ICD Chapter Event Insights

May 09, 2017
Takeaways from regular ICD chapter events across the country

EDMONTON // 03.15.17
A CEO’s insight on governance
ELYSE ALLEN, president and chief executive officer of GE Canada; vice president of General Electric Co., board member of the C.D. Howe Institute, the Conference Board of Canada and the MaRS Discovery District.

Boards must reflect on today’s increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This environment includes startling legislative and policy changes, shifting social values and the erosion of public trust in institutions, corporations and governments.

Boards should start thinking differently about leadership, business and people, and should consider these five critical steps:
• Test for resilience and be ready to pivot in a changing market.
• Ensure that management walks the talk of integrity.
• Add diversity of gender, culture, age and experience to the senior ranks.
• Empower decision makers to make informed decisions more quickly.
• Embrace digitization; bring IT from the back of the house to the front.

WINNIPEG // 03.15.17
The director’s role on an arts and culture board

ALAN FREEMAN, co-director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba; board member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitobans for the Arts and the Video Pool Media Arts Centre.

MARGARET REDMOND, president and CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy; member of the board of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.; former board chair of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre; former board member of the Exchange District Business Improvement Zone.

TERRY SARGEANT, president of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; former board member of the University of Manitoba, the Prairie Theatre Exchange, Nakai Theatre, the Yukon Arts Centre, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

ROCHELLE SQUIRES, Manitoba’s Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage, and Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs and the Status of Women. Elected MLA for Riel in 2016.

• Boards must have a long-term focus and not be distracted by annual programming.
• Boards should affirm, but not articulate, the organization's artistic vision.
• Board members must find a balance between advancing the art and paying the bills with mainstream programming.
• The board’s strategic planning should consider all forms of entertainment competition, including sports teams, and the potential opportunity or threat from disrupters like streaming video.
• To ensure sustainability, think like a business; no margin means no mission.
• Ensure that roles and responsibilities for fundraising are extremely clear.

TORONTO // 02.23.17
The critical importance of governance, culture, compliance and ethics

DAVID BEATTY, CM, OBE, F.ICD, ICD.D, senior advisor at McKinsey & Co., professor of strategy and governance at the University of Toronto’s
Rotman School of Management. Board member at Colliers International Group Inc., Canada Steamship Lines and City Financial Investment Co. (London). Founder and academic director of the joint ventures workshop at the Saudi Arabian Oil Co.

LORI-ANN BEAUSOLEIL, national forensic services leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Canada.

SUSAN WOLBURGH JENAH, ICD.D, chair of the Aequitas NEO Exchange Inc., a governor of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and a member of the board of directors of Laurentian Bank of Canada and Aecon Group Inc. Founding president and CEO of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

MODERATOR: MICHAEL LEDGETT, ICD.D, partner of Dentons Canada LLP, director and member of the executive committee of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships; director and chair of the governance committee of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

• Watch for red flags, which may include: a whistleblower line that is never used; significantly better results than the competition without explanation; an imperious CEO; a compensation system that rewards indiscretion.
• A red flag requires prompt action. The board should probe further, ask tough questions and maintain skepticism. Consider an independent special investigation committee.
• Get out of the boardroom to learn about the corporate culture, interacting with management in informal settings; establish a relationship of trust.
• A board is complicit if it doesn’t embrace and support the right corporate culture.
• A forensic investigation will ask what the board should have known, not just what it did know.

02.15.17 to 02.16.17
The secret to peak-performance boards

NORM COL, chair of the board, Hamilton Health Sciences; board member, Financial Executive Institute, Southwestern Ontario chapter; partner with Deloitte; and former board member of the Hamilton Jr. Bullldogs Hockey Association.

RUTHE-ANNE CONYNGHAM, past chair of the board, London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, and Ontario Hospital Association.

MODERATOR: JOHN WOOD, board member, Freshwater Fish Marketing Corp.; partner, JK Wood and Associates.

• Ensure that skill sets are appropriate for the organization’s needs and strategy.
• Consider education and development sessions for
members; the more educated they are, the more they are able to contribute.
• Ensure proper orientation and mentorship for new
members, and that continuity is preserved when long-servingdirectors leave.
• Ensure the board is able to work seamlessly through the three modes of governance: fiduciary, strategic and generative.
• Recognize the power of a strong corporate culture to drive performance as well as the dangers of groupthink.
• Enact an annual self-evaluation process; consider peer reviews for members standing for re-election and for the roles of committee chairs and board chair.

Source: Director Journal (May/June 2017)