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The days when a board chair’s main role was to run board meetings are long gone.
Today’s chairs must be fully immersed, extremely well-informed and strong leaders. They need to navigate an ever-increasing number of demands in drastically compressed timeframes - all under the lens of social media.
From shaping inclusive and informed decision making, setting strategy, acting as an intermediary with the CEO, management and other stakeholders, and assessing the composition of the board to evaluating the performance of directors and holding them accountable for both their actions and inactions, the demands chairs are facing are constantly mounting.
As the stakes rise, a chair’s leadership skills have never been more critical.
ICD’s “Chairing Boards” is designed to build chairs’ skills and competency in their unique leadership responsibilities, equipping them with the knowledge, insights and forward-thinking strategies to:
  • Enhance their board leadership effectiveness with new skills for building productive relationships with the CEO, directors and other stakeholders.
  • Influence strategy-setting and optimize organizational performance using proven approaches for value added decision making.
  • Improve their ability to prepare for and facilitate highly engaging and effective board meetings with strategic agendas and future-focused presentations.
  • Build a better board with proactive plans for succession, composition, renewal and evaluation.

Current Offerings

  • City   Course Code Application Deadline Module I    Module II Module III Module IIII
    March 4, 2022
    *Waitlist Only 
    Tuesday April 5, 2022
    10am-1pm EST
    Tuesday May 3, 2022
    10am-1pm EST
    Tuesday May 31, 2022
    10am-1pm EST
    Tuesday June 28, 2022
    10am-1pm EST


  • This program uses a blended online learning model that weaves together best practices in adult education with creative networking opportunities.
    It is comprised of four modules, each of which will include:
    Independent online learning (three to five hours per module)
    Each module will have distinct independent learning requirements to be completed in advance of the live, instructor-led sessions
    Comprised of e-learning modules, videos, webinars, readings, polls, discussion forums and more, independent learning enables participants to work through material at the time and pace that best suits their individual needs. It also allows for content to be broken into shorter, more digestible sections, and delivered in multiple formats to appeal to different preferences.
    Participants will receive access to independent learning materials for Module 1 approximately two weeks prior to the instructor-led session. Access to independent learning materials for Modules 2, 3 and 4 will become available following the conclusion of the instructor-led session for the preceding Module.
    *Note: completion of some independent learning components may require a live internet connection.
    Live, instructor-led sessions (four, three-hour sessions per module, sessions delivered 3-4 weeks apart)
    The instructor-led online sessions will focus on the application of concepts covered through independent learning. The live session will be comprised of a combination of class faculty led discussions, breakout group discussions and exercises, Q & A with instructors and other experts, simulations and cases, live polling and online chats.
    Supplemental resources and tools
    Participants will receive supplemental resources to augment the required components of their independent learning packages.
    Learning sustainment and engagement opportunities
    Following course completion, participants will be invited to join an Alumni Portal, becoming part of a community of practice where they gain access to tools and resources to help apply course learnings in real-life settings. They will also have opportunities to engage in discussion forums with course peers to exchange questions, ideas and experiences that will round out their newly acquired knowledge and skills.



    Participation in this module will equip chairs with the knowledge and frameworks to:
    • Optimize existing leadership skills and ability to successfully guide the board in fulfillment of its mandate.
    • Utilize their passion and commitment for the organization to set the distinctive vision and board culture.
    • Incorporate their own personality, values and unique voice to provide respectful leadership and to create positive collaborations.
    • Foster and maintain a constructive relationship with their CEO with appropriate information flows so they never catch each other off guard.
    • Build productive and constructive relationships, delineate responsibilities and establish trust with: board directors, your CEO, corporate secretary and management team, stakeholders
    • Understand how rapid global developments are impacting the expectations of board chairs in Canada.

    Participation in this module will equip chairs with the knowledge and frameworks to:
    • Set a strategic agenda: Determine priorities and where the board should be spending its time.
    • Create the board package: Manage the appropriate flow of information to the board to enable it to make good decisions and to enable the organization to succeed.
    • Work with the CEO and committees to produce valuable, analytical and future-focused presentations with proposals and alternatives for board consideration.
    • Convene, conduct and facilitate meetings, including establishing meeting procedures and managing time to complete all items on the agenda.
    • Set up a fulsome, engaging conversation: what to do between board meetings.
    • Ensure all voices are heard at the boardroom table by motivating participants to provide their differing opinions, while making sure no one dominates the discussion.
    • Steer the conversation, provoke hard discussions and resolve disputes to reach decisions on key issues.

    Participation in this module will equip chairs with the knowledge and frameworks to:
    • Devise processes and rules to assist the board in developing well-considered strategies including scenario planning, strategic roadmaps.
    • Develop appropriate education for the board when embarking on new initiatives.
    • Mold an inclusive and positive culture to ensure effective collaboration and communication, engaging participants in ways that capitalizes on their strengths.
    • Oversee the formation of committees and their mandates, participate in meetings to gain insight into the detailed workings of the board.
    • Assess and thoroughly understand the impact of each decision on stakeholders.
    • Know how to identify when is the right time to call for a decision.
    • Make the right decision in a crisis: strategies for “when things go wrong.” 

    Participation in this module will equip chairs with the knowledge and frameworks to:
    • Make sure the board has the right composition including diversity, human capital, competencies, independence, skills and collective knowledge.
    • Conduct director evaluations and providing constructive feedback to board members.
    • Hold directors accountable for their actions, manage underperforming directors and board dysfunction.
    • Raise the board to the next level by continuously assessing needs and areas of improvement for the board and creating action plans to address these results.
    • Develop relevant education programs for the board collectively and for individual directors, working towards the pursuit of excellence.
    • Design proactive and comprehensive board succession and board renewal plans.
    • Solicit consistent evaluation of your performance as the board chair, to help you avoid complacency and mediocrity.


  • Participants will gain the key insights and understanding necessary to build their skill set and competence to effectively chair a board.
    Specifically, they will: 
    • Enhance their leadership and relationship building skills, acquire effective strategies to prepare for and facilitate highly engaging board meetings, incorporate value added decision making to set strategy and gain tools for building a strong, nimble and resilient board.
    • Benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of a best-in-class teaching team.
    • Engage with other board chairs in an exclusive classroom environment to foster enhanced peer to peer learning environment.
    • Gain access to proprietary tools and frameworks to enhance their application of course takeaways.
    • Thrive in a flexible and intuitive online learning environment designed to optimize their course experience.
    • Gain access to a lively community of practice where they can share queries and insights with course peers to continue learning and networking during and after the program.
    • Receive a certificate to indicate that they have successfully completed critical building blocks of chairing a board.


  • This program is for current board chairs, or near-term board chairs beginning their term in the next six-twelve months, of for-profit, large not-for-profit and Crown organizations, looking to build, expand or refine their abilities to successfully guide a board. This program is not intended for committee chairs, unless they meet the above criteria.



Catherine R. Gryba Headshot