Directors to Watch: Gender Diversity

Sheila Stamps
Director, IQVIA Holdings, Pitney Bowes Inc., 
MFA Financial Inc., Atlas Air Holdings Inc. 

Sheila Stamps, a former finance and investment executive, has diverse experience advising on financial and operational requirements of companies in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. 

A qualified financial expert, Stamps is a board member of IQVIA Holdings, Pitney Bowes Inc., MFA Financial Inc. and Atlas Air Holdings Inc., where she is audit committee chair. She also serves on the board of trustees of Bankinter Innovation Foundation.
Stamps’ leadership roles in the banking industry include managing director and group head, financial institutions, at Bank of America and, prior to that, managing director, asset-backed securitization and executive management committee member at Bank One London.  

Stamps earned an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago and a BS in management sciences from Duke University.
 
Trust as an asset class. “Trust, a crucial non-balance-sheet asset, often is not elevated to its deserved status amid stakeholder engagement. During these volatile times, and with expanding stakeholder expectations of board fiduciary responsibilities, leadership must recognize that the economic value of trust continues to appreciate. Trust is the lens through which all strategic decisions, stakeholder communications and workplace culture are filtered. Do our constituents trust us, and do our actions align with that trust and the sustainable growth of the company? A governance body should keep this question at the forefront of their decision-making process.”

Key board skills: Finance, accounting and financial reporting experience; senior leadership experience; public company board experience


Beverly Carmichael
Director, Blue Apron, Viad 

Beverly Carmichael is a former C-suite executive with more than 35 years of experience leading people and legal functions across a diversified industry portfolio. She has been the top HR executive at various companies, including Southwest Airlines, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Ticketmaster. Her leadership made a demonstrable impact on each organization and its performance. 

Carmichael has been a thought partner and adviser to multiple CEOs regarding risk, strategy and “all things people.”  She currently serves as a director at public companies Blue Apron and Viad Corp, and previously at Leaf Group. She also serves as a director at Cotton Patch Café, a private-equity-owned company, and Oklahoma Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization. 

Carmichael holds BBA and JD degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

People and culture must be top priorities for boards. “Companies do what they do through people. Yet, many organizations do not see people and organizational culture as a top priority, and it is rarely on the board agenda. Times are changing. More employees are assessing whether they work in an organization that values them, respects them and is worthy of their hard work and dedication. This includes whether the company has a full-throated approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. The tone must be set at the top, starting with the board and the CEO. If they do not make people and culture a priority, their employees will simply find somewhere else to work.”
 
Key board skills: Human capital, culture and compensation experience; public company board experience; senior leadership experience 


Nicole Arnaboldi        
Director, Manulife, Commonfund

Nicole Arnaboldi is an experienced global business leader and board member with a broad range of management and investment experience. She serves on the board of Manulife, a large public global insurance and asset management firm. She also serves on the board of Commonfund, where she chairs the audit and risk committee, and Merit Hill Capital. She is a partner at Oak Hill Capital. 
Arnaboldi spent the bulk of her career at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse. She also serves as a vice president and investment committee chair at Prep for Prep, on the board of Local Initiatives Support Corporation and on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Harvard Law School. 

Arnaboldi earned a BA from Harvard University and graduated with JD and MBA degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.

Proper ESG oversight is essential. “One of the biggest challenges facing boards is ensuring proper oversight of ESG issues. ESG considerations are often viewed as costs to be borne irrespective of a return beyond some vague stakeholder satisfaction. In reality, much of what is called ESG activity is simply good long-term investing. This starts with strong external board oversight, strong management and shareholder alignment through mechanisms such as compensation plans that focus on long-term equity appreciation versus quarterly earnings. ESG issues are part of long-term value creation, and effective plans reduce risks and generate focused strategies to ensure sustainable success.”

Key board skills: Public company board experience; finance, accounting and financial reporting experience; senior leadership experience


Anne Alonzo        
Director, PotlatchDeltic Corporation

Anne Alonzo has forged a diverse career in the corporate, public and nonprofit sectors focusing on global sustainability, regulatory, marketing, risk management and ESG. She serves on the board and audit committee of PotlatchDeltic Corporation, a leading timber and wood products company.
 
Alonzo was previously a senior executive at three Fortune 500 companies, with the most recent as chief sustainability officer. Alonzo also served as president and CEO of American Egg Board and a senior leader at several U.S. government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture.
 
Alonzo received her MBA from the University of Chicago and her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law. She is a recognized diversity champion and a member of the “Top 100 Most Influential Latinas,” according to Latino Leaders Magazine. 

Broadening the lens and expertise on today’s boards. “It has become increasingly clear that broader and different skill sets and expertise are needed on today’s boards. The set of challenges and issues facing companies is more varied and complex than in the past, especially with increasing public and investor expectations focused on sustainability and environment, the global journey to net zero and a heightened focus on ESG issues, as well as the importance of being representative of today’s marketplace. The good news is that there exists a pipeline of diverse talent to fill the gap and bring unique contributions to the boardroom.”

Key board skills: Senior leadership experience; public company board experience; marketing, public relations or brand management experience


Sallie B. Bailey
Director, L3Harris Technologies Inc., The Azek Company, NVR Inc.

Sallie Bailey is an independent director, an experienced global financial executive and a senior fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative. Bailey currently serves on the boards of directors of L3Harris Technologies Inc., NVR Inc. and The Azek Company, where she serves as audit committee chair.
 
Bailey also serves as audit committee chair and on the board of TricorBraun, a privately held company. She previously served on the boards of directors of General Cable Corporation and Milacron. 

Bailey served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, as vice president and CFO of Ferro Corporation and as senior vice president, finance, and controller of The Timken Company.
 
Four qualities of a great board member. “Strong corporate governance is predicated on the engagement of members of the board of directors with the business and management team. Diversity of experience and backgrounds among board members also enables boards to respond more adeptly and quickly to the increasingly complex and challenging issues facing companies in today’s environment. Understanding the business strategy and competitive environment sets the stage for helping the CEO and management team leverage the board strategically to deliver long-term value to shareholders. Good corporate governance relies upon board members who are independent, curious, collegial and attentive.”

Key board skills: Senior leadership experience; public company board experience; technology, e-commerce or digital experience


Aleksandra Miziolek    
Director, Tenneco Inc., Solid Power Inc.

Aleksandra “Aleks” Miziolek serves on the board of directors and the compensation and nom/gov committees of Tenneco Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial supplier, and Solid Power, a leader in all-solid-state battery technology. 

During her six-year tenure at Cooper Standard, Miziolek served as chief transformation officer, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer. Prior to joining Cooper Standard, Miziolek led the automotive industry group and served on the executive committee of the law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC, where she built a successful M&A and infrastructure practice spanning multiple industries.
 
Miziolek serves as advisor to OurOffice Inc., a DEI-as-a-service technology solution, and Assembly Ventures LLC, a global infrastructure and mobility venture fund. 

Our increasingly complex and unpredictable business environment calls for greater board stamina. “Just like the employee Great Resignation, we hear of directors choosing not to stand for reelection because they do not think they are making a difference or do not like the board/management dynamics. As board members, we need to make every effort to work through any real or perceived impediments to the exercise of our oversight function. Challenging times are precisely when each board member’s contribution is most valuable, and greater stamina is needed to stay in the game and truly represent the interests of our stakeholders.”

Key board skills: Senior leadership experience; public company board experience; mergers and acquisitions
 

Tracy McKibben    
Director, USAA, Ecolab, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., New York Power Authority 

Tracy McKibben is an international energy and environmental technology expert with 20-plus years of experience in the energy sector, including more than 15 years focusing on alternative and renewable energy, green technology, water, infrastructure and sustainability management. 

McKibben is the founder and chief executive officer of MAC Energy Advisors LLC, an investment and consulting company that provides integrated energy solutions to help clients with investments and strategic opportunities across a global platform.
 
She has served on several public, private and nonprofit company boards and is currently on the boards of USAA, Ecolab, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., New York Power Authority and National Kidney Foundation Inc. She also serves on the board of governors of her alma mater, West Virginia State University.

The expectations may change, but the core mission does not. “Diverse perspectives bring different questions that support efforts to oversee more effectively a growing list of risks confronting CEOs and management. The landscape for corporations is far more challenging and complex; thus, boards must evolve in how they govern in such a tumultuous environment. The expectations of companies and their boards have changed, but the need to focus on the long-term mission has not. With a clear understanding of purpose, priority and resources, engaged boards can guide and support the management of the enterprise to execute on strategies that enable the company to be competitive and build sustainable capabilities.”

Key board skills: Finance, accounting and financial reporting; mergers and acquisitions; public company board experience


Melisa A. Denis        
Director, Hydrofarm

After recently retiring from KPMG, Melisa A. Denis joined the board of Hydrofarm. She serves on the audit and mergers and acquisitions committees.
 
Denis serves on the Board of Regents for University of North Texas System. She is also the president of Miracle Pointe Development, a real estate development company that designs residential communities in Texas and Colorado.
 
Before leaving KPMG, Denis served as a global lead partner for the firm, where she led accounting, tax and advisory services to several multinational companies in the consumer and industrial industries, transforming their businesses with innovative financial accounting strategies and overall governance while managing risks.
   
A certified public accountant, Denis cofounded KPMG’s diversity network for women and has been an advocate for diversity in the boardroom. She received her master’s degree in accounting and tax from the University of North Texas.
 
When to step in. “Navigating the boardroom in today’s environment will be trickier than ever. When does a board step in and voice its approval or disapproval of a comment or position by the company or its leadership? Will such intervention stretch the resolve of corporate governance? Companies are walking a very fine line expressing opinions and actions that will influence stakeholders like never before. Maybe it is time for companies to stay true to their mission and stay away from controversial issues, as we need more – not fewer – positive role models in this world. Now more than ever, it will take an agile board to know when to step in and when to reserve comment.”

Key board skills: Mergers and acquisitions experience


Georgia Nelson    
Director, Cummins Inc., Ball Corporation, Sims Limited, Custom Truck One Source

Georgia Nelson currently serves the Cummins Inc. board as chair, talent management and compensation committee; the Ball Corporation board as chair, human resources committee; the Sims Limited board as chair, risk committee; and the Custom Truck One Source board as chair, human resources committee. 

She brings to her boards deep expertise in strategy, risk, global operations, manufacturing, environmental policy, human capital management and corporate governance. Nelson has served on six other corporate boards and is an NACD board fellow.
 
She is the former founding president of Midwest Generation, a Chicago-based independent power production company, and led worldwide power plant operations for Edison Mission Energy, including construction and operation of major power projects on four continents. Nelson holds an MBA from University of Southern California and a BS from Pepperdine University.

Courageous conversations. “Regardless of the nature of the challenge, setting the tone in the boardroom for candid, constructive and courageous conversations is key to board and corporate performance. Boards that successfully navigate difficult discussions, challenge long-standing norms and address the unspoken are better able to confront the complex issues coming before them. Our business environment has changed significantly in the past five years, and it continues to change at an ever-increasing pace. Boards that develop the trust and skill to work through the toughest issues will add the most value for the shareholders they serve.”

Key board skills: Public company board experience; operations management experience; human capital, culture or compensation experience


Diana Garvis Purcel     
Director, Ocean Power Technologies Inc., PetMed Express Inc.

Diana Garvis Purcel is an independent director of Ocean Power Technologies Inc., where she chairs the audit committee and is a member of the compensation committee and the nominating and corporate governance committee. Purcel recently joined the board of PetMed Express Inc. as a member of the audit, compensation, and corporate governance and nominating committees, and will serve as the next audit committee chair. 

Purcel is an accomplished senior finance executive, having served 20 years as a public and private company CFO. Purcel received an MBA with honors from the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, and a BS (management, with concentration in accounting) from Tulane University, and maintains a CPA license.
 
Silence isn’t always golden. “Audit committees are responsible for establishing processes for the confidential and anonymous submission of complaints, and with receiving, investigating and acting on complaint submissions. Assessing company culture is a full board matter, and the number of submissions can be informative and useful toward this effort. The quantity of reports doesn’t necessarily translate to the extent of concerns. Low figures could indicate effective handling of items by a company, or they could be an indication of cultural unease, mistrust of management and/or systems, or fear of retribution. The key is to utilize this information to gain insight and context.”

Key board skills: Public company board experience; finance, accounting and financial reporting experience; senior leadership experience


Ruby Sharma
Director, ShotSpotter Inc., Nautilus Inc., Aspira Women’s Health

Ruby Sharma is a multicultural, global business adviser with comprehensive expertise and skills in strategy, operational risk transformation, mergers and acquisitions, governance, audit and accounting.
 
Sharma is a member of the board of directors of ShotSpotter Inc. and an advisory council member for reacHIRE. She previously served as the chair of the audit committee at Penn Medicine Princeton Health. She recently joined the boards of Nautilus Inc. and Aspira Women’s Health.

Sharma retired as senior partner at EY, with a proven capacity to innovate, develop and manage new business ventures; generate and sustain revenue growth and profits; and cultivate new and existing client relationships.
 
Sharma has authored several audit committee handbooks and guides, as well as white papers on governance, value protection and ESG topics. 

The only certainty is uncertainty. “Even the best-run companies someday will confront a critical unforeseen event – a cyber breach, global pandemic or something entirely different. Whether the situation becomes a crisis or not is often a function of the board’s preparedness. Smart boards know that the best offense is a strong defense, and the process of responding to an unforeseen event is what impacts an organization’s value and reputation. Boards with a clear grasp of what really matters are also more likely to succeed in addressing the challenges we all face today and tomorrow.”

Key board skills: Public company board experience; finance, accounting, and financial reporting experience; mergers and acquisitions experience
 

Zaldwaynaka Scott
Director, Commonwealth Edison Company

Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott is a nationally respected business and higher education executive and advisor to boards and corporate leaders. Currently, she has P&L, operations, governance and government relations responsibilities as president of Chicago State University.

Scott was an equity partner in a global law firm advising senior management of global manufacturing and retail companies in resolving complex regulatory issues and concerns related to international operations. A former federal and state regulator, Scott is a recognized expert in issues of governance, risk management and compliance.
 
Scott serves as an independent director of Commonwealth Edison Company, also known as ComEd, an Illinois utility company and a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. In 2019, she was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of “Chicago’s Most Powerful Women in Business.”

Compliance is a matter of the law. “Compliance is not only a good business practice, but also a requirement of the law. Board directors have an important and recognized role in supporting strong compliance programs and policies within an organization. As directors assess risks and business strategies, government regulators have made it clear that there should be attention paid to an assessment of the strength of the compliance program. The U.S. Department of Justice, in guidance focused on corporate compliance, has suggested that compliance expertise should be among the skills considered when assessing the adequacy of the skills represented on the board. Oversight of compliance is an important part of a board’s fiduciary duty. Its importance should not be underestimated in the work of the board. “

Key board skills: Strategic planning; corporate governance and regulatory issues; risk management


Linda McGoldrick    
Director, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, Avadim Health, Project HOPE, COMPASS, Alvotech

Linda McGoldrick is a global business strategy leader and policy expert in the health care, life sciences and financial services industries. 

She brings to her board assignments strategic acumen in building and restructuring multicountry organizations; global business and product development; regulatory, marketing, digital health, technology and new venture promotion; financial and turnaround management; mergers and acquisitions; and both private and public partnerships and alliances. She holds a qualification in cybersecurity from the U.S. Naval War College. 

McGoldrick recently concluded her terms on the boards of Doc Box and Delta Dental, the largest U.S. health and benefits provider.

A beacon of leadership. “Global governance must shine brightly as a beacon of leadership, at the highest ethical standard, to meet these unprecedented times in which we live. The challenges of governance for independent directors have been elevated in both breadth and depth across all arenas of governance responsibility. Three pillars of governance underpin the daunting challenges we face: accountability, transparency and ethics. As nimble, strategic stewards and advisors to management, shareholders and stakeholders, impactful directors will continuously engage with and be accessible to management and external communities and be current and curious on corporate strategy while insightfully anticipating and mitigating risk with independence.”

Key board skills: Public company board experience; finance, accounting and financial reporting experience; mergers and acquisitions experience


Sandy Brown
Director, FPA Funds
 
Sandy Brown, a certified public accountant, serves FPA Funds as independent director, as audit committee chair and as a member of the governance and cyber risk committees. She offers collaborative Fortune 100 C-suite leadership in financial operations, mergers and acquisitions, and risk/crisis management. An SEC audit committee financial expert, Brown also holds Carnegie Mellon University’s cybersecurity oversight certificate. 

Brown considers technology to be the business world’s premier force multiplier. While managing 3,300 Transamerica professionals, she devised and implemented TFA Synergy, the industry’s first paperless transaction platform. Brown served Transamerica as CEO/president of four Fortune 100 subsidiaries. She also served in senior roles at Bank of America and Chase. Her leadership profile features over three decades of achievement, involving a host of domestic and international business entities. 

Cybercrime is redefining corporate governance. “If cybercrime were a company, it would have topped the Fortune 100 in 2021 – trebling F100 leader Walmart’s revenues. Cybercrime accounted for over 1% of 2021’s global GDP and is growing 15% annually. The SEC is considering requiring public companies to make cybersecurity a core governance issue, and designate board-level cyber experts. The days when cybersecurity was simply a technology issue are long gone. It is a core business issue and should be treated as such. Rigorous risk assessment/response strategies must be supported by access denial, offsite backup and cloud-based storage protocols.” 

Key board skills: Mergers and acquisitions experience; finance/audit experience; public company board experience


Marti Tirinnanzi        
Director, Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

Marti Tirinnanzi has broad experience driving transparency for derivatives pricing and financial reporting. She previously served in various senior financial executive positions at MFX Currency Risk Solutions, RBC Capital Markets and Chatham Financial, among others. She recently was appointed to the audit committee of Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

In 2009, she was appointed chair of the Clearinghouse Working Group of the Federal Housing Finance Agency to oversee the transfer of $3 trillion in interest swap contracts during the financial crisis. She is a longtime member of the NACD and organized the Washington, D.C., area’s NACD Capital Chapter. 

Tirinnanzi earned her undergraduate degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She serves as an adjunct professor of accounting and finance at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Keep risk in perspective when advancing strategic objectives and innovation. “Company strategy is very closely tied to a variety of risk management matters, such as legal, regulation, communication, reputation and financial issues. The board’s job is not to manage risk on a day-to-day basis, but to make sure that the right systems are in place that raise awareness of risks as they arise. Enterprise risk management programs establish valuable parameters for each area (e.g., the risk appetite) and are necessary to confidently advance strategic objectives and innovation.”
 
Key board skills: Public company board experience; finance, accounting and financial reporting; operations management experience 


Lila Manassa Murphy
Director, Gold Resource Corporation    

Lila Murphy, a chartered financial analyst, has been the executive vice president and CFO of Dundee Corporation since May 2021. She sits on the board of Gold Resource Corporation, chairing the nom/gov committee and the compensation committee, while also serving on the audit and ESG committees. 

She founded Intrinsic Value Partners, a provider of consulting services to asset management firms and family offices, in 2018. Previously, she was vice president and portfolio manager at Federated Hermes Inc. and an analyst at David W. Tice & Associates Inc. 

Murphy boasts more than 25 years of diverse investment management experience, earning the chartered financial analyst designation in 2004. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York University. 

Asking great questions without getting lost in the weeds. “One of the most important skills for new directors to learn is the delicate balance of supporting management and asking the important strategic questions that provide food for thought without getting lost in the weeds and minutiae. It can be a bit of an art to support an environment that inspires healthy and constructive dialogue and well-delivered feedback. Listening skills are possibly the most important a director can have. The fundamental goal should be to stimulate conversation that is value-added for management decision-making that comes from diverse perspectives. It is important to take a wide view of board diversity rather than simply engage in box-checking.


Robin Meister
Director, Fintech Ecosystem Development Corp.

Robin Meister is a veteran C-suite executive and board member with global financial services regulatory expertise. She is currently a board member of Fintech Ecosystem Development Corp., a ­NASDAQ-listed company focused on developing a global mobile money ecosystem utilizing innovative fintech solutions. She also serves on the board of a dedicated multistrategy family of funds for one of California’s largest government plans. 

Meister spent 20 years at the global financial institution BNP Paribas, steering businesses to navigate complex regulatory challenges. Meister drives innovative business solutions with expert risk oversight. Throughout her career, she demonstrated leadership experience in regulatory affairs, operational and investment risk, compliance and legal functions. 

Meister is an adjunct professor at New York Law School’s Center for Business and Financial Law and holds a JD degree and BS/BA degrees in finance and economics.

Shareholders are driving change. “ESG principles constitute the pillars of well-organized corporations and play a pivotal role in a company’s operations. Increasingly, there are examples of activist shareholder groups urging companies to examine ESG principles and implement new practices into long-term strategic plans. Shareholders are holding public companies accountable to adopt policies that positively impact society. Diversity as part of governance should no longer be viewed solely as a business decision but also as a critical investment decision. Research shows that directors with diverse backgrounds can draw from the breadth of their own experiences to facilitate improved oversight governance."

Key board skills: Senior leadership experience; mergers and acquisitions experience; public company board experience  


Katharin Dyer
Director, Liquidity Services

Katharin “Kathy” Dyer is an independent director at Liquidity Services, serving on the nominating and governance and compensation committees. She has served on boards for more than 20 years, six times as member or chair of governance committees. She was a director at Providence, a $26 billion firm, until 2021, serving as governance chair. She is currently a director at Grameen Foundation.
 
Dyer’s career of over 30 years includes time as a global C-level profit/loss executive in premier financial services and professional services firms. She is a two-time global CMO, general manager and global chief transformation officer known for scaling growth businesses and transforming mature businesses to restore growth.  

Dyer has expertise in digital transformation, growth strategy, revenue generation, branding, AI and advanced analytics and organizational change.
 
Changing demands require greater accountability and alignment. “It is a new era in board governance. Stakeholders’ focus on ESG, DEI and an expanding slate of risks is driving refinements to strategy, board composition and committee mandates. If factors such as industry or maturity curve result in new committees, it is imperative to retain full board accountability. With heightened scrutiny on mandatory and voluntary disclosures, boards must ensure authentic alignment of policies and actions with company strategy and values. This board role is paramount in times of crisis, as strategies may require pivots and valuable reputations may be strengthened or damaged quickly.”

Key board skills: Public company board experience; technology, e-commerce and digital experience; marketing, public relations and brand management experience

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