Laysha Ward is leading with purpose in the African American community. With 30 years of leadership experience at Target, Ms. Ward has made her mark in the corporate world and the communities she serves.

As a C-suite executive, Ms. Ward has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to leading through rapid change and solving problems. Her ability to build innovative community programs and collaborate with key stakeholders to support organizational goals and objectives has earned her a reputation as a leader who leads with purpose.

In 2017, Ms. Ward was named executive vice president and chief external engagement officer, a role that oversees Target’s enterprise-wide approach to engage and deepen relationships with cross-sector stakeholders to drive positive business and community impact. This appointment reflects her deep understanding of the importance of community engagement in achieving business success.

Ms. Ward’s journey at Target began in 1991 as a member of the Marshall Fields store sales and management team in Chicago. She has held various leadership roles in the company, including director of community relations, vice president of community relations and Target Foundation, executive vice president, and chief corporate social responsibility officer before being named to her current position.

Ms. Ward’s impact extends beyond Target’s walls. She has served on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the nation’s largest grantmaker for volunteering and service, and later served as board chair. Ms. Ward also serves on various boards, including the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Advisory Board, the Stanford Center for Longevity Advisory Council, Greater MSP, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Northside Achievement Zone. She is a member of Denny’s Corporation’s board of directors and United Airlines’ board of directors.

Her accomplishments are impressive, but her commitment to the community truly sets Ms. Ward apart. As an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Links member, she has dedicated her time to serving others. Her work has not gone unnoticed, as she has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.