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Episode 62: Ken Frazier

The CEO's Job: Be a Compass, Not a GPS

We are pleased to present this month’s Leadership Reimagined episode featuring Ken Frazier, Retired Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc. and Chairman, Health Assurance Initiatives, General Catalyst. Join us for an inspiring conversation to hear Ken’s journey, one of resilience, purpose, and vision, which is particularly poignant as we celebrate Black History Month. In this episode, he shares invaluable insights into leadership, drawing from his extensive experience and commitment to transformative change. Reflecting on his upbringing and the profound influence of his father, Ken shares his views on leadership and attracting great talent. “Companies are successful in large part because they have a real sense of purpose. They have values, and those are values that the people of the company make real or don’t make real.” Ken is a voice for providing talent with opportunities. “I think that we have to be a country where we can balance equal opportunity, diversity, equity, and inclusion on the one hand and allow people to be successful based on their achievements and their merits. I don’t think those two things are, in any way, inconsistent with one another. I think the challenge is, at the end of the day, you want the kind of diversity programs that bring in the best talent from whatever source. And you don’t want diversity programs that, for example, provide quotas because if you provide quotas, you’re actually not bringing in all the talent you could bring in from another source. So it’s all about openness to the greatest amount of talent.”

Ken Frazier

Retired Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc. and Chairman, Health Assurance Initiatives, General Catalyst, Ken also serves as Co-Chair of OneTen. A member of prestigious organizations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, The Business Council, the Council of the American Law Institute, and the American Bar Association, Ken is also a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and co-chairs the Legal Services Corporation’s Leaders Council. Ken has been recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

Please enjoy this episode of Leadership Reimagined featuring Ken Frazier, Retired Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc. and Chairman, Health Assurance Initiatives, General Catalyst!

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Janice Reals Ellig

Chief Executive Officer

As the head of the Ellig Group, Janice is dedicated to increasing the placement of women and diverse candidates on corporate boards and in C-suites by 2025. Janice joined the legacy firm in 2000 and became Co-Chief Executive Officer in its transition to Chadick Ellig in 2007; she assumed sole ownership of the company as the Ellig Group in 2017 with a new focus on Reimagining Search. Prior to her career in executive search, Janice spent 20 years in corporate America at Pfizer, Citi and Ambac Financial Group, an IPO from Citibank, where she was responsible for Marketing, Human Resources, and Administration.

Heralded by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice is often consulted for her expertise and her commitment to gender parity, inclusion, and diversity. She frequently appears at speaking engagements and as a media guest, and she has penned multiple articles for outlets such as Directors & Boards, Directorship, Corporate Director, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.com. Janice also co-authored two books: Driving The Career Highway and What Every Successful Woman Knows, acknowledged by Bloomberg Businessweek as “the best of its genre.”

A tirelessly active member of the industry and champion of her causes, Janice is Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative and its signature event, Breakfast of Corporate Champions. Since 2011, Janice continues to spearhead this event to honor companies committed to board diversity and to encourage CEOs to sponsor board-ready women for the Women’s Forum database. (LINK: www.womensforumny.org).

Janice is personally committed to several NFP organizations: Board Director of the National YMCA and Past Chair of the YMCA Board of Greater New York; Trustee of the Actors Fund and Committee For Economic Development (CED); Incoming Chair, University of Iowa Foundation; Women’s Forum of New York Past President and Chair of the Corporate Board Initiative; member of the Steering Committee, US 30% Club and The Economic Club of New York.

In recognition for her many philanthropic activities, Janice received the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) Eleanor Raynolds Award for Volunteerism in 2008. Named one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews, she was also a recipient of the Channel 21 Award In Excellence for her contribution to “Excellence in the Economic Development for Women.”

“Listening to our clients’ needs, learning their business and understanding their culture is how we present the best talent and provide  a competitive advantage. We place candidates with the character, competencies, commitment, (intellectual) curiosity and courage to make a difference. Our goal is always to go beyond the expected and deliver valuable advice, measurable results and great talent!”

– Janice Reals Ellig

  • Champion of gender parity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Industry expert, speaker, and author
  • Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative
  • Committed board and committee member and philanthropist

T: (212) 688-8671 ext. 226
E: Janice@ElligGroup.com