24 Nov The Board of Directors Poker Game

A board of directors is similar to a poker game.  They both meet on a regular basis, there is a variety of individuals involved, they are primarily men, the number of members need to be present to make it meaningful and this is not anyone’s primary career. So what if the monthly and/or quarterly poker game is missing one or more players?  The remaining group needs to recruit another player or two.  The group seeks to recruit someone with the same skill level as the other players, no one wants an unskilled player that is too slow or needs to be taught the...

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13 Nov Companies With Three or More Female Directors Achieve Better Financial Results

Here is proof that diversity pays dividends! There have been numerous studies and reports on the advantages of having women on your board of directors.  In the Wall Street Journal article Female CEO's Make Room for Female Directors spells it out and how women CEO's are leading the way on this in their own company boards.  One of the best quotes in the article was "Big companies with three or more female directors achieved significantly better financial results than those with none".  The other quote really supports my experiences that the CEO Mindy Grossman of HSN said "If you narrow what you...

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31 Oct Brutally Honest Conversation about Board Diversity with Board Members

This week I had two interesting conversations that with current board members about: 1. Board Diversity 2. Value of a highly functional board of directors The board diversity conversation happened ironically after a board meeting that I attended.  One of the company executives that was in attendance at the board meeting also joined us for lunch after the meeting was over.  During lunch the discussion turned to the bank board he serves as Chairman on.  A comment was made by Rick (Chairman of the bank) made the statement the he took my advice.  It always surprises me when someone says this in a public...

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24 Oct Using a Recruiter to Build a Better Board of Directors

In a recent interview with Enterprise Minnesota Magazine the question was is it always better to recruit a board member blindly or by using a board of directors executive search firm. My response was I'm not sure there is a perfect answer for that.  I'm a little bit biased because we are in the business of recruiting board members, but let me tell you why I think it is better to have people you do not know on your board to begin with. With it you get unbiased perspective and advice regarding the business. This is critical to the success of...

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15 Oct Building a Board of Directors

Over 20 years ago I formed my first company.  It was an imposing task as I had never formed a corporation or built a board of directors. I hired a lawyer and spent a significant amount of time and money "doing it right."  It was a good learning experience.  I wish someone had told me it did not have to be that difficult.  Since then I have formed two additional companies and they were much easier to do. In the recent article by George Deeb about how to build a board of directors or a board of advisors  the value of a board far...

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14 Oct Board Diversity is a Success in the Boardroom

Board diversity is always a hot topic, especially when a board seat becomes available on a company board.  The truth is that diversity is evolving.  Diversity goes far beyond gender and race but unfortunately that is what is easiest to measure. Board nominees for women are now 30%, double what they were 6 years ago, and a mere 15% growth year over year. According to a recent article on "women still make up less than 20 percent of U.S. boards on average, movement toward greater gender parity is evident with the proportion of new nominees that are women nearly doubling...

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25 Sep Biotech Firms Search For 300 New Board of Directors in Next 2 Years

A strong board of directors is needed for every business. In Biotech, a combination of c-level executives with a background in R&D is hard to find. Good training and talent are important for every board room. According to a recent article at, "the 'half-life' of a recent IPO's Director is about four years. In other words, within the first four years or so post-IPO, ~50% of the Board of Directors on a newly public biotech Board have departed and been replaced." In the article goes on to say that "in its 35 year history ever needed as many new Board...

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23 Sep 3 Hurdles Every Board Member May Face

Every board is different, with its own individual personalities meshing for one common cause. Therefore, it is inevitable that there will a few hurdles a rookie or veteran board member may encounter. 4 hurdles every board member may face:   1. Not Doing the Homework: Not being prepared for the meetings could be detrimental to the board because then all the reading material may have to be re-presented to the board. That cuts into the time they have for proactive dialogue which is important in order to create an effective board. 2. Lack of Organizational Knowledge: Along with not being prepared, not knowing enough about...

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19 Sep Board of Directors Search for Women in the Boardroom

Myself (Jim Zuehlke) and Charlie Roer are co-founders of Cardinal Board Services and we are helping add women to board of directors across the country. We are narrowing the search to help shape companies in the boardroom after hearing complaints from boards that there are difficulties finding c-level females to serve as directors. The search firm has a vast network of women leaders in a variety of industries that provide experience and diversity for privately held companies. More now than ever before boards are requesting to see female candidates to interview for a board of directors position. Cardinal Board Services offers a flat...

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