Welcoming our Newest Board Members | January 2021

We are pleased to be welcoming many new board members to our JA Board of Directors. The expertise these individuals bring to the team will really allow us to expand our efforts to continually inspire this next generation to achieve success. Please join us in welcoming them to our organization. 

Amy Brachio, EY, Partner, Global Business Consulting

Amy leads EY’s Global Business Consulting practice. Amy has been a frequent speaker on topics relevant to boards and the C-Suite, including resilience, cybersecurity, mega-trends driving transformation, evolving approaches to enterprise risk management, and the impact of disruptive technologies.Amy has more than 20 years of experience helping large, diversified organizations manage risk. Her expertise lies in advising clients on topics that are top-of-mind to boards and C-suite executives, including leading practices in risk management and enterprise transformation.  Amy is leading work with EY clients to drive confidence in achieving strategic objectives and maintaining stakeholder trust. Amy has worked with the C-Suite teams of large financial institutions to testing resilience and restitution protocols in the face of major service disruptions, advised Boards on regulatory matters and helped organizations to transform risk management functions along with organizational transformation efforts.In Amy’s capacity of a member of EY’s Global Consulting Executive team, she has been a key part of the business’ response to COVID-19, including a key contributor to EY’s Resilient Enterprise framework and actions being taken by EY to respond to the business impact of the pandemic.Amy is an active leader focused on the advancement of diversity and inclusiveness.  Amy was recognized as Ernst & Young’s 2013 Working Mother of the Year. She was also selected as one of Profiles in Diversity Journal‘s 2017 Women Worth Watching winners and spotlighted by Source Global Research as part of their Women in the Profession series. More recently, Amy was a recipient of Consulting Magazine’s Global Leaders in Consulting award for 2019. Amy has served on the Board of Directors and in multiple officer positions for the ALS Association MN/ND/SD Chapter and works with organizations including Girls Who Code to advance women in Technology.  Amy is a member of C200, an organization devoted to advancing women in business.

Saida Lesov, KPMG LLP, Partner, Tax

Saida is a tax partner in KPMG’s Minneapolis Business Tax Practice. She has been with KPMG since 2006 serving clients across a variety of industries including financial services clients. Saida has significant experience serving both publicly and privately held enterprises. She serves variety of industries including financial services, software and manufacturing, manages a portfolio of clients of varying size and scope, and acts as the first point of contact assisting companies with their tax compliance, tax provision and consulting needs.


Dr. Denise Williams, Metro State University, Associate Professor

Referred to as Dr. DEW, Dr. Denise Williams is passionate about developing competencies in Innovative Mindset, Career-Readiness, and Diversity Fluency among learners and community stakeholders, lifting them to their highest potential. As a tenured Educator, Researcher, Consultant, and Transformational Coach, she instructionally designs experiential learning environments that create hope and self-authorship as they value the cultural stories and journey of all learners. In these times of uncertainty and adversity, reimagining education through innovation and collaboration is a moral and economic imperative, particularly to ensure transformation, equity-centered, and feasible solutions to the educational and workforce equity gap. Committed to practical solutions for human potential development, she incorporates decades of experience navigating corporate America, global engagement, and management positions with national and international leaders including General Mills, United Airlines, Robert Half International, New Orleans International Airport, Gary/Chicago International Airport, and Africare NGO (Zimbabwe Africa) as well as numerous educational institutions. Since 2014, she has been an intrapreneur at Metropolitan State University launching several new equity-centered and community engaged initiatives: the HERO Factor assessment and training pilot standing for “hope, entrepreneurial mindset, readiness (life & career), opportunity” with fellow award winner; WIELD (women innovators and entrepreneurial leader development); collaborations with MN SCORE and SBA encouraging women veterans into entrepreneurship; research projects with WomenVenture; business judge for Jr. Achievement Upper Midwest; and Women of Color Leadership and Empowerment Project (spring 2021). September 2020, Dr. Williams served as keynote speaker for the MN National Guard Women’s Leadership Forum on “The Power of the Innovative Mindset and Diversity Richness.”Previously, Dr. Williams served on the National Association of Women Business Owners board; Regional Advisory, Women Business Development Center; received the WBDC 2019 Public Sector Award (Metro State); and MN SBA “Minnesota Veteran’s Business Champion Award” (2017).Dr. Williams earned her Doctorate and Masters at Indiana University Kelly School of Business; MBA from Wharton School of Business University of Pennsylvania; and attended HBCU, Spelman College-Atlanta GA, BA-economics.

Nathan Weaver, Vice President of Human Resources and Communications, H.B. Fuller

Nathan Weaver is Vice President of Human Resources and Communications at H.B. Fuller. He is a member of the company’s executive leadership team and his group provides support in all aspects of human resources and corporate communications to the global company based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Weaver has spent nearly 20 years at H.B. Fuller in a variety of commercial leadership positions prior to joining the Human Resources leadership team three years ago. Prior to joining the HR team, held various sales leadership roles in the US, oversaw the company’s global strategic accounts team, led the Latin America division based out of Costa Rica and led the global hygiene business unit. He is a graduate of the Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and Purdue University, with an MBA in corporate finance. He is fluent in Spanish. He recently completed service as chairman and president of the board for the H.B. Fuller Company Foundation and will continue as a board member. He resides in West Lakeland, MN with his wife and four children.

Xiao Zhang, Liberty Diversified International, Vice President Strategic Planning

Xiao Zhang is LDI’s Vice President of Strategic Planning.  He is responsible for assisting all of the business units in developing and executing strategic initiatives as well as mergers and acquisitions. Xiao came to LDI with extensive experience in M&A, finance and strategy positions from G&K Services and Valspar Corporation. He started his career in sales at a pharmaceutical company in China. Xiao earned his undergraduate degree in genetics from Nankai University in China and earned his MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

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