Even as one of the youngest directors in corporate governance today, Caroline Tsay has no shortage of accomplishments. Starting her career at IBM, Caroline has since held executive positions at Yahoo and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where she most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of Software. In her latest venture, Caroline is launching Compute Software, an enterprise cloud infrastructure software company where she serves as CEO and co-founder.
There’s little question as to why companies like Morningstar, Rosetta Stone, and Travelzoo have been interested in a director like Caroline. She joined her first board (Rosetta Stone) back in 2014 and Travelzoo the following year. A 2016 appearance on Inside America’s Boardrooms sheds light on the nature of her contributions as chair of Rosetta Stone’s Business Advisory Committee, which touches everything from product innovation and talent acquisition to identifying digital growth opportunities.
In May 2017, Caroline was elected to the Morningstar board. The reason she agreed to chair the Advisory Council for Next Gen Board Leaders, she said, is the potential for this community to be an agent of change in corporate governance.
“This is an unprecedented initiative,” said Tsay. “We’ve built an esteemed group of leading directors, who also have current operating experience. Getting ‘next generation’ directors into the boardroom is critical to shaping existing and emerging governance, strategy and operational issues. Companies can significantly benefit from their extensive expertise and advice on current and fast-evolving issues.”
Indeed, ten directors comprise the Advisory Council, which represents wide-reaching diversity in skill sets, industry, geography, race, and gender. All ten will be attending a closed-door Mini-Summit this month in New York City to swap experiences and discuss critical governance topics with a generational lens. These discussions will create the foundation for thought leadership content, which will be hosted on the Next Gen Board Leaders website throughout the year.
I would like to see the group provide thought leadership on issues that boards do not necessarily dig into deep enough today. These issues may include changing business models, customer preferences, go-to-market plans, technology enablement, and organizational design. I would also like the group to generate awareness and prompt corporate boards to consider how new skills and experiences will increase value creation.
While the Advisory Council represents next-gen directors in their 30s and 40s, the community is not intended to be exclusive. Rather, it’s important for directors, investors, and governance professionals of all ages to engage on these generational issues.
“I’ve found that the most progress is made when a solution or conclusion incorporates the best of different perspectives and experiences,” said Tsay “We also need directors and governance professionals of all ages to join these ‘generational’ conversations, as it may mean that we all have to re-think the role of directors and how best to leverage and incorporate them.”