Building Exceptional Certification Boards


Tuesday, September 20
Faculty:  Rich Bar, Esq., GKG Law, P.C.
Clarence “Buck” Chaffee, President, The Caviart Group, LLC
Christine Niero, PhD, VP, Professional Testing, Inc.
Glenn Tecker, Chairman & Co-CEO, Tecker Consultants, LLC

8:30am – 9:00am

9:00am – 9:15am             

9:15am – 10:15am           
Opening Plenary:  Defining the Issues—Politics/Money/Social Issues/Competition
Lead faculty: Buck Chaffee

This summit kicks off with an open discussion of the issues affecting participants.   Faculty will lead the group through identifying and classifying the realities of running a certification and testing program today – including the problems with political influence and pressures on credentialing bodies, the role of financial influences in setting and maintaining standards, growing social issues such as a resurgence of concerns for racial and ethnic bias and the growth of competition and its effect on the industry.

This session will challenge attendees to openly express their concerns and experiences in these and related areas so that the presenters will be able to incorporate these concerns throughout the summit sessions. 

Questions from Participants during phone interviews:

The Politics of Certification
Educators, employers, accreditation bodies  apply political pressure to try to get test results (by group or candidate) and don’t take “no” for an answer.  When do you give in and when do you hold firm?  What are the legal issues such as violation of privacy rules, etc. about giving out data or even specific candidate scores?

Should board members be concerned about modifying the certification standards to avoid offending parent or membership organizations?  If not, how do you stop politics from influencing board decisions?

One major membership association is suing to take over control of the “eligibility pathways” to the profession.  How do you convince your board to stand up and fight?

What do you do when a board member is also a board member for another organization and that group decides to become a competitor?

Legal Landmines
No one wants to talk about it, but could it be that tests are really biased against minorities?  Should you gather information on race and ethnicity or does that open you up for attack?  Is it better just not to ask?

Is testing in ”other” languages a civil rights issue?

10:15am – 10:30am

10:30am – 11:15am        
Why is Working with Certification Boards so Hard?
Lead faculty: Glenn Tecker & Christine Niero

The ultimate vision for most credentialing organizations is value for the profession, for stakeholders and for society. But turning the vision into a venture which is successful on all major counts requires disciplined analysis and planning, careful commitment of resources, serious financial controls and constant monitoring. Like the pieces of a jig saw puzzle, these elements of business strategy must fit together neatly to create a complete and understandable picture.

This session will address the major issues and challenges certification executives face trying to achieve a productive and cordial working relationship with their boards.  We will present the findings of pre-summit conversations with participants, addressing sources of friction, strengths and weaknesses of board/staff models, philosophies of leadership, and the differing characteristics of the cultures of corporate and certification enterprises that impact the staff/board relationship.  Faculty will work with participants to:

• Explore the differences in governing associations or societies from certification bodies
• Define the unique challenges of certification governance
• Understand how the "characteristics" of certification programs impact governance structure, and leadership.

Questions from Participants during phone interviews:

Composition & People
How do you best set up a governing board?
Who/what makes a good credentialing board?
What should a credentialing board look like?  What do you need?
How do you strike the right balance of stakeholder representation on a board?
How can you avoid conflicts within organizational structures that are c3's with c6 certification boards?
How do you maintain the leadership pipeline?  It’s easy to get volunteers but really hard to get good leaders.  

What happens to board members' brains when they join?
How do you set up a board to focus on governance and policy?
How can you get a board with one voice and no rogue members?
How do you get board members to understand that they are always “on” when they are in public?

11:15am – 12:15pm
The Legal Basics: Who’s Really Responsible for What?
Lead faculty: Rich Bar

At the core of all board/staff relationships is the understanding (or lack of understanding) of the roles and responsibilities of each party. While each certification organization must develop its own set of policies defining roles and responsibilities, there are legal obligations that board members have to meet. Most board members know that they have "fiduciary duties" but many do not really know what these are. Even worse, some think that fiduciary duties include anything that they want to do – even at the micromanagement level.

In this session, Mr. Bar will define and explain what legal fiduciary duties really are, and why they must be followed. He will explore why they exist and how they apply to corporate governance. Mr. Bar will explain why adhering to basic Board governance rules will drastically limit your board's liability and enhance your ability to maintain a functioning board. He also will discuss conflicts of interest and confidentiality policies and procedures and discuss the ramifications of breaching these responsibilities.

Questions from Participants during phone interviews:

Internal ops
How does a governing board of a certification program work internally, separate from the board of the parent sponsoring organization?  Where are the firewalls?
In the model where a certification board is within a parent organization, legally, who signs the certificate?
In this model, is the CEO the CEO of the parent organization, or the certification board? Is there an inherent conflict-of-interest for the CEO and how does this get addressed.
How can you maintain a certification board inside a parent organization without building a silo?

Is it all about the $$$  ?
What is the role of a certification board in the model in which a c3 houses a c6 certification board, vis a vis the broader organization's financial position?
Is certification like any other business when it comes to generating money?  Should that be a factor in board decisions?
Is it appropriate to use reduced fees or other financial incentives to “encourage” certificants becoming members of the parent organization?  Or is this just a penalty?

12:15pm – 1:15pm          
During lunch you'll network with your peers and discuss the challenges you are facing. We'll gather your concerns and make sure they get addressed during the two days.

 1:15pm – 2:45pm
Effective Governance—Learning to Dance: Don't Step on My Toes
Lead Faculty:  Glenn Tecker & Christine Niero

The relationship between an exceptional Board and executive staff is like a carefully choreographed dance. It looks easy and natural, but in reality it takes a lot of work to get everyone to move gracefully together. In this session, Mr. Tecker will go beyond the legal issues of governance and get to the heart of leadership. He will discuss the optimum role of the CEO, senior staff and board members, and how to separate Board from staff functions. He will help participants determine who's responsible for doing what. Mr. Tecker will discuss where and how lines of authority get blurred and he will provide strategies to redirect any missteps.

Mr. Tecker will discuss the process of developing exceptional board members including:

• Making the transition from "professional" to board member
• Orienting the board to the job of governance
• Establishing the delicate balance between Board and staff roles
• Systems and processes that sustain an effective governance culture
• Managing constructive and destructive conflicts.

Dr. Niero will continue with ways to establish and maintain balance between the partners, and will provide strategies for recruiting volunteers with the characteristics and qualifications required for service on certification boards. She will address unique aspects of certification governance, orienting volunteers to their roles, and working from policy to minimize risk to the organization and its personnel.

Questions from Participants during phone interviews:

Roles & Responsibilities
What is the balance between the board and management?
What should committees do vs. staff?
For a developing credential, what are the appropriate roles and responsibilities of the board and staff?
What does a board with a new credential need to know and do?
How do you get staff to embrace the board’s vision?

2:45pm – 3:15pm

3:50pm – 5:00 pm
Effective Governance, continued.

5:00pm – 6:30pm

Unwind with your peers, build your network and continue the discussion. Faculty from this Summit and previous Summits will mix and mingle with session participants.


Wednesday, September 21

8:00am – 8:45am

8:45am – 9:15am
Recap and discuss issues from the first day.

9:15am – 10:15am
Minimizing Risk and Liability—Establishing the Baseline of Legal Requirements
Lead faculty: Rich Bar

Being aware of liability is part of your job. As the CEO, what you need to know is how to minimize it. In this session, participants will learn strategies to minimize liability exposure for you as the CEO, as well as the organization. Mr. Bar will discuss the benefits and pitfalls associated with D & O insurance and other measures to protect officers, directors and volunteers. He will also discuss the content of Bylaws—just what do they need to cover, and how are they different from policy? And, he will provide guidelines on good documentation such as Minutes—just what are they supposed to include? Mr. Bar will address the circumstances warranting removal of board members, dismissal of committees, and strategies for doing so with minimal risk to the organization and you.

10:15am – 10:45am        

10:45am – 12:00 Noon  
Governing From Integrity—The Relationship Between Credible Certification Programs and Strong Governance and its Impact on your Brand
Lead faculty: Glenn Tecker and Christine Niero

One of the best ways to assure great governance is through the development and maintenance of a credible certification organization. If this is done correctly, to a large extent the program will govern itself. We will discuss "program integrity" and how it reaches into all aspects of the certification program, from the examination to the roles and responsibilities of the governing body. In this session, participants will learn strategies that empower boards to uphold the integrity of the program, and build credibility into leadership and the brand of the organization. Participants will learn the most vulnerable parts of a certification program, the aspects that pose the greatest risk to credibility, and how to position their certification program as one of integrity. The group will also discuss how governing is related to an organization’s brand - how to discover and make meaningful promises and how to keep your meaningful promises.

Questions from Participants during phone interviews:

Building Greater Value
Where is credentialing going?
How do you sell the value of the credential in today’s world/marketplace?
There is increasing demand for advanced/specialized credentials. What’s the value proposition?
How do you stand out from your competition?
How do you balance program integrity with the reality of retaining customers?
The workforce is aging, has certification peaked? How do you adjust to the new reality?
How do you become a better credentialing program without disenfranchising people who think it's fine as is? 

12:00 Noon – 1:00pm    

1:00pm  – 2:30pm           
Governing from Integrity, continued

2:30pm – 2:45pm

2:45 – 3:30          

In an open discussion format, participants will have the opportunity to ask faculty any lingering questions.