Nominating and Governance Chair
Member Engagement Committee Chair
Sandra A. J. Lawrence retired from The Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics (CMH), Kansas City's nationally ranked pediatric medical center, after having served two years as CAO/EVP and 11 as CFO/EVP. She was responsible for the hospital's finance and accounting; integrated care, network solutions and managed care; human resources; information and digital systems; government relations; occupational health; and other operations. Before joining the staff, she served six years on the hospital's Governing Board and two years on the Foundation Board.
Prior to her employment with Children's Mercy, Lawrence served as CFO and SVP of Midwest Research Institute (now MRIGlobal), VP of Administration for Gateway, director of MRI's Statistics and Economics Center for Regional Development, and president of Stern Brothers Investment Bank.
An NACD Board Leadership Fellow, Lawrence's current board and civic commitments include serving on the board, as chair of the Nominating, Governance and Corporate Responsibility Committee and on the Compensation Committee of Evergy Inc. (NYSE: EVRG); as trustee and on the Governance Committee of the Ivy and Waddell and Reed (NYSE: WDR/IVH) Mutual Funds Complex Trust; on the board, as chair of the Audit Committee, and on the Nominating and Governance Committee of American Shared Hospital Services (NYSE: AMS); on the board, as chair of the Audit Committee, and on the Investment Committee of the Hall Family Foundation; as chair of the board of the NACD Heartland Chapter; as trustee, as chair of the Audit Committee, and on the Investment Committee of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; as co-chair of Women Corporate Directors of Kansas City; and as Advisory Board member to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.
Lawrence received her Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, focusing on Finance and Real Estate; a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concentrating in Civil Engineering and Urban Design; and an AB from Vassar College, with a major in Psychology and an emphasis in Statistics.
Victoria Barnard is president of Foot Traffic LLC, a leading fashion legwear company, and independent director of Just Born Quality Confections where she has served since 2017. She is Compensation Committee chair and an Audit Committee member. Just Born is a third-generation family-ed company and the ninth largest US candy company. It is known for several iconic brands including Peeps Marshmallow candies, Mike and Ike fruity chewy candies, and Hot Tamales, the number one selling cinnamon candy.
Barnard also served for three years on the Humana Innovation Advisory Board, a $39 billion publicly traded company offering a variety of insurance, health, and wellness services. She served as board member and trusted advisor to the CEO and chief innovation/marketing officer regarding effective innovation development, implementation, and alignment to corporate strategy.
Barnard has served as president of Foot Traffic since 2012 where she is responsible for sales and profit growth. Prior to Foot Traffic, she held multiple executive leadership roles at Hallmark Cards Inc., including VP of Strategic Planning over the North American retail and wholesale businesses, International, Crayola, and Crown Media, parent company of the Hallmark Cable Television Channel. She also served as VP of Acquisitions Strategy/Integration and general manager of the Hallmark Season Greeting Card Division.
Barnard is co-founder of the Women's Capital Connection, an all-women angel investing group; current board member of the Kansas City Crime Commission; past board chair of the Kansas Women's Business Center; and past board member of the Kansas City Ballet.
She earned an undergraduate degree in Business from Marquette University and a master's degree in Business Administration from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. She and her husband reside in a commercial six-story building they bought and renovated in downtown Kansas City, Missouri
Nominating and Governance Chair
Brian Gardner served as the executive vice president, General Counsel, at Hallmark Cards Inc. from 2003 until he retired in 2018. He also served as secretary to the Hallmark Board of Directors. As general counsel, he directed the company's in-house legal staff and provided legal and business advice to Hallmark and its subsidiaries on a wide array of general corporate legal matters.
Gardner serves on the Board of Directors of the Vermeer Corporation, which is a privately held manufacturing company headquartered in Pella, Iowa. He has also served on the Board of Directors and as Finance Committee chair of Crown Media Holdings Inc., a previously public but now private company that owns and operates the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Prior to joining Hallmark in 2003 and being named a corporate officer, he was co-managing partner at Stinson Morrison Hecker (now known as Stinson Leonard Street), a large law firm headquartered in Kansas City.
He is the past cochair of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Business Council and past board chair of Kansas City Public Television, the Johnson County Community College Foundation, and the Overland Park Convention and Business Bureau.
Gardner holds a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University and earned his law degree from the University of Iowa.
Margaret Latshaw's more than 20 years of board experience has focused on strategy, risk management, and governance. Since 2016, she has chaired the Strategy Committee on the board of Faultless Brands, a more than 120-year-old family-owned consumer products company. She served 10 years on the board of Burroughs & Chapin Company, one of the largest real estate companies in the Southeast United States in residential development, family entertainment, golf, timber, and retail. During her tenure, it converted to a REIT. She has also chaired Audit and Nominating/Governance committees and served on Investment and Strategic Planning committees.
As SVP at one of largest banks in the United States, Latshaw led integrated strategic planning and served as Six Sigma Deployment Champion as part of a major performance management culture shift at the bank. She also served as an officer at a Fortune 1000 financial company where she successfully executed the largest growth initiative in the company''s history while managing the existing portfolio of 10,000 offices. Her most recent executive experience was as an officer of a $5 billion healthcare/tech company where she was responsible for all global properties and managed a $250 million capital budget.
Over the past 25 years, Latshaw has served on several nonprofit boards, including as a trustee and treasurer of the Kansas City Zoo Learning Fund, Kansas City Academy, Goodwill, and International Relation Board. Currently, she is on an advisory board at University of Missouri Kansas City's Bloch School of Management; the board of the Heartland Chapter of NACD, where she has been a Governance Fellow since 2013; and she is a founding member of the KC Chapter of Women Corporate Directors.
Latshaw earned a BA with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa from Swarthmore College. She received First-Class Honors at Cambridge University, an MBA from Wharton Business School, and a PhD from the University of Washington.
Member Engagement Committee Chair
Sandy Price is a member of the Great Plains Energy (NYSE: GXP) Board of Directors, serving on the Compensation and Development and Governance Committees.
She was the senior vice president of human resources for the Sprint Corporation (NYSE: S) for 10 years, retiring from the company in 2016. In this position, she was responsible for all human resources initiatives including organizational performance and culture, labor investments, compensation and benefits, staffing and employee relations, learning and development, and talent management. Previously, Price served as senior vice president designee for the human resources, communications, and brand management functions of the Sprint Local Telephone Division (LTD) as the organization prepared for its divestiture from Sprint in 2005 and subsequently became EMBARQ (now CenturyLink). Price joined Sprint in 1993, serving a variety of human resources roles. Before coming to Sprint, she was a principal in the Blue Valley School District (Overland Park, Kansas) and the Jenks (Oklahoma) Public Schools District in Tulsa.
An active mentor and community leader, she currently serves as a cochairperson of KC Rising, a strategic initiative to fully realize the Kansas City region's potential in trade, ideas, and people. Price was president of the Johnson County Community College Foundation and is a former member of the Greater Kansas City United Way Board of Trustees and the executive board of the Overland Park, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce. She was the Kansas City chairperson for the 2015 Go Red For Women campaign benefitting the American Heart Association.
Price was named to the Kansas City Business Journal's "Women Who Mean Business" list for her professional accomplishments, contributions, and efforts to improve the business climate for women and to the Profiles in Diversity Journal's "Women Worth Watching."
She has a BA in Special Education from Oral Roberts University and an MA in Learning Disabilities and School Administration from the University of Tulsa.
Executive Vice President and CFO, Hallmark Cards Inc.
James Shay is executive vice president and CFO and a corporate officer at Hallmark Cards Inc. In this role, he is responsible for providing strategic financial leadership and directing and overseeing all financial activities for the company. He also works closely with Hallmark's president and CEO in analyzing and implementing major new business initiatives. He is a member of the NACD Heartland Chapter Board of Directors.
Shay serves on the MRIGlobal board of trustees and its Finance and Audit Committee, the University of Kansas Hospital advancement board, and the University of Kansas School of Business advisory board. He joined Hallmark in 2015 after serving as chief financial officer of Great Plains Energy and Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L). Prior to joining KCP&L, Shay served as CFO for Northern Power Systems. He also has served as CFO of General Electric's Environmental Services in Kansas City and as CFO of BHA Group Holding. He also gained public accounting experience in the areas of retail, manufacturing, and engineering as an audit manager with KPMG Peat Marwick, and merger and acquisition experience as a managing director of Frontier Investment Banc Corp.
He holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Kansas and is a Certified Public Accountant with membership to the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Financial Executive Institute.
Howard Cohen currently serves as a lead client service partner with Deloitte. Over his 41 years with the firm, he has served as an audit partner for its leading multimillion-dollar, highly complex audit engagements in the United States and globally, primarily in the financial services industry. Cohen has also served in many practice management positions including partner in charge of the Kansas City and St. Louis audit practices, and he has worked on National Office strategic organizational planning for the U.S. audit practice. He also facilitates board of director and audit committee labs at Deloitte University that explore their responsibilities, priorities, and practices, with a focus on enhancing effectiveness.
Cohen is a member of the Board of Trustees, University of Kansas Endowment Association; Audit Committee and past Board of Directors, University of Kansas Alumni Association; Board of Directors, University of Kansas Chancellorâ€™s Club; Executive Committee (and past-Chair), University of Kansas School of Business Advisory Board; and Board of Directors, Starlight Theatre of Kansas City.
He holds a BS from the University of Kansas in Business Administration and Accounting, where he was recognized with the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Paget L. Alves served as chief sales officer of Sprint Corp. from January 2012 to September 2013, after serving as president of that company's Business Markets Group from 2009 to 2012. Prior to that, he held various senior executive positions at Sprint, including president of Sales and Distribution, senior vice president of Enterprise Markets, and president of Strategic Markets. Between 2002 and 2003, he served as president and chief operating officer of Centennial Communications Corp., and from 2000 to 2001, he served as president and CEO of PointOne Telecommunications Inc.
Alves currently serves on the boards of directors of Yum! Brands Inc., Synchrony Financial Inc., International Game Technology PLC, and Ariel Investments LLC. He previously served on the boards of directors of GTECH Holdings Corp. from 2005 to 2006, Herman Miller Inc. from 2008 to 2010, and International Game Technology Inc. from 2010 to 2015. Most recently, Savoy Magazine recognized him among its 2017 Most Influential Black Corporate Directors.
Alves received a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations and a JD from Cornell University.
Chief Operations Officer
Andrews McMeel Universal
Kelly Carnago is the chief operations officer at Andrews McMeel Universal where she is responsible for driving operational strength, efficiency, and growth. She provides input on company-wide strategic direction and all operational activity and has direct responsibility for Calendar Sales, Production, Demand Planning, Greeting Cards, international syndication partners, and many third-party relationships.
Prior to joining Andrews McMeel, Carnago was director of Google Fiber Business Operations where she led local teams focused on customer acquisition and retention, as well as community impact and business outreach. In this role, she evaluated the potential expansion of Google Fiber across the Midwest region, managed the P&L, and represented the voice of the customer and the markets in Silicon Valley headquarters meetings.
Previously, Carnago was the chief carrier operations officer for HYLA Mobile where she was responsible for driving the company results and managing relationships with all carrier partners globally. She also led marketing, brand strategy, and public relations for the company. She joined HYLA as the seventh employee and helped grow it to 300 employees across 10 countries.
Prior to HYLA, Carnago held executive positions at EMBARQ including vice president of Product and Business Development and vice president of Sales. She served in several leadership roles at Sprint Nextel as well. She was charged with creating for Sprint and later integrating for Sprint Nextel an Ethics and Compliance program in her role as vice president of Ethics and Compliance. She also held positions of assistant vice president of Strategic Marketing and director of Prepaid Sales and Marketing.
Carnago earned her BA from the University of Utah, her MBA from the Wharton School, and her MA from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
KEVIN M. CONNOR Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Kevin M. Connor is sSenior vVice pPresident, gGeneral cCounsel, and sSecretary of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (AMC). HeConnor joined the company in 2002 as sSenior vVice pPresident, Legal for AMC and American Multi-Cinema, Inc. Prior to joining AMC, Connor was in private practice for 15 years with Seigfreid & Bingham, specializing in corporate, tax, and real estate matters. In his role at AMC, he focuses primarily on corporate transactions, dispute resolution and governance/compliance. Connor graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1985 with a bBachelorâ€™s dDegree in English and History, received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1988, and earned an LLM in Ttaxation from the University of Missouriâ€“Kansas City in 1991. Connor lives in the Loose Park area of Kansas City, Missouri,. with his wife Anne Bolen Connor. They have five children, ages 17-27, who that are scattered throughout the country. Connor currently serves on the board of directors of St. Teresaâ€™s Academy and the Catholic Community Foundation. In his spare time, he enjoys running and playing tennis, platform tennis, and various other sports.
Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals
Director, DEED Foundation, Truman Library Institute, St. Luke's Hospital, Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy
Since 2001, Lisa White Hardwick has served as a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District. In addition to her board involvement with the NACD Heartland Chapter, she currently serves on the boards of directors for the Truman Library Institute, St. Luke's Hospital, the Kansas City Crime Commission, the Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy, and the Center School District Educational Foundation. She is president of the Foundation for Delta Educational and Economic Development (DEED), as well as property manager of its historic venue, the Delta Athenaeum. Committed to matters of equity and justice, she co-chairs the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.
Judge Hardwick has 35 years of experience in the legal profession and service to Kansas City's civic and nonprofit community. Before her appointment to the appellate bench, she was a trial court judge on the Jackson County Circuit Court and practiced law as a partner in the Shook Hardy & Bacon law firm. As an elected official, she served two terms as an at-large representative on the Jackson County Legislature. Her previous board memberships include Rockhurst High School, Swope Community Health Center, the Community Blood Center, and the Niles Home for Children.
As a native of Kansas City, Judge Hardwick attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and obtained a bachelor's degree in Journalism. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Robin P. Sterneck is a seasoned executive and board director who brings 30 years of business and leadership experience to the boardroom, her keynotes, workshops, roundtables, and businesses.
Through her work as a senior investment banker at Lehman Brothers and her P&L, site leader, and executive team roles at GE, GE Capital's Insurance business, and Swiss Re after its acquisition of GE Insurance, she is armed with a broad breadth of first-hand experience and strategies. She currently leads Highland Birch Group, a leadership consulting firm, and serves as president of a successful family-owned wealth management business.
As an NACD Fellow, Sterneck also currently serves as an independent director and Compensation and Human Capital chairperson for the board of EPR Properties and as a director for SurveySaurus. She is a founding member of the Kansas City Chapter of Women Corporate Directors and a director on the NACD Heartland Chapter Board. She is a member, speaker, and program facilitator at the Central Exchange, a leading professional women's organization.
Sterneck's recent community leadership roles include the Pembroke Hill School Board, Fundraising and Leadership Development vice chair for the J Community Center, Board and Audit Committee member for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, and chair of WIN for KC, a division of the KC Sports Commission.
Kathy Walker is a managing director at OpenAir Equity Partners and serves on public, private, and not-for-profit boards. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Adtran, Pepper, and Zubie. In addition, she is the president of the Board of Trustees at the Missouri School of Science and Technology, as well as a member of South Dakota State University's Council of Trustees. She is also a board member for the NACD Heartland Chapter and serves as chair of the programming committee.
With over 25 years of technology experience in the communications sector and nine years of board service in public and private companies, Walker is a well-regarded expert in technology-based services and enjoys the challenges of supporting early-stage firms in the mobility, Internet of Things, and data analytics space. Her extensive career in telecommunications spanned many technology introductions and included roles that were both strategic and operational. Her final role at Sprint was the combined responsibilities of both chief network officer and chief information officer.
Walker is a graduate in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University and holds her Master of Science in Engineering Management from Missouri S&T. She resides in Olathe, Kansas.
Julie Burkhart is the executive director of the NACD Heartland Chapter. She collaborates with board members and advisors to produce world-class programs and peer-to-peer exchanges for local directors. She also oversees all chapter administration, board relations, and sponsor engagement.
Prior to joining the NACD Heartland Chapter, Burkhart was the director of Community Engagement at the University of Kansas (KU). Her primary role was to facilitate linkages between KU resources, expertise, and capabilities on the Lawrence, Edwards, and KU Medical Center campuses with Kansas City-area leaders to reduce workforce challenges, solve problems by utilizing community-based research and service, and grow entrepreneurship and economic development in this region and beyond.
Preceding KU, Burkhart spent 18 years at Sprint in training, leadership development, knowledge management, and talent acquisition roles. She also served as president of Sprint's 2000-member Women's Employee Resource Group. Burkhart was Sprint's 2013 Diversity Award recipient and was selected for its High Performing Manager Program in 2010. She continues her active role in developing female leadership, especially in STEM fields, by mentoring students and serving on the Central Exchange STEMM program and event committee. She is a former board member of BioKansas and the Kansas March of Dimes.
Burkhart's academic background includes a bachelor's degree in Family Life and Human Development from Kansas State University and a master's degree in Business Communication from Fort Hays State University. She and her husband, Don, live in Overland Park, Kansas.
Jill Dickerson is the event and engagement manager of the NACD Heartland Chapter. She supports the production and execution of exceptional programming and enhanced member engagement activities contributing to the national organization’s membership retention and growth goals.
A former vocal music educator, middle school principal, and director of human resources, Dickerson brings more than 20 years of experience working with ages spanning from K-12 to adult. Her award-winning turnaround schools and inclusive school reform efforts have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Participation in Leadership Kansas (Class of 2015) inspired Dickerson to pursue an MBA to increase leverage of business connections and resources for learners. She delights in collaborating with business and community leaders to create memorable events for organizations. Dickerson has planned and executed state-wide conferences for groups including the United School Administrators of Kansas, the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators, and Kansas Destination Imagination.
Currently, Dickerson is a member of the New Frontier Education Foundation Board (Kansas City, Missouri). In the past, she has served as president for the United School Administrators of Kansas and the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators and as director for the Topeka Habitat for Humanity, the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Alliance for Education Advocacy, and the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute.
Dickerson holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration and Policy Studies from the University of Kansas; a Master of Business Administration focusing Leadership and Management from the University of Kansas; a Master of Music Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory; and a Bachelor of Science in Education (summa cum laude) as well as a Diploma in Voice from Missouri State University. She and her husband, Daniel, live in Eudora, Kansas.