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The Board's Role in Innovation and Strategy

  • Rock Center for Corporate Governance 559 Nathan Abbott Way Stanford, CA, 94305 United States (map)

The Board's Role in Innovation and Strategy

In an environment where the focus remains on 90 day results and boards are rightly focused on governance and accountability, what is a board member's role in long term strategy and innovation? Alison Davis, an experienced board director, author, and expert on strategy and innovation, will kick off the session with a short presentation on why innovation strategy is a critical board responsibility and what leading boards are doing in this area. Then our experts will have an interactive discussion, moderated by Hitesh Shah, about the how the board can best understand and monitor the culture, talent management, funding, scorecards, and reward and incentive structures that foster and support innovation.  Glenda Dorchak, relying on her CEO and board experience, will share insights on how CEOs and directors should engage on strategy, both in and out of the boardroom. Rex Jackson, a board director and public company CFO, will discuss how planning, funding, and accountability integrate with innovation strategy. Mike Esser will focus on how compensation and reward structures need to be aligned to support the company's innovation strategies and ensure long-term value creation for shareholders.


Alison Davis

Co-Founder, Fifth Era; Director, Fiserv, Ooma

Alison Davis is co-founder of Fifth Era. She is an experienced corporate executive, public company board director, an active investor in growth companies and a best selling author on the topics of technology and innovation. She is currently a non-executive director of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) where she chairs the Technology and Innovation Committee, Fiserv (FISV), Unisys (UIS) and Ooma (OOMA) where she chairs the Audit Committee, and she serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Board for BlockChain Capital. She is a former director of City National Bank (CYC), Diamond Foods (DMND), First Data Corporation (FDC), Xoom (XOOM), and many private companies and was the Chairman of LECG (XPRT) until its sale in 2011. Alison is a frequent speaker on corporate governance. 

To view Alison Davis'  full bio, click here


Glenda Dorchak

CEO, GMD Enterprises; Director, Mellanox Technologies

Glenda is an experienced technology CEO, board director and advisor with domain expertise in mobile, consumer, computing and communications that form the backbone of today's Internet of Things. She serves on two public boards: Mellanox Technologies (MLNX, since 2009), the leading provider of high speed interconnect products, and  Energy Focus (EFOI, since 2015), a clean-tech industrial lighting provider.   Glenda is also the independent director for Mirametrix (since 2014), a private venture whose attention-sensing user interface products are shipping in PC and automotive platforms.  Her passion for today's Internet of Things started with IBM where she held a range of leadership roles. Glenda also represented IBM on the board of the Computing Technology Industry Association for several years.  

To view Glenda Dorchak's  full bio, click here



Michael Esser

Managing Director, Pearl Meyer

Mike Esser is a Managing Director with Pearl Meyer in the Los Angeles and San Jose offices. Mr. Esser has more than 25 years' experience as an advisor to Boards and senior management in executive and Board compensation, compensation strategy, and annual and long-term incentive/equity plan design. His consulting experience covers a variety of industries and company organizational and developmental stages, including startup/pre-IPO, privately-held, public, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations. Prior to his current role, Mr. Esser was a consultant and senior manager with Arthur Andersen LLP. Previously, Mr. Esser was an executive compensation consultant and manager with Hewitt Associates, and managed business development for Hewitt's annual compensation survey business.

To view Michael Esser's full bio, click here



Rex Jackson

Chief Financial Officer, Gigamon

Rex Jackson joined Energous Corporation's board of directors in March 2014. Mr. Jackson currently serves as CFO of Gigamon Inc..  Mr. Jackson previously served as CFO of Rocket Fuel Inc., an advertising technology company, from March 2016 to October 2016. Prior to Rocket Fuel, Mr. Jackson served as CFO of JDS Uniphase Corporation, a provider of network and service enablement solutions and optical products for telecommunications service providers, cable operators, and network equipment manufacturers, from January 2013 through September 2015, and drove the separation of JDSU into two independent public companies in August 2015. Mr. Jackson also previously served as acting CFO at Synopsys and held executive positions with Avago, AdForce and Read-Rite.

To view Rex Jackson's full bio, click here


Hitesh Shah

Business Development Director, BDO

Hitesh Shah has more than 25 years of experience spanning startup through venture financing and eventual M&A exits in multiple high technology companies. He has in-depth experience in people management, finance, venture capital, business development, product management, business planning and customer service. Hitesh has raised over $100M in venture capital for four different startups. Prior to joining BDO, Hitesh has served in multiple executive roles as CFO, COO, and CEO.  He was the Chief Operating Officer at Solum, an Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, and Google Ventures funded company which was acquired by Monsanto. Hitesh also served as CEO and COO at Fat Spaniel Technologies which was acquired by Power-One, and CFO at iPolicy Networks which was acquired by Tech Mahindra in India.

To view Hitesh Shah's full bio, click here