Lisa Wardell

NEW EXCLUSIVE
  • Chairman and Former CEO & President, Adtalem Global Education Inc.
  • Former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The RLJ Companies
  • Only African American Woman CEO in S&P’s MidCap 400 Index
  • Advocate for Diversity, Inclusion, and Access to Education



Business executive Lisa Wardell has more than 25 years of experience managing business strategy, operations, finance, and mergers and acquisitions, while driving shareholder value, stakeholder engagement, and company mission. Lisa currently serves as the Chairman of Adtalem Global Education Inc. – which aims to empower students to achieve their goals, find success, and make inspiring contributions to our global community. Lisa previously served as Adtalem’s President and CEO, then CEO & Chairman, and Executive Chairman. During her tenure as CEO, Wardell oversaw the strategic repositioning of Adtalem’s portfolio, and was the only African American woman CEO in S&P’s MidCap 400 Index. Under her leadership, gender and ethnic diversity has increased at the Adtalem board to 67%. Wardell has also led the higher education sector in implementing new standards in transparency and financial literacy, and in cultivating quality partnerships to fill critical global workforce needs. With expertise in business strategy, mission-driven growth, fostering diverse workforces, higher education, and advancing equity in healthcare, Lisa has been sought-after for her perspective by groups including Bloomberg, ASU+GSV Summit, Executives Breakfast Club, and more.

Prior to her work with Adtalem, Wardell was the Executive VP and COO for The RLJ Companies, a Principal at Katalyst Venture Partners, and a Senior Consultant for Accenture. She has also worked extensively in the media, entertainment, sports, gaming, and hotel industries, including assisting with the founding and management of Our Stories Films Studio and the now Charlotte Hornets. Lisa serves as the Vice Chair on the executive committee of The Business Council, and as Vice Chair of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund. She also serves on the boards of American Express and GIII Apparel Group, Ltd., has served on the Adtalem board since 2008, and previously served on the Lowes Home Improvement board. A fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion and access to education at scale across diverse communities, Lisa also is a member of the board of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executive Leadership Council, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Fortune CEO Initiative. Lisa has been featured on CNBC and Cheddar as well as in The Wall Street JournalWashington PostBusiness InsiderBlack Enterprise, and other publications.

 

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A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Lisa Wardell
  • Toronto CREW
  • Arizona State University + Global Silicon Valley Summit
  • Executives Breakfast Club
  • WSJ Women in the Workplace Forum
  • Bloomberg Breakaway CEO Summit
Interview - There Needs to Be a Connection Between Diversity and Company Culture | Fortune [4:01] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Talks By Lisa Wardell
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Female Leadership

During former Adtalem CEO Lisa Wardell’s tenure, she made a significant impact on both the business side as well as in terms of stakeholder engagement, diversity, and company mission. Throughout her more than twenty-five years as a groundbreaking business executive, Lisa has built a reputation for h ...

During former Adtalem CEO Lisa Wardell’s tenure, she made a significant impact on both the business side as well as in terms of stakeholder engagement, diversity, and company mission. Throughout her more than twenty-five years as a groundbreaking business executive, Lisa has built a reputation for her own leadership excellence, as well as her drive to advocate for, support, and empower women and minority leaders.

CEO & C-Suite Insights

Experienced executive Lisa Wardell has held numerous leadership positions in her journey to serving as CEO of Adtalem Global Education. During her tenure, she made a major impact – she oversaw the strategic repositioning of Adtalem’s portfolio, increased board diversity to 67%, and was the only Afri ...

Experienced executive Lisa Wardell has held numerous leadership positions in her journey to serving as CEO of Adtalem Global Education. During her tenure, she made a major impact – she oversaw the strategic repositioning of Adtalem’s portfolio, increased board diversity to 67%, and was the only African American woman CEO in S&P’s MidCap 400 Index. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of executive experience, Lisa offers keen insights – and actionable strategies – for those holding and aspiring to CEO and C-Suite positions.

Empowerment: Scaling Her Own Story of Success

Business executive Lisa Wardell is a first-generation college graduate, who attended Vassar, Stanford Law, and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. In this compelling talk, Lisa illuminates how her opportunities led her to her role at Adtalem Global Education, where she ...

Business executive Lisa Wardell is a first-generation college graduate, who attended Vassar, Stanford Law, and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. In this compelling talk, Lisa illuminates how her opportunities led her to her role at Adtalem Global Education, where she is working to scale the story of her own success to increase access to education globally.

Strategizing Diversity in the C-Suite

With more than twenty-five years of expertise as a business executive, Lisa Wardell is the Chairman of Adtalem Global Education and advocates for access to education. When it comes to elevating more women and diverse folks to the C-Suite, Wardell brings unparalleled strategy and insights for amplify ...

With more than twenty-five years of expertise as a business executive, Lisa Wardell is the Chairman of Adtalem Global Education and advocates for access to education. When it comes to elevating more women and diverse folks to the C-Suite, Wardell brings unparalleled strategy and insights for amplifying leadership, supporting upcoming leaders, and leveraging diversity and inclusion to change the face of business.

Building Your Board: Refreshment and Succession

In this compelling talk, business executive Lisa Wardell shares strategies and takeaways for building a more diverse, inclusive, and impactful board. Having served on numerous boards herself – The Business Council, the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund, American Express, GIII Apparel Group, Ltd., Adtale ...

In this compelling talk, business executive Lisa Wardell shares strategies and takeaways for building a more diverse, inclusive, and impactful board. Having served on numerous boards herself – The Business Council, the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund, American Express, GIII Apparel Group, Ltd., Adtalem Global Education, and Lowes Home Improvement – Lisa has also advocated for new and expanded strategies for refreshment and succession. She shares her sought-after strategies, practices, and meaningful insights.

Leadership: Cultivating Accountability and High-Performance Culture

Business executive Lisa Wardell shares actionable takeaways for cultivating accountability, building a high-performance culture, and balancing these goals in a collaborative workplace environment. With more than twenty-five years of experience managing business strategy and mergers and acquisitions, ...

Business executive Lisa Wardell shares actionable takeaways for cultivating accountability, building a high-performance culture, and balancing these goals in a collaborative workplace environment. With more than twenty-five years of experience managing business strategy and mergers and acquisitions, while driving shareholder value and engagement, Lisa’s perspective on corporate culture and mission are unparalleled.

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Lisa Wardell is a business executive with more than 25 years of experience managing business strategy, operations, finance, and mergers and acquisitions, while driving shareholder value, stakeholder engagement and company mission.

After a successful five-year run as the company’s president and CEO (2016 – 2019) and then CEO and Chairman (2019 – 2021) and Executive Chairman (2021-2022), Lisa currently serves as the Chairman of Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE: ATGE). During her tenure as CEO, Wardell oversaw the strategic repositioning of Adtalem’s portfolio, successfully acquiring and integrating companies in Adtalem’s financial services vertical, and leading turnarounds and divestitures of Adtalem’s non-core assets. Through her commitment to high performance and positive social impact, Lisa’s leadership has resulted in superior outcomes for Adtalem’s students and significant value creation for shareholders and has positioned the company for long-term growth. Under her leadership, gender and ethnic diversity has increased at the Adtalem board to 67%. Wardell has also led the higher education sector in implementing new standards in transparency and financial literacy, and in cultivating quality partnerships to fill critical global workforce needs.

Prior to her current position with Adtalem, Wardell was executive vice president and chief operating officer for The RLJ Companies. During her tenure at RLJ, Wardell managed acquisitions and executed the formation of RML Automotive, a dealership network spanning seven states with over $1 billion in annual revenues. She also worked extensively in the media, entertainment, sports, gaming, and hotel industries which included assisting with the founding and managing of Our Stories Films Studio and managing the now Charlotte Hornets (previously Charlotte Bobcats). Wardell also served on the board of the NBAPA, Inc., the for-profit portion of the NBA Players Association from 2018 to 2021.

Prior to joining The RLJ Companies, Lisa was a principal at Katalyst Venture Partners, a private equity firm that invested in start-up technology companies, and a senior consultant for Accenture in the organization’s communications and technology strategic services practice.

Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her law degree from Stanford Law School. She earned her MBA in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Lisa serves on the boards of American Express (NYSE: AXP) and GIII Apparel Group, Ltd. (NasdaqGS:GIII). She serves as a vice chair on the executive committee of The Business Council, and as a vice chair of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund. A fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion and access to education at scale across diverse communities, Lisa also is a member of the board of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executive Leadership Council, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion and the Fortune CEO Initiative. Lisa has been featured on CNBC and Cheddar as well as in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Business Insider, Black Enterprise, and other publications.