Celebrating Powerhouse Women salutes and recognizes women who are making an impact, whether it’s in business, philanthropy, public service, or elsewhere.
This series is presented by C-A-B Incorporated. Since 1982, C-A-B Incorporated has been a pre-eminent leader in manufacturing and global sourcing of precision machined iron and steel products serving infrastructure, hydraulics, automotive, rail, and a variety of other industries. As a woman-owned company, C-A-B is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the “Celebrating Powerhouse Women” series, bringing focus to the many incredible women in our community making things happen.
Debra Smithart-Oglesby/Cedar Fair
Debra Smithart-Oglesby was elected to Cedar Fair’s board of directors in 2012. She currently serves as the Chair of the Nomination/Governance Committee and is a member of both the Audit and Compensation Committees. A former CPA with more than 30 years of financial and corporate leadership experience, Debra is a seasoned veteran in the food service and retail industries. She has a successful track record in managing corporate transitions; is valued for her ability to navigate difficult issues in a prudent manner; and has an uncanny knack for bringing order to business chaos.
Since 2000, Debra has served as president of O&S Partners, an investment capital and consulting services firm that invests in and provides consulting services to early stage and transition hospitality and retail companies. Prior to O&S, she helped launch Dekor, Inc., a startup company in the home improvement and decorating retail segment, serving as its chief financial officer. From 1997 to 1999, Debra was president and CFO of First America Automotive, Inc., a new and used auto retailer sold to Sonic Automotive.
From 1985 to 1997, Debra was executive vice president and CFO of Brinker International (NASDAQ: EAT), one of the world’s leading casual dining restaurant companies and owner of the Chili’s franchise. Over Debra’s tenure at Brinker, Chili’s expanded from the originally acquired 22 restaurants to more than 1,800 store locations. During that time, Debra shattered several glass ceilings as a woman at Brinker, an organization with a history of all-male leadership. She was Brinker’s first female CFO and first female to occupy a board seat, a position she held from 1991 to 1997.
From 2006 through 2017, Debra served as board chair of Denny’s Corporation (NASDAQ: DENN), a full-service, family-style restaurant chain with approximately 1,700 eateries throughout the United States and nine countries. She joined the Denny’s board in 2003 and was the company’s interim CEO from 2010 through 2011.
Debra has a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and an MBA from Southern Methodist University (SMU). With her nearly countless business successes, Debra is a cancer survivor, representing her life’s most significant success story.
FUN FACT: On her own since age 14 and working at Taco Bell to get by, Debra acquired her grit and determination at a very young age. Married and caring for an infant just a few years later, she completed her high school GED, then went on to earn an accounting degree by attending night classes. Years later, as an accomplished corporate executive and board director, Debra has openly shared her gutsy personal story at commencement addresses and with other large groups, highlighting as “case-in-point number one” that there is nothing in life too difficult to tackle – whether proxy battles, or battling cancer.
Terri Jondahl/CAB Incorporated
Terri Jondahl built CAB Incorporated, an iron and steel precision products company serving industrial, infrastructure and renewable energy sectors, from $3.5 million to $50 million.
As a key strategy, she has diversified manufacturing operations – both expanding US manufacturing and transitioning outsourced products from country to country based on geopolitical realities over the past thirty years. CAB has quality management and engineering operations in China, India, Korea and Vietnam as well as a sales and distribution operation in South Africa.
In transforming CAB from a single product line, US focused business, to a multi-national, multi-product business, Terri developed valuable international and complex enterprise experience. Key to her success was the development of strong modeling, key metrics and process controls for rigorous management of finances, quality and manufacturing.
Coupled with deep understanding of domestic and international business culture and environments, these tools and skills have provided the means to better “see around corners” to quickly anticipate the need for a change in strategy.
As an independent director of Gwinnett Health System and Sequent Health Clinically Integrated Network, she used the skills gained from the many pivots in the industrial sector to encourage better metrics and to evaluate the changing healthcare industry. This strategic outlook resulted in playing a key board role in identifying, evaluating, selecting and championing Gwinnett Medical’s recent merger with Northside Hospital Inc, creating a $4 billion entity. Terri now serves on the Northside Hospital Inc. board. She also serves on the Managing Board of Sunbelt Packaging, a regional packaging equipment and supply company.
Board experience includes being Chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee and serving on Executive Committee, Finance, Audit & Compliance, Strategic Planning, Strategic Partnership and Compensation Committees.
Terri is a recognized leader serving on many boards including Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce (past Chair and current Secretary and Vice Chair of Manufacturing); Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation Board of Trustees (Secretary and Strategic Planning Chair); Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council; 1818 Club Board; Mitsubishi Electric Classic Foundation; and Gwinnett Medical Foundation. She was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority and is currently serving as Chair and is heavily involved in work on continued development on Lake Lanier Islands.
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