Speakers

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Kate Andersen Brower
Author


Ms. Kate Andersen Brower is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House.  Her book has been optioned by Kevin Spacey’s production company, Trigger Street Productions, and is in development to be made into a television series.

 In April 2016, Ms. Brower released her second New York Times best-seller, First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies. It explores the friendships and rivalries between the first ladies and the behind- the-scenes dynamics of life in the White House. It was announced that First Women would be made into a TV series. The Residence has similarly been optioned for a series by Fox 21 Studios.

 On June 5th, 2018, Ms. Brower will release her third book, First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power. The book will present an intimate, news-making look at the men who are next in line to the most powerful office in the world—the vice presidents of the modern era—from Richard Nixon to Joe Biden to Mike Pence.

Ms. Brower covered the White House for Bloomberg News and Businessweek, and as part of the White House press corps traveled across the U.S. and around the globe on Air Force One.

Ms. Brower is a graduate of Barnard College with a Master’s Degree from Oxford University.


Evan Barth
Senior Counsel
IBM


Mr. Evan Barth is Senior Counsel in the Corporate & Securities Group at IBM. Mr. Barth works on a wide range of corporate and securities matters, including legal support for the IBM board of directors, proxy disclosure, shareholder engagement, and general corporate governance matters. Mr. Barth is the President of the Fairfield-Westchester Chapter of the Society for Corporate Governance. Prior to joining IBM in 2008, Evan was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in the Capital Markets and Executive Compensation and Benefits practice groups and in the Capital Markets practice group at Loeb & Loeb LLP. 

Mr. Barth holds a B.S. in Management from Binghamton University and a J.D. from NYU School of Law.

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Glenn Booraem
Stewardship Officer
Vanguard


Glenn Booraem is the Investment Stewardship Officer and a principal at Vanguard. Glenn joined Vanguard in 1989, and has led its investment stewardship efforts since 2001. Mr. Booraem has also served as the controller and treasurer for each of the Vanguard funds. In addition to engaging with the Vanguard funds’ portfolio companies and serving as a frequent speaker on corporate governance matters, Glenn also represents Vanguard and its investors through a number of industry initiatives, including the Investor Stewardship Group (ISG) and the Investor Advisory Group for the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). Glenn has been named to the National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) Directorship 100 list each year since 2010, as one of the most influential people in corporate governance. He is a graduate of Temple University and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

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Robert E. Bostrom
Senior Vice President General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Abercrombie & Fitch


Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Abercrombie & Fitch with global oversight responsibility for legal, compliance, ethics, regulatory and corporate governance matters. Abercrombie is a global specialty apparel retailer that operates stores in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and e-commerce websites.

Served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Freddie Mac from February 2006 to July 2011 with responsibility for legal, regulatory and corporate governance matters during the financial crisis, conservatorship, and government takeover.

Previously, Greenberg Traurig, Co-Chairman of the Financial Regulatory and Compliance Group and Co-Head of the Global Financial Institutions and Funds Sector at SNR Denton.

Selected by The National Law Journal as among Washington’s most influential in-house counsel in 2011; 2018 Burton Legends in Law Award; 2016 NYSE Governance Series Distinguished General Counsel Award; General Counsel of the Year Award by the ILO and ACC in 2015; Fellow in The American College of Governance Counsel; Member Georgetown Corporate Counsel Institute Advisory Board.

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Brian V. Breheny
Partner
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP


Mr. Brian V. Breheny heads the firm’s SEC Reporting and Compliance practice.  Mr. Breheny concentrates his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and general corporate and securities matters and advises numerous clients on a full range of SEC reporting, compliance and corporate governance matters, including advising clients on compliance with the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC’s tender offer rules and regulations and the federal proxy rules.

Prior to joining Skadden in 2010, Mr. Breheny held a number of leadership positions in the Division of Corporation Finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Breheny began as chief of the SEC’s Office of Mergers and Acquisitions in July 2003, and in November 2007 he became deputy director, legal and regulatory policy. 

During his tenure at the SEC, Mr. Breheny assisted the commission with its consideration of significant rule amendments in a number of areas including shareholder director nominations, tender offers, beneficial ownership reporting, electronic delivery of proxy materials, electronic shareholder forums, short sale disclosure, and proxy voting and shareholder communications.

Mr. Breheny serves as a member of the board of directors of the Society for Corporate Governance and repeatedly has been recognized by the National Association of Corporate Directors as part of its Directorship 100.  Mr. Breheny also has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, The International Who’s Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Eileen R. Cohen
Retired Managing Director
JP Morgan Asset Management

Eileen Cohen is recently retired Managing Director for JP Morgan Asset Management, a position she has held since 2001. At JP Morgan she was Chair of the North America Governance Committee and leads the firm’s corporate engagement activities.  Ms. Cohen was also a Senior Client Portfolio Manager and a proven expert in investment consulting, portfolio management and financial communications. Prior to her present position, Ms. Cohen was a partner at Invesco, formerly Chancellor Capital where she held various roles including Portfolio Manager, Head of Asset Allocation and Head of Client Services.  In her earlier professional career, she was a partner at Buck Consulting, an actuarial and investment consulting firm and held manufacturing and finance positions at International Paper Co.

Additionally, Ms. Cohen serves as a mentor in the Executive On Campus program at Baruch College, where she was received the Alumni Allegiance Award.  Ms. Cohen is a board member of The National Grid Foundation, serving as Chair of the Audit Committee as well as a past member of the advisory council of SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board).  Ms. Cohen also served as a member of the EEI ESG/Sustainability Investor Group.

Ms. Cohen completed her BA in economics at Queens College and continued on to Baruch to earn an MBA in finance and economics.

Ms. Jacqueline Q. Condron
Vice President of Proxy Voting & Governance Research
BNY Mellon

Ms. Jacqueline Q. Condron is Vice President of Proxy Voting & Governance Research at BNY Mellon in Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Condron graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from Northeastern University in 2007 and a J.D. with a concentration in corporate law from Northeastern University School of Law in 2012. Prior to joining BNY Mellon, Ms. Condron spent a short time working in the governance department at Fidelity Worldwide Investment in London, England. Previous professional experience includes positions at State Street Corporation, NSTAR Electric & Gas Corporation, and the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

Fiona Conway
Journalist


Ms. Fiona Nolan Conway is an award-winning producer and news executive with expertise in television, radio and digital journalism. Ms. Conway’s journalism career started in Canada, where Ms. Conway moved from radio producing to executive roles at CBC and CTV. She moved to the US and joined ABC News as senior producer of Good Morning AmericaABC World News Tonight, and ABC Special Events.

It was at ABC that Ms. Conway became an Emmy Award winner for both her work on ABC’s millennium special and its September 11 coverage. Her parting role with ABC News was as executive director of news services and client services when in 2012 she returned to Toronto as CBC News’ executive director of programming. Over the course of Ms. Conway career her expertise in talent development and coaching had measurable impact on the industry.

Ms. Conway is passionate about journalism and the importance it plays in our daily lives.  She brings this passion to all of her work and the teams she has led over the years.

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Christine Q. Davine
Partner
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Ms. Christine Q. Davine is a partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP in its National Office in Washington, DC.  Christine is a Deputy Managing Partner – Professional Practice, Accounting and SEC Service. In this role Ms. Davine co-leads the combined Accounting Consultation, SEC Services, and Standards & Communications departments in the National Office. Ms. Davine routinely works with clients on the most complex SEC issues and represents clients in interactions with the SEC on various matters, including preclearance of accounting and reporting matters, IPO and other registration statements, and resolution of comment letters issued by the Division of Corporation Finance.

Ms. Davine joined the firm’s National Office SEC Services Department in October 1999.  Prior to joining Deloitte & Touche LLP, Christine spent 8 years with the SEC in the Division of Corporation Finance. During her last four years with the SEC, Ms. Davine earned a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Virginia and a M.B.A. in Finance from The George Washington University.

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Shelley Dropkin
Deputy Corporate Secretary and General Counsel, Corporate Governance, and Managing Director
Citigroup Inc.


Shelley Dropkin is the Deputy Corporate Secretary and General Counsel, Corporate Governance, and a Managing Director, of Citigroup Inc.  Ms. Dropkin supports the activities of Citi’s Board of Directors and its standing Committees, coordinates Citi’s and the Board of Directors’ engagement with the Company’s shareholders on corporate governance matters, oversees governance practices for Citi’s subsidiaries, and works with Citi’s Board of Directors to shape Citi’s governance practices. Ms. Dropkin also serves as General Counsel of the Citi Foundation.

Ms. Dropkin has been with Citi since 1993 during which time she also served as Assistant General Counsel and Senior Counsel.  Prior to joining Citi (then Primerica Corporation), Ms. Dropkin was an Associate at Winston & Strawn.

Ms. Dropkin is the immediate past Chair of the Society for Corporate Governance and a member of its Executive Steering Committee.  Ms. Dropkin is a member of the Society’s Securities Law, Policy Advisory, and Nominating and Governance Committees. She previously served as the Society’s Chair, Chair-Elect, Chair, Nominating and Governance Committee, and 2014 National Conference Chair. 

Ms. Dropkin received a J.D. in 1988 from S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo and a B.S. in 1985 from Cornell University.  She is admitted to practice in New York and Washington, D.C. 

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Gina Merritt-Epps
Governance Professional

Gina Merritt-Epps has been a governance professional since 2006, rising to the level of Chief Governance Officer in 2017 at a publicly traded company. In this role, she reported to the CEO charged with directing the people, business processes, and systems needed to ensure proper governance. Her areas of responsibility included the protection of company information, corporate compliance and ethics, and regulatory compliance and she was responsible for all Board processes. Prior to the appointment, she served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, providing general legal counsel to SJI and its subsidiaries.

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Bruce F. Freed
President
Center for Political Accountability

Bruce Freed is president of the Center for Political Accountability, a Washington-based NGO whose mission is to bring transparency and accountability to corporate political spending. As a result of CPA’s efforts, these are becoming the norm.

Mr. Freed is a respected thinker on money and politics. The Center produces the annual CPA-Zicklin Index, which benchmarks S&P 500 companies on their political disclosure and accountability policies.

Freed draws on his long experience in journalism and strategic public affairs and on Capitol Hill. He co-authored The Conference Board Handbook on Corporate Political Activity and articles in the Harvard Business Review, Washington Post, and Reuters.

Jenarae Garland
Senior Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary
Occidental Petroleum Corporation

Ms. Garland is Senior Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at Occidental Petroleum Corporation, headquartered in Houston, Texas.  In this role, she assists in advising senior management and the board of directors and its committees on corporate governance matters, and supports the Technical Accounting, Treasury, Investor Relations and Communications functions with respect to securities law and general corporate matters. Prior to Occidental, Ms. Garland was an Associate in the Capital Markets practice group of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

Ms. Garland serves as Vice President and Program Chair for the Houston Chapter of the Society for Corporate Governance. Ms. Garland received her B.S. degree with honors from the University of Texas at Austin and her J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane University.

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Stacey K. Geer
Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Chief Governance Officer and Corporate Secretary
Primerica


Ms. Geer is the Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Chief Governance Officer and Corporate Secretary of Primerica, Inc.  Ms. Geer previously served as Deputy General Counsel of Mueller Water Products, Inc., as the Chief Securities Counsel of BellSouth Corporation and as a partner at King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Ms. Geer previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Corporate Governance, as a member of the Policy Advisory Committee and as Chair of the Small and Mid-Cap Companies Committee.  She was a finalist for Corporate Secretary Magazine’s 2011 Governance Professional of the Year award and has twice been named by Inside Counsel to their annual R-3 100 list.  She has served as a member of Broadridge’s Independent Steering Committee since February 2012.  Ms. Geer obtained her J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1992.  She received a B.S.E. from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1988.

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Thomas Goldstein
Goldstein Russell

Mr. Tom Goldstein is an appellate advocate, best known as one of the nation's most experienced Supreme Court practitioners. Mr. Goldstein has served as counsel to the petitioner or respondent in roughly 10% (more than 100 in total) of all the Court's merits cases for the past fifteen years, personally arguing 41.

In addition to practicing law, Mr. Goldstein has taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2004, and previously taught the same subject at Stanford Law School for nearly a decade. Tom is also the co-founder and publisher of SCOTUSblog – a web-site devoted to comprehensive coverage of the Court – which is the only weblog ever to receive the Peabody Award.

Mr. Goldstein has received a variety of recognitions for his practice before the Supreme Court and for his appellate advocacy generally. For example, in 2010, the National Law Journal named him one of the nation's 40 most influential lawyers of the decade. GQ named him (erroneously) one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington, D.C.

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Keir D. Gumbs
Partner
Covington & Burling LLP

Keir Gumbs is a partner in the corporate and securities practice at Covington & Burling LLP.  Mr. Gumbs started his career at the SEC, where he served for six years - first as a staff attorney, later as a Special Counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel in the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance and finally as counsel to SEC Commissioner Roel Campos.

Mr. Gumbs is recognized as a leading authority on securities regulation and corporate governance who represents a cross-section of constituencies in securities and governance matters, including companies ranging in size from Fortune 50 companies to venture-backed firms, as well as public pension funds, hedge funds, faith-based investors and trade associations.

Mr. Gumbs received his J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A. degree from Ohio State University.

Thomas R. Herendeen, RPLU
Product Manager, Non-Profit D&O
Travelers Bond & Specialty Insurance

As part of the Travelers Bond & Specialty Insurance D&O Product & Portfolio Management team, Tom is responsible for national production, profitability, marketing and underwriting strategy for Non-Profit business.  In that role, Tom has involvement with the educational sector and a wide range of Non-Profit organizations.

Mr. Herendeen is a frequent speaker and has participated in a number of panel presentations at various industry events.  Topics have included Directors & Officers exposures for non-profit and commercial entities, employment practices, fiduciary liability, professional and Cyberliability.  Additionally, he has been interviewed by and written articles for industry publications such as Property Casualty 360, Best’s Review and Agent & Broker Magazine.   

Mr. Herendeen has a diverse underwriting background which includes a range of management and professional liability, surety and fidelity products.  In addition to his experience with Travelers, he previously led Philadelphia Insurance Companies’ management and professional liability group.  Tom is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany where he holds an MBA in Finance along with a B.S. in Business Administration and resides in the Philadelphia area.

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Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Partner
Covington & Burling LLP

Mr. Eric H. Holder Jr. advises clients on complex investigations and litigation matters, including those that are international in scope and involve significant regulatory enforcement issues and substantial reputational concerns. Mr. Holder, who was a partner at Covington from 2001 to 2009, rejoined the firm after serving for six years as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States.

At Covington, Mr. Holder led the firm’s representation of a major multi-national agricultural company in related civil, criminal, and investigative matters; acted as counsel to a special investigative committee of the board of directors of a Fortune 50 technology company; successfully tried a complex discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a leading financial services company; and represented several life sciences companies in litigation and investigations.

Mr. Holder served as Attorney General from February 2009 to April 2015. As the third longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history and the first African American to hold that office, Mr. Holder is an internationally recognized leader across a broad range of regulatory enforcement, criminal justice, and national security issues. In 2014, Time magazine named Mr. Holder to its list of 100 Most Influential People, noting that he had “worked tirelessly to ensure equal justice.”

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William L. Horton
Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Verizon Communications

Mr. William L. Horton, Jr. is senior vice president, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary of Verizon Communications. Mr. Horton is responsible for the corporate secretary function and for providing legal support to Verizon’s strategic transactions and capital markets activities, ensuring the company’s compliance with federal and state corporate and securities laws, as well as providing corporate governance services to the corporation.

As the chief governance officer of Verizon, Mr. Horton coordinates and facilitates meetings of the Board of Directors, develops governance policy, coordinates stakeholder outreach and relations, and leads the annual meeting of shareholders.  As lead securities counsel for the corporation, Mr. Horton provides legal counsel with respect to Verizon’s investor relations activities, including compliance with Regulation FD, and its external reporting obligations, including the drafting of the company’s periodic reports and proxy statement.  He is also responsible for providing legal support to Verizon’s Business Development and Treasury teams, as they structure, negotiate and execute mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, equity issuances and repurchases, debt issuances, exchanges and redemptions, asset backed securities transactions and other financing transactions.

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Ken Hugessen
Founder
Hugessen Consulting

Ken Hugessen is a well‐known advisor to boards on executive compensation and related performance, governance, and shareholder matters. Ken founded Hugessen Consulting in 2006 to meet the growing demand from boards for direct access to independent advice on executive compensation and related performance and governance matters.

Based in Toronto, he has over 30 years’ experience consulting in the US, Canada, and the UK to both public and private corporations, and to large pension/sovereign wealth funds. Ken and his partners founded Hugessen Consulting in 2006 to meet the growing needs of boards and compensation committees for independent advice. He works with clients to align executive pay outcomes with corporate and individual performance, and to strengthen board governance and support director‐led engagement with the shareholder community. He writes and speaks extensively on the role of the Board, and the Compensation Committee and its Chair in executive compensation, and is a faculty member in the Institute of Corporate Directors' Directors Education Program.

Ken holds an Honours BSc from Sir George Williams University, a MA from Dalhousie University, and an MSc from the University of Chicago. He is a Killam and National Research Council Scholar, and is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

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Eileen A. Kamerick
Adjunct Professor
University of Chicago

Ms. Kamerick serves as an adjunct professor at University of Chicago Law School, Washington University in St Louis College of Law, and University of Iowa College of Law. Ms. Kamerick consults and lectures on corporate governance matters and is an NACD Board Leadership Fellow. Ms. Kamerick had previously served as CFO of such leading companies as BP Amoco America, Leo Burnett, Heidrick & Struggles, and Houlihan Lokey. Ms. Kamerick began her career as a lawyer at the law firm of Skadden Arps and she holds a JD and an MBA, with honors, in Finance and International Business from the University of Chicago. Ms. Kamerick graduated summa cum laude from Boston College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Ms. Kamerick is a member of the Board of Directors for Associated Banc-Corp, AIG Funds, Hochschild Mining, plc, and  27 closed end Legg Mason mutual funds. Ms. Kamerick served on the Board of Directors for ServiceMaster and IRI before both companies were purchased by private equity firms. Ms. Kamerick qualifies as an SEC financial expert.  In addition to her corporate board roles, she serves on the boards of the Eckerd Connects, a national child welfare charity, and Christ the King Jesuit High School, a Cristo Rey Network school. 

 

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David A. Katz
Partner, Corporate
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

David A. Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, and co-chair of the Board of Advisors of the NYU Law Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance.

Mr. Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defense assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings.  He frequently counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr. Katz taught Mergers and Acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and previously co-taught a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School with Delaware Chief Justice Leo Strine.  He is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute. Mr. Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law

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Jennifer Kavanagh
Political Scientist
RAND Corporation

Jennifer Kavanagh is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation and associate director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program in RAND's Arroyo Center. Her research focuses on U.S. political institutions, political communication, public opinion, and their implications for U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Ms. Kavanagh also studies defense strategy and planning and military force posture. Kavanagh is also a faculty member at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Ms. Kavanagh graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Government and a minor in the Russian language. Ms. Kavanagh completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Policy at University of Michigan.

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Brian Lane.
Partner
Gibson Dunn

Brian Lane has been a partner with Gibson Dunn since 2000, with a practice involving all things SEC, from capital raising, to disclosure and accounting.  Mr. Lane even helps companies with inquiries from the Division of Enforcement.  Prior to his tenure at Gibson Dunn, he spent over 16 years with the SEC leading up to his position as the Director of the Division of Corporation Finance.

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Cindy M. Lott, Esq.
Academic Director
Master of Science in Nonprofit Management
Columbia University School of Professional Studies

Cindy M. Lott, Esq., serves as Academic Director for the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies and teaches in that program, as well. Prior to her current position, Ms. Lott served as Executive Director and Senior Counsel to the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, and within that Program was the developer and lead counsel to the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project from 2006-2015. Currently, Lott is also a Senior Fellow at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, working in conjunction with the Institute’s Tax Policy and Charities project. At Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, Lott teaches several courses addressing governance, ethics and the relationship of the nonprofit sector and government.

Lott is a frequent speaker at national conferences in the areas of philanthropic and nonprofit state regulation, compliance, management and governance.  Lott was selected as one of four members of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) and will serve 2015-2018.

Lott is a 1993 graduate of the Yale Law School and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Indiana and Massachusetts.

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Jane W. McCahon
Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary
TDS

Jane W. McCahon is senior vice president of corporate relations and corporate secretary for TDS [NYSE: TDS], a diversified telecommunications services corporation headquartered in Chicago. Ms. McCahon oversees the investor relations and corporate governance activities of TDS and its majority-owned, publicly traded subsidiary, U.S. Cellular [NYSE: USM]. Ms. McCahon is also a member of the Company’s corporate strategy group. 

Before joining TDS, Ms. McCahon was a principal with Massachusetts-based Conway Communications, which provided investor relations consulting for a diverse range of companies. Prior to that, she was vice president of corporate relations for Eastern Enterprises and served as manager of investor relations for BJ's Wholesale Club.

Ms. McCahon is a member and former chair of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and co-founder and former chair of the NIRI Ethics Council. She holds a BA in economics and finance from Bentley College, and a JD from Suffolk University Law School.

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Kate O’Brian
Founder
O’ Media Strategies

A prominent media leader, Ms. Kate O’Brian has brought originality and high-performance operational leadership across the media spectrum: digital platforms, social media, television, radio, films, talk shows, investigative reports, and editorials. Talent and cultural development are core to Kate’s leadership approach.

Early producer roles at ABC News in Washington, DC, New York, Rome, and London included work on high-visibility programs: “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings”, “This Week with David Brinkley”, and “Good Morning America”.  Later roles: General Manager for ABC News Radio, Vice President of NewsOne and ABSAT, and overall SVP for News.

Ms. O’Brian joined Al Jazeera America as President just as the news channel made its high-stakes launch in 2013. Kate’s own personal and team awards include a Peabody, Emmy, two duPonts, and the 2015 Robert G. McGruder Award for commitment to gender and ethnic diversity. 

In 2017 O’ Media Strategies was formed, and Ms. O’Brian now consults with media companies on content development, strategy, and management.

A graduate of Smith College, Ms. O’Brian resides in New York City with her husband.

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Zach Oleksiuk
Managing Director
Evercore

Mr. Zach Oleksiuk is a Managing Director in Evercore's corporate advisory business, specializing in shareholder engagement, corporate governance, ESG, and investor relations. Prior to joining Evercore in 2017, Mr. Oleksiuk was Head of the Americas for BlackRock Investment Stewardship. Mr. Oleksiuk has over 16 years' experience in corporate governance.

At BlackRock, Mr. Oleksiuk led a team responsible for engagement with companies on corporate governance, activist situations, and environmental and social matters, as well as developing and executing proxy voting policies. Mr. Oleksiuk also led BlackRock's participation as a founding signatory to the Investor Stewardship Group and the Framework for U.S. Stewardship and Governance. Prior to BlackRock, Mr. Oleksiuk spent five years with Institutional Shareholder Services.

Mr. Oleksiuk served on the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Standing Advisory Group from 2015-2017 and chaired the Council of Institutional Investors (CII) Corporate Governance Advisory Council in 2016-2017. Mr. Oleksiuk earned an MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and a BA from the Pennsylvania State University.

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Frank M. Placenti
Partner
Squire Patton Boggs

Frank M. Placenti is a partner at the global law firm of Squire Patton Boggs and Chair of its US Corporate Governance Practice. Mr. Placenti is the Founding President and a Trustee of the American College of Governance Counsel. Frank is nationally recognized for his work in corporate governance with over 30 years’ experience advising large and mid-cap public companies as well as private equity investors and private companies. Mr. Placenti serves as Vice Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee of the American Bar Association.  Frank is the Editor of The Directors Handbook, A Field Guide to 101 Situations Commonly Encountered in the Boardroom.  Mr. Placenti serves as Adjunct Professor at The Ohio State University of College Law, where he teaches governance in the College’s Distinguished Practitioner’s in Resident Program. Mr. Placenti has served as a Lead Director or director of several public and private companies. 

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Ms. Barbara Pomfret
Managing Director
ESG, Joele Frank

An expert on ESG investing, Ms. Barbara Pomfret has investment and analytical experience, working alongside shareholders to integrate ESG into their decision-making processes, both on the buy-side and for a major ESG data provider. Over more than 10 years, Ms. Pomfret has developed a deep understanding of how investors think about ESG issues and how they expect companies to present their ESG credentials.

Prior to joining Joele Frank in 2017, Ms. Pomfret was global product manager for ESG at Bloomberg in London and New York, where she built and launched the ESG company analysis tool and Bloomberg’s ESG research product. Prior to Bloomberg, Ms. Pomfret was an ESG analyst in the Sustainability Research team at Allianz Global Investors in London and Frankfurt.

Ms. Pomfret received an MSc in Environmental Science from Imperial College London and a BA in Geography from St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University.

Alexander Reid
Partner
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

A partner in the Tax Practice at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Alexander Reid specializes in transactional tax, tax policy, and tax controversy, focusing on tax-exempt organizations of all kinds, including grantmaking foundations, international organizations, colleges and universities, advocacy groups, and many others. In addition to providing tax advice, Mr. Reid also helps organizations improve their governance and obtain legislation and administrative guidance from the US Treasury, IRS, and Congress. Before joining Morgan Lewis, Alex served as legislation counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation of the US Congress, where he advised members of Congress and staff regarding tax policy. Mr. Reid earned a BA with distinction in philosophy from Yale University and JD and LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law where he was editor in chief of the Law Review.

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Thomas E. Spahn
Commercial Litigator
McGuireWoods

Thomas E. Spahn practices as a commercial litigator with McGuireWoods in Tysons Corner, Virginia.  Mr. Spahn was selected as the 2013 metro-Washington DC "Lawyer of the Year" for "Bet the Company Litigation" by The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.).  He has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and is a Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Mr. Spahn has spoken at over 1,700 CLE programs throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries.  Mr. Spahn graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. 

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Beth Stewart
CEO
Trewstar Corporate Board Services

Beth Stewart is the founder and CEO of Trewstar Corporate Board Services. Trewstar is a search firm solely engaged in board search assignments. With over 20 years of experience on corporate boards, Beth founded Trewstar with a deep understanding of the intricacies of how a board functions. She is a former director of Carmax, Inc., General Growth Properties, and Avatar Holdings.

Beth started her career at Goldman Sachs as the first analyst in the investment banking division. After graduating from business school, she rejoined Goldman Sachs as an associate in the Real Estate Investment banking division. Since leaving Goldman in 1993, Beth has pursued many professional investing and consulting activities in addition to her directorships. She was also an adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Business.

Beth graduated from Wellesley College in 1978 and Harvard Business School in 1982. She lives and works in the greater NYC area. She has five grown children and one husband.

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The Honorable Karen Valihura
Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware

Justice Karen Valihura, as a practicing lawyer, was consistently selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America. Recently, she was selected by the National Association of Corporate Directors to the NACD Directorship 100, honoring the most influential people in corporate governance. Justice Valihura’s corporate litigation practice included complex commercial and corporate governance issues, federal and state securities matters, and other transactional litigation. Prior to her appointment, Justice Valihura was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, where she practiced law from 1989 until her appointment to the Court in 2014.

Justice Valihura served on the Advisory Board of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and served as Chair of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Board on Professional Responsibility and as Chair of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Permanent Ethics Advisory Committee on the Delaware Rules for Professional Conduct. Justice Valihura served on the Corporation Law Council of the Corporation Law Section of the Delaware State Bar Association and, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Special Olympics.

Justice Valihura received her undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1985 where she was valedictorian, and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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J.D. Vance
Investor
Commentator and Author

J.D. Vance is an investor, commentator, and author of the #1 New York Times best seller Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, described by the National Review as a “brilliant book” and by The Economist as “one of the most important” reads of 2016.

Mr. Vance enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mr. Vance studied at Yale Law School, where he worked at Yale’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic, providing free legal counsel to veterans.

In 2017, Mr. Vance joined as a partner in AOL founder Steve Case’s venture capital company, Revolution LLC, which concentrates on bolstering entrepreneurship and disruptive, high-growth companies outside of the sphere of Silicon Valley.  Mr. Vance also returned home to Ohio to found Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state’s opioid crisis and bringing high-quality employment and educational opportunities to Ohioans.

Mr. Vance has appeared on ABC, CBS, and FOX News, and is currently serving as a contributor on CNN. Mr. Vance lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two dogs.

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Hendrik-Jan Witsenburg
Director & Commercial Executive
Intertrust Netherlands B.V.

Mr. Witsenburg is a  Director & Commercial Executive at Intertrust Netherlands B.V. Mr. Witsenburg is responsible for managing a portfolio of Dutch entities for US multinationals & Private Equity firms. He assists his clients with corporate governance, compliance and corporate legal matters.

Mr. Witsenburg career includes serving as head of several service teams in the Netherlands and overseas within the CITCO Group, holding different management positions and acting as Global Sales Coordinator for the Intertrust Group. During Mr. Witsenburg’s career he has acted and acts a Global Relationship Manager for a number of US multinationals and US PE firms.

In these roles Mr. Witsenburg has gained vast experience in dealing with governance & compliance matters across various jurisdictions. He is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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Jennifer C. Wolfe
CEO
Dot Brand 360

Jennifer Wolfe is CEO of Dot Brand 360, a digital agency, and provides education and consulting for boards and C-suite executives on digital, data privacy and cybersecurity strategy, the impact of emerging technologies, management and compliance.

Ms. Wolfe’s highly acclaimed books have been endorsed by senior executives from Microsoft, Uber, Procter & Gamble, DC Entertainment, General Electric, Richemont, and the Motion Picture Association of America. Her latest book, Blockchain in the Boardroom, provides a practical guide to how blockchain could impact your business.  Jen has served on the GNSO Council of ICANN. Ms. Wolfe has a black belt in Six Sigma process improvement, is nationally accredited in public relations, a National Association of Corporate Directors Governance Fellow and certified in cybersecurity oversight by Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute. Jen is an alumna of the Direct Women Institute and completed the Stanford Law School Rock Center for Corporate Governance Program.

Ms. Wolfe previously served as managing partner of software patent law firm, Wolfe, Sadler, Breen, Morasch & Colby.