Advocate, Inspire & Connect – Women & Boards

OnBoard NOW is a regular communication distributed by the OnBoard team keeping you up to date on what’s going on throughout the organization and the industry. If you don’t already, sign up today to receive our email newsletters.


Atlanta Business Chronicle Interviews Lisa Robinson about OnBoard

Crystal Edmonson from the Atlanta Business Chronicleinterviewed Lisa Robinson on the March 22nd It’s Complicated Podcast.   Take a listen to their discussion about women on Georgia public company boards and the initiatives OnBoard has in place.  The podcast is here.

OnBoard Names Three New Members to Board of Directors for 2021

OnBoard announces three additions to its Board of Directors: Angela Brown, senior tax manager at Aprio; Keith Ivory Millner, co-founder and managing partner at Coaching Catalyst; and Melissa Rutten, financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

“OnBoard is a prestigious organization noted as among the first in the country to recognize that the mission to increase the number of women on boards would require an organized effort, therefore determining who joins our own board is a considered process,” says Kelly Gay, chair and CEO of OnBoard, vice chair of Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and chair of Venture Atlanta. “Angela, Keith and Melissa join a group of board colleagues who are intelligent, conscientious, and dedicated to our cause. They absolutely fit right in while bringing their own important perspectives to how we grow as an organization.”

Angela Brown is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and senior tax manager in the Real Estate and Construction Services group with Aprio, LLP, an award-winning top 50 CPA-led advisory firm. Angela focuses on providing business and tax advice to real estate investors and operators as they navigate transactions. She specializes in real estate partnerships providing tax planning opportunities for her clients with multi-family, commercial and mixed-use properties. Angela is a member of Aprio’s Emerging Leaders Academy Class of 2021 which focuses on sharpening leadership and management skills while also encouraging forward thinking for future leaders. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned both her Bachelor and Master of Accounting degrees. Angela has a passion for supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives. She is a professional member of the National Association of Black Accountants, having previously served on the board and as an advisor during her collegiate years. Learn more about Brown here.

Keith Ivory Millner is an accomplished executive with a 30-year career that spans diverse industries, including consumer packaged goods, banking, insurance, healthcare, consulting, and coaching. He is co-founder of Coaching Catalyst, an executive coaching firm, where he has leveraged his expertise and experience coaching corporate, civic, and religious leaders, entrepreneurs, and professional association executives. Millner earned a BA in Economics from Guilford College, an MBA in Marketing from UNC’s Kenan-Flager School of Business, and completed advanced studies in IT/Business Strategy at TIAS Business School, University of Navarra in Barcelona, Spain. His extensive board and volunteer service include Chair Elect for 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Commissioner for Housing Authority of Fulton County, My Brothers’ Keeper and National Black MBA Association. He is an alum of United Way VIP and Leadership Atlanta. Learn more about Millner here.

Melissa Rutten is a financial advisor with The Leverte Wealth Management Group of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has more than 15 years of experience as a financial professional including serving as an experienced CFO and Board of Director responsible for a high growth privately-held company, as a manager with Novelis in investor relations and global financial reporting, and PricewaterhouseCoopers in audit and transaction services. Rutten is a member of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation Inspire 2020 Program and Women Shaping Shepherd. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in Economics from University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and studied abroad at Oxford University. Learn more about Rutten here.  


OnBoard Accelerator gets women closer to their goal of serving on a for-profit board.  With a focus on personal marketing skills, we prepare you for the board interview process, ensuring you clearly articulate the value you bring to the table.  The program starts each year in March and meets six times in the program year.  Participants must be able to attend meetings in Atlanta, Georgia, or virtual sessions as required.

The program helps you:

  • Understand the value you bring to the boardroom
  • Convey your value in a compelling way
  • Expand your network
  • Prepare for board-level interviews.

The OnBoard Accelerator leadership team has a wealth of experience to help you focus, sharpen your story, and take action.  Following is what previous participants had to say about the program:

“As a result of this program, I can succinctly describe my value to a board and have a plan on where to effectively network.”

“I would not have had the opportunity for my recent board seat with OnBoard.”We accept members on a rolling basis, so we encourage early submission of your application. You can learn more and find an application by visiting our website here.

Cynthia Day named 2020 Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award Recipient

OnBoard announces Cynthia N. Day as the recipient of its 18th annual Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award.She was honored at OnBoard’s Annual Awards Dinner on Nov. 11, 2020.

Day’s professional journey has exemplified the meaning of unwavering commitment and dedication to getting the job done in excellence. All of which have proven to be the foundation of her purpose-driven success. As president and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank, Day provides the vision and strategic direction for senior leadership and the company’s diverse workforce. During her tenure, the bank has reached many milestones including achieving record level earnings since the inception of the institution. Navigating unprecedented times, a rapidly changing, and competitive market landscape, Citizens Trust Bank remains healthy and financially strong through her leadership.

“From the first Board of Directors meeting I attended with Aaron’s in 2013, it was clear Cynthia is an intelligent, thoughtful, engaged Director,” says Robert Kamerschen, EVP, general counsel and corporate secretary for Aaron’s, Inc. He led Day’s nomination for the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans honor. “She is an outstanding CEO, an advocate for diversity, and highly supportive of women in business, where she is a sponsor of the Aaron’s Women’s Leadership Network.”

Her career spans nearly 30 years in the banking and finance industries, and she has given her time to extensive board service. Day is a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens Bancshares Corporation; Primerica; Aaron’s Inc., where she chairs the Audit Committee; The National Bankers Association; Georgia Bankers Association; and the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

“When we review nominations for the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans recognition, we consider many outstanding women who have notable careers and serve as outstanding role models for advancing the mission of OnBoard,” says Kelly Gay, chair and CEO of OnBoard, vice chair of Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and chair of Venture Atlanta. “Cynthia stood out for her impeccable executive leadership, community involvement, and board service credentials. She is leading her company and culture into its next century and exemplifying the value women of color bring to leading an organization.”

As an executive and thought leader promoting financial empowerment and economic equality, she leads teams dedicated to making financial lives better for people and companies of every size. Day has been recognized for her guidance and mentorship in various community and professional organizations, recently named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of 2020’s “Top 100 Women Who Mean Business” and by The Atlantan magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential Atlantans.” In addition, she is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants, and AICPA.

OnBoard’s Annual Awards and Study Dinner was held virtually this year on November 11th. Leadership shared news from the 28th publication of OnBoard’s study reporting on the state of women in leadership in Georgia. The evening’s agenda featured keynote speaker, Mariah Stackhouse, KPMG brand ambassador and LPGA Tour player, and finished with the presentation of the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans award to the 2020 recipient, Cynthia Day.

OnBoard supports Racial Equity and All Black Lives

As president of OnBoard, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of women in executive leadership and on corporate boards, I want to explicitly state on behalf of our board that we support racial equity and all Black lives.  With this in mind, I want to share some concrete examples of what we are doing to:

  • offer meaningful programs for our board members, membership and sponsors, designed to facilitate conversations and increase the visibility of Black women executives;
  • mitigate hurdles that would prevent Black women from participating in our organization; and
  • increase the number of Black men and women serving on our board.

One way we deliver on our mission is through our annual study that measures the status of women on Georgia corporate boards.  Please visit to view the most current study.  Last year as we reflected on the results, we recognized the need to be more intentional about increasing the number of women of color on corporate boards, a statistic we have tracked since 2001.  Facilitating, advocating on behalf of, and taking action, for more women of color to fill corporate board seats has positive implications beyond the one female executive selected.  She becomes a role model, and she brings her unique experience to the company, which in turn will have a positive impact on the customers the company serves and the communities in which we live.

Our board is prepared to accelerate the advancement of Black women on for-profit boards. The following are a few steps we are taking:

  • Next OnBoard provides motivated early- and mid-career professionals with opportunities to connect with senior executive women and men interested in OnBoard’s mission, learn about board governance, and expand their professional networks.  Through sponsorship, we will offer ten young Black women membership to Next OnBoard.
  • The OnBoard Development Group gets women closer to their goal of serving on a for-profit board.  A usual class has ten women; we will secure scholarships for two Black women to prepare them for consideration on future board roles.
  • We will continue to deliver relevant programming such as the Women of Color on Corporate Boards: How Do We Move the Needle? – a fireside chat with Mayor Shirley Franklin and Maria Saporta, rescheduled due to COVID-19. We have a lot of listening to do, and as a board will consider new programs and ways of working with our corporate partners.

While saddened by how we arrived at this point, we are optimistic about what is ahead and what we will achieve together.  We welcome you to join us.

Lisa Robinson

Lisa Robinson Named as OnBoard President

Lisa Robinson

The OnBoard board is delighted to announce the election of Lisa Robinson to the position of President and board member of OnBoard Inc, effective June 1st. Lisa brings an ideal set of experiences to OnBoard to continue to advance our mission and grow to the next level in this time of corporate change. The president of OnBoard replaces the executive director but in a redefined role designed to further the mission of increasing the number of women in executive leadership and on corporate boards. As president, Lisa will focus on relationships with the Atlanta community, steward the OnBoard mission, and oversee the operations.

Lisa has held nonprofit leadership positions for many years, including Vice President of Philanthropy for The Woodruff Arts Center and Vice President of Advancement for Visiting Nurse Health System. She is currently a partner at Bell Oaks Executive Search and serves on the boards of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia. She is also a DeKalb County Court Appointed Special Advocate. Please join us in welcoming Lisa to the OnBoard family.

We are so fortunate to have had Rona Wells leading us as our executive director for the past 16 years. Rona has brought OnBoard into its third decade with excellent programming, a strong community presence, and the platform of our Annual Study. Our progress and advancement of the mission that OnBoard was founded on is a tribute to Rona. We have been the beneficiaries of the commitment, intelligence, and enthusiasm that Rona has brought to OnBoard for these many years. She is retiring from the executive director role but will remain on our Board of Directors. Please see the press release.

OnBoard Announces the 2020 Executive Leadership Honor Roll

The OnBoard Executive Leadership Honor Roll recognizes women who are in executive leadership positions. It is awarded annually to 3 Georgia based women leaders to highlight OnBoard’s mission to increase the number of women in executive leadership. An honor roll honoree is a Georgia based woman in a significant leadership role within her organization. She is a role model of career achievement and is building the credentials that place her in the pipeline, either now or in the future, for corporate board membership. Press Release. The 2020 honorees are:

Kali Wilson Beyah
Managing Director – Global Talent Management
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Full Bio

Jill Campbell
Executive Vice President, Chief People & Operations Officer
Cox Enterprises
Full Bio

Dr. Maureen Schumacher
Marketing Executive
Global Payments, Inc.
Full Bio

Michelle Jarrard Named 2019 Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Recipient

Michelle Jarrard, board member of Georgia based Crawford & Company (NYSE: CRDA) was honored as the 17th Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award recipient at OnBoard’s Annual Awards Dinner on Nov. 13, 2019. Crawford & Company is the world’s largest publicly listed independent provider of claims management solutions to insurance companies and self-insured entities with an expansive global network serving clients in more than 70 countries. Ms. Jarrard is also a Board Director and Compensation Committee member of Lazard, the global investment bank and asset management firm, and of Axion Biosystems and was a board member of QUEST Renewables until earlier this year. The OnBoard Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans award is given annually and is sponsored by KPMG. Michelle’s bio and press release.

New Women on Boards

Saia, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAIA) a leading transportation provider offering less-than-truckload, non-asset truckload, and logistics services, announced the appointment of Susan Ward and Donna E. Epps to the board. Ms. Epps is a retired Deloitte LLP partner, Ms. Ward, is retired United Parcel Service, Inc. Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. Ms. Ward is a member of OnBoard and a graduate of the OnBoard Development Program.  

Jabil Inc. (NYSE: JBL) announced Kathleen A. Walters has been appointed to the board of directors. Ms. Walters was an executive at Georgia-Pacific Corp (GP) from 2004 until her retirement in June 2019, serving her last 12 years as the executive vice president and group president, leading the consumer products group. Ms. Walters is a longtime member of the OnBoard Advocates List.