Board of Directors
Ms. Baekgaard co-founded Vera Bradley in 1982 and served as Co-President from 1982 through June 2010. In May 2010, she was appointed Chief Creative Officer and served in that post through August 2017 when Beatrice Mac Cabe assumed that role. She still serves as an active brand ambassador with the Company. She also currently serves as a board member of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center Development Board and the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
As Co-Founder of Vera Bradley, Ms. Baekgaard serves a key leadership role on our Board of Directors and provides the Board with a broad array of institutional knowledge and historical perspective. Since our founding, Ms. Baekgaard has provided leadership and strategic direction in our brand’s development by providing creative vision to areas such as marketing, product design, assortment planning and the design and visual merchandising of our stores.
Mr. Hall has served as Chairman of the Board since September 2010. Mr. Hall is the President of Green Gables Partners, a private investment firm that he founded in 2010. Prior to founding Green Gables, he started Andesite Holdings, a private equity firm, where he served as principal from 2007 to 2014. Mr. Hall served as an Executive Director for UBS Financial Services from 2000 to 2007.
Mr. Hall serves as a director of FlyLow Gear Co., a privately-held manufacturer of outerwear; as Board Chair of The Holderness School; and serves as Co-Chair of the U.S. Biathlon Association.
Mr. Hall provides our Board of Directors with insight and perspective on general strategic and financial matters stemming from his extensive experience in investment banking, investment management, financial planning and private placements.
Ms. Cashman served as the Chief Financial Officer of Upward Projects, a restaurant group, from May 2018 until March 2019. From 2013 until April 2018, she was Chief Financial Officer of Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Inc. Ms. Cashman’s prior experience includes President of Guy and Larry Restaurants and Chief Financial Officer of both Eddie V’s Restaurants, Inc. and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. She was previously an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young. Ms. Cashman serves as a director of and Chair of the Audit Committee for publicly-held Basset Furniture Industries, Inc.
Ms. Cashman brings to the Board of Directors particular knowledge and experience in finance, accounting, tax, and capital structure, as well as strategic planning, real estate strategy and selection, operations, and incentive compensation plan development.
Ms. Kelley served as President, E-Commerce for Best Buy from April 2014 through March 2017. Prior to joining Best Buy, Ms. Kelley served as Senior Vice President, E-Commerce for Chico’s FAS Inc. from June 2010 to March 2014. Ms. Kelley formerly held the posts of Vice President of Retail Real Estate and Marketing and Vice President of E-Commerce for L.L. Bean. Ms. Kelley serves on the board of Finning International, a public company that is the world’s largest Caterpillar equipment dealer with operations in Canada, South America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. She also is an advisor to the Board of Directors and senior leadership of Falabella Retail, the largest department store retailer in South America. In February 2019, Ms. Kelley was appointed to the Board of Directors of publicly-held Yeti Holdings, Inc. a premium cooler and drinkware company.
Ms. Kelley has deep capabilities in developing the retail omni-channel experience, as well as e-commerce, marketing and strategic planning experience. She provides insight and counsel on a variety of issues as the Company continues to pursue our long-term strategic plan, which includes elevating our marketing efforts and growing our verabradley.com digital flagship.
From February 2014 through May 2014, Mr. Kyees served as the interim Chief Financial Officer of Destination XL Group, Inc., the largest multi-channel specialty retailer of big and tall men’s apparel. In 2010, Mr. Kyees retired as the Chief Investor Relations Officer from Urban Outfitters, Inc., a retail chain headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after serving as Chief Financial Officer from 2003 to 2010. Mr. Kyees formerly held the position of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer for bebe stores, Inc., a retail chain headquartered in San Francisco, California, from 2002 to 2003. Mr. Kyees is currently a director of publicly-held Destination XL Group, Inc., as well as Arhaus Furniture, a privately-held retailer.
Mr. Kyees brings to our Board of Directors over 40 years of experience in the consumer products retail and manufacturing industries. He has over 30 years of experience as a chief financial officer and nine years serving in that role for a public company. Institutional Investor magazine selected Mr. Kyees as a top specialty retail chief financial officer on five separate occasions, evidencing his strong skills in corporate finance, strategic and accounting matters.
In 2013, Mr. Miller retired as a senior partner in the law firm of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros LLP, where he served as a partner from 1997. From 1990 through June 2010, Mr. Miller served as our Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Miller also serves on the Board of Directors of the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
Mr. Miller has been involved with Vera Bradley since its inception and brings to our Board of Directors a broad array of institutional knowledge and historical perspective. Mr. Miller also provides insight and guidance on legal and business matters, stemming from his years of experience as a practicing attorney prior to his retirement.
From 1994 to 2011, Ms. Philip held positions of increasing responsibility at L.L. Bean, Inc., a privately-held outdoor apparel and equipment retailer based in Freeport, Maine, including Chief Merchandising Officer from 2002 to 2011. Prior to working at L.L. Bean, Ms. Philip was one of three principals who launched the innovative fresh flower catalog, Calyx & Corolla, and she served in a variety of roles with other specialty retailers, including The Nature Company, Williams-Sonoma and The Gap. Ms. Philip also serves on the boards of Coats Group plc., a UK-based leading supplier of premium and high-performance threads and yarn to a wide range of industries with securities traded on the London Stock Exchange; Sea Bags, a privately-held manufacturer and retailer of handcrafted tote bags and accessories made from recycled sails; Totes-Isotoner Corporation, a privately-held international umbrella, footwear and cold-weather accessory supplier; and Regent Holdings, a privately-held designer, importer and wholesaler of home décor. She also serves as an Industry Executive for Freeman-Spogli, a private equity company specializing in retail, consumer brands, restaurants and distribution services.
Ms. Philip brings to our Board of Directors extensive experience in product design and development, multi-channel merchandising and the retail and consumer products industry.
Mr. Schmults is the Chief Executive Officer of Calyx Peak Companies, which operates and manages assets in the legal cannabis market. From 2009 until 2018 Mr. Schmults served as the Chief Executive Officer and a director of Wild Things, LLC, a privately-held company that provides technical apparel, packs and bags to the U.S. military, federal and state law enforcement agencies and the consumer market. From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Schmults served as the Chief Executive Officer of FAO Schwarz, a toy retailer. Mr. Schmults has also served as Chief Operating Officer at RedEnvelope, Inc. and Patagonia. Mr. Schmults currently serves on the advisory board of First Insight, Inc., a privately-held data analytics company, and is a member of the board of privately-held Calyx Peak Companies.
Mr. Schmults brings to our Board of Directors over 30 years of experience in branded consumer products, direct-to-consumer sales, finance, information technology and socially-responsible business practices. Mr. Schmults also has significant experience in customization of consumer products.
Ms. Tharp has served as Vice President, Retail and Consumer, for Google Cloud, a global cloud provider, since August 2019. Between October 2016 and July 2019, she was Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group and served as Interim Neiman Marcus Brand President from January 2019 until July 2019. From June 2013 until September 2016, Ms. Tharp served as Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of eCommerce for Fossil Group, a multi-brand watch and accessories business. Prior to that, she held various management positions with Travelocity and Dean Foods.
Ms. Tharp has extensive expertise in marketing, brand management, digital fluency, social media, customer insights, analytics, customer strategy, and omni-channel retailing.
Mr. Wallstrom joined Vera Bradley as its President and Chief Executive Officer in 2013. From 2007 to 2013, Mr. Wallstrom served as President of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, the outlet chain operated by Saks Fifth Avenue. Previously, he was Group Senior Vice President and General Manager of Saks’ flagship New York store from 2002 to 2007. Prior to joining Saks, Mr. Wallstrom held a variety of roles at retailer Macy’s Inc. from 1987 to 1995. In January 2020, Mr. Wallstrom was named to the board of The National Retail Federation.
Mr. Wallstrom is a retail executive with extensive brand management experience, proven leadership abilities and a track record of driving growth. As CEO of Vera Bradley, he has successfully led the Vera Bradley transformation and expanded the company through its first acquisition with Pura Vida. As President of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Mr. Wallstrom developed and implemented a strategic plan that repositioned the division as a growth engine, propelling it to a market-leading position. Mr. Wallstrom is well-regarded in the retail industry for his ability to develop and execute strategic growth plans. He has a deep background in brand positioning, product development, store operations and culture building.