Erin Essenmacher’s career as a c-suite leader, award-winning filmmaker, board member, and steward of mission-focused organizations, has equipped her with a proven talent for connecting people and ideas, empowering innovation and creating clarity and insight on what matters most to a wide range of stakeholders. She is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, podcast guest and author on strategy, innovation, diversity and corporate governance. Her work as a strategic consultant supports boards and management teams to work more effectively and helps companies shape content strategy and connect with the right partners to drive strategic growth.
As President and Chief Strategy Officer for the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Erin transformed the organization into a leader on the board's role in oversight of a broad range of issues from ESG. diversity and culture to digital transformation, cyber risk and competitive disruption. Under her leadership NACD saw a 400% increase in education revenue and the organization nearly doubled its overall membership. Under Erin’s leadership NACD’s annual Summit saw a 300% increase in attendees and registration revenue. One corporate board member encapsulated the experience, “I came expecting to be educated. I didn’t expect to be inspired”.
Erin convened business leaders and technologists at a first-of-its-kind CES experience, launched and hosted NACD's first-ever podcast and created NACD’s “Dancing with the Startups" which connected directors to the leaders, ideas, and technologies disrupting their industries. She developed a reputation for focusing director education on topics like cyber security, conscious capitalism, diversity, ESG and digital transformation nearly a decade before they would become commonplace on the board agenda. Erin was the architect of NACD’s Directorship Certification program, where her innovative and strategic focus made the association an industry standard-setter.
Erin co-wrote and produced the feature documentary MINE which won multiple accolades including the Audience Award at the prestigious SXSW film festival. She is the Executive Producer of several documentaries including the recently released Captain Scott B and the Grand Adventure. She’s produced over 100 shows for outlets like the PBS, the History Channel, and Discovery Channel and created content for both a range of non-profits and and brands like Acura, Sony, The Gap, and Apple.
As board member at EILEEN FISHER, Erin used her expertise to shape conversations around brand identity, strategy and the customer of the future. She chaired the People and Culture (Compensation) Committee, and led initial succession-planning efforts for the founder-led, iconic brand. She has also served on several non-profit boards and advisory boards and chaired three including Women in Film, Gandhi Brigade and Docs in Progress, and served as a judge for multiple film festivals, award panels and innovation competitions.
“When it comes to making corporate directors (and executive teams) more cognizant and capable of meeting new challenges and expanding their reach, there is no one more thoughtful, thought-provoking or effective than Erin Essenmacher. I have witnessed her apply those skills successfully across a wide spectrum of issues such as ESG, innovation and growth, and across an equally wide spectrum of settings. She is truly the expert’s expert.”
- Rob Galford, Lead Independent Director, Forrester Research
Managing Partner, Center for Leading Organizations