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Laysha Ward is an accomplished senior executive with over 25 years of leadership experience at a Fortune 50 company. She has demonstrated an ability to lead through rapid change, solve problems, build innovative community programs, and collaborate with key stakeholders to support organizational goals and objectives. Her core skills are in strategic planning, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, reputation and crisis management, stakeholder engagement, communications and branding, marketing, and customer demographics/segmentation.
In 2017, Laysha was named Executive Vice President, Chief External Engagement Officer, overseeing Target’s enterprise-wide approach to engage and deepen relationships with external stakeholders to drive positive business and community impact.
She previously served as Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, overseeing corporate social responsibility, helping the company create shared value through sustainability, corporate philanthropy, cause marketing, volunteerism, ethical business practices, stakeholder engagement and other activities that protect and enhance Target's reputation.
Laysha began her career with Target in 1991 as a member of the store sales and management team of Marshall Field's in Chicago, where her responsibilities included managing corporate contributions, community initiatives, employee volunteerism and United Way campaign activities. She was named Director of Community Relations in 2000 and promoted to Vice President of Community Relations and Target Foundation in 2003.
In 2008, President Bush nominated and the U.S. Senate confirmed Laysha to serve on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the nation’s largest grantmaker for volunteering and service. She continued to serve on the board under the Obama Administration, where she served as board chair. Later that year, she was promoted to President of Community Relations and the Target Foundation.
She serves on the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Advisory Board and the Stanford Center for Longevity Advisory Council, and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the Economic Club of New York, the Economic Club of Chicago, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and The Links, an international women's service organization. She also sits on the for-profit board of directors for Denny’s Corporation.
Laysha received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Indiana University and a master’s degree in Social Services Administration with an emphasis in management and public policy from the University of Chicago. She also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
She and her husband, Bill, reside in Minneapolis, MN.