About Corporate BoardLink

Partners in Identifying, Preparing, and Achieving

Corporate BoardLink works with executives interested in corporate board service and leaders who are ready to explore second act opportunities.

We have deep expertise in the areas of board readiness and board preparation services. We also offer custom services for executives that build a portfolio of opportunities providing alternatives to full retirement.

To learn more about what we do, you can schedule a complimentary consultation by contacting dwilson@corporateboardlink.com.

Corporate Board Link - About Deb Nelms

Our coaches are highly skilled business leaders who demystify the journey and expertly guide you to uncover and achieve objectives and goals.”

Deb Nelms  |  Founder/CEO, Corporate BoardLink


  • Collaborate with organizations to design and launch a board-readiness approach that supports executive and director development.
  • Provide personalized coaching to guide and prepare executives for the rigors of the board search and selection process.
  • Work with soon to retire executives who seek a robust portfolio of professional opportunities that offer intellectual and personal satisfaction.
  • Help companies create or refresh their corporate board, advisory board, or family council.
  • Support and foster diversity as a means to better business.

Corporate Consulting Services:

  • Director, Advisory Board, and Family Council Assessments
  • Custom Board Development from Charter to Creating Director Position Descriptions
  • Board Candidate Matrix Development and Vetting
  • Board Readiness Programs and Events
  • Executive Readiness Coaching
  • Corporate Director Onboarding
  • Board Gap Analysis and Succession Planning

Executive Consulting Services:

  • Board Readiness and Preparation Coaching
  • Executive Second Act Coaching
  • Board Document and Personal Brand Development
  • Board Value Proposition and Board Fit Identification
  • Customized Networking Strategies and Go-To-Market Coaching
  • Interview Preparation and Due Diligence Frameworks
Corporate Board Link - About Deb Nelms

Corporate BoardLink Founder and CEO

Deb Nelms - Corporate BoardLink Founder and CEO

Deb Nelms

Founder and CEO

Deb brings 35 years of business and leadership experience with significant accomplishments in organizational build out and roll-ups, C-Suite coaching, and board of director development and search. Since 2002, she has been at the forefront of board readiness and board preparation services, providing individualized coaching for executives seeking a seat at the table and second act career planning. She also works directly with boards and family councils in areas critical to developing and maintaining an effective board of directors.

Prior to founding Corporate BoardLink in 2002, Deb was a partner at Baker, Nelms & Montgomery, a boutique executive search firm in Chicago. She co-founded the Professional Services business unit which specialized in direct admit partner searches, board of director searches, and the Emerging Technology Consultancy.

Programs, Services, and Events

Deb has developed programs and services for organizations such as the Committee of 200 (C200), the Committee of 20 in Russia, Deloitte LLP, World 50, Inc., Women Corporate Directors (WCD), National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Inforum BoardAccess, Women’s Food Services Forum (WFF), Watermark, Kensington International, Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC), and Women in the Boardroom (WIB).

In addition to serving as a resident board coach to several firms, Deb  has created the vision and strategy for hallmark events and relationships including the accreditation program between Kellogg-Northwestern University and the Women’s Foodservices Forum (WFF), as well as WFF’s annual Executive Women’s Summit, now in its 16th year.

Board Readiness and Executive Second Act Consulting

Having established herself as an industry go-to coach, Deb is retained directly by executives who are ready to invest in their professional development as well as organizations and academic institutions who want to enhance the professional journey of their leaders.

Deb and her adjunct coaching team have worked with a broad range of companies including The Bama Companies, 7-Eleven, Deloitte LLP, Ecolab, Exelon Corporation, Herschend Family Enterprises, Intel Corporation, International Game Technology (IGT), McDonald’s Corporation, Michigan State University-Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Nicor Inc., University of St. Thomas-Opus College of Business, and USG Corporation.

Advisory Board and Corporate Board Development

Deb has worked with numerous companies to establish or transform their corporate board, advisory board, or family council. With a fine-tuned and adaptable approach, she leverages best practices, deep perspective, and a system view to achieve collaboration and the art and science of action, process, strategy, and people.