Board ProfileLaura Orr is a board governance expert and entrepreneur. She currently runs a firm consulting with non-profit executives and boards of directors. She provides guidance and advises on governance, strategic planning, and board effectiveness. She has assessed boards and recommended improvements including bylaws updates, term limits, succession plans, and advised on board composition and structure, board diversity, optimizing meetings and resolving trust issues as both a preemptive strategy or in times of crisis or conflict. Laura is adept at reviewing governance effectiveness across many non-profit sectors including hospitals and health systems, higher education, arts institutions, and community agencies. Laura has 20 years of experience in healthcare strategy and governance. At Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, she was the Chief Strategy and Governance Officer and led strategic planning for the health system and the transformation of governance practices to drive strategic value for the organization.
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.
FORWARD GOVERNANCE CONSULTING Milwaukee,WI 2020- Present
Founded in 2020, Forward Governance Consulting offers a suite of board development advisory services to executive leadership teams and governing bodies of non-profit healthcare organizations to drive organizational success. 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 non-profit leaders and trustees, identifying key areas that drive the success of governing bodies.
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
- Orr, L 2020, ‘Beyond Bylaws: Four Health Care Governance Lessons from COVID-19’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, May 2020, https://trustees.aha.org/beyond-bylaws-four-health-care-governance-lessons-covid-19
- Orr, L 2020, ‘The Socially Distant Board Room: Maximizing Virtual Governance’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, September 2020, https://trustees.aha.org/socially-distant-board-room-maximizing-virtual-governance
- Orr, L 2021, ‘Assessing Overall Board Effectiveness’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, May 2021, https://trustees.aha.org/assessing-overall-board-effectiveness-key-elements-success-consider
- Orr, L 2021, ‘Preparing for the Next Unknown: Three Questions Every Board Should Ask’, The Governance Institute: Pediatric Focus, June 2021, https://www.forwardgovernanceconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Ped-Fcs_Preparing-for-the-Next-Unknown-_June-2021_Orr.pdf
- Orr, L 2021, ‘How Children’s Minnesota Makes DEI Efforts a Priority’, American Hospital Association: Trustee Insights, September 2021, https://trustees.aha.org/how-childrens-minnesota-makes-dei-efforts-priority
- 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, https://www.governanceinstitute.com/page/EBriefings_V19N1Jan2022#hide2