Meet our Panelist

HTN provides members with on-demand access to experienced executive coaches that allow for personalized career experience. 

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Dr. Sandra Saldana

Background:

Dr. Sandra Saldana is the CEO and Co-Founder of Alva Health, a Yale University spinout and Techstars-backed company that is developing a wearable device for real-time stroke detection. She is responsible for execution of the company’s strategy and vision, fundraising and day-to-day operations, currently serving as PI on a $1MM Phase II SBIR grant funded by the NSF. In 2021, Dr. Saldana led Alva through participation in several elite business accelerators, was named a Top 4 Finalist in the inaugural MedTech Color pitch competition, and the Grand Prize of $350,000 out of over 1100 global applicants in the annual MedTech Innovator competition. Before Alva Health, Dr. Saldana was Vice President of sales and account management at Brand Institute’s Boston office, the top branding agency in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Dr. Saldana completed a BA in Biological Sciences at Cornell University, a PhD in Cancer Biology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, and an MBA in Healthcare Management at Yale SOM. 

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Dr. Charisse Sparks

Background:

Dr. Charisse Sparks received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and completed her residency in orthopaedics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and fellowship training in orthopaedic trauma at Harvard Medical School. She is board-certified in orthopaedics specializing in orthopeadic trauma. She practiced as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon for over 10 years becoming a leader in building and implementing ACS trauma centers, specializing in delivered care and processes. 


Dr. Sparks transitioned formally into industry by joining DePuy Synthes, Inc., the Orthopaedic Company of Johnson & Johnson, bringing her expertise in medical affairs and her business acumen to the development and evaluation of new and advanced technologies. Subsequently, Dr. Sparks served as Chief Medical Officer of AppliedVR, Inc., a privately-held company focused on virtual reality-based treatments that address pain and other conditions. Currently she serves as the Chief Medical Officer to Inspire Medical Systems, Inc., a medical technology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative, minimally invasive solutions for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Dr. Charisse Sparks

Kristina Jones

Background:

Kristina Jones is an award-winning advertising art director turned tech entrepreneur. When Kristina Jones was looking for the next tech company to build after scaling courtbuddy.com (now Lawchamps) nationwide, raising $7.5 Million in funding, and becoming the 14th African American woman to ever raise more than $1 Million from VCs for a tech startup, she started with a personal story. 

When Kristina was seven, her father died from cancer and she knew one day she wanted to share her story on how she kept the connection to her dad alive. Throughout the process of writing and editing, "My Forever Guardian" (Myforeverguardian.com), she noticed the immense lack of online support for the millions of grieving children here in the US. After connecting with the nation's best grief counselors and getting feedback from over 500 grieving parents, she quickly got to work building guardianlane.com, a children's mental health platform that is innovating how children access counseling. With the use of on-demand exclusive video content, community, tele-counseling and a whole lot of fun, the children have begun to build their own social healing network. Guardian Lane has partnered with over 3,000 schools since it's beta launch in late January! Kristina's work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Forbes, CNN Business, Inc., Entrepreneur, Essence, Cosmopolitan, Black Enterprise and more.

Kristina Jones

Alex Arevalos PhD

Background:

Alex Arevalos PhD has over twelve years of experience in the medical and healthcare industry. In 2008, they began their career as a Research Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2009, they became a Research Fellow at Mayo Clinic and a Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Saranas. From 2016 to 2021, they held several roles, including Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Alleviant Medical, TMC Biodesign Innovation Fellow at TMC Innovation Institute, Accelerator Company at MassChallenge, and Accelerator Company at MedTech Innovator. In 2019, they became the President and Chief Executive Officer at Starling Medical, and in 2021 they became a Venture Partner at Rodeo VC and a Venture Partner - Med Tech at Refinery Investments. 

Alex Arevalos obtained a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from Rice University in 2010. Alex then completed their Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from Rice University in 2015. In 2022, they will attend Y Combinator.

Alex Arevalos PhD

Lauren Elliott

Background:

Lauren Elliott, mom of two, is a former journalist and the Founder and CEO of Candlelit Care, a digital women’s mental health company that’s turning Black joy into a therapeutic for new and expectant parents at risk of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). After the traumatic birth of her eldest son, she was inspired to create the access to preventive mental health treatment she saw missing for Black parents while working in public health. She built a point-of-care digital health platform focused on management of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). As CEO, she has successfully grown and led her team through prestigious accelerators and is collaborating with the Reproductive Psychology Unit at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Citywide Doula Initiative in New York City and ResMed. Lauren has been featured in Essence, SELF and Parents magazine and spoken on panels for organizations, such as Accenture, and 21 Ninety. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Women’s Studies from the University at Albany and a Master of Arts in Public Affairs Journalism from the University of Illinois. Lauren lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two sons. 

About Candlelit Care: In partnership with their doctors, midwives and doulas, the platform helps women quickly identify and address symptoms prior to a crisis. Nearly half of Black mothers will experience maternal mental health conditions, which the CDC reports are a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, but are half as likely to receive care. Candlelit Care leverages data science and telehealth to pair parents with evidence-based, culturally-affirming mental health coaching and digital psychoeducation to finally align a parent's birth plans with their birth outcomes. Our mission is to simplify access to perinatal mental health care and treatment through guided support for parents who often don't receive any access. 

Lauren Elliott

Jessica Samuels

Background:

Jessica Samuels is a dynamic speaker, trainer, and Executive Coach dedicated to guiding ambitious leaders and entrepreneurs toward new horizons in their personal and professional journeys. With a captivating personality and over 20 years of industry experience, Jessica empowers individuals to envision and achieve their fullest potential. Jessica’s mission is to evolve careers and lives through her coaching and grow empathy, competence, confidence, communication, and nimbleness.

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More about Jessica

Coaching Style

Jessica's coaching style harmoniously blends her lively personality with a straightforward approach. Her coaching creates a space for growth, pushing clients to reach their leadership pinnacle and accomplish remarkable results. She’s known for instilling psychological safety into company cultures and building talented teams to enable businesses to scale. When supporting organizations, she is committed to helping them cultivate an employer brand that embodies cultural awareness to attract, retain, and advance more diverse leaders.

Credentials

  • Over 15 years of executive and business coaching experience with leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Certified Executive Coach (Career Transitions, Leadership Development, Entrepreneur Ventures)
  • Master Certified Professional Coach (MCPC)
  • Change Management Practitioner (CCMP)
  • Certified Diversity Professional (CDP)
  • Ed.D. (Dec 2023) in Learning and Organizational Psychology from Baylor University 
  • M.S. in Instructional Design from Towson University
  • M.Ed. in Education Administration from McDaniel College 
  • B.S. in Health Education from George Mason University

Experience

  • Past Clients & Organizations: Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), Food & Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, National Association of Home Builders, and notable non-profits and startups.   
  • President, Humanity Talent Network (founded by Humanity Health)
  • Founder, CEO, & Executive Coach – EvolveCareer.Com 
  • Chief Talent & Learning Officer – Prossimo Global Partners
  • Global Head of Learning & Career Success and Deputy Global Head of HR Talent Management – 2U
  • Deputy Head of Learning – Booz Allen Hamilton
  • HR Training Manager – Henry M. Jackson Foundation
  • Head of HR & Org Development – Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) - Office of Airport

Achievements

  • Successfully coached hundreds of leaders across various disciplines through difficult career transitions and new business launches by helping them improve their executive brands and confidence or land their dream job with competitive compensation.
  • Championed the development of a new 17-person Advisory Board while launching 7 paid B2C and B2B executive development products, including programs, plans and coaching packages.
  • Directed operations for coaching service and programming for community members while expanding monthly membership growth by 100% in 6 months.
  • Spearheaded B2C/B2B digital product strategy by managing new Product & Engineering team while designing a virtual coaching marketplace for global launch and managing HR Operations.
  • Led department turnaround as new International General Manager for 50+ universities, 75+ graduate programs, and 18K students by transforming career curriculum & coaching offerings.
  • Launched a new holistic career coaching model and raised career and executive coaching services CSAT scores to 97%.
  • Directed a virtual onboarding curriculum design project impacting 1K Sales team employees for Ed Tech company in USA, South Africa, Europe, and China offices.

 

Specialization

Sector Expertise: 

  • Healthcare 
  • Federal Government
  • Education Tech
  • Corporate Leadership
  • Non-Profits
  • Start-Up Product Launches
  • Entrepreneurship (Real Estate, Marketing, Consulting, & Coaching Businesses)

Functional Expertise:

  • Organizational Culture Transformation 
  • Strategic Planning & Corporate Operations
  • Leadership Development & Executive Coaching
  • Human Capital Management & HR Strategy 
  • Digital Learning & Instructional Design
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB)
  • Executive Presence (Communication & Image)
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Team Productivity (Norms, Systems & Processes)
  • Product Development & Product Launches
  • Career Transition Navigation & Career Acceleration
  • Program Management 
  • Project Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to access and Executive Career Strategist?

Meeting with your ECS is included in ALL HTN membership. However, different programs and membership plans offer a different number of sessions.  Learn more by visiting our membership plan pages

What happens during an ECS session?

To ensure you thrive in your current role or your next opportunity, you will work with your ECS in individual (1:1) virtual sessions.  Your strategist will help you clarify your career vision through:

 

  • Self-reflection activities
  • Thoughtful questioning and listening
  • Career readiness exercises 

How do I schedule an ECS session?

Use the Humanity Talent Network app to contact your ECS and book a session.

Is this material tailored to my career?

Our professional development resources have been designed by experts with specific expertise in the healthcare and life sciences fields and deep familiarity with career challenges faced by women and people of color. HTN's resources cannot be found anywhere else and are uniquely designed to serve the needs of our members.