Ilene Gordon
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Ilene Gordon

As a former FORTUNE 500 CEO and effective corporate director, Ilene Gordon's journey to the top required inventive management of her career and her professional life, affording her unique perspective on executive leadership, corporate governance, and the value of a STEM education for women.
President, Chairman & CEO, Ingredion Incorporate (2009 - 2017)

Expertise In:

  • Professional Achievement
  • Business Growth and Trends
  • Corporate Governance
  • Leadership
  • Women in Business Leadership

Audience & Industry

  • The Manufacturing Industry
  • Corporations
  • The Finance Industry
  • Associations
  • Women's Events

As a former FORTUNE 500 CEO and effective corporate director, Ilene Gordon's journey to the top required inventive management of her career and her professional life, affording her unique perspective on executive leadership, corporate governance, and the value of a STEM education for women.

Ilene Gordon has pushed the boundaries for most of her life. As a junior high school student in the 1960s, she got special permission to take shop class rather than home economics, the only choice for girls. She aspired to be a high school math teacher until she attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Sloan School of Management, where she was inspired by other female STEM students to pursue a career in business. At MIT in the early 1970s, she negotiated a part-time job share arrangement before it was even a concept. As a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, she was the only professional woman in the London office. And she was the first female director of five different companies and the first female chairman of the Economic Club of Chicago.

As a young executive in the manufacturing industry, Gordon learned how to gain the confidence of males twice her age and how to develop and execute a successful turn-around strategy. She is an effective leader who has transformed a multi-billion-dollar, century-old company to remain relevant and deliver exceptional shareholder value. Under Gordon's tenure as chairman and CEO of Ingredion Incorporated from 2009 to 2017, the company’s share price more than quadrupled, growing market cap from $2 billion to $10 billion. As a result, Gordon was named to FORTUNE's Most Powerful Women list for five consecutive years.

Featured Videos

Featured Experiences

Stemming the Gender Gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Ilene Gordon attributes her success in the business world to her analytic capabilities she developed as a math major at MIT.  Back then, the ratio of female to male students was 10:1. While more and more female students are studying STEM subjects, males still outnumber them. Females now earn only about 37 percent of undergrad STEM degrees, and not surprisingly, the gender gap persists in the workplace. Future U.S. economic growth and competitiveness largely rests on the innovations of industries that rely on employees with STEM expertise. If it persists, the STEM gender gap can put the nation at a competitive disadvantage and its female citizens at an economic disadvantage. This presentation will focus on factors that perpetuate the gender gap in STEM education and careers and identify actions to narrow the gap.

Journey to the Top: Leadership Lessons Learned

From a young management consultant in London to the CEO of a FORTUNE 500 company, Ilene Gordon strategically managed her career path to the corner office while raising a family. Her experiences managing male colleagues twice her age to commuting to Paris from Chicago to take advantage of an executive opportunity taught her a number of engaging and valuable leadership lessons that are useful to business leaders climbing the executive ladder.

Building a Better Business Through Effective Boards

Well governed companies tend to perform better than companies with weak or ineffective boards. Active, involved boards go above and beyond traditional roles of governance, shareholder advocacy, and compensation to help companies win the marketplace. They look into the future, get involved in the development of strategic plans, and challenge management. Ilene Gordon has been a corporate director at various companies for more than 30 years and currently serves on the boards of three public companies. In this presentation, she outlines the characteristics of effective boards and how they contribute to a company’s long term success.