As the nation’s first African American Board Chair at a public food service company, Brenda J. Lauderback is an executive trailblazer who drives bottom line results, supports her community and invests in future generations.

Lauderback’s track record of success, grounded in hard work and strategic thinking, has fueled her career, leading her into the senior ranks in corporate America, including her current role as Chairman of the Board for Denny’s,
Incorporated, one of America’s largest full-service family restaurant chains.

Her career in retail began at Gimbel’s Department Store, where she worked in multiple departments, quickly learning what it takes to be an effective leader. She strategically navigated her way to success at Gimbel’s, then she decided to take on a new challenge as a Merchandise Buyer at a company that would later be known as Target Corporation.

Lauderback became the company’s first and only African American to become Vice President and General Merchandise Manager for shoes, cosmetics, accessories, intimate apparel and children’s apparel and accessories. Later, Lauderback was hired at U.S. Shoe Corporation. When Nine West acquired U.S. Shoe Corporation, she became the President of the Wholesale and Manufacturing Divisions.

All of these experiences in leadership and strategic business growth have positioned Lauderback as a highly sought-after board member and a widely lauded and recognized business leader. She is a member of the corporate boards for Sleep Number and Wolverine Worldwide. Additionally, she is one of the National Association of Corporate Director’s Top 100 Directors. She has appeared on the National Restaurant News’ “Power List of Most Influential People in Foodservice” and named one of the “Most Influential Women in Corporate America” by Savoy Magazine. On May 9, 2022, she received the President’s Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. The mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, officially named that day “Brenda Lauderback Day.”

Lauderback’s record of success has led to her being featured in popular magazines such as in Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, Ebony and Savoy.

As someone who values the importance of paying it forward, Lauderback is a major supporter of the James E. Clyburn Scholarship and Research Foundation and the Tom Joyner Foundation, providing financial assistance to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She also supports the International African American Museum in Charleston, the South Carolina Aquarium and the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Her business acumen and philanthropic efforts have not gone unnoticed. Over the years, she’s received numerous awards, including the YWCA Greater Charleston “What Women Bring” Award for business achievement. The National Black MBA Association honored her with the President’s Award. She received her Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from her alma mater, Robert Morris University, as well as the Alumni Achievement Award. Lauderback also has a boardroom named in her honor.

She is a member of The Links, Incorporated, The Girlfriends, Chums, Smart Set and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As a breast cancer survivor, she also supports Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Worldwide.

Lauderback is married to Dr. Boyd Wright and they have two wonderful children named Phallon and Adam. When she’s not traveling, she enjoys life in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as Dallas, Texas.

Marvin Ellison is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lowe’s Companies, Incorporated, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company with more than 2,200 stores and approximately 300,000 associates in the United States and Canada.

Marvin has more than 35 years of retail leadership and operational experience within Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Lowe’s, Marvin served as Chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Company, where he delivered positive sales growth, reduced debt and generated positive adjusted earnings per share.

He has extensive experience in the home improvement industry, having spent 12 years in senior-level operations roles with Home Depot, Incorporated. Most notably, he served as Executive Vice President of its U.S. stores from 2008 to 2014, dramatically improving customer service and efficiency across the organization, as he oversaw U.S. sales, operations, installation services, tool rental and pro-strategic initiatives. Prior to his tenure at Home Depot, Marvin spent 15 years at Target Corporation in a variety of operational and leadership roles.

Marvin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The University of Memphis, where he currently serves on the board of trustees. He also holds an MBA from Emory University. Marvin serves on the board of directors for FedEx Corporation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Marvin’s professional and civic leadership has earned him many accolades. Most notable are his multiple appearances on Barron’s annual list of “Top CEOs.” He has appeared on Fortune’s list of the “Most Inspirational CEOs” and its list of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” Marvin was named “Father of the Year” by the National Father’s Day Council and “Corporate Executive of the Year” by Black Enterprise Magazine. Savoy Magazine even identified him as one of the “Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America.”

Marvin and his wife Sharyn are committed to being of service within their faith and community, primarily through the support of organizations that promote higher education, self-empowerment and excellence for minority youth.

Brian Cornell heads the dynamic global team behind Target, a leading omnichannel growth company in American retail. Together, Target’s purpose-driven team of more than 400,000 employees works daily to help all families discover the joy of everyday life.

Brian joined Target in 2014 and quickly established a strategic direction that placed the company’s fleet of popular stores at the center of physical shopping and digital fulfillment, driving the company’s strongest growth trends in its 60-year history. At the same time, knowing that the Target team and culture were central to success, Brian spearheaded vast investments in wages, benefits, team training and development. He also promoted diversity and equitable representation and a corporate culture that helps all team members care, grow and win together.

A primary focus for Brian, after he joined Target, was continuing the company’s established diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy, with an unwavering commitment to data-driven action among team members and the broader business. As part of its now 17-year DE&I journey, Target is also leveraging its size and scale to accelerate racial equity for the Black community and spark change across the retail industry through its Racial Equity Action & Change (REACH) initiative. Through REACH, Target continues to make progress in workforce representation by supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the next generation of Black talent, deepening engagement with Black-owned
brands, championing antiracism training, providing resources for voting access and more.

Most recently, Target’s culture of caring, growing and winning has resulted in several honors, which Brian attributes to the dedication of Target’s leaders and full team:

  • People Magazine ranked Target at the top of its 2022 list of “Companies That Care.”
  • Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Retail 2022 ranked Target second on its list.
  • This year, Target ranked #27, up from last year’s ranking at #29, on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.
  • Target scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the 10th consecutive year.
  • Target received five stars in the Employment, Governance and Philanthropy categories on the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility’s (HACR) Corporate Inclusion Index.

As a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in corporate leadership, Brian is a board member for Catalyst and has served on the council for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Network of Executive Women honored Brian with the William J. Grize Gender Diversity Award. He also received the Yale Legend in Leadership Award. In 2022, Brian received the National Retail Federation’s “Visionary” Award and, in recent years,
Yahoo! Finance named Target the “Company of the Year” and CNN named Brian the “Top CEO of the Year.”

Currently, Brian serves on the National Retail Federation’s Executive Committee and on The Business Council. He is the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board for Yum! Brands. Previously, he served as the Chairman of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Andrew J. Young has earned worldwide recognition as a pioneer in and champion of civil and human rights. Young’s lifelong dedication to service is illustrated by his extensive leadership experience of over sixty-five years, serving as a member of the United States Congress, an African American U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the Mayor of Atlanta and an ordained minister, among other positions.

During the 1960s, Young was a key strategist and negotiator during civil rights campaigns that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Appointed as an Ambassador to the United Nations in 1977, Young negotiated an end to white-minority rule in Namibia and Zimbabwe and made President Carter’s emphasis on human rights and diplomacy an international initiative. As a two-term Mayor of Atlanta, Young brought in over 1,100 businesses and over 70 billion dollars in foreign direct investments, generating over a million jobs.

Ambassador Young has received honorary degrees from more than 100 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. He has received various awards, including the Trustees Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2011 and the Dan Sweat Award in 2017. Also, his portrait became part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

Ambassador Young serves on a number of boards, including, but not limited to, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, Morehouse College, AmericasMart and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. In 2003, he and his wife, Carolyn McClain Young, founded the Andrew J. Young Foundation to support and promote education, health, leadership and human rights in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.

Currently, Young serves as the Chairman of the Andrew J. Young Foundation.

In 2012, he retired from GoodWorks International, after well over a decade of facilitating sustainable economic development in the business sectors of the Caribbean and Africa. Young was born in 1932 in New Orleans, and he lives in Atlanta with his wife. He is the father of three daughters and one son. He is also the grandfather of nine grandchildren and a great grandfather of one.