Women's Leadership Initiative

Group of undergraduate women at Fisher College of Business

The Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) is an opportunity for undergraduate women at Fisher to cultivate relational leadership skills and build social capital by providing curated events with a clear focus on connectivity, confidence and community. WLI events foster an inclusive and uplifting environment that helps women at Fisher to navigate their academic career and beyond.

Women's Leadership Initiative Dinner

On March 26, 2020, the Women's Leadership Initiative will host our inaugural dinner at the Fawcett Center from 6:30pm – 9:00pm. The dinner will launch our ongoing series for women at Fisher and is an opportunity for students to connect with local female leaders who have successfully navigated leadership challenges.

Female leaders at the inaugural dinner include:

  • Cynthia Turner, Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Fisher College of Business
    Dr. Cynthia Turner


    Cynthia W. Turner currently serves on the leadership team at Fisher College as the Assistant Dean and Chief Diversity Officer. As a faculty member in the Accounting & MIS Department, she teaches courses in cost and managerial accounting, and accounting and information systems in the undergraduate and MAcc programs. Further, she teaches in the executive education program at Fisher College. As a researcher, Cynthia's scholarly work has been in the Journal of Accounting Research and the International Journal of Accounting.

    In 2016, Cynthia created Project THRIVE, a diversity initiative designed to increase the underrepresented minority talent within the undergraduate program in the accounting and MIS department. In 2018, she was honored for her success in doubling the diversity within the undergraduate program in two short years, and was awarded the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award by the university.  

    Prior to beginning her academic career, she was a practicing accountant at EY. Cynthia is a certified public accountant and member of the American Accounting Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Association of Black Accountants.

  • Paula Bennett, Former CEO of J. Jill
    Paula Bennett


    As a marketing professional with proven leadership experience, Paula Bennett has shaped the retail landscape as a visionary at some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Tiffany & Co., Calvin Klein, Eileen Fisher, and, most recently, J.Jill. At J.Jill, where she served as president and CEO, Bennett helped lead the company through a number of transformational changes, including two sales to private equity firms and an initial public offering in 2017. 

    Bennett has long been an advocate and supporter of business education at The Ohio State University. As an undergraduate student, she was one of only seven women in a class of 234 undergraduate business students. That disparity, however, did little to dampen her enthusiasm and passion for marketing. Years later, Bennett established an endowed scholarship fund that, since 2015, has supported 20 students studying retail and multi-channel marketing.

    At The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business (Fisher), Bennett is a trusted member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, which provides the college and its leadership with valuable insights and strategic direction to help Fisher deliver on its purpose of creating ideas, encouraging scholars, and developing leaders who positively impact their community and our world.

  • Jan Allen, Life Strategist and Executive Coach
    Jan Allen


    Executive coach, successful entrepreneur, speaker, author and veteran of government and politics, Jan Allen is a catalyst and innovator. She spurs leaders, leadership teams and entrepreneurs of all ages to take bold action and achieve breakthrough results. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in social work and a juris doctor from the Moritz College of Law, all from The Ohio State University. Jan is certified as a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation. She is also a graduate of Coach U. and the Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio’s three-year postgraduate training for therapists. 

  • Tiffany Stubbs, Exec Director AML/KYC at JP Morgan Chase 
    Tiffany Stubbs


    An alum of The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, Tiffany Stubbs is the Executive Director of AML/KYC at JPMorgan Chase & Co. A Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner, Tiffany previously worked for the Department of Justice and Ernst & Young.

  • Rhonda Talford Knight, President & Founder at Knight Consulting Group, LLC
    Rhonda Talford Knight, PhD


    Rhonda is the founder and CEO of The Knight Consulting Group, LLC. As a consultant and a small business owner, she believes in building relationships, understanding who her clients are and learning about their specific needs in order to provide them with the best service. Rhonda and her team are passionate about people and they are committed to supporting inclusion in the workplace, which helps drive retention, engagement, and supports recruitment. She has developed a model, ROAD to Retention® to support this work.  

    Rhonda has 20 years of experience in diversity, equity, and inclusion work and is considered an expert in the field. She works with companies small and large, public and private to build and implement strategies to support diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces and the communities they serve. Coupled with understanding the client, Rhonda also uses data and metrics and leading best practices, to develop strategies that support “the people” needs of an organization. Whether she is providing executive coaching, building strategy or implementing leading best practices, Rhonda is committed to success with and for her clients.  

    Rhonda holds a master’s degree with an endorsement in technology and a doctoral degree in Social Studies and Global Education, both from The Ohio State University. She spends some of her spare time serving on the board of ​The Childhood League Center and as the board treasurer for the ​Women’s Small Business Accelerator​. A few of her most recent acknowledgments include, in 2019, receiving the ​Pacesetter Award from her undergraduate alma mater, Otterbein University​, also in 2019 Rhonda was invited to join an elite group on Forbes Coaches Council and in 2018 was named ​Women Worth Watching in Diversity Journal​. She is the proud mother of two strong, intelligent and entrepreneurial minded teenage girls. 

*Limited spaces are available. Register now to reserve your seat!

Register for the inaugural Women's Leadership Initiative dinner