Governance During the Pandemic | Women in the Boardroom

Recorded Webinar

Governance During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has affected every company and industry, some far more than others, and often in very different ways.  Many boards have had to step up their level of activity, as well as deal with new issues and concerns, some potentially threatening the continuity of the company.  Our panel of experts will discuss how boards have met the challenge and what all boards should be considering in fulfilling their duties and addressing the future.


Howard Brod Brownstein, Rhonda R. Cohen, Lauren G. Harrell, Melissa Ludwig, Gail A. Lione,

Date & Time

January 26, 2021
12:00 PM ET


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About the Speakers

Howard Brod Brownstein


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.

Rhonda R. Cohen

Board Chair of The Glenmede Trust Company; Board of Managers, Swarthmore College; Board of Trustees, Delaware Valley Friends School; Vice Chair, The Christopher Ludwick Foundation, ESF Dream Camp Foundation, and Visit Philadelphia

Rhonda Cohen was formerly a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, where she practiced law for 20 years before retiring in 2000. Her practice focused on federal and state securities laws; mergers and acquisitions; corporate governance issues; and employee benefit plans, particularly stock-based executive compensation arrangements. Rhonda currently serves as Chair of the Board of The Glenmede Trust Company. In addition, she serves, or has served, as Chair or Vice-Chair of a number of educational institutions, including Swarthmore College, Delaware Valley Friends School, and Community College of Philadelphia. She is also a Vice Chair of the board of The Christopher Ludwick Foundation, ESF Dream Camp Foundation, and Visit Philadelphia. Rhonda is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Lauren G. Harrell

Director & Head of Commodities, Chatham Financial, Advisory Board for WSFS Bank (NASDAQ: WSFS), Board and Finance Committee Member for JEVS Human Services, Board and Audit Chair for Chester County Hospital Foundation

Lauren Harrell is a qualified financial expert and has served on a dozen advisory and nonprofit boards. Her 18 year career in the financial services industry has centered on audit, finance, risk and technology roles. She currently serves as a Director for the Financial Institutions Division at Chatham Financial, a global debt and derivatives advisory firm, overseeing a b2b SaaS technology platform build. Lauren has a Masters in Finance from Gonzaga University, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Additionally, she serves on the advisory board of WSFS Bank (NASDAQ: WSFS), a $12B bank, JEVS Human Services one of the largest health and human services agencies in the greater Philadelphia Region, and is the Audit Chair of the Chester County Hospital Foundation. Committed to boardroom education and leading practices, Lauren is also an NACD Board Leadership Fellow.

Melissa Ludwig

Director, CSS Industries (NYSE: CSS); Director, Susan G. Komen, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, ALS Association, Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, Mind Your Brain Foundation, NACD Philadelphia Chapter

Melissa Ludwig is an insightful, strategic board member with the successful sale of CSS Industries a public consumer products company (NYSE:CSS) and as a Board member of NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) Philadelphia. A nimble problem solver with an accomplished, longstanding business leadership career at Macy’s having direct P&L accountability, Melissa led businesses from $380M to $600M and high-performing, multidisciplinary organizations ranging in size from 1,300 to 3,000. She brings deep

expertise in strategic planning, expense initiatives, financial and risk management, human capital management, and has a record of building new capabilities, positioning businesses for responsible growth and sustained success while achieving the optimal customer experience.

Melissa’s interest is in board work where she can assist with long range planning, M&A integration, corporate governance and compensation, optimizing expenses and productivity, and to be a collaborative partner.

As a Senior Vice President and Group Vice President at Macy’s, Melissa led multiple M&A integrations and brand conversions, implemented technology innovations and built omni-channel capabilities, launched new business operations, and restructured organizations maximizing efficiencies and performance. Serving as a valued leadership mentor, she advanced executive teams and steered organizations through significant business reinvention, transformation and growth while mitigating financial, operational and talent risk. Partnering with Bain & Co., Melissa also led the successful pilot program for the corporation’s business localization strategy, with decentralized merchandising and planning functions, paving the course for Macy’s national operating model.

Throughout her career, Melissa’s leadership accountability spanned the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore markets with direct VP-level executive teams and organizations across Operations, Merchandising, Planning, Visual, Human Resources and Asset Protection. Prior to her senior executive appointments as a chief market expert, Melissa served as the youngest, first female Vice President and business head for the iconic Herald Square location in NYC where she steered a remarkable turnaround generating greater than $600M in sales. Having led the business in major metropolitan markets, including the restoration and market launch of Center City location in Philadelphia. She has also cultivated a strong c-suite professional network, with longstanding relationships among the business, civic and cultural communities through her external-facing.

As a member of Broad Street Angels, Melissa is conducting due diligence to evaluate the investment viability of early-stage companies across the Real Estate, Medical Device, Technology and Healthcare industries. This work along with Melissa’s passion for business innovation has resulted in investments in the Healthcare and Technology space and Advisory Board roles, providing leadership team counsel and networking advancements. As a trusted consultant and advisor, Melissa has also partnered with multiple consumer and life science business entrepreneurs in the market developing organizational structuring, business planning and executive talent acquisition.

Melissa has been actively engaged non-profit organizations as a board member including Philadelphia Convention Visitors Bureau, Vice President of Susan G. Komen, ALS, and the co-founder of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator in partnership with Center City District to help emerging fashion talent achieve entrepreneurial success. Melissa has also guided emerging

501(c)3, in determining the structure, governance, program and financial requirements to become self-sustaining. Melissa serves on the Forum of Executive Women Foundation Board and is Vice Chair of Women in Leadership, and Women Corporate Directors in Philadelphia and on the Admissions Membership for The Union League of Philadelphia.

Melissa earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Organizational and Clinical Counseling Psychology from Moravian College and Drexel’s Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute Certificate in Director Education.

Gail A. Lione

Senior Counsel at Dentons US LLP, Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Georgetown University Law School

Gail Lione is Senior Counsel at Dentons US LLP and an adjunct professor of intellectual property law at Georgetown University Law School. Ms. Lione is also a Senior Fellow of the ESG Center of The Conference Board and she currently serves as a director of two companies. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Sargento Foods Inc. since 2006, and the Board of Directors of Badger Meter, Inc. (NYSE:BMI) since 2012. Ms. Lione formerly served as a director of Imperial Sugar Company (NASDAQ:IPSU) and a director of The F. Dohmen Co, a Wisconsin private company in the life science services business. She is a member of Women Corporate Directors, Washington DC chapter, and has been honored by DirectWomen with the Sandra Day O’Connor Board Excellence Award for serving with distinction as an independent director of public companies and for working to advance the value of diversity in board positions. 

For most of her career, Ms. Lione was a corporate officer in the C-Suite serving as General Counsel of 3 companies in 3 different industries. In her last executive assignment, she was the Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of  Harley-Davidson, Inc. and President of The Harley-Davidson Foundation. She began her career as a lawyer with Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Ms. Lione received her BA from the University of Rochester, where she has served as a Trustee for over 20 years, and her JD from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

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