Executive Forum in Action


The Executive Forum is grateful to #PeterGleason, President & CEO of the National Association for Corporate Directors, for speaking at our Spring Leadership conference.

Interviewed by EF Member Allan Grafman, Peter shared his wisdom on a range of topics, including the issues that are top of mind for boards today:

  • Economic uncertainty and inflation, including people issues/the “great resignation”
  • War in Ukraine and its impact on trade, embargoes, and energy
  • ESG and compliance, as well as cyber-security
  • Board make-up and longevity – attracting diversity and how quota help or hurt, how long board members should serve, and the cost of retaining board members who are no longer adding enough value



The Executive Forum was honored to feature an enlightening discussion by #VikMalhotra, Head of Americas for McKinsey and co-author of the book CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets that Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest, at our Spring Leadership Conference.

Vik reiterated how important the role of CEO is, yet how few excel. Interviews with 67 elite CEOs yielded six mindsets that separated the best from the rest – and all the elite CEOs excelled at all six mindsets – all the time

Spoiler alert -- the six CEO duties and winning mindsets are below (but don’t miss Vik’s book for the compelling stories that bring these mindsets to life):

  1. Duty: Set the Direction. Mindset: Be bold. Push the envelope and do more than just get the organization to the next level. Set the vision early on
  2. Duty: Align the Organization. Mindset: Treat the soft stuff as the hard stuff. Pay close attention to culture and talent. Think through key roles and assign top performers accordingly.
  3. Duty: Mobilize through Leaders. Mindset: Solve for the team’s psychology. Don’t create a team of stars, create a star team. These CEOs’ biggest regret is they didn’t act fast enough to find the right talent.
  4. Duty: Engage the Board. Mindset: Help directors help the business. Build foundations of trust and engage them in an effective manner.
  5. Duty: Connect with Stakeholders. Mindset: Start with “why”. Spend significant time with customers and/or clients, and always look to learn.
  6. Duty: Manage Personal Effectiveness. Mindset: Do what only you can do. Be relentless on managing your calendar and energy management. Excel at compartmentalizing issues and stay humble.



Yet another insightful session from the Executive Forum Spring Leadership Conference featured EF members Christine Dellecave (Thought Leader and CEO of Dellecave Consulting) and Karon Joyner on the New World of Work.

A few best practices shared by these experts:

  • Talent acquisition and engagement - There is no silver bullet and compensation is just one of many levers. Walk the talk with a clear purpose, mission, and values.
  • Development: invest in training and skills to create a talent marketplace internally and save the time (and potential costs) of looking outside first.
  • Diversity and inclusion – work hand in hand with equity and belonging. Every leader needs to be accountable for DEI.
  • Focus on why people stay: use “stay interviews” to give people a voice and be deliberate about your commitment in the employee value proposition.
  • Workplace: In most industries hybrid is here to stay, so continue to find ways to adapt to this since employees are demanding this and want the continued flexibility.
  • Leadership: Every leader is an HR leader. The CHRO is a facilitator of people programs and a trusted partner for all leaders. Don't think of HR as the team “responsible for people”.


NEW YORK (May 9, 2022) – The Executive Forum (EF) announced Peter Gleason, President and CEO of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) will be the keynote speaker in conversation with Allan Grafman at its 2022 Spring Leadership Conference. The NACD is a nonprofit membership organization for corporate board members and has been on the leading edge of corporate governance, setting standards of excellence that have elevated board performance.

EF member Allan Grafman will sit down with Gleason for a fireside chat that explores Gleason’s journey to board leadership, the importance of exemplary board governance, leadership issues and the Ukraine situation and related corporate leadership challenges. “Peter Gleason joins an exceptional group of Executive Forum speakers that have enriched our members as we strive to improve ourselves, our companies and even our communities,” said Grafman. “I’m excited to sit down with the Executive Forum and its members,” followed Gleason. “I anticipate finding numerous common interests and challenges to discuss with an exceptional group of business leaders.”

Executive Forum Leadership Conferences are highly anticipated events, offering all members an opportunity to learn the latest on a wide range of business trends and topics, including leadership, communications, innovation, globalization, culture shaping, private equity, and strategy, all while networking and renewing business affiliations with fellow EF members and invited guests.  Leadership Conferences are held semi-annually, in spring (April/May) and fall (October/November). Speakers range from highly regarded corporate leaders to authors, analysts, and other thought leaders. 

About the Executive Forum

The Executive Forum is a volunteer-led organization for accomplished top executives who are a premier source of modern executive talent and see their careers as a journey and not a destination. A community of c-suite-level executives from leading corporations, private equity firms, boards, and independent consultancies, the EF provides an unparalleled, diverse network of collaborative, connected, and growth-focused leaders and experts who are committed to - supporting one another. For more information, visit https://www.executiveforum.org


NEW YORK (February 16, 2022) – The Executive Forum (EF) announced the appointment of seven new board members, each having made significant contributions to the growth and evolution of the organization.

New board members include Stephen Cassell, EF Brand & External Marketing; Mark DeGennaro, Secretary; Robyn D’Elia, Treasurer; Barbara McCartney, EF Leadership Conference, and Member Events; Jessica Perry, Member Engagement; Lisa Rosenberg, EF Brand & External Marketing and Andy Yost, Member Engagement.

“We could not be more excited by the energy and new ideas that each of them brings to the organization. By combining the talents of Stephen, Mark, Robyn, Barbara, Jessica, Lisa, and Andy with those of the existing members of the Board, we know that the Executive Forum will continue to add tremendous value to the organization and its membership,” said newly elected Co-Chairs, Executive Forum Cheryl Palmer and Scott Smith.

  • Mark DeGennaro will serve as EF Secretary with immediate effect. In his career as an Attorney at White & Case; Chief Operating Officer for boutique investment bank Gruppo, Levey & Co.; Managing Director for the financial services firm Collingwood Group and its successor firm SitusAMC; and Managing Director of Edvantage Initiatives, an Edtech accelerator at the University of Southern California, Mark is both a strategic business executive and accomplished attorney.
  • Robyn D’Elia succeeds Kevin McEnery as EF Treasurer. Robyn is a strategic financial leader and the former CFO of Bed Bath & Beyond, a Fortune 500 omnichannel retailer. During her 20+ year career with the Company, Robyn took on progressive responsibility for every aspect of the accounting and finance function while the Company’s revenue grew from $800M to over $11.5B through organic growth, acquisitions, digital transformation, and international expansion. 
  • Lisa Rosenberg and Stephen Cassell will co-lead the newly created EF Brand & External Marketing committee. Both Lisa and Stephen have enjoyed successful careers in strategic leadership roles at major global companies. Lisa held key roles with both Havas PR and Porter Novelli, a global PR firm within Omnicom, and is currently Partner and President, Consumer Brands, at Allison + Partners, a global marketing and communications agency. Throughout her career, Lisa has worked with some of the world’s leading brands including Budweiser, Gillette, M&M/Mars, PepsiCo, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and American Airlines. A noted industry leader, Lisa is often quoted on brand and marketing trends and has served on numerous award juries, including Cannes Lions, The Clios, Brand Film Festival, Sabre Awards, Silver Anvils, Snackable Content, and PRWeek Awards, among others. She has been recognized by PRovoke Media as an Innovator 25, by PRWeek as a Hall of Femme, and a Champion of PR and has won more than 40 awards on behalf of her clients. Stephen has spearheaded transformative, global growth for some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Cigna, J.P. Morgan Chase, American Express, and HSBC. Most recently Stephen, as Fortune 13 Cigna’s Enterprise Chief Brand Officer, led efforts resulting in the establishment of the new brand operating structure for the $165B revenue enterprise and the launch of the data-driven, digital-first Evernorth, a new $100B health services organization under the Cigna umbrella. An industry thought leader, Stephen has received multiple Cannes Lion (Gold, Silver, Bronze), Shorty, Webby, Gold Pencil, and Effie awards for growth-oriented business and marketing innovations.
  • Jessica Perry and Andy Yost will co-lead Member Engagement. In addition to serving on the former Community Platform committee since joining the EF and on the EF Brand committee since its formation earlier this year, both are also exceptionally well-qualified professionally for their new roles on the EF Board. After foundational roles in digital marketing, business development, content, and product development at Dow Jones, Jessica served as VP, Product Planning & Operations at Conde Nast, VP/General Manager for Atlantic Media, and SVP Publishing and Media and Chief Digital Officer at SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) for 5+ years. Following his career foundation in increasingly responsible marketing roles at American Express, Andy served as SVP Marketing at Columbia House, Dow Jones, and Viacom before taking on CMO roles at Gannett, future of work startup HighPerformFlex, and, since June 2021, with healthtech start-up Kinsa.
  • Barbara McCartney succeeds Angus Gephart as Chair, EF Leadership Conference and Member Events. Prior to accepting her new role, Barbara served as Co-Chair for the EF Member-In-Transition program, working closely with EF Board member Sean O’Toole to revitalize and modernize that program. In her professional life, she is the founding CEO of Trofi Nutritionals which is on a mission to optimize personal health through next-generation nutritional solutions.  Before founding Trofi, Barbara established an outstanding record of accelerating growth in the food, nutrition, and wellness industries in executive, marketing, and innovation leadership roles at Nestle, Pillsbury, Abbott, Unilever, and Hyde Park Group Food Innovation which helps early to midsize companies increase momentum via disruptive product news and channel expansion.

In addition to these recent appointments; and, after successfully leading the EF’s Community Platform initiative, current board members Mitch Gross and David Steward are elected to co-lead Executive Forum’s New Business Development and are charged with shaping the organization’s growth initiatives and ensuring continued value for all members.

About the Executive Forum
The Executive Forum is a volunteer-led organization for accomplished top executives who are a premier source of modern executive talent and see their careers as a journey and not a destination. A community of c-suite-level executives from leading corporations, private equity firms, boards, and independent consultancies, the EF provides an unparalleled, diverse network of collaborative, connected, and growth-focused leaders and experts who are committed to - supporting one another. For more information, visit