2017 SUNY New Paltz Women's Leadership Summit

2017 SUNY New Paltz Women's Leadership Summit
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School of Business

Michele (Shelly) Farro '89

Project Engineering Senior Manager, Lockheed Martin

Major: Business Administration

Michele (Shelly) Farro is currently a project engineering senior manager at Lockheed Martin, in charge of rotary and mission systems (RMS), specifically production operations. Although her home office is in Owego, NY, her responsibilities include all production operations facilities within RMS. In this capacity, she has overall responsibility for the logistics infrastructure systems supporting RMS, systems applications and products (SAP); compliance to materials management and accounting systems (MMAS) and, operations excellence teaming.  

Shelly is a native of upstate New York (Binghamton and Vestal), who holds an associate’s degree in science from SUNY Broome and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from SUNY New Paltz. She has been employed at International Paper, IBM, and Lockheed Martin. In that past two decades, she has focused her career on the deployment of SAP for both IBM and Lockheed Martin, beginning as a subject matter expert and then increasing her responsibility to deployment lead, and currently functional lead, working directly for the vice president of production operations. She has returned to New Paltz post-graduation for her induction into the Athletic Hawk Hall of Fame in 1997, and was the first recipient of the Carol Eckman Award in 2002.  

Shelly currently resides in Vestal, NY with her husband, son, and daughter. She volunteers a large percentage of her time and enjoys giving back to her community. Shelly also coaches her daughter’s 12U travel softball team, and is very active in her church, teaching religious education for over a decade.  


Erin Hennessy

Attorney and Partner, Bracewell LLP

Major: English Literature, Political Science *


Erin Hennessy is a partner at Bracewell LLP, where she is the head of the firm’s trademark and copyright practice. Her practice focuses on trademark law, copyright law, and internet and social media issues, spanning many industries including media, publishing, technology, retail, fashion, and financial services. Erin counsels clients on all aspects of internet protocol with a particular emphasis on supporting legal, business, and marketing teams with branding issues facing their businesses. She handles worldwide trademark matters including trademark counseling, protection and enforcement. She has worked on various policy issues such as the launch of the new generic top-level domains, trademark dilution, and cyber-squatting. She has served as lead trademark counsel on major corporate transactions such as the $9.6 billion spin-off of Time Warner Cable from Time Warner Inc. and the $2.6 billion divestiture of Warner Music Group. Prior to joining Bracewell, she was a partner at K&L Gates LLP in Seattle, WA and was the assistant general counsel and chief trademark counsel for Time Warner Inc.


Erin holds a Juris Doctor degree from Widener University Law School (Harrisburg, PA) and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). She is the wife of Colonel Joseph D. Davidson ’90, a graduate of SUNY New Paltz, and mom to their Brittany Spaniel, Stryker.


Sandra J. Jackson '86

Vice President of Diversity and Employee Engagement, Covanta Energy

Major: Business Administration


Sandra J. Jackson is the vice president of diversity and employee engagement at Covanta Energy, the world’s leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. She believes that “the success of an organization is contingent upon the engagement level of their employees.” During her 20+ year career at Covanta, where she held progressively responsible roles in human resources, Sandra exhibits strong leadership and strategic planning and execution ability as she helps Covanta navigate through their changing organizational needs. In her role, Sandra provides vision and guidance to business leaders in the areas of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, mergers and acquisitions, and leadership development.


Sandra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with a concentration in marketing, from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master of Science degree in organizational development from Fordham University. In addition, she is a certified senior human resources professional and a certified diversity professional. Sandra is a board member of Grace Smith House, in Poughkeepsie, NY, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Jennifer Naylor

Senior Consultant, Motts Point Consulting

Major: Classics, Art History *


A technology strategist with a broad background in business-to-business collaboration technologies, product innovation and refinement and growth strategy, Jennifer Naylor has consulted on a range of strategic areas from governance to business development to product innovation and launch. A trusted advisor to many executives, she has worked on a broad range of projects, lending an unorthodox approach to business development, risk management and growth. She is president of the board of Women’s Studio Workshop; and sits on the advisory boards of The Omega Institute and the School of Computing and Engineering at New York Institute of Technology, where she is the only liberal arts major.


A two-time Fulbright scholar to Egypt, Jennifer earned a PhD from New York University. She has a bachelor’s degree from Colby College, Waterville, Maine where she graduated cum laude with distinction, and received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for research in the Mediterranean. She likes global politics, feminism, and art; governance, cyber security, and data privacy are recent areas of professional focus. She tweets @jtnaylor.


*non SUNY New Paltz alumna


Ita Rahilly

Partner, RBT CPAs LLP

Major: Accounting *


Ita Rahilly is a partner in the tax department of RBT CPAs LLP, formerly known as Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell LLP. While involved with all areas of tax, Ita’s specialized knowledge is in the estate, trust, and gift arena.


Ita is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and has over 25 years of extensive public accounting experience. She is an active member in both the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). She currently serves NYSSCPA as a member of the Finance Committee and chair of the Investment Sub-Committee. She previously served as the chair of the Member Relations Committee and the Trust and Estate Administration Committee. Ita just finished serving four years as a member of the AICPA’s Governing Council. She is a past president of the Mid-Hudson chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs, a past vice president of NYSSCPA, as well as a past board member of the statewide organization. Former AICPA service included being a member of the AICPA Trust, Estate and Gift Technical Resource Panel and former chair of the AICPA’s Portability Task Force. Ita is a current member of the Hudson Valley Estate Planning Council’s Board of Directors and a former president of the organization.


Ita is a graduate of the Leadership Dutchess program who is and has been active in many community organizations including Mount Saint Mary College, where she served as a board member, former vice chair, former chair of the Audit Committee, former chair of the Investment Sub-Committee, and former member of the Finance Committee and Academic and Faculty Affairs Committee. She has also served as a past president of the Notre Dame Club of the Mid-Hudson Valley, and as a past treasurer of the organization, and as former board member and former chair of the Audit Committee of Families First New York.


Ita lives in Stormville, NY with her husband, Louis Fish.


*Non-SUNY New Paltz alumna