Laura Orr
CEO, Forward Consulting
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
LinkedIn Profile
Laura Orr is the Founder and CEO of Forward, a firm dedicated to helping executive leaders and governing bodies drive organizational success. Laura is an accomplished executive leader with nearly two decades of operations, strategic planning, and board governance experience and she has deep expertise in facilitation and leadership coaching.

Board Profile

Laura Orr partners with executives and boards in three areas, Governance Excellence, Strategy Development, and Executive Coaching. Laura works with executives and boards across all non-profit sectors including healthcare, higher education, arts, and community services, providing expert consultation in governance effectiveness and strategy development. She offers a suite of services tailored to her clients’ needs including governance assessments, board development plans, strategic planning, and executive coaching: •Governance Excellence. Partnering with non-profit organizations to maximize board effectiveness, succession planning and governance best practices, positioning boards as strategic assets aligned in support of organizational missions. •Strategy Development. Facilitating a range of strategy development including multi-year strategic plans and shorter term targeted and tactical planning. •Executive Coaching. Serving as a thought partner to experienced and emerging executive leaders, providing one on one support to maximize personal and professional potential. Prior to founding Forward Governance Consulting, Laura served as the Chief Strategy and Governance Officer for Children’s Wisconsin, where she led strategic planning for the health system and was responsible for successfully transforming governance practices to drive strategic value.

Board Experience

Laura has served as a board member of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum since 2018 wher she also leads the Governance Committee of and will become Chair of the board in April 2022. The museum serves over 200,000 visitors annually with a budget of $3 Million.  In 2019, she joined the board of directors and currently leads the Governance Committee for First Stage, a theater for young adults with a budget of $6.2 M and over 20,000 participants. She was co-founder of 100+ Women Who Care, a local philanthropic organization of women supporting the work of local charities by collective impact fundraising.

Professional Summary

FORWARD  CONSULTING Milwaukee,WI                                                                                                              2020- Present


Founded in 2020, Forward Consulting offers a suite of services including governance consulting, strategic planning, executive coaching, and board leadership coaching. As owner and independent consultant, Laura leads business development and client acquisition for the firm. She manages daily business operations including billing, financial management and client relations. Laura also serves as lead consultant to clients. Laura provides a distinctive approach, partnering with leaders and trustees, identifying key areas that drive the success of governing bodies and individual leaders.

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF WISCONSIN                                                          Milwaukee, WI                                                                                                                    2010-2020

Chief Strategy and Governance Officer

Laura held progressive leadership roles throughout her tenure with Children’s Wisconsin, most recently as Chief Strategy and Governance Officer. She led the organization through the development and implementation of a new strategic plan and led the governance function for the health system.  In partnership with the CEO and Board of Trustees, Laura designed and implemented structure and processes to maximize board effectiveness. 

METHODIST LE BONHEUR HEALTHCARE                                                            Memphis, TN                                                                                                                    2001-2010

Early Career History

Over a nine year period in the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system, Laura led key operational areas as well as business development and strategy for multiple service lines including Pediatric Neurosciences, Neonatology, Pediatric General Surgery, and Trauma. She played key role in planning construction of new 220-bed facility and led the effort to add additional NICU beds and to elevate the trauma program to a Level I trauma center.

Recognition & Awards


  1. Orr, L 2020, ‘Beyond Bylaws: Four Health Care Governance Lessons from COVID-19’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, May 2020,
  2. Orr, L 2020, ‘The Socially Distant Board Room: Maximizing Virtual Governance’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, September 2020,
  3. Orr, L 2021, ‘Assessing Overall Board Effectiveness’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, May 2021,
  4. Orr, L 2021, ‘Preparing for the Next Unknown: Three Questions Every Board Should Ask’, The Governance Institute: Pediatric Focus, June 2021,
  5. Orr, L 2021, ‘How Children’s Minnesota Makes DEI Efforts a Priority’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, September 2021,
  6. Orr, L 2022, ‘The Board’s Role in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A New Year, Renewed Energy, and Drive for Change’, The Governance Institute: E-Briefings, January 2022,


Laura lives in Wauwatosa, WI with her husband and two children. She enjoys reading, cycling and spending time with family. Laura is passionate about the non-profit boards she serves and is committed to the health and well-being of kids and families in our community.

Additional Documents

Laura Orr_Brief Laura-Orr-brief_01_22_Final-1.docx


Healthcare/Pharma/Med DevicesNon-for-profit/EducationProfessional Services

Company Revenue

Up to $50M

P&L Responsibility

Up to-$25M

Level of Expertise



Corporate Governance

Board Experience


Leadership on Board

DirectorBoard ChairCommittee ChairCommittee Member


ExecutiveFinanceFundraising & DevelopmentNominating & Governance