The Daniel Burnham room at The Chicago Club was full of members and guests who were looking for a corporate or non-profit board seat. Our panel of experts were able to help eliminate some of the mystery of obtaining it. Board recruitment is a two-way street as companies and nonprofit organizations are looking for you as diligently as you are looking for them. The panel navigated the following questions: How do you make yourself stand out in a large pool of candidates? Who should you be networking with? And which board is right for you? Frank Jaehnert moderated an impressive panel of directors and thought leaders including Eileen Kamerick, Nelda Connors, Anouk Pappers and Sara Spiering.
Nelda J. Connors is the Founder and CEO of Pine Grove Holdings, LLC, a privately-held investment firm. Since founding Pine Grove in 2011, Ms. Connors has overseen transactions representing over $300M in enterprise value. Her recognized expertise and sought-after strategic counsel currently place her on the public Board of
Directors of Boston Scientific, Delphi Technologies, Echo Global Logistics and EnerSys Corporation. She was formerly a public director for Blount International, Vesuvius, and Clarcor Corporation. She is a NACD Board Leadership Fellow. Nelda had the unique experience of a directorship with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago during the
global economic downturn and serving as an independent consultant to the Department of Justice’s Takata airbag investigation. Ms. Connors has lived and worked in Japan, Germany and China.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Ms. Connors holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton with post-graduate studies at the University of Tokyo in International Finance and Economics.
Ms. Kamerick serves as an adjunct professor at University of Chicago Law School, Washington University in St Louis College of Law, and University of Iowa College of Law. She consults and lectures on corporate governance matters and is an NACD Board Leadership Fellow. She had previously served as CFO of such leading companies as BP Amoco America, Leo Burnett, Heidrick & Struggles, and Houlihan Lokey She began her career as a lawyer at the law firm of Skadden Arps and she holds a JD and an MBA, with honors, in Finance and International Business from the University of Chicago. She graduated summa cum laude from Boston College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Associated Banc-Corp, AIG Funds, Hochschild Mining, plc, and 27 closed end Legg Mason mutual funds. She served on the Board of Directors for ServiceMaster and IRI before both companies were purchased by private equity firms. She qualifies as an SEC financial expert. In addition to her corporate board roles, she serves on the boards of the Eckerd Connects, a national child welfare charity, the Children’s Radio Network, a charity using radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, and Christ the King Jesuit High School, a Cristo Rey Network school.
Anouk Pappers is a brand anthropologist, inspirational speaker and author. Travelling worldwide since 2002, Anouk went in search of brands with a story and a purpose that she could share globally. The storytelling resulted in the creation of CoolBrands Women, a company that targets and advises women in finding board opportunities by helping create and maintain an exceptional online reputation based on authority positioning and thought leadership content.
Sara Spiering is a Principal in Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officers Practices. She focuses on searches for Non-Executive Directors, Non-Executive and Executive Chairmen and CEOs, CEO and board succession planning and corporate governance consulting engagements.
Sara has completed more than 200 Non-Executive Director searches across all sectors, primarily focusing on Fortune 500 companies.
She previously served as Lead Engagement Manager; along with her client work, Sara led the Board and Chief Executive Officers Practices’ internal professional development and mentoring initiatives.
Sara is a member of the International Women’s Forum, where she serves on the Chicago Membership Committee, has served on the Ambassadors Board of the Chicago Children’s Choir and has been included multiple times in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women: Next Generation.
She joined Heidrick in 2009, after previously working as an attorney. Sara spent four years practicing management-focused employment law and commercial litigation in the Madison, Wisconsin law firm of DeWitt Ross & Stevens. She earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she served as an editor of Wisconsin Law Review, and her undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University
Frank Jaehnert was President & 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 he held various financial positions in Germany and the US at Robert Bosch GmbH, a multinational engineering and electronics company.
Mr. Jaehnert received the equivalent of a 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 L.P., NACD Chicago and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. (MSOE)
He 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.