Phyllis P. Harris

Phyllis P. Harris

Class of 2022

Phyllis Perrin Harris is a seasoned and multifaceted C-suite business executive with over 25 years of proven leadership in the corporate, federal regulatory and nonprofit sectors providing strategic direction, forward thinking, and continuous improvement to drive value to the organization’s bottom line.

Ms. Harris has deep experience in environmental, societal and governance (ESG) and culture transformation gained as an executive at Walmart Inc., the American Red Cross and through extensive board service. As the first African American Chair of the Converse College Board of Trustees, Ms. Harris led a collaborative multi-year process that resulted in a groundbreaking model change in 2019 from an all-women’s college to a co-educational learning institution—Converse University. Ms. Harris presently serves as a board director for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity and a trustee of the UK based Leaders’ Quest Foundation. Ms. Harris has also served as a director on the boards of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Environmental Law Institute and on the advisory board of B Water and Beverages, the exclusive licensee of Brita Water.

As General Counsel, Chief Compliance, Ethics and Government Relations Officer for the American Red Cross, Ms. Harris is a deeply respected advisor to the Board of Governors, CEO, and C-suite executives on ESG, risk management and DE&I. Before joining the American Red Cross, Ms. Harris established a track record of excellence, transformational change, and operational savvy at the Fortune One, Walmart Inc. As Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for Walmart US, Ms. Harris transformed the environmental, health and safety program and enhanced food safety, firearms, financial services, product safety and pharmacy compliance practices for 6,500 stores, clubs, and distribution facilities by implementing policies, training, and monitoring protocols to embed compliance culture transformation for 1.5 million US associates. As Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Corporate and Legal Operations, Ms. Harris oversaw the employment, IP and governance portfolio, a $460m budget and transformed operations technology resulting in recognition by the Financial Times of London and the Association of Corporate Counsel, for the impact to the bottom line and the economic opportunities created for diverse service providers.

Prior to Walmart Inc., over the course of almost twenty years at the US Environmental Protection Agency, while serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the nation’s enforcement and compliance assurance program and as Regional Counsel for the southeast, Ms. Harris led investigations, prosecutions, and the oversight of hundreds of corporate compliance programs. With these roles, Ms. Harris gained valuable insights on building effective corporate compliance programs and corporate culture. For her exemplary service, she received the Merit Rank Award from President George W. Bush for superior sustained performance.

Ms. Harris was recognized by Diversity Journal Magazine in 2016 as a “Woman Worth Watching;” a 50 Most Influential Black Corporate Lawyers by Savoy Magazine in 2018 for her leadership and breadth of experience; and in 2021 recognized by the Association of Corporate Counsel for leading the Outstanding Legal Department of the Year for the National Capitol Region. Ms. Harris earned her law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a BA from Converse College.