Directors to Watch 2021: Gender Diversity in the Boardroom
By Scott Chase

Assimilating new lessons from the past 18 months, coupled with actions associated with the evolving racial justice movement, will keep boards busy for the foreseeable future.

During this time of transition, at least three of the top board agenda items of early 2020 are roaring back onto the table — diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), climate change, associated EESG issues (adding employees to the ESG mix) and executive compensation. Boards have had a full year since our July 2020 presentation of Directors to Watch to develop strategies for inclusion, informed by Black Lives Matter and other social movements and tempered by the pandemic. Nearly everyone — chairpersons, CEOs, executive recruiters, law firms, governance advisors — has taken a hard look at how to accelerate DEI as a leading board priority.

There has been no reduction in pressure from outside watchdogs and regulatory agencies. In March, the SEC’s Allison Herren Lee announced that the agency would pursue initiatives such as “offering guidance on human capital disclosure to encourage the reporting of specific metrics like workforce diversity and considering more specific guidance or rule-making on board diversity.”

McDonald’s Corporation last summer stated that the global firm would “hold ourselves accountable to represent the diverse communities in which we operate, accelerate cultures of inclusion and belonging [and] dismantle barriers to economic opportunity” (see accompanying commentary by McDonald’s board member Margo Georgiadis). United Airlines in April announced its commitment to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of whom will be women and people of color, according to chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer Jessica Kimbrough. 

“This is a pivotal time to rebuild and reimagine the world we live in, and in doing so, we can accelerate gender equality in all parts of business and society,” says Accenture CEO Julie Sweet. She was named board chair of Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on women in the workforce, in March.

Likewise, Susan Keating, CEO of WomenCorporateDirectors, comments, “Boardroom diversity has become a driver of global business success. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Carlyle Group and Nasdaq are only the latest in a growing list of industry leaders incorporating boardroom diversity into their business and investing models. BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard are other powerful forces in the movement to accelerate gender and racial diversity on boards, threatening to not invest in companies or to vote against their directors who fail to act.”

Last September the Board Diversity Action Alliance was launched to increase diverse representation on corporate boards of directors in the United States, increase the disclosure of the self-identified race and ethnicity of directors on corporate boards and promote accountability measures on corporate diversity, equity and inclusion. Spearheaded by directors Ursula Burns and Gaby Sulzberger, the Alliance includes the global CEO advisory firm Teneo, the Ford Foundation, the Executive Leadership Council and a group of founding signatories.

“Ultimately,” says Sulzberger, “we believe diversity of background, perspective and experience make for more robust decision making and resilient organizations overall and is therefore in the best interest of all our employees, customers and, importantly, our stockholders.”

Our 2021 Directors & Boards class of women Directors to Watch is dedicated to the same mission. In our informal survey of the 19 new 2021 Directors to Watch, our honorees ranked diversity in the boardroom and across the enterprise as the top issue, followed by EESG, tone at the top and digital disruption. It is clear the boardroom agenda will be full for the foreseeable future.

 

Dorlisa Flur
Director, Sally Beauty Holdings, Hibbett Sports, U.S. Cold Storage, Southeastern Grocers

Dorlisa Flur is a corporate executive and board director who is trusted to lead and advise companies through transformative periods to sustainable growth and value creation. She serves as director on two public retail boards, Sally Beauty Holdings and Hibbett Sports, and independent director for privately owned U.S. Cold Storage. She is also strategic advisor to Southeastern Grocers.

Before focusing on board service, Flur held C-level roles in multibillion-dollar grocery and department stores and discount retailers, leading nearly every operational function. She transitioned into industry after 16 years with McKinsey & Company, where she was the first woman partner elected in the Southeast.

Dorlisa earned the NACD Directorship Certified credential and is president of the NACD Carolinas board. She received her MBA and B.S. from Duke University.

Strategy is a critical board oversight area: “Board members must push management to define the company’s sweet spot — where it uniquely can meet customers’ needs better than competitors. But strategic positioning is only the starting point for building its system of advantage. The hard work is organizing the business model to deliver value to customers and layering initiatives that make it difficult for competitors to emulate its success. The board should continually gauge whether operations and initiatives reinforce the sweet spot or call the question for a strategic reset.”

 

Samantha (Sam) Holroyd
Director, Oasis Petroleum Corporation, Medical Bridges

Samantha Holroyd serves as a director of Oasis Petroleum, Medical Bridges and NACD Texas Tri­Cities advisory board. For Oasis, Holroyd chairs the nominating, environmental, social and governance committee, is a member of audit and reserves committee and previously was lead independent director. Previous recent public board service included Gulfport Energy, where Holroyd served on the audit and sustainability committee.

Holroyd is principal of Golden Advisory Services, an advisory firm that works with boards and management to support corporate evolution, creation and execution for strategic initiatives, including integration of ESG into strategy. Prior to that, she worked for more than 30 years in the energy industry, including leadership roles in operations, private equity and audit/compliance responsibilities.

She graduated from Colorado School of Mines (petroleum engineering) and is an NACD-certified corporate director.

Constructive steering, through inquiry and exploration: “One of the most important roles of a board is to provide effective steering and guidance by leading through others. The board takes accountability, individually and collectively, to inquire and explore the management team’s strategy, strategic initiatives, capabilities and stretch areas to deliver value to shareholders. The board must be able to lead through the management team and must be constructive in all communication efforts to provide guidance and steer. The board must be aware of the competitive landscape to assess the strength and potential of the corporate strategy as well as the capabilities and competencies of management to deliver on the strategy.”

 

Gina Galgano Hoagland
Director, Huttig Building Products, Triad Bank

Gina Hoagland serves on the board of Huttig Building Products. She chairs the nominating and governance committee and serves on the audit and the management, organizational and compensation (“MOC”) committees. She has chaired or served as lead director for numerous privately held and family-owned businesses that span manufacturing, distribution and services.

For the past 27 years, she has been with Collaborative Strategies, Inc. (CSI), a St. Louis-based strategic planning firm she co-owns, currently serving as the chair and CEO. She has directed strategy, succession, talent and board development for a diverse client base.

She graduated cum laude from Georgetown University with a dual major in economics and government and holds an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. She is a member of NACD and WCD.

The discipline of entrepreneurship: “We can all use a good dose of the healthy, creative power that a nimble organization unleashes on the world. As a person who has been schooled by wildly successful, innovative leaders at the board and executive levels, I study and live the discipline around their willingness to analyze risk, opportunity and return, to go boldly forward with a clearly defined strategy and remove all obstacles to implementation. The board’s role is to regenerate itself, hold itself to the highest standards of accountability to shareholders and other stakeholders, reflect and harness a variety of viewpoints and life experiences and be fearless in encouraging transformational change.”

 

Lynne Fox
Director, Amalgamated Bank

Lynne Fox is Amalgamated Bank's interim CEO. Fox has been a board member since 2000. In 2016, she became the first woman in Amalgamated Bank's nearly 100-year history to serve as chair.

Fox also serves as the international president of Workers’ United and manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board for Workers’ United, where she is tasked with overseeing the budget, strategic planning and representing roughly 75,000 members. She also and serves as an executive board member of the Service Employees International Union.

From 2006 to 2011, Fox served as a board member for the State Employee Retirement System in Pennsylvania, a $26.3 billion fund.

The CEO has the lead on public policy issues, pending board discussion: “The Amalgamated Bank board sets overall mission and vision for the organization and ensures that everything the company does and says is aligned with its purpose. The board works closely with the CEO to set expectations regarding how the company endorses public policy issues. The bank established a policy committee consisting of the CEO and other leaders that identify political or social issues the company wants to address. All statements made by the bank are approved by the CEO. The board is involved in and informed in advance of any decision that may have a material impact on the bank’s business or reputation to avoid potential conflicts and to support the CEO’s position.”

 

Atlee Valentine Pope
Director, Gibraltar Industries

Atlee Valentine Pope is a director of Gibraltar Industries, Inc. She chairs the nominating, governing and social responsibilities committee and is a member of the compensation and human capital committee.

As CEO and co-founder of Blue Canyon Partners, Inc., a growth strategy consulting firm, Pope has advised Fortune 500 C-suite clients on solutions for organic and inorganic growth, new business models, digital and disruption trends and commercial excellence.

Her experience covers multiple industries, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture, vehicles, heavy equipment, home improvement and energy. Pope has published dozens of white papers and authored a book, ­CoDestiny, on value creation strategies for growth.

Pope has a B.A. in history from Sewanee: The University of the South. She earned her MBA from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University.

A catalyst for long-term success: “As the pace of change accelerates, hastened by technology disruptions and heightened stakeholder ESG expectations, strong governance matters. An essential ingredient of strong governance is a well-rounded board with board members who bring diverse yet complementary and collaborative thinking to the table. Undertaking this journey requires courage to acknowledge gaps in the board’s perspectives and find the right members to fill them. Now more than ever, boards need to attract and retain excellent board members with diverse experiences, varied points of view and an openness to learn from each other. This journey is challenging at first but becomes easier when diverse members tap their networks.”

 

Richelle Parham
Director, Best Buy, e.l.f. Beauty, LabCorp     

Richelle Parham is a seasoned operating executive who possesses more than 25 years of global strategy and marketing experience. Parham is a managing director at WestRiver Group, which provides integrated capital solutions to the global innovation economy. Previously, she was a general partner at Camden Partners, a private equity firm. Prior, Parham served as CMO of eBay.

She has served on the board of directors for Best Buy since 2018, e.l.f. Beauty since 2018, LabCorp since 2016 and Scripps Network Interactive from 2012 to 2018.

Parham graduated from Drexel University, where she has been a trustee since 2014. She has received many accolades, including recognition in Forbes’ “50 Most Influential CMOs in the World,” and Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business 1000.”

No more excuses: “Diversity is good for business. The board and management team should reflect the customers they serve. The decision to drive greater diversity starts at the board level and should permeate throughout the company. It’s about gender, ethnic and racial diversity, which leads to more diversity of thought. These diverse views help to make smarter decisions at the board level, while also helping to round out a business strategy. Ultimately, we are driving toward business outcomes that create shareholder value.”

 

Mary Bush
Director, Discover Financial Services, Bloom Energy, ManTech International, T. Rowe Price Group

The Honorable Mary K. Bush is an American business executive and former U.S. government official who has served on several Fortune 500 and private company boards. Her expertise covers international finance, corporate banking, mortgage finance and corporate governance. She was tapped by two U.S. presidents to head the Federal Home Loan Bank System and to serve on the board of the International Monetary Fund during the debt crisis of the 1980s.

She currently serves on the boards of Discover Financial Services (chairman, nominating and governance committee), Bloom Energy (chairman, audit committee), ManTech International (chairman, retirement plan committee) and T. Rowe Price Group (compensation and audit committees). She also is chairman of Capital Partners for Education, a mentoring not-for-profit.

Bush has an MBA in finance from Chicago Booth and a B.A. in economics, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, from Fisk University.

Turning on a dime: “The board’s contributions, working with management, in thinking through and shaping strategy are of utmost importance today. Technological change and the digital onslaught are powerful levers for disruption. Many times, I have seen things turn on a dime. The rapidity and force of change, coupled with environmental and social issues on which companies are now expected to take a stand, make strategic decisions tougher and more complex. The issues are no different for men and women board members, but women bring a diversity of personal and professional leadership experiences, powerful additions to strategic deliberations and productive for the company.”

 

Dorri McWhorter
Director, Lifeway Foods, Inc., Skyway Concession Company, William Blair Funds

Dorri McWhorter is a director of Lifeway Foods, Inc. and a member of the audit and corporate governance committee. In addition, she is a director of Skyway Concession Company and William Blair Funds.

McWhorter is the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and is leading the transformation of the organization from a traditional social service organization to a 21st-century social enterprise, growing the operating budget threefold. As a CPA, she also chairs the board of directors for the Illinois CPA Society and leverages a cross-sectoral approach to add value to the organizations she engages with.

McWhorter is an inductee into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame and led the launch of the Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment Exchange Traded Fund.

ESG will increase as a driver of investor interest: “Investors are increasing their interest in companies that are incorporating more ESG strategies. Directors need to expand their understanding beyond good governance practices and deepen their understanding of environmental and social strategies. This expansion will allow directors to better evaluate a corporation’s strategy and the approaches a company may take to demonstrate a commitment to greater social impact. As investors’ expectations around ESG increase and consumers and employees demand more stakeholder capitalism approaches, boards will also be accountable to ensure a company performs well in an environment with these evolving social impact expectations.”

 

Ivy L. Brown
Director, The Chefs' Warehouse, Inc.

Ivy Brown is an independent director and a member of the audit committee for The Chef’s Warehouse, Inc., a premier distributor of specialty food products in North America.

Brown is an accomplished senior executive and board director with extensive knowledge of logistic operations, strategic planning, finance, risk management, sales and technology, with proven success managing a variety of business units.

Brown spent her career at United Parcel Service (UPS) and recently retired as president of UPS Northeast District, where she led a $3.8 billion business unit with more than 21,000 employees.

Brown holds a B.S. in industrial engineering technology from Southern Illinois University and an MBA in management information systems from Golden Gate University.

How board diversity shapes a company’s overall performance: “Diversity on a board reinforces the commitment of companies to be innovative and forward-thinking. Diverse boards can directly affect the overall performance of a company by collaborating with company leadership to create long-term strategies to improve decision making, community responsibilities and shareholder returns. One immediate impact of diversity is validation of a company’s commitment to a true culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, highlighting the board in partnership with the CEO at the forefront of driving progressive change.”

 

Diane Dewbrey
Director, MBIA Inc., Barrett Business Services, Inc.

Diane Dewbrey serves on the board of MBIA, Inc. as an audit, finance and compensation committee member and Barrett Business Services, Inc., where she is the chair of the nomination/governance committee. Additionally, she is the board advisor to Organic Valley Co-op, where she assists the board with governance, audit and compensation.

Dewbrey previously was the chair and director of Enventis until its merger with Consolidated Communications. Dewbrey earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Xavier University.

Dewbrey was CEO of Foundation Bank after an extensive career with Fifth Third Bank. She has received numerous accolades for her community service work and currently is the investment chair for the YMCA of the USA.

A dynamic board refresh/succession process should align with creating shareholder value: “Specifically, it should focus on seeking candidates with experience and skills that support the strategic direction of the company. Potential candidates should complement the current director mix or fill a gap (gender, ethnicity, company demographics, etc.). The process must be executed with deliberate timing so transition of legacy/institutional knowledge occurs. It must include a robust onboarding/orientation and continual education program for all directors. Finally, maintaining and continually reviewing a ‘bullpen’ of potential candidates allows the board to be proactive versus reactive.”

 

Margot Lebenberg Carter
Director, Installed Building Products, Eagle Materials

Margot Carter is a business builder in technology, construction and real estate. As president of Living Mountain Capital, she invests in technology companies, including Cien, which she co-founded. She also advises companies and private equity firms on digital transformation and innovative and disruptive strategies.

Carter is an experienced lead director, nominating and governance committee chair, compensation committee chair and audit committee member. She is an award-winning C-suite executive, chief legal officer and executive vice president for global public companies. She has acquired and sold hundreds of businesses and has taken numerous companies public, including RealPage, a leading provider of software and data analytics for the real estate industry.

Carter serves on two public company boards, Installed Building Products and Eagle Materials. She also sits on large private technology-focused boards.

Diversity brings better outcomes: “The challenges brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be highlighted, including racial, gender and socioeconomic inequality as well as the need for constant technological innovation. Diversity in experiences and perspectives leads to better decision-making. Increasing diversity and connecting different perspectives with similar goals helps create a forward-thinking company culture focused on innovative solutions. The selection process for any position, including director, should focus on obtaining the best talent without exclusion. This requires the right tone at the top, which is critical to cascading change and acceptance throughout the organization. It is everyone’s responsibility to build more diverse boards.”

 

Lara L. Lee
Director, WD-40, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., Organically Grown Company, The Sill, Inc.

Lara Lee is an experienced private and public company director, board and committee chair, chief executive and Fortune 500 officer, with extensive international experience across Europe and Asia-Pacific and a focus on ESG and culture as drivers of growth.

She is a recognized expert in strategic marketing and innovation. She brings to the boardroom 30 years of experience dealing with market, channel and digital disruption, delivering P&L impact in high growth, turnaround and restructuring situations across diverse industries.

Lee currently serves as a director of WD-40 Company, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., Organically Grown Company and The Sill, Inc. She holds a B.A. in Chinese language from Brown University, a master’s in international studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from The Wharton School.

ESG as a strategic catalyst: “Boards have an important role in leveraging emerging reporting requirements to propel the business forward, not distract. For example, growing pressure for ESG disclosure can be used to catalyze strategic conversations aimed at building resiliency and creating long-term value through innovation and increased stakeholder engagement. By supporting management in taking a holistic approach to ESG — one that balances risk and opportunity, focuses on materiality specific to the business, engages stakeholders in developing purpose-aligned goals and communicates progress transparently through stories supported by data — boards set a tone at the top that models value-adding governance.”

 

Beatriz Infante
Director, Liquidity Services, Ribbon Communications, PriceSmart

Beatriz Infante is an experienced board director with expertise in digital transformation, developed as a former corporate executive and CEO leading companies that disrupted markets and value chains across a variety of technology sectors. These included Aspect Communications, which she led to record results, and PE- and VC-backed Sychron, VoiceObjects and ENXSuite, which she led to successful exits.

Infante serves on the board of directors and is compensation committee chair and audit committee member at three public companies: Liquidity Services, Ribbon Communications and PriceSmart, where she is additionally chair of the digital transformation committee. She is CEO and founder of BusinessExcelleration.

She received her B.S.E. in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University and an M.S. in engineering science from the California Institute of Technology.

Increased channels of communication: “Historically, shareholder communications have centered on the CEO, restricting the number of communication channels and thus limiting the company’s risk of violating disclosure regulations. The risk of untoward disclosure has been superseded by the risk of the board’s not understanding what shareholder sentiment and opinions are about the company. The trend for increased communications between the board and shareholders has accelerated. Over the next several years, broadened channels of communication between boards and shareholders will become the norm. Director education will need to ensure no inappropriate discussions occur while opening the lines of communications with shareholders.”

 

Susan Skerritt
Director, Tanger Outlet Centers, Inc., Community Bank System, Inc., VEREIT

Susan Skerritt is an accomplished bank executive and corporate board member with expertise in governance, human capital and regulatory and risk management. She serves as an independent director on three public boards, Tanger Outlet Centers, Inc., Community Bank System, Inc. and VEREIT; a private board, Falcon Group; and not-for-profit boards Brooklyn Hospital Center and Hamilton College. She is a senior advisor to Promontory Financial Group (IBM). She also served as an independent director of Royal Bank of Canada’s US bank.

Prior to her transition to a portfolio career, Skerritt was the chairman, CEO and president of Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, Deutsche Bank’s U.S. commercial bank. Her B.A. is from Hamilton College and her MBA in finance and international business is from NYU Stern.

Culture is a fundamental driver of market value: “Culture defines what is important and is not merely the words spoken but, more importantly, the actions taken. Culture frames how leaders and employees behave with one another, encourages strong team dynamics, and drives effective interaction with customers, vendors and local communities. Boards should encourage the right tone from the top and ensure that behaviors reflect desired cultural norms throughout the organization by monitoring client feedback and employee data. Beyond having the right people with the right skills, the board must ensure the company has the right culture to achieve its goals.”

Margarita Paláu-Hernández
Director, Herbalife Nutrition, Ltd., Conduent Incorporated, Occidental Petroleum

Margarita Paláu-Hernández is founder and chief executive officer of Hernández Ventures and serves as a director of Herbalife Nutrition, Ltd., Conduent Incorporated and Occidental Petroleum. She served as representative of the United States of America to the 73rd session of the general assembly of the United Nations with the personal rank of ambassador.

Paláu-Hernández serves as vice chair of the Smithsonian National Latino Board, chair of the Yale School of Management Council of Global Advisors, ex-officio board member of the Yale School of Management Board of Advisors, board member of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Board of Advisors and UCLA Law Women L.E.A.D. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego and juris doctor degree from UCLA School of Law.

Corporate governance in U.S. public companies is becoming ever more important: “Key issues include the board of directors engaging in early and rigorous succession planning; taking regular, deep dives into long-term strategic planning; developing a probing yet supportive relationship with your CEO; and, most importantly, ensuring the company’s corporate culture is underpinned by the highest ethical standards.”

 

Martha Elena Diaz Llanos
Director, Entravision Communications Corporation

Martha Elena Diaz is a media, marketing and ad-tech expert who serves on the board of Entravision Communications Corporation. Diaz also provides strategic advice to other media companies, such as NatGeo and others in Latin America, including Televicentro, a Honduras media group. She is from Colombia and currently lives in the United States. She has a chemical engineering educational background and a master’s degree in marketing.

Diaz has extensive experience as a CEO within global media and telecom enterprises. At Televisa, a major media company in Mexico, she served as president of Televisa Radio and president of Televisa Publishing. Before these roles, she worked at PRISA Group, the leading media group in Spain, for seven years. She was also the president of Sky and Supercable, both subscription TV platforms in Colombia.

Adapting to continuous change is crucial: “Enterprises must embrace the great benefits that a true digital transformation can bring. Core challenges include attracting fresh and strong talent, reestablishing and questioning top processes and executing strategic and disruptive investments that can take business to a new level. For all directors, understanding and adapting to continuous change quickly and efficiently is a fundamental skill. A good board member must focus on delivering positive benefits to society while pushing for profits and growth.”

 

Julia Gouw
Director, Cascade Acquisition Corp., Vizio, Pacific Life

Julia S. Gouw is former president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors of East West Bank.

Gouw was ranked one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Banking” five times by American Banker magazine and has received the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Women Making a Difference” award twice in recognition of her achievements and contributions.

Gouw also serves as a member of the board of Pacific Life. She is a co-founder and chairwoman of Piermont Bank, a New York state licensed commercial bank.

Born and raised in Indonesia, Gouw came to the United States in 1978. She earned her B.S. degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Diversity in the boardroom leads to better performance: “Studies show that companies with diverse boards are more likely to be financially successful. However, bias can play a counterproductive role. Studies show that Asian Americans are the least likely group to be promoted to management or executive levels, even though they are widely represented in the workforce. Tapping into this underutilized source of talent during this disruptive time can benefit companies navigating the pandemic and social unrest. A board with broader viewpoints and diversified skill sets can bring better governance and greater effectiveness to lead in this changing environment.”

 

Cindy R. Kent
Director, Accolade

Cindy Kent is a healthcare executive and corporate director recognized for her transformational leadership. Kent is the executive vice president and president of senior living for Brookdale Senior Living. Kent is an independent director with Accolade, which provides personalized, technology-enabled healthcare solutions, and a member of the nomination and governance committee. She was also a member of Best Buy Co.’s board of directors from 2018 to 2020. Kent is currently a trustee of Vanderbilt University.

Kent was named one of Savoy magazine’s 2020 “Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.”

Kent received dual master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University, a master of divinity in pastoral care & leadership as well as her MBA in marketing. She completed a B.S. in industrial engineering and management sciences from Northwestern University.

The rationale for a board capabilities matrix: “The board capabilities matrix is a framework for board composition and succession. Strong director onboarding and development maximizes director contributions, both individually and collectively. New directors are recruited because of specific experiences and competencies; however, additional effort is required, as the new directors will still need to come up to speed with the new company, its management team, as well as the interpersonal and governance dynamics and culture of the new board. Intentionality and inclusion in this process will accelerate board engagement and, in conjunction with ongoing board development, will enable a board to function at the very highest level of performance and governance.”

 

Katina Dorton
Director, US Ecology, Fulcrum Therapeutics, Pandion Therapeutics

Katina Dorton serves on the boards of US Ecology, Fulcrum Therapeutics and Pandion Therapeutics. She has served in various board leadership and committee roles, including lead director, chair of the governance committee, and chair of audit and compensation committees. Dorton currently chairs the audit committee at Fulcrum Therapeutics and Pandion Therapeutics.

Dorton also serves on the board of the National Association of Corporate Directors Research Triangle Chapter. She has served as chief financial officer of public and private companies and was a financial executive in investment banking at Morgan Stanley for many years.

Dorton received her J.D. from the University of Virginia, her MBA from George Washington University and her B.A. from Duke University.

Engage with management on strategy: “This is one of the most important contributions directors can make to the company and its shareholders. Since the board operates at an oversight level, it is not distracted or blinded by the challenge of running day-to-day operations. This unique position provides board members with the opportunity to step back, take a longer-term view and see the bigger picture of the company and its operating environment. Deep and broad director experience along with diversity of thought is important in the strategic development process. A consistent and relentless focus on strategy is an imperative for a board of directors.”


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