Jodie Lesh (’92)
Chief Transformation Officer
Jodie Lesh (’92)
In 2018, Ms. Lesh was asked by then Chairman and CEO, Bernard J. Tyson to launch and lead Kaiser Permanente’s first Office of Transformation with the objective of accelerating innovation well beyond the current pace of change. As Chief Transformation Officer, Ms. Lesh embraces a radically collaborative, agile and method agnostic approach to innovation, focused on scale and impact, with solutions designed through the complementary lenses of human and business need. The early work of the Office of Transformation has been focused on solving some of society’s most pressing problems, such as food security; creating new care models including the acceleration of care into the home; and developing digital tools that enhance patient engagement. She leads the Garfield Center for Innovation, which is focused on designing future delivery models, further developing the organization’s human centered design capabilities, and sharing Kaiser Permanente’s delivery system innovation for the purposes of partnership and collaboration.
In her prior role at Kaiser Permanente as the SVP, National Delivery System Strategy, Planning and Design, Ms. Lesh led the planning and design for the program’s care delivery and administrative facilities, representing approximately $3 billion a year in capital spending, as well as innovation efforts to envision the care delivery system of the future.
Before her role at the national level, Ms. Lesh was Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and New Ventures for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. In this role, she led the region’s strategic planning process, business development, and capital planning for the region's health care and administrative facilities. Over Ms. Lesh’s tenure with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, she oversaw the planning and construction of 10 hospitals and more than 60 outpatient clinical facilities, representing $12 billion in total investment.
Ms. Lesh has long played a leadership role in driving innovation across Kaiser Permanente. She co-led the Small Hospital, BIG Idea worldwide design competition, soliciting the world’s most talented minds to envision the hospital of the future. A new state-of-the-art hospital in San Diego, California opened in 2017, ushering in the next generation of clinical and information technology designed to transform patient safety, patient experience, provider and patient collaboration, and environmental sustainability. It is among the first LEED Platinum hospitals in the United States.
Ms. Lesh led the Reimagining Ambulatory Design initiative to develop a vision for the future of outpatient care. The “Health Hub Experience,” a book that Ms. Lesh penned with her team, was a Fast Company Innovation in Design finalist. In Fast Company’s April 2016 World Changing Ideas issue, Kaiser Permanente’s first next generation medical office building was highlighted, espousing the use of technology and facility design to fundamentally transform the patient and provider experience.
Ms. Lesh was one of the early architects of Kaiser Permanente’s community health strategy which strives to harness the resources and expertise of Kaiser Permanente to improve the social and economic conditions facing our most disadvantaged communities. The redevelopment of the Marlton Square property in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw for a new medical office building has served as the prototype for coalescing resources devoted to construction, procurement, and hiring to positively impact the social and environmental conditions in our communities. The partnership with 2nd CALL, a second chance program, allowed those previously incarcerated to participate in construction trade apprenticeship programs as part of the building of the clinic. This $90 million groundbreaking project was highlighted as the lead story in the New York Times Business section in October 2019, “When A Steady Paycheck is Good Medicine.”
Ms. Lesh led the launch of Kaiser Permanente’s inclusive economic development strategy that seeks to improve the economic conditions in our most disadvantaged communities and continues to serve as an executive leader for this effort. Ms. Lesh brought the Inner Cities Capital Connections (ICCC) program to Kaiser Permanente, providing tuition-free training to help business owners in under-resourced communities build capacity for sustainable growth, a program that is now in every KP region. KP’s social impact investment strategy stems from this effort, which includes investments in affordable housing and small business lending. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Lesh led an effort to harness the talent, innovation and capacity of the Los Angeles Garment District to produce over $10M in Personal Protective Equipment, an effort to mitigate the disrupted supply chain for PPE. This effort protected over 600 jobs in an industry hard hit by the pandemic.
In 2018, Ms. Lesh was honored by Kaiser Permanente when she was the third person in KP’s history to be awarded the George Halvorson Community Health Leadership Award.
Ms. Lesh’s believes that the most impactful and innovative work occurs when the conditions for collaboration are nurtured. In early 2019, Ms. Lesh led Kaiser Permanente’s first company-wide crowdsourcing effort to develop solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues, including food insecurity, childhood trauma, and management of personal health. By harnessing the passion and expertise of over 220,000 employees, culminating in a 4-day accelerator, significant work was launched. Food for Life, Kaiser Permanente’s strategy to eradicate hunger, was launched in late 2019.
Before she joined Kaiser Permanente, Ms. Lesh was Vice President Strategic Planning at Health Net, where she directed strategic planning for its western region and product development and marketing for Health Net of California. Prior to Health Net, Ms. Lesh spent nine years at Deloitte Consulting where she specialized in health care strategy, working with the nation's leading health care organizations in the areas of strategic planning, turnarounds, process reengineering, and new program development.
Ms. Lesh received her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master's in business administration from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Ms. Lesh is the past Chair of the Board of Governors for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) where she was instrumental in driving the organization to adopt a more inclusive economic development approach. She currently serves on the LAEDC’s Executive, Governance and Strategic Planning Committees. Ms. Lesh serves on the Board of Directors for Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times and is past President of the Board. She was formerly Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for Laurence School during the most ambitious capital campaign and building program in the school’s 50+ year history.
Founder and CEO
Morgan Mercer is the founder of the immersive enterprise training company Vantage Point. Vantage Point's immersive training platform leverages standalone Virtual Reality in conjunction with ML and AI. It offers training modules focused on soft skills development, including Workplace Harassment Training, Anti-Racism, and Diversity and Inclusion Training. Vantage Point is one of only two-dozen black woman-run companies to receive VC funding over $1M. In addition to Vantage Point, Morgan Mercer is also the founder of Taboo Table Talk, a card game created to help break the stigma around the complex social issues that filter in and out of our interactions every day and shift cultural norms.
Morgan was recognized by The Riveter as one of The Top 16 Female Founders and CEOs in Los Angeles, profiled in Forbes, CNN, and Business Insider as a groundbreaking female founder, and named one of the Top 10 Female Tech Innovators in history by TechRadar and was listed as the Top Female in Tech in Los Angeles.
Martine Rothblatt (B.A. ’77, MBA/J.D. ’81)
Chairman and CEO
Martine Rothblatt (B.A. ’77, MBA/J.D. ’81)
Martine Rothblatt is Chairman & CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company she started to save the life of one of her daughters. The company offers FDA approved medicines for pulmonary hypertension and neuroblastoma and is working on manufacturing an unlimited supply of transplantable organs.
Dr. Rothblatt previously created and led Sirius XM as its Chairman & CEO and launched other satellite systems for navigation and international television broadcasting. In the field of aviation her Sirius XM satellite system enhances safety with real-time digital weather information to pilots in flight nationwide. She also designed the world’s first electric helicopter and piloted it to a Guinness world record for speed, altitude and flight duration.
In the legal arena, Dr. Rothblatt led efforts of the transgender community to establish their own health law standards, and of the International Bar Association to protect autonomy rights in genetic information via an international treaty. She also published dozens of scholarly articles and papers on the law of outer space, resulting in her election to the International Institute of Space Law, and represented the radio astronomy community’s scientific research interests before the Federal Communications Commission.
She has Bachelor’s (Communications Studies, Summa Cum Laude), JD (Order of the Coif) and MBA degrees from UCLA, which in 2018 awarded her its highest recognition, the UCLA Medal, as well as a Ph.D. in Medical Ethics from the Royal London School of Medicine & Dentistry. Her patented inventions cover aspects of satellite communication, medicinal biochemistry and cognitive software.
Dr. Rothblatt’s recent books are on xenotransplantation (Your Life or Mine), gender identity (Transgender to Transhuman) and cyberethics (Virtually Human). She occasionally posts on Instagram @transbinary and Twitter @skybiome.
Fran Benjamin (‘14)
Managing Partner, Good Works Consulting
Fran Benjamin (‘14)
Fran has guided people and organizations through strategic transformation for over 15 years. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, his work has concentrated in the Technology and Life Science industries, as well as with artist and activist communities. Fran served as the Vice President and Head of People for GRAIL, Inc. one of the world's fastest growing Life Sciences Technology startups dedicated to detecting cancer early when it can be cured. Between 2017 and 2021, Fran guided the unicorn company through nearly 4x employee growth, financing of over $1.5B, an initial public offering, and the eventual acquisition by Illumina for $8B.
At GRAIL, Fran coached the c-suite on amplifying sound leadership throughout the organization, and designed a progressive organizational and human resources strategy to address the needs of a rapidly changing talent landscape. He guides teams to build cohesion and efficacy through trust, connection, and communication.
Fran has navigated the executive ranks as a non-binary queer person and utilizes this unique experience, combined with leading-edge research and practical industry expertise, to advise clients to successfully traverse the complexities of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging throughout their organizations. As a white person, Fran is committed to the work of antiracism while challenging and troubling his own position of power and privilege.
Fran built a career at the three-point intersection of human capital strategy, leadership, and diversity. Prior to joining GRAIL, while leading Diversity Strategy at Airbnb, Fran guided executives through systemic change, personal transformation, and mindset shifts to build high performing teams anchored in diversity. Fran consulted to Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial executives alike on building leadership ecosystems and inclusive cultures while serving as the Chief of Staff for Deloitte's Leadership Center for Inclusion. His experience leading teams of 30+ across global geographies informs how Fran guides clients. Fran has advised companies such as NIKE, Genentech, Airbnb, Cargill, and Bayer.
In the midst of his corporate career, Fran also spent time in the Middle East working in conflict resolution, peace, and reconciliation-an experience that still informs his approach to inclusive leadership and human interaction. Fran was an Organizational Behavior Fellow at the UCLA Anderson School of Management where he received his MBA. While completing his BA, Fran was fortunate to be a Norman Topping Scholar at the University of Southern California, a cohort of first generation and minority college students. Fran received a Professional Coaching Certification from New Ventures West and is an Integral Coach focusing on executive development.
When not advising and consulting, Fran spends time exploring the Bay Area with his husband and daughter, or by bringing beauty to the world as a performer, vocalist, and visual artist. Fran is a RYT 200 certified Hatha Yoga Instructor and is a student of somatics in leadership development.
Personal Trainer and Founder, Nit Fit
By bringing her East Coast talents out to the West Coast, Juanita is a living testament that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. She has dedicated her life to following her passion and living in her purpose. Born in New Jersey, Juanita Caldwell is happily living in her passion by never being afraid to follow her calling to pursue the Health & Fitness Field. Juanita is no stranger to Health & Fitness as she was an athlete her entire life. She gained a passion for fitness and athletics at a young age that continued to lead her through an opportunity to compete at the Division 1 Track & Field level in the North East Conference for Fairleigh Dickinson University. Due to many injuries suffered throughout her career she knew competing after her college career was not her main priority. After completing her Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Sports Administration, Sports Business & Sports Media she decided to get involved with the business side of sports. She began her career in College Athletics and then made the transition to professional sports working in the NBA. After a couple years in professional sports she decided that it was time for a shift in her life. She took a leap of faith and moved across the country to Los Angeles, CA and followed her journey into a lifestyle of fitness which led to the creation of Nït Fit.
Nït Fit is a fitness company created to cultivate & inspire healthier lifestyles by connecting people through our communities to make fitness a priority. Through Nït Fit, Juanita offers training plans uniquely created for each individual client through both personal and group training classes. She is using her diversified skillset to strive to reach her community through her connections and knowledge into the health and fitness world, and her main goal is to help clients feel completely comfortable and empowered in their bodies and minds through fitness.
Assistant Dean, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations and Behavioral Decision Making
Heather Caruso joined UCLA Anderson in 2018 as assistant dean for equity, diversity and inclusion. A scholar and researcher of organizational behavior, she teaches in the Management and Organizations and Behavioral Decision Making areas.
Caruso’s passion for facilitating collaborative success runs deep in her life and work. “My formal interests in organizational and social psychology developed when I was an undergraduate at Stanford doing cross-cultural negotiation research with Jared Curhan and Lee Ross,” she says. These interests deepened during her years as an engineer and executive in a multinational Silicon Valley startup. “I was fascinated with the real-world experiences stemming from differences in cultural identity. Interpersonal problems could derail even the most talented individual performers, and effective collaboration skills could not only prevent such problems, but raise individual contributions to new heights.”
Layering rigorous academic training on top of practical experience, Caruso grounds her interests in the areas of: effective collaboration (especially for cross-functional and multicultural teams); skilled improvisation in leadership; management of identity, power and influence; and strategies for optimal choice, judgment and decision making. She focused on these topics in over a decade of teaching, research administration and scholarship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and has moved to UCLA Anderson to enrich and expand her work.
“Propelled by our outstanding research in these areas, we are connecting to pioneers and pathbreakers, building bridges between research and practice to best accelerate innovation in the digital age.”
Caruso stays connected to the everyday priorities and challenges of the workplace by consulting for private- and public-sector organization leaders across the globe, as well as by teaching classes in leadership, team dynamics and power and influence. In addition, Caruso partnered with Chicago’s Second City to co-found the Second Science Project, which offers skill-building leadership workshops at the intersection of robust behavioral research and professional improvisational practice.
Caruso is a strong proponent of lifelong learning for management excellence, and encourages students to make the most of their professors’ knowledge, not only while they are pursuing their degrees, but also throughout their careers. “As a preeminent public university, UCLA has a a distinctive opportunity to advance equity, diversity and inclusion,” she says. “It is an honor to help UCLA Anderson seize that opportunity by creating the kind of challenging and rewarding educational climate that can benefit leaders from every walk of life.”
Julie Ann Crommett
former VP of Multicultural Audience Engagement
The Walt Disney Studios
Julie Ann Crommett
Julie Ann Crommett has been working in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) space for over a decade leading disruptive, systemic change across media and tech. She was most recently Vice President of Multicultural Audience Engagement at The Walt Disney Studios spearheading efforts to diversify talent in front of and behind the camera, connect creative projects more closely to the communities they touch, and build a more inclusive culture within the Studios. Her team contributed to many projects including SOUL, COCO, BLACK PANTHER, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, and ALADDIN as well as launching the Disney Launchpad: Shorts Incubator, an industry-leading program guaranteeing up to six directors from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to produce a short film for Disney+. Julie Ann was also instrumental in Disney's library review process leading to a revised content advisory and proactive resources for families to discuss negative stereotypes in media. In partnership with Disney's Executive Chairman Bob Iger, she launched and co-chaired the company's first-ever Creative Inclusion Council dedicated to increasing inclusion and accountability in Disney's creative endeavors. Previously she was Google’s Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief leading their efforts to shift and diversify on-screen perceptions of computer science through storytelling (a position she created) as well as having led Google’s DEI efforts in Latin America. Before that she worked at NBCUniversal managing behind-the-camera diversity programs including Writers on the Verge and the Directing Fellowship. Julie Ann has been recognized by The Hollywood Reporter’s 35 under 35, the IMAGEN Foundation’s Influential Latinos in Entertainment list and as an ADCOLOR Innovator. She serves on the boards for Hispanic Federation, NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers), and Women in Animation. A proud Puerto Rican and Cuban American, Julie Ann was raised in Atlanta, GA and earned her BA in English at Harvard University.
Aida is a highly experienced and results driven leader committed to solving the adaptive challenges of our time. Her breadth and depth of experience spans community & labor organizing, campaign management, design thinking methods and policy consulting. Inspired by her ancestors, elders and colleagues she created the Belonging, Dignity and Justice (BDJ) Framework as an alternative to the superficial and harmful Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) approach. She is leading a movement to create a just and fair society in which all are thriving. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African American studies from University California, Berkeley in addition to a Master’s Degree from University of Southern California in Public Policy and Public Administration.
Susan Jin Davis
former Chief Sustainability Officer
Comcast NBC Universal
Susan Jin Davis
Susan Jin Davis, Chief Sustainability Officer, has over 25 years of experience in the communications, media, and technology industry. In her current position, Ms. Jin Davis is responsible for identifying sustainable strategies and priorities and for implementing the Company’s Sustainability Program across all of Comcast business units and functions.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Jin Davis was Senior Vice President of Operations Compliance and was responsible for implementing product policies, operationalizing regulatory and legal requirements, reducing costs to the cable business, and managing business compliance.
In 2011, Ms. Jin Davis negotiated a historic Memorandum of Understanding between Comcast and the Asian American community as part of the Company’s merger with NBC Universal that creates ground-breaking commitments in the areas of programming, supplier and employment diversity, and community investment. She serves on Comcast’s Internal Diversity Council and is a Company liaison to the Comcast and NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. She is an executive sponsor of Asian Pacific Americans at Comcast, a Company affinity group.
Ms. Jin Davis was also responsible for launching Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program in 2011. Internet Essentials offers affordable high-speed Internet for low-income households. Internet Essentials is Comcast’s largest, most successful community investment initiative, having connected more than 8 million low-income Americans to all the opportunities of a digital world through low-cost, high-speed Internet at home.
Ms. Jin Davis has been recognized by Forbes as one of “Five Women of Color Who Should Be On Your Radar Screen.” She has completed the Women in Cable Telecommunications Senior Executive Summit at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, the Women’s Executive Leadership Program at the Wharton School of Business, and CTAM’s Executive Management Program at the Harvard Business School. She received the 2010 Paragon Award of the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Cable and was a fellow in the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute of the Women in Cable Telecommunications. She has been named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Cable” by CableFAX and one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Minorities in Cable” by CableWorld for many years. Ms. Jin Davis is actively involved in Comcast’s diversity efforts, particularly as it relates to the Company’s relationship with the Asian American community. She serves as the Chair of the Board of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies and is a director on the Boards of the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, and the Juvenile Law Center. Ms. Jin Davis also serves on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Bryn Mawr College. She lives in Kennett Square, PA with her daughter, Sophia and her father, Bok.
Senior Vice President of Digital, Weber Shandwick
Daryl Drabinsky is SVP, Digital at Weber Shandwick, where she leads digital strategy for one of the agency's largest global pharmaceutical clients and co-leads overall digital strategy offerings across Weber's West Coast offices. Prior to this role, Daryl was Head of Digital, Social & Experiential Communications at CVS Health and Aetna, where she led the enterprise Center of Excellence with innovation in digital strategy, social media, experiential activations, analytics, social thought leadership, employee advocacy and integrated content initiatives. Prior to CVS Health, Daryl led digital communications at DLA Piper and White & Case. Daryl graduated with a BA from Northwestern University in 2008, and then earned an MBA in Marketing and Management from the Wharton School in 2010. Dedicated to supporting women's advancement in the workplace, Daryl founded Northwestern University's Ellevate Network (fka 85 Broads), co-chaired the Wharton Women in Business Conference, joined the 2016 Women in America mentee class and founded the Weber Shandwick West Women's Network. She sits on the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, and has been recognized on '40 Under 40' lists from publications including PR Week, Wharton Alumni Magazine and Brand Innovators.
Pamela Dressler (’97)
President and Managing Director, Emmi California
In 2004, Pamela joined Cypress Grove Cheese, then an independent company but now one of four California-based companies owned by Emmi, a Swiss dairy corporation. Naturally drawn to companies with an entrepreneurial spirit, Pam has worked for companies big and small—always in consumer goods, and almost always drumming up an appetite in the food industry. Since 2017, Pamela has expanded her managing role by also taking the reins at Meyenberg Goat Milk, Redwood Hill Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery.
Pam’s journey to business was anything but traditional. After years of traveling off the beaten path and working abroad, Pamela entered the business world when she accepted a position at Tibetan Trader, a company that employed Tibetan refugees to handcraft clothing for the US market. The thread that ties Pamela’s experiences together is a strong belief in the power of business to do good, to empower workers, strengthen communities and devise clever solutions. When Pam isn’t exploring new places, she likes to spend time with her daughters, her dogs and good books.
International Speaker, Career Coach and Founder, Connect
Michelle Enjoli is a bilingual international speaker and career coach who motivates and teaches strategies on how to successfully connect to career and business opportunities. She was a first-generation college student who was able to get her dream job before she graduated as a television producer. Since then, she has worked for global brands in television broadcasting and marketing like Univision, Telemundo, ABC, NBC and CBS, Mercedes-Benz USA and Delta Air Lines.
In 2016, she created the first all-inclusive business resource group at Mercedes-Benz USA to connect leaders and professionals with each other for growth and development. She continued to expand on this work and created her second dream job with the launch of Connect with Michelle Enjoli.
Michelle has an idea worth sharing and will become a speaker at Southampton, England's inaugural TEDx event this year. Her work and insights have been featured on glassdoor, Telemundo, Thrive Global and legalzoom. She is featured in a new book called “Hispanic Stars Rising. The New Face of Power” and is currently working on her first book.
Melanie Ho (B.A. ’01, M.A. ’05, Ph.D. ’08)
Author, Beyond Leaning In; Founder, Strategic Imagination
Melanie Ho is the author of Beyond Leaning In: Gender Equity & What Organizations are Up Against, a unique business book written as a novel (forthcoming March 2021). She is also the founder of Strategic Imagination, a firm focused on leveraging the power of the imaginative arts to drive organizational transformation.
Melanie previously served as Senior Vice President of Research at EAB Global, an education advisory, technology, and services firm headquartered in Washington, DC. She led a team of over a hundred researchers that provided strategic, operational, and change management advice to more than 1500 educational institutions worldwide, including at 90% of the U.S. News Top 100 Universities. Prior to her twelve years at EAB, Melanie received her Ph.D. in English, M.A. in English, and B.A. in Policy and Media Studies (self-designed major) from UCLA. She can be reached at www.melanieho.com
Cassie Mogilner Holmes
Donnalisa ’86 and Bill Barnum Endowed Term Chair in Management, UCLA Anderson School of Management
Cassie Mogilner Holmes is a Professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and holds the Donnalisa ’86 and Bill Barnum Endowed Term Chair. She studies happiness, highlighting the role of time, and teaches a popular MBA course titled, “Applying the Science of Happiness to Life Design.” Professor Holmes was identified as a Best 40 Under 40 Business School Professor and was the recipient of multiple Early Career Awards. Professor Holmes earned her Ph.D. in marketing from Stanford and her B.A. from Columbia as a psychology major.
CEO and Founder, KINRGY; Actress, Dancer, Singer, Producer, Entrepreneur, Choreographer
Julianne Hough is an actress, dancer, singer, producer and Emmy Award-winning choreographer. She is a two-time professional champion and has appeared as a judge on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and has starred in such films as “Footloose,” “Rock of Ages” and “Safe Haven.” She earned rave reviews in the Emmy-winning live broadcast, “Grease: Live” and starred recently in the title role of Jolene in Netflix’s original anthology series, “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings,” in addition to appearing as a judge on season 14 of “America’s Got Talent.” She and her brother Derek have headlined three MOVE Live on Tour productions and produced and hosted NBC’s “Holidays with the Houghs” in December 2019. Prior to that, Julianne hosted and produced two Miss USA broadcasts and various Disney holiday specials for ABC, as recently co-hosted “NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2020” with Carson Daily. She recently released a new single, “Transform,” and has been featured in numerous high-profile campaigns, in addition to a wide range of philanthropic endeavors, charities and humanitarian efforts. She recently launched KINRGY, a movement experience inspired by the elements, which she led in sold-out engagements across with country as part of Oprah’s 2020 Vision tour. Through dance, breath work, and strength training, KINRGY focuses your mind, sculpts your body and ignites your life.
Caroline W. Nahas (B.A. ’70)
Senior Advisor, Korn Ferry; Chair, UCLA Anderson Board of Advisors
Caroline W. Nahas (B.A. ’70)
Caroline Nahas is a Senior Advisor to Korn Ferry. She has served as Vice Chairman, Managing Partner of the Los Angeles Headquarters office, and North America Leader of the Consumer Practice during her career with Korn Ferry.
Her primary focus primary is consulting and advising boards on governance, succession, effectiveness and recruiting. She has been involved in a number of CEO and Board building engagements. Her clients range from private to mid-cap to the Fortune 100 in a wide range of industries.
Caroline currently serves on the board of directors of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN). She served as lead director during a CEO transition, is Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and sits on the Compensation Committee.
Active in many civic groups, she is Chair of the UCLA Anderson School Board of Advisors and served as the Corporate Board Chair for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
Among her many honors, Caroline was recognized nationally by her peers, receiving the Eleanor H. Raynolds Award from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), based on a career of excellence in executive search, as well as an ongoing dedication to volunteerism.
Other recognitions include one of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Top 500 Influencers for five years and the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Visionary Award which honors an exceptional individual who provides significant resources or immeasurable opportunities to build girls of courage, confidence and character.
Ms. Nahas received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Head of Social Impact, Dave
Lauryn Nwankpa is the Head of Social Impact at Dave. With a Masters degree in Social Entrepreneurship from USC Marshall and over a decade of experience, she marries Dave’s financial goals with social impact strategies that span public policy, strategic partnerships and industry best practices.
Lauryn embeds sustainable, scalable impact practices across Dave that drive stakeholder value while empowering marginalized communities by increasing their access to key resources. She is also on the board of the Santa Monica Tech Council, an early stage start-up advisor through the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and a mentor for the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Partner, People & Company; Co-Author, Get Together
Four years ago, I started People & Company with my partners Kevin and Kai. We remove the ambiguity around community building in a digital world. We've also published a book with Stripe Press on how to build communities today and interview inspiring communities the world should know about on our podcast.
In the past, I grew the early community around Instagram, where I was one of the first employees. I've also worked at IDEO, StoryCorps, Pop-Up Magazine and The California Sunday Magazine.
People & Company:
People & Company helps organizations like Nike, Porsche, Substack and Surfrider make smart bets with their community-building investments. We’ve also published a community-building handbook called Get Together: How to build a community with your people, and share stories from our team's ongoing research into exceptional communities on our podcast “Get Together.”
Wendy Spinner (‘89)
Vice President, UBS Private Wealth Management – The Spinner Group
Wendy Spinner (‘89)
As a former electrical engineer and lifelong volunteer, Wendy has developed strong problem-solving and goal-setting expertise for mission-drivien organizations. In addition to providing strategic investment consulting advice, she has chaired investment, governance and development committees for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Having walked in their shoes, Wendy offers clients real insight into helping them achieve their mission and funding goals.
Wendy has that same empathy and compassionate approach working with private clients and their families. She has a unique warmth and ability to explore and share with clients, which helps her understand their vision, needs and hopes for the future. That’s how she truly makes a difference—providing advice, direction, collaboration and, of course, problem-solving. In doing so, Wendy focuses primarily on using her planning and analytical skills, her philanthropic advisory expertise and her in-depth work with family dynamics, family governance and the challenges facing successful women.
Phoebe A. Wood (’80)
Phoebe A. Wood (‘80)
During a 24-year international financial career at Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), Phoebe Wood held positions in finance, accounting, capital markets, strategy, M&A, information technology, planning, and corporate development. She served as the divisional CFO for ARCO British, living in England for five years, and then as CFO for the largest division, ARCO Alaska. She has negotiated in many countries, including Venezuela and Indonesia. After BP acquired ARCO, and a brief stint at Motorola, Ms. Wood was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Brown-Forman Corporation in 2001. As CFO, and ultimately Vice Chairman, Ms. Wood had responsibility for all financial functions, corporate development, investor relations, and information technology.
Following her retirement as CFO, Ms. Wood formed CompaniesWood, a consulting firm that specializes in advising and investing in start-up companies. She has invested in more than 40 early stage companies. She has served as a judge at EY’s National Entrepreneur of the Year award for three years.
In addition to her own company, Ms. Wood serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Invesco, Ltd. (Audit Committee Chair), Pioneer Natural Resources Company, (Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Chair), Leggett & Platt, Inc. (Audit Committee Chair), and PPL Corporation (Governance and Nominating Committee Chair). Previously she served as a Director of Coca-Cola Enterprises and OshKosh B’Gosh, Inc. Ms. Wood was recently named to the NACD Directorship 100 for 2018, in recognition of her “exemplary board leadership, oversight, and courage in the boardroom.” She is a member of Women Corporate Directors, and was named by WomenInc. as one of the Most Influential Corporate Board Directors for 2018 and 2019.
Ms. Wood has a deep commitment to education and community involvement. She is a Trustee of the Gheens Foundation and Vice Chairman of The American Printing House for the Blind. She has also served on the boards of Smith College, Pitzer College, Louisville Collegiate School (including one term as President), Leadership Louisville, and the University of Louisville. Prior to relocating to Louisville, she served on the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Anchorage (Alaska), Alaska Pacific University, and the Houston Grand Opera.
Ms. Wood is a member of the Committee of 200, an invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women business leaders. She was recently chosen as one of the 100 national business leaders who make up Bizwomen’s Inaugural Women to Watch list. She is also an active mentor of young professional women.
Ms. Wood is a cum laude graduate of Smith College and earned an MBA from UCLA where she was named one of 100 Inspirational Alumni of the Anderson School of Management. In 2019, Ms. Wood received one of Kentucky’s highest honors as she was named to the Kentuckiana Business Hall of Fame.
She has two wonderful daughters and lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jovanna Youssef (’16)
Director of Product Marketing and Customer Strategy, Rent the Runway
Jovanna Youssef is a retail tech enthusiast and a Director of Product Marketing & Customer Strategy at Rent the Runway, focused on growth and circular platform initiatives. She loves working on challenging problems and is particularly interested in how technology can be used to improve the customer experience. Her love of products and services that make people's lives easier or do things more efficiently is what ultimately drove her to RTR.
Throughout her career she has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, worked with startups, and launched global features touching millions of people. Her expertise includes growth product marketing, leading and defining product and UX strategy, product management, insights for innovation, and customer journey optimization.