© AdobeStock

DIRECTORS FORUM 2024

SPEAKERS

KEYNOTE

Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Former Chief Justice, Delaware Chancery Courts

Leo E. Strine, Jr., is Of Counsel in the Corporate Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.  Prior to joining the firm, he was the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court from early 2014 through late 2019.  Before becoming the Chief Justice, he served on the Delaware Court of Chancery as Chancellor since June 22, 2011, and as a Vice Chancellor since November 9, 1998.

In his judicial positions, Mr. Strine wrote hundreds of opinions in the areas of corporate law, contract law, trusts and estates, criminal law, administrative law, and constitutional law.  Notably, he authored the lead decision in the Delaware Supreme Court case holding that Delaware’s death penalty statute was unconstitutional because it did not require the key findings necessary to impose a death sentence to be made by a unanimous jury.

For a generation, Mr. Strine taught various corporate law courses at the Harvard and University of Pennsylvania law schools, and now serves as the Michael L. Wachter Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Program on Corporate Governance. From 2006 to 2019, Mr. Strine served as the special judicial consultant to the ABA’s Committee on Corporate Laws. He also was the special judicial consultant to the ABA’s Committee on Mergers & Acquisitions from 2014 to 2019. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Mr. Strine speaks and writes frequently on the subjects of corporate and public law, and particularly the impact of business on society, and his articles have been published in The University of Chicago Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Stanford Law Review, among others.  On several occasions, his articles were selected as among the Best Corporate and Securities Articles of the year, based on the choices of law professors.

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Karel Czandera

Board Member, Cibo Vita and Soteria Flexibles; Former Board Member, BlueLinx Holdings, Weber-Stephen Products, Balcan Innovations and Rather Outdoors
Former CEO, Flexsteel Industries

Karel Czanderna is an independent board director for public and private companies. She collaborates with other board members to protect and grow shareholder value, ensure governance structure promotes strategic alignment, organizational capabilities, and emphasizes enterprise risk, fiduciary duties, ethics, and compliance. She leads with vision and thrives in industries being disrupted by global threats and digital technology transitions like artificial intelligence (AI).

Karel currently serves on the board for Cibo Vita, a founder-led privately-held company in the better-for-you food industry, and has served on boards for BlueLinx Holdings (NYSE:BXC), a $4B publicly-traded building & industrial products distributor, and privately-held $2B Weber-Stephen Products (grills) until the 2021 IPO (NYSE:WEBR). She was also a board member for privately-held Balcan Innovations (flexible packaging & films), and Rather Outdoors (fishing products) where she Chaired or was a member of the Audit committee. Karel has contributed to 2 transformational and 6 strategic acquisitions, cybersecurity breach resolutions, C-Suite coaching & successions, and enhancing environmental/sustainability results as a director since 2018. As CEO of Flexsteel Industries, Inc., (NASDAQ:FLXS) a $500M top-six U.S. furniture manufacturer for residential, office, hospitality, vehicle and healthcare markets, and director on the board she partnered with the Chair to realize strategy and enhance board performance.

She is an exceptional business leader whose professional career has included serving as Chief Executive Officer of Flexsteel, and Group President, Owens Corning Building Materials where she doubled profitability of a $3.3B global portfolio. As Vice President of Whirlpool’s $1.8B Global KitchenAid and Jenn-Air businesses, she executed the largest simultaneous all-kitchen-products launch in history and was instrumental in the successful integration of Maytag. As VP and GM of Eastman Kodak, she acquired and integrated a $100M publicly-traded inkjet competitor to increase revenue 400%.

Sam Holroyd

Board Member, Chord Energy and Amerant Bancorp Hart Energy’s 2020 “25 Most Influential Women in Energy”

Samantha (Sam) Holroyd is a contributing independent director on a number of boards spanning not-for-profit, private and public corporations. She currently serves on two publicly traded company boards for Chord Energy Corporation (Nasdaq: CHRD) and Amerant Bancorp (NMYSE: AMTB). She is a board member for the National Association of Certified Directors, Texas TriCities Chapter, and is Co-Program Chair. She has been qualified as a Certified Director by the NACD, is a registered professional Engineer and is active with NACD supporting board service governance, certification, activities, and initiatives.

Ms. Holroyd’s professional experience spans over 33 years and includes management and leadership roles in real asset operations, capital allocation and deployment, mergers and acquisitions, global consulting and advisory services, investment banking and private equity investment. Across her career, Ms. Holroyd has worked internationally, developed, and managed multidisciplinary and diverse operating teams, held capital deployment and allocation responsibilities, completed M&A&D activities totaling over $5 Billion and
integrated businesses and operating teams.

In her board service, Ms. Holroyd has contributed and carried leadership roles as Lead Independent Director, and Chair of Nominating, Environmental, Social and Governance (NESG) Committees, and Sustainability Committee. Ms. Holroyd is a qualified financial expert and serves on Audit and Risk Committees. Ms. Holroyd has passion around structured Enterprise Risk Management, ESG Initiatives integrated with Strategic goals, and board diversity.

Tate Pursell

Board Member, Air+ Inc. and Support Systems Associates

Tate Pursell is an experienced board member and CEO with broad industry experience in both industrial and consumer sectors. He has served on 12 boards of directors, acted as corporate secretary of three boards, served on audit/risk and governance committees, and chaired the compensation/human resources committees of two boards.

Presently, Tate is an operating partner of MSI Capital Partners, an independent sponsor private equity firm focused on middle market manufacturing and business services companies. He is currently an independent director of a defense contractor and chairs the compensation/HR committees. And he was recently appointed to corporate secretary and board member for Air+ Inc., a designer and manufacturer of air purification systems for health care, office, and water treatment facilities. Tate is a subject matter expert and public speaker on the board’s role in operational improvement, turnaround/ restructuring, executive compensation, and director recruitment.

As an operating executive, he has over 30 years’ experience as a C-suite executive, board member, and private equity principal. He is expert in strategic planning, new product development, new market expansion, acquisition valuation, due diligence, and integration. Industries include manufacturing, distribution, installation, and business services. He lived overseas for years in Asia and Europe and has done extensive business in Latin America.

Boards seek Tate for his expertise in coaching management teams through periods of change, growth, and shifts in market dynamics. During the growth periods of the 1990’s, he became CEO of two underperforming companies with dispirited management teams and led them to develop new strategies and rally their teams to capitalize on market growth.

Tariq Shaukat

Board Member, Gap Inc. and Public Storage Co-CEO, Sonar | Former President, Bumble and Google Cloud 

Tariq Shaukat is co-CEO of Sonar, the world’s leading Clean Code solution, and is a member of Sonar’s Board of Directors. Tariq has extensive experience in growing and scaling private and public companies across many domains, including cloud computing, social media, travel, and entertainment.

Before joining Sonar, Tariq was the President of Bumble Inc., the parent company that operates the Bumble, Badoo, Fruitz and Official mobile apps. He joined Bumble as the company’s first ever President, and partnered with the Founder and CEO to successfully IPO and scale the company to over $900M in revenue in 2022. Prior to that, Tariq was President of Google Cloud. There, he played a key role in establishing its go-to-market operations as well as its industry and AI solutions, and scaling the company to over $12B in revenue. He has also held senior roles at Caesars Entertainment, McKinsey & Company, and Trilogy Software.

Tariq serves on the Board of Trustees of Public Storage, a leading self-storage REIT, and on the Board of Directors of Gap Inc, the iconic fashion and apparel retailer. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Technology and Policy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Myrna Soto

Board Member, CMS Energy, Spirit Airlines , TriNet and Popular Inc.

Myrna has over 28 years of Information Technology/ CyberSecurity experience.  Myrna is the Founder and CEO of Apogee Executive Advisors. An advisory firm specializing in CyberSecurity, Technology Risk, Board Service and Governance

Myrna serves on several publicly traded company boards including  CMS Energy, Spirit Airlines , TriNet and Popular Inc. She is recognized as a Governance and Board Leadership Fellow by NACD.  She also serves on two private company boards HeadSpace Health and Delinea ( a cybersecurity technology provider). 

She most recently served as the Chief Strategy and Trust Officer for Forcepoint.   She also served as COO of a managed security service provider (MSSP) as well an Investment Partner at ForgePoint Capital. Her previous roles include serving as Corporate SVP & Global CISO for Comcast Corp,  CISO MGM Resorts and other senior leadership positions with American Express, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Kemper Insurance.

She is a highly decorated executive with a long list of recognitions including , being recognized as Recognized As NACD Directorship 100™ Honoree 2022. She was previously named to Directors & Boards Magazine as a Director to Watch.  She also was recognized by boardiQ as a Hall of Fame LatinX | Hispanic Top 100 Honoree.  Latino Leaders magazine recognized her in 2021 as one of the Top 100 most influential Latinas in business (for several years now in a row) and a Hall of Fame Honoree in 2022.

Nina Vaca

Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group | Board Member, Austin Industries, Cinemark and Comerica Bank

Nina Vaca is an award-winning entrepreneur, CEO, board member, and philanthropist who is on a mission to improve lives globally. In 1996, she founded Pinnacle Group, which has grown into the largest Hispanic-owned global workforce solutions company in the country. Serving 20% of the Fortune 100, Pinnacle Group’s global reach includes 20 countries and counting.

Nina and Pinnacle Group have received numerous awards and recognitions over the years. Inc. Magazine named Pinnacle Group to the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing companies 13 times and the Women Presidents’ Organization named it the fastest-growing woman-owned/led company in the country twice in four years. Nina has been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneur. She was also inducted into the Minority Business Hall of Fame and named a Trailblazing Woman in Labor and Business by the Women’s History Project.

In addition to her work with Pinnacle Group, Nina is a seasoned independent director. She has served on the boards of three publicly traded companies. During her nearly 15 years of public company board service, she has not only contributed to the effective governance of the companies she has served, but also advocated for and helped increase the number of women and minorities serving on boards.

Nina is also a committed civic leader and philanthropist. In 2014, Nina was appointed by the White House as one of the inaugural Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), spreading the power of entrepreneurship to lift individuals, families, and communities globally. In 2017 she founded the Nina Vaca Foundation to

She is a distinguished alumna of Texas State University and recently established the Nina Vaca Innovation & Entrepreneurship Endowment. A lifelong learner, she completed the Corporate Governance Executive Program at Harvard University and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. For her work in the community and business success she’s received honorary doctorates from Northwood University, Mount Mary University, and Berkeley College.

Korab Zuka

Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Purpose Communications and ESG, Bristol Myers Squibb

Korab Zuka currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Purpose Communications and ESG at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he leads the development and execution of the company’s purpose communications and ESG strategy. He brings over 15 years of experience in corporate affairs, sustainability, communications, and philanthropy, advancing patient centricity in the healthcare sector. Korab serves on the Board of Oasis legal services which supports asylum seekers in the Bay Area. 

Prior to joining Bristol Myers Squibb, Korab led Gilead’s purpose-driven work as the Vice President of Public Affairs and President of the Gilead Foundation where he managed a team of professionals, ~$300 million annual budget, portfolio of more than 1,000 partners and directed the communications for the company’s sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts. He has a proven track record of building strategic partnerships, delivering high-impact programs, and leading cross-functional teams across private and public sector healthcare organizations, including the Patient Access Network, the United Nations/OSCE, and the Center for Social Emancipation.

SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS

Kensey Biggs

Managing Director and Head of U.S. Corporate ESG, Teneo

Kensey is a Managing Director and the Head of U.S. Corporate ESG at Teneo, a CEO advisory firm with 43 offices globally and over 1,200 clients. Kensey has over 20 years of experience as a trusted advisor, including over a decade counseling companies on ESG and investor relations. At Teneo, she advises companies on ESG strategy, oversight, integration, and reporting. With her deep experience in investor relations, Kensey brings an investor’s perspective to ESG, favoring a data-driven approach focused on the link between material sustainability factors and a company’s financial performance.

Before Teneo, Kensey was a Senior Vice President covering ESG at Truist, a top U.S. bank formed from SunTrust and BB&T’s merger. She helped build the new bank’s ESG practice from the ground up. Before Truist, she was a Senior Counselor at Abernathy MacGregor, where she built the firm’s first ESG client offering in 2017 and was a founding Co-Chair of the company’s Global ESG Taskforce. Prior to Abernathy, Kensey founded her own consulting firm Dalloway Advisory Group. Earlier in her career, she spent four years at Teneo, joining as the firm’s 13th employee in 2011. She started her career in finance at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Kensey was named one of the Top 25 Sustainability Leaders in Consulting in 2022 and 2023, as well as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by the National Diversity Council. She serves on JUST Capital’s JUST Gen Committee and lives in Nashville with her husband and son.

Katherine Frank

Partner, Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions, Vinson & Elkins

Katherine’s practice focuses on corporate finance and securities law, including capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and general corporate representation. She regularly advises companies and their boards on ESG-related corporate governance, disclosure obligations and regulatory requirements. Katherine works with boards to help manage their approaches to shareholder engagement, governance policies and board succession matters. Katherine also assists private and public company clients in capital markets transactions such as initial public offerings, registered offerings of debt and equity securities and private placements.

Michael Chavira

Managing Director, Los Angeles
FW Cook

Michael Chavira has over 20 years of executive compensation consulting experience. He joined the firm’s New York Office in 2001, and has worked out of the Los Angeles Office since 2003. Prior to being employed by FW Cook, Michael was an executive compensation consultant with Pearl Meyer & Partners from 1995 to 2001.

Michael regularly advises Board Compensation Committees and executive management teams on executive and non-employee director pay in both public and private companies. His experience covers small and large companies in a variety of industries, including aerospace and defense, banking, biotechnology, consumer products (including apparel and footwear), home building, industrial machinery, oil and gas, food and restaurants, technology (including hardware and software), telecommunications, and utilities. He has also worked on various corporate transactions such as initial public offerings, spin-offs, mergers, etc.

Michael authors technical letters and other publications covering developments in executive and director compensation and has spoken on the topic of executive pay at compensation related events.

Matt Paese

Senior Vice President, Leadership Insights, DDI

Dr. Matt Paese is a globally recognized author, CEO coach, C-suite consultant, keynote speaker, and pioneer of many of today’s leading approaches for helping leaders succeed at the top. He is the lead author of Leaders Ready Now: Accelerating Growth in a Faster World (2016) and co-author of its award-winning predecessor, Grow Your Own Leaders (2002), which have shaped over two decades of impact in growing leaders into skilled, self-aware, compassionate enterprise executives. Matt is now Senior Vice President of Executive Services for DDI.

Matt has advised thousands of CEOs, senior teams, boards and C-suite executives in more than 20 countries across the world. He is sought-after for his expertise in CEO succession and onboarding, senior team effectiveness, board effectiveness, and executive succession and development. He has authored scores of articles and white papers, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Chief Executive, The Conference Board, and Human Resources Executive to name a few. His team’s research has generated countless insights and discoveries in C-suite leadership, executive team and individual effectiveness, and enterprise succession planning.

As an entrepreneur, Matt was one of several originators who launched DDI’s Executive Services business in 1995. DDI has since provided coaching, development, and consulting to hundreds of thousands of executives in more than 3,000 organizations worldwide. He has led the development and implementation of industry-leading solutions in the areas of executive assessment, coaching, team effectiveness, and board leadership. Matt is the principal architect of many DDI proprietary services, including Business Driver Analysis, Executive Focus CoachingTM, and the newly released Pressure Point CoachingTM, which is rapidly altering the global landscape of high-speed, just-in-time coaching for executives.

Adam Echter

Adam Echter

Partner, Simon-Kucher & Partners

Adam Echter is a Partner based in Simon-Kucher’s Silicon Valley office. He brings two decades of B2B sales & pricing experience across manufactured goods, industrial equipment and technology industries. Adam has built pricing & sales organizations throughout North America, Europe & Asia with an emphasis on transitioning transactional businesses toward recurring revenue models. Serving firms across America from base of operations in Silicon Valley provides a unique perspective for bringing SaaS-pioneered monetization models to legacy, industrial firms. 

Amy Rojik

Amy Rojik

National Managing Partner – Governance, Emerging Issues and External Communications, BDO

Amy has spent over 16 years with BDO as part of the National Assurance practice office. She founded and directs BDO’s Center for Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting, designed for financial executives and those charged with governance of both public and private companies. She is responsible for the development and presentation of a significant volume of BDO’s continuing professional education (CPE)-worthy webinar, on-demand and podcast programs and thought leadership pieces on a variety of matters related to corporate governance, including cybersecurity, fraud, succession planning, and audit quality. Amy further develops certain of our firm’s board of director forums as well as participates in external events for corporate directors.
She also participates in the development and implementation of BDO’s national strategies and initiatives that support industry, business, technical, and client service goals. She is responsible for publication and issuance of BDO’s annual voluntary Audit Quality Reports and tools and templates supporting communications with our client Audit Committees.

Amy currently serves as BDO’s Policy Lead to and participates on the Center for Audit Quality’s (CAQ) Advisory Committee and has assisted in CAQ initiatives, including audit committee communications and audit quality indicators. She has participated in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)’s EDMAX forum for accounting firm learning specialists to share knowledge/practices on learning methods.
She fully supports BDO initiatives aimed at flexibility, development, and career progression, and serves on the BDO’s Women’s Inclusion initiative and the Virtual Parenting Network as well as BDO’s focus on the audit of the future.

Florin Rotar

Chief AI Officer, Avanade

Chief Technology Officer Florin Rotar leads the strategic development of a portfolio of solutions and services that position Avanade to be a market maker and category leader, emphasizing our commitment to emerging technology and innovation.

Florin previously led Avanade’s global Modern Workplace business, where we reimagine and redefine the workplace as a creator of sustainable business value, and Accenture’s Microsoft Business Group (AMBG) business in the areas of Digital Workplace and Workplace Experience.

Curious by nature and a technologist by trade ever since he wrote his first program on a Commodore 64 as a child, Florin was the company’s first Chief Technology Innovation Officer. He has had key roles leading Avanade’s Digital Market Unit globally, and establishing and growing Avanade’s business in the UK and the Nordic region, both as a senior practitioner and as a leader. His early career was with Accenture, Procter & Gamble and as a start-up entrepreneur.

Florin is a world citizen, having spent most of his adult life working in five European capitals. He and his family now call Seattle home.

Jon Solorzano

Counsel, Environmental, Social & Governance, Vinson & Elkins

Jon’s practice focuses on advising public and private companies and their boards of directors and executive teams on matters and opportunities related to environmental, social and governance (ESG), corporate governance, sustainability considerations, shareholder activism, risk management, securities law and M&A. As Senior Director, Legal and Corporate Development for The Clorox Company from 2015 through 2022, he helped build and manage a comprehensive ESG program and helped lead the company’s ESG strategy, stakeholder engagement and ESG reporting. He also helped establish and execute strategies around climate change, plastics and waste, supply chain transparency and diversity and inclusion. Jon advises clients, including public companies, on securities disclosure, corporate governance and compliance matters. Jon plays a strategic role in advising clients on a broad range of ESG issues and related risks, including the development of sustainability reporting, corporate ESG programs and governance oversight and the establishment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions targets, plastics and waste goals, product safety and stewardship principles, and diversity and inclusion priorities. Jon’s valuable in-house background brings a unique and pragmatic perspective to clients assessing and incorporating ESG practices into their corporate strategies. He serves as Co-Head of V&E’s ESG Taskforce

Kenneth Sparling

Managing Director, Chicago
FW Cook

Ken Sparling joined the firm in 2007 and has over 15 years of executive compensation consulting experience. He regularly advises board compensation committees and management teams on all aspects of executive and non-employee director pay in both public and private companies.  He has also worked on various corporate transactions such as initial public offerings, spin-offs, mergers, and acquisitions. 

Ken is an author and frequent contributor to the firm’s technical papers and studies. He also serves on the firm’s technology committee.