Women's Leadership Forum 

Building an Engaged and Healthy Future
March 1–3, 2023 | Charlotte, NC

About | Why Attend | Registration | Schedule at a Glance | Speakers | SessionsCPE Information | Hotel & Travel | Know Before You Go


Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis 

Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis was unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees as the 14th and first woman President of Benedict College on June 30, 2017. Previously, Dr. Artis served as the 13th and first woman President of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Intentional, professional, and thoroughly committed to the proliferation and transformation of colleges and universities that serve underrepresented men and women of color, Dr. Artis’ leadership has been recognized locally and nationally. In 2018, she was named “Female HBCU President of the Year” by HBCU Digest. In 2019, Dr. Artis was named to Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s “Top 35 Leading Women in Higher Education.” In 2020, Dr. Artis was named “President of the Year” by Higher Ed Dive for her leadership in navigating the unprecedented challenges of 2020.

Under Dr. Artis’ leadership, Benedict College was awarded the 2019 American Council on Education (ACE) Fidelity Investments Award for Institutional Transformation. The award recognizes institutions that have responded to higher education challenges in innovative and creative ways and achieved dramatic results in a short period of time. Benedict was also named 2019 HBCU of the Year by the HBCU Digest.

Dr. Artis is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from West Virginia University College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political science from sister HBCU, West Virginia State University. The consummate professional, Dr. Artis also holds a Certificate of Fundraising Management from Indiana University and a Certificate of Mastery in Prior Learning Assessment from DePaul University.

Dr. Artis is a Member of the Board of Directors for the American Council on Education (ACE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). She is the Chair of the Presidents’ Advisory Board for Title III Administrators; a member of the President’s Council for the NCAA (Division II); and is a member of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Presidents’ Advisory Council. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for the University of South Carolina’s National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition and is a Board Member for the Forum on Education Abroad.  She is Vice-Chair for the “Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) HBCU/MSI Collaboration,” and has been named an “Equity in Energy Ambassador” for the United States Department of Energy. She previously served on the Education Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, during the Obama Administration.

Most recently, in 2021, President Artis was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). NACIQI advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on matters concerning accreditation, the Secretary’s recognition process for accrediting agencies, and institutional eligibility for federal student aid, through the Committee’s public meetings.

A prolific speaker, critical thinker, and fierce advocate for educational access, Dr. Artis is frequently engaged as a mentor, lecturer, and catalyst for strategic transformation. She is a widely respected innovator and thought leader on issues of higher education, specifically as it relates to underserved and vulnerable populations, having published countless articles and editorials on topics related to higher education equity and inclusion as well as the complexities associated with leading minority-serving institutions. Artis is the founding Co-Chair for the Historically Black College and University Annual Sustainability Summit, which is in its 4th year. She has received more than 300 awards and recognitions locally and nationally for her work. 

Kourtney Gibson

Kourtney Gibson is the Chief Institutional Client Officer responsible for serving more than 15,000 retirement plan sponsors in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields and their consultants. 

As a member of the TIAA Executive Committee, she is accountable for the retirement business, leading strategy, sales, relationship, offer and services management, as well as participant consulting and guidance, for TIAA institutional clients. She oversees the team responsible for managing relationships with key industry leaders and advocacy organizations and is responsible for partnering across the company to deliver the full Enterprise to our institutional clients.

Prior to joining TIAA, Kourtney was most recently Executive Vice Chairman of Loop Capital, where she served in a range of leadership roles at that global investment services firm, founded in 1997. There,she was responsible for setting long term strategy and aligning talent and other resources to deepen client relationships and deliver a wide array of outcome oriented solutions on behalf of institutional clients in more than 80 countries. Over more than 20 years at Loop Capital, she oversaw various corporate, governmental, institutional and consultant client relations and led multiple functions, including asset management, strategy, sales and trading. 

Kourtney holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BBA from the University of Miami. She sits on the boards of trustees at the University of Miami on the Investment Committee, and at Viterbo University on the Finance Committee. She is also a director on the boards of lululemon athletica and MarketAxess Holdings. 

Her commitment to giving back to the community includes her role as a board member of the Dibia DREAM Foundation, which provides STEM education for underserved youth, and as a board member and Immediate Past Chairman of the Chicago Scholars Foundation, the largest college access and success program in Chicago.


Merlyna Valentine 

Merlyna Valentine is a highly sought-after international speaker, author, and consultant. She worked for over thirty years as a teacher, principal, and executive director in an extraordinarily successful school district in Louisiana. Her transformational leadership as a school principal enhanced the school’s climate and culture, which resulted in increased student achievement.

Ms. Valentine has received numerous state, national, and international awards, and commendations such as teacher of the year and principal of the year. Ms. Valentine was featured in several news segments and articles including a spotlight in Ebony Magazine. Audiences were captivated by her inspirational story of survival, courage, and hope when she was a featured segment on the Today Show. She was also chosen as the 2020 Inspirational Speaker of the Year in an international competition.

After surviving sepsis and a life-altering medical tragedy, Ms. Valentine was determined to reclaim her life and found her secret formula for building resilience. In the face of tremendous adversity, Ms. Valentine unleashed a remarkable inner strength that enabled her to lead by example.

She is committed to empowering others to embrace change, persevere, and live life without limits. She believes that what happens to us in life should not dictate our success in the future. Today she personifies what it means to transform obstacles into opportunities while inspiring countless others to do the same.  Her powerful message reminds audiences that adversity is not invincible, and they leave ready to leverage difficult moments and prove what’s possible.