NextGen Directors Program

Our Objective

Accelerate shareholder value creation through the development and proactive placement of the next generation of diverse directors.

SEPTEMBER 10-11, 2020

U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business
Chou Hall
2220 Piedmont Ave.

Participant Fee – $6,995

*Participant fee of $6,995 only includes the cost of the program.
Travel and hotel accommodations are not included in the participant fee.

Please contact Keith Meyer at or
202.292.1840 if you have any questions related to our program plans.


The Directors Academy provides corporate governance education and training for future corporate board members from diverse backgrounds who are underrepresented on boards of directors via the NextGen Directors program to better prepare participants for their first corporate board experience. The program is practitioner-led with a faculty of experienced board leaders from a wide variety of public and private companies. The two day program covers a full range of corporate director duties and responsibilities, the work of the full board and each committee, an interactive board case, and governance best practices exchange. In addition, the class participants refine their board value propositions and meet with faculty members to broaden their network and sharpen their ability to connect with key decision makers. As part of the program, each class member is provided an opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with existing board leaders.


+ To apply for the program, please visit the NextGen Director’s Program Application Page and include the link to your LinkedIn profile.

+ Please confirm you have the support of your board/CEO to participate in the program.

+ The participant fee is $6,995. Please contact Keith Meyer at or 202.292.1840 if you have any questions related to our June program plans.


Thursday, September 10

8:00 AM Breakfast Haas School of Businsess, Chou Hall
8:30 AM Program Overview and Introductions Dr. Homa Bahrami / Keith Meyer / James White
9:30 AM Director Duties, Responsibilities and Rights Dr. Homa Bahrami / Derek Liu
10:30 AM Break  
10:45 AM Board Priorities Dr. Homa Bahrami / James White / EY
11:45 AM Board Priorities Breakouts  
12:30 PM Lunch  
1:30 PM Board Committees – Their Work & Impact  
Human Resources and Compensation Committee Wayne Hewett / Patricia Diaz Dennis
Audit / Risk / Finance Committees Billie Williamson / Kirsten Wolberg / Jonathan Mariner / EY
  Governance and Nominating Committee Mike Millegan / Heather Redman / Merline Saintil 
3:45 PM Break  
4:00 PM CEO Panel Discussion James White / Christine Heckart
5:00 PM Day 1 Key Takeaways Dr. Homa Bahrami
5:45 PM Networking / Cocktails Spieker Forum, Haas School of Business, Chou Hall
6:30 PM Dinner 

Friday, September 11

8:00 AM Breakfast Haas School of Businsess, Chou Hall
8:30 AM Emerging Board Issues – Session 1 (45 minutes) Cybersecurity – Dr. Steve Weber
Emerging Board Issues – Session 2 (45 minutes) Environmental Social Governance (ESG) – Dr. Robert Strand 
Emerging Board Issues – Session 3 (45 minutes) Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) – Dr. Kellie McElhaney
11:30 AM Roundtable Discussion Plenary session with Emerging Board Issues Leaders Facilitated by Dr. Homa Bahrami
12:30 PM Lunch  
1:30 PM Board Recruiter Panel Discussion Facilitated by Keith Meyer 
2:30 PM Break  
2:45 PM One-on-One Meetings with Board Leaders and Board Recruiters
4:00 PM Debrief Day 2 – Action Planning and Next Steps Dr. Homa Bahrami
4:45 PM Program Wrap Up


Dr. Homa Bahrami – Dr. Bahrami is a senior lecturer at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, a faculty director at the Haas Center for Executive Education, and on the board of the Haas Center for Teaching Excellence.  Dr. Bahrami has served on the board of directors of three public technology companies, including Fabrinet, where she is the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Chair.  She is active in executive education and executive development in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Patricia Diaz Dennis – Ms. Diaz Dennis joined SBC Communications in 1995 as a Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel and she served in a variety of positions for the company, which later became AT&T. Prior to SBC/AT&T, Ms. Diaz Dennis served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs in 1992-1993. She was also appointed to the National Labor Relations Board in 1983, and as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission three years later. Ms. Diaz Dennis is currently a director of Amalgamated Bank, Entravision Communications Corporation and U.S. Steel. She is also a member of the NHP Foundation and LBJ Family Wealth Advisors boards.

Christine Heckart – Ms. Heckart is the CEO of Scalyr, a leading log management and observability platform.  Previously, she was senior vice president and marketing leader at Cisco and chief marketing officer of Brocade. Prior to joining Brocade, Ms. Heckart served as executive vice president of strategy, marketing, people, and IT at ServiceSource.  She was also chief marketing officer at NetApp and Juniper Networks.  Ms. Heckart was general manager of Microsoft’s TV, video, and music business and president of TeleChoice.  She is currently a member of board of directors of 6sense and previously Lam Research.

Wayne Hewett – Mr. Hewett is chairman of Cambrex and DiversiTech.  He is the former chief executive officer of Klockner Pentaplast Group and Arysta LifeScience prior to the sale of the company to Platform Specialty Products.  Mr. Hewett’s professional career included over 20 years with General Electric where he was chief executive officer of GE Advance Materials; president of GE Plastics Pacific and Vice President, Supply Chain and Operations and a member of the GE’s Corporate Executive Council.  Mr. Hewett currently serves on the board of Home Depot and Wells Fargo.  He previously was a director at Element Solutions and Ingredion.

Derek Liu – Mr. Liu is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s San Francisco office. He handles mergers and acquisitions, complex corporate transactions, and has worked on transactions with an aggregate transaction value of more than $100 billion. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Mr. Liu practiced law at two top-tier firms in San Francisco and New York.

Jonathan Mariner – Mr. Mariner served as chief financial officer of Major League Baseball (MLB) from 2002 to 2014 when he was named chief investment officer of MLB’s $1.5 billion pension plan and the league’s strategic investment fund.  Mr. Mariner retired from the MLB in 2016 and launched a new app, TaxDay, that tracks the time you spend working or living in different states to facilitate accurate residency reporting when individuals file their tax forms.  Prior to his tenure at MLB, he was the chief financial officer of the Florida Marlins and the chief operating officer of Charter Schools USA.  Mr. Mariner currently serves on the boards of McGraw-Hill Education, IEX Group and Tyson Foods, and previously served on the boards of Ultimate Software, PHH, BBX Capital, and Steiner Leisure.

Dr. Kellie McElhaney – Dr. McElhaney is currently a distinguished teaching fellow and the founding director of the Center for Equity, Gender and Inclusion at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also the founder of the Center for Responsible Business. Prior to moving to academia, she worked in retail banking specifically in commercial lending, acquisitions, and corporate leadership development.

Keith Meyer – Mr. Meyer is the co-founder and president of the Directors Academy, and the global head of the CEO & Board Practice and co-leader of the Leadership Practice at Allegis Partners. Mr. Meyer was founder and managing partner of Park Avenue Advisors and previously was vice chairman and managing partner of the Global Board Consulting Practice and co-leader of the North America CEO & Board Practice at Heidrick & Struggles. Mr. Meyer held a variety of corporate leadership roles with Exxon and PepsiCo. He was also a member of McKinsey’s global Energy Practice.  He has previously been named to the D100 list of the most influential people in corporate governance.  Mr. Meyer is a Directors Academy board member.

Mike Millegan – Mr. Millegan served as president of Verizon Global Wholesale group, a business unit of Verizon Communications, where he focused on global carrier, wireless and cable company network requirements from 2007 until his retirement in 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Millegan was senior vice president/market president for Verizon’s Midwest Operations and senior vice president Enterprise/Wholesale business unit. Mr. Millegan also led the Logistics/Supply Chain business unit as the senior vice president from 2000 to 2004. Mr. Millegan served on the advisory board of FINSPHERE, a leader in mobile identity authentication. In addition, he is an advisor/investor in WINDPACT, an innovative sports technology company. Mr. Millegan is a member of the Portland General Electric and Wireless Telecom Group board of directors, and is a NextGen Directors program alum.

Heather Redman – Ms. Redman is the co-founder and managing partner of Flying Fish Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage software and mixed hardware and software companies, concentrated in artificial intelligence. She is also a member of the boards of Coldstream Holdings, Yesler, Beneficial State Bank and Washington State University.  She was most recently vice president, operations at Indix and previously served as a senior executive at Summit Power, co-COO at Atom Entertainment, general counsel at Getty Images and Photodisc.

Merline Saintil – Ms. Saintil is chief operating officer for research and development and IT at Change Healthcare. She was previously the head of operations for product and technology at Intuit, and has managed global teams in a variety of positions at Yahoo, Sun Microsystems, Adobe, PayPal, and Joyent. She serves on the board of ShotSpotter, Banner Corporation, and NAV Technologies, and is also on the alumni board at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Robert Strand – Dr. Strand is the executive director of the Center for Responsible Business and a lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Norway from 2005-2006, and prior to joining academia was an industrial engineer for Boston Scientific and also IBM.

Dr. Steve Weber – Dr. Weber is a professor at the School of Information and Political Science Department at University of California, Berkeley where he works at the intersection of technology markets, intellectual property regimes, and international politics. Previously he served as special consultant to the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is a frequent contributor to scholarly and public debates on international relations and U.S. foreign policy and has advised multinational companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations on risk analysis, strategy, and business forecasting.

James D. White – Mr. White is the chairman of the board of the Directors Academy. He was previously chairman, president and chief executive officer of Jamba Inc. Before Jamba, he held senior executive roles at Safeway, Gillette and Ralston Purina. Mr. White currently serves on the board of Adtalem Global Education, Panera Bread Company, Schnuck Markets and The Simply Good Foods Company, and is a board strategic advisor for Ocean Spray.  He was previously chairman of Bradshaw International and Daymon Worldwide, and a director of CallidusCloud and Hillshire Brands.  Mr. White is a co-founder of the Directors Academy.

Billie Williamson – Ms. Williamson has over three decades of experience auditing public companies as a partner of EY.  In addition, she served as senior vice president, finance and corporate controller of Marriott International and chief financial officer of AMX Corporation.  While at EY, Ms. Williamson served as the Americas Inclusiveness Officer, a member of its Americas Executive Board and head of the Center for Strategic Transactions in the southwest region.  Ms. Williamson has served on numerous public and private company boards, including Annie’s, Beneficient Company Group LP, CSRA, Cushman & Wakefield, Energy Future Holdings, ITT Exelis, Janus Capital Group, Pentair plc and XL Group Ltd.  Ms. Williamson is a Directors Academy board member.

Kirsten Wolberg – Ms. Wolberg is currently the chief technology and operations officer at DocuSign.  Prior to joining the company, she previously served as vice president of technology at PayPal, and has also worked in product and operations roles at Salesforce, Charles Schwab, InnoVentry, and CSC Index. Ms. Wolberg currently serves on the board of Sallie Mae and previously served on the board of Silicon Graphics.


Our Advisors advance the Directors Academy mission through the sponsorship and participation of high-performing senior executive talent and access to future board opportunities.

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