Rethink 2024

Jeannie Diefenderfer

Jeannie 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, Jeannie 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, Jeannie 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. Jeannie is currently an independent director on the boards of DigitalBridge Group (NYSE:DBRG) and Irth, Inc., a member of the Accenture Security Client Advisory Board, a mentor/coach at ExCo Group, a member of the NACD NJ chapter board, chair of Olin College of Engineering, 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.  Jeannie 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.

Register for this year’s Action for Impact Summit happening on September 25, 2024!