NACD Welcomes a New Class of Fellows

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Boardroom leadership skills are developed over time, honed through years of experience and refined through ongoing learning. It is a continuous process, as corporate directors must respond to changing, often volatile, business realities, and the NACD fellowship program is a part of that process.

An NACD fellowship is bestowed on those directors who have gone the extra mile (and more) by completing a rigorous foundation course and elective curricula. The result is a select group of directors who have demonstrated their commitment to boardroom excellence and are prepared to implement leading corporate governance practices in the boardroom.

This week, NACD is pleased to announce a new group of 64 Fellows who achieved this significant credential in the second quarter of 2012. NACD offers two fellowship credentials: the NACD Board Leadership Fellowship for experienced directors and the NACD Governance Fellowship for new and aspiring directors.

NACD Board Leadership Program Fellows (partial listing)

  •  Maureen A. Breakiron-Evans, director Cognizant Technology Solutions, Stetson University, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
  • John L. Dixon, director Wells Real Estate
  • Paul J. Feldman, director TrendIQ and WECC
  • Eliza Hermann, director Brightpoint Inc.
  • John Hotta, director Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Beatriz Infante, director Emulex and Sonus Networks
  • William T. Keevan, director DeVry Inc.
  • Jeffrey W. LeRose, director Southern Capital Ventures, Elon University Love School of Business and Research Triangle Software
  • Michael K. Lorelli, director CP Kelco, Rita’s Italian Ices and WaterJel Technologies
  • Leslie A. Murphy, director Kelly Services, Vision Service Plan and St. John Health System
  • Carol K. Nelson, director Premera Blue Cross and Seattle University
  • Marissa T. Peterson, director Ansell Ltd., Humana Inc., Oclaro and Quantros
  • John Michael Rauh, director Pioneer Drilling Co.
  • Darrell R. Tukua, director Allina Health System, Capella Education Co., Gate City Bank, and MMIC Group

NACD Governance Program Fellows (partial listing)

  • Byron Scott Bagby, US Army (ret.), director Prince Hall Shriners Foundation and Westminster College
  • Howard Bain, director Nanometrics Inc.
  • Daniel H. Bauer, director Association for Corporate Growth
  • James C. Baughman, Jr., director Community Trust Bank, Office Suites PLUS, Dupree Mutual Funds
  • Selene Benavides, director National Society of Hispanic MBAs
  • Roberta S. Brown, director The Nature Conservancy
  • Michael F. Canders, director JPMorgan Chase and Company Military and Veterans Advisory Board
  • Ivan Ciment, director Tekademic Inc. and SpanTran Inc.
  • Mark A. Cohn, director Christopher & Banks Corp.
  • Christopher Warren Cole, director Navy Safe Harbor Foundation and Military Bowl
  • Brian D. Dittenhafer, director Investors Bancorp
  • Jeannine English, director AARP
  • Sara Faivre-Davis, director Farmer Mac
  • Tony R. Jimenez, CEO MicroTech; director George Mason University Board of Visitors and United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • James J. Kaelin, director Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union
  • John E. Lynn, director Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union
  • Charles A. Mallon, Jr., director Unitrust Financial Services and Credit Union Mortgage Association
  • Beryl Raff, director Group 1 Automotive Inc. and Make A Wish
  • Robert Schroeder, director Malt-O-Meal
  • Gary D. Speer, US Army (ret.) Kalmar
  • Jeff Tetrick, director Pinnacol Assurance

NACD Full Board Membership: What It Means for Companies and Investors

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NACD recently announced that more than 40 companies, including several Fortune-ranked corporations, had become NACD Full Board Members, joining 1,000 current NACD Full Board Members. This was yet another example of the commitment corporate directors are making to achieve exemplary board leadership and the highest standards of corporate governance.

“NACD Full Board Members” are exactly what the name suggests: An entire corporation’s board of directors and optional C-suite executives joins NACD, embracing our mission to disseminate and encourage the best professional and ethical boardroom practices. As NACD Full Board Members, these directors and executives can take advantage of myriad resources to better understand and respond to current emerging issues and opportunities.

In today’s world, having the skills to address these issues is more crucial than ever. To that end, some of the great names in business are finding solutions with NACD. Full Board Member companies are a diverse group, including small- and mid-cap public companies and diverse private companies as well as nonprofit organizations. NACD Full Board Members range from Microsoft to PEPSICO, from McDonald’s to Lockheed Martin, and Corning, Panera Bread, The Hershey Co., Foot Locker, ConocoPhillips, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., Warnaco and IDEX Corp. are among the Fortune-ranked companies that recently joined.

What Full Board Membership means for companies:

As an NACD Full Board Member, a company demonstrates—to employees, consumers and investors—its resolute commitment to the highest governance and board leadership standards. NACD provides a wealth of resources to support this quest, as Full Board Members are entitled to exclusive programs, special events, advisory services and board evaluations. NACD custom-designs a number of benefits for board chairmen, lead directors and key committee chairs, and we provide a variety of educational and research resources tailored for individual companies.

What Full Board Membership means for investors:

NACD Full Board Membership is a corporate asset. It designates a public company as one that has taken practical action to maintain the highest standards of professionalism, and to both understand and respond to today’s emerging issues and opportunities. For both current shareholders and potential investors, the message is encouragingly clear. 

NACD Full Board Membership inspires confidence among all stakeholders. Click here to learn more about Full Board Membership, including information on how to join.

Self-Reflection: Three Questions Boards Must Answer

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The stakes are higher than ever before. Public expectations are greater than ever before. It is an immensely challenging business environment in which boards must now play a decisively stronger role to ensure the highest standards of corporate governance.

To that end, boards need to embark on a continuous process of self-assessment. We cannot do better tomorrow until we ask ourselves an important question: How are we doing today? Only where self-reflection is part of the board’s DNA can it provide the strategic guidance that defines its mission.

While many large and small questions drive self-reflection, three essential questions begin the process.

  • Are we independent?

There are often fundamental warning signs that a board is no longer thinking independently and that self-interest may be clouding its judgment. One is tenure. How long has each member served? Is it possible that, as a result of many years of service, some members have become too narrow in their perspective or that their own personal investment in the company might create a conflict when big decisions need to be made?

“It is generally agreed that director perspectives on a particular company can become stale and even compromised after many years of continued service,” according to the Bridging Board Gaps report by the Columbia Business School and the University of Delaware. “It may be difficult to remain objective about a company one has served for a long time.”

In other instances, circumstance simply makes independent judgment impossible. If a family business goes public, for example, family members cannot function as independent-thinking board members.

The self-reflection that a board needs to assess its own independence has to be a tough-minded, conscientious process. Hard questions need to be asked. But the board that has the courage to ask itself the hard questions is all the more likely to have the courage to act decisively to address critical problems in the future.

  • Do we have chemistry?

There has to be some real chemistry in the boardroom if discussions are to be open and free-wheeling. Board members have to trust each other. They have to feel free to float new ideas and challenge others. They don’t have to be best friends, but board members need a sense of camaraderie to assure a creative group dynamic.

An attentive, enthusiastic and engaged board means more efficient decision-making. Are your board members attentive, engaged and active? Are there certain directors who are not? Is there some adjustment, some way to change the chemistry to ignite a higher level of enthusiasm?

  • Do we have the right team?

Having the right team means building a well-constructed board, with members from a variety of backgrounds who are ready to meet the challenges ahead. Having the right team means a broad range of skills, talents and perspectives that can feed the company’s strategy in multiple contexts. It is a competitive necessity, reflecting varied work experiences, personal backgrounds and educational training.

Really think about your board composition. Do the directors around the table offer a diverse mix of industry experience? Do you have expertise across various disciplines such as operations, marketing and finance? Watch out for too much expertise in any one industry. Whatever the company’s business, independent input is essential if the board is to advise on the multiple opportunities and problems that confront management.

In fact, board members are often all the more valuable when they can see the company as other stakeholders see it.

Self-reflection is a never-ending process. Questions about your independence, chemistry and  diversity must be constantly revisited and broadened to ensure optimal service.

Self-reflection is also a challenging initiative.  Performing an objective, holistic evaluation of your board may require the engagement of independent professionals who stand ready to provide the benefits of their significant experience and intellectual capital.

Sometimes others need to see you before you can really see yourself.