DONNA ALVARADO ON BOARD SERVICE.

I grew up in a big family. My father was career military and my mother enjoyed a full-time nursing career. We experienced our Mexican heritage first hand in visits with cousins in Mexico City. My mother was a role model at a time when it was unusual for women to be moms and have a career too. And my father taught us that in this country, the great privilege was that we could achieve any dream with a good education and willingness to work hard.

WHEN I GRADUATED high school, my parents told me I could attend college anywhere, as long as it was instate tuition in Ohio. Dad had established residency there when he was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, so that higher education would be affordable for all 7 of his kids. I am a proud alumna of The Ohio State University, and also a Sooner, having attended graduate school at the University of Oklahoma. I have been blessed with a career in government, non-profit and corporate sectors.

When I was serving as CEO of an educational publishing organization, I was invited to join the board of directors of Park National Bank, a wonderful community bank in Ohio. I greatly admired the character of the Chairman, as well as the other directors, and the bank's long history of serving communities across Ohio. I was greatly honored and am proud to continue to serve on Park's board to this day.

What I most enjoy about serving on the boards of Park, CSX, and CoreCivic is the opportunity to learn from and serve alongside America's great business leaders, both on the boards and the management teams, and to contribute to the stewardship of these companies.

I am perpetually curious about discovering the underlying patterns in complex problems. Invariably there are unprecedented challenges where no one person has the answer. The key is found with open dialogue and asking the right strategic questions. I relish being part of a team of thought leaders seeking to work together to discover new knowledge and add value to the organization.

The best-run companies are those that make it possible for every person to contribute their unique talents and insights. The mission flourishes when a company values diversity and authenticity, and the tone of at the top is unequivocally inclusive.

I think corporate America still has a long way to go to advance diversity in the boardroom in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, but also diversity of experience, thought and cultural...

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