Lisa W. Wardell,
President and Chief Executive Officer, Adtalem Global Education
Prior to her current position with Adtalem, Wardell was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for The RLJ Companies, a diversified holding company with portfolio companies in the financial services, asset management, real estate, hospitality, professional sports, film production and gaming industries. As COO, Wardell was responsible for managing The RLJ Companies portfolio, including strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, operations and finance.
Adtalem Global Education is a leading global education provider and the parent organization of Adtalem Educacional do Brasil (IBMEC, Damásio and Wyden institutions), American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Becker Professional Education, Chamberlain University, EduPristine, Ross University School of Medicine and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Adtalem is a member of the S&P MidCap 400 Index.
Wardell was appointed President and CEO in 2016 and has been a member of Adtalem’s board of directors since 2008. She is the only African-American female CEO in the S&P 400 and S&P 500 indices.
With significant experience in structuring and negotiating private equity deals and mergers and acquisitions, Wardell was a key member of the team that led the formation of RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive, now RML, which is the largest minority automotive dealership in the U.S. with more than $1.3 billion in annual revenues. RML has successfully acquired $100 million of additional Harley-Davidson motorcycle and multi-brand automotive dealerships since inception.
Prior to joining The RLJ Companies, Wardell was a Principal at Katalyst Venture Partners, a private equity firm that invested in start-up technology companies in the media and communications industries from 2000 to 2003. From 1998 to 2000, Wardell worked as a Senior Consultant for Accenture in the organization’s communications and technology strategic services practice where she assisted with development of new business architectures for internet technologies and determined key convergence components enabled for telecommunications providers.
Wardell earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her law degree from Stanford Law School. She earned her master’s degree in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Wardell serves on the Board of Directors for Lowe’s Home Improvement (NYSE: LOW), a Fortune 50 company, as well as THINK450, the innovation engine of the National Basketball Players Association, supporting NBA players and their development away from the game. She is also a member of The Business Council, the Executive Leadership Council, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion and the Fortune CEO Initiative. Among numerous recognitions, she was recently selected by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America” (2017) and has been featured on Savoy Magazine’sTM Power 300: Most Influential Black Corporate Directors list (2017 and 2016). Wardell is often featured for her strategic insights by media outlets, including Bloomberg, Fortune, Politico, Investor’s Business Daily, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others.