About the Speakers
Laura Ann Smith
Advisory Director, Argyle
Laura Ann Smith currently advises clients on investor communication best practices and ESG programs and reporting, including benchmarking and compliance with investor, proxy advisor, and reporting frameworks (e.g., SASB, GRI, TCFD). She is an experienced global executive with mid-cap companies and a corporate and securities lawyer who has advised public companies on all aspects of corporate governance, sustainability, corporate finance, and M&A transactions. While at Tailored Brands, Laura Ann established a cross-functional sustainability working group and was responsible for ESG reporting initiatives, culminating in the company being named to Newsweek’s Inaugural 2020 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies.
Caprice Young, Ed.D.
President, Education Growth Group
Dr. Caprice Young is the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) committee chair of the EverDriven Board of Directors. EverDriven is the North American leader of transportation, safety, and data solutions that serve the most vulnerable people in our communities. She holds a Certificate in ESG Investing from the CFA Institute and is responsible for guiding corporate policies and strategies to increase the company’s bottom line through a focus on maximizing ESG impact. Dr. Young is an experienced transformational executive and school system superintendent with proven leadership in board governance and C-level roles.
Dr. Young is the former National Superintendent of Lifelong Learning, a non-profit organization serving schools responsible for 49,000 opportunity youth students in five US states. She is an EdTech expert and the former CEO of a subsidiary of a publicly traded fortune 500 company. She received the Coro Crystal Eagle for Excellence in Public Service and the California State University Los Angeles Educator of the Year award. In addition to EverDriven, Dr. Young serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Fordham Foundation, the Larta Institute, and Olivela.com. She is the former president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education (1999-2003) and the founding CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. Education: Ed.D. UCLA; M.P.A. USC; and B.A. Yale University.
Independent Director, Board & Committee Chair
Lara Lee is an experienced independent director, board and committee chair, chief executive, and Fortune 50 public company officer, with extensive international experience across Europe and Asia-Pacific, and a focus on ESG and culture as drivers of growth. She is both a recognized expert in strategic marketing and innovation, and an operator who has delivered P&L impact from strategy through execution in high-growth, restructuring, and turnaround situations.
Lara has served on the boards of sustainability leaders, innovators, and creators of beloved brands, including WD-40 Company, Marrone Bio Innovations, Organically Grown Company, and The Sill, Inc. She has chaired compensation and governance committees, served on public audit committees, and led board ESG oversight. Her multi-industry experience dealing with channel, market and digital disruption, and driving growth through innovation, international expansion and new market entry, delivers value to private and public company boards at all life stages.
Lara co-authored one of Harvard Business Review’s “Top 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing” and has been recognized as a “Director to Watch” by Directors & Boards, “Businesswoman of the Year” by The Silicon Valley Organization and “Master of Innovation” by Businessweek. She serves as an advisor to the Black Corporate Board Readiness Program at Santa Clara University, and is on the board of BizStarts, an entrepreneurship accelerator aimed at addressing urban poverty
Lara is NACD Directorship Certified, holds a B.A. in Chinese Language from Brown University, a Master’s in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from The Wharton School. She is a frequent speaker on branding, intrapreneurship, and ESG as a catalyst for growth.
Howard Brod Brownstein
President, The Brownstein Corporation; Director, P&F Industries (NasdaqGS: PFIN), Merakey, NACD Philadelphia Chapter
Howard Brod Brownstein, CTP, is a nationally-known turnaround and restructuring professional, and regularly provides programs for Women in the Boardroom. He is President of Brownstein Corporation, which provides turnaround management and advisory services, as well as investment banking, fiduciary services, litigation consulting, investigations and valuation services. He regularly serves on the boards of directors of public and private companies, and currently serves on the boards of: P&F Industries (Nasdaq: PFIN) where he chairs the Nominating/Governance and Strategic Planning & Risk Assessment Committees, Renew Financial, where he serves as chair of the Risk Committee, and Merakey, a nonprofit with over 10,000 employees. He is a Certified Turnaround Professional, and also an NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Immediate Past President and Board Chair of the NACD Philadelphia Chapter. He has authored ninety articles and textbook chapters, is a Contributing Editor at two publications, and is a regular guest-lecturer at Harvard Business School, Wharton, NYU and elsewhere. He received JD and MBA degrees at Harvard, and B.S. (Wharton) and B.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.