lucy runs a LinkedIn group for assistants which currently has over 32,000 international members who share information, network and learn. She also launched adminchat in January 2012 – a weekly free training session presented on Twitter and hosted by a different world class trainer every week. Now boasting an average of over 2000 attendees a week, adminchat is a manifestation of Lucy’s commitment to providing the very best training to assistants all over the world.

A sought after trainer in her own right, Lucy regularly speaks at and chairs conferences & webinars all over the world. This year alone, as Global Brand Ambassador for the International Year of the Secretary and Assistant, she will have spoken in 25 countries at over 170 events during 2014. She collaborates with trainers including Susie Barron-Stubley, Sue France, Julie Perrine, Melba Duncan, Dewoun Hayes, Eth Lloyd, Dr. Monica Seeley, Marsha Egan, Vickie Sokol Evans, Heather Baker and Bonnie Low Kramen as well as organisations including Pitman, OfficeTeam & Hays. Lucy has been a Publisher and Events Organiser for over 27 years. Lucy has previously worked as a Publishing Director for Wilmington PLC, and has managed a team based in Singapore, New York, Germany & London responsible for 13 magazines, 12 international conferences, awards, trade show attendance and marketing for EMAP. Other companies worked for include The Times, The Independent, Centaur Communications and Glass's Guide.

Carmela Crawford, currently a Leadership Development Executive at ADP Total Source where she is responsible for 2000+ associates, has more than 30 years of experience in human resources, consulting, finance and technology.

Before joining ADP she was Head of Organizational Development at TIAA-CREF. Throughout her years at TIAA-CREF she worked as an internal consultant, Marketing Strategist and as the Director of Talent Management.  and most recently as the Head of Organizational Development. Prior to TIAA-CREF, Ms. Crawford worked as a Managing Consultant at Coopers & Lybrand, advising corporate clients in the higher education, financial services, pharmaceutical, retail and mining industries.

Ms. Crawford has a bachelor’s degree from City University of New York at Queens College and an MBA from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University as well as several Human Resources/Payroll certifications (HSC, PH, CPP.) She is a frequent speaker at regional professional meetings, most recently at the NY Metro American Payroll Association meeting in NYC.

Melba J. Duncan is the Founder and President of The Duncan Group Inc., a retained search and consulting firm. Since 1985, the firm has been advising CEOs and other corporate leaders regarding specialized senior management support resources.  The firm operates on a national basis, and offers expertise in four practice areas: recruitment, organizational consulting, coaching and “executive-level” training for professional assistants. Ms. Duncan is the Founder and CEO of the Duncan Leadership Institute, with academic professionals, which makes available educational programs in highly specialized skills to maximize the capabilities of current and next generation Senior-Level and C-Suite Assistants, and multiple tiers of administrative support staff. 

She is author of How to Succeed in Business as an Executive Assistant (Macmillan, 1990), The New Executive Assistant: Advice for Succeeding as an Executive or Administrative Assistant, (McGraw-Hill, 1997), and The Idiot’s Guide to African American History (Pearson Education, Inc., 2003). Ms. Duncan’s most recent book projects are Indispensability, an overview of career survival strategies in the new economy, and The Handbook of Assistants’ Best Practices, both scheduled to be published in 2016.. She has also authored numerous articles, including The Case for Executive Assistants, featured in the May, 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review.

Since January 2013, Ms. Duncan hosts an internet-based radio program that focuses on the impact of Executive Assistant Leadership.

 An active participant in her field, she is a member of the Seraphic Society.  She is a Vice President of C-Suite Executive Support Professionals (C-SESP), a Not-for-Profit global organization that distinguishes the role of the C-Suite Executive Support Professional as a Strategic Business Partner.  For more information about The Duncan Group Inc., visit

Caroline King is a Senior Vice President at Chubb. Caroline’s experience includes leading senior executive and Board-level strategy, corporate development, strategy and operations, organizational transformation and large-scale integration and project management. Currently an SVP in Global Operations, she has led Global Corporate Strategy and the Corporate Development Group. Caroline focuses on corporate and business unit strategies, merger integration, business development efforts and partners with senior corporate and business unit management to implement those strategies.

Prior to joining Chubb, Caroline served as Managing Director, Global Strategy and Consulting, for American International Group, Inc. and as Partner, Strategy and Operations, at Deloitte Consulting.

Caroline was recognized in a Salute to Women Leaders by The New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO) and Diversity Journal Women Worth Watching. In addition, she sat on the Investment Policy Committee of the Financial Women’s Association (FWA) and has led panels for the Insurance Accounting Systems Association (IASA). Caroline holds a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University.

DeeDee Kramer has more than 20 years of line, staff and management consulting experience to bring to her work with individuals and organizations. She brings a strategic approach to consulting, along with extensive experience in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, organization design and development, and organizational change.

Her work in executive coaching, change management and leadership development span many industries including broadcasting, health care, publishing, energy, technology and financial services. A partial list of her clients includes A&E Television Networks, Pearson, NBC, AMC, Horizon Blue Cross, KPMG, Public Service Electric and Gas, Morris Heights Health Center, and TIAA-CREF.

Beginning her career with the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies and American Broadcasting Companies, Ms. Kramer designed, developed and implemented leadership training programs and managed the performance management and succession planning functions.  She then served as a practice head in the area of organizational design and development and then as a general manager for two national management consulting firms.

Ms. Kramer has done graduate work in organizational psychology at Columbia University.  She has served as an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions at the New School in New York City.  She has also served on many panels and has made presentations to both academic institutions and to human resources professional organizations in the area of leadership and organizational effectiveness.

Russell  Noles was appointed to his current position in February, 2011. He serves as the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, and is responsible for developing and maintaining the company’s enterprise strategy and partnering with the business leaders to build and maintain their strategic plans and drive strategy execution. This includes responsibility for the company’s Corporate Development and Internal Strategy Consulting teams.

Russell’s previous role was Senior Vice President, Trust Products, where he was responsible for leading the company’s Trust Products Division, which included TIAA-CREF Trust Company, F.S.B., Kaspick & Company and the launch of Covariance Capital Management. Russell was appointed to this position in October, 2008.

Previously, Russell served in the role of Senior Vice President, Internal Audit as the company’s Chief Internal Audit Executive with responsibility for the company’s internal audit function in June, 2006.  He was appointed to that position after serving the prior thirteen months as the Acting Chief Financial Officer, where he was responsible for the company’s accounting, finance and actuarial functions.

Russell joined TIAA-CREF in July, 2004 as the Vice President of Internal Audit and Chief Internal Audit Executive and served in that role until May, 2005 when he was appointed to the Acting Chief Financial Officer position.Before TIAA-CREF, Russell spent three years with The St. Paul Companies, a publicly owned Property and Casualty insurance company in St. Paul, Minnesota where he served as the Vice President and Chief Internal Audit Executive. Previously, he spent over seventeen years in the telecommunications industry in a variety of finance and accounting positions; most recently serving as the Vice President and Chief Internal Audit Executive for Qwest Communications, Inc. in Denver Colorado.

Russell holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Denver, and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Eileen Scott is the former CEO of Pathmark Supermarkets.  Upon being named Chief Executive Officer in 2002, she became the first women CEO of a U.S. public Supermarket company as well as one of only seven female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Today she advises companies and organizations on business strategy and organizational effectiveness. 

Eileen is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Perdue Farms, Inc. and serves on the advisory committees of two woman-owned businesses.  She is a past board member of Dollar Tree Stores, the Food Bank for New York City and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Eileen has been an invited speaker at many events and networking functions across various industries in the New York area, including ACG (Association for Corporate Growth) and NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors).   She had the privilege of giving the commencement address to the graduating class at her college alma mater, William Paterson University, and of being the key note speaker to the honors class at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.

Eileen holds a BS in Business Administration from William Paterson University and an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.  

Debbi Shaffer has been an executive assistant for just shy of 20 years now. She stumbled upon her career quite by accident.  Debbi worked in the hospitality industry until September of 1997 when she relocated to San Diego. While looking for her next position, she agreed to help a family friend by being the receptionist at their asset management firm. Within a month Debbi was promoted to support the firm's Vice President. She supported the Vice President for the next 10 years, at two firms and from two coasts. Debbi held some fascinating positions supporting senior executives at architecture, marketing, executive search, and government consulting firms. 

Debbi loves being an executive assistant! She enjoys the fact no two days are alike and that most days present some sort of challenge. Debbie says “knowing how much I'm appreciated is a nice perk of the job. I’ve learned so much from the amazing executives I’ve supported, not just about business, but about the type of person I want to be”

Debbi resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and two cats. In addition to my administrative career, Debbi is the founder of Audacious Divas, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for ongoing cancer research, promoting local programs that educate and support those whose lives are impacted by cancer, and raising awareness. Debbi is a breast cancer survivor, therefore most of her fundraising projects are for breast cancer research & awareness. Debbi’s most successful endeavor to date has been Celtic Pink Ribbon, a series of compilation CDs of Celtic bands and musicians.

Vickie Sokol-Evans, author of the bestselling Microsoft Office “100 Tips” series for PC/Mac, Vickie is a Microsoft Certified Trainer with nearly 20 years of classroom training experience, specializing in the Microsoft, Google and Apple productivity platforms such as Microsoft Office, OneNote, SharePoint, Skype/Lync, Office 365, Google Apps, Gmail, The Cloud, and more!

She travels the globe as a sought-after international speaker delivering live Jerry Maguire-inspired keynote presentations to a variety of audiences; and teaching engaging instructor-led workshops and courses to such major brands as Microsoft, Starbucks, MasterCard, The New York Times, eBay, American Airlines, The Gates Foundation, and most notably, Bill Gates’s Admin Team.

Vickie earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas and holds over 15 Microsoft certifications.

Having studied and performed Improv comedy in New York, Dallas and Austin, Vickie is highly engaging and adaptable during her sessions so that attendees learn MORE than what they expected while having fun in the process.

Caution: There’s a very good chance you will both laugh and cry during one of her sessions. She will.

Loretta Sophocleous | President,  C-Suite Executive Support Professionals has been working at the C-Suite level for over 15 years. Currently, she is the Director of  Executive Office Operations at TIAA-CREF where she reports to the CEO, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.  In this capacity, she provides strategic direction to the Office of the CEO.  Loretta heads the C-Suite team of 15 executive assistants to whom she provides mentoring and guidance.  

She is a member of The Seraphic Society and a founding member of C-SESP.  Prior to TIAA-CREF, she worked for the CEO of Deloitte Consulting in a similar role. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from City University of New York at Queens College and is a certified Insights Discovery facilitator

Ahu Yildirmaz is the head of ADP Research Institute, where she directs economic and human capital management research (HCM).  Dr. Yildirmaz founded the Institute to leverage ADP’s massive set of big data and deep expertise across the entire spectrum of HCM to deliver meaningful insights on the labor market and workforce management. The resulting research has helped illuminate the crucial trends shaping today’s working environments.

In addition to managing the world-renowned ADP National Employment Report®, Dr. Yildirmaz has been responsible for initiating a number of research assets that have come to be relied upon for timely data in the Marketplace.  Among these are the annual ADP Health Benefits Report, which tracks the evolution of the health benefits landscape in the era of the Affordable Care Act and the quarterly ADP Workforce Vitality Report, which offers deep insights into wages and labor market trends beyond employment growth. Dr. Yildirmaz is also responsible for providing ADP’s business units and operations with strategic market insights, and analytics.

Throughout her career, Dr. Yildirmaz has approached her research with a global mindset, having lived and worked in Central Asia and Europe.  Prior to joining ADP in 2011, Dr. Yildirmaz held a number of roles at Johnson & Johnson and AT&T in the areas of strategy, corporate finance and economic research.  She also lectured and taught several macroeconomics and finance classes within the Economics Department at New York University (NYU) and the City University of New York (CUNY).

Dr. Yildirmaz earned a doctorate degree in International Economics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey.