Operating Officers

Alan W. Aldworth
Founder and Chief Executive Officer & President
Private Directors Association®

Alan was named to his current position with the Private Directors Association in January of 2021. Previously he was the founder and President of the Houston Chapter of the organization.

Alan served as the CEO of ProQuest Company, a publicly traded technology company, and as CFO for Tribune Publishing Company.  He founded the Education and New Media division of Tribune Company and led it until its sale to McGraw Hill.

He has served on over a dozen boards including public companies, private companies, venture backed early-stage companies and not-for- profit organizations.

Alan received an undergraduate degree in commerce and accounting from DePaul University and a master’s degree in management from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

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Cindy Burrell
Founder and Vice President for Sponsorships
CEO, Diversity in the Boardrooms

Diversity in Boardrooms consults with Corporate Boards and Advisory Boards. Leading the firm, Ms. Burrell contributes over 20 years of executive search expertise with a special focus in recruiting and referring diverse Director Candidates who enhance a company’s growth, profitability, and social responsibility reputation.

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Bruce Goldstein
Founder and Vice-President &Treasurer
Managing Director, Restructuring Advisory, Amherst Partners

Bruce Goldstein is a Managing Director at Amherst Partners and a cofounder of the Private Directors Association.  He is a seasoned operations and financial advisor (CEO, CRO, COO, CFO, VP Finance, etc.) with 35+ years of experience in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, corporate finance, general management, market expansion and franchising, including executive positions at Amherst Partners, MorrisAnderson, SALA Capital Corporation and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Phil Grybas
Founder and Vice President for Financial Services
Chairman of the Board, Great Plains Communications

Phil Grybas is an experienced Board member having served as Chairman of the Board for a family owned telecommunications/technology company, as a Compensation Committee Chair and as an independent director for various non-profit organizations.  Phil is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Global Management Accountant, a Certified Global Business leader, a Governance Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors and a member of the AICPA.  Phil has served as a CFO for publicly traded companies, recently led and completed an M&A transaction, and is broadly experienced in International Finance, process improvement and financial planning/analysis.

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Matt Hartzman
Vice President and Chief Digital Officer
Healthcare Leader & Chief Information Officer, RedMane Technology LLC

Mr. Hartzman has spent over 35 years helping organizations innovate and achieve business goals through leveraging technology. He has held executive leadership roles in 6 consulting organizations spanning over 25 years, led an internet start-up, and spent 9 years as Chief Information Officer for the College of American Pathologists and TriCore Reference Laboratories. Mr. Hartzman also served as VP of Innovation while at the CAP.

Mr. Hartzman is a thought leader for not only his organization and their clients, but also the community at large balancing strong business and technology acumen. For the last 15 years, Mr. Hartzman has focused on helping healthcare businesses get healthier by applying technology appropriately.

Currently, Mr. Hartzman leads the commercial healthcare IT solutions practice at RedMane Technology, a 20-year-old systems integrator and custom software developer.

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M. Jay Heilbrunn
Founder and Vice President for Chapters
President, The Distributor Board, Inc.

M. Jay Heilbrunn has worked in numerous company executive, business ownership, and board of director positions.  The focus of his work has primarily been with privately owned and family companies in wholesale distribution businesses.  Mr. Heilbrunn currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Alliance Paper and Foodservice Equipment, a Midwest family owned and operated distributor of non-food products to supermarket and foodservice market segments. Mr. Heilbrunn serves on the Board of Directors of Top Notch Distributors, a national company that has distributed Architectural Door Hardware products since 1975.  Mr. Heilbrunn is on the Private Directors Association Board of Directors; a member of the Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries Board of Directors; and a member the Selfhelp Home of Chicago Board of Directors.

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Dennis Kessler
Founder and Vice-President & COO
President, Midwest Family Business Advisors

Dennis Kessler is the President and founder of Midwest Family Business Advisors, a firm that specializes in helping families to overcome the challenges inherent in mixing business with family. He advises clients on, succession planning, conflict resolution, and strategic planning. Dennis is the former Co-President of Fel‑Pro Inc., which was in his family for 80 years. He has served on  six Public and  Private Company Boards as well as numerous non-profit Boards. Dennis is a founder of the PDA.

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Raphael Lavin
Vice President for Membership Services
CEO and Managing Director, Standard Professional Services, LLC

Raphael Lavin, clfp, is the managing member of an independently owned leasing company that helps its customers get the best financing rates and terms available for additional capital equipment. He has a vast general knowledge of many industries and the underlying equipment needed to operate properly in those environments. He has worked in other family owned businesses and is aware of the challenges they present and the enigmas that they can be.

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Paul Marcela
Founder and Vice President & Corporate Secretary
President, Governance Partners Group LLC

Paul Marcela is President of Governance Partners Group, a corporate governance services firm that specializes in providing external Corporate Secretary services to companies that seek support in attending to the corporate governance requirements of their Boards of Directors. GPG focuses on providing governance services to private companies, small to mid-cap public companies and not-for-profit organizations that may not have sufficient internal resources to practice good governance in a robust manner.

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Diane Meister
Vice President for Strategy 
Founder & President, Meridian Associates, Inc.

Ms. Meister leads Meridian activities in advising boards of directors and assisting company leaders to both anticipate and prepare for changing industry environments using non-traditional, scenario-based strategic planning approaches. Meridian also assists in development and implementation of new client company initiatives, including small “early bets,” that can mitigate strategic risk and achieve new, mission-critical progress for company clients.

With an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a branding and innovation background, Diane has been a highly-rated speaker on “Re-imagining Strategic Growth Planning” at 5 industry conferences in the past three years. As a member of PDA since 2016, she currently chairs the new PDA Model Board MeetingSM committee and is collaborating with the PDA Board Chair and board members in establishing and implementing the strategic direction of the organization. 

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Shepherd G. Pryor, IV
Vice President for Resources
Principal, SGPiv Management Consulting

Shep Pryor, formerly SVP Deputy Group Head/Corporate Banking, Wells Fargo Bank, has served on the boards of 13 corporations and 3 non-profits, including financial institutions, retailers, manufacturers, and service companies. With 20 years of corporate banking experience he initiated a consulting practice, providing services to financial institutions on 4 continents. He has also conducted over 35 assignments as an expert witness on the practices of lenders and corporate directors and he taught finance courses to MBA candidates as a visiting professor at Keller GSM. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Ulteig Engineers, Inc. an engineering firm headquartered in Fargo, ND. He is also a director and audit chair of Devon Bank, a Chicago community bank, director and chair of the Compensation and Governance Committee at Equipoise Corp, a Minnesota-based truck dealership and a director of Land O’Frost, a manufacturer of quality processed meat products headquartered in Munster, IN. He is a founding member and VP Resources of the Private Directors Association. Shep has co-authored two books: Building Value through, Risk Assessment, and Renewal, and The Private Equity Edge. Degrees: MBA, Finance (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), and AB (cum laude), Economics (Princeton University).

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Morris Saunders
Founder and Vice President for Legal Services
Partner, Levin Ginsburg

Morris Suander’s legal practice concentrates in business and tax areas, including, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, business succession planning, deferred compensation, qualified and non-qualified employee benefit plans, and also in wealth preservation and estate planning. He deals extensively in the negotiation and preparation of commercial real estate and equipment purchase and sales agreement and leases, software licensing agreements and other business agreements.

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Roy Verstraete
Founder and Vice President
Director; Retired CEO, Anchor Danly

Corporate director, senior executive and internationalist with 30+ years of operating leadership including 20 years serving on Board of Directors for private, public and startup companies. Currently specializing in Corporate and Advisory Board Roles, strategy and implementation, exec mentoring and succession planning. 

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Rebecca Wing
Founder and Chief Compliance Officer
COO, General Counsel, Corp Secretary, LW Lands Inc.

Rebecca Wing is an internationally experienced CEO, COO, General Counsel, Financial Services Expert and Private Company Board of Director (Qualified SEC Financial Expert).    Her global experience traverses multiple continents and countries to include Europe, Eastern Europe, United Kingdom, Canada, Latin America, China, Australia, Mexico, Middle East, BVI, the Caymans, and the Bahamas.     Ms. Wing is known for leveraging strong business acumen, strategic vision, and operations/risk management/legal/compliance knowledge to grow private and public businesses organically and through mergers and acquisitions and for her ability to identify legal issues and their potential impact on business operations, then mitigate those risks while achieving solution driven desired outcomes.