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NextGen Director's Program Panelist Include:

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 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.


Eric Kelly  

Mr. Kelly is the chairman and CEO of Overland Tandberg. Prior to the merger with Overland Storage, he served in the same capacity at Sphere3D, and previously led Overland Storage and Silicon Valley Management Partners. He also served in leadership roles at Adaptec, Snap Appliance, Maxtor, Dell, IBM, and Diamond Multimedia. He currently serves on the board at Overland and previously was on the board at Sphere3D.


Steve Klemash 

Mr. Klemash is the Americas leader for EY’s Center for Board Matters where he regularly engages with board and committee members to understand their views, exchange ideas and discuss best practices. Prior to his current role, he served as the Managing Partner-Accounts for the Central Region of EY where he managed a $2.4 billion revenue steam that integrated the firm’s Assurance, Tax, Transaction Advisory Services, and Advisory service lines.  Mr. Klemash serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Robert Morris University and was a past board member of the United Way of Allegheny County, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association and the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.

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. 


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.

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.


Lynn Tetrault  

Ms. Tetrault is the former executive vice president of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at AstraZeneca plc.  Previously, she served as vice president of Corporate Affairs and vice president of Human Resources and Global Drug Development for AstraZeneca U.S., a subsidiary of AstraZeneca plc.  Ms. Tetrault joined Astra USA as associate general counsel and was previously in private law practice specializing in general corporate and health care law.  She currently serves on the boards of NeoGenomics Laboratories and Women’s Way.  She is active in the development of the Paradigm for Parity initiative focused on achieving corporate leadership gender parity by 2030 and is the founder of Anahata Leadership.

James D. White

Mr. White is the interim CEO of Ocean Spray and 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.

Paul Williams  

Mr. Williams is the retired co-leader of the North America Board Practice of Allegis Partners. He is a member of the board of directors for Compass Minerals where he is the Compensation Committee chairman and serves on the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. He is also the president of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). Previously, Mr. Williams was the Nominating and Governance Committee chairman for Essendant.  He has served as the lead independent director of State Auto Financial Corporation, as well as the Compensation Committee chairman and CEO Search Committee chairman for Bob Evans Restaurants. Prior to his executive search career, Mr. Williams served as executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of Cardinal Health, a Fortune 20 company. His career began as a corporate and securities associate with the law firms of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease.  Mr. Williams is a Directors Academy board member.


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.