Our speakers exemplify achievement, leadership, and diversity on many levels. Hear from a successful entrepreneur, a thrice-retired corporate executive, and an accomplished team that formed during their Doctorate studies.

Rebecca Fyffe

Rebecca Fyffe is the Director of Research and President of Landmark Pest Management.

In addition to being named 2018 Illinois Small Business Person of the Year, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon crowned Rebecca Fyffe as the National Small Business Person of the Year, America’s highest honor for a small business owner. “Rebecca has built an exemplary pest control firm and is so deserving of this award. She has been an inspirational leader in STEM, embracing science and technology to innovate in her field and beyond,” McMahon said.

 Rebecca’s university honors research on the topic of wildlife disease epidemiology was supervised by scientists from the Field Museum of Natural History and the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology at the Lincoln Park Zoo. She also holds a certificate in executive management from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

 “My favorite part of working in my firm is staying connected to nature. Seeing beaver return to the Chicago River, and visiting mother coyotes and their pups in dens along the lakeshore reminds me of nature’s indomitable spirit. As many insect and rodent pests become resistant to pesticides, my work gives me the opportunity to lead the industry I work in away from an overreliance on pesticides and towards greener and more sustainable methods.” – Rebecca Fyffe

 About Landmark Pest Management

Landmark Pest Management is a woman-owned firm that is certified as a WBE by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The firm is also certified as a DBE through the Unified Certification Program (UCP), holds WBE Certification through the City of Chicago, and BEP Certification through the State of Illinois.

 Landmark Pest Management conducts itself with the knowledge that each of us has an obligation to the planet, to our communities, and to each other. The firm’s approach to pest control is science-based, enabling its clients to live and work in greener, safer buildings

 Landmark Pest Management exists at the intersection of ecology, public health and social justice. Through its philanthropic work, Landmark helps renters invoke their rights under the Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance, it trains first-responders to mitigate rabies risk, and conducts scientific research in the public interest.

Beth Shapiro

Ms. Shapiro is a retired executive with over 35 years of diverse experience in sales, operations, marketing and manufacturing.  Early in her career she supervised major distribution centers for the health care industry managing their customer service, warehouse and transportation programs. After several roles of increasing responsibility and breadth of scope, she assumed senior management roles, leading large customer service/call center operations.  She concluded her health care operations career in 1995 as Vice President, Customer Service for a major laboratory supply company.

 In 1996 Ms. Shapiro began a second career as a retained executive search consultant.  In addition to the recruiting side of search, she worked as a senior level talent consultant to major corporations such as Campbell Soup, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Con-Agra.  Searches completed were executive team and board positions.  She retired from executive search as Vice President/Managing Director in 2001.

 Soon after retirement she began an encore career assisting in managing her family Houston-based business, QPower, Inc., a leading manufacturer and importer of speaker boxes and accessories serving the wholesale marketplace.  After a well-planned and successful succession process, Ms. Shapiro retired once again.

 In 2002 Beth began her passion for volunteer work.  She is a docent at the Holocaust Museum Houston. In addition, she volunteers for SCORE, a non-profit, all volunteer resource partner of the US Small Business Administration which supports entrepreneurship through mentoring and educational workshops. 

 She is a mentor, lecturer, former Membership Chair, Education Chair, Chapter Chair and District Director for SCORE/ Houston.  She has also held the role of Regional Vice President/Southwest for that organization. She currently leads the National Women’s Committee and has served on the National Advisory Council. In February 2018, Beth assumed the position of VP, Diversity and Inclusion for SCORE National. Beth is the proud recipient of the 2012 SBA Counselor of the Year – SCORE, awarded to her out of 13,000 nationwide SCORE volunteers.

Karen Bartuch

Karen spent almost a decade as a Chicago Police Officer in a variety of assignments including patrol, gang team, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism and most notably as a policy adviser for the superintendent of police (chief executive officer). She successfully transitioned to the private sector joining Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI) in 2011, her work included developing analytics solutions for law enforcement. In 2016, she joined PwC (among the top four consulting firms in the world) where she led innovation for her team developing new client facing solutions as well as internal optimization projects followed by Sandstorm Design in 2018 where she developed its analytics practice. She is now the executive director of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at North Central College. She is an avid volunteer with organizations such as Girl Scouts and serves on the board of the Chicago Police Foundation.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree from Northwestern University in 2000. In 2010, she received her Master’s degree in Communications from DePaul University where she was selected as the “Outstanding Graduate of the Year” by the faculty and completed her doctorate in Business Administration in June of 2018. Karen is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University teaching undergraduate and graduate students in management, creativity and innovation.

Tammy Higgins

With more than 30 years’ experience in the Information Technology industry, Tammy Higgins started her career in the US Air Force as a systems engineer. She has held various sales and pre-sales positions with Cisco, AT&T, Nortel Networks, and Orange Business Services before moving in 2019 to DXC Technology. She has worked in various technical sales roles covering a wide array of data networking, voice, collaboration, security and internet solutions.

Tammy completed her Doctorate in Business Administration in 2018 with a focus on sales strategies and the expertise required in today’s complex technical sales roles. She is passionate about learning, as well as training and educating the next generation with the skills needed to be successful in high-tech sales and pre-sales careers.

Brandon Hendrix

Brandon Hendrix has worked for various federal agencies since 2004, including the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Reserve Bank. These positions have allowed him to spend time in different regions of the U.S. and Southwest Asia. His most rewarding experience has been training more than 1,000 U.S. service members to become Agri-business Development Teams. These teams partnered with Afghan farmers to bring their products to local and international markets using techniques that required no fossil fuels.

Brandon started his post-high school education in the junior college system eventually earning an Associate’s Degree in Automotive Technology. He then went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Chicago State University followed by a Master’s Degree in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University. In 2018, Brandon completed his Doctorate in Business Administration with an emphasis on Data Science and Ethical Decision Making at DePaul University.

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