Converse College welcomes four new members to its Board of Trustees: Philip Asherman, retired President and CEO of Chicago Bridge & Iron in The Woodlands, Texas; Debra Clements, Chief Administrative Officer, Senior General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Milliken & Company in Spartanburg; Wallace Davison Prestwood ’89, Senior Vice President for Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C.; and Dr. Kay E. Woodward, President and Owner of the J.W. Woodward Funeral Home, Inc. in Spartanburg. The College also announces the continued service of two Trustees beginning second consecutive terms: Julie Staggs ’86 of Atlanta, Ga. and Dwight Van Inwegen of Carlisle, Mass.
Philip Asherman retired as President and CEO of Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) in 2017 following nearly 40 years in the energy infrastructure industry. Over the course of his career, he served in a variety of project operations, business development and senior management positions, including a number of regional executive positions in Europe, South America and Asia. Asherman is widely credited for transforming CB&I from a specialty tank subcontractor to a global technology and energy infrastructure corporation, with 85 locations around the world. Asherman’s dedication to developing new talent included the creation of a global Women’s Leadership Network; a commitment to hiring of, and training for, military veterans resulted in employment opportunities for more than 6,000 returning servicemen and women; and continuing support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through scholarships, internships and recruitment of graduates for professional and technical opportunities. Asherman serves on the board of directors of Arrow Electronics Inc., is a member of the Board of Advisors for The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and is an advisor for Tufts’ Council on Emerging Market Enterprises. His wife, Ellen, is an alumna of Converse College who just completed eight years of exemplary service on the Board of Trustees.
Debra Clements is Chief Administrative Officer, Senior General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Milliken & Company, where she oversees Global Legal, Global Human Resources Operations and Compliance and Ethics programs. She also serves as the Company’s Corporate Secretary, with responsibility for Board of Director and Stockholder matters. Clements received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida, where she graduated cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She is a regular speaker on the subjects of Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, and has spoken at the American Bar Association, the SC Journal of International Law & Business Symposium at the University of South Carolina School of Law, and as a faculty member of the Association of Corporate Counsel. She has served on the Advisory Board for Clemson University’s Rutland Institute for Ethics, the Lex Mundi Client Advisory Council, the Business Ethics Leadership Association, the Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution Advisory Council, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Spartanburg Academic Movement. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Manufacturers and on the Roundtable Advisory Board for the Wyche law firm in Greenville, S.C. She has been recognized as a Leader in the Law by the Mecklenburg Times, and Who’s Who in the Upstate of South Carolina.
Wallace Davison Prestwood is a 1989 graduate of Converse College. She has remained active at Converse over the past three decades, serving on the Alumnae Association Board and most recently leading the Board of Visitors as board chair. Prestwood has worked with Bank of America in Charlotte, North Carolina, for over 20 years where her career has spanned from work on the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, to her current role as a Senior Vice President responsible for Time Tracking and the Global Human Resources Service Center. She also spent six years in Austin, Texas, working with small start-up companies. Prestwood is an active member of the Charlotte community and has served as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, as a reading buddy for local elementary students, and as both a deacon and an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Kay E. Woodward is President and Owner of the J.W. Woodward Funeral Home, Inc., the oldest, Black, family-owned business in Spartanburg. Dr. Woodward is a former professor in the Department of Psychology at Converse and previously served on the Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2013. She has been actively engaged with the college throughout her life, and her daughter, Stinson Woodward Ferguson, is a Converse alumna. Dr. Woodward earned her Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctorate in Psychology with highest distinction, from Purdue University. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Purdue in 1971, and was recognized with the university’s Pioneering Women Award in 2015. A lifelong volunteer and philanthropist in her church, business, community and state, she has served on the Board of Directors for the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, is a Trustee Emerita for the Spartanburg County Foundation, and has received leadership and service awards from Spartanburg Methodist College and Girl Scouts of America – Mountains to Midlands.