Governance, Risk and Ethics: A New Age of Accountability

We share our lessons learned throughout our experience at the 2015 CSCS Excellence in Governance Awards and Conference

Over the last few days at the CSCS Annual Conference and Awards we have seen examples of both excellence and failure in governance, heard from both academic and industry thought leaders, delving into many hot topics of corporate governance in Canada today. The discussions have provided us perspective to help guide us through today’s challenges in corporate governance. The conference covered Risk, Diversity, Ethics, CEO Succession Planning along with the Evolving Role of the Corporate Secretary. I will come back to the lessons learned from  sessions shortly, but will first start with the presentation everyone was talking about throughout the conference both in anticipation and reaction. (more…)

Insights to Action: Joining Private, Crown, or Corporate Boards

Tom Bursey headshot

Tom Bursey, Directors College Chartered Directors (C.Dir.) Alumni & Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Council of Canadian Academies




Explaining how established Directors on volunteer Boards can position themselves to join Private, Crown, or Corporate Boards. The transition from volunteer Boards to paid Boards can often be an enigma: a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation, referred to as the “Code-Cracking Challenge”.  This article addresses this challenge by providing a synthesis of sage advice from established Corporate Directors and Consultants involved in the Corporate Director selection process.





Governance Read: Boardroom Insider

Boardroom Insider is the online newsletter for better board and better directors. We’re sharing their summer edition in thought leadership with you here.

The Summer Edition includes:

  • The CEO as the Board’s “Tool”
  • 5 Hot-Button items for your Board Resume
  • 4 Things your Board must know on company litigation
  • Family Biz Boards- 4 Hot Trends
  • Family Biz Boards – More Independent Leaders?
  • Q&A: Should Our “Tainted” Director Resign?
  • Fortune shares Ralph Ward’s Wannabe Tips

NEWS UPDATES: Change is coming to The Directors College

Some of you may have already heard the rumours … We are here to tell you it’s all true. We have big changes coming to The Directors College on September 01st 2015. We will be launching the news to our Alumni and Faculty first at an exclusive event in Toronto ON that evening. But we’re not going to spoil the fun with any more details just yet. So keep your eyes peeled as the news unfolds this September! For now we will share all the details in regards to the Continuing Professional Development Membership (CPDM) that was announced in the Spring.


The Land of The Brand

Janice Detta Colli, Faculty of The Directors College and founder of Board Flight Path

Janice Detta Colli, Faculty of The Directors College and founder of Board Flight Paths


About Janice: Combining her business knowledge garnered from her work with directors and senior executives around the world and her personal, pragmatic wisdom, Janice assists directors and executives with the most sensitive issues that impact the entire life cycle of their board careers. Currently, Janice is a faculty member of the Directors College, sits on the Board of the National Women in Leadership Foundation and is the founder of Board Flight Paths.


We live in a world inundated with brands. Nike, Coke, Starbucks and Apple – each of these brands is highly competitive, global, attention grabbing and impacts our daily lives. It’s a “brand” new world where every successful business has a clear marketing strategy.  Whether you are a seasoned director or are looking for your first opportunity to serve, should you factor branding into your career as a director?



Announcement: New Partnership with Travelers Insurance


Travelers Insurance Company of Canada, the latest partner of The Directors College.

Ottawa ON, May 25, 2015–We are delighted to announce our latest partner with Travelers Insurance Company of Canada. Travelers has become our preferred and leading provider of directors  and officers insurance for Canadian public, not-for-profit and private corporations. In partnering with Travelers they will provide our Directors College Chartered  Director (C.Dir.) Alumni with the Enhancements for the purposes of their directors and officers insurance with no extra cost. (more…)

BIG NEWS: There’s a Brand New Continuing Professional Development Program coming to The Directors College

Ottawa ON, May 25, 2015–Founded in 2003, The Directors College was the first organization in Canada to offer accredited corporate governance education.  Over the last year, The College has undertaken a thorough assessment of its programs and services.  We felt that an evaluation of our place in the market will help us identify opportunities to innovate and build a forward thinking governance agenda that reflects today’s changing world and the trust-building values set out in our Code of Conduct document. We are delighted to share our renewed vision’s three pillars: Forward Thinking [Know]Values-driven [Be] and Change Enabling [Do]. (more…)

Fire in the Belly: The Making of a Master Director

Gordon Pitts

Gordon Pitts, Business Writer, DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University & former Senior Writer, Report on Business for the Globe and Mail.

When Purdy Crawford died last year at age 82, he was hailed as the master director, someone who embodied the best qualities of corporate governance.

As a prominent lawyer and onetime CEO of a major Canadian company, he was schooled in good governance – the need for preparation, independent thought, and  transparency. But he also brought intangibles to the table, such as listening, questioning, judgment, and common sense. He was also willing to swim against the tide of  opinion. In short, he possessed the things we call “character.”

These traits were directed towards a goal: To make the organization better – more resilient, more strategic and above all, equipped with a leadership culture that would  long survive his tenure. He felt that he could do that as a director. He could not manage the business day-to-day, but he could influence its culture in a positive way.




Update Your Practices: Trends in Better NFP Governance


Lyn McDonell  President The Accountability Group, Inc



As a director who has focused on the obligations of your role, who has had relevant education, who is in touch with governance colleagues across all sectors of society, what  do you bring to the not-for-profit board table?  Hopefully, as well as your integrity, good judgement, and governance acumen, you bring and help implement leading  practices into your setting.

Here are the current best practice basics — what good boards are doing now –– and how leading boards are raising the bar.



Lessons from The Honourable John Manley P.C., O.C., C.Dir.

Ottawa, Ontario, April 09, 2015—The Directors College hosted a joint event with FEI Canada’s National Capital Chapter at The Rideau Club.


from left to right; Dean Cosman (FEI Canada NCR Chapter President), The Honourable John Manley PC, OC, C.Dir. (President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives), Paul Forgues (Managing Director, The Directors College)


After a brilliantly candid conversation with the group we definitely found there were more than a few lessons learned from the Honourable John Manley at our event with FEI Canada’s National Capital Chapter yesterday evening. We have summarized what we found to be some of the highlights.

Oversight Vs. Management: John Manley (JM) noted as management you should be getting thoughtful ideas and opinions from a board meeting, not instructions. A good CEOs know when to listen politely and when to listen earnestly.







What our graduates say?

“The Directors College experience has been nothing short of exceptional, with immediate benefit within the boards on which I serve. Undoubtedly, this program supports its brand of being the gold standard in board governance effectiveness. Of particular benefit was the opportunity to share the learning experience with colleagues within their various roles at the boardroom table. I have developed an enriched knowledge base from which to draw, as well as an enhanced quality network. Without hesitation, I recommend this program, and congratulate its faculty and staff for its commitment to excellence within its mandate.”

Silvia Martini, Vice-President, Interlink Research Inc.

“I performed a significant amount of research when selecting an option for advanced governance education. All of my research pointed to The Directors College. Being the only university accredited program was important, but more important, was that the faculty has an amazing balance of academic and professional background. No other program offers such a unique and high learning environment – the perfect balance of academia and real examples. The experience is demanding and allows you to generate a vast networks of peers who are dedicated to raising the bar on governance – truly the gold standard.”

Daniel Johnson, B.Comm, C.Dir., Chief Executive Officer, Innovation Credit Union

“The Chartered Director program provided me with a solid foundation in governance which built my confidence to comprehensively serve as a director. The exceptional content and educational process enhanced my curiosity, courage and ability to ask the right questions on crown, non-profit and corporate boards.”

Victor T. Thomas, C.Dir., H.R.C.C.C., Vice Chair, SaskEnergy

“I thought the entire program was very well developed and comprehensive. You never know what to expect when you sign-up for these programs and this exceeded my expectations and was a great learning opportunity.”

James Scongack, C.Dir., Vice-President of Corporate Affairs, Bruce Power LP

“I found the Chartered Director Program to be an excellent forum to understand how strong governance complements effective management. The ability to create and execute an effective strategy is significantly enhanced by a robust process inclusive of board engagement where the right questions are asked and expected outcomes are identified. I truly enjoyed the setting which fostered a strong level of interaction that was supported by quality presentations and material. As CEO of a Shared Service Organization set to deliver benefits to its members, I see the advantage of having a number of our board members participating in this program.”

Tony Di Emanuele, MBA, C.Dir., President and CEO, Mohawk Shared Services

“A strong board needs a combination of industry knowledge and sound judgement. You need people able to challenge one another, but in a productive environment. The Directors College provides skills, perspectives and tactics to drive value as an effective and successful board member. As a graduate of the Chartered Director Program, I found The Directors College an excellent survey of the critical issues and developing trends of today’s corporate environment. I highly recommend The Directors College.”

The Honourable John Manley, P.C., O.C., C.Dir., President & Chief Executive, Canadian Council of Chief Executives and former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

“The changes that impact corporate governance are establishing a pattern of increased accountability for the delivery of long-term value to customers, shareholders, employees and society. Proper corporate governance is now being defined to include knowledge of critical elements such as risk management and the measurement of strategic performance. At the end of the day, each board will be judged on its ability to effectively deliver value, rather than on its structure. The Directors College innovative program fills a unique and important gap in providing knowledge and insight as to how this expectation can be met. CMA Canada is pleased to be a sponsor of this timely initiative.”

Steve Vieweg, C.Dir., CPFA (Hon), FCPA FCMA, CEO, CPA Western School of Business

“As an organization focused on educating corporate secretaries, the CSCS believes in furthering the potential of board members to better contribute to building effective governance structures. Given the key role of directors and corporate secretaries in applying proper boardroom practices, corporations need to ensure that these individuals meet a professional standard. The Directors College curriculum covers all the formal regulatory issues for directors and also addresses the informal skills of building effective and appropriate relationships with senior management. We see significant benefits to this program and CSCS is pleased to endorse it.”

Lynn Beauregard, President, Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries

The Directors College has developed a director education program which goes well beyond the fundamentals to address the structures and the behavioural components of principle-based governance. I am proud to be associated with the Directors College and I am honoured to lend my name to the College’s graduate award.

Gilbert Bennett, Director and Former Chairman of the Board, Canadian Tire Corporation Limited