Center for Leadership

PRESS RELEASE: Women in Leadership Panel Brings Top Female Executives to Neumann University

January 27th, 2020

Program will bring together leading women in the local non-profit,

government, and private sectors

ASTON, PA – The Neumann University Center for Leadership today announced details on its next public program, Women in Leadership, set for Thursday, February 13, on the campus of Neumann University in Aston, PA.  The program will bring together a number of high-profile female executives from across the region, who will share details on their path to success, challenges they face, and finding mutual support amongst an evolving workplace.

The focus of the program will be to help executives and aspiring leaders, both male and female, to expand their influence and increase their visibility by providing a forum where individuals can unite, network, and leverage best practices with a group of their peers.  Featured speakers include Leslie Richards, general manager, SEPTA; Donna Crilley Farrell, vice president of corporate communications, Independence Blue Cross; Angela Wilsey, managing director, global head of financial information reporting solutions, JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Ryan Hammond, executive director, Eagles Autism Challenge; and Jennifer Opdahl, owner and designer, Powerbeads by Jen.

“While opportunity is abundant, aspiring and even established women leaders are facing more challenges than ever in the modern workplace,” said Danielle McNichol, director of the Neumann Center for Leadership. “That’s why it is so important for us to bring together this highly accomplished group of executives to share their personal story, and hopefully inspire others to strive for the highest levels of personal and professional success.  We are so thrilled to have this opportunity to connect with our community and further elevate all women leaders.”

This event will be held at Neumann University’s Meagher Theatre, located within the Thomas A. Bruder, Jr. Life Center (Building #3 on the Campus Map

The program is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required.  Attendees can receive Continuing Legal Educational credits and Human Resources Professional credits (HRCI). Individuals can pre-register at:

Speaker Bios:

Donna Crilley Farrell:

Donna is vice president of Corporate Communications for Independence Blue Cross. In this role, Farrell leads the team responsible for media relations, executive communications, and corporate branding. She most recently served as executive director of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015. Prior to her role with the World Meeting of Families, Farrell served as manager of External Affairs for Independence. In addition, she spent more than a decade in communications roles at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia – serving as director of communications from 2005-2012. She started her career at NBC News in New York, and was a television reporter for WB17. Farrell is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Communications.

Leslie Richards:

Leslie Richards is the 11th General Manager of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).  Prior to being named General Manager, Ms. Richards served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  A recognized leader in transportation and planning, Ms. Richards also previously served as Chair of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, chair of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and as a member of the SEPTA Board.  Prior to her public service, she worked in the private sector as a senior project manager for environmental and civil engineering firms.

Ms. Richards earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and urban studies from Brown University, and a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.  She has three children and lives with her husband in Montgomery County.

Angela Wilsey:

Angela is a Finance Operations Executive in JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s Corporate function.  Over the last 8 years, Angela has held various roles working extensively with Regulatory agencies and across all lines of business focused on financial reporting and analytics, issue remediation and process transformation.  Prior to joining JP Morgan Chase & Co., Angela worked in Public Accounting for EY and KPMG respectively leading large scale advisory engagements and regulatory reviews. Angela is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA and B.S. in Accounting and Finance from West Chester University.  Angela serves on the JPMC Hispanic Executive Forum Board, is an Executive Sponsor for Women on the Move and is passionate about cultivating and mentoring people along their life journey

Ryan Hammond:

Ryan is the Executive Director of the Eagles Autism Foundation. In just two short years under Hammond’s leadership, the Eagles Autism Foundation has raised over $7M with 100% supporting autism research and care, and led multiple inclusion efforts around employment and fan engagement within the Philadelphia Eagles organization.  She previously served as the Executive Director of the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University. A native of Delaware County, Hammond received a Bachelor of Science degree from Neumann University and holds an Executive MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.

Jennifer Opdahl:

Jen Opdahl is owner and designer of Powerbeads by jen, a line of handmade, unique jewelry that merges the powers of vintage blessed medals with natural gemstone beads that have holistic meanings such as healing, forgiveness and calming. PowerBeads by jen can be found in over 100 boutiques across the country and are regularly featured on QVC and Coldwater Creek catalogs and stores. They are the official bracelet of the Philadelphia Eagles Autism Challenge, Beau Biden Foundation, The Kinney Center for Autism Research, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Connect Thru Cancer and The Sonderhouse.

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