by Sarah K. White

10 board readiness training programs for directors and executives

Mar 18, 20208 mins
CIOIT Leadership

Whether you're new to the board, a seasoned veteran or just aspire to be on a corporate board, these 10 board readiness training programs will get you prepared for the job.

New technology, social and political issues, compliance regulations and industry trends can impact how a corporate board operates and how directors and executives can be successful board members. And with each passing year, those issues can shift and change quickly.

Board leadership training is a great choice whether you aspire to be on a board or have sat on a corporate board for decades. Board governance best practices can change year to year, and it’s important to stay on top of your industry with the latest research, governance training and networking opportunities for executive leadership.

[ Learn from your peers: Check out our State of the CIO report on the challenges and concerns of CIOs today. | Find out the 7 skills of successful digital leaders and the secrets of highly innovative CIOs. | Get weekly insights by signing up for our CIO Leader newsletter. ]

These 10 board readiness training programs are designed to help you get board-ready, whether you’re new to the board or a seasoned board member.

Board Leadership Program

The Board Leadership Program is a membership service that gives you access to corporate board member events and exclusive online resources and training. Membership will also get you access to onboarding support, which helps new directors navigate the process of joining a board through fundamentals guides and online training courses. You’ll also get access to on-demand content that includes conference video recordings, session summaries and key takeaway reports, members-only webinars, white papers and special reports, research reports and benchmarking data and other educational guides and online training courses.

Date: Dates vary for events

Location: Online

Duration: Self-paced

Price: $4,995 annual membership fee

Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School’s Women on boards: Succeeding as a corporate director course is designed for senior businesswomen who hold positions ranging from division head to CEO in large established companies or women in senior executive roles currently sitting on a nonprofit or private board who wish to serve on public corporate boards. The course covers how boards work, developing board-critical skills, navigating the selection process and raising your profile. The program also touches on the specific challenges women face when vying for a board position with courses on formal and informal board dynamics and how women are perceived in the boardroom.

Date: November 30

Location: Cambridge, Mass.

Duration: Five days

Price: $12,500

NACD Directorship Certification

Available to NACD members, the NACD Directorship Certification is a course designed to certify your skills as a board director. Before earning your certification, you’ll need to pass the Director Professionalism course — exceptions will be made if you have served on a public company board for three or more consecutive years, served on the board of a non-profit or private company with more than $250 million in revenue for three or more years within the past five years. Getting certified with a NACD Directorship certification will demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning as a director or executive board member. 

Date: Varies

Location: At any Pearson VUE testing center

Duration: Self-paced

Price: $7,500 for NACD members or $3,750 for full-board members and current NACD fellows

Northwestern Kellogg

Northwestern Kellogg offers several Governance Executive Programs, including unique programs that focus on corporate governance, family enterprise boards, forming family enterprise governance, governing family enterprises and a women’s director development program. These programs are targeted at current, new and aspiring board members and Kellogg promises its corporate governance training programs will “deliver a rich understanding of board structures, roles and responsibilities.”

Date: Varies by program, but dates available through 2021

Location: On campus in either Evanston (Ill.) or Miami

Duration: Each program takes place over three or four days

Price: Programs range from $6,750 to $11,500 depending on course

Santa Clara University

The Santa Clara University Leavy School of Business offers a Women’s Corporate Board Readiness program that is designed to help women overcome the gender gap and learn how to develop a personal brand as a board member. The program has a unique design: It’s split into two separate two-day sessions with a four-week break in between, during which time you will receive coaching and mentoring and attend two webinar sessions. At the end of the program you will present a personal pitch to a panel of judges.

Date: May 7 and June 4

Location: Santa Clara, Calif.

Duration: Two days

Price: $7,195

Stanford’s Directors’ College

Stanford Law School hosts an annual Stanford Directors’ College conference, which is an educational program for directors and senior executives of publicly traded firms. The conference consists of CEOs, directors, regulators, jurists and scholars who are experts on a broad range of subjects relevant to board members. Topics include confronting modern boards, crisis anticipation and management, shareholder engagement, emerging challenges, compensation strategy, board evaluation and refreshment and new technology impacting companies.

Date: June 21

Location:  Stanford, Calif.

Duration: Three days

Price: $8,950

Stanford’s Directors’ Consortium

The Directors’ Consortium is an in-person program that was developed as an academic partnership between Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. The program offers an interactive learning experience covering topics such as big data, cybersecurity, liability risk, financial literacy and shareholder activism. You’ll touch on the growing list of issues and responsibilities that fall to board members by covering the latest research, current issues, emerging topics and by going beyond compliance to “explore how directors can best represent shareholders and other stakeholders.”

Date: March 14, 2021

Location:  Stanford, Calif.

Duration: Six days

Price: $14,000

UCLA Anderson School of Management

The UCLA Anderson School of Management offers a corporate governance program that covers all the essentials you’ll need to be a success in the boardroom. Topics include governance challenges, ethical considerations as a board member, strategic management, understanding your firm’s financial statements, managing mergers and engaging with activist shareholders. You can opt to take a certification exam at the end of day three if you want to earn a designation for your resume. The course is taught by UCLA Anderson faculty with guest speakers and features a networking reception and dinner on the first day of the program.

Date: May 12

Location: Los Angeles

Duration: Three days

Price: $8,500

University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas as Dallas runs the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance, which offers board training, events, future trends and board dynamics, best practices, networking, board referrals and volunteer opportunities and the latest research. Several events, conferences, forums and certificate programs are offered throughout the year. In 2020, the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance will offer a six-module executive certificate in nonprofit governance program, as well as the 18th annual corporate governance conference in April.

Date: Varies by program or event

Location: Programs and events are offered in-person and online

Duration: Varies by program or event

Price: $400 for an IECG membership, pricing for other conference, events and programs will vary

Wharton Executive Education

Wharton Executive Education offers a corporate governance program for directors and C-suite executives to help them build the necessary knowledge to be a successful board member. The program is Boards that lead: Corporate governance that builds value — a two-day course that takes place in Philadelphia. Sessions cover topics such as the “new role of the board,” CEO and director selection, how to design effective boards, how to be successful in the boardroom and the general principles of board leadership. The course is based on the book Boards that lead: When to take charge, when to partner, and when to stay out of the way. The program promises to offer the “latest thinking from some of the world’s most knowledgeable boardroom veterans.”

Date: February 2, 2021

Location: Philadelphia

Duration: Two days

Price: $5,500