NACD Directorship 2020 with Fay Feeney – NACD So Cal July 2014

Directorship 2020® is a NACD National initiative created to help directors identify and prepare for shifting issues and opportunities that boards will have to address in the future. Technology is and will continue to be an item that directors must understand in order to drive strategic change in their companies.

When it comes to technology, the boardroom has been learning a new language: mobile, social, cloud, cyber security, digital disruption and more. Recently the NACD released an eight-part video series on the board’s role: The Intersection of Technology, Strategy, and Risk.

We have spent much of the past year focused on cyber security, an essential discussion given the widespread theft of intellectual property, privacy invasions and data breaches. A report on cyber crime and espionage by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. last year estimated that cybercrime costs the global economy $300 billion a year – an entire industry is growing around hacking! Research by PwC shows cyber insurance is the fastest growing specialty coverage ever – worth around $1.3 billion a year in the US.

larraine segilAs our boardroom agendas often get filled with discussions on risk, I asked Frontier Communications board director Larraine Segil how to shift the conversation to strategy. Larraine has a keen focus on opportunity and suggested we delve into solutions for governing “The Internet of Things (IoT)”. My favorite part of sitting on the NACD SoCal board with Larraine is her interest in what is emerging on the business horizon.

As a director it is critical to be educated constantly about new trends, products and opportunities – competition is fast moving and customers are better educated about their options than ever before.  Strategically the board has to think way ahead of the present status quo – and with the help of management and outside domain experts, explore opportunities for alliances.

This requires using strategic analysis at every board meeting (not just at one offsite a year) and welcoming constant director education and brainstorming both within and outside of the company’s industry. The board should continually identify and evaluate strategic directions to keep the company ‘fresh’ and nimble.

What exactly is the “Internet of Things” and what are the implications for business strategy? Think about connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet and/or to each other. This includes everything from cell phones, thermostats, and washing machines to headphones, cameras, wearable devices and much more.

This also applies to components of machines – for example, the jet engine of an airplane. If the device has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT.

The technology research firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. Think about Uber, the company that connects a physical asset (car & driver) to a person in need of a ride via a website. That simple connection has disrupted the taxi industry.

AirBnB has done the same for the lodging industry by directly connecting people with spaces to rent to those in need of accommodations. What does this mean to for our companies? Larraine, what are you thinking when you hear about the IoT for business opportunities? [Read more…]

NACD Directorship – The Unsociable Boardroom: A Costly Strategy for 2014

The Unsociable Boardroom: A Costly Strategy for 2014

Social Boardroom

Directors need to understand how strategies are being applied or affected by the social world.

Or as I like to say “Directors need to make friends with Social Media if they want their strategy to be relevant in 2014″

As a board leader a half decade ago, you might have believed that emerging social technologies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ had no place in the boardroom. Social media platforms appeared to have no relation to financial performance, nor were they considered strategic business drivers, and therefore were not part of the boardroom agenda.

In 2014, the corporate boardroom is being bypassed by the investment community in recognizing the strategic importance of social media to corporate performance. Investors are analyzing and interpreting “big data” derived from social media as predictive tools. In 2013, 11 percent of Twitter’s revenue was derived by licensing data culled from its massive store of user data. Many firms are using this information to inform strategy and decision making. Both Twitter and @StockTwits have built a category of investor relations to connect investors to equities. [Read more…]

NACD So Cal Corporate Governance Week – #USCSummit

Our NACD Southern California Corporate Governance Week is a series of events both public and private.  Our focus is on creating opportunities for the governance community to identify ideas and process to enhance their service to investors and stakeholders.  Here are my tweets and pictures from the week. [Read more…]

GOVERNANCE | Wired – Conference Pictures #Society13

2013-07-13 11.15.18

Steven M. Davidoff @StevenDavidoff

funny facebook

Wonder if @VinnyJindal , CEO at @Stockr thought ” Why do my friends post this stuff when they know I have a business presentation?”

Jim B

Society #13 Conference Chair Jim Brashear@JFBrashear

2013-07-11 13.58.11

Doug Chia @dougchia moderating the panel. [Read more…]

GOVERNANCE | Wired – William S. Ayer, Chairman, Alaska Air Group #Society13

“You need to have short term performance to get to the long term.”

Bill is the leader that makes following easy.  He likes to keep it simple and focus on the alignment of three primary stakeholders: customers, investors and employees.  He brings his interest in people into view with this wisdom “let’s build a company that provide meaningful benefits not at the expense of each other.”

His eye for talent focuses on people who understand priority and bring persistence till they get it right.  As a leader he wants to ensure people who demonstrate these skills are given new opportunities.

It is great to see a self-aware leader who can say “As a CEO I don’t want to overstay my welcome and accept I only have a certain range of capabilities.”  Boards, are you ready to hear this from your CEO?

Business Wisdom

The plan is a lot easier than the execution.  Business is about people and change.   You need the right critical mass of people.  Opinion leaders are not on the formal organization chart.  Find them and bring them in on the vision.

The board’s role is critical and is the most senior level of leadership.  The role they serve for the CEO is holding the team accountable to the plan and being supportive of transformation.  Things get worse before they get better so the board needs to understand the cycle of the strategy.

The right board leader has an agenda that brings out the strengths of the board.  It is structured to:

  • Focus on a few key things
  • Bring balance on compliance and strategy

The board leader is the architect of the agenda.  It is their duty to make sure the board does not spend too much time powerpointing which take time away from engagement.  The way a board chair sets up the agenda builds a board intelligence culture.  The chair should ask themselves “How can the board be most helpful to the CEO.” [Read more…]

GOVERNANCE | Wired – Opening Reception, Exhibit Hall #Society13

Seattle, Wa

July 10-13, 2013

2013-07-10 15.02.55

  [Read more…]

Annual General Meeting (AGM) Bingo Card

As we read through proxy statements and prepare for Annual General Meetings, let us not forget to have some fun.  In that spirit, bring along this bingo card to add to your engaged listening.  Winning cards get to leave the meeting and get on with their lives.

AGM Bingo Card v1

2013 AGM Bingo Card v1

Special Thanks to Broc Romanek for including the AGM Bingo Card in his recent post:





[Read more…]

Lean In – Boardroom Edition

March 5, 2013 – My Broads Circle Keynote: Broads on Boards Event

LABJ April 2013

Welcome to the 4th annual Broads on Boards program:  Women on Corporate Boards

Hi, I’m Fay Feeney, my day job is CEO of Risk for Good where we equip CEOs and their boards to govern in this new mobile, transparent, connected world by bring digital intelligence to the competitive uncertainty in the equity markets.

I’m also the President of the Broads on Board program for Broads Circle which is an executive-level networking group with a focus on MONEY and POWER for WOMEN.

The mission for Broads Circle is to connect senior level business women. We believe that successful, impactful, powerful people have strong networks.

They draw on these networks in driving revenue and growing capital for themselves and their ventures.

At Broads Circle we talk exclusively about issues related to Money and Power for women.

So let me begin with some action items for you to think about as we talk about corporate board service.  I’m out seeking a corporate board appointment and am using these guiding principles in my search:

Action Items:

1. The world is changing before our eyes; use your influence where you have it – with clients, in your spending, where you invest and with family & friends.  You never know who in your network has board opportunities. Stay connected – if you are in the flow of learning about board opportunities let me know.

 2. Luck favors the prepared – stay informed on corporate governance.  You can join me on Twitter #Corpgov or consider attending a NACD Director Professionalism course.  We’ll have a session August 15-16, in Newport Beach.  I’m proud to be a NACD Leadership Fellow.

 My corporate governance education builds confidence for the Nomination/Governance committee, is proxy ready and more important shows I’m serious about building company value.

  3.  Narrow your boardroom focus. Think about board service opportunities starting with private companies and public companies on the Wilshire 5000.  The F500 have plenty of people vying for those seats.

For example, let’s look at the 79 S&P 500-listed financial services firms, these provide a window into the governance trends affecting these companies.

Among the 2012 trends:

  • Financial services firms welcomed more new directors; 53 new independent directors joined S&P 500 financial services boards in 2012 compared to 45 in 2011.
  • The profile of new directors has evolved, with the boards of financial services firms adding more women and financial services executives and fewer private equity professionals and retired CEOs. Of the new directors joining financial services boards in 2012, 30% are women.  Do the math, 30% of 53. [Read more…]

Don’t I Know You? Bring your Big #Reputation Online!


Don't I know you

Is 2013 the year you are taking social technology seriously enough to engage personally on Twitter?  If so, you may be surprised by the impact on your real life reputation once you go social.

Like the new years resolution for going to the gym, I’m seeing some new people showing up on Twitter. These are people who have established reputations in real life – CEOs, corporate counsel and entrepreneurs.  We even have a hashtag for CEOs who are leading their organizations to leverage social technology #socialCEO .

You may be in enterprises where your business has been engaging in social media for marketing but not personally.  With the IBM Social CEO Survey data we are seeing 16% of CEOs on social media with expectation for that number to triple in five years.

Like the new faces at the gym, I’m here to welcome you and share what I know about operating the equipment safely. Last thing I want is to see someone risking their personal safety and getting hurt!

I’m happy you are here and interested in following you. Like any place, new people bring fresh perspectives and insights. I speak about making this happen in the boardroom and I live it online.  My big idea for 2013 is “let it begin with me.”  With the amazing transparency I’m seeing the last thing I want to do is expose my reputation by going all command and control.  “Do what I say, not what I do” falls into a category of lessons I’m unlearning.

My board clients are generally not going on Twitter to engage but to observe the #corpgov conversation, follow their customers, company, executives, competitors, employees, investors and issues of interest.  Together we curate a Twitter feed that filters a bespoke experience and closes their information gap.  Directors don’t need to tweet to govern the digital revolution.  What they need to do is listen and understand the strategic issues.  These insights come from big data analytics and are affectionately referred to as “social media exhaust.”

When I bring clients with big off line reputations online their reputation risk goes way up.  Here is my process to equip them to have an experience that will transform them and accelerate their business in the digital revolution:

Week One:

Tour Twitter and identify how it is being used in your ecosystem by collaborators and competitors.

Goal setting: clarify thinking about why you are using Twitter:

  1. Who do you want to connect with on Twitter?
  2. Learn how to listen/speak
  3. How will people connect with you?
  4. Who will you follow back?
  5. How to deal with people who you don’t want to follow you?
  6. Learn what authentic engagement looks like by following my favorites in #corpgov #law #CSR #diversity #ESG #safety #socialmedia and more. [Read more…]

Boardroom Turbulence – Strap Yourself In for 2013


Hello from Fay

I’ve been on the go, which makes sleeping in my own bed that much sweeter this holiday season.  As I think about 2012, my take-away for directors is “more than ever, your CEOs need your wisdom and provocative questions to support them in adjusting their thinking and strategy to a landscape of turbulence.”


Changes brought on in the past year from the digital revolution alone are accelerating business risks and opportunities.  Mary Meeker speaks to this in her 2012 KPCB Internet Trends Year-End Update.    She calls it “The Re-Imagination- of Nearly Everything.”


Mary MeekerThe “weapon of choice” in the digital revolution is proving to be the smart phone.  It provides stakeholders a tool to connect with like-minded individuals anywhere, any time.

This year, when speaking on social technology, I’ve been asking directors to think about issues from the constituent’s viewpoint (investors, customers and employees) for a start.  Broadening to stakeholders is the next level request.

I recently heard Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, CEO & President, Aetna Inc., speak at the NACD Board Leadership Conference.  Yes, he has a Twitter account @mtbert, but that’s not the only reason I like him.  He spoke to the value of having the CEO be an active participant in the social conversation.  Here is a link to his session, which is a blueprint for the #SocialCEO.

We certainly expect our C-suite to align their messaging to demographics, but it is far more complex than it appears.  People are expressing their underlying attitudes and values in a variety of ways that are being expressed in the public domain on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.

An expectation for CEOs is to listen, assess and, if appropriate, adapt to the feedback.  It reminds me of the first two steps in a risk management process: identify and assess.  I encourage directors to stop and consider ways they can help their CEO speak to values that define, strengthen and grow the company.

As a board leader, your agenda needs to allow time for the on-going, dynamic issues that are emerging that may not have been assigned to a committee:

  • Company culture and talent
  • Company brand and reputation
  • Opening communication channels from the outside/in
  • Sustainability and safety
  • Supply Chain
  • IT and social technology including cyber-risk
  • Diversity & Inclusion

I heard James Robinson, III speak in New York City at the NACD D100.  His message to business was simple: “To grow and sustain a successful enterprise, recognize that we are all in it together, act accordingly.” [Read more…]