WE Local St. Louis Keynote Speakers

WE Local St. Louis Keynote speakers come from varying backgrounds and experiences. Attendees at Keynote sessions are sure to leave feeling inspired, invigorated and energized.


Wake Up, WE Local

Friday, March 1, 2019, 8:30-9:45 a.m.

Akberet Boykin FarrAkberet Boykin Farr
Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion, Emerson

Akberet Boykin Farr is vice president, diversity and inclusion, for Emerson. She has more than 20 years of experience in human resources, including organizational development, recruitment and retention, benefits administration and legal compliance.

Before joining Emerson, Farr served as vice president of human resources at Nidec Motor Corporation. She is a proud graduate of Saint Louis University where she completed both her graduate and undergraduate studies, earning a doctorate in philosophy, master’s degree in business administration and bachelor’s degree in science.

Dedicated to serving the local St. Louis community, Farr serves on the Board of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and City Academy.


Local Power Hour

Saturday, March 2, 2019, 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Nicole AdewaleNicole Adewale
Co-founder,  ABNA

As a co-founder of ABNA, Nicole is highly involved in the day to day running of ABNA; which has grown from its humble beginnings as a two-person firm to more than 90 professionals and union tradespeople across three offices, performing work in more than 13 states. Nicole began her career at the Illinois Department of Transportation, IDOT, where she was a resident engineer for major roadway and bridge construction projects. Nicole earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a certified LEED® AP.

ABNA provides Structural and Civil Engineering Design Services for civil facilities such as transportation infrastructure, sewer systems and other public utilities. ABNA also provides expertise for industrial, educational, healthcare and commercial projects. Additionally, ABNA provides Surveying, Geotech, Construction Management, Testing & Inspection and GIS/Planning Services for public and private clientele. ABNA has managed multimillion-dollar infrastructure projects in Illinois, worked on the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District’s storm and sanitary systems, the Interstate-64 re-construction, Cross County Metrolink extension, Interstate 55 reconstruction, the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport expansion, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, as well as BJC’s Campus Renewal Project. ABNA also operates a general contracting division focused on the construction of civil infrastructure.

ABNA is known as the “United Nations” of the engineering world; having a staff makeup that is representative of nearly every continent, who speak nearly 20 languages, and represent at least four major faith traditions. ABNA further embraces and supports these diverse populations within the organization by encouraging volunteerism in the community. This active investment includes a host of community organizations including the, National Society of Black Engineers for which ABNA has helped raised over $100,000 for college scholarships, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) where Nicole has worn many hats to assist young people around the globe explore STEM careers through friendly competition and where Nicole has served as an international emcee for five years.

ABNA Engineering Inc. has made the list of Top 25 Engineering Firms by the St. Louis Business Journal for 18 of its 24 years in business and is consistently ranked among the top 25 African American Businesses by the St. Louis American Newspaper and in 2015. Abe and Nicole were named Entrepreneurs of the Year also by the St. Louis American. Nicole has been honored as a volunteer of the year by FIRST LEGO League, St. Louis Business Journals Most Influential Business Women, and Upscale Magazine’s Top 25 Influential People.


WE Achieve Awards Ceremony*

Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Stacey DelVecchioStacey DelVecchio
Product Manager, Caterpillar

Stacey DelVecchio is the Additive Manufacturing Product Manager for Caterpillar Inc. leveraging the technology in all spaces, including New Product Introduction, supply chain and operations. Her team is focused on deploying the technology by working with Caterpillar product groups on design for additive. DelVecchio manages the Additive Manufacturing Factory which has a wide range of printing capabilities. She was the keynote speaker at the 2017 Additive Manufacturing User Group Conference and has been quoted in numerous technical magazines on 3D printing.

In her 30 years at Caterpillar, DelVecchio has held numerous positions in engineering and manufacturing including the build and start-up for a green field facility in China. Previously, she was the Hose & Coupling Engineering Manager, as well as the New Product Introduction Manager for Cat Fuel Systems. She also managed the project management office for Caterpillar engines. More recently, DelVecchio developed an engineering pipeline strategy to ensure the best engineering talent is available to meet global enterprise needs.

DelVecchio holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. She was the 2013-2014 president of the Society of Women Engineers. She was named a fellow of the society in 2015 and received the society’s Advocating Women in Engineering Award in 2018. DelVecchio is the secretary of the Women in Engineering Committee for the World Federation of Engineering Organization, representing the American Association of Engineering Societies, and is championing global expansion of the Society of Women Engineers. She has spoken in a dozen countries on the value of gender diversity in engineering and continues to advocate for women.

DelVecchio lives in Peoria, IL with her husband of 28 years and their cats Abe and Thomas. She is looking forward to graduating from Caterpillar in April 2019 and starting the next phase of her live

*Requires separate admission.