Meet the 2022 WINovation Panelists

On September 16, these four accomplished women will share their stories over dinner at The Umstead. Here’s a sampling of what they’ll discuss.

By Sophia Melin

With the 2022 WINovation summit quickly approaching on Friday, September 16 at The Umstead Hotel & Space, WALTER is thrilled to introduce this year’s speakers. Over the course of dinner at drinks, these four accomplished women across a variety of professions will share experiences and anecdotes from their career journeys. We spoke to Jaki Shelton Green, Valerie Hillings, Zena Howard and Anita Watkins to get to know them a little better — and to get a taste of what they’ll share at WINnovation.

Jaki Shelton Green, Writer and North Carolina Poet Laureate

An award-winning writer and poet, and North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green balances a life of creativity and professional success. As an ambassador for poetry, Green looks to get people of all communities excited about the medium students that may not have an arts education program at their school. She celebrates her own voice, but also wants to provide for and recognize the new generation of the literary arts. Learn more about Jaki Shelton Green >>

Photograph by Justin Kase Conder

Valerie Hillings, Director & CEO at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Currently on her fourth year as director and CEO of the North Carolina Museum of Art, Valerie Hillings has spent over a decade working within the art community. A longtime curator at the Guggenheim, Hillings has gotten the opportunity to work at multiple institutions and lead various global projects. She is proud to continue her work, simultaneously playing a part in making culture and creativity accessible to North Carolinians. Learn more about Valerie Hillings >>

Zena Howard, Partner and Global Cultural and Civil Practices Chair at Perkins&Will

Ever since she was a young girl, Zena Howard knew she wanted to be an architect. Working on everything from museums and libraries to cultural civic centers and higher education buildings, Howard’s impactful spaces work to solve some of the ills that plague our urban centers, such as displacement and urban housing. Currently the global cultural and civil practices chair at Perkins&Will, Howard continues her devotion to reflect the past and present of communities. Learn more about Zena Howard >>

Anita Watkins, Managing Director at Rex Health Ventures

After beginning her career in public policy and legislative affairs, Rex Health Ventures managing director Anita Watkins shifted her focus helping fund early-stage companies in the healthcare field. Recently awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship, Watkins works to find ways to better support female entrepreneurs, questioning the unconscious bias in the workplace. Learn more about Anita Watkins >>