Board ProfileI have spent 30+ years in executive positions in finance, legal, market development and strategic planning at Fortune 50 to much smaller companies, including CIGNA, GE and Rockwell Automation. I’ve been engaged in IoT in the industrial space and mitigating the associated risk of cyber security in municipal water systems or nuclear facilities. I’ve been engaged in successful turnarounds in insurance, in aircraft engine maintenance and heavy duty truck fasteners. I have a history of making good decisions in acquisitions and divestitures, knowing what is successful and what is not – having completed over 30 transactions in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. I’ve developed creative solutions to the unique challenges in different industries and countries – from achieving a competitive advantage with BBBEE scores in the mining industry in South Africa to saving $10 million in severance costs by divesting an unprofitable manufacturing operation in Korea. I’ve led cross functional ERM teams to ensure corporate preparedness for growing business in Emerging Markets, changes in the Eurozone, and – more recently – Brexit and GDPR/Privacy. My board experience over the past 15 years has been focused on supports for children and adults with disabilities. At the Center for Independence, the largest agency in Wisconsin serving the disabled, I successfully lobbied my fellow board members to remove the long-standing Executive Director and put the agency back on a sound financial future for its next 75 years. My unique value to a board is understanding how the many pieces of the organization fit together to see risk and know how to mitigate that risk.
3 years – I-Care – for profit provider of Medicaid and Medicare services – Systems and Quality Committee
12 years – Milwaukee Center for Independence – non-profit – Executive, Finance and Nom/Gov committees
9 years – Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin – Nominating and Governance, Strategic Planning committees
4 years – Temple Shalom – Membership Committee
2017- Present Optimas Solutions, Glenview, Illinois
SVP and General Counsel
Joined a former co-worker to transform a low-margin global custom engineered fastener business with a flagship set of customers into a profitable logistics solution provider for industrial customers. Business was purchased by private equity in 2015. Opportunity to apply my entrepreneurial approach to understanding the contractual and financial structure of a business to convert the economics of the company. Also an opportunity to build from scratch a cost-effective legal and compliance support structure for a business operating on four continents and built by acquisition. Speed in risk identification and mitigation – contractual and compliance – has been critical to success.
2006 – 2016 Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Vice President, Law
Recruited to bring global expertise to a US-based and US-experienced legal team for a company that was increasingly globalizing both sales teams and manufacturing and engineering teams. Quickly recruited a talented group of lawyers from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and South Pacific to engage with local teams with a consistent approach to responsible contracting practices and compliance. All lawyers were trained in Lean Six Sigma and led process improvements cross-functionally within the regions. This powerful global team began identifying projects and implemented ideas to improve the company’s competitive positioning in the marketplace. Examples of projects included leapfrogging the competition in raising the BBBEE scores in South Africa to make Rockwell Automation the vendor of choice in the mining industry in South Africa. Another example was negotiations with the government of Brazil to improve our tax position through waivers on local production. Another example was guiding the business to apply in the first year for the Ethisphere award for Most Ethical Company – particularly when we were competing on bids from the US Government against companies who paid very large fines for violations of the FCPA.
At Rockwell Automation, I was an early developer of a fully-integrated CISO office – establishing a process for ensuring the securing of third parties vendors. With the reach of a global team, I crafted the messaging to raise awareness across the organization of the imperatives of global security as early as 2012-2013..
- GE Water & Process Technologies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
With GE’s entry into the water business, served as chief legal officer of this new $2B business operating with 7000+ employees in 50+ countries. Provided commercial and transactions legal support to this rapidly growing business. Instituted training platforms to ensure that legal and ethical obligations were understood and respected—in an industry where this was not the norm. Combined knowledge of business and knowledge of the law to negotiate regulatory hurdles and accelerate the closing of significant acquisitions and strategic joint ventures
- GE Aviation, Cincinnati, Ohio
Provided commercial support to GE’s $5B Aircraft Engine Services business (1997-2002) and to the $5B+ “new aircraft” engine business (1995-1997). Functional integration leader for the global $1B acquisition of Greenwich/UNC (1997) and the associated divestiture of several industrial businesses. Initiated and dissolved numerous joint ventures with the US and foreign companies.
- Credit Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Ohio
Assistance Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Planning
Managed Compliance, Direct Marketing, Mortgage Sales Administration departments of national credit insurance company. Responsible for $1 million mass marketing spend on telemarketing, mass mailings, artists and database vendors. Led business model innovation and new product development. Packaged company for resale and successfully closed on sale to Aon Insurance.
1983-1988 Horace Mann Insurance Company Springfield, Illinois Secretary, Business Development 1986-1988
Solicited and interpreted input from 800-person captive agency force to drive improvements in product design. Used competitive analysis and profitability studies to drive changes in product design and delivery
Director, Financial Planning and Budgeting 1983-1986
Led company-wide budgeting and planning process for $120M multi-line insurance company. Responsible for monthly and annual statements on results required by parent company (CIGNA)
- McNeil Consumer Products, Johnson & Johnson, Washington, Pennsylvania
Quantified raw material, inventory and packing costs associated with the manufacture of Tylenol products. Generated $3M in annual savings through just-in-time sourcing. Organized McNeil and J&J phone bank response to the cyanide poisoning incident.
Recognition & Awards
Harvard University School of Business
Women on Boards 2016
University of Dayton School of Law
Juris Doctor 1995
J.L.Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University
Masters of Management 1980
Concentration: Finance, Accounting
Austin Merit Scholar
Bachelor of Arts in Economics 1978
Credentials: Admitted to the Ohio Bar 1995, Pennsylvania Bar 2003, Wisconsin Bar 2016, Illinois Bar 2018; Chartered Life Underwriter 1986, Chartered Financial Consultant l986; Six Sigma Greenbelt