Get to Know

Our Speakers

Kristen Jacks

Kristen Jacks is a financial educator and author of the book, Money in Your Twenties. Locally, Kristen runs the Investing Discussion Group at Greenwich Library. Kristen studied financial planning at Boston University’s Center for Professional Education. She started her career at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine and later worked at Mutual Funds Magazine. Kristen is a graduate of Duke University.

Kristen Jacks Headshot
The Empowerment & Adventure Program

Jeanine Jackson

Jeanine Careri Jackson has been a licensed Avatar ® Master and coach of personal development, belief management, and consciousness training since 2012. She holds a BA in Philosophy with a minor in general science and attended Medical School at the University of Florence in Italy. Ms. Jackson left medicine to pursue other interests, including wellness and fine art. She is the founder and President of The Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, CT Ambassador for The Portrait Society of America, and serves on the advisory board of the Greenwich Arts Council.

Jeanine Jackson's inspiration continues to be fueled by her three passions: art, science, and spirit.

Marcia O'Kane

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the civic, finance, and social organization industries. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Entrepreneurship, Event Management, Consulting, and Volunteer Management. Strong business development professional with an MBA in Business & Management from Boston University. Demonstrated ability to turn around organizations in all facets of operations, administration, public relations, marketing, and finance. Oversight and mentoring to over 500 diverse businesses. Creative input and originator of over thirty target-marketed programs and events yearly. Creator of the highly successful Women Who Matter luncheon series profiling inspiring and prominent women in business.

Marcia O'Kane
Dr. Abigail Smith

Dr. Abigail Smith

Abigail Smith, PT, DPT, SCS is the founder of Forward Motion Physical Therapy, LLC. She will speak on opportunities for Women in Science and Women in Physiology. She graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Slippery Rock University. At completion of these studies, she was the recipient of the excellence in research award from the Slippery Rock University. Her undergraduate studies were completed at Pennsylvania State University to which she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, movement science while participating as a student athlete. Dr. Smith was one of the two first females in the state of CT to be awarded board certification for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists in Sports Physical Therapy in 2012. Dr. Smith has been an adjunct professor at Norwalk Community College to which she taught Kinesiology and Principles of Therapeutic Exercise. She has also completed multiple lectures across the country representing the Sports Academy during the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting. Currently she teaches, and co-authored the Emergency Response for Athletes course, to physical therapists, athletic trainers and medical doctors across the country for Cogent Steps, LLC (Preferred Provider of APTA Sports Academy).

Specialties / Interests:

  • Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy
  • Runners, endurance and multi-sport athletes, Adolescent, College and Pro athletes
  • Emergency Response to Athletes, Sideline/Venue coverage
  • Graston Technique, Kinesiotaping, Maitland’s Manual Mobilization Therapy


  • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
  • Academy for Sports Physical Therapy
  • Academy for Sports Physical Therapy, Special Interest Groups: Running
  • American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS)
  • Connecticut Physical Therapy Association (CPTA)
  • Cogent Steps, LLC, Instructor
  • American Red Cross Instructor, EMR, BLS, First Aid, CPR

Helen Grace

Local Small Business Owner. Former American Express Executive. President, BNI Greenwich. Experienced corporate speaker.

  • After the devastating loss of her mother in 1988, Helen went on to gain a first class honors graduate degree at the globally recognized Exeter University majoring in Economics.
  • As a young child, Helen was shy and did not feel capable of big achievements.

Helen will speak about harnessing the power from trauma as a secret weapon, used correctly it will create the empowerment that you deserve.

  • In Helen's story, she will share how she went on to build a career a highly successful 25 year career within American Express in UK and USA and including climbing to Mount Everest Basecamp (18,000 feet) in 2008.
  • Promoted to Multinational Account Manager, at 24 y/o, gained important skills in negotiation of high profile multinational commercial contracts
  • Promoted again, as the youngest female Director UK Corporate Sales team at 29 years old. She honed valuable skills in leadership, motivation and high impact presentations
  • She went on to be the only female business executive responsible for American Express Foreign Exchange & Prepaid Card businesses. A complex and traditionally male-dominated business - responsible for more than 1,250 employees, and a revenue of more than $8BN.
  • Helen will speak about the importance of self-reliance and how she used this to relocate her entire family from UK to Greenwich in 2011. She went on to buy a local community business which she works on full time now. She became a citizen of the USA in 2023 and uses her spare time to give back to her community.
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Monica Concha

Monica Concha

Monica has been a Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor for 15 years, the last 6 of which she spent as a Personal Training Manager. As of this July, Monica was promoted as the Brand Ambassador for Chelsea Piers, LLC. Her experience and reputation in the various modalities within the fitness industry has led her to be the “go-to” in everything fitness.

Denise Groothius

  • Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition
  • Registered Dietitian (RD)
  • Functional/Integrative Dietitian
  • Focus on Gut and Brain Health
  • CHC clinic, private practice
  • Personal Trainer for Special Needs – Fit4 All NY, White Plains
Our Team Headshot Denise Groothius
Leora Navy Suit - Smile - Crossed Arms

Leora Levy

Leora Levy is proud to serve as the Republican National Committeewoman for the State of Connecticut since 2016. Leora was born in Havana, Cuba and escaped Castro’s Communist Revolution with her family in 1960. She was honored to be nominated by President Donald Trump to be the US Ambassador to Chile in October of 2019.

Leora has always felt that her life has been a blessed one. The driving principles of her life have been inspired by the concept of “tikkun olam,” “to repair the world: to raise her sons well, to give back to her community and to her country for those blessings from which she has benefited.” The United States has been a haven and heaven for her family.

Leora has served as Finance Chair for the most recent gubernatorial campaigns in Connecticut, for Tom Foley (2014) and Bob Stefanowski (2018), as well as for the Connecticut Republican Party from 2013 to 2015. She has helped Republicans in Connecticut and nationwide for over forty years, and has served on the Finance Committees for the RNC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Leora has hosted and organized events for Republican Party organizations and candidates from around the country, welcoming many of our Republican national leaders to her home in Greenwich.

Leora has supported our active duty military and veterans as a Director of Soldier Strong which provides exo-skelton suits for paralyzed veterans, enabling them to stand up and to walk, and through her support for ECAD, an organization that trains and provides service dogs for our veterans. In 2009, she also organized a project to furnish the first two MTBI clinics for our wounded soldiers in Afghanistan at Bagram Air Force Base and in a remote Afghan location.

Leora graduated from Brown University (A.B. International Relations) in 1978 and was a trader at Phibro Salomon, one of only a handful of women worldwide in that position at the time. Leora and her husband, Steven, have lived in Greenwich for 34 years and have raised three sons and seven dogs there.

Pascale Butcher

As the founder of Trifitness, a coaching, training and events management company established 16 years ago, I work with athletes at all levels on strategy, sports psychology, race tactics and nutritional advice. I started my career as an accountant at PwC and a financial recruiter for the banking industry in London, UK and found my calling as a coach and large scale events manager through a desire to help others by sharing my life long passion for exercise and fitness.

Specialties: Triathlon coaching, full life cycle race and events director managing all aspects from event conception, planning, marketing, research, administration, accounting, sales, sponsor selection, community engagement, volunteer sourcing and hiring, volunteer coordination and fundraising. Public speaker and announcer at all events.

Pascale Ledeuil Butcher