From the Cold Room to the Board Room

If you're not investigating how technology can drive your business, you're in trouble. And doing that involves taking a long-term view of your company's future despite Wall Street's obsession with quarterly numbers.

Is Wall Street driving business innovation off the proverbial cliff?

Business growth in the 21st century is no longer defined by traditional standards or the 90-day shot clock of Wall Street. In the era of digital disruption, to remain competitive it is necessary that an organization respond to changing markets and evolve quickly. In fact, 31 percent of business leaders are flipping their business strategies based on digital technologies, according to a recent Forrester report.

New President for the Newport Music Festival

Newport, RI; December 4, 2015 - The Board of Directors of the Newport Music Festival elected Virginia Gambale as President at its meeting on December 4th. She is the 8th President in the Festival’s 46-year history.

Before going on to earn a masters degree in mathematics and computer science at the New York Institute of Technology, Ms. Gambale studied piano performance at The Juilliard School and the Hartt School of Music.

Columbia University School of Professional Studies Mentors

With a long career on Wall Street, Virginia Gambale was named both a Forbes Great Communicator and one of Wall Street’s top three technologists. Since 2003, Gambale has been Managing Partner of Azimuth Partners, LLC, a strategic advisory firm, developing corporate strategy and orchestrating successful exits for companies via M&A and IPO.

Gambale has served as CIO at Merrill Lynch, Bankers Trust, Alex Brown, and Deutsche Bank. She left the pure technology track in 1999 to become the head of DB Strategic Ventures and wind down their $100 million investment portfolio. This led to her appointment as a general partner in ABS Ventures and DB Capital Partners until her retirement from Wall Street in late 2003.

NACD Board Leadership Fellow – Virginia Gambale

Why did you decide to become a public company director?

The work that I did as a partner in Deutsche Bank Capital was my entrance into being a board director. I began to think then about the impact that you can have on company performance. A partner at Deloitte, whom I worked with for many years in the corporate world, recommended me to a recruiter for a board role.

The Intersection of Technology, Strategy, and Risk

Social Media has transformed the cultural and economic landscape, rewriting concepts of privacy, confidentiality, and commercial secrecy. Directors must ensure the company is using these technologies for maximum strategic advantage, while remaining vigilant against potential reputation risk.

The Face of the 2020 Board

On the heels of the NACD Directorship 2020™ panel, Virginia Gambale, director, JetBlue and managing partner, Azimuth Partners LLC; Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO, CARE USA; director, The Coca-Cola Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co.; Michael D. Rochelle, founder and president, MDR Strategies LLC, director, Military Officers Association of America, trustee, U.S. Army War College Foundation; and Clara Shih, CEO, Hearsay Social and director, Starbucks, discussed the perspectives, expertise, and skill sets that will be critical for boardrooms of the future.

Gambale noted that some of the issues that will confront boards in 2020 are obvious today. Globalization, technology and innovation, the drive for transparency coupled with short-termism, and a focus on shareholder returns will require a certain expertise at the board level. To meet these challenges, Gambale suggested one valuable mindset is contextual awareness—the ability to lead and make decisions in the context of what is going on in the environment around you with the information you have.

NACD Convenes Inaugural Advisory Council on Risk Oversight

Fortune 500 Committee Chairs and Corporate Governance Leaders Meet to Discuss Board Risk Oversight
The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) convened its inaugural Advisory Council on Risk Oversight Oct. 29th to discuss the current environment in risk oversight for corporate boards. NACD was supported by partners PwC and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Amid Hurricane Sandy, members of the delegation met telephonically to discuss the current and emerging risks facing directors. In the abbreviated meeting, the council discussed two important issues: allocation of risk and the new era of reputational risk oversight.

The Morning Download: The Age of Mobile Is Upon Us

CIOs should use the language of the board. In his regular guest post, Columbia University professor Arthur Langer interviews former Merrill Lynch CIO Virginia Gambale, who now serves on several boards, about the techniques CIOs should use when interacting with their boards. “’Encase yourself in corporate strategy,’ she says. ‘Stay away from talking about the plumbing, and no technical jargon, for sure,’” Langer writes.

Voice of Experience: Virginia Gambale, Managing Partner of Azimuth Partners

A career in music requires discipline, years of study, and a desire to perform. Trained early as a classical pianist, Virginia Gambale was well on her way. “My first ‘job’ [as a child] was to take apart a complex Fugue. I had to concentrate for hours at a time, and practice 10 hours a day . [As a result,] I was more mature and focused than any other kid in my grade.”

“I always had a left and right brain battling for dominance,” said Gambale, “so although I was always very strong in math and science, I was planning to pursue a career in music.” She studied at the Hartt Conservatory in Connecticut and spent most of her days in the City studying with the faculty from the New York schools.