NEWS: Jeannie Diefenderfer Named Olin Board Chair

October 25, 2023

Jeannie Diefenderfer has been named Chair of the Olin College Board of Trustees.

Diefenderfer’s tenure begins in October 2023 as former chair Beverly Wyse P’15 concludes her term of service and joins Olin’s esteemed group of trustees emeriti.

Diefenderfer joined the Olin board in 2019; since then, she has helped lead Olin through the pandemic as an advisor to the Pathfinding Deliberative Committee in 2020, and most recently as the chair of the board’s Development Committee since 2021. Prior to her role on the board, Diefenderfer was a member of the Olin President’s Council.

Jeannie H. Diefenderfer portrait

Jeannie Diefenderfer has been named Chair of the Olin College Board of Trustees.

“It is an honor to serve as chair of the board in this important inflection point for Olin,” said Diefenderfer. “As we enter the College’s third decade, I look forward to honoring Olin’s past, aspiring toward the future, and acting in the present alongside President Barabino and College leadership.”

Diefenderfer is a sought-after board governance and leadership expert, leveraging her professional and personal experience to help enhance the modern board’s agenda. She is the former Chief Executive Officer at Higher Ambition Leadership Alliance, a not-for-profit community of CEOs committed to building high-performing organizations that deliver superior economic and social value. As a business leader who turns the challenges of modern corporations into profitable opportunities, she understands how to transform organizations to focus on customers for competitive advantage.

During her 28-year career at Verizon Communications, Diefenderfer held a range of roles including SVP of Global Engineering & Planning, Chief Procurement Officer, and SVP of Enterprise Customer Care. She managed organizations with up to 10,000 staff, operating budgets up to $1 billion and capital programs over $10 billion. She ran and expanded the world’s largest voice and data network to connect six continents and shifted the complexities of customer care into a strategic growth driver. She rallied her teams around a common vision and strategy, shifted routine thinking into continual innovation, and improved important business drivers such as capital productivity and cost efficiency.

Along the way, Diefenderfer celebrated the human side of business. She cultivated workplace cultures that empowered and engaged employees, developed strong business relationships, and operationalized Verizon’s commitment to diversity. She initiated a consortium of Fortune 100 companies to support procurement from women and minority suppliers and served on Employee Resource Groups including the Minority Multicultural Association of NYNEX, Women’s Association of Verizon Employees, and the Asian Focus Group.

Her board and executive leadership have been recognized from business and industry groups, including NACD Directorship 100 honoree, Directors & Boards Racial & Ethnic Directors to Watch, Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business and Asian Women in Business Corporate Leadership Award.

Diefenderfer is currently an independent director on the boards of DigitalBridge Group (NYSE: DBRG) and Irth Solutions, a member of the Accenture Security Client Advisory Board, a member of the NACD NJ chapter board, and vice chair of Women In America. She previously served on the boards of Windstream Holdings, MRV Communications, Westell Technologies, Ms. Foundation for Women and Tufts University.

Diefenderfer holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University and an MBA from Babson College. A native of South Korea, she immigrated to the US at age 13.