Chicago Chapter Leadership
Paul Williams coleads Allegis Partners' North America CEO and Board Practice and is also a partner with legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, based in Chicago. He focuses on identifying top board candidates and assessing organizational corporate governance as well as conducting corporate in-house searches for general counsel and other senior-level positions.
Williams is a member of the board of directors for two public companies, Essendant Inc. (a Fortune 500 company) and Compass Minerals Inc. He currently is the Compensation Committee chairman for Compass Minerals and the Nominating and Governance Committee chairman for Essendant. Williams is the president of the Chicago Chapter of NACD, as well as the former lead independent director of State Auto Financial Corporation and the former Compensation Committee chairman of Bob Evans.
Prior to joining Allegis Partners, he served as executive vice president, chief legal officer, and secretary of Cardinal Health Inc., a Fortune 20 healthcare services company.
Williams graduated cum laude from Harvard and received his JD from Yale Law School. He speaks frequently on diversity-related issues and has been recognized by national publications as one of the country's most influential, diverse directors. He is an avid fitness enthusiast and the proud father of two grown sons.
Member Engagement Committee Chair
Sara Sirotzky is a managing director at Marsh, the insurance brokerage and risk advisor subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies. She is a senior client executive who oversees several teams to identify, analyze, and craft solutions to address clients' strategic, operational, financial, and hazard risks. To understand and mitigate risk exposures, she travels with her clients in and outside the Unites States.
Sirotzky joined Marsh in Peru, her country of birth. Because of her global enterprise risk management expertise, she was invited to join Marsh in Chicago. During her extensive career with the organization, she has served in multiple senior roles including leading a Financial Analyst Unit and becoming the first Central Region Manufacturing Practice leader.
Sirotzky is on the board of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Chicago Chapter and leads the Member Engagement Committee. She also facilitates the chapter's peer-to-peer annual dinner and frequently attends the NACD annual Summit in Washington, D.C. Sirotzky is a member of and has held leadership roles at The Chicago Club, The Economic Club of Chicago, Financial Executives International, The Chicago Network, International Women's Forum, and The Chicago Finance Exchange.
Sirotzky has received numerous awards for service excellence and business growth including consecutive "Top Performer" awards, the Global Power Broker Award from Risk & Insurance magazine, and the 2018 Winner President's Award. For the last 10 years, she has hosted a November Networking Luncheon (NNL) for Chicago Senior Leaders. The luncheon features a panel discussion of timely topics.
Sirotzky holds an MBA from Northwestern University (Kellogg) and an MS in Financial Markets and Trading from Illinois Institute of Technology. Her BA degree is in Business from Mundelein College (now Loyola University). In addition, she attended Kent Law School for one year.
She is the author of Red Rose and Blue Butterfly, has run 12 marathons, and is currently learning how to play golf.
Mark Zorko chairs the Nominations/Governance Committee, previously chaired the Audit and Strategic Advisory Committees, and is on the Audit and Compensation Committees of Perma Pipe International Holdings (NASDAQ: PPIH). He is also on the Board and chair of the Audit Committee for Westell Technologies (NASDAQ: WSTL).
He has been a public company CFO and CIO for manufacturing, service, healthcare, and high-tech firms. His background includes over 20 years of board experience. He has also been the interim CEO of Well Services Ltd.
Zorko serves on the Audit Committee for Opportunity International and was previously on the Board of Directors for St. Alexius Medical Center. He is an active member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and its Chicago Chapter Board and has completed the credentialing for his Leadership Fellow certification.
Zorko began his career as a CPA at Arthur Andersen and Honeywell in the United States and Europe. He received his MBA in IT from the University of Minnesota and his BS in Accounting from The Ohio State University.
Margaret "Shan" Atkins is a public company director with deep experience in the consumer, retail, and healthcare sectors. She is a Canadian, United States, and British citizen. Most recently, she cofounded Chetrum Capital LLC, a private investment firm where she served as managing director from 2001 to 2017.
Atkins began her career as a public accountant in Toronto at what is now PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP. She qualified initially as a Chartered Accountant/Chartered Professional Accountant in Canada and later as a Certified Public Accountant in the United States (Illinois Society of CPAs).
Subsequent to her time in public accounting, Atkins spent 14 years with Bain & Company where she became a partner and leader in the firm's global consumer and retail practice. She also maintained a secondary concentration in the firm's healthcare industry practice, working with clients in a variety of sectors including Rx pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and non-prescription medications/health and beauty aids.
From 1996 to 2001, Atkins served as a senior executive of Sears, Roebuck & Company (USA), ultimately as executive VP. While at Sears, she led a multi-billion dollar hardlines business to record results, oversaw global product sourcing for both softlines and hardlines, and created an intrapreneurship team that generated a number of chain-wide innovations in the company's retail footprint.
Since 1999, Atkins has served as an independent director on 10 public and private corporate boards in the United States and Canada. Her current public directorships include SpartanNash Company (NASD: SPTN), a major grocery wholesaler and retailer; Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), a leading operator of restaurant brands including Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen; SunOpta (NASD: STKL and TSX: SOY), a global supplier of natural and organic foods; and LSC Communications (NYSE: LKSD), one of the largest book, catalog, and magazine printers in America. In addition to these public company roles, Atkins is the current Audit Committee chair at True Value Hardware, a leading private co-op of independent hardware stores in the United States. She also previously served as an independent appointee to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's board committee, charged with stewardship of their iconic "Blue" brand, the number-one health insurance brand in America.
As an independent director, Atkins has chaired several audit and compensation committees and served on many special committees including several for CEO search. She is an SEC-designated audit committee "financial expert," is recognized as a Board Governance Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), and volunteers her time as a board member of NACD's highly regarded Chicago Chapter. She has also served as a volunteer trustee, director, and board chair of various hospital and literacy organizations on the local and national levels. She is a frequent speaker at corporate governance programs in North America for both novice and experienced directors.
Atkins is a graduate of the commerce program at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, where she serves on the Dean's International Advisory Board. She earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Frank Jaehnert was president and CEO of Brady Corporation (NYSE), an international manufacturer of identification solutions from 2003 until 2013. Before that, he served as its CFO and as a divisional president.
Prior to joining Brady in 1995, Jaehnert held various financial positions in Germany and the United States at Robert Bosch GmbH, a multinational engineering and electronics company.
He received the equivalent of an MBA from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.
He serves on the boards of Nordson (NASDAQ: NDSN), Briggs & Stratton (NYSE: BGG), Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI), National Material LP, NACD Chicago, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).
Jaehnert was a regional winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year program in 2008 and has been a national and regional judge of the program for many years.
Joan Steel is CEO and founder of Alpha Wealth Advisors LLC, an independent financial consulting firm advising ultra-high-net-worth clients, private foundations, and endowments. Prior to founding the firm, she had a successful investment career at The Capital Group, a global asset manager. She was also a senior executive officer at Aon where she led investor relations and global marketing and served as the spokesperson to Wall Street and the press worldwide. Earlier in her career, she was involved in operating her family's privately held water treatment chemical manufacturing and distribution business that was later sold to Olin Corporation. She started her career at Salomon brothers as an institutional fixed income broker.
Steel was an independent director of the Hershey Trust Company (Trust) from 2012 to 2016 and a member of its Audit/Risk Management and Investment Committees. This $13 billion private company owns controlling interest in The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) and manages a $4.5 billion portfolio of other investment assets. She also served as a trustee of the Milton Hershey School, a residential school serving 2,000 at-risk K-12 children.
Steel is a trustee of Loyola University Chicago and former chair of the Investment Committee. She is a trustee of Rush University Medical Center, cochair of the Orthopedic Leadership Committee, and member of its Investment and Risk Management Committees. As a director of the Cuneo Foundation, she serves as treasurer and investment chair. Steel is on the National Association of Corporate Directors Chicago Chapter board and is a member of Women Corporate Directors and cochair of its 2018-2019 Visionary Awards Committee.
She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BS from Georgetown University, she and has completed director education programs at Harvard Business School and Stanford Law School's Directors College.