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Diversity in the Boardroom: The Power of Perspective

May 23, 2017
Philadelphia, PA

Member Price: $40
Non-Member Price: $60

Location and Time


The Union League of Philadelphia
140 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Registration and Cocktails: 6:00-6:30pm

Featured Program:  6:30-7:30pm

Cocktails and Networking 7:30-8:00pm


Please note the Union League of Philadelphia's dress code: 

Jackets are required for men and business attire for women. 

For more information, click here:



  NACD BRC The Diverse Board
  Credit Suisse Reward for Change

Speaker Spotlight


Tara Smith

Tara L. Smith is the Deputy Corporate Secretary and Corporate Counsel for Campbell Soup Company. Tara provides legal and strategic advice to Campbell’s board of directors, CEO and senior management team on a wide range of issues relating to corporate governance, securities law, executive compensation, compliance and enterprise risk. She is also responsible for managing the company’s communication efforts and ongoing engagement with certain long-term investors, and is a member of the steering committee for the company’s enterprise risk management program. Tara serves as Global Co-Chair/Business Advisor for the Women of Campbell network, and was included on the 2016 list of “Women Worth Watching” by Profiles in Diversity Journal. Prior to joining Campbell, Tara was an Assistant Vice President in the legal department at Toll Brothers, Inc., a publicly-traded luxury homebuilding company based in Horsham, PA. At Toll Brothers, Tara’s responsibilities included: securities law and related regulatory compliance; corporate governance; executive compensation; and ethics and compliance. Tara began her career as an associate in the Philadelphia office of Morgan Lewis, advising large companies in the areas of corporate and securities law. Tara attended Duke University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science. Tara currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School, the Advisory Committee for the Women of the Dream Mentoring program, and was a member of the 2016 class of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey’s Young Leaders Program. She is an active member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Duke Black Alumni Association and has served on a Headmaster’s Advisory Committee at Moorestown Friends School, the high school she attended. Tara previously served on the Board of Directors of the Delaware Valley chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Board of Directors of the AIDS Law Project, and the planning committee for Toll Brothers’ annual fundraising gala for the American Cancer Society.

Melanie Grant

Melanie Santos Grant is a visionary leader and an accomplished private equity executive. She is a founding principal of Escalatus LLC, (“Let’s escalate together”) a management consulting firm facilitating board strategy retreats and new director training. Earlier this year, she discussed Non-Profit Board Best Practices and Board Development on a NACD panel and is our facilitator this panel: Diversity in the Boardroom: The Power of Perspective. This April, Melanie is presenting a workshop at the Camden County Women’s Health Conference entitled: Resetting the Table: Women in the Boardroom and spoke on a panel at the Virtua Foundation Board retreat about Philanthropy and Board Engagement. Prior to Escalatus, Melanie held instrumental leadership roles for various private equity owned portfolio companies. As an operating executive, she led a global team to form Archroma, a $1.1 Billion chemical manufacturer operating in 47 countries and led the transformational growth of Burlington Coat Factory, moving the organization from a $1.3 Billion family-owned business to a $4.3 Billion scalable, retail organization. Additionally, she has served as counselor to a number of local and international businesses as assistant general counsel for ARAMARK and as a corporate attorney in Philadelphia for Morgan Lewis. Melanie started her career with significant capital markets experience at Goldman Sachs in New York. She holds a JD from the University of Virginia and a BA from Rutgers College. Melanie serves on the Board of the her local Y and is a Board Member elect to the Virtua Foundation. Melanie and her husband, Tom, live in Moorestown, NJ and are the proud parents of their four amazing children: Jackie, Luke, Jake and Jamie

Melanie Willoughby

Melanie Willoughby is the Chief Government Affairs Officer of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), the nation’s largest state-level business association that represents nearly 20,000 member companies that collectively employ more than 1 million people. Joining the Association in 2003, Melanie leads a highly respected lobbying team, fighting for pro-business policies in the legislature and through four gubernatorial administrations. Under her leadership, NJBIA has maintained a reputation as a first-rate government affairs organization and the state’s premier business lobby. Prior to joining NJBIA, she served as the president and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, a statewide retail business organization representing over 3,500 stores. Melanie started her career in the government arena forty years ago when she joined the administration of New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne. She served as the Director of State and Federal Government Affairs for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Melanie leads the Association’s efforts in workforce development and innovation. She is the founder and co-chair of the InnovationNJ Coalition, which was organized to promote innovation collaboration between business and higher education. She is currently on the NJ Council on Innovation led by NJ Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. In 2012, Governor Chris Christie appointed her to the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission. She chairs the NJ Employability Skills Task Force, which is the statewide effort to incorporate career readiness into K-16 education and employability skills into all workforce training. She also serves on the Advisory Board of NewStart Career Network, which helps the long-term unemployed find jobs. She is on the Board of the Rutgers University John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. In 2004, she was appointed to serve on the State’s Mandated Health Benefits Commission and she is presently Vice Chair of the Commission. Governor Chris Christie appointed her to a three-year term on the Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force, where she served as the Co-Chair. She was appointed by the Rowan University Board of Governors to serve on the Rowan South Jersey Technology Park Board of Directors. Melanie is actively involved in many community and civic organizations. She serves on the Central Jersey Board of Junior Achievement. She also serves on the Board of Isles, a nonprofit organization in Trenton. She is a Rutgers University Eagleton Institute Visiting Fellow, serving as a mentor to Eagleton students. She has a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College, where she was in the first class of women to attend Rutgers College. She served on the Rutgers University Board of Trustees for six years.

Johanne Bouchard

A thought leader, a serial entrepreneur and former C-Level executive, and now an accomplished governance and leadership advisor to Boards, CEOs and Executive Teams, Johanne Bouchard is an expert in governance strategy, board dynamics and board composition for public, private and non-profit boards. Her career has spanned technology (having earned her degree as a computer engineer), marketing, international market development and worldwide strategy. Johanne has launched a great number of high technology companies in Europe, Asia, Japan and Australia, was instrumental in helping leading manufacturers and software companies be more efficient worldwide and led the repositioning of public and private corporations. Clients have included leading brands such as Sun Microsystems, Compaq, Dell, Adaptec, Conner Peripherals/Seagate, Visio/Microsoft, Saleslogix, Platinum Corporation, Documentum/EMC and ATG/Oracle among others. She’s worked in positions of VP Marketing, VP International and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) with private and large public companies pre and post IPO. Johanne is passionate about exemplary governance and has been a visionary and a champion for over a decade to invite boards to evaluate their effectiveness and to engage in strategy. She has developed her own methodology to conduct comprehensive board leadership effectiveness assessments, to plan and lead strategic planning sessions to align the board and management on strategy, and innovative sessions to integrate boards post mergers and acquisitions and for effective transfer of leadership. Johanne is a strong advocate for the inclusion of more women on boards and is a member of 2020Women on Boards’ Board of Leaders and its San Francisco Bay Area Hosting Committee. As an active governance and leadership blogger and author, Johanne has a loyal following of governance influencers and leaders around the world. She has been published in the National Association of Corporate Directors’ publication, Directorship. (“Advice for Effective Board Mergers,”Â co-authored with Ken Smith, Sept/Oct 2014; en francais: “Pour une fusion de conseils efficace“) and in UK-based Ethical Boardroom (“Strategic Approaches to Board Composition,”Â Autumn 2015 – available in English & French; “Achieving Higher Board Effectiveness”Â and “Rebuilding Trust in Big Business,”Â both in the Summer 2016 issue). She is a guest speaker within corporations to increase awareness about board roles and responsibilities and at selected governance forums. Johanne also mentors and coaches both emerging and seasoned leaders who seek to realize their full potential. In 2004 Johanne founded REMIA, a one-of-a-kind leadership program for emerging leaders, focused on Self-Mastery and Self-Awareness. The program, open to men and women of any age, has been, and continues to be, transformative for growing leaders and individuals who wish to maintain inner balance while pursuing ambitious goals. Her dedication to REMIA’s objectives is consistent with her passion for inspiring others to live fully. In addition to the mentorship she provides through REMIA, she is an advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, particularly for young women, and has volunteered her time to work with STEM students at her alma mater, York University, in Toronto, Canada. Johanne is passionate about patients’ rights, having served on Stanford Hospital’s first Cancer Center Patient Advisory Council and worked with non-profit healthcare organizations and entrepreneurs in healthcare towards organizational and patient experience improvements that will ultimately benefit both patients and healthcare providers. Johanne contributed a bi-weekly business column to Explore Big Sky, a newspaper serving the year-round and seasonal residents of Big Sky, Montana, from 2014-2015, which she compiled into a complimentary eBook called “The Corner Office.”Â

Sheila Ronning

Leadership & networking expert and board strategist, Sheila Ronning is a trailblazer in working towards gender equality in the boardroom. In 2002 she founded Women in the Boardroom with a revolutionary vision to create an environment where women could assist other women in achieving their leadership and corporate board service goals. In less than 15 years, she has scaled Women in the Boardroom from concept to membership organization with global reach across multiple industries, and influence in private and public boardrooms, including Fortune 100 companies. Sheila has built an impressive track record in connecting influential female executives with the people and tools they need to succeed in business and the boardroom. She uses her powerful network to help women achieve their goals of obtaining board membership, sharing more than 100 board openings with Women in the Boardroom VIPs. Sheila’s accolades and accomplishments include a spot on prestigious “40 Under Forty,” membership of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Insider network, and with features in Washington Post, ForbesWoman and WSJ. A subject matter expert on board diversity and leadership, Sheila is also a sought-after speaker who, with characteristic candor, advises women to always “show up, stand up and speak up.”



Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Philadelphia Chapter P.O. Box 94, Gladwyne, PA, 19035 phone: 610-640-5454 email: