Ascend: Empowering Students for Success

The ASCEND Speaker Series is designed to empower students in cultivating a repertoire of business acumen, while also fostering the expansion of their communal network encompassing both their peers and accomplished professionals. Through these engaging sessions, attendees are poised to refine their skill set and amplify their understanding of these pivotal domains. We invite you to join us in this intellectually stimulating journey of growth and enrichment.

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Aisha Ortiz: Define and Create Your Personal Brand

Aisha Ortiz is an experienced HR executive with over 15 years of experience as a recruiter and HR business partner for Fortune 500 companies in various industries including financial services, healthcare, not-for-profit and marketing and advertising.

As the founder and career coach of Aisha Ortiz Consulting, she helps early to mid-level professionals gain career clarity, build their confidence and create customized strategies to navigate their job-search to new-hire journey.

A forever learner and student, Aisha obtained her master of science in organizational management and human resources development from Manhattanville College, certifications in leadership talent optimization from Cornell University; diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace from the University of South Florida; and Employing Abilities at Work and Veterans at Work from the SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) Foundation in addition to being SHRM certified – SHRM-CP.

Abby McCloskey: Personal Finance and Budget

Abby McCloskey has been with Affinity Wealth Management since 2018, and it was a natural fit from the start. Her passion lies in building relationships with clients and their families by figuring out what matters most to them personally, professionally, and financially. In doing so, she helps them reach their goals through proper investing, along with holistic and individual financial planning. In 2020, she obtained her Certified Financial Planner® designation, which reinforces the idea of looking at the entire financial picture.

Lovely Lacey: Leadership and Communication

Lovely Lacey is a community organizer, communications director, and full spectrum doula. Lovely is a founding member and the communication director of Black Mothers in Power – a grassroots community organization that exists to eradicate Black maternal/child health disparities in the state of Delaware. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware and has taught leadership courses for the UD Scholars Program – a pre-college initiative at the University of Delaware. She’s conducted research on the incidence rates of Black breastfeeding and chest feeding at the University of Delaware. She has led lobbying efforts for implementation of the Midwifery Model of Care in Delaware hospital settings, Medicaid coverage of midwives and doulas for low-income birthing people, and expanding access to abortion and alternative birthing settings.


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