Nasdaq Leaders: Kaley Childs Karaffa on Driving Board Excellence

Kaley Childs Karaffa

In honor of Women’s History Month, we interviewed leaders and trailblazers of the WIN (Women In Nasdaq) network, discussing their roles, diverse backgrounds, and what it means to be a role model for young women looking to pursue a career in business, tech or finance. We spoke with Kaley Childs Karaffa, EVP, Senior Director of Board Engagement at Nasdaq.

As Senior Director of Board Engagement, what are your biggest goals in your role?

Fundamentally and principally, my goal is to drive excellence for every board, executive, and entity with which I work. I aim to help each board understand not only what they must do but what they should and can do that will strategically differentiate them and empower their success.

You advise boards and CEOs on corporate governance matters. What are some of the big themes for 2021 in this regard?

Effective governance is necessary for an organization’s success, and a successful corporation drives a successful economy that benefits society. The governance topics for 2021 are dynamic and broad—board diversity and composition, renewed focus on long-term strategy and opportunistic growth, risk oversight, and oversight of ESG matters with a deepened focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, human capital management, and environmental practices, among other topics—all of which are founded on the ideals of stakeholder capitalism to rethink growth and drive progress in a complex and evolving environment.

Talk to us about what it means to be a woman on a board and the importance of diversity.

Having women on boards means that boards are finally able to perform to their fullest capacities and reach their highest effectiveness by not excluding half of the world’s talent from the room. Diverse boards provide more dynamic approaches to challenges, thoroughness to oversight, and rigor to decision making that lead to more improved corporate governance and, therefore, corporate success.

What is unique about working at Nasdaq?

Nasdaq truly embraces a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and growth in how we work internally and externally. It is an honor and pleasure to work with diligent and dedicated colleagues who all have the common purpose of driving prosperity and growth for every person and organization that we reach globally. 

What is your advice for young women looking to pursue a career in tech and business?

Know your strengths and value, develop a growth mindset, feed your curiosity, be proactive and agile, and lead with integrity and authenticity. When a woman understands the best and highest use of her skills and applies herself fully, she will be a part of reimagining the future and driving success in any role she chooses. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Elizabeth Glusko


Elizabeth is a social media editor, strategist and producer at Nasdaq. Her team helps reimagine the way Nasdaq tells stories about Nasdaq’s role in the future of technology and the employees driving this role via video and social content.

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