Kathryn S. Fuller, JoAnn Heffernan Heisen and Willard D. Nielsen Join Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees

    • January 23, 2011

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced the election of prominent attorney and philanthropic leader Kathryn S. Fuller, business leader JoAnn Heffernan Heisen and public relations and corporate communications authority Willard D. “Bill” Nielsen, to its Board of Trustees, effective January 26, 2011. Fuller, Heisen and Nielsen join an existing group of 11 board members representing a wide array of backgrounds and passionately committed to improving the health and health care of all Americans and making a difference in your lifetime.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is extraordinarily pleased to have three such prominent and deeply accomplished individuals joining the diverse group that makes up our Board of Trustees,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Kathryn Fuller brings an extensive legal background and considerable experience as a leader in nonprofit management and national and international philanthropy. JoAnn Heffernan Heisen offers a vast array of corporate governance and management experience and is a pioneering leader and role model for women. Bill Nielsen brings exceptional expertise in public affairs at the highest level of management of complex, multifaceted organizations. We are grateful that all three have chosen to dedicate their knowledge and experience and express their commitment to our efforts to help all Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need,” said Lavizzo-Mourey.

Fuller currently serves as chair of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, on the board of directors of Alcoa, Inc., and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US), and as a trustee of the Greater Himalayas Foundation, Resources for the Future and The Summit Foundation. She was president and chief executive officer of the WWF-US from 1989 until 2005. Prior to becoming president and CEO, she served as executive vice president, general counsel, and director of WWF-US’s programs in public policy and wildlife trade monitoring. Before joining WWF-US, Fuller was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, first in the Office of Legal Counsel, then as a trial attorney in the Land and Natural Resources Division, where she helped create the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, becoming chief of that section in 1981. Fuller was a special adviser to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 2005 to 2006. She served on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees as member at large and chair, and on the Corporation of Brown University. She received her B.A. in English and American Literature from Brown University, a law degree with honors from the University of Texas, and pursued graduate studies in marine, estuarine and environmental science at the University of Maryland.

Heisen retired in June 2008 from Johnson & Johnson after 19 years in senior leadership. She joined Johnson & Johnson in 1989 as assistant treasurer and the corporation's first investor relations officer. In 1991, Heisen was named treasurer and became the first female officer of the company. In 1995, she was named corporate controller and in 1997, was appointed vice president, chief information officer and a member of and the first woman to serve on the Johnson & Johnson Executive Committee. She became the company's first chief global diversity officer in 2006. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson in 1989, Heisen was vice president, corporate affairs and a member of the executive committee at Primerica Corporation. Previously she served as chief financial officer for Kenmill Textile Corporation and as a second vice president and commercial lending officer with The Chase Manhattan Bank. Heisen is a member of the board of directors of the Vanguard Group, Inc. and its more than 160 mutual funds. She is a member of the advisory board of The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the Economic Club of New York, the Board of Trustees for the University Medical Center at Princeton, and the co-chair of the Design for Healing Campaign, which is raising funds for a new $440 million state-of-the-art hospital. Heisen also serves as director of the Center for Work-Life Policy and is on the advisory board of Rutgers’ Institute for Women’s Leadership. She is past president of the Financial Women’s Association of New York, an honoree of the Princeton YWCA’s 1995 Tribute to Women in Industry and the recipient of the 1996 Johnson & Johnson Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Award. In 2005, Heisen received the first Jill Ker Conway Women in Business Leadership Award, presented by Smith College. In l994, she received Syracuse University's Distinguished Alumni Award and, in 1998, Marymount Manhattan College’s Women in Urban Leadership Award. She graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in economics.

Nielsen is currently a consultant to management of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He retired as corporate vice president of Johnson & Johnson in December 2004, after serving 17 years with the company, where he was the chief public relations and corporate communications officer. He joined Johnson & Johnson in 1988, following 18 years as a public relations agency consultant with Carl Byoir & Associates and Hill and Knowlton. In addition to executive roles in agency management, he specialized in corporate communications and crisis management in such industries as consumer finance, insurance, defense, biotech and airlines. Nielsen served two terms as president of the Arthur W. Page Society, was inducted into that organization’s Hall of Fame in September 2003 and continues as a member of its board of trustees. He also chaired the board of the Institute for Public Relations and continues as an emeritus director. He is a member of The Wisemen and the Public Relations Society of America and a trustee of the Josephson Institute of Ethics. Nielsen was a Trustee of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and a board director of the Foundation of Children’s Hospital, National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. In addition to his consulting work, Nielsen is a frequent guest lecturer at public relations and corporate communications graduate programs at universities across the country. He also serves in industry-sponsored public relations leadership training programs and is an advisory board member of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication at Penn State University. Following graduation from Oregon State University, Nielsen served in the U.S. Air Force as a public information officer in Washington, D.C., and Japan.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measureable and timely change. For nearly 40 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves.