Cable honors Tennessee women and companies who are taking the lead in promoting women on corporate boards through its annual Board Walk of Fame event. During the event, these corporate leaders – who have acted on the evidence that more women on boards and in senior leadership positions leads to improved financial results and corporate vitality – are recognized and inducted into Cable’s Corporate Board Hall of Fame.
Our 2018 Board Walk of Fame Individual Honorees:
Lucinda (“Cindy”) M. Baier has served as Brookdale’s President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board since February 2018, after having served as Brookdale’s Chief Financial Officer since December 2015. In addition to experience as a seasoned Chief Financial Officer in several companies, she has had multi-billion dollar P&L responsibility, served as an executive officer of a Fortune 30 company, been the Chief Executive Officer for a publicly-traded retailer and has served for more than a decade as a Board member of public and private companies, including serving as the Chairman of the Board.
Prior to joining Brookdale, Ms. Baier served as Chief Financial Officer of Navigant Consulting, Inc., a specialized global expert services firm, since March 2013 and its Executive Vice President since February 2013. Additionally, Ms. Baier has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Central Parking System, Inc. and World Kitchen, LLC. Ms. Baier’s experience also includes serving as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s Credit and Financial Products business and serving as the Chairman of Sears National Bank. Ms. Baier currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) and the Nashville Health Care Council. Ms. Baier is a Certified Public Accountant and is a graduate of Illinois State University, with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Accounting.
Sara J. Finley formerly served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CVS Caremark Corporation (now CVS Health), a Fortune 10 NYSE company, and spent almost 20 years with CVS Caremark and predecessor companies before retiring from the company in 2015. Prior to its 2007 merger with CVS, Sara served as Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Caremark Rx, Inc., a Fortune 100 NYSE company based in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ms. Finley is currently principal of Threshold Corporate Consulting, L.L.C. and serves on the boards of Tivity Health, Inc. based in Franklin, Tennessee, Oak Paper Products Company, Inc. based in Los Angeles, California and Studio Bank based in Nashville. Her nonprofit board service includes Alive Hospice, The Center for Nonprofit Management, The Land Trust for Tennessee, The Nashville Food Project and the Vanderbilt University Law School Board of Advisors. She resides in Nashville and is a 2017 graduate of Leadership Nashville. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville and the International Women’s Federation, Tennessee Chapter.
Ms. Finley was a Patrick Wilson Scholar and received her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1985 after graduating from the University of Alabama in 1982. She began her career practicing law, first as an associate with Maynard, Cooper & Gale in Birmingham, Alabama and later as an associate and partner with Kutak Rock in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rita Johnson-Mills brings over 25 years of progressive executive level leadership experience to corporate boards. She spent over 15 years as a senior executive with Centene Corporation and UnitedHealthcare, of which her last role was CEO of UHC Community Plan of TN. Over this time period Rita has received numerous honors and awards and was voted 2017 CEO of the Year by the Nashville Business Journal.
Among other appointments, Rita serves as a member of the MyNexus Advisory Board and as an Independent Director on the Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. Board of Directors. Rita holds dual Masters Degrees from The Ohio State University, one in Labor and Human Resource Management and the other in Public Policy. Rita is a Hogan certified Executive Coach and a Senn-Delaney certified corporate culture Facilitator.
Denise Wilder Warren, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of WakeMed Health & Hospitals, has more than 30 years of operational and financial experience. She is responsible for a $1.3 billion health system in Raleigh, NC where she is second in command, providing leadership for all operating entities (5 Hospitals; 4 Healthplexes; numerous physician clinics, joint ventures and an ACO), as well as Information Technology, Construction & Design, Strategic Ventures and Clinical/Administrative Operations. She was instrumental in the formation of HeartCare+ and CancerCare+, two collaborations with Duke University Health System. Denise serves on the Board of Directors of both HeartCare+ and CancerCare+. In addition, Denise serves on the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of Computer Programs & Systems (CPSI), a NASDAQ company; and on the Board of Brookdale Senior Living, a NYSE company. She previously served on the Board of the Academic Innovators Alliance, an affiliated enterprise of Premiere Inc. (PINC), a NASDAQ company.
Prior to WakeMed, Denise spent 10 years as Senior/Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Capella Healthcare supervising the areas of Finance, Human Resources, Corporate & Hospital Accounting, Tax, Investor Relations, Internal Audit, Enterprise Risk Management, Reimbursement, Marketing, Public Relations and Treasury. In 2009, she was honored as “CFO of the Year” in the category of large, private companies by the Nashville Business Journal in recognition of her leadership. She was one of three finalists in this category again in 2014. In 2010, she was named to the “Women of Influence” slate by the Nashville Business Journal. Nashville Medical News named her to the 2011 class of “Women to Watch”, and she has been named numerous times to Becker‘s Hospital Review’s “Hospital and Health System CFOs to Know”. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Southern Methodist University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum /aude. She earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.
Before joining Capella, Denise was Senior Equity Analyst and Research Director for Avondale Partners LLC. Under her leadership, the department was recognized by the Wall Street Journal All-Stars Analyst poll as having the largest percent of analysts recognized as All Stars for three consecutive years.
Denise began her career in 1980 with Ernst & Whinney (Ernst & Young) in Raleigh, NC. She then worked for a series of financial firms, including E. F. Hutton, Ford Capital, LTD, and CS First Boston. After earning her master’s degree, she joined Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York as Director and Senior Equity Analyst where she was honored by her selections to the “Institutional Investor All-American Research Team” and the “Wall Street Journal All-Star Research Team.”
In 2000, Denise was appointed Senior Vice President and CFO For Gaylord Entertainment Company. While at Gaylord, she was named “Financial Executive of the Year” by the Institute of Management Accountants for her contributions as CFO for the company.
She is integrally involved in the community, having served on the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association – Middle Tennessee and served as the 2011 Chair for the Go Red for Women campaign. She served on the Audit Committee and the Investment Committee of the Tennessee Hospital Association. She was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Federation of American Hospitals. Currently, she is the Executive Leader for the WakeMed Health & Hospitals Foundation.
Noel Williams currently serves on the Board of Directors of Leidos (NYSE:LDOS), a Fortune 500 global leader in the integration and application of information technology in Defense and Intelligence, Civil and Health. The company’s mission is to help make the world safer, healthier and more efficient through the work it does for its global customers. She chairs the board’s Ethics and Corporate Responsibility committee and is a member of the Compensation and HR committee.
Prior to her retirement in 2012, Noel was Sr. Vice President and CIO of Nashville-based HCA Healthcare as well as President of HCA Information Technology & Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary that provides IT services to non-HCA facilities. As an executive of the country’s largest hospital company and one of the largest healthcare IT providers, Ms. Williams led a staff of over 3,000 employees across the U.S., including five data centers and fourteen division support centers. She was responsible for HCA’s technology strategy as well as delivering IT services throughout HCA vast system of facilities and to over 120 non-HCA facilities.
Ms. Williams has over 35 years of experience in healthcare IT, most with HCA. Her leadership helped earn HCA’s IT Systems and Services over 20 industry awards. Additionally, she has been recognized as one of Computerworld’s Premier CIOs, Nashville Technology Council’s CIO of the Year and Nashville Technology Council Hall of Fame. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, including most recently, the Nashville Entrepreneu Center.
Noel resides in Nashville with husband, Dr. Richard Geer. They have 5 children and 3 grandchildren. She loves golf, swimming, needlepoint and reading.
The Criteria for Individual Honorees:
Tennessee resident Directors of public or private company (no geographic boundary) boards
$200M-ish market cap or revenue
The Criteria for Corporate Honorees:
Tennessee corporations with 3 or more women Directors who have not already been honored.