Leona Thomas, COO and SVP of Product and Technology, Wylei, Inc.

Leona is a business transformation and enablement executive who focuses on shaping businesses for the future. With over 20 years successfully delivering industry leading business transformation initiatives and turnarounds, Leona brings a unique perspective on identifying new opportunities and impacts for organizations – and how to take advantage of changing environments. Leona is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and SVP of Product and Technology at Wylei, Inc. – a Predictive AI cloud-based machine learning and marketing automation pioneer. Leona joined Wylei just as they were preparing to leave their incubator community and launching, so she’s been helping build and steer the organization into its next phase of operations. Leona is a critical member of the leadership team building Wylei’s future as they continue to create innovative solutions that are revolutionizing digital marketing.

Before joining Wylei, Leona founded her own consulting practice leading strategic transformation initiatives for both branded non-profits and Fortune 500 organizations. Prior to this, she was the Global Transformation Director at Hibu leading critical Digital Transformation and Globalization initiatives. She also spent 10 years with CSC’s Strategic Management and System Integration Practices where she launched CSC’s Global Practice on European REACH Chemical Regulations, enabling companies worldwide to strategically negotiate sweeping chemical regulations and transforming the practice into CSC’s Global Chemical Compliance and Sustainability Practice.

Leona has also successfully led strategic transformation and turnarounds for companies such as SEI Investments, Norm Thompson Outfitters, Nautilus, Inc. (Bowflex), and State Street Bank. Leona has BSE in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as an Executive MBA from Drexel University and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.

Leona has never followed a “traditional career path”. As one of the few openly lesbian bi-racial women leaders who’s come up through engineering and technology, Leona has face many systematic and cultural barriers – even within organizations that would be considered a “safe space”. At times these barriers forced taking a different path or opting to change course; and yet at the same time, she’s also benefited from mentorship, the support of the community she’s built, and her own activism driving critical change/acceptance, and even changing corporate policies creating new opportunities for herself and others. One of her goals is that the next generations will never have to make the choices or face the limitations she has.

Beyond her professional initiatives, Leona has always made a commitment to serving her community. In addition to being on the SIM Women Summit Council, Leona is currently a long-standing Board Member and Chairperson for the William Way – Philadelphia’s LGBTQA Community Center serving over 60,000 people a year. She was president of Philadelphia’s Beta Gamma Sigma Alumnae Chapter, built WITI Portland Chapter’s Professional Development and Mentoring Programs and continually mentors both youth and adults within her communities.