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?


The simple answer is “Yes”, but not in the same manner that large, global companies do.  Your brand is the overall perception of you as a director or potential director.  It’s what is communicated about you and your skills to prospective boards when you aren’t there to talk to them yourself.  Your brand is also what sets you apart from the competition and we all know that landing the board position you want is a highly competitive process in today’s market.

Your journey to stand out in “the land of brand” is an important one. With some planning and ground work, having a clear brand will open more opportunities to you, lead you to the best openings and help you build a well-respected reputation.  It is worth the time and effort to enter “the land of the brand”.  These steps will help you on your journey to define your brand and then develop it.

  1. Know yourself. It’s important to recognize your personality, strengths and weaknesses and the role these characteristics play in others’ perceptions of you when you are marketing yourself as a director.
  2. Know your target market and niche. This could be industry sector or functional expertise within a board but determine where you will fit well, what you have to offer and pursue your passions.
  3. Have a vision, and make smart, strategic decisions. Don’t force yourself into the mold of who others think you should be in order to land the role. Building upon your strengths outlined above, you map out your own journey and stick to it.
  4. Create a cohesive brand. To pull it all together, all you need is a clear, concise message that communicates what you offer and what you are looking for.
  5. Build your résumé. Becoming a recognized and “in demand” director doesn’t happen overnight. You need to start small, gain experience and credibility so that your brand has substance.
  6. Consider director education with The Directors College. As part of the curriculum and networking opportunities.
  7. Consider a coach, mentor or The Directors College program offerings. Pick a coach or a mentor who has experience with the nomination procedures, can provide objective advice on the specific value you bring to the table and will help you navigate through the process.

While it may sound like a marketing gimmick, building a standout brand that communicates who you are as a director, your strengths, competencies, experiences and values, makes it easier for you and prospective boards to know exactly what you bring to the board. Knowing your own brand allows you to build a board career that not only expresses who you are but can help you to avoid the opportunities that aren’t a good fit.  Entering “The Land of the Brand” will enable you to be better equipped on your governance journey so that it will be personally fulfilling and rewarding while adding value to the organizations you serve.

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