Dr. Tracy Brower

Author, The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Bring Work to Life; Vice President of Workplace Insights, Steelcase

Dr. Tracy Brower is a PhD sociologist studying happiness, work-life and the future of work. She is the vice president of workplace insights for Steelcase and the author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Bring Work to Life. Tracy is a senior contributor to Forbes and Fast Company. Her work has been translated into 19 languages, and you can find her at, LinkedIn, or any of the usual social channels. 

Donna Flynn

Vice President, Global Talent Management, Steelcase

Donna Flynn is Vice President, Global Talent, leading Steelcase’s efforts to attract, retain, develop, engage, and inspire Steelcase employees around the world. She has been with the company since 2011 and was appointed to this role in March 2020. Prior to this role, Donna served as Vice President, Workspace Futures, leading a team of design researchers studying the future of work, workers, and the workplace to inform Steelcase’s strategy, culture, and product
design and development.

Before joining Steelcase, Donna spent 9 years leading experience research and strategy at Microsoft, helping to design and develop user experiences across a range of products. She was also a user experience consultant at Sapient in San Francisco, a social science analyst at the International Center for Research on Women in Washington, D.C., and an international development consultant in Africa and the Middle East. She has also served on the Advisory Board of the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado, an interdisciplinary institute for radical creativity and invention.

Donna earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University (1996) and never imagined at that time that she would ever call herself a designer. She was a Fulbright Scholar from 1993 to 1994, and received a BA in Anthropology/African and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Colorado (1989). Donna’s home base is a 20-acre ranch in Colorado, and she travels the world physically and virtually to design better work experiences for Steelcase and their customers.

Christie Hefner

Board Member, Offut Companies, Scent Beauty, Fyllo, Public Good and Metro Edge Former Chairman & CEO, Playboy Enterprises

Christie has more than 30 years of experience at executive levels across public and private companies, as well as multiple company directorships. She currently serves on the boards of the Offutt Companies, a multi-billion-dollar agricultural conglomerate, Scent Beauty, and Chicago-based Fyllo, Public Good and Metro-Edge.

Christie served as Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises for 20 years, making her, at the time, the longest-serving female CEO of a publicly traded company. She was widely credited with developing and leading strategies that repositioned the company from its legacy domestic magazine business to a global multi-media and lifestyle company while building its institutional shareholder base and recapitalizing the company to the first NYSE corporation allowed to issue a second class of stock with disparate voting rights. Under her leadership, Playboy was the first magazine to successfully leverage its brand into a television network and also to launch a website. In her final year, Playboy generated close to $1 billion in global retail sales and more than 40% of her executives were women.


Christie was on the Fortune 100 “Most Powerful Women” list for three years. She is a founding member of The Chicago Network, The Committee of 200 and the Chicago chapter of WomenCorporateDirectors. She is also on the Council of National Advisors for Springboard Enterprises, an accelerator for women-led growth ventures, and was the first woman elected into the Chicago chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

Barbara Higgins

Barbara Higgins

Board Member, EMPLOYERS

Barbara Higgins is an expert in customer experience management, with 35 years’ experience in multi-channel operations, market research, brand management and leadership. Her experience includes managing operations across diverse cultures in the Americas, Asia, and Europe, living with her family in Hong Kong and Paris.

Ms Higgins most recently served as Chief Customer Officer formDuke Energy, one of the largest electric power holding companies in the U.S. In this newly created position, she led a team to design end-to-end strategies for measurement, valuation, and improvement of the customer experience for both residential and commercial customers. She oversaw Duke Energy’s marketing, digital and social media operations, and sat on the senior executive management committee. This role built upon her most recent experience advising companies on customer experience practices, providing organizational, measurement and brand support across multiple industries.

Ms Higgins originated the Chief Customer Officer position at Allstate Insurance Company and at United Airlines, creating new teams to derive insights and drive changes in the end-to-end customer experience. She also created an industrial engineering practice to support operational performance, and led her teams to develop an end-to-end view of the customer experience and integrated multi-channel strategy. She had multinational P&L accountability and was part of the management turnaround of United during the 2008 financial crisis, leading to its merger with Continental Airlines, creating the world’s largest carrier at the time.

Ms Higgins served for almost 19 years in various executive positions at The Walt Disney Company, including international assignments as Vice President, Operations Integration and Planning at Disneyland Paris and Director, Operations Task Force for Hong Kong Disneyland. She supported opening and stabilization of a wide range of businesses, including the Disneyland Paris Resort, the Disney Cruise Line, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

Ms Higgins has extensive board experience, serving on non-profit, private and public boards, including over seven years as an independent director of DeVry University, overseeing the transition to private ownership and major refresh of the board. Ms Higgins joined EMPLOYERS as an independent director in 2018 and serves on the Nomination and Governance Committee and chairs the Compensation Committee. She has experience presenting to the board during her time at United, Allstate and Duke Energy, where she provided frequent updates on the company’s progress in transforming the experience it provides to its customers.

Ms Higgins earned her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where she ran cross country and track competitively, earning All-East and All-Ivy honors in track & field. She earned her Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. She is fluent in French, with residences in Chicago and Paris.

Mike Kesner

Mike Kesner

Partner, Pay Governance

Mike Kesner, is a Partner in the Chicago office of Pay Governance LLC and is an experienced executive compensation professional with over 40 years of consulting experience. He advises a number of companies’ Board of Directors and senior executives on executive compensation and corporate governance matters. He is a thought leader, a featured speaker, and author on the topic of executive compensation and corporate governance, many of which have been published in the Harvard law school Corporate Governance Forum. 

Mike has served on the advisory board of Compensation Standards and was a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Executive Compensation. Mike became a partner in Pay Governance LLC in July 2020. He was previously a principal and consultant at Deloitte Consulting for 18 years. He began his career at Arthur Andersen and was the partner in charge of the executive compensation practice until May 2002.

Corey Perry

Partner, Sidley Austin

Corey Perry is a partner in Sidley’s office in Chicago, and is co-leader of the firm’s global Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice area. Corey advises clients on all types of executive compensation and employee benefit matters, with a specific focus on executive compensation disclosure rules under the federal securities laws. In addition, Corey regularly counsels clients on executive compensation and employee benefits matters related to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, IPOs, and spinoffs. She advises boards of directors, compensation committees, and management on compensation arrangements, administrative and regulatory compliance with tax and securities laws, and corporate governance considerations regarding executive compensation and related matters.

Teresa Reuter

Partner, Sidley Austin

Teresa Reuter represents employers in a wide variety of employment matters in the Labor, Employment and Immigration practice. Teresa defends companies in complex wage and hour class actions, as well as discrimination and other employment-related litigation. Teresa also represents clients in litigation and other matters involving accessibility for individuals with disabilities, including counseling both employers and places of public accommodation on accessibility and accommodation issues and requirements.

Teresa counsels employers on a broad range of matters including personnel policies and procedures, employment and executive contracts and agreements and employee disciplinary matters. She conducts internal investigations for companies and their boards concerning discrimination, harassment, conflict of interest and other employment-related issues, involving employees at all levels of the company. Teresa also regularly assists in corporate due diligence projects in connection with the sale of businesses.

Christine Spadafor

Board Member, Boyd Gaming Corporation; Former Board Member, Kindred at Home

Christine J. Spadafor is an experienced corporate, university and non-profit board director with deep expertise in growth strategies, corporate transitions, M&A, regulatory compliance, risk management, DEI and ESG. She has a demonstrated track record leading successful global transformational initiatives at the intersection of strategy, operations, finance, and human capital management in both domestic and global markets across a broad spectrum of industries, including health care and entertainment and media. She has worked extensively as an advisor to Fortune 100 C-suite executives and boards of directors.

Christine is CEO of SpadaforClay Group, a management consulting firm. She serves as an Independent Director at Boyd Gaming Corporation, a $3.6B NYSE-listed company, where she is Chair of its Governance and Nominating Committee, a member of the Audit Committee and former member of the Compensation Committee. Christine also serves on the President’s Council of Massachusetts General Hospital’s MGH Institute of Health Professions. She previously served on the boards of Kindred at Home, a private company that is the largest provider of home care and hospice services in the US, where she served as Chair of the Quality and Compliance Committee, and of Intus Care, a private company with a proprietary platform to synthesize healthcare data to optimize patient outcomes. Christine serves on the Board of Trustees for Mercyhurst University, on the Advisory Board of WBUR, one of the premier National Public Radio stations in the US, and is a commentator on the BBC World Service “Business Matters” global radio broadcast and podcast. She is also a frequent contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Inc., and other business journals.

Christine was a Partner in three premier global management consulting firms (The Boston Consulting Group, AlixPartners, CSC Index). At Fortune 100 companies, her primary clients have been global C-suite executives whom she advised on strategy and governance initiatives: advising on the design of governance structures for global finance transformation projects; leading strategic design for and execution of new revenue-generating shared services, finance, and business innovation units; leading the design and analysis of a global ERP strategy; and repositioning private equity portfolio companies for market. At a national financial institution, she restructured the board of directors and developed a new governance structure unanimously adopted by the board.

In addition, Christine has broad experience leading international engagements. She led a transformational worldwide strategic communications/change management program reaching nearly 3,000 stakeholders across more than 20 territories for a global entertainment and media company. She led the design, execution and strategic communications of a transformational finance initiative for another global entertainment and media company’s newly created international business unit; led the development of a worldwide strategy for a perfume company in France; led the development of a digital strategy for a globally-regulated major medical equipment manufacturer in the Netherlands; and served as a public health consultant to the United Nations in China on public health and sustainability.

Christine is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard School of Public Health and was selected by the Business Section of the American Bar Association/Direct Women as one of the top 20 female attorneys with outstanding expertise for corporate board service. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she co-authored a workplace health treatise published by Johns Hopkins University. She is a lecturer on Strategic Leadership in the Visiting Executive Program at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, a lecturer/presenter at Harvard Medical School and other Harvard graduate programs. She is a speaker/keynote at seminars, meetings and podcasts addressing agile leadership, gender equity and board governance, including at the US Chamber of Commerce, Young Presidents Organization and American Medical Group Association. Christine has been awarded two Doctor of Humane Letters degrees – received in recognition of her professional accomplishments and lifelong contributions to vulnerable and at-risk populations.

Fran Skinner

Board Member, Peoples Bank and Fenimore Asset Management, Former, CAO, Diamond Hill Capital Management

Fran Skinner, CFA, CPA is a partner with AUM Partners, LLC a firm she co-founded in 2009 to “Develop leaders at every level” through talent assessment and leadership development focused on helping everyone reach their highest level of performance. She is a member of the corporate board of Peoples Bank (ticker: PEBO), and Fenimore Asset Management.

In 2023, Fran completed her three-year term of service on the board of Women Investment Professionals as Chair of Strategy / Vice-President. Previously, Fran was the Chief Administrative Officer – Investments for Diamond Hill Capital Management (2018 – 2019), and a member of the Diamond Hill Investment Group (ticker: DHIL) Corporate Board of Directors (2010 to 2018), where she was Chair of the Compensation Committee and a financial expert member of the Audit Committee. Fran also spent 16 years at Allstate Insurance, where she worked in a variety of roles as a leader supporting the performance of the insurance company’s investment portfolio.

Fran is co-author of the book “High Performing Investment Teams”, and was profiled in the book, “Lighthouse: Women Leading the Way in Finance” by Maya Peterson. Fran was a contributor to Barron’s “Coaches Corner” from 2016 – 2021. In addition to obtaining her CFA and CPA, she has an MBA from the University of Illinois – Chicago.

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Christine Skizas

Partner, Pay Governance

Christine Oberholzer Skizas, a Pay Governance Managing Partner based in Chicago, has been consulting with clients across industries for twenty years.  Christine serves as the advisor to the Boards of companies of all sizes and stages of evolution. Her areas of expertise include compensation strategy, incentive program design, including traditional and alternative delivery vehicles, and transaction-related arrangements. Christine has had the opportunity to consult with a diverse group of clients across industries, including: energy services, financial services, manufacturing, rail, real estate, retail, and technology. She has developed and presented research on CD&A best practices and the impact of management and Board diversity on company performance.

Christine received a B.B.A degree in Finance and Business Economics with a concentration in International Business from The University of Notre Dame.

Prior to joining Pay Governance, Christine served as the Group Leader of Towers Watson’s Chicago Executive Compensation practice, managing the Chicago team of consultants while also serving as an advisor to Boards and Compensation Committees of public and private entities. 

Prior to joining Towers Perrin, Christine managed the compensation consulting practice of a boutique national real estate advisory firm. Christine’s professional career began in Arthur Andersen’s Business Consulting division as a member of the Financial Services Industry practice, assisting some of the largest financial institutions in the country with the assessment, design and implementation of various operational strategies ranging from consumer lending to customer care.

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Ed Steinhoff

Managing Director, Pearl Meyer

Ed Steinhoff is a managing director and consulting team leader at Pearl Meyer. In his management role, he oversees a team of senior compensation consultants in the execution of the firm’s growth strategy and in the development of consultants at various stages in their careers. With more than 25 years’ experience in executive compensation, Ed works with the boards of directors and senior management teams of public and private companies, ranging from small and middle-market firms to multibillion-dollar corporations, to design pay programs that drive business performance and value creation, secure high-performing executive talent, and meet both regulatory standards and stakeholder expectations.

Ed leads client engagements across many industries, with a focus on insurance, banking, manufacturing, and construction and engineering organizations. Prior to joining Pearl Meyer, Ed led the Michigan market compensation business at Mercer. He also has corporate compensation experience with Amoco Corporation in Chicago.

Ed received a BS degree in finance from Georgetown University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He speaks regularly on compensation issues and is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and WorldatWork.

Alex Wolff

Board Member, Albemarle and Frontier Group Holdings and previously PG&E Corp

Alejandro D. Wolff has served as a member of Frontier’s Board of Directors since July 2019. Mr. Wolff previously served as a managing director of Gryphon Partners LLC, a global advisory firm, from January 2014 to June 2016. Prior to that, Mr. Wolff spent thirty-four years with the U.S. Department of State, including posts as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Chile (2010-2013) and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (2005-2010), before retiring in 2013 with the rank of Career Minister. Mr. Wolff has served on the boards of directors of Albemarle Corporation, a specialty chemicals company, since January 2015, and JetSMART Holdings, a low-cost air carrier based in South America, since March 2017. Mr. Wolff was previously a director of PG&E Corporation, an electric and gas utility in northern California, from April 2019 to June 2020, and of Versum Materials, a semiconductor materials company, from October 2016 to October 2019. Mr. Wolff holds a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles.