Deborah J. Cornwall
Deborah J. Cornwall
Managing Director

Deborah J. Cornwall is co-founder and Managing Director of The Corlund Group, which provides focused top management services in the areas of leadership assessment and development, governance effectiveness, and change management.


In her 40 years of consulting experience, she has helped Boards of Directors, CEOs, and senior management teams to adapt their leadership practices and organizations to changing market demands and stakeholder expectations. In particular, she helps Boards to perform leadership due diligence. This includes ensuring Board agreement on management’s strategic direction, orchestrating sensitive CEO effectiveness and succession decisions, and helping Boards to review and improve their own effectiveness. Her key skills are eliciting accurate and candid interview information, synthesizing seemingly disparate findings, and facilitating agreement on their implications for action at both board and senior leadership levels.


She has worked in multiple industries, including healthcare and a variety of nonprofit organizations. Her most recent clients have included Alegent Health, American Hospital Association, Ascension Health, Beacon Health, Catholic Health Initiatives, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Freeman Health, Health Resources in Action (HRiA), John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Hospital and Health System (South Bend, IN), Provena Health, Public Health Institute, and Stormont-Vail HealthCare.


Before creating The Corlund Group, Mrs. Cornwall was a co-founder of Korn/Ferry Organizational Consulting, where she led major client assignments and spearheaded a variety of breakthrough leadership and governance studies that Corlund has continued to perform. These studies dealt with the role of Boards in assessing, supporting, and evaluating CEOs; lessons from managing major strategic and organizational change; the effectiveness of Board processes for selecting, evaluating, and replacing chief executive officers; and the impact of a deteriorating economy on corporate CEO selection, retention, and succession planning practices.


Mrs. Cornwall has spoken before a variety of professional groups in Boston, New York, and Chicago. She co-authored two monographs on CEO succession and executive transitions for the Center for Healthcare Governance, a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association. She was a member of a work group that developed pragmatic governance tools to implement the recommendations of the Center’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Trustee Core Competencies and co-authored a monograph and Trustees’ workbook explaining how to implement that work. She has also been published or quoted in Directors and Boards, The Corporate Board, Directorship, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Across the Board, Business Horizons, The President, and New England Business Journal.


In November 2014, she was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of HopeHealth, a healthcare organization based in southeast Massachusetts that focuses on improving the quality of life for patients and families experiencing chronic disease and dementia. The HopeHealth family of services includes: Hope Hospice; Hope HouseCalls; Hope Dementia & Alzheimer’s Services; Hope Care for Kids; Hope Community Care; and education and training for professionals, caregivers and the community.


Earlier she served for three years on the Board of Directors for the former Massachusetts Division of the American Cancer Society (ACS). After facilitating merger of the six New England states, she served for six years on the Board of Directors for the Society’s New England Division, where she is active in local, state, and Federal advocacy and media activities. She served for two years on the national Board of Directors for the ACS Cancer Action Network, the Society’s advocacy affiliate. In 2013 National ACS Board of Directors awarded her the St. George National Award for her contributions to the fight against cancer. Most recently she has written two books, Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer Caregivers Speak Out and Things I Wish I’d Known: Cancer and Kids ( She is listed in Who’s Who in America.


Ms. Cornwall began her consulting career with Harbridge House, where she rose to the position of S.V.P. and led the practice focused on senior executive development, facilitated strategic planning, organizational assessment, and change. She holds an M.B.A. degree with high honors in organization and management from Boston University’s Graduate School of Business. Previously she earned a B.A. degree in philosophy (with distinction) from Mount Holyoke College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She is an avid golfer.




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